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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Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Good to see some clearly stated goals for the new game here at Paizo.
More like this please.


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Thanks for posting the design goals. Alas all but point 3 if those goals are literally met by D&D 4th ed, D&D 5th ed or any other fantasy tabletop RPG.

Unfortunately I don't see very much of point 3.

The flexibility of background traits have been excised from the game in place of predefined background choices. Archetypes no longer meet their PF1e goal (swap out the non flexible parts of a class) and exist solely to require a feat tax to get certain combat feats/rogue talents.

Multiclassing has been removed from the game in favour of allowing minimal access to certain combat feats/rogue talents/barbarian powers/spells. Alternate racial traits have been removed from the game (along with racial traits themselves) in return for racial powers that are slowly doled out across 20 levels.

I can't really point to any advancement in PF that has made it into the playtest (except those from Unchained). I could point to plenty from other game(s) (automatic universal level based bonus that applies to everything. Class abilities that limit what fighting styles a character can apply based on class gated feats/powers, items having a level that is used to govern how they're handed out, parcel based approach to treasure acquisition in place of WBL). That's not to say these things are bad. Simply that if I was looking at a game's heritage I would struggle to say it's descended from PF1e vs an entirely different game.


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Are people who haven't been able to playtest welcome to fill in any of the surveys that have been released thus far? I want to make sure I'm not ruining the data by filling any in.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Are people who haven't been able to playtest welcome to fill in any of the surveys that have been released thus far? I want to make sure I'm not ruining the data by filling any in.

The surveys that are not specifically designed for Doomsday Dawn are open to all.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Surveys submitted.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Are people who haven't been able to playtest welcome to fill in any of the surveys that have been released thus far? I want to make sure I'm not ruining the data by filling any in.
The surveys that are not specifically designed for Doomsday Dawn are open to all.

Thankyou.


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Survey has untrained as level - 2. That's no longer accurate and might be worth correcting (it will also highlight the strata to anyone who fills in the rules survey).

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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John Lynch 106 wrote:

Thanks for posting the design goals. Alas all but point 3 if those goals are literally met by D&D 4th ed, D&D 5th ed or any other fantasy tabletop RPG.

Unfortunately I don't see very much of point 3.

The flexibility of background traits have been excised from the game in place of predefined background choices. Archetypes no longer meet their PF1e goal (swap out the non flexible parts of a class) and exist solely to require a feat tax to get certain combat feats/rogue talents.

Multiclassing has been removed from the game in favour of allowing minimal access to certain combat feats/rogue talents/barbarian powers/spells. Alternate racial traits have been removed from the game (along with racial traits themselves) in return for racial powers that are slowly doled out across 20 levels.

I can't really point to any advancement in PF that has made it into the playtest (except those from Unchained). I could point to plenty from other game(s) (automatic universal level based bonus that applies to everything. Class abilities that limit what fighting styles a character can apply based on class gated feats/powers, items having a level that is used to govern how they're handed out, parcel based approach to treasure acquisition in place of WBL). That's not to say these things are bad. Simply that if I was looking at a game's heritage I would struggle to say it's descended from PF1e vs an entirely different game.

John, I have seen you post on here a lot over the past few months and to be honest, I can tell that you care deeply about this game and its future, but I am not sure we are going to able to make you happy.

Yes, our goals are similar to the goals of other games. We share a heritage and that is not too surprising. I am not sure why you seem to think that is a bad thing.

A lof the flexibility you seem to be looking for were some of the things causing us the biggest rules problems in the previous editions. Traits, multiclassing and alternate racial traits were being used to customize... but they were also the source of some of our biggest power imbalances that seriously skewed the game. They were the features that frequently allowed players to cherry pick their power level.

We want to give you options, but we want you to pay something for them. We are still dialing in how this works and what can make it feel more meaningful. Its not perfect right now, but its starting to click.

I can appreciate that our approach to some things might not be a answer that everyone wants it to be. We knew going into this that there were aspects that were not going to sit well with some portion of the fanbase. We are doing are best to try and make this game work for as many people as possible. Hopefully that will include you and your group. Thanks for your continued feedback.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Has there been any consideration to having more sidebars like the stats generation sidebar (that reminds/introduces readers that you can roll dice to generate stats) for other rules elements that are new-ish or may not be used by a lot of people. Hero Points and Resonance (now a limiter for magic items) come to mind. If they become core for balance reasons (and/or PFS compatibility) then cool, but perhaps offering an option or an *opt-out* might help a ton of players that get caught up on RAW.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

Thanks for posting the design goals. Alas all but point 3 if those goals are literally met by D&D 4th ed, D&D 5th ed or any other fantasy tabletop RPG.

Unfortunately I don't see very much of point 3.

The flexibility of background traits have been excised from the game in place of predefined background choices. Archetypes no longer meet their PF1e goal (swap out the non flexible parts of a class) and exist solely to require a feat tax to get certain combat feats/rogue talents.

Multiclassing has been removed from the game in favour of allowing minimal access to certain combat feats/rogue talents/barbarian powers/spells. Alternate racial traits have been removed from the game (along with racial traits themselves) in return for racial powers that are slowly doled out across 20 levels.

I can't really point to any advancement in PF that has made it into the playtest (except those from Unchained). I could point to plenty from other game(s) (automatic universal level based bonus that applies to everything. Class abilities that limit what fighting styles a character can apply based on class gated feats/powers, items having a level that is used to govern how they're handed out, parcel based approach to treasure acquisition in place of WBL). That's not to say these things are bad. Simply that if I was looking at a game's heritage I would struggle to say it's descended from PF1e vs an entirely different game.

