Running the Game

Friday, July 20, 2018

As the Pathfinder Playtest begins, Game Masters will need to quickly get up to speed with the new rules. The Game Mastering chapter of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook is here to help you out! It covers the responsibilities of a GM, gives advice on running sessions, and teaches you how to adjudicate the rules of the game. Because this is a playtest, there aren't details about creating your own campaign or adventures, but rest assured, this information will appear in the Pathfinder Second Edition rulebook!

Running Modes of Play

A large section of the Game Mastering chapter runs through the special concerns of running the three modes of play: encounters, exploration, and downtime. The specific rules governing those modes appear in the Playing the Game chapter, so this chapter instead talks about how to set the pace of the game as you GM. Exploration and downtime get the most focus here, since most the rules for running encounters are addressed in Playing the Game. The section on exploration goes over exploration tactics characters might adopt, and gives advice on what to do when players want to choose tactics that aren't included in the default options. It also addresses how to begin and end encounters, including some advice on how to use the new initiative rules of the playtest. The section on downtime shows you how to play out a single downtime day at the table, and how to cover long periods of downtime quickly and keep them interesting. It also talks about buying and selling items and retraining abilities.

Difficulty Classes

Setting DCs is one of your major tasks as GM, and the rulebook covers how to create two different types of DCs: those that are appropriate for a certain level and those that are static challenges in the world. This first category is great when you need the DC of an obstacle created by an enemy of a certain level but don't have all their statistics, when you set the DC to Craft an item of a particular level, and so on. Levels and categories of difficulty are given in a table so you can pick a DC quickly. The level is based on your opposition's level, and the category depends on the particular situation. Here's a portion of that table.

LevelTrivialLowHighSevereExtreme
0 910121417
11012141518
21113151619

Static challenges are everything from climbing a tree to identifying a minor noble. These tasks don't really get more difficult if the PCs are higher level, but can still be expressed in terms of level and difficulty category. The guidelines explain how to select a level and category of difficulty. For instance, climbing a rope that's hanging in mid-air is a level 1 task, so it's normally a high DC (14), but it might have a low DC (12) if you can brace yourself against a wall while climbing through a narrow area, and maybe even a trivial DC (10) if you can brace against two walls. Because static DCs don't increase as the PCs advance in levels, eventually low-level static tasks will become nearly automatic for them. We give guidelines here for GMs crafting their own adventures, but it's ultimately up to them what level and DC tasks are. (In published adventures, this information is still provided.)

As you can see, the rules for DCs intentionally put far more choice in your hands as the GM. Rather than having a long list of DCs and modifiers pre-defined, we wanted to let the GM assess the particulars of any given situation and then use some simple tools to set the DC, rather than needing to calculate a DC based on rules that aren't always exactly suitable to the challenge facing the players.

This section also speaks to some particular categories of skill DCs for crafting, gathering Information, performing for an audience, practicing a trade with Lore, recalling knowledge with skills like Arcana or Lore, or training an animal.

Rewards

This section contains some rules not directly related to Doomsday Dawn, but that we want people to take a look at and use if they create their own campaigns during the playtest. One thing that shows up is rules on awarding Experience Points. This includes XP awards for accomplishments, so that you'll have guidance for when the group pulls off important tasks that aren't encounters or hazards. As noted previously, it normally takes 1,000 XP to level up, but there are also options for varying the players' advancement speed by having a new level every 800 XP or 1,200 XP. If you're playtesting your own campaign, you might want to have characters level up every 800 XP so you get a chance to playtest more levels of the game!

Environment and Hazards

The last section of the Game Mastering chapter briefly summarizes environments and the rules for hazards (such as traps, environmental dangers, and haunts). These are covered in more detail in the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary. They'll be in the final version of Pathfinder Second Edition's core rulebook, but the Playtest Rulebook didn't have quite enough space for the whole thing!

Are you looking forward to GMing playtest games? What changes are you hoping to see? Are you going to run Doomsday Dawn, or try some of your own adventures too? Sound off in the comments!

Logan Bonner
Designer

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This blog rather clarifies that whole 'high level DC' thing from that one bardic thing in the bard blog. I had no idea what that was trying to say at the time, but it makes sense now. I think there's probably still a less verbose way of phrasing that whole thing, but at least now it makes sense :P

While I like tables, I tend to run without a GM screen and try to avoid having to consult rule books during the session whenever possible. So if there is a formula on which the DC table is based, I would very much like it if that was included as part of the table description. I'm pretty good at remembering formulas and doing math in my head, whereas I have very little chance of committing the whole table to memory. I'm not sure it's a high priority, since I'm sure I can retrofit an expression to fit the table close enough if it isn't provided, but it would be nice not to have to, presuming that work has already been done before generating the table.

