All About Actions

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

One of the most important aspects of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is combat. Monsters and villains are a very real threat that adventurers have to deal with on a daily basis, and quiet negotiation is rarely the answer. When talking fails, swords are drawn and combat is joined. In Pathfinder First Edition, combat could become rather bogged down just by the weight of options available. Time and time again, we heard new players talk about the complexity of the action system, how it made the game slow down as players looked to eke the most out of their turns.

Basically, the previous system was a barrier, and so it should come as no surprise that we are looking at ways that we can simplify it to make the game run more smoothly and intuitively. The hard part was making sure that the versatility of the old system was still present, while cleaning up the overall experience. We want your turn in combat to be exciting and full of interesting choices. We want you to be elated by coming up with just the right combination of actions to win the day. We just don't want those choices to be hedged in by a number of complex categories.

Seven Types

Before I explain the new way of doing things, it might be good to look back to find some perspective. The previous edition of Pathfinder featured seven distinct action types: free, full-round, immediate, move, standard, swift, and a nebulously defined “other” category. These helped to curb what a character could do and encouraged varied tactics to get the most out of your round. In particular, the immediate action was of interest because it was something you could do outside your turn.

This approach has served us well over the years, but we have long looked for better ways to accomplish some of the same goals with a more intuitive system.

Three Actions

It's your turn. You get to take three actions. That's it. You want to move three times? Done. Instead you want to move once, draw your sword, and attack? No problem. How about attack three times? Go ahead (but you'll take an increasing penalty for each additional attack). With only a few notable exceptions, most things in the game now take one action to accomplish. Opening a door, drawing a weapon, reloading a crossbow, moving up to your speed, raising your shield, taking a guarded step, swinging your greataxe—all of these and much more take just one action to perform.

There are, of course, some exceptions. A few things don't take an action at all, like talking or dropping a weapon. Conversely, most of the spells in the game take two actions to cast, although some can be cast quickly, such as a heal spell that targets yourself. Many of the classes can teach you specific activities that take two more actions to perform. The fighter, for example, has a feat that you can select called Sudden Charge, which costs two actions but lets you to move twice your speed and attack once, allowing fighters to get right into the fray!

One Reaction

One aspect of Pathfinder First Edition that was important to us was the ability to occasionally, if the circumstances were right, act outside your turn. While this was most often a simple attack of opportunity, we saw this as a way to add a whole new dimension to the game.

So now, all characters get one reaction they can take when the conditions are right.

Reactions always come with a trigger that must occur before the reaction can be taken. Let's say you're playing a paladin with a shield and you have spent an action to defend yourself with that shield. Not only does this boost your Armor Class; it also allows you to take a special reaction if you are hit by an attack. This shield block reduces the damage taken by an amount up to the shield's hardness!

Not everybody will have a reaction they can use during combat, but you can always ready an action that allows you prepare a special action that you can take later if the conditions you specify are met. You might ready an action to attack the first orc that walks around the corner, allowing you to make a strike if that happens before your next turn.

Finally, some monsters have reactions they can take as well. While some have simple reactions that allow them to attack those who drop their guard while adjacent to them, others have wildly different abilities. An earth elemental, for example, can spend its reaction after being hit to crumble into a pile of rocks, burrowing down into the ground for safety.

The New System in Practice

The three-action-and-a-reaction system really has done a lot for gameplay around the office. Turns are quite a bit more dynamic. The breadth of options now compete with each other, not based upon what action type they are, but instead on their merits in the current combat situation. Concentrating on a spell might be vital, but not if you need to move away, draw a potion, and drink it. Maybe you could wait to drink it until your next turn to keep the spell going, or maybe you could not move and hope the monster does not eat you.

Most importantly, taking your turn in Pathfinder is now filled with a wide variety of possibilities, allowing you to get the most out of your time in the spotlight, while still keeping the game moving and engaging.

Well, that about wraps up our in-depth look at the new action system for Pathfinder. Come back on Friday for a blog post looking into all of the spoilers from the first part of the Glass Cannon Network's podcast of their playtest of the game. In addition, if you want to see the game yourself, and maybe even get a chance to play, stop by Gary Con this weekend, where we will be running a number of Pathfinder charity games, raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

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Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I agree that metamagic has been too expensive for me to consider as an option. Costing a feat *plus* higher level hasn't felt worth it to me. One or the other, and I think I might have picked up a few metamagic feats here or there, but both was just too expensive and I pretty much never used metamagic myself.

(May have been different for others.)


Over all this sounds nice, but can't say I am the fan for a penalty for extra attacks.


I hope that parrying in one way or another will be available to all martial classes. It's kind of weird that only swashbucklers can do that in PF now.
EDIT: and maguses
EDIT: didn't sound right to me and now I know that plural for "magus" is "magi" (not a native speaker here)


gustavo iglesias wrote:
thflame wrote:

You are forgetting that the 5 foot step is optional. That's my issue. Unless the guy attacking you is a fighter or has a particular feat, you can do whatever you want right next to them without penalty.

