Critical Hits and Critical Failures

Friday, March 30, 2018

In the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, when you roll your d20, there's more than just success and failure on the line. You can also critically succeed or critically fail at a variety of checks, from attack rolls, to saving throws, to skill checks and beyond. Rules like these have always been a part of Pathfinder—for example, if you fail a Climb check by 5 or more you fall, and if you fail a Disable Device check by 5 or more you set off the trap—but they are uncommon and not universally applied. In the playtest, we have a unified mechanic.

The Four Degrees of Success

In Pathfinder Second Edition, every check is rolled against a particular DC. Your roll on the d20 + your proficiency modifier + your ability modifier + all your relevant modifiers, bonuses, and penalties make up your check result. If your check result meets or exceeds the target DC, congratulations! You succeeded, and you might have critically succeeded. Otherwise, you failed. If you exceeded the target DC by 10 or more, or if you rolled a natural 20 and met or exceeded the target DC, then you critically succeeded. If your result was 10 or more lower than the target DC, or if you rolled a natural 1 and didn't meet the target DC, then you critically failed. Collectively, success, critical success, failure, and critical failure are called the four degrees of success. You can gain special abilities that increase or decrease your degree of success, often due to having a high proficiency rank. For instance, if your class grants you evasion, you get master proficiency in Reflex saves and treat any success on a Reflex save as a critical success!

Examples

Let's start with a fireball spell. In Pathfinder First Edition, if you succeed the Reflex save, you take only half damage, and evasion allows you to take no damage on a successful save. In Pathfinder Second Edition, here are the degrees of success for fireball (and many of its old friends like lightning bolt and cone of cold) in the playtest.

    Success Half damage
  • Critical Success No damage
  • Failure Full damage
  • Critical Failure Double damage

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Any character who critically succeeds takes no damage, and characters with evasion count their successes as critical successes. What about someone legendary at Reflex saves with improved evasion? They count critical failures as failures and thus can never suffer the deadliest effects of a Reflex save, even on a natural 1!

Not all effects list all four degrees of success. If an effect doesn't list a critical success entry, that means there is normally no special effect for critically succeeding, so you just use the result for a success. Similarly, if an effect doesn't list a critical failure entry, there is normally no special effect for critically failing, so you just use the result for a failure. If a success entry is missing, that means nothing happens on a success, and if a failure entry is missing, that means nothing happens on a failure. Let's take a look at an example that combines two of these rules: the results of a basic attack called a strike.

Success You deal damage, which equals the weapon's or unarmed attack's damage dice plus your Strength modifier if it's a melee attack, plus any bonuses.

Critical Success You deal double damage—you roll twice as many damage dice and add double the ability modifier and double any other bonuses to damage.

Let's unpack what this means. You deal damage on a success and double damage on a critical success. Since there is no failure entry, that means normally nothing happens on a failure, and since there is no critical failure entry, that means a critical failure has the same effect as a failure, so nothing happens. But the fighter might have something to say about that! The fighter can use the special certain strike action, which lets him strike with the following failure effect.

Failure Your attack deals the minimum damage. (Treat this as though you had rolled a 1 on every die.)

So with certain strike, a failed attack roll isn't actually a miss—your fighter is so skilled that you still get a glancing blow on a failure and miss entirely only on a critical failure! Meanwhile, a fighter with the twin riposte reaction can use one weapon to parry and attack with the other weapon whenever an enemy critical fails an attack roll.

Save or Lose

One of the effects of the four degrees of success that adds the most fun to the game is what this means for save or lose effects—effects where if you fail your save, you're unable to continue the fight. These sorts of effects are tricky in almost every roleplaying game, and Pathfinder is no exception. In Pathfinder First Edition, even if your character has a 75% chance of succeeding at your Will save against a mummy's paralysis, chances are pretty high that four mummies are going to paralyze you. (Thanks a lot for that encounter in your Pathfinder Society Scenario, Jason!)

It's tempting to just decide the solution is not to have save or lose effects, but that really cuts off a wide variety of classic feats, monster abilities, and spells from the game. The flip side of those abilities is that if they don't just win, chances are that many of these effects are just wasting a turn. So you either cast the save or lose spell and win, or you cast it and waste the turn. Having those as the only two outcomes is not a great proposition, and of course, players and GMs often maximize their DCs and saving throw bonuses in order to tilt the outcome to their side as much as possible.

But with four degrees of success, suddenly the design space broadens significantly. You can still suffer an effect that takes you out of the action entirely on a critical failure, and you can completely ignore the effect on a critical success. But on a failure, you suffer a powerful effect but not one that takes you entirely out of the fight in one go, and even on a success, you suffer a milder effect that is still useful for the spell's caster. For example, if you critically fail your save against dominate, you are completely under the spellcaster's control, but if you only fail, you can try to break out of the effect each round. On a successful save, you aren't controlled, but you still lose an action on your next turn as you struggle to fight off the mental commands, which could be a serious problem—you might not be able to step away before casting a spell, or have time to raise a shield.

Some Mysterious Critical Effects

I'm closing out with some cool critical effects that result from critical successes on your attack rolls or skill checks or from critical failures on your enemy's saving throws. See if you can figure out where they come from!

