Frankly, they should dump vancian casting entirely, but if they stick with it anyway, they could consider doing something similar to Savage Worlds, and develop a set of generic spells, or at least separate out the effects from the universal traits (like duration, cost, casting time, range, etc) and then, different casters can have their casting style impact that stuff.
I.E. a sorcerer can cast spells that last longer and reach farther and cast faster, while the wizard can be more efficient, casting shorter versions to conserve their power and can exert greater control by doing things like altering the elemental type at need.
Of course, if they went with real vancian instead of the dnd mockery of it, they could make sorcerers more reliable than wizards by losing slots more slowly.
And if they made casting a spell require a skill check (like how a fighter requires a check for anything they do), they could easily use that to implement a variety of differences.
Is anyone else finding it very difficult to run playtest games in PbP because it's much riskier to bot someone? I mean, it's hard to know when someone else would take the risk of critical failure for something, and also feels 'off' to decide what someone does during exploration mode, since that determines their initiative.
First, I never play like it is a board game. Therefore I never make choices based on mechanics. NEVER
That makes it much easier to choose what to do. I just have them do what makes the most sense according to their personality. Then use whatever mechanics best represent that choice.
(this is one reason why I'm not liking pf2 so much. The mechanics are less flexible, and much harder to fit to non-standard choices.)
Second, "always fail forward" is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard for running an rpg. Most players fear failure way too much. I like to use botting as an opportunity to showcase how failure makes things interesting and not death.
And what about all the multiclass characters? The new multiclass nonsense just doesn't cut it at all, and most often doesn't even allow the things from a second class that are actually wanted. I hated VMC from the beginning, and this has not gotten better at all. Thus all my multiclass characters certainly would have trouble carrying on as normal switching editions.
Wow, I didn't think anyone would think like that, not after 3.0 anyway.
3.0 has similar structure, though different in the details, that everyone just flat out ignores and has ignored since day 1.
I am surprised anything like this was actually brought up, now we just have to wait and see just how ignored it becomes by the community.
Actually, I'm surprised paizo went for this at all given how 3.x community ignored it then proceeded to complain about the results of them ignoring it.
I should've looked more ag the gm section I guess, but frankly, if a game doesn't pass as something I want to play, gming it doesn't matter.
Personally, I find that in many (but not all) cases, the power of spells, abilities, etc has a maximum determined by gm (via their creative ability to deal with it), and a minimum determined by the player's creativity.
Much like how the 15 minute workday depends entirely on the gm letting players get by with it.
I don't think many players/gms/designers give enough credit to the impact of the narrative situation on a character's options and overall power. For example, in world of invisibility spells, who in their right mind woukdn't have protections in place to handle assassins or theives that would use invisibility? Sure, the poorer folks might not be able to afford such things, but the wealthy and powerful are not going to ignore such things in their defensive planning.
Dire Ursus wrote:
well they should have actually tried playing a non-fighter dedication wizard
Well, a class being appealing and making it's narrative style mechanically obvious is an important thing too.
A great class that no one plays because no one can see how great it is to play, is a class with a major problem.
Playing a wizard like a stereotypical wizard needs to not only be possible, but also obvious, especially to those who are new or don't know much.
How I read it was more about comments being more emotional than logical critical.
Even when discussing the emotional feel of a mechanic you want to be emotionlessly critical of your own emotional responses.
The reason is because when you can't seperate yourself like that, your emotions skew your analysis such that aspects, traits, or effects that you might normally be fine with you can come to dislike or even hate simply because of them being associated with something else that is actually problematic.
Additionally, some people fail to truly understand the reasons why they don't like something or are unable to express such things very well. An example of this is when people complain about "unrealistic" things even though they're fine with wizards throwing fireballs because they know they don't like them but the best explaination even to themselves is "realism" even though they know literal realism is not the actual problem.
All of these issues are more likely to result in comments like "This mechanic sucks because it is horribly restrictive!" while more reasonable comments like "This mechanic makes me feel like I have to do things like a fighter instead of a classic wizard." This latter comment is more detailed, but more importantly, it implies a higher reliability as it wasn't a simple expression of feelings but a reasoned analysis, and even a stupidly reasoned analysis by an idiot is more reliable and useful than a genius getting emotional and insulting.
