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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Grand Lodge

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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
That's a bit of a lazy solution for the problem that Vancian Magic is quite simply awful, and we need to start moving away from it. The Spell Point system, if it was expanded upon, could work really well.

Vancian is already a spell point system, just with multiple separate pools. All you would be doing is allowing more castings of higher level spells.


Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So, when't the next blogpost?

Sometime after the office opens today.


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A concern of mine...well not a concern more of a curiosity, with the AP's that I have played/run there is an ingrained sense of urgency in the adventures usually designed to keep the characters (or players) focused on the main plot. With downtime now being in the core rule set and therefore becoming more a part of the game as a whole I will be interested to see how they handle that change in the coming AP'S

Dark Archive

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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Smite Makes Right wrote:
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:
[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.
I think you mean the abomination that is Vancian Magic.

I saw one of the best and most interesting depictions of Vancian Magic in the second Amber series. Spells are something you cast ahead of time but you leave out key words and gestures. Those anchors prevent the spell from being cast but do decay over time which is why you need to "re-memorize" spells. And the hero used Vancian spells to bury his opponent first with a pile of roses, and then a pile of cow manure. It was most amusing. ^_^

If you don't like Vancian magic, just play a Sorcerer. ;)

That's a bit of a lazy solution for the problem that Vancian Magic is quite simply awful, and we need to start moving away from it. The Spell Point system, if it was expanded upon, could work really well.

It is 'awful' is your opinion. It may even be a popular opinion.. but it is not a universal one. There are numerous people who do enjoy the Vancian spell casting. I would say, if you don't like it choose a class that doesn't use it is by far the better solution than remove it from all classes and leave no option available to those who DO enjoy it. Their solution allows you to play a caster more to your liking.. your solution does not provide an alternative to those who do like the current system.


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Tangent101 wrote:


I saw one of the best and most interesting depictions of Vancian Magic in the second Amber series. Spells are something you cast ahead of time but you leave out key words and gestures. Those anchors prevent the spell from being cast but do decay over time which is why you need to "re-memorize" spells. And the hero used Vancian spells to bury his opponent first with a pile of roses, and then a pile of cow manure. It was most amusing. ^_^

If you don't like Vancian magic, just play a Sorcerer. ;)

After I read those, that became the default setting explination for prepared spells in my D&D/PF games forever after. I even used "hanging spells" rather than "Preparing spells" when I talked about it.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lord Mhoram wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:


I saw one of the best and most interesting depictions of Vancian Magic in the second Amber series. Spells are something you cast ahead of time but you leave out key words and gestures. Those anchors prevent the spell from being cast but do decay over time which is why you need to "re-memorize" spells. And the hero used Vancian spells to bury his opponent first with a pile of roses, and then a pile of cow manure. It was most amusing. ^_^

If you don't like Vancian magic, just play a Sorcerer. ;)

After I read those, that became the default setting explination for prepared spells in my D&D/PF games forever after. I even used "hanging spells" rather than "Preparing spells" when I talked about it.

Never read those, but that always was my impression... Probably because that's also how scrolls and wands work. You only have to say the couple of missing words to "trigger" the spell effect, it's just that the scroll/wand encode the rest of the spell for you.


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Lord Mhoram wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:


I saw one of the best and most interesting depictions of Vancian Magic in the second Amber series. Spells are something you cast ahead of time but you leave out key words and gestures. Those anchors prevent the spell from being cast but do decay over time which is why you need to "re-memorize" spells. And the hero used Vancian spells to bury his opponent first with a pile of roses, and then a pile of cow manure. It was most amusing. ^_^

If you don't like Vancian magic, just play a Sorcerer. ;)

After I read those, that became the default setting explination for prepared spells in my D&D/PF games forever after. I even used "hanging spells" rather than "Preparing spells" when I talked about it.

This is how the system was described in 3E and many of the D&D novels. So it's always been the lore explanation of Vancian system! Don't know any other one myself...


I don't get why we need the different modes unless there's feats/abilities that clearly say "Active outside of combat" now.

I mean I don't see this as an improvement over what we have now.


