Pathfinder a la Mode

Friday, March 23, 2018

No, we are not putting a scoop of ice cream on top of every copy of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, but we are adding flavor to the different parts of the game. You've probably heard a lot about it in the blogs and podcasts, but today we are dishing out a big scoop of news on the different modes of play in the next evolution of Pathfinder!

Every moment in the game can be categorized into encounter mode, exploration more, or downtime mode. The modes of play are governed by the needs of the adventure, and the transition between them is ultimately up to the Game Master to decide. You might be traveling through the woods, following the trail of the bandit queen, which would be exploration mode, only to have the group thrust into encounter mode as a combat breaks out with a pack of bloodthirsty wolves. Later, after defeating the bandit queen, you might take your treasure back to town and take a week off, entering downtime mode to craft a better suit of armor with your newfound wealth.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Encounter Mode

Without a doubt, this is the most talked about part of the game up to this point. Combat takes place exclusively in encounter mode, when characters, villains, and monsters are locked in a life-or-death struggle, wielding blades, claws, and spells to win the day. As we've mentioned elsewhere, encounter mode functions much like it did in Pathfinder First Edition, with each round of play taking 6 seconds of game time. You roll initiative at the start, putting all of the combatants in order; each one takes a turn in initiative order, and then you cycle through the combatants repeatedly until one side is victorious.

The changes we made to this system are intended to make play a little easier to learn, while also giving you a wider array of choices as to how you can take your turn. To start with, each character gets 3 actions on their turn. While everyone has access to a list of basic actions, like stride (which lets you move your speed), step (which lets you move just 5 feet, but without provoking any reactions), and strike (which lets you make an attack), all characters have special actions that they can take, derived from their ancestry, class, feat, and gear choices.

For example, if you're playing a barbarian, you can take a feat called Raging Courage that allows you to spend actions to shake off being afraid, letting you get back into the fight. If you're playing a fighter, you instead pick a feat called Intimidating Strike, which lets you spend 2 actions to make an attack against a foe. If it hits, your enemy is frightened and flat-footed until the end of your next turn! (Just don't use it on that barbarian.)

In addition to the 3 actions on your turn, you also get 1 reaction to use anytime before the start of your next turn. The fighter blog on Monday mentioned the reaction attack of opportunity, which allows you to take a free swing at foes that try to move around you or attempt to cast spells adjacent to you, but fighters are not the only class to have fun things to do with their reactions. The druid can gain a feat called Storm Retribution. If you are a druid of the storm order and a foe critically hits you, this feat allows you to unleash a powerful tempest on them in return, dealing 3d12 damage and possibly pushing them away. Wizards, meanwhile, can get the ability to counterspell with their reaction, canceling out enemy magic before it can even take effect.

The choices you make when building your character greatly influence what you can do during combat. You can build a simpler character with a narrow field of powerful choices, just as easily as a more complex character with a vast array of options in a fight. As with the other modes of play, it's all up to you!

Exploration Mode

If you are not in a combat, chances are you are in exploration mode. This free-form part of the game allows characters to take actions as needed to accomplish tasks, investigate problems, and interact with other characters and the world around them. Travelling from place to place, talking to a merchant lord, and swimming across a river to a mysterious island are all part of exploration mode. Exploration mode is measured in minutes and hours, depending on the task at hand and the flow of the game.

Skills and skill feats govern a lot of what you can do in this part of the game, along with your roleplaying and character backstory (as related to your background). These options are available to all characters, and while some get more options than others (like rogues), you can always focus on a few ways in which you can shine.

Let's say you really want your sorcerer to be in tune with nature. Not only could you put some of your proficiencies into the Nature skill, giving you knowledge of the natural world, including plants and beasts, but you could take skill feats that let you use Nature to heal people or even train an animal, which can then help you on your journey. These opportunities are not unique to any particular character. Anyone with the right proficiencies can select them.

For long periods of exploration, characters focus on one task at a time so it's easy for the GM to determine what rolls they make and how they're set up for any challenges they face. This lets the game move quickly through long journeys, then resume a more fine-grained pace when the party finds something to investigate or encounters monsters or hazards.

What you do in exploration mode can also influence how you enter combat. As you go on your adventures, the Game Master will periodically ask you what you are doing, how you are traveling, and what precautions you are taking as you venture into the unknown. These choices influence what you roll when it's time to roll initiative. For most characters it will be a Perception check, indicating how alert you were to the danger. If instead you were trying to hide, you might roll Stealth, possibly allowing you to start the combat unseen. If the fight is breaking out in the middle of a crowded tavern, you might roll Diplomacy or Intimidation to get the upper hand, using charm or a brutish manner to give you an edge. The GM makes the final determination of what everyone rolls for initiative, and might allow you to choose between multiple choices (one of which is typically Perception) if several options would make sense.

Downtime Mode

Up to this point, we haven't talked much about the downtime mode of play, where time passes quickly, allowing characters to retrain, work at a profession, craft items, and more. Downtime mode is always measured in days, allowing you to accomplish large tasks quickly in terms of time at the table.

