Halfway to Doomsday

Monday, October 1, 2018

Hey there everybody. As of today, we're just about halfway through the spotlight period of the Doomsday Dawn adventure, and while we still have many months to go before the end of the playtest period, we've learned a lot in the past two months!

First and foremost, thank you for your participation! We could not do this without you. Your feedback has been vital in telling us where the game needs work, and we're looking forward to seeing what you uncover in the last parts of the adventure. I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind you that if you haven't played up through Part 3 of Doomsday Dawn, you have nothing to fear. The surveys for all of the previous parts are still open, and there's still much more for us to learn from your input.

What Are Our Goals?

In the past few months, the design team has been on just about every different news and interview forum out there. We've talked about the changes we've made and why we made them. We've talked about where we wanted to go and why we wanted to take the game there; but in all the rush, we've realized that the one place where we haven't categorically stated our goals is right here, in this blog. So without further delay, here are our primary goals for the playtest.

  1. Create a new edition of Pathfinder that's much simpler to learn and play—a core system that's easy to grasp but expandable—while remaining true to the spirit of what makes Pathfinder great: customization, flexibility of story, and rules that reward those who take the time to master them.
  2. Ensure that the new version of the game allows us to tell the same stories and share in the same worlds as the previous edition, but also makes room for new stories and new worlds wherever possible.
  3. Work to incorporate the innovations of the past decade into the core engine of the game, allowing the best rules elements and discoveries we've made to have an integrated home in the new system (even if they aren't present in the initial book).
  4. Forge a more balanced play environment where every character has a chance to contribute to the adventure in a meaningful way by allowing characters to thrive in their defined role. Encourage characters to play to their strengths, while working with others to bolster their place in the group.
  5. Make Pathfinder a game that's open and welcoming to all, no matter their background or experience.

There are plenty of other things that are important to us as we work to create a new edition of Pathfinder, but these points are some of our strongest motivators. I think it's important to note that these are guidelines and not necessarily listed in order of importance. Furthermore, a guideline might be more important in some parts of the game than it is in others. When making something this challenging, it's very useful to give yourself guiding principles, while also understanding that you're never going to be 100% perfect. In any case, for those of you who were interested in why the game has changed in the ways that it has, we hope that laying out our goals for the process can help you understand our decisions.

MORE Surveys

The surveys never end here at Paizo, and this week is no exception. We have been incredibly pleased by the results from the Doomsday Dawn surveys as well as the more general surveys we launched two weeks ago looking at ancestries, backgrounds, and classes. Today we'd like to open up two more general surveys.

The first is focused on the general rules for playing the Pathfinder RPG. This survey is a large one, going over a wide range of topics and touching on nearly every chapter in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. Set aside about an hour for this survey if you can, and make sure to go all the way to the end if you want your results to count.

Rules Survey | Open Rules Survey

The second survey takes a look at the monsters in the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary. We want to see what you thought about the stats in that PDF and how they were presented.

Bestiary Survey | Open Bestiary Survey

Well, that about does it for this week. Make sure to stop back in here next week for Update 1.4 and the start of Part 5 of the Doomsday Dawn playtest!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Join the Pathfinder Playtest designers every Friday throughout the playtest on our Twitch Channel to hear all about the process and chat directly with the team.

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Pathfinder 1.0 is a mature system. It's got loads of books covering lots of crazy things.

The Playtest is deliberately limited from even a new core book. In order to compare playtest groups you need to ensure that they are balanced. The more options, the more potential problems. When you might need to rewrite whole systems, creating dozens of options for each system is not going to work.

I also suspect that they proposed the most limited of the options that they had. this way the updates would likely expand things instead of locking them down further.

I expect that within a year of publishing final 2.0, we'll be seeing a lot of flexibility come forth.

Yolande d'Bar wrote:
I would really like a blog, or just a few comments from Jason or another designer, on the numerous issues myself and others have with the +1/level mechanic. Questions like, What does the AC bonus actually mean in the game world? or the Ostog the Untenured problem . . .

This is a variation on things done since 3.0. Just expanded and made more consistent. It's an idea that high level heroes are truly larger than life in all ways. You can define it in many ways. but if your wizard has been travelling with rogues and fighters and clerics, he'll pick up a trick or two from them.

In game terms it sets a limit as to how far apart the top and bottom of the range are. An easy way to judge this is skill checks. Between 3.0 and P1 it's pretty easy to get a difference of more than 20 in a skill check by mid levels. When this happens, something that requires everybody to make a check means that you have to decide if some characters will auto fail or if others will auto succeed. If you build the numbers so that there's less difference, then everybody will have some risk involved.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Rob Godfrey wrote:
now Golarion feels like a low fantasy setting, and 'mage kings' no longer make sense, they simply are not powerful enough...[...] Not saying I'm not having fun, but it is the fun of the grittier, more deadly game, which wasn't what Golarion was about, it was heroic high fantasy, it no longer feels like that.

Rob, not specifically calling you out, just using what you said as the example. I've heard folks talking like this lately, and I feel compelled to speak. =)

From the beginning days of Golarion, I ALWAYS thought it was supposed to be a grittier place. From where I stand, it was never intended to have the feel of the Forgotten Realms. Lovecraft is writ large all over the place ... distinctly NOT high fantasy.

I'm not saying that you cannot play high fantasy in Golarion, in fact many do, but I think it is incorrect to say that Golarion was intended to be high fantasy, and now PF2 seems to be moving the setting to a grittier place. Golarion was always a grittier place.

