Leveling Up!

Monday, March 12, 2018

With the Pathfinder Playtest, we're looking to level up the entire Pathfinder game. And that means leveling up... leveling up! Gaining new levels and the toys that come with them is a core part of Pathfinder First Edition, and we want to make it more rewarding in the new edition. So how do you level up?

Well, first you're going to need some Experience Points. You can get those XP by fighting monsters, encountering traps, solving puzzles, and accomplishing goals. Once you hit 1,000 XP, you level up! (That's for every level, so whenever you have 500 XP, you'll always know you're halfway to leveling up again! And if you have any extra Experience Points after leveling up, they count toward the next level.)

Once you have enough Experience Points to level up, you'll increase your proficiencies, then get some more Hit Points (8 + Constitution modifier for a cleric, for example), and then get to make the choices for your new level. What choices? Those are all covered on your class's class advancement table. For instance, at 2nd and 3rd levels, the cleric gets the following:

2Cleric feat, skill feat
32nd-level spells, general feat, skill increase

(Wait... what if I multiclass? We'll cover that in a future blog, but let's just say you'll still be referencing only one advancement table.)

One thing we knew we wanted to include in the new edition was a good number of choices for all characters. In first edition, this could be pretty unequal. Even though over time, the game incorporated more ways to customize any type of character, we wanted to build in more robust customization into the structure of every class. That's why every class gets specific class talents (which include spells for spellcasters) at 1st level and every other level thereafter, increases to skills every other level, and feats at every level!

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Feats Feats Feats!

How does gaining feats at every level shake out? Every class has special feats just for them, which you gain every other level. When your cleric hits 2nd level and gets that cleric feat, do you want to become a better healer? Learn another of your deity's domains? Turn undead away from you? Your class feats give you these options, so you're not locked into the same path as every other cleric.

On any level when you don't gain a class feat, you gain a skill feat to change the ways you can use skills, a general feat that's useful to any character regardless of class, or an ancestry feat that reflects the training or advantages of your people. Skill feats are part of the general feat category, too, so if you really want to invest in your skills, you can drop 15 feats on improving them!

Many of your feats—especially class feats—give you new actions, activities, and so on that you can use. They have a special format to tell you how they work with your three actions and one reaction. Formatting them this way means that it's easier to tell whether a feat is something you can always do or a special action you can take. In Pathfinder First Edition terms, this would be like the difference between Weapon Focus and Vital Strike.

One of our goals with feats was to make them easier to choose and to use. Most feats require very few prerequisites, so you won't need to worry about picking a feat you really don't want in order to eventually get one you do. Any prerequisites build off your level, your proficiency, and any previous feats the new feat builds onto.

The Best of Your Ability

You'll also amp up several of your ability scores every 5 levels. The process might be familiar to those of you who've been playing Starfinder for the last several months! There are, of course, a few tweaks, and we made all ability boosts work the same way instead of being different at 1st level. Learn it once, use it in perpetuity.

Second Chances

So you get all these choices. Let's say you make a few bad ones. It happens!

Retraining your abilities is now in the game from the get-go, covered by the downtime system. You can spend your downtime to swap out choices you made for other ones. (Though you can't swap out ones that are a core part of your character, like your ancestry, unless you work out a way to do so with your GM.

Some classes give you ways to retrain your choices automatically. For instance, some spells get less useful as you go up in level, so spontaneous spellcasters get to replace some of the spells they know with other ones when they get new spells.

Leveling in the Playtest

The playtest adventure will have you playing characters at various levels, and tells you when to level them up (or tells you to create new characters for certain chapters). Our goal has been to make your options expansive and satisfying, but not overwhelming. We look forward to you telling us which decisions you're making, trading tips with fellow players, and agonizing over two feats when you really want them both.

Logan Bonner
Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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QuidEst wrote:
Mordo wrote:

Forgive me if it has already been aswered before (I haven't read all 548 previous post :P )

From what I've read will class progression look like how talent tree worked in D20 Modern, as when you pick a class, at a given level, you have the option to pick a talent (or feat in the case of PF2e) and as you level, you have the option to specialize more into that talent tree, or pick a new one to diversify your options? The same could be said for ancestry, skill and general feats?

