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I totally agree with OP. Abilities don't need to be equally useful for every class, but investing in a stat should have some utility for any character.

INT should be pretty easy fix, just needs to boost skills in some way as others have posted.

STR affecting heavy armor would be simple. Alternatively, maybe Strength needs a proper saving throw now. Currently, Athletics is basically performing this function for the Break Grapple action. On the flip side, Grapple and Shove are being made against the opponent's Fort DC, while some monster abilities (Golem inexhorable march) require a Fort saving throw. Wouldn't strength be more important than Con (which I think of as hardiness) for resisting physical movements like these? My guess is that these are relegated to Con so that Athletics isn't a mandatory skill to train just for defense. So, why not add a Str based save. (Not a fan of every ability having a save though.)


I like the idea of barbarian with CON. Maybe CON could have a slightly expanded role for the class, like giving a bonus to the otherwise flat roll for continuing rage rounds. For example, the roll at the end of the second round of rage would be DC 7, but you get to add your CON mod to the roll. So, with typical builds, you'd be looking at a 75% to 90% chance of continuing rage.


ShadeRaven wrote:

You dropped HPs so that combat lasts 3 rounds for you.. and that took 45 minutes. And you consider that fast?

Honestly, it might have been closer to 35 minutes, but I know for sure that it was less than 45. But, yea, my players are like molasses sometimes. They're figuring out tactics still, like flanking and monster identification. Following the advice from the blog that I posted has helped. Also, we're on Roll20 and the playtest character sheet causes constant lag.

ShadeRaven wrote:

"Oh crap, I rolled a 5 initiative. With the big changes to lower AC and HPs, I'm probably dead before my turn."

Point taken, along with others mentioning how things like disarm / debuffs matter less with fewer rounds to effect. This is the sort of thing that I wasn't thinking about. Might be worth dialing back to something like 85% hp.

Joe M. wrote:
D Dog wrote:
One issue keeps coming up: combats are running too long for us.
Apparently you aren't alone in this experience. On Friday's Twitch stream Jason said it's one of the big trends emerging from playtest survey data. So they're looking at it.

Cool, good to know it's not just us. I wish I had time to catch more of the streams, so the recaps from you and others are much appreciated.


Ok, for those of you on the 'hit rate is too low' side, do you have suggestions for me to test out? If I lower AC and TAC by 2 for monsters and PCs, that's about a 20% dpr increase on everyone that gets additional critical success chance by this change (which I think should be most martials except against high level threats). But, for damaging spells to keep up, I ought to lower saves by about 2 as well. (I guess that won't raise the dpr quite as much since spells typically do half damage on save, where strikes do 0 on misses.)

With the +10/-10 system, part of me thinks that strikes shouldn't be an exception and should all do maybe half damage or minimum damage on a failure. That way, high level single foes taking on a 4 person party don't feel quite as untouchable when their AC bonus is well above party attack bonuses. My players definitely feel that way. A new player joined us this game with a relatively optimized bow-using ranger. At a 50%/30% chance to hit, she missed both attacks on all 3 of her rounds. That's partly just bad luck, but having contributed essentially nothing, this player did not have fun. Having said that, adding that to the current system would unbalance the power of strikes compared to all other combat options.


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So, I gave the 75% hp thing a try and I'm pretty happy with the results. Four level 5 PCs versus two Bearded Devils with the elite adjustment (making this a 120XP encounter). Combat lasted for exactly 3 full rounds, with the tank Barbarian down and the Wizard saving the day with his second fireball. Other 2 PCs expended some resources but didn't take any hits. Probably lasted around 45 minutes.

That seems about right for our group for both pace and challenge. If the devils had done better on their fireball saves, the fight would have probably gone 4 rounds with the possiblity of another PC down or the barbarian up and down again at a decent risk of dying.

Tridus, you are right that blasting spells could one shot someone at this point. The devils had 60 hp after adjustment, so a critical fail against fireball could do it.

Besides reducing the number of rounds, my take away is that one crit fail/success can make a much bigger difference with less hp.

To those of you talking about player vs monster hit chance, I feel you. Creatures with CR higher than the party get a lot of crits on the PCs with little effort. But, I'm with Captain M - I think that's just how balance works here. As in his flat footed/demoralized example, tactics can make a big difference. My current goal as GM is not to out-tactics my new players - yet.


Not #2, my players are more the "stand and whack 'em" type even when a PC is on the ground dying, lol.

The miss rate does seem higher, especially with second attacks, which do get thrown out pretty often. But, I'm kind of afraid to mess with to hit bonuses since crits might start piling up on players and monsters alike. As you said, with lower HP, an unlucky round could be deadly. I guess that's also true with increased hit bonus/deceased AC.

Hmm, perhaps reducing MAP would land more second attacks without causing more crits. Of course, that boosts weapons only...

I will give the HP thing a try for a session and see how it goes.


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I'm running a home campaign with some friends using the playtest rules. I've been playing PFS for about a year now, but this is my first time GMing. My players are all new to ttrpgs. We're playing via Roll20, with usually 4 players.

