The Gardener

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***** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 726 posts. 4 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 18 Organized Play characters.


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Liberty's Edge

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Themetricsystem wrote:
Anorak wrote:
Themetricsystem wrote:

Remember, we now know for a fact that all of the setting info is intended to be interpreted as and should factually be considered to be coming from an unreliable narrator

We do? Did I miss something during the decades?

It's a fairly recent position, but yes, the operating assumption for the setting and lore info is that most if not all of the information presented that isn't purely mechanical is being presented as written by a character within the setting with their own knowledge, biases, agendas, and perspectives on whatever it is that's being presented about the setting. It's something of a contrivance for how to justify retcons, changes to the setting, creative shifts from older material, and also as a kind of way to make more murky the things that are said about any given thing that the players and GMs aren't directly dealing with at the table to give everything a bit of flexibility in that most stuff can very simply written off or explained by saying the in-world authors who scribe down the setting info and explanations could have been misinformed, ignorant, or just plain lying.

You can learn more about this kind of thing and discussion surrounding it with JJs own input here for more context but the general broad strokes of it is narration of the setting info should be assumed to be unreliable at most times but ESPECIALLY when it's created as a work/article/writing of an in-world NPC such as is the case with all of these blog posts who are penned by someone in-setting.

While there is definitely an element of unreliable narration included in the recent setting material (and I agree with TOZ's point that it's an excellent way to help minimize the difficulties with adjusting old lore, whether because of changes in perspective of the authors, or just it not fitting the direction the setting is moving), your original post stated it a little differently:

Themetricsystem wrote:
Folks sure are making a LOT of assumptions that Razmir is in fact not a Deity, true and proper. Remember, we now know for a fact that all of the setting info is intended to be interpreted as and should factually be considered to be coming from an unreliable narrator and therefore subject to misinformation, bias, and loaded with inaccuracies.

(bolding mine)

From everything I've read/heard, it seems like we're in a situation where they're using the idea of an unreliable narrator for setting material to facilitate potential changes, and to allow engagement with stories that don't easily work with objective statements of fact (like their engagement with stories about the creation of the universe, or times long since past). Expecting all setting material to be loaded with inaccuracies is a pretty huge leap from there, in my opinion, and would (at least for me) be a pretty significant source of frustration with the material if it were true. I'll be operating on the assumption that the vast majority of what we read will be true, unless it is framed in such a way as to doubt that - about something that is difficult to know, from a source that is expected to be significantly biased on the topic, etc.

Liberty's Edge

Nagajor from Tian Xia will be more fleshed out soon, but it seems like that the ruled-by-naga bit will remain, so they seem a prime candidate here. If we're including anything perceived as monstrous (by whom? the average person in the Inner Sea, I assume?), Nurvatcha in Garund might qualify, as Anadi are considered by some to be monstrous despite not really fitting the description. But that gets at the problem I have here - I do think it's strange to include orcs on the list, and Anadi too. If we're including all orcs, do we include the Matanji orcs in the Mwangi Expanse who are viewed as allies in the fight against demons and aren't viewed as monstrous by any account? If not, are we including Hagegraf and other major Hryngar (previously duergar) settlements, because they will be viewed as monstrous by most of the Inner Sea? Do we include Nidal? Why are orcs and hobgoblins treated differently here? Kaoling is another hobgoblin society, but it hasn't been framed as monstrous in the way that the Ironfang Legion viewed itself - so are they included in the list?

Liberty's Edge

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Kaspyr2077 wrote:
Actually, the OP framed this whole discussion as if Hasbro not letting Paizo use their IP was a mean-spirited decision, or even an intended consequence of what Hasbro did. I pointed out that this was not the case. Then you responded to me with "I understand, but" and then ignored my post and said a bunch of stuff that wasn't related to what I said.

It just feels like you're arguing against a point that no-one is making; OP isn't saying that Hasbro is mean for enforcing their IP against Paizo now that they are no longer using the ORC to access WotC's IP, they're saying that they wish that WotC had never tried to pull the rug out from under everyone's feet with their revoking of the old OGL. This isn't a legal argument, this is a statement of frustration that the bad behaviour of WotC has led much of the tRPG community to feel unsafe in continuing to use the OGL, because this means that many parts of Paizo's setting that they enjoy will have to be removed. The specifics of the legality of it is seemingly irrelevant to what they're trying to communicate with their statement - at least that's how I read it.

Liberty's Edge

MadScientistWorking wrote:
Dam it this discussion reminds me that we didn't get the good Dark Souls TTRGP and only got the crappy 5e version.....

I've not got around to playing it, but Runecairn seems like an interesting Souls-like in ttRPG form if you want an alternative! :)

Liberty's Edge

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CULTxicycalm wrote:

Wow that’s some change. Moving towards the Wizards model. I do like the thicker adventures, but I also need thinner ones to cover more area on my overworld, and now Paizo will stop doing that. Nothing between tiny PFS Scenarios and thick standalones... Quite the blow to my worldbuilding... But maybe it’s the same in terms of pagecount? I think so off the top of my head. 2x128 is 8x32. At least try to pick regions that haven’t been covered yet, thus plugging holes in my overworld. I wouldn’t mind sacrificing variety for depth if at least that depth goes into developing underdeveloped regions.

I am sure everything will be quality anyway. Just thinking out loud in case my ramblings are helpful.

I don't think it even covers less area - so far there have been 9 Adventures in 4 and a bit years, so the 2/year of the 128 page hardcovers is about the same amount of total books.

Liberty's Edge

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Aenigma wrote:


Elfteiroh wrote:


They also said in a recent stream that there won't be a "golem" category anymore. They are keeping a couple of them, and making new ones, but they have new names, and unique abilities without a 100% coherent shared mechanic. They stop being a "family" and become specific, more "stand alone" designs.
Really? I thought golems are immune to the OGL crisis since they are from the real world mythology. I must confess I much prefer clockworks and robots to golems in Pathfinder though, because... golems look too primitive to me, while clockworks and robots look very modern and refined.

The existence of vaguely-similar creatures in real-world mythology doesn't save something from the OGL crisis, I'm afraid. It would be possible to make a new golem creature that is inspired by the original mythology, but the existence of golems as anti-magic creatures made of specific materials with associated abilities is all very much part of the WotC IP that was made available by the OGL. I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up with a construct inspired by the original mythology, and the golems that paizo has made themselves might be able to be tweaked to fit past, but an Iron Golem that is vulnerable to rust and acid, immune to non-acid magic, and has a breath weapon isn't something that can come back in a post-OGL world.

Liberty's Edge

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Teridax wrote:
Case in point: your valuation of out-of-combat skills hinges on the assumption that those form the larger part of Pathfinder's gameplay on a regular enough basis to be described as general. This is objectively not the case. Combat is generally a core part of Pathfinder 2e's gameplay, which is why the majority of the game's ruleset deals with combat, and which is why Paizo themselves noted certain stats to be valued higher than others in the rules (see my above post). You certainly have a subjective valuation of out-of-combat skills, but claiming that out-of-combat skills hold equal or greater value in the rules compared to combat abilities is objectively wrong.

This just feels like a completely meaningless use of the word objective. Different tables have different balances of in- and out-of-combat, and there is no objectively right or wrong for this value. There are assumptions upon which design is based, and I agree that PF2 is designed with a pretty large amount of combat as an assumption for what is happening in a typical campaign. If someone wanted to play a campaign in which a fight never occurred, I would encourage them to use a different system than PF2 because of this. However, saying that this medium-to-high combat frequency assumption means that it is objectively wrong to value skills over saves is nonsense. In the games that SuperBidi plays, I assume that SuperBidi is correct that skills are more relevant - they'd be the one to know. The only way for it to be an objectively wrong accusation is for either:

1: SuperBidi is incorrect, and saves are more valuable in SuperBidi's games. This seems a strange thing to assume.
2: SuperBidi's tables are somehow themselves objectively wrong to place a higher emphasis on skills than saves. This cannot be true - it may be mismatched with the system, at the greatest extent it may be less fun to play this style of game in PF2 rather than other games, but it can't be objectively wrong.