If so I think it may be quite interesting, as long as you try to avoid trap options just because you want to get the feat next in the talent tree.
Or would you go with broader feat like 5e that have more than a single bonus, and at least one can be use in a wider range of conditions?

PF2 is looking to get rid of feat taxes, and make it so feats have the following as prerequisites (pardon me if I've forgotten something, and don't take this as certain): proficiencies, class/ancestry for those feats, level, and feats that the feat builds on. So, assuming I've understood what they've said correctly, if there were a chain of feats to improve your ability to trip opponents, that chain might require you to be of a certain level or something, and it would require earlier feats that improve your ability to trip opponents (hence a feat chain), but it wouldn't require something like Combat Expertise, because it doesn't build on that.

That’s the feel I got from the blog post. When I’m talking about traps, is like if in a feat chain, feat #1 is good, feat #3 is awesome and is exactly what I’m looking for, but in order to get it I must pick feat #2 which is underwhelming even if related with the feat chain theme. Maybe if there are alternate prerequisite for certain feats in a feat chain, then you coyld just skip a feat that you feel is underwhelming (i.e at level 5 you get to pick feat #2 from the tripping feat chain and at level 7 you could take feat #3 which you really want, but id the prerequisite for feat #3 was feat#2 or proficiency X or skill bonus +Y, then you could go around feat #2 that don’t appeal to you)


Lemartes wrote:
kaid wrote:
Mnemaxa wrote:
Asurie wrote:

So, Starfinder has an interesting quirk in their ability score buying math that the +1 stat bonus from Themes ends up being functionally useless. This is the result of the fact that bonuses come in groups of +2 (except for going from 19->20 which only gets you a +1) and the fact that ability score pre-reqs are mostly gone (except for Dex 15 if I recall).

Will this be the case if we are now taking their ability score system and porting it to Pathfinder, or will changes be made to address this?

Remember, in Starfinder you gain only a +1 to any ability score higher than 17, so that +1 can be useful at 5th level.
Yup there was some edge case utility for the +1 from theme bonus but I can see some peoples complaints about it. I really do like the attribute raising every 5 levels and the way that's done. It is a lot easier to have a well rounded character while still being able to focus hard on a stat or two.

16 + 2 = 18

17 + 1 = 18

In Starfinder, the +1 from theme is not useful in your main stat. Start with 16 INT or 17 INT as a technomancer, and you will have 18 at lvl 5.

HOWEVER, it's useful for grabbing feats. If you start as 16 INT, you can put that extra point somewhere else. For example, in dex. How your DEX 12 is DEX 13, and you can pick Mobility. At lvl 5 your Dex increase to 15, and you can pick Agile Casting, allowing you to cast spells during movement. You can also pick Nimble Moves, or Slippery Shooter, or any other Dex based feat. Or you could raise STR, so you can qualify for Heavy Armor and Heavy Weapons, for example. Or put it in Wisdom so you can grab Connection Inkling and a few Mystic Spells, and so on.

The thing is, most people is focused in raising his main stat. And for that, the +1 is useless. Use it somewhere else, and you can find some utility.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
More to the point I think it’s more about cultural differences, if everyone in Taldor has mandatory military service for 4 years a Taldan might be proficient in swords and shields, while a “chemist noble” ancestry might be particularly adept at identifying and bargaining with devils. While a resistance fighter from Garund might treat their proficiency in stealth as one level higher while in forest or jungle terrain thanks to guerrilla training.

A resistance fighter from Garund might well do that from (a jungle region of) Garund, because he is a resistance fighter from a jungle region. If any garundi gets that bonus, even if he is a pampered noble, or if he was raised in Irisen and has never even seen a jungle, then that is frankly racist.

Malk_Content wrote:
I hate to break it to you but people from different regions are physically different. It isn't racist to say the Aki are short. They are. To ignore differences between groups isn't being progressive, in fact if anything it can lead to ignore of problems or overlooking solutions for certain groups.

Remind me of the mechanical significance of height again? Pretty much none, right? So we're all good.

EDIT: Apologies for the double post. This form really needs a multiquote facility...

_
glass.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mordo wrote:

Forgive me if it has already been aswered before (I haven't read all 548 previous post :P )

From what I've read will class progression look like how talent tree worked in D20 Modern, as when you pick a class, at a given level, you have the option to pick a talent (or feat in the case of PF2e) and as you level, you have the option to specialize more into that talent tree, or pick a new one to diversify your options? The same could be said for ancestry, skill and general feats?