  • The creature is banished and can't return to your home plane by any means for 1 week.
  • The creature takes the full collapse damage and falls into a fissure.
  • The target believes the fact for an unlimited duration.
  • The target's intellect is permanently reduced below that of an animal, and it treats its Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom modifiers as –5. It loses all class abilities that require mental faculties, including all spellcasting. If the target is a PC, she becomes an NPC under the GM's control.
  • The creature is pushed 30 feet in the direction of the wind, is knocked prone, and takes 2d6 bludgeoning damage.
  • You grant a +4 circumstance bonus.
  • Per a failure, except the target believes that everyone it sees is a mortal enemy. It uses its reactions and free actions against these enemies regardless of whether they were previously its allies, as determined by the GM. It otherwise acts as rationally as normal and will likely prefer to attack enemies that are actively attacking or hindering it.
  • The target must succeed at a Fortitude save or die. Even on a successful save, the target is frightened 2 and must flee for 1 round.
  • Your target regains Hit Points equal to 2d10 + your Wisdom modifier.
  • Per a success, but even afterward, the target is too scared of you to retaliate against you.

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Grand Lodge

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MidsouthGuy wrote:

Oh boy, yet another solution in search of a problem.

The more I see, the more I am not looking forward to PF2.

The crit success system is an existing problem in PF1... you had to roll twice. The confirmation roll was a speed bump, breaking the flow of the game and often just resulting in disappointment every time it wasn't confirmed.

"YES, I rolled a CRIT!"... "oh... never mind, didn't confirm..."

Having levels of success from a single roll is excellent. There is some extra calculation to determine a difference of 10, but it offers up so much more possibility. And Save or Suck IS also an existing problem, just not fun gameplay... having to fail twice or crit fail once to turn to stone (as an example) is much more engaging.


Also, I like that this can help make higher-level (more contemporary?) blasts significantly better. Before in PF, a lot of high-level AoE's were skipped in favor of adding metamagic to fireball. Now with crit fails resulting in double damage it is possible that, assuming DC scaling is harder outside of higher level spells than in PF, those higher level spells likely have a better chance of doing double damage.

Of course, if I'm wrong about it being harder to get higher DCs than before then this is false, but I like that the chance is there.

One question: Is the double damage where you roll twice, or do you just multiply the damage by 2 after rolling once? The former is better balanced IMO (creates a better parallel with martial crits and reduces the chance that luck makes the crit too strong/weak) but the latter seems much easier to adjudicate (as you don't have to roll a separate pool of dice for a small portion who crit fails and thus spend less time adding damage together).


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RyanH wrote:
MidsouthGuy wrote:

Oh boy, yet another solution in search of a problem.

The more I see, the more I am not looking forward to PF2.

The crit success system is an existing problem in PF1... you had to roll twice. The confirmation roll was a speed bump, breaking the flow of the game and often just resulting in disappointment every time it wasn't confirmed.

"YES, I rolled a CRIT!"... "oh... never mind, didn't confirm..."

Having levels of success from a single roll is excellent. There is some extra calculation to determine a difference of 10, but it offers up so much more possibility. And Save or Suck IS also an existing problem, just not fun gameplay... having to fail twice or crit fail once to turn to stone (as an example) is much more engaging.

I don't see this as much of an improvement though. Instead of knowing what was a potential crit you instead have to wait to see if each and every roll is a crit [failure/success]. 'Woot a 17! a crit? no? an 19? yes? how about a 18?' Seems like removing 1 "speed bump" with multiple ones. And on excitement, well... it seems like about the same excitement as you can't be sure a 20 is a crit here either.

That is unless of course your DM gives out AC from the start.

Liberty's Edge

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Add me to the "1/20 increases/decreases the degree of success is more intuitive" camp. I know it's been stated, but I figure it's more likely to get implemented if more people chime in in support of it.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I sure hope that CR math is getting fixed this time around, because this is going to make encounters comprised of multiple lower-CR enemies into complete jokes.

Well, more than they already were.

Grand Lodge

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graystone wrote:
RyanH wrote:
MidsouthGuy wrote:

Oh boy, yet another solution in search of a problem.

The more I see, the more I am not looking forward to PF2.

The crit success system is an existing problem in PF1... you had to roll twice. The confirmation roll was a speed bump, breaking the flow of the game and often just resulting in disappointment every time it wasn't confirmed.

"YES, I rolled a CRIT!"... "oh... never mind, didn't confirm..."

Having levels of success from a single roll is excellent. There is some extra calculation to determine a difference of 10, but it offers up so much more possibility. And Save or Suck IS also an existing problem, just not fun gameplay... having to fail twice or crit fail once to turn to stone (as an example) is much more engaging.

I don't see this as much of an improvement though. Instead of knowing what was a potential crit you instead have to wait to see if each and every roll is a crit [failure/success]. 'Woot a 17! a crit? no? an 19? yes? how about a 18?' Seems like removing 1 "speed bump" with multiple ones. And on excitement, well... it seems like about the same excitement as you can't be sure a 20 is a crit here either.

That is unless of course your DM gives out AC from the start.

Seems like you wouldn't ask your DM every potential number... you'd just state the total and the DM would tell you. No different than... "does a 17 hit?" Now it's Either...

"Wooo... got a 28?" Looks anxiously at the DM

Or
"Woooo! nat 20! For 32 Total!", looks anxiously at the DM

"You hit! And it's a crit!"

"Wooo!"


Mark Seifter wrote:
it's not even the only reason that the barbarian couldn't build the laser rifle (assuming the rules for one exist).

Most of Golarion doesn't really need rules for laser guns. Most of it.

As much of a fan of Numeria as I am, I don't really see a need for it's brand of fun in the CRB of a primarily anachronistic fantasy game.

But that's all your decision, boss. Or your boss's decision. I don't know how Paizo works.

I think I might be babbling again. Lack of sleep. Goodnight, Mark.