This is why SuperBidi is calling it subjective; because there's nothing inherently wrong with playing with a greater out-of-combat focus in PF2, it's just the subjective factor of what everyone involved in the table finds more fun.

(It also seems like this sort of accusation is typically made against tables that aren't valuing combat as highly in their enjoyment - rarely do you see people say that it is 'objectively wrong' to value certain abilities to a greater extent because they play to a very high level of optimisation and lethality against single-target bosses. For some reason that's just 'understanding the game' and 'optimisation', despite equally being a divergence from the assumptions of how the game is played.)

Liberty's Edge

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Errenor wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Knock is not bad for rogues.
That's very ironic, don't you think? :)

I don't - I think it's a great niche for the spell to have! If you have no-one invested in thievery, it'll give you a decent chance at making the check - a single spell slot to make your best Dex character Expert at the check is a good chance. But if you've got someone who has focused on the skill, they're not obsolete - they instead get a huge boost, effectively becoming Legendary instead of Expert, the highest they could be at that point. And it keeps up with investment nicely! I think it's a good example of a change in magic from PF1 to PF2 that facilitates the teamwork of the game well, and still allows casters to be useful without being dominant over all niches at once.

Liberty's Edge

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As best I know, there's no official full list of changes. There's a google doc someone has made that is pretty comprehensive though, it's available here if you're interested.

Liberty's Edge

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Errenor wrote:
Finoan wrote:


Jacob Jett wrote:
Pretty confident new players will not use, its not in their copy of the rulebooks after all.
Good? Not sure why anyone wanted to use it in the first place. But none the less, the content still exists. And is still valid to use.

Aaand... No, it's definitely not valid to use for new players and characters in PFS: rackets are 'class chassis' and those must be 'remastered' ones for new (or remaster-rebuild) characters. And remastered rogue doesn't have Eldritch Trickster racket.

For old chars until they are rebuild - yes.
YuriP wrote:
As I mentioned above, PFS already ruled that Eldritch Trickster and other non-reprinted options are still available indefinitely. I can't speak to a particular table. That is for them to decide. But I don't see any reason that they would want to ban the previous content. What would be the purpose of that?

No, they didn't. Guys, please read the actual PFS rules:

"Beginning on November 15, 2023, if a class has been reprinted in the Player Core, no new characters may be created using its class chassis as printed in the Core Rulebook. "Class chassis" means everything that all members of a class receive; roughly, this means the text in a class description which comes before the list of class feats.
- This affects the following classes: bard, cleric, druid, fighter, ranger, rogue, witch, wizard.
- Characters with at least 1 game reported prior to November 15 may be built using the Core Rulebook chassis.
- Previously-existing characters with at least 1 game reported may continue their progression using the Core Rulebook chassis. They may not use the chassis in the Player Core without rebuilding."

The individual rackets aren't part of a class chassis, the class chassis simply contains an ability which gives you a racket, and asks you to make a choice of available rackets. Eldritch Trickster is still a valid choice for a racket - by the same logic you're using, you could argue all the class feats are part of the class chassis because you have to get a class feature to pick them.

The class chassis is defined in your own quote as 'everything that all members of a class receive'; do you think that every Rogue gets the Eldritch Trickster racket?

Liberty's Edge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

You're acting like this requires zero/minimal investment, which is just plain untrue. There's a few issues with that being the case:

1. You are having an 18 Intelligence by 10th Level. This usually comes at the cost of other attributes not being at 18 (or higher), and is assuming you are starting with an Intelligence of at least 14 or higher, which is usually because you are invested in Intelligence due to your class. And if not, well, then that means you've dumped one of the other main attributes to reach this level, which comes at an opportunity cost that is hard to justify for what little Intelligence otherwise provides to characters in general, undermining the whole "zero investment" argument you're presenting.

2. Buying a "cheap" item does both go against your investment totals as well as your potential item "slots," meaning if you have two items that occupy the same slot (that isn't a ring, necklace, etc.), then it's competing for other items as well, which again, undermines the "zero investment" argument, because now I have to invest in a slot that I otherwise wouldn't have invested in, and if I'm already pushing my investment slots, I will have to either ditch the item bonus, or ditch one of my other investments.

3. Standard DCs aren't that standard; they kind of oxymoronic. The only times I see "Standard DCs" mentioned are in regards to class abilities requiring a DC, like the Bard Focus spells, or the Inventor feature, in which case odds are you are investing fully (or almost fully) into that to maximize the effectiveness of your class abilities, in which case, so much for "zero investment." Otherwise, looking at DCs in regards to monsters and hazards, they don't follow those rules, and things like the Rarity rules boost those "Standard DCs" into a much harder category, hence the Legendary demand. There's also the aspect of certain things outright requiring a certain proficiency to even attempt, like the checks for finding/disarming traps, or scaling effects on abilities/feat access. Guess Trained is good enough for everything, right? Let's not forget the Static DCs, which are either pretty basic and don't require any investment, or can be solved via Follow the Expert most of the time, and the other half of the time can be done via spells or other subterfuge, meaning even the argument of "invest in it for the Static DC challenges" doesn't hold water.

We've moved the goalposts quite a distance from 'legendary is required for a modicum of success'. Yeah, one needs a decent ability modifier to have reasonable chances of success with a trained skill - but it's not like you'll only have one ability score modifier around the value I listed. By 10th level, you're likely going to have 3-4 ability modifiers of +3 or higher - that's starting with a +1 mod at level 1. Succeeding on an 11 instead of a 10 is still a 50/50 shot of success, and between the 3-4 ability scores, you've likely got more skills with good ability scores than trained skills, unless you're a class like rogue which gets a huge amount of trained skills. Eventually you would run into issues with investment, though I haven't seen the limit get approached too often in the tables I play at. If you want to replace the item bonus in the maths with a circumstance bonus from an Aid, those will often be available from someone in the party so long as the GM isn't restrictive in how one can assist, in my experience.

With regards to the standard DCs, that must be something that varies substantially from table to table. Most of my experience - both playing and GMing - has been converting PF1 modules and adventure paths across to PF2, mostly with the GM doing it with some rough prep but a lot of improvisation. Using the DC-by-level table/the simple DCs come up frequently, especially using the easy/hard modifiers from them. It means trained skills continue to be quite relevant, as shown by the maths here. I do agree that trained skills become infrequent in their use against monsters, unless they're a level or two below you and it's a weakness. Using that +17 on the skill check at level 10, a level 9 creature with a moderate save for a defence will have a DC of 28, so you're still at a 50-50 shot - but the reality is that it's rarely worth the action cost for a 50/50 shot against a weaker enemy. I'm not arguing that trained skills are secretly incredibly valuable, but I continue to see them get usage in non-combat situations for all the levels I've played/run the game in. I imagine that would be less true the more heavily coordinated one's party is on skills - if you work in character creation to ensure all the useful skills are covered well, trained skills will be harder to justify outside of checks everyone needs to make, where Follow the Expert is likely to do the work it needs for the most part.

Liberty's Edge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained. And the game assumes that all relevant skills will be boosted to Legendary if you want any modicum of success for them.