Thank you for the callout on D20M. I knew the PF2 system sounded familiar. I loved the flexibility of that system.


glass wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
More to the point I think it’s more about cultural differences, if everyone in Taldor has mandatory military service for 4 years a Taldan might be proficient in swords and shields, while a “chemist noble” ancestry might be particularly adept at identifying and bargaining with devils. While a resistance fighter from Garund might treat their proficiency in stealth as one level higher while in forest or jungle terrain thanks to guerrilla training.
A resistance fighter from Garund might well do that from (a jungle region of) Garund, because he is a resistance fighter from a jungle region. If any garundi gets that bonus, even if he is a pampered noble, or if he was raised in Irisen and has never even seen a jungle, then that is frankly racist.

I'm pretty sure that representing different cultures is a significant part of the new Ancestries, rather than anything about Ethnicities. For instance, if I'm born and raised Chelish, and my family has lived in Cheliax for decades, then logically I probably have the Chelish Ancestry... and it doesn't matter if my appearance is Chelish, Garundi, Tien, Shoanti, Varisian... Elven, Dwarven, Changeling, or Kitsune, I'm a born-and-raised Chelaxian and my mechanics will reflect that. Now maybe (heck, I dare say hopefully) we can get Ancestries even more nuanced than that, having both "Racial" and "Cultural" aspects of Ancestry (in which case the Racial for the former 5 would *probably* be generic "Human" while the latter four would of course be "Elf", "Dwarf", "Changeling", or Kitsune", but it does allow more customization into who this character is, where they come from, and to a degree how they think.

Liberty's Edge

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As an anthropologist, I'm very happy to see the move to ancestry instead of race. It really opens up the possibility of having a spectrum of (for example) Half-Elven features instead of making it so a Human and an Elf have a child that barely resembles either. Especially since a lot of the features of races (Skilled, extra Feat, languages, etc) were not really biological but cultural and environmental.

Ethnicity is a cultural grouping of people. Race is the misguided thought that there is a significant and quantifiable biological distinction between different groups of humans. So yes, you could talk about Chelish ethnicity.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Just a note, we will be talking a lot about ancestries soon, but I wanted to make one quick note. The way they are built allows for a wide variety of variation and differentiation between members of the same ancestry. We do not want to mandate anything aside from a few basic characteristics. That is half the reason we made this change, to allow your ancestry to speak to who you are as an individual.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Just a note, we will be talking a lot about ancestries soon, but I wanted to make one quick note. The way they are built allows for a wide variety of variation and differentiation between members of the same ancestry. We do not want to mandate anything aside from a few basic characteristics. That is half the reason we made this change, to allow your ancestry to speak to who you are as an individual.

Ohhh, I can't wait to make the Elfiest Elf that ever Elfed!


Lady Firebird wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Just a note, we will be talking a lot about ancestries soon, but I wanted to make one quick note. The way they are built allows for a wide variety of variation and differentiation between members of the same ancestry. We do not want to mandate anything aside from a few basic characteristics. That is half the reason we made this change, to allow your ancestry to speak to who you are as an individual.
Ohhh, I can't wait to make the Elfiest Elf that ever Elfed!

"Hey everyone, we made the game so that you can customize your character's ancestry so it is more of an individual rather than just that one archetype!"

"Awesome! I'll take this newfound freedom and make the most archetypical elf ever!"

Just in case the humor i saw in this was not accidental: I'm sorry if I explained your joke, Firebird.


I think my first two playtest characters will be the dwarviest Elf in the history of ever and the elfiest Dwarf that ever grazed Golarion


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Hythlodeus wrote:
I think my first two playtest characters will be the dwarviest Elf in the history of ever and the elfiest Dwarf that ever grazed Golarion

I trust you to play Sandwich Stoutaxe with respect.

The Dwarfiest Elf


this makes me cry for so many reasons...


Och tha poor lass. Not a whiff of meat 'n 'er bones. Not a Dwarf in tha world would wan' ta bring tha' home ta' mother.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Just a note, we will be talking a lot about ancestries soon, but I wanted to make one quick note. The way they are built allows for a wide variety of variation and differentiation between members of the same ancestry. We do not want to mandate anything aside from a few basic characteristics. That is half the reason we made this change, to allow your ancestry to speak to who you are as an individual.

