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Experience Builds Character

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Making a character in Pathfinder Second Edition is a process that most experienced gamers will find familiar, but wherever possible, we made changes to make the process more intuitive while still giving you a mountain of choices and flexibility. It all starts with imagining the character you want to play. Maybe you want to be a ferocious dwarven warrior who takes on the aspects of an animal in the heat of battle. Maybe you want to play a wise-cracking elven con artist who grew up on the streets, but now plays at being a member of high society. Or maybe you just want to make a mysterious wizard that loves to blow things up. Pathfinder gives you all the tools to make these characters and countless more! Even if you don't have a complete concept in mind, the steps of character creation in Pathfinder are there to help you make the big decisions and focus in on a character that you are excited to play.

Learning your ABCs

With a concept in mind (no matter how fully formed), the next step is to make the major decisions about your character. We call these decisions your ABCs because you need to decide on your character's Ancestry, Background, and Class. By making these big choices, along with any additional decisions that come with each, the character you want to play will take shape!

Think of these choices as deciding the major moments in your character's youth. First off you were born, the details of which are decided by your Ancestry. Next up is your youth, which is molded by your Background. Finally, your Class decides the life you have chosen to live as an adventurer. Along each step of the way, you will make additional decisions that reinforce and shape the image of your character. Chief among these are your ability scores. Each step of your ABCs impacts your ability scores, giving boosts and flaws to these six vital stats, changing your raw potential to accomplish tasks and overcome danger.

Details and Polish

Throughout the character creation process, you must record a variety of details about your character. Many of these are simple proficiency upgrades, noting your character's aptitude at performing specific tasks or resisting effects. Others require you to select from a list of options, like your ancestry's heritage or a feat from your class. Every single choice you make influences what you can accomplish during play, making you different from the others around you. Even if some of the big choices are the same, these smaller decisions can make two clerics, for example, play entirely differently. One might be a virtuous warrior priest, fighting for her deity with blade and shield, while the other is a pious adherent, using spells and sermons to preach a peaceful path.

Once all of the choices have been made, it's time to buy your starting gear and begin filling out all of your statistics. Starting heroes have precious few gold pieces to start with and buying the right gear can mean the difference between a glorious career and a forgotten grave.

Illustration of Iakhovas by Giorgio Baroni

 

Iakhovas
To illustrate this process, I'll be building a Second Edition version of one of my First Edition Pathfinder Society characters, named Iakhovas.


Step 1: Create a Concept

What sort of hero do you want to play? The answer to this question might be as simple as "a brave warrior," or as complicated as "the child of elven wanderers, but raised in a city dominated by humans and devoted to Sarenrae, goddess of the sun." Consider your character's personality, sketch out a few details about their past, and think about how and why they adventure. Many character concepts center around the character's class, their ancestry, or both, so it might be a good idea to flip through the available ancestries and classes to help inspire you. The Core Rulebook includes a helpful spread with a quick summary of each.

Your character's concept might also center around their background, personal identity, deity, relationship to the other characters, or anything else you can imagine!

Iakhovas: Concept
My concept for Iakhovas was a defense-focused master of all martial techniques, skilled and willing to protect and train others, shaped by the death of his sister and his revenge against the vampire Talia Nightcrescent, whose staking makes him a wanted murderer in the undead-dominated nation of Geb. This concept means Iakhovas is a Garundi human, probably either a fighter or a monk.


Step 2: Start Building Ability Scores

Start all ability scores at 10 in preparation for the later steps. This is a good time to start thinking about what ability scores will be important for your character. You can even jot down your ability scores as you adjust them on your character sheet.

Above you'll see a character sheet with numbered indicators to show you where you need to write something in each numbered step.

Iakhovas: Ability Scores
I start all of Iakhovas's ability scores at 10. Thinking about the way I see him fighting, I think he's likely to fight with a combination of strength and grace in order to be a master of all martial techniques, so I'm likely to prioritize Dexterity and Strength. I see him as being wise and fit as well, so if I get a chance, I might want to raise Constitution or Wisdom.


Step 3: Select an Ancestry

Select an ancestry for your character. Ancestry determines your character's size, Speed, and languages, and contributes to their Hit Points. Each also grants ability boosts and ability flaws to represent the ancestry's basic capabilities.

You'll make four decisions when you select your character's ancestry:

  • Pick the ancestry itself.
  • Assign any free ability boosts and decide if you are taking any voluntary flaws.
  • Select a heritage from those available within that ancestry, further defining the traits your character was born with.
  • Choose an ancestry feat, representing an ability your hero learned at an early age.

Iakhovas: Ancestry
Since I selected human for Iakhovas's ancestry, he is Medium size, has a 25-foot Speed, speaks Common and Osiriani to start, and begins with 8 Hit Points from his ancestry.

Both of his ability boosts are free, so I assign them to Strength and Dexterity, the two I decided were most important to him in Step 2. This brings him to 12 Strength and Dexterity. I don't see Iakhovas as being particularly unintelligent or uncharismatic, and I said I wanted to try to raise the other four ability scores, so I won't be taking any voluntary flaws.