This is said all the time, but it really isn't true - a standard 10th level DC is 27, and if you're trained in an INT-based skill with a +4 in INT at that level (i.e. started at a +2, not super invested), you can buy a super-cheap +1 item bonus to the skill to end up with 10 level + 2 trained + 4 int + 1 item = +17, needing a 10 on the dice to succeed. Even at higher levels, a standard 15th level DC is 34, and if you're trained in an INT-based skill with a +5 INT, you can get a +2 item bonus for 15 level + 2 trained + 5 INT + 2 item = +24, again succeeding on a 10. I'd love for INT to give a few more skill increases over the course of the game - I like the suggestion for getting a every INT mod increase over +4 giving you a skill increase. But pretending that you need Legendary for a modicum of success just isn't true - a dirt-cheap item bonus and a decent ability score will often get you close to a 50/50 shot for on-level checks.

Liberty's Edge

Calliope5431 wrote:
Whoa. How'd that happen?

Ironfang Invasion Spoilers, all books:
It was fairly wild - the tl;dr is that at the end of book 2, having reunited the Chernasardo Rangers, the party felt little need to push on to get to the nearby major city. Partly that's because the refugees were relatively safe in the forest, and partially because they didn't know how the Ironfang Legion summoned the obelisk that appeared at the start of book 1. They figured there was no point getting there and warning the defensible town if they didn't know how the obelisks worked. Walls don't make something very defensible if an army can just randomly pour out into the city centre!

Given that, they looked through the fey-infested castle that had been used as the Ironfang's HQ to try and triangulate where the obelisk in the forest was from the movement information they have - the relative time taken to travel from each of the 3 forts used to do so. I though it made sense, and I'm the sort of GM who is very happy to run with ideas that take the party off the rail for a while. I decided it would be more interesting if there was ongoing contact through the obelisks back to the Onyx Vault, and so they could triangulate the rough location.

The plan was to give them an opportunity to find out more about how the teleportation worked. I had the Ironfang Legion send out scouts to check why they hadn't received contact for a few days, and the party ran into one, who was allowed to escape by the party's fighter. This meant they knew that the Ironfang forces in the Fangwood had fallen, and were going to get rid of the obelisk. At this point I'd made a few decisions that weren't in the book, but felt fitting; this next one is the one that most contradicts the written content of the book, I think. I couldn't quite remember how reversing the obelisks worked in the book, and the party was intrigued by the possibility that these scouts meant there was still an active portal. I gave them some difficult checks to navigate through the forest to the exact spot of the portal, and they did really well - like multiple nat 20s in the ~3-4 checks needed levels of good.

As they navigated so efficiently, I decided that they got to the portal as a ritual was being performed to return it to the disconnected state - from my perspective, once you've put up the possibility that the speed at which they reach the obelisk is important, you really should follow through with that if they manage to do it. I made the fight a Severe one with the guards for the ritual, but if you added in the creatures performing the ritual themselves, it was Extreme+. As the fight went on, it became obvious that they weren't winning the fight quickly enough to investigate the portal before it went down. As it started to collapse, the cavalier fighter decided that he wanted to know what was through the other side more than he wanted to have a possibility of an exit; he charged into the portal while the fight was still going. The rest of the party felt it better not to split the party, and everyone's last turn before the portal collapsed was heading through it. I have to admit, this group throws me for a lot of unexpected loops while GMing, but I hadn't thought they'd do this one.

So yeah, I followed the book 6 as written there - between the gate collapsing behind them and the ley lines being interfered with, they don't end up in the Onyx Citadel, but instead in arrive in the grassland nearby, and are taken in by the pech of Stonehome who explain what has been happening in the vault. With the only way back to Golarion that they know of for-sure being in the Citadel (which they are certain they can't sneak into safely), they decide to try and get allies in the vault itself - but I've already written too much here, I think. The tl;dr there involves pit fiends, immortal ichors, ancient xiomorn knowledge, and culminates in their interfering with a ritual to try and prevent a pit fiend achieving apotheosis.

Liberty's Edge

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

That's not what they're arguing. They are arguing against the idea that PF2 performance is objectively measurable. It is. I've done it for PF2 and other games for years.

Some refer to it as optimization, power gaming, or a variety of other names. It is possible to do in PF2 and every other version of D&D, PF1, or RPGs I've ever played.

Some take offense at this play-style and attack it. Happens all the time on these forums. I'm used to it at this point.

I'll let the designers know when some classes or options aren't so good because I wouldn't mind seeing them improved. So I'll keep doing what I'm doing and if I have to take some shots from forum posters that don't like the performance-based play-style, so be it. Not going to change how I go about things.

I think my viewpoint is more helpful than most because it at least gives the designers something to action using some kind of understandable mechanic, data, or mathematical modeling.

As one of the people who has disagreed with you about this before quite a few times, I do not think you're representing the most common reason people disagree with you on this. It is obviously possible to objectively measure the relative performance of different options in a game like PF2, and it would be absurd to say otherwise. The +1 STR fighter is less effective with a greatsword than the +4 STR fighter.

The reason you get push back when talking about this is because an individual person's ability to measure this is limited to the tables they're involved with, and that means that the data gathered is inevitably biased by the playstyles of the tables involved. There are objective differences in performance that can be determined mathematically - but that is only true if you're doing the exact same thing but with worse stats. For any other comparison, it is circumstantial, and those circumstances change across tables. You cannot objectively say what choices will outperform others without knowing the circumstances in which these actions will be performed, and yet you do so constantly.

What one can do is make assumptions about what the circumstances in someone's table will look like - sometimes reasonable, sometimes not. Giving build advice on the assumption that you'll be routinely facing 20 level-4 enemies is probably unhelpful, and so we tend to formulate thoughts on the game abased on our understanding of what ranges of circumstances a 'normal' table experiences. But not only can we not know that, not even Paizo can - nobody has the data available for that to be determined accurately. So when you say that you can objectively measure performance in PF2, you can - for the tables you play at. You say you could bring this experience to other tables and out-perform them, but that cannot be universally true, because some play in very different ways to you. My argument is not that PF2 performance cannot be measured objectively, it is that your objective measurements cannot be generalized to apply to all groups regardless of context, because that's how statistics work.

For a straightforward example - AoE damage becomes better the more characters are able to perform it. One might view AoE as a 'use it once a day when a few enemies bunch up' sort of thing to avoid splitting damage, but at a theoretical table where everyone could do good AoE damage, that would change. For a stranger example, I've just finished up my Ironfang Invasion campaign converted to PF2. Because of a series of decisions that they made as players and choices I made as GM, they ended up very far outside of their comfort zone for the last ~10 sessions, functionally skipping from the beginning of book 3 to the end of book 6. They started in the area at level 9 when it's assumed to be for level 17 PCs. This meant they were consistently completely outgunned by just about every threat in the area, and completely removed their ability to rely on combat as a conflict resolution mechanic in almost all circumstances (I did feel bad about initially to be honest, but everyone involved really enjoyed how it all ended up happening). Combat situations were much more about how to safely extricate the party from a fight, how to minimize damage taken, how to keep people alive, and how to take advantage of the few weaknesses of those they faced. The relative balance of different actions were completely different, and there's no way that someone would normally build for this situation when making a PC; despite that, for a full quarter of the campaign, the optimal tactical and character-building decisions were completely different from anything you would have picked based on game experiences that didn't have this sort of circumstances coming up.

Liberty's Edge

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Jeff Wilder wrote:

This is a tangential anecdote at best, but I got into a quarrel with a TikTok GM creator who insisted that it was impossible for an encounter to end with the PCs convincing the enemies to surrender (by talking during combat), because there were no rules to do that.

