If these potential "two guys in the basement" can continue to produce APs and modules with the same amount of maps, artwork, editing, proofing, and layout without ever needing to involve any other art, editing, or layout staff...well, I believe we've found the first successful perpetual motion machine.
Because otherwise, be prepared for less products overall, as the real bottleneck in production needs to get divided up even further among even more products across more game lines. That'll do wonderful things to production schedules in the future.
Class abilities (like wireless hack) get overlooked in a lot of these operative OP threads.
That one single ability is huge (and something that gets way too often overlooked in hacking during game sessions). The need to stay physically attached to some workstation or door lock or whatever...that's outright crippling under fire.
And if you're not facing situations where hacking is occurring under fire...then the GM is missing out on some amazing fun.
The deeper you delve into class abilities (whether they be mechanic or envoy or whatever), the less those operatives skill modifiers matter. If the operative has a +X, and the mechanic has +X-2, but gets to hack from 30 feet away and while moving? I know which one my players want doing the hacking...
After the first few levels, those operative skill ratings won't be noticeable. There's a whole different discussion to be had about the operative player themselves also realizing that they don't need to do everything.
While canon doesn't reflect this, our own group has come to look at Drift engines more as navigation devices or sensors/lenses to guide through the Drift (to get to the "proper" Drift pathway), rather than actual engines. This makes the whole aspect of Drift engines determining travel speed work in our heads.
Talek & Luna wrote:
I am leery of classless or modular systems as there can be potential to find the "best" build and you end up with four very similar if not identical characters in the group and I don't want PF2 to head down that rabbit hole.
Isn't that kind of the exact rabbit hole that fills up huge amounts of space here on the PF1 forums?
Contrary to what entertainment has wanted us to think for basically ever, vents are rarely big enough to fit a humanoid. Even a small one.
If you're dealing with a station, that's likely even more true, as space is at a premium. Toss in repair bots, various types of maintenance drones, all of those possibilities...there's no reason to build utility spaces like vents or wiring runs to fit humanoids.
The easiest solution? Unless you'd like to leave that option open for a particular area...the character simply won't fit.
I've been critical (more lately), but overall, I'm very excited for PF2. And 95% of what I've seen so far looks awesome.
Talking about this elsewhere during the week, somebody asked me "Why not switch to this other game?" I gave my usual answer about lack of PDF support for that game. And then I gave it some more thought later in the day. I went back to edit the response. I stay because of Paizo. Pathfinder wouldn't likely be my first choice. Fantasy isn't my first choice when it comes to gaming. But somehow, it ends up being my first choice for the last five or so years and for the forseeable future. That's entirely because of the quality of the product and the overall progressive community mindset from the company.
You made a fan out of a person who, by all rights, wouldn't be. Not ONLY because of the material, your own setting, or solid APs. It's because of what Paizo has built for itself, as a community and a brand.
Icy Turbo wrote:
Finally (since this could go on for eons) I find it odd that people treat alignment restrictions so unfairly in Roleplaying games, but don't really question or have a problem with it when playing a game as the heroes in a video game. Just an observation.
I'll admit a little confusion on that part. A programmed video game with limited adaptability versus an RPG being run by adaptable humans able to make changes and freeform decisions on the fly. Why would there be an expectation of treating alignment style systems the same among wildly different mediums?
Some posters seems to think the follow-up version will necessarily be bad, but that mistrust of Paizo's dev team is unwarranted, in my opinion.
Ordinarily, 100% agreement. On this particular topic, dealing with this particular class? Previous development hasn't quite delivered.
None of that reflects on PF2 or even on the designers themselves, outside of a pattern of disappointing development along this specific line of design.
It is the one class that hasn't really delivered among my group with post-PF1 Core development. I think that's why my own hopes were probably too high, and why some of the decisions and responses bring up more concern than I had with past blogs.
I'm a fan of the changes in the code. They're sensible, and facilitate easier play for paladin characters. They'll cut back on Lawful Silly situations. I'm all onboard for that.
Seeing this shift, alongside requiring deities (a change that I think has long been needed) starts to make the "tradition" motivation ring a little hollow. I think that's where my greatest disappointment lies. It feels (entirely unintentional on the part of design staff) a bit like a bait and switch. "Here's 2/3 of what we need to open things up, but we're definitely not opening things up." I'm fully aware that isn't the intention, and may not even be the long-term goal, here. I'm simply commenting on how I personally read it, nothing more than that.
I still hold that nothing in the core book should be exclusive. That is one tradition that I'm glad we're moving away from.
After the disappointment from this preview, I'm not convinced that we are. Starfinder seemed to finally be a step in the right directions, ditching alignment tags on spells and allowing alignment to be truly optional. Neither of those things appear to be a priority for the playtest, and that stings on both counts.
I'm more than a little concerned that the other previously alignment locked classes are going to need to follow "tradition" as well. And as for future options, I'm sorry to say, unlocking the paladin class is one of the few areas that Paizo doesn't have a good track record with design options. The language in the blog doesn't help provide any indications on changes in that regard either.