You know what I think would really help, no pure bonuses.
First off, automatic bonus progression was needed in pf1 because were designed witn the expectation of certain bonuses, however, in a new system, you can simply design monsters with the expectation of no bonuses and therefore there would be no need for abp.
Second, I think they should not include the major bonuses in a pure form, but rather the only such bonuses should be conditional and limited. For example, instead of a +2 leather armor, it is Sheltering Leather Armor with a +2 bonus to AC only when taking total defensive, or have Windy Leather Armor with a +2 against arrows and darts. This way, bonuses are actually interesting and helpful yet never universal in a way that makes them must-haves.
Vic Ferrari wrote:
You clearly do not understand the full capabilities of 3.x.
Both the most and the least boardgamey campaigns I've played were 3.5.
But wait! How can one system be the most and the least, you ask?
Simple, 3.x was very versatile, in terms of playstyle. You coukd easily use 3.x for a very immersive non-combat and non-boardgamey campaign simply by how and when you applied the rules.
For example, the penalties for attacking while on an unstable platform, a boardgamey gm would apply this all the time if it applied, but a non-boardgamey gm would apply it only when it really matters. For example, during sea campaign, it would be ignored for most shipboard fights as not only would those be the norm for that campaign but also because all the characters are used to fighting on ships. But for a land based campaign where the shipboard fight is unique for being on a ship, at least for that campaign, then applying penalties for unstable platform makes sense as the characters are not used to fighting that way but more importantly, it helps define the uniqueness of that fight making it feel more like fighting on a ship and also feel different from other fights.
3.x was designed as a toolset, and was not intended to be run as a boardgame. A toolbox needs lots of tools, and likewise 3.x has plenty of tools.
If you apply all those tools, all the time, it will work, but you'll get only a particular feel of play, a small sliver of the vast possibilities the system can support.
However, 4e and 5e and now pf2 are built in a way that makes it a lot more difficult to apply only the desired tools, and a lot harder to adapt things without breaking other things.
By no means is 3.x perfect, but it is a much more powerful and versatile system than most modern players give it credit for, and I believe that is because modern players are so used to computer games and their limitations, that they see a rpg system and think/feel like it must apply all it's rules all the time, and therefore feel like freedom comes from a lack of rules. It is my belief that this is why all modern rpgs are going either rules light with an abstract focus (like fate) or keeping more rules but with a boardgamey focus (like 4e, 5e, and now pf2).
That is ridiculous. Sidebars is the way to go because it teaches new gms why things are problematic, and would be very nice to also have pointers on handling it which makes for better gms.
Relying on rarity is dumb because it doesn't anything to the new gm about how to be a better gm.
It'll be a few hours before addressing the other stuff, but I had to address this now,
There is NO translating into light roleplay, you translate into mechanics. The fact that you have to translate is what makes it heavy roleplay. You have to translate because the players are looking at the NWM (narrative world milieu) for making choices.
Light roleplay has no translating because the players are looking to the mechanics for making choices.
There are players out there, lots of them sadly, who will never flip a table without a mechanic for it, even though they will accept it as a valid action. They will never think of it themselves precisely because it is not defined within the mechanics which are the foundation of their decision-making process.
There are other factors, but to simplify a bit, essentially, if you have to translate actions into mechanics then you are heavy roleplaying, but if players are telling you what mechanics they are using and never needing translating, then that is light roleplay.
I think I figured out how to describe my problem with the philosophy of pf2.
You could break roleplay into two basic types, "light roleplay" and "heavy roleplay."
The difference is not in the types of encounters, but in how and when the rules are applied and used.
In light roleplay, the rules are the central part of a player's decision-making process. The player is, metaphorically, playing chess while gushing about the paint jobs of the other player's pieces and painting their own pieces, yet never letting the looks of the pieces impact the fundemental game of chess. These players think first and foremost about the system, then fill in the gaps with roleplay.
A good example is when I play a tiefling, yet I feel like I'm playing a human. This happens because neither the players nor the gm treat my character like a tiefling. They act the exact same as if I was playing a human, because according to the system, a few minor mechanics might be different but tactically/strategically, being a tiefling is a cosmetic thing.