Nice. I was just thinking about this, and how gradation or sub-varieties of Ancestries makes sense at different levels. So there could be "Taldane" and then Chelish/Varisian/Andoren/Opparan. This doesn't have to imply direct inheritance, cultures can be "adopted" within other one, as Tekritani was with Osirioni or Qadiran was within Kelesh... That establishes baseline, and characters can buy Ancestry-Pre-Req Feats which build on this heritage, Biology-tied features like Halfling Luck, Elf/Drow Nobility, etc being one angle, and culture-tied features being another (potentially also Ancestry-exclusive, but perhaps some amenable to simple early entry/ pre-req bypass for "native" Ancestry).

That potentially parallels a clearer distinction of "biological" from "cultural" Ancestral traits as pertinent to polymorph effects, which is perpetual question in P1E i.e. "what abilities do you gain from polymorph"? Similar applies to what things like "Adoption" should and shouldn't be able to do.

BTW, it always seemed to me that Paizo was doing some crypto-Slavic thing in region intersecting Kellid and Ulfen peoples, apparent from naming conventions. Always seemed to me like this could be it's own ethnicity (or sub-ethnicity), if potentially drawing from pool of both peoples by it's origin (parallel to origin of ancient Rus). There was also stuff like random Finn-ish names popping up in clusters, perhaps do-able as other sub-type of Kellid, for example. Seems like soft-reboot of setting is opportunity to flesh out stuff like that.

Come to think of it, if you're planning different take on languages, preview of Ancestries would make sense as place to mention it.


glass wrote:

Remind me of the mechanical significance of height again? Pretty much none, right? So we're all good.

Tell that to a gnome trying to swing a half-orc's weapon.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Lady Firebird wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Just a note, we will be talking a lot about ancestries soon, but I wanted to make one quick note. The way they are built allows for a wide variety of variation and differentiation between members of the same ancestry. We do not want to mandate anything aside from a few basic characteristics. That is half the reason we made this change, to allow your ancestry to speak to who you are as an individual.
Ohhh, I can't wait to make the Elfiest Elf that ever Elfed!

But I want to make the Dwarfiest Elf that ever Orked, complete with all of the accompanying identity crisis issues. ;)


Check out ChibiNyan's post


Hythlodeus wrote:
this makes me cry for so many reasons...

Hopefully out of joy and laughter...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Threeshades wrote:
Lady Firebird wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Just a note, we will be talking a lot about ancestries soon, but I wanted to make one quick note. The way they are built allows for a wide variety of variation and differentiation between members of the same ancestry. We do not want to mandate anything aside from a few basic characteristics. That is half the reason we made this change, to allow your ancestry to speak to who you are as an individual.
Ohhh, I can't wait to make the Elfiest Elf that ever Elfed!

"Hey everyone, we made the game so that you can customize your character's ancestry so it is more of an individual rather than just that one archetype!"

"Awesome! I'll take this newfound freedom and make the most archetypical elf ever!"

Just in case the humor i saw in this was not accidental: I'm sorry if I explained your joke, Firebird.

Actually, it wasn't so much of a joke. :P I'm really looking forward to being able to be Elfier. In different ways, I mean. It's one thing that some D20-type games have done in various ways, with some racial feats or even class levels you could take. I like the sounds of what they're doing here better. I want to be Legolas, wandering the strange paths of Elvish dreams even as we march, or spotting people miles away, or running lightly atop snow and mud as easily as grass, or even stranger and more magical things.

Basically, I'm looking forward to being able to make my Elf ancestry have a real impact other than a few stat adjustments and senses. The ability to have significant traits and things you can maybe focus on to really stand out as this fantasy being who is also a larger-than-life hero sounds great.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I'll be interested in seeing what they do for human ancestry feats, at least for the generic human we get in the CRB. Will they just have an option for a general feat as an ancestry feat? It'd be kind of nice to get away from that, but it's not that big of a deal if they do go that route.


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Bruno Mares wrote:
What about call the "general feats" as feats, and the "class feats" as (the name of the class) talents? Just like rogue talents, cleric talents, fighter talents... Seems more player-friendly.

