Everyone Has a Past

Friday, May 11, 2018

While we all live moment-by-moment, we are also shaped by our past. This is especially true for adventurers. After all, very few elves at the ripe age of 14 think to themselves, "Hey, I think I'm going to become a barbarian." There is a path that leads the character to their class. It might synergize obviously with the class's discipline, or at first blush it might seem a non sequitur, but the path is there.

In the Pathfinder Playtest, your ancestry talks a bit about your past, but it also speaks to your present and the promise of the future, by virtue of the fact that you continue to gain ancestry feats through the course of your adventuring career. But to help you dig deeper into your past, you'll choose a background.

Generally, backgrounds allow you to select a bit of backstory that mechanically affects the current state of your character. The first thing it does is grants you a pair of ability boosts (with some limitations on one of those ability boosts), and then it grants a skill feat tied to the theme of your background and proficiency in a Lore skill that also ties into the background. For instance, here is an old chestnut:

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Blacksmith (Background)

You were a blacksmith or a blacksmith's apprentice, and during countless hours toiling at the forge, you learned how to smith armor and weapons. Perhaps you worked hard each day and dreamed of adventure each night, or perhaps the adventuring life was thrust upon you by a pivotal event.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Specialty Crafting skill feat for blacksmithing, and you're trained in the Smithing Lore skill.

Sure, it's a bit cliche, but it's a fun cliche. Before becoming a fighter, you were a blacksmith's apprentice. Maybe you crafted your sword or suit of armor and decided to protect home and hearth from monsters. But take a closer look at the background. It's more flexible than that. It's also an excellent background for an alchemist or another character who wants to specialize in crafting. Since you can boost Intelligence via this background, and Intelligence is the key ability score for both Crafting skill and the alchemist class, you can refocus this background into that of an intelligent tinkerer who uses innovation rather than toil to create metal objects. And who knows? Maybe later on in your career, you can fuse your background with other skill feats to invent a new form of alchemical armor or some kind of metal construct.

Not all backgrounds have to do with gainful employment; others deal with the circumstances of your upbringing that you can parlay into useful skills. Here is another example of a classic fantasy trope:

Street Urchin (Background)

You eked out a living by picking pockets on the streets of a major city, never knowing where you'd find your next meal. While some folk adventure for the glory, you adventure as a means of survival.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Dexterity or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Pickpocket skill feat, and you're trained in the Underworld Lore skill.

While a classic rogue background, this background also has enough flexibility to serve as a perfectly fine background for a wizard or alchemist, and that's only if you dwell on the limited ability boost. Remember, one of the ability boosts if free, so you can play against type and still make a perfectly reasonable character. Imagine a paladin with this background, which isn't so hard if you know anything about a certain iconic paladin...

Not all backgrounds are so all-encompassing, though. After all, your background not only deals with activity but also your personal focus. You may have been an apprentice blacksmith, even for a long while, but retained none of its benefits because you were too busy dreaming about being a Pathfinder.

Pathfinder Hopeful (Background)

You've long wanted to join the adventurous Pathfinder Society, a world-spanning organization of relic hunters. This aspiration has led you to take up the dangerous life of an adventurer eager to make a name for yourself and gain the attention of the Pathfinder Society.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Additional Lore feat, and you're trained in the Pathfinder Society Lore skill.

While the boosts are similar to that of the blacksmith background, the skill selection is, of course, different. I can easily picture this background as that of a young dreamer, toiling away when she must but finding whatever time she can to read various Pathfinder Chronicles (both real and forged) and honing her body and mind for the chance to join the Pathfinder Society.

Incidentally, this is not a background you will find in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. While that weighty tome provides 19 backgrounds, you'll find six more backgrounds in the Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn. Those six are tailor-made for the adventure, granting the opportunity for small, sometimes incidental perks during play for those who take them and allowing you to tailor your character to the story. This is one of the chief benefits of the background system—it can be used to make very general backgrounds or to tailor specific backgrounds to an adventure or a campaign.

And so there you have it; that's the skinny on backgrounds. What kind of backgrounds can you imagine?

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Looks good.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:

It feels like a lot of the objections to this system seem to be based on literal interpretations of the backgrounds?

In most systems smithing is a broad enough skill to apply to leatherworking, tinkering, bowmaking, Fletching, etc. If your gm won't let you cross out the word "blacksmith" and write one of those other things, then I think any inflexibility is more in the gm than the system.

Additionally, I think any reasonable gm in a group where the expectation is that it's about story and roleplay will happily consider using the backgrounds as a guide to make ones specific to what a character needs - in 5e, the main utility of the backgrounds is to give examples for players who want to make their character quickly or need ideas, the players who want something more specific can just choose options that are appropriate instead of them dedicating 50 pages to fit every possible niche.

Really?

Cause I can tell you in 5e at least where I am I was told by the people running it "Sorry can't change backgrounds" at their Adventure League. I question what my local DMs will do for Society play.

"Sorry man it's not in the book or the one you want is from a book that's banned. So take X instead".

Why yes, this is a GM problem. But just saying "Get a better GM" shouldn't be a solution to everything.

Looks like Backgrounds are a bigger deal in PF2 (ability score increases) than 5th Ed (basically 2 skills, and a fluff feature). I too am concerned over the obvious Background choices for certain characters, and custom ones will lead to the usual.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I will miss the usually deep flavor of traits and the creative challenge of weaving them in your PC's backstory

I guess they were a part where balance and variety just cannot coexist

I think the background step should be more of a GM-approved player's choices thing rather than the packages we are given here. Though I understand how the latter are easier to reference in APs and in PFS

Maybe the Background step should be 2 GM-approved floating stat boosts, then GM-approved Skill feat, then being trained in a GM-approved Lore skill, with pre-made packages being a help for people who do not wish to go in that level of customization (including APs and maybe PFS)


Cyouni wrote:
edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
So traits combined with set ability boosts..does this confirm the removal of point buy? Either way, kind of interesting and maybe has possibilities.
That's been confirmed for ages. At least as the standard ability generation method. I think point buy is still an optional system, like rolling stats.
So the standard generation is 10 on all abilities plus the bonuses you get from Ancestry, Background, and Class? Because that would be very lackluster
That sounds like only 16 as your highest stat, but I swear I heard 18s in some examples.

It says a free ability boost, nothing saying it’s stopping you from boosting the same score that the background gave you. As an example


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The Raven Black wrote:

I will miss the usually deep flavor of traits and the creative challenge of weaving them in your PC's backstory

I guess they were a part where balance and variety just cannot coexist

I think the background step should be more of a GM-approved player's choices thing rather than the packages we are given here. Though I understand how the latter are easier to reference in APs and in PFS

Maybe the Background step should be 2 GM-approved floating stat boosts, then GM-approved Skill feat, then being trained in a GM-approved Lore skill, with pre-made packages being a help for people who do not wish to go in that level of customization (including APs and maybe PFS)

GM approved stat boosts and skills? You might need to explain this a bit more - because my first thought was "hell no! not on my watch!" GMs can ban options, but otherwise should only get involved in character creation if invited to - it's my character, my sole interface with the game I should get to decide what it looks like. The GM has the rest of the world to play with.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
dragonhunterq wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

I will miss the usually deep flavor of traits and the creative challenge of weaving them in your PC's backstory

I guess they were a part where balance and variety just cannot coexist

I think the background step should be more of a GM-approved player's choices thing rather than the packages we are given here. Though I understand how the latter are easier to reference in APs and in PFS

Maybe the Background step should be 2 GM-approved floating stat boosts, then GM-approved Skill feat, then being trained in a GM-approved Lore skill, with pre-made packages being a help for people who do not wish to go in that level of customization (including APs and maybe PFS)

GM approved stat boosts and skills? You might need to explain this a bit more - because my first thought was "hell no! not on my watch!" GMs can ban options, but otherwise should only get involved in character creation if invited to - it's my character, my sole interface with the game I should get to decide what it looks like. The GM has the rest of the world to play with.