Another example was me having the task of aquiring a certain document and destroying it. I came up with a plan and even did the prep work for it, but when I tried to enact my plan, I got ignored "because the book doesn't say how to handle that."
Another example is having a dark shape stand up and the response of players be to attack and kill it before it even acts, because they as players expect a combat encounter because of metagame reasons. They ignore what their characters would see and know. The characters don't know that initiative was rolled. The characters don't know that this a game and not a living breathing world.
Now, heavy roleplay is the reverse. In heavy roleplay, the decision-making process is inversed. Players think first and foremost about the narrative world milieu (NWM) and the mechanics are secondary, being used as support.
The mechanics are just guidelines imperfectly attempting to mimic the narrative world, for which the narrative world milieu is the main metric for choosing action.
For example, there is no mechanic in the rules for flipping a table over to get cover. There doesn't need to be for deep roleplay, cause it makes sense in the narrative world milieu that a character can do so.
Thus, when deep roleplaying, the narrative world milieu has a larger impact on the course of events than the system mechanics do.
Another example, player plays a tiefling. Uneducated goblins think the character is an actual demon, yell about it, scream about, and act accordingly, whether it be aggressive, "kill the demon! focus on the demon!" or it be submissive "We'll do whatever you want oh great demon lord!"
In deep roleplay, narrative and world milieu is the primary consideration above and beyond mere mechanics.
Thus, light roleplay is to play a boardgame and dress it up with some rp. Heavy roleplay is to rp, and use mechanics to support the play (mainly by easing communication, adding tension via uncertainty, and avoiding unpleasantness by reducing the gm's role in determining success and failure).
Additionally, it heavily impacts player agency and expectations.
In chess, you have some agency, but it is well-defined and limited and while your opponant may surprise you with their strategy, they will never take an action that exceeds your expectations.
In heavy rp, you can do anything that makes sense in the NWM.This gives infinitely more agency than can be found in chess, and can indeed have actions be taken that exceed expectations that you never thought of despite seeing the logic in retrospect.
While both these style can generally use the same rules, the rules can benefit one style more than the other.
My biggest issue with pf2 is that focuses so strongly on "light roleplay" that it is harder (though not impossible) to use for heavy roleplay, and it is visible throughout the design that the designers expect and desire "light roleplay" but not heavy roleplay.
And the unpleasant fact, for all the folks that claim to be in the middle, nearly all are strongly on one side or the other.
This is important because most modern rpgs are either focusing on light rp or they reduce mechanics (I think this is because many players want heavy rp but don't feel right using heftier mechanics in any fashion other than light rp. They constrained by the rules for some reason.).
I like having mechanical support, but for supporting heavy rp. I like supportive mechanics, but I don't like mechanics being the central focus.
I find the obsession with needing to know every scrap of lore in order to play kinda funny. Take it like each gm has their own setting which simply resembles Golarion.
Also, if TriOmegaZero runs them all, I might be interested in joining in such a group.
To help the finding of the width issue on mobiles, which is still an issue,
I noticed that when a thread page is partially loaded, it is at the correct width, but then as the last parts of the page loads, it resizes (I can even see the text realign to the new width), and it is then that some of the page becomes inaccessable and out of view.
First, I want to help make the game work, but that is me challenging myself as a designer. It is a challenge because this game is clearly not something I will ever play after the playtest. Why? Well, that is revealed with my first point of feedback.
What is roleplay and what is a roleplaying game?
The term "Roleplaying Game" has been used far outside it's logical and original meaning.
The issue I have here, is the rulebook implies that what Pathfinder does is roleplay (which is certainly debatable and any argument for it being an rpg would rely entirely on the definition of rpg expanding based on the more recent usage of the word), the truth of which is beside the point, because the way the book presents the concepts isn't about Pathfinder but is laying a claim to what all rpgs are, and that is the bad part that I feel really needs changed.