Skilled Heritage: Your ingenuity allows you to train in a wide variety of skills. You become trained in one skill of your choice. At 5th level, you become an expert in the chosen skill.For Iakhovas's heritage, I have some great options. Mechanically, the half-elf and half-orc heritages bring a lot to the table, with better vision and access to some excellent new feats, but conceptually, I pictured Iakhovas as a standard human. I eventually choose the skilled heritage, since that will help me fulfill my concept of being skilled a little better, even if I can't invest as much in Intelligence. Since I want him to be a master of all martial techniques, I choose Athletics as his trained skill from his heritage.

Natural Ambition, Feat 1. Human. You were raised to be ambitious and always reach for the stars, leading you to progress quickly in your chosen field. You gain a 1st-level class feat for your class. You must meet the prerequisites, but you can select the feat later in the character creation process in order to determine which prerequisites you meet.Finally, I choose an ancestry feat. Haughty Obstinancy has a nice benefit against vampiric domination, but it doesn't really fit his personality. Natural Skill would give him yet more skills, and Cooperative Nature would grant him an incredible +4 circumstance bonus to Aiding his allies, both of which fit his concept, but eventually I decide to take Natural Ambition, which will grant him another class feat and help him be a master of all martial techniques. I can wait and choose the class feat later on, as Natural Ambition mentions.


Step 4: Pick a Background

Your character's background might represent their upbringing, an aptitude they've been honing since their youth, or another aspect of their life before they became an adventurer. They typically provide two ability boosts (one that can be applied to either of two specific ability scores, and one that is free), training in a specific skill, training in a Lore skill, and a specific skill feat.

Iakhovas: Background
Iakhovas's background is one of the parts of him that is most difficult to quantify here. He and his sister were used for their blood by a vampire—the sister of a Blood Lord of Geb—until the vampire overfed and killed his sister, breaking him free of his domination and leading him to stake the vampire while she slept. Then wanted for murder, he escaped Geb and joined the Pathfinders, trading his loyalty for the promise of asylum. He is certainly a criminal in Geb, and criminal is a background, but he hasn't really lived the life of a criminal, so the mechanical elements wouldn't make much sense. Laborer is normally a good choice for characters enslaved by evil creatures, but that background is about a life of manual labor, and Iakhovas was kept around for his blood. My other options are acolyte, acrobat, animal whisperer, artisan, artist, barkeep, barrister, bounty hunter, charlatan, detective, emissary, entertainer, farmhand, field medic, fortune teller, gambler, gladiator, guard, herbalist, hermit, hunter, martial disciple, merchant, miner, noble, nomad, prisoner, sailor, scholar, scout, street urchin, tinker, or warrior.

If I was using Lost Omens World Guide, I would have the absolutely perfect background, "Quick."
Quick. Background. Staying alive among the scheming, ravenous undead of Geb required a deep knowledge of their motivations, capabilities, and weaknesses. More often than not, it also required the ability to weave alibis and life-preserving half-truths capable of swaying a stilled heart. Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Charisma or Constitution, and one is a free ability boost. You're trained in the Deception skill and the Undead Lore skill. You gain the Charming Liar skill feat.

As is, I still have a good choice with the core: I can focus not on who he was in Geb but who he has become, and choose martial disciple, so that's what I do.
Martial Disciple. Background. You dedicated yourself to intense training and rigorous study to become a great warrior. The school you attended might have been a traditionalist monastery, an elite military academy, or the local branch of a prestigious mercenary organization. Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Dexterity, and one is a free ability boost. You're trained in your choice of the Acrobatics or Athletics skill. You gain a skill feat: Cat Fall if you chose Acrobatics or Quick Jump if you chose Athletics. You're also trained in the Warfare Lore skill.

For my ability score, I can't go wrong since it has my two favorite options! I take Strength and Dexterity both (They are both now 14). I'm already trained in Athletics from my heritage, so I choose Acrobatics for my skill, gaining the Cat Fall skill feat. Then I gain Warfare Lore automatically.
Cat Fall. Feat 1. General. Skill. Prerequisites: trained in Acrobatics. Your catlike aerial acrobatics allow you to cushion your falls. Treat falls as 10 feet shorter. If you're an expert in Acrobatics, treat falls as 25 feet shorter. If you're a master in Acrobatics, treat them as 50 feet shorter. If you're legendary in Acrobatics, you always land on your feet and don't take damage, regardless of the distance of the fall.



Step 5: Choose a Class

At this point, you need to decide your character's class. A class gives your character access to a suite of heroic abilities, determines how effectively they fight, and governs how easily they can shake off or avoid certain harmful effects. You don't need to write down all of your character's class features yet. You simply need to know which class you want to play, which determines the ability scores that will be most important for your character.

Iakhovas: Class
OK, this is the moment of truth. I knew I was going to build him as either a monk or a fighter, and now that I've followed him down this journey, I'm thinking monk! It's okay, I'll take the fighter archetype later to really mix up his martial techniques. At this point I'm just recording my key ability score from monk. I get to pick Strength or Dexterity again—my two favorites—but this time I'm forced to choose between them. After a little internal debate, I decide on Strength, so Strength is now 16.


Step 6: Determine Ability Scores

Now that you've made the main mechanical choices about your character, it's time to finalize their ability scores. Do these three things:

  • First, make sure you've applied all the ability boosts and ability flaws you've noted in previous steps (from your ancestry, background, and class).
  • Then, apply four more ability boosts to your character's ability scores, choosing a different ability score for each and increasing that ability score by 2.
  • Finally, record your starting ability scores and ability modifiers.
Remember that each ability boost adds 2 to the base score of 10, and each ability flaw subtracts 2. You should have no ability score lower than 8 or higher than 18.

