First Look at the Pathfinder Playtest

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Welcome to the next evolution of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Just shy of 10 years ago, on March 18th, 2008, we asked you to take a bold step with us and download the Alpha Playtest PDF for Pathfinder First Edition. Over the past decade, we've learned a lot about the game and the people who play it. We've talked with you on forums, we've gamed with you at conventions, and we've watched you play online and in person at countless venues. We went from updating mechanics to inventing new ones, adding a breadth of options to the game and making the system truly our own. We've made mistakes, and we've had huge triumphs. Now it is time to take all of that knowledge and make the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game even better.

By now, you've probably read all about the upcoming launch of the Playtest version of the game set to release on August 2nd, 2018 (but just in case you haven't, click here). In the weeks and months leading up to that release, we are going give you an in-depth look at this game, previewing all 12 of the classes and examining many of the most fundamental changes to the game. Of course, that is a long time to wait to get a complete picture, so I wanted to take this opportunity to give you insight into the game, how it works, and why we made the changes that we made. We will be covering these in much more detail later, but we thought it might be useful to give a general overview right now.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

New, but the Same

Our first goal was to make Pathfinder Second Edition feel just like the game you know and love. That means that as a player, you need to be able to make the choices that allow you to build the character you want to play. Similarly, as a Game Master, you need to have the tools and the support to tell the story you want to tell. The rules that make up the game have to fundamentally still fill the same role they did before, even if some of the mechanics behind them are different.

Building a Character

It's worth taking a moment to talk about how characters are built, because we spent a lot of time making this process smoother and more intuitive. You start by selecting your ancestry (which used to be called race), figuring out where you came from and what sorts of basic statistics you have. Next you decide on your background, representing how you were raised and what you did before taking up the life of an adventurer. Finally, you select your class, the profession you have dedicated yourself to as an intrepid explorer. Each one of these choices is very important, modifying your starting ability scores, giving you starting proficiencies and class skills, and opening up entire feat chains tailored to your character.

After making the big choices that define your character, you have a variety of smaller choices to make, including assigning skill proficiencies, picking an ancestry feat, buying gear, and deciding on the options presented by your class. Finally, after deciding on all of your choices, the only thing left to do is figure out all of your bonuses, which are now determined by one unified system of proficiency, based on your character's level.

As you go on grand adventures with your character, you will gain experience and eventually level up. Pathfinder characters have exciting and important choices to make every time they gain a level, from selecting new class feats to adding new spells to their repertoires.

Playing the Game

We've made a number of changes to the way the game is played, to clean up the overall flow of play and to add some interesting choices in every part of the story. First up, we have broken play up into three distinct components. Encounter mode is what happens when you are in a fight, measuring time in seconds, each one of which can mean life or death. Exploration mode is measured in minutes and hours, representing travel and investigation, finding traps, decoding ancient runes, or even mingling at the queen's coronation ball. Of all the modes of play, exploration is the most flexible, allowing for easy storytelling and a quick moving narrative. Finally, the downtime mode happens when your characters are back in town, or relative safety, allowing them to retrain abilities, practice a trade, lead an organization, craft items, or recuperate from wounds. Downtime is measured in days, generally allowing time to flow by in an instant.

Most of the game happens in exploration or encounter mode, with the two types of play flowing easily from one to the other. In fact, exploration mode can have a big impact on how combat begins, determining what you roll for your initiative. In a group of four exploring a dungeon, two characters might have their weapons ready, keeping an eye out for danger. Another might be skulking ahead, keeping to the shadows, while the fourth is looking for magic. If combat begins, the first two begin with their weapons drawn, ready for a fight, and they roll Perception for their initiative. The skulking character rolls Stealth for initiative, giving them a chance to hide before the fight even begins. The final adventurer rolls Perception for initiative, but also gains some insight as to whether or not there is magic in the room.

After initiative is sorted out and it's your turn to act, you get to take three actions on your turn, in any combination. Gone are different types of actions, which can slow down play and add confusion at the table. Instead, most things, like moving, attacking, or drawing a weapon, take just one action, meaning that you can attack more than once in a single turn! Each attack after the first takes a penalty, but you still have a chance to score a hit. In Pathfinder Second Edition, most spells take two actions to cast, but there are some that take only one. Magic missile, for example, can be cast using from one to three actions, giving you an additional missile for each action you spend on casting it!

Between turns, each character also has one reaction they can take to interrupt other actions. The fighter, for example, has the ability to take an attack of opportunity if a foe tries to move past or its defenses are down. Many classes and monsters have different things they can do with their reactions, making each combat a little bit less predictable and a lot more exciting. Cast a fire spell near a red dragon, for example, and you might just find it takes control of your magic, roasting you and your friends instead of the intended target!

Monsters and Treasure

The changes to the game are happening on both sides of the GM screen. Monsters, traps, and magic items have all gotten significant revisions.

First off, monsters are a lot easier to design. We've moved away from strict monster construction formulas based off type and Hit Dice. Instead, we start by deciding on the creature's rough level and role in the game, then select statistics that make it a balanced and appropriate part of the game. Two 7th-level creatures might have different statistics, allowing them to play differently at the table, despite both being appropriate challenges for characters of that level.