Of course, that is not stopping anyone from playing it High Fantasy, or anywhere in between.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Here's my thing on flexibility re: PF2e.

The playtest has vastly, VASTLY less flexibility than PF1e. No question, not even the slightest debate there.

However, the playtest - just the playtest, mind you, not even the full core rules - does seem to have greater flexibility than the PF1e core rulebook.

And that gives me a lot of positive feeling about the direction of the system and the amount of flexibility it will eventually have.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Belisar wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Belisar wrote:
Those claims about the superior flexibility in char advancement in PF1 are very dishonest.
Not agreeing does make the other party dishonest.
Okay then, Vic, let numbers speak why it is dishonest in an objective way. The PF1 fighter has "tons of feats", from level 1 to 20 he gains 21 feats. The PF2 fighter, though, gets 31 feats, that's 10 feats in addition to what a PF1 fighter gets. Even if PF1 classes get more fixed abilities, the amount of choices in PF2 is way superior. In fact in PF2 I can decide myself to chose the abilities while PF1 simply lacks this choice. Before this background, yes, claiming that PF1 is more flexible is objectively dishonest.

So number of feats = flexibility? (Neglecting the fact that ancestry feats by and large buy back baseline stuff from PF1e, and general and skill feats are worth far less than PF1e feats. Also neglecting that feats are separated by level and frequently you have no difficult choices, you just take the one out of five that has any impact on your build.)

Your tone is also rather rude, I would dial that back if you want to continue to contribute to a healthy discussion. It's not helpful to call someone dishonest just because they disagree with you.

Point of order: general/skill feats effectively existed in PF1 as well, just it was rare to see someone take them because they were by and large worse than taking more class features.


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Data Lore wrote:
Super strict Vancian casting, for example, is just plain worse than Arcanist style casting (especially considering the low number of spell slots).

IMHO, they haven't had super strict Vancian casting since 1st edition's Bonded Item. And Pearls of Power before that. Focus drain now is the latest diversion from "super strict Vancian casting", and also hits that "low number of spell slot" issue... while also being easy DC boost for Specialists.

(IMHO Focus casting needs to be tied to Specialists' School, otherwise their normal/non-Spell Point casting isn't actually "specialist"... And it's easy enough to not even get into Spell Point powers regardless your School/Universalist choice, so that doesn't seem solid mechanic to rely on to distinguish Specialists/Universalists. If even opposed school 2x slot cost is being dropped, there has to be a line drawn somewhere IMHO.)

I don't really like this "Lets replace Wizard with Arcanist" school of thought. If you like Arcanist, you'll like it when they release an Arcanist class. But thinking about it, I did come around to admitting Arcanist doesn't really have a strong class identity of it's own. Assuming that is the case, I wondered... Why can't Arcanist just be an Archtype? You can peace-meal gain increased casting flexibility, and also include Exploits in the same Archetype chain. In fact, with just a few more words, the same Archetype could apply to a Sorceror, giving them the same functionality just coming from opposite direction, so to speak.

On "Feats", I personally don't care if they are all types of Feats or have unique term that isn't Feat. I do think the term "Class Feat" is not making clear the power hierarchy of that tier of Feat, or actual nature of that tier of Feat... Which of course isn't only for Class Abilities, considering "Universal" Archetype Feats.

And likewise, I can't see anything about system inherently opposed to Skill, General, or even Ancestry Feats from working with Class Abilities or having exclusive Class Pre-Reqs. (complaints re: Pirate Archetype in Preview seem best resolved by having Skill-relevant Archetype Feats be classed as Skill Feats)

So, I think "Class Feat" is distraction, and a better name that just carries connotation of higher power would better suit this tier of Feat. "Hero" or "Heroic" Feat is one idea (that feels smoothly adjacent to "Class Feat", yet open to more associations), but I'm sure there's plenty of other good names as well.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Elorebaen wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
now Golarion feels like a low fantasy setting, and 'mage kings' no longer make sense, they simply are not powerful enough...[...] Not saying I'm not having fun, but it is the fun of the grittier, more deadly game, which wasn't what Golarion was about, it was heroic high fantasy, it no longer feels like that.

Rob, not specifically calling you out, just using what you said as the example. I've heard folks talking like this lately, and I feel compelled to speak. =)

From the beginning days of Golarion, I ALWAYS thought it was supposed to be a grittier place. From where I stand, it was never intended to have the feel of the Forgotten Realms. Lovecraft is writ large all over the place ... distinctly NOT high fantasy.

I'm not saying that you cannot play high fantasy in Golarion, in fact many do, but I think it is incorrect to say that Golarion was intended to be high fantasy, and now PF2 seems to be moving the setting to a grittier place. Golarion was always a grittier place.

Of course, that is not stopping anyone from playing it High Fantasy, or anywhere in between.

Lovecraftian horrors are indeed in the setting..as things you can beat up, which immediately makes it high fantasy, as the entire point of the horror of them is as unknowable, unchallenged transcendent and uncaring beings, (and that is just Shoggoths and Mi-Gu, let alone the actual Great Old Ones) not super monsters (Which Cthulhu is now, the ultimate crown to go for after you do the Planar high level play Arch Devil and Demon Lord maim and loot tour). Yes those beings are in he setting, and they are targets... Gritty games and settings are a lot of fun (hell Eclipse Phase 1e is my favorite system that I don't get to play enough, the big bads in that are so far beyond the characters that they are actual beyond the entire species, as a whole, to defeat) Golarion and PF have never been that, you explicitly get to become powers on the Planar stage, capable of killing the Lords of Outer Planes etc, doesn't get much more high fantasy.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
Point of order: general/skill feats effectively existed in PF1 as well, just it was rare to see someone take them because they were by and large worse than taking more class features.

