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Alexander Augunas wrote:



Strong disagree. My suspicion is that removing forces such as archetypal & objective good & evil will water down the game.

Zi Mishkal wrote:
A thread full of awesome points


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I parted ways with Golarion a long time ago. I've run PF1 campaigns in Kobold Press' Midgard and Frog God Games' Lost Lands. My current PF2 campaigns are set in the Lost Lands.

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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

The picture strongly makes me think we are getting a marshal/warlord style class, which makes a LOT of sense - Paizo knows very well that lots of the community has been clamoring for that since PF1.

If the classes are meant to be a "pair", then Gunslinger seems most likely for the other. That would be one updated class that lots of people want + one new class that lots of people want, which seems like a slam-dunk.

Plus, a marshal-style class seems like it would fit well with a book that focuses on military tactics and warfare... which would also be a logical place to reintroduce gun rules.

Potentially mass combat as well, which would be pretty cool.

And could potentially synergize with Kingmaker 2e.

Please cancel the Pathfinder Rulebook and Starfinder RPG subscriptions from this order. I have also sent an email regarding this subject.

Thank you.

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Ventnor wrote:
You know what might be an interesting character for this campaign? An Investigator or Rogue who has no talent whatsoever for most forms of magic but is an absolute prodigy when it comes to performing rituals.

This is a superior option for any martial than the “everybody gets spellcasting/magical ability”. Which is really the way I’d thought Paizo would go. Ritual casting solves the problem without the magic-bolt-on.

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FYI, Legendary Games makes a product called Star Empires for Starfinder. It's essentially their adaptation of PF1's Kingdom-building to Starfinder with modifications. It has an entire chapter dedicated to colonies.

I haven't had an opportunity yet to put it into practice, so I can't provide any 1st-hand experience with it but while I might not go the Empire/Kingdom-building route in my campaign, I definitely thought the Colony system would be of use.

Colony-specific topics include founding a colony, terrain generation, colony generation, creating a colony, etc.

It also has rules for mass combat. Overall, the book intrigued the hell out of me and even if I don't embrace all of the rules, I intend to mine it for ideas.

Shisumo wrote:
Is there any update on whether there are still July shipments pending?

Right now, I'm pining for "pending". My order is still sitting in my sidecart.

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In an attempt to better-support Paizo through the pandemic, I initiated 3 subscriptions at the beginning of July. Even assuming a large GenCon order cycle, GenCon is more than a week in the rear-view mirror and all of my subs are still sitting in Sidecart.

Looking at the various threads in this forum isn't exactly inspiring confidence, either. Are subscriptions no longer the best vehicle for supporting Paizo and getting product ASAP?

COVID be damned, I'm hoping to see Paizo's success continue to climb. But I have to say, things like this and the Customer Service forum threads in general aren't creating optimistic feelings. I'm really hoping a get-well-plan is in place and things improve soon.

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I've weighed in periodically to comment on my rules-reading perceptions, GM prep, at-the-table after-action reports, and player feedback. I've been fortunate to play often for the last six months, and everything continues to improve.

The release of the Gamemastery Guide really helped fill in a few blanks from my side of the screen. The NPC rules are great and I love the unique abilities and shorter stat blocks. That said, I don't really find them to be a time-saver when creating NPCs because they are more free-form. Sure, I could take a "it's close enough for government work" swag and move on, but I find tinkering with the NPC rules is always time well spent in helping me better understand the rules and making a unique - and hopefully recurring - NPC.

I was a big advocate for Starfinder Stamina rules in PF2 and the Gamemastery Guide certainly delivered. However, PF2's rules and mundane healing via Treat Wounds certainly shifted Stamina from a "must have" to a "nice option, if desired". I do, however, think Treat Wounds is almost too generous and if combined with Stamina rules, I cut the number of die restoring hit points in half. My groups have ultimately come down on the side of Stamina not being necessary, but I tend to wonder if their feelings will change if party composition ever lacks a magical healer...

This is, without question, the easiest fantasy RPG I've ever run at the table. It's internally consistent and intuitive. Even codifying little things like secret checks and rarity nerf pointless bickering and keep the action moving. Conditions are easy to apply and track and are intuitive for players to understand.

From the player side, PF2 has been nothing but amazing. Every player feels that their character is effective, that they can contribute in and out of combat, and that each character has unique cool abilities, even when encountering the same class. Ancestries and backgrounds feel relevant. If a player isn't "feeling their character", it's readily apparent that it's the ancestry and/or class that they chose, not that they built an ineffective character.

Anyway, with PF2 coming up on it's 1st birthday, I just wanted to say thanks to the entire team for developing such a great game. Best wishes for ongoing success for Paizo, Pathfinder 2, and Starfinder!

Boedullus wrote:
Since one of the most common criticisms I see levied against Starfinder is that people don't enjoy the objectively cumbersome starship combat system, it seems mind-blowing to me that this book isn't overtly advertising that they're doing something to remedy it. Isn't this a bit tone-deaf? Sure, many people are fine with the slow pace of starship combat (I personally don't mind it), but many players just *hate* it. Would it have killed the dev team to include some alternate rules to speed things up or streamline things? This seems so obvious, it's kind of killing me that this wasn't addressed.

I don't know, perhaps the feedback Paizo collects beyond the forums (which tends to heavily tilt negative) is that starship combat is fun. Having played it and run it, it's been popular. It's not perfect but it's vastly superior to almost every other starship combat rpg system available.

As with others, I, too, am excited for the Starship Operations Manual.

Please close/disregard. I found a way to assign the correct credit card to my subscriptions.


Hi goblins & scittermanders.

I purchased several subscriptions, however, an old payment method was applied. I can find no way to delete the old - and now obsolete - card and apply my current payment method to my new subscriptions. I need help in getting the correct card applied to my subscriptions.

FYI, I've also emailed

Thanks for your assistance with this.