This also makes it easier for us to present monsters, giving us more space to include special abilities and actions that really make a monster unique. Take the fearsome tyrannosaurus, for example; if this terrifying dinosaur gets you in its jaws, it can take an action to fling you up to 20 feet through the air, dealing tremendous damage to you in the process!

Hazards are now a more important part of the game, from rangers creating snares to traps that you have to actively fight against if you want to survive. Poisons, curses, and diseases are a far more serious problem to deal with, having varied effects that can cause serious penalties, or even death.

Of all of the systems that Game Masters interact with, magic items are one of the most important, so we spent extra time ensuring that they are interesting and fun. First and foremost, we have taken significant steps to allow characters to carry the items they want, instead of the items that they feel they must have to succeed. Good armor and a powerful weapon are still critical to the game, but you no longer have to carry a host of other smaller trinkets to boost up your saving throws or ability scores. Instead, you find and make the magic items that grant you cool new things to do during play, giving you the edge against all of the monsters intent on making you into their next meal.

We can't wait until you find your first +1 longsword to see what it can do!

What's Next?

There are a lot of things we are excited to show off, so many in fact that we have to pace ourselves. First off, if you want to hear the game in action right now, we've recorded a special podcast with the folks from the Glass Cannon Network, converting the original Pathfinder First Edition Module, Crypt of the Everflame, to the new edition. Head on over to their site and listen to the first part of this adventure now!

Stop by tomorrow for the first blog taking an in-depth look at Pathfinder Second Edition, starting off with the new system for taking actions, then visit us again on Friday for an exploration of the Glass Cannon game, exploring some of its spoilers in detail!

We Need You!

All of us at Paizo want to take a moment to thank you, the fans, players, and game masters that have made this exciting journey a possibility. It's been a wild ride for the past decade, and speaking personally, I could not be more excited for where we are heading. But, as I am sure you've heard a number of times already, we cannot make this game without you, without your feedback and passion for the game. Thank you for coming with us on this adventure, thank you for contributing to our community, and thank you for playing Pathfinder.

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

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Friendly Rogue wrote:


If a cleric can wear a full suit of banded mail and bless people left and right, a druid can put on her dragonhide plate armor and keep preaching about nature, and a psychic can put on his dad's old suit of hellknight plate and still read people's minds, why can't the wizard be allowed to put on some half plate and cast fireballs in the middle of a battlefield?

Because that just turns a wizard into a magus ?


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:


If a cleric can wear a full suit of banded mail and bless people left and right, a druid can put on her dragonhide plate armor and keep preaching about nature, and a psychic can put on his dad's old suit of hellknight plate and still read people's minds, why can't the wizard be allowed to put on some half plate and cast fireballs in the middle of a battlefield?
Because that just turns a wizard into a magus ?

But Wizards don't get the ability to channel spells through their melee weapons, or start with armor proficiency right out of the gate, or have the arcane pool ability. Not to mention, at least in P1e, Magi have a better BAB progression than Wizards.

One could argue that the Warpriest is like a Cleric with better starting proficiencies and a gimped spell list, but the Cleric doesn't get access to things like Fervor, Sacred Weapon, and Bonus Feats - the Warpriest fills its own niche that makes it better suited for things that a Cleric wouldn't be able to do without specific builds, and offers special abilities that distinctly set it apart from the Cleric.

The ability to cast spells doesn't define a class. The unique things that a class can do is what defines a class, and one Wizard in a tin can does not a Magus make.


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An armored wizard is not the same than a magus.

The first one is a battle mage that cast spells and win the fight with them. The second one uses spells to boost his fighting skills (and might or might not be armored )


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
AinzTheLich wrote:
Will we the players be testing these?

The playtest starts August 2, 2018, using playtest rules and some playtest modules

The new Core Rulebook will be published August, 2019

The Exchange

Zaister wrote:
I'm wondering, will Pathfinder Second Edition adventures still assume a party of four characters, or is that changing?

That's a good question. PFS scenarios assume 6 players, with rules for scaling encounters down to 4 players, which (as I understand it) is a relatively newer decision, but I also think that has more to do with the ratio of players to GMs in PFS than anything else.

I'd be interested in seeing how this goes, as I'm not sure where the four player assumption came from, since before 3e, D&D generally assumed bigger parties.


I'm pretty sure Erik talked about Psionics in the podcast, and said they don't want to include psionics. They will include psychic magic someday, tho.


In that case, I'm talking completely out of my ass; don't listen to a word I'm saying in regards to psychic magic

Liberty's Edge

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
I'm pretty sure Erik talked about Psionics in the podcast, and said they don't want to include psionics. They will include psychic magic someday, tho.

Yep. They were happy to have left them to DSP to put out, and Erik said he found that particular flavour of mind magic ill-fitting the setting.

Means it'll be a ripe ground for 3PP again when 2e is out, I expect. Fine by me at least, I liked the Occult stuff more.


