Multiclassing and Archetypes

Friday, July 27, 2018

One of the trickiest parts of the rules is multiclassing. At its heart, multiclassing allows you to build almost any character you can envision, taking parts from multiple classes to build the perfect version of your character. Making these rules play well with the rest of the game, unfortunately, has always been a challenge. Concepts that really should work together just fell flat, leaving you with a character who could not perform at its level and keep pace with single class characters. This was especially the case for certain classes, like most spellcasters, that had a central class feature or features that you would fall sharply behind in if you weren't constantly progressing in that class.

Suffice to say, when it came time to redesign the system for the Pathfinder Playtest, we knew that multiclassing needed work.

Then came the rules for archetypes. The new design for this emblematic part of the game allows archetypes to be taken by any class, so you can decide exactly how much you want to invest into an alternative path for your character. The more we worked on that system, the more it began to sound like it shared almost exactly the same goals as multiclassing. Our thought was, shouldn't they just be the same system?

Multiclass archetypes are one of the more experimental parts of the Pathfinder Playtest. So much so that there are only four of them in the book, one for cleric, one for fighter, one for rogue, and one for wizard. Just like ordinary archetypes, you must take a special dedication feat to gain access to the archetype, but you cannot be of the same class as the archetype (so you can't take the rogue dedication feat if you are already a rogue). Let's take a look at one of these feats.

Wizard Dedication Feat 2

Archetype, Dedication, Multiclass

Prerequisites Intelligence 16, trained in Arcana


You cast spells like a wizard and gain a spellbook containing four arcane cantrips of your choice. You gain access to the Cast a Spell activity and the Material Casting, Somatic Casting, and Verbal Casting actions. You can prepare two cantrips each day from those found in your spellbook. You're trained in spell rolls and spell DCs for casting arcane spells and in attacks you make with arcane spells. Your key spellcasting ability for these spells is Intelligence. You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast. Arcana is a signature skill for you.

Special You cannot select another dedication feat until you have gained two other feats from the wizard archetype.

Right away, this lets you cast a few simple cantrips; allows you to use wands, scrolls, and staves; and makes Arcana a signature skill for you (meaning you can advance your proficiency in the skill to master and legendary). Like other dedication feats, once you've taken Wizard Dedication, you gain access to other wizard archetype feats, each of which makes you a more powerful master of the arcane arts. Take a look.

Basic Wizard Spellcasting Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisites Wizard Dedication


Add two level 1 spells to your spellbook. You gain a single level1 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 1 spell from your spellbook. At 6th level, add two level 2 spells to your spellbook, and you gain a level 2 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 2 spell from your spellbook. At 8th level, add two level 3 spells to your spellbook, and you gain a level 3 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 3 spell from your spellbook.

Even though you can cast spells, the spell level of your cantrips and arcane powers is half your level rounded up.

This feat pays dividends all the way up through 8th level, giving you more spells you can cast, and if you take it later on in your career, you get all of that spellcasting all at once. Better still, there are additional feats you can take to gain spells of up to 8th level! But let's say you want to be even more of a wizard—you want to get some of the other class features that make wizards fun to play. Take a look at these feats.

Arcane School Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisite Wizard Dedication


Select one school of magic from those found in the wizard class. You gain the level 1 school power tied to your school and a pool of Spell Points equal to your Intelligence modifier that you can use to cast that power.

If you already have a pool of Spell Points, use the higher ability score to determine the pool, as normal, and your Spell Point pool increases by 1.

Basic Arcana Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisites Wizard Dedication


Gain a level 1 or level 2 wizard feat of your choice.

Advanced Arcana Feat 6

Archetype

Prerequisites Basic Arcana


Gain one wizard feat. For the purposes of meeting its prerequisites, your wizard level is equal to half your level.

Special You can select this feat more than once. Each time you select it, you gain a new wizard feat.

There's even a feat that gives you additional spell slots of every level except for your two highest, giving you more versatility in your spellcasting. It's important to note that these powers come at the cost of some of the flexibility of your primary class, but not at the cost of core features. A cleric who multiclasses into fighter will keep all of her spellcasting abilities, but she will have to trade out some of the feats that allow her to be better at casting heal or at using domain powers in exchange for increased proficiency in weapons and armor, added hit points, and the ability to make attacks of opportunity. You might even choose to multiclass into several classes. You could play a cleric who, in addition to all her cleric spells, also has up to 8th-level druid spells and 8th-level wizard spells, though such a three-tradition spellcaster would have few cleric feats to speak of!

Well, that about covers the rules for multiclassing in the Pathfinder Playtest. If these archetypes work, you can expect to see one for each class in the final version of the game, giving you the flexibility to build characters that draw on more than one class to make their concept click. We hope you'll give these a try during the playtest and let us know what you think!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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One advantage of this modularity, like ancestry feats, is it is going to be really easy to house rule the numbers and prerequisites of this stuff for home games where character concept can trump game balance. For the sake of play testing, it is probably more important to focus on the balance, but come core rule book release, this system is going to be very easy to hack and restructure.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
These archetypes are also more flexible in that they let you choose what bonus feats to replace
I disagree. The previewed archetypes are feat chains that lock you out of "mutliclassing" until you reach a certain point in the feat chain.

And in pf1 could you take both archer and armor master archetypes on a fighter?