Just as with exploration mode, how you interact during downtime mode is mostly up to you and the choices you make with your character. If you are playing a bard with expert proficiency in Performance, you might spend your downtime putting on shows in local taverns and for nearby nobles, earning money to help fund your next adventure. With a few days and a decent roll, you could easily afford an extra potion or two.

Let's say instead you are playing a dwarven fighter who wants to make his own weapons. With the Craft skill, you can make weapons of a quality up to your proficiency. Better yet, if you pick up the Magical Crafter skill feat, your dwarven fighter could even make magic weapons! This feat is available to anyone who is an expert crafter, making the creation of magic items available to all. I should note that some items, like scrolls and wands, do require you to be able to cast certain spells to create them, though.

Finally, we have made retraining a core part of the game, allowing you to trade out a feat, skill, or even class choice for another equal option. Retraining occurs during downtime, and can take as little as a week, giving you the flexibility to go on your next adventures with the right tools to succeed.

Well, that's the scoop on this blog. I wish I could tell you a bit about the Monday blog, but it succeeded at its Stealth check. You'll just have to stop by then to find out what it is!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Chaotic_Blues wrote:
I'm hoping for some long term down time down time options. I'm talking months or weeks, not days.

I'm curious what you think would be actions that would be useful to include that take a minimum of months to include?

My current thinking is that if there were such things that required MONTHS of downtime in order to use, it would probably be very seldomly utilized. If you are spending months of downtime you can probably do several things, spend a few weeks making money, make some items, retrain a feat or two, maybe even switch up your entire class if you felt like it.

I just find it difficult to imagine any one "action" for downtime mode that would require a minimum time in the frame of months. Short of designing new spells (which they have said will not be part of the game.)


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FlySkyHigh wrote:
I'm curious what you think would be actions that would be useful to include that take a minimum of months to include?

I'd imagine they're referring to things like constructing buildings, creating organizations, and creating nations like Ultimate Campaign.


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Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:


I think it's worth remembering that these blogs are not to show us the game really. They're to get us interested in the playtest.

On the other hand, if people find what they see to be distasteful, or even vaguely similar to a system they ran to Paizo to get away from, there is every possibility they will jump ship now.

Why continue purchasing PF1 rules if you decide to move over to, say, d20 Modern.

People who get too upset or disgusted by what they see may very well not stick around long enough for Paizo to put the full rules out.

Sure. But thats going to happen if they shift the line and reveal more than currently. Any marketting can have a positive and a negative effect.


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A light update at first glance, but it contains a lot of nice things. When the action system was described, I expected counterspelling to become a reaction. When skills were described, it was clear magic crafting was going to become accessible to all classes. It's great to see that confirmed. I also much approve that all classes can provide significant healing (the Heal skill in PF1 is rarely worth taking).

The encounter, exploration and downtime modes look mostly descriptive, but this formalization opens the door to a lot of potential. For example, I think a spell's duration, or even its effects, could change depending on the mode in which it is cast. Things like a bard's performance might last for hours in downtime mode, but rounds in encounter mode. The same is valid to skills. It could streamline a lot of things.

Finally, kudos on streamlining the language, especially in naming the skills and actions. In PF1, language like "Knowledge(Nature)", "5-foot step" and "when you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus..." is tedious and sometimes confusing (the difference between "attack" and "attack action" is an example). Replacing all of this with one-word, distinctive, descriptive terms like "strike", "stride", "step", "Nature", etc, is a marked improvement.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
As we learned on the "leveling up" blog, a character gets choices of certain "skill feats"- Are these generally applicable outside of Encounter mode, so choosing to heal with nature or make magic weapons with Craft is not made at the expense of combat acumen? A lot of the problems with non-combat feats in the old game was simply the opportunity cost of taking them instead of feats that help you hurt people or avoid harm.

Indeed. Now, these are categorized as skill feats, which means you can't trade them for combat feats, thus solving that particular problem.

eddv wrote:
I am still nervous about Exploration mode being endlessly gamed by people trying to use their best stat on initiative, but I am oddly soothed by the idea that its usually perception since that means making Dex less of a god stat.

They will do that, and it's a good thing. It lets characters do the thing they're supposed to be good at, and it makes for seamless transition into the combat situation. For example, the rogue always scouts using Stealth anyway. In PF1 this gives him a chance to surprise opponents, but it takes a bunch of rolls: Stealth opposed by Perception, then initiative. This is now all folded into the initiative roll in a very natural way, as the Perception vs Stealth opposed roll is fused with the initiative rule. By the same token, you could use Diplomacy or Bluff to improve your chance to draw a weapon first, etc.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Use of the word mode just lets of have sentences that make sense. When in the middle of running text we might say, "while exploring", but we also like having the ability to say "During encounter mode, you can..." . Its not really worth delving into on this thread (and seriously.. I do not want to derail things), but we are trying to take a little bit of a lighter hand with hard-coded grammar constructions for our rules so that the text is a bit easier to read and parse.

I’ve been a smidge worried PF2 is going to read either like a law book or a computer manual.

Games which aren’t written in plain English always sit on my shelf. No matter how cunning the game design, if the rules don’t make me read them, I’m never going to play it.

Unfortunately "plain english" is a horrific language for rules, full of implications, shortcuts. euphemisms, inconsistencies and ambiguities. A step to something more structured is better for the game, even if it's harder to adjust to.