John, I have seen you post on here a lot over the past few months and to be honest, I can tell that you care deeply about this game and its future, but I am not sure we are going to able to make you happy.

Yes, our goals are similar to the goals of other games. We share a heritage and that is not too surprising. I am not sure why you seem to think that is a bad thing.

A lof the flexibility you seem to be looking for were some of the things causing us the biggest rules problems in the previous editions. Traits, multiclassing and alternate racial traits were...

Hi Jason, While I definitely agree that multi-classing, traits and alternate racial traits caused a great deal of imbalance, I think you may have unbalanced them in the opposite direction for the time being. I quite like the way backgrounds are done in this edition, and ansestry feats would be great if you could start with two instead of one, but multi-classing feels particularly weak in some ways. Most significantly I feel like a lot of the dedication feats give you very little for what you're potentially giving up. For instance, I would consider dipping into Barbarian a bit for my Fighter but I could only Rage once per day. Sure, I could take another couple of feats to resolve this issue, but my character would be significantly better if I just kept taking Fighter feats. I quite like the idea of archetypes and multi-class archetypes being skill feats, but I'd love to get a bit more from the dedication feat. All that said, Pathfinder 2.0 is definitely a game I already enjoy playing, and at the rate things are going I think I'm going to love the final product.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Randal M wrote:
Has there been any consideration to having more sidebars like the stats generation sidebar (that reminds/introduces readers that you can roll dice to generate stats) for other rules elements that are new-ish or may not be used by a lot of people. Hero Points and Resonance (now a limiter for magic items) come to mind. If they become core for balance reasons (and/or PFS compatibility) then cool, but perhaps offering an option or an *opt-out* might help a ton of players that get caught up on RAW.

So..

Crazy truth of how things work in the world of publishing. We are already putting plans down for books that come after the core. One of them is the absolute perfect home for introducing different ways to do things with the system. In fact, I am super excited about the way we built things, they make these sorts of optional rules super easy to implement.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Baelor the Bard wrote:
Hi Jason, While I definitely agree that multi-classing, traits and alternate racial traits caused a great deal of imbalance, I think you may have unbalanced them in the opposite direction for the time being. I quite like the way backgrounds are done in this edition, and ansestry feats would be great if you could start with two instead of one, but multi-classing feels particularly weak in some ways. Most significantly I feel like a lot of the dedication feats give you very little for what you're potentially giving up. For instance, I would consider dipping into Barbarian a bit for my Fighter but I could only Rage once per day. Sure, I could take another couple of feats to resolve this issue, but my character would be significantly better if I just kept taking Fighter feats. I quite like the idea of archetypes and multi-class archetypes being skill feats, but I'd love to get a bit more from the dedication feat. All that said, Pathfinder 2.0 is definitely a game I already enjoy playing, and at the rate things are going I think I'm going to love the final product.

I think you have clued in on a few things we are looking at fixing actually. One of them should be up very very soon. The other may take us a bit.

Hang in there.. we are listening.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Great post! Thanks for the info, it's very much appreciated!

I have two quibbles.

1. Quote: "allowing characters to thrive in their defined role."

This is a big red flag for me. It might just be the way it's worded, but I want to sincerely caution you against enforcing "roles" in the sense of Tank, DPS, Healer, but also in the sense of "this is your little niche and no one else is allowed in". If you listen to actual play podcasts and many, many games: people make characters with a person in mind, not a role. Throw away characters are centered around a role, but the ones we really remember are as fluid as we are in real life.

2. I am not seeing enough of the flexibility of PF1e either.

There aren't enough options and points of customization. Class is choosing too much, backgrounds are too static, race feats are underwhelming, and I'm constantly being herded away from making choices that the designers didn't have in mind. This is a very big issue, and I want you to take it seriously. Pathfinder is *all about* customization, and to sacrifice too much of it for achieving balance is not the way to go.

That being said I see many ways you could fix things, reducing multiclass requirements, introducing old-school multiclassing, granting more general feats and giving combat feat pools, beefing up backgrounds to be less bland and anemic, letting people pick their proficiencies...


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Hi Jason

That's unfortunate to hear. Here's some more feedback from me and why I think these things don't need to make the game imbalanced:

Background traits and racial traits: You have currently pegged everything at costing a feat. Traits were roughly worth 1/2 a feat to 1/3 a Feat*. PF2e has taken a one size fits all approach (everything is a feat) but scaling back the power of the racial traits and class background traits and allowing 2 or 3 of each would resolve that.

Multiclassing could be overpowered as a lot of classes were front loaded. Quarantining them into a "proficiencies" category that you only gained access to at 1st level would go a long way to balancing that rather than removing it almost entirely.

Paying for stuff: I am quite happy with that, but at the moment so muvh is locked behind multiclassing. Having a separate pool of "alternate class feats" that anyone can dip into (dounle slicr, power attack) or allowing cross class feats at a penalty (e.g. level -4) would yo a long way to making my group happy. Multiclassing to get vital strike or power attack.

Thanks for talking with me. I disagree that these elements can't be balanced and hopefully the surveys reveal they're important yo enough people that you revisit them.

*Except when underpowered/overpowered options were published. A lot of the time this happened in the softcover more often then not. As a GM that's easy to balance as I just disallow that book.


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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 . . .


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"Encourage characters to play to their strengths, while working with others to bolster their place in the group."

Reeling from the realization that my definition of bolster has been changed and will never be the same. :)

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
You have currently pegged everything at costing a feat

Hmm.. I have seen this, or something like it, in quite a few places. Its interesting because I think we are using the term feat for these options because they are selected and applied to your character in a shared way.