It blew me away. No matter how many times I gave some variation of, "It's a roleplaying game, and the GM can decide your roleplaying is effective," he would pretend to acknowledge that, but come right back with, "But BY THE RULES it's impossible." I.e., because there was no encounter action to do it. (I eventually gave up trying to convince him.)

The reason I post this here, I suppose, is just as a reminder to not assume that everybody has the same baseline assumptions about TTRPGs, EVEN THOSE who seem to have quite a bit of experience.

Also, there are rules to do that - it's late-game, but it's consistent, it's quick, and it definitely still leaves room for doing so otherwise based on roleplaying.

Liberty's Edge

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Perpdepog wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
And we have, what, one example of a fiend that stopped being evil in canon? And we don't even know if that meant she's no longer unholy yet-- pretty sure that will be revealed around War of the Immortals when she joins the big twleve. So for all intents and purposes you can generally assume fiends are unholy.
It's happened more than once, definitely. There's Nocticula as the most obvious example, as well as Arueshalae for the quota of "redeemed/redeemable succubi." Outside of that we've got a redeemed devil or two, such as Arathuziel the Chained, who is so non-unholy they've become a form of angel. On top of that we have however many non-evil fiends there are in the settlement of Basrakal, such as the asura who nominally runs the town. I forget her name offhand, but I do recall her alignment being LN rather than the typical LE.

If you take the Outsider population of Basrakal (713,400) and assume about 1/3rd of them are fiends (roughly 1/3 celestial, 1/3 monitor, 1/3 fiend), and assume that the fiends have been randomly changed in alignment (probably not perfectly accurate, but just ballpark estimates) and so 3/4 of them are non-evil, you'd get ~178,000 non-evil fiends in the city! :)

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


For Crafting to be truly balanced, that resource investment needs to have some sort of practical benefit that is balanced against not Earn Income, but against other feats and abilities.

For get about being balanced against Earn Income, what about balanced against itself?

Because the argument here is that one type of crafting should be four times more lucrative than another type of crafting, pretty much just arbitrarily.

If this was about the money than you might have had a point. Again, with either interpretation, the financial gains are so miniscule as to have no practical impact on game balance as a whole throughout the vast majority of the game. Even if the gains weren't so small, as Deriven Firelion pointe out, there are numerous other balancing mechanics in effect in other areas of the game (such as item level, item slots, encumbrance, action costs, limited bonus types, etc.).

Until you can show me that the x4 gains is disruptive to gameplay, I simply can't take your interpretation as something the developers intended very seriously.

Doing some quick maths, from level 5 to 6 you should gain ~180 gp. A successful Earn Income check will be giving you 1 gp/day if it's a 5th-level task. If we define a change that could be noticeable as 50% more income, the 90 days would mean you'd need ~13 weeks of downtime during level 5 to reach that disruptive point. At 4x the rate, the same 90 gp would only take 22.5 days - a little over 3 weeks. I'd suspect the proportion of campaigns that have 3 weeks of downtime in a level are much larger than those with 13 weeks, but both are still likely to be in the vast, vast minority of total campaigns.

All that being said, I have to say the same thing as previous posters - with the difference being relatively minimal, and the rules being clear, your insistence that somehow the rules say something different is very odd to me.

Liberty's Edge

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gesalt wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
So Thief Racket does get Dex to damage for unarmed strikes now? I remember reading it, but it's now official in the Remaster Player Core?
So yet another class gets better than the monk at unarmed fighting once they poach FoB from the Monk archetype.
To be honest, by the time they'd be able to get FoB from the archetype, I can't imagine the couple of points of damage from an ability modifier will make much difference.
Ability mod damage. Better saves thanks to the fort buff. More skills. More damage from sneak attack. Opportune backstab is a better reaction attack. Preparation is better than anything monk gets. There's a lot to like here.

To be clear, I'm not saying it's an ineffective build! Just that Thief getting Dex-to-damage on unarmed attacks doesn't seem like the bit to be concerned about if one thinks rogues are better than monks are unarmed fighting.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
So Thief Racket does get Dex to damage for unarmed strikes now? I remember reading it, but it's now official in the Remaster Player Core?
So yet another class gets better than the monk at unarmed fighting once they poach FoB from the Monk archetype.

To be honest, by the time they'd be able to get FoB from the archetype, I can't imagine the couple of points of damage from an ability modifier will make much difference.

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The primary intent of the multi-attack penalty is to ensure you don't want to spend 3 actions attacking - there are possible variations on it explored through action-compressors to make 2 attacks for 1 action, or MAP evaders where you make 2 attacks for 2 actions but don't increase MAP until later. Other than that, I've not seen much - and I'd be careful with any design that ended up incentivizing making 3 strikes a turn :) Even if it was balanced, it'd get boring to play very very quickly.

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It's also worth noting that even in the much more seemingly-objectively defined PF1, Old Man Jatembe was discovering that the categorization systems weren't quite fitting all the available data. He's arguably the most learned wizard in the setting, and one of his big discoveries was breaking down the barrier between Arcane and Divine/Primal (Divine in pf1 terms, Primal in pf2 terms). The setting has been suggesting that the existing categorization systems aren't quite objectively correct for a long while now.

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Calliope5431 wrote:
Errenor wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:

The magical apex of Golarion was Thassilon eleven millennia in the past. No modern wizard has achived that level of power. No wizard in the past two thousand years has equaled the Runelords, Nex, Geb, Jatembe, or Tar-Baphon.

In my opinion, this implies something about the setting.

I can even say what: that Sin magic is not something fundamental and the best or even 'true' model of magic. Can't you see it yourself? Of these examples 4 aren't practitioners.

Well.

Tar-Baphon's power is directly based on his plundering of Zutha's Cenotaph. That's canon lore. He's presumably integrated some of that ancient knowledge into his own necromancy.

The larger point I was making, which has been, I admit, thoroughly lost in this discussion...is that Sorshen is not a blithering idiot. And that it seems somewhat presumptuous to call a level 27 archwizard who no one except Xanderghul has EVER surpassed in magical learning, power, or understanding a sad has-been who just doesn't understand how magic really works.

I'd defend Jatembe just as strongly, for the record. Golarion as a setting is MASSIVELY biased towards "ancient wizards with powers unseen in the modern age". Calling any of the people on that list outmoded seems kinda silly.

From what I read, it didn't really seem like anyone was making the accusation that Sorshen is a blithering idiot. This was set off by a comment about how young apprentices are going to roll their eyes at her definitive list of what is and is not Enchantment magic, when from their perspective Enchantment isn't a set category with specific spells objectively in or out of it. Some illusions might be enchantment magic to them, and heroism might not. The implication there, at least to me, is that they're just different ways of looking at the world, not that Sorshen is incorrect.

Sorshen undoubtedly made a tremendous amount of breakthroughs in the fields in which she has specialised her study. If she does maintain the old Enchantment school as definitive (which she might not - Rune magic seems well suited to being new schools of magic), it would be because it is an equally-correct lens through which to view magic and she finds it useful. She can be one of the greatest experts of all time in arcane magic, she can have made a thousand breakthroughs in her speciality rune magic, and she can still use a lens that differs from (but is not inherently better or worse than) the lens used by modern-day wizards.

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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

I assume that Core has been rushed due to WotC stuff about OGL before, will this be the case for Core 2 or is there now more time to QA stuff?

I'm a casual user at best, but I've heard people mention erratas being needed before the book is even out, so I'm a bit concerned about future books, especially with things like Inventor's Invent feat becoming essentially useless it seems, and Magus cascade's dependancy on magic school being just, not mentioned at all? Or the strap shield phrasing and the new swap action.

