Sargogen, Lord of Coils

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We had this come up in a session last night against an invisible BBEG spellcaster, and I'm looking to see if there is something we're missing here, or if this really is just an ambiguous rule.

Our party Fighter, whom was Hasted, moved up to the BBEG Spellcaster with Flanking, activated Disruptive Stance, and used Improved Knockdown to debilitate, damage, and debuff the BBEG (since it was a Critical with a Fearsome weapon).

However, the BBEG had a Contingency in place to use Dimension Door if they got low enough health, which triggered after the Improved Knockdown took place.

Here's what Contingency says:

Contingency wrote:
You prepare a spell that will trigger later. While casting contingency, you also cast another spell of 4th level or lower with a casting time of no more than 3 actions. This companion spell must be one that can affect you. You must make any decisions for the spell when you cast contingency, such as choosing a damage type for resist energy. During the casting, choose a trigger under which the spell will be cast, using the same restrictions as for the trigger of a Ready action. Once contingency is cast, you can cause the companion spell to come into effect as a reaction with that trigger. It affects only you, even if it would affect more creatures. If you define complicated conditions, as determined by the GM, the trigger might fail. If you cast contingency again, the newer casting supersedes the older.

Initially, the GM argued that because the spell coming into effect doesn't have any spellcasting traits or isn't an action of some sort that the BBEG could just use their Reaction and get away. However, I followed up by saying that, because the spell still has physical manifestations, and requires effort on the BBEG's part (hence represented by the reaction), that it would still require the components to function, which means it would still trigger. The GM eventually agreed, but disputed that because it would be a Verbal at-most, or a Concentrate trait effect, that only the Fighter in Disruptive Stance would be able to affect them.

Thankfully, this gives the BBEG the death knell, but I'm still wondering if we ran that situation incorrectly, or if there's some other information we're missing.

As the title.

If I cast a Fireball at maximum range, does the explosion continue past it (giving an effective range of 520 feet)? Or does it simply fizzle out past 500 feet?

Also, what about Wall spells: if I cast a Wall spell at maximum range, does the entirety of the Wall have to be in range, or only one part of it?

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As the title.

I'm really disappointed that Armor, as an item type, doesn't have any really cool or interesting options for customization or variation from one another, and that it ultimately boils down to 3 factors: What weight proficiency your class(es) provide(s), if any; what your Strength Bonus is, and what your Dexterity Bonus is. That's it. It otherwise doesn't particularly matter what Armor you wear. And I don't much like that compared to what we otherwise could have gotten, and what was apparent in PF1. Granted, PF1 had differing variations on what Armors were the best for those same reasons, and what materials were most practical, but the point is that PF1 did more to at least try to make Armor different from one another, and had fewer interactive tools to do so. PF2 has far more interactive tools by comparison, so why does it feel even more restrictive?

Look at what Heavy Armor could have been, for example: Half-Plate could have been neat with a Piecemeal trait that lets it benefit from two Special Materials at once, and/or letting it benefit from both Composite and Plate groups for the purposes of Armor Specialization, making it more competitive to Full Plate for those common wearers of heavier armor. Splint Mail could have also been cool with having only a -5 foot penalty speed to signify its added flexibility, or add a Fortified trait, increasing the amount of damage reduced from Specialization by a significant amount (maybe by half item-level rounded up, for example). But no, instead it boils down to "Just take Full Plate when you can, it's the only armor with a solid support trait compared to the other two." I'm sorry, but what kind of design philosophy was this? What was the goal to accomplish? Simplicity? Uniformity? Just getting a product out the door?

And the other weights aren't any better by comparison. For Light Armor, there is Comfort, and is handy on the Padded Armor, but it gives 1 less AC than most other armors of its weight to compensate, which is unfair to what other armors could have given in exchange if they were actually given something else to offer, and Padded Armor is really only relevant for, surprise surprise, Heavy Armor wearers who get ambushed at night while resting. And Explorer's Clothing, while listed under the Armor section, isn't actually Armor to begin with, yet is essentially better than Padded Armor with the right amount of Dexterity. Even if you need to wait until 10th level at the earliest (or don't have that choice if you aren't proficient with any armor), it's just not worth it, even if you are already proficient in Leather Armor, since you'd already be down the AC anyway. Worse yet, Light armor doesn't even benefit from any form of Armor Specializations by RAW, meaning the only reason they have groupings is for Special Material purposes (as few and far between as those are, given only one of them is actually a metal that can be made of a special material), and has little to no traits or neat attributes to warrant improved diversity, especially not compared to something like I proposed above. I can accept that Light Armor doesn't protect you as well as Heavy Armor can, and the AC bonuses support that, but I don't accept that it doesn't provide intricately useful benefits for you that Heavy Armor can't, either. Yes, 5 feet of movement is a useful benefit, but it's both universal and generic, and isn't bound to a specific armor of a given weight. It also doesn't justify armor within the same weights being equally universal and generic of themselves, which is what brings me to the other baffling tier of Armor.

Medium. Medium is the most boring armor category ever, worn by maybe what, Barbarian and Alchemist? Possibly Druid (for Hide Armor, anyway,) and Magus as well, but most of those classes are already inclined to increase Dexterity anyway because of Reflex Saves constantly escalating, and they get no help compared to Full Plate wearers in that respect from their armor. Either way, it's got the least amount of classes wearing it (especially later in the game, where non-Heavy Armor wearers have their Dexterity jacked up to be considering Light Armor instead), and it has the least amount of variation or interest behind it. It's either just a slight change in armor groups, adjusting a trait or two, and/or the cost is 2 or 4 gold different. That is super unoriginal and uninteresting compared to even the Simple weapon category, and that has weapons like Daggers and Longspears, which offer a lot more combat variety to the game than any given Medium Armor does. Don't get me wrong, Chain Mail might have been interesting if characters that benefit from Armor Specialization don't already have access to far better options, which is really the only neat place where it shines compared to any other Medium Armor; reducing damage from Criticals of any damage type is pretty helpful. But the scaling is pretty weak compared to even the basic Armor Specializations from Full Plate. And the worst part is, it actually doesn't see the light of day anyway, because nobody would actually want to do this compared to the other options.

What about some of the other neat armors that were introduced in Pathfinder 1, like Stoneplate or Bonemail, for example? Why haven't such items made an appearance and changed the dynamic of Armor for the better in a later book? A few ancestries list wearing equipment made of such things (Lizardfolk and Dwarves in particular, based on the example armor names I provided), but don't actually have items that replicate this very ideal, which hurts immersion immensely. Players may want to play a Lizardfolk with Bonemail, or a Dwarven Druid with Stoneplate, but as it stands, they simply can't. Also, where's the Lamellar Armor at? It sounds cool, and might have added another bit of diversity to the Armor game by having another group that may add a different benefit to the Specialization boons.

And boy, do we keep getting things like Class or Ancestry-based Armor that is just a rehash of the original Armors, just in slightly different packaging that doesn't involve gold(, at least not right away, thanks fundamental/property runes! ABP solves this a bit, but not for property runes). In my opinion, it's relatively annoying, given how common it's becoming; it seems like there are a bunch of Ancestries that have feat-specific Armors, and the Inventor with its Armor Innovation did not help matters any, either. There might be some slight benefits to such things, depending on which Class or Ancestry-based Armor you're benefitting from (such as being able to sleep in it despite not having the Comfort trait), but it's otherwise just as boring and uninteresting as the other basic Armors the game has to offer.

Is this really all that we should expect from Armor in this game? Do you think the game could be more than what it is if Armor was expanded on compared to what we have now? Are there any things you would like to see Armor do that it currently doesn't do well now?

So I've looked at the Spell-storing weapon rune, and it's gotten me a bit confused as to how it's activation is supposed to work, and I'm left with a few interpretations that have me a bit dumbfounded, so I'm looking for additional clues or advice that I may be missing here.

Here's the full text of the Spell-storing rune:

Spell-storing wrote:

A spell-storing rune creates a reservoir of eldritch energy within the etched weapon. A spellcaster can spend 1 minute to cast a spell of 3rd level or lower into the weapon. The spell must have a casting of 2 actions or fewer and must be able to target a creature other than the caster. The spell has no immediate effect—it is instead stored for later. When you wield a spell-storing weapon, you immediately know the name and level of the stored spell. A spell-storing weapon found as treasure has a 50% chance of having a spell of the GM’s choice stored in it.

Activate [1 Action] command; Requirements On your previous action this turn, you hit and damaged a creature with this weapon; Effect You unleash the stored spell, which uses the target of the triggering attack as the target of the spell. This empties the spell from the weapon and allows a spell to be cast into it again. If the spell requires a spell attack roll, the result of your attack roll with the weapon determines the degree of success of the spell, and if the spell requires a saving throw, the DC is 30.

So, one thing of note is that it takes 1 minute to refill it (which must be done out of combat, since that falls under the Long-Casting Time spells rule), and that it has to originally be of 2 or fewer actions, with the ability to target a creature (meaning no AoE or personal-only spells). Okay, that's reasonable and pretty easy to understand.

What I'm confused with is the activation part, and most specifically the finer details it encompasses. Based on the requirements, I must have hit and damage a creature with the enchanted weapon with a previous action in the same turn. Okay, no problem. But when I activate it, what happens? Yes, it says that I use the stored spell on the creature that I attacked, but what does that precisely mean? Here's why it's confusing me:

If I use a spell that requires a spell attack roll, the result of my spell attack roll is equal to the attack roll of my weapon. Does it use the result of my previous attack? Does that mean I make a new Spell Attack, using my weapon's modifier instead of my spell attack's modifier? Also, would I not suffer MAP from this attack (especially since I had to have hit and dealt damage with said weapon prior to activating this rune), meaning if I critically hit an enemy without a Natural 20 (yes, the requirements don't include critical hits, but that's beside the point), and I consequently suffer a -5 (or whatever penalty I am at) on this roll, wouldn't that also affect the result of my Spell Attack roll, thus causing me to not critically hit with it? Or worse, miss, and essentially "waste" the spell if it wasn't a critical hit to begin with? What about concealment/cover, or reactions used in response to this ability; could they potentially negate or ruin the odds of this effect firing off and successfully affecting the enemy? Part of me says that it doesn't require further rolls or checks on my part because there are no subordinate actions taking place here; there is no Cast a Spell activity or Strike being called out, but the wording suggests otherwise.

Incidentally, if I use a spell that targets a saving throw instead, it seems like a simple "Enemy must make a saving throw against a measly DC 30." But it does raise the question of if the enemy is affected by Concealment (thus providing a flat check miss chance) providing the possibility of simply not being affected by the spell in question.

I'm asking because I had a Spell-storing weapon that I used one time, and made the assumption that it simply took the same result as your previous attack and applied it to the respective spell (meaning if you rolled a Natural 20 and Critically Hit the enemy, for example, it would take that same result and apply it to the Spell with this action as well), and it seems almost wrong, or Too Good to Be True for it to work that way, even if it's limited to 3rd level spells. (I do wish the Spell DC was 30, or the spellcaster's DC, whichever is higher, but I guess runes like this can't be too OP with effects like Slow, for example.)

As the title.

The description from Telekinetic Projectile states:

Telekinetic Projectile wrote:
You hurl a loose, unattended object that is within range and that has 1 Bulk or less at the target. Make a spell attack roll against the target. If you hit, you deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage—as appropriate for the object you hurled—equal to 1d6 plus your spellcasting ability modifier. No specific traits or magic properties of the hurled item affect the attack or the damage.

Okay, sounds simple enough. We can't take a +3 Major Striking weapon with a bunch of elemental runes dropped on the ground and toss it at a bad guy for added damage, nor can we take an object with the Light trait on it and throw it at an enemy in Darkness and counteract the effect, for examples.

But what if we're facing a Demon and have a Cold Iron object available to throw at them; does the object being made out of Cold Iron trigger Weakness from the Demon? It isn't the result of a magical property, nor does it benefit from specific traits. Would this be possible by RAW? And is it for or against RAI?

If I cast the Light spell on 50 feet of rope (identified as a single object by the rules), and extend it out to its maximum length, would the entire distance emanate light as the spell, or does it fall under the Too Good to Be True clause?

We had this come up in one of our recent games and weren't quite sure how this would work out.

BBEG got revived in the middle of the encounter and has Champion features such as Blade Ally, which provide the effects of a weapon property rune to a specific weapon he wields. They are also a Graveknight, which also makes any weapon they wield function as a Frost weapon.

Both the Blade Ally feature and the Graveknight ability do not mention being magical in nature or having magical traits of any type, contrast to the Tyrant reaction they possess, which has literally every trait under the sun.

In the midst of the combat, an Anti-Magic Field went off through the entire room, turning all of our magical gear and effects into mundane stuff (i.e. they were suppressed), which is why this question was brought up.

The GM ruled that because the abilities were natural (Blade Ally attached to a spirit inhabiting the sword, Graveknight abilities are innate to any weapon they hold) and not magical in nature (no traits or direct linkage to being purely magical runes), the properties would apply to the weapon (in this case, Unholy and Frost).

We beat the encounter regardless, but are they right or wrong by RAW? Did we miss something in the rules that is glaringly obvious?

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So I keep reading up on Assurance, and it just looks worse and worse each time.

Assurance wrote:
Even in the worst circumstances, you can perform basic tasks. Choose a skill you’re trained in. You can forgo rolling a skill check for that skill to instead receive a result of 10 + your proficiency bonus (do not apply any other bonuses, penalties, or modifiers).

This seems nice in certain situations compared to others, but then I looked at what exactly your proficiency bonus entails, and it just falls apart from there:

Proficiency wrote:
Proficiency is a system that measures a character’s aptitude at a specific task or quality, and it has five ranks: untrained, trained, expert, master, and legendary. Proficiency gives you a bonus that’s added when determining the following modifiers and statistics: AC, attack rolls, Perception, saving throws, skills, and the effectiveness of spells. If you’re untrained, your proficiency bonus is +0. If you’re trained, expert, master, or legendary, your proficiency bonus equals your level plus 2, 4, 6, or 8, respectively.

So things like your ability modifier, item bonuses, status bonuses, etc. don't get factored in. Neither do penalties, but even in those cases, facing appropriate level tasks makes it impossible, even though the flavor text of Assurance states "Even in the worst circumstances, you can perform basic tasks." It's a false misnomer, because objectively speaking, you can't.

One solid example is utilizing Battle Medicine/Treat Wounds for consistent healing across the board. Let's say we got a 2nd level Cloistered Cleric with the Field Medic background doing this to save on their limited spell slots and fonts for in-combat healing. They are only Trained in Medicine and so will be doing the DC 15 default, having taken Assurance in Medicine as their 2nd level Skill Feat.

So, without Assurance, a DC of 15, and being able to add +4 Wisdom, with maybe an investment of Expanded Healer's Tools for a +1 item bonus, plus a proficiency of 4, giving them a +9 to their skill check. To meet the DC 15 check and succeed, they must roll a 6 or higher, which gives a 25% of failure (including a 5% critical failure chance), with a 50% success rate, and a 25% critical success chance. With a 75% chance to succeed on your rolls, the numbers look quite in your favor here.

With Assurance, however, you do not get to add either the +4 Wisdom or your +1 item bonus, which shifts the math a factor of 25% to your detriment. Since Assurance also fixes the dice result, and has the Fortune effect (meaning effects which improve or allow re-rolls cannot apply), it fixes to the point that it can never succeed until the following level. But, by this point, you'll be improving your Medicine to Expert to get more bang for your buck out of Treat Wounds/Battle Medicine, and be back to being forced to roll to get a success out of it. At best, Assurance has helped to make an already easy check a guarantee, but you still deny yourself the benefits of any critical success effects.

But let's look at another effect in your favor, such as Assurance in Athletics. We're facing an enemy and want to Trip them to make it easier for our allies to run up and beat them in the face, since flanking seems implausible. But, we still want to give our party members that edge. So, we got a 5th level Fighter that is an Expert in Athletics tripping an on-level average enemy. We'll keep things simple and do an average level DC for the Fortitude Save of the creature.

A Fighter who rolls without Assurance will have +4 Strength with a proficiency bonus of +9, making it a +13 check. (It is harder to have Item Bonuses to Athletics via tripping, but at this point, if they have a weapon with the Trip trait, they would get a +1 item bonus to trip with it, but I won't factor that in since it's a little too specialized.) Against a DC 20, they have a 35% chance to fail (including a 5% critical failure chance), a 50% chance to succeed, and a 15% chance to critically succeed. So, it is a 65/35 ratio here (or 70/30 with the +1 Trip trait weapon). This also isn't including MAP, which shifts the math dramatically against the Fighter, making it 40/60 (45/55), and 15/85 (20/80) with the check, the latter of which is what is realistic.

A Fighter using Assurance will have 10 on the Dice with their +9 Proficiency bonus, putting them at a DC of 19, making them fail the check regardless of whether they have MAP or not. This means that, effectively speaking, no matter when this skill is used, against an on-level enemy, that Trip will fail. Whereas without Assurance and rolling, they still have a 15% chance to succeed (even if there is a 35% chance of critically failing). Granted, this would be a guarantee to work against level-1 enemies, it just demonstrates that Assurance isn't meant to work for on-level or higher threats.

Yet another example would be taking Assurance in Lore, Crafting, or Performance for earning gold via downtime activities, which is where it's most prevalent. While Lore may not guarantee on-level activities, Crafting and Performance certainly can, and depending on setting, it might still be available. But, comparing on-level DCs with Assurance values, the disparity between bonuses needed and DCs set become wider and wider. There is the option of doing things at a lower level just to make Assurance work, but then it's becoming more trivial than it is "basic," which is that on-level tasks should be appropriate and basic to them, whereas level+1 or more would be no basic task or feat.

Are there any viable uses for Assurance that I'm overlooking here? Is it just a "Avoid that Nat 1" feat that I presume it is, or is there more to it?

Let's take Foley the Fighter against a suped-up skeleton with double the resistances that was tripped and triggers an Attack of Opportunity from standing. Foley lands a critical hit with his Longsword, but rolls the minimum of 10 damage, which is resisted entirely by the skeleton.

Is the creatures action to stand still disrupted with a critical hit despite it being ineffective to wound the creature? I can't seem to find a rule that states what to do in this situation, as we had something come up in play last night that had a similar effect, but I could have swore the rule of "the attack must have dealt damage to apply rider effects" from PF1 carried over.

As the title.

I'm expecting to acquire this spell in a few levels, since most other 10th level spells are uncommon, or just plain suck, and looking at the description:

Time Stop wrote:
You temporarily stop time for everything but yourself, allowing you to use several actions in what appears to others to be no time at all. Immediately after casting time stop, you can use up to 9 actions in 3 sets of up to 3 actions each. After each set of actions, 1 round passes, but only for you, effects specifically targeting or affecting you, and effects you create during the stoppage. All other creatures and objects are invulnerable to your attacks, and you can't target or affect them with anything. Once you have finished your actions, time begins to flow again for the rest of the world. If you created an effect with a duration that extends beyond the time stop's duration, such as wall of fire, it immediately affects others again, but it doesn't have any of the effects that happen only when you first cast the spell.