Thank you for warning me of this legitimate concern. I had not thought about this

I was thinking something along the lines of the GM (or maybe the whole gaming group) agrees that the choices make sense with the PC's backstory


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The Raven Black wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

I will miss the usually deep flavor of traits and the creative challenge of weaving them in your PC's backstory

I guess they were a part where balance and variety just cannot coexist

I think the background step should be more of a GM-approved player's choices thing rather than the packages we are given here. Though I understand how the latter are easier to reference in APs and in PFS

Maybe the Background step should be 2 GM-approved floating stat boosts, then GM-approved Skill feat, then being trained in a GM-approved Lore skill, with pre-made packages being a help for people who do not wish to go in that level of customization (including APs and maybe PFS)

GM approved stat boosts and skills? You might need to explain this a bit more - because my first thought was "hell no! not on my watch!" GMs can ban options, but otherwise should only get involved in character creation if invited to - it's my character, my sole interface with the game I should get to decide what it looks like. The GM has the rest of the world to play with.

Thank you for warning me of this legitimate concern. I had not thought about this

I was thinking something along the lines of the GM (or maybe the whole gaming group) agrees that the choices make sense with the PC's backstory

I'm okay with a list of 19 examples for possible backgrounds.

But the chapter could include a sentence like "If none of these backgrounds meet your requirements, ask your GM to create one for you that matches the backstory you imagined better." along with a sidebar containing guidelines for a GM to design her own campaign backgrounds (what skill feats are appropriate here and so on).


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I skipped like 5 pages so this may have already been said elsewhere.

So each background provides 2 ability bumps, 1 skill feat, and 1 free lore skill. Sounds kind of underwhelming to me. The lore skills especially just seem too niche and may or may not ever come into play.
Now, if they added a starting gear bundle and a relatively weak special ability like 5e backgrounds, then I'd be on board.

OFF-TOPIC 1: I'm really not a fan of this new method for generating ability scores. To me it lends itself to having too many cookie-cutter characters that are all the same 'cuz that's the "optimal" combination for the classes main stats. [For instance: why would my Fighter ever take the "scribe background" when the blacksmith one pumps my main stats?]. I see this as especially being a problem in PFS games where people tend to optimize more so than in casual games, but it's still an issue.

OFF-TOPIC 2: The whole theme of 2.0 thus far seems to be to drop the power level and entrance complexity. Which is cool and truthfully much needed, but they seem to be taking it way too far in that direction for my tastes. I'm still gonna try out the actual playtest in Aug, and I hope that upon seeing the "whole picture" that I'm completely blown away by it...but as of right now, based on what little I've seen, I will not be switching to 2.0. The few Diamonds I've seen thus far do not make up for the sheer amount of worthless coal.


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Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:


OFF-TOPIC 1: I'm really not a fan of this new method for generating ability scores. To me it lends itself to having too many cookie-cutter characters that are all the same 'cuz that's the "optimal" combination for the classes main stats. [For instance: why would my Fighter ever take the "scribe background" when the blacksmith one pumps my main stat?]. I see this as especially being a problem in PFS games where people tend to optimize more so than in casual games, but it's still an issue.

The floating stat boost should make this a non-issue to an extent. If you have a scribe background you probably want the +2 int, and you can use the floating boost for strength.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:
[For instance: why would my Fighter ever take the "scribe background" when the blacksmith one pumps my main stat?]

Thats where the floating bonus comes in at, all Backgrounds can boost your main stat, so your Fighter isn’t cut off from an 18 if they’re a Scribe.

Edit: Ninjaed

Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:
The whole theme of 2.0 thus far seems to be to drop the power level and entrance complexity.

The numbers have been dropped but the power level seems to have been increased. We’ll still have to compare once the monsters and full class abilities are released but so far it’s pointing toward increased power levels.


dragonhunterq wrote:
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:


OFF-TOPIC 1: I'm really not a fan of this new method for generating ability scores. To me it lends itself to having too many cookie-cutter characters that are all the same 'cuz that's the "optimal" combination for the classes main stats. [For instance: why would my Fighter ever take the "scribe background" when the blacksmith one pumps my main stat?]. I see this as especially being a problem in PFS games where people tend to optimize more so than in casual games, but it's still an issue.

The floating stat boost should make this a non-issue to an extent. If you have a scribe background you probably want the +2 int, and you can use the floating boost for strength.

Yeah, all the floating bonuses (from race, etc) can guarantee you the scores you want, plus some variation, it looks like.


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dragonhunterq wrote:
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:


OFF-TOPIC 1: I'm really not a fan of this new method for generating ability scores. To me it lends itself to having too many cookie-cutter characters that are all the same 'cuz that's the "optimal" combination for the classes main stats. [For instance: why would my Fighter ever take the "scribe background" when the blacksmith one pumps my main stat?]. I see this as especially being a problem in PFS games where people tend to optimize more so than in casual games, but it's still an issue.

The floating stat boost should make this a non-issue to an extent. If you have a scribe background you probably want the +2 int, and you can use the floating boost for strength.

This. Outside of very niche situations, like "I want to be a fighter who studied for scribe, but was dumb as hell and got kicked out before becoming a fighter", this is a non-issue. Logic says that if you want to play a scholarly fighter (which is why you picked scribe), then you probably want a fighter with at least a dash of intelligence. So pick the +2 from scribe to INT, select STR as your other modifier, pick STR from the rest of building blocks (ancestry, class, etc), and you are done.

And for the theorical "I wanted to be a scribe but I was too dumb for it", maybe that character should NOT have scribe background. Explain in your backstory that you tried to be a scholar, but you got kicked, so you learned nothing about being a scribe. Then, after being kicked, you learned something somewhere else (like, you got kicked and become an Urchin).

I think it's flexible enough to accomodate most options, specially with a GM outside of PFS that allow for cosmetic changes like "blacksmithing" allowing "leatherworking" instead of blacksmithing. Yes, you could potentially work hard enough to find situations where it doesn't work, but that's true for most parts of any system. It's easier if you try to buildthings WITH the system instead of AGAINST it.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:


OFF-TOPIC 1: I'm really not a fan of this new method for generating ability scores. To me it lends itself to having too many cookie-cutter characters that are all the same 'cuz that's the "optimal" combination for the classes main stats. [For instance: why would my Fighter ever take the "scribe background" when the blacksmith one pumps my main stat?]. I see this as especially being a problem in PFS games where people tend to optimize more so than in casual games, but it's still an issue.

The floating stat boost should make this a non-issue to an extent. If you have a scribe background you probably want the +2 int, and you can use the floating boost for strength.

This. Outside of very niche situations, like "I want to be a fighter who studied for scribe, but was dumb as hell and got kicked out before becoming a fighter", this is a non-issue. Logic says that if you want to play a scholarly fighter (which is why you picked scribe), then you probably want a fighter with at least a dash of intelligence. So pick the +2 from scribe to INT, select STR as your other modifier, pick STR from the rest of building blocks (ancestry, class, etc), and you are done.

And for the theorical "I wanted to be a scribe but I was too dumb for it", maybe that character should NOT have scribe background. Explain in your backstory that you tried to be a scholar, but you got kicked, so you learned nothing about being a scribe. Then, after being kicked, you learned something somewhere else (like, you got kicked and become an Urchin).