I didn't see where this originally came up, but a few people have mentioned that spells no longer scale by caster level, but only by spell level. I'd rather see something in between: When you first get access to a spell, you haven't yet learned how to use it as efficiently as possible, so it scales for a few levels before maxing out, but by that time, you can make it scale some more by casting it a higher spell level. We sort of have this in Pathfinder 1st Edition with capped spells and the Intensified Spell metamagic feat, but it isn't consistent, since some spells are capped and some aren't, and it doesn't apply to things other than hit point damage, except in the few cases of ranked spells like Summon Monster/Nature's Ally or the Undercastable Psychic Spells, and Intensified Spell doesn't allow for more than 1 spell level of increase.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

I didn't see where this originally came up, but a few people have mentioned that spells no longer scale by caster level, but only by spell level. I'd rather see something in between: When you first get access to a spell, you haven't yet learned how to use it as efficiently as possible, so it scales for a few levels before maxing out, but by that time, you can make it scale some more by casting it a higher spell level. We sort of have this in Pathfinder 1st Edition with capped spells and the Intensified Spell metamagic feat, but it isn't consistent, since some spells are capped and some aren't, and it doesn't apply to things other than hit point damage, except in the few cases of ranked spells like Summon Monster/Nature's Ally or the Undercastable Psychic Spells, and Intensified Spell doesn't allow for more than 1 spell level of increase.

It's Scale by Spell Slot from what I understand. Kind of like how they do it in 5E. So you learn a Spell, Say Fireball. It needs a 3rd level slot minimum and does 5d6 damage. But if you use a 4th level slot on it the damge becomes 7d6, 9d6 with a 5th level slot and so on.

*numbers are pulled out of my arse and only used as examples. I have no idea what damage fireball does in PF2.


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^I understand the concept (I even read the D&D 5th Edition introductory free PDF when it came out), but I don't know where it was introduced for the information we have been getting about Pathfinder 2nd Edition (probably somewhere obvious and I just missed it due to the flood of comments, even though the amount of actual information we have been given isn't all that large).

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

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Laird IceCubez wrote:

Mr Erik Mona, will the Worldscape content still be canon as of 2E?

Then there's the Vampire Hunter D book (and the upcoming Niobe module) that was supposed to be sold on the store, will those be ported to 2E or sold in 1E format?

Not sure what you mean specifically by "canon" in this case. The stories happened and there is still a place called the Worldscape where Seoni met Tarzan (although she doesn't remember it when she's on Golarion).

We don't currently have plans to update white Martian and radium rifle stats to PF2, though. Maybe one day! I can see how in many ways the new rules would do adaptations even more credit than the current rules, so it's an enticing idea.

We met with the Niobe folks in our office last week, and there are good things ahead with that project and with that partnership. The book will use the PF1 rules, though, at least in part because that's what people bought when they pledged for it.

Vampire Hunter D was a one-shot kind of a deal (we can't even sell digital copies, for example), so no current plans on the PF2 front for that, either. Again, though, we've got a good relationship with the VHD people and they have exciting plans for that brand. I can see us doing something a few years down the road with them when they get a new series on the air.

Dark Archive

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Hythlodeus wrote:
The action economy in PF2? That's something that could easily be in an Unchained book. "I don't like how action economy works in the CRB, luckily there is an alternative and works like this:"

...Pathfinder 2e's action economy is literally in Pathfinder Unchained.


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The Dandy Lion wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
I'm pretty sure Erik talked about Psionics in the podcast, and said they don't want to include psionics. They will include psychic magic someday, tho.

Yep. They were happy to have left them to DSP to put out, and Erik said he found that particular flavour of mind magic ill-fitting the setting.

Means it'll be a ripe ground for 3PP again when 2e is out, I expect. Fine by me at least, I liked the Occult stuff more.

That's assuming DSP doesn't release their own CRB "Pathfinder lives in Runequest!"

Really 3PP can just keep releasing 1e content as long as it sells. Now if only they could get some of these people who spent 10k on PF products to subscribe.


Cydeth wrote:
Jahhdog wrote:


Who would pay extra for a version that won't be the "final" version?

Me. And what I do with my money is none of your concern.

I also know at least one other person who's seriously considering it, and haven't talked to the other 5 people I game with yet.

I was more curious from a marketing perspective...

I now see that the printed versions are all "print to order" so from Paizo's perspective it makes sense...

I would never tell anyone how to spend their money (unless I was doing an informed review) Even then, it is one person's opinion...

I know there are collectors and completists out there and they can definitely drive a business!

ArrOOoo!


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Will your weapon proficiencies be based off where you are from? I found it was ridiculous for my character from Osirion being more proficient with a longsword than a khopesh.


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From just a couple of days of participating in the forums here under "playtest" I have come to the opinion that the Paizo development team has an insurmountable task ahead of them, unless...

Unless they simply try to rework the current game into a game they think they would have fun playing.

because, seriously, I cannot, with my little brain, even begin to understand what players think is "fun" anymore. The whole concept of what it means for a game to be a "role-playing" game, and to be a game that is "fun" or "challenging" seems impossible to pin down.

Good luck. I hope that when you are finished the product you hold in your hands is something you think is fun to play, no matter what the many voices here say to the contrary.


gustavo iglesias wrote:

An armored wizard is not the same than a magus.

The first one is a battle mage that cast spells and win the fight with them. The second one uses spells to boost his fighting skills (and might or might not be armored )

Seltyiel was a wizard before the Magus class was invented, hence why he doesn't use armor.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Terquem wrote:

From just a couple of days of participating in the forums here under "playtest" I have come to the opinion that the Paizo development team has an insurmountable task ahead of them, unless...

Unless they simply try to rework the current game into a game they think they would have fun playing.

because, seriously, I cannot, with my little brain, even begin to understand what players think is "fun" anymore. The whole concept of what it means for a game to be a "role-playing" game, and to be a game that is "fun" or "challenging" seems impossible to pin down.