I appreciate there are many who feel that way. It isn't true for me though, the more strictly codified the rules language becomes, the less likely I am to play it. (I do way too much statute/contract reading as it is day-to-day).

Dark Archive

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Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:

I just have one concern about the "modes". I'm dubious of any system that involves the GM announcing if something is still a threat.

If the last enemy teleports away, intending to flee and not return, I assume "encounter mode" ends and this is made clear to the players.

What if they teleported away, cast a couple buffs and heals, then teleport back?

What if the last enemy goes invisible, PCs botch their Spellcraft checks, and players assume they teleported away?

What if an enemy surrenders but then would try to attack a PC?

What if an enemy hides in the treetops to stalk the PCs and attack if there's a good opening, and all PCs fail Perception checks to
spot them?

What if there's a tavern brawl at the next table over, and one PC joins in while the rest try to ignore it?

I like giving players the choice of letting their guards down or continuing to act as if enemies might be present/dangerous, without me being expected to use game terminology that could give away that kind of thing. And I'm worried the different modes might interfere with those gray areas.

I would come back against your myriad What Ifs with a simple question: How do you deal with this currently?

From my perception, all they have really done is formalized something that already exists. I presume that you do not handle your entire game session in action-by-action, initiative ordered turns. You have a period of time where the players act relatively freely and do various things, you have your mostly book keeping period of what they do between one adventure and the next, and you have your active combat, turn-ordered stretches. In this later, what do you do when any of those What Ifs occur? Do you have them continue acting in turn order or do you declare when the threat has ended and they can begin acting freely again?

It's really the same thing given names. In part I think this allows them to also define how a spell, action or character feature may behave differently when in and out of combat. Perhaps, when you have more time and freedom to concentrate on it your healing spells are able to recover more health as an example, or during combat your Alertness feat lets you avoid an opportunity attack and during exploration mode it gives you a boost to your perception skill.


Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:

I just have one concern about the "modes". I'm dubious of any system that involves the GM announcing if something is still a threat.

If the last enemy teleports away, intending to flee and not return, I assume "encounter mode" ends and this is made clear to the players.

What if they teleported away, cast a couple buffs and heals, then teleport back?

What if the last enemy goes invisible, PCs botch their Spellcraft checks, and players assume they teleported away?

What if an enemy surrenders but then would try to attack a PC?

What if an enemy hides in the treetops to stalk the PCs and attack if there's a good opening, and all PCs fail Perception checks to
spot them?

What if there's a tavern brawl at the next table over, and one PC joins in while the rest try to ignore it?

I like giving players the choice of letting their guards down or continuing to act as if enemies might be present/dangerous, without me being expected to use game terminology that could give away that kind of thing. And I'm worried the different modes might interfere with those gray areas.

I don't think the different modes being segmented into distinct categories is going to drastically change how the game plays in action; I feel like it would be really clunky if, for one reason or another, you had to go "okay, so we are now entering explore mode"/"we are entering encounter mode, roll for initiative", like shifting gears in a car with a jammed clutch. The segregation between them is more than likely just to keep the rules for when/how to do things in which circumstance all in the same relative space, and if the line starts to blur you can easily keep the game going without tipping your hand to the players.

EDIT: Ninja'd


Milo v3 wrote:
FlySkyHigh wrote:
I'm curious what you think would be actions that would be useful to include that take a minimum of months to include?
I'd imagine they're referring to things like constructing buildings, creating organizations, and creating nations like Ultimate Campaign.

Oh, that's a good point.

See, I knew I could've missed something.


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But I wanted Ice cream...

for real I don't think the mode thing is really any different then what they do now except their naming it. I don't do rounds when characters aren't in combat and time moves faster in downtime. Not really a huge difference just seems to help with wording issues.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think I figured out Paizo's scheduled plan for Playtest Blog posts.

For the first 12 weeks, we're getting the core 12 classes (as we already knew). But I was trying to figure out... "what then?"

That's when it dawned on me. We now have eight core races (as goblins are now a core race). So that would fill out the remaining eight weeks on Mondays, with random stuff on Friday. :)


FlySkyHigh wrote:
Chaotic_Blues wrote:
I'm hoping for some long term down time down time options. I'm talking months or weeks, not days.

I'm curious what you think would be actions that would be useful to include that take a minimum of months to include?

My current thinking is that if there were such things that required MONTHS of downtime in order to use, it would probably be very seldomly utilized. If you are spending months of downtime you can probably do several things, spend a few weeks making money, make some items, retrain a feat or two, maybe even switch up your entire class if you felt like it.

I just find it difficult to imagine any one "action" for downtime mode that would require a minimum time in the frame of months. Short of designing new spells (which they have said will not be part of the game.)

No rules for spell research? :(

Good thing I'm the GM and can houserule that back in for my players, but I feel bad for anyone with a GM who doesn't feel comfortable adjudicating that without guidelines and won't allow it now. :/

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Use of the word mode just lets of have sentences that make sense.

Jason Bulmahn, everybody! :)

Thanks boss.

This is what I get for trying to stay on top of board posts while in meetings trying to solve entirely unrelated issues.

Just having some fun, pard. Thanks for the hard work!