I think it's flexible enough to accomodate most options, specially with a GM outside of PFS that allow for cosmetic changes like "blacksmithing" allowing "leatherworking" instead of blacksmithing. Yes, you could potentially work hard enough to find situations where it doesn't work, but that's true for most parts of any system. It's easier if you try to buildthings WITH the system instead of AGAINST it.

Then where is my CON boost (a fighter's secondary stat) coming from? I'm not trying to work against the system, but the system (what little we've seen of it) seems more restrictive to character vareity than some of you seem to want to admit to.

Yes, the floating bonuses can help cover some of the gaps, but IMO it's not gonna be enough to prevent the CCC syndrome. Like I said in my original post, I hope the actual playtest material in August proves me wrong. But until then, my opinion stands.


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Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:


Then where is my CON boost (a fighter's secondary stat) coming from? I'm not trying to work against the system, but the system (what little we've seen of it) seems more restrictive to character vareity than some of you seem to want to admit to

From everywhere else. The key word in your sentence is secondary. If you were able to get a CON boost every single step from every single building block, like you do with STR, then all characters would end with 18 STR and 18 CON. I don't think that's a realistic expectation, and certainly it's not what you were able to get with point buy. The system is built in a way that you can get 18 to your main stat, and secondary stats are below that.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Outside of very niche situations, like "I want to be a fighter who studied for scribe, but was dumb as hell and got kicked out before becoming a fighter"

Even this should be possible, given the recurring theme seems to be picking from a physical or mental stat. Scribe is probably Dex (though I could even see an argument, however weak, for Con, something something fumes) or Int. So if you want a Fighter who was too dumb to become a successful Scribe you take the physical stat, which a Fighter probably wants anyways since they tend to want all the physical stats.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:


Then where is my CON boost (a fighter's secondary stat) coming from? I'm not trying to work against the system, but the system (what little we've seen of it) seems more restrictive to character vareity than some of you seem to want to admit to
From everywhere else. The key word in your sentence is secondary. If you were able to get a CON boost every single step from every single building block, like you do with STR, then all characters would end with 18 STR and 18 CON. I don't think that's a realistic expectation, and certainly it's not what you were able to get with point buy. The system is built in a way that you can get 18 to your main stat, and secondary stats are below that.

Con probably isn’t the Fighter’s secondary stat anymore. Before, if you were a Fighter you were getting an extra hitpoint per level over the d8 HD characters, having a built-in +2 Con worth of hp. Now, you’re getting two extra hitpoints per level over them, for a built in +4 Con worth of hp. Sure, you might still choose to grab a 12 or even 14, but you don’t need to grab the max secondary stat of 16. You can use your background to boost Int if you want.


QuidEst wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:


Then where is my CON boost (a fighter's secondary stat) coming from? I'm not trying to work against the system, but the system (what little we've seen of it) seems more restrictive to character vareity than some of you seem to want to admit to
From everywhere else. The key word in your sentence is secondary. If you were able to get a CON boost every single step from every single building block, like you do with STR, then all characters would end with 18 STR and 18 CON. I don't think that's a realistic expectation, and certainly it's not what you were able to get with point buy. The system is built in a way that you can get 18 to your main stat, and secondary stats are below that.
Con probably isn’t the Fighter’s secondary stat anymore. Before, if you were a Fighter you were getting an extra hitpoint per level over the d8 HD characters, having a built-in +2 Con worth of hp. Now, you’re getting two extra hitpoints per level over them, for a built in +4 Con worth of hp. Sure, you might still choose to grab a 12 or even 14, but you don’t need to grab the max secondary stat of 16. You can use your background to boost Int if you want.

To be totally fair, while this is true of Fighters I'm willing to bet that Barbarians probably still need Con to fuel their class features. And I suspect they'll probably still be limited to lighter armors too meaning they'll still want Dex too. Fortunately boosting physical stats at this phase shouldn't be too hard.


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Rysky wrote:
The numbers have been dropped but the power level seems to have been increased. We’ll still have to compare once the monsters and full class abilities are released but so far it’s pointing toward increased power levels.

Keeping the power level at the same level is the most boring choice though. I'd happily take a reduction of power across the board if it meant keeping the same level of customisation. Power level is relative. If everyone loses the same degree of power then no-one has truly lost any power. Customisation however is an objective element and you either have more of it or less of it. At the moment it looks like we have a darn sight less at level 1.

I've been fairly critical of MerlinCross's "stop stealing my tree and selling me firewood" rants because I trusted Paizo to give us the same level of customisation. Now we have objectively less customisation by the replacement of traits with feats.

Paizo's one size fits all philosophy is a direct result of this. I've been critical of PF2e because of all the 4e elements, this background article has helped crystalise why 4e was bad. It took a one size fits all philosophy with it's powers and unified character progression. PF2e has gone down the exact same road and we're now clearly seeing the same problem with PF2e in that everyone has less customisation and everything feels very cookie cutter.


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Tender Tendrils wrote:

It feels like a lot of the objections to this system seem to be based on literal interpretations of the backgrounds?

In most systems smithing is a broad enough skill to apply to leatherworking, tinkering, bowmaking, Fletching, etc. If your gm won't let you cross out the word "blacksmith" and write one of those other things, then I think any inflexibility is more in the gm than the system

None of those seem to involve strength the way blacksmithing does, which makes the strength boost odd for them (well maybe bowmaking might fit for having to bend and string the bow). And the lore and craft feat would need to be changed out as well. So there is more than just the name/flavor of the background that needs to be changed.

A lot of the issues with reflavoing seem to be PFS related, I've never done PFS, so I can't speak to that. But if it's a common issue there it'd need to be addressed. Although this could well just be a guideline to PFS GMs: "Let players reflavor their backgrounds when reasonable. Blacksmith can be repurposed to other trades for example."


MerlinCross wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:

It feels like a lot of the objections to this system seem to be based on literal interpretations of the backgrounds?

In most systems smithing is a broad enough skill to apply to leatherworking, tinkering, bowmaking, Fletching, etc. If your gm won't let you cross out the word "blacksmith" and write one of those other things, then I think any inflexibility is more in the gm than the system.

Additionally, I think any reasonable gm in a group where the expectation is that it's about story and roleplay will happily consider using the backgrounds as a guide to make ones specific to what a character needs - in 5e, the main utility of the backgrounds is to give examples for players who want to make their character quickly or need ideas, the players who want something more specific can just choose options that are appropriate instead of them dedicating 50 pages to fit every possible niche.

Really?

Cause I can tell you in 5e at least where I am I was told by the people running it "Sorry can't change backgrounds" at their Adventure League. I question what my local DMs will do for Society play.

"Sorry man it's not in the book or the one you want is from a book that's banned. So take X instead".

Why yes, this is a GM problem. But just saying "Get a better GM" shouldn't be a solution to everything.

This to me is the biggest problem for Organized Play in general, but one there aren’t easy answers for that don’t open problems later. There’s a certain amount of inconvenience one has to deal with in org play so that one can play.

Shadow Lodge

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I'd rather see stats divorced from backgrounds. Give us 2 floating +2s, a skill feat (or some other background feat) and a lore feat that we select. Minmaxers are going to ignore the fluff and build what's strongest while those who actually roleplay may end up with sub optimal builds, effectively being punished for making a character rather than following a build. Also saves room in the book.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:

Keeping the power level at the same level is the most boring choice though. I'd happily take a reduction of power across the board if it meant keeping the same level of customisation. Power level is relative. If everyone loses the same degree of power then no-one has truly lost any power. Customisation however is an objective element and you either have more of it or less of it. At the moment it looks like we have a darn sight less at level 1.