Very true. Which also served to reduce choice in PF1e because you were pressured to take the more impactful combat feats.

That's why if PF2e can loosen up Class Feats (sort them into larger level brackets, for example) and make general feats more impactful (by introducing combat feats), I think PF2e will be well positioned to hit most of the good points of PF1e *and* provide skill customization through skill feats too.

I would be all on board for that system.

Liberty's Edge

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Data Lore wrote:

I forgot General so I tacked that one on. I don't mind the General and the Class ones both being called feats.

Edit: Hmm, maybe General Talent and Skill Trick?

So, Class Feat, General Talent, Ancestral Trait and Skill Trick?

What’s the gain?

It seems to me there’s now extra terms to learn that don’t serve any purpose other than to label different abilities your PC has. New players now have to learn all those words for no extra benefit. It seems a long fix to solve the “problem” of people forgetting that ancestry feats aren’t the same power level as skill feats.

The disparity in power level between feats allocated at different phases of character creation is a nonproblem, as far as I can see. It’s useful to bear in mind if you’re finding a particular choice to be amongst weaker options, but it doesn’t actually matter to gameplay, does it?

And you have now completed the cycle of the entire conversation at it went internally. Ultimately, there is no "perfect" answer here. We can call them different things for no real good reason other than differentiation of type, but that comes at the cost of an additional learning step. Or we can make it easier for new folks to grasp, but introduce a hangup that existing players might catch.

The joys of design...

I has an actual LOL moment reading your response. It’s good to know the things we are discussing have been considered by the design team, even when they have been rejected. As a person who has worked in management, I know how often a new employee will have a “brilliant new idea” that has already been proposed some time before they were hire, tried, and found less than helpful.

I am currently working toward my English: Writing degee. As part of my major, I had to take a sociolinguistics class, studying the function of language. One of the biggest take aways from that course was that all words have meaning: they are defined by their use. English has a habit of using the same word multiple times for different reasons, an artifact of having been a melting-pot language from a many times conquered nation. For my final paper, I did a study of RPG gaming lingo, a sub-culture of language that uses its own terms, while borrowing new uses from old ones. From my observations for that paper, I noticed that continuous use of the same word often has the oppostie efffect, if clarity or simplicity is the goal. Of particular confusion for characters was the word “level” with its multiple use in the game. A 5th level wizard does not get 5th level spells upon hitting that level, nor does that mean he is comparable to a 5th level monster in power. If you were to introduce different terms for each of those sections (as suggested by Data Lore), the players would absorb those. It would provide mental differentiation, rather than comparison.

For the record, I prefer Class abilities, Ancestrial Traits, General Feats, and Skill Tricks.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
My GM hated tracking non-lethal damage when I played my Bludgeoner barbarian.

Yes.

Yes, he did.


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Personally I'm fine with calling everything feats. That said, it does seem to be a sticking point for some people and I don't particularly think it helps gut reactions to character building, even if perhaps the person would otherwise like their character.

The naming noted by Arnim Thayer above does seem like it would go down better (e.g. compare how "choose a class feat" and "choose a class ability" sounds).


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

Shadow Lodge

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thunderspirit wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
My GM hated tracking non-lethal damage when I played my Bludgeoner barbarian.

Yes.

Yes, he did.

Mwahahahahaha!


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Belisar wrote:
Okay then, Vic, let numbers speak why it is dishonest in an objective way. The PF1 fighter has "tons of feats", from level 1 to 20 he gains 21 feats. The PF2 fighter, though, gets 31 feats, that's 10 feats in addition to what a PF1 fighter gets. Even if PF1 classes get more fixed abilities, the amount of choices in PF2 is way superior. In fact in PF2 I can decide myself to chose the abilities while PF1 simply lacks this choice. Before this background, yes, claiming that PF1 is more flexible is objectively dishonest.

Here's my reasoning using the fighter as per your example;

You get 21 feats in total in pathfinder 1e; 11 combat feats (~40% of feats in the system) and 10 feats to choose from between all of the feats in the system. You've already been given all of your racial abilities upon race choice including the custumization of alternate racial traits. You were already given your choice of traits (and potential drawback(s)).

You get 31 feats in total in pathfinder 2e; 11 fighter feats, 10 skill feats, 5 ancestry and 5 general. Your race is now 5 feats and base vision/speed/hp. Traits and drawbacks are sort of replaced by background but arguably more impactful due to determining stats.

Your choice in pathfinder 1e would already let you draw from a bigger pool; not only because there was more content but also because you were free to make your own choice in what type of feat you wanted for your general feats.

It does help PF1e that class feats didn't exist and thus more interesting and thematic "off class" options being available for any character which could change the vibe and theme of a character entirely with but a few feat choices and thus allow massive diversity for those seeking such a thing.