Paizo has a certain thing they are going for, a certain kind of play. Nothing wrong with that, but claiming that all roleplaying is the same as what Paizo is going for is bad because Paizo is going for a tiny slice of a massive pie, and telling new people out there that the entire pie is is just like Paizo's targeted slice is doing a disservice to the industry. Not to mention establishing expectations that players will hold when looking at other games claiming to be rpgs.
In fact, the book actually specifies swords and sorcery adventurers as part of what makes an rpg an rpg, which is something Pathfinder does, but not what an rpg does. Rpgs not only can be any genre, but do not even need to be epic nor heroic. Having a bunch of normal contemporary college students trying to survive being hunted by a homicidal maniac is as valid a concept for an rpg as anything Paizo puts out.
I know the book is obviously and rightly focused on what Pathfinder is, but it really should describe itself as a type of rpg with a specific focus on heroic swords and sorcery themes. That would not only be more accurate, but then the writers can either do a better job of describing rpgs in general, or they can leave that to be researched by curious newbies on their own and instead focus on what Pathfinder is, instead of confusing newbies over what an rpg is.
What is an rpg? A tangent for the curious.:
The term Roleplaying game has two words.
Roleplaying is to play a role, or said another way, is to pretend to be someone else.
A game, as the term is generally used, is a fun activity centered around making choices. (hence game theory becoming the study of decision making)
Thus, a roleplaying game, is a game all about making choices from the perspective of a portrayed character.
This is actually the original style of play, though it didn't take long for the poorly named "new school" players to completely subvert this intention, as evidenced by Gygax complaining about people "playing the rules" instead of playing the actual game.
The term "roleplaying game" has expanded in use to the point of being almost pointless, and about as broad in scope as "board game." Almost any game with a character progression system and a story is labeled an rpg these days, though some undefined element seems to come into play, leading to arguments over what does or does not count as an rpg, thus leading to Call of Duty being labeled as "not an rpg" while WTOR "is an rpg" even though both are combat games with set stories that you progress through by succeeding in sessions of combat.
Railroading is thus antithetical to the logical meaning of the term, as railroading is denying meaningful choice to the players, yet is perfectly acceptable to the expanded use of the term.
Personally, I hold that a true rpg is one that fits really close to the actual term and thus focuses on players having lots of agency and are focused on making choices from the perspective of their characters.
I would then consider other games as nominally rpgs when the players create their own characters and get to reflect and show some traits of their characters but are denied significant agency (such as when a pfs scenario dictates that once finished with plot point A, players go to plot point B. Keep in mind, this is about agency not tactics. Choosing what tactics to use is not agency.
Such a section sounds more like a disclaimer to avoid being sued. A valid concern by a company I guess, since it is expensive even when the charges are so ridiculous that a judge overturns them quickly. But really, that stuff needs to be in the fine print at the front.
Telling players to not do stuff that is entirely unrelated to the game is not only insulting to anyone who reads it, but also pointless as those inclined to behave in such a way are going to do so regardless of what you write. So don't waste the space on political correctness. Spend on the game itself.
Minor wording confusion
That is an odd spot for such a specific. Much better to phrase it as "once enough xp is acquired," that way it doesn't give any false impressions and it won't need changed if you alter xp and leveling.
Also, as it is a major change for those familiar with earlier editions, it stands out and draws attention to itself leading one to wonder if it a mistake, which is made worse by the fact that it doesn't go into detail and doesn't even mention where one can confirm whether xp changed or if it was just incorrect.
Further, i can speak from personal experience, that who notices whom first does not always react first. One guy who crashed into me admits that he saw me but froze up, and didn't even think, he simply watched it all happen. Meanwhile, I noticed him much later, but reacted quickly and turned things from a flat crash to a side scrape. Noticing first does not equal acting first.
Therefore, I find it an odd default for initiative.
I do like how you make a distinction between precise and imprecise senses. I totally thought I had a lock on that concept. :p
Gabby the Ferocious wrote:
Firstly, there are a lot of problems with classes to begin with. Hence why I hate classes.
Good flexible multiclassing eases some of those problems while still suffering others, and creating a few new ones.
For the most though, vmc-like multiclassing only grabs the worst of all worlds with the singular exception of balance.