I'm not getting any feasible uses out of it, other than maybe to Dimension Door out to a safer location, and then attempting to Teleport back to base. A last resort that I'd rather not burn a 10th level spell slot on, since this basically means I'm leaving my party behind to die.

Stack Reverse Gravity so the enemy is pinned to a certain levitation? Seems pretty weak, even if comical to do. Also doesn't work with flying enemies. Maybe Force Cage with some Wall spells, or spells like Ice Storm, for free constant damage? Keeps them in the area while dealing constant damage to them on their turns, requiring magic to escape, which isn't always a guarantee depending on tradition. Divine and Primal spellcasters will be screwed here, though Occult and other Arcane spellcasters have a chance to escape.

Am I missing something here to combo it with, or is Time Stop really just a "get out of jail free" card spell that otherwise sucks really, really bad?

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We had a session last Thursday with one of our players trying out the Gunslinger class with a Party of 5 against martial-type enemies. I am writing this report on behalf of the player, as they aren't a forum-goer, and I felt like I should provide first-hand data since I was privy to it.

For report's sake, we have both the Free Archetype and Voluntary Flaw optional rules in place for the purposes of data (certain aspects of the build are instead acquired via custom items which are effectively replicated with these optional rules). Here's the essential build:

Unbreakable Goblin Sniper Gunslinger

Strength 12
Dexterity 20
Constitution 16
Intelligence 16
Wisdom 16
Charisma 10

AC 35
HP 178

Fortitude 22
Reflex 26 + Evasion
Will 22

Perception 23
Class DC 33

+2 Greater Striking Corrosive Musket at +29 for 3D6+4 Piercing + 1D6 Acid, Fatal D10; Gravity Bow +6 Status Bonus to Damage, Firearm Ace +2 Circumstance Bonus to Damage

*Trained Skills (value)*
Arcana (19)
Athletics (19)
Crafting (19)
Diplomacy (16)
Deception (16)
Tanning Lore (19)
Nature (19)
Religion (19)
Survival (19)

**Master Skills (value)**
Acrobatics (25)
Stealth (26)
Thievery (26)

Incredible Initiative

Very Sneaky
Roll With It
Very Very Sneaky

Survey Wildlife
Quick Jump
Wary Disarmament
Foil Senses
Swift Sneak
Kip Up

Firearm Ace
Risky Reload
Running Reload
Gravity Weapon
Far Shot
Called Shot
Penetrating Fire
Dance of Thunder

[Magic Items] (7,500 of 9,300 recommended WBL value)
+2 Resilient Shadow Leather Armor
+2 Greater Striking Corrosive Flintlock Musket
+2 Striking Blunderbuss
+2 Striking Shortsword
Boots of Bounding
Greater Hat of Disguise

The Party
-A Half-Elf Paladin Champion of Shelyn wielding a Glaive
-A Half-Orc Fighter wielding a Bastard Sword and Sturdy Shield
-A Human Bard with feats to enhance Inspire Courage effects
-A Halfling/Half-Orc Druid with Beastmaster and Mauler dedication

The Encounter

A large room (90 by 90), with the party confined to a single 30 by 30 corner, dealing with an onslaught of On-Level or Level-1 Fighters with Swords and Shields.

In Turn 1, the Gunslinger managed to hook a critical on the first shot, rolling a 17 + 29 = 46, a critical against the enemy Fighters' 35 AC. Since neither Gravity Bow nor Firearm Ace was active at this time, it only dealt 1D10+2(3D10+4+1D6) damage, the actual result being approximately 65 damage, rolling above average in this case. A powerful hit to put a dent in the approximately 250 HP Fighter enemies, but by no means extreme compared to the additional +16 damage that could have come in if both Firearm Ace and Gravity Bow were active, marking it at an impressive 81 damage.

In Turn 2, after receiving both Haste and Inspire Courage, the Gunslinger is now capable of firing Twice in a turn, and is able to navigate the area without too much hassle thanks to Running Reload. However, instead of firing twice this turn, Gravity Bow is activated, and now so is Firearm Ace, meaning even on non-criticals, the dice becoming D8s and having +8 effective damage (was calculated as 9 or 10 in-game, as we forgot that Inspire Courage and Gravity Weapon do not stack in this case) meant they were getting more for their shot each turn. Even without Gravity Bow active on a subsequent shot, an additional +3 or 4 damage isn't anything to shrug off at.

The rest of the fight goes relatively swimmingly. The Gunslinger has not had the occasion to use Dance of Thunder (though reading it, it looks to be very, very powerful if the dice is in your favor, even if it's limited to once per encounter pretty much), and only used both Penetrating Shot and Called Shot once, but to good effect with yet another critical of an almost identical result to Turn 1, except against 2 enemies for Penetrating Shot, and the last Called Shot to prevent escapees. The player wanted to optimize with the Blunderbuss and go full Sniper, but felt that the whole concept of steadying before their shot all the time overtly punished them for their playstyle, and action-economy wise equalled a Reload 2 weapon to them, which didn't feel very satisfying to play compared to the Musket, combined with the limited (even if somewhat expanded) action economy they possessed.

Compared to the rest of the party, the Gunslinger is able to dish out a fair amount of punishment that is the equivalent of the Fighter, Champion, and Druid, but being able to do so at a safe(r) distance than a Rogue. There were times when the Fighter and Champion have outdamaged them, but the Gunslinger's damage was certainly up there in their first shots, and only a little behind on the subsequent shot. Penetrating Shot can help that somewhat, but isn't a guarantee, and Called Shot appears to have attack utility. The Gunslinger did manage to get hit a few times (same as everyone else), but the Champion managed to utilize their reaction a couple times to prevent enough damage to not warrant any in-combat healing of any sort, either from potions, Battle Medicine, and so on. While the Gunslinger does not have as much of the Skill capacity and Reaction Synergy power the Rogue character had (between Instant Opportunity and Opportune Backstab with Champion Reaction and Attack of Opportunity all going off within the same round), it definitely covered a niche the party was lacking (ranged damage) in a relatively effective way.

Personal Notes
I can understand some of the points that have been made in other topic posts in that a Gunslinger feels fairly redundant in playstyle and infringes on the Fighters' schtick, but I do disagree on them being ineffective, as well as playing identically to Fighters, both mechanically and playstyle-wise. The former disagreement stems from not properly utilizing tactics or action economy effectively, the latter stems from Sword-and-Boards needing to Raise Shield all the time for AC (instead of being able to actually just attack multiple times), or not having to reload if utilizing a Bow of sorts while still dealing decent damage with Deadly traits and such. Plus, as the Gunslinger was considered under WBL guidelines, they were still powerful to contribute, thanks to the build choices (which I helped with, advice was asked for in this case) and Legendary Firearms proficiency, and they were certainly missing a couple things in their build (such as an additional weapon rune for their musket, adding another potential 1D6 damage plus effects on a critical) that would've helped in this regard.

In regards to their combat mechanics, Abilities like Haste make the Gunslinger much more capable of providing consistent damage in combat, as the Gunslinger is able to make 2 attacks consistently with a Reload 1 weapon, but to me feels more like a crutch to shore up its inherent flaw with the action economy than an actual buff in action economy options. Compared to a Fighter which can now Raise Shield, or the Champion who can now Intimidate, both of which without losing out on "effective" attacks, the Gunslinger just gets the ability to have the same offensive capability as those classes without Haste. Whether that's the intended goal or not, I do not know, but to me it feels off. It also still doesn't let a Gunslinger perform multiple abilities like Called Shot or Penetrating Shot in the same round (at least, without already being loaded before-hand, probable to happen in Round 1 of combat, not so in future rounds). Again, another potential intention behind it, but when Haste is expressly limited to Stride or Strike, and abilities like Running Reload cannot be utilized with them, it's fairly problematic that it results in a static "Shoot->Reload->Shoot->Reload" playstyle that gets redundant relatively fast. I imagine that if the player started at 1st level, by 3rd level they'd find it extremely tedious to have to constantly reload all the time, or be in positions where they can't reload due to Attacks of Opportunity being a threat, or running out of ammunition, get the idea. And they don't gain anything in exchange by having this playstyle, other than maybe doing comparable damage from a range. Is that fair? Hard to say for me.

The rest of the party seemed satisfied with the character's effectiveness, but consider that the build took typical choices from other Gunslinger playtests at the lower levels, and instead of further choosing feats from within their class choice, instead branched off to valuable feats from other classes (such as Ranger) to reach the level of character they wanted. This isn't necessarily an inherent flaw for Gunslingers, but the player did note that a lot of the feats that Gunslingers had which didn't help their schtick and offered fringe utility benefits (like Black Powder Boost, Cauterize, Hit the Dirt!, Blast Lock, etc.) did not seem appealing to them compared to feats like Gravity Weapon and Far Shot from the Ranger side of things (which, incidentally, in Far Shot's case, seems strange for a Gunslinger not to be able to have a feat choice in their listed feats).


I would have liked to have posted at least two session's worth of data, but due to inclement weather we weren't able to play last week, and the playtest will end before the next session (or rather, I won't be able to make another post in regards to the results of that data). If I am lucky, I will bump this thread with another post on Friday night to submit the next session's worth of data, but if not, due to the playtest closing and threads/posts no longer being possible to do, then well, I tried.

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As the title.

I noticed that there were a few generalized feats from previous classes that were in the Gunslinger feat choices, such as Running Reload and Quick Draw, as well as a few other exclusive feats, like Alchemical Shot and Called Shot, as well as some clearly reflavored feats to work with both Firearms and Crossbows, like Shooter's Aim and Penetrating Fire.

But there are several other Crossbow-related feats not present in the Gunslinger class. Yes, it's a playtest, and I imagine they didn't have the most space to play with in regards to the document size, but my concern is that certain other feats, like Crossbow Ace and Incredible Aim, won't be included in the Gunslinger package, meaning you must either multiclass or take other archetypes to acquire those feats.

Can we expect to see other feats not listed in the current playtest document to show up, or is this the best we're gonna get to a powerful crossbow-using class?

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As the title.

As I've been growing in level, I've been having a hard time with acquiring spells that I want as more and more of them are having rarity tags that I can't seem to bypass. Uncommon or Rare spells are becoming the norm these days and I'm struggling to be able to select other spells I want as a result, because they just don't have the sort of thing I'm looking for a spell to accomplish.

I mean, I have received a couple uncommon spells from simply playing the game, but there are just so many other ones that I want to have as well, but it's unclear or seemingly improbable to acquire these spells.

Are there ways I'm missing to find or acquire these spells, or am I just at the whims of my GM in this case?

So, we had this issue come up in one of our games that is a bit unclear as to how it's supposed to be handled properly.

Our Rogue PC has the Opportune Backstab reaction to be usable on an enemy that is struck by another player, which happens after the enemy's turn takes place, but before the Rogue PC's turn takes place. They also have the Bloody Debilitation feat and are in a position to take advantage of the Debilitating Strikes ability.

The Debilitating Strikes ability goes as follows:

Debilitating Strikes wrote:

You apply one of the following debilitations, which lasts until the end of your next turn.

Debilitation: The target takes a –10-foot status penalty to its Speeds.

Debilitation: The target becomes enfeebled 1.

So, these effects don't normally go away by standard rules, meaning the bolded listing is important to determine how long these effects last. However, we introduce a new option via Bloody Debilitation which has normally different rules for resolution.

Now, the Bloody Debilitations feat goes as follows:

Bloody Debilitation wrote:

Your attacks slice arteries and veins. Add the following debilitation to the list you can choose from when you use Debilitating Strike.

Debilitation: The target takes 3d6 persistent bleed damage.

The bolded parts are crucial for what I'm next seeing here. So, when you utilize Debilitating Strikes, the duration is always until the end of your next turn, according to the bolded parts, as Bloody Debilitation merely adds an option to your choice of debilitations. The Bloody Debilitations feat doesn't change the original duration. But, it's persistent damage, which should require flat checks at the end of turns to go away, which is different from what the ability's duration states.

So, back to the gameplay at hand, it's the Rogue's turn. They strike some more and their turn ends before the bad guy goes, which is when persistent damage takes place. Does this create a situation where Bloody Debilitation does nothing as a feat? Are we running this wrong and overthinking it, or is this feat really that situational, where it's just a delayed 3D6 damage that might not take place if done at certain turns in the combat round?

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With the current Summoner linking HP and effects from themselves to their Eidolon, and with them sharing action economy, this literally feels like a direct rip from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, with Eidolons being psychic projections/entities that have special abilities, appearances, interactions, etc., that the user must train and concentrate on to be effective.

Granted, Stands (and their users) have much more varied appearances, niches, abilities, and so on, some of them to the point of being nigh-unstoppable, others borderline useless, I feel that if the Eidolon was to rise to this apparent occasion, their options need to open up more to allow free-form abilities so that players could create a truly unique Stand/Eidolon.

With this concept in mind, do you think this might be biting off a bit more than the game can chew? Can we expect Eidolons and Summoners to realistically embody what is clearly a primary inspiration to the class' design? Or will we have to settle with it being "kind of but not quite really" a Stand?

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I had a bit of a hair-brained unconscious thought in regards to the playtest, and I decided to see if it might work.

From PF1, the Magus had a 4th level class feature called Spell Recall, which let them regain spell slots they have cast at the cost of expending points from their Arcane Pool equal to the spell level of the spell they wish to regain. I believe there might be a way to re-implement this feature into PF2 as a means to make the current "4 Spell Slot" rules more viable for longer adventuring days, and to make the Magus have better staying power.

With the implementation and scaling balance of Focus Points/Pools, We can reinvent this feature as a means to not only make this "4 Spell Slot" mechanic viable, but also something that Magus players can better play around to make their Focus Pool more versatile while also gauging fair applications of Focus Points, and making more interesting choices with their Focus pool expenditures.

This is obviously a first rough draft, but hopefully it conveys the point across, and may be what Paizo might use to balance the "4 Spell Slot" mechanic if it still makes it to the final product:

Spell Recall Focus 1
1 Free Action
Trigger: At the start of your turn.
Requirement: You have expended a prepared spell slot.

You regain a spell slot you have cast from the last time you made your daily preparations. This ability cannot be used on spells acquired from sources other than the Magus class.

It obviously looks overpowered, but this is just the baseline I'm proposing, and there are other balancing factors that I haven't implemented quite yet as I'm unsure of the implications. But they include:

-Requiring your spellbook being held, otherwise how else are you going to recall the spell? Also makes Sword and Book more viable!
-Limiting the feature to be used only once per spell level until you reprepare spells, so that people can't just always have free spell slots every combat, as spell slots should still be a limitation of some sort.
-Allowing the feature to work with any prepared spells, including from multiclass dedications, as the Focus Pool plus Refocusing will be the balancing factors here, making spellcasting dedications like Wizard more appealing.

Any thoughts or impressions on what could make this work or if it's just way too much?

As the title. (Yes, it's long, and might be in the wrong forum, oops.)

While it is true that Demon Masks do not possess an Evil trait or anything of that nature, I, as a Champion player, am having a hard time justifying wearing this for the Intimidation bonuses without getting the unaccepting eye from my Patron deity or other NPCs, and I'd much rather not have to buy something that's ~400 gold more with a dead effect to justify the item bonus (Gorget of Primal Roar).

I mean, Heaven forbid we don't have any Good-themed Intimidation items in the game, can't ever make the good guys look scary! What's a Paladin to do about this conundrum?

As the title. Are they considered the same feat, or would this be possible to take and basically maximize my out-of-turn effectiveness?

Because as a Tyrant champion, I was wanting to take these feats, plus Attacks of Opportunity, combined with Divine Reflexes, making me able to utilize all of these reactions at the same time. But if these feats are both the same, I might just change course and pick something else.

So, I've been having a bit of an internal crisis with the importance of movement speed to my characters that it really hurts my character creation verisimilitude, but done so due to a sense of "required" optimization.

In other words, if I'm not playing an Elf or a Half-Elf, or some other ancestry/class that gives 30 movement speed from the get-go, I just won't play it. Before anyone says that I haven't given it a fair shake, I have. I played a Mountain Stance Dwarf Monk. Levels 1 and 2 made me stupidly slow, even when building to account for it. 20 movement speed is no fun, because I'm wasting 2 actions just to get into the thick of things. Combined with spending actions to enter a stance just to be able to wade into melee without getting slaughtered, you're not doing anything for a good round or round and a half, while everyone else is already in the thick of things fighting. Yes, there is Flurry of Blows, but that's really all I get, and when you're throwing D8 damage dice around while having a weak AC (because no armor, and proficiency only does so much) and only like 22-32 HP, it's very easy to be dropped before you get to do anything.

By 3rd level, I hit 35 movement thanks to fast movement and fleet, but with the meager feats and offensive options, I'm really not doing much. I literally had to pay a bunch of stuff just to hit that mobility compared to an ancestry and build combination that doesn't really have to, and could work with some other awesome stuff, like taking Fighter dedication for some interesting Fighter feats that work well with unarmed fighting styles. Of course, couldn't because no Dexterity to make it happen, which is a major bummer.

Whereas when I played my Elf Wizard, he had 35 movement from the get-go, reaching 40 feet by 3rd level. The freedom of movement (pardon the pun) from that compared to the Monk I played was so contrasting and powerful that I felt completely unchained from moving so slow, and it made being able to set up spells/cantrips in a single round more viable than ever. Yes, a Monk can eventually outpace me, but that takes way too long of dealing with janky movement speed that I'd get burned out before I'd actually enjoy taking advantage of it. In fact, just two levels of that and I basically decided "Nah, I don't like this, and this patch-all from class features screwed up any chance of me enjoying a true martial master build."

This is even more difficult when trying to make a character with Heavy Armor. I need the AC, but also need the mobility to get into the fight and slaughter enemies. Combined with the not-so-desirable ability array from ancestries like Elf or Half-Elf, and next thing you know you're stuck being Slowy McSlowerton again, wasting actions on just getting in there instead of doing things like Striking, Intimidation, Feint, etc. While also having something as crucial as a Constitution penalty to deal with. (It wasn't so bad on my Wizard, but smart play, building choice, and tactics was the only reason it wasn't a complete disaster.)

Combined with areas being made larger to accommodate an increased group size (and increased challenges), and it just seems that having low(er) movement speed is just not viable.

Does anyone with a normal-sized party feel like they have this issue? If so, how did you deal with the problem? Am I just an outlier who just feels like having to spend more than one movement action per turn is just a waste of a round?

So, here's a fun little situation I decided to cook up to give players an interesting battlefield for an encounter, and after reading the Leaping and High/Long Jump rules, it falls flat upon itself.