I've been fairly critical of MerlinCross's "stop stealing my tree and selling me firewood" rants because I trusted Paizo to give us the same level of customisation. Now we have objectively less customisation by the replacement of traits with feats.

Paizo's one size fits all philosophy is a direct result of this. I've been critical of PF2e because of all the 4e elements, this background article has helped crystalise why 4e was bad. It took a one size fits all philosophy with it's powers and unified character progression. PF2e has gone down the exact same road and we're now clearly seeing the same problem with PF2e in that everyone has less customisation and everything feels very cookie cutter.

To be fair traits were a bolt on mechanic with a lot of bloat. And they led to Cookie Cutter builds because some let you break the assumptions of the game pretty massively. Backgrounds aren't necessarily going to replace them forever.

As for the 4E thing again. We don't know that at all. If the playtest book drops and it is a problem we will see it. But I don't think backgrounds are indicative of it at all. It seems to be the opposite in fact, with backgrounds giving you so much choice within them that I reckon you can take any background and have it work with your class. So long as you want a 12 (or 10 if you are a -2 Ancestry) or higher in either of the stats the background gives it is workable. For progression being the same, I don't really see that as an issue. It just makes everyone more like the classes that got to make choices (therefore more customization) and less like the classes that you set and forgot.


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Malk_Content wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

Keeping the power level at the same level is the most boring choice though. I'd happily take a reduction of power across the board if it meant keeping the same level of customisation. Power level is relative. If everyone loses the same degree of power then no-one has truly lost any power. Customisation however is an objective element and you either have more of it or less of it. At the moment it looks like we have a darn sight less at level 1.

I've been fairly critical of MerlinCross's "stop stealing my tree and selling me firewood" rants because I trusted Paizo to give us the same level of customisation. Now we have objectively less customisation by the replacement of traits with feats.

Paizo's one size fits all philosophy is a direct result of this. I've been critical of PF2e because of all the 4e elements, this background article has helped crystalise why 4e was bad. It took a one size fits all philosophy with it's powers and unified character progression. PF2e has gone down the exact same road and we're now clearly seeing the same problem with PF2e in that everyone has less customisation and everything feels very cookie cutter.

To be fair traits were a bolt on mechanic with a lot of bloat. And they led to Cookie Cutter builds because some let you break the assumptions of the game pretty massively. Backgrounds aren't necessarily going to replace them forever.

Traits also had the adventage of needing very little book space, so you could create a lot of them. That meant you had a lot of posibilities to start with.

HOWEVER, if they follow this path, I really hope they stick to traits that give you a class skill and a skill bonus. Traits that give things like initiative bonus, will save bonus, ability to ignore flat footed, or metamagic cost reduction, mean everybody picks them. And also devaluate the background aspect of the trait: I'm certain I have seen WAAAAAAY more characters with Reactionary, than I have seen characters that have in their background they were bullied when they were kids. Most people I have seen, in my experience, pick the +2 to initiative and completely forget the part about why you have +2 initiative.


In our games we pretty much used mostly "get +1 to skill x and make it a class skill" traits, often custom build, since they were usually custom build it was also pretty easy fitting them into the background

I like this new system, it feels more like it means something (vs traits) and still looks flexible enough to customize it. Which I will probably do in several instances, sooner or later...


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Malk_Content wrote:
[Traits] led to Cookie Cutter builds because some let you break the assumptions of the game pretty massively.

So balance them so they work better with the rest of the game. Don't throw them out with the bath water.

Malk_Content wrote:
Backgrounds aren't necessarily going to replace them forever.

They take up the exact same design space. Having both traits and backgrounds would simply make the game more confusing and would not be in line with Paizo's aim of streamlining the game and making it more newbie friendly.

Malk_Content wrote:
As for the 4E thing again. We don't know that at all.

DOn't we? I'll repost this again. At level 1 we get:

* 1 ancestral feat vs roughly 5 racial traits that can be swapped and changed with alternate racial traits.
* Training in 1 set skill. This takes the place of a "6th" racial trait that was a minor benefit like Greed.
* 1 set skill feat vs 2 traits.
* Classes look like they have substantially less choices at level 1 than they did in PF2e. One of the "big" things for fighters is they get the Attack of Opportunity feat for free at level 1.

All signs strongly point to significantly less choice.

Malk_Content wrote:
If the playtest book drops and it is a problem we will see it. But I don't think backgrounds are indicative of it at all. It seems to be the opposite in fact, with backgrounds giving you so much choice within them that I reckon you can take any background and have it work with your class.

Traits worked so that you can take most any trait with most any class. Backgrounds do not represent greater choice in that regard.

Malk_Content wrote:
So long as you want a 12 (or 10 if you are a -2 Ancestry) or higher in either of the stats the background gives it is workable.

I am not impressed with the "amazing" ability score boosts backgrounds grant because they've just taken out point buy and spread it across Ancestry+Background+Class. In PF1e I could have any 2 traits I wanted without regard to the ability score boost that accompanied them, because I got to buy my ability scores instead of having to cobble something together with Ancestry+Background+Class. Ultimately I expect the new ability score generation method will represent about the same flexibility the old ability score system had. Which is why I've been quiet on the ability scores because they don't represent an increase or decrease in stat generation. They're a neutral change. Losing traits and gaining skill feats results in substantially less choice.

Malk_Content wrote:
For progression being the same, I don't really see that as an issue.

That's nice for you. Classes being different in Pathfinder is why I stopped playing 4th ed and started playing Pathfinder. If you played Pathfinder for other reasons then you won't miss the differences that PF1e classes had.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thinking on the cookie cutter topic, I want to see how varied builds can be, based on the info we already have. I suppose that at any step the floating ability boost cannot stack with a set ability boost

Start
STR 10
DEX 10
CON 10
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 10

Then I pick an ancestry, let's say halfling. I will arbitrarily put the floating bonus in a non-penalized score, say CON
STR 8
DEX 12
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 12

Optimizing some more (and sticking to tropes, I then choose the Rogue class and I assume that they get a boost to DEX
STR 8
DEX 14
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 12

Optimizing again to max DEX now and keep on following tropes, I select the Street Urchin background with the DEX boost and the floating boost to an already boosted score
STR 8
DEX 16
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 14

Finally, I suppose that the last step of attributing free ability boosts will consist of 3 floating ability boosts, that will go to my maximized scores

STR 8 = 0
DEX 18 = 10
CON 14 = 5
INT 10 = 0
WIS 10 = 0
CHA 16 = 5

So, first score at 18, second score at 16 and third score at 14. That seems quite manageable and not too unbalanced. It also happens to make a neat 20 point buy for a PF1 Halfling

Most evenly distributed stats with this method would be something like :

STR 12 = 5
DEX 14 = 2
CON 12 = 2
INT 12 = 2
WIS 12 = 2
CHA 14 = 2

So, something you can get with a 15 point buy on a PF1 Halfling

Grand Lodge

The Raven Black wrote:

Thinking on the cookie cutter topic, I want to see how varied builds can be, based on the info we already have. I suppose that at any step the floating ability boost cannot stack with a set ability boost

Start
STR 10
DEX 10
CON 10
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 10

Then I pick a race, let's say halfling. I will arbitrarily put the floating bonus in a non-penalized score, say CON
STR 8
DEX 12
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 12

Optimizing some more (and sticking to tropes, I then choose the Rogue class and I assume that they get a boost to DEX
STR 8
DEX 14
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 12

Optimizing again to max DEX now and keep on following tropes, I select the Street Urchin background with the DEX boost and the floating boost to an already boosted score
STR 8
DEX 16
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 14

Finally, I suppose that the last step of attributing free ability boosts will consist of 3 floating ability boosts, that will go to my maximized scores

STR 8 = 0
DEX 18 = 10
CON 14 = 5
INT 10 = 0
WIS 10 = 0
CHA 16 = 5

So, first score at 18, second score at 16 and third score at 14. That seems quite manageable and not too unbalanced. It also happens to make a neat 20 point buy for a PF1 Halfling

Most evenly distributed stats with this method would be something like :

STR 12 = 5
DEX 14 = 2
CON 12 = 2
INT 12 = 2
WIS 12 = 2
CHA 14 = 2

So, something you can get with a 15 point buy on a PF1 Halfling

I believe the consensus guess is that the final step will be +2 to 4 abilities.