B. Porter

Amazing news! I'll finally get to experience the CRPG now.

I know archetypes teasers are generating much of the buzz, but has there been any sneak peaks pertaining to new backgrounds in the upcoming APG?

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In the home stretch now! C'mon PF2 community! Who wouldn't want the AP brain-child of one of the best (and my favorite) adventure writers out there. Greg was also the project lead/guiding force behind the World of the Lost Lands campaign setting which is also phenomenal in scope, range, and adventure opportunity. I think this will be one of the best APs ever produced. Let's get some more PF2 backers!

While I think Starfinder is terrific, I think that the Gap is a hokey, ham-fisted solution to a problem that really didn't exist. It creates more setting issues than it solves, IMO. Maybe those deities rolled their eyes, said "too much drama" (which would be saying something), and departed for less convoluted pastures...

Deadmanwalking wrote:
2097 wrote:
PF2e is pretty much only compatible with PF2e. It's even easier to bring the PF1e stuff over to 5e.

Huh? This statement makes no sense to me.

Converting anything but PCs to PF2 is one of the single easiest things I can imagine doing. You just rebuild them at the right level using the rules in the GMG, and monster building with those rules is a breeze.

Agreed. I'm in the middle of running Howl of the Carrion King using PF2 and I haven't encountered any issues.

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specimen700102 wrote:
I'd like to see a pawn collection for vehicles as well.

Oh, Hell yes!

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Ascalaphus wrote:

I think that to make vehicles really work, we do need a somewhat dedicated book:

* A selection of vehicles, obviously.
* Workable rules for damaging and repairing vehicles; maybe less "total destruction" and more "degradation of function until you can fix up during 10m rest"
* Comprehensive GM advice on running a game where vehicles are a thing. How do you keep your adventure on the rails when the PCs acquire off-road capability? What sort of environmental hazards become nonsensical when the PCs get vehicles? What kind of problems can you confront them with now that would be too dangerous before? What if the PCs lose their vehicle while your adventure is counting on them having it?
* Smoother vehicles-on-grid combat rules, perhaps with an idea about how to cope when vehicles are just too fast to really fit on a normal flipmat.
* Another long hard look at the chase rules. Currently it's a bit too easy for a chase to be over (won or lost) in 1-2 phases.
* A wealth system for giving vehicles to the party without pulling the rug out from under normal WBL. What if they steal or lose a vehicle?

Props to a post full of awesome ideas!

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CorvusMask wrote:

Yeah, military vehicle article had walkers, more submarines, dropships among other stuff :D

That said, I could definitely see book dedicated to this because of alien vehicles

I'll definitely have to check that out but I still want a vehicle construction system similar to starships rather than relying just on pre-builts. Robots can be built under the NPC rules, after all.

The underpinnings of the leveled gear and the (in some cases) pathetic performance stats of low-level vehicles in the SFCRB really necessitate a system that allows for vehicle creation.

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Xenocrat wrote:
Please, no. Vehicles don't work in combat except as GM free gifts that are a few levels ahead of you, and we have enough across the CRB, Armory, and AotS! 6. The "too expensive and made of cardboard" problem for same level vehicles is understandable, probably not fixable, and would hurt the dismounted game if it were.

Please, yes.

Vehicle chases & science fiction vehicular combat are iconic tropes of the genre. We don't have a vehicle creation system like we do with starship combat. People said starship combat wasn't worth doing yet Starfinder is one of the best systems I've ever used, so clearly Paizo has the design chops to make it work if attention is paid to it. And "hurting the dismounted game" doesn't really make sense. Most vehicle related activity is going to be on a vehicle vs. vehicle stage after the 1st round or 2 of combat if one side is on foot and the other is in vehicles.

Just because something hasn't been implemented well in other games to date is no reason to exclude it. In Starfinder's science fantasy setting, the gymnastics done to avoid utilizing vehicles more effectively feels like a weak attempt to force the Pathfinder encounter design and story structure on a game that should have fewer limits.

Also, Savage Worlds handles vehicle rules and chases pretty well. Although I haven't played a version of the system in decades, I presume Shadowrun still includes vehicle rules and I don't remember them as being broken back in the 90s - hacking was the problem child and Starfinder handles hacking pretty well, IMO.

I'd also note that vehicle rules are supposed to be in the upcoming PF2 Gamemastery Guide, so if they're a necessary element in a fantasy game that is primarily set at a much lower tech level, we should certainly have more vehicular rules than the few pages they were able to cram into the SFCRB.

Embrace the genre differences, Paizo! Please give us expanded vehicle rules.

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Starfinder is still a young game and I understand the need to build out character options, starships, and the flesh out the setting. However, science fiction is filled with vehicle chases, mechs, aircraft, submersibles, speeders, exploration & colonization vehicles.

Now that we have a starship book in the pipeline, can we PLEASE get a vehicles book? One that includes vehicle creation rules and mech rules? Pretty please? The minimalist section in the SFCRB just isn't enough.

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Feros wrote:
I would look at the Godclaw to see how alignment differences are handled. Iomedae is Lawful Good and Asmodeus is Lawful Evil. Seeing...

Yeah, it seems that the Godclaw will be my guidepost. I'll be interested to see the write-up but on the surface I think it skirts the issue. The Godclaw likely has relevance where evil deities aren't facing the cultural issues I was asking about, such as in Cheliax. I would expect that the Godclaw would get no support/concessions in a place like Andoran. I suspect that there are at least a few neutral or neutral-leaning nations that might allow the Godclaw but not independent Asmodean churches/temples but I'll have to wait to see if that's part of the Godclaw entry. Here's hoping.

Ninja'd or not, thanks for the suggestion.

James Jacobs wrote:
The Godclaw is an excellent and existing example of how we handle this in Golarion—in particular, this one includes both Asmodeus and Iomedae.

I'm only familiar with the Godclaw from its Hellknight order, but I'll check it out once the PDF is up for sale. Thanks!