One issue keeps coming up: combats are running too long for us. We're about to do session #10 ( roughly 3 hours a session for us) so everyone is pretty familiar with their character's abilities and how to play at this point. I've been following advice from this post - https://theangrygm.com/manage-combat-like-a-dolphin/ - for the last few sessions, which has sped things up and made combat more engaging for everyone. But, I think we're still at a point where we are mentally running out of steam by the end of combats. As an example, our last session ended with a high/severe threat, 100 XP, combat. With 4 players and 3 monsters, this combat ran for about 1.5 hours.

I thought maybe things just felt different 'behind the screen', but I played a PF1 game for the first time in a few months the other day, and we got through 2 minor and 2 major combats in about 2.5 hours (and it was a lot of fun).

Considering I've heard others mention slow combats here, I think it might just be the PF2 system itself that is making things slower. So, here's my thought: lower all PC and monster HP to 75% of it's current value. Is this a reasonable house rule? Any other suggestions? (For that matter, is the dpr to hp ratio in PF2 different from PF1?)

TL;DR
As a house rule, would it significantly unbalance PF2 to reduce HP for PCs and monsters, for example, by reducing HP to 75% of the original value?


I pretty much agree, Captain Morgan. I would much prefer skill feats that are more powerful and less situational. I would be super happy if paizo gave them a big buff and halved how often a character receives them. Currently, a level 10 rogue is bound to forget what feats they even have if they're situational and don't get used often.

Here's my big idea: a lot of skill feats should give "enhancements" (like the fighter feats give) or "critical specializations" to specific skill uses. No situational requirements, just unique effects to common, existing skill actions. Hopefully these can be tailored to each skill action to be flavorful.


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Loves:

1. New style archetypes
Viable spellcasting multiclassing and it's a perfect fit for prestige classes.

2. Strong support for varying builds within a class itself (in core).
Druid and fighter are great examples. I'm surprised I haven't seen almost anyone else mention this.

3. Charisma is not a dump stat for everyone but faces / spontaneous casters.
Cha needed some love. The details of focus need some work, but I would love to make a 16 Cha fighter who uses powerful magic items but doesn't feel obligated to do all of the talking.

Honorable mentions: No save or suck. Weapon traits. Precise language and traits as 'tags'.

Hate:

1. Limited payoff for skill investment.
Legendary is barely better than trained.

2. The skill feats that currently exist are pretty lame.

3. Heavy armor penalties too high.

House Rules:
1. Multiclass feats can be taken two levels earlier than listed.
2. Skill feats are acquired half as often, but are significantly more powerful.
3. Skill proficiency = level + 1/2 ability bonus + UTEML, where U -3, T +0, E +3, M +5, L +7
This makes ability score less important than skill investment, more along the lines of PF1 (except early levels), while still keeping the overall proficiency bonus relatively similar to the current system. Maybe everyone gets an expert rank at level 1, since ability score bonuses are lower.
4. Heavy armor stays -10 speed but either gets positive traits like weapons or a +1 AC.


Lau Bannenberg wrote:

And yeah, 1-2 hour sessions is something we need to get better at. I think it's easier to write a 2-hour thing. Then you can have a proper beginning, middle and end. And maybe a small fight to demonstrate the basic combat rules at low stakes, and a more challenging bossfight that makes you feel like an awesome adventurer.

1-hour quests on the other hand have the advantage of being easier to squeeze into a big lunch break or suchlike, so they're good for demos in not-really-dedicated-to-gaming spaces.

Why not both 1 hour demo style "quests" and 2 hour, 1/2 xp "quests" (with optional encounter?). I mean, with potentially 12 a year to work with... Idk, maybe this is too many formats to support?


Looks like a lot of really experienced people on this part of the forums. I'm seeing lots of stars. May I offer the humble opinion of someone completely new to ttrpgs as of last year.

Quest of the month is a great idea. For novices and less dedicated PFS players/GMs, the 4 hour scenario is quite often a dealbreaker. I really enjoy playing full scenarios and modules, but with a family, I rarely have the time to give up between 4.5 to 5 hours (with drive time) on an evening or weekend. I thought quests were the solution when I first started, but since they are a series, they get scheduled as whole sessions in 4 hour slots anyway. And playing just a few of the quests out of a series is kind of like watching half of a movie - not very satisfying. There must be other "casual" rpg fans out there that feel the same way. My wife and some of my single friends feel that way - Pathfinder is fun but 4+ hours is too big a commitment to make very often. Quest of the month solves that problem. Short and self contained. And having 12 per year would be great too.

Actually if it were up to me, a 2 hour quest, as others have mentioned, sounds perfect. Two could be scheduled in a typical 4 hour slot, but each still be self contained. With all of the playtest polls, why not poll people specifically about the quest format?


Hmm, I see your point. I mean, everybody had AoO in 1st edition and I don't know that it slowed things down. I suppose it doesn't get triggered as much because it's strong enough to scare people from triggering it. I honestly don't see a weaker AoO coming up a ton with my playtest players anyway because I don't think they would take the risk often, so I can't see it slowing things down much. I just like the idea of a non fighter characters getting a weaker deterrent of some kind, as others have posted.


I'm intrigued by xzzion's idea: everyone gets AoO but those without class features / feats for it do so at a -6 to hit vs a - 2. Maybe a higher penalty than that? Fighters would be the only ones likely to hit you, but you can't just walk around everybody with no risk. Very simple change too.