Iakhovas: Ability Scores
After applying the previous steps, I have Strength 16, Dexterity 14, and all the rest 10. For my four additional boosts, I'll choose to boost Strength and Dexterity again, and then Wisdom and Constitution, which I had been looking for a way to boost but hadn't until now. This leaves me with Strength 18, Dexterity 16, Constitution 12, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 12, Charisma 10.


Step 7: Record Class Details

Now, record all the benefits and class features that your character receives from the class you've chosen. While you've already noted your key ability score, you'll want to be sure to record the following class features.

  • To determine your character's total starting Hit Points, add together the number of Hit Points your character gains from their ancestry and the number of Hit Points they gain from their class.
  • The Initial Proficiencies section of your class entry indicates your character's starting proficiency ranks in a number of areas. Choose which skills your character is trained in and record those, along with the ones set by your class. If your class would make you trained in a skill you're already trained in (typically due to your background), you can select another skill to become trained in.
  • See the class advancement table in your class entry to learn the class features your character gains at 1st level—but remember, you already chose an ancestry and background. Some class features require you to make additional choices, such as selecting spells.

Iakhovas: Class Details
With 8 Hit Points from his human ancestry, 10 from the monk class, and 1 from Constitution, Iakhovas ends with a very respectable 19 HP. His initial proficiencies tell me he is trained in Perception, has expert proficiency in all three saving throws, is trained in simple weapons and unarmed attacks, is untrained in all armor but has expert proficiency in unarmored defense, and has trained proficiency in monk class DC. He's also trained in a number of skills equal to 4 plus his Intelligence modifier, so four. Since he already has Acrobatics and Athletics, I decide his other skills are Medicine since he would have needed to perform to bandage up and handle lost blood, Stealth for sneaking around and escaping the notice of the undead, Religion to represent his new faith in Pharasma (goddess of death) and his knowledge of undead weaknesses, and Diplomacy to cover the way he likes to instruct new recruits—in a friendly fashion rather than like a drill sergeant.

The advancement table shows me he also gets powerful fist, the incredibly potent Flurry of Blows action, and a monk feat of my choice!
Powerful Fist. You know how to wield your fists as deadly weapons. The damage die for your fist changes to 1d6 instead of 1d4. Most people take a –2 circumstance penalty when making a lethal attack with nonlethal unarmed attacks, because they find it hard to use their fists with deadly force. You don't take this penalty when making a lethal attack with your fist or any other unarmed attacks.

Flurry of Blows [one-action]. Flourish. Monk. Make two unarmed Strikes. If both hit the same creature, combine their damage for the purpose of resistances and weaknesses. Apply your multiple attack penalty to the Strikes normally. As it has the flourish trait, you can use Flurry of Blows only once per turn.

Now it's time to choose my monk feat. And I get two feats, thanks to Natural Ambition. As a master of all martial techniques, I definitely want Iakhovas to have a stance. Looking through the options, there are a lot of very good choices. Dragon Stance and Wolf Stance are both strong using the stats I have right now, but Mountain Stance is tempting, even if it would mean I'd need to go back and rearrange some earlier choices to deprioritize Dexterity.
Dragon Stance [one-action]. Feat 1. Monk. Stance.  Requirements: You are unarmored. You enter the stance of a dragon and make powerful leg strikes like a lashing dragon's tail. You can make dragon tail attacks that deal 1d10 bludgeoning damage. They are in the brawling group and have the backswing, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.
While in Dragon Stance, you can ignore the first square of difficult terrain while Striding.

Mountain Stance [one-action]. Feat 1. Monk. Stance.  Requirements: You are unarmored and touching the ground. You enter the stance of an implacable mountain—a technique first discovered by dwarven monks—allowing you to strike with the weight of an avalanche. The only Strikes you can make are falling stone unarmed attacks. These deal 1d8 bludgeoning damage; are in the brawling group; and have the forceful, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.
While in Mountain Stance, you gain a +4 status bonus to AC and a +2 circumstance bonus to any defenses against being Shoved or Tripped. However, you have a Dexterity modifier cap to your AC of +0, meaning you don't add your Dexterity to your AC, and your Speeds are all reduced by 5 feet.

Wolf Stance [one-action]. Feat 1. Monk. Stance.  Requirements: You are unarmored. You enter the stance of a wolf, low to the ground with your hands held like fanged teeth. You can make wolf jaw unarmed attacks. These deal 1d8 piercing damage; are in the brawling group; and have the agile, backstabber, finesse, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.
If you’re flanking a target while in Wolf Stance, your wolf jaw unarmed attacks also gain the trip trait.

Ki Rush. Focus 1. Uncommon. Monk. Transmutation. Casting [one-action]: verbal. Accelerated by your ki, you move with such speed you become a blur. Move two times: two Strides, two Steps, or one Stride and one Step (in either order). You gain the concealed condition during this movement and until the start of your next turn.  | Ki Strike. Focus 1. Uncommon. Monk. Transmutation. Casting [one-action]: verbal. You focus your ki into magical attacks. Make an unarmed Strike or Flurry of Blows (this doesn't change the limit on using only one flourish per turn). You gain a +1 status bonus to your attack rolls with the Strikes, and the Strikes deal 1d6 extra damage. This damage can be any of the following types of your choice, chosen each time you Strike: force, lawful (only if you're lawful), negative, or positive.