They've mentioned plans to errata content from existing books that is now non-functional, but in the meantime almost everything from those books should work with pre-Remaster content; if one is concerned about arcane cascade, you can still select the pre-Remaster spells and it will all work exactly as it did a month ago. Day-1 errata is pretty normal, to be honest - we're talking about 800 pages of books released, no matter one's QA policies there will be some issues slipping through. Core 2 has some extra time, and is only one book rather than 2, so it probably will have slightly fewer issues - but early errata for a big chunky book is something that's inevitable, if you're committed to a high-quality product at least and actually do fix your mistakes! :)

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If you're interested in that narrative, many of the versatile heritages canonically have a longer lifespan than typical humans. Taking something like Nephilim would make your character longer-lived, based on existing lore. That being said, the exact ages that all of the ancestries live to, and when they become mature, or all a bit more ambiguous in PF2. Given that, YMMV with versatile heritages changing all that much, if your GM is interested in making this sort of thing relevant.

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Perpdepog wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Karmagator wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
WWHsmackdown wrote:

Looking over all the changes and quality of life improvements, I wanted to give the devs a shout-out: it's good stuff, thank you all for taking the lemons from the beach magicians and turning it into lemonade!

I'm excited to grab my copy in a couple weeks.
I especially have my eye on making some new witches, clerics, and rogues!

Same, especially rogues. The changes to ruffian rogue racket sound so cool; I can't wait to make a ronin-esque katana ruffian.
Just remember to never wield it in two hands ^^. Or just reflavour a leiomano, machete or something to avoid that silliness altogether.
Switching to two hands is useful any time you can't get sneak attack damage, like dealing with precision immunity or getting separated from any group flankers.
Exactly this. I imagine sneak attacking probably still does more damage overall, but getting to sub in a weapon with d10s means that even if you suddenly have to fight enemies in the Land of Ooze and Ghosts to get to the villainous Ectoplasmo you aren't going to be worrying about how much you can contribute to fights.

With a 2-point difference in damage between the dice on average, I was intrigued by how this would end up at the various points it changes significantly. I didn't pick up elemental runes ASAP, as I know not everyone wants exclusively them, but here are the results - they'd be better for 2-handing with more static damage (like elemental runes, or accounting for deadly):

Level 1: 1d10+4 (9.5) vs 2d6+4 (11) = 2-handing is 86% of the damage of sneak attacking
Level 4 (striking rune): 2d10+4 (15) vs 3d6+4 (14.5) = 3.5% more damage than sneak attacking
Level 5 (extra sneak attack dice): 2d10+4 (15) vs 4d6+4 (17.5) = 86% of the damage of sneak attacking
Level 11 (elemental rune added to weapon, extra sneak attack dice, +5 str mod, weapon spec): 2d10+7+1d6 (21.5) vs 5d6+7+1d6 (28) = 77% of the damage of sneak attacking
Level 12 (greater striking rune):3d10+6+1d6 (26) 6d6+6+1d6 (30.5) = 85% of the damage of sneak attacking
Level 17 (second elemental rune, 4d6 sneak attack, +6 str mod, greater weapon spec): 3d10+12+2d6 (35.5) vs 7d6+12+2d6 (43.5) = 82% of the damage of sneak attacking
Level 19 (major striking rune): 4d10+12+2d6 (41) vs 8d6+12+2d6 (47) = 87% of the damage of sneak attacking

Or to put it another way:
Level 1: Sneak attacking is the equivalent of ~1d3 extra damage
Level 4: Functionally the same damage
Level 5: The equivalent of ~1d4 extra damage
Level 11: The equivalent of ~2d6 extra damage
Level 12: The equivalent of ~1d8 extra damage
Level 17: The equivalent of ~2d6+1 extra damage
Level 19: The equivalent of ~2d4+1 extra damage

Honestly, as a backup against precision-immune enemies, or if sneak attack is being hard to trigger for whatever reason, that's a pretty damn effective backup.

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I think it's an interesting perspective on the essences, and I certainly wouldn't have an issue if things went this way - I think ideally all traditions should fundamentally be separated from their iconic classes in the way you're describing. If the justification for the arcane list being so broad is 'but wizards', then give wizards class features. Talking of this:

3-Body Problem wrote:

So you want to make Wizards even worse and even less connected to what they've been since the dawn of TTRPGs while buffing Clerics who already get a better base chasis with Occult getting gutted as collateral damage. Your fixes don't fix anything while making several already conteniously weak classes worse.

You get a hard no from me on this.

The original post literally says:

Quote:

The magus, witch, and wizard would likely no longer need to use a spellbook-like mechanic to avoid becoming too versatile, and could instead use their spellbook or familiar to learn other kinds of things.

If the above traditions ever turn out to be too specific for existing casters, caster class and subclass features ought to fill in the gaps, just like how the current druid chassis features good defenses to make up for the primal tradition's focus on direct combat.

The point is to try and take a critical eye to the traditions, make their mechanics more in-keeping with their narrative and thematic roles, and then rebalance any casters that are now out-of-tune to make up for this. If your concern is that wizards would be too weak, this would be an excellent time for something like each school giving you spells from outside the Arcane tradition. It feels rather fitting to me that wizards are so learned that they've managed to combine spells in ways they're not typically understood to work - hell, that's literally a whole thing the Magaambya does. Giving the lists a specific - and limited - niche to occupy does more to help define class identity than it does to take that away or weaken it; the difference between a wizard and an arcane witch would be a great place to test out how this differentiation could look, for example - right now, they are similar to a somewhat absurd degree.

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I find them convenient for extracting out the images and often getting better maps than the adventure versions while also having all the options available there. It's definitely convenient to not have to try and photoshop out spoilers that are on the map (though once or twice they have been in the interactive maps anyway) :)

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
GameDesignerDM wrote:
That's just not true. Social and Exploration both have bespoke rules, and thus have balance taken into consideration.

It is true. A DM will not short circuit a game due to social and exploration failures. I have yet to see it happen. I don't do it. I haven't played with a DM that does unless you're in a competition which can sometimes occur at conventions.

Whereas if the party dies in combat, game is over. It is what is known as a TPK.

How often you hear of a non-combat TPK? Or some DM that went, "You failed your Diplomacy check. The game is over. Sorry." How often does that happen?

This is such a fundamentally different perspective to just about all of those I've played ttRPGs with. The inbuilt assumption to this is that there only relevant factor is if you TPK or not. In addition to the previous comments about PFS (where I definitely have seen more meaningful consequences for PCs from failed skill checks than from combat), I routinely have significant consequences for the story from rolls in social or exploratory situations. A particularly spectacular success at a contract-deciphering minigame let them see a loophole in an infernal contract, allowing them to completely change the direction of the story to overcome a key obstacle, instead of just mitigating it as the adventure presumed. The party's exploration was so effective that they got to the site of the portal before it was closed, allowing them the chance to go through it and gain knowledge of the enemy's plans 10 levels ahead of where they should be in the AP. They failed to escape the haunted city before the undead rose, and so instead of protecting their allies from the hordes, they had to bunker down in the haunted area and protect only themselves, leading to much more destruction to the city and their allies than otherwise would've happened. They were unable to convince their potential allies of the benefit of the alliance, and so were left on their own for the fight, dramatically affecting how well their army performed and the difficulty of the finale of the story. They were unable to convince everyone involved of their high-stakes plan, so to assuage doubts, they had to back up their words with action in an area they weren't planning on going to, delaying when the plan takes place and giving them a different perspective on that region that they'd otherwise have missed.