What they do not share is an equal value. A class feat is better than a skill feat. An ancestry feat is not meant to be the same value as the others. I see a lot of comparison between the categories and that alone might be the biggest problem with using the word "feat" for all of them. Useful to learn the system, but the baggage from existing users applying to word to mean "a rule with a specified amount of power and utility" is a barrier to overcome.

Hmm..

I am not sure we have made that clear.

(Normally I would just note this to myself and move on, but I felt like sharing this musing with everyone)


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I don't believe 1 and 4 are being hit at all.
Currently there doesn't feel like any "reward" for system mastery but instead harsh punishment for not having it and the other part of this is that the builds that system mastery say are okay don't always feel like good characters. Also so far most characters feel very samey. All use weapons, even wizards, to have a good one action ability, the bulk of the builds are the same since since there are limited good abilities and combos and weapons and weapon styles don't make a good impact.

Also "allowing characters to thrive in their defined role." doesn't seem to be a thing either. Again similar to the first, it's more of being slightly okay at a defined role rather than thriving. When fighters miss on a 11 against a non-boss and need like a 15 to hit the "bosses" it's more like barely useful contribution instead of the master of combat.
Also I've not seen "Encourage characters to play to their strengths, while working with others to bolster their place in the group" supported by play or the book
Everyone rolls everything since no one is good at anything and everyone is kinda okay since they all get level so no one feels it's not worth fishing for a 20. So no one feels needed.

PF1 was where you had people that thrived in their defined role, damage dealers did damage consistently and well, supports could support well. A party with no wizard needed to play to their strengths to cope for lack of wizard. A strong fighter often needed a party to help with knowledges and talking and magic item identification. And the more mastery of the system you had the more solid and capable characters you'd have, people that could splash into other things like a diplomacy fighter or knowledge barb and have it feel fun and fitting while still being effective.

PF1 seems to be a much better fit of your stated design goals than the current playtest of PF2 seems to be and where it seems to be going.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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WatersLethe wrote:

Great post! Thanks for the info, it's very much appreciated!

I have two quibbles.

1. Quote: "allowing characters to thrive in their defined role."

This is a big red flag for me. It might just be the way it's worded, but I want to sincerely caution you against enforcing "roles" in the sense of Tank, DPS, Healer, but also in the sense of "this is your little niche and no one else is allowed in". If you listen to actual play podcasts and many, many games: people make characters with a person in mind, not a role. Throw away characters are centered around a role, but the ones we really remember are as fluid as we are in real life.

2. I am not seeing enough of the flexibility of PF1e either.

There aren't enough options and points of customization. Class is choosing too much, backgrounds are too static, race feats are underwhelming, and I'm constantly being herded away from making choices that the designers didn't have in mind. This is a very big issue, and I want you to take it seriously. Pathfinder is *all about* customization, and to sacrifice too much of it for achieving balance is not the way to go.

That being said I see many ways you could fix things, reducing multiclass requirements, introducing old-school multiclassing, granting more general feats and giving combat feat pools, beefing up backgrounds to be less bland and anemic, letting people pick their proficiencies...

1. Yeah.. I would never go so far as to apply MMO style roles in that way. I think, instead, that we look for a mechanical and conceptual niche for each character and encourage them to thrive in that niche. We have run into serious problems in the past when one class can "eat" the niche of another established class.

2. I am not entirely sure that is true. If anything, there are more points where you get to make choices, but in the current build and using the current pieces, those configurations are a bit more limited than what you are used to. That said... there is a reason we are striving to build the frame in the way that we are. The way it opens up the game for further development and expansion, in a way that is more user friendly for players and GMs, is something that I am really excited about.

I think there is an element that many are missing out on when it comes to the way we are building the game that I think it is work mentioning. If I wanted to, say, create an archetype that was all about fighting with a two handed weapon effectively, I could do so in a way that it packages all the pieces you would need to build that character in one tidy place, one that could then be taken by everyone. The old system allowed us to do this.. kinda, but it was all over the place, and was easily seen as bloat, especially as the years went on.

That said.. this still might not be what you are looking for. I hope that it is, but I am excited about the possibilities.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
You have currently pegged everything at costing a feat

Hmm.. I have seen this, or something like it, in quite a few places. Its interesting because I think we are using the term feat for these options because they are selected and applied to your character in a shared way.

What they do not share is an equal value. A class feat is better than a skill feat. An ancestry feat is not meant to be the same value as the others. I see a lot of comparison between the categories and that alone might be the biggest problem with using the word "feat" for all of them. Useful to learn the system, but the baggage from existing users applying to word to mean "a rule with a specified amount of power and utility" is a barrier to overcome.

Hmm..

I am not sure we have made that clear.

(Normally I would just note this to myself and move on, but I felt like sharing this musing with everyone)

Personally I love it when you DEVs provide comments like this one. Getting a little insight onto the why and that some of the drawbacks were unexpected really helps us not feel like you guys are crazy.

Like for this, if we think that you thought all feats are the same and then we go crazy yelling about how these feats are clearly weaker is a lot of wasted energy for stuff that isn't true.

Dark Archive

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I am very sorry to write this, but it's the truth.
Pathfinder 2.0 is trying to keep up with the success of D&D 5e, but it's failing very badly.

I am 43 years old and i can say that i pretty much played all the big Rpgs.

We stopped playing the Playtest after chapter 2, because it wasn't any fun to play at all.

We had all different kinds of players involved, from 17 year olds to 50+, from people that never played before to veterans of two dozen systems and everyone agreed: Pathfinder 1.0 & Starfinder are great, the Pathfinder Playtest isn't.