David Schwartz wrote:

While someone may turn to gods, even evil gods, when dealing with things in their purview ("Help me with my legal troubles, Asmodeus!"), no one worships all gods equally, and certainly no one is empowered this way because the whole of the gods are antithetical to the each other.

So, while ancient Osirians might recognize the existence of all their gods, there were no priests of all the gods. There might however, be as Luis demonstrates, a priest of all the magic gods.

Yet, just because the kind of pantheon that can empower a cleric must have an unambiguous thesis, that doesn't mean they are without nuance. The Godclaw deities are all lawful, but run the gamut from good to evil. The lawful good dwarven pantheon includes an evil deity, but he's the black sheep of the family that no one talks about.

I'm not interested in pantheon priests, clerics, etc. My question is a world-building one. To use your example, how are larger pantheons that include evil deities handled in Golarion? If Asmodeus is proscribed/banned elsewhere that would imply that a cleric and followers of Asmodeus has to operate in secret. There are plenty of cultists in Paizo adventures, after all.

If Asmosdeus is part of the culture's pantheon, I would suspect that it may be easier for that cleric to operate openly. Are evil deities only placated, are pantheon worshippers seeking to avoid the notice of the evil deities, or does 'the Devil get his due' with active worship? How are the services/practices/sacrifices of evil deities modified so they can be included in the cultural pantheon? Or does the culture turn a blind eye because the god is part of the pantheon?

I think that there's a fascinating amount of story potential to be mined there and it's another tool for differentiating nations, cultures, and settlements.

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Core 20 was just an easy example. The question is, how would - in game/in setting - are pantheons that include good, neutral, and - more problematically - evil deities treated by the average follower in a given culture?

The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc. all had pantheons that wouldn't neatly align to a "good pantheon" or "neutral pantheon". Pathfinder assigns alignments to deities. So how best to draw from mythology for inspiration and implement it in a satisfying manner in-game?

Small, similarly themed and aligned pantheons are easy to represent and understand. I'm specifically inquiring about the larger, more morally complex type.

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James Jacobs wrote:

In my opinion, if you want to play a worshiper of a huge number of deities, it'd be better to play anything BUT a cleric. Any class can be religous, after all. And if you want to do one of these and still be a divine caster, the best thematic choice (again, in my opinion) at this point is a divine tradition sorcerer. Later in the year, you can add oracle to that list, of course.

Clerics work best, thematically, when they serve one deity. And to me, that means that the smaller the pantheon is, the tighter their theme will be, and the less awkward it'll be to play that cleric.

You COULD do a cleric who worships a pantheon of a thousand, but to me, that dilutes and "genericizes" the best parts of playing a cleric. It's like playing a fighter who doesn't have a favorite type of weapon, or playing a sorcerer who doesn't do anything with their bloodline, or playing a bard who doesn't have a thematic type of performance picked out, or playing a druid who picks a different type of animal companion every day. By trying to do everything, you don't really build up your own "brand."

Out of curiosity, how do you (or other Paizo GMs) handle pantheons within cultures? Certain areas of the setting state, or at least strongly imply, that the worship of evil deities is proscribed. So, if a society's pantheon is the "Core 20", how does that work for the average follower (non-cleric/priest)?

I'm sold on the pantheon concept and have been working to incorporate them into my game in a more prominent way, so I'm thrilled Gods & Magic will have rules to support it. I'm just stumbling a bit at how to depict it in a setting where good/evil/law/chaos are tangible forces.

Thanks, Captain Morgan. I'd forgotten how many were in AoA #2. While they're more story-specific than general-use, I still like how they demonstrate ways to codify Downtime activities.

Befriend a Local - AoA PG

Administer - AoA #2
Organize Labor - AoA #2

Clean (a ruined structure) - AoA #2
Clear Courtyard (ruined structure) - AoA #2
Make General Repairs (structure) - AoA #2
Rebuild Battlements (structure) - AoA #2
Rebuild Collapsed Stairs (structure) - AoA #2
Repair Crumbled Walls (structure) - AoA #2

Build Infirmary (structure) - AoA #2
Build Library (structure) - AoA #2
Build Training Facility (structure) - AoA #2
Build Workshop (structure) - AoA #2
Upgrade Defenses (structure) - AoA #2

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Y'know, while I've always thought the druid class was cool, I've struggled to integrate and utilize them in my campaigns in a meaningful way without my early D&D days imposing ideas about Celtic inspiration, pro-wilderness/anti-civilization, eco-friendly/eco-warrior, monolithic hierarchy, etc. This didn't really change with 3e & PF1 when druids could be any neutral alignment. How do you square the circle for good-aligned druids and evil-aligned druids, especially if part of the same organization/faith? Etc.

I'm sure this falls into the "well, of course, duh" category for most/many but until reading this Tale and coupling it with PF2's primal-focused instead of divine-focused druids, it never really clicked for me...

...but druids can basically be treated as Pathfinder's answer to Force users. Drawing their power from life itself (almost like an energy field, wink, wink) and applying it to their desired ends... And unlike a deity, this lifeforce/energy doesn't explicitly spell out what it wants and how to obtain it, so philosophical & dogmatic differences can arise easily.

I know it's not a perfect analogy but it's a much more interesting one to me than eco-hippy traveling with the murder-hobos that I usually see in adventuring groups. It definitely gives me a lot of inspiration on creating different druidic factions for may campaigns.

Kudos to Patrick Hurley! I love these Tales of the Lost Omens blogs!

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FunkamusPrime wrote:
Actually I'm looking for non actual play discussions. Only know direction really fits. There was also a great pathfinder Academy show but they seem to be on a hiatus.

Shameless Plug -- I have a YouTube Channel that covers Pathfinder.


And the videos are AMAZING!

PF2 continues to delight in the "ease of GMing" category and I've found that the 3 modes of play are intuitive for old and new players alike -- for the most part.