Not much else to say here. I look forward to digging into this section of the book.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hard relative to the world and other DCs, not the PCs capabilities (which the system doesn’t assume at any given time, unlike PF/4e). After all, impossible DC 30 is actually impossible for the vast majority of creatures in 5e, but certainly within the realm of possibility for high level PCs and monsters. What I’m saying is that the 5e Adventure Paths use the same range of DCs all the way through, rather than scaling them with the party like in PF and 4e (as demonstrated in Paizo’s AP, and understandably so). It’s just by virtue of this that advancement in 5e feels like substantial advancement relative to the rest of the world and even the challenges we are facing. Because the range of DCs never change, and 5e still has an assumption that you’ll run across meaningful encounters with lower level challenges, it is the system that has the least of that treadmill feel we were talking about. Sandboxes in 5e are especially engaging and immersive, because you aren’t gated out of content (high or low) simply by virtue of your level, while still feeling like more of a badass with each level gain.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

You can see this the most in 5e actual play shows like Critical Role, where low level is hope you roll high and high level is more hope you don’t roll low. In my experience, Pathfinder’s APs generally assume the party is looking for approximately the same actual result in the dice at every level, meaning it doesn’t have quite the same dichotomy between low level and high level characters as in 5e. The growth in Pathfinder doesn’t mean much when you need to roll a 10 to hit when fighting goblins at level 1 and you need to roll a 10 to hit when fighting devils at level 20. As opposed to 5e, where the pit fiend has an AC of 19, so your +11 to Attack feels like substantial growth compared to where you started. But that does mean advancement in PF doesn’t feel as good due to the treadmill effect; it is hard to feel like you are improving.


Insight wrote:
As opposed to 5e, where the pit fiend has an AC of 19, so your +11 to Attack feels like substantial growth compared to where you started. But that does mean advancement in PF doesn’t feel as good due to the treadmill effect; it is hard to feel like you are improving.

Exactly why I am removing +Level from PF2.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Insight wrote:
As opposed to 5e, where the pit fiend has an AC of 19, so your +11 to Attack feels like substantial growth compared to where you started. But that does mean advancement in PF doesn’t feel as good due to the treadmill effect; it is hard to feel like you are improving.
Exactly why I am removing +Level from PF2.

Which also means you really won’t need an ad hoc “chart” for DCs at every level.


Im just curious if there will be a quick guide for monsters in the playtest, or some quick rules on converting content. I figure skills and possibly attacks are pretty easy, but what about monsters themselves. Or will there be a Playtestiary (Bestiary) later on before the full release? Im considering actually running a RotRL 2e game for my group.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Alric Rahl wrote:
Im just curious if there will be a quick guide for monsters in the playtest, or some quick rules on converting content. I figure skills and possibly attacks are pretty easy, but what about monsters themselves. Or will there be a Playtestiary (Bestiary) later on before the full release? Im considering actually running a RotRL 2e game for my group.

There will be a playtest bestiary with some 250+ monsters released on the same day as the playtest rulebook. Important to note that most of these entries will be pure stats, designed to give GMs enough raw material to work with in as tight a package as possible.


Malk_Content wrote:
There will be a playtest bestiary with some 250+ monsters released on the same day as the playtest rulebook. Important to note that most of these entries will be pure stats, designed to give GMs enough raw material to work with in as tight a package as possible.

Available as a free PDF, right? Nothing wrong with that, I just really, really want to check out the monsters in this edition, one of the things I am most liking the sound of (Reactions, etc).


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
There will be a playtest bestiary with some 250+ monsters released on the same day as the playtest rulebook. Important to note that most of these entries will be pure stats, designed to give GMs enough raw material to work with in as tight a package as possible.
Available as a free PDF, right? Nothing wrong with that, I just really, really want to check out the monsters in this edition, one of the things I am most liking the sound of (Reactions, etc).

I'm pretty sure the reason certain books are PDF only is so they could finish them up after the playtest book proper was sent to the printers, rather than having all the deadlines at the same time.


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Insight wrote:
You can see this the most in 5e actual play shows like Critical Role, where low level is hope you roll high and high level is more hope you don’t roll low. In my experience, Pathfinder’s APs generally assume the party is looking for approximately the same actual result in the dice at every level, meaning it doesn’t have quite the same dichotomy between low level and high level characters as in 5e. The growth in Pathfinder doesn’t mean much when you need to roll a 10 to hit when fighting goblins at level 1 and you need to roll a 10 to hit when fighting devils at level 20. As opposed to 5e, where the pit fiend has an AC of 19, so your +11 to Attack feels like substantial growth compared to where you started. But that does mean advancement in PF doesn’t feel as good due to the treadmill effect; it is hard to feel like you are improving.

I basically agree, but the dark side of 5e's limited skill progression is that your mid and high level characters suffer humiliating fails relatively often. Non-bard, non-rogues will never progress to the point where they're able to scale a building reliably, or any other task that's hard enough to reasonably earn a DC 15.

I think it's a great system for a sandbox, for the reasons you outline, but also for a campaign with a goofier tone. The heroes will often seem slightly incompetent, even when they reach the stage where they're beating up giants.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Honeybee wrote:
I too have played (edition) with mediocre GMs who used (game mechanic) to make the game less fun than it otherwise would have been, so I feel your pain.

The thing is. It wasn't just an isolated incident. It has been demonstrated through numerous testemonies across the internet for the past 10 years (some of them have unwittingly been made in this thread!). There's an easy way around it. Give GMs the in game universe description of what is easy, medium, hard, etc and then give them the DC for those challenges in a separate area. It removes the crutch from the GM and helps train them to think of what is happening within the universe the PCs are stomping around in.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Let me know when someone comes up with a system that is. I'm on the lookout for one that's bad-player proof too.
I'm not asking for something that is terrible GM proof. I'm asking for something that helps mediocre GMs. Not everyone is a born a great GM. But they can improve with assistance and guidance. This table is a crutch that has a demonstrated history of not assisting mediocre GMs in becoming better GMs.