The rules are like a very bad Alpha Test and should never have seen the light in print like this.
Presenting something half-baked at GenCon isn't a good long term strategy.

You are trying too hard to keep up with D&D.
You should continue making Pathfinder 1.0 & focus more on Starfinder.

You can't make a game like D&D 5e and be more successful at it than WotC.

I can't imagine that you will be able to fix all the issues of the Playtest in time to present a good game in august 2019.

I'll be happy if i will be wrong, but it will be hard.
The only good thing about the new rules (that's where everyone agrees), is the three action economy.

Personally i'll buy the PF 2.0 Bestiary & AP#1-6, but i will take a hard look at the rulebook.

As it stands now, i'll not be playing 2.0, but 1.0.

I also think the "we will no longer make 1.0 material" stance is very premature.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

<snip> As it stands now, i'll not be playing 2.0, but 1.0.

The playtest is not second edition. In my opinion, this it the thing people misunderstand the most. The playtest was specifically designed to test a number of concepts. Those concepts may be bad and may get reverted back to 1ed or they may get updated to something else. But we're testing these ideas, NOT testing 2ed.


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oof that was big, finished the first survey will do the rest tommorow and tell me group to do them as well.

For the record about the comment above me I do not think they are trying to be 5th DnD, I do not feel the playtest plays at all like it.

I do think proficiencies should become more meaningful by a significant margin over the level progression(+2/+4/+6 which would reduce mandatory item need) and perception should have a way to be raised to at least master by all classes. A wizard can be very attentive in character and I do not see why this is locked.

I kinda agree with john about the archetyping/multiclasssing but I also like the new system, they just need to be a little stronger, Alternativly I think it might be a good idea if you could take the dedication with a class feat but the rest with a general feat, this way it would free up a lot of options without neccessarly making them too overpowered. I might be wrong here though.(It might make other general feats obsolete? maybe? possibly.)

@Jason

Magic needs love :( It really saddens me as a GM to see all of my table having fun except for the wizard who feels meh and just there to finish doomsday and help with the playtest surveys, he would have left but says he wants to stay in order to help. Imo they need more spell slots preferably from the specilisation school to make the choice more meaningful.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I see a lot of comparison between the categories and that alone might be the biggest problem with using the word "feat" for all of them. Useful to learn the system, but the baggage from existing users applying to word to mean "a rule with a specified amount of power and utility" is a barrier to overcome.

I've included five new to TTRPG players in playtest sessions and I think it's the word itself more than the fact that it was used in the previous edition. Feat conjures up images of heroic action - Skill Feats are actually fantastic at this - but many Feats only improve character proficiency. Going from Trained to Expert was probably meant to feel like a Feat but, for the most part, only Untrained to Trained really feels impactful. After that, it's the new tier of unlocked Skill Feats - not the raise in proficiency - that feels bold. Marginal improvement is valuable in a system but it feels innately off to compare a step forward in proficiency to a bold new ability. Gating proficiency off to it's own corner, like Skill increases, would open up customization and let Feats be Feats.


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These surveys, (and the previous ones for Class and Ancestry) really should be listed on the main Playtest page. Not everyone is following the blogs. I'm the only one in my group who does so for example, and I've been playing the role of the guy informing everyone about what's going on with the playtest. Including all of the surveys on the Playtest main page will at least make it a single place to look to fine all of the surveys.

Looking at the design goals, I think most seem fine, possibly a bit bland even. But number 4 stuck out at me like a sore thumb. I've heard mention of Niche Protection and keeping class roles and such in various streams and posts and such, and I think it's a bad choice for a core focus, and actually counterproductive for making a good game. I can understand not wanting someone to have their thunder stolen, like a rogue being less effective at picking locks and disarming traps than the casters or something (I actually had that happen to me in a recent PF1 game, and it wasn't fun). But the way things have gone, it's becoming more of a straight-jacket. For example, if you want two-weapon fighting, you must be fighter or ranger.

And it works the other direction too, classes force you into particular roles. Barbarians are pretty much forced into using big two-handed weapons. No ranged barbarian hurling axes, no dual-wielding cyclone of destruction, you are pushed into one path. And the biggest offender to me is the Paladin. It's all about defensiveness and heavy armor. That's not what I have ever thought a paladin should be about. They're warriors who bring holy beat-downs to monsters and have divine healing and protection. Experts at fighting undead or fiends. Not heavy armor specialists who counterattack those who hurt their allies. Retributive strike is like a less-useful attack of opportunity, and really doesn't make sense to be a core aspect of the paladin. And then there are classes like the alchemist that don't really have a niche, because they're just terrible at everything.

And this (along with the balance part of #4) might be part of the reason why magic has been nerfed into such a dismal state in this edition. Casters can't outshine specialists in anything, they can't do more damage than martials, they can't have more utility than a rogue, etc. So in the end, what is left for them to do? The appeal of magic is versatility and power. Currently magic is lacking in both regards.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Baelor the Bard wrote:
Hi Jason, While I definitely agree that multi-classing, traits and alternate racial traits caused a great deal of imbalance, I think you may have unbalanced them in the opposite direction for the time being. I quite like the way backgrounds are done in this edition, and ansestry feats would be great if you could start with two instead of one, but multi-classing feels particularly weak in some ways. Most significantly I feel like a lot of the dedication feats give you very little for what you're potentially giving up. For instance, I would consider dipping into Barbarian a bit for my Fighter but I could only Rage once per day. Sure, I could take another couple of feats to resolve this issue, but my character would be significantly better if I just kept taking Fighter feats. I quite like the idea of archetypes and multi-class archetypes being skill feats, but I'd love to get a bit more from the dedication feat. All that said, Pathfinder 2.0 is definitely a game I already enjoy playing, and at the rate things are going I think I'm going to love the final product.