MerlinCross wrote:

I don't get why we need the different modes unless there's feats/abilities that clearly say "Active outside of combat" now.

I mean I don't see this as an improvement over what we have now.

Could just be for language precision, could be a setup for something else to be dropped in later.

Shadow Lodge

Could also be to prevent the PF1 scenario where people with really low Initiative scores. Ther is a Deaf Curse oracle in one of my games and she has a negative Initiative modifier, for instance.


KuniUjito wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

I don't get why we need the different modes unless there's feats/abilities that clearly say "Active outside of combat" now.

I mean I don't see this as an improvement over what we have now.

Could just be for language precision, could be a setup for something else to be dropped in later.

Maybe. But running off my experience with the game I'm running now, you can easily fall into "Encounter, Explore for 1 room, Encounter, Explore, etc".

For new players I think it would be annoying to have to switch the modes back and forth so often.


Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So, when't the next blogpost?

between midnight and 6 am today


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MerlinCross wrote:
For new players I think it would be annoying to have to switch the modes back and forth so often.

This doesn't make any sense.

Are you really saying that you run your entire session in combat rounds, 6 seconds at a time?

Or do you already have a way to switch back and forth between combat and other activities?


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khadgar567 wrote:
between midnight and 6 am today

Or between 6 am and noon; or between noon and 6 pm; or between 6 pm and midnight.

Silver Crusade

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Yeah I'm thinking having clear cut terms for in/out of combat is to cut off potential future incidents of "Can I use this out of combat?" or somesuch.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Lord Mhoram wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:


I saw one of the best and most interesting depictions of Vancian Magic in the second Amber series. Spells are something you cast ahead of time but you leave out key words and gestures. Those anchors prevent the spell from being cast but do decay over time which is why you need to "re-memorize" spells. And the hero used Vancian spells to bury his opponent first with a pile of roses, and then a pile of cow manure. It was most amusing. ^_^

If you don't like Vancian magic, just play a Sorcerer. ;)

After I read those, that became the default setting explination for prepared spells in my D&D/PF games forever after. I even used "hanging spells" rather than "Preparing spells" when I talked about it.

This is how the system was described in 3E and many of the D&D novels. So it's always been the lore explanation of Vancian system! Don't know any other one myself...

When 3rd did that my first thought was "They read amber". In earlier editions it was "memorizing spells" - the idea was teh spell imprinted on your mind, and saying the short keywords and gestures released it upon the world.


CrystalSeas wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
For new players I think it would be annoying to have to switch the modes back and forth so often.

This doesn't make any sense.

Are you really saying that you run your entire session in combat rounds, 6 seconds at a time?

Or do you already have a way to switch back and forth between combat and other activities?

No but to give you an example, I'm running Mummy's Mask Book 1. It's pretty dungeon crawly with basically each room or each other room having a fight. So get into fight Encounter mode, loot the room in Explore mode, enter room as Encounter mode, loot room in explore, enter next room in explore, trigger trap that causes fight so back to Encounter....; pretty sure people can take it from there.

And yes I do have a way of switch from combat to other activities. It's called "Is the GM using the initiative table?"; if yes, we're in combat. If no, then we're in not combat. And if in town with time to spare probably downtime.


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So you're basically already using Encounter, Explore, and Downtime modes without calling them that. How do you feel that having names for them will make things more cumbersome?

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Defining the transition between Encounter and Explore modes is particularly useful. I've found players tend to hold on to the the combat rounds mindset for a few minutes after combat is over.


Lord Mhoram wrote:
When 3rd did that my first thought was "They read amber". In earlier editions it was "memorizing spells" - the idea was teh spell imprinted on your mind, and saying the short keywords and gestures released it upon the world.

I had no idea that was how things worked in Amber. I was only aware of Jack Vance's Dying Earth books, which is roughly the same thing and the original source. Memorization was always how many magical effects you could shove into your brain and unleash later to me, even in AD&D days.