Pathfinder 2e is dictating;

  • 1)What type of feat you get at any given point. This takes away from custumization already.
  • 2a)Your choice of "combat feat" being limited by class feats and thus having reduced options across the board compared to being able to grab from all combat feats. This takes away from custumization as you only have your class feats instead of all combat feats.
  • 2bIn addition most of them are feat chains that because you don't have the flexibility of choosing what type of feat to select; you will struggle with to keep multiple up to date throughout the levels. Several options for each class such as "unyielding fortitude" and other feat "choices" being non-abilities that don't provide something new to play with as they are things that should just be a part of class design especially as the monster DC's are keeping them into account for sake of the system math. Again, this is taking away from custumization.
  • 3)Your choice is limited with ancestry feats due to lack of good options beyond the 2nd/3rd ancestry feats(for the better ancestries) and the power scaling at point of obtaining the 4th/5th as the feats themselves don't really scale all too well across levels. This is compared to being a full race at level 1 at pf1 which actually had more custumization as a whole. While inherently this is a better option, i wish the options themselves actually offered more choice instead of 2-3 good options and some things no one really cares for.(I won't even argue that some races are massively better in quality than others)
  • 4)Skill feat wise you are gated behind the skill progression system which means your amount of choices are a lot less then what they appear to be as you can only raise so many skills which in general is less then pf1e, even more so when keeping into account the scaling DC system that if your not maximising something, you'll really struggle to keep up with even the medium/hard DC's unless it also happens to be your main stat.

----

In pathfinder 1e; your class felt like it ment something more then which pool of feats you were allowed to choose from because each class had their own unique mechanics that were devoid from feats but could be enhanced by feats. You were able to build your own character, one that you wished to play, one that you were allowed to design yourself.

Pathfinder playtest currently does not meet that same concept, which is why i at least feel like its less custumizable because a lot of concepts i have in my mind, i have no way of actually creating in pathfinder playtest while i can in pathfinder 1e and a large portion of other d20 systems.


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MaxAstro wrote:

Here's my thing on flexibility re: PF2e.

The playtest has vastly, VASTLY less flexibility than PF1e. No question, not even the slightest debate there.

However, the playtest - just the playtest, mind you, not even the full core rules - does seem to have greater flexibility than the PF1e core rulebook.

And that gives me a lot of positive feeling about the direction of the system and the amount of flexibility it will eventually have.

That is actually a really good point. Archetypes for example didn't come along until much later. It's just that - having seen how archetypes are proposed to work in the playtest rules - it seems that PF2 is looking to cut back significantly on that flexibility that we'd all gotten so used to.

If the playtest had said something like 'archetypes aren't ready yet but they'll work similar to PF1' that would have been fine. But they did include them, and they're nothing like PF1.

(Although I realise that to some people that is a distinct plus. I'm just not sure how many people.)


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kpulv wrote:
I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized.

Out of 13 players I ran playtest sessions for I only had one who had a negative reaction and even he was willing to play again. Those groups included experienced power gamers, novices, and new to TTRPG players. I can't really speak to others' experience, just to my own.


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Wandering Wastrel wrote:
That is actually a really good point. Archetypes for example didn't come along until much later. It's just that - having seen how archetypes are proposed to work in the playtest rules - it seems that PF2 is looking to cut back significantly on that flexibility that we'd all gotten so used to.

I'm still hoping they'll adjust how archetypes/multiclassing work and not have them cost class feats but instead have them draw from another pool at least.

You want an archetype then these are the feats you'll invest, you want to multiclass, these are the types of feats you'll be investing. You don't have or want either of these; you get a general feat instead.

At least that would promote choice


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Dreamtime2k9 wrote:

Your choice in pathfinder 1e would already let you draw from a bigger pool; not only because there was more content but also because you were free to make your own choice in what type of feat you wanted for your general feats.

While I personally like the distinction of class feats (as choosable class abilities rather than fixed abilities), general and skill feats I agree that the pools of those feats are smaller compared to PF1. I guess expanding those pools might help supporting the new approach in PF2.


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Wandering Wastrel wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

Here's my thing on flexibility re: PF2e.

The playtest has vastly, VASTLY less flexibility than PF1e. No question, not even the slightest debate there.

However, the playtest - just the playtest, mind you, not even the full core rules - does seem to have greater flexibility than the PF1e core rulebook.

And that gives me a lot of positive feeling about the direction of the system and the amount of flexibility it will eventually have.

That is actually a really good point. Archetypes for example didn't come along until much later. It's just that - having seen how archetypes are proposed to work in the playtest rules - it seems that PF2 is looking to cut back significantly on that flexibility that we'd all gotten so used to.

If the playtest had said something like 'archetypes aren't ready yet but they'll work similar to PF1' that would have been fine. But they did include them, and they're nothing like PF1.

(Although I realise that to some people that is a distinct plus. I'm just not sure how many people.)

That is, sort of, what they said back before the playtest was released. I think it was more "well we know classic archetypes work, so we're not putting them in the playtest" presumably for designer time or book space reasons that had to be devoted to new or changed content. They just sort of muddled the waters by also putting something named archetypes in the book, and not just calling them dedications, or something like that.


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Ephialtes wrote:
Dreamtime2k9 wrote:

Your choice in pathfinder 1e would already let you draw from a bigger pool; not only because there was more content but also because you were free to make your own choice in what type of feat you wanted for your general feats.

While I personally like the distinction of class feats (as choosable class abilities rather than fixed abilities), general and skill feats I agree that the pools of those feats are smaller compared to PF1. I guess expanding those pools might help supporting the new approach in PF2.