First off, please do give them different names. I like talents instead of class feats since it's familiar to existing Pathfinder players as a type of class feature.

--

What is more important for me than naming though is the uniqueness of class feats. Distilled down what I really want are for class feats to be truly iconic for that class. A small, selective list that won't end up being available to many other classes, if any others, ever. I hope that the general feats, gated via the proficiency system, will cover almost all of what are class features in 1E. When half a dozen classes end up with access to the same class feature it no longer matters as much what class one chooses, and this is a shame.

Smite evil is something I would see as a paladin class feat (or talent if using that name). In contrast channel energy would be a general feat with a proficiency requirement. Channel energy doesn't belong as a class feat as evidenced by how many 1E classes now have access to it - it is hardly cleric specific. Even domains are available to plenty more classes than just clerics, so while having domain abilities might be a general feat a cleric might power that up with a cleric-only feat that has the domain feat as a prerequisite.

Why all this? For one example I compared a sorcerer with the psychic bloodline to the psychic class and in my estimation the sorcerer was generally a better psychic caster. In that comparison there wasn't anything about the psychic class that made it stand out as something unique to me, worth playing with its own class identity. Every class should have a unique identity that doesn't (and won't in the future) get eclipsed or subsumed by some other class.


Yes I think you're on the right track with this. Each level should feel significant to all classes. Each level should give you new abilities. They can be small, specific and nuanced for purposes of play balance but they should be there. One of the worst parts of 3.5 that Pathfinder has improved upon was dead levels where all you get is hit points. Pathfinder improved that but still could do a lot more. Just getting new spell slots by the way should not count as what you get for a level. That is about as exciting as mud. And I'd do away with the experience. It's never used in the games I run or play in. We're telling stories, stories break into chapters and characters should level at chapters. They all need to level together btw, having characters at different levels is a terrible gaming experience for the stragglers.


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Quote:
They all need to level together btw, having characters at different levels is a terrible gaming experience for the stragglers.

That us not always true. My favorite gaming style for example most certainly does not require this. I've played on both sides of having a lower level PC and gm'd for it as well. As a player, it was just as fun.

In fact, my first game ever started in 3.0 and put me 4 levels behind the rest. No problem what-so-ever.

Also, that sort of thinking seems related to this article,
http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/2050/roleplaying-games/revisiting-encou nter-design

As he points out, the idea of all encounters being roughly level appropriate is a thing started with 3.0, and incorrectly at that as 3.0 expected a wide variety of encounter levels to be faced.

And once you accept that variety in encounters, it is hardly fair to forbid that variety in PCs.

Including xp allows both options. Removing xp supports only one option.

Thus, I vote for keeping xp and avoiding "same level" requirements.


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Aye, much as I disagree with the AlicornSage over the advisability of split level parties I do agree with keeping XP. It is an easy thing for a GM to ignore. It is not so easy to create for those that want XP.


Dαedαlus wrote:

So then, are all feats gained through class advancement then? Or are there still the independent spots for general feats that P1e has?

I'm less than thrilled about SF-style ability scores, though. I want to make a character as strong as a giant or as smart as a dragon, not be handicapped for specializing in one area.

Agreed. I don't particularly like how SF handles ability scores.


dragonhunterq wrote:
Aye, much as I disagree with the AlicornSage over the advisability of split level parties I do agree with keeping XP. It is an easy thing for a GM to ignore. It is not so easy to create for those that want XP.

It's not so easy to reproduce an XP chart and values like PF1

PF2's announced 1,000xp per level though? Any competent GM could come up with that.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
Aye, much as I disagree with the AlicornSage over the advisability of split level parties I do agree with keeping XP. It is an easy thing for a GM to ignore. It is not so easy to create for those that want XP.

It's not so easy to reproduce an XP chart and values like PF1

PF2's announced 1,000xp per level though? Any competent GM could come up with that.

How about the necessary counterpart to that? how much is a particular encounter/creature worth? There is more to XP than the table.

Again, easier to ignore than implement.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

Thanks for all the lively discussion so far in this thread. At this time we've decided to close up the blog discussion thread. If you have comments, questions or other things you want to post that do not fit into any currently open threads, you are welcome to start a new thread. Thanks!

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