Downtime has been the one with the highest incidence of "player paralysis", which isn't incredibly surprising as most of a typical campaign's focus is on Exploration and Encounter activities. I've always found downtime activities enrich a campaign and help invest the players in the story and setting, so I'm looking to get better use out of Downtime. I really like PF2's approach to codifying Downtime activities as providing players a list of options provides examples of what's possible and helps GMs come up with their own ideas.

In the PF2 CRB, there's an understandably limited selection of Downtime activities. I know some others have been introduced in the Adventure Path installments and Players Guides, but aside from the Age of Ashes Players Guide I don't know of any specific Downtime activities and the issues where they were added. I haven't been able to find a consolidated list online anywhere, either.

So, if you know of or have access to a product that contains Downtime activities, please list the name and the product that contains them here for a running total. Don't reprint the activity in total as I assume that would violate Paizo's rules, but it would be nice to know what activities are available and where they're located.

Pathfinder 2 Core Rulebook:
Create Forgery
Earn Income
Long-term Rest
Treat Disease

Undefined examples/suggestions: Acquire property, manage a business, join a guild or civic group, curry favor, command an army, acquire an apprentice, start a family, minister to a congregation.

Age of Ashes Players Guide:
Befriend a Local

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There’s a lot to unpack when talking about sandbox play. In the last 5-6 years I’ve introduced a lot of new players to RPGs and while I didn’t assume a sandbox-style of play as the starting position with those groups all of my campaigns have evolved into sandbox campaigns. These are approaches that ultimately helped my games:

Set expectations out of gate. This may be obvious to you and you may have already done this, but I was focused on teaching the game and overlooked this step. My new players were often embracing the “we can do/try anything” aspect of TTRPG and trying to get them to stay “on task” in a adventure/module was difficult. When I threw the switch fully over to sandbox self-directed play, they spun their wheels waiting for something to come to them. I finally had a come-to-Jesus with them and said that they can do one of the following:
1. Come up with goals & objectives for the characters in-world and pursue hooks that they think will help them reach those objectives. (self-directed play)
2. Bite on the hook in front of them. (GM-directed hook/story/adventure)
3. Sit around the table being bored because they won’t do option 1 or 2 and I’m not a mind reader.

Things went much more smoothly after that. But it took having the conversation to clear that hurdle. Otherwise, they just assumed I’d have “stuff” and hadn’t really thought about how/where it came from or what happened if they didn’t bite the hook.

Regular out-of-game check-ins. Your players didn’t take the deed/tavern hook. Ask them why it didn’t interest them. It’s less about how to make your failed hook interesting and more about identifying what does interest them.

Embrace the chaos. You commented that you “struggle with guiding a group through a sandbox”. Respectfully, that’s a problem right there. If you’re running a sandbox, you’ve got enough to do creating content and managing it at the table. You shouldn’t be “guiding” the players anywhere. That’s their job. Yes, you’ll want to lean heavily into the hooks/seeds/stories that you have ready to go but the minute you start pushing a path, you’re putting things that the players need to be responsible for back on your shoulders.

Show consequences This does involve a bit of extra work, but any story/hook should have an answer to “what happens if the players ignore this or fail?” Then, you need to present that consequence in-game/in-world. The players don’t follow the hook where someone gets rescued --> that person is killed. They don’t stop the gang from extorting business owners --> a merchant they know gets robbed, assaulted, or killed. You get the idea. The moment that a player connects the dots between “that’s the guy we ran into…that’s the job we turned down…crap, someone’s dead because we turned it down” you’ll often see a big upswing in player self-direction. Plus, it makes the world more believable and reinforces that what the players do – or don’t do in this case – matters.

This isn’t a punishment, btw. Once the sandbox is in full swing, it’s likely that the players can’t do everything even if they want to. And that’s a beautiful thing. Choices matter and it changes the stakes.

An example from my own campaign: Among the smaller quests/hooks, there were three significant threats encroaching on the home base town of the campaign. Each threat has a timetable of goals they will meet if the players don’t interfere. The players can’t physically be in 3 places at once and they’re far enough apart that at least one of the threats will achieve some objectives while another threat is being dealt with. This shows A) that the world isn’t static; B) the players choices have consequences; C) threats evolve. Once the initial threat progression is defined, I find it actually saves me prep as I’m just adjusting the villains influence, scope, or power (i.e. level) as they implement their plans rather than having to develop a new hook/story from scratch.

Zooming the lens and time. This one can be tough but here’s what’s worked for me. The challenge that I had was that if I played “day-by-day”, the players often didn’t care about downtime activities as they never shifted out of “adventuring mode” mindset. So I adopted a “Time Flies” rule (props to Kobold Press & Midgard) where weeks or months pass between game sessions. Suddenly, the players had all kinds of downtime things that they wanted to do rather than “it’s a month later and you’ve just been hanging out in a bar”. Again, this is out-of-game communication along the lines of “For next session, two weeks will have passed. Let me know what downtime activities you want to have been doing during that time, if any.”

I hope at least some of this helps. There’s more that I could weigh in on but this reply is already on the long side. Bottom line, sandbox & episodic play is the only campaign structure that has had long-term viability for my groups and campaigns and they absolutely can work well. In my experience, though, it requires two things: a GM who is willing to shelve and recycle content that isn’t used and players that understand that they have to engage with the sandbox.

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I’ve long been wanting to implement more of Ultimate Intrigue’s subsystems into my games but then-current adventures hadn’t presented a lot of natural opportunities and I wasn’t looking to do it just for the sake of doing it. After all, if they weren’t well-received, I’d burned valuable session time.