Good luck. I hope that when you are finished the product you hold in your hands is something you think is fun to play, no matter what the many voices here say to the contrary.

Which is why at the end of the day they make the best game they can from a standardized rules POV (they run games by the book in PFS) while in home games everyone is expected to adjust it to their needs. What you and I find fun may be totally different but so long as we aren't sitting at the same table (or hell even if we are because compromises can make us both happy) the table can adapt the game to its needs.


Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

An armored wizard is not the same than a magus.

The first one is a battle mage that cast spells and win the fight with them. The second one uses spells to boost his fighting skills (and might or might not be armored )

Seltyiel was a wizard before the Magus class was invented, hence why he doesn't use armor.

And Kensei are magus and don't use armor.

Magus, with several names (bladesinger, spellblade, etc) is an archetype that existed since «elf» was a class. Some of them have armor, others don't. The key, is blending wizardry and swordplay. Armored wizards are a different concept.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

An armored wizard is not the same than a magus.

The first one is a battle mage that cast spells and win the fight with them. The second one uses spells to boost his fighting skills (and might or might not be armored )

Seltyiel was a wizard before the Magus class was invented, hence why he doesn't use armor.

And Kensei are magus and don't use armor.

Magus, with several names (bladesinger, spellblade, etc) is an archetype that existed since «elf» was a class. Some of them have armor, others don't. The key, is blending wizardry and swordplay. Armored wizards are a different concept.

I wasn't saying you're wrong, I was saying that Seltyiel is a bit of a bad example. He doesn't use armor because he was originally written as a class that can't cast in armor.

The Exchange

Fnipernackle wrote:
Will your weapon proficiencies be based off where you are from? I found it was ridiculous for my character from Osirion being more proficient with a longsword than a khopesh.

I image that would be a possibility in PF2. In the Know Direction podcast Erik and Logan talked a bit about ancestry and mentioned doing various human ethnicities (or at least the possibility thereof) which could easily have gear proficiencies like elves or dwarves do now. And even if they don't start with them as a base, ancestry feats may allow that as well.


KingOfAnything wrote:

I heard a lot that I liked in the podcast playthrough.

Little things like a cleric's channel both healing and harming undead make the rules easier to understand and explain.

Which is a change that should have been there from day one. Making you choose was silly the first time.

Plus, Channel is no longer doing it. Channel just lets you get a free CLW cast now (which can be used to area cast for 3 actions).


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Will the core rogue, barbarian, monk, and summoner be closer to the PF1 versions, or to the unchained versions?


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Ed Reppert wrote:
Will the core rogue, barbarian, monk, and summoner be closer to the PF1 versions, or to the unchained versions?

I really hope the rogue is closer to the unchained version, tbh.


I believe all of the PF2 classes will be written with all the lessons learned from PF1 classes taken into account. It's not like they will intentionally be making something much weaker than other things.

For one thing since all classes get "class feats" at even levels, the new monk is going to be much more like the unchained one since the unchained one makes character-defining choices (of ki powers and style strikes) regularly whereas the core monk did not.


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Shady Stranger wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
Will the core rogue, barbarian, monk, and summoner be closer to the PF1 versions, or to the unchained versions?
I really hope the rogue is closer to the unchained version, tbh.

Somebody reported that Rogue gets Dex-to-damage at first level, so I'm going with "unchained" on that one.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
For one thing since all classes get "class feats" at even levels, the new monk is going to be much more like the unchained one since the unchained one makes character-defining choices (of ki powers and style strikes) regularly whereas the core monk did not.

Do you have a source on even levels? One of the people who played a level 1 Alchemist at the GaryCon charity game had a class feat. I think there was also mention of a skill feat at second level (Know Direction interview, if I remember correctly). For now I'm guessing it's odd levels, letting you get started at first level.

Scarab Sages

Looking forward to another exciting chapter of Pathfinder play.
Explore, Report and Cooperate 2.0
Go Team!


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Quote:
After making the big choices that define your character...

quote in reference to class, "race," and background.

This fills me with dread. With a few other subtle mentions, this is a backwards design philosophy. Characters should not be defined by mechanics. The character should be defined narratively, with mechanics chosen afterwards that best represent the character concept. I.E. I have a character that learned magic in a school like a wizard, but focused on mastering spells so she could cast whichever spell she knows as long as she has enough energy for it. Best mechanic for that is sorcerer, but if the sorcerer mechanics are too tightly tied to the whole "magic from the blood" concept, it makes it harder to portray this spontaneous wizard character properly.

I find their backwardness on this to be a problem, because it probably means they'll tie flavor and mechanics together so tightly, that it'll be hard to bend the mechanics to anything else, which basically means a serious reduction in flexibility outside they tiny little narrative they've chosen for us. Frankly, Pathfinder already has this problem, but it is not that bad. I'm afraid of them making it worse.

I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

The Exchange

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I'd like to make a plug for 1E-compatible Adventure Paths to continue to be published. I think from reading the forums that there's a contingent out there like me that will buy them regularly.

Over the last 10 years I've enjoyed collecting all of the Pathfinder hardcovers and found them very enjoyable. I liked that PF stayed with 3.5-compatible material because that's what I learned on. I'm also satiated with the content and don't want any more additions -- to me it feels complete. Therefore the announcement of 2E in some ways is a good thing for me, because now that 1E system I have is complete and final.