To the best of my memory, I've never seen something equivalent to a TPK from social/exploration checks, mostly because that's pretty boring - even when combat has ended in TPK, we normally look for ways for it not to be player death. PCs kidnapped for a ritual and needing to break out is just a more interesting development than permanent death. But we absolutely have had significant consequences for the story from the checks made in the social and exploration spheres of the game. Your post here feels like it's assuming that those changes don't matter, that there's a single story that you'll experience regardless of how your out-of-combat choices and rolls pan out, and so the only part of rolling the dice that matters is death or not. That seems like a very limiting way of playing these stories to me, and I'd likely rather just play a video game at that point - I want to explore how the characters' actions affect what happens in the world when I'm playing a ttRPG, and out-of-combat dice rolls absolutely affect that in a huge way.

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The Raven Black wrote:

I am of the opposite opinion.

I think without alignment we would never have such a philosophical tale as the one you mention.

Who would care ?

This feels a little overstated to me - there are countless stories that examine how we view morality that have been created through the ages, and the vast majority don't have a 3x3 alignment grid as something motivating their examination. Even in the world of tRPGs, there are a large amount of games that place a larger amount of importance on discussions of the nature of morality that do not have anything like the alignment system - it clearly isn't required for people to care about morality.

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I'd have to agree, nothing that Unicore described feels like it's going above and beyond my expectations for how an AP would play.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
But performance wise, I know I'm right. The wizard has certain weaknesses and performance issues that are measurable and correctable. You can show it in performance and you can illustrate the reasons why in real game play.

You constantly say this sort of thing, and you absolutely do not have the data to say this - no one does (not even Paizo). You have data about performance at your table, you don't have data about the overall performance across all tables. Your table is not somehow objectively correct, nor is it more important. Any conclusions you are making can only be said with the confidence you have about your own table. Other table's preference for different sorts of adventures differs from yours, and that affects relative performance. Other table's interpretation of unclear rules affects relative performance. Other table's preference for different classes, for different spell lists, for different combat lengths, for different tactics, for different party sizes, for different GMing styles all affect relative performance. None of those have objectively correct ways to play the game, and you cannot possibly have experience with all of these different ways of playing.

I am not of the belief that the wizard is perfect in its current state - I think their feats are overall relatively uninteresting to me, and I'd rather many more feats like convincing illusion that give fun new ways to interact with magic. But you very consistently claim that you have data that somehow conclusively proves some reality of PF2, and you don't - you have data that conclusively proves it happens at your tables. That's good and meaningful data, but you can't use it with intellectual honesty to try and forcibly justify changes to the system by Paizo.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Why have 600+ spells when maybe 50 of them are any good, and only the Summon spells are Arcane-exclusive? Spell bloat is not a boon like it was in PF1, where spells quadratically scale, and for every 1 bad spell, there were half a dozen or more good ones.

What an incredibly rose-coloured vision of PF1 spells. Look through the Wizard list in PF1 and you'll find far more niche spells, or just outright bad ones, than a 10:1 ratio of good to bad. Of the 25 (!) spells that start with the letter A on the wizard 3rd-level spell list, I've seen 3 of them be recommended in any meaningful way. On top of that, there really aren't only 50 spells that are any good on the PF2 list. For whatever reason, you're of the opinion that every fight that is challenging has to be against a single higher-level enemy. This is ignoring the published reality that many difficult fights are against multiple weaker enemies. A whole range of spells are highly effective in a fight against 4 level-1 enemies that aren't highly effective against a level+3 enemy, and those fights are about equally difficult. Your constant insistence that there are only a handful of spells worth casting at every spell level is just reflective of an extremely limited view of how the game should be played, and it's not even a view of the game that aligns with published material.

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Arina Tikhonova wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Except for mindless undead, I don't know of any reason undead don't experience emotions. Mindless undead meanwhile operate on twisted instincts so you might colorfully describe them preying upon the living with something resembling twisted glee.

Huh. I remember vividly an undead creature from Shattered Star AP not being able to feel any pleasure from murder that it once felt in life. So I guess this was wrong, then.

And based on that they don't feel anything physical, I always supposed they can't feel emotions. Cause they are the same chemical/physical things a body/brain produces.
This was also why I assumed all of them have mind-affecting immunities in 1e. Now that I look at the 2e Bestiary though, there are no mental immunities.

So they feel emotions, but feel nothing physically? Wow this brain-wrecking when I try to imagine it.

Thank you!

I don't think it is always true that they feel nothing physically either - some undead are described as being constantly tortured by physical sensations, like ghouls always feeling hungry. Some undead can't feel anything physical - incorporeal ones, and you could make an argument for somthing like zombies with their rotting flesh, but it's not a hard-and-fast rule. The creature from the Shattered Star AP might not be wrong - just some undead have very different experiences to others, it's not a universal thing.

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Astro- wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Spoilering to avoid saying too much out in the open about these critters for anyone who might be playing the campaign...

I see!

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
It's been a long time since I took Japanese in high school, but I'm pretty sure you could at least spell it in hiragana, and it sounds about right for pronunciation to my (now uninformed) ears. Is anyone more familiar with the language to be able if it works in Japanese?
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3-Body Problem wrote:
Unicore wrote:
level -2 enemies are plenty dangerous. You just have to use enough of them and put them in an encounter site where those numbers can be leveraged effectively. A great way to do this as a GM is to have stuff in the room to do other than try to move and attack PCs. Suddenly that action economy advantage is huge when enemies are looting the treasure in the room and making a break for it while the boss is fighting the party and getting angry her goons aren't doing what they are supposed to. This is a fun way to combine a level +2 or 3 monster (depending upon party level) and a handful of 4 or 6 level -2 creatures. As a fight it could easily get out of hand if all the enemies worked together, but you as the GM you have a lever now you can switch to change things up in a way that can keep tension high and get everyone moving all over the dungeon instead of standing around with murder faces on.
You can always improve any system with good GMing, where does this type of encounter design show up in APs and PFS scenarios?

It's not exactly the same, but the climax of the AP volume I am currently prepping involves a fight against a level+1 creature, 2 level-2 creatures, and 2 level-4 creatures. Fighting larger groups of weaker enemies in the hard fights happens more frequently in this AP than fighting level+3 monsters. Solo boss monsters are by no means the only hard fights in PF2, very much including published content.

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3-Body Problem wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
Honestly, I find that a pretty wild call to make based on that information. I don't really want to play a game of establishing our Real Gamer(TM) credentials with the difficulty of our encounters, but the last fight they were in was a level+4 fight against a Thanadaemon, where the bard's casting...
Why would you ever want to settle for a "Meh, it'll probably be fine if the GM goes easy on us." level of character-building? I like to know that when the chips are down my character has something with a high likelihood of helping turn the tide. Gambling on a 20% chance to shift things isn't my idea of a good time.

I honestly don't know where you got that from my quote. I was talking about level+4 encounters, that hardly feels like the GM going easy on anyone! But wanting to have something in your back pocket that'll help is an understandable way to have fun playing the game (at least so long as you know that it's a game of dice and sometimes whatever backup you have will fail, because why roll the dice if not). It's not the only way to play either - some players like high risk, high reward plays where a 20% chance of a hugely impactful outcome is their idea of a good time, and it's good to have a design that facilitates both options. But what I'm saying is that if you consider the only encounters worth caring about being solo encounter boss fights, you'll have a biased opinion about what should be in that back pocket. Slow or Synesthesia are typically 70%+ success rates in giving a useful effect against those solo bosses that can help turn the tide, but Slow is barely worth casting against a horde of lower level enemies that are nonetheless still a challenging final encounter to a story arc.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The reason why "solo boss monster" is considered the testing threshold is because these are supposed to be the book-ending or game-ending encounters that are also supposed to be the toughest challenge the PCs face (with the stats to back it up, anyway), meaning it handles "stress-testing" a character/build the best, since odds are, players are going to be facing the "solo boss monster" at some point in the AP. Unfortunately, sometimes these are let-downs, and other fights before them are actually tougher without realizing. The Age of Ashes AP demonstrated this to us a couple times, actually.