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@ Graystone. There's no need to know the AC as a player. The GM knows the ac. Just add and subtract ten from the AC, and wait for a number to be called out. Not to mention crit fails don't automatically proc any kind of reaction in combat. Only the fighter has any kind of reprisal for a crit fail for enemies, and his enhanced training in combat assures the Fighter will crit the most (More reactions, more accuracy, more options to attack in combat without a severe penaly). If anything, the new system highlights failures, success, and how PCs capitalize on them and react to them, which is awesome. After all, how we react to situations determines our character.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

1of1 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
it's not even the only reason that the barbarian couldn't build the laser rifle (assuming the rules for one exist).

Most of Golarion doesn't really need rules for laser guns. Most of it.

As much of a fan of Numeria as I am, I don't really see a need for it's brand of fun in the CRB of a primarily anachronistic fantasy game.

But that's all your decision, boss. Or your boss's decision. I don't know how Paizo works.

I think I might be babbling again. Lack of sleep. Goodnight, Mark.

But every 20th level character has a base +18 in every conceivable skill not listed in the CRB, just like they have a +18 in every listed skill they've ignored. If it might be a skill in some other setting, still they have a +18. They can't use "trained" uses of it, but since those skills won't be written up, what constitutes a trained only use is up to GM fiat.

Even every 1st level commoner succeeds at all those unlisted skills (whatever the GM decides their untrained uses might be), no matter the DC, 5% of the time.

Shadow Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Ihope there will be a very clear table/list of what can and cant be done untrained. I hope we find that the proficiency levels very clearly gate what you can and cant expect to do at each level of proficiency, with the need for very little GM fiat.

This >10< system has me vry excited but im very keen to see how it all fits together before i make a judgement since it will depend on:

how fast bonuses scale, currently characters can be developed with huge static bonuses that i think would strech the system. Especially in combat where attack bonuses usually far outstrip AC.

how monsters develop with CR - will lower level monsters become a; even greater push over than they are now? Many AP ncounters have dissapointed because what seems a challenge on paper becomes a dull, drawn out one sided battle - consider the rooms full of gnolls in the strange aeons path.

Im hoping you can combine actions of any sort privided you still fall under the three action limit, so power attach and certai; strike could be a thing.

I hope there a way to get multiple reactions, more than one would be vital to the fighter i think.

I have absolutely zero issues with feats controlling access to abilities, fighters should get better at doing things as they level up, with more training a fighter ca; nuance more from battle. Thats how i see feat development, not a limiting tax but a reward for levelling up.


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The critical failure on spell saves is probably the first rule I'd remove from a game I GM. Those sorts of effects always disproportionately affect PCs, and I've never seen a fumble system that increases fun for the players. Leave that sort of thing for games like Blood Bowl.

EDIT: Honestly, in general, critical failures - especially when tied to chance of success - have the effect of discouraging players from trying heroic, low odds things under duress, which is another thing I don't want. Just really not a fan of this system in general.


Alchemaic wrote:

I sure hope that CR math is getting fixed this time around, because this is going to make encounters comprised of multiple lower-CR enemies into complete jokes.

Well, more than they already were.

I've gotta say, that's not something new. Mooks being a threat isn't really a thing in pathfinder and to the best of my experience has never been a thing in pathfinder. You can swing that in a setting with bonded accuracy, but in the existing pathfinder pretty much the only thing that will make low-CR trash a threat to a party that is not low-level is going for broke on GM fiat.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
ryric wrote:

But every 20th level character has a base +18 in every conceivable skill not listed in the CRB, just like they have a +18 in every listed skill they've ignored. If it might be a skill in some other setting, still they have a +18. They can't use "trained" uses of it, but since those skills won't be written up, what constitutes a trained only use is up to GM fiat.

Even every 1st level commoner succeeds at all those unlisted skills (whatever the GM decides their untrained uses might be), no matter the DC, 5% of the time.

Well, an untrained use is something that anybody can reasonably attempt, and a success should have a well-defined scope.

- By looking at a creature, you can try to at least figure things out things about it. A success is some information about the creature. This is an odd thing for first level characters to be able to 5% succeed on, until you consider that for sufficiently tough monsters, there's a very high chance that they'll guess incorrect information with just as much confidence. So, they have a 5% chance of guessing correctly… not a terrible representation.
- By running and pushing off the ground, you can try to jump. A success is a decent multiplier on your result, not "you succeed in landing on the moon".
- By kicking and paddling in water, you can try to swim. A success is a certain amount of progress in a round, not "you succeed at crossing the ocean".

If we introduce a hypothetical new skill, untrained uses ought to be things you can attempt without training. Things you can attempt without training probably shouldn't get too high on static DCs. If the GM makes a new skill and does a bad job of determining what's untrained, or what a success results in, I'm okay with that being on the GM.

Grand Lodge

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Ian Bell wrote:

The critical failure on spell saves is probably the first rule I'd remove from a game I GM. Those sorts of effects always disproportionately affect PCs, and I've never seen a fumble system that increases fun for the players. Leave that sort of thing for games like Blood Bowl.

EDIT: Honestly, in general, critical failures - especially when tied to chance of success - have the effect of discouraging players from trying heroic, low odds things under duress, which is another thing I don't want. Just really not a fan of this system in general.

But the critical failure on a spell save is what in first edition was just a normal failure for that spell. Did you just not allow domination, flesh to stone, etc in PF1E games?

It IS true that now trying something nearly impossible carries a greater risk as instead of just failing, you may crit fail (unless, like spells 2E Crit Fail = 1E Fail, and 2E Fail = some lesser effect.)