I think you have clued in on a few things we are looking at fixing actually. One of them should be up very very soon. The other may take us a bit.

Hang in there.. we are listening.

That's awesome to hear! I'm looking forward to continuing to play through Doomsday Dawn.

Dark Archive

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Marco Massoudi wrote:

I am very sorry to write this, but it's the truth.

Pathfinder 2.0 is trying to keep up with the success of D&D 5e, but it's failing very badly.

I am 43 years old and i can say that i pretty much played all the big Rpgs.

We stopped playing the Playtest after chapter 2, because it wasn't any fun to play at all.

We had all different kinds of players involved, from 17 year olds to 50+, from people that never played before to veterans of two dozen systems and everyone agreed: Pathfinder 1.0 & Starfinder are great, the Pathfinder Playtest isn't.

Your experiences are far from universal. Of the two playtest groups I've participated in (12 4-hour sessions so far), I've watched curmudgeons dead set against a new edition transform into outright fans. Of the nine of us in total, ages 30 to 60, many have been gaming since the red box and we see room for improvement, but are pleased to have a chassis not plagued so heavily with the problems we've been enduring, or house ruling, for the past two decades. As far as solid foundations to build on go, PF2 is proving capable.


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"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."

Uh oh. This isn't the return of the days of Monte Cook and his Ivory Tower mentality, is it? I'm especially after choices and character options that, if they, rather than other choices, better fit the player's vision of their character, are as worthwhile as those other choices or at most, result in a character whose lesser contribution is something seen as a mistake that slipped through the cracks, rather than due punishment for not sufficiently mastering the game.


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Thanks for your work Jason - it's always great having you engage with discussions and hearing your musings!


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Chess Pwn wrote:
PF1 was where you had people that thrived in their defined role, damage dealers did damage consistently and well, supports could support well. A party with no wizard needed to play to their strengths to cope for lack of wizard. A strong fighter often needed a party to help with knowledges and talking and magic item identification. And the more mastery of the system you had the more solid and capable characters you'd have, people that could splash into other things like a diplomacy fighter or knowledge barb and have it feel fun and fitting while still being effective.

In my experience, this was only true in Pathfinder First Edition when the GM actively balanced the system's shortcomings or experienced players actively decided to maintain party parity themselves. Otherwise - optimized characters of certain classes easily dominated the system, completely usurping other roles, and relegated less optimized players to being little more than their audience.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

A class feat is better than a skill feat. An ancestry feat is not meant to be the same value as the others.

I am not sure we have made that clear.

None of you whispered that secret in my ear, yet I still understood the gist of that heirarchy of value, but hard to say re: nuances of communication.

To me, the power hierarchy is THE fundamental determinant of these categories, because we already see Class Feats being used for stuff besides your Class... And there is no change to system fundamentals if some Skill Feats have Pre-Req of specific Classes. My suggestion re: Archetypes was precisely that they "cross bounds" of Feat Categories (while being power-balanced for their category).

I suggested "Power Feat" as term to more explicitly describe Class Feats, but perhaps "Heroic Feats" would be more appropriate? That doesn't feel as disconnected from Class Feats as "Power Feats" does, but has more flexibity... In that a character's "Heroism" is probably tied to their Class, but isn't necessarily. I think that is the only confusing part of Feat system, General/Skill/Ancestry are clear enough...

If it helps to explicitly say Class/Hero Feats are expected to be more powerful (especially in combat or when using class abilities), I don't think that hurts, and could go along with a better birds eye view of building a character (including describing the over-all range of bonuses/choices all characters are supposed to make, which helps people not accidently over-look some part, like I saw somebody overlook the Primary Class Stat bonus here in forums, for example).


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So a complaint I'm hearing a lot, both on the forums and from my own group, is about forcing classes into niches, such as making two-weapon fighting available only to Rangers and Fighters. I think the biggest issue I have with this line of complaint is that it seems pretty obvious to me that all options available in this admittedly rather limited playtest book are not the only options that will exist in the new system. Maybe the current class feats will be the only ones represented in the new CRB, but there's nothing stoping Paizo from releasing books that contain a whole pile of additional class feats. That's why I personally love the class feat system as opposed to first edition Archetypes. I compare those two systems because I feel that class feats do a lot of what Archetypes do in the current edition, while 2.0 archetypes fill a similar but markably different role. In any case, I think that, as limited as the options are now, they will not remain so as books continue to be released. The real flexibility of this system is how easy it is to add more stuff to it.


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Ikos wrote:
Of the nine of us in total, ages 30 to 60, many have been gaming since the red box and we see room for improvement, but are pleased to have a chassis not plagued so heavily with the problems we've been enduring, or house ruling, for the past two decades.

Same here. Of the 13 players who have participated in my playtest sessions only 1 player had a negative reaction and the rest were neutral to positive (most liked the core rules but struggled with secondary elements like resonance, shields, rulebook organization, etc). Granted - I included 5 new to TTRPG players in the sessions who may have been positive because TTRPGs are awesome and not for reasons related to the playtest rules (though, from my perspective, they picked up character creation and the action economy much more quickly than new players who I introduced to Pathfinder First Edition).


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I think there is an element that many are missing out on when it comes to the way we are building the game that I think it is work mentioning. If I wanted to, say, create an archetype that was all about fighting with a two handed weapon effectively, I could do so in a way that it packages all the pieces you would need to build that character in one tidy place, one that could then be taken by everyone. The old system allowed us to do this.. kinda, but it was all over the place, and was easily seen as bloat, especially as the years went on.