I tend to agree. Still this is just playtest material and I guess/hope there will be substancially more feats in the final product.


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kpulv wrote:
I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

Oddly enough, my group just gave up back on Sunday. The stated reason was that they only get one day a week to do much of anything, so they would rather play a finished game on their day off. Most of them weren't keeping up with the errata, and they weren't really interested in doomsday dawn's episodic nature.

We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though, so maybe that's not the difference. There are just too many unpolished rough edges that kept snagging us after so many years playing PF1, so we're just going to go back to that. Oddly enough, our first burnout was the noob, who had just joined us a few months before the playtest, rather than the stoggy old guard.

Oh well, back to our dieselpunk necropocalypse game. Here's to hoping I can convince them to try again when PF2 gets a little older, eh?


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1of1 wrote:
kpulv wrote:
I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

Oddly enough, my group just gave up back on Sunday. The stated reason was that they only get one day a week to do much of anything, so they would rather play a finished game on their day off. Most of them weren't keeping up with the errata, and they weren't really interested in doomsday dawn's episodic nature.

We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though, so maybe that's not the difference. There are just too many unpolished rough edges that kept snagging us after so many years playing PF1, so we're just going to go back to that. Oddly enough, our first burnout was the noob, who had just joined us a few months before the playtest, rather than the stoggy old guard.

Oh well, back to our diesel punk necropocalypse game. Here's to hoping I can convince them to try again when PF2 gets a little older, eh?

Your response seems to exemplify the perspective of people who probably were never really contemplating the idea of an actual playtest. They maybe just thought they were playing a new game. But playtesting is about testing a system that is consciously not complete, and major mechanics and balance are in flux. This is not a relaxing drive on the scenic route, it is destruction testing an engine & transmission whose design & parameters are almost certainly broken, the point being to analyze all those break points. Probably not a real good idea for a "newbie" to P&P RPGs. This certainly isn't for everybody, not even "veteran" RPG players who just want to have fun gaming. I recognized this playtest wasn't suitable or enjoyable for much of my gaming group, not all of whom have strong rules focus and who would fundamentally have conflict between their fun and effective playtesting.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Point of order: general/skill feats effectively existed in PF1 as well, just it was rare to see someone take them because they were by and large worse than taking more class features.

Very true. Which also served to reduce choice in PF1e because you were pressured to take the more impactful combat feats.

That's why if PF2e can loosen up Class Feats (sort them into larger level brackets, for example) and make general feats more impactful (by introducing combat feats), I think PF2e will be well positioned to hit most of the good points of PF1e *and* provide skill customization through skill feats too.

I would be all on board for that system.

But here is the issue, if you solely make combat feats free for all to choose, you take distinct capabilities from the the fighter class whose focus lies in melee and ranged combats while iconic abilities from other classes like spellcasting or rogue skills still remain gated behind those classes.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
1of1 wrote:
kpulv wrote:
I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

Oddly enough, my group just gave up back on Sunday. The stated reason was that they only get one day a week to do much of anything, so they would rather play a finished game on their day off. Most of them weren't keeping up with the errata, and they weren't really interested in doomsday dawn's episodic nature.

We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though, so maybe that's not the difference. There are just too many unpolished rough edges that kept snagging us after so many years playing PF1, so we're just going to go back to that. Oddly enough, our first burnout was the noob, who had just joined us a few months before the playtest, rather than the stoggy old guard.

Oh well, back to our diesel punk necropocalypse game. Here's to hoping I can convince them to try again when PF2 gets a little older, eh?

Sure, makes sense. In that case it sounds like the playtest environment definitely doesn't align with the interests of your group. One thing I didn't consider is that my entire playgroup works in the game industry so we're likely more used to playtesting games where the rules can change week to week. Adjusting our mindset to accompany that doesn't cause a lot of friction for us.

If you have limited time then it's understandable that a playtest would be too much to handle vs a system you're very familiar with.


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kpulv wrote:
I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

I started with six players, mostly from a 5e background (as that's what I ran beforehand).

  • One seems to be enamoured with the system, and is using the playtest to try out bonkers builds -the stealth barbarian, the no-multiclass melee wizard, the deathblind sorcerer.
  • One likes the system, thinks it has a lot of promise, and is generally in favour of it. He does note that it has a lot of flaws, as per being a playtest, and is considerably less keen on some things like the reactive role of the pally. He seems to very much be enjoying cleric and druid, but is also happy to see magic reigned back a bit.
  • One is finding the game fresh and fun, and is using Doomsday Dawn to try out some more wacky characters before my probably more serious impending campaign occurs.
  • One seems to be enjoying himself, more so in part 3 (where we are rn) than part 2 (which most of the group disliked, myself included). Interestingly, he has actually learned a lot of his character rules, despite being consistently unclear on how to play a straightforwards punch-monk in 5e ("how do I attack, again?").
  • One quit before playing much due to hating the system. It's worth noting that this was the only player to not be from my previous 5e game, and I know that he's not actually a massive fan of 5e (neither am I, but I think it's good for roping newbies in with). I don't have a good read on him or what he really likes.
  • One quit after part 2 due to disliking the system and adventure. As I currently intend to actually run my next game in either playtest or PF2 (unless it does a complete 180), I am trying to work out what it is he dislikes (as he hasn't actually told me yet) so I can either flag it or work out how to mitigate it for him at my table if he joins my next game. I suspect it's the naming of things, high rules content (e.g. list of standard actions and skill uses, drowning in densely spaced build options compared to 5e, etc.), and weirdly enough (given that he enjoys 5e) the dialing back of magic. I don't think he was terribly keen on the action system either, though every player who remained is as best I can tell.