Dark Archive

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QuidEst wrote:
ryric wrote:

But every 20th level character has a base +18 in every conceivable skill not listed in the CRB, just like they have a +18 in every listed skill they've ignored. If it might be a skill in some other setting, still they have a +18. They can't use "trained" uses of it, but since those skills won't be written up, what constitutes a trained only use is up to GM fiat.

Even every 1st level commoner succeeds at all those unlisted skills (whatever the GM decides their untrained uses might be), no matter the DC, 5% of the time.

Well, an untrained use is something that anybody can reasonably attempt, and a success should have a well-defined scope.

- By looking at a creature, you can try to at least figure things out things about it. A success is some information about the creature. This is an odd thing for first level characters to be able to 5% succeed on, until you consider that for sufficiently tough monsters, there's a very high chance that they'll guess incorrect information with just as much confidence. So, they have a 5% chance of guessing correctly… not a terrible representation.
- By running and pushing off the ground, you can try to jump. A success is a decent multiplier on your result, not "you succeed in landing on the moon".
- By kicking and paddling in water, you can try to swim. A success is a certain amount of progress in a round, not "you succeed at crossing the ocean".

If we introduce a hypothetical new skill, untrained uses ought to be things you can attempt without training. Things you can attempt without training probably shouldn't get too high on static DCs. If the GM makes a new skill and does a bad job of determining what's untrained, or what a success results in, I'm okay with that being on the GM.

Similarly, the GM should have leeway in determining

1) If a skill should even exist. Players can not just declare, without GM approval, that they have Craft (Lightsaber) and introduce lightsabers into the game with it.

2) If a task is even possible or is too trivial to warrant/require a roll. One simply can not jump to the moon. Nor should they require an athletics roll to walk, or a ride roll to ride a trained horse on a well traveled route unless factors come in to make this less than trivial (something spooks the horse, you need to get it to jump a fallen tree, etc)


graystone wrote:
RyanH wrote:
MidsouthGuy wrote:

Oh boy, yet another solution in search of a problem.

The more I see, the more I am not looking forward to PF2.

The crit success system is an existing problem in PF1... you had to roll twice. The confirmation roll was a speed bump, breaking the flow of the game and often just resulting in disappointment every time it wasn't confirmed.

"YES, I rolled a CRIT!"... "oh... never mind, didn't confirm..."

Having levels of success from a single roll is excellent. There is some extra calculation to determine a difference of 10, but it offers up so much more possibility. And Save or Suck IS also an existing problem, just not fun gameplay... having to fail twice or crit fail once to turn to stone (as an example) is much more engaging.

I don't see this as much of an improvement though. Instead of knowing what was a potential crit you instead have to wait to see if each and every roll is a crit [failure/success]. 'Woot a 17! a crit? no? an 19? yes? how about a 18?' Seems like removing 1 "speed bump" with multiple ones. And on excitement, well... it seems like about the same excitement as you can't be sure a 20 is a crit here either.

That is unless of course your DM gives out AC from the start.

I will probably tell my players to give me their total. I add up to a 32 (Internal dialogue: well my ac is 21 so) Crit hit! no confirmation roll saves some time as well.


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* A good meaty blogpost that succinctly explains a central mechanic. Put me in the camp of "Am I too dull to work out why it (nat20/nat1) seems complicated to other folk? What am I missing? For once it was crystal clear to me..."

* I like the four degrees of success/failure, and the designer in me sees a plethora of interactions and designspaces. One word. Designspace.

* There was some (very very tangential) discussion upthread concerning fears of generic strikes being replaced by every feat, and the perceived lack of actions to make use of options. I didn't really understand it as it seemed to be informed by DnD4e experience which itself appears to invoke post-edition-war-edition-opinion-war. I guess I get concerned when there is a concern (regarfless of provenance) and want yo see martials with options.

* (Again, on a tangent) Another poster seemed to think martials were getting a momentum/combo mechanic; that would be awesome but I don't know where they got that from.

* All in all, great blogpost, simple and concise. I like the degrees of success/failure. Not a fan of the quiz. ;)


I don't get critical fail for spell saves.

Fireball to the face, I did a really bad job of avoiding that fireball so I took even more damage than it normally does??


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Instead of curling up and protecting your face you open wide and ate it vital organs first.


RyanH wrote:
graystone wrote:
RyanH wrote:
MidsouthGuy wrote:

Oh boy, yet another solution in search of a problem.

The more I see, the more I am not looking forward to PF2.

The crit success system is an existing problem in PF1... you had to roll twice. The confirmation roll was a speed bump, breaking the flow of the game and often just resulting in disappointment every time it wasn't confirmed.

"YES, I rolled a CRIT!"... "oh... never mind, didn't confirm..."

Having levels of success from a single roll is excellent. There is some extra calculation to determine a difference of 10, but it offers up so much more possibility. And Save or Suck IS also an existing problem, just not fun gameplay... having to fail twice or crit fail once to turn to stone (as an example) is much more engaging.

I don't see this as much of an improvement though. Instead of knowing what was a potential crit you instead have to wait to see if each and every roll is a crit [failure/success]. 'Woot a 17! a crit? no? an 19? yes? how about a 18?' Seems like removing 1 "speed bump" with multiple ones. And on excitement, well... it seems like about the same excitement as you can't be sure a 20 is a crit here either.

That is unless of course your DM gives out AC from the start.

Seems like you wouldn't ask your DM every potential number... you'd just state the total and the DM would tell you. No different than... "does a 17 hit?" Now it's Either...