Fuzzypaws wrote:
FlySkyHigh wrote:
Chaotic_Blues wrote:
I'm hoping for some long term down time down time options. I'm talking months or weeks, not days.

I'm curious what you think would be actions that would be useful to include that take a minimum of months to include?

My current thinking is that if there were such things that required MONTHS of downtime in order to use, it would probably be very seldomly utilized. If you are spending months of downtime you can probably do several things, spend a few weeks making money, make some items, retrain a feat or two, maybe even switch up your entire class if you felt like it.

I just find it difficult to imagine any one "action" for downtime mode that would require a minimum time in the frame of months. Short of designing new spells (which they have said will not be part of the game.)

No rules for spell research? :(

Good thing I'm the GM and can houserule that back in for my players, but I feel bad for anyone with a GM who doesn't feel comfortable adjudicating that without guidelines and won't allow it now. :/

Wizards are as good as you let them be. I don't allow spell research in PF1 myself... But I do drop scrolls and spellbooks! They have their 2 "free" spells per level for the "staples".

Paizo Employee Designer

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Volkard Abendroth wrote:
The big fear here is that as soon as you enter exploring mode you have to erase any active buffs that are not hour/level.

Won’t need to worry about that! Durations still go by time, but exploration allows that time between encounters isn’t precise, and that if you’re going into exploration, you recognize that you’re no longer in the keyed-up, precise time scale of rounds.

We also call out that a pell durations are abstractions. You can’t set your watch by resist energy.


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Logan Bonner wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
The big fear here is that as soon as you enter exploring mode you have to erase any active buffs that are not hour/level.

Won’t need to worry about that! Durations still go by time, but exploration allows that time between encounters isn’t precise, and that if you’re going into exploration, you recognize that you’re no longer in the keyed-up, precise time scale of rounds.

We also call out that a pell durations are abstractions. You can’t set your watch by resist energy.

Aw, I was kinda hoping that some spells would be balanced on a "1 encounter long" basis using this system.

...This is the part where I say I'm quitting Pathfinder forever, right?


Fuzzypaws wrote:

No rules for spell research? :(

Good thing I'm the GM and can houserule that back in for my players, but I feel bad for anyone with a GM who doesn't feel comfortable adjudicating that without guidelines and won't allow it now. :/

spell research as in making new spells from scratch? i guess not for now. we're still in the pre-playtest after all. neither it will come in the playtest i think (??). come on man, we're still on pre-playtest

however, it might come in the avtual release, i don't know

Paizo Employee Designer

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Arachnofiend wrote:

Aw, I was kinda hoping that some spells would be balanced on a "1 encounter long" basis using this system.

...This is the part where I say I'm quitting Pathfinder forever, right?

The durations are constructed with their typical length in mind. Part of that comes from not having them all increase with caster level. If a spell lasts a minute, it’s pretty dang hard, but not impossible, to make it last past 1 encounter. Takes some serious planning! We did reduce the likelihood of having a spell that lasts just long enough that rushing becomes strategically sound a lot of the time.


Darius Alazario wrote:

I would come back against your myriad What Ifs with a simple question: How do you deal with this currently?

From my perception, all they have really done is formalized something that already exists. I presume that you do not handle your entire game session in action-by-action, initiative ordered turns. You have a period of time where the players act relatively freely and do various things, you have your mostly book keeping period of what they do between one adventure and the next, and you have your active combat, turn-ordered stretches. In this later, what do you do when any of those What Ifs occur? Do you have them continue acting in turn order or do you declare when the threat has ended and they can begin acting freely again?

It's really the same thing given names. In part I think this allows them to also define how a spell, action or character feature may behave differently when...

I let players decide. Remove the last enemy from the roll20 initiative tracker, remove tokens or mark them as dead or whatever is appropriate, sometimes someone will ask if there are enemies left and I'll answer with "you don't see any more imps besides the dead and dying ones" or whatever, and I'll ask them if they want to end combat or continue acting in initiative.

I don't want there to be an expectation that I make that decision for them, and either reveal things I don't want to or risk being perceived as misleading players/forcing bad choices.


The Good: what I like about the P2E info so far.
[1] The revised action economy is nice. I still think it sucks that high level martials get screwed out of their 4th attack (even if that attack rarely ever hits, it was at least something that martials had that no caster got), but overall this is a much better system than in P1E.
[2] Revised crafting rules (both for mundane and magical items) are a welcome inclusion, as IMO those rules never quite worked right in P1E.
[3] Perception no longer being a skill, but an ability everyone gets to use is an awesome change.

The Bad: what I dislike about the P2E info so far.
[1] My biggest concern from what I've seen so far is that it seems EVERYTHING is tied to whether or not you have a specific feat. Makes me think that a lot of the stuff all characters can do normally in P1E, will be impossible (or at least severely ineffective) in P2E without the correct feat. And that, IMO, is a horrible direction to go in.
[2] Also, goblins as a core race make no sense to me - especially not pathfinder goblins. Paizo went out of their way to make goblins chaotic, murderous, insane little bastards (which was fantastic), and now all of a sudden, we're supposed to believe that they've become civilized enough to interact with the other core races on an equal and worldwide accepted level...I'm just not buying it.
[3] Having your initiative check based on "whatever the DM wants it to be, based on what you were doing before combat" instead of being based on a static ability is another huge mistake, and opens the door for too many confusing arguments and DM fiat calls.