As opposed to making a free 5 feet step and then do whatever you want while the other guy is affeccted by Time Stop because it's your turn in the initiative order.

In PF1, if you take a 5 foot step, you can't move with your move action. It penalizes you for being in a disadvantageous situation (as it should).

If all you do is take a 5 foot step in PF1 to avoid AoOs, you are opening up yourself to a world of hurt next turn unless you can stop the threat. Your opponent can follow up on their own turn with their own 5 foot step, then ROFL-Stomp your face with a full round attack. (Which is roughly equivalent to you finding a gap in your opponent's offense to exploit while you cast a spell/drink a potion/etc., then your opponent catches up to you and punishes you for not running away like you should have.)

Also, I have seen numerous occasions where a character CANNOT make a 5 foot step and get to a safe place to follow up with a spell or potion. This forces characters to think harder about their positioning.

I have also been in numerous situations where my character only lived because he was able to keep pressure on the caster to stop him from casting.

It also makes logical sense that a character should have to take some defensive action to use an otherwise defenseless action when next to a hostile entity without being attacked. It does NOT make sense that a non-fighter can't stop a wizard right next to him from casting a spell by punching him in the face or swinging his weapon at him.

My BIGGEST problem with the new way of handling AoO, is that it is preventing a character from doing something that they would realistically be able to do.

I have even offered an alternative solution:

Give Fighters a special bonus on AoOs instead of banning people from making AoOs just to make the fighters feel special.

I shouldn't have to be a special class or spend a character creation resource on something that the Average Joe should be able to do.

Yes, the Wizard could just take the Guarded Step action,then cast his spell, but then he can't use that action on something else. The Guarded Step action can easily represent making just enough space to get your spell off before you get clobbered.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm interested in how BAB works now? With three potential attacks I'd assume no more iterative attacks? Is this changed for two weapon fighting?

Personally I'f like to see the 0/-5/-10 thing go. It's an unnecessary complication. Is it really OTT to allow someone to attack three times at a fixed bonus? Could the -5 just apply to 2W fighting - givin gyou the extra attack(s) but at a hefty penalty?

I'm excited to see where this new AE goes.


This sounds needlessly anxiety-inducing and will slow down combat a lot.


thflame wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
thflame wrote:

You are forgetting that the 5 foot step is optional. That's my issue. Unless the guy attacking you is a fighter or has a particular feat, you can do whatever you want right next to them without penalty.

As opposed to making a free 5 feet step and then do whatever you want while the other guy is affeccted by Time Stop because it's your turn in the initiative order.

If all you do is take a 5 foot step in PF1 to avoid AoOs, you are opening up yourself to a world of hurt next turn unless you can stop the threat. Your opponent can follow up on their own turn with their own 5 foot step, then ROFL-Stomp your face with a full round attack. (Which is roughly equivalent to you finding a gap in your opponent's offense to exploit while you cast a spell/drink a potion/etc., then your opponent catches up to you and punishes you for not running away like you should have.)

Also, I have seen numerous occasions where a character CANNOT make a 5 foot step and get to a safe place to follow up with a spell or potion. This forces characters to think harder about their positioning.

I have also been in numerous situations where my character only lived because he was able to keep pressure on the caster to stop him from casting.

It also makes logical sense that a character should have to take some defensive action to use an otherwise defenseless action when next to a hostile entity without being attacked. It does NOT make sense that a non-fighter can't stop a wizard right next to him from casting a spell by punching him in the face or swinging his weapon at him.

You make a lot of fair points but I believe part of the reason they're implementing three actions per round is so that, if one wanted to maintain a lot of pressure on someone, that they would use one of their actions to prepare an attack if they cast a spell/step away, etc, whereas people with the certain feat/ability can do AoOs reflexively.

These are valid concerns but I think it's not something that can really be accurately touched on until the playtest is out and everyone can see how things like this operate in action.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Friendly Rogue wrote:
part of the reason they're implementing three actions per round is so that, if one wanted to maintain a lot of pressure on someone, that they would use one of their actions to prepare an attack if they cast a spell/step away, etc

Why would it be better to prepare an attack for later (that has a chance to never go off if the condition doesn't occur) rather than just straight out use the attack right away on your turn?


Samy wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
part of the reason they're implementing three actions per round is so that, if one wanted to maintain a lot of pressure on someone, that they would use one of their actions to prepare an attack if they cast a spell/step away, etc
Why would it be better to prepare an attack for later (that has a chance to never go off if the condition doesn't occur) rather than just straight out use the attack right away on your turn?

To interrupt a spell being cast. That's the only real reason I can think of.


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Bloodrealm wrote:
Samy wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
part of the reason they're implementing three actions per round is so that, if one wanted to maintain a lot of pressure on someone, that they would use one of their actions to prepare an attack if they cast a spell/step away, etc
Why would it be better to prepare an attack for later (that has a chance to never go off if the condition doesn't occur) rather than just straight out use the attack right away on your turn?
To interrupt a spell being cast. That's the only real reason I can think of.