I definitely understand why you're making these decisions but I want to clarify a problem I have with this in particular.

If I have to take an archetype to distinguish my character as good with a two handed weapon, I have to spend class feats to do so, and a fair number of them too. If I want to also have an archetype of another sort, that pushing my character customization out a hefty number of levels.

So instead of, say, playing a Druid who spends some feats on useful Two Handed Weapon stuff as in PF1e, I am playing a partial druid who trades out what should be flavorful class abilities for skill with the weapon.

Class Feats are home to some very important class flavor abilities, and just being able to say your character is better with a spear than your average member of the class shouldn't essentially make you multiclassed.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
the features that frequently allowed players to cherry pick their power level.

There we go. This - I think - is what many people have been waiting for your department to say;

"1 - remove the features that frequently allowed players to cherry pick their power level."

I mean that with absolutely zero snark. Those of us who are banging our heads against a wall looking for the many different ways to do exactly that have been wasting our time. Knowing that this was deliberate makes it easier to just slide into the calming waters, no longer struggling. I have long accepted that some products are simply not for me, and I do not resent them existing.

(To my groups unanimously) PF2 looks on paper, and feels at the table, like it is a very flat-lined power curve. Every character's abilities are very tightly limited to be roughly equivalent, and indeed higher levels don't feel higher because really, the goal-posts (hit point values, check DCs) keep moving at the same rate without truly, wildly new means of dealing with combat showing up.

That's fine. That's admirable.

But, for my (probably last) $.02, that's not Pathfinder. PF2 is keeping the Golarion, but ejecting the Pathfinder, and I can tell you that roughly a dozen players in my gaming circle (out of the roughly dozen people in my gaming circle) aren't interested in this design ethos.

This isn't about max/min. This is about variety that matters.

I wish you and all the players who do want this luck and great success.


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Now I feel like making a dual-ax-wielding, ranged-heavy Barbarian, just to prove that it's playable without being useless (as people keep saying will happen as soon as you aren't optimal).


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First off, thanks for posting. I wanted to respond to these two things as they apply to the Ranger

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
1. Yeah.. I would never go so far as to apply MMO style roles in that way. I think, instead, that we look for a mechanical and conceptual niche for each character and encourage them to thrive in that niche. We have run into serious problems in the past when one class can "eat" the niche of another established class.

I can see that this is true. Just recognize that you guys aren't going to get this correct for every class. The Ranger's mechanical niche of single target focus is not an improvement on the Ranger and doesn't fulfill your #1.

Perhaps the biggest problem for me, is that the "conceptual" niche isn't functional in actual game play. You've probably seen me post this before, but things like Trackless Step, don't really do anything necessary. Purpose. The Ranger lacks purpose. Make Tracking the conceptual niche. Give it a substantive benefits that actually comes up in the course of nominal game play.

Quote:
2. I am not entirely sure that is true. If anything, there are more points where you get to make choices, but in the current build and using the current pieces, those configurations are a bit more limited than what you are used to. That said... there is a reason we are striving to build the frame in the way that we are. The way it opens up the game for further development and expansion, in a way that is more user friendly for players and GMs, is something that I am really excited about.

Yes. I get what you're doing with the classes. I get that we're only seeing a small sampling of the class feats that you can insert. But the paradigm has a critical oversights, especially for the Ranger.

Don't juxtaposed orthogonal choices. I shouldn't be choosing between Wild Empathy or a Full Grown Companion. I should be choosing whether Wild Empathy gets a bonus on vermin or magical beats or Animals. I should be choosing whether a Full Grown Companion gets an extra bonus to Dex or STR or CON. Forcing me to decide between the Companion or Wild Empathy does not feel like I am allowed to customize, it feels like I'm being asked which do I want to lose the least. It makes me resent the build process.

I get that you want to let players opt out of stuff, but make that a completely different path, like you did with the Rogue.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Neume wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

<snip> As it stands now, i'll not be playing 2.0, but 1.0.

The playtest is not second edition. In my opinion, this it the thing people misunderstand the most. The playtest was specifically designed to test a number of concepts. Those concepts may be bad and may get reverted back to 1ed or they may get updated to something else. But we're testing these ideas, NOT testing 2ed.

Sorry friend , we (the disenfranchised) are not clueless. If a person is vegetarian and their favorite vegetarian restaurant introduces "a new menu we're working on, but not all the details are decided", and the menu is full of meat, and then the test menu gets some alterations, which are all changes to which animal the meat comes from, that person is well-informed that it's time to plan to eat elsewhere. Not-meat isn't on the menu.

To be really, really clear, I've chosen this analogy because I adore meat.

PF2 isn't wrong or bad or even a mistake. It's just not what I want to eat.

But to imagine that somehow we can't tell from the playtest and the adjustments since, and from posts by devs (and lack of specific posts), we aren't equipped to tell what the end-result is going to look like... isn't realistic, I think.


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Cyouni wrote:
Now I feel like making a dual-ax-wielding, ranged-heavy Barbarian, just to prove that it's playable without being useless (as people keep saying will happen as soon as you aren't optimal).

Lol I don't think it would be bad necessarily. Unfortunately though as Barbarian is right now it has no ranged or two-weapon options so I feel like the multi-classing you would have to do in order to pull that off would mean you wouldn't have a whole like of actual Barbarian options in your build.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Great post! Thanks for the info, it's very much appreciated!

I have two quibbles.

