I searched for this and all I got was rulings on the effects of these feats from Champions of Purity, but not this. I can see that, by RAW, Celestial Totem only has a lv8 pre-requisite and doesn't mention having to also have the Lesser version while the Greater one does require having the regular one.
Is this an editing mistake or is this intentional?
The bestiary says that when you have parties larger than 4, you must increase the XP total of the enemies to compensate. There is a handy chart and everything, so it's pretty easy. But this also comes with a warning: "Add mooks instead of using bigger enemies or it can end badly."
From my experience, TTRPG party sizes are generally between 4 and 6 PCs. And all sizes in that range are decently represented. Let's talk about a hypothetical party of 6.
A lot of monsters in any RPG bestiary will be "solitary" encounters where you can't really add more creatures without screwing up the ecology or adding another member of the same species (which would make the encounter too hard). Good examples of this are Dragons, Manticores and Bullettes, to name a few iconic ones.
When a 6-man party is at the level where they could face one of these, the difficulty is going to be a lot lower compared to a 4-man party, so the GM should need to make some ajdustments. Since adding more enemies is out of the question, you need to power it up somehow or replace with a bigger creature. The Bestiary says this is dangerous, but it can be done in some instances.
The issue is that when you can do this is pretty inconsistent. Going +1 Level ont he bestiary may result in +1s across the board, which the larger party can handle, but at other times you also get a lot of +2 and +3 increases, the latter which can end in a quick TPK. The advanced template thing they got is also a pretty big boost to monster power.
So one issue here is that monster scaling is not linear or on a smooth curve, but instead has big spikes up in power at particular levels while it's linear at others. This means that if the 6-man party is at the wrong level, they could be horribly killed by upping enemy level by 1, whereas it works perfectly fine sometimes.
I think either the power curve should be smoothed a bit, or the GMs given more guidance on handling the scaling of solitary encounters.
The other issue that compunds it is the "tight math paradigm" people been talking about a lot lately here. That +3 wouldn't necessarily spell death in other RPGs, but in the PF2E playtest it is practically insurmountable because of the degrees of success system and few ways to gain boosts besides leveling up.
If the mechanics remain as it is, Adventures should be careful in the guidance they offer GMs for scaling encounters to challenge larger/smaller groups (PFS ones often do), or the XP budget system adjustments may need to become more nuanced for these edge cases.
As it is, straying too much from the 4-man party means your only real choice is to stick to groups of small enemies and adjust their numbers accordingly. Using big monsters just results in a mess.
If you've been on the Playtest forums since 2E was announced, I'm sure you have heard the developers talking about why some of the design choices were made. The original Pathfinder RPG was not a perfect game by any means, even if it is still a great game. It has some glaring issues that the developers correctly identified and then set off to try and fix for 2E. This sounds like a pretty good way to begin designing a new game, but I think some of that fell down the wayside at some point.
I will be looking at the "Promises" of PF2 and how the current playtest seems to be addressing the issues from Pathfinder 1st edition. I will be going 1 by 1, using the same format for all of my analysis. I'll go through them roughly in the order they appear in the playtest rulebook.
**Ancestry Ability Scores**
Problem: The races in Pathfinder were quite distinct, but they shoehorned their members into certain classes because of how unforgiving the point Buy system was. Trying to raise the stat you got a -2 penalty on was a losing proposition and getting 18s without a boost was very expensive.
Promise: We would get floating Ancestry bonuses to allow characters to shore up their penalty or boost an ability they otherwise wouldn't be that great at, thus opening up a lot more build options while keeping the choice of ancestry more relevant than it is in Starfinder.
Solution Rating: Good
Opinion: While Ancestries are still limited by their attribute penalty, the new ability score generation system makes them a lot more flexible in what builds they can be good at. It's not too hard to get a 18 even on something your ancestry doesn't automatically boost. I'm fine with still being a bit restricted since it makes the choice of Ancestry meaningful, but not prohibitive.
Problem: Races were only ever important a level 1. Many of them offered some very interesting general feats unique to them, but most of the time they couldn't compete with other combat options you could take with that same feat. As a result, it was rare that characters would develop their ancestry past character creation. Additionally, the alternate racial feature system was rather inelegant and tacked in as a patch, even if it was pretty succesful.
Promise: Characters would get special feat slots that could only be used on those Ancestry feats, allowing developers to create powerful and flavorful abilities that were race-locked. Selecting your racial features at level 1 would be part of the universal feat system and more flexible at both launch and with future splats.
Solution Rating: Extremely BAD
Opinion: While maybe they fixed the second issue a bit, it just caused more Problems. They did not fix the first issue at all, and in fact, made it worse than it already was by a lot. Ancestries were gutted and recieve no abilities except senses and movement speed, everything else is a feat.
Problem: Traits could make it extremely time consuming to build a PF1 character since there were a lot of them and you had to pick 2. Unfortunately some traits were better than others and most people used them for optimization and then ignored the background information they gave, thus defeating the purpose of their creation. Besides these, there was really no aid in developing character's backstories and previous occupation unless you used Unchained Background Skills.
Promise: You would pick a background that summarizes some aspect of the character's backstory during character creation (like in 5E) and it would give you some weak but flavorful skills and feats to flesh out your character. The limited size of the list would make it easy for an unexperienced player to just pick one and get something to work with. They would give ability score boosts to further push some classes into certain typical backgrounds.