This, or maybe you're in melee with an archer trying to shoot at your wizard. On paper I can appreciate the potential for the increased tactical thought, especially since you can still move, attack, and prepare in the same turn, but like I said, until we actually get the opportunity to see the system in action it's too early to tell whether or not the limitations on AoOs is good or bad.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Samy wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
part of the reason they're implementing three actions per round is so that, if one wanted to maintain a lot of pressure on someone, that they would use one of their actions to prepare an attack if they cast a spell/step away, etc
Why would it be better to prepare an attack for later (that has a chance to never go off if the condition doesn't occur) rather than just straight out use the attack right away on your turn?
To interrupt a spell being cast. That's the only real reason I can think of.

The way I see it you have 2 options. (Given our current understanding of the rules.)

1) You prepare an action to smack the guy for casting. He uses the Guarded Step Action and casts anyway. (Hopefully he can't just do something else to negate your prepared action.)

2) You smack the guy now, hoping to drop him, and if you fail, he casts anyway and has an extra action to burn.

In short, you can burn an action to force the other guy to burn an action or you can take all three actions and let the other guy take all three of his.


Cheburn wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


My magic 8-ball says "Outcome seems likely."
I wish I could Favorite this post more than once. I've been dying for a good counterspell system since the first time I played a Wizard. Definitely interested in seeing implementation, but moving it to a reaction seems like a good first step.

To be fair, you didn't really have to wait that long. Pretty sure 5e's Counterspell is a reaction spell.


Zaister wrote:
One interesting artifact of the new rules that will shatter the Golarion Olympics is that, come Second Edition, people can now be 1.5 times as fast as before.

Not in the hurdles...


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If a readied attack is at your full attack bonus, you might want to use your 3rd action to ready an attack instead of making a 3rd attack during your turn at -8 or -10 to hit. Of course, the rules for triggers would need to be tightened up so that you cannot specify a trigger that is absolutely certain to occur.


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RicoDetroit wrote:
This 2e playtest sounds like what 4e tried to sell 10 years ago. A bunch of “fixes” (i.e., dumbing down) for problems I didn’t have that didn’t make the game any better. Whatever sells books, I guess. Sigh.

You must have read completely differint blogs and listened to very different podcasts than I did.


David knott 242 wrote:
If a readied attack is at your full attack bonus, you might want to use your 3rd action to ready an attack instead of making a 3rd attack during your turn at -8 or -10 to hit. Of course, the rules for triggers would need to be tightened up so that you cannot specify a trigger that is absolutely certain to occur.

True, but I'd still rather make a 3rd attack at -10 than spend an action to make my opponent (maybe) spend an action.

Either that, or I would just burn my 3rd action on something else, like drawing that potion that I'm going to need after the wizard nukes my face.

If you have to specify EXACTLY what your prepared action is used on, then I think you are putting the ball in the next player's court.

For example, if I say, "I prepare an action to attack the wizard if he attempts to cast", the wizard can just drink a potion instead, or use a move action to get away, then cast a spell.

If, on the other hand, I can say, "I prepare an action to take an attack of opportunity on the wizard", you can force the wizard to take the Guarded Step Action.

Either way, you aren't doing much for a pretty big cost for what should be an advantageous situation for you (being in melee with a wizard).


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seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Over all this sounds nice, but can't say I am the fan for a penalty for extra attacks.

If all attacks are at full bonus, then all actions are equally important. Combat becomes move up, full attack repeatedly.

If your later attacks aren't worth much, instead of full attacking, you can attack twice and defend, heal, intimidate, or feint. It's a little more interesting. And, in some circumstances, you might just do one attack so you can fit in a regular spell or defending and healing.


thflame wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
If a readied attack is at your full attack bonus, you might want to use your 3rd action to ready an attack instead of making a 3rd attack during your turn at -8 or -10 to hit. Of course, the rules for triggers would need to be tightened up so that you cannot specify a trigger that is absolutely certain to occur.

True, but I'd still rather make a 3rd attack at -10 than spend an action to make my opponent (maybe) spend an action.

Either that, or I would just burn my 3rd action on something else, like drawing that potion that I'm going to need after the wizard nukes my face.

If you have to specify EXACTLY what your prepared action is used on, then I think you are putting the ball in the next player's court.

For example, if I say, "I prepare an action to attack the wizard if he attempts to cast", the wizard can just drink a potion instead, or use a move action to get away, then cast a spell.

If, on the other hand, I can say, "I prepare an action to take an attack of opportunity on the wizard", you can force the wizard to take the Guarded Step Action.

Either way, you aren't doing much for a pretty big cost for what should be an advantageous situation for you (being in melee with a wizard).

You need to keep in mind, though, that a lot of spells in P2e will require two actions to cast, and an example of a spell that takes one action is Shield. If the wizard wanted to cast a spell he would still be within 5 feet of the PC bearing down on him, and I haven't seen anything that said one can't ready an action to also take a guarded step, effectively staying within melee range, which would ultimately maintain pressure.