I like to run games heavy on world-building and verisimilitude and I learned long ago that unexpected turns and outcomes often produce the richest plot hooks/seeds/campaign fodder. So, when the heroes of one of my campaigns found themselves gaining local hero status in a town suddenly beset by troubles, I knew that I wanted them to participate in the baroness’ council meeting. I didn’t want them to be bystanders watching me role-play 5-6 different nobles and town leaders. That would be difficult for me to pull off and boring for them to watch. I also didn’t want to arbitrarily skip to the end and just summarize an outcome as I knew the players wouldn’t remember any of the NPCs and wouldn’t really care beyond “Quest giver will pay X”.

I was able to run an “out of session” session. The two heroes would be joined by two brand-new players for our game session on Saturday. I ran a session on Friday night for my 2 returning heroes and enlisted my older son (who plays with his own group or just with his younger brother) for the council meeting.

What follows is the prep that I did to help me learn the Verbal Duel rules as well as present them to the players in what I hoped would be an interesting way. I’m sure that there are many ways to introduce verbal duels into PF play, plenty of which would be better than what I came up with, but I thought I’d share in case it could be of use to other GMs.

1. I typed up a 1-page Verbal Duel rules summary that outlined the “combat sequence” of Verbal Duels & exchanges.

2. I typed up a 2-page Verbal Duel tactics summary that explained the available tactics for verbal dueling and the PF2 skills associated with them.

3. Each player was given a tent card. The table-facing side had 2 pictures with title & name labels – one for each of the NPCs they would be representing. The player-facing side had the same 2 pictures & name labels but also listed the NPCs motivations and relevant skills and skill bonuses. The tent cards didn’t assign personalities so that the players could bring the NPCs to life however they liked. They also didn’t list alignment. I knew what the NPCs’ alignments were but I left it to the players to interpret the NPCs motivations as they saw fit and play accordingly.

4. The goal of the council was to persuade the baroness, her steward, and the captain of the guard on a course of action for the barony. Side A were the “attackers” – lords and ladies advocating for mustering forces and attacking the threats head-on. Side B were the “defenders” – lords and ladies whose manors hadn’t been directly impacted and/or who were resistant to committing their resources to defending the barony at large for fear of weakening their own lands/position. To keep things even, I had to play 2 NPCs just like the players.

I’m sure I made a ton of mistakes with the rules and I was much more concerned with the spirit of the rules than the letter of RAW, but it worked out better than I expected.

From a GM perspective, by having the players take on the roles of various NPCs, personalities were defined, insults were hurled, and rivalries were created in the moment rather just through my GM prep. NPCs that I had envisioned as potential allies are now bitter rivals, schemes and stratagems have been hinted at, and a lord’s honor was insulted inadvertently by a PC and a grudge is definitely being held!

From a player perspective, the verbal duel rules were well received. The players found it interesting and as with any subsystem, they recognized that repeated use would lead to quicker play. One player said he wouldn’t want it to be part of every session but thought it would be cool when strategically used. This player struggled the most with choosing a tactic and then role-playing the exchange. Ultimately, for his turns we let him role-play what he wanted to say and then chose which tactic that equated to. The other players found it much easier to select the desired tactic & skill and then formulate/role-play the exchange.

Bottom line, we found the verbal dueling rules to be effective. They took what would have been boring exposition and turned it into a memorable campaign event full of role-play. All of the players said it was much better than the standard Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate check approach of PF1.

As a GM, it effectively turned what would have been typical prep into a meaningful encounter that also created numerous plot seeds for future adventures. My players will now remember who Lord So-and-So is and that Lady-What-and-What doesn’t like him because of this council meeting. Yes, I had to put in some extra/unusual prep for this initial use of the rules but the next time the heroes need to persuade a ruler, a mob, or take part in a trial, they will be at least passingly familiar with these rules. I also found them easy to adapt to PF2’s skills and I think the mechanics of PF2’s critical success and failure system further enhances the verbal dueling gameplay.

In any case, if you found any of this helpful and if you haven’t already done so, I hope you give the Verbal Duel rules and other Ultimate Intrigue subsystems a try. There ARE other battlefields to fight upon and they can’t all be won with a weapon or a spell! Happy gaming!

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This restful and enjoyable Christmas season included three sessions of PF2. The players were a mix of PF1 veterans and RPG newbies. The PF1 veterans were flexing their RPG muscles by playing character ancestries and classes that they hadn’t in our PF1 campaigns and the TRPG newbies were getting their feet wet on all fronts. So here are some comments and tidbits on characters and gameplay from those sessions.

1. Human Alchemist – played by PF1 player that had never played an alchemist previously but had one in his party for years. He found PF2’s alchemist very flavorful, was glad that alchemy was its own thing rather than “spells in a bottle” and was loving it when he made the clutch move of taking out the BBEG with his alchemical lightning and narrowly avoiding a TPK/capture event.
2. Halfling Fighter, Half-Orc Barbarian, Human Fighter & Human Ranger – between class options and 3-action economy, these players felt like they always had meaningful tactical choices to make and every "warrior" was distinct/unique.
3. Dwarf Bard – Played by a fan of Starfinder’s Envoy, this was a big departure for the player from a Pathfinder perspective but he quickly found his footing and felt the character was a contributor on social, magic, and combat fronts. He got his Envoy experience and was very pleased.
4. Human Cleric – Another instance of playing against type, this warpriest of a god of strength had multiple moments where he felt like an avatar of Thor. A cleric convert was born.
5. Goblin Druid – A gambler wild druid for a brand new player. He loved the primal fury bound inside a conniving gambler that was much more cosmopolitan than your average goblin. As it turned out he was part of a party infiltrating the lair of a goblin tribe that had fallen under a barghest’s rule. This sneaky, deception-focused, primal engine of death acted as advance scout and infiltrator and helped set up multiple ambushes. The heroes were able to act in stealth-commando mode almost the whole way to the barghest – and the players loved every minute of it.