But that just factually isn't the case - the book-ending or game-ending encounters are Severe and Extreme difficulty encounters respectively. Sure, you can do that with level+3 and level+4 solo bosses, but saying that solo bosses are the only way to do that is just obviously wrong. It's not just the guidelines too, it's not like every AP finishes on level+3/level+4 solo monsters. A 3-book AP I'm looking over at the moment has the following hardest encounters for each book:

- Book 1, Severe: a level+1 creature, 2 level-2 creatures, and 2 level-4 creatures
- Book 2, Severe: A level+1 creature and 2 level-1 creatures
- Book 3, Extreme: 2 level+2 creatures

I'm not going to look through each encounter in all of the books right now, but there's a chance you'd never fight a level+3 or level+4 enemy in the entire AP. Severe and Extreme difficulty encounters are the toughest challenges you face, and if you only consider them to be solo encounters, you're going to be dramatically favouring some options over others. It's no surprise when you then conclude that those options are better when you exclude all content where they don't work as well.

(also the 'extremely rare' chance of failing the save was 35%, if I recall correctly - targeting a debuffed weakest save of the enemy)

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hsnsy56 wrote:

So I haven't played enough of PF2e to make this call, but is there a APL sweet spot and composition where spells work better -- AOE, incapacitation doesn't take effect but still worth casting, etc.?

Initial APs withstanding (and they often get made before people really understand the new system), it does seem like spells sort of assume there will be a bunch of not super difficult encounters at some point.

That said, if an encounter isn't a certain level difficulty, then you sort of feel like you could have kinda sat back anyway and let the martials at will swords just cut them up...

In my opinion at least, it's less that there are fight compositions that make spells better or worse, and more that different compositions change what sorts of spells you want to cast. That means that if you stick with one sort of composition for your difficult fights, you encourage only the use of those spells. I think most people who get into these discussions know the spells that are good against powerful single creatures: debuffs that give good effects even on a successful save - Slow, Synesthesia, etc - and spells that buff your allies without a save, or perhaps crowd control that wastes enemy actions. If you want to make other spells more consistently useful, throwing in hard fights against weaker individual enemies changes that. A Severe difficulty fight against 4 level-1 enemies, or 2 level enemies and 2 level-2 enemies, devalues something like Slow, but opens up valuable uses of Incapacitation spells and AoE effects. Going to something like 6 level-2 enemies can be fun too, and makes AoE incredibly powerful.

In my eyes, the issue lies in overusing any of them - if the common assumption was that all of the most difficult fights were against 6 level-2 enemies instead of one level+3 enemy, Fireball would be seen as a locked-in pick every time, not Slow. If you want a variety of spells to be useful, have a variety of fight compositions in your hardest fights. It's not that spells assume there are a bunch of easy fights, IMO, but that there are meaningful fights that feature lower-level enemies. I can speak from personal experience that my party of druid/bard/champion/fighter couldn't have the druid and bard sit back and do anything while the martials chop up the enemies in some of these hard fights where the less-discussed spells flourish. We had one absurd encounter where they strung together 3 or 4 different fights, which all came in at different times and overlapped in messy ways. I think it ended up being a 300+ XP encounter if you had thrown them all in at the same time - hard enough that I offered to softball them, but they didn't want to. Somehow they got through by the skin of their teeth without a death (I think the collective HP total was 7 HP in the 4-person party), but that needed both a clutch casting of Slow on the level+2 dragon enemy which failed by the exact margin inflicted by the champion's Demoralize, but also an incredibly useful casting of Fireball by the druid and Rouse Skeletons by the bard; the latter in particular just kept going for most of the 15+ turn fight, letting the bard inspire courage/strike/sustain and get really good longevity out of her spell slots. I wouldn't want to run every fight like that (hell, I think the only fight more intense than that one in the campaign should be the finale), but it was a lovely demonstration of how different conditions lead to different spells being valued.

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
hsnsy56 wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Not really, when that larger toolbox is compensated by lack of quality tools, and the game is balanced assuming quality tools are being used, especially in the late game.

This is one of my biggest beefs with current PF2e spellcasting. It seems like there are so many spells that are not being regularly used, with a few standouts. It's why we always get the same spells brought up (Sythesthesia, etc) when talking about how spellcasters are ok.

I think that's because of a focus on optimisation in these discussions to an extent that the game doesn't demand. One of the PCs in one of my current PF2 games is a bard who focuses on nasty/body horror vibes for their magic, and makes most of her choices around that. She casts her spells featuring worm infestations and lots of blood routinely, almost always casting them in place of more optimal spells like Synesthesia. She continues to be an effective member of the team, and these less-optimal spells are by no means a big enough difference in power that she feels like she needs to cast them to be effective.

Then in my opinion, I don't think the encounters are challenging enough. If a spellcaster can do nothing but throw cantrips and prep not-so-good spells to get by with minimal damage or casualties, then it's obviously not an encounter to be challenging to the party.

That isn't to say that these encounters can't or won't exist, but that assuming APL-2 should be the baseline for all encounters or the standard that spellcasters should shine at isn't exactly saying much for when spellcasters are in even harder encounters.

Honestly, I find that a pretty wild call to make based on that information. I don't really want to play a game of establishing our Real Gamer(TM) credentials with the difficulty of our encounters, but the last fight they were in was a level+4 fight against a Thanadaemon, where the bard's casting of Worm's Repast (a spell I do not think I have ever seen anyone on this forum mention) came in clutch. I honestly think Worm's Repast is a good spell - single target Fireball damage with a nice persistent damage rider and flat-footed on a failed save. But in response to the person I was quoting, it's certainly not one of the spells you see people constantly talking about. A couple of encounters prior, her casting a 2-action Rip the Spirit at the start of combat was really helpful in doing a good amount of damage, and debuffing the enemies' fort save for the rest of the fight. In fights against large groups of enemies, she loves throwing around her powerful offensive spells against the lower-level enemies. In fights against one or two enemies, she loves using spells like Blood Vendetta to get damage off on the enemies' turn and set up something close to guaranteed damage for a little while. While the exact power level of these spells vary, none of them are super popular picks on these forums, which was my point - you can get away with casting spells that aren't Synesthesia as a bard, and it doesn't make you useless.

One factor in why this might be more clear for my players is that we're playing a converted PF1 adventure, Ironfang Invasion, and they tend to have larger groups of weaker enemies, due to the nature of solo boss fights in PF1 being trivial. The party has made some very bold choices and has found itself trapped a couple of books ahead of where they should be for their level, which has made for a lot of challenging fights - I can't recall the last time they even faced a Moderate fight. I do tend to avoid level+3 or higher enemies outside of major story beat bosses (the level+4 thanadaemon was something they chose to summon, I had no say in the matter :P ) and prefer something like a level+1 boss with some mooks, or a couple of level+1 enemies. I just think it makes for more interesting fights - and it doesn't hurt that it makes some of the most powerful spells less effective.

If you're consistently throwing powerful solo enemies at your party and find your party picking a limited list of options again and again, it may not be the difficulty of the game you're running (or the balance for casters being so tight that they can't pick anything else), but the repetitive nature of the fights reinforcing the power of effects that are good against single targets that are likely to succeed at a save.

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hsnsy56 wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Not really, when that larger toolbox is compensated by lack of quality tools, and the game is balanced assuming quality tools are being used, especially in the late game.

This is one of my biggest beefs with current PF2e spellcasting. It seems like there are so many spells that are not being regularly used, with a few standouts. It's why we always get the same spells brought up (Sythesthesia, etc) when talking about how spellcasters are ok.