The Ugly: what I hope to see in P2E
[1] I really, really hope that the P2E core barbarian, monk, and rogue are based on the P1E unchained versions of those classes instead of the P1E core versions.
[2] More robust mounted combat rules and options. They've hinted that more combat styles will be more viable in P2E, but I don't recall seeing anything specifically mentioning mounted combat.
[3] This one's a long shot, but...Venetian spellcasting replaced with spell points, similar to, no exactly the way psionics works in ultimate psionics.

Shadow Lodge

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Logan Bonner wrote:
durations are constructed with their typical length in mind. Part of that comes from not having them all increase with caster level

Ahh fixed 1hr or less length comprehend language, barkskin, heroism and such.. does a lot for that whole caster/martial thing.


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I don't care what terminology they use as long as it's not confusing and everyone understands what the game means. Modes sound fine to me, I don't think there's anything wrong with dividing gameplay into the most common avenue of play (what you do on initiative, what you do outside of initiative, and what you do during downtime) and applying a term to those avenues.


Fuzzypaws wrote:

People saying how Intimidating Strike doesn't require Intimidate.. I don't think that's actually how it's going to work. They didn't give us a whole feat writeup. I'm thinking it at the very least requires Intimidate Proficiency, then inflicts whatever level of fear your Intimidate proficiency allows. So if you only go up to shaken, the feat also causes shaken. If your Master at Intimidate can cause Panic, so does the feat.

Heck, it may even require you to use Intimidate as your attack roll. We don't know anything yet, really. I do like the flavor of it though!

The idea of it using intimidate to attack is interesting... or perhaps simply offering the choice between intimidate vs normal attack roll. I hope things like that are possible.


Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:

The Ugly: what I hope to see in P2E

[1] I really, really hope that the P2E core barbarian, monk, and rogue are based on the P1E unchained versions of those classes instead of the P1E core versions.

Well, considering the Rogue is being showcased on Monday, all there is to do is wait, but I have a strong feeling that this is the exact direction they're gonna go with the Rogue, Monk, and Barbarian - they've been taking a lot of other inspiration from Unchained, why not the unchained classes?


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It would be really surprising if *any* of the PF2 classes are not designed with "what did we learn from the successes and failures of the PF1 classes" in mind.

Like some of the concerns that went into the unchained classes won't apply in PF2 because of system changes (e.g. the core monk's low accuracy), the big innovation with the UnMonk is its modularity which appears to be something that is now built in to every class.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
It would be really surprising if *any* of the PF2 classes are not designed with "what did we learn from the successes and failures of the PF1 classes" in mind.

Except for maybe the Bard - the Bard is perfect the way it is and nothing could be done to improve it, conceptually


Logan Bonner wrote:
The durations are constructed with their typical length in mind. Part of that comes from not having them all increase with caster level. If a spell lasts a minute, it’s pretty dang hard, but not impossible, to make it last past 1 encounter. Takes some serious planning! We did reduce the likelihood of having a spell that lasts just long enough that rushing becomes strategically sound a lot of the time.

Where have I heard this before? Of special abilities lasting an encounter? ;)


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
The durations are constructed with their typical length in mind. Part of that comes from not having them all increase with caster level. If a spell lasts a minute, it’s pretty dang hard, but not impossible, to make it last past 1 encounter. Takes some serious planning! We did reduce the likelihood of having a spell that lasts just long enough that rushing becomes strategically sound a lot of the time.
Where have I heard this before? Of special abilities lasting an encounter? ;)

Pretty much every world of darkness and heck white wolf in general most of their abilities lasted for pretty well 1 encounter.


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Friendly Rogue wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
It would be really surprising if *any* of the PF2 classes are not designed with "what did we learn from the successes and failures of the PF1 classes" in mind.
Except for maybe the Bard - the Bard is perfect the way it is and nothing could be done to improve it, conceptually

You mean the bard that got massively worse in Pathfinder from its 3.x incarnation, due to the "spending rounds" mechanic? Sure.

And anyway, Monte Cook already did a conceptually much better version of the bard in a third party supplement, Songs and Souls of Power. It's really not very hard to better the PF bard in any and every way, lol.


I'm excited about the play test and am looking forward to testing out everything at the table...except for initiative. As a GM, I can already see every single player claiming their best stat for their initiative roll...which they should, since it is to their advantage. Please do not make me argue about why the rogue can't use stealth in an empty hallway or why knowledge is irrelevant to initiative order.

Honestly, I don't care which stat is being used. Just make it defined with no subjective call by the GM. Otherwise, I am going to use some homebrew initiative system that doesn't make me listen to the rogue complain about how many shadows there are in the well lit hallway.

Sorry for the salty comment, can't wait to try out everything!


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
It would be really surprising if *any* of the PF2 classes are not designed with "what did we learn from the successes and failures of the PF1 classes" in mind.
Except for maybe the Bard - the Bard is perfect the way it is and nothing could be done to improve it, conceptually

You mean the bard that got massively worse in Pathfinder from its 3.x incarnation, due to the "spending rounds" mechanic? Sure.