We have PCs adventuring to their destination and come across a crevasse where some nasty beasties live. The specifics for the encounter itself isn't important. What I'm getting at is how having differing surfaces of two differing elevations with greater than 10 feet distances is ridiculously difficult for PCs to do. Leap lets you go either a certain distance up or a certain distance across, you can never combine the two. The same can be said for the High/Long Jump actions as well, which, to me, doesn't seem to promote fluid terrain or non-flight airborne movement.

If I have a 15 foot gap with, say, a 5 foot difference in height (such as the difference caused by an earthquake), PCs cannot jump across it in either mode. They cannot use Long Jump because they would faceplant in the side of the crevasse and then fall down like Wile E. Coyote. They cannot use High Jump, because even if they would meet the height difference, they would literally only move 5 feet across (or maybe 10?) and, again, fall down like Wile E. Coyote. It's a humorous picture, to be sure. But if I wanted flying bad guys who could push prey off to their death, the PCs would stand no chance unless they could fly like the bad guys simply because the mechanics do not promote more fluid/heroic jumping or leaping.

Sure, there are certainly ways to cross the example crevasse, such as with flight, using rope to climb across the gap after it's been bound taught to the other side, and so on. But there's no real way to flex those jump skills in combat fluidly or all cool-like, even though several of those activities have actions, which imply that yes, they are for Encounter Mode.

Has anyone else come across these similar problems? If so, how have they adjusted things to accommodate the problems? Have they simply removed the need to both jump high and far, or have they not done anything and just let PCs go splat via stupidity?

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So we had a session last night that had two Hazards (not together, separate instances of singular Hazards), both of which resulted in the Hazard by itself nearly TPKing the party. The second one was even worse, despite it being by itself with nothing else in the vicinity that would threaten us.

Age of Ashes 3rd book spoilers:
We came across a lathe machine throwing debris at us for anywhere from 25-50 points of damage with automatic hits (and good chances of critting us) due to its obscene plus to hit and damage, affecting up to 4 players (or a single player 4 times, almost instantly killing them if the odds were not in their favor; even a player getting struck twice almost dropped them). And because we didn't act in initiative first before the machine was activated, we weren't able to disable it before it could start off. I mean, I guess we could blame it on not going first and doing the obvious "cut the rope" method, but the problem then became "Oh, you lost initiative, now you're basically gonna die because of it." This is a very bad design case leftover from 1st edition that I thought would be largely dissolved in this edition.

After this fight, being drawn to the portal room downstairs with the Eclipse weapon being a key for the next step in the adventure path, we decide to send the animal companion ahead with the Collar of Empathy so our Ranger could scout the area out. It comes across a stone tree that animates, automatically hits us (or very likely crits us), grabs us without any recourse, and then applies the Doomed condition (which, after being struck 2-3 times, would basically put us right at Dying 2 with an already-applied Doomed 1 condition). If we tried to do anything besides step, we'd be automatically attacked and grabbed, bringing us back to square 1 while already being down from its initial onslaught, and it was able to do this upwards of 6 times in a round. From what we could examine, there was a slot to be put in the base of the tree (the appropriate item of which was not in our possession), and any attempt to use the tree for its intended purpose from our successful Knowledge check was met with futility and near fatality, making our party leader almost die along with the animal companion if not for our quick thinking of Invisibility, timing, and using drag rules all because they went with a hunch that they weren't sure of would save them from the stone tree or not. In other words, we would've had to abandon the campaign altogether when our pivotal party leader would eat the dirt and we'd be starting all over again at a very anti-climactic segment of the adventure.

This also isn't the first time we've encountered Hazards that were this powerful within the AP itself, and after having ran an AP myself with a couple hazards, they weren't anywhere near as bad as the ones we've encountered thus far, even with their very first books!

Age of Ashes/Plaguestone 1st book spoilers:
In Vaz's private room in the library, there was an impalement trap with an absurd DC. 1st level players deciding to investigate because we were already in the area and because we logically thought we might find clues to her whereabouts and motives, came across a trap designed for 4th level players that resulted in nearly killing our trapfinder and disarmer. And before anyone says they weren't level appropriate, they are right, they aren't. But they rolled a 19 on their Perception check with a +5 to their Perception roll, and still failed, meaning even on a very good roll, we were outmatched. Even if we were level-appropriate (which would give us an additional 3 to the check since no Perception proficiency level increases or ability boosts apply in-between), we still would've had a less than 25% chance of perceiving the trap. If we had our 19 roll at level 2 or higher, it would've noticed it. But the point is that 3 out of 4 level appropriate players with optimized stats were gonna get smoked by that Hazard. And the to-hit damage resulted in a Natural 20 with Maximum Damage from the crit-card, instantly dropping the PC to Dying 2. (Thankfully, no other threats were around, or that PC would've died at 1st level on-the-spot.)

Compared to in the Plaguestone AP, Vilree's private chambers, there was an alchemical frost downpour that would affect anyone within the vicinity of the lyceum before her quarters. While the PCs were able to spot the hazard and plan appropriately, the check to disarm the trap failed, resulting in our Rogue PC being turned into a little popsicle. It wasn't bad enough to automatically kill them, and they were able to take care of the trap for future reference, but they ultimately did not get TPK'd by the Hazard, partly because they were able to see it on an appropriate roll, but also because they were able to plan ahead and rolled decent enough on their saving throws to not be crystallized into ice cubes. In fact, the players laughed and joked about it and actually enjoyed the trap a bit because of the way it played out.

The creatures/NPCs we've encountered have had their ups and downs in terms of difficulty and climactic engagement, but haven't been anywhere near as devastating as the Hazards have been so far, and it really makes me question why it is that a Hazard in the game is always infinitely more devastating that the creatures we come across? We've had to run from Hazards more than Creatures or other social encounters going down the drain so far, and it's proven to be extremely ridiculous as to the strength of the Hazards compared to what creatures we are supposed to face for our level. Even with multiple subsequent encounters, we've had close calls, and with abridgements from the Adventure Path, there was a "timed puzzle" segment that proved to be a lot more fun and engaging than any of these published Hazards! And the best part? We succeeded on our own without any sort of outside help or punch-pulling from the GM. (He would've pulled a punch if we failed, but he didn't have to, and that's what made the segment feel much more like an accomplishment.)

I mean, I understand traps are meant to stop/defeat would-be adventurers from foiling evil plans, but a BBEG could literally just taunt PCs with a big bad macguffin, line its (falsified) whereabouts with nothing but Hazards (because creatures are ineffective and have constant upkeep to deal with), and basically "entomb" PCs with these impossible hazards. In short, a GM throwing creatures unless they are like 6 or 7 levels above the PCs will always be ineffective compared to just throwing a 2-3 level above Hazard (or even a level-appropriate Hazard as I've seen in the above examples!) if they're wanting to make encounters appear extremely deadly, and that makes for a not-very-fun campaign in my honest opinion. I might as well play Pathfinder: Indiana Jones edition and run from a rolling boulder for 20 levels if that's the kind of game I want.

Are we the only ones noticing how imbalanced these Hazards are, and are consequently ranting about it?

As the title. (And no, this is not a bait thread.)

I'm a Paladin of Shelyn (one of the more "lax" Champion Tenet deities, I know), and the current campaign I'm running treats the entities I interact with as works of art (because they are considered part of an active story, and to someone like Shelyn, tales and theatrics are considered works of art), and this issue has come up several times so far simply because of bad rolls.

In several of these situations, I've had to attempt to utilize Diplomacy in an attempt to avoid encounters as well as further our goal without resorting to violence. In more situations than I care to admit, such attempts have failed and have come to fights to the death. (Since the entities I deal with are more like works of art, AKA objects, they don't have dying rules like us normal people do and are basically destroyed, and one of the entities I destroyed is actually what creates them in the first place, meaning they can't be replaced anymore.)

While I'm not surprised a situation like this has come to pass due to the basic rules of mathematics and probability, the frequency and circumstances presented to our group began to question whether my character could continue being a Champion of that deity, or of a Champion period, since instead of being able to properly diffuse the situation and saving "lives," these very "lives" have ended prematurely due to my inability to convince others of resorting to non-violence, and are now no longer capable of returning. Sure, in some cases this isn't possible, but quite clearly the GM has stated that several encounters can be resolved without combat, and of the ones I've failed thus far, they have all been avoidable.

This extreme set of circumstances has brought myself into question what Champions of other deities who don't have such "lax" tenets do in more realistic situations where they should preserve life before it becomes lost to the throes of anger and vengeance. If you were a Champion attempting to Diplomacy someone to not kill someone, and you were forced to kill them because of your inability to successfully persuade them not to kill someone, should you fall? I imagine such concepts would not be easy for a Champion to bear, but would they either choose to no longer pursue it due to the pain and hardship it creates, or would their deity view them as no longer capable of delivering the message they wish to convey?

In short, would a character's mistakes, even if they are attempting the right thing to do, but ultimately fail, and are resorted to something else that their deity might not approve of, still count as grounds for anathema? I would personally say no, since the intent of your actions is more important than the result of your intended actions, but I know that if these circumstances repeat consistently that Deities (AKA GMs) would intervene one way or another, or give said player a push to either retrain their entire class, or even retire altogether. I haven't technically gotten to that point yet, but if I had a more strict GM or Deity that I would probably have fallen simply due to incompetence.

Not an actual spell yet (maybe in the works of the Advanced Player's Guide, who knows), but liked it in PF1, so figured we'd give it a shot and see how it worked in the PF2 chassis.

SCORCHING RAY ---Spell 2---
Traits Fire, Attack, Evocation |Uncommon|
Traditions Arcane, Primal
Cast 2 Actions (Somatic, Verbal)
Range 30 feet; Target 1 to 3 creatures or objects

You conjure three tiny igneous spheres floating over top of you, each of which coalesce into a streak that shoots a flaming beam at your target. The target for each ray is chosen individually, though you may select the same target for each ray.

Make a spell attack roll for each ray; on a success, each ray deals 2D6 Fire damage. On a critical hit, double the damage and the target suffers 2 persistent fire damage per ray.

Each spell attack roll counts towards your multiple attack penalty, but does not apply until after the spell is cast. As the rays fire simultaneously, this counts as a single instance of damage for the purposes of resistances and weaknesses, as well as other abilities which trigger off of successful hits if multiple rays hit the same target.

Heightened (+2) Each ray deals an additional 1D6 Fire damage, and an additional point of persistent fire damage on a critical hit.

Something I whipped up quick off the top of my head. Considered making it be a single roll, but that makes the spell very swingy in play, and creates a weird tandem that didn't exist back in PF1. Also applied an Uncommon tag so that GMs can give players the veto if they come across this and want to pull some shenanigans the GM doesn't want to deal with.

Let me know what you guys think and if you decide to use it in your games! I might throw it in a game I'll be GMing soon, so we'll see if I do that based on your feedback!

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This is not about the fact that I can't just get items at half price after a week or two of downtime. This is about how crafting items in the previous edition, while much more powerful and broken, was quite a bit more freeform and hand-waived in terms of application.

Let's say I wanted a Cloak of Resistance +1 to be crafted in the previous edition. I'd simply need a feat with minimal requirements (in this case, Craft Wondrous Item with CL 3 as a requirement), to do a check (usually Spellcraft or the relevant normal Craft check assuming I meet caster level requirements), mark off the crafting cost gold, wait a day for the stuff to be done, and boom, I now have my magic item. Simple, easy, effective, no hassle from the GM (unless he decides he doesn't want crafting in his games. Which is fine, but let's assume GM wants players to have out-of-combat utilities, or allows crafting as a player tool). Upgrading is equally simple, just make sure you meet the upgrade requirements, make the adjusted check, mark off the gold, wait the downtime, and boom, item is now improved.

Now let's see how Second Edition handles this. Well, before I can craft this, I need to be a certain tier of crafting (Expert), need a specific feat (Magical Crafting, which isn't available until like 3rd or 4th level at the earliest), need the formula for the specific item I'm crafting (good luck finding rules on how this works!), can't upgrade it to a higher tier item until I have the formula for that (which again, good luck on figuring this out with the rules!), need to make a check, wait 4 days (or longer), and pay full price. And that's just crafting standardized magic items.

Don't even get me started on how runes, runestones, and inscribing/transferring work, because that's even more damn confusing and our group hasn't figured out how that works due to conflicting wording.

Want to create something for yourself that no one else has? Can't. You don't have a formula for your own design, nor do you have the ability to make one up, there's no feats or rules that allow this. At best you have GM FIAT which will most likely end up in smoke if the GM thinks they smell shenanigans (and some do when there really isn't, though of course sometimes they don't when they should). Plus, new items from new books requires new formulas for you to craft them. Which likewise costs money, downtime, and can just be red herrings based on whatever checks the GM requires. Not to mention there's no simple or easy way to keep track of what formulas you have, since there will be multitudes and multitudes of magic items expanding with each release of content.

Whereas I can just say "I'm gonna buy X for Y gold," and unless it's Uncommon or something, GM will most likely just say "Okay, mark it off your currency sheet and put X on your inventory." Or just require some sort of check to find it if it is Uncommon or Rare. Okay. That's actually even easier than first edition crafting, and just as cost-effective as if I were going to just craft items in this edition!

I think the only thing this edition did right is not (effectively) requiring spellcasting to craft magical items. Otherwise? Major downgrade and really hurts player's egos and brains trying to figure this stuff out for what appears to be no real gain in anything.

As the title.

Our party came across a couple mindless creatures and one of our players tried to feint it to get an edge on his attack. Since the creatures are mindless, they are immune to effects that have the Mental trait, which feinting does possess. So he succeeds on the check, but receives no benefit other than knowing that feinting doesn't work on mindless creatures.

Now, another character goes to flank, and I initially was going to allow it, but the feinting player argued that flanking is similarly distracting from properly defending themselves, so I re-read how being flat-footed works, and it says:

Flat-Footed wrote:
"You’re distracted or otherwise unable to focus your full attention on defense."

So at the time, I went with the feinting player's logic and stated they couldn't be flanked either, since the description mentions requiring focus, which I imagined mindless creatures don't have. However, the key differences are that the feinting action has the mental trait, whereas a simple concept like flanking does not (unless I overlooked it somewhere). At the same time, being flat-footed means you're not mentally aware or fully capable of defending yourself, which I imagine is something that mindless creatures don't naturally or instinctively do other than what's listed in their creature demographic.

Is there anything that I'm missing here? What would you have done in this situation?

As the title.

As a specialist evocation wizard, I get 3 spell slots, 1 of which has to be of an Evocation trait, the other two being available to anything.

However, my contention is with how many spells I gain from acquiring a new level of spells. Do I really only ever get 2 per level period, which means that I am effectively required to have two copies of a given spell (probably the non-Evocation one) every time I get a spell level unless I scribe a scroll to learn new spells?

That seems...quite restricting. This means I need to have bought (or found) one of the next-level scrolls before getting access to that spell level, and in the official campaigns I've been in so far, I have been lucky to even find one or two scrolls of a given item, combined with them not being of the next level of spell available, which really really bites, especially when the wealth I've been getting thus far only just pays for said level 2 scroll of my choice.

Am I missing something or am I getting as shafted as I've described?

So this is going to be our first foray into the official PF2 rules (we have played the playtest before), and I'll be running this module so we can gauge how much has changed and if we like the changes or not, among other things.

Been reading through it, and while I like parts of it, I have several questions as to how to run it. **SPOILERS for those who are going to play this**

1. What sort of adjustments should I make for this? We'll have a fairly well-rounded group, relegating the GMPC to gruntwork (and assisted suicide by enemies if necessary) so the players can get a better gauge of playing. I can probably take the easier enemies and just increase the amount required to fight, but I worry about the stronger enemies being too weak as they are, but too strong if I buff them up to compensate.

2. Where is the map for the Feedmill? I can't seem to find it anywhere in the module book other than the giant map for Etran's Folly. There's maps for other smaller areas, but not this (which is probably the centerpoint of the whole AP), Is there one? If not, how would I construct it for the plot points to take place there? (AKA, if any of you guys have had to make one, how did you do it?)

3. Do the PCs ever level up from 1st level in this module? A cursory reading of several points in the book do not ever reference leveling up from what I've seen, outside of experience points, though I'd rather not have to add on another fiddly thing to track and just use the "PCs should be X level by this point in the story" gig previous APs have had. The back of the book only says 1st level, whereas the other module (Hellknight Hill, part of a much larger AP series) gives a level range of 1st-4th level, indicating that it goes up to higher levels. If not, would it be bad if I at least let them level up to 2nd at some point in the campaign so they can get a feel for how leveling up works?

As the title.

I reviewed the proficiency scaling, and I thought it was strange that the baseline is now Level + 2, with it scaling up to Level + 8. I don't mind the scaling so much, but the baseline I feel will confuse players and might make them add things when they shouldn't. Or I might get players who ask "Why do we add +2 when we're trained," to which the only valid response I have is "The Devs wanted it that way."

Conversely, this might have been done to either make players feel more empowered (which is a false equivalency since other rules elements use this too) or to make the baseline more powerful (which shouldn't matter when I feel it would all have the same impact as before, just less math).

So, if I decided to make the baseline to be just level, with Legendary being Level + 6, would the game still run the same as it does before, just a bit less fiddly math in the way? (I might have to reduce non-proficiency DCs by 2 to compensate, but that's something easy for me as a GM to do compared to wondering why players have different results on the same roll.)

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Wheeee free homebrew content!

6th Level Feat
Requirements: Power Attack, Sudden Charge
When using Sudden Charge, you may spend an additional action to gain the enhancement effect of Power Attack.

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I'll go ahead and mention some things that I've noticed (that either other forum posters or the developers have not) that, if not clarified or changed in the final release, can have devastating consequences that post-printing cannot easily fix.

5. Lockpicking:
The rules for lockpicking in PF1 were quite simple. You spent some time, made a check (assuming you had ranks in the skill), and based on the results of that check you either succeeded, failed (and need to retry again), or really messed up (and can't continue any further rolls). Nice, simple, and easy. Now, the lockpicking rules for PF2? Completely different from the previous way of it being done, and counterintuitive to keeping the game simple and immersive. You have to make numerous checks (3-5) with increasingly harder DCs in order to accomplish what originally took a single roll in PF1. Imagine if we took this concept to things like Crafting (complex) Items, Diplomacy debating, and other such elements of the game; the gameplay would screech to a halt with player unhappiness on the account of one instance of bad rolling (which is inevitable unless shenanigans are in place) when the probability of getting all successful rolls is extremely difficult. In fact, such a concept already technically exists in the 2nd part of Doomsday Dawn, where an entire party has the option to use Stealth, and all must succeed to bypass an encounter. Can you imagine having 4 or more completely different characters being able to utilize a single skill with the same exact chance of success? I think not. In addition, the difficulty of locks now being exponential instead of linear without a lockpicker getting a similar advantage in the way of proficiency tiers or skill feats (A skill feat to add an additional dice for lockpicking would be a nice, even if required, feat) is beyond unfair and can easily favor the lock. Plot devices and treasure being behind nearly impossible-to-pick locks means a story (nor its characters) can't reasonably progress. Conversely, if the DCs are still too easy, you're now making players roll dice 3-5 times for the same reason that PF1 only required a single dice roll. It doesn't seem like it eats much time, but it does add up if players have to use lockpicking skills on a regular basis, and it creates unfun snags in an adventure. While I am optimistic of Paizo making a motion to change this, nothing has been said one way or the other on the matter, and while I'm not asking for an answer, I'm merely bringing this concept up as a means of conveying information in the event it hasn't been looked at.