Frankly, I'm not certain why level dipping is such a problem beyond a couple minor issues (like the doubling up on the +2 for good saves) which could easily be handled in much better ways (like saying "If any of your classes marks a save as a good save, then you get a +2 bonus to that save. This bonus can only be applied once to each save.).
Frontloading abilities can often be solved by stretching things out or by using structures akjn to the Traditions in Spheres of Power.
Having some more explicit character level based resources that are across classes can also help . For example, having a stamina pool that powers magic as well as mundane feats of awesomeness.
The number of single classed characters I've played with more than 1 lvl, could be counted on one hand. Most of them are pregens.
Generally, I hate classes because I can almost never create a character that fits my concept with only one class.
I don't plan characters out, and I have literally had characters change direction mid-campaign.
For example, I had a religious halfling that was monk/sorcerer (more half and half at this point). Events happened and she switched to being a cleric as part of reaffirming her faith and seeking to be strong for others.
Edit, to me class is more about representing character, not being a thing I want to play.
I strongly disagree, though the type of spells and how they grow does have some impact. Having a cone of fire that gets bigger and more damaging at higher levels is one thing, having silent image upgrade into shadow evocation is something else entirely. The latter adds additional abilities while the former simply makes them more powerful.
Wizards can freely swap spells with an unlimited list, thus each spell known costs little, and therefore, upgrading to higher levels costs little even if the wizard had to pay (so not exactly a big benefit to getting free heightening).
Sorcerers however, can't swap spells except at level up (I don't agree with this at all) thus each spell known is very precious.
It seems odd to me that making something go from cheap to free would balance out with making something go from free to very expensive.
As I said before though, how spells progress does make a difference.
Allowing a caster to freely make burning hands into a 30' cone with cl*d6 damage by spending a higher slot makes for free (spells known-wise) makes narrative sense for both sorcerers and wizards (sorcerers are pumping more power, wizards are not altering the basic structure, they are simply strengthening it).
This type of spell progress also would not give sorcerers unfair access to spell variety at high levels.
However, for spells that do not simply grow more power but gain additional capabilities that make them barely recognizable as their lower forms (i.e. silent image -> shadow conjuration) would have problems. Firstly, it makes no sense what-so-ever narratively, for any caster. Secondly, it would actually improve a sorcerer's spell variety at higher levels, though the increase would easily be mitigated by simply reducing spells known as that would keep the sorcerer's spell variety about right and yet unifies the spell heightening rules to just be a flat "free" for all casters. Oh, and it helps focus a sorcerer on a theme of spells.
Brock Landers wrote:
Well, you have a designer that called ig a mistake to not "fix" the cleric so the core rules worked exactly like Golarion, and don't forget the absolute lack of any other paizo setting for pathfinder, and when they did make a new setting, they made an entirely separate system for it rather than a campaign guide.
The so called campaign guides paizo has published are not "here is a new setting, make these changes to the rules," but rather are, mechanically speaking, purely additional character choices (a specific type of rule) to be tacked onto the core rules, yet still they are mostly info about the same setting as almost all default assumptions of the core rules.
If you go look at, say 3,x, campaign guides were entirely new settings that took the core rules only as base and gave you new flavor, altered mechanics to represent the new lore, and new character options.
Dire Ursus wrote:
I hate VMC. Never gives me what I actually want, and the only resource to purchase with is feats, when I'd rather trade class abilities instead.
I don't care how "balanced" it may be, I will not go for VMC or anything like it.
The entire concept burned alive with the ashes getting tossed into a black hole on the other side of the universe.
Artificial 20 wrote:
How about, instead of being dismissive, we actually try to answer the question. You might find it obvious, but clearly someone doesn't.
Lots of people like to think themselves better than others, especially over others that don't understand seemingly obvious things, but truthfully, someone who actually is better, would not laugh nor insult, but rather they would teach, seeing it as their responsibility to help others attain that "superiority" for themselves.
So, the question is,
While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?
Paizo really doesn't distinguish much between a campaign setting guide and rules. In fact, one of the designers said as much in a conversation about the core rulebook allowing clerics to choose domains and follow a spiritual path instead of a god, but that it isn't allowed in Golarion because only gods can grant domains and magic.