EDIT: It's also worth mentioning that in P1e the Wizard could always attempt to cast defensively and not worry about the attack of opportunity anyway, so if there's something like that in P2e the whole guarded tango thing somewhat becomes moot as the caster would have multiple options regardless.


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QuidEst wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Over all this sounds nice, but can't say I am the fan for a penalty for extra attacks.

If all attacks are at full bonus, then all actions are equally important. Combat becomes move up, full attack repeatedly.

If your later attacks aren't worth much, instead of full attacking, you can attack twice and defend, heal, intimidate, or feint. It's a little more interesting. And, in some circumstances, you might just do one attack so you can fit in a regular spell or defending and healing.

So attacking goes from something cool to basically filling those options with anything else because the penalty is usually not worth the effort.


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Diffan wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Over all this sounds nice, but can't say I am the fan for a penalty for extra attacks.

If all attacks are at full bonus, then all actions are equally important. Combat becomes move up, full attack repeatedly.

If your later attacks aren't worth much, instead of full attacking, you can attack twice and defend, heal, intimidate, or feint. It's a little more interesting. And, in some circumstances, you might just do one attack so you can fit in a regular spell or defending and healing.

So attacking goes from something cool to basically filling those options with anything else because the penalty is usually not worth the effort.

If you ask me, it helps encourage the party fighter to think outside of the box in combat as opposed to spending 90% of encounters going "okay, I 5 foot step forward and full-attack. I hit two of my three attacks and do 47 damage... Is it my turn again? Alright, I'm gonna do the same thing."

As a player, I always prefer energetic, mobile combat over really static stand-in-one-spot-and-smack-with-stick-constantly combat. Keeping the penalties for iterative attacks helps encourage tactical foresight, such as "hmm, I already hit the demon this turn and got a solid chunk of damage in, but should I gamble with the -5 penalty to my next attack or should I use my last action to get into a position so that the rogue can easily flank with me next turn?"


Cat-thulhu wrote:

I'm interested in how BAB works now? With three potential attacks I'd assume no more iterative attacks? Is this changed for two weapon fighting?

Personally I'f like to see the 0/-5/-10 thing go. It's an unnecessary complication. Is it really OTT to allow someone to attack three times at a fixed bonus? Could the -5 just apply to 2W fighting - givin gyou the extra attack(s) but at a hefty penalty?

I'm excited to see where this new AE goes.

Obviously, I can’t speak to how PF2.0 is going to do things. Hell, I can’t even really speak to how Unchained RAE does things as it was/is an incomplete rule set. But I can say that if they follow Unchained RAE, no more iteratives. I can also say that without the penalties (we tried it), Initiative becomes “roll to see who wins”.

I can also say that if Two-Weapon Fighting allows you to make two attacks with your first attack action at -2, and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting allows two attacks with your second attack action at -7, and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting allows two attacks with your third attack action at -12, two-weapon fighting becomes a very powerful combat style that rivals splitting open skulls with a great axe. Just the idea of moving and making four attacks in a round for the cost of two feats is almost too good. And if you throw on sneak attack, bane, favored enemy, or smite evil, it gets even better despite the penalties.

Not sure how PF2.0 is going to do it, but if it is anything even close to the above, it will be awesome. Oh, and monks will be back in business. Unchained Monks (yeah, I know they won’t really exist) even more so. Here’s hoping PF2.0 follows the RAE idea from Unchained.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Mavrickindigo wrote:
As someone who enjoys converting monsters from 3.5 to PF, this unique monster reaction rule has me a little worried. 3.5 to PF means i have to just alter the skills and add/change a couple of feats to convert. Now, I need to come up with balanced reactions for every monster?

It's not a rule, just an option. Many monsters don't have any reaction beyond the basic ones, ones with combat training might have Attack of Opportunity or a similar reaction, and others have ones particular to them.


Friendly Rogue wrote:
Diffan wrote:

So attacking goes from something cool to basically filling those options with anything else because the penalty is usually not worth the effort.

If you ask me, it helps encourage the party fighter to think outside of the box in combat as opposed to spending 90% of encounters going "okay, I 5 foot step forward and full-attack. I hit two of my three attacks and do 47 damage... Is it my turn again? Alright, I'm gonna do the same thing."

As a player, I always prefer energetic, mobile combat over really static stand-in-one-spot-and-smack-with-stick-constantly combat. Keeping the penalties for iterative attacks helps encourage tactical foresight, such as "hmm, I already hit the demon this turn and got a solid chunk of damage in, but should I gamble with the -5 penalty to my next attack or should I use my last action to get into a position so that the rogue can easily flank with me next turn?"