Offense, or mobility? This would grant a great deal of either when I needed them most, and as a monk, I could spend 10 minutes to meditate and strive for inner peace in order to recover my Focus Points, letting me use this in most battles as long as we rest between them. It's the closest call yet, but I decide to go for ki strike. I'll be keeping an eye on the party's offense vs. my ability to outpace my foes' movement and potentially retraining if I find out ki rush would have been more useful.


Step 8: Buy Equipment

At 1st level, your character has 15 gold pieces (150 silver pieces) to spend on armor, weapons, and other basic equipment. Your character's class lists the types of weapons and armor with which they are trained (or better!). Their weapons determine how much damage they deal in combat, and their armor influences their Armor Class; these calculations are covered in more detail in Step 10. Don't forget essentials such as food and traveling gear!

.

Iakhovas: Equipment
Monk Kit. Price: 4 gp, 9 sp; Bulk: 4 Bulk, 2 light; Money Left Over: 10 gp, 2 sp
Weapons: longspear, staff
Gear: adventurer's pack, bandolier, climbing kit, grappling hook, lesser smokestick As a monk, I don't really need too many weapons or armor, though a ranged weapon would be nice. I'll be fine with a monk's kit for 4 gp and 9 sp, plus maybe 10 javelins for 1 more gp for a ranged attack. Just because Iakhovas hates vampires so much, I spend 3 of my remaining gp on a vial of holy water, leaving plenty of money to help out others if necessary.


Step 9: Calculate Modifiers

With most of the big decisions for your character made, it's time to calculate the modifiers for your statistics. If your proficiency rank for a statistic is trained, expert, master, and legendary, your bonus equals your character's level plus another number based on the rank (2, 4, 6, and 8, respectively). If your character is untrained, your proficiency bonus is +0.

Iakhovas: Modifiers
Iakhovas winds up with +4 Perception (1 from level, 2 from trained proficiency, 1 from Wisdom), +6 Fortitude, +8 Reflex, +6 Will, +7 to hit with his melee attacks, +6 to hit with his ranged attacks, and a variety of trained skills, ranging from Athletics at +7 to Diplomacy and Warfare Lore at +3. He does 1d6+4 damage with his fist, 1d8+4 with his wolf jaw, and 1d6+4 with his thrown javelins.


Illustration by Mariusz Gandzel

Step 10: Finishing Details

At this point, you fill in all the details, including those to breathe more life into your character's personality like alignment, deity, age, and gender and pronouns, and those last mathematical details that weren't part of your modifiers like class DC, hero points, AC, and Bulk.

Iakhovas
As a devout Pharasmin but a team player who is often selfless in pursuit of protecting others, I definitely see Iakhovas as either neutral or neutral good. I decide on neutral good, and we'll see if that shifts during play. He is in his late 20s, after an early youth lost to vampiric domination. I decide to go with 28. His gender is male and he uses he/him pronouns. His class DC, as we saw before, is trained, and it's based on his Strength, so it would be 17 (10 + 4 from Strength + 1 from level + 2 for being trained). He generally would start a session with 1 Hero Point. His AC would be a solid 18 (10 + 3 from Dexterity + 1 from level + 4 from being an expert). Finally, he is carrying 5 Bulk and 3 light (4 Bulk 2 light from the monk kit, 1 more Bulk entirely of javelins, and then 1 light for holy water). He can carry way more than this, so he can probably help other team members who might be having trouble.


And that's it! What character are you going to be building first in Pathfinder Second Edition? Let me know in the comments below!

Mark Seifter
Designer




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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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2 people marked this as a favorite.
Gaulin wrote:
A level one druid could have 18 strength if they took drawbacks, could they not?

Only way to get an 18 in a stat at level 1 is if your class lets you boost it. Voluntary flaw mechanic is so you can play Dwarves with 18 Cha or Elves with 8 Int, if you want.


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Seisho wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Great job at the blog here. Thank you.

For the bulk thing, would it be broken to have worn armour give you its usual penalty but not count towards Bulk ?

Character : Melee martial that dumps STR, maybe with max AC and saves, since this is how it ended up in PF1 (through much heavy multiclassing).

well, worn armor should at least be considered as less bulky

read and watched several articels and videos on this, things I've seen while doing so:

A 14 year old girl with her own armor, she couldn't carry it in a box but do cartwheels while wearing it

several videos of knights easily standing up with full plate

a comparisation of a police man in heavy duty gear, a knight and a firemen on an obstacle course - their gear was weighting roughly the same, the knight came in second (the policemen the first) not much difference in the time

and several similar things

IIRC armor in the PT at least has more bulk if you are carrying it so, I mean, it actually does count as less bulk if wearing it.


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Seisho wrote:


well, worn armor should at least be considered as less bulky

In the playtest, armor that *isn't* worn counted as 1 more bulk than the listed value.


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Bardic Dave wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
lordcirth wrote:
Dragon and Wolf stance are 1 action and have a Requirement; Mountain Stance is one action but has a Trigger. Day 1 Errata?
Pobodies nerfect

Could be an error.