    It seems to be interestingly polarising.
    As for myself. I like the rules, more so as my three primary issues (sig skills, non-functional stealth, sorc progression) got attended to. I suppose I wouldn't object to better surprise rules though.


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    Quandary wrote:
    1of1 wrote:
    kpulv wrote:
    I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

    Oddly enough, my group just gave up back on Sunday. The stated reason was that they only get one day a week to do much of anything, so they would rather play a finished game on their day off. Most of them weren't keeping up with the errata, and they weren't really interested in doomsday dawn's episodic nature.

    We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though, so maybe that's not the difference. There are just too many unpolished rough edges that kept snagging us after so many years playing PF1, so we're just going to go back to that. Oddly enough, our first burnout was the noob, who had just joined us a few months before the playtest, rather than the stoggy old guard.

    Oh well, back to our diesel punk necropocalypse game. Here's to hoping I can convince them to try again when PF2 gets a little older, eh?

    Your response seems to exemplify the perspective of people who probably were never really contemplating the idea of an actual playtest. They maybe just thought they were playing a new game. But playtesting is about testing a system that is knowingly

    I don't disagree with you. It does, may be in some cases, and is, with the exception of ease of learning tests, about that.

    They have their own complaints about the structure of the initial playtest, but they're grownups that can make their opinions known on their own time. I can only speak for them in the vaguest of terms, which works for me, seeing as that's how I normally speak.

    kpulv wrote:
    Some words that made sense.

    https://youtu.be/HZuhYJynSk8


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    - On ability scores being replaced with modifiers: what would be better would be to change the relationship of ability scores to modifiers such that ability scores become DCs.

    - The ability score generation mechanic which basically means that 90% of characters will have the same stat spread is a bit overblown.


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    Quandary wrote:
    1of1 wrote:
    kpulv wrote:
    I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

    Oddly enough, my group just gave up back on Sunday. The stated reason was that they only get one day a week to do much of anything, so they would rather play a finished game on their day off. Most of them weren't keeping up with the errata, and they weren't really interested in doomsday dawn's episodic nature.

    We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though, so maybe that's not the difference. There are just too many unpolished rough edges that kept snagging us after so many years playing PF1, so we're just going to go back to that. Oddly enough, our first burnout was the noob, who had just joined us a few months before the playtest, rather than the stoggy old guard.

    Oh well, back to our diesel punk necropocalypse game. Here's to hoping I can convince them to try again when PF2 gets a little older, eh?

    Your response seems to exemplify the perspective of people who probably were never really contemplating the idea of an actual playtest. They maybe just thought they were playing a new game. But playtesting is about testing a system that is consciously not complete, and major mechanics and balance are in flux. This is not a relaxing drive on the scenic route, it is destruction testing an engine & transmission whose design & parameters are almost certainly broken, the point being to...

    Yeah, I think all of our group would rather just be playing PF1e (especially one player who actually likes the new rules possibly best of all of us, but hates the disjointed nature of Doomsday Dawn), but it's sort of a value proposition for us: Do we ride out the playtest, so we can make 2e better for us in the long term, or play something more fun? I think we're mostly on the former, but playtesting is rough stuff, especially when rules change every other week, and we don't know whether the next rules change will shift that balance.


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    Quandary wrote:
    Your response seems to exemplify the perspective of people who probably were never really contemplating the idea of an actual playtest. They maybe just thought they were playing a new game. But playtesting is about testing a system that is consciously not complete, and major mechanics and balance are in flux. This is not a relaxing drive on the scenic route, it is destruction testing an engine & transmission whose design & parameters are almost certainly broken, the point being to analyze all those break points. Probably not a real good idea for a "newbie" to P&P RPGs. This certainly isn't for everybody, not even "veteran" RPG players who just want to have fun gaming. I recognized this playtest wasn't suitable or enjoyable for much of my gaming group, not all of whom have strong rules focus and who would fundamentally have conflict between their fun and effective playtesting.

    Yeah, my group has been trudging through the playtest, but it's more out of a sense of obligation and trying to get our voice heard than fun. Although there is some fun to be had. There is a lot of dislike of certain aspects of the system, but it goes beyond that into the nature of the playtest itself. One of our main players has been openly dreading the playtest sessions and talks about wanting to "Get it over with." At first I thought it was because he disliked the system. But that wasn't it at all. He told me that he thinks the system is mostly fine, and with a few tweaks and house-rules he wouldn't mind switching. It's the playtest adventures that are non-fun with the overpowered monsters being thrown at as, as well as everything trying to stress all the different subsystems. Part 2 was probably the worst in this regard. Part 4 has a few dirty tricks too.

    And there's been a lot of stress on the GM. He's the main interaction between the players and the game. So frustration with rules and unbalanced encounters sometimes spills onto him. It got pretty bad during the last session and we've decided to rotate GMs to give him a break, let him be a player and one of our other players who GMs a lot normally will take over at least for part 5, maybe 6 as well. And it's not just player frustration that was stressing him, he was starting to strain under the competing pressure to provide a fun game, and to properly test things. So there's a constant struggle to determine just how smart to play the monsters. Because there are some encounters where there is an almost guaranteed TPK if the monster is played smart.