Could you choose what abilities you got from that archetype?


Meophist wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
These archetypes are also more flexible in that they let you choose what bonus feats to replace
I disagree. The previewed archetypes are feat chains that lock you out of "mutliclassing" until you reach a certain point in the feat chain.
They aren't feat chains, more like feat groups. Yes, they do lock out out of other archetypes, but you have freedom within them how to progress, if you want to progress at all.

And you can retrain out of an archetype feat if you find it flat and unhelpful. Maybe your character would have been better off picking up one of the three abilities you got from another feat and focusing your dedication feat into something that better completes your concept.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Part of the playtest right now is making sure that things are actually as good as they seem in a closed environment once they've been turned out to the wider world.
Yeah, it is important to remember that the point of the playtest is to test things through play. Not having every point of customization in the playtest is necessary to effectively test the material.

Which explains why more classes aren't going to be in the playtest and the new core. Along with races, spells, feats, and etc.

I would however like to see some archetypes get played. Not all of them mind you, maybe 2 per class? Maybe 1? If only to see how the numbers play out when Fighter loses a class ability for an archetype. How much were they counting on that ability for testing and balance?


Nathanael Love wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
Essentially 2e classes are fighters, and the archetypes swap out the fighters bonus feats (class feats) for features (archetype feats), but not the class features. These archetypes are also more flexible in that they let you choose what bonus feats to replace with the restriction that you have to have x of them at minimum and if you don't have x of them by level y you can't take another archetype yet.

Not really?

The way these archetypes are written you essentially HAVE to swap out your class feats at 2nd/4th/6th level to get through the dedication for them.

You COULD not do so, but it seems that the system is very clear-- 2/4/6 is the RIGHT answer and doing anything else is a trap option and your character will be worse for doing it.

Or you could swap out later feats if you felt they were worth it (gray maiden).

You could also go 2/6/8 if you got a really cool ability or feat you wanted at 4, whereas in pf1 once you started an archetype you were lock into all it's abilities it replaced no matter what.

PF2 archetypes are way more flexible than PF1 archetypes were.


willuwontu wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
These archetypes are also more flexible in that they let you choose what bonus feats to replace
I disagree. The previewed archetypes are feat chains that lock you out of "mutliclassing" until you reach a certain point in the feat chain.

And in pf1 could you take both archer and armor master archetypes on a fighter?

Could you choose what abilities you got from that archetype?

It seems like an important thing to play test will be: DO these follow up feats really need to be tied to this dedication? or could these be general feats or worked into multiple classes base class feat list?


Odd question for those that really seem to love how flexible this is supposed to be.

Why do we even need classes at this point? Just double the Class Feats we get and do maybe some work on the Skills.

There, classes system that lets you build anything.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
These archetypes are also more flexible in that they let you choose what bonus feats to replace
I disagree. The previewed archetypes are feat chains that lock you out of "mutliclassing" until you reach a certain point in the feat chain.

And in pf1 could you take both archer and armor master archetypes on a fighter?

Could you choose what abilities you got from that archetype?

It seems like an important thing to play test will be: DO these follow up feats really need to be tied to this dedication? or could these be general feats or worked into multiple classes base class feat list?

Yeah, I'm curious how archetypes like the Pirate overlap with skill feats. I'm imagining some of the pirate class feats as slightly better versions of skill feats. Enough so that it is worth taking the archetype, but not so much that skills are useless, you you feel you must take the archetype to play any type of Pirate.


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MerlinCross wrote:

Odd question for those that really seem to love how flexible this is supposed to be.

Why do we even need classes at this point? Just double the Class Feats we get and do maybe some work on the Skills.

There, classes system that lets you build anything.

Because classes are more than the sum of their parts, and removing them entirely would frighten away both new players (due to learning curve/complexity) and old players (due to loss of brand identity/game feel).

Paizo Employee

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MerlinCross wrote:

Odd question for those that really seem to love how flexible this is supposed to be.

Why do we even need classes at this point? Just double the Class Feats we get and do maybe some work on the Skills.

There, classes system that lets you build anything.

Because there's a huge difference between a fighter class that has a solid spine of fighter abilities and the ability to choose from more fighter abilities or some multiclass abilities, and a grab-bag of mechanics. Being able to play a Fighter (two-handed fighter)/Rogue without needing to lock myself out of other cool fighter stuff is sweet; I don't actually need a Two-Handed Fighter archetype, I can just take the appropriate class feats for a two-handed fighter, and even intersperse them with other abilities and skip the things I won't use. There's a humongous difference between a classless system and a system where I have a great depth of customization within a well-defined class.

A classless system takes away things like flavor, class role, world-building mechanical elements, and more. They're also generally a lot less popular, sell poorly, and are difficult for new players to get into, though each of those things individually often have at least one notable exception.


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MerlinCross wrote:

Odd question for those that really seem to love how flexible this is supposed to be.

Why do we even need classes at this point? Just double the Class Feats we get and do maybe some work on the Skills.

There, classes system that lets you build anything.

I somewhat like the flexibility with built in rigidity that the system currently is (I wanna see it in action still), I wouldn't want the free flow that the classless system is.