It's also possible that mountain stance's additional caveat "and must be touching the ground," makes it a "trigger" and not a "requirement".

One possible reading: "trigger" means that it's a pre-condition only for entering the stance, whereas "requirement" means you must also maintain that condition to stay in the stance. According to this logic, mountain stance has a "trigger" and not a "requirement" so that a mountain stance monk doesn't lose the benefit of the stance when they jump.

It's a bit of a stretch, but it might be the underlying rationale for the difference in wording (assuming there is one).

This definitely looks like the correct reasoning. I took a look at stance in the playtest:

> A stance lasts until you get knocked out, until its requirements (if any) are violated, or until you enter a new stance, whichever comes first.

So assuming that hasn't changed, mountain stance has no requirements, so it lasts as long as you don't change it or get knocked out.


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NEO WOLF FANG FIST!!! AWOOOOOOOO~


Not to sound rude or ungrateful as I do appreciate the effort, but at a glance it doesn't seem like much, if anything, has changed in the char-gen protocol since the playtest first dropped 11 months ago...

*confused*


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Crayon wrote:

Not to sound rude or ungrateful as I do appreciate the effort, but at a glance it doesn't seem like much, if anything, has changed in the char-gen protocol since the playtest first dropped 11 months ago...

*confused*

The blog is meant to have a broad appeal including, if not primarily, to people who weren’t involved in the playtest

Or at least that is the impression I get given the one before this (the first) was very high level and introductory

How true that actually is of the actual readership I have no idea. But it seems to assume no prior knowledge

As to differences the only main one I am aware of it heritage in with ancestry which isn’t really emphasise here because I think they are less distinct for human


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This is something I know I'm going to house rule* if (and a big if!) I adopt PF2e: backgrounds. They won't exist. I'll just say "pick 2 bumps, a skill, a lore, and a skill feat". Backgrounds shouldn't have mechanical effect on a character. They should be 100% fluff. (Which is one of the huge strikes against Bigname 5e as well.

I'm concerned about the ability scores being so tightly integrated with race and class. Does it limit roleplaying character viability/straightjacket choices? Is a high charisma fighter/leader still doable? Or a strong-enough Sorcerer who fights at closer ranges?

*Along side of "alchemist and goblin are absolutely not core races; they're extraordinarily setting-specific".


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emky wrote:


I'm concerned about the ability scores being so tightly integrated with race and class. Does it limit roleplaying character viability/straightjacket choices? Is a high charisma fighter/leader still doable? Or a strong-enough Sorcerer who fights at closer ranges?

*Along side of "alchemist and goblin are absolutely not core races; they're extraordinarily setting-specific".

As a longtime 1e player I can tell you those character concepts are way more viable now than before since the Ability Score distribution system rewards more spreading out and you don't need huge investment to max out your god stat.

For your second point: PF2 is a setting-specific RPG. It can be used for homebrew but that won't be an excuse to limit the hardcover content anymore.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ChibiNyan wrote:
emky wrote:


I'm concerned about the ability scores being so tightly integrated with race and class. Does it limit roleplaying character viability/straightjacket choices? Is a high charisma fighter/leader still doable? Or a strong-enough Sorcerer who fights at closer ranges?

*Along side of "alchemist and goblin are absolutely not core races; they're extraordinarily setting-specific".

As a longtime 1e player I can tell you those character concepts are way more viable now than before since the Ability Score distribution system rewards more spreading out and you don't need huge investment to max out your god stat.

For your second point: PF2 is a setting-specific RPG. It can be used for homebrew but that won't be an excuse to limit the hardcover content anymore.

Furthermore for the strength sorcerer:

consistent attack bonus

don't nees cha to get more spells or cast high level spells, so can potentially dump it for more dex or con

no more arcane spell failure in armor

robust multiclassing for melee options

ability to select a spell list best suited for your needs


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
emky wrote:

This is something I know I'm going to house rule* if (and a big if!) I adopt PF2e: backgrounds. They won't exist. I'll just say "pick 2 bumps, a skill, a lore, and a skill feat". Backgrounds shouldn't have mechanical effect on a character. They should be 100% fluff. (Which is one of the huge strikes against Bigname 5e as well.

I'm making that an option in my games, not forcing it. I agree that it's really eye roll worthy when they put out a list of backgrounds and everyone automatically picks the ones most mechanically valuable for their build. Might as well cut to the chase and let people pick exactly what they want. In a few years there's gonna be enough backgrounds printed to do that anyway, just with more searching involved.

The big caveat is that campaign specific backgrounds are potentially a Big Deal. You'd do well to not forget what might be tacked onto backgrounds in the future.


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Another thing about mountain monks- feel free to retrain out of it once you have enough dex. Like a Dwarf monk might start with Str 18 Con/Wis 14/16 Dex 12 Int 10 Cha 8. If you prioritize your 3 save stats along with strength, your dex hits 18 at 15th level, at which point mountain style no longer gives you bonus AC, so feel free to retrain out of it, but it likely helped a lot in those 14 levels.

Even if you're not getting AC from bumping dex, you´re still boosting your reflex save, your stealth, and your acrobatics.


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Background: Boy Named Sue
CON, WIS (hard fists, keen wits)
Lore: Honkeytonks/bars
Skill and skill feat as Bounty Hunter


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Crayon wrote:

Not to sound rude or ungrateful as I do appreciate the effort, but at a glance it doesn't seem like much, if anything, has changed in the char-gen protocol since the playtest first dropped 11 months ago...