The Rule of Cool - things that were very popular with players & the GM
1. New Action Economy – called out on multiple occasions by the PF1 veterans as a huge improvement.
2. New Magic Economy – cantrips + focus + spells; spellcasters said that they always felt that they had magic/spell options at their disposal. The action economy as it’s applied to spells was also super-intuitive for the new players to understand.
3. Conditions – super flavorful yet incredibly easy to apply, understand, and remember. Specifically, Dying & Wounded replacing negative hit points was received very positively by the PF1 veterans as being simpler, yet more flavorful.
4. The 4 degrees of success – this was a huge hit, even when a failure or critical failure didn’t go the players’ way. Sometimes it was the result achieved but I think the players just liked that it wasn’t a binary outcome.
5. Feel like an Action Hero – a combination of greater access to broader skills, higher hit points, ability to recover HP without an 8-hour rest, and hero points. Even at 1st and 2nd level, the players felt like their characters were heroes.
6. ABC character creation – even though PF2 is a crunchier system that creates detailed characters, the new character creation system was intuitive and easy for the newbies to understand.
7. Martials Being Bada-$ – Shield block was very popular as was the spell-less ranger. The new class abilities, level & class design, and 3-action economy had everyone happy with their characters but those who traditionally played casters were impressed with the new flexibility of martials.

The What Now? Effect – things that weren’t viewed as bad but did cause a pause or discussion as it produced an unexpected/unusual effect
1. Treat Wounds – The ability to keep going as you would expect in books, TV, or movies was great. A character going from 1 hit point to full HP from a critical success on a Medicine check did kind of break suspension of disbelief momentarily. I’m really hoping that the GMG’s implementation of Starfinder’s Stamina/HP system finds a better middle ground for those who want little more grit but who don’t want to abandon some rapid healing/recovery.
2. Secret Checks – It was an unexpected change for PF1 veterans but everyone liked these and said that they made perfect sense.

Gifts for the GM – things that I appreciated from the other side of the screen
1. More robust characters – characters still have roles to fill but aren’t the 1-trick ponies of PF1. Players embraced trying new things much more readily and weren’t afraid to try things that grognards would say were “suboptimal”.
2. Easier to run Monsters – I was a multi-decades long “monsters should be built via PC rules” guy. Starfinder put cracks in that wall but PF2 tore the wall down. Monsters with shorter stat blocks but more flavorful abilities are a joy and a breeze to run at the table.
3. Exploration Mode – being able to shift focus from between Encounter - Exploration – Downtime in a more codified way was not only easier for me to run but to explain/set expectations with the players. They understood it almost immediately and it prevented being stuck in combat/encounter mode and dragging out the actions & events between combats.
4. Conditions – as noted above but worth a 2nd shout-out
5. Secret Checks – the “my teammate rolled low so let me try too” effect is dead. Thank God. The game moves faster, players don’t know things that their characters shouldn’t, and no one is arguing about “seeing the roll”.

All in all, PF2 has been met with tremendously positive feedback by my players, both new and old. The game is easier to teach and runs faster. I also continue to find that its internal consistency and flexibility make it far easier to create new/missing game mechanics. Creating/adapting game mechanics is my least favorite part of GM duties but unlike with PF1 or other RPGs, I’m much less fearful that I can create something that is tremendously unbalanced or broken. And once I have the Gamemastery Guide, which I now consider to be PF2’s 3rd core rulebook in my hands, I expect to have more tools to tinker with and more examples of how to adapt prior subsystems to my PF2 campaigns.

AJCarrington wrote:
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I love Pathbuilder2E and I am deep into Fantasy Grounds. I use it for 2E and my one leftover 1E game.

Trenloe is doing a great job with PF2 on FG.
Are you able to print out a character built with their tool?

As I understand it, no. I just picked up FG during their recent Winter Sale, though, so perhaps I just haven't figured out how to do it yet.

As a VTT, FG has a different focus than HLO.

Gah! Is it February yet?!?

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Ravingdork wrote:


A potential playmate and fellow adventurer for Tarka Firefang. XD

Halvin (aka Spiff), imaginative kid explorer (CN male irongut goblin animal whisperer ranger 6)

"It’s a magical world, Cobbes, ol’ buddy…Let’s go exploring!"

Halvin is a six-year-old gobbo with a spiky blond wig glued to his head, a distinctive red animal-hide coat, and striped pants. Halvin demonstrates his imagination and intelligence through a sophisticated vocabulary, philosophical mind and creative/artistic talent. He does not possess much of a filter between his brain and his mouth, is a little too intelligent for his age, lacks restraint, and is not yet old enough to have the experience to “know the things that you shouldn’t do.”

Halvin was orphaned as a young boy when poachers murdered his parents while looking for the tiger he allegedly stole from them. The tribe quickly drove off the poachers, then drove off Halvin and his pet tiger for having brought trouble into their midst in the first place. As such, Halvin was forced to grow up learning how to survive on his own. Though extremely intelligent and imaginative, he is still young for a goblin, and does not yet fully comprehend much about the cultures of goblins and other humanoids. He generally spends most of his time playing with Hobbes and other animal friends in the wild, imagining that he is some sort of superhero explorer named “Spiff.”

As a huge Calvin & Hobbes fan back in the day, I can't tell you how much I loved this! Great work as always.

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Hsui wrote:

It is wonderful that Lone Wolf has kickstarter-like supporters who understand that their product is still in development for PF2 and that people need to pay to make it usable. People have to understand that when they buy into Hero Lab Online, they are investing in a product that should eventually become usable as a tableside tool once they have enough people buying into it

It is effectively a subscription model which means you should count on at least $100/yr per person to support the ongoing development

Threadcrap much?

1. The point was abandoning a RPG system over a single character builder seems excessive.

2. I stated that HLO needs work but is steadily receiving improvements & fixes.

3. The D&D Beyond comparison was flawed for reasons I laid out.

4. I’m able to use HLO for my campaigns and players using 1 license and a $48 outlay of cash ($35 CRB + $13 Bestiary). No one needs to spend $100+, let alone do it per year.