If I consider pf1 classes/archetypes to be straight blueberry or strawberry (etc) pancakes, then pf2 archetypes are like a berry pancake bar where the standard is blueberry (class feats), but there are other types of berries (archetypes) that are dispensed in preset amounts (minimum feats from each dedication). You're not allowed to overfill your pancake and the pancake bar, but you can switch things up, getting some strawberries, and maybe getting a few boysenberries or raspberries as well, and the remaining amount allotted for your pancake is filled in with blueberries.

At the end of the day they're still berry pancakes, whereas in a classless system, heathens could mix in pineapple into their non-berry pancakes.

On a side note, I feel like making some pancakes now.

Sovereign Court

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

What a delicious metaphor.


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I'm not buying that archetypes and restrictive multiclassing is more flezible. In PF1e you could take the combat expertise feat group and invest as little or as much as you want. You could also take the power attack feat group and get cleave and it's associated feats at the same time. You could also go Fighter (Archetype) 1/Wizard 1 (and I in fact did with my Eldritch Knight). And if you were really crazy you could do all of the above by 2ne level on the same character.

Taking feat chains, wrapping them up in a new layout called archetypes and disallowing you from taking both the archetype and multivlass is not more flexible. It is less. It's fine for the game to be less flexible. Just don't present a less flexible game and call it more flexible.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

I'm not buying that archetypes and restrictive multiclassing is more flezible. In PF1e you could take the combat expertise feat group and invest as little or as much as you want. You could also take the power attack feat group and get cleave and it's associated feats at the same time. You could also go Fighter (Archetype) 1/Wizard 1 (and I in fact did with my Eldritch Knight).

Taking feat chains, wrapping them up in a new layout called archetypes and disallowing you from taking both the archetype and multivlass is not more flexible. It is less. It's fine for the game to be less flexible. Just don't present a less flexible game and call it more flexible.

Except it is both more and less flexible.

It's more flexible in that you get to choose your abilities in a more flexible manner.

It's less flexible in that it removes the ability to do things that you could do in pf1. And that it prevents mass multiclassing.

Edit: however if they have class specific archetypes that just change class features, you could do fighter (archetype)/wizard at level 2.


Fun and complicated, but we'll see.

I did feel upset when my Rogue/Assassin 20 wasn't the best skill monkey in the high level campaign we ran. And everything could resist the DC 24 skill check to not simply instantly die. Sigh.


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I just thought of something. All these multi class feats add a ton a feats to the book. Each class has 6+ multiclass feats? That alone is intimidating to new players. I am concerned in general about the feat chapter. It may be bigger than the spells section.


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willuwontu wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

I'm not buying that archetypes and restrictive multiclassing is more flezible. In PF1e you could take the combat expertise feat group and invest as little or as much as you want. You could also take the power attack feat group and get cleave and it's associated feats at the same time. You could also go Fighter (Archetype) 1/Wizard 1 (and I in fact did with my Eldritch Knight).

Taking feat chains, wrapping them up in a new layout called archetypes and disallowing you from taking both the archetype and multivlass is not more flexible. It is less. It's fine for the game to be less flexible. Just don't present a less flexible game and call it more flexible.

Except it is both more and less flexible.

It's more flexible in that you get to choose your abilities in a more flexible manner.

It's less flexible in that it removes the ability to do things that you could do in pf1. And that it prevents mass multiclassing.

Edit: however if they have class specific archetypes that just change class features, you could do fighter (archetype)/wizard at level 2.

I don't get the mote flexible. Fighters still get class features. They also get bonus fighter feats. They can't invest in both a feat chain and multiclass. Where is the greater flexibility?

As for the speculation class archetypes will work with multiclassing: we have nothing to base that on. We do know that one of the guiding principles is to learn a rule once and apply it lots of times. The rule here is you have to progress X far into an archetype before you get a second archetype. The safer assumption is archetypes will always work like that. But we don't actually know for sure.


Nathanael Love wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
Essentially 2e classes are fighters, and the archetypes swap out the fighters bonus feats (class feats) for features (archetype feats), but not the class features. These archetypes are also more flexible in that they let you choose what bonus feats to replace with the restriction that you have to have x of them at minimum and if you don't have x of them by level y you can't take another archetype yet.

Not really?

The way these archetypes are written you essentially HAVE to swap out your class feats at 2nd/4th/6th level to get through the dedication for them.

You COULD not do so, but it seems that the system is very clear-- 2/4/6 is the RIGHT answer and doing anything else is a trap option and your character will be worse for doing it.

That's not 100% accurate. You really have 3 "optimal" options:

-Take an archetype/multiclass feat everytime you can to get to the next archetype/multiclass,
-Only ever take one archetype or multiclass, and grab feats from it at your leisure (or ignore it if you want, as long as you never want a second one it doesn't matter. They did say Pirate has 6 potential feats in it though, so you could play around with each archetype for a while),
-Don't take any at all. Theoretically, class feats should be pretty good, so using them all up on archetypes/multi-classing may not be the best strategy.

I think you're going to see a lot of one or two feat dips on otherwise single class builds though. The dedication feats seem to offer a lot so if you can grab them and avoid paying the feat tax for them down the road it would be crazy not to.