*confused*

The overall ABC process, no, why would it? The options you have to choose between have changed and/or expanded, though. They've rewritten several of the ancestry options between the playtest and the final version.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
emky wrote:

This is something I know I'm going to house rule* if (and a big if!) I adopt PF2e: backgrounds. They won't exist. I'll just say "pick 2 bumps, a skill, a lore, and a skill feat". Backgrounds shouldn't have mechanical effect on a character. They should be 100% fluff. (Which is one of the huge strikes against Bigname 5e as well.

Is it much of a house rule when you are able to make your own backgrounds? Seems pretty supported by the rules already.


GentleGiant wrote:


The overall ABC process, no, why would it? The options you have to choose between have changed and/or expanded, though. They've rewritten several of the ancestry options between the playtest and the final version.

I guess I just expected blog to preview something that hasn't been, I dunno, previewed multiple times in the past...

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Crayon wrote:
GentleGiant wrote:


The overall ABC process, no, why would it? The options you have to choose between have changed and/or expanded, though. They've rewritten several of the ancestry options between the playtest and the final version.
I guess I just expected blog to preview something that hasn't been, I dunno, previewed multiple times in the past...

We actually got quite a lot of new data in this one. New Backgrounds, at least one new Feat, some stuff on equipment...


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The overaching rules aren't new but the writers were kind enough to sprinkle in a ton of details that haven't been seen before. Mountain Stance in particular is good to see since it's something that's been hinted at several times but this is the first time we're seeing the actual text of the feat.

It's the best way to do these blog posts, IMO, gives us nerds something to talk about without alienating the people who haven't been following every offhand comment.


Looking reeeeeeeeal good!!! thank you!!


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emky wrote:
*Along side of "alchemist and goblin are absolutely not core races; they're extraordinarily setting-specific".

Alchemy and Goblins are both pretty strong staples of the high fantasy genre, so I don't really get this conclusion. Certainly a lot less setting specific than Vancian casting at the very least.

Paizo Employee PR Manager

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These blog articles are written for those who don’t know anything about Pathfinder Second Edition, and also reveal new details for those that have been following along. Enjoy more every week as we count down to the August 1 launch!


swoosh wrote:
emky wrote:
*Along side of "alchemist and goblin are absolutely not core races; they're extraordinarily setting-specific".
Alchemy and Goblins are both pretty strong staples of the high fantasy genre, so I don't really get this conclusion. Certainly a lot less setting specific than Vancian casting at the very least.

Goblins might be common, but not as the hero/protagonist which is the point I think he's making with "core race". It's much the same with alchemy: the hero/protagonist is rarely just an alchemist. In a lot of 'settings' they are just a crafting class, not an adventuring one.

As to Vancian casting, that's more a quirk with the system [and it's d&d roots] than any one setting. I think most any setting for d&d would work fine with an entirely different casting method dropped in.


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WatersLethe wrote:
emky wrote:

This is something I know I'm going to house rule* if (and a big if!) I adopt PF2e: backgrounds. They won't exist. I'll just say "pick 2 bumps, a skill, a lore, and a skill feat". Backgrounds shouldn't have mechanical effect on a character. They should be 100% fluff. (Which is one of the huge strikes against Bigname 5e as well.

I'm making that an option in my games, not forcing it. I agree that it's really eye roll worthy when they put out a list of backgrounds and everyone automatically picks the ones most mechanically valuable for their build. Might as well cut to the chase and let people pick exactly what they want. In a few years there's gonna be enough backgrounds printed to do that anyway, just with more searching involved.

The big caveat is that campaign specific backgrounds are potentially a Big Deal. You'd do well to not forget what might be tacked onto backgrounds in the future.

As was pointed out by the person you responded to , the modular nature of backgrounds means it is not exactly hard to remove or bespoke them. Just like how I went off and remade the Runelords baxkground traits as background in about 15 minutes and got a similar result to a couple of other people

You could call the blank slate “adventurer” and it could easily appear and pretty quickly

And how is everyone automatically picking the most mechanically viable any different to about 50% of characters in 1E being “bullied as a child but never developing an offensive response “ but all still being adventures - just to get an initiative bonus

Or people having indomitable faith but never actually making that come across in their character because they needed it to fix the maths

Or every magus having the same traits ...

And you could suggest that 2E should remove these issues but most of your posts seem to be banging the drum pretty loudly for “1E is greater than 2E because I am too limited in 2E”

Also background and races give floating bonuses which is quite clearly and obviously more flexible than in 1E - at least in terms of stats. You can get numbers that were almost impossible such as a 16 charisma (or higher ) dwarf so that you don’t feel frozen out of character choices almost from the get go. And due to floating bonuses I can get there without being forced to pick a specific background

And as to the rest of background : Lore is super specific so that only way to optimise seems like it would be to gain a skill you couldn’t normally get or to get the best skill feat possible . The former was kind of what I alway thought the spirt of 1E traits was. The latter has been discussed on another thread about the concern being that skill feats are of limited usefulness anyway


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graystone wrote:
swoosh wrote:
emky wrote:
*Along side of "alchemist and goblin are absolutely not core races; they're extraordinarily setting-specific".
Alchemy and Goblins are both pretty strong staples of the high fantasy genre, so I don't really get this conclusion. Certainly a lot less setting specific than Vancian casting at the very least.