And anyway, Monte Cook already did a conceptually much better version of the bard in a third party supplement, Songs and Souls of Power. It's really not very hard to better the PF bard in any and every way, lol.

I was kidding about that - I'm actually really excited to see how the Bard looks in P2e because I would be lying if I said they weren't one of my favorite classes.

Also, I personally prefer Pathfinder's approach to Bardic Performance a lot more than 3.5's Bardic Music - fluff wise Bardic Performance includes more things, like Oration, and crunch wise the fact that you had a large pool of Bardic Performance that you could use for any of your performances whenever you felt like it was a large step up from only being able to do it a number of times per day equal to your bard level, for any performance. Even if it lasted for 5 rounds after the performance, you still got a maximum of 20 uses of Bardic Performance at level 20, whereas in Pathfinder it's easy to have at least 20 rounds by level 7 and then just pick up Lingering Performance to be able to save rounds on your Inspire Courage, especially since it doesn't cut into your action economy to maintain it, and activating Bardic Performance eventually gets reduced into Move/Swift Actions.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Quote:
Wizards, meanwhile, can get the ability to counterspell with their reaction, canceling out enemy magic before it can even take effect.

Loving this. Counterspelling always seemed like a cool idea, but was unfeasable in 3e/PF.


Count me as intrigued by potential simplification of the acquisition of Item Creation capability.


I can't foresee spending 1/10th of any resource on something that will only do anything if an enemy critically hits me. That's just way too narrow.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Bards entire source of strength was their superior ability to game the game's action economy vs everyone else in core pf.

The new action economy system is actually a big kick in the pants for them so I hope they do get some cool stuff.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
The durations are constructed with their typical length in mind. Part of that comes from not having them all increase with caster level. If a spell lasts a minute, it’s pretty dang hard, but not impossible, to make it last past 1 encounter. Takes some serious planning! We did reduce the likelihood of having a spell that lasts just long enough that rushing becomes strategically sound a lot of the time.
Where have I heard this before? Of special abilities lasting an encounter? ;)

Oh come on stop with the everything is 4e. Saying they've got durations that are unlikely to last more than one encounter (but could if you play your cards right) is not the same as effects having a duration of 1 encounter.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I actually really like the Druid reaction. Could make picking your engagements quite fun. "Guys I really think we should run from this one, you do not want to fight a Storm Druid next to a cliff."


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Malk_Content wrote:
Oh come on stop with the everything is 4e.

I'll stop pointing out the similarities between D&D 4th ed and Pathfinder 2nd edition when they stop posting mechanics that have strong similarities with those from D&D 4th ed.

Malk_Content wrote:
Saying they've got durations that are unlikely to last more than one encounter (but could if you play your cards right) is not the same as effects having a duration of 1 encounter.

They've certainly put a strong veneer of Pathfinder/3.5e onto the structure, but there have been (at least when posted in a summary format) strong similarities between D&D 4th ed and Pathfinder 2nd ed on some of the details that have been released thus far. Now how close the game is to 4th ed vs 3.5e we won't know until the playtest comes out. It could just be how the rules are being presented.

Sidenote: of all the posts I've made, that's the one you want to react to so strongly. Really?

Finally: I do have a strong and vested interest in making sure Pathfinder 2nd edition doesn't have too much 4th ed in it. There's a very decent chance my group won't convert to the new edition if it is too similar to 4th ed (Starfinder itself veered a bit too close to 4th ed for some of their comfort and that has minimal similarities between it and 4th ed). If I can't convert my group over there's a good chance they'll stop playing Pathfinder altogether (and perhaps tabletop RPGs altogether). So I'm not sorry if my agenda of ensuring my group can keep enjoying the game we've grown accustomed to is getting on your nerves.


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deuxhero wrote:
I can't foresee spending 1/10th of any resource on something that will only do anything if an enemy critically hits me. That's just way too narrow.

Don't be too hasty to decide that. As far as we know, it's confirmed that Critical Confirmations are gone, so its easier to crit on average (specially for enemies that are often not crit-built) ; and the attack passing by 10 or more the target AC is also a critical now.

So, using current numbers, if you are a Lv1 Druid with 12 AC because you have no spells on your and are not using a shield, a +4 ranged attack from a CR1/3 Goblin will Crit you on 18, 19 and 20.

Granted usually you will have more AC (from DEX and what not), but you get the idea.
All of a sudden some enemies will be able to crit you way more often just because of their high attack bonus or your low AC, without any "critical feat" being necessary in the equation.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Oh come on stop with the everything is 4e.

I'll stop pointing out the similarities between D&D 4th ed and Pathfinder 2nd edition when they stop posting mechanics that have strong similarities with those from D&D 4th ed.

Malk_Content wrote:
Saying they've got durations that are unlikely to last more than one encounter (but could if you play your cards right) is not the same as effects having a duration of 1 encounter.

They've certainly put a strong veneer of Pathfinder/3.5e onto the structure, but there have been (at least when posted in a summary format) strong similarities between D&D 4th ed and Pathfinder 2nd ed on some of the details that have been released thus far. Now how close the game is to 4th ed vs 3.5e we won't know until the playtest comes out. It could just be how the rules are being presented.