The adventure paths, on the other hand, were something I wanted to continue purchasing. I found them very useful and great - I prefer purchasing adventures rather than creating them. Maybe Paizo could consider making a few more? :) Or at least license some 3PPs to make Golarion APs?

As far as PF2e is concerned, I will probably download the playtest and try it and watch from afar to see how it does. To me an edition change is almost like considering an entire game switch: I would consider PF2e vs 5e vs other systems if we decide to change over. PF has one advantage for me so far (research pending) with setting - I'm familiar with Golarion now and don't want to change worlds. All of the hardcovers and Hero Lab material was a significant investment that we don't want to spend again so we won't take a decision like that lightly. If I read my group right, we will most likely hang with 1e as long as possible.

Paizo, thanks for everything over the last decade. I've sure appreciated it and have had a great experience. Thanks for keeping the 3.5 style alive, and I understand the move to 2e. I wish you all the best of luck with 2e, and hope its a success. Hopefully you all get great feedback from many excited and critical playtesters that will help you make 2e a worthy successor and a solid game.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
TheAlicornSage wrote:
Quote:
After making the big choices that define your character...

quote in reference to class, "race," and background.

This fills me with dread. With a few other subtle mentions, this is a backwards design philosophy. Characters should not be defined by mechanics. The character should be defined narratively, with mechanics chosen afterwards that best represent the character concept. I.E. I have a character that learned magic in a school like a wizard, but focused on mastering spells so she could cast whichever spell she knows as long as she has enough energy for it. Best mechanic for that is sorcerer, but if the sorcerer mechanics are too tightly tied to the whole "magic from the blood" concept, it makes it harder to portray this spontaneous wizard character properly.

I find their backwardness on this to be a problem, because it probably means they'll tie flavor and mechanics together so tightly, that it'll be hard to bend the mechanics to anything else, which basically means a serious reduction in flexibility outside they tiny little narrative they've chosen for us. Frankly, Pathfinder already has this problem, but it is not that bad. I'm afraid of them making it worse.

I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

Mechanics and narrative are intertwined. A character that cant hit or do damage in combat will struggle with fulfilling a traditional heroic champion narrative. An illiterate barbarian is going to have trouble with being a scholar.


Fnipernackle wrote:
Will your weapon proficiencies be based off where you are from? I found it was ridiculous for my character from Osirion being more proficient with a longsword than a khopesh.

Also seems a bit weird that weapon proficiencies and language choices are (in D&D and Pathfinder 1st Edition) encoded in the genetics of most races other than humans . . . .


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Sayt wrote:
TheAlicornSage wrote:
Quote:
After making the big choices that define your character...

quote in reference to class, "race," and background.

This fills me with dread. With a few other subtle mentions, this is a backwards design philosophy. Characters should not be defined by mechanics. The character should be defined narratively, with mechanics chosen afterwards that best represent the character concept. I.E. I have a character that learned magic in a school like a wizard, but focused on mastering spells so she could cast whichever spell she knows as long as she has enough energy for it. Best mechanic for that is sorcerer, but if the sorcerer mechanics are too tightly tied to the whole "magic from the blood" concept, it makes it harder to portray this spontaneous wizard character properly.

I find their backwardness on this to be a problem, because it probably means they'll tie flavor and mechanics together so tightly, that it'll be hard to bend the mechanics to anything else, which basically means a serious reduction in flexibility outside they tiny little narrative they've chosen for us. Frankly, Pathfinder already has this problem, but it is not that bad. I'm afraid of them making it worse.

I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

Mechanics and narrative are intertwined. A character that cant hit or do damage in combat will struggle with fulfilling a traditional heroic champion narrative. An illiterate barbarian is going to have trouble with being a scholar.

The problem is that you are defining characters by their mechanics, with mechanics that are designed too tightly with flavor.

In chess, you can change the board from wood to brushed steel without impacting how you make choices.

For rpgs, the opposite is true, you can swap midway from d20 to d6 dice pool without impacting how you make choices. The gm should be using mechanics and modifiers that best represent the characters and situation.

The problem is when you get folks trying to play like this is chess, then design new mechanics with the expectation of them being used like chess.

Sure, 3.x had things like illiterate barbarians, but it also spent a great deal of the dmg telling the gm to change the classes to suit each individual character, even giving examples on how to do so. Paizo doesn't, and paizo makes their mechanics harder to bend and alter.


Mark Seifter wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

This fun math excercise from Mark showed us a few things:

They are working at the math.
The math is tight.
That >10< rule they are working on is pretty cool. It allows for some kind of "bounded accuracy" (ie: the difference in to hit is not very big, so the weaker character HAS hope to hit a monster with an AC targeted to the stronger character), but it still gives the character with slightly better accuracy a big boost (basically because the accuracy bonus is effectively doubled, as his crit chance increases accordingly.

The >10< rule is a great, elegant solution.

Glad you like! Incidentally, the reverse is also true for AC: the bonus to AC from shields is very nifty. In a similar situation (enemy hits on an 8 without shield, on a 10 with shield), the AC alone is going to net you 25% less damage (much of which comes from avoiding big bursty crits that you really want to avoid), not even counting that you could do a shield block.