"Wooo... got a 28?" Looks anxiously at the DM

Or
"Woooo! nat 20! For 32 Total!", looks anxiously at the DM

"You hit! And it's a crit!"

"Wooo!"

If that's the case then you've removed both the excitement of 20 critting and the disappointment of failing a backup. Again, not much gained IMO. The crit backup 'speed bump' is replaced with waiting on the DM for results [you didn't need DM input to roll confirmation on a 20 rolled]. So not a net gain IMO [but then I never saw an issue with the backup confirmation as it took SO little time and you know you have to make the roll so it take a second maybe to make]. *shrug* Just not seeing the time "speed bump" or it's "breaking the flow of the game".


I suppose I don't really get that excited about the nat 20 as much anymore I've been playing to long I'm jaded I guess. but I can see what your saying. I'm willing to try it first. I think it is an interesting idea. Everything has its ups and downs after all. Thiers downsides to the old 1st edition 20 crit roll d100 on some god forsaken chart(WHAT DO YOU MEAN I WAS CUT IN HALF IT WAS A LANCE!). Theirs downsides to the confirmation roll too. people said it would lower the excitement when it came out. Imma stay with my wait and see.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
I suppose I don't really get that excited about the nat 20 as much anymore I've been playing to long I'm jaded I guess.

LOL I'm often excited I rolled a hit, let alone a crit! [the online dice roller tends to get in a 'rut' and at times I struggle to get double digits on d20 rolls]

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I'm willing to try it first.

I'm going to have to see the whole system in play. It might work out, who knows?

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think it is an interesting idea.

Interesting is a good word for it. In my above posts, I'm more questioning the 'excitement/disappointment' difference in methods and the 'speedbump' of the old way. I'm clearly experiencing the game differently than RyanH is as I'm struggling to see his points.


Yeah Thats the biggest cause of arguments on all these forums heck maybe all forums everywhere personal experience. I think we've been over this. for example your personal experience and my own are very drastically different from what I can tell. You with your entirely online gaming and my entirely home and friend based. I kind of wonder if their should be 2(or more) versions that are more environment friendly for certain peoples play experience.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
You with your entirely online gaming

Well, entirely with pathfinder. Back in the 'good old days' I played 3.0-3.5 with a home group every weekend so I'm acquainted with crit confirmations in a home game setting. PFS is where I lack any experience. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

"It's tempting to just decide the solution is not to have save or lose effects, but that really cuts off a wide variety of classic feats, monster abilities, and spells from the game."

This mindset hobbles every new edition. If it makes for a better game, why not cut off classic feats, abilities, and spells? Not everything has to be carried forward.


*Thelith wrote:

I don't get critical fail for spell saves.

Fireball to the face, I did a really bad job of avoiding that fireball so I took even more damage than it normally does??

I'm a bit worried some of these mechanics are being developed with this sort of thinking: "We can make this mathematically balance. And this is the mechanical situation it will come up in. Slap a name on it, write up some italic text for it and call it a day."

What I mean by the above is we're getting game design first, an in game universe that makes sense second.

That might seem really uncharitable. And to a degree it is. But it's also in response to being assured "the kineticist is mathematically balanced. Trust us!" And then getting to play in a campaign with one and discover just how truly ridiculous (although probably mathematically balanced) they are


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
You with your entirely online gaming
Well, entirely with pathfinder. Back in the 'good old days' I played 3.0-3.5 with a home group every weekend so I'm acquainted with crit confirmations in a home game setting. PFS is where I lack any experience. ;)

And depending on who you ask, PFS runs the gauntlet of opinions.

This is probably the biggest threat to a new edition any game is just the personal experiences all the players had. What is good or bad, what actually does hamper or help? We can take some rough guesses but forum goers are a small population and I'm unsure how well the records hold when looking at PFS.

Something gets fixed for someone, it was never a problem for another. We'll just have to continue to watch. Popcorn?

Scarab Sages

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Incidentally, the "increase/decrease one degree of severity" is how it originally worked several years ago, but simplified to the current system for ease of play.

I’d find that system more intuitive, too. It even requires fewer words to explain...!


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
You with your entirely online gaming
Well, entirely with pathfinder. Back in the 'good old days' I played 3.0-3.5 with a home group every weekend so I'm acquainted with crit confirmations in a home game setting. PFS is where I lack any experience. ;)

Well we have that in common I have no PFS experience.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lyoto Machida wrote:

Raises Hand* Does this mean critical failures will be a part of pathfinder society version 2? Because I can of more than a couple scenarios where one critical failure would be instant death. Imagine a critical failure vs. a round one horrid wilting. Double damage from 14 D6's = 16 PP.

One bad die roll meaning instant death for every caster sounds like the combats will be rocket tag sooner than later. There's a reason crit failures aren't in PFS and I hope that will continue to be the case.

Unless I am mistaken, you roll the dices twice, so an average result is the most common result.

It is 98 points of damage, against a level 14 caster.
Average HP of a class with d6 hp/level (and I think I have seen something in an earlier blog that said you get full hp) at level 14 (modified con 14) = 77
Of a d8 class 91
Of a d10 class with con 16, 119

So it is an instant death only if the one rolling a critical failure is a wizard or similar class and unprotected. An if we have Breath of life or an equivalent spell it is easy to save the person.

I don't see where it is worse than the current situation where a Save or suck/die will remove a character from the game on a failed save.

