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So, coming off 4e and 5e D&D where two-handed ranged weapons are balanced against one-handed melee weapons of the same 'tier' (simple/martial/exotic), into playing PF2, ranged weapons just feel weak. Their damage output may have felt better in 3.5 where everything had much lower hitpoints, but in pf2 it just feels archaic.

My changes (and the reasons for them) would be:
General rules and Traits
♦ Ranged and Finesse weapons default to Dexterity for attacks AND damage.
♦ Thrown weapons change the attack AND damage of the weapon to Strength. Finesse then changes it to Dexterity as normal.
♦ The propulsive trait changes the damage to (full) Strength mod
A slight buff to all ranged weapons. Flat dice to damage is not threatening at any level of play, and a small (~+1) bonus is not that much more in the scheme of things. Thrown weapons' attacks being off Strength gives strong characters a decent (although still relatively short range) option for ranged combat, with finesse then keeping specific ones (mostly) the same as things are now.

Specific Weapons
♦ Dart and Shuriken gain the Finesse trait
♦ Composite Bows lose the Propulsive trait, Regular Bows gain it.
♦ Longbows lose the Deadly and Volley traits.
Composite bows getting the upgrade of one stat for attack and damage makes sense in a balance sense, with them costing more money. They are also constructed to take the strain off the user, allowing for precision (Dexterity) to have an effect over Strength. Longbows losing the Deadly trait keeps it in line with most Martial one-handed weapons as it's getting damage boosts from Str/Dex now. Keeping the Deadly trait on Shortbows keeps them in line with Rapiers and gives them a different niche to longbows.


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I'll let the maths speak for itself

Some assumptions I made during this:
♦ Lone PC is on foot and has +3 for damage modifier atribute at level 1, rising to +5 at level 20. No Feats or Powers to adjust damage or accuracy.
♦ One 'Target Dummy' with AC such that 10 on d20 is a hit for the first attack (so crit on 20). Doesn't move or any other reactions. Not Flat-footed. HP is average for level 1 or 20 as from LuniasM's spreadsheet
♦ The following weapon traits have no direct effect on damage: Attached, Finesse, Free-Hand, Nonlethal, Maneuvers (Disarm/Shove/Trip), Parry, Racial/Class, Reach, Thrown, Unarmed, Versatile.
♦ The following weapon traits have no effect in this situation: Sweep, Backstabber. I may go back and adjust the scenario so that they are counted too.

Things I learned or had confirmed for me:
♦ Dice size trumps all, except in a couple of circumstances (deadly when you can only hit on a crit)
♦ A d3 'weapon' exists! It's universally awful!


I feel that, there are too many less-than-necessary rolls in combat at the moment. Yes, a lot of these only come up in certain situations, but a they slow the game down more than is needed (not counting the time to look up the rules for the situation). Examples include:
Afflictions and Persistent Damage (why are they seperate systems?): roll at the end of your turn (or, vaguely defined, as an action for persistent damage) then roll for the damage
Being in darkness without a way to see (why are the rules for this across THREE sections of the book?, also discounting the action requirement to seek with other senses, another roll): roll a flat (DC11) check, then roll to hit as normal

My solutions to the above tould be:
Remove the roll for damage from Afflictions and Persistent Damage, make the damage equal to average of the current dice for the effect (and make Persistent Damage run off the Afflictions system)
Instead of the flat check for attacking a target you can't see, impose a penalty: -5 would work.

Thoughts?


Ran Lost Star for a group of friends over the weekend, this is how it went and my impressions:

Party (In order of character creation)

Spoiler:

Nasrudin, a Half-Elf Ranger
John (goblin name: Ghamdoob), a Goblin Paladin
Duldar, a Dwarf Paladin
Ylva, a Half-Elf Wizard
Slartibartfast, a Goblin Bard (joined at the start of session 2)

Session 1:

Spoiler:

A1: Sewer Ooze: Went down in half a round, partly because I didn't notice that it was immune to crits. Don't think it would have lasted much longer with that in place though.
A2: 4 Goblin Warriors: After some taunts between John and the his ex-tribemates, the fight went quickly (as one would expect from 4 level 0 enemies)
A3: 6 Giant Centipedes: The room (and especially its entrance) is too small to fit the centipedes and the PCs, so they ended up bottlenecked in the entrance and John went down mid-fight. A workout for the affliction rules. Ylva, with her aoe magic was mvp here.