So what you are asking is that they print a whole book on what is hard, medium, easy. since lets use the lock example, a tailors shop might not have as expensive locks as a blacksmith or jewelsmith would. a Rope covered in oil is probably a hard DC but a knotted rope is easy. swimming in a calm pond would be easy but a lake would be medium and an ocean would be hard, and harder still if it was storming. No two people are ever going to agree on the same thing every. single. time....

thats what this table is for. its to help all gms make arbitrary decisions about difficulties and if it varies, then it varies. if you have a GM who makes everything hard, then i suggest finding a better GM.

lastly GMs only learn by doing. Sorry... mediocre GMs learn by doing, if 5 checks in a row result in almost a TPK, its almost guarenteed that gm is going to lower the DC until he sees a comfortable progressing, rather than a slogging one.

EDIT: Basically what im saying is you are asking them to do the thing that would have the exact opposite of what you want. instead of a GM learning from his own experiences of running a game how to assign DCs, you just want them to be robots looking at lines of code to create the experience.


Malk_Content wrote:
Alric Rahl wrote:
Im just curious if there will be a quick guide for monsters in the playtest, or some quick rules on converting content. I figure skills and possibly attacks are pretty easy, but what about monsters themselves. Or will there be a Playtestiary (Bestiary) later on before the full release? Im considering actually running a RotRL 2e game for my group.
There will be a playtest bestiary with some 250+ monsters released on the same day as the playtest rulebook. Important to note that most of these entries will be pure stats, designed to give GMs enough raw material to work with in as tight a package as possible.

Perfect. Im prefectly fine with it being only stat blocks as long as i can use those to fill in most of the spaces in a converted Rise of the Runelords campaign. some boss monsters im probably going to have to remake as either NPC's or PC's either at same/lower/higher level.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
IconicCatparent wrote:
Insight wrote:
You can see this the most in 5e actual play shows like Critical Role, where low level is hope you roll high and high level is more hope you don’t roll low. In my experience, Pathfinder’s APs generally assume the party is looking for approximately the same actual result in the dice at every level, meaning it doesn’t have quite the same dichotomy between low level and high level characters as in 5e. The growth in Pathfinder doesn’t mean much when you need to roll a 10 to hit when fighting goblins at level 1 and you need to roll a 10 to hit when fighting devils at level 20. As opposed to 5e, where the pit fiend has an AC of 19, so your +11 to Attack feels like substantial growth compared to where you started. But that does mean advancement in PF doesn’t feel as good due to the treadmill effect; it is hard to feel like you are improving.

I basically agree, but the dark side of 5e's limited skill progression is that your mid and high level characters suffer humiliating fails relatively often. Non-bard, non-rogues will never progress to the point where they're able to scale a building reliably, or any other task that's hard enough to reasonably earn a DC 15.

I think it's a great system for a sandbox, for the reasons you outline, but also for a campaign with a goofier tone. The heroes will often seem slightly incompetent, even when they reach the stage where they're beating up giants.

We're on the same page, but I'd use the term grittier rather than goofier. And you'll see, for example, when the heroes are scaling the noble's house in Zadash on the latest season of Critical Role, the Athletics DC has been set to 5, rather than the 15 you suggest. So when Beau (I believe it was) rolls a natural 1 during the climb, she obviously falls. But it didn't feel like she was an incompetent adventurer, just the natural consequences of a tense situation. Even jedi, Conan, Gandalf, Indiana Jones, and other heroes in various media fail these types of checks, but that is why we roll in the first place, to emulate the risk inherent in these situations. If a failure would be comical in 5e, you wouldn't roll in the first place. As the rules say, the roll is for when the DM and players are in doubt about what a reasonable outcome would be (with the chances of failure modified by each character's skill in the activity in question).


I've been readng the thread on the phone all day, so most of the stuff I wanted to post has already been addressed.

So I am just left wodering if the smurf thing works if you do not normally have an avatar at all...

_
glass.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

So ByronD asked for a concrete example about how PF2 will play with regards to the DC charts and challenges based upon character level (just like many of 4Es examples). So here it is:

The PF2 bard has a cantrip (Inspiring Courage) that boosts them and all their allies for 1 round. They can get a feat (Lingering Performance) that lets them make a Performance check to increase the duration of Inspiring Courage (and other compositions) by more than one round.

What is the DC of this Performance check? Is it static? Or does it increase with the level of the characters as many fear?

As stated in the blog, the DC will typically be the hard DC for the party's level (although the GM is allowed to change it at their whim). So what does this mean? This means a level 1 bard trying to inspire himself and his friends and have the composition linger will need to make a DC 14 Performance check, likely with around a +5 bonus (60% chance of success). What happens at level 2? The bard increases their bonus to Performance (by virtue of their level increase) to +6. What happens to the DC of the Performance needed for their lingering Inspire Courage? It increases to DC 15 (by virtue of the chart in the blog). What is the bard's new and improved chance of success for this Performance due to their practice, experience, and eventual level up: 60% chance of success.

Maybe they'll be better at it when they come back at level 3...

Paizo Employee Designer

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It's actually going to have very likely increased, however, since an expert-quality musical instrument or the like will enter the equation. It's actually not even outside the realm of possibility to go from +5 to +9 at level 2 (the bard in my War for the Crown game either did, or will when he picks up the instrument, I can't remember if he found one).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
It's actually going to have very likely increased, however, since an expert-quality musical instrument or the like will enter the equation. It's actually not even outside the realm of possibility to go from +5 to +9 at level 2 (the bard in my War for the Crown game either did, or will when he picks up the instrument, I can't remember if he found one).