In PF1 spells dealing hit point of damage are the weaker and require specialized builds to have a meaningful impact. Let them get a bit of spotlight again.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ryric wrote:

The issue is, where do we draw the line between plausible/implausible for fantasy characters? Obviously my examples of jumping to the moon and such are silly, deliberately so to make my point. But is jumping 100 feet silly? You can build a character that can pull that off in PF1e. So if a min/maxed jumper can make a 100 foot jump, does that mean Mr. full plate dwarf should also be able to do it 5% of the time?

In PF1e it's easy to make the determination of what the fantasy character can do - it's whatever they get rolling a 20. That's the cap on their abilities. Maybe we're going to have tiered limitations based on proficiency levels.

Oh, and your Olympic swimmer won't have that leg cramp 5% of the time. I'm sure some mishaps have happened, but I bet if you did some basic research, the rate of that happening would be more like 1 in 1000 not 1 in 20.

In PF! jumping is part of your movement, so you need a movement of 100' to jump 100'. To jump the moon you need to have enough movement to reach the moon and beyond in 1 round.

PF1 wrote:
No jump can allow you to exceed your maximum movement for the round.

Even if you read that as "if I get an high result I stay in the air until I reach the destination", have fun staying in the air with no way of control your movement until the jump end.

You can say "pigeon shooting"? :-)


graystone wrote:
If that's the case then you've removed both the excitement of 20 critting and the disappointment of failing a backup. Again, not much gained IMO. The crit backup 'speed bump' is replaced with waiting on the DM for results [you didn't need DM input to roll confirmation on a 20 rolled]. So not a net gain IMO [but then I never saw an issue with the backup confirmation as it took SO...

Except that there is, at best, exactly the same amount of of "waiting on the GM". In the old system, you do not need to wait on the GM to know whether to roll the confirmation die*, but unless it is another natural 20 or a natural 1, you need to wait on the GM after you have rolled it.

(* Except if you have an expanded threat range, then you need to confirm it is a hit before you can be sure it is a hit - although TBF it would be pretty unusual to miss on a 15, let alone a 19).

ryric wrote:
Even every 1st level commoner succeeds at all those unlisted skills (whatever the GM decides their untrained uses might be), no matter the DC, 5% of the time.

If "commoners can succeed to often on hypothetical skills that do not actually exist" is the worst thing we can say about PF2, then I'd consider that a pretty big win, wouldn't you?

EDIT: To be clear, while I like the ±10 system overall, I am not entirely convinced by the auto-success on skills. I will take a lot of extra work on the part of the designers to make it work. Whether they are willing and able to do that work remains to be seen, of course, but I have some hope...

_
glass.


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Add me to the chorus for "nat 1 or 20 should only move the result 1 degree".


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Minor correction (as I understand it)

NielsenE wrote:
if you need a 11-20 to succeed. Under the dev's rule a 20 is a hit

The 20 would have been a hit anyway, therefore it becomes a crit automatically.

The "20 is always a hit" rule results in more successes, so the 1 is always a miss results in more misses.

I think it's probably more important to look at what happens with 1 as an auto-miss to see why people may prefer the "move it down a category version"

Roll 1 and beat DC/AC by >= 10: value = crit, current rule = fail, sliding scale = normal success
Roll 1 and beat DC/AC by < 10: value = success, current = fail, sliding = fail
Roll 1 and fail to beat AC/DC by < 10: value = fail, current = crit fail, sliding = crit fail
Roll 1 and fail to beat AC/DC by >= 10: everything says crit fail

So the only change here is when you roll well enough for a critical success - under the current rule, you fail the task, but under the sliding scale you still succeed.

So - the sliding scale means that you're never completely penalised for rolling badly when the numbers say you should be doing really well, and you're never fully rewarded for rolling well when the numbers say you should have done badly. These are the most likely situations for the "don't bother rolling" rules to come in, so the overall results may not be too different. It maybe comes down to whether Paizo think the system is better with the 5% auto success/failure.

Personally I think "move the result up/down one category on a 20/1" is easier to explain than "the result of a 1 or 20 on the dice depends on whether the total would have hit or missed"


graystone wrote:
RyanH wrote:
graystone wrote:
RyanH wrote:
MidsouthGuy wrote:

Oh boy, yet another solution in search of a problem.

The more I see, the more I am not looking forward to PF2.

The crit success system is an existing problem in PF1... you had to roll twice. The confirmation roll was a speed bump, breaking the flow of the game and often just resulting in disappointment every time it wasn't confirmed.

"YES, I rolled a CRIT!"... "oh... never mind, didn't confirm..."

Having levels of success from a single roll is excellent. There is some extra calculation to determine a difference of 10, but it offers up so much more possibility. And Save or Suck IS also an existing problem, just not fun gameplay... having to fail twice or crit fail once to turn to stone (as an example) is much more engaging.

I don't see this as much of an improvement though. Instead of knowing what was a potential crit you instead have to wait to see if each and every roll is a crit [failure/success]. 'Woot a 17! a crit? no? an 19? yes? how about a 18?' Seems like removing 1 "speed bump" with multiple ones. And on excitement, well... it seems like about the same excitement as you can't be sure a 20 is a crit here either.

That is unless of course your DM gives out AC from the start.

Seems like you wouldn't ask your DM every potential number... you'd just state the total and the DM would tell you. No different than... "does a 17 hit?" Now it's Either...

"Wooo... got a 28?" Looks anxiously at the DM

Or
"Woooo! nat 20! For 32 Total!", looks anxiously at the DM

"You hit! And it's a crit!"

"Wooo!"

If that's the case then you've removed both the excitement of 20 critting and the disappointment of failing a backup. Again, not much gained IMO. The crit backup 'speed bump' is replaced with waiting on the DM for results [you didn't need DM input to roll confirmation on a 20 rolled]. So not a net gain IMO [but then I never saw an issue with the backup confirmation as it took SO...