    Spoiler:
    The sea serpent in part 4 is one of these. A 90 foot swim speed and a 100 foot ranged attack means it can just keep out of range of the PCs and keep blasting them until they're all dead. Or just dart in and do the spine rake and keep moving until back out of range. Highly mobile monsters (especially ones with fly speeds or high swim speed in a water encounter, and combined with a ranged attack is even worse) doing hit-and-run tactics can be devastating. Especially when they're over-powered already as is often the case in the playtest. The three actions makes this more effective because they can move in, attack and move out all in the same turn. And there are fewer attacks of opportunity to worry about.

    Liberty's Edge

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    I personally agree with the goals presented and think that the bones of the current system are fine (3 actions per round, tight math, adding level to everything, etc.).

    The issues are all in the details. But some of those details skew the game really badly, like the low odds of success on skills you don't have Items for, or the fact that all monsters are easily a match for the most optimized possible PC. Math issues like this are very fixable, but they need to be fixed.

    There's also the fact that certain fighting styles are hard locked to be only available to some classes (I mean...Clerics of Erastil don't even work without multiclassing, and Paladins not even then). Which makes it feel like you're wearing a straitjacket in terms of what kind of character you can play. Again, this is fixable without starting over from scratch (the aforementioned idea of a two-handed archetype, for example), but again they still need to be fixed. This one is, to some degree, inevitable in a playtest, but it remains a bit troublesome in the short term, and could be ameliorated even in a playtest.

    I think a lot of people (by no means everyone who objects to PF2, but a lot of them) are confusing the two issues, which is its own issue in terms of diagnosing and fixing the problems in question.

    And, for the record, my group have issues with some stuff in the playtest, but have been enjoying it for the most part. So dissatisfaction is indeed not universal.

    DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

    I had a heroic necromancer named Hollow Graves.

    He had a skeleton buddy that wore heavy armour.

    I no longer can cast animate dead.

    I cannot play Hollow Graves.

    Also for the record, they've explicitly stated that Animate Dead will be in PF2, it was left out of the playtest for reasons of simplicity, not because it won't be available in the end.

    Silver Crusade

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Deadmanwalking wrote:

    DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

    I had a heroic necromancer named Hollow Graves.

    He had a skeleton buddy that wore heavy armour.

    I no longer can cast animate dead.

    I cannot play Hollow Graves.

    Also for the record, they've explicitly stated that Animate Dead will be in PF2, it was left out of the playtest for reasons of simplicity, not because it won't be available in the end.

    I also had a dog-riding halfling paladin of Erastil I was quite fond of who would be basically unplayable in 2e.


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    DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
    Deadmanwalking wrote:

    DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

    I had a heroic necromancer named Hollow Graves.

    He had a skeleton buddy that wore heavy armour.

    I no longer can cast animate dead.

    I cannot play Hollow Graves.

    Also for the record, they've explicitly stated that Animate Dead will be in PF2, it was left out of the playtest for reasons of simplicity, not because it won't be available in the end.
    I also had a dog-riding halfling paladin of Erastil I was quite fond of who would be basically unplayable in 2e.

    Gywn of Nybor - Paladin of Iomedae doesn't work in PF2. I'd have to do a lot of multiclassing, and even then, he doesn't function anything like he did in PF1.


    I'm in the middle of the survey questions about update 1.3. I haven't been following this thread so maybe this has been already brought up, but this question #5 doesn't seem to be true. I'm looking at the two 10-2 tables and DCs were lowered at the lowest levels of the game. Am I missing something? Am I even posting this in the right thread?

    Rules Survey wrote:


    5. Update 1.3 also changed the table used to generate DCs of skill checks against opposing forces of various levels. Generally speaking, this raised the DCs a bit at the lowest levels of the game and lowered the DCs at the high levels of the game by a greater amount. How appropriate was this change at different parts of the game?

    Liberty's Edge

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    DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
    I also had a dog-riding halfling paladin of Erastil I was quite fond of who would be basically unplayable in 2e.

    I wasn't disputing the basic point that there are characters in PF1 who are not currently available in the PF2 playtest. Indeed, I specifically stated that as one of my problems with PF2 (though a solvable one). Heck, I even specifically noted Paladins of Erastil as my example of such characters.

    I just thought people should be aware that, as I understand it, Animate Dead specifically is definitely gonna be back for the final version.


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    Data Lore wrote:
    My gosh. That rules survey took forever. Great questions though.

    Not sure I agree. Many of the questions came down to asking me whether I preferred cats to be green or purple, frankly. That is, when they weren't leading, of course. I'm not sure who composed the survey, but they need remedial training.


    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

    I had a heroic necromancer named Hollow Graves.

    He had a skeleton buddy that wore heavy armour.

    I no longer can cast animate dead.

    I cannot play Hollow Graves.

    Also for the record, they've explicitly stated that Animate Dead will be in PF2, it was left out of the playtest for reasons of simplicity, not because it won't be available in the end.

    I'm thinking animating undead would be a good candidate for a ritual. Probably keep Animate Dead as a spell to have quick undead minions. And perhaps ritual could replace Create Undead to make powerful undead, and maybe also large amounts of lesser undead.

    Creatures with the minion trait will probably need to be fixed for this. They're currently too limited, and the action economy is horrible. Apparently now, only four undead can be commanded. Maybe the spells will increase that, but that's pretty terrible. It was already impossible for powerful necromancers to have an undead army, but they're apparently now limited to half a squad.