So, speculatively, a large part of it is to further define Golarion, pointing out things that are intended to be rare. It also lets them include things that fit a specific AP with much less worry about it ruining the game balance.
Further, there are many who dislike letting players pick anything in a book, and yet may want to include some things.
The rarity marking makes this a bit easier, because a GM can allow or deny things of a particular rarity much more easily than trying to write up a list.
And even if a gm vets every character, the rarity acting as a guideline can make it easier tk avoid situations where the gm has to vet the same character 15-20 times because the player keeps choosing things that are way crazy.
Even simply stating that a player needs to ask "mother may I" about anything rare or even uncommon, means that players are going to avoid them, and when they do go for it, they are more likely to be more specific and careful about their choice and more likely to have it actually be appropriate, cause if they have to ask, they'll want to have supporting reasons and to build the best case they can for convincing the gm to allow it. Which would be better for everybody.
That is the general reasoning.
Personally, I'm not sure it'll work out like that though.
It also means you might not be able to get what you want from the second class, which might be important for hybrid concepts, like a soldier wizard that fights with sword and armor and uses utility spells for strategic advantage (like spider climb or invisiblity).
Exactly how does standard table practice contradict what "everyone knows"? What everyone knows is "rule 0." Literally every choice in the game world is there or not there via DM fiat. That's the social contract everyone agrees to when they pick that person to DM.
No it isn't. Everybody walks in with expectations, and there us a wide variety of expectations, but certain expectations may be more or less common.
The expectation that the mechanics will be treated as one treats the rules in chess or checkers, is a highly common one. And frankly, treating the rules like one treats the rules in chess is not the only way to use rules.
Another example of expectations, there are some who expect arcane casters to identify all potionsand expect that to be obvious and the default. Big surprise to me at the time to be sure.
There are some very common expectations that actually contradict the rules or at least contradict the expectations the rules were designed around.
After all, do you seriously think the rule books are going to tell the gm how to gm in way that is wrong for the rules design? Heck no. The rules are designed expecting the gm to act similarly to X style, and then they tell gms how to run the game in that style.
It is a sadly common expectation of the community that contradicts this expectation of the rules.
And depending on how you define rules, telling the gm how to run thjngs is no less "rules" than your class abilities, especially since your class abilities were designed with certain expectations of the gm.
I don't expect it to be magically fixed somehow. Either things will eventually become better understood to see things in a more complex way where the two sides become commonly understood as different ways of playing more complex than simple intrigue vs combat, or it will die and eberyone will forget such were anything other than Diable on paper.
However, d20 and to a lesser extent pf1, supported both sides in way that we could play together, but PF2 sounds more and more like it will cease to support anything else at all much less let us play together. Instead folks who prefer something else, will have to give it up to play with other styles instead of serrupticiously comprimising and getting at least some of what thry want while playing with others.
There is a significant difference between customization following the rules, compared to customization via gm fiat.
The fact that the rules had so often explicitly stated that gms are expected to gm fiat all over the place should show that the rules were designed as a baseline with the intent for the gm to fiat everything into fitting the campaign.
There are reasons to not like fiat, and every one of them are reasons that apply to something other than the playstyle intended by d20's original designers (a style which has been the minority since almost the beginning of rpgs despite being the original style that started everything).
Which is an effect I was saying would very likely end up applying to these commonality "rules."
The concept is actually simple, lots of players, and far too many GMs, use the simplest rarity system possible, by saying that if it exists, the players can obtain one at any store or whenever they level up.
That has never been the actual rules, but that has been the most common treatment by far. Another case of common practice ignoring the rules.
Honestly, most of the things one would dip a class for do not really fit with being only that class. So why not shift those types of things into Backgrounds or similar? Then make the classes not have a bunch of frontloaded stuff?
Or you could just go better and make a classless system, but with packages of preselected stuff at each level. That way, you get all the flexibility of classless, no multiclassing problems at all, and yet still gain the advantages of having "classes" to inspire concepts and build characters more quickly (since you could for example, take the wizard package, but swap out X for Y).
Yes, it is just an example to demonstrate that something being in the rules does not mean that it will matter at all to the community.