The problem is far worse than that, because currently the Fighter doesn't have much else to do besides full-attack. Good luck trying to out-trip a demon or a giant. Or grappling them. Or even disarming them. I don't have that problem in 4E or 5E. My decisons are far more varied and actually have a decent chance of succeeding without the need for 6 different feats and very specific enhancement bonuses.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Pappy wrote:
I'm highly sceptical that our initial responses are weighted as much as the actual playtest feedback. While I feel as strongly about what I like and dislike as many on these forums, I suspect that little will change with the ruleset until after the PDF drops in August.

You're right! We're closely monitoring what people say based on our early info, and it will inform changes, but the feedback we get when people are actually playing tells us a lot more. We're also looking forward to seeing what people think when they watch actual play sessions or play the game at conventions in the lead-up to the actual text coming out.


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Diffan wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
Diffan wrote:

So attacking goes from something cool to basically filling those options with anything else because the penalty is usually not worth the effort.

If you ask me, it helps encourage the party fighter to think outside of the box in combat as opposed to spending 90% of encounters going "okay, I 5 foot step forward and full-attack. I hit two of my three attacks and do 47 damage... Is it my turn again? Alright, I'm gonna do the same thing."

As a player, I always prefer energetic, mobile combat over really static stand-in-one-spot-and-smack-with-stick-constantly combat. Keeping the penalties for iterative attacks helps encourage tactical foresight, such as "hmm, I already hit the demon this turn and got a solid chunk of damage in, but should I gamble with the -5 penalty to my next attack or should I use my last action to get into a position so that the rogue can easily flank with me next turn?"

The problem is far worse than that, because currently the Fighter doesn't have much else to do besides full-attack. Good luck trying to out-trip a demon or a giant. Or grappling them. Or even disarming them. I don't have that problem in 4E or 5E. My decisons are far more varied and actually have a decent chance of succeeding without the need for 6 different feats and very specific enhancement bonuses.

We don't even know all of the actions/reactions available at the moment, though, and the podcast revealed that CMB/CMD isn't a thing anymore and that grapple checks are now resolved through the athletic skill, so it's entirely likely that combat maneuvers aren't going to be as niche as they were in P1e

Paizo Employee Designer

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Arthemys wrote:

Jason, I'd like to know if PF2 will be more "theater of mind"-friendly or if the focus will stay on tactical rules.

I love the action economy and everything i've read so far… Smart, practical and fun. AND this comes from a PF1 kinda hater (but still supporting for the quality which is exceptional) and Starfinder enthusiast xD

I would only like to know if the game will be more open ended for us non-tactical GMs.

Cheers!

I'd say it's about on par with PF1E in that regard. We haven't playtested TotM style because that tends to be less common among our fanbase. I should give it a shot so we can know what to expect for that style of game. My guess is that it would be easier for me personally to visualize what was happening when using three-action turns, but I'm not entirely sure! If you end up playtesting in this style, I'd be really interested to hear how your experience goes.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Logan Bonner wrote:
Arthemys wrote:

Jason, I'd like to know if PF2 will be more "theater of mind"-friendly or if the focus will stay on tactical rules.

I love the action economy and everything i've read so far… Smart, practical and fun. AND this comes from a PF1 kinda hater (but still supporting for the quality which is exceptional) and Starfinder enthusiast xD

I would only like to know if the game will be more open ended for us non-tactical GMs.

Cheers!

I'd say it's about on par with PF1E in that regard. We haven't playtested TotM style because that tends to be less common among our fanbase. I should give it a shot so we can know what to expect for that style of game. My guess is that it would be easier for me personally to visualize what was happening when using three-action turns, but I'm not entirely sure! If you end up playtesting in this style, I'd be really interested to hear how your experience goes.

I've actually run theater of the mind once or twice for some simple combats. It's about the same as PF1, easier in several ways, but more complicated in others (for instance, any turns that involves using multiple Step actions to jigsaw your way out of a bad situation are more complicated).


Logan Bonner wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Martials seem to be specifically disincentivized from actually taking advantage of their new ability to take three attacks from level 1 except against the most trivial opponents. Taking that third attack is statistically suicidal, and even the second one is kinda iffy.

We use critical failure effects only when having them improves the experience. Since we know how often people will want to take a swing with that third action, a critical failure on a strike is just a miss.

On the other hand, something like a knowledge check having a critical failure can add to more interesting moments in your game.

Like when Jason misidentified a font of holy water as a healing potion. *clears throat*

Good stuff! I've personally always played with the skill fumbles rule (Somehow nat 1 is not auto-fail in core pathfinder). Failing those knowledge to ID monsters can lead to very funny things.

The attack thing makes it a gamble, but at least a fair one.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Starfox wrote:
To a certain extent, random action in combat can be fun. But 4E took this WAY too far with it's soldiers - that were essentially mobile minefields with random effects to stop players from doing cool movement stunts. Don't take things that far!

I'm personally well-acquainted with this and am trying to minimize the number of those types of actions. I remember what it was like to go up against those enemies! There are still a small number actions like that the game, and we're keeping a very close eye on them to see whether they get out of hand.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Logan Bonner wrote:
Like when Jason misidentified a font of holy water as a healing potion. *clears throat*

Still #1 playtest adventure moment! #2 is when Jason chain lightninged and cone of colded all the other PCs on the same round.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
Like when Jason misidentified a font of holy water as a healing potion. *clears throat*
Still #1 playtest adventure moment! #2 is when Jason chain lightninged and cone of colded all the other PCs on the same round.