There is a lot of flexibility within the new archetypes themselves, since aside from the dedication you can basically take as many or as few archetype feats as you want, and you get to pick which ones you take and when. But the rules around them seem very restrictive. Basically they've added some flexibility with one hand, and taken some away with the other.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
As for the speculation class archetypes will work with multiclassing: we have nothing to base that on. We do know that one of the guiding principles is to learn a rule once and apply it lots of times. The rule here is you have to progress X far into an archetype before you get a second archetype. The safer assumption is archetypes will always work like that. But we don't actually know for sure.

This is a concern of mine as well.

Also, since the new form of multiclassing is not, strictly speaking, multiclassing, there is no easy way to allow multiclassing in to an archetyped class. Not saying it can't be done, but it could be awkward/game breaking if not handled very carefully.


Voss wrote:
Quote:
3) optimisation. While this does include powergaming, there are times a certain archetype is just a straight up upgrade you'd be foolish not to take.

This is a big problem I see with this feat system. Taking a dedication feat (and even some later feats, like the spellcasting) IS a straight upgrade over a normal feat. Equal to 3-5 other feats according to Mark for fighter dedication, and getting 4 spell slots rather than 3 (for multiple levels) seems obviously better than the norm.

So at the moment, not multiclassing seems like a foolish decision for all characters.

The problem for the playtest with only 4 classes getting dedication feats, many characters will have to twist their stats around to take a dedication. In the full version, with dedication feats for all classes, it is going to be much, much easier to grab something. Almost all characters will have another class that shares a 'primary' stat.

Possibly to the point that things like fighter/barbarians and paladin/sorcerers become a default assumption. It seems vital to point out that 12 dedication feats will make the system far more usable (and abusable) than 4.

I feel like this is why it's important that multiclassing competes with prestige classes and other archetypes via the dedication system. So in that case you're weighing like "learn wizard spells" versus "become a Hellknight in a reasonable time frame".


John Lynch 106 wrote:
I don't get the mote flexible. Fighters still get class features. They also get bonus fighter feats. They can't invest in both a feat chain and multiclass. Where is the greater flexibility?

In pf1 once you took an archetype or class you were locked into those abilities.

In pf2, general feats are far more comparable to pf1 feats, whereas class feats are more of class features or abilities in pf1. You can choose your abilities unlike pf1, which is how it's more flexible.


What abilities do you need for your character ideal? Classes are a lot more flexible now, and add in multi-classing and you are likely able to make it without the need of an archetype.

Most of my builds come online in stages in PF1. Fighter/Caster around level 3, Add key abilities and improved familiar at level 7 or 8, cut arrows out of the air at level 9 and cut spells out of the air at level 11. Teleporting and doing full attacks come on line at level 15. So it takes until level 15 to get my magical sword master who can cut anything attacking him out of the air and close with the enemy in the blink of an eye, with his side kick Drake the medic to come fully online. I know it is possible to do it sooner, but doing so add weakness to the build.

I used three classes and one archetype in this build, and at higher levels it adds a Prestige class for the last five levels. The character counts as a level 13 fighter, has BAB of 17, cast up 5th level spells with a caster level of 17. It takes information from five books to make this build.

I think I will be able recreate 60% of the character ideal with just the new core rule book, maybe more. I know I will be losing some power, but will be able to recreate the ideal of my character.

I will be able to be a sword master with a familiar, and magical abilities. I will be able form the sounds of it have medical abilities, close quickly with the enemy and attack. I can do most of this with just what they have already given us in the blogs. The only real thing I will be losing is some of the power of my character. But I think I will be able to get most of that back after I have had time to gain back system mastery.


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Kerobelis wrote:
I just thought of something. All these multi class feats add a ton a feats to the book. Each class has 6+ multiclass feats? That alone is intimidating to new players. I am concerned in general about the feat chapter. It may be bigger than the spells section.

I doubt there will be one single Feat chapter. More likely, ancestry feats will be in the ancestry section alongside the ancestry they go with, class feats will be in the class section alongside the classes they go with, Archetype Feats (whether Multiclass, Prestige, or otherwise) will go in their own section probably after the classes, skill feats will go in the skill section, and general feats will go in their own section. That way, you only have to look through the section with the feats you can actually choose from at the level you hit. That's how I'd do it, anyway.

And yes, it does sound a lot like 4e. That's not a bad thing.


willuwontu wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
I don't get the mote flexible. Fighters still get class features. They also get bonus fighter feats. They can't invest in both a feat chain and multiclass. Where is the greater flexibility?

In pf1 once you took an archetype or class you were locked into those abilities.

In pf2, general feats are far more comparable to pf1 feats, whereas class feats are more of class features or abilities in pf1. You can choose your abilities unlike pf1, which is how it's more flexible.

Class Feats are Rogue Talents/Fighter Combat Feats/Alchemist Discoveries/Witch Hexes... except for every class as an underlying framework, with some overlap in availability just based on 'base class'.

In that regard it allows a Rogue to become an Eldritch Scoundrel with just 4 (or 5) ' Rogue Talents'. Instead of losing armor proficiencies, uncanny dodge, 5 rogue talents, 5d6 of sneak attack, and 4 sp/lvl.


willuwontu wrote:
In pf1 once you took an archetype or class you were locked into those abilities.