Liberty's Edge

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Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:
Then where is my CON boost (a fighter's secondary stat) coming from? I'm not trying to work against the system, but the system (what little we've seen of it) seems more restrictive to character vareity than some of you seem to want to admit to.

Well, even if you demand Str and Con on your Background, since all Backgrounds seem to have a physical and a mental that's almost certainly around 2/3 of the Backgrounds you can do that with (and the other third you could get Str/Dex). Even Scribe seems likely to have an option other than Int (either Dex or Con).

And even if you do pick Scribe and get Int, you can wind up with a stat layout like this pretty easily:

Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 10

That seems like a perfectly reasonable stat layout, and going with a Str/Con Background would only make it Con 16, Int 12, not allow further specialization into the physical stuff.

Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:
Yes, the floating bonuses can help cover some of the gaps, but IMO it's not gonna be enough to prevent the CCC syndrome. Like I said in my original post, I hope the actual playtest material in August proves me wrong. But until then, my opinion stands.

All the evidence seems to be that you're worrying over nothing. Yeah, if you want Str/Con in a monofocused way some Backgrounds are unavailable, but it's not like only two of the Backgrounds that allow that, it's something like a dozen of them. That seems like more than enough to keep all Fighters from being too similar.

Aristophanes wrote:
I believe the consensus guess is that the final step will be +2 to 4 abilities.

It's not merely the consensus guess, it's the amount of additional bonuses that are probably necessary to create the Iconic Cleric (who has Str 14, Dex 12, Wis 18, Cha 14 and almost certainly 10s in Con and Int).

So it's very likely, and 'point buy' distributions thus vary between about 18 (14, 14, 14, 12, 12, 12) and 22 (18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8). That seems an acceptable variance.


With an Ancestry that has 2 stat bonuses and a stat penalty plus a floating stat bonus (so Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, Gnomes, and Goblins) it seems one can manage a 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 array pretty easily.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
So balance them so they work better with the rest of the game. Don't throw them out with the bath water.

That could work as well. I would say though for traits to be well balanced their scope would have to be reduced to be pretty minor. At which point I don't think you'd see them doing much more than the backgrounds.

Quote:
They take up the exact same design space. Having both traits and backgrounds would simply make the game more confusing and would not be in line with Paizo's aim of streamlining the game and making it more newbie friendly.

As an expanded option (which is what they are now anyway) I can see them coming back. Backgrounds are broadstrokes and mostly seem to be related to your pre-teen to pre-adventuring years. Traits can be more specific and less, say, occupational.

Quote:

DOn't we? I'll repost this again. At level 1 we get:

* 1 ancestral feat vs roughly 5 racial traits that can be swapped and changed with alternate racial traits.
* Training in 1 set skill. This takes the place of a "6th" racial trait that was a minor benefit like Greed.
* 1 set skill feat vs 2 traits.
* Classes look like they have substantially less choices at level 1 than they did in PF2e. One of the "big" things for fighters is they get the Attack of Opportunity feat for free at level 1.

All signs strongly point to significantly less choice.

I do think the 1 ancestral feat should be 2. That is a low point for me.

We have no idea how much training you will get with skills at 1st level. We know for example that Intelligence effects that so it is likely to be several.

AOO is a Class Feature, something you didn't have any choice in any with PF1. Lets look at the customizability of the Fighter at level 1 in Pathfinder. Oh a Feat. Woo!

Skill Feats also seem to be far more impactful this time round.

Quote:
Traits worked so that you can take most any trait with most any class. Backgrounds do not represent greater choice in that regard.

True, although you'd be optionally inefficient to take some traits over others with the current trait balance.

Quote:
am not impressed with the "amazing" ability score boosts backgrounds grant because they've just taken out point buy and spread it across Ancestry+Background+Class. In PF1e I could have any 2 traits I wanted without regard to the ability score boost that accompanied them, because I got to buy my ability scores instead of having to cobble something together with Ancestry+Background+Class. Ultimately I expect the new ability score generation method will represent about the same flexibility the old ability score system had. Which is why I've been quiet on the ability scores because they don't represent an increase or decrease in stat generation.

Well they've said there will be point buy in the game still. So if you find the ABC method to be unsatisfactory in comparison you can just use Point Buy.

Quote:
That's nice for you. Classes being different in Pathfinder is why I stopped playing 4th ed and started playing Pathfinder. If you played Pathfinder for other reasons then you won't miss the differences that PF1e classes had.

A unified progression doesn't mean the PF2E classes will lack the variety of the PF1 classes. 4th Ed progression meant that everyone got an equivalent power at the same time everytime. PF2E just gives you feats at the same time (well actually we know even this is false, seeing how Rogues get way more skill feats than other classes) and lets you pick. It is a big difference between "every gets a new Encounter power this level" and "every gets to pick something this level."

And also all class features are obviously not gone, so classes can be just as distinct with those as they ever were.

Now all these options could be lack lustre when we see them, but they are not like 4e and the definitely do not indicate less choice in general than PF.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
[Traits] led to Cookie Cutter builds because some let you break the assumptions of the game pretty massively.

So balance them so they work better with the rest of the game. Don't throw them out with the bath water.

Malk_Content wrote:
Backgrounds aren't necessarily going to replace them forever.

They take up the exact same design space. Having both traits and backgrounds would simply make the game more confusing and would not be in line with Paizo's aim of streamlining the game and making it more newbie friendly.

Malk_Content wrote:
As for the 4E thing again. We don't know that at all.

DOn't we? I'll repost this again. At level 1 we get:

* 1 ancestral feat vs roughly 5 racial traits that can be swapped and changed with alternate racial traits.
* Training in 1 set skill. This takes the place of a "6th" racial trait that was a minor benefit like Greed.
* 1 set skill feat vs 2 traits.
* Classes look like they have substantially less choices at level 1 than they did in PF2e. One of the "big" things for fighters is they get the Attack of Opportunity feat for free at level 1.

All signs strongly point to significantly less choice.

Malk_Content wrote:
If the playtest book drops and it is a problem we will see it. But I don't think backgrounds are indicative of it at all. It seems to be the opposite in fact, with backgrounds giving you so much choice within them that I reckon you can take any background and have it work with your class.

Traits worked so that you can take most any trait with most any class. Backgrounds do not represent greater choice in that regard.

Malk_Content wrote:
So long as you want a 12 (or 10 if you are a -2 Ancestry) or higher in either of the stats the background gives it is workable.
I am not impressed with the "amazing" ability score boosts backgrounds grant because they've just taken out point buy and spread it across Ancestry+Background+Class. In PF1e I could have any 2 traits I wanted without regard to...

It looks like at least some Racial Features will be retained 'out of the box' and, in any case, they weren't really 'choices' per se. Also, Traits were an Optional rule not a core part of PF1.

Liberty's Edge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
With an Ancestry that has 2 stat bonuses and a stat penalty plus a floating stat bonus (so Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, Gnomes, and Goblins) it seems one can manage a 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 array pretty easily.