Solution Rating: Decent
Opinion: Backgrounds do indeed work as advertised and I don't think it takes more than 5 minutes to pick one during character creation. They all follow a specific format with no variation, which ensures that they are mostly balanced with each other unlike traits. For an experienced player they seem kind of pointless, however, seeing as they amount to a Skill Feat + a Lore skill trained. There really isn't a lot to playtest about them and it would be nice to be able to make your own following the guidelines. They're just there.
Problem: There really wasn't much of a Problem to fix, but instead just a need to formalize the class structure that was developed by Pathfinder for use in most of the classes. However, not all classes benefited from this design and were left really bare, such as Fighter, Wizard and Cleric. Fighter eventually go out of this with so many fighter-only options being created that they could use their bonus feats on.
Promise: Classes would get an ability unique to them every even level to let you customize them and increase build variety. The system would be universal and the "talents" would be divided into a lot more tiers than "basic" and "advanced" so they could be better balanced for the time they become available. Every class would have features to trade out for archetypes now. Analysis paralysis during level up would be mitigated by having the list start out small and then expand.
Solution Rating: Decent.
Opinion: This system does indeed meet many of the goals it was advertised to. All classes have a bunch of Class Feat slots to build the character they envisioned (Some classes are missing class feats randomly here and there, though). The list does start out small at first but it becomes pretty expansive later, which makes creating a character and leveling up quite fast.
Problem: There used to be a lot of feats that improved skills in interesting ways, but much like any other feat, they were always ignored because combat feats were just too important to not take every time. No sub-system was developed to make taking these feats more attractive although some builds could use them to get insane modifiers if they knew what they were doing.
Promise: Skill Feats would no longer compete with feats that improve combat or class abilities so every character would be able to take some without fear of opportunity cost.
Solution Rating: Big Success
Opinion: Class feats set out to fix a pretty simple but annoying issue and they deliver exactly what you expected. The skill feat options we got aren't exactly mind-blowing until you get to the Legendary ones, but just having the system in place will eventually make all skills feel worth investing into. Every character can and has to take at least some of these.
**New Action Economy**
Problem: The action system in PF1 started out pretty simple, but quite limiting. Then it developed into something very complicated and still quite limiting. On the positive side, actions had some sort of "tiers" of power, with standard actions being superior to move actions, for example. This let abilities be balanced based on the action they used, but it also made some clases start requiring flowcharts to figure out how to best optimize their use. And while characters could move and attack, many of them could do much more than this. At level 6+, Full Attacks discouraged characters from moving around too much if they wanted to maximize their damage.
Promise: The action system would be simplified so all actions would be of the same value and characters would get THREE of them, expanding what they could do before. Now you could Move -> Attack -> Move and other cool things like that. Also iterative attacks were available right from Level 1! Tactical choice would be expanded while keeping things simple.
Solution Rating: Good
Opinion: Indeed characters now have 3 actions and they can move or attack or whatever with each of them. Characters could try iterative attacks even from level 1 and the mysterious 5-foot-step was made a lot more clear.
Problem: Multiclassing was very simple in 3E/PF and anyone could figure it out. However, in practice, it was quite tricky to use it to achieve the concepts you wanted. Multiclassing abandoned your original class for a while to get the low level abilities of others. Some classing had very strict scaling which would make their abilities extremely weak if they multiclassed (Mostly spellcasters), while others had amazing level 1-3 abilities that made it very powerful to dip in them. In the end, it was rarely used to achieve complicated character concepts and more for crazy optimization. Archetypes and the new classes were the primary way to achieve the concepts that multiclassing once promised.
Promise: A more robust VMC style system that would allow characters to get the abilities of other classes, even the higher level ones, while not compromising the scaling of their current class. No longer would there be dips that lead to amazing power or ideas that lead to pathetic characters.
Solution Rating: Okay
Opinion: The new multiclassing achieves what it promised! Characters can mix any 2 classes (Well, not all 12 yet) and be pretty decent at using the powers of both without needing Hybrid Classes. Unfortunately the new multiclassing also came with consequences that compromise some of the good things that old multiclassing could achieve. Characters can no longer change their primary class once chosen (not even with retraining). This limits a lot of organic character development concepts. So even though we have a lot of new builds, it also removed others. I still think we gained more than we lost, however.
And that's it for my review, I hope you found it useful! I personally like the new chassis for Pathfinder and think they succeeded at many of the goals that were promised, but many came with unintended side effects that ruined them.
I certainly missed some concepts, such as Resonance, but I've not familiarized myself enough with them yet to say much.
If you disagree with any of my entries, feel free to post your own version, same if there's something I missed.
You know what I'm talking about. Character's AC doesn't increase with level except by acquiring magic items or other higher level powers, but even the lowly wizard gets an increasing BAB PLUS all of the same magic items and abilities that boost it.
What ends up happening is that a low level tank fighter (Say full plate and heavy shield) will have like 21-22 AC, which will be awesome for a lot of the early levels. But by like level 10, he is probably not gonna be that close to 30 AC (Add +2 armor, +1 shield, +1 deflection +1 nat armor) but his attack bonus will likely have increased by a more significant amount, often up to +10 difference.
What this causes is that, unless you're using some special build to get AC, monster attack rolls eventually become kinda autohit as they start getting like +20 on their attack rolls (Way higher at CR10) and they also start getting more and more silly natural armor bonuses to keep up with the rapidly increasing attack bonuses, while the PCs dont have this luxury.
What do you think 2E will to to address this issue? Some measure of bounded accuracy? Perhaps some way for AC to scale together with BAB?