Hi Mark. If you're enjoying talking math, would you share thoughts on the base ability budget, please? Outside of ancestry/class/background modifiers, would it be 15 points buy and the scaling costs PF1e uses, or a different points total/cost scaling? Or if the default is arrays is the "Elite Array" still 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, or is it different?

I've heard the 1e Elite Array's balance is partially inherited from the classic roll method of 4d6 drop lowest, which averages 12.24. If every roll was this you get a point buy total of a little over 13, which 15 is a small, tidy rounding-up of. The NPC array's obviously just 3d6.

What's neat is that the points cost scales after 13, so if you actually roll 4d6 drop lowest 6 times, the few high totals seem to outweigh the lower ones statistically. http://anydice.com/articles/4d6-drop-lowest/ looks at this, and I've seen a few people call the Elite Array under-calculated. My own napkin-math puts the average at 18ish points, the same small round-up to the 20-point buy in PFS play, as it happens.


Yeah, but what are they basing the math on?

Original d20 was casually simulationist in it's math for skills and ability scores and nearly all the secondary mechanics, such as environmental endurances, carry capacity, etc. (simulationism is very bad for combat, which the d20 designers seemed to understand)

That is the only reason I play d20 based systems. If they remove that from 2e, then I'm not playing it, as I will literally have no reason to do so.


When I first heard the news last week I was at first sad, then excited and now nervous.

I mainly GM so first I asked my 3 weekly group on their thoughts

1 Main group, sign me up, when are you going to run us through the Play test, can't wait!!

2nd group, interested to see the final product but not much on play testing

3rd group, how much can they min max compared to the old rules, how simplified and talk of the 5th ed dumbing down obligitory stuff. Half wanted to play test, 1 said will quit and go for 5th now and another said she will stick with 1st ed PF.

Me, well we shall see how it works when we get to August, then the play test I and some of the groups and players will do, then I would assume the revised play test, then the final product.

My one main thing is they had better have more than the 1st of the new AP's module out by August 2019, at least a stand alone module or two. The Starfinder 1 mod from AP, no modules and some SFS scenarios was more than a bit lacking and effected many players interest in continuing SF , as well as me sadly.

Wish everyone good luck from us play testers to the Paizo staff and lets get this 2nd Ed of PF launched right!!

And very curious on how receptive the staff here on what the play test shows for them to consider changing and what is set in stone regardless

Tom


At the DEVs. Not sure if this was mentioned somewhere, I could not find it. Will the deluxe edition of the playtest book be like others that are leather? By that I mean no artwork on the cover just black leather and embossed words? I would be really interested to know before I pre-order. Thanks!


The setting is advancing with the results of several APs. Will any of the PFS campaign advancements be included?

Grand Lodge

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My initial reaction to this news was dread, anger, and confusion. As I gathered my thoughts, I came to the following conclusions.

On “my 1e stuff”

Spoiler:
I have nearly every single Pathfinder book, including all of the Golarion content. I don’t hold to the idea that these books are now “invalidated.” My world will not vanish and my books will not disappear. However, simply being a part of something like PF 1e, the “living” aspects of the rules (forums), the world, the PF Society and gameplay means a lot to me and the people I play with. It makes us feel like we are a part of something. With the advent of a new system, PF 1e will be left in the dust as people switch to the new system, the internets and conventions hype it, and players gradually begin moving away from it. Paizo’s saving grace is continuing the world of Golarion and its timeline. I don’t “want” to spend more money on a new edition, but I don’t hold that against Paizo, they’re doing what needs to be done as a business and frankly it is indeed time for a PF 2e.

On “Paizo’s health”

Spoiler:
It shows they are still behind WOTC with 5e in the industry…although I have no idea how/why, because I don’t personally know anyone playing 5e and all the cons have far greater participation with PFS. 5e sales- it’s my belief they sell the product but the product is not played, it just sits collecting dust. If Paizo was “hurting” they wouldn’t have just put out Starfinder or be gearing up for PF 2e.

On “PF 1e system and common-sense easy conversion”

Spoiler:
Allowing the common-sense easy conversion will allow us to mitigate the lack of new material that PF 2e will have. For instance, the Gunslinger class surely won’t be an option for at least two years I imagine. I’m not loyal to the PF 1e system itself (I AM loyal to Golarion lore/stories). I welcome a new, streamlined version, but I hope it’s not DND 5e. PF 1e is notoriously sloggy at higher levels and combat can take far too long.

On “Golarion”

Spoiler:
I feared the stories of Golarion would be modified or tossed out with the new system. I’m so glad to hear that the world will continue, and I’m glad to hear the rules will tie in this world. I know people complain when companies tie in their campaign settings with the ruleset, but there’s no need to complain. GMs can simply pick and choose and adapt.

On “PF 2e = 5e”

Spoiler:
I beg you to not make DND 5e. 5e, 4e- this is why I switched to Pathfinder. I hope the playtest can form the new rules into something better. My dread in learning of the new edition stems from the crapshow of 3.5 to 4e and I hope the switch doesn’t follow the historical path. Please don’t make characters be “samish.” I hope PF 2e doesn't go the route that everybody should be able to do everything.