Goblins might be common, but not as the hero/protagonist which is the point I think he's making with "core race". It's much the same with alchemy: the hero/protagonist is rarely just an alchemist. In a lot of 'settings' they are just a crafting class, not an adventuring one.

As to Vancian casting, that's more a quirk with the system [and it's d&d roots] than any one setting. I think most any setting for d&d would work fine with an entirely different casting method dropped in.

I know it is only one example but my brother has suggested to me that a key part of the protagonist in the Witcher is achieved by what alchemists do - seemingly more so with the changes. Obviously not the pure bomb version so I get your point there

As to Goblins they are kind of paizo’s mascot. And all the major settings have extraordinarily specific races. I point to Dragonborn. Those should be super rare. Indeed they always used to be a really high Level Adjustment template or the reward for taking 10 levels of a prestige class

They also wanted a nice even number of races which meant only adding one. Which narrowed the choices as they weren’t going to pick only one of the plane touched (which now fit better as heritages anyway). From what I recall it came down to Orc or Goblin. And neither are traditional protagonists even if Orc would be considered more common (and that is only really a Warcraft thing I would imagine - and trying to appeal to Warcraft fans got us 4E...so got us pathfinder...oh I am conflicted now :-P )


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Lanathar wrote:
They also wanted a nice even number of races which meant only adding one. Which narrowed the choices as they weren’t going to pick only one of the plane touched (which now fit better as heritages anyway). From what I recall it came down to Orc or Goblin. And neither are traditional protagonists even if Orc would be considered more common (and that is only really a Warcraft thing I would imagine - and trying to appeal to Warcraft fans got us 4E...so got us pathfinder...oh I am conflicted now :-P )

Ironic that you'd say that, actually...


Arachnofiend wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
They also wanted a nice even number of races which meant only adding one. Which narrowed the choices as they weren’t going to pick only one of the plane touched (which now fit better as heritages anyway). From what I recall it came down to Orc or Goblin. And neither are traditional protagonists even if Orc would be considered more common (and that is only really a Warcraft thing I would imagine - and trying to appeal to Warcraft fans got us 4E...so got us pathfinder...oh I am conflicted now :-P )
Ironic that you'd say that, actually...

Wow. Well there you go

My Warcraft knowledge is definitely more PC game than WOW where orcs are far more prominent !

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
Goblins might be common, but not as the hero/protagonist which is the point I think he's making with "core race". It's much the same with alchemy: the hero/protagonist is rarely just an alchemist. In a lot of 'settings' they are just a crafting class, not an adventuring one.

I think a majority of the fantasy I've read written in the last few years has either monstrous protagonists shown (including Goblins in many cases), or Alchemist protagonists. Plus the Witcher, as mentioned previously, is pretty much Alchemist stuff.

A lot of that is GameLit, but, well, I'm pretty sure that's within Paizo's target demographic.

So...what are you thinking of in terms of 'common'? It's not common among the most popular and well known works of the genre, but it's hardly completely unknown, and both have become lots more common in recent years.

graystone wrote:
As to Vancian casting, that's more a quirk with the system [and it's d&d roots] than any one setting. I think most any setting for d&d would work fine with an entirely different casting method dropped in.

Not exactly. I mean, spells need to be discreet things that work in specific and replicable ways and vary strongly in specific ways between, say, Clerics and Wizards. Neo-Vancian ala D&D 5E would work okay, but anything that goes much further afield than that and the worlds as presented break down a bit.


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Crayon wrote:

Not to sound rude or ungrateful as I do appreciate the effort, but at a glance it doesn't seem like much, if anything, has changed in the char-gen protocol since the playtest first dropped 11 months ago...

*confused*

Jason's said he's rewritten the whole chapter to be clearer, but that's the only changes I've heard of.


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Amaranthine Witch wrote:
Don't love that ki powers have verbal components.

I believe Hadouken! will be the verbal component for the ranged fire attack (Ki Blast?).

Scarab Sages

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I can totally see making a dwarven clan or monastic order focused on "becoming one with the mountain."

Between Mountain stance monks, Earth Elemental Sorcerers, Earth Kineticists, Earth Domain Clerics of Torag, maybe even druids focusing on elemental wild-shaping, you could make quite a diverse group.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If people really can't stand the verbal components of Ki powers, you can think of it as a loud, sharp intake of breath if Kiai doesn't do it for you either.


WatersLethe wrote:
If people really can't stand the verbal components of Ki powers, you can think of it as a loud, sharp intake of breath if Kiai doesn't do it for you either.

...Wouldn't a loud, sharp release of breath work better?

It just seems - & feels - more natural to exhale when striking than to inhale...

<shrug>

--C.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Psiphyre wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
If people really can't stand the verbal components of Ki powers, you can think of it as a loud, sharp intake of breath if Kiai doesn't do it for you either.

...Wouldn't a loud, sharp release of breath work better?

It just seems - & feels - more natural to exhale when striking than to inhale...

<shrug>

--C.

Ki powers are like spells though, and technically happen after the verbal component. I'm picturing things like taking a deep breath to gather ki before doing something like breathing fire, walking on air, gaining natural armor bonus, or expunging a poison.

I gathered it's why kiai might not work for some people.