1. Quote: "allowing characters to thrive in their defined role."

This is a big red flag for me. It might just be the way it's worded, but I want to sincerely caution you against enforcing "roles" in the sense of Tank, DPS, Healer, but also in the sense of "this is your little niche and no one else is allowed in". If you listen to actual play podcasts and many, many games: people make characters with a person in mind, not a role. Throw away characters are centered around a role, but the ones we really remember are as fluid as we are in real life.

2. I am not seeing enough of the flexibility of PF1e either.

There aren't enough options and points of customization. Class is choosing too much, backgrounds are too static, race feats are underwhelming, and I'm constantly being herded away from making choices that the designers didn't have in mind. This is a very big issue, and I want you to take it seriously. Pathfinder is *all about* customization, and to sacrifice too much of it for achieving balance is not the way to go.

That being said I see many ways you could fix things, reducing multiclass requirements, introducing old-school multiclassing, granting more general feats and giving combat feat pools, beefing up backgrounds to be less bland and anemic, letting people pick their proficiencies...

1. Yeah.. I would never go so far as to apply MMO style roles in that way. I think, instead, that we look for a mechanical and conceptual niche for each character and encourage them to thrive in that niche. We have run into serious problems in the past when one class can "eat" the niche of another established class.

But the problem is, you seem to have gone too far in your efforts to avoid that. And the result is very restrictive classes that don't allow for as many concepts.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:


2. I am not entirely sure that is true. If anything, there are more points where you get to make choices, but in the current build and using the current pieces, those configurations are a bit more limited than what you are used to. That said... there is a reason we are striving to build the frame in the way that we are. The way it opens up the game for further development and expansion, in a way that is more user friendly for players and GMs, is something that I am really excited about.

There are more places you get to make choices. But they're often false choices. So far, much of the time it's either something that's required to have the character you want, so it's not a real choice. There should probably be more automatic class features instead of having to buy most of them with class feats. Instead of customizing the character, too often class feats are needed to simply make the class work. Or the choices are insignificant, so again, not real choices. Skill feats for example, are almost universally bad, at least until you get into the higher levels. There are things so highly conditional that I can't see them coming up much if at all, like Defensive Climber (I can only recall one incident in decades of gaming where I've had combat while climbing). Or they're just bad in general, like Assurance which lets you get automatic result that is almost always a failure unless you're going for something well under your level. Most of the time I just kind of picked one at random, because none of them were going to come into play, so it didn't matter what I picked.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

I think there is an element that many are missing out on when it comes to the way we are building the game that I think it is work mentioning. If I wanted to, say, create an archetype that was all about fighting with a two handed weapon effectively, I could do so in a way that it packages all the pieces you would need to build that character in one tidy place, one that could then be taken by everyone. The old system allowed us to do this.. kinda, but it was all over the place, and was easily seen as bloat, especially as the years went on.

That said.. this still might not be what you are looking for. I hope that it is, but I am excited about the possibilities.

But why should that be gated behind an archetype, instead of options that could be taken by any character where it's relevant? This also goes with the criticism that the game seems more oriented towards the designers than the players. All the tools to make your life easier don't matter if it's not fun for the players.

I do think there's the the framework for something good here, but there seems to be a lot of dramatic over-correction. And it needs a lot of work, that I'm not sure there is enough time for.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
You have currently pegged everything at costing a feat

Hmm.. I have seen this, or something like it, in quite a few places. Its interesting because I think we are using the term feat for these options because they are selected and applied to your character in a shared way.

What they do not share is an equal value. A class feat is better than a skill feat. An ancestry feat is not meant to be the same value as the others. I see a lot of comparison between the categories and that alone might be the biggest problem with using the word "feat" for all of them. Useful to learn the system, but the baggage from existing users applying to word to mean "a rule with a specified amount of power and utility" is a barrier to overcome.

Except humans can choose a class or a general feat as an ancestry feat, which kind of implies they are equal. Or else humans can get stronger ancestry feats than anyone else.


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Feats being if different value is problematic. Especially when it comes to ancestrie feats. Human's class feat racial feat means that they need to be the same or else humans are wrongly powered.


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Baelor the Bard wrote:
So a complaint I'm hearing a lot, both on the forums and from my own group, is about forcing classes into niches, such as making two-weapon fighting available only to Rangers and Fighters. I think the biggest issue I have with this line of complaint is that it seems pretty obvious to me that all options available in this admittedly rather limited playtest book are not the only options that will exist in the new system. Maybe the current class feats will be the only ones represented in the new CRB, but there's nothing stoping Paizo from releasing books that contain a whole pile of additional class feats. That's why I personally love the class feat system as opposed to first edition Archetypes. I compare those two systems because I feel that class feats do a lot of what Archetypes do in the current edition, while 2.0 archetypes fill a similar but markably different role. In any case, I think that, as limited as the options are now, they will not remain so as books continue to be released. The real flexibility of this system is how easy it is to add more stuff to it.

Ultimately people don't want to wait for Paizo to decide their class can do X (TWFing, Power Attack, etc) and would prefer to be able to choose for themselves whether their character does X.


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Thank you, Jason Bulmahn, for responding to requests in this forum for the design goals. I had seen those goals in the playtest previews, but they were spread across several months and seeing them in one place is a good reminder.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
A lof the flexibility you seem to be looking for were some of the things causing us the biggest rules problems in the previous editions. Traits, multiclassing and alternate racial traits were being used to customize... but they were also the source of some of our biggest power imbalances that seriously skewed the game. They were the features that frequently allowed players to cherry pick their power level.

I like to think of the Pathfinder 2nd Edition backgrounds as a way to bundle the Pathfinder 1st Edition traits into a more flavorful and controlled package. The backgrounds have untapped potential.