On “buying new stuff”

Spoiler:
I’ve spent so much money on PF 1e. The only chance I get to play is at conventions, especially GenCon (as I’m a GM at home). While someone said there will still be PF 1e games being played far into the future at cons, I can guarantee the options will be limited and the hype gone. In order to continue playing the newest stuff with a ton of people, a switch to PF 2e will inevitably need to be made- which means the purchasing of the new material. Regarding purchasing more PF 1e stuff, I will most certainly buy the to-be-released Planar book, not for the rules necessarily but for the Golarion content. I will be smirking every time the new system issues a new “Ultimate,” “Advanced,” or “Tool Box,” however.

On “PF 2e”

Spoiler:
I think when Starfinder separated monster creation from PC creation this was a bold, smart move. This has been how monsters and PCs were made since the beginning and how epic and interesting monsters are created. Arguments that casters are overpowered over martials is preposterous. If martials wanted to be on par with casters, then let’s limit the times per day a sword can be swung. Please keep class archetypes PLUS universal archetypes. Goblins as a core race- GMs can simply houserule them out. Goblin is a great choice. It’s not a race that has the same benefits as other non-core races, and it’s Pathfinder’s flagship creature. Every game has had a nice /benevolent/anti-goblin. I do have an issue with making the Alchemist a core class. Is this a high demand class? I’ve never ever GMd an Alchemist character and I’ve only played alongside 1 Alchemist in GenCon play once over the past 8 years! I don’t understand this; I can pick at least 5 other classes that should be core over Alchemist. Regarding equipment-by-level: This system basically exists in Pathfinder as we know it- except it’s hidden through pricing and availability. I agree with this 100%- “We need more consistent language to avoid those RAW vs. RAI arguments.” Someone mentioned not applying Dext to damage and using only Strength. That’s absurd because it completely invalidates DX fighters and others that could use damage mods from Wisdom like Monks. Don’t bake backgrounds into creation. De-incentivize magic item arms races; I think the big 6 rush hurt Pathfinder play and kept other cool items out. I heard using a shield will count as one of your action. This is great rulemaking and will lend credibility and common sense to the new system.

Finally, I was uncaring and hostile to Starfinder when it was announced. I was afraid Golarion content would suffer. It has not. In fact, I am now a player in a Starfinder campaign and am mostly happy with it. I’m a bit peeved by being forced to choose a theme, bit I’m hoping subsequent rules books offers more options.

I do have a new concern- one I had with Golarion when Starfinder came out. Will Starfinder now suffer in the mad dash to create the new edition? I sure hope not.

Me, I’m no longer angry, confused, or filled with dread. Eagerly awaiting the playtest and conversion talk, but saddened that I’ll need to spend more money to join the “new” fun.


In the spirit of trying to keep a positive attitude, and keep trying to find the fun in playing fantasy role playing games I will commit to running

The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (U1)
Danger at Dunwater (U2), and
The Final Enemy (U3)

using the playtest Pathfinder 2nd edition rules if they become available to me.

Grand Lodge

Almost everything looks good so far -- I'm not a fan of Goblins as a PC Race (whatever you want to call Race now) -- but it doesn't bother me. All the stuff I've seen looks good.

The only thing that looks horrible is the Initiative. But after Marc Radle pointing out that when he played at GaryCon, while it was odd at first, it very quickly started to feel natural.

I think maybe my negative reaction to Initiative was how badly it seemed to play in Jason Bulmahn's adventure with Erik Mona and the Glass Cannon guys-- Mona's PC walking in the forest reading his spell book got to "roll initiative" in the 'surprise round' even though other PCs were more actively aware of their surroundings. AND Mona's PC got to roll the same 'Initiative' -- a Perception check -- as the more survivalist PCs who were actively checking out the forest looking for tracks or what have you.

But really, that's nothing.

And it has been the only thing that just seemed 'wrong' about PF2 so far.

Grand Lodge

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HEY!

Did anyone else notice while listening to the podcast that Jason Bulmahn totally mispronounced Nirmathas?!

I tell you what, if they start changing the pronunciation of the Inner Sea nations -- Neer MA' thes to whatever Bulmahn said, NER ma thos -- well that's the last straw. I'm not buying into PF2 if they're changing pronunciations!

Hopefully Bulmahn just pronounced it wrong.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TheAlicornSage wrote:
Characters should not be defined by mechanics. The character should be defined narratively, with mechanics chosen afterwards that best represent the character concept.

I agree with you, but I don't think that Pathfinder 2E is going to be able to go much further than its predecessor in making that viable. Pathfinder 1E, just like 3.X, made it so that certain mechanical choices and combinations worked better than others, and if you built a character focused only around representing a narratively-built definition of who your character was and what they could do, you were liable to end up with one that was less effective, in terms of mechanics, than a character that was created along mechanical lines first and then defined narratively. Spellcasters that multiclassed were a notable example of this.

Personally, the reason that I'm not optimistic about Pathfinder 2E making much (if any) headway with fixing this is that - in my opinion - the root of this particular problem is character classes themselves. Siloing various abilities into particular classes at particular levels, typically done in the name of that elusive specter known as "balance," means that - if you're trying to get abilities from several different character classes in order to flesh out your narratively-generated idea - you're going to have to waste a lot of levels to do it, and pick up other class abilities that you don't want along the way, in all likelihood.