We have already agreed these aren't classic archetypes. We are going to get classic archetypes. These are something else. With your analogy of the fighter these would be feats that can be taken with the combat bonus feats. There is an entry feat (combat expertise) and then additional feats behind that gateway feat (improved trip, improved disarm). You can invest as much or as little as you want into the feats.

What you can't do is multiclass or even spend general feats on these feats. I'm still not seeing the flexibility.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
With your analogy of the fighter these would be feats that can be taken with the combat bonus feats. There is an entry feat (combat expertise) and then additional feats behind that gateway feat (improved trip, improved disarm). You can invest as much or as little as you want into the feats.

It is very much like investing in a maneuver tree, complete with the sometimes arbitrary seeming requirements. The difference being that PF2s versions of 'combat-expertise' are less 'outright taxish' and more 'where's-the-catch?-oh-there-it-is'. Mind you I'm happy with what I've seen so far, and how easy it'll be to homebrew as a gm what I need in modular chunks.

Quote:
What you can't do is multiclass or even spend general feats on these feats. I'm still not seeing the flexibility.

General feats will have their own, hopefully build defining uses.


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John, is your definition of "flexible" something like "I technically have to ability to make a character with 10 classes of 2 levels each that is awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do"?

If it is, there's a fundamental disconnect in how you and everyone else understands flexibility, and it's a bridge that can't be gapped.

EDIT: "bridge that can't be gapped"? lol whoops


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Cantriped wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
What you can't do is multiclass or even spend general feats on these feats. I'm still not seeing the flexibility.
General feats will have their own, hopefully build defining uses.

Is that confirmed? Do we know whether General feats are locked to being used only for General-type feats, or can they be re-purposed to some degree? For that matter, has anyone given any examples of what counts as a general feat? Sorry for going off-topic, just curious.

Silver Crusade

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DFAnton wrote:

John, is your definition of "flexible" something like "I technically have to ability to make a character with 10 classes of 2 levels each that is awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do"?

If it is, there's a fundamental disconnect in how you and everyone else understands flexibility, and it's a bridge that can't be gapped.

Oh hello there! Nice to be making acquaintance with you. I am Abserd.


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DFAnton wrote:

John, is your definition of "flexible" something like "I technically have to ability to make a character with 10 classes of 2 levels each that is awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do"?

If it is, there's a fundamental disconnect in how you and everyone else understands flexibility, and it's a bridge that can't be gapped.

EDIT: "bridge that can't be gapped"? lol whoops

No. My definition of flexible is getting to make more choices. If you're trying to say that a Fighter (archetype) 1/Wizard 6 will be awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do, well you certainly can and are entitled to your opinion. But I don't think you speak for the majority in your assertion.

I'm also saying PF2 isn't flexible. PF2 is shaping up to be more flexible D&D 5th edition. It is about as flexible as D&D 4th edition. It is not as flexible as PF1e.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Voss wrote:
Quote:
3) optimisation. While this does include powergaming, there are times a certain archetype is just a straight up upgrade you'd be foolish not to take.

This is a big problem I see with this feat system. Taking a dedication feat (and even some later feats, like the spellcasting) IS a straight upgrade over a normal feat. Equal to 3-5 other feats according to Mark for fighter dedication, and getting 4 spell slots rather than 3 (for multiple levels) seems obviously better than the norm.

So at the moment, not multiclassing seems like a foolish decision for all characters.

The problem for the playtest with only 4 classes getting dedication feats, many characters will have to twist their stats around to take a dedication. In the full version, with dedication feats for all classes, it is going to be much, much easier to grab something. Almost all characters will have another class that shares a 'primary' stat.

Possibly to the point that things like fighter/barbarians and paladin/sorcerers become a default assumption. It seems vital to point out that 12 dedication feats will make the system far more usable (and abusable) than 4.

I feel like this is why it's important that multiclassing competes with prestige classes and other archetypes via the dedication system. So in that case you're weighing like "learn wizard spells" versus "become a Hellknight in a reasonable time frame".

Eh. If the grey maiden is any example, those dedication feats also give you a pile of stuff. So they're more like another multiclass, just a little more limited (or terrible, like pirate)

Since wizard casting 1 is still giving you spells at 8th level, you probably can't take wizard casting 2 until 10th. Perfect time to slip in dedication feat #2 for another giant pile of benefits. Slots right into the build order, and with enough archetypes published over time, you'll find something that fits whatever build shenanigans are being planned for.

He'll knight at 8th really doesn't seem all that restrictive though. A little late, but we're kind of used to prestige classes is the 6-8 range. The problem I was referring to is it seems to behoove every character to multi at 2nd, even if they don't take any more mc feats. The starting dip is just too good to pass up once the only real cost is a feat. Barring some additional restriction or some dedication feat having a stat requirement that just doesn't play well with anyone. Paladin will probably be an annoying berk in the former sense, but the stats should match up with at least one other class, even if it isn't an ideal choice.

I also find it interesting that racial heritage feats are once only, but you can farm multiple dedications, which seem even more powerful.

Liberty's Edge

A Ninja Errant wrote:
Cantriped wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
What you can't do is multiclass or even spend general feats on these feats. I'm still not seeing the flexibility.
General feats will have their own, hopefully build defining uses.
Is that confirmed? Do we know whether General feats are locked to being used only for General-type feats, or can they be re-purposed to some degree? For that matter, has anyone given any examples of what counts as a general feat? Sorry for going off-topic, just curious.