5. And all of this optional. As in want, not need. Play what you like, buy the character builder you want. Or don’t.

6. Assuming that HLO will be 100% at feature parity at this point shows an ignorance of software development effort and costs, a level of ignorance equal to expecting the PF2 CRB to have equivalent options to PF1’s 10 year run in a single book, or both. (Note: I don’t think this was the OP’s expectation, FYI). If it’s your expectation, Hsui, good luck.

I’m always open to better tools. If something better than HLO unseats it as my character builder of choice, Lone Wolf had me for a customer for a long time. Right now, however, HLO is the best option available for my needs, warts and all. That doesn’t make me a “Kickstarter-like supporter”.

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Timothy A Dohrer wrote:

Now I know this is a rather extreme position

Yes, I would agree that it is.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
They don't like the interface.

Personal taste. Fair enough.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
They balked at the cost. There have been significant bugs and glitches in the software. There have not been enough system upgrades. They don't like being tethered to the Internet. They don't want to pay additional money for additional packages. There was not support for Age of Ashes at launch.

You seem to be expecting Lone Wolf's small team (which just went through some painful restructuring) to have the same resources as Curse - which was bought by Fandom and according to public Internet sources has 300+ employees. Lone Wolf doesn't have a staff close to that size.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
And then this week we get great new that Age of Ashes package is available, but it is only the first 3 adventures

For now.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
AND it will cost each of them $9.99.

Is there really enough AP-specific mechanical content their that ALL of your players need/want the add-on? And if so, that's $10 for 6 APs worth of content.

Timothy A Dohrer wrote:
There are no clear alternatives out there for iPad/MacOS.

So, this is actually a positive for HLO for your group but it's presented as a negative. Ok...

Respectfully, you seem to be applying some pretty unrealistic expectations to Lone Wolf and Hero Lab Online. The amount of content that Lone Wolf had to digest and encode for PF2's launch was MASSIVE. For comparison's sake:

D&D 5e's PHB launched August 2014. D&D Beyond was announced in March 2017 and launched in August 2017. Curse also had revenue streams prior to the D&D Beyond partnership with WotC and independent of tabletop RPGs. Lone Wolf's entire existence is effectively predicated on RPG/wargame support.

PF2 launched August 2019. PF2 HLO content for Core Rulebook also launched August 2019. Lone Wolf also coded the PF2 Playtest into HLO a year prior when the playtest launched.

Ultimately, you seem to want hold HLO to a standard that even D&D Beyond didn't meet initially. The fact that Lone Wolf was able to have the content of a 600+ book ready at launch with a team their size is amazing.

Does HLO need improving? It sure does. But improvements do continue to happen. And they are still releasing content that is timed to, or very close to, when those products are released by Paizo.

And while I applaud your enthusiasm for PF2, it's not like Paizo drops an entire AP in the same month, so I can't see how you're faulting Lone Wolf for releasing AP packages and then ding them for "only the first 3". I suppose that they could have waited until all 6 are released but then the complaint would have been nothing was available. And are you really playing through the AP so quickly that you're into Book 4? By all means, dive in and play the game, but developing content takes time. Paizo doesn't always have an AP's pawn set available until well after that AP's installments are out and they're publishing a different AP.

Many of the issues that you raise have been addressed by Lone Wolf as to why the architectural changes are necessary or have been acknowledged that alternatives are being reviewed/considered but announcements aren't being made until viability is assessed. (Check out LW's forums for more details.) Pricing is being looked at, Lone Wolf has talked about "family licenses" and things of that nature. They also view HLO as being in a beta-style-state and aren't charging for server access yet. And while I haven't looked at in over a year, D&D Beyond's pricing was a turnoff for me. A quick stop at D&D Beyond today greeted me with a $300+ Sourcebook bundle, a $630+ Legendary bundle, and a $364 Adventure bundle. Granted that's a lot of content, but it ain't cheap. Especially, if I also want a physical book copy. And I'm SoL if I want a PDF...

For that matter, although I purchased a 5e PHB, I decided the game wasn't for me - but that was based on 5e limitations/weaknesses, not D&D Beyond weaknesses.

These reasons included:

1. Lack of mechanical variety within classes.
2. Every class effectively having a magic-powered subclass/theme (so much for 5e being the "lower magic" edition).
3. No PDFs
4. The game seems to be heavily tilted in the players favor. As in, unless you're playing a Matt Colville "I don't believe in CR" style game, the players being at risk is rare. This is a strictly subjective assessment derived by watching Actual Play sessions on YouTube or Twitch.

(If 5e is your jam, have a blast. PF2 is mine.)

I too, like my electronic tools. I like HLO well enough but I recognize that it's early in its lifecycle and refinement will take time. But I would never drop PF2 if HLO didn't exist or I decided it wasn't for me.

So, to answer the question in the title of your thread: Only if you let it.

As noted by SuperBidi, PF2 skills seem to support more variance in skill DCs and definitely support more GM flexibility in assigning DCs.

I suspect more in depth guidelines for setting DCs might appear in the Gamemastery Guide or a future supplement.

The way I run skills like Society is that it is a much broader topic than a specific Lore skill. Being trained in a Lore skill nets a lower DC on a check to represent the more focused but in-depth knowledge.

I also apply modifiers based on distance or familiarity. So, if a party of PCs steps off a ship at the docks of a city & nation that they've never visited, the DCs for things like Society checks are going to get a +5 or +2 modifier until they've spent a few weeks in-region.

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I strongly recommend Basics4Gamers Pathfinder (2e) Basics series. The videos on Perception and Concealment and the Basics of Stealth are great videos with examples to reinforce the new rules.

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Cydeth wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Cydeth wrote:
The thing I think you're forgetting is how little of the Lost Omens World Guide was mechanics.

No, I'm not forgetting that. You're reinforcing my point.