I should go back and read some more of both, though. They are good reads.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I actually would stick to Combat Mode even when exploring as it allows for a better track of who is where (and often encounters are just lurking around the corner). But really, Exploration Mode is no different than someone Taking 20 to search a room - it takes 5 minutes or so to search that room thoroughly so that is the shift from Combat to Exploration.

Dark Archive

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MerlinCross wrote:
And yes I do have a way of switch from combat to other activities. It's called "Is the GM using the initiative table?"; if yes, we're in combat. If no, then we're in not combat. And if in town with time to spare probably downtime.

Replace "not in combat" with "in exploration mode" and TADA! you've converted to the PF2 method. It's just a new name for "not in combat"


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My only objection is that "encounter mode" really means "combat mode", which is fine, but call it that.

_
glass.

Liberty's Edge

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glass wrote:

My only objection is that "encounter mode" really means "combat mode", which is fine, but call it that.

_
glass.

I get why you'd say that, but there's more than just combat that might need to be taken care of on a round-by-round basis. Any tense situation that needs attention down to the wire (rounds) could be an encounter;

Hostage negotiation scene, or heated social encounter.
A chase scene.
Dealing with a victim of some sort of demonic possession.
Complex trap/haunt/hazard scenario.
Combat.

I agree that most of the time we'll be using it for combat, and most games don't necessarily utilize those other scenarios, but I think that's why they went with encounter as opposed to combat.


Joana wrote:
So you're basically already using Encounter, Explore, and Downtime modes without calling them that. How do you feel that having names for them will make things more cumbersome?

By itself; no. It seems and odd change that doesn't do anything though but no harm.

But, as someone pointed out to me about another topic, it opens up design space. And that could get cumbersome. Feats, skills, abilities, buffs; any number of bonuses or negatives they could draw up but only work in Explore mode now. With the modes so clearly defined, Paizo can slide such abilities into the game easily enough. Which isn't a bad thing.

Unless the bonuses are so board and large that when switching modes you're basically playing two characters. And at the very least would require some added bookkeeping. Or powers that "Last until X mode ends" which would create time issues to solve.

But by itself, no it's not a problem. It just seems and odd thing to feel the need to clarify when looked at in a vacuum to me.

Dark Archive

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kaineblade83 wrote:
glass wrote:

My only objection is that "encounter mode" really means "combat mode", which is fine, but call it that.

_
glass.

I get why you'd say that, but there's more than just combat that might need to be taken care of on a round-by-round basis. Any tense situation that needs attention down to the wire (rounds) could be an encounter;

Hostage negotiation scene, or heated social encounter.
A chase scene.
Dealing with a victim of some sort of demonic possession.
Complex trap/haunt/hazard scenario.
Combat.

I agree that most of the time we'll be using it for combat, and most games don't necessarily utilize those other scenarios, but I think that's why they went with encounter as opposed to combat.

Unfortunately, it is also true that not all Encounters need to be handled in a structured initiative order format. So I am curious how these will be addressed. For example, you are in a 'Social Encounter' attempting to persuade the street urchin to part with their new found bauble that happens to be important to your current quest. This would generally be an Encounter and not Exploration but you wouldn't generally roll initiative and take turns attempting to persuade them.


Darius Alazario wrote:
Replace "not in combat" with "in exploration mode" and TADA! you've converted to the PF2 method. It's just a new name for "not in combat"

Also one can now rewrite the magic item creation rules by replacing "If the caster is out adventuring..." with "in exploration mode..."


Darius Alazario wrote:
kaineblade83 wrote:
glass wrote:

My only objection is that "encounter mode" really means "combat mode", which is fine, but call it that.

_
glass.

I get why you'd say that, but there's more than just combat that might need to be taken care of on a round-by-round basis. Any tense situation that needs attention down to the wire (rounds) could be an encounter;

Hostage negotiation scene, or heated social encounter.
A chase scene.
Dealing with a victim of some sort of demonic possession.
Complex trap/haunt/hazard scenario.
Combat.

I agree that most of the time we'll be using it for combat, and most games don't necessarily utilize those other scenarios, but I think that's why they went with encounter as opposed to combat.