Well that helps with the treadmill problem (and is similar to the improvement that a SF Operative will make with regards to trick attack, for example), but it still doesn't address Byron's concern that none of these types of scaling DCs be based on the party's level. But we knew that was a possibility, although I hope most of them are better done than the scaling of starship DCs in Starfinder, where stunts actually became harder as you leveled up (but that is where the playtest comes in :) ).


Insight wrote:

So ByronD asked for a concrete example about how PF2 will play with regards to the DC charts and challenges based upon character level (just like many of 4Es examples). So here it is:

The PF2 bard has a cantrip (Inspiring Courage) that boosts them and all their allies for 1 round. They can get a feat (Lingering Performance) that lets them make a Performance check to increase the duration of Inspiring Courage (and other compositions) by more than one round.

What is the DC of this Performance check? Is it static? Or does it increase with the level of the characters as many fear?

As stated in the blog, the DC will typically be the hard DC for the party's level (although the GM is allowed to change it at their whim). So what does this mean? This means a level 1 bard trying to inspire himself and his friends and have the composition linger will need to make a DC 14 Performance check, likely with around a +5 bonus (60% chance of success). What happens at level 2? The bard increases their bonus to Performance (by virtue of their level increase) to +6. What happens to the DC of the Performance needed for their lingering Inspire Courage? It increases to DC 15 (by virtue of the chart in the blog). What is the bard's new and improved chance of success for this Performance due to their practice, experience, and eventual level up: 60% chance of success.

Maybe they'll be better at it when they come back at level 3...

There is the thing where it works basically the same on teammates but gets better and better and debilitating folks weaker than you (and it worse at debilitating folks stronger than you).

Tbh I'm not sure how I feel about it not scaling as well on your buddies as on the NPCs three levels lower than you, but I guess we'll see.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
It's actually going to have very likely increased, however, since an expert-quality musical instrument or the like will enter the equation.

That makes me wonder what the corresponding options for a dance- or oratory-based bard are.... :)

(And thinking of 4E bards, who really (at least initially) needed four arms to handle both implements and weapons... :) :) )


Mark Seifter wrote:
It's actually going to have very likely increased, however, since an expert-quality musical instrument or the like will enter the equation. It's actually not even outside the realm of possibility to go from +5 to +9 at level 2 (the bard in my War for the Crown game either did, or will when he picks up the instrument, I can't remember if he found one).

If you're allowed to say. I assume instruments (and maybe other spellcasting aids) have potency then, but do they have any other standardised method of upgrades?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Elleth wrote:

There is the thing where it works basically the same on teammates but gets better and better and debilitating folks weaker than you (and it worse at debilitating folks stronger than you).
Tbh I'm not sure how I feel about it not scaling as well on your buddies as on the NPCs three levels lower than you, but I guess we'll see.

Well for inspire courage specifically, it always targets yourself at a minimum. And lingering performance states it is one roll with a DC appropriate for the highest level target (and if you don't succeed, then the performance doesn't linger). So at a minimum your level will be the thing upon which the DC is based, although it looks like it could be even harder if you include high level allies (but never any easier for including low level ones).


Insight wrote:
Elleth wrote:

There is the thing where it works basically the same on teammates but gets better and better and debilitating folks weaker than you (and it worse at debilitating folks stronger than you).
Tbh I'm not sure how I feel about it not scaling as well on your buddies as on the NPCs three levels lower than you, but I guess we'll see.

Well for inspire courage specifically, it always targets yourself at a minimum. And lingering performance states it is one roll with a DC appropriate for the highest level target (and if you don't succeed, then the performance doesn't linger). So at a minimum your level will be the thing upon which the DC is based, although it looks like it could be even harder if you include high level allies (but never any easier for including low level ones).

That's fair. I was assuming some might target a specific target but I might be wrong.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I kinda like the idea that continuing to buff your allies gets harder.

"Yes yes Volorun we've heard that song a hundred times, it's hard to get excited about the Ballard of the Mallard right now!"


Malk_Content wrote:

I kinda like the idea that continuing to buff your allies gets harder.

"Yes yes Volorun we've heard that song a hundred times, it's hard to get excited about the Ballard of the Mallard right now!"

Somehow, you've managed to displaced Byakhee Byakhee that has been in my head since someone linked A Shoggoth on the Roof. But you've managed to replace it with "The wheels on the bus go round and round".


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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Alric Rahl wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
Lots of stuff
This.... this is a perfect explanation. I love it. Though I didn’t understand my own feelings of the table to put into words, I knew it was a great idea, thank you for explaining this in a great way.

The chart isn't perfect, but it's a helpful tool.

Take the example of the lock up thread. Maybe I planned an attack on a keep, and assumed that the PCs would find the hidden entrance at the back, but the players never actually go around back. Instead they use a grappling hook to scale the wall and go in through a window.
Well the DC for climbing a rope and braced against a wall is set and can be done by just about anybody, I just look up that DC (probably 9 or 10)
The problem is that the PCs are in a part of the keep I didn't even map out, let alone planned out the encounters and such. Will I can just ahve the same guards as I would have used elsewhere, but I didn't think about the other parts of the keep. So I grab the chart and say that the DC for the lock is hard for their level, and the trap in the corridor is Hard to spot, but easy to bypass, and ... you get the idea.

It's just a tool, only as useful as you make it. Think of it like the monster design vs. P1. Instead of trying to give the monster all the underlying stats so that their numbers hit the right benchmarks for their CR, in P2 they just give them the right number and ignore all the other stuff. This make stat block much smaller and easier to read AND means that I can put together a monster on the fly by just checking the line on the CR table.