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My limited understanding is that both methods are used in qigong. Colloquially, they're referred to as Buddhist and Taoist breathing and have very different purposes in the meditations, but I can't expound further than that as my personal experiences were both very limited and happened over a decade ago...


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Wuxia stories generally have practitioners from all sides apply "proper breathing methods" to accumulate their pool of chi. The old and prestigious schools usually have safer and more efficient variations in story.

While I don't like spell components either, at the very least Verbal does have some credibility here source material wise.


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Lucas Yew wrote:

Wuxia stories generally have practitioners from all sides apply "proper breathing methods" to accumulate their pool of chi. The old and prestigious schools usually have safer and more efficient variations in story.

While I don't like spell components either, at the very least Verbal does have some credibility here source material wise.

I agree with this. Mechanically speaking I think it’s referring to the only thing that would prevent them from activating it would be something that interferes with their breathing. Throat punch or a sufficient gag would be needed to prevent its activation.


Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Lucas Yew wrote:

Wuxia stories generally have practitioners from all sides apply "proper breathing methods" to accumulate their pool of chi. The old and prestigious schools usually have safer and more efficient variations in story.

While I don't like spell components either, at the very least Verbal does have some credibility here source material wise.

I agree with this. Mechanically speaking I think it’s referring to the only thing that would prevent them from activating it would be something that interferes with their breathing. Throat punch or a sufficient gag would be needed to prevent its activation.

Indeed, if it was a Somatic action then being grappled would give them a DC 5 flat check to Ki Strike. That doesn't make sense for a monk.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A bit sad to see that, even though the Lawful requirement is gone, Lawful monks get an additional benefit over other Monks, which could have been easily avoided.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My first character will be a druid Magaambyan arcanist: multiclassing wizard or (fingers crossed) maybe there will be a Magaambyan archetype in Lost Omens before I hit (and play at level 2 in PFS).


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I love that they realized the potential problem with Mountain Stance and made it a Trigger instead of Requirement. If you are going to build your character around it, losing an extra action whenever you need to jump would feel bad.


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The Raven Black wrote:
A bit sad to see that, even though the Lawful requirement is gone, Lawful monks get an additional benefit over other Monks, which could have been easily avoided.

It's a small benefit which only applies if you pick Ki Strike. I really don't see a problem.


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If I was not the DM I would love playing Rogue with the Ranger dedication to get Hunted Shot, and putting all the extras skills/skills feats that rogue get in nature/survival stuff.


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Kyrone wrote:

If I was not the DM I would love playing Rogue with the Ranger dedication to get Hunted Shot, and putting all the extras skills/skills feats that rogue get in nature/survival stuff.

Make a friendly npc out of it, maybe they need a guide somewhere

Or make it a really mean enemy


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Blake's Tiger wrote:
My first character will be a druid Magaambyan arcanist: multiclassing wizard or (fingers crossed) maybe there will be a Magaambyan archetype in Lost Omens before I hit (and play at level 2 in PFS).

Well, the blurb for the Lost Omens Character Guide out later this year says this:

"... presents 10 new archetypes to allow characters of any class to participate in the world's most notable organizations, from the adventurous Pathfinder Society to the rabble-rousing Firebrands to the magical masters of the Magaambya!"

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
lordcirth wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
A bit sad to see that, even though the Lawful requirement is gone, Lawful monks get an additional benefit over other Monks, which could have been easily avoided.
It's a small benefit which only applies if you pick Ki Strike. I really don't see a problem.

To each their own. It is easy to houserule, but really no houseruling should be necessary at this point. Or is it justified as being a Irori thing ?


MaxAstro wrote:
I love that they realized the potential problem with Mountain Stance and made it a Trigger instead of Requirement. If you are going to build your character around it, losing an extra action whenever you need to jump would feel bad.

Oh, just noticed the touching-the-ground requirement.

…Does that mean you can't enter the stance if you're wearing shoes?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Meophist wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
I love that they realized the potential problem with Mountain Stance and made it a Trigger instead of Requirement. If you are going to build your character around it, losing an extra action whenever you need to jump would feel bad.

Oh, just noticed the touching-the-ground requirement.

…Does that mean you can't enter the stance if you're wearing shoes?

They are rarely so literal. It likely means not swimming, flying, levitating, probably not climbing, definitely not on a ladder or rope...


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Blake's Tiger wrote:
Meophist wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
I love that they realized the potential problem with Mountain Stance and made it a Trigger instead of Requirement. If you are going to build your character around it, losing an extra action whenever you need to jump would feel bad.

Oh, just noticed the touching-the-ground requirement.

…Does that mean you can't enter the stance if you're wearing shoes?

They are rarely so literal. It likely means not swimming, flying, levitating, probably not climbing, definitely not on a ladder or rope...

Your Dwarf Monk can still make Falling Mountain strikes while on a rope though, he just has to let go. XD


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I would let a monk use falling rock strikes if they were climbing a rope provided that rope is up against a rock face. Free climbing gets a pass but a ladder is pushing it.

I don't think there should be a strong expectation of having a high AC when climbing just in general though- it's the sort of thing that's going to probably make you flat footed most of the time.


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It doesn't say they need to be on the ground in order to be in the stance, just to go into the stance. So I imagine once you're in the stance, you're free to go into the air and do Falling Stone strikes.

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