Unfortunately, it is also true that not all Encounters need to be handled in a structured initiative order format. So I am curious how these will be addressed. For example, you are in a 'Social Encounter' attempting to persuade the street urchin to part with their new found bauble that happens to be important to your current quest. This would generally be an Encounter and not Exploration but you wouldn't generally roll initiative and take turns attempting to persuade them.

I agree it is odd that a Marjory of social encounters take place over a time frame of minutes/hours so they will be in explore mode.


Aye the different instances of "Encounter mode" could add to the confusion or rules argument of "What mode is this/should this be"


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Darius Alazario wrote:
Replace "not in combat" with "in exploration mode" and TADA! you've converted to the PF2 method. It's just a new name for "not in combat"
Also one can now rewrite the magic item creation rules by replacing "If the caster is out adventuring..." with "in exploration mode..."

Don't forget downtime rules as well, wouldn't item creation fall more into that?


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KuniUjito wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Darius Alazario wrote:
Replace "not in combat" with "in exploration mode" and TADA! you've converted to the PF2 method. It's just a new name for "not in combat"
Also one can now rewrite the magic item creation rules by replacing "If the caster is out adventuring..." with "in exploration mode..."
Don't forget downtime rules as well, wouldn't item creation fall more into that?

Well the current magic item creation rules say you can do x when you have uninterrupted periods to work, and you can do less when you're out adventuring. Now you can just specify item creation rules via "in downtime mode, [foo]. When in exploration mode, you may [bar]"


Stone Dog wrote:
Lord Mhoram wrote:
When 3rd did that my first thought was "They read amber". In earlier editions it was "memorizing spells" - the idea was teh spell imprinted on your mind, and saying the short keywords and gestures released it upon the world.

I had no idea that was how things worked in Amber. I was only aware of Jack Vance's Dying Earth books, which is roughly the same thing and the original source. Memorization was always how many magical effects you could shove into your brain and unleash later to me, even in AD&D days.

I should go back and read some more of both, though. They are good reads.

Agreed on both good. Yeah Merlin discussed spells and described haing a "loom" that you hung spells on. I always loved the image.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Erik Mona wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
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!

Jason is a pard? This explains so much...


MerlinCross wrote:
Aye the different instances of "Encounter mode" could add to the confusion or rules argument of "What mode is this/should this be"

On the flip-side, it might inform everything that is within the framework of an Encounter to be clarified and designated thus. No more confusion, and with everything categorised, any instance that somehow doesn't fit within that "everything" should have a large body of compelling precedent within "everything".

Also, it will likely allow for interplay for abilities/spells/feats/items/you name it within the mode and even expand the influence/operational framework of the mode.


How is Storm Retribution bad again? I mean for a caster, yeah, but for a wild shape focused Druid it sounds amazing. Nothing says badass quite like an electrified bull rush from a screaming gorilla. Also, it's hella thematic and fitting for the concept of Druid. Ya know, the shape shifting spellcaster.

If anything, between this and the Fighter feat double slice, class feats sound like a fine tuning of whatever archetype you've chosen to follow for your class or to branch out and diversify your abilities, which gives me hope for a huge amount of variety within classes, instead of yet another humming bird storm caller with a tiger #9481.


OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Aye the different instances of "Encounter mode" could add to the confusion or rules argument of "What mode is this/should this be"

On the flip-side, it might inform everything that is within the framework of an Encounter to be clarified and designated thus. No more confusion, and with everything categorised, any instance that somehow doesn't fit within that "everything" should have a large body of compelling precedent within "everything".

Also, it will likely allow for interplay for abilities/spells/feats/items/you name it within the mode and even expand the influence/operational framework of the mode.

I'm sorry this doesn't sound like clarifying, it sounds like set up for arguements and clutter.

I mean when do you stop being in Explore and start being in Enounter? Sure combat but what else? A chase? Interrogating? Is doing a heist Exporation until the guards find us? Heck could probably argue a court case as an Encounter.

And if Encounter is just combat, well I don't see that as any different to now.