We know that there's a General Feat that gives you one 1st level Ancestry Feat (I suspect it's not one you can take an unlimited number of times). And that Skill Feats are technically a variety of General Feat (though your ten free Skill Feats have to be Skill Feats). So there's those options.

It has, however, been made very clear that General Feats and Class Feats don't cross over with each other.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


We know that there's a General Feat that gives you one 1st level Ancestry Feat (I suspect it's not one you can take an unlimited number of times). And that Skill Feats are technically a variety of General Feat (though your ten free Skill Feats have to be Skill Feats). So there's those options.

It has, however, been made very clear that General Feats and Class Feats don't cross over with each other.

Good to know, thanks!


Voss wrote:
I find it interesting that racial heritage feats are once only, but you can farm multiple dedications, which seem even more powerful.

I expect it's for flavour. I also expect the limitation of dedication feats is also flavour. The problem with everything being a feat, is that if you allow things to be too broad you end up with every character feeling extremely similar to each other. Now they could fix that by opening up 3.5e style multiclassing. Or by not making every single thing in the game a feat. Or by limiting you to a maximum of X archetypes/multiclasses. They've gone the latter option. I'm hoping the rules really well and truly do justify it. Or I hope they'll revert to an alternative option.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
DFAnton wrote:

John, is your definition of "flexible" something like "I technically have to ability to make a character with 10 classes of 2 levels each that is awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do"?

If it is, there's a fundamental disconnect in how you and everyone else understands flexibility, and it's a bridge that can't be gapped.

EDIT: "bridge that can't be gapped"? lol whoops

No. My definition of flexible is getting to make more choices. If you're trying to say that a Fighter (archetype) 1/Wizard 6 will be awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do, well you certainly can and are entitled to your opinion. But I don't think you speak for the majority in your assertion.

I'm also saying PF2 isn't flexible. PF2 is shaping up to be more flexible D&D 5th edition. It is about as flexible as D&D 4th edition. It is not as flexible as PF1e.

Right, so your definition of "flexible" is "more choices." Then PF2 is definitively less flexible for you. This is the gap that can't be bridged.

The rest of us (by which I mean the seeming majority in this topic) look at it and see "Wow, I can make a bunch of class combos that would've been absolute hot garbage in PF1!" You're looking at flexibility of options. We're looking at flexibility of viability.


Voss wrote:

Eh. If the grey maiden is any example, those dedication feats also give you a pile of stuff. So they're more like another multiclass, just a little more limited (or terrible, like pirate)

Since wizard casting 1 is still giving you spells at 8th level, you probably can't take wizard casting 2 until 10th. Perfect time to slip in dedication feat #2 for another giant pile of benefits. Slots right into the build order, and with enough archetypes published over time, you'll find something that fits whatever build shenanigans are being planned...

Well, taking a 2nd dedication at 6th level is going to leave you with zero class feats (except possibly the first level one) until 10th level. I figure that might be a problem.

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willuwontu wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
I don't get the mote flexible. Fighters still get class features. They also get bonus fighter feats. They can't invest in both a feat chain and multiclass. Where is the greater flexibility?

In pf1 once you took an archetype or class you were locked into those abilities.

In pf2, general feats are far more comparable to pf1 feats, whereas class feats are more of class features or abilities in pf1. You can choose your abilities unlike pf1, which is how it's more flexible.

Yeah, PF2 is definitely more flexible than PF1 in many ways, and about equal on the remainder. You can take as much or as little of your archetype as you like, and choose what class features to focus on with class feats. PF1 classes and archetypes seem rigid by comparison.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Voss wrote:
I find it interesting that racial heritage feats are once only, but you can farm multiple dedications, which seem even more powerful.
I expect it's for flavour. I also expect the limitation of dedication feats is also flavour.

?? With the exception of the absurd grey maiden dedication (which makes it basically not worth printing), I haven't seen a single thing previewed that touches on fluff. Just mechanic after mechanic and how they impact builds. Even heritage now feels more like restricting half-races from becoming third or quarter races and power curbing by not letting them take the good stuff from the parent race feats.

As I've said a couple times, the multiclass dedication requirements basically require pre-planned builds, and spit on organic or fluffy characters. Or just opting for one with a matching primary stat, regardless of whether it fits the character or not. Druid clerics are going to be as easy as breathing and why turn down a bunch of extra stuff and more spell slots? Same with alchemist wizards. Your normal stuff costs resonance or gold, so grab some free auto scaling cantrips.


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Kalindlara wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:

I'll also say, those ability score prerequisites could stand to be a lot lower - 12, 14 at the absolute highest. With ability score generation as it stands, you can't multiclass unless you built specifically for the class you're multiclassing into, and probably sacrificing a lot of your functionality to take any multiclass that you're not already perfectly suited to. No multiclassing based on in-game development, etc. :/

I'd hoped PF2 would be a little less "you have to plan out your build from level 1 if you want to be functional" than 3rd Edition/Pathfinder, and a bit more friendly to characters that grow organically. On the plus side, it shouldn't be too hard to make that happen. ^_^

Sudden follow-up thought. With ability score generation being entirely dependent on the ABCs, how many concepts are completely unattainable?