It's to make the GM's job easier so that we can focus on having fun, not trying to remember what page had that specific DC table.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
For example: I can't tell what Paizo thinks a task being "trivial" means, and it doesn't jive at all with my own personal definition.
The playtest rules thoroughly define each category. Trivial basically means if this is the DC and the whole party can try it and only one person needs to succeed, it would be incredibly unlikely that no one succeeds. For instance, even an untrained 1st-level character with 10 in the stat, likely the worst you have, is 50/50 at the level 1 trivial (a trivial task of a level is actually roughly defined as "Something a totally uninvested character of that level would be at about a coin flip to do"). Even if an entire party of four was built that way with no one invested at all, it's still only a 1 in 16 chance they don't have someone make it. Trivial DCs are relevant enough to be on the chart because someone probably will fail it if everybody has to roll it and all who fail experience some interesting result of failure.

Trivial: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Seriously 'tho, trivial to me is not a 50/50 coin flip. Trivial to me is something the average joe could do 85-90% of the time without even trying. I'll leave the actual number crunching to those obsessed over the math (lord knows there's plenty of them), but to me, it just seems off.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:

Trivial: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Seriously 'tho, trivial to me is not a 50/50 coin flip. Trivial to me is something the average joe could do 85-90% of the time without even trying. I'll leave the actual number crunching to those obsessed over the math (lord knows there's plenty of them), but to me, it just seems off.

It's 50/50 for the WORST PC YOU CAN BUILD. That makes it trivial for just about any else.


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Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:
Trivial: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Props on the slick quote.

But seriously:
Don't forget what 'Trivial' is implied to be a modifier for, a 'Challange'. When you think of it as a Trivial Challange, instead of just Trivial the minimum difficulty makes more sense. At the very least, it makes sense to me that at any given level, you have to be Untrained, Untalanted (read low key-stat), Underequipped, and possibly Intoxicated to have a significant chance of failure while attempting a Trivial Challange.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Having just moved back to Pathfinder for a while after playing a good deal of Starfinder, I've noticed that I'm far less likely to assign meaningful DCs to tasks in PF than I am in SF, instead just hand waving it and saying "eh, that roll sounds high enough".

Starfinder's fairly bounded statistics, while initially a little concerning as a player, make GMing a lot easier since I have a simple formula for challenging DCs, and can trust that the party is unlikely to have anyone so far ahead of the curve as to require pumping the value to a point where it's impossible for anyone else. A system like that one in PF 2 is a welcome addition.


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j b 200 wrote:
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:

Trivial: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Seriously 'tho, trivial to me is not a 50/50 coin flip. Trivial to me is something the average joe could do 85-90% of the time without even trying. I'll leave the actual number crunching to those obsessed over the math (lord knows there's plenty of them), but to me, it just seems off.
It's 50/50 for the WORST PC YOU CAN BUILD. That makes it trivial for just about any else.

It's 50/50 for the worst PC you can build. Which is Untrained, 8 stat. Average Joe probably has 10 in the stat, and might be Trained. That's a difference of 3 points. So that 50/50 is now a 65% chance to succeed. That's still a 1 in 3 chance of failure, give or take. It takes a 14 stat and Expert, or 16 at Trained (for a total of +6 over Worst), which at lower levels is dang near specialist, to get that same DC up to a mere 80%, which is still below his mentioned 85-90% for their idea of "Trivial".


Insight wrote:
So ByronD

Its "Bryon". :)

Quote:
asked for a concrete example about how PF2 will play with regards to the DC charts [

I did? I mean, that would be a reasonable way to go about conversation, but I don't think I actually made this request. To the contrary, I pointed out the actual example from the blog.

Quote:

and challenges based upon character level (just like many of 4Es examples). So here it is:

The PF2 bard has a cantrip (Inspiring Courage) that boosts them and all their allies for 1 round. They can get a feat (Lingering Performance) that lets them make a Performance check to increase the duration of Inspiring Courage (and other compositions) by more than one round.

What is the DC of this Performance check? Is it static? Or does it increase with the level of the characters as many fear?

I can't speak for the "as many", but speaking for myself, this example is a really bad one and not particularly meaningful.

The climbing a rope thing is a thing. Obviously we can create all kinds of complicating circumstances. But just climbing a rope is a thing and in itself should never change. The DC should be fixed regardless of who is climbing it. And the blog clearly indicates this is this case. (So exactly not 4E).

Inspire? Hmm. Well is it just as easy to inspire a L17 fighter as it is to inspire a L1 fighter? Well, first off, this is a lot more subjective than "climb a rope". Shooting from the hip, I think the DC should increase with the level of the target. (Just as the ogre should have factored into the DC example in the 4E DMG). I'd say that a typical L17 bard should have the same chance of inspiring the L17 fighter as a typical L1 bard would have with a L1 fighter. The L17 fighter knows he is awesome and the cute little things that L1 bards gushes at him don't provide much pep.

Now, if the rule was the *BARD* level changed the DC, then I would have an issue there. The number for inspiring a "typical L1 fighter" should not change any more than then number for climbing a rope. It should get clearly easier for the bard to inspire a L1 fighter as he gains levels.

Quote:

As stated in the blog, the DC will typically be the hard DC for the party's level (although the GM is allowed to change it at their whim). So what does this mean? This means a level 1 bard trying to inspire himself and his friends and have the composition linger will need to make a DC 14 Performance check, likely with around a +5 bonus (60% chance of success). What happens at level 2? The bard increases their bonus to Performance (by virtue of their level increase) to +6. What happens to the DC of the Performance needed for their lingering Inspire Courage? It increases to DC 15 (by virtue of the chart in the blog). What is the bard's new and improved chance of success for this Performance due to their practice, experience, and eventual level up: 60% chance of success.