4. The Quickened Condition:
While it's quite clear what Slowed does (removes how many actions you have), Quickened being as restrictive as it is doesn't make much sense when we consider other actions on the table. As it stands, Quickened only lets me make an additional Stride or Strike action. What about performing actions that utilize the Stride or Strike functions, such as Running Reload or Sudden Charge? Or Power Attack, Swipe, or several other Strike-like functions? And that's not including things like re-gripping two-handed weapons, drawing weapons or shields or other items, jumping, crawling, and so on that I apparently can't do while Quickened, but I can runStride or attackStrike an additional time? While I understand the biggest reason Quickened is worded this way is to prevent spellcasting abuse, this can easily be solved by implementing a "This condition does not work for performing Rituals, performing the Cast a Spell activity, or Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting, or Material Casting actions" clause. Granted, some things are purposefully restrictive (such as the Monk's 20th level ability, and Speed Runes on weaponry), those already have specific notations as to what this additional action can be used for. Specific Trumps General is already a core feature of this game (and is one of PF1 as well); let's put more of it to use so that Quickened can function a lot better than what it does now.

3. Magic Item Prices and Limitations:
The pricing for items as a whole do not seem to add up appropriately. I suppose to some, it makes sense in the manner that higher level magic items are exponentially more valuable, but this does exacerbate the Christmas Tree effect, something which is of great contention for players and GMs (and even the developers have stated their dislike for it). However, there are contradicting elements at work here (and no, I don't mean Resonance, which is now gone). For starters, consumables of a much cheaper cost and expendable use, combined with this exponential gold hike, creates situations where having, just as one example, twenty-five Standard Cloaks of Elvenkind equate to a single Greater Cloak of Elvenkind. Before anyone says that's unrealistic, what about something that isn't linked to a limited slot, such as jewelry? Someone running around with numerous Rings of Wizardry can be casting dozens of lower level spell slots (which can be solid for buffs in the higher levels based on spell list), or Rings of Counterspelling for counteracting any bad spell being thrown at you (though it is a little difficult and time-consuming to prepare them all). Building upon that, Item Slots have been a thing since 3.X, and perhaps even earlier than that by "reasonable" standards, and to a point, this has not changed in PF2. You cannot reasonably wear multiple headbands, boots, gloves, etc. However, as I've stated prior, items such as jewelry, or other similarly non-intrusive equipment, can be used effectively unlimited. Sure, a character running around with 20 rings or 10 necklaces sounds silly, but the fact of the matter is that, for each slot that I can put as a ring or necklace, defeats the purpose of slots like cloaks or boots. Why on earth would I have Boots of Speed when I can have a Ring of Speed instead? Other than "Because the GM says so," which doesn't hold much water in a setting sense, I'm not convinced that these oddball slot items should even exist. The joke that Blingfinder will be a thing is not a laughing matter to me. While some very niche characters can function in this way, min-maxing would suggest this sort of behavior to be the norm, and I sincerely hope there is something we can do to stop both this behavior, and the counterproductivity of gold hiking and consumable shenanigans (trinkets fall under this concept too, in case I wasn't clear).

2. Exploration Mode/Table 10-2:
As a GM, I've rarely had to use or reference these rules simply because they do not add much to the game that I haven't already utilized from PF1. In fact, the only time I've ever referenced these rules were when the rules told me to do so for certain things (like Bardic Performance and Treat Wounds in Table 10-2, and for certain playtest adventure mechanics). While copy-pasting from PF1 won't do, I am of the firm belief that these rules are extremely restrictive and cannot appropriately encompass what players can accomplish while adventuring. The mode itself seems to be a way to guide newbie GMs, but in my opinion having such restrictive applications (which are actually prone to shenanigans) which are then supported by a table with numerous numbers of different tiers and levels that are completely subject to GM interpretation creates a lot more bad than good for both veteran and newbie GMs alike. Exploration Mode should serve much more as a guideline and less as a codification. (I am aware Table 10-2 is being heavily re-written, but I felt a need to mention is as it has tied to Exploration Mode and several player mechanics as a result.)

1. Flight:
This has been an issue for the longest time, and I was hoping that this edition would make it at least a little easier. To my dismay, it has not. Our group has played Part 4 of Doomsday Dawn and we have had 3 instances where Flight rules have been called into play, and each time the rule has been done differently. The first was facing a bunch of avians that grab ground-dwellers and drop them on the ground after flying some height. In this case, the fall was ruled instantaneously, and a character who activated a flight ability did not get any chance to use it, even though logically the character should be able to react to being released from the air (and no longer being constricted). In a future fight, a flying creature was slain. In this case, the creature had no actions to spend so it fell automatically. Later on in that fight, another flying creature that was knocked unconscious, but was brought back to consciousness before its turn took place, was able to still maintain flight by being conscious despite the two previous rulings (one of instant falling, one because of not having actions to maintain flight). I am absolutely 100% chalking this up to inconsistent rulings on the GMs part, but I seriously don't know which one of those scenarios is correct, and in each of those cases, knowing exactly how the rules for flight (and when it ceases to be, and what happens when this takes place) was crucial in determining what the players and NPCs could do moving forward. In the first case, not getting flight led to an unconscious PC that had to spend Hero Points to survive (and save other characters too), even if they could just spend an action to maintain flight. In the second case, a PC treated like this could be saved from potential falling damage if they are in this scenario. In the third case, as a healing PC I could just bring an ally back to life that is flying so they can continue flight. All of these feel mutually exclusive to me, and I'm almost certain not many people paid too much attention to these rules (probably because they didn't show up for their tables), because this is probably the only time I've seen it brought up in these forums anywhere.

So, those are the 5 biggest things I'm looking for PF2 to change/clarify before I consider it ready for me to fully enjoy. If anyone has any additional information or input they can shed on the matter, by all means. Just keep it relevant to the points I've mentioned and don't derail the topic with edition warring or insulting badwrongfun posts, please.

**EDIT** Applied band-aids to wall-of-text syndrome. Should be easier on the eyes to read coherently now.

I've seen numerous people talk about this in other threads, but haven't really made a discussion thread specifically for it. So, here we are.

How important do people feel it is for Pathfinder as a game and/or Golarion as a setting to specifically have prepared Vancian casting? Is it crucial to the game or setting, or do you think that the game or setting could be done (or be better off) with a varied or completely different system?

(Yes, mechanics talk is fine too.)

So I've been doing some semi-homebrew sessions for the PF2 Playtest with another group, and with what I've done so far, they've enjoyed it quite a bit (though they are mostly amateurs at tabletop RPGs).

The group kind of "rotates" between who is and isn't available, but the optimal party is of 5, a Half-Elf Imperial Sorcerer, a Dwarf Barbarian, a Half-Elf Ranger (with a Panda Bear Animal Companion), a Halfling Rogue, and a Druid (I forget which race, but I think it's Human or something). They started out at 1st level obviously, but are now 3rd level, and approaching 4th level after this next "chapter."

The story is in Golarion, but more specifically in Iobaria. The PCs are members of a tribe that exists in the Norinor Forest, and on one of their hunting trips, are assaulted by Kobolds on their return home. One of the kobolds had a battlemap for plans invading their tribe, involving not only Kobolds, but Orcs and Gnolls as well. The PCs miraculously fend them off without suffering casualties, and learn that these tribes were coerced by, what they said were, "Big Monsters with One Eye," AKA Cyclopes, and that they were planning to return back from the mountains to reclaim their rightful ownership, which the PCs later learn was called the Age of Legend. The Gnoll Leader was slain for his lack of cooperation, the Orc Leader wished vengeance and was recruited (temporarily of course), and the Kobold Leader, to everyone's surprise, managed to escape after being captured by utilizing his Illusory Retreat ability.

The PCs were then sent across the river (through a ferrying service) to the neighboring town of Volod to gain supplies and acquire a special incense for their leader to divine which course of action they wish to take, which the wiki called it a smaller lumberjack village. There, they come across a Half-Orc Fighter NPC they "recruit" to fight against the Cyclopes horde (though the PCs haven't actually encountered Cyclopes at this time). They also partake in several "mini quests," which gave them some unique and cool stuff, such as a Twinbow Recurve from the Church of Erastil, an Expert Agile projectile weapon that allows the user to switch between bowstrings (AKA from Shortbow to Longbow) as an action, and a Lightning Rod from the Church of Gozreh, granting a +1 Bonus to damage and Save DCs of spells with the Electricity descriptor (plus fulfilling Somatic components as normal for a wand), which can be used as a club for 1D6 damage plus 1 Electricity damage. They also acquire a Potency Rune for Armor and their Armor all got transformed into Expert quality.

On the return home, they were assaulted mid-ship by TroglodytesXulgaths commanded by the Kobold leader that escaped. They were defeated by the PCs and the accompaniment of the ferriers (whom were somewhat combat trained, as this isn't the first time ferrying ships were attacked by "pirates"), and the Kobold Leader was killed (but yes, he will return, as some minor "Kobold Lich," just to terrorize my players)! One of the PCs acquired the Lesser Blue Dragon's Head Staff he possessed, which is of Uncommon quality, and lets them animate the Dragon Head (via Resonance) to have it spew a line of lightning, doing 2D6+Charisma modifier in damage to all enemies in a 30 ft. line (DC 18 Reflex Save). (Yes, this is a custom item, you won't find it in the Playtest Book.)

As they return home, the Orc Leader they recruited wanted their help to rescue his own tribesmen. At this point, the PCs learn of Ogres also being recruited by the Cyclopes, and is actually their first interaction with them. Even with the NPCs they brought along, the players handled them a lot better than I expected, and the enemies were challenging enough to keep them engaged. Reuniting the Orc Leader with his enslaved tribe rewards the PCs with a Weapon Potency rune.

Heading back, they face off against a unique Cyclops Alchemist (whom was actually quite underwhelming, even by amplifying his Future Sight ability to work every round) with a pack of gnolls under his control. It was at this time, the Half Orc Fighter they came across earlier entered in and evened the odds for the PCs to succeed (though it wasn't really necessary for the NPC to come in and save the day). The Tribe Leader was freed during this battle, and proceeded to fry the Alchemist that tortured her, but the Cyclops threw a strange alchemical that caused the leader to become "possessed" by a Shadow Demon and made her unconscious without apparent cause.

Defeating the Cyclops Alchemist and interrogating him, they learn of a way to suss this demon out, and undergo a miniature ritual to enter the mind of the Tribal Leader and cleanse this shadowy creature. From here, it's clearly established that the PC's current base of operations is compromised (they thought they were fine after fending off the orcs and stuff, but the surprise attack from the Cyclops and Gnolls without the PCs, called the "Fated Ones" from the Cyclops NPC, resulted in a major breach of defense which led to lost lives), and so they plan to move southward, investigate the remnants of the Gnoll Camp, and acquire more supplies in the merchant town of Kridorthrost by crossing the bridge down that way.

The problem I have is how can I progress the story from here? I want to do different stuff to change things up for the players, but I still want the Cyclopes to be the main bad guys, and I do plan to have the Kobold come back as some mini-lich of sorts for one final brawl (even if for fun), but I really have no clue what I can do as an interim between this main story and what they can most likely come across. I also need some help with developing sidequests, as well as other potential allies the PCs can come across with fighting the bad guys. Pour in some suggestions, I honestly don't care how crazy they might be as long as they sound fun or interesting to throw in the story!

**EDIT** Cut down on wall-of-text syndrome via bandaids. Also forgot to add in party composition and levels. Whoops...

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It has been awhile since I've reported on this sort of thing, between real life commitments, and actually having the motivation to type this sort of thing up, but since I'm in a bit of a lull (being sick and not having any major commitments at the time being the biggest factors here), I might as well do this.

This was ran using the 1.4 Update rules (so Wounded and such is a factor here now).

Party Composition:
The party followed the assumed guidelines. We had two Clerics (one of Desna, another of Sarenrae), a Paladin (Half-Orc), and a Halfling Druid (Me). Since we were the assumed party of 4, the GM did not have to boost the monsters (much to our benefit, more on that later).

Introduction and Exploration:
Combining these into one section for simplicity and because of how it was ran.

We approach the door, unsure of how to proceed. The person of interest could be dangerous or outright ungreetable, even if he has worked with us in the past. It seemed strange that we are sent specifically to search him out instead of having other forms of communication, so we had to be ready for anything; maybe it was overrun by enemies, maybe the professor went crazy from one of his experiments, it was really hard to say. Searching for traps (and not finding any), we simply knock on the door. What's the worst that could happen?

Being greeted by Lucvi, we explain our business and we are begrudgingly welcomed in. We take note of the strange lighting in this place, and eventually we are brought to the professor, whom stated he was indisposed of offering his help to us, despite us stating our case strongly. Eventually he stated to reconsider after the experiments he does tonight, and retired to the laboratory with the other researchers.

Afterward, Lucvi offered us bedrooms to rest for the night, but seemed worried about something. Once interrogated, she stated that the professor was acting extremely strange as of late, and requested that we investigate the manor in hopes of uncovering clues. At this point, the Halfling Druid made the snide remark, "Well gang, looks like we have ourselves a mystery!" And so we investigated.

We checked all of the rooms and once more interrogated the professor in the laboratory (to no avail). We found the trap door in the professor's room (but didn't open it), as well as the drop-down door to the attic (which was locked, but the Halfling Druid was trained in Thievery and possessed a Skeleton Key). Investigating the attic, we came across a dilapidated corpse that ceased being human, with some scissor-like object inbedded in the skull. Removing the object revealed the initials of the professor engraved on it.

With this evidence, we confronted the professor, causing the researchers and Lucvi to freak out, and finally we are told the full story. If we helped the professor with his problem, he would be more than willing to help us with ours; the deal was struck at this moment, but there was loud knocking and scraping on the door. The professor goes to answer the door; we tried to tell him not to open it, but it was too late.

Encounter 1:
The Ghouls. At this point, the professor reacts very quickly, and manages to run away behind us. The ghouls move toward our position and attempt to strike us, but fail horribly. They seemed overwhelming based on their approach and apparent gruesomeness, but in reality were fairly weak. We burned a single channel to decimate the creatures, and the rest was dealt with cantrips and simple melee strikes.

After the combat, the professor proclaims that the terrors of his problem are coming, and the others retire to their rooms, while we kept them safe from whatever monsters may come our way. With this time, we took chairs and other sorts of small furniture and built barricades to create bottlenecks in front of the bookcase tower that the monsters have to sift through (burning actions) or funnel through (making it easier on us) in order to attack us.

Encounter 2:
The Ghasts and Vampires. These creatures seemed a little more difficult, and actually managed to inflict one of our clerics with their Ghast Rot, but based on the time it takes for it to transpire, would not have any major effect on the module. (Which seems strange to me, doesn't really help us playtest the deadliness of their auxiliary effects.) We burned a spell point, but due to the chokepoints we made, we didn't need to burn any channels. The vampires were similarly easy to dispatch, despite being somewhat stronger.

Encounter 3:
The Wights and Poltergeist. This fight would not have been that bad if not for the fact that the Poltergeist being permanently invisible made it nearly impossible to fight. The wights managed to close the gaps and get a couple hits in, but our saving throws and offensive capabilities were strong enough (and focused enough, since we couldn't see the poltergeist until much later) to eliminate them before they became a real threat. If not for one of our Clerics coming prepared with a See Invisibility scroll, we could have easily TPK'd to this fight simply due to the strong stealth score of this creature combined with its equally strong offensive power.

Encounter 4:
The Zombies and Greater Shadows. When we only saw the zombies, we had a feeling something worse was coming, and sure enough, the greater shadows came. While the shadows were menacing (and managed to pull 3 regular shadows out from the others, I avoided them entirely), they weren't so bad as to overwhelm us. I will say that this wave is where we burned the most channels simply to eradicate the shadows in a quick fashion. The zombies were a complete joke and really only served to desecrate our barricades (which were worthless at the time) and to throw off our focus, and were easily dispatched with cantrips and basic melee attacks similar to the ghouls. The Paladin was pretty weakened here, but was able to recover in time for the next fight.

Encounter 5:
Ilvoresh and the Vampire Spawn. This fight was tough and somewhat annoying, but it wasn't too horrible thanks to our party makeup. If anything, the Poltergeist encounter was more horrible since it was such a deciding factor between players who are and are not prepared.

I will say that when your highest level area spells are just as strong as your single-target spell point options (if not worse due to potential variations). My Spell Points were more valuable in this fight than my highest level spells, which really hurt my ego as playing a Druid. Don't get me wrong, my spell points were pretty cool (calling down 30+ damage on a creature is pretty nice), but when my 3rd and 4th level spells like Lightning Bolt and Fireball were hardly matching those numbers, it really put a damper as to how (and why) I selected those spell slots, when I might have been able to select other spells in their place and potentially contributed more.

Another interesting thing of note is that the GM let the Brain Collector have access to Phantasmal Killer as a spell (since it's a spell they acquire through the Beastiary entry), and when he cast it on one of the Clerics, they almost immediately died due to poor rolling. The sad thing is that everyone at the table wanted the spell to work, and based on reviewing the spell rules, it didn't. (It still really screwed up the Cleric with damage, though.)

Regardless, the players survived. We almost had a PC death due to bad rolling, but reviewing rules prevented it (to the dismay of the other players, too). We had very little power left (there was only one channel left amongst the Clerics, the Druid was out of spell points, and the Paladin was out of Lay On Hands). Without proper preparation and use of tactics, this was a for-sure death sentence.

A few things to take away from this playthrough:
1. Always pack See Invisibility in some form that anyone in the party can use. If you try to rely on Seeking invisible enemies, you're gonna have a very, very bad time, and you'll probably TPK because of it. Especially considering how extremely limited and unhelpful the Seek action is. Furthermore, it needs clarification for when trying to Seek enemies that are outside of the 30' foot range; does it just automatically fail? Does a success tell you that they are more towards another direction? This is helpful not only for invisible enemies, but also enemies whom are stealthed behind debris and are well outside the 30' range that the Seek action allows, and is an issue I ran into in the previous playtest adventure that I simply adhoc'd to keep the game flowing.