I feel this whole explicit commonality thing is extra complexity with little benefit and will either be a shackle on the GMs too afraid to change it, a boatload of extra work for GMs trying to use, but will be entirely ignored by the majority of the community, and might even be one of those thing that will be rarely known despite being in everybody's book.
You'd be only the second GM to ever do so that I've ever "met."But that is rather beside the point.
I it quashing player options to play in Star Trek instead of Star Wars? If your only concept of what should or should not be allowed is based only on a rulebook, then really missing the point of the game.
Framing is something the GM does, not the rules.
The rules give a +1 longsword. The GM is what makes it Orchrist, a famous blade forged in Gondolin in ages past.
Saying "you get only this half the book" is the GM framing what they are doing in a poor way. The GM should be framing the story and what is available because the narrative, and really the players should be getting a fair idea on their own of what is available based on your narrative.
The entire concept of seeing the book as a default, is serious handicap if you are not playing in the default setting, and it is something that should be discouraged among your players from the get-go.
It just makes the system more complicated, and require more work from the GM to go through and adjust, since you have to then adjust entire lists with new rarities instead of just describing things in play as they come up.
Changed something from common? Then just don't decribe it as available when the party goes shopping. If a player asks for it, tell them they know it is rare and they will need to do some legwork to find one, if one is even available.
One of those case that falls under the famous writer's advice "show, don't tell."
A game that cares about the difference between the incorrect and correct way to operate a flintlock pistol in its mechanics is not a game I'm interested in playing.
It is not so much aboug the correct way tk use a flintlock, and more about my knowledge and experience of flintlocks being applicable at least somewhat closely to the game. That meams that if I know that 1st level soldiers can load and fire 4 rounds from a musket every minute, and 2nd-3rd level soldiers can probably fire 5-6 muskets rounds a minute, I should be able to have my expectations about that be somewhat close to what the game does.
Thus, one round to load, one to fire gives 5 shots per minute, and that would be good, for muskets. But firing and loading every round woukd be mid to high level only, since that is above and beyond real world people.
I do not think 3.x is perfect, not even close, but it tries, doesn't do too badly, and does lightyears better then anybody else.
So we went from GM Fiat to an actual rule. The GM can always choose to ignore the rule... but by providing an official rule for this, the GM can go "it's in the rules" and not have to worry about players whining about the GM being arbitrary and unfair.
And why do we need the rule?
If a player is complaining to me about the rules, then I simply tell them that they are not looking for what I provide and they can either sit back and watch everyone else till they figure out what it is I am providing, and take part in that, or they can buzz off and find some other GM.
In the end, that was a problem. At High level, a Cleric's will save had such a high number that any will save that was a reasonable challenge for them was an automatic fail for anyone else.
I might debate just how problematic that is.
For the most part, this is really a problem mostly because of the modern idea that all encounters should be roughly cr appropriate. That all encounters should be within a few levels of difficulty.
To me, that is very gamist and horrible.
To me, you should be going through a story, not a game world, and that means your enemies should be story appropriate, not game balanced. Players should find tactics and strategies based on the story not game mechanics.
If you travel through kobald territory, kobalds should be fighting you, regardless of your level.
Meanwhile, the party encounters a high level wizard and keeps overcoming the party's will save except the cleric, then that is the cleric's chance to shine and be the "tank" while the rest of the party works on an indirect strategy to overcome the wizard without exposing themselves to the wizard's spells.
To me, that is perfectly fine and awesome stuff.
Which is not to say I'm opposed to "fixing" it, cause I'm not, but the idea that everybody must be equally capable of handling all problems within a very narrow range of variance is wrong. The entire concept of "reasonable challenge" is itself wrong. That is a gamist thing. Only in competitive games is there a place for balance and "reasonable challenge."
And levelling is part of the narrative. You have become a greater warrior/ more astute caster/ More mystical priest because of your many adventures...it's basic to most stories. It doesn't matter f it means you level up more often - if it bothers you level up by milestone.
Character growth is essential to a story, and while I find character advancement in d20 to be in need of fixing, I would not say lots of leveling is the only answer.
Truth is, I would not mind lots of leveling if they totally overhaul the entire numerical system and change what levels actually mean.