Maybe they'll be better at it when they come back at level 3...

Eh, I'm not going to freak out over lack of a perfectly smooth curve. I'm ok with it being a tiny bit harder to inspire a L2 fighter than a L1 fighter. And if the bard doesn't get better until L3, the world won't stop shaking. If you want to say I'm cherry picking there, so be it. I don't think that tiny example compares to "the ogre doesn't play in role at all in the DC".

so I don't accept that as an example that has any bearing on my concern.


Shinigami02 wrote:
It's 50/50 for the worst PC you can build. Which is Untrained, 8 stat. Average Joe probably has 10 in the stat, and might be Trained. That's a difference of 3 points. So that 50/50 is now a 65% chance to succeed. That's still a 1 in 3 chance of failure, give or take. It takes a 14 stat and Expert, or 16 at Trained (for a total of +6 over Worst), which at lower levels is dang near specialist, to get that same DC up to a mere 80%, which is still below his mentioned 85-90% for their idea of "Trivial".

Good post, but just clarifying it is more like 45% for 'worst PC' (which really mean, "they aren't so heroic in this area, but kind of still are at high levels, just not compared to peers") which shifts other numbers 5%. But it seems like A) Devs recognize Trivial isn't best term for this tier B) Recognize there is valid role for tier below it, to allow more supple-ness (my term) re: characters below Level spec (and re: Crit Success/Failures, Debuffs etc) which could perhaps actually qualify as "Trivial".


Insight wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
It's actually going to have very likely increased, however, since an expert-quality musical instrument or the like will enter the equation. It's actually not even outside the realm of possibility to go from +5 to +9 at level 2 (the bard in my War for the Crown game either did, or will when he picks up the instrument, I can't remember if he found one).
Well that helps with the treadmill problem (and is similar to the improvement that a SF Operative will make with regards to trick attack, for example), but it still doesn't address Byron's concern that none of these types of scaling DCs be based on the party's level. But we knew that was a possibility, although I hope most of them are better done than the scaling of starship DCs in Starfinder, where stunts actually became harder as you leveled up (but that is where the playtest comes in :) ).

Yeah, please don't put words in my mouth. Thanks

You have it wrong as I've explained above.

The DC shouldn't change just because the "doer" is better at the task.
"Scaling with the party" may make total sense in some cases where the level of the targets represents some concept of the difficulty of doing something. That would certainly depend strongly on the case at hand. But, again, saying the DC to inspire a L17 fighter is a lot tougher then the DC to inspire a L1 fighter is one thing and in no way in conflict from me, saying that a Bard 1 needs a lower DC than a Bard 17 to inspire the exact same fighter 1 would be dumb, even if the bard's bonus outpaced the increase thus making it easier overall. The difficulty should not change just because the bard got better. The fighter might actually get harder to impress.


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Shinigami02 wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:

Trivial: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Seriously 'tho, trivial to me is not a 50/50 coin flip. Trivial to me is something the average joe could do 85-90% of the time without even trying. I'll leave the actual number crunching to those obsessed over the math (lord knows there's plenty of them), but to me, it just seems off.
It's 50/50 for the WORST PC YOU CAN BUILD. That makes it trivial for just about any else.
It's 50/50 for the worst PC you can build. Which is Untrained, 8 stat. Average Joe probably has 10 in the stat, and might be Trained. That's a difference of 3 points. So that 50/50 is now a 65% chance to succeed. That's still a 1 in 3 chance of failure, give or take. It takes a 14 stat and Expert, or 16 at Trained (for a total of +6 over Worst), which at lower levels is dang near specialist, to get that same DC up to a mere 80%, which is still below his mentioned 85-90% for their idea of "Trivial".

As they said before, it's called trivial because it is trivial for a party of 4, not an individual. Between four people it is;

A- likely that one of them has enough skill to succeed 90% of the time as groups usually are made out of a variety of specialists
B- likely that they can aid each other
C- possible that all 4 will get an attempt, in which case you get 4 coin flips where you only need one to succeed in many cases


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BryonD wrote:

The climbing a rope thing is a thing. Obviously we can create all kinds of complicating circumstances. But just climbing a rope is a thing and in itself should never change. The DC should be fixed regardless of who is climbing it. And the blog clearly indicates this is this case. (So exactly not 4E).

I don’t know what this means. Are you saying that you don’t believe that the 4e PHB has a fixed DC to climb a rope regardless of who is climbing it? Or that you don’t believe that it matters that it does?

Also sorry about your name. I swear I checked twice, but somehow I still got it wrong. Maybe thinking of Lord Byron...?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
BryonD wrote:
The DC shouldn't change just because the "doer" is better at the task.

The point was that a bard that was buffing solely himself would find that the DC increased based on his level. It’s very similar to how the starship DCs increase when the party gains levels in Starfinder. In that case, too, the Captain finds it harder and harder to properly aid his crew mates (apparently the team gets less and less cohesive and disciplined as they get more powerful), but it seems like that isn’t something you have a problem with, so I apologize for any presumptions I might have made.


Insight wrote:
I don’t know what this means. Are you saying that you don’t believe that the 4e PHB has a fixed DC to climb a rope regardless of who is climbing it? Or that you don’t believe that it matters that it does?

I'm saying that the blog references climbing ropes and clearly describes it the way I think it should.