2. Channel Energy is pretty broken and needs revision. While I understand actions have already been taken in the future updates, they aren't the correct ones to take in my opinion, for obvious reasons. I've said my piece on this topic, and I'd rather not delegate this thread to become a vessel for that topic; it's just a note that I hope the developers take into consideration.

3. The damaging spells were disappointing compared to the spell point options. While I understand that the spells weren't used in optimal circumstances (Lightning Bolt and Fireball on single target enemies), the fact of the matter is that these spells are too difficult to properly utilize in combat with friendlies being intermixed, and serve better as BBEG/Solo spells, where the odds of being outnumbered are much greater. The damage also being comparable and scaling to spell points (which, the hierarchy of power is Cantrips < Spell Points < Spell Slots) means a revision of sorts need to take place. And it has, but not having actually tested it means I won't know for sure.

4. Mirror Image is still a major pain in the rear to go up against as a martial, and takes numerous rounds (based on average successful probability and attacks per turn) to remove, which it can then just be recast for 2 actions (and are probably in range to use one of its devastating attacks or abilities for its remaining action). I will expand upon this more in the next playtest adventure (since it's more apparent there for obvious reasons), but I will say that a creature having the ability to use this more than once (or even twice for a BBEG) is extremely frustrating, even as a solo creature encounter.

Overall, it wasn't a bad experience. It wasn't a great one, though, and at times it was frustrating (Poltergeist and BBEG in particular, due to Invis and Mirror Images, respectively), but considering that like most other encounters it was a one-off, it was one that we as players were accepting of having happened, especially since, by the end of it all, we succeeded. Would we want this to be the norm for combat? Doubtfully. (And this is especially true for Part 5 of the Playtest Adventure.) But hopefully the future changes will help reign this sort of thing in.

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I want to take a moment to discuss the relevance of Channel Energy, Charisma, and their overly strong impact on the Cleric class. If we stripped both of those away from the Cleric, the class would be extremely weak and bare bones. The class has too many feats to expand on Channel Energy, and with the new nerf to Channel Energy uses, it makes Charisma much more impactful to the class, as the ratio from stat to base uses changed as well. Prior to these changes, Channel Energy also felt like a mandatory party feature in a game that wasn't supposed to require players playing a certain type of class or role.

On top of that, the raw power from Channel Energy spirals way out of control once you apply levels, as now you're having that much more spell power compared to others. Consider at the end game, you can heal as a 10th level spell upwards of six times compared to any other class whom would be foolish to do it even once, and don't ever get bonus 10th level spell slots. That's an insane amount of power gained compared to anyone else's 20th level feat, and is not something that changing the ratio of channel energy uses solves.

To that, I propose a complete rewrite of Channel Energy to be more along the lines of how current power scaling of other classes work (and compared to PF1's channel energy):


Channel Energy

The cleric gains the ability to channel the energy of his/her deity's will onto others. The Cleric gains one additional spell per day per spell level they can cast, which coincides with his/her deity's channel focus. If the deity uses positive energy, the cleric gains an additional Heal spell per spell level prepared for the day. If the deity uses negative energy, the cleric gains an additional Harm spell per spell level prepares for the day. If a deity allows a choice between either positive or negative, the cleric must decide which form of energy they channel, and receive one spell per spell level based on their choice of energy, and once chosen, this cannot be changed.

In addition, the Cleric may spontaneously transform one of his prepared spells to channel energy, expending the spell slot as normal to create a Heal (if positive) or Harm (if negative) spell whose effects manifest at the same level of whichever spell was transformed.


This is approximately the casting power that other casting classes got. Sorcerers got Bloodline spells. Wizards got School powers. Other casting classes got things like Orders and added heightening, and that's fair. On top of that, none of their main features are tied to secondary attributes (sans Wild Druid, but special cases and all that), so why should a Cleric's Channel Energy similarly be tied to a secondary attribute? We've all seen what happened when we did that: Charisma outright replaced Wisdom in most cases, and it's clearly not intended. In reality, abolishing that wouldn't be bad.

Of course, some people wouldn't like the overall nerf to clerics, and that's fine. There are other ways to shore up a Cleric. For example, a Healing Cleric might want to take the Advanced Domain feat to turn 2 Spell Points into a Heal spell, compared to 1 spell point adding +2 per dice. Or, they could use both and actually get some solid nova mileage out of their Wisdom and Spell Points. Right now, Domains are too niche and weak to have (except for a few), so having them beefed up in exchange can help the Cleric get more into its niche instead of just being one overly powerful feature of a class that it is now. And there are other ways to help besides domains. What about actual feats that give you abilities fit for a Cleric instead of more and more stuff meant to enhance "that one thing you do"? I'm sure Paizo can come up with several that can make Channel Energy more of a compliment than a requirement.

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I created an Angelic Sorcerer for Part 1 in the hopes that I could make it a functional healer (optimistically, to sparingly replace Clerics as de facto choices for parties), and as that part demonstrated (and as our future playtest parts with Clerics have yielded), that avenue is clearly not going to happen. I was hoping that with the higher levels (and now expanded options from 1.3 and maybe 1.4 could help too!) that having some actual feats to work with (having zero feats at 1st level really, really sucks) can make it at least work with what our party expectations are in relation to combats ahead.

However, with how I currently built it, and with the only options I have to make my character a powerful healer, it appears even making it work with the current set-up is impossible, and I have no way of retraining or selecting appropriate options to make this option work, which means any choice I have of making this character function in relation to the party dynamic is impossible, approaching the point where I might just throw something to stick and sit both this and the final part of the playtest sessions out, leaving the rest of the players to run it out and see if anything useful happens (I won't expect my GM to be lenient enough to let me completely retrain my character choices or create a whole new character to fill the adventuring gap). I will also be missing out on major plot points of the story, too, meaning I might as well read those parts of Doomsday Dawn myself just to witness the ending (though compared to actually experiencing it, being quite disappointed with what actually happened).

The sad thing is that this was meant to be a fairly flavorful character, since I was told that this character would participate in numerous parts of the playtest, so I created this character with the intent of it having lasting story value. (And the first part of this adventure synchronized quite well with this character!) But with the current state of options at my disposal (improved, but not viable), and lack of options to switch or recreate with, this character may as well be abandoned, and I only expect to be participating in two more parts of the playtest (5 and 6), testing out the viability of a late-game anti-Resonance Superstition Barbarian (Dwarf with 8 Charisma and all anti-Resonance options available), and GMing a mid-level adventure, simply because the main character I made for this playtest is so garbage and beyond help that it will just die out due to horrible building choices. (Fitting, as Pharasma would deem her little "Angel" to die for the sins of imperfection and vanity, only optimizers live!)

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I was surprised when our GM expressed interest to other players who wanted to try out the second edition of Pathfinder that I (and three others who have never played) made new characters with the current Pathfinder rules updates to run a homebrew campaign (I believe it's based off of either a Dragonlance or Grey Skull adventure) to both have these players try out the new system and to get more accurate feedback by using players who have never played table top RPGs like PF2, and for us to try to see if using a more "homebrew" campaign was a viable avenue for PF2 gameplay.

While this thread does not really encompass the latter concept, it is all about the observations I noticed while I (whom has some experience and knowledge of the system) was leveling up, and the explanations I had to make in relation to what the other players noticed (we used printed off sheets of paper of the Rulebook PDF with only my current knowledge of the existing errata), and these are major concerns with how I thought they would perceive the system/gameplay.

This last Thursday, we all met in the evening at one player's house to go and create characters as a group (so if players had questions, other players could reference things or I could answer them). To keep things short and simple, I'll go with a list of common things I've noticed, following up with a couple specific things (most of which aren't very positive). While some of these issues have been brought up before, this post might serve more as a reinforcement of addressing these things as being issues. Furthermore, while we spent ~3 hours on this "session 0," we still had to spend about an hour or so during Session 1 to make character decisions that should have already been done prior to the session (even though we players had real life commitments, that is besides the point here).

1. The character creation rules aren't intuitive or simple to understand to new or uninformed players. When it came to starting out, one player who had the sheets printed out wasn't entirely sure where to start, and one player who hasn't had any chance to read the rules due to real life commitments, had absolutely no clue how to even create a character, with the book (or rather, the printed PDF pages) being a hassle to read through. In addition, from my perspective, having clashing information between the printed PDF rules and what's currently errata'd helped further create confusion in what players got for skills, options, abilities, and so on. It also made people trip up on what Signature Skills were when, in actuality, Signature Skills were no longer a thing, and with the different method of skill applications in effect, players (myself included) had no clue how to apply skills, since some players got skills automatically trained, others didn't, and so on. They also had no idea how calculating attributes worked, and for two of our players, were missing critical aspects of their attribute allocation (most notably, the 4 free +2 attributes at 1st level). This part in particular seems to be a common issue, as even in both of our Doomsday Dawn playtests, players did not do their attribute allocation correctly.

2. The character sheets are cluttered, mismatched, and seem backwards in design. When players were attempting to calculate their melee and ranged attacks, they looked at the dice symbols and the two separate sections and had no clue what they were for, and were getting frustrated by it. It took me explaining to them numerous times how that section of the character sheet functioned before they finally got it understood. While they aren't the smartest players, they have played numerous other board games with somewhat complex rules and understood them fairly easily, but appear to have been tripped up with the numerous symbols and their format (such as not knowing the dice symbol, or that it went from attack roll to damage roll). Similarly, people got hung up on how proficiency worked and was calculated (such as not knowing what TEML stood for), as well as on numerous sections of the character sheet, and our Cleric got frustrated with his spell points, both because he has two separate spell point pools (which the sheets didn't compensate for), and didn't have any area to write down a brief description of what the spell does. This was also apparent during gameplay on the weekend (expressed in another post to link to later) when every spellcaster had to double check their spell descriptions to determine what their spells actually did. Having even a basic description section for each spell slot entry (no, the "notes" section isn't big enough to explain how each spell works) would have saved us almost an hour's worth of looking up and verifying spell effects.

3. The formatting of several sections in the book need major revisions to be intuitive and easy to reference. When it came time for our players to try and purchase their gear (we are starting play at 4th level), they had to reference all kinds of entries in the book. Between the standardized adventuring gear, weapons, armor and shields (being in the same place), combined with the magic items, generalized treasure table, alchemical items (like poisons and potions), special materials, being in several separate places in the book, it became very difficult for players to keep track of what items they wanted in relation to where they were in the book, and crossreferencing what they can (or can't) purchase, and seeing if items are in one section of a book instead of another. This made the character creation time take longer than it should have, and even for as much experience as I've gotten with this system, I was still finding out about items that I never heard of before, or thought weren't available at the time with specialized benefits (such as realizing Expert Cold Iron weapons were a Level 2 item that players of 4th level could take as one of their 2nd level permanent items). While parts of this helped our PC optimization out, it still hurt the character creation process because it did create several levels of frustration for players (myself included). There were also similar complaints in relation to how Skill Feats and General feats are sorted, in that they aren't sorted by level, type, or pre-requisites. They are simply in a giant glob in alphabetical order, with the traits of the feats being easily missable (unless you reference the table, but even that received similar complaints), and not being intuitive to find what you want unless you know precisely what each feat does in relation to what you want out of a given feat.

4. Decision Paralysis is still in place, and adds a lot of time into character creation. One of our players who made a Rogue was having an especially difficult time trying to allocate his feats into stuff that is both cool and worthwhile. Having more Skill Feats than anyone else and access to the same amount of other feats as other classes merely increased the amount of times he had no idea what to spend feats on. He was also disappointed at how underwhelming numerous skill feats were, while at the same time baffled by how strong and/or useful other skill feats were. We ended up changing around several feats up until it was playtime this last weekend. I similarly had this problem as a Bard player with my skills, spell/cantrip selections, and feats.

5. Several core decisions are highly underwhelming and unfun in relation to certain players. I've experienced part of this issue with my character as well as with the player's Cleric. He effectively went on numerous tirades about how much the current gods "sucked so bad," and that he hated practically every god available. To elaborate, he felt like a lot of their Domain powers were "trash", hated several combinations (such as Gorum being a Negative Energy channeler, but using a powerful Greatsword, whereas a deity like Pharasma could use Positive Energy channelling, but had a crappy deity weapon and domain powers), and was severely disappointed with how there were no gods who utilized a Morningstar as a deity weapon (which was originally going to be his weapon of choice). I did explain to him that there will probably be more options to better suit his needs (and maybe some balancing between a Cleric's Channel Energy combined with his Domain Powers), which did keep a lid on his explosive attitude, but it did serve as a point of contention for his angst of the new system. I did feel the same way with all of my Halfling Ancestry feats, combined with several of the Rogue's Skill feats (as well as some of my own, but I did find some that were "passable" choices in relation to my builds).

6. The book not having errata information causes a clash of information that players may not be certain of which set of information is correct. While this was brought up in one of the previous points, I do want to bring this some extra attention, because nothing seems more foolish than bringing a character sheet to a GM that is riddled with misinformation due to the book not reflecting the current errata. In short, this may have caused a negative outlook on the player perspective, and it also increases character creation time due to referencing numerous PDF documents to determine what you actually have as a rule. I can understand that updating the Core Rulebook PDF to reflect these changes all the time is tedious and potentially frustrating, but hopefully after the Doomsday Dawn playtest, we can get an "updated" Core Rulebook playtest PDF with the reflecting errata derived from the playtest so that we don't have to reference numerous documents all the time (something which the current playtest is meant to cut down on, if not eliminate entirely, and so far doesn't appear to be doing that, even if somewhat understandbly).

There are other things that the players may have complained about (and some things that the players found neat or interesting, such as multiclassing and fleshing out future character concepts through certain character choices), as well as things I may not have observed, but these are some major things that I feel, if addressed, will greatly help with keeping both these players (and encouraging other new players) to stay awhile and continue playing, creating enjoyable experiences and having fun with the new system.

As the title.

One thing I have observed is that a Paladin's ability to use Lay On Hands requires a hand to use. This means a Paladin using sword and shield is out (including Light Shield, since in PF1, it only let you hold stuff in there, not do anything else with that hand, per RAW), which meant unorthodox ways of combat (such as a two-hander or just using a single weapon) was required to make use of this ability during combat for yourself or someone else.

With the current rules, even two-handing is now impossible. To put it simply, while wielding a two-handed weapon, you must spend 1 action to remove grip on it, spend another action for your Lay On Hands (to yourself or an adjacent ally), then spend your last action re-gripping your two-handed weapon. Did I also mention you provoke Attacks of Opportunity the moment you let go of your weapon? Which means against enemies that have them, using Lay On Hands is just giving your enemies free reign to attack you without (much) penalty. It's extremely clunky and extremely punishing for no apparent reason. After all, you can't just heal yourself automatically, or just give your ally a poke with your weapon, or the GM might have to rule you deal damage to yourself or the ally, at the very least, if not outright say "You can't do that." The feat that removes the manipulate trait really only makes Lay On Hands no longer provoke, but that's circumvented when a player removes his grip on his weapon (which provokes), making it a very moot point. You still need a free hand (which takes actions and/or losing equipment to rectify at the least), and you still provoke at the part where it is most critical for it to not occur.

This means a Paladin, if he wants to make effective use of his Lay On Hands, has to use a single weapon (with no shield!), meaning a "swashbuckler" style of combat is required for this feature to have its use. Last I checked, every Paladin should not have to use a Zorro/duelist fighting art to be good at their class features; it's unfairly limiting and just doesn't make sense except for the most stringent and unique of characters. I should be able to play a Paladin, two-handed or sword-and-shield, and be able to make fair use of my class features. Telling me I have to throw away either my shield or my sword to heal others (or even myself!) can actually be grounds for anathema depending on Paladin codes, because it can also mean you're discarding your ability to fight Evil or protect innocents who may need it. Which is either silly, setting myself up for failure, or outright unplayable. (P.S., can we expect to get those deity-specific codes fleshed out? I seriously wonder if a Paladin of X deity can do Y action and have it not go against its code, but I can't know that for sure until it's released, and this isn't really something that requires much developer thought, since it's more of world-building rule than a mechanical one.)

Something like this needs to be fixed if I even want to consider playing a Paladin as a PC. As it stands, unless I want to play Zorro (which meshes poorly with the rest of the Paladin's schtick I might add), I'm not seeing how a Paladin's mechanics really sit together with the current rules set, making it both extremely limiting and unnecessarily clunky.

I know, this seems like a silly question when we consider what game we're talking about, but I'm talking about something very specific here, and this serves more as both an examination of design choices as well as a thought experiment.

As most people might be aware of, Adventure Paths in PF1 are balanced around a Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, and Rogue party paradigm. One Martial, One Skill Monkey, One Full Divine Spellcaster, and One Full Arcane Spellcaster. This means any other unorthodox group, such as, say, Paladin, Bard, Barbarian, and Magus, will either underperform in some aspects (such as the spellcasting issues), but well outperform in other aspects (such as having knowledges and other skills at superior levels, plus a heavy increase in martial capability). So, this means that by design, the second party will be heavily imbalanced towards the options the Adventure Path lays out for them, and that they are actually more unlikely to properly finish the adventure (or break certain adventure interactions) than if they were the standard class makeup.

Based on numerous developer comments, this paradigm has not changed. Wizards aren't as powerful, but still have some utility to bring to the party. Rogues are the gods of skills (having twice as many trained and potential Legendary skills, plus twice the skill feats). Fighters are extremely capable of going toe-to-toe in physical combat, and Clerics are absolutely mandatory for properly fulfilling an adventuring day without it resulting in a TPK through their outrageous healing capabilities.

So, if the game (and by relation, the adventures) still always assume that a Cleric, Wizard, Fighter, and Rogue are being played, then why on earth do classes like Bards, Sorcerers, Barbarians, Alchemists, Paladins, etc. still exist if they are not something the game assumes players have? The game is busted and doesn't really function well if we go outside of the assumed design paradigm, and it's not like the adventure path assumptions have changed much in regards to class interactions (other than Clerics being the new God class now, but that's beside the point). Why do we have all of these other unnecessary classes for which the game, in my experience, actually goes out of its way to assume you don't have/use them?

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Our group is running through the "In Pale Moon's Shadow" playtest currently with new characters (as the module required), and while we haven't completed it yet, I can make an update for the rest of the game in a follow-up post. For this, I am the one GMing (another player will be GMing the next part, "Affair at Sombrefell Hall" after this, which we already have the basis for before we start, and seems to primarily function as a "healing stress-test" adventure).

Party Composition:
For having 5 players, the encounters were adjusted as discussed in this thread here. We have a Goblin Paladin of Torag (silly, I know), Gnome Leaf Druid (not the iconic), Elf Evocation Wizard, Human Barbarian with Dragon Totem, and I believe a Human Cleric of Erastil with only 14 Wisdom. They have plenty of healing power between the Paladin (who took the Channel Life feat), the Leaf Druid with the Goodberry spell, and the Human Cleric for the obviously broken Channel Energy. The Barbarian has Gnoll as an additional language, and the Wizard chose Ancient Osirian as his bonus language, both of which were permitted by the adventure path.