How? The GMG is going to have tons of mechanics. They're completely different writing teams between world lore and mechanics, from everything I've seen.

Let's chalk it up to miscommunication via written forum vs. spoken word. You're arguing a point that I'm not refuting nor particularly interested in.

The point of my OP was that PF2 continues to surprise and delight me and kudos to Paizo for creating an elegant new edition. ANYTHING after that was commentary along the lines of "and I feel this way despite any personal preference I might have towards the Gamemaster Guide being core, critical content that I would have liked to have sooner".

If my saying "Despite any minor criticisms I may have over prioritizing Lost Omens content over the GG (for reasons that could be valid, invalid, avoidable or unavoidable - it doesn't matter), PF2 is a home run in my book" doesn't drive home the point I was trying to make, then I cede the hill to you.

Enjoy your Pathfinder, folks. I'm certainly enjoying mine.

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Cydeth wrote:
The thing I think you're forgetting is how little of the Lost Omens World Guide was mechanics.

No, I'm not forgetting that. You're reinforcing my point.

Regardless, the game is great, which was the point of my post. If February is the absolute earliest a GG could hit the street, I'll live. Is it ideal? No. Far from it. Could it have been handled differently? Perhaps. Again, that wasn't the point.

Despite any minor criticisms I may have over prioritizing Lost Omens content over the GG (for reasons that could be valid, invalid, avoidable or unavoidable - it doesn't matter), PF2 is a home run in my book.

I don’t think the time between launch and Gamemastety Guide shipping was much of a window for feedback. Perhaps the additional time was needed, but CRB feedback, rewrites, layout, print, and ship? Seems like a tall order to me.

Regardless, the Gamemastery Guide content - at least a lot of it - IS core mechanics. It should have landed closer to launch. A GM shouldn’t have to wait 6-7 months for chases, hazards, NPCs, vehicles, etc. Campaign creation advice is good to have when you want to start running a game, etc. I’d rank it far, far above a New Thassilon update, for example.

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While my intake of PF2 via reading, GM prep, and at the table continues to progress, I wanted to shout out to Paizo that PF2 is amazing, thus far. I really appreciate the approach the design team took with this game. I appreciate the ability to walk the tightrope of preserving the core experience while taking the opportunity to innovate and clean up problematic areas. As my experience with the game and the new rules continues to grow, the word I keep coming back to is “elegant”. This game is easier to prep, easier to run, more thematically consistent with itself, easier to teach, faster to run, more dynamic tactically, and – in my experience, anyway – consistently facilitates the creation of interesting characters. While a core rulebook can’t possibly contain the breadth of character options that a decade-long edition can, I definitely feel that PF2’s CRB supports a range of character options that is orders of magnitude greater & meaningful than PF1’s CRB did.

For the most part, I’ve been persuaded by some of the design or production choices I was less excited about. Although I think the exclusion of NPC creation in the core rulebook was a misstep (and would have been a better section than the Setting gazetteer chapter), Paizo at least provided those creation rules for free. I was never a fan of NPCs using different rules than PCs prior to Starfinder but now I am. I like PF2’s take even better. Combat level/power separated from social/skill level of ability? 'Bout damn time. NPCs that are a social challenge/obstacle without having to also be a combat threat? Thank you!

As for the launch, the only real criticisms I have is that the Gamemastery Guide should have been called out more explicitly as the 3rd pillar of the core trinity (Core, Bestiary, Gamemastery Guide) rather than the GM customization book. NPC creation, chases, hazards, etc. are all core GM content, IMO. While I understand the desire & need to get updated setting info out early, I think the GG should have taken higher priority than the two Lost Omens books released to date. Having to wait until February to get the GG is taking FOREVER. I don't run my games in Golarion but even if I did, the need for the GG would far outweigh the importance of the content in the Lost Omens books.

I know that min-maxing builds was part of the appeal of PF1 for some people. While I don’t begrudge anyone their desire for fun, I am glad to see that PF2 really wasn’t built with min-maxing in mind. At least, that appears to be the case for me. Balance and meaningful choices are much more consistent across the board and kudos for reworking the underlying math to make that design philosophy possible.

Thanks, Paizo, for this awesome game.

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Zaister wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
And as the preview on Paizo's Facebook indicates, there will be rules for gestalt PCs in this book.
Waste of space, if you ask me...

Although, I'd never use it, I don't begrudge fans that like the concept getting it.

However, it should really live in a book like PF Unchained!, IMO. Player options tend to take up lots of page count and anything that takes away tools from one of the likely rare GM-focused books will disappoint. In other words, I don't want chases, hexploration, or any of the subsystems given short shrift and reduced page count so gestalt could make it in.

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Mark Seifter wrote:

Also, the queen's investiture with the nation's rulership might grant her some additional benefits, causing her to have much strong Will or Perception, say, than you might expect for her level.

Another thing you can do is use the variant rules from the Gamemastery Guide when that book comes out, which we've previewed will include a variant for adjusting the scaling to remove level from the equation.

Since NPCs are decoupled from PC classes (if desired) in PF2, wouldn't it also be possible for the "Social Level" of NPC rulers be higher while "Combat Level" stays in a lower range? So the new king/queen might only be 18 years old (and a low-level combatant) but could still be a ruler with an iron spine (and higher Diplomacy, Deception, and Intimidate skills) by virtue of their education/training?

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Honestly, the Cult of Cinders stuff is worth mining for inspiration but not much else. It is pretty bare-bones and specific to that AP/story.

You could do a lot worse than picking up the the PDF for PF1's Ultimate Campaign. The building system would easily serve the base-building aspect and the event tables would be easily adapted.

Whether you want to adapt the Labor, Capital, & Influence mechanics is up to you but it shouldn't be too difficult. The Downtime rules that exist in the PF2CRB had their origins in the the Downtime systems from Ultimate Campaign.

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Some people can't "win" unless someone else is "losing".

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