Sidenote: of all the posts I've made, that's the one you want to react to so strongly. Really?

Finally: I do have a strong and vested interest in making sure Pathfinder 2nd edition doesn't have too much 4th ed in it. There's a very decent chance my group won't convert to the new edition if it is too similar to 4th ed (Starfinder itself veered a bit too close to 4th ed for some of their comfort and that has minimal similarities between it and 4th ed). If I can't convert my group over there's a good chance they'll stop playing Pathfinder altogether (and perhaps tabletop RPGs altogether). So I'm not sorry if my agenda of ensuring my group can keep enjoying the game we've grown accustomed to is getting on your nerves.

Oh that is what you were doing and I was genuinely trying to help you. :P try and do something nice....


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Snip for brevity

I disagree that most of your points about it being more 4e are valid in any way. I might not have responded to you before, I don't track that sort of thing, but I have responded to ridiculous claims like Sudden Charge being indicative of design being like 4e powers design despite the fact that PF1E had numerous options designed around improving your action economy for certain things or providing new options to do with your actions. I also don't feel my response was particularly strong.

I have a strong vested interest in making sure Pathfinder 2 is the best game it can be. Poor comparisons to any edition don't serve that purpose. Especially as "oh no 4e" doesn't really say bugbear all about what your specific complaint is. Totally fine with you not liking a mechanic, but explain why you dislike it, don't repeatedly use 4e as a cop out for an actual point.


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* I'm fine with calling the three different modes "modes". Now, you don't have to in your games, but it will help Paizo to clearly explain when they are detailing something that has to do with a particular mode.

* Stride. Step. Strike. Alliteration works!

* Storm Order Druids Storm Retribution: so, it's a feat. That is a spell. I'm not a fan of this mechanical approach - on the one hand it feels a bit meta games and new-shiny for the sake of being new-shiny; on another hand it feels completely situational (requires receiving a crit to function); and on yet another hand (not the one not wearing the One Ring someone upthread created overnight) it smacks of that 5e mainstay of 1st level druids thunderwave. (At least in one iteration it went something like this:

Thunderwave wrote:

"With a loud crack, a wave of thunderous force sweeps out from you. Each creature in a 15-¬‐foot cube originating from you must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 2d8 thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet away from you. On a successful one, it takes half as much damage and is not pushed.

In addition, unsecured objects that are completely within the area of effect are automatically pushed 10 feet away from you by the spell’s effect, and the spell emits a thunderous boom audible within 300 feet of you."

I was spamming it so much I had to harass the GM to make the bloody noise attract more foes.

I'm complaining at a very high level - I'm fairly positive about the new edition apart from my gripes about Resonance, but they can remain in other threads. This blog feels a little like filler, and I'm sure the blog on Monday can deliver more to stab.


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Malk_Content wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Snip for brevity

I disagree that most of your points about it being more 4e are valid in any way. I might not have responded to you before, I don't track that sort of thing, but I have responded to ridiculous claims like Sudden Charge being indicative of design being like 4e powers design despite the fact that PF1E had numerous options designed around improving your action economy for certain things or providing new options to do with your actions. I also don't feel my response was particularly strong.

I have a strong vested interest in making sure Pathfinder 2 is the best game it can be. Poor comparisons to any edition don't serve that purpose. Especially as "oh no 4e" doesn't really say bugbear all about what your specific complaint is. Totally fine with you not liking a mechanic, but explain why you dislike it, don't repeatedly use 4e as a cop out for an actual point.

The points don't stand on their own merit, either. You know what else shares lots of terminology and concepts with 4E? PF1. D&D 3E. Both reference "encounters," and abilities that last roughly as long as a given encounter. They also share: levels, ability scores, HP, saves, skills, feats, class abilities, classes, races, etc. Oh no, 4E! It's 4Enception!

This idea that we should torch anything that vaguely resembles 4E doesn't take into account that everything resembles 4E, because it has the same roots and a lot of the same concepts. The execution might not be the same, but nothing of the PF2 previews has remotely suggested AEDU formats and forced movement-heavy stuff, which is where 4E truly differs from its brethren. The whole "encounter" powers thing? That's been around since 3E, even if it wasn't codified with those terms.

What 4E tried to do with codifying these terms was more clearly defining the rules. Again, the execution may not have been to taste (it wasn't to mine), but the goal itself is desirable in a roleplaying game this crunchy.


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deuxhero wrote:
I can't foresee spending 1/10th of any resource on something that will only do anything if an enemy critically hits me. That's just way too narrow.

It's in your hands. You just have to keep your armor class low enough and it will happen all the time!


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Leyren wrote:
deuxhero wrote:
I can't foresee spending 1/10th of any resource on something that will only do anything if an enemy critically hits me. That's just way too narrow.
It's in your hands. You just have to keep your armor class low enough and it will happen all the time!

Ohh, it's not a trap option, it's for the naked pagan druid who worships a god of nature and blood.

It's way easier to receive crits now so they'd get way more use from the feat!