Many of the players were borderline over-bulked, which means a lot of the potential treasure they can or will find won't be available for them to loot, largely due to the treasure being heavy. This can work in their favor if the players are smart enough, but it ultimately depends on their future actions.

The players were introduced to the main NPC, and asked only a couple questions related to the NPC's available information, such as who the other party is (which I only told them about the organization working against them), and what sort of object they're looking for. The most important question they kept asking was "How many days do we have to get this done?" I never told them, both because there was no notes on the NPC knowing, but also to help push the urgency of beating the other party there, which may be for naught depending on what the players do, as described in the module. It also lets me throw in the other party when I want if I really want to just challenge the players, since the book tells me I can throw them in effectively when I want, though I will notify otherwise of the actual results.

The players did opt for the Camels and the map provided. The magic items received were identified (even if barely), which was a Scroll of Fly (which the Wizard possesses), and a +1 Warhammer (a random +1 melee weapon rolled between the Paladin and Barbarian, which happened to land on the Paladin's designated number).

The Long Journey:
The "long journey" of 80 miles from the PC's destination to their own wasn't particularly long, considering the Night Heralds would not arrive for over 9 days; especially when the players were on Camels travelling 35 speed per action, or 28 miles per day, assuming breaks and such were made. Unfortunately, converting that between the rules of the AP and the book were troublesome, since it did not result in an even number. The first roll, a failure, resulted in only 24 miles gained. A success on the second roll put them back on track, and a critical success on the third roll evened out their initial folly, putting them done towards the tail end of 3 days. Unfortunately, in the actual game I did the math incorrectly, and thought that it was 4 hours worth of lost time instead of simply 4 miles distance, so I ended up getting them to their destination in 2.5 days instead. Not a big deal in the long run, since this was only 1/3 of the time they needed; if the time differential starts making enough of a difference, I will calculate it in relation to when the other party arrives, since the players still are unaware of the other party's progress or time of estimated arrival.

Encounter 1:
The Feral Hyena Pack. As the players approached the briar-thorned part of the trail, they hopped off their camels and the Druid (followed by the Cleric) attempted to perceive the hyenas in the briarthorns. Initially, they failed, but as they got a little closer, they noticed some of the paws and fur (and drool), at which point Initiative was rolled (the Hyenas also being aware of their prey). I split their initiative into 3 separate parts, one for each set of 2 Hyenas, and one for the Hyaenodon. The party was assaulted towards the front, and the standard Hyenas began chewing on both the Cleric and its camel. The paladin moved dealt a significant blow to one of the Hyenas on the Cleric (whom was hit for some minor damage and dragged) with the Retributive Strike reaction. The camels, being untrained in combat, did nothing but self-defend themselves (which proved futile towards the Hyenas' ability to drag and knockdown). The big Hyaenodon moved and managed to hit the Paladin with a fairly significant 23 AC (needing a 14 or higher to hit the Paladin on its first attack), knocking him prone (from the successful bite) and dragging him 10 feet towards the briarthorns. Then more Hyenas came out from the sides and assaulted the party even more, pulling yet another camel out (though the Wizard with Fighter Dedication managed to escape the Hyena's attack). Finally, the rest of the party acts. The Wizard utilizes Telekinetic Object to launch a large rock (I ruled they were close enough to some larger rocks to throw at a creature) to no avail. The Cleric manages to stand up and make a shot on one of the hyenas on his Camel, but misses through sheer bad rolling. The Druid utilizes Produce Flame, but fails. Lastly, the Barbarian attempts to move forward and strikes one of the hyenas for weak damage. The difficult terrain outside of the listed trail areas proved difficult for maneuverability for the players (I ruled that the hyenas weren't affected for playtest and logical reasons).

On the next turn, the hyenas keep assaulting the party (the camels having only 13 AC made them easy prey for the Hyenas to pull them into the briarthorns and just slaughter them), though no party members were hurt; the Hyaenodon misses the Paladin with both attacks, and the Paladin managed to stand up and deal a significant blow with his new +1 Warhammer, amounting to ~13 damage on the attack. With his default 21 AC, he raises his Shield for 23 AC. The Wizard utilizes Telekinetic Object once more without result, and the Druid strikes with a Produce Flame for 5 damage on a fresh hyena. The Cleric makes a shot on the Hyaenodon with no effect, and the Barbarian manages to move and slay the already wounded Hyena with his Lance.

On the Hyaenodon's next turn, he strikes the Paladin for 8 damage. The Paladin uses his Shield Block reaction to only take 1 damage from this attack and suffer a shield dent (of which it could handle 4 before being broken), after which it pulls him closer to the briarthorns. At this stage, the Hyenas have pulled the Cleric's camel into the briarthorn and basically have it dead. The Barbarian later attempts to save it, but fails. Another camel (the Druid's) is being pulled to the side of the briarthorns, later being critically hit by the Barbarian for over 30 damage while Raging. The other hyenas were taken down by the Wizard, Druid, and Cleric. The Paladin beating on the Hyaenodon with some significant strikes from the +1 hammer made quick work of it, but not without taking significant damage from some nice rolling (and some briarthorn D4 damage). Thankfully, with some Druid healing and Channel Energy magic, the party is mostly unscathed, the remaining Camels are healed up, and the party makes a compromise to compensate for the lost camel.

All-in-all, I think this encounter played the way I wanted it to. The added hyenas weren't overwhelming, but still enough of a nuisance to divert the players' attention between them all (and warrant some losses). The Paladin was threatened by the Hyaenodon significantly, but in the end managed to prevail and survive, having 3 dents in his shield after taking 2 from a particularly devastating blow, and with enough healing power to spare and continue for one more encounter to finish the night. (The Paladin's shield was repaired fully with a lucky critical success from the Barbarian who had a repair kit on him.)

Encounter 2:
The Elite Ankhrav. The PCs approach the Quicksand trap, and managed to spot it with some really lucky rolls. Since the rules called for Initiative, I had them roll Initiative and go in order in relation to the trap. I disliked this mechanic because this effectively tipped them off that something else was there, and with meta-game knowledge they knew it. I might have had them roll Initiative if somebody were caught by the trap unsuspectingly, but it felt way out of place here. In short, after some Survival and Perception checks were made, they deduced that there was a secondary pit of moving sand past the Quicksand trap, and that it was probably the result of an underground creature. They try to avoid the encounter entirely, but with the Ankhrav's Survival skill being high and tracking where they went, I eventually had it charge the PCs when they tried to do a wide sweep-out of the trap.

When it popped, it initially spit some acid at the Barbarian (the closest target). Afterward, it proceeded to use a Breath Weapon on the party; the Goblin was wise enough to ready a Move Action to move out of the Breath Weapon's direction, though it still managed to hit several PCs (not the Cleric due to his range) and the Camels (which took some persistent acid damage over the course). It later tried to crunch down on the Paladin's Armor, but due to some bad rolls, failed horribly. Due to the lack of action economy and varied threats, the party didn't have much difficult in taking it down. The Druid doing its Survival check find the half-digested body containing 375 gold, 3 healing potions, and the Expert Thief's Tools (which went to the Wizard, the one who is at least Trained in Thievery).

In hindsight, I really played this creature dumb; I completely forgot it has a burrow speed, so I could have did some hit-and-run tactics (though it probably wouldn't have been fair if I did it most of the time); I could have at least had it burrow underground, pop up some distance a round or 2 later, and pew-pew some acid at the PCs, but it never occurred to me at the time, since I was mostly wanting it to try and dent the Paladin's armor and fail horribly. I'll chalk this one up to poor tactics on my behalf just to try and ruin the Paladin's day, but at least the breath weapon made them sweat a bit. After putting out the persistent acid, the Cleric expends their Channel Energy and since it was towards the end of the day, the party rests at the bottom of the river the travelled forward to. (They probably could have carried on if they wanted, but I ruled that they were pretty tired and should rest.)

Encounter 3:
The Gnoll Encampment. I made an allusion to this being a potential encounter prior to the party sleeping since they made nice Survival and Perception checks finding a safe place to rest, with them waking up and heading to the designated spot. The players were on the opposite side of a river valley of the gnoll encampment, with the gnolls just waking up and sitting by the small bonfire (the scorpion inside the tent of course). The party was devising an attack strategy, and for taking too long in their decision I gave the gnolls an additional perception check to see them across the way (they were distracted complaining to each other and such), and they see them across the way discussing ranged combat strategy.

I was actually genuinely surprised that the players attempted a more "diplomatic" approach. The reason why I say "diplomatic" is because when the Gnolls (whom had their axes out at the time) put their equipment away and drew bows, yipping about enemies approaching and to ready fire, the Barbarian, who had the Gnoll language, had the gall to utilize Intimidate to make the Gnolls cease their assault and "surrender." With a miraculous roll, he critically succeeds, and the Gnolls were coerced into a ceasefire, thereby stopping the encounter entirely. The gnolls were too afraid to fight the dominating Barbarian, and as such went with a parley. The party gave them access to a couple camels (that they no longer can ride across the river with), provided food and water to the gnolls, as well as some currency. In exchange, they accommodated his party with directions up the mountains (thereby ignoring any Athletics checks), warned of a ferocious beast up the mountain that tore apart their entourage, and let them by without a fight. They also let them know of their leader, Zakfah, and to gain his respect by presenting the head of said beast to him.

Once again, I appear to flop as a GM. I probably should have just let the encounter happen, and have the players fight just to see how it went for proper playtest data, but I honestly believe this presents a unique opportunity for me to progress the story in a way that nobody could see coming (and thereby make it much more interesting).

Depending on how the Zakfah "encounter" goes, I may just have them all show up at once (due to Zakfah's goals of wanting the loot as a tribute to the Carrion King) and challenge the PCs for their loot (they are Chaotic Evil after all, and could have simply used the PCs to do the dirty work for them). If the PCs let them have some of the loot (or all of it, considering how heavy some of it is), I could have the Night Heralds track them, defeat them, and interrogate where the party is, thereby allowing the Night Herald fight even well after the players succeed in beating them there.

Towards the end of the session, I let the players move forward to the next encounter, and they successfully identify what the creature is prior to the encounter with the appropriate checks. At the start of the next session, I will prepare the fight and doubly research the tactics on creatures so that A. I don't play them so recklessly or callously, and B. I don't flop playtest data results that should be triggering.

So I'm trying to understand how Hazards work, and there are some things that are bugging me in how to operate them; clarification on what I might be missing is appreciated, as I'll be expected to know these rules for our playtest session tomorrow.

1. How does one find a Hazard? Most specifically, Complex Hazards. All I've seen under the Traits of a given Hazard is a "Stealth +X [Prof.] or Y" entry, but I have no clue what this is for. Do I make an opposed roll using that modifier for players actively looking for the hazard, or is that Hazard undetected until creatures trigger the Hazard and thereby start Initiative? I've seen mention of a "Stealth DC," but this doesn't tell me anything, unless the "Stealth DC" is the assumption of 10 + Stealth score, in which case I seriously wonder how they got to that conclusion.

2. Complex Hazards seem to be ran like a creature would and gets actions. One such Hazard is Quicksand. Does it get 3 Actions like a creature does, and can just outright pull a creature down under in 6 seconds? That just seems outright cruel to say the least.

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If you were asked by Paizo to bring back/restore up to 5 rules elements from PF1 to be put into PF2 (which range from something as simple as a minor change in an existing rule that PF1 had, to removing an existing PF2 rule, to something as complex as an entire rules subset that PF1 endorsed), what would you suggest, and why? (Do note that they don't have to be in any particular order, just your choice of 5 articles of rules to alter/revise/reinstate.)

Lockpicking Rules. When I playtested the lockpick rules in PF2, I absolutely despised what they did with it because they made it pointlessly difficult and tedious when, in PF1, there was a more fair risk/reward ratio, players had more instantaneous gratification on whether they succeeded or failed (horribly), and it didn't turn into a comedy game of "Who's Thief's Tools are These, Anyway?" (The game show where all of the DCs are made up and the checks don't matter.) Jokes aside, I'd much rather go back to PF1's standard of resolving lock picks, as well as better finetuning the DCs relative to the player's expected skills (which can be true for all skills, but that's beside the point here).

Resonance. I don't like this as a rule for numerous reasons. For starters, when my fellow players first encountered the Resonance rules, they found it to be an absolutely stupid and absurd mechanic. (Not to mention, they keep calling it Renaissance or Reconnaissance points instead of Resonance points, but that's a nitpick.) In a 1st level Doomsday Dawn playtest, a Sorcerer with 5 Resonance points did not have any reason (or any item) to spend Resonance on. Not. A. Single. Point/Item. Whereas other characters (such as the Fighter for Healing Potions) are the ones who need the Resonance the most and are the least likely to have enough for day-to-day survival. It also doesn't fix a lot of the issues it says it's supposed to fix, such as cutting down on tracking magic items when there are still use/day items/properties, and allowing cool options to shine, instead being replaced with "How many times can I magically heal with consumables today?" Following that, it also makes using consumables even more risky than they should be, especially when the risk should primarily be "Is this the right time to use it?" While it's still primary, it contends with other risks that it didn't in PF1, and it also further reinforces Decision Paralysis between consumables. I'd much rather this whole subsystem be gone, going back to the way PF1 handled magic items, and any of the "issues" Resonance tries to fix be solved in a whole other way, most notably with the base systems that are problematic (such as Wand rules).

Rarity. While I can understand the point of this existing as a new GM, or a GM imposing unorthodox rules (such as making Katanas common weapons and Scimitars uncommon weapons), the problem I have with this is that it removes the idea of the GM making this stuff or allowing it and instead falls into the rules. Sure, the rules are more ironclad, but it's a double-edged sword, where it serves as both a boon (for GM reinforcement) and a curse (for GM flexibility). Instead of the GM being able to bend the rules to suit his needs and create his own world, his players can (and probably will) view it as the GM "cheating" the game standard, and this is doubly present when Golarion is hard-baked into the rules, meaning doing something outside of what Golarion (and by relation, Paizo) has set up is going to be met with interrogations of why the GM is imposing X restriction or lifting Y restriction on Z option. Not to mention it puts a lot of unnecessary barriers up for objects that, in PF1, would have been fair game, and now you're all-of-a-sudden locked out of those options. Why? Because Paizo said so, that's why. I'd rather this serve as a form of guideline for fresh GMs or optional rule for experienced GMs, instead of being an ironclad rule that the game enforces, because there are other ways to enforce tje concept of "rarity" without having to refer to restrictive rules to do so. PF1 did this quite effectively, and also allowed GMs to create custom items to suit their games, thereby subconsciously applying this "rarity" concept.

Monster Rules. How they can be changed to suit your adventuring needs is nice, and much like the Rarity argument above (making it a guideline), is a benefit to the overall game. The expected power levels that Paizo currently assumes the monsters to be as is not. I looked over a couple stat blocks in the PF2 Playtest AP, and I got absolutely confused how certain creatures got certain bonuses when nothing in the math or rules would promote that result. One such example is a Gnoll who has more bonuses to hit and damage with a manufactured weapon than a natural weapon, but has nothing to suggest the increase in benefits. No proficiency increase, no weapon increase, nothing. When I look at the perspective that the numbers were just thrown there just to be thrown there, it makes sense. When I look at the perspective that the numbers are symbolized through the creature's attributes, I get lost and confused as to how those results are even possible. It also possibly promotes the likelihood of falsified or wrong statblocks. Can you imagine a Gnoll dealing 11D6 damage with a Scimitar just because somebody typed the number 1 one too many times at that juncture? But because the game lets me do whatever I want with my monsters, that's totally okay to let happen and run as-is, and because the game says I can do that (and with a playtest, I have to run stuff as-is), it creates a problematic paradigm, especially in comparison to character options.

"Modes" of Gameplay. There really isn't much of a point to this other than to try and codify something that didn't really need to be codified in the first place. The rules for these (outside of Encounter Mode, but even then the transitions between the other modes to Encounter Mode) are extremely clunky, fairly confusing, and can break immersion, plus is something that doesn't exactly need to be codified. PF1's freeform style for this sort of thing allows the GM and players much more liberty and options at their disposal for them to codify as the GM sees fit. Here, it's a straight-jacket. Surprise rounds no longer being a thing means initiating Encounter Mode becomes janky and at points outright impossible to handle. Exploration Mode is limiting, too, in the things that you can do, and as such players don't have the ability to explore the way they could in PF1. (By the rules, I can't use a Grappling Hook to ascend something because I don't have anything in the Exploration Mode rules that let me do that!) Downtime Mode is hardly inclusive in the things you can and can't do, and invites decision paralysis for the things you as a player are actually aware of, because you're effectively trying to get the most out of the free time you have before adventuring time begins again. Do I work a profession to gain coin? Do I craft items? Do I retrain? Do I try and manage all of these things? What things might I need to cut out in the short time I have before the next Big Bad shows their ugly face and I have to go stomp it into the dust? So many unknowns and so little solid answers that help me decide what is worth my downtime that I seriously consider never participate in it in whatever games I'm at, and I seriously consider whether I should allow downtime for my players as they might be in the same boat.

Honorable Mention:
(because I don't feel like deleting this to fit the 5 things): Crafting rules. They are very confusing to understand and largely pointless compared to their PF1 counterpart. If I understand it correctly (which I highly doubt I do), I have to first spend multiple feats just to create on-level items or lower (of which I won't have access to if they're Uncommon or higher because of Rarity rules), then I have to have recipes for these items (which costs gold, downtime, requires access that a GM can just say no to, and so on), then I have to make checks and spend downtime and half the item's value just to see if I actually make the item, then I have to pay the other half of the item's value to actually have it (or spend incredible amounts of downtime to get it without paying a copper more). Yes, some of the most powerful weapons aren't made over night, but I'm not really seeing the point of taking or expanding upon this option when spending feats to be better at adventuring and getting the item(s) you want that way, all without burning up your precious silver/gold, too. Or, you can just invest in a skill that gives you access to someone who can do this, no questions asked, and get a cheaper-than-usual price on it. Needless to say, crafting, much like numerous certain PF1 options, just becamse an NPC endeavor.

There is more that I can add to the list, but given I limited the parameters to 5 things, this is perhaps the most prominent of things I want to have changed (back) in PF2. What are others' 5 things they want to bring from PF1 over to replace/reinstate for PF2?

**EDIT** Added band-aids for my wall-of-text syndrome. Should be easier to read now.


So I've been tasked with GMing this part of the Doomsday Dawn playtest, and one of the biggest hurdles I have is with adjusting this part to account for 5 players. Yes, I know the game assumes 4, and I should houserule/change as little as possible for raw playtest data, but I kind of throw that out the window with a 5th, so the next best thing would be to get fair adjustments (maybe a developer can chime in?) so that the playtest data isn't as skewed. I don't really need to change the DCs of the traps or anything, but some help/feedback with what I can do to adjust encounters would be appreciated.