Let's take a gnome blacksmith fighter - gnomes love to dabble in many different interests. How many of her discretionary ability score bonuses have to be put in Intelligence for her to multiclass into wizard, or Wisdom for cleric? Not least the ancestral bonus that has to go into Strength to make her competent at fighting. And she had to make all of those choices just right at 1st level, or wait for an ability boost that comes every five levels and hope it's enough.

The more I look at this, the more constraining it gets. Pathfinder Second Edition was supposed to be all about flexibility and diversity of concept, with a overarching feats system that we were told would allow for greater character customization. Hopefully that same aim towards diversity of concept will be extended to include the multiclassing system in the final version... this version doesn't quite fit that vision.

Counterpoint. Would you have ever made a gnome fighter multiclass into cleric or wizard in PF1? With no bonus to the casting stat and a penalty to your physical stat? You technically could have but it looks terrible at first glance, and I am not sure why you wouldn't go for something with CHA synergy instead, like a sorcerer or oracle or paladin. And that is just the stat array. I'm not sure what exactly those levels of wizard are supposed to be doing long term besides eventually get you into a prestige class around the time the PF2 gnome can take the dedication anyway.

It seems like it was technically an easier option in PF1 but it would almost certainly make for a terrible build. This is what we refer to as a trap, and it is a good thing that it removed. (OK, there might be some way to make the build work using some obscure feat or domain power or whatever, but that's a pretty big exception.) Instead, we have a high cost of entry that you probably wanted anyway. With 4 stats being boosted every few levels, why wouldn't you want your casting stat at 16? And after all this, you wind up with a much more powerful end result than PF1. Making it easier to build a good character and harder to build a bad one is excellent game design.

Also, the PF2 gnome fighter can have a cantrip or familiar at level 1 with her ancestry feat and her general feat at level 3 can be used to get the other, sans any stat requirements. And she can retrain into either of those at the in between levels. So she can be pretty darn wizardy without the dedication feat, even if it takes her some time to qualify for the actual multiclass.


Aside from misinterpretation about the cost/value of Multi-classing vs Class feat, I think people are also failing to see that the majority of Class archetypes from PF1 are now just Class Feats without a dedication entry cost. Multiclassing gives you access to another class worth of archetypes.

It is only the unconventional pigeon-holed 'themes' that will exist as 'Archetypes' in PF2, with quite a few probably being achievable through a mix of background, class feats and skill feats instead, maybe even more so.

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DFAnton wrote:


The rest of us (by which I mean the seeming majority in this topic) look at it and see "Wow, I can make a bunch of class combos that would've been absolute hot garbage in PF1!" You're looking at flexibility of options. We're looking at flexibility of viability.

I agree that flexibility of concept/viable combinations is where a lot of PF2’s strength lies.

Having more choices is pretty worthless if they aren’t fun to actually play.


A Ninja Errant wrote:
Cantriped wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
What you can't do is multiclass or even spend general feats on these feats. I'm still not seeing the flexibility.
General feats will have their own, hopefully build defining uses.
Is that confirmed? Do we know whether General feats are locked to being used only for General-type feats, or can they be re-purposed to some degree? For that matter, has anyone given any examples of what counts as a general feat? Sorry for going off-topic, just curious.

We actually know Toughness is a general feat, and I believe Diehard would likely be as well.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
DFAnton wrote:

John, is your definition of "flexible" something like "I technically have to ability to make a character with 10 classes of 2 levels each that is awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do"?

If it is, there's a fundamental disconnect in how you and everyone else understands flexibility, and it's a bridge that can't be gapped.

EDIT: "bridge that can't be gapped"? lol whoops

No. My definition of flexible is getting to make more choices. If you're trying to say that a Fighter (archetype) 1/Wizard 6 will be awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do, well you certainly can and are entitled to your opinion. But I don't think you speak for the majority in your assertion.

I'm also saying PF2 isn't flexible. PF2 is shaping up to be more flexible D&D 5th edition. It is about as flexible as D&D 4th edition. It is not as flexible as PF1e.

I disagree. The "choices" you got to make in PF1 were often faulty in one way or another.

Multiclassing could end in weaker characters. An even split would make both classes weak, and dips would delay progression in your main class.

Prestige classes were often clunky and ineffective. They also tended to drop progression of core class abilities.

Archetypes would often lock you out of other archetypes. And it didn't matter if you could immediately multiclass or prestige since you no longer progressed with the archetype.

I'd gladly have less "choices" if it were clear that they were effective, because PF1 had too many ways to screw your character.

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
No. My definition of flexible is getting to make more choices.

More choices in what sense? Technically, every level in PF1 you had infinite options for some choices, but many were not meaningful choices. They were taking a level of Wizard on an Int 7 character or investing a Skill Rank in Profession (Gardener), type choices. The latter, by the way, is why the number of option is infinite, since you can make up new Professions (and means that Rogues in PF2 also have infinite options every level, technically speaking).

But how many meaningful choices were there, really? In most cases, Spells aside, there were maybe three (and sometimes less). You picked what Class you were taking (which in most cases wasn't even a real choice...casters barely even had the choice to deviate from their Class), you picked a Feat (or Class Talent, if your Class had them), and then you picked where you put Skill Ranks. You can call the last one more than one choice (and it was certainly the fiddliest), but I'd argue it generally mattered less than the other two. Sometimes you picked Spells as well, but that hasn't really changed.