Deleted the original post because Mark had essentially already said the same thing. But the part about Jason's failure lives on!


To be honest, I think I really like the sound of this new actions system. If you really think about it, it seems to be better then the current system in practically every way. Kudos, Paizo.

I just wish we didn't have to wait so long for the playtest to come out, I can't wait to get into this & try it all out for myself.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
Like when Jason misidentified a font of holy water as a healing potion. *clears throat*
Still #1 playtest adventure moment! #2 is when Jason chain lightninged and cone of colded all the other PCs on the same round.

Hmm, interesting... So in PF2E the "attacker" (or caster) always get to roll now? I do approve of 4th Edition's static save defenses, so...


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Logan Bonner wrote:
It's not a rule, just an option. Many monsters don't have any reaction beyond the basic ones, ones with combat training might have Attack of Opportunity or a similar reaction, and others have ones particular to them.

You need a feat or class feature or something just to be able to make an AoO? That makes no sense.

Friendly Rogue wrote:
CMB/CMD isn't a thing anymore and that grapple checks are now resolved through the athletic skill

So more stuff lifted from 5E. If people really wanted to play 5E, why wouldn't they just play 5E instead of PF2? Call me crazy, but I'd rather play Pathfinder than play 5E or a bootleg 5E that calls itself Pathfinder.

Logan Bonner wrote:
My guess is that it would be easier for me personally to visualize what was happening when using three-action turns, but I'm not entirely sure!

What? No, it's the opposite. I don't see how Action + Action + Action could be MORE believable than Standard Action + Move Action or Full-Round Action.


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Bloodrealm wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
It's not a rule, just an option. Many monsters don't have any reaction beyond the basic ones, ones with combat training might have Attack of Opportunity or a similar reaction, and others have ones particular to them.

You need a feat or class feature or something just to be able to make an AoO? That makes no sense.

Friendly Rogue wrote:
CMB/CMD isn't a thing anymore and that grapple checks are now resolved through the athletic skill

So more stuff lifted from 5E. If people really wanted to play 5E, why wouldn't they just play 5E instead of PF2? Call me crazy, but I'd rather play Pathfinder than play 5E or a bootleg 5E that calls itself Pathfinder.

Logan Bonner wrote:
My guess is that it would be easier for me personally to visualize what was happening when using three-action turns, but I'm not entirely sure!
What? No, it's the opposite. I don't see how Action + Action + Action could be MORE believable than Standard Action + Move Action or Full-Round Action.

Full disclosure, I'm glad CMB/CMD is gone. I once played a whip-build character up to level 13 and the CMD of enemies at that level gets so high that its practically impossible to do anything meaningful with combat maneuvers unless you heavily specialize into a single one. Besides, just because one (frankly better) mechanic is similar to one in 5e doesn't mean the entire new system is a 5e ripoff, especially since there's only so much we actually know about it at this point.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Diffan wrote:
The problem is far worse than that, because currently the Fighter doesn't have much else to do besides full-attack. Good luck trying to out-trip a demon or a giant. Or grappling them.

My monk had no problem out-tripping or grappling a demon, and my ranger could have easily tripped the gargantuan giants we recently fought if she was even remotely built for melee instead of ranged (she actually probably had a decent but not great shot at it despite being all in on archery). I will readily agree that these two things are problems in PF1 (elementals are even worse than demons and giants for this; some of them have ridiculous CMD for their level), but there's really no reason that has to be true in the new game. We haven't released anything that says that giants will retain an extreme (and mathematically infeasible for most characters) target number.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Diffan wrote:
The problem is far worse than that, because currently the Fighter doesn't have much else to do besides full-attack. Good luck trying to out-trip a demon or a giant. Or grappling them.
My monk had no problem out-tripping or grappling a demon, and my ranger could have easily tripped the gargantuan giants we recently fought if she was even remotely built for melee instead of ranged (she actually probably had a decent but not great shot at it despite being all in on archery). I will readily agree that these two things are problems in PF1 (elementals are even worse than demons and giants for this; some of them have ridiculous CMD for their level), but there's really no reason that has to be true in the new game. We haven't released anything that says that giants will retain an extreme (and mathematically infeasible for most characters) target number.

Well that's my hope anyways. We've seen little of whats to come, so we can only go from whats current. Right now in PF1 such combat maneuvers have a very difficult time achieving these results without some mechanicsl and magic investment, something I hope to see change in.


Bruno Mares wrote:

Just an ideia: the AC bonus should always be passive, since shields already are a bad option in PF1.

If they have the passive AC bonus AND with an action you can receive some DR, it seems a good option to me.

This has been clarified to be the case, I believe earlier in this thread (not that I blame you for not reading through it all).