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    Jason Bulmahn wrote:
    Steve Geddes wrote:
    Data Lore wrote:

    I forgot General so I tacked that one on. I don't mind the General and the Class ones both being called feats.

    Edit: Hmm, maybe General Talent and Skill Trick?

    So, Class Feat, General Talent, Ancestral Trait and Skill Trick?

    What’s the gain?

    It seems to me there’s now extra terms to learn that don’t serve any purpose other than to label different abilities your PC has. New players now have to learn all those words for no extra benefit. It seems a long fix to solve the “problem” of people forgetting that ancestry feats aren’t the same power level as skill feats.

    The disparity in power level between feats allocated at different phases of character creation is a nonproblem, as far as I can see. It’s useful to bear in mind if you’re finding a particular choice to be amongst weaker options, but it doesn’t actually matter to gameplay, does it?

    And you have now completed the cycle of the entire conversation at it went internally. Ultimately, there is no "perfect" answer here. We can call them different things for no real good reason other than differentiation of type, but that comes at the cost of an additional learning step. Or we can make it easier for new folks to grasp, but introduce a hangup that existing players might catch.

    The joys of design...

    It seems like the solutions the design team is coming up with are often extremes that can cause further problems.

    And if they don't quite pan out the next step seems to be to apply the opposite extreme.

    My philosophy is that the middle path is usually the correct one.
    Why not try a compromise?

    There is a good reason to call them different things, the baggage they carry from previous games is a big one.
    The difference in power level is another.

    Calling everything a different kind of feat still requires the new players to learn each one.
    So there will always be 5 terms for them to learn.

    The second problem in terming everything a feat is that baggage that comes with that term and the ambiguity it introduces.

    One solution is to keep Class Feats as is, and call the rest Ancestry, General, and Skill Traits.

    Now you clearly have a differentiation between the power level of the Class Feats and the rest, while only adding one extra term to learn.

    And while you're at it you can rename Traits to Attributes so there isn't any confusion with Ancestry Traits, Skill Traits and General Traits nor with 1e Traits.


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    kpulv wrote:
    I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another.

    I'm surprised there aren't more. My group broke up after the second part: the general replies were that no one had any fun and it was painful to play. These were all people that played pathfinder before and knew it was a playtest. For myself, I haven't been in a rush to find a new group as I too didn't have a good time.


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    graystone wrote:
    kpulv wrote:
    I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another.
    I'm surprised there aren't more.

    People are actively being discouraged from posting such experiences by getting replies along the lines of "playtesting is hard", "playtesting isn't for everyone" and "playtesting isn't meant to be fun".

    Which isn't to say they aren't valid. It's simply an explanation for why you wouldn't see more such posts (another reason could simply be those few posting displeasure are outliers*). You also have the problem that the more you dislike the playtest material the less engaged you become (not a single member of my gaming group have posted on the playtest forums except for me and we're a pretty large group) and the less likely you are to contribute.

    *There's been some signals that this is potentially the case. Jason marveled at the great difference they're seeing in the survey results vs social media and the forums. If it's true, expect 75% of the game to stay the same, 10% to be massively removed or retooled and the remaining 15% to get small tweaks.


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    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    not a single member of my gaming group have posted on the playtest forums except for me and we're a pretty large group

    *nods* I think I'm the only one from my group that's done the survey.

    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Jason marveled at the great difference they're seeing in the survey results vs social media and the forums.

    I know the last time they showed numbers, they didn't seem to match up with my experiences so it wouldn't surprise me. I find that curious though as this was an internet pickup game and 5 independent people didn't like it and I haven't really heard any glowing reviews from other groups comments I see. For the most part, it's only here where I see people that seem stoked on the game.


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    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
    Arnim Thayer wrote:

    I am currently working toward my English: Writing degee. As part of my major, I had to take a sociolinguistics class, studying the function of language. One of the biggest take aways from that course was that all words have meaning: they are defined by their use. English has a habit of using the same word multiple times for different reasons, an artifact of having been a melting-pot language from a many times conquered nation. For my final paper, I did a study of RPG gaming lingo, a sub-culture of language that uses its own terms, while borrowing new uses from old ones. From my observations for that paper, I noticed that continuous use of the same word often has the oppostie efffect, if clarity or simplicity is the goal. Of particular confusion for characters was the word “level” with its multiple use in the game. A 5th level wizard does not get 5th level spells upon hitting that level, nor does that mean he is comparable to a 5th level monster in power. If you were to introduce different terms for each of those sections (as suggested by Data Lore), the players would absorb those. It would provide mental differentiation, rather than comparison.

    For the record, I prefer Class abilities, Ancestrial Traits, General Feats, and Skill Tricks.

    That’s interesting. Can you explain to me more explicitly the gain you see?

    To me the prevalence of level is a problem because the same word refers to lots of different concepts in the game. I consider the various types of feats to be more akin to wizard (evoker) and Wizard (universalist). With feats, they’re all tweaks to your PC and the only difference between a class feat and a skill feat is where they came from. It seems to me that renaming “class feat” <-> “class ability” and “ancestry feat” <-> “ancestry trait” is conveying that information twice.

    At the very least, you wouldn’t need the source anymore, would you? You could just have Abilities, Traits, Feats and Tricks. What’s lost then?

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