I'm saying that the 4E DMG gives a specific example involving a brazier and an ogre and neither the brazier nor the ogre are considered in the development of the DC. This is exactly wrong, IMO.

I won't comment on $E rope climbing specifically other than to acknowledge that a rational group can easily resolve this problem, suggest that that example provided suggests a stupid way to resolve it, and I've arguing with 4E fans who clearly supported the idea that pg 42 should be a gold standard for "bashing a door" or "picking a lock", so if they did or did not ever reference rope climbing, I can't say, but the point is the same either way. Beyond that, the 4E horse is dead in more ways than one, so I don't want to argue any 2018 individual take on it.

Quote:
Also sorry about your name. I swear I checked twice, but somehow I still got it wrong. Maybe thinking of Lord Byron...?

:) No worries.


Insight wrote:
BryonD wrote:
The DC shouldn't change just because the "doer" is better at the task.
The point was that a bard that was buffing solely himself would find that the DC increased based on his level. It’s very similar to how the starship DCs increase when the party gains levels in Starfinder. In that case, too, the Captain finds it harder and harder to properly aid his crew mates (apparently the team gets less and less cohesive and disciplined as they get more powerful), but it seems like that isn’t something you have a problem with, so I apologize for any presumptions I might have made.

Or maybe they are more disciplined and skilled, and it's harder to improve on perfection?

Coaching an Olympic athlete is probably more difficult than coaching an amateur, and the feats you are trying to motivate them to achieve are massive amounts of effort to be a millisecond faster as there is a point of diminishing returns.


Insight wrote:
BryonD wrote:
The DC shouldn't change just because the "doer" is better at the task.
The point was that a bard that was buffing solely himself would find that the DC increased based on his level. It’s very similar to how the starship DCs increase when the party gains levels in Starfinder. In that case, too, the Captain finds it harder and harder to properly aid his crew mates (apparently the team gets less and less cohesive and disciplined as they get more powerful), but it seems like that isn’t something you have a problem with, so I apologize for any presumptions I might have made.

Yeah, self inspiration is funky. But, ultimately, it isn't getting harder because the doer is higher level, it is getting harder because the *target* is higher level.

Yes, it gets a bit wonky when they are both the same. But, the point remains that the *target* is controlling, which is exactly unlike the 4E DMG example.

I can shrug and move on if you say the bard needs to think of something a little more clever to boost himself than he did back a few levels ago.

If you tell me that the ogre has no relevance to the DC of kicking the ogre into a brazier, I'll shrug and move on, but in this case "move on" is to some game that works for me.


Tender Tendrils wrote:
Insight wrote:
BryonD wrote:
The DC shouldn't change just because the "doer" is better at the task.
The point was that a bard that was buffing solely himself would find that the DC increased based on his level. It’s very similar to how the starship DCs increase when the party gains levels in Starfinder. In that case, too, the Captain finds it harder and harder to properly aid his crew mates (apparently the team gets less and less cohesive and disciplined as they get more powerful), but it seems like that isn’t something you have a problem with, so I apologize for any presumptions I might have made.

Or maybe they are more disciplined and skilled, and it's harder to improve on perfection?

Coaching an Olympic athlete is probably more difficult than coaching an amateur, and the feats you are trying to motivate them to achieve are massive amounts of effort to be a millisecond faster as there is a point of diminishing returns.

Sure, all that works.

And it all comes back to "look at the challenge to determine how hard it is" and not "look at the person trying to do something to find out how hard that thing is"

Maybe more details will emerge that make me sad. But so far everything clearly indicates that this part of 2E is reasonable. (tangent references to SF not withstanding)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

When I get home I’ll open up the DMG and read the ogre example. But if I do so and find that it doesn’t work the way you remember - or find other clarifying language - do you want me to post it? Or should I refrain, since you have already had this discussion so long ago and have already heard alternate (but not invalid, I’d hope) interpretations many times before? And if I do find that that the chart works as you describe, I’ll count myself as blissfully unaware all that time, since much like you, it’s not something I would have been comfortable with.

Either way, you seem to like the PF2 chart (and for the same reasons that I like the 4e chart I’d add), so if that is good enough for you, then it is good enough for me.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tender Tendrils wrote:

Or maybe they are more disciplined and skilled, and it's harder to improve on perfection?
Coaching an Olympic athlete is probably more difficult than coaching an amateur, and the feats you are trying to motivate them to achieve are massive amounts of effort to be a millisecond faster as there is a point of diminishing returns.

I mean, that rule was so heavily criticized that it was changed a month after launch, so there isn’t a need to justify it at this point


Insight wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:

Or maybe they are more disciplined and skilled, and it's harder to improve on perfection?
Coaching an Olympic athlete is probably more difficult than coaching an amateur, and the feats you are trying to motivate them to achieve are massive amounts of effort to be a millisecond faster as there is a point of diminishing returns.

I mean, that rule was so heavily criticized that it was changed a month after launch, so there isn’t a need to justify it at this point

I don't feel the need to justify anything - just providing an explanation of how it could actually work with verisimilitude instead of against it, depending on perspective.


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Tender Tendrils wrote:
Insight wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:

Or maybe they are more disciplined and skilled, and it's harder to improve on perfection?
Coaching an Olympic athlete is probably more difficult than coaching an amateur, and the feats you are trying to motivate them to achieve are massive amounts of effort to be a millisecond faster as there is a point of diminishing returns.

I mean, that rule was so heavily criticized that it was changed a month after launch, so there isn’t a need to justify it at this point
I don't feel the need to justify anything - just providing an explanation of how it could actually work with verisimilitude instead of against it, depending on perspective.