Session 2:

Spoiler:

A5: Mindfog fungus: Nasrudin passed the nature check to know about its weakness to fire, and they threw a torch in.
A6: Party detected magic, but decided not to look into the pool. Noone in the party had the theivery skill to unlock the door, so they kicked it down (alerting the goblins in A7 and Drakus)
Ylva's player had to leave at this point, so Ylva hung back in this room
A9: Sands of the Boneyard: Trap was sprung, but noone took damage (Duldar and Nasrudin passed the initial save, after that they could walk through the cloud in one action)
A10: Drakus and Giant Rat: Drakus hid, got a sneak attack off, then died in 1 round. Rat lasted a bit longer, inflicting filth fever on Slarti.
A11: Group pocketed the dagger (couldn't roll high enough to identify) and the holy book without reading it.
A12: Group unlocked chest with master key, took the money, gems and Star. Left the rest as they realised it was stolen (including Notes on the Last Theorem)
A7: 2 Goblin Warriors, 1 Goblin Commando, 1 Goblin Pyro: Coming in from the A12 path, Slarti attempted to intimatde the goblins with the head of Drakus but rolled poorly. Through poor tactics (having the melee characters climb down the cliff), poor rolls (low on the party's part, I rolled ~4 crits across the fight, including the pyro's produce flame at Slarti on round 1) and lack of light (though only affecting Nasrudin) the party had a lot of trouble with this fight. Lead to a wild chase around most of the dungeon, alerting Ylva to the fight (who I piloted to save the group)

Thoughts:
♦ A lot of the fights were either trivial, or unintentionally difficult.
♦ Even at level 3 (which should not be a thing level 1 PCs fight), Drakus was a pushover because it was 2v4.
♦ Finesse and Ranged weapons suck, 1d6 damage is not enough to threaten a 15+hp PC.
♦ A few systems (afflictions, persistent damage, blinded) need to be streamlined to reduce the amounts of rolls per turn e.g. any damage from afflictions/persistent damage needs to be flat, not a roll.
♦ The rules for being in total darkness are across THREE seperate sections in the book, these all need to be togther. Also as in my last point, they need to be streamlined to have less rolling (a simple penalty to rolls would suffice).
♦ Monster maths seems to be all over the place, needs to be more standardised (look at 4e's monster stats rules)
♦ A few of the areas (A3 and A8 stand out, but kinda A2 too) are far too small for the amount of creatures there. They barely fit the enemies, let alone the PCs


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I've always found it weird in D&D/pf how some spells/effects have the originator roll for how well a spell affects its target (through an attack roll) and some have the target roll (through a save).
How would people feel about standardizing that, so that it's always the entity originating the effect making the roll? It's a simple change, just remove the '10' from the existing DC, move that onto the existing saves, and flip the '4 degrees of success' tables' effects.
You could even go a step further and make attack rolls for spells be against these new F/R/W values (and base them off the casting stat of the class to standardise them, and save space in the books), and give (more) equipment to affect spell attack rolls and 'saves'


What Paizo have done (mostly copying D&D 4e) with skills is a great start, but I believe they should go the whole hog:
♦ Lore should be one skill, with the redundant uses (e.g. specific god lore, magical lore) rolled into their relevant other skills
♦ Performance and Craft should be removed, they are downtime activities and thus shouldn't need a roll. If you want to have make performance to have a certain effect on your audience, you should use the relevant skill (e.g. if you want to calm people down with your singing, roll diplomacy)


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(Not sure if this is where something like this is supposed to go as it includes player options)

What's stopping intelligent monsters from just ignoring the frontline characters and just going after the squishy wizards etc? I can get less intelligent ones not recognising the difference, but a creature with at least average intelligence knowing that someone in heavy armour, carrying a shield is (in theory) a harder target to kill.

With OAs restricted to fighters (and level 6! Paladins), eating the character's reaction for the turn AND having a penalty to hit there seems to be little to no way to tank in this edition. I know this was a problem with D&D 3.5 (and the coat of paint that was pf1) but this just seems to be even worse.

My solution would be:
♦ Make OAs a basic reaction, so everyone has access to it
♦ Remove the -2 penalty to hit with OAs and/or make them a separate (free, but once a turn, not round) action
♦ Replace the 'Attack of Opportunity' feature on fighter with 'Retributive Strike' from Paladin
♦ Replace the 'Attack of Opportunity' level 6 feat on Paladin with 'Improved Retributive Strike', removing the -2 penalty to hit


Why are finesse weapons triply punished?
♦ They have smaller damage dice than non-finesse weapons (something that gets more and more relevant at higher levels).
♦ They use strength for damage, so you either need to put a lot into str (negating the point of using a finesse weapon in the first place) or do less damage.
♦ They either cost more sp or have fewer other traits than a non-finesse weapon
Any one of these (preferably the third) would make them balanced. It just seems to me that someone at Paizo really dislikes the idea of a dex-based swashbuckler type being able to be as effective as a brute.

As a side note, similar applies to ranged weapons: They have smaller damage dice compared to melee, they either don't get a mod to damage or get strength (half for bows) and have reloading to worry about.

PS: whoever thought up the 'volley' trait needs to be fired.