I think that's because of a focus on optimisation in these discussions to an extent that the game doesn't demand. One of the PCs in one of my current PF2 games is a bard who focuses on nasty/body horror vibes for their magic, and makes most of her choices around that. She casts her spells featuring worm infestations and lots of blood routinely, almost always casting them in place of more optimal spells like Synesthesia. She continues to be an effective member of the team, and these less-optimal spells are by no means a big enough difference in power that she feels like she needs to cast them to be effective.

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Helmic wrote:
At the very least, having options like tieflings or sorcerors that have some sort of Unholy power that makes them a little weak to Holy attacks without that requiring them actually be villainous is the sort of interesting option I'd want on the table, ways to dip into stereotypically evil things without running into the problem of being Henry Kissinger in a party full of Anthony Bourdains.

What an incredibly funny sentence, it absolutely made my morning! :) <3

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Why is positive damage/good aligned illegal? That seriously hurts the cleric.

I'm not sure on the good alignment, but there is an area in the setting (in which an existing AP takes place) where using positive damage is illegal, so this may just be a reality of the setting location :)

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Temperans wrote:
Reminder that Golarion is not feudal era (1600s) but closer to Renaissance (1800s).

In addition to the (accurate) comments about the differing technological levels of development across the setting, these dates are truly wild ones to pick. I do agree that people tend to categorise the setting as more feudal than it really is because of typical fantasy aesthetics, and there's a lot of the Renaissance in the regions bordering the Inner Sea itself. But outside of very select locations, I definitely think the 1800s is much later than most of the inspiration for the Inner Sea.

Exact dates are impossible to arrive at concretely, but the Renaissance is generally considered to be at its height from around 1400-1600, with maybe a century on either side of that occasionally included depending on the exact definitions. The 1800s are long past the end of the Renaissance in any categorisation that I've seen. Feudalism started and ended at different periods across the world, but given the Mediterranean inspirations of the central Inner Sea region, I think it'd be fair to put a date for the replacement of feudalism with a mercantile/early capitalist by the 1500s. Certainly the 1600s is long past the height of feudalism in the Mediterranean.

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Sy Kerraduess wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
The damage type is Spirit and will work on anything with a soul.
I would clarify that spirit damage does work on outsiders even though they are weird when it comes to souls (they're made from souls but they don't have one, or something like that).

Their body and soul are one and the same - they do definitely still have souls :)

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Orikkro wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:

Is this a result of designers having to "relearn" how to design adventures?

It is quite a shift from PF 1E.
Some of these APs were published over a year after the initial release.

I'm not certain of the exact turnaround times on the APs, but I think you'd be surprised at how little time most of the authors for the first 3 APs would've had with the final PF2 rules before writing the AP chapter. I also had a look through the authors for the first 3 APs, and of the 18 books, only one was written by someone with previous writing experience for long-form first-party PF2 adventures - Agent's Of Edgewatch's Assault on Hunting Lodge Seven was written by Ron Lundeen, who also wrote Age of Ashes' Tomorrow Must Burn (and was likely writing The Slithering at a similar point in time as the AoE book). I'd suspect that even for Agents of Edgewatch, most authors had never written long-form PF2 adventures, and likely only had their hands on the rules for a matter of months.

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Temperans wrote:
Most of those spells you mentioned are Uncommon or Rare. The rest are usually situational (Ex: Tongues comes up maybe once a campaign if you are lucky. Dispel Magic is fighting an uphill battle due to enemies being higher level.

It's wild to me that this argument is happening at the same time as the 'prepared casters are weaker and less versatile than spontaneous casters' discussion.

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They are starting to experiment a little more on this front - Seasons of Ghosts is a 4-book AP, so doesn't just go for 10 levels, and the new Sandpoint 1-book, double-length AP starts somewhere around level 6, off the top of my head? But I'd be a big fan of a 3-book AP starting at level ~5 or so - I think it lets you explore a lot of interesting stories. You'd end up level ~15 or so - appropriate for a fight with the scariest non-unique enemies; ancient dragons, balors, pit fiends, etc. It also lets you start off at that point where you're regionally known, but not one of the dominant forces in the region like if you were 10th level. I think they'd be a lot of fun! :)

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

No hard data.

I have hard data that there is no caster vs. martial disparity.

I have hard data the wizard and witch feats are terrible comparatively in what they provide. You can show their lack of bang for the buck compared to other class feats.

I don't disagree with many of your conclusions, but you bring up your hard data very frequently, and a sample of 1 really just isn't a good basis on which to make conclusions. All of your data is dependent on your GMing style, your players' playing style, the sorts of stories you enjoy telling, and many other factors. All the data is appropriate for conclusions about your games! But it's not the basis on which to make balancing decisions for the whole game on its own. Hard data could be provided that shows Investigators are really strong in-combat because the GM always gives them a lead before the fight and has based their campaign around custom enemies that are weak to precision damage. One could provide data showing that casters are incredibly OP with their damage if most fights are against large hordes of weak enemies. And none of that is even talking about house rules, players making mistakes, misinterpretations of rules, what one chooses to measure and place value upon, etc. Presenting your data isn't an issue, but acting like your data is inherently correct because you tracked it carefully is ignoring the multitude of factors that all play into the outcomes we're discussing.

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Dancing Wind wrote:

Alright, I've been totally uninterested in this thread, until I wandered across this sentence in the wiki while looking for something else.

In 4717 AR, the good elemental lord Ranginori was freed by the Pathfinder Society and returned to his old realm, leading to conflicts that could escalate to planar wars.

Apparently, it was a PFS Senario Unleashing the Untouchable

Has that 'planar wars' been resolved?

It was a fun multi-table special, I remember running it fondly! They decided telling the same story 3 more times would be less than interesting, so the other elemental lords have been freed 'off-camera', so to speak - not in adventures, but in setting books. It's a very recent development, however, and has led to the planes of Metal and Wood returning as well - there's a decent chance it could all be involved in the upcoming planar war, for sure!

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Squiggit wrote:


I think my biggest problem with the remaster is that it doesn't really go far enough with a lot of its own ideas. Like, we're getting rid of ability scores... but everything about the way ability modifiers function will remain exactly the same. They're even replacing odd numbered ability scores with the hilariously kludgy and inept half boost system, which is just the same thing but abstracted to be more annoying and require its own dedicated space on a character sheet to track.

The "change" here is purely performative... and that just seems like a recurring theme. The idea of a change. A whiff of a change, but mostly just a maintenance of the status quo with enough window dressing to make it feel groundbreaking.

From what we've seen of some of the class changes it's kind of the same too: The groundbreaking new thing for wizards is... a smaller list of bonus spells. The groundbreaking new thing for my witch is... that her familiar can give flanking, sometimes.

There's a lot of performance in the remaster, but less substance than I'd like... and I feel like some of the people on this forum who have been hyping up the remaster as a whole new game are going to be incredibly disappointed with the final result.

They've stated from the very beginning that everything about the Remaster is going to be backwards-compatible. I agree that I'd have liked more substantial changes! For ability modifiers, a rule saying you can't get to +5 until level 10, and +6 (before apex) until 20 would be much more fun, IMO. But implementing it would've made every character that was previously made into a worse PC, or they'd have to be (very minorly) rebuilt. I don't really know how much more clear the devs could've been that this was not going to be a whole new game - they refused to call it PF2.5, because almost no core mechanics are changing. Of course the changes to any core mechanics are primarily about reframing to avoid potential OGL issues! Everything they've said the whole time has been saying that outside of rebalancing of specific character options and content removed for IP purposes, your characters should be able to stay entirely the same from pre- to post-remaster.

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