The party in question is composed of a Druid, a Barbarian, a Wizard, a Cleric, and a Paladin (which, after a cursory reading, would make this quite a fitting combat group). They only have access to all common items (plus availability from whatever Ancestry feats or class features give them) and their 300 gold. I will allow them to donate up to half their gold to an ally if they wanted to buy something expensive (which means they still have 150 gold to buy stuff with); if there are any "broken" things that can be bought with up to 750 gold pieces that is common, please let me know so I can tell them it's simply not available (and mostly so it doesn't ruin the playtest data results).

With that being said, let's get into the nitty-gritty.

Encounter 1:
The Hyenas. I'm probably going to add one or two more hyenas to account for the additional PC. They are only level 1 creatures, and the 5 level 4 PCs will have even numbers to face, making it a more "level" encounter. Alternatively, I could make it be Two Hyaenadons, but I don't want to make it too difficult; it's only the first encounter, after all.

Encounter 2:
The Ankhrava. Should I make it be 2 Ankhravas (the pit should be more than big enough to hold them), or could I just give it an extra +1 to everything or some more HP to make it more durable/formidable? The fear with 2 Ankhravas is that I don't want to ruin the PC's gear too much, though I can alter that with their combat tactics as needed.

Encounter 3:
The Lesser Gnoll Encampment. I could probably just add another Elite Gnoll Warrior to the repertoire. I'm hesitant on instead making a 2nd Scorpion, because I know Poison effects are a very nasty lot, and much like the Ankheg, adding an additional source of a potential condition is very difficult.

Encounter 4:
The Manticore. It already looks tough as it is. I don't think I need to change this any more than I have to. (If my PCs are smart, they might just avoid this encounter, but I won't try to edge them one way or the other unless they have PC knowledge about it, so that I can see if my players are smart or capable enough of avoiding the monster, or if they won't care and just want to kill stuff.)

Encounter 5:
Zakfah's Troop. This is perhaps the most interesting encounter yet, mostly due that, if the players defeat the previous encounter, they might just avoid this one entirely, and could even perhaps enlist their help in clearing the tomb (in exchange for shares of the loot, of course; after all, they are interested in riches and supplies) if they want to go down that route. For combat purposes, I'll simply add another Gnoll Warrior. I'll certainly award hero points if they either bypass them through the Manticore ordeal, and/or if they "befriend" them into the tomb.

Encounter 6 & 7:
The Elementals. I might just boost the Minor Elementals up to Lesser Elementals; this keeps the aspects the same, and adjusts the encounter in a way that I'm most comfortable with (helps with OCD and all that)! Unless I wanted to add weaker creatures (which doesn't seem viable with the encounter theme) or simply add bonuses/HP (which could honestly be accomplished by adding levels), I'm not seeing it happen here.

Encounter 8:
The mummies. Considering they are only 2nd level, I considered adding 2 more, but between all of the saving throws, and how, to this day, Mummy Rot is still extremely powerful (and can't really be countered at this level!), I'm hesitant on really adding anything, unless it fits the overall theme, so I guess just give them some added HP?

Encounter 9:
The Night Heralds. While having a 5th level "PC" aided by 3 other "PC" characters seems suitable enough of a challenge to the PCs, I might want to have an additional "PC" character customized separately from what's here so that I can both have a bit more "creative freedom" with the encounter, but also to counteract that they could have both Zakfah and the Janni here to help fight them (the former is doubtful, but the Janni is quite likely). Strangely, these are either "opposite" or "countering" character concepts (except the Rogue), so I was wanting maybe a Monk character who believes that the path of the Night Heralds/Dark Tapestry was the true way to enlightenment, and that other ways are destined for failure? Heck, he might even be an Armored Monk (taking Fighter Dedication), just to try out the concept.

If enough interest is in this to see it develop, I may just post a sample build (which can also be good for online translations of the PF2 statblocks. On top of that, with the creative freedom of being a GM, the stats can be whatever I want/need them to be!

What does everyone think of these adjustments? Too much here? Too little there? Are there any parts that I probably just shouldn't touch? Are there any parts that might require other adjustments (such as additional hazards)? Any suggestions on what to do/build for Encounter 9?


Our group ran through the first part of the adventure (Lost Star) and plan to run through the next part on the following Monday (which I will be GMing, since we decided everyone gets a turn to GM each part), and it was undoubtedly tough, but at the very least, we completed it.

Party Composition:
We had 5 PCs. A Dwarf Fighter, a Halfling Rogue, a Gnome Angelic Sorcerer of Pharasma (me), a Goblin Ranger, and an Elf Alchemist (who apparently decided to play the Razmir joke this time around). The Fighter actually bothered to shore up his Charisma, the Halfling Rogue did his level-up attributes incorrectly, and the Goblin Ranger outright decimated enemies with his set-up (and he's not really a power-gamer).

With the party composition out of the way, I'll go ahead and bring out the biggest result of this playtest: Of the five adventurers only two of them survived. That's right, the rest of them are actually slain. More on how that happens later.

Room 1:
We got into this first room, and being new to the system, we had to figure out who had good perception, who had vision, who didn't, and so on. To our surprise, Halflings no longer had low-light vision in PF2. (Maybe a typo? Who knows.) This means our main scout, the Rogue, could not do his job effectively whatsoever, meaning a Rogue class that doesn't have Darkvision or some other form of proper vision abilities (preferably without giving away position) were practically worthless for one of their primary forms of application to the party, and this being one of those cases. Granted, we did have workarounds to make them functional in combat (torches, Light cantrip, and so on), but as far as an advance is concerned, he couldn't do it. The Fighter and Ranger, who had Darkvision, were actually much better advances simply due to their ability to ignore any light issues inside the cavernous areas (though the Fighter couldn't stealth due to his abysmal training and armor check penalty).

Eventually our party catches the oozes (with them being unaware), we spread out as best we could (due to entrance constraints, the Sorcerer had to move up and utilize their Hand Crossbow), and focus-fire one of them. We do significant damage to it (somewhere in the mid to high teens, high damage rolls and all), but in the following turns, they swarm us. That's right, they. To ramp up the difficulty for having the extra player, the GM throws in a second ooze. One of them was able to get close enough to the Sorcerer and land a critical hit with a whopping 25 AC (the Sorcerer having 14 AC and not having been able to act yet for a Shield cantrip or anything), and takes an incredible 12 damage. One hit, and the Sorcerer (who actually had more HP than the Halfling and Elf due to their ancestry) was down to a measly 4 HP.

In the following turns, the Fighter uses their Sudden Charge feat, runs up, and hits the already wounded ooze, bringing it down. The other characters utilize their basic ranged combat options (shortbows, crossbows, etc). and deal some more damage to the other Ooze (which are very surprisingly easy to hit). The sorcerer, being in a potentially threatened area with an enemy, had to step, then move, and then reload their crossbow to follow up with offense. (While the wise thing to do here would be heal, lacking the Combat Medic skill feat and not wanting to burn Spell Slots on their first combat without at least completing it would be problematic in spell slot utilization.)

The ooze uses its special ability, repulsing and exploding onto the entire party in range. Thankfully, with decent modifiers and rolls, nobody was severely bothered by this attack, though a couple did get hurt (I think the Fighter, Rogue, and Ranger did). We follow-up with our onslaught of attacks and defeat it once and for all. Of course, being oozes, they carried nothing of value, so we lick what wounds we have and move on with the Sorcerer burning 2 of their 3 slots on Heal spells (one for the Sorcerer, healing 9, and the Fighter, healing the minimum of 5). In hindsight, using both slots to burst heal would have both healed the party better on average, and provided more raw healing, but since the spell was used in that manner and not much thought was put into it, the result stayed and we moved on, four rounds of combat being elapsed.

Room 2:
This is where, once again, the halfling doesn't shine (and yet should) due to his inability to see in the Darkness without giving away his position. Meaning once again, Fighter and Ranger lead the way down a narrow corridor. Ranger scouting ahead finds some Goblins doing something with a wall, I think it had something to do with a makeshift statue. Upon getting enough information (we realize it's 5 goblins messing with a monolith of some sort), we formulate a plan of attack that doesn't go as planned. The Goblins notice our friend, and come out with bows shooting. With a Light spell going, the Rogue managed to move through the narrow cavern into a safe position and start plinking away with a Hand Crossbow. He does some damage, with the Ranger outright slaying one in a single round with a lucky critical.

The other goblins move forward, being thwarted by the ranger's superior armor and cover tactics. The Dwarf had an insane idea of using Sudden Charge to move into position of 3 goblins behind a pillar and swinging at them while their defenses were down. Reeling from the surprisingly powerful attack bonuses and hit points of the Oozes, some of the party cautioned him of the ramifications of these creatures having powerful attacks and being in range of multiple attacks, due to the Fighter having low AC being a very easy target (only one AC ahead of the armorless Sorcerer, no less). However, he felt the need to take the risk because sitting back and doing nothing was not in his blood. Surprisingly, his gambit pays off, rolling well on both his attack and damage rolls, and obliterating two goblins within a single round (we didn't know they had only D6 hit dice, as later the Ranger kills the final goblin with a max damage single shot). The Rogue then moves forward and utilizes his sneak attack, taking down the fourth goblin, giving us a flawless victory. (The alchemist and sorcerer did not participate much in this combat; more accurately, their offensive capabilities had no impact on the combat outcome.) Receiving Shortbows and arrow restocks as our monetary reward, we trudge forward towards the crude sculpture. Further examination revealed an Owlbear Claw (which wasn't identified until the next day due to a bad roll), and with that, the party moved on, the combat itself taking approximately 5 rounds (though one or two of them were used for closing gaps between enemies and dealing with cover issues).

Rooms 3 and 4:
For simplicity purposes, I'm condensing these rooms together.

The third room of investigation was a room with a giant red mushroom in the middle, taking up most of the space. Some of the party believed that the fungus was covering treasure. Others believed it to be a parasitic nuisance that doesn't belong plaguing these tombs. Due to a failed knowledge check, we were never sure. The Sorcerer offered to burn the fungus, but was told that, for fear of ruining treasure or other important items laying within the room (which weren't initially visible due to the fungus or the spores), would not be a valid option. The Dwarf offered to throw a hammer and safely smash it. After some debate, sure enough, it was done, with the mushroom expelling a cloud of spores that nobody was in range of. Once the crimson mist settled, the party proceeded to search amidst the scarlet reclusion, but came up emptyhanded.

The fourth room contained corpses of goblins. While the PCs were able to determine that they had no blood within their bodies and that there were holes near the neck, they were unable to decipher if the wounds were of vampiric origin or not, still under significant doubt.

Room 5:
The room was initially caved in and appeared uninhabited. Once the fighter moved in, 6 giant centipede creatures emerged from the rubble, some of them biting the Fighter for significant damage. The party immediately retreats, the Sorcerer expending their last spell slot on a Summon Monster (Fire Beetle) to cover their potential escape in an attempt to bottleneck the centipedes. To their shock, the centipedes never left the room, and merely stood in what appeared to be their habitat, protecting their territory. The sorcerer then proceeded to make quick work of them with their Oil flasks and Produce Flame to ensure the creatures are slain, taking what would amount to dozens of rounds of "combat." (Though shooting fish in a barrel would be a more accurate representation of what happened here.) Further investigation of the room yet again yields no conclusive results, and being out of spell slots, the party rests.

Room 6:
An interesting fountain and cesspool was found, with the Sorcerer identifying it as a "Last Rites" chamber for their deity (with a lucky roll, of course, as Sorcerers do not have great Lore or Spellcasting skill modifiers, nor do they have applicable signature skills). The Alchemist concluded that the water is obviously unsafe to drink due to its putrid nature. Finding it tainted with the totem of Lamashtu (an equally lucky roll) filled the Sorcerer with rage, demanding that the idol be destroyed for its blasphemous application. The Fighter fulfills that request, smashing the idol into pieces, but spawning two imps as a result. Their presence and activities starting out made the Fighter suffer some damage and receive Frightened conditions, but even with this, one of the imps was slain within the first round of combat from nice rolling and attacks.

The second one on the other hand was a nuisance. While it wasn't threatening due to its requirement to spend an action to fly (which for an imp is practically mandatory), combined with a sequence of bad rolling against a moderate AC/check, the imp was annoying (but not lethal). After an uneventful subduing with some shooting with ranged weapons and cantrips, it goes down, several rounds later.

Investigating the rest of the room, we come across a door that is locked. The door requiring three separate checks of DC 20 was a significant turn-off to the possibility of characters specializing in Thievery being useful at their job, and risking losing Thief's Tools for a botched check when it might be needed later, which is easily possible (same price as a potion of healing at this level), made this doorway not a viable option of proceeding whatsoever. A second doorway with a crude trap that is easy to bypass became out way forward, and so we decided to rest once more before proceeding, making one last push for the end.

Room 7:
The second hardest encounter in this adventure takes place here. Having the Ranger proceed down the once-trapped hallway prior, we have a set-up similar to before. The Ranger, being a Goblin himself, knew that there were goblins ahead, and with his Darkvision, was able to successfully decipher it so, letting us know by retreating and filling us in, so we set up for yet another ambush. With a secondary bad Stealth check, the Goblins take notice of him, but thanks to a nice Initiative roll, the Ranger was able to act before the other Goblins did. With a clever ruse of telling them Drakus wanted them to work on the bust as he was displeased with how it looks (a Request action), it irked them to move forward.

Eventually several of them come to the previous room where the rest of the party laid in wait, and with cover rules applying, the players were not initially seen by the Goblins. Once they approached the bottleneck of the doorway, the first one was slain after the first few rounds, the others being severely wounded (and one of which melting from Acid, thanks to the Alchemist). Unfortunately, with bad damage rolls combined with some bad attack rolls, they manage to escape back into their main hall after round 1 of combat. The Fighter, not wanting to run from a combat, moves into their lair, where it turns out we were baited all along, as one of the wounded goblins triggers a falling rock trap on the Fighter, both damaging him and creating nasty difficult terrain. The Sorcerer moves into position to throw a Produce Flame (see a pattern yet?) to deal damage, but misses. The remainder of the party moves forward, and they are all clustered.

Now comes more surprises. A hidden Goblin spellcaster emerges from the shadowy corner and does a Burning Hands, affecting several PCs. While a disastrous 2D6 could have severely hampered our players, it was only 3 damage (or 1 on a success, of which most everyone made). Afterward, the Goblin Commando emerges, moving into range with his Horsechopper (which has reach now!) and delivers a critical fatal blow to the Sorcerer, which was at 14 out of 16 hit points, and took 15 damage from the attack. This caused the first Hero point use of the adventure, where the Sorcerer was stabilized. The Hero point rules were conveyed that the Sorcerer was able to do the Hero point method without any action requirement, and at any time, without paying anything other than the hero point, which I believe was actually a mistake after re-reading certain rules aspects. However, since we weren't aware of it at the time and for ease of play, the GM allowed the full allotment of actions immediately after the Commando's turn, which the Sorcerer then used to stand up and do a full retreat into a safer area (as the reaction was already used before).

The Ranger, having the highest AC, proceeds to move and attempt to stop the spellcaster's next spellcast (which saves people from even more damage on its turn), combined with the Alchemist following up with cleaning up the remaining goblin peons. Meanwhile, the Fighter, Rogue, and Commando began slugging it out. The Fighter was hit once for 4 damage (surprisingly, considering the Sorcerer has been critically hit twice thus far), as well as being tripped, but between the better rolls and the superior flanking tactics, the Commando goes down. Meanwhile, the Ranger and Alchemist finish off the remaining goblins, the Sorcerer uses both their first spell slot for the day to Heal, as well as the fountain for a total of 14 Hit Points (putting them at 15 HP). The Alchemist offers the Fighter an elixir to help restore some of the damage inflicted (he still wasn't fully recovered from the previous combats and from resting), and with us battered, but not beaten, we trudge forward, after a little over 10 rounds of combat having elapsed.

Room 8:
The stairway leading into the room was a spiral staircase, which significantly hampered our retreating ability and ranged/visual capabilities. The Rogue with a Light spell decided to lead the way in hopes of finding the Star of Desna inside. To our surprise, the room was covered in several sets (7, to be exact,) of bones wearing equipment, which then proceeded to animate and strike. Thankfully, since the Sorcerer was behind the Rogue using Detect Magic (which only told me there was magic here, the spell effectively throwing would-be casters into a hypothetical death trap!), perceived the animated bones, and rolled high on the initiative, was able to summon yet another Fire Beetle in front of the Rogue (with it being unable to act and just sit there). The skeletons swarm the beetle, and with a few attacks with scimitars, the Fire Beetle is banished. (It did save the Halfling's life though, as each attack could have killed him when added up, which is what's really important.) The Rogue runs away to safety, the Ranger moves forward with a light mace in hand, and the Alchemist lobs a bomb into the room. Finding out they are heavily resistant to fire (and probably non-bludgeoning damage as well), the Sorcerer wisely prepared the Disrupt Undead cantrip, and instantly lays waste to the first skeleton in the room.

After some rearraging a couple rounds later, the Fighter manages to get into melee combat and starts crushing some bones into pieces. The Ranger with a Light Mace smashes another skull, and the Sorcerer lobbing the Disrupt Undead cantrip make quick (though not flawless) work of the skeletons, wherein we discover a Pathfinder Society body with a Wayfinder. The Sorcerer at some point burned their final spell slot on the Bless spell, which only lasted a few rounds since space available to utilize Disrupt Undead came up, which was almost the party's highest source of damage.

While the other belongings were taken by the party, the Wayfinder is property of the Pathfinder Society, and as such the Pharasman Sorcerer demanded that both the body and the Wayfinder be returned to the Pathfinder Society. Feeling confident and not having time to rest (for fear of Drakus being discovered and as such fleeing the compound with any sort of valuables), the heroes press on into the bloodiest and most horrifying battle they've ever faced.

Room 10:
This was the absolute hardest encounter in the adventure, and is where half of the party died. Prior to the room, everyone had to consume the purified water or risk being heavily debilitated going into this room from Pharasma's trap, making any non-magical healing after-the-fact non-viable (at this point, the Sorcerer had no spell slots, there were no healing cantrips of any sort, the Alchemist and everyone else was out of all but 1 Resonance (except the Sorcerer, who had zero use for Resonance whatsoever), and the only other healing everyone had was a 1D8 Healing potion). Compared to the enemy they faced, it didn't matter.