I like the term encounter personally.
Because in my mind this is opening up for ease of social conflict as well as physical, instead of using the clunky term of social combat


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Regarding the Druid’s lightning ability- it seems like Pathfinder 2 might have an interesting “negation by reciprocation” design pattern. Fighter has an option to deal with flanking- instead of negating flanking, it boosts their DPR by a similar amount. Druid has an option for dealing with crits- instead of negating them, it deals about as much back as a nasty crit deals over a regular attack, and moving them back has a chance to also cancel out the action they saved by doing two attacks worth of damage with one attack.

I think that’s interesting. Rather than give fairly boring immunities or “X times per day, negate this thing”, you get something that gives you the same advantage that they got.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Use of the word mode just lets of have sentences that make sense. When in the middle of running text we might say, "while exploring", but we also like having the ability to say "During encounter mode, you can..." . Its not really worth delving into on this thread (and seriously.. I do not want to derail things), but we are trying to take a little bit of a lighter hand with hard-coded grammar constructions for our rules so that the text is a bit easier to read and parse.

I’ve been a smidge worried PF2 is going to read either like a law book or a computer manual.

Games which aren’t written in plain English always sit on my shelf. No matter how cunning the game design, if the rules don’t make me read them, I’m never going to play it.

Unfortunately "plain english" is a horrific language for rules, full of implications, shortcuts. euphemisms, inconsistencies and ambiguities. A step to something more structured is better for the game, even if it's harder to adjust to.
I appreciate there are many who feel that way. It isn't true for me though, the more strictly codified the rules language becomes, the less likely I am to play it. (I do way too much statute/contract reading as it is day-to-day).

The more ambiguous the rules language, the longer and more intense the fighting becomes over correct interpretation.

All you need to do is log into the rules forums for hundreds of examples as to why we need strictly defined keywords and a separation between RAW and fluff.


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Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Use of the word mode just lets of have sentences that make sense. When in the middle of running text we might say, "while exploring", but we also like having the ability to say "During encounter mode, you can..." . Its not really worth delving into on this thread (and seriously.. I do not want to derail things), but we are trying to take a little bit of a lighter hand with hard-coded grammar constructions for our rules so that the text is a bit easier to read and parse.

I’ve been a smidge worried PF2 is going to read either like a law book or a computer manual.

Games which aren’t written in plain English always sit on my shelf. No matter how cunning the game design, if the rules don’t make me read them, I’m never going to play it.

Unfortunately "plain english" is a horrific language for rules, full of implications, shortcuts. euphemisms, inconsistencies and ambiguities. A step to something more structured is better for the game, even if it's harder to adjust to.
I appreciate there are many who feel that way. It isn't true for me though, the more strictly codified the rules language becomes, the less likely I am to play it. (I do way too much statute/contract reading as it is day-to-day).

The more ambiguous the rules language, the longer and more intense the fighting becomes over correct interpretation.

All you need to do is log into the rules forums for hundreds of examples as to why we need strictly defined keywords and a separation between RAW and fluff.

In a game where people are conditioned to let the rules think for them, that's certainly true. In a game where people are conditioned to think for themselves, it becomes much less of a problem.

Rules arguments in 5e are way less embattled than in PF. And the only time they do get that severe is when people hyperfocus on RAW instead of thinking for themselves and just making a decision for how they want to play the game.

It's amazing how much a little self thought can control and abate these types of rules arguments.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Totally fine with you not liking a mechanic, but explain why you dislike it, don't repeatedly use 4e as a cop out for an actual point.

Here is the reason I don't like it: It sounds too much like D&D 4th ed.

You don't see that as a valid flaw? That's fine. You're welcome to your opinion. But when you Pathfinder was created it was under the following slogan: "3.5e survives thrives!" It marketed itself as "not D&D 4th ed" and it got players around my area because of this successful marketing campaign and 3.5e design decision.

So yes. When it being "too close to 4th ed" has a serious impact on whether or not my group will adopt the ruleset, I will continue providing feedback from the standpoint of trying to get them to adopt it. And the druid's power briefly mentioned in the blog entry definitely sounds like something I'd expect to see in a 4th ed PHB or Powers book.

Were there some 4th ed-esque stuff in Pathfinder 1st ed? Sure. +2 to any ability score for humans is certainly one similarity. But when the ruleset as a whole is looked at there is very little of 4th ed in Pathfinder 1st ed. Might that be the same for Pathfinder 2nd ed? Quite possibly. But the way we're getting information at the moment it certainly doesn't sound like it.

Malk_Content wrote:
I have a strong vested interest in making sure Pathfinder 2 is the best game it can be.

Great. How about you don't tell me to shut up and I won't do the same to you. I'm sure if my posts have no validity to them then I'll be the lone voice making these points and they'll be disregarded and you'll get exactly the gamer you want. If on the other hand they actually do have validity to them, then they may actually help influence the 2nd edition.

As for the modes of play: We already do this at my table. GM just hand waives it and it's not a big issue. If the rules text provides advice on how to handle these situations then I'm all for it. If there are "class feats"/"powers" that only work in exploration mode then they will have to be thought out extremely carefully and logically to explain why they don't work in a round by round basis.


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I have no real complaints here. If fact, there are things here that I like, such as downtime being core.
SO THERE! >:^(

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