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Over all this sounds nice, but can't say I am the fan for a penalty for extra attacks.

If all attacks are at full bonus, then all actions are equally important. Combat becomes move up, full attack repeatedly.

If your later attacks aren't worth much, instead of full attacking, you can attack twice and defend, heal, intimidate, or feint. It's a little more interesting. And, in some circumstances, you might just do one attack so you can fit in a regular spell or defending and healing.

I would have thought the idea is to make all actions equally important, making each choice equally valid? Even with no penalty the “best” option is probably move up and attack twice, three times if the opponent stays there. Of course you could still move, attack and defend; heal, move, attack? If I think my second or third attack are worthwhile will I rethink my defence to try and take out my foe? Will I delay that little bit of healing for that third attack? Remember the new system won’t have a “full attack” option by the look of it so the move, full attack is really not an option. I think you might be able to do the sp dial charge action to move double and attack, then follow with another attack - but would you rather defend just in case?

The benefit of a lack of penalty is it makes the multiple attack option viable, because otherwise the penalised attacks really aren’t worth much.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Friendly Rogue wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
It's not a rule, just an option. Many monsters don't have any reaction beyond the basic ones, ones with combat training might have Attack of Opportunity or a similar reaction, and others have ones particular to them.
You need a feat or class feature or something just to be able to make an AoO? That makes no sense.
Quote:

Couldn’t that just mean you need special training to respond quickly enough to a foe as they move away or past you? Perhaps the untrained simply don’t have the reflexes or combat knowledge to respond quick enough to the situation?


Logan Bonner wrote:
Arthemys wrote:

Jason, I'd like to know if PF2 will be more "theater of mind"-friendly or if the focus will stay on tactical rules.

I love the action economy and everything i've read so far… Smart, practical and fun. AND this comes from a PF1 kinda hater (but still supporting for the quality which is exceptional) and Starfinder enthusiast xD

I would only like to know if the game will be more open ended for us non-tactical GMs.

Cheers!

I'd say it's about on par with PF1E in that regard. We haven't playtested TotM style because that tends to be less common among our fanbase. I should give it a shot so we can know what to expect for that style of game. My guess is that it would be easier for me personally to visualize what was happening when using three-action turns, but I'm not entirely sure! If you end up playtesting in this style, I'd be really interested to hear how your experience goes.

Page 102 on PU has a very similar system (maybe the exact same, I am one who has not seen the exact rules of the playtest, but they sure sound similar and everything seems to indicate this is the system in use).

We have used this system. About half of our games are done with TotM (Actually at times, more than that), or at least, without the miniatures and matting.

It actually works well, and in some instances probably better than the original in the Core rules because in some ways it makes things easier to track and keep accounting for. In some ways it can make for some convoluted situations which would have probably been handled better doing it the old way.

This has been around for a while so in many ways has been very playtested out by some groups.

One thing I see in it's favor is that by choosing to use this system it makes it more likely that things will be easier to be backwards compatible both for using P1E rules with PF2e Adventures, or vice versa, running old P1E adventures with PF2e rules.


I support the broad strokes of the action economy revision, pending full implementation details.

But I do not understand the iterative attack penalties still hanging around. I understand it changes the marginal utility of additional attacks which might diversify actions, but going from "the thing I want to do most" to "the thing I want to do less" is not a satisfying way to diversify my actions. A better way to get that same end result would be if I had actions that were better than a regular attack that I could use once per round, or if there were actions that required a preparatory action that were actually worth investing in, or something. Or if being mobile actually, y'know, did something for me.

I agree that more mobile combats with more diverse actions for martials is a desirable end state. What I disagree with is using iterative attack penalties to achieve it. In many situations, it won't achieve it anyway, and when it does, it'll only be by a punishment unique to martial characters in a system that claims it is trying to get away from punishing martial characters. You want to get away from that? Take away iterative penalties, and give me better options instead of making my default option worse.

Plus, it's an extra re-calculation of my attack bonus every attack. If streamlining play is a goal, that's another reason to get rid of iterative attack penalties.

Whatever design goal iterative attack penalties are in theory achieving, there are better ways to achieve it that don't involve recalculating attack modifiers in the middle of your turn and saddling martial characters with the choice of less and less satisfactory options for each action on every turn of combat, where spellcasters are free of such burden. If attacking is cool, let it be cool. If you really want diversity of actions, give martials cooler stuff to do than attack. Don't just make their attacks worse and worse.

And P.S. if you want to make movement more important, you want to make it a defensive option, e.g. a reaction.

Lantern Lodge

Overall I like the new aimple action system. Dropping the iterative attack penalties will also fix the problem of a Gish attacking and casting a spell at no penalty. How does two weapon fighting work?

Also, I see the static penalties of +0/-5/-10 hanging around which I assume means the overall +1 per level mentality of pathfinder still exists? I know I’m going to catch a lot of flak for this but have you guys considered lowering the roll bonuses to something similar to 5E?