My wife is from the Traverse City area of Michigan. In high school she picked Montmorency cherries. These days, when she cherry-picks traits for her characters, it is to create a character concept rather than a powerful character. Please find a way to throw out the bathwater without throwing out the baby.

She also said during the playtest that she can play her PF2 characters as people. That statement is her Blue Ribbon seal of approval.

WatersLethe wrote:

1. Quote: "allowing characters to thrive in their defined role."

This is a big red flag for me. It might just be the way it's worded, but I want to sincerely caution you against enforcing "roles" in the sense of Tank, DPS, Healer, but also in the sense of "this is your little niche and no one else is allowed in". If you listen to actual play podcasts and many, many games: people make characters with a person in mind, not a role. Throw away characters are centered around a role, but the ones we really remember are as fluid as we are in real life.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
1. Yeah.. I would never go so far as to apply MMO style roles in that way. I think, instead, that we look for a mechanical and conceptual niche for each character and encourage them to thrive in that niche. We have run into serious problems in the past when one class can "eat" the niche of another established class.

My wife and I play the MMO Elder Scrolls Online. I still have not yet made a straight Tank, Healer, or DPS, which are official roles in the game. I have a Healer/Tank/Gatherer/Crafter and a Tank/DPS archer and Healer/DPS/Area-of-Effect specialist. My wife has more characters, but her biggest role is tour guide for new players in her guild. This is how we treat a computer game; our expectations for versatility of roles in a tabletop game are through the roof.

In my experience, the player characters start with strengths and a backstory. Then they evolve into party roles based on the needs of the party. The flexibility of Pathfinder 1st Edition let them evolve tatics that we did not imagine ahead of time. For example, the two rogues and the battle oracle in my Rise of the Runelords game developed an interesting synergy. The rogues mastered the fast attack in the first round of combat while the battle oracle held back and buffed herself. By the time the rogues backed away, since they could not survive sustained combat, the oracle stepped forward buffed into an unstoppable powerhouse. And she healed the rogues afterwards. Our Iron Gods party developed a mobile skirmishing style because it lacked any squishy characters and had several characters that could take advantage of mobility.

The most drastic example of flexibility was when I added The Ruby Phoenix Tournament module to the Forest of Spirits book of the Jade Regent adventure path (Amaya of Westcrown: Forest of Spirits). This is a combat-based Olympic tournament. The player characters adapted their class abilities to excel in athletic contests. I had not weakened their competition, and they won the tournament fair and square.

Pathfinder 1st Edition is a great game because of that flexibility, where class abilities are pursuits of people rather than techniques in combat. Pathfinder 2nd Edition should be at least that great.


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Baelor the Bard wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Now I feel like making a dual-ax-wielding, ranged-heavy Barbarian, just to prove that it's playable without being useless (as people keep saying will happen as soon as you aren't optimal).
Lol I don't think it would be bad necessarily. Unfortunately though as Barbarian is right now it has no ranged or two-weapon options so I feel like the multi-classing you would have to do in order to pull that off would mean you wouldn't have a whole like of actual Barbarian options in your build.

Eh, I think people are vastly overestimating how much Double Slice and other fighter things are required to make a two-weapon character. I'm aware saying this is basically complete heresy on these boards, but you can just use the off-hand weapon as an agile one, so you can just start with d8s on the first attack and follow up with agile d6s. Is it slightly worse than Double Slice? Yes. Does it function? Yes. (If you were committed to multiclassing, dipping Ranger for Twin Takedown would be the only one I'd do.)

Using the hatchet as a ranged weapon (mediocre though the range may be, I committed to an axe barbarian) and getting returning on it is decent for ranged things. Bonus - since rage applies to melee weapons, it still works on thrown axes. Alternately, if it's for the level 12 playtest, you can use Spirit's Wrath as your "range".

Stat line of 16/16/14/10/10/12 at first level would be mostly acceptable. None of this is optimal, but it's all totally workable, and I'm pretty sure it would function fine in an actual game. It's certainly stronger than my last character was.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The problem with *not* taking character options that increase your relative performance with your desired fighting style is that you quickly run into the Diablo III problem, where your "build" is wholly impermanent. If you have a dual axe throwing barbarian who isn't particularly better at throwing axes than just using a big two hander, you have a constant in-game pressure to just switch over, if that other option is mathematically superior in any way. This is even worse if you happen to find a really nice weapon that whispers "Hey, you're not really married to those throwing axes. Become yet another greatsword barbarian. Come on, you know you want to."


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Without feat investment TWFing literally does nothing except let you trade -1 damage on all attacks (and less damage on AoOs) for +1 to hit on your second attack (because the game is designed to make your third attack so worthless you don't bother taking it). That's pretty lacklustre (although possibly balanced).


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Quote:
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.

Frankly. With the PF2 system as it is currently, telling the same stories is just not possible.

Heroes are just simply at a lower power level and magic just does not operate well outside of combat. Heroes are comparably incompetent and the magic that could be used to fuel plots cannot be used in the same ways anymore.
The changes in math when it comes to level differences just does not let the same encounters happen to similar appeal. And the flow of encounters per day cannot be even close to the same thanks to numerous factors.
PCs really just don't have good escape options anymore with both Dimension Door and Teleport nerfed which causes inherently more risk.
While partially a product of only being a playtest (and partially due to how multiclassing and archetypes work), PCs are nowhere close to being as flexible in concept.
Honestly, any encounter that had PC-classed enemies I just think will not work anymore. Partially due to the PF2 classes and math for PCs, and partially due to PF2 monsters design.

Like... regardless of I think of PF2 as is, I can only think of perhaps one or two PF1 games out of many that would have been at all similar using PF2. And that's including APs. The same stories just cannot be told.

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