Yes you did. You needed to know if the confirmation hit him. You’ve just rolled getting the crit and the confirmation into the same throw of the dice instead of opportunity in one and confirmation in the other.

Shadow Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:

I sure hope that CR math is getting fixed this time around, because this is going to make encounters comprised of multiple lower-CR enemies into complete jokes.

Well, more than they already were.

I've gotta say, that's not something new. Mooks being a threat isn't really a thing in pathfinder and to the best of my experience has never been a thing in pathfinder. You can swing that in a setting with bonded accuracy, but in the existing pathfinder pretty much the only thing that will make low-CR trash a threat to a party that is not low-level is going for broke on GM fiat.

Oddly i really dislike bounded accuracy. Having played 5e for some time i find the much reduced bonuses make me feel like my characters (non spellcasters especially) never really advance.

Im very interested in seeing how monsters pan out over the course of the game. Im all for easilly finished low level hordes, gives the PCs the real feel of being in a league above their enemies, but i also like to be able to use multiple enemies without overwhelming the party. I suspect the >10< means creatures could be 5 levels lowers and hit somewhat reliably, so succeed at attack, yet not constantly threatening critical success. Im quite excited but as always need to see the overall picture to really appreciate the system, still quietly optimistic

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glass wrote:

If "commoners can succeed to often on hypothetical skills that do not actually exist" is the worst thing we can say about PF2, then I'd consider that a pretty big win, wouldn't you?

I'd consider it a big step down from the PF1e skill system which did not have this flaw.

I'm all for improvement to things, but the PF1e skill system is the best way to do d20 skills I've yet seen and I have a tough time conceiving of ways to improve it. These changes(to skills; I really like the new system for saves and attack rolls) seem to be sacrificing the good system we had in the name of mechanical unity. Since I don't believe such mechanical unity is a worthwhile goal in and of itself, I'll just keep pointing out all the places using these mechanics for skills makes them silly.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Meophist wrote:
It doesn't appear as though natural 1's are auto-failure. They become critical failures only if it would normally be a failure anyways.
If your nat 20 isn't a critical success, it is still a success, and if your nat 1 isn't a critical failure, it is still a failure.

Does this only apply to attack rolls and saving throws like the current edition or also skill checks?


It applies to all d20 checks. Each action will list the consequences for each of the 4 results. Note that some 1e skill check already have consequences for failing by some amount (usually 5).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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ryric wrote:
glass wrote:

If "commoners can succeed to often on hypothetical skills that do not actually exist" is the worst thing we can say about PF2, then I'd consider that a pretty big win, wouldn't you?

I'd consider it a big step down from the PF1e skill system which did not have this flaw.

Remember proficiency tier affects what you can do with a skill. If you can't do the thing until you're an Expert, then the Commoner who is untrained in the skill can't do it no matter what is rolled. In fact the untrained commoner just can't roll that check to begin with.

While this may or may not add a level of complexity that some may see as problematic--which we won't be sure of until we see both the full rules and solid play test results--the system as we know it cannot allow anyone to do anything on a 20, because of proficiencies.

I am okay (unless playtesting proves otherwise) with the system as is, but I wonder if a reasonable alternative to the 1/20 system as it stands would be that the result isn't an auto-anything, but instead counts as +5 or -5 to your roll (pushing you halfway to critical success or failure). Or would that be just something unintuitive to remember?


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Thanks Andy for looking at my math/logic. Hadn't noticed I had changed the dev's rule in a way that weakened 1/20s more than it should have which made it compare, IMO, more favorably with the shift tier rule. But its a third version no one's asked for, and I'm not going to start that :) (What I had compared was 1/20 always fail/succeed, no bonus impact on degree of fail/success)

With the corrected analysis, it looks like the only real differences come in the (to me) degenerate cases of places where the person doesn't even need to roll -- they either can't fail or can't succeed. There's two reasons for rolling in that case:

a) either the GM or players just want to roll (GM to avoid metagaming/exposing that the DC is super high or super low), players because they just roll sometimes without being asked to :) So now if they roll, and get a 1 or 20 they know the sign (success/fail) just not the magnitude, the GM can't correct the result. In this case, I've come around to the "shift" camp.

b) Players are pretty confident they'll auto succeed and are crit-fishing. As long as you also force them to roll for auto-fail saves to balance with the chance of a crit failure, its probably ok.... but I don't like "safe" crit fishing.

I'd be curious to hear from the dev's what corner cases/other issues made their original play with the shift rule feel more complicated than what they settled on.


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I have always found the crit confirmation system to be one of the great innovations of 3E. It adds some excitement because whenever a threat is rolled everyone immediately becomes very focused on the confirmation roll.

But beyond that it adds tones of texture to the game. Everyone has the same chance at rolling a nat 20. But fighters crit a lot more often than other characters under this system, And the difference between the "I threat on a 15" character and the "I threat on a 20, but deal 3d12+48 when it happens" character are great at capturing distinctions in feel. Character builds and weapons can bring so much more variation to the table. I'll miss that.

But, it does sound like all those elements are being replaced with alternate approaches to the same variety. So I'm eager to try it.


Question: will low level monster have a bit more HP?
It will be cool to see fighters walking through goblins going *crit*, *crit*, Crit* because they get >10 easily. But if the fighter is able to oen shot the goblins without a crit, then it won't really matter.

Obviously that gets tricky because then either you are nerfing magic missle or else you are just making number bigger across the board, neither of which are great.