I get that Pathfinder has a decent fan base and those that like the “number crunch” of Pathfinder. But when past level 12 you’re getting +24 to hit the die roll becomes useless. I mean it is known that AC becomes a pointless/ exhausting endeavor for most builds because it can’t keep up with the attack bonus. It’s just not a good system.

In terms of “mechanics crunch” my biggest suggestion is to avoid feat traps at all cost. Although I still play pathfinder because I’ve already invested the time and effort into optimizing, I do not recommend it to anyone over 5e. There is just too much number crunching that goes into making a viable character where in the other system practically any concept you can think of is viable even through different classes. Sure there are a ton of options in pathfinder but it’s more like there are a ton of trap options and only a few decent ones.

I know this won’t happen but would love if ever class simply had talents similar to the rogue and it was like every other level you got a talent or a class feature. It would then make every character unique while still having similar class features.

Also, please don’t bake magic items into the system mechanics. I would suggest not having any item that gives a flat bonus to your attack rolls, ac, or saving throws. These will automatically become the go to items in their field. Yes 5e has them too but they also have a cap on the bonus you can achieve so sometimes the extra numbers aren’t necessary since they would put you over the cap.

Yes I am a fan of 5e.I think pathfinder really needs to hit it out of the park this time. Before there was only 4e to compete with and that had a divided fan base. 5e is not the same beast.


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To those complaining about the penalty to iterative attacks:

Tactically, no option can be superior in a fight than defeating the enemy. People don't use "alternative" actions in PF because they suck, but because it's a lot easier to use the same action to smash the enemy since DPR is too high for what most creatures can handle at given CR.

So yeah, don't buff the basic attack, it's already too good comapred to everything else.


It would be nice if melee attack spells do not provoke attacks of opportunity.


JRutterbush wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:


Even if that's true - and I of course admit that it might be - it still raises the question of whether you'd want to risk whatever the trigger is if it's 4 and a half times as likely to go off as you actually hitting is.
Yes. That's called a "tactical decision", and it's part of the depth of systems like Pathfinder that its players enjoy. "Does this enemy have a trigger if I fumble, or is it safe to take the risk?"

I disagree that the additional attack penalty contributes to that "tactical decision". The tactical risk of triggering is already there without the penalty. Having it only makes martial characters worse at what should be their bread-and-butter. If they have leftover actions, they should be able to use them with the idea that they will be beneficial for them.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kain Gallant wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:


Even if that's true - and I of course admit that it might be - it still raises the question of whether you'd want to risk whatever the trigger is if it's 4 and a half times as likely to go off as you actually hitting is.
Yes. That's called a "tactical decision", and it's part of the depth of systems like Pathfinder that its players enjoy. "Does this enemy have a trigger if I fumble, or is it safe to take the risk?"
I disagree that the additional attack penalty contributes to that "tactical decision". The tactical risk of triggering is already there without the penalty. Having it only makes martial characters worse at what should be their bread-and-butter. If they have leftover actions, they should be able to use them with the idea that they will be beneficial for them.

I think it will encourage way more exciting fights from martials. Yeah making that third attack is hard, which is why you might actually try something more dynamic like attempting to trip them up first, or leverage skills like Intimidate more mid fight. That to me is way better tactically, way better for combat dynamics and way better for introducing cinematic and roleplaying mid combat. Sounds like they are reducing the ridiculous barriers the doing all the other martial stuff that isn't just hitting folks. Full attacking every round every combat is just dull.


Malk_Content wrote:


I think it will encourage way more exciting fights from martials. Yeah making that third attack is hard, which is why you might actually try something more dynamic like attempting to trip them up first, or leverage skills like Intimidate more mid fight. That to me is way better tactically, way better for combat dynamics and way better for introducing cinematic and roleplaying mid combat. Sounds like they are reducing the ridiculous barriers the doing all the other martial stuff that isn't just hitting folks. Full attacking every round every combat is just dull.

That sounds great, in theory. But historically, those options have never been easily available (locking behind feat chains) nor successful (ridiculous CMB/CMD progression + the iterative penalty). Until they outline what else martial characters can do and how easily they can accomplish these, I remain skeptical that martial characters can be equally effective in performing non-attack actions vs. simply attacking, and am sticking to my plan to houseruling that penalty out.


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Malk_Content wrote:


I think it will encourage way more exciting fights from martials. Yeah making that third attack is hard, which is why you might actually try something more dynamic like attempting to trip them up first, or leverage skills like Intimidate more mid fight. That to me is way better tactically, way better for combat dynamics and way better for introducing cinematic and roleplaying mid combat. Sounds like they are reducing the ridiculous barriers the doing all the other martial stuff that isn't just hitting folks. Full attacking every round every combat is just dull.

Why do people love the 5-step Full Attack every single turn style so much? I know it's what can keep Martials viable at super high levels, but it doesn't have to be that way if there's a rebalancing.

Anything that promotes using something beside "melee attack" and courage creativity should make those characters less boring. If anything, those penalties aren't even enough to deter this in normal PF1.

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