In short, we come across Drakus amongst his "food," and he proceeds to stride towards us and get ready to attack. Getting a decent Initiative score, the Sorcerer moves forward and utilizes the Disrupt Undead, but due to the horrible Strike roll, it was indecisive at that point if he was truly an Undead or not, but the Halfling Rogue ally made a Recall Knowledge Action to determine that it was, in-fact, a Faceless Stalker. In a certain PF1 AP, we fought a half-dozen of these things at around 6th and they absolutely hurt and about killed a PC. Coming face-to-face with them again was perhaps the most horrifying element of this encounter to the players, even more horrifying than if Drakus was indeed an undead vampire hobgoblin as he was rumored to be.

He approaches and critically Intimidates the Fighter, putting him at frightened 2 and having him run away for one turn. Our frontline Fighter is now gone from the fight for over 2 rounds, leaving the rest of us exposed by his devastating attack regime, and follows up with a Strike. The Sorcerer, being in range, is swung at for 6 HP (could've been higher, but the feint+swing tactic wasn't being employed at this time), putting them at 9 HP remaining. The Sorcerer then steps to safety and hurls a Produce Flame (its only effective means of contributing to the combat), but misses. The rest of the party attempts to hit him in the round (the Fighter just now re-entering the room), but with bad rolling on both sides, nothing changes. The Rogue has an idea to try and flank him, but comes across two (not one, two) Dire Rats, who proceed to chew him into pieces with their own flanking and numerous bite attacks landing. With the new threats abound and getting no results on Drakus, combined with the Rogue being in a dire pinch, the rest of the party attempts to save the Rogue from his tight spot. While the Alchemist and Ranger combined defeat one of the rats, the other one still manages to scurry through from not suffering enough damage from a Produce Flame. The Fighter still does not land a hit on Drakus, and Drakus proceeds to flank and drop the Rogue to Dying 2 (he uses two actions to attack, since the second one at -5 had a significant chance of missing the Fighter, and the GM wanted to put additional pressure on the Rogue). Surprisingly, the Rogue decides to wait on his Hero Points until both Drakus move away and the Rat no longer becomes a threat. The Sorcerer going again finally defeats the remaining rat, and moves further away from Drakus, remembering the mistakes made within two combats prior (with enemies getting into melee range and almost outright slaying the Sorcerer). The Ranger and Alchemist, already at steady range, attempt to strike Drakus, and fail (the Alchemist using a bomb only deals 1 splash damage as a result). The Fighter lands a hit, but with only 1D12 and rolling low, doesn't get the devastating results he needs.

Drakus then finally employs his signature tactic: Move, Feint, Strike. The Fighter, getting an attack of opportunity, fails to hit due to the penalty of his free attack, and proceeds to be damaged significantly. The Rogue gets an opportunity to finally come back from Dying 1, standing up, grabbing his hand crossbow and moving towards the Ranger's position. The Sorcerer, Ranger, Fighter and Alchemist now all trying to strike Drakus with spell, bow, maul, and crossbow alike. However, Pharasma's power of fate seemed to be against them at this time, as their repertoire proved insufficient to even affect Drakus whatsoever, through bad rolling across the board.

He then proceeds to utilize his signature tactic once more, and takes down the Fighter to Dying 2 (a critical hit granted through the Feint action). The Ranger manages to get a couple hits in, and the Rogue (who barely recuperated after drinking a potion) tries to shoot with a hand crossbow, and fails. The Alchemist's final bomb is missed, and the Sorcerer's Produce Flame cantrip is blasphemed by the will of Pharasma's fate.

Drakus performs his signature move again, proceeds to significantly wound the Ranger, and puts them in a difficult spot. The Ranger must step carefully to avoid any potential threat Drakus posed, and made a shot whom was once again missed. The Rogue performs an unorthodox tactic, drawing out a Dagger to throw, and lands a significant blow to the enemy after revealing that Daggers, even while thrown, have text to support receiving Dexterity to Damage, converting a 2 damage attack to a 6 damage attack; more than 3 times the original damage output! Unfortunately, the Alchemist's crossbow is not as accurate, and Pharasma still seemed bent on denying the Sorcerer her ability to contribute with the Produce Flame cantrip. The Fighter reawakens through the power of heroism, but can merely stand, draw a potion, and drink it for minimal healing.

Drakus downs the Ranger, and then proceeds toward the Fighter once more. The Rogue throws his other dagger, but was not so lucky on this attack. Similarly, the Alchemist cannot get a clear shot, and Pharasma continues to delay the Sorcerer's impactfulness.

Fast-forwarding the fight, Drakus slays the Fighter, Rogue, and Ranger before the fate of the battle changes. After the Ranger is down (and proceeds to bleed out from Dying), Drakus changes focus towards the remaining party members. Frustration, shock, fear...a slew of emotions rampaged through them, hoping for something to come; and it did. Pharasma's Divine Will became a reality in that moment. On the same round, with the same tactics, with the same odds of happening, both the Sorcerer's Produce Flame and the Alchemist's Crossbow roll Natural 20's, critically hitting Drakus for the remainder of his HP, and finally defeating him.

Numerous rounds (almost 15 to be precise), a severe streak of bad rolling across the board (the Sorcerer and Alchemist did not contribute to the fight until the very end after the Rats were defeated, which was over several rounds prior, the rolling was that bad), being drained valuable resources that could have saved allies (and gave the Sorcerer more tactics to utilize), and unorthodox tactics resulted in over half of the party getting killed by a single overleveled creature with two equal level minions entering late (even if surprising) in the combat. Surprisingly, the Alchemist and the Pharasman Sorcerer survived, but not without their own wounds or loss of their own. Feeling struck with shock and still recovering from the severity of their combat, the remaining PCs proceed to pick apart the body of Drakus clean of all belongings, and using the ceremonial dagger of the Pharasman statue (it made more sense than using some run-of-the-mill dagger laying around), give the fallen PCs their last rites traveling through the other side with Pharasma deciding their fate.

Room 11:
After some time of grief, the remaining duo still had a mission to complete, which was to retrieve the Star of Desna. The antechamber of Pharasma revealed a powerful Dagger and valuable religious texts of Pharasma, combined with a bowl of holy water filled with ambiguous foreshadowing. The Sorcerer felt compelled to safeguard these important teachings and relics of Pharasma, as she has witnessed their power being corrupted and fallen into the wrong hands. Further investigation reveals the Star of Desna, and receiving the Macguffin, thereby wrapping up the adventure.

Not only was this playtest really brutal at times, with the players and PCs both feeling quite inadequate compared to their enemies (that Drakus fight was really soul crushing and gritty in terms of the overall outcome, though it did have some semblance of "stereo type happy ending" to it), but it did involve a lot of re-referencing rules (which still resulted in getting rules down incorrectly, skewing raw playtest results, and significantly increasing the time in which this playtest took, which was over 12 hours, or two session's worth of playing), some different levels of ad-hocing from the GM for determining encounter challenging (such as adding creatures or merely adding bonuses to compensate for a non-standard number of players), and left us with a story that, truth be told, I don't know how it would proceed moving forward.

Are we going to find some cheap way to bring back the once-dead PCs into the later part of the adventures, when this "party" (which only now has 2 members of it left), or would it make more sense to just have the players whose PCs are dead simply make new ones? While this is ultimately a personal preference thing, and we might have to simply figure it out ourselves, I'm really curious what others would adjudicate in this position, especially since it seems like the adventure assumes no PC would die, (and yet we have THREE of the five dead!) making a situation like this absolutely awkward for the story to move forward without having some sort of GM Ex Machina taking place.

Regardless, I hope this playtest data proves some value to the Paizo developers, and I also hope that others who have playtested this section can examine and critique our playstyle to help improve its functionality.

In the near future, we are going to be running the second part of this adventure over the next two weeks (which I will be GMing for), so I will actually be on the other side of the screen for this new party (with a wholly different composition to compare different aspects of classes and how they fare compared to other party compositions we've already playtested).

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Downloaded the updated rules document, and I'm not seeing an improvement for the dying rules that follows what the intent of the change is (which, to quote, is "to simplify the system and the tracking involved, remove the confusion people had when they were dying but conscious, and get people back into the fight more consistently by removing the recovery roll for unconscious characters").

I'm going to give my in-depth opinion on what I'm currently seeing with these new rules, as well as to how they interact with the original draft, and the PF1 rules as well. For how "wall-of-text"-y this is, I put my main arguments in spoilers to make it easier to read and digest.

Point the First, Simplify:
To start, the tracking involved isn't really simplified compared to PF1. Being knocked into negative HP is neither a difficult concept to grasp (unless you don't know how number lines work), nor was it really anything additional to what you're tracking to begin with (which is HP). Now, instead of tracking one thing, you are now selectively tracking two (or more) things. You track HP until it hits 0, and then you begin tracking Dying conditions. On top of that, with the Recovery DC being mutable based on what got you down (seriously, a giant Dragon could go to an NPC, knock him unconscious with a strong non-lethal hit, and he wouldn't ever wake up. Makes for an interesting storyline, but for game mechanics it falls flat IMO), combined with it fluctuating based on the tiers of Dying you have (which was already a thing in PF1), it just seems like a solution in search of a problem that, for our group, didn't exist. Players are much more likely to survive from fatal blows in PF1 than in PF2, because outside of Hero Points, these characters are going to die due to the ridiculously hard DC checks to make, and have almost zero time (or fidelity) to come back into a battle, whereas in PF1, characters had more chances to roll (and by relation, more opportunities to stabilize, as slim as they might be), or they had abilities to actually act even while "dying." That's practically gone in PF2, and while one aspect of intent is to make going down more significant, all the rules do so far is basically say "You go down = you die unless you have Hero Points to spend." This is actually basically reinforced with how NPC creatures are dealt with in terms of dying (which is basically 0 = dead unless specified otherwise), so the design aspect is effectively mirrored.

Point the Second, Confusion:
As for it being less confusing, I continue to disagree, since now I have to understand precisely what Dying does, which is a conglomeration of other conditions, which means I have to understand what those do, and so on. While this isn't much different from PF1, I still remember the conditions from PF1 being simplistic and less problematic to memorize compared to PF2, where I now need to re-learn what being Unconscious actually means with the new rules changes, which also has conglomerations of conditions, which means I have to learn those conditions, and repeat ad nauseum until we decide to not reference so many different conditions at once to determine what one "super condition" does. Again, not much different from PF1, but if given the choice, I'd simply go with PF1 because it's still fresh in my memory and still easier to categorize by comparison.

Point the Third, Recovery:
As for getting people back into the fight, the new rules fail to do that effectively without making being brought down significant, one of the other aspects of design intent behind this feature. Let's take them as they are previewed in the new update document: If I'm Dying 3, and I get healed at the brink, I'm brought back up without the dying condition, but now I can't take any actions. I'm on the ground like a duck with nothing to protect myself and no abilities or actions to take. Similarly, if I'm Dying 2, I can only stand up (which can provoke and drop me yet again against certain enemies!), or stay down and do an action, leaving me significantly vulnerable to other enemies (even minions, and especially stronger creatures). Dying 1 isn't as bad, but the odds of players getting to characters that are Dying 1 are slim, and if you are Dying 1 from some lucky goon hit, it's not really going to be difficult for you to stabilize and wake up, meaning it's more fringe-case than Dying 2 or 3 with this aspect in mind, but even then you don't have much going for you as you are still losing an action for getting up.

That's all on top of the Unconscious rules, which state the following:

Unconscious wrote:

When you’re reduced to 0 Hit Points, you fall unconscious. You lose any remaining actions and reactions, and while

unconscious, you don’t regain your actions and reaction each turn. If you return to consciousness, you’ll need to wait until the start of your turn to get your actions and reaction again. If you return to 1 Hit Point or more, you become conscious. As noted before, if you had the dying condition, you are slowed on your first turn after regaining consciousness. If you did not have the dying condition when you regain consciousness, you aren’t slowed. When you’re unconscious and at 0 HP but no longer dying, you naturally return to 1 HP and awaken after sufficient time passes. The GM determines how long you remain unconscious, from at least 10 minutes to several hours.

Bolded for emphasis and evaluation.

Reading all of it, it says if you become unconscious, you lose all actions and reaction, and while unconscious, you do not regain actions or reactions, and do not do so until the start of your turn to get them. Meaning if you make a check (or use a Hero Point at your turn from triggering an Attack of Opportunity Reaction from an enemy), your turn is immediately finished, and even if you do succeed, you do not do anything for that turn, followed by the slowed aspects. Meaning for over two rounds of doing almost nothing, you're not in the fight, at the very least. This doesn't account for increased time of being at Dying from varied rolls and save DCs, and so on. Compared to mid-level PF1, where a single spell with an action or two can bring you back in the fight, no questions asked.

Even if you naturally come to (which is a fat chance fringe case, much more fringe than any of the Dying condition Slow effects), the time you come back to being conscious is GM FIAT, with a BARE MINIMUM OF 10 MINUTES, or 100 ROUND OF COMBAT. Does that sound quick to you? In combat terms, no way. A lot can change and happen in the above two rounds, meaning something like this taking what can be done in simple seconds is just plain bad design and really only serves as a GM FIAT tool for if they want the PCs to be prisoners or something.

It might be quicker than if you stabilized at negative HP from PF1 and recovered through natural rest, but even with some enhanced recovery abilities or items, estimable from low to mid PF1 characters, and basically guaranteed in high levels, you can come back from a fraction of that bare minimum time. And that's at the low end. If a GM required 8 hours of rest as one example (similar to getting standardized rest to properly recover), your ability to recover HP from simple resting could potentially be equivalent, which means making it quicker than PF1 is a hyperbole fringe case at best.

Bonus Round, Impact:
The last "undocumented" intent of these rules from back when it was first previewed is how they are meant to be more impactful and dramatic for when players go down, and this is authentically true. Way, way too true. In PF1, players had a chance relative to the direness of their situation to naturally survive a fatal encounter (assuming the other party members dispatch the threats, of course). It made for very interesting stories for if players in PF1 decided to leave an enemy lie there, with him making a surprise comeback wanting revenge for his defeat, as just one of numerous examples (though even an inverse is equally plausible). In here, it goes back to what I said above, which is "If you don't have a Hero Point or other form of 'self-resurrection', you're probably going to die anyway." And this seems largely true, and with some playtesting, it backs up this case. Against boss enemies, if you are dropped, due to their stronger nature, it is inherently more difficult for you to survive from their fatal attacks, due to the increased Save DC, as well as the increased likelihood of being critically hit by said boss enemy (which brings you twice as close to the Dying condition as before, and also increases the Save DC). Even if you make it, you're still way weak and vulnerable as I've demonstrated above, which means an enemy has little to no adversity in simply going for yet another finishing blow (and hoping it to be the last), with minimal impact to the rest of his turn (he could just make a third attack at -10 and be very likely to hit you with all of the penalties to AC you have).

In short (AKA the TL;DR version, as well as the sum-up), the Dying rules still seem too restrictive (more than before perhaps), they still seem way too impactful, almost borderline "GM decides when you wake up, which can be never," and they are also not very interesting or intuitive. In fact, if Hero Points were not Core for this game (something that needs to be brought up in another thread, since I can just effectively bribe my GM for "free" Hero Points if I really wanted, not sure if this is intended or not), I'd say these new dying rules borderline make the game unplayable to me, especially since rocket tag still practically exists for 1st level.

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As the title.

I just made my Angelic Sorcerer for our Doomsday Dawn playtest for 1st level, and it honest-to-god feels extremely underwhelming compared to if I made a Cleric, as the primary purpose for me making this character was to determine if a Sorcerer healer could be just as viable as a Cleric PC, and finding out prior to playtesting that on-paper, this appears horribly untrue.

For starters, the proficiencies. Clerics get two good saving throws to the Sorcerer's one. They also get 2 more hit points per level than a Sorcerer. Clerics get all Simple weapons like the Sorcerer, but also access to their deity's weapon, regardless of it being uncommon or not. The biggest thing is the armor proficiencies, where a Cleric can wear light and medium armor, plus shields; that's 3 feats! But a Sorcerer can't use anything on the defensive front, without feat expenditure, which they don't get any feats of that nature until 3rd level.

Speaking of feats, they only get what, 5 feats to use on class feats? Which every single starter level class feat sucks nuts, only progressing to even more lame choices. (Seriously, a Familiar feat works better on a Cleric than a Divine Sorcerer. Why?!) At least Clerics get a few neat choices at their starter levels, and only progress into more interesting and synergistic choices. What do Sorcerers get? A steaming pile of poo.

Domain Powers, perhaps the best analogue to the Sorcerer's Bloodline Powers, can be used for the same times, but are much more flexible than a Sorcerer Bloodline, since you can take up to 3 Domains, and/or 3 Advanced Domain powers at the cost of feats. Compared to a Sorcerer using their only feature of Bloodline Powers, which has little to zero scaling, and involves a lot of unlikely benefits, you don't get much of an option. I don't care if I have 3 separate uses for my bloodline powers, so can (and would) Clerics! And those uses are better and more versatile than anything I get, which is delayed and not much good in comparison.

Even if I bother to increase this character's level to 4th and playtest that level, the main feature that I thought would have evened the playing field, Divine Evolution, only lets me use Channel Energy (the most OP class feature) once a day. Whereas a Cleric can do this upwards of 5 or 6 times, at first level. That's not even factoring in the brokenness that is Channel Energy itself, which should honestly be nerfed into being a flat once per day option (similar to if I spent a 4th level feat on it), with additional feats increasing the uses, similar to adding a Domain for their Spell points.

I'm seriously considering scrapping this character and building a Cleric instead because the power gamer in me doesn't want to be that big of a gimp; I want to make a powerful fantasy adventurer, not someone who gets trounced so easily just because he has an unorthodox playstyle compared to just being the simple class. But if I can survive the playtesting just so Paizo knows I'm not blowing smoke, then maybe I'll persevere. (It'll be the first time actually running the system too, so hopefully it won't be a complete drag.)

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One of the purchasable items is a simple oil flask. It's only a copper, doesn't take any bulk, and has some neat combat usage with very little monetary resource cost.

The long and short of it is, as two actions, you can prepare it and throw it onto an enemy with a 50% chance of it catching on fire and taking 1D6 damage.

Logically speaking, if I throw an unlit oil flask as a single action (one of the actions is to cause it to ignite), wouldn't my target be coated in oil (assuming a successful attack roll), thereby making it susceptible to an additional 1D6 Fire damage the next time it's hit with an ability that would ignite flammables, such as a Fire Cantrip or Alchemist's Fire?

Furthermore, what's the range of an Oil Flask if I use it in this manner? Even in the traditional manner it's presented, it simply tells us that it's a ranged touch attack. I could make it simple, akin to how Bombs work (AKA Alchemical Weapons), a la 20 feet, but I don't think they're meant to be that strong. Maybe 10 feet, similar to how PF1 did most splash weapons? The rules are unclear here, unfortunately, and I would like to try this tactic for low level play and see if it's a great way to synergize with other party members.

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