So I guess the better question is: does the system allow a lot of crits against "easy" threats while not making those crits trivial?


Also don't forget people that critical failures also exist with several spells in PF1E already, and compared to the new system they are really just... very fiddly and kind of terrible to actually try to use.

"Attended (Held/Wielded etc.) Items: Unless the descriptive text for a spell (or attack) specifies otherwise, all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw against the effect, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). Refer to Table: Items Affected by Magical Attacks to determine order in which items are affected. Determine which four objects carried or worn by the creature are most likely to be affected and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack dealt. If the selected item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage."

I would rather take double damage than lose expensive enchanted weapon to a fireball on a failed save. It beats having to slow down the game trying to figure out how much HP a Cloak of Resistance +1 has.


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Furdinand wrote:

"It's tempting to just decide the solution is not to have save or lose effects, but that really cuts off a wide variety of classic feats, monster abilities, and spells from the game."

This mindset hobbles every new edition. If it makes for a better game, why not cut off classic feats, abilities, and spells? Not everything has to be carried forward.

I have trouble imagining that a game would be better without the enchantress able to put enemies to sleep with the wave of her hand or crush the mind of a giant and use it as an attack dog, where a medusa, basilisk or gorgon can't turn anyone to stone, where the evil cleric can't banish their foe to Hell, where the wizard can't turn someone into a newt because they annoyed them, or where the good oracle can't banish a fiend back to their home plane.

All of those are save-or-lose effects, and there's a reason they've been kept. It plays into the fundamental fantasy of the game, and removing them would hardly be an improvement.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

The >10 rule has also made it into 1st edition in spots, too. The manifestation rules from Heel Unleashed, for example, give you the chance to do damage to a manifestation if you succeed at A Charisma check by 10 or more.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Lyoto Machida wrote:

Raises Hand* Does this mean critical failures will be a part of pathfinder society version 2? Because I can of more than a couple scenarios where one critical failure would be instant death. Imagine a critical failure vs. a round one horrid wilting. Double damage from 14 D6's = 16 PP.

One bad die roll meaning instant death for every caster sounds like the combats will be rocket tag sooner than later. There's a reason crit failures aren't in PFS and I hope that will continue to be the case.

Unless I am mistaken, you roll the dices twice, so an average result is the most common result.

It is 98 points of damage, against a level 14 caster.
Average HP of a class with d6 hp/level (and I think I have seen something in an earlier blog that said you get full hp) at level 14 (modified con 14) = 77
Of a d8 class 91
Of a d10 class with con 16, 119

So it is an instant death only if the one rolling a critical failure is a wizard or similar class and unprotected. An if we have Breath of life or an equivalent spell it is easy to save the person.

I don't see where it is worse than the current situation where a Save or suck/die will remove a character from the game on a failed save.

In PF1 spells dealing hit point of damage are the weaker and require specialized builds to have a meaningful impact. Let them get a bit of spotlight again.

I think hit dice have gone away, as in they are all at maximum.

So a 14th level Wizard has 84 h.p., or 112 h.p. w/ 14 Con (which would be low IMO). A d10 class with 16 Con would have 182 h.p. (assuming no favored class bonuses in PF2.) Plus, Ancestry gives h.p., humans giving 8 h.p. to start. So there's room to critically fail a save...once.

(And in PF1, one would expect Resist Energy-Fire to be ongoing at those levels.)


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ryric wrote:
I'd consider it a big step down from the PF1e skill system which did not have this flaw.

If it has this flaw (and the devs seem confident that they can deal with the potential problem in other ways so it will not actually be a flaw), then at worst it is a teeny tiny step down.

ryric wrote:
I'm all for improvement to things, but the PF1e skill system is the best way to do d20 skills I've yet seen and I have a tough time conceiving of ways to improve it. These changes(to skills; I really like the new system for saves and attack rolls) seem to be sacrificing the good system we had in the name of mechanical unity. Since I don't believe such mechanical unity is a worthwhile goal in and of itself, I'll just keep pointing out all the places using these mechanics for skills makes them silly.

On this, we will just have to agree to disagree. I find the skill system to be one of the worst things about PF1.

_
glass.


Arssanguinus wrote:
Yes you did. You needed to know if the confirmation hit him. You’ve just rolled getting the crit and the confirmation into the same throw of the dice instead of opportunity in one and confirmation in the other.

I totally understand what's happening. I'm just NOT seeing the excitement/disappointment difference OR a substantial difference in time taken or flow altered. At best it's 'different' and/or 'interesting'... On it's own I'm not seeing 'better'.


Khudzlin wrote:
Add me to the chorus for "nat 1 or 20 should only move the result 1 degree".

Isn't the only difference between the current system and this one that "move the result one degree" matters the DC is either way more or way less than one's mods?

Like I don't think "Roll d20+19 versus DC 10" rolls should be very common, nor should "I expect you to fail" rolls like "Roll d20 +5 vs. DC 50." So the only difference I see is a heuristic one.

ryric wrote:
I'd consider it a big step down from the PF1e skill system which did not have this flaw.

What reason do we have to believe that "skills not in the CRB are going to exist later?" It's entirely plausible that "this is the framework through which people on Golarion view everything" and switching frameworks is a big ask for people who have not yet discovered post-modernism.

Like take the PF1 technology guide for example- it didn't introduce new skills, it just divides technology related skill checks between Craft, Disable Device, Linguistics, and various knowledge skills possibly gating certain uses behind the "technologist" feat. I don't see any reason why, if our plucky heroes have to investigate a crashed spaceship, we can't do the exact same thing instead of positing a "computers" skill.

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