Yep. Though two of your three high stats (18, 16, 14) need to be your pre-chosen Ancestry Abilities, your flaw is also Ancestry decided, and your 18 can only be in a Class Ability. In short, getting exactly that lineup is very restrictive.

Getting an 18 alone is pretty easy, though.


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Malk_Content wrote:
I do think the 1 ancestral feat should be 2. That is a low point for me.

1 ancestral feat or 2 ancestral feats the fact remains you have less choices to make. You get to choose 2 feats instead of 4 racial traits. Yes. Power level wise they're the same (assuming 1 feat = 2 traits). But I'm making a lot less choices at character generation as a result of this.

Malk_Content wrote:
We have no idea how much training you will get with skills at 1st level. We know for example that Intelligence effects that so it is likely to be several.

At best you're going to get Class Specific Amount + Int modifier skill points to put in skills of your choice. That isn't more customisation then Pathfinder 1e. That's the same amount of customisation.

Malk_Content wrote:
AOO is a Class Feature, something you didn't have any choice in any with PF1. Lets look at the customizability of the Fighter at level 1 in Pathfinder. Oh a Feat. Woo!

Exactly. So your level 1 class abilities is not exactly going to give you this amazing breadth of choice you didn't have in PF1e. At best it's going to give you the same amount of choice. Ergo, there's less customisation because of how races and traits are being handled.

Also that amazing class feature we're getting at level 1? Fighters already got that in PF1e. So what we're getting is everyone else has their tree stolen (no more AoOs) and sold back to them as firewood (as either a class feature or a feat). Man. I'm starting to really sound like MerlinCross at this point.

Malk_Content wrote:
Skill Feats also seem to be far more impactful this time round.

Sure. How is that relevant to the point we have less customisation at level 1 though? I'll concede by level 20 you may have the same degree of customisation, or even more customisation (depending on class). But you only get that customisation at later levels by losing it at lower levels. <Insert comment about getting our trees stolen and being given back to us as firewood across 20 levels>

Quote:
True, although you'd be optionally inefficient to take some traits over others with the current trait balance.

Either the same will be true for backgrounds or backgrounds are going to be so meaningless that there's little to no point in even selecting them. But yes, I concede that some traits were better than others. Let's fix those traits rather than put them on the bonfire and burn them.

Quote:
Well they've said there will be point buy in the game still. So if you find the ABC method to be unsatisfactory in comparison you can just use Point Buy.

Sure. But don't try to tell me how amazing backgrounds are because you can select any background with any class because of the floating ability boost. As you're going to lose those if you go with point buy. I never said I was unsatisfied with the ABC stat generation method. I said it didn't represent greater choice. It represents the same degree of choice simply handed out in a different way.

Quote:
A unified progression doesn't mean the PF2E classes will lack the variety of the PF1 classes.

First you argued that losing greater choice was a good thing, now you're arguing no greater choice has been lost. Given the number of trees being taken away thus far and handed out as firewood, I expect classes to continue along the same vein. Some classes will lose less than others. Some were pretty much already following the PF2e model. The problem with using the same generic progression for everyone is that you lose flexibility. It's exactly what we're seeing with the loss of traits and the replacement of them with feats. Less flexibility for roughly the same power level. We'll have to wait and see just how homogenised everything is. But the backgrounds article certainly doesn't fill me with confidence.


ENHenry wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:

It feels like a lot of the objections to this system seem to be based on literal interpretations of the backgrounds?

In most systems smithing is a broad enough skill to apply to leatherworking, tinkering, bowmaking, Fletching, etc. If your gm won't let you cross out the word "blacksmith" and write one of those other things, then I think any inflexibility is more in the gm than the system.

Additionally, I think any reasonable gm in a group where the expectation is that it's about story and roleplay will happily consider using the backgrounds as a guide to make ones specific to what a character needs - in 5e, the main utility of the backgrounds is to give examples for players who want to make their character quickly or need ideas, the players who want something more specific can just choose options that are appropriate instead of them dedicating 50 pages to fit every possible niche.

Really?

Cause I can tell you in 5e at least where I am I was told by the people running it "Sorry can't change backgrounds" at their Adventure League. I question what my local DMs will do for Society play.

"Sorry man it's not in the book or the one you want is from a book that's banned. So take X instead".

Why yes, this is a GM problem. But just saying "Get a better GM" shouldn't be a solution to everything.

This to me is the biggest problem for Organized Play in general, but one there aren’t easy answers for that don’t open problems later. There’s a certain amount of inconvenience one has to deal with in org play so that one can play.

While I understand more or less why pfs/adventurers leagues exist, they aren't really my thing because they remove most of the things I enjoy about being a GM (being free to tell a story and adjudicate the game as I feel is best for the players, being able to craft characters and a narrative, helping people create and explore unique characters, etc)and they are a terrible example when it comes to talking about allowing player creativity because they are inherently restrictive and aren't (at least in my mind) the default form of play.

Has anyone confirmed the existence of any backgrounds that don't boost intelligence as one of their two stats?

I suspect it might be "x or int" for all so that whatever background you choose you can have a good bonus to your lore skill, in case that part of the background is where you want to focus?


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Crayon wrote:
It looks like at least some Racial Features will be retained 'out of the box'

Here's what we're getting;

Ability score modifiers.
Speed.
Size.
HP.
Special vision.
Language.

X number of ancestral feats. When I'm saying most races got roughly the same number of traits to choose from, I'm not counting ability score modifiers, speed, size, vision or language. I'm counting the other racial traits that players got to swap out (although for some races special vision was a swappable trait, I'm still not counting it when I count the average number of traits that could be swapped).

Crayon wrote:
[racial features] weren't really 'choices' per se.

They were as of 2010. Now you might not have used the Advanced Player's Guide. But given the wide support alternate racial traits gained over the years I would expect the default assumption for Pathfinder was that you were using alternate racial traits.

Crayon wrote:
Also, Traits were an Optional rule not a core part of PF1.

Could you play Pathfinder without alternate racial traits, archetypes and traits? Sure. You could also play it with every 3.5e supplement under the sun. Was that the default assumption? Not by year 3 or 4 it wasn't.

Liberty's Edge

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Somewhat fewer choices at 1st level is a good thing. Option paralysis is very real and a huge issue for new players, or those less focused on the mechanics. It's a real problem that so many choices are so front loaded in PF1.

I agree that there should be two Ancestry Feats, but that's for reasons entirely separate from 'more 1st level choices'.

Now, as the character levels, they actually wind up with more meaningful choices than you have after 1st level in PF1. Just about every even level you get 2 Feats (1 Class and 1 Skill), and every odd level you get one (1 Ancestry or 1 General). That's 29 choices over 19 levels, and that's sort of a lowball (technically the current lowball is the Cleric who only gets 27 such choices), but the Rogue also gets Skill Feats on odd levels, upping their choices to at least 39 (the current known high mark). And that's not even counting things like Spells Known on a Sorcerer.

That ignores skills, but honestly, I think PF2 wins out in meaningful choices there too, sure you may get less skill 'ranks', but in PF1 you basically maxed out X skills and maybe put one rank in some others. In PF2 you make real choices about what to raise or get every time you pick skills.

So, I think customization options are at least as varied in PF2 as they were in PF1, they're just less front loaded onto 1st level. Which is good, because making 1st level too complicated is a serious problem.


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Yeah.... AoOs being a Level 1 Fighter ability is NOT a good thing. Everyone should have AoOs by default.