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MerlinCross wrote:

I mean when do you stop being in Explore and start being in Enounter? Sure combat but what else? A chase? Interrogating? Is doing a heist Exporation until the guards find us? Heck could probably argue a court case as an Encounter.

And if Encounter is just combat, well I don't see that as any different to now.

Whenever you go into round-by-round rolling? Whenever you'd say "Roll for initiative?"

I don't think it's actually meant to be different than now. They're just adopting standard nomenclature to make the rules clearer. Imagine "You can take 10 on this skill during Explore mode but not in Encounter mode," instead of the ever-argued-about "You can take 10 when your character is not in immediate danger or distracted." And then characters with higher levels of proficiency could take 10 or 20 in Encounter mode, and everyone would know exactly what that meant.


I don't have much to say about this feature. I'm going to need to see some concrete rules as to what players can do and how they can affect the game in each of these modes. From what I've read so far, our group have already mostly been playing along these lines in PF1, so I'm not seeing a whole lot of innovative changes for the new edition.

The sole exception is the idea of setting things up in Exploration Mode to affect any challenges met. I like it, but I really need to see what we can do and how they can affect the encounter. I'm already on board with the idea since the PF1 Downtime rules offered the option to prepare for an upcoming adventure.

I hope we won't have long to wait for the PF2 system for Downtime activities (beyond what'll be in the Core), like establishing buildings and organizations and businesses. Those are seeing a lot of action in my Kingmaker campaign.

Grand Lodge

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MerlinCross wrote:
I'm sorry this doesn't sound like clarifying, it sounds like set up for arguments and clutter.

I rather thought that having clearly defined modes and transitions would reduce that.


MerlinCross wrote:

I'm sorry this doesn't sound like clarifying, it sounds like set up for arguements and clutter.

I mean when do you stop being in Explore and start being in Enounter? Sure combat but what else? A chase? Interrogating? Is doing a heist Exporation until the guards find us? Heck could probably argue a court case as an Encounter.

And if Encounter is just combat, well I don't see that as any different to now.

The game plays like it did before with the following exceptions: they're codifying Exploration and Downtime into systems that can be expanded with feats, further rules, and additional options.

Before there were essentially two modes... in initiative and out of initiative. Now there is "in initiative" which is Encounter mode and "out of initiative" to Expore and Downtime.

It's not that big of a leap from first edition.

Dark Archive

MerlinCross wrote:
OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Aye the different instances of "Encounter mode" could add to the confusion or rules argument of "What mode is this/should this be"

On the flip-side, it might inform everything that is within the framework of an Encounter to be clarified and designated thus. No more confusion, and with everything categorised, any instance that somehow doesn't fit within that "everything" should have a large body of compelling precedent within "everything".

Also, it will likely allow for interplay for abilities/spells/feats/items/you name it within the mode and even expand the influence/operational framework of the mode.

I'm sorry this doesn't sound like clarifying, it sounds like set up for arguements and clutter.

I mean when do you stop being in Explore and start being in Enounter? Sure combat but what else? A chase? Interrogating? Is doing a heist Exporation until the guards find us? Heck could probably argue a court case as an Encounter.

And if Encounter is just combat, well I don't see that as any different to now.

I imagine the core book will provide some guidance on when certain modes of play are most appropriate but ultimately, there is a key line in the blog here:

Paizo Blog wrote:
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.

If the GM says that is the appropriate mode, then that is the mode you are in. I know there are plenty of rules lawyery players out there that, unfortunately, likely to argue basically anything they can argue but what we have been presented is that the GM shifts the flow as best fits the needs at the time. And once again, I would be highly surprised if these modes present anything more than a formal naming of the modes of play people already use but didn't have specific names.

If someone at the table is of the mindset of 'Hey! This is a social encounter thus I insist we are in Encounter Mode and must roll initiative!' despite the GM saying that is unnecessary I would personally say that the table has issues beyond what the naming of these modes of play are.

Grand Lodge

Cylerist wrote:

[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.

I agree with this 100%

This can be fixed with a simple, "You cannot play a goblin in my campaign." But leave this option open to those of us who are ok with it.

Fuzzypaws wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
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.