In PF2, you can't take levels in many different things, and have fewer skill ranks to throw around on random stuff, but I don't feel that you have a truly lesser number of meaningful choices.

You get two Feats every even level, and a Feat and a Skill Rank every odd one. That's two choices per level, always. Plus spells if you've got them, and some Classes expand that number somewhat (Rogues get three per level). That's superficially less choices, but honestly, for anyone playing a single classed character (which is most people) it's probably more in practice. And for everyone playing a character who didn't get Class Talents every two levels it's more. And for everyone who felt obligated to put their Skill Points in the same Skills every level in order to keep them relevant, it's more.

So it's less for some and more for others. That sounds like around the same number of choices to me.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
If you're trying to say that a Fighter (archetype) 1/Wizard 6 will be awful at absolutely everything it sets out to do, well you certainly can and are entitled to your opinion. But I don't think you speak for the majority in your assertion.

I think what he's saying is that a Fighter (Two Handed Fighter) 1/Wizard 1/Cleric 1/Alchemist (Vivisectionist) 1 is probably not optimal and likely doing things wrong.

There's a cap on the number of defining character options

John Lynch 106 wrote:
I'm also saying PF2 isn't flexible. PF2 is shaping up to be more flexible D&D 5th edition. It is about as flexible as D&D 4th edition. It is not as flexible as PF1e.

I disagree. 4E each level gave you a sharply demarcated number of options for every choice you made after choosing Class, something that PF2 seems to be avoiding. Hell, you couldn't even select skills after level 1 without expending resources on them.

You can argue PF2 has less choices than PF1, but it definitely has more than 4E did.


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Albatoonoe wrote:
I disagree. The "choices" you got to make in PF1 were often faulty in one way or another.

I disagree. My Ranger (Trapper) 2/Rogue (Spy) 2 is just as viable as a Rogue 4 would have been. Plus I now have poison use for all the poisons our group keeps finding.

Albatoonoe wrote:
Prestige classes were often clunky and ineffective. They also tended to drop progression of core class abilities.

My Eldritch Knight was a boatload of fun and able to keep up with the fighter in the party.

Albatoonoe wrote:
I'd gladly have less "choices" if it were clear that they were effective, because PF1 had too many ways to screw your character.

I'd rather have too many ways to screw my character over with a good gm then have a whole swathe of great choices removed from the game. The baby most assuredly has been thrown out with the bathwater in this case. Except now when we look back in the bath we see something else in it's place. Dunno yet if what we have is better or worse.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
More choices in what sense? Technically, every level in PF1 you had infinite options for some choices, but many were not meaningful choices.

More choices then PF2e appears to have. If you want to argue that PF2e has more meaningful choices then I look forward to investigating the rules and finding out whether you are right or wrong.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
They were taking a level of Wizard on an Int 7 character or investing a Skill Rank in Profession (Gardener), type choices.

If you truly think these types of choices are the ones I'm referring to then I can't think of anything else I can say at this point that would give you further information. I've spoken in this thread on this issue quite a bit and if that's your takeaway from it then you're welcome to take that away.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
You picked what Class you were taking (which in most cases wasn't even a real choice...casters barely even had the choice to deviate from their Class)

The fact you think this certainly enlightens us as to why you have the opinions you do and will help put your further comments on multiclassing into perspective. It is certainly a stance I do not share.

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
More choices then PF2e appears to have. If you want to argue that PF2e has more meaningful choices then I look forward to investigating the rules and finding out whether you are right or wrong.

I'm saying it looks like it has at least as many meaningful choices and probably more, yes. And I'm very interested in finding out if the full rules bear that out myself.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
If you truly think these types of choices are the ones I'm referring to then I can't think of anything else I can say at this point that would give you further information. I've spoken in this thread on this issue quite a bit and if that's your takeaway from it then you're welcome to take that away.

I'm not saying that either of those specifically are something you were talking about. I'm making a point regarding the difference between 'choices' and 'meaningful choices'. I am defining my terms.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Albatoonoe wrote:
I disagree. The "choices" you got to make in PF1 were often faulty in one way or another.

I disagree. My Ranger (Trapper) 2/Rogue (Spy) 2 is just as viable as a Rogue 4 would have been. Plus I now have poison use for all the poisons our group keeps finding.

You can almost certainly duplicate almost every aspect of that character with a Rogue 3 in PF2. Possible even with a Ranger 4, although it might be more difficult since you don't get as many skill feats.

I know that was just an example, but I really do think you are underestimating the customization the PF2 "everything is a feat" mindset does offer. The ability to create snares is a general feat. Trapfinding appears to be a rogue class feat. Poison use is a skill feat or general feat, I would imagine. I don't think the bluff bonus will carry over into PF2, but if it does it sounds like a skill feat.

Edit: Even having said all that, I do continue to wish they'd allowed both kinds of multiclassing in the playtest. I'd have wanted both tested alongside each other, with clear rules on that feats were character level dependent, and which were class level dependent. And the reason I'd want both is to see if one was clearly more powerful than the other, and what might be done to reconcile that (winding up deciding that dedication multiclassing is the only viable and balanced option being on the table).

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