I get that Paizo thinks that AoOs slow down the game (they do sometimes, to be fair) but the introduction of new Reactions is going to do the same thing and AoOs exist for a good reason.

Fighter - "Aha foul Necromancer! You are gravely wounded and we have you surrounded. Surrender!"

Necromancer - "Nah, I'm just going to run between the Wizard and the Cleric, then chug this X-Potion, bringing me back to full health."

Fighter - "STOP HIM!!!"

Cleric - "I...can't! For some reason, I can't move my arm to hit him with my mace!"

Wizard - "My staff! It's too heavy to move! What foul magic is this?!"

Necromancer - "Metagame-knowledge-mancy!"


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Somewhat fewer choices at 1st level is a good thing. Option paralysis is very real and a huge issue for new players

10 years into PF2e and new players will still have an overwhelming number of choices to make. The only way to have less choices is to go the 5e route and publish less product.

PF1e already fixes this: It gives you pre-selected racial traits. That's even less choice than PF2e if less choice is what you're after.

Removing racial traits from the game isn't required to have less option paralysis. Limiting the number of hardcover books you use in your game will achieve that. Which allows every table to decide for themselves how much variety they want in their game.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Now, as the character levels, they actually wind up with more meaningful choices than you have after 1st level in PF1......So, I think customization options are at least as varied in PF2 as they were in PF1

Sure. But that's across 20 levels. I'd rather have the same amount of customisation at level 1. If some classes get more meaningful choices than other classes, let's raise the floor instead of removing choice across the board and then slowly doling out that extra choice across 20 levels.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
In PF2 you make real choices about what to raise or get every time you pick skills.

Facts not yet in evidence. We won't know until we see the full skill system laid out. Also: If I wanted 4th ed's skill point system, I'd play 4th ed. One of the fun things about Pathfinder was getting to vary how much I invested in any individual skill. Trying to woo me over to the new system with skill feats also isn't going to work. I already had those in 4th ed. They were called utility powers and filled up much of the same design space that we've seen thus far. Again, I preferred Pathfinder's system. Rebranding 4th ed systems and sticking them in a book that has "Pathfinder" on the cover isn't going to convince me that those systems are now suddenly oh so great.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I never said losing choice was a good thing. If I ever said anything like that I'd like you to quote it so I can clarify.

Choice on its own without any other factors is always a positive. Now for any given choice it may have other factors making that specific a negative. Debating the validity of such a choice is not the same as thinking less choices overall is a good thing.


Sorry. I interpreted progression being the same across all classes (whiuch you have said is good) as the same as having less choice.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
thflame wrote:

Yeah.... AoOs being a Level 1 Fighter ability is NOT a good thing. Everyone should have AoOs by default.

I get that Paizo thinks that AoOs slow down the game (they do sometimes, to be fair) but the introduction of new Reactions is going to do the same thing and AoOs exist for a good reason.

Fighter - "Aha foul Necromancer! You are gravely wounded and we have you surrounded. Surrender!"

Necromancer - "Nah, I'm just going to run between the Wizard and the Cleric, then chug this X-Potion, bringing me back to full health."

Fighter - "STOP HIM!!!"

Cleric - "I...can't! For some reason, I can't move my arm to hit him with my mace!"

Wizard - "My staff! It's too heavy to move! What foul magic is this?!"

Necromancer - "Metagame-knowledge-mancy!"

Pretty dumb of your wizard not to have readied an action. Not that a single melee attack from a wizard would have a meaningful impact on the retreating necromancer.

Liberty's Edge

John Lynch 106 wrote:

10 years into PF2e and new players will still have an overwhelming number of choices to make. The only way to have less choices is to go the 5e route and publish less product.

PF1e already fixes this: It gives you pre-selected racial traits. That's even less choice than PF2e if less choice is what you're after.

Removing racial traits from the game isn't required to have less option paralysis. Limiting the number of hardcover books you use in your game will achieve that. Which allows every table to decide for themselves how much variety they want in their game.

You did catch that I'm totally on board with more Ancestry Feats being a thing everyone should have, right? I actually agree they went too far on that one. I just don't think the same is remotely true for other aspects of character creation.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Sure. But that's across 20 levels. I'd rather have the same amount of customisation at level 1. If some classes get more meaningful choices than other classes, let's raise the floor instead of removing choice across the board and then slowly doling out that extra choice across 20 levels.

It's not that slow and it's doling out way more than the few extra 1st level choices you're losing.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Facts not yet in evidence. We won't know until we see the full skill system laid out.

Uh...what do you mean? We know basically how skills work. The exact number you get is up in the air but we know how they work.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Also: If I wanted 4th ed's skill point system, I'd play 4th ed. One of the fun things about Pathfinder was getting to vary how much I invested in any individual skill. Trying to woo me over to the new system with skill feats also isn't going to work. I already had those in 4th ed. They were called utility powers and filled up much of the same design space that we've seen thus far. Again, I preferred Pathfinder's system. Rebranding 4th ed systems and sticking them in a book that has "Pathfinder" on the cover isn't going to fool me.

Unlike in 4E you actually can vary significantly how much you invest in a particular skill since it's not a binary of have/have not. You can be Trained, Expert, Master, or Legendary, and can invest as many (or as few) Skill Feats into that skill as you like. You also get new skill ranks as you level (something D&D4E didn't do and was a huge problem for me...heck, D&D5E doesn't do it either).

I also don't think Utility Powers and Skill Feats resemble each other much at all. Skill Feats are almost certainly all at-will for one thing, and 'utility powers' were often deeply misnamed being primarily a combat effect that just didn't fit neatly with the structure.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Sorry. I interpreted progression being the same across all classes (whiuch you have said is good) as the same as having less choice.

I can see that. The unified progression however is a progression of choices. Guaranteeing that every single character gets at least one choice at every single level is very important to me and indicative of their being more choice in PF2E across the board. For many classes in PF1E leveling up meant you got something, sure (but not always), but it didn't mean you got a choice.

I will say that in some cases some restriction of choice actually increases variability. For example I firmly believe the categorization and specification of feats will lead to more character diversity overall. Skill Feats for example, regardless of how well they turn out, will be seen more because they aren't competing for space with the few combat boosting feats. This is an area where the pro's of restriction outweigh the inherent pro of pure choice, in my opinion.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Crayon wrote:
It looks like at least some Racial Features will be retained 'out of the box'

Here's what we're getting;

Ability score modifiers.
Speed.
Size.
HP.
Special vision.
Language.

X number of ancestral feats. When I'm saying most races got roughly the same number of traits to choose from, I'm not counting ability score modifiers, speed, size, vision or language. I'm counting the other racial traits that players got to swap out (although for some races special vision was a swappable trait, I'm still not counting it when I count the average number of traits that could be swapped).

Crayon wrote:
[racial features] weren't really 'choices' per se.

They were as of 2010. Now you might not have used the Advanced Player's Guide. But given the wide support alternate racial traits gained over the years I would expect the default assumption for Pathfinder was that you were using alternate racial traits.

Crayon wrote:
Also, Traits were an Optional rule not a core part of PF1.
Could you play Pathfinder without alternate racial traits, archetypes and traits? Sure. You could also play it with every 3.5e supplement under the sun. Was that the default assumption? Not by year 3 or 4 it wasn't.

I'm beginning to suspect that your definition of 'options' is so far out of touch with mine (and presumably the designers') that further engagement on the matter is pointless. As far as I'm concerned, the number of options players have is increasing while the number of clumsy subsystems is going down so it's Win/Win!


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
thflame wrote:

Yeah.... AoOs being a Level 1 Fighter ability is NOT a good thing. Everyone should have AoOs by default.