With "hole-patching" prestige classes (e.g. mystic theurge, eldritch knight, arcane trickster, etc.), archetypes, and feats, this can be slightly ameliorated, but those are putting a band-aid on the issue rather than solving it. Solving it would mean abandoning character classes altogether and going with a point-buy system of selecting character abilities (which wouldn't require that you go to a rules-light option either, I should add; you can still do this while maintaining compatibility with the d20 System engine), which in turn would require a fairly expansive system that prioritizes the ability to build what sort of character you want over restricting your choices in the name of balance, requiring that players not try to wreck the game by making everything all about them (and be willing to dial it back in if they've inadvertently made a character that's impinging on everyone else's fun) and GMs that are imbued with authority to disallow various options from the list of point-buy abilities right from the get-go (i.e. treating the toolkit like an actual kit of tools, where not all of them will necessarily be used) in order to help define what the campaign world is like by making it clear what powers are available. In other words, primacy would need to be given toward the group wanting to get along as a group and not just a collection of individuals - and trusting the GM to safeguard that, including having the authority to make judgment calls - focused solely around the meta-game of character-building.

But the thing is, most Pathfinder players that I've seen don't want that. Whether they consider them to be warts or not, character classes are seen as a definitional aspect of what makes Pathfinder Pathfinder (and what makes D&D D&D). The user-base has already decided that they don't want those to go away, and not only are willing to live with the exception-based state of the rules - wherein you can't do something unless you can locate and select an option that says you can - but enjoy treating it as a meta-game all on its own. What happens during actual play is fun too, but a lot of the enjoyment for Pathfinder that I've seen comes from the mix-and-match nature of the mechanical complexity that goes into making characters or accomplishing various tasks that exploit the mechanics to some incredible (if not ridiculous) end. Ironically, "balance" will still be judged as a comparison between individual characters at the tactical level, with its high standard that any and all characters should feel like they're all equal stars of the proverbial show during any given round rather than during an entire session, let alone across an entire campaign.

I understand what you're asking for here - it's something I want too - but I strongly doubt you're going to get it in Pathfinder 2E. This goes to major philosophical differences in play-style which in turn formulate choices about game design, and Paizo isn't going to make the radical changes to fundamental aspects that would required to bring about such a paradigm shift. Even if they were willing to, it would also require a publishing change on their part, since having a single book of character abilities that could be mixed-and-matched would obviate the need for later books of new character abilities (I say that because I'm convinced that a truly expansive book of abilities, presuming that ways to tailor and customize them could be factored in, would be able to do literally everything a character would need anyway), and that would limit them to simply making new monsters, adventures, and location books. They're not going to cut off the need for character-ability expansion books by publishing something that makes that superfluous.

Ultimately, Pathfinder 2E is going to look, feel, and play a lot like its ancestor d20 games (PF1E and 3.X), and that will be completely by design. It's not going to overturn the design decisions that made defining your character mechanically first and narratively second such a wise decision for its predecessor's rule-set.

Paizo Employee Designer

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There is a section in the introduction that discusses different inspirations for building your character and talks about how you might build from concept first, and that's how I start, blending in with mechanics. However, I think more people probably start with a class in mind.

Grand Lodge

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Rosita the Riveter wrote:

Okay, I haven't been able to get much information on how baked into the new rules Golarion lore will be. That worries me, because 9.5 times out of 10, I have no desire to use Golarion. In order for this to be the game for me, I need to know that I can use it with a homebrew or third party setting with ease.

Also, to be brutally honest, after the Kineticist, Vigilante, and Shifter, it's really hard for me to trust Paizo as game designers anymore. Especially with all the public input you had on the Kineticist and how underpowered it was well before publishing it. I'm kind of skeptical as to holl well you can actually pull off anything you are proposing here, because your recent track record with lesser projects suggests you can't.

There's nothing at all saying you can't do what you wish. Include or remove anything Golarion related. I don't know why it's so difficult for GMs to do this.

Grand Lodge

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1of1 wrote:

Prefab backgrounds...

That was probably my least favorite part of Starfinder and 5e D&D.
Especially the part where if you opted out with Themeless in Starfinder, it felt like you were intentionally given something worse than the other options.

^^^^THIS.

Going themeless in Starfinder really burned my wick. Why penalize a player for this? Ridiculous. Every GM should houserule this away and allow a themeless player to figure out a fair and balanced way to not be penalized.

Grand Lodge

bugleyman wrote:
Daniel 005 wrote:
Any idea what this means for the Pawn line. I don't mind a new book, but I want my 1,000s of pawns to still match up. I am hoping you are just planing on releasing revised versions of the bestiaries.

I would be shocked and ultimately angry and disappointed if new bestiaries did not utilize existing pawns and mini. I think I read somewhere Eric Mona mentioned something about minis and pawns being viable and continuing to be released.

Grand Lodge

Stubbazubba wrote:
Quote:
This also makes it easier for us to present monsters, giving us more space to include special abilities and actions that really make a monster unique. Take the fearsome tyrannosaurus, for example; if this terrifying dinosaur gets you in its jaws, it can take an action to fling you up to 20 feet through the air, dealing tremendous damage to you in the process!

What a cool idea...but why on earth is this a monster-specific ability? Shouldn't this be a natural result of the grapple rules available to anything strong enough?

Because it would be absurd to allow a medium sized PC to grab an enemy by the jaws and fling them up 20 feet into the air, that's why.

Having monsters be a different set of rules than the PCs is what makes them unique, fun, and terrifying. This is how it used to be done.

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