You’re right, of course. It is a pretty good explanation. Still not necessarily satisfying from the players’ perspectives when they are trying to resolve their action and failing even with a natural 17.


Insight wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:
Insight wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:

Or maybe they are more disciplined and skilled, and it's harder to improve on perfection?
Coaching an Olympic athlete is probably more difficult than coaching an amateur, and the feats you are trying to motivate them to achieve are massive amounts of effort to be a millisecond faster as there is a point of diminishing returns.

I mean, that rule was so heavily criticized that it was changed a month after launch, so there isn’t a need to justify it at this point
I don't feel the need to justify anything - just providing an explanation of how it could actually work with verisimilitude instead of against it, depending on perspective.
You’re right, of course. It is a pretty good explanation. Still not necessarily satisfying from the players’ perspectives when they are trying to resolve their action and failing even with a natural 17.

Oh from a gameplay perspective it is terrible, as even if it can be thought of as logical from one perspective, the fact that it requires that explanation of the logic means it isn't intuitive to the players, and it's just kind of not very fun.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Insight wrote:

When I get home I’ll open up the DMG and read the ogre example. But if I do so and find that it doesn’t work the way you remember - or find other clarifying language - do you want me to post it? Or should I refrain, since you have already had this discussion so long ago and have already heard alternate (but not invalid, I’d hope) interpretations many times before? And if I do find that that the chart works as you describe, I’ll count myself as blissfully unaware all that time, since much like you, it’s not something I would have been comfortable with.

Either way, you seem to like the PF2 chart (and for the same reasons that I like the 4e chart I’d add), so if that is good enough for you, then it is good enough for me.

Bryon, I know I haven't given you a chance to respond to my question, but as I'm already home and now have the 4e DMG (pg 42) open, I would like the chance to provide clarification to the world at large on the assertions you've made about the ogre example in the right hand column (above the infamous chart). You said that the ogre's statistics factor in no way into the maneuver, but the text explicitly says "Have her make a Strength attack against the ogre's Fortitude. If she pulls it off, let her push the ogre 1 square and into the brazier and find an appropriate damage number." The text goes onto explain that if you want to make the maneuver worthwhile and encourage such tactics in the future, have the maneuver deal damage relevant to the ogre (a level 8 brute), which is 2d8+5 fire damage according to the chart (also incorporating the force of the maneuver and expertise behind it). Otherwise, the brazier would deal the static fire damage (which would be pretty disappointing, you'd have to admit, after the rogue used an action and succeeded on a fairly difficult check given her likely Strength versus the ogre's Fortitude).


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"You need to change this rule because I played with a GM who didn't read/understand the rules in 4e!"
There literally aren't enough pixels currently dedicated to the number of Jackie Chan memes that can express how ridiculous that argument is.

And the constant "oh, this looks similar to 4e, so clearly it must function in the same way and everyone will have the same good/bad experiences with it that I had with 4e!" is getting beyond tiresome.


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Kalindlara wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
By the way: Many of the people who are supporting the existence of this table are saying it's existence in 4e was bad because it caused certain behaviour. I am also pointing out it is exactly the same as it was in 4e and that their support of it now is not going to result in the same behaviour they are saying is bad.
I'm curious who these people are. You appear to have identified specific people, given your positive identification of them as both supporters of the table previewed in this blog (which narrows it down to a small set of individuals) and opponents of the 4e system. "Many people" sounds, to be honest, rather vague and rhetorical, which in turn strains the believability of your argument. Could you provide some support for this argument, please? ^_^
Quadratic W wrote:
So it's the scaling DCs of 4e...but with a static DC table too......Honestly, that's so elegant I wonder why 4e never thought to use it.
Voss wrote:
They did it the right way (and not the 4e way)


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
By the way: Many of the people who are supporting the existence of this table are saying it's existence in 4e was bad because it caused certain behaviour. I am also pointing out it is exactly the same as it was in 4e and that their support of it now is not going to result in the same behaviour they are saying is bad.
I'm curious who these people are. You appear to have identified specific people, given your positive identification of them as both supporters of the table previewed in this blog (which narrows it down to a small set of individuals) and opponents of the 4e system. "Many people" sounds, to be honest, rather vague and rhetorical, which in turn strains the believability of your argument. Could you provide some support for this argument, please? ^_^
Quadratic W wrote:
So it's the scaling DCs of 4e...but with a static DC table too......Honestly, that's so elegant I wonder why 4e never thought to use it.
Voss wrote:
They did it the right way (and not the 4e way)

I am also supportive of the table while not being a fan of 4e


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GentleGiant wrote:
And the constant "oh, this looks similar to 4e, so clearly it must function in the same way and everyone will have the same good/bad experiences with it that I had with 4e!" is getting beyond tiresome.

I suppose I started this way back in the initial blogs when I effectively said, "Wow, this looks a lot like 4e. I'll probably like PF2 a lot!" And other people said, "What do you mean!? It looks nothing like 4e. I can't even see the slightest resemblance to that horrible system."

They haven't convinced me that I'm not seeing what I'm seeing. And only they could say whether they were trying to convince me (or other 4e fans) that I won't enjoy PF2 for the same reasons I enjoy 4e, or whether they were trying to convince themselves that there would be no way that they'd enjoy a system that was even on the same planet as 4e. And, of course, they could genuinely not see any similarities between the two (perhaps through unfamiliarity with 4e?), but that last doesn't have anything to do with what I AM seeing.

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