I get that Paizo thinks that AoOs slow down the game (they do sometimes, to be fair) but the introduction of new Reactions is going to do the same thing and AoOs exist for a good reason.

Fighter - "Aha foul Necromancer! You are gravely wounded and we have you surrounded. Surrender!"

Necromancer - "Nah, I'm just going to run between the Wizard and the Cleric, then chug this X-Potion, bringing me back to full health."

Fighter - "STOP HIM!!!"

Cleric - "I...can't! For some reason, I can't move my arm to hit him with my mace!"

Wizard - "My staff! It's too heavy to move! What foul magic is this?!"

Necromancer - "Metagame-knowledge-mancy!"

Basically every turn based game mechanic sounds stupid when you lay it out like this.

Derek: Letholan why didn't you shoot him when he came towards you?
Letholan: I couldn't release the arrow! Some force stopped me until the enemy, you, Bricken and the five goblins had a chance to move.


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thflame wrote:

Yeah.... AoOs being a Level 1 Fighter ability is NOT a good thing. Everyone should have AoOs by default.

I get that Paizo thinks that AoOs slow down the game (they do sometimes, to be fair) but the introduction of new Reactions is going to do the same thing and AoOs exist for a good reason.

Fighter - "Aha foul Necromancer! You are gravely wounded and we have you surrounded. Surrender!"

Necromancer - "Nah, I'm just going to run between the Wizard and the Cleric, then chug this X-Potion, bringing me back to full health."

Fighter - "STOP HIM!!!"

Cleric - "I...can't! For some reason, I can't move my arm to hit him with my mace!"

Wizard - "My staff! It's too heavy to move! What foul magic is this?!"

Necromancer - "Metagame-knowledge-mancy!"

I thought this for a long time when I first read the new AOO rules, then I realised why would the wizard react as quickly to a physical threat when all his training has been to magical threats? the wizard having a specific reaction to a spell being cast is much more thematic.

Whether every other classes reaction is as on point I eagerly await finding out, but each class having reactions reflecting their training is one I'm getting on board with.


dragonhunterq wrote:
thflame wrote:

Yeah.... AoOs being a Level 1 Fighter ability is NOT a good thing. Everyone should have AoOs by default.

I get that Paizo thinks that AoOs slow down the game (they do sometimes, to be fair) but the introduction of new Reactions is going to do the same thing and AoOs exist for a good reason.

Fighter - "Aha foul Necromancer! You are gravely wounded and we have you surrounded. Surrender!"

Necromancer - "Nah, I'm just going to run between the Wizard and the Cleric, then chug this X-Potion, bringing me back to full health."

Fighter - "STOP HIM!!!"

Cleric - "I...can't! For some reason, I can't move my arm to hit him with my mace!"

Wizard - "My staff! It's too heavy to move! What foul magic is this?!"

Necromancer - "Metagame-knowledge-mancy!"

I thought this for a long time when I first read the new AOO rules, then I realised why would the wizard react as quickly to a physical threat when all his training has been to magical threats? the wizard having a specific reaction to a spell being cast is much more thematic.

Me too, I thought, why is every character and monster well-trained at smacking things when they move away or take certain actions. I have never been too thrilled with how prevalent, and built around AoO, 3rd Ed/PF1 is.

And yeah, we can have different classes having different reactions, like when an attack misses a rogue, they can move up to their speed or something. Clerics reacting when an ally drops to 0 hp, etc.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:

It feels like a lot of the objections to this system seem to be based on literal interpretations of the backgrounds?

In most systems smithing is a broad enough skill to apply to leatherworking, tinkering, bowmaking, Fletching, etc. If your gm won't let you cross out the word "blacksmith" and write one of those other things, then I think any inflexibility is more in the gm than the system.

Additionally, I think any reasonable gm in a group where the expectation is that it's about story and roleplay will happily consider using the backgrounds as a guide to make ones specific to what a character needs - in 5e, the main utility of the backgrounds is to give examples for players who want to make their character quickly or need ideas, the players who want something more specific can just choose options that are appropriate instead of them dedicating 50 pages to fit every possible niche.

Really?

Cause I can tell you in 5e at least where I am I was told by the people running it "Sorry can't change backgrounds" at their Adventure League. I question what my local DMs will do for Society play.

"Sorry man it's not in the book or the one you want is from a book that's banned. So take X instead".

Why yes, this is a GM problem. But just saying "Get a better GM" shouldn't be a solution to everything.

Just fyi creating your own custom background is a core rule in 5e and Adventure league legal.

http://dndadventurersleague.org/faq-12-12/
If your DM doesn't allow it thats on the DM not the system.
Similarly it would be nice if Paizo has custom backgrounds as a core rule in 2e.


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dragonhunterq wrote:
thflame wrote:

Yeah.... AoOs being a Level 1 Fighter ability is NOT a good thing. Everyone should have AoOs by default.

I get that Paizo thinks that AoOs slow down the game (they do sometimes, to be fair) but the introduction of new Reactions is going to do the same thing and AoOs exist for a good reason.

Fighter - "Aha foul Necromancer! You are gravely wounded and we have you surrounded. Surrender!"

Necromancer - "Nah, I'm just going to run between the Wizard and the Cleric, then chug this X-Potion, bringing me back to full health."

Fighter - "STOP HIM!!!"

Cleric - "I...can't! For some reason, I can't move my arm to hit him with my mace!"

Wizard - "My staff! It's too heavy to move! What foul magic is this?!"

Necromancer - "Metagame-knowledge-mancy!"

I thought this for a long time when I first read the new AOO rules, then I realised why would the wizard react as quickly to a physical threat when all his training has been to magical threats? the wizard having a specific reaction to a spell being cast is much more thematic.

Whether every other classes reaction is as on point I eagerly await finding out, but each class having reactions reflecting their training is one I'm getting on board with.

When you put it like that I love it - I love the idea of the fighter shaking her head while the wizard misses their opportunity to hit the enemy because they are a sheltered intellectual with no combat training


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Bilwiss wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:

It feels like a lot of the objections to this system seem to be based on literal interpretations of the backgrounds?

In most systems smithing is a broad enough skill to apply to leatherworking, tinkering, bowmaking, Fletching, etc. If your gm won't let you cross out the word "blacksmith" and write one of those other things, then I think any inflexibility is more in the gm than the system.

Additionally, I think any reasonable gm in a group where the expectation is that it's about story and roleplay will happily consider using the backgrounds as a guide to make ones specific to what a character needs - in 5e, the main utility of the backgrounds is to give examples for players who want to make their character quickly or need ideas, the players who want something more specific can just choose options that are appropriate instead of them dedicating 50 pages to fit every possible niche.

Really?

Cause I can tell you in 5e at least where I am I was told by the people running it "Sorry can't change backgrounds" at their Adventure League. I question what my local DMs will do for Society play.

"Sorry man it's not in the book or the one you want is from a book that's banned. So take X instead".

Why yes, this is a GM problem. But just saying "Get a better GM" shouldn't be a solution to everything.

Just fyi creating your own custom background is a core rule in 5e and Adventure league legal.

http://dndadventurersleague.org/faq-12-12/
If your DM doesn't allow it thats on the DM not the system.
Similarly it would be nice if Paizo has custom backgrounds as a core rule in 2e.

My GMs at Organized only read the FAQs that effect themselves. And I admit is is the GM.

But you cannot FORCE a GM to do anything. Much like you can't FORCE players to not Min Max with the system. The people playing the game decide what to actually do, largely at the GM's word. Or against the GM's Word which causes another set of problems.

The problem is the GM but with how many I keep seeing, there's something about either this system or Tabletop in general that draws them.

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