I did that actually myself, changed what levels mean.
But at the moment, in 3.x and pf1, levels mean something specific, a basic overall power in addition to skill and expertise.
This is the crux of the issue.
In 3.x terms, you can have real people you gain lots of skill points and experience, yet remain at level 1-2 in terms of raw power.
But because power and skills are tied, you can't represent that in the system. There are several issues I have with this, and the first step to solving any of them is to separate raw power from skill/life-experience.
PF2 does not seem to be doing that, rather it seems to be doing what every mmo does, ignoring the problem and/or detaching the system from the narrative so you can go where ever mechanically speaking and just handwave the narrative to fit.
That is the popular way to handle it, but not a desirable way for me. I hate that solution. It goes against everything d20 was built on, and goes against everything I want in an rpg.
To me, GM fiat is not only a good thing, it is what makes or breaks a game. A good gm is one who uses GM fiat well, and a bad gm is one who doesn't.
Without GM fiat, there is nothing of substance to the game beyond combat minis.
That said, a large part of doing GM fiat well is using it to maintain narrative milieu, consistency, and verisimilitude. That means, if a spell exists, anyone capable of learning spells should be able to learn it, unless there is some sensible mitigating factor within the narrative milieu and not the rules (for example, someone who can not use evocation spells, can't practice an evocation spell and thus wouldn't be able to learn an evocation spell).
I was meaning skills.
In 3.x, the *4 multiplier on skill points led to a couple issues certainly, but it meant that I could dabble in many skills.
Sure my 2+int sorcerer could max out 2+int skills, but I also had the option to not max out that many skills, and instead put half as many ranks in twice as many skills, or even put 1 rank into eight skills and use the int ranks to bolster a few of those to higher degree.
This basically meant that I had far more flexibility in what and how much I was trained in various skills without any additional complexity what-so-ever.
Heck, if you just gave a flat bonus of skill ranks (or perhaps your int score in skill ranks) and shifted cross-class to simply reduce max ranks instead of double cost, then it would have solved all the initial problems that paizo sought to solve with their pf1 skill ranks plus bonus system without losing any of the flexibility. But paizo went and screwed over the dabblers by seriously handicapping the number of skill ranks available, which skyrocketed the opportunity cost of dabbling in skills.
The complexity was no less than what I did, and yet pf1 ended up with far less benefit.
PF2 headed even further, more complexity, removal of even more older benefits, all to add pointless new benefits.
Crit/pass/fail is still pass/fail. What makes it pass/fail is the removal of meaning of the actual numerical results and basing meaning on a selection of categories determined by the results in way that the exact numbers used does not matter.
Pass/fail systems is the essential componant to allow infinite levelling while maintaining all results being based emtirely on rekative level rather than absolute level.
Basically, it is making checks entirely subjective.
It doesn't matter if you got a 3 or a 33 if you ended up in the same result category.
The 3.x system however, had some objectivity to it.
For example, if you took part in a swordmaking contest, and you took last place, if your check result was a 33 for making that sword, you still made a really nice masterwork sword that could be sold fof a ni e profit despite losing the contest. Yet if you won the contest with a 13, then your sword still sucks and might not sell at all.
Pass/fail systems can't handle that.
Which is worse, not only because it messes up multiclassing, but also it denies dabbling. Oh sure, you could still dabble, but the granularity level really works against it. Additionally, it really begs the question of why they even have skills in the first place, instead of minor feat trees.
Really, they are moving away from numbers having any meaning, towards simple pass/fail. The latter has the advantage of allowing lots of leveling without impacting the flavor or narrative, it makes level itself lose meaning, which allows everyone to level up more often.
It is not the only way to achieve that, but it is the most common, and businesses like following the herd. Less risky they say.
But as I've said before, what kept me playing d20 was that numbers had direct meaning.
In the end, if pf2 really is as bad as I think it will be, I'd like to still help it be the best it can be at what it does, then I can hopefully get my own system out that goes the other direction to support the stuff that piazo is leaving behind. After all, if piazo stops handling it, then they are not direct ckmpetition anymore.
Still makes me sad though that such things are so undervalued by the industry at large.