And still, "plain" English is a beautiful language, while "technical manual" English is not. The problem (and that may just be me) I have with the Modes is that it's too much of an abstraction for me and that I'm not willing to even think in those terms.

So like Steve (Geddes) I'm a tiny bit worried that the structure and the language of the Core Rules won't make me read them. We'll see when the playtest rules are out.

I want very clear and precise game rules; this was the single biggest strength of 4E. At the same time, I don't want a dry textbook, or for certain aspects of the game to be overdefined to the point they get straightjacketed. This can be a balancing act, and something that will require seeing the playtest draft and giving feedback as necessary.

100% agree. You'll see on the plethora of forum posts here that ambiguous and unclear rules text leads to confusion.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
I'm sorry this doesn't sound like clarifying, it sounds like set up for arguments and clutter.
I rather thought that having clearly defined modes and transitions would reduce that.

His post was confusing to me. And as of yet the modes don't seem that clearly defined just yet. Now I suppose large open areas it makes sense; traveling in the woods or over mountains or even sailing. It's when the modes either swap rapidly or blur together that issues start happening. Never mind if one DM says. X is encounter while another DM says its in explore mode, and the rules are open enough to say both could be right.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:

His post was confusing to me. And as of yet the modes don't seem that clearly defined just yet.

Well, not having the playtest rules for modes, let alone the final printing, I am not surprised. I highly recommend an effort to submit feedback on just that aspect of the rules this August.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

His post was confusing to me. And as of yet the modes don't seem that clearly defined just yet.

Well, not having the playtest rules for modes, let alone the final printing, I am not surprised. I highly recommend an effort to submit feedback on just that aspect of the rules this August.

That or play without it.

I've said this before in other topics but I'm fully willing to be proven wrong in my fears when the full rule set comes out

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

K, so my question is about this line in the combat discussion,

"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!"

How are you going to balance diversity of choice with power of specialization inside this system? We've already seen how this maxim doesn't tend to work even in current systems as much of the printed content requires things like feat taxes, level minimums, class specificity, and not to mention time to just get to do basic stuff in your build you wanted to play with in the first place while other classes and in particular spellcasting can overcome these issues with a deft flick of the wrist. This is in part why things like combat maneuvers in my experience always seem to be something that doesn't get played with as DPR optimizes them out and the dev time it has taken to give us options to make them viable in more than just one specific build in specific instances has left many not thinking about them when those options come into existence.

How does this new edition help counter that problem? What are we doing to make sure that things like Combat Maneuvers become actually viable and fun to play without having to play a specific class to do them this time? How are does this system present options that don't just create hard counters so great that no one will use them? How will the system present enough diversity of play with these invested options to help get players thinking outside the box with their use?

I'm excited, but when I see this counter system, but then not a lot of discussion of how said shaken fighter might counter that fear shaking barbarian while simultaneously stating you can specialize or go diverse I get nervous. It sounds like that fighter is screwed and if that barbarian power is common then why would I ever use that fighter build? This is an issue in the current edition, and one I hope we can avoid in the second edition.


If I punch my companion does it turn on the "combat mode"?

Does that mean one of us has to die now for it to end? *shudders*

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Are you both committed to fight to the death?


Wild Spirit wrote:

If I punch my companion does it turn on the "combat mode"?

Does that mean one of us has to die now for it to end? *shudders*

Pretty simple: Do you want to have a boxing match which is tracked round by round? Or do you just want someone to get punched.

In the former case, encounter mode will end whenever one person wins or gives up or both people decide to call it a draw.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
I'm sorry this doesn't sound like clarifying, it sounds like set up for arguments and clutter.
I rather thought that having clearly defined modes and transitions would reduce that.
His post was confusing to me. And as of yet the modes don't seem that clearly defined just yet. Now I suppose large open areas it makes sense; traveling in the woods or over mountains or even sailing. It's when the modes either swap rapidly or blur together that issues start happening. Never mind if one DM says. X is encounter while another DM says its in explore mode, and the rules are open enough to say both could be right.

Do you roll initiative? Then its encounter.

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