Sorry, but I think this one was a notable mis-step. All due respect to the Paizo staff, particularly the moderators, because this thread has been nightmarish to follow. I'd only politely suggest that maybe language from Paizo staff could get a second look to avoid placating verbal head-pats. That hasn't seemed to be a total success here, as it has in other interactions.
Thanks graystone for answering. I guess your viewpoint is anathema to my playstyle :) Hope alignment is easy enough to ignore as it is in PF1 for you.
It's hard-coded into more than one class, multiple spells, and more. It is not at all easy to simply say "No alignment" in PF1 without actively ignoring multiple built-in (in some cases, intertwined) rules. I'd be THRILLED for it simply being reduced to a point where it COULD be easily ignored (much like Starfinder...it exists, and can be tossed aside without impact by those who don't want it).
As I don't have any of the APs, what is the page count of the crunch sections for each one? It feels like all of them for one AP together would possibly add up to one of those thin "The Corgi Slayer's Handbook"-style folios I see at the used bookstore all the time. Are those some drastic difficulty to make?
I can't say they're particularly difficult to make (anymore than any quality RPG product is X value of difficult to make). And they may very well decide to do so. Personally, I wouldn't get my hopes up on it. Any game only has a particular amount of slots in its production schedule (and SF clearly isn't the same sort of schedule as PF). So however small these are, and with the recent switch to what looks to be 3 part APs, that means a book every 3 months. And that work/pay/staff needs to come from an already built schedule. (Many RPG production schedules are built a whole lot of months and more frequently years in advance, just because of lead times required for printing/shipping/design). So if the end result is, for example, the next Pact Worlds style book gets cut down in size to accommodate these quarterly books...is that trade off worth it? To you? To Paizo? No clue. That doesn't even start to figure out pricing. Or that any new material you add to increase the book's size is going to require even MORE resources than just a copy/print/summary splatbook. And that pushes the price point up again. And the production schedule.
The RPG industry is one of the weirdest I've ever encountered. Economics students should be doing thesis papers on this stuff. My hats off to the Paizo folks to try and figure all this crap out. :)
Mr Jade wrote:
Reach if I've ever heard one. You can try to handwave it away, but at the end of the day, it's a bad system. A computer that offers better bonuses does not increase all DCs. Even if you say at first it does, according to that logic all of the new features are a permanent distraction ad infinitum.
Jade, is it the actual DC numbers that bother you, or the design theory behind using tier for DCs?
I ran through most of the published ships last night, and the DCs at almost any tier level don't seem off from what Pathfinder characters would find at similar levels. Skill checks and DCs tend to leave the general expected range of requiring a roll of 8 to 12 for a success. d20 systems have generally been built on 10 as the desired roll for as long as I can remember. So it doesn't appear to be delivering any kind of unusually difficult to reach DCs here.
If it's using tier itself that is the problem, then I guess I'd wonder how you dealt with the inevitable rise of DCs in PF? Common tasks frequently end up with much higher DCs at later levels, even in published APs, just to reflect higher skill ratings. There's no real logic or mechanic behind it, other than "everybody's better, so we need tasks to be harder." How is that so different from approximating using ship tier?
You know, in every response you've posted so far, you've left me feeling more than a little insulted. I don't know what your issue is, but please stop.
Absolutely. I'll go a step further. I sincerely apologize for that post being FAR sharper than it should have been. Attacking or insulting was the end result, and not what I was aiming for in intent. Implementation of that intent...wasn't good on my part.
Intended or not (and I'm gathering that not is the case here), I read many of the "death of gaming" statements as the usual sort of "sky is falling" or "get off my lawn" I've heard over the last three decades of gaming. That's on my failure at reading the intent, not on you.
Mr Jade wrote:
2. I was sold on a different concept than what was delivered. Most of us like the older Star Wars movies, and the thought that we could have similar adventures was very stirring to us, however like above the classes were quite a bit more different from PF than expected, and the entire ship system was extremely underwhelming, so much so that the next game that I ran (for a different group of players) ended up dying too.
I'm not really sure why you couldn't run space fantasy style games in the vein of the older Star Wars flicks. I haven't found any real stumbling blocks in that particular direction. Small crew ships, much like the Falcon, are one of the places that the ship rules succeed. Fleet actions and multi-heavy/capital ship combat is...a great deal more challenging. I find it a lot easier to fit SF classes to a Star Wars style game than PF classes (which are very clearly built for a cinematic European medieval setting).
The ship rules (building and combat) are definitely more narrative in style. But not at a level of anything like Fate or even the Cypher system games. I think there's a level of adjustment needed to realize that it isn't a heavy mechanical crunch system. But I may be a bit biased, because I tend to come at this from a background with Shadowrun and Eclipse Phase that really opened up my eyes towards how different games are in a post-scarcity or maker-tech economy. And Starfinder is definitely not a scarcity economy like Pathfinder. So I can square the gamification needs of the BP system pretty easily for my own needs.
If an ancestry is going to be removed following the playtest, I would strongly prefer Half-Orcs get the axe rather than goblins. Much less baggage with goblins.
This. So much this. The decision made for PF1 needs to be rethought. Either ditch the awful definitions on them, or preferably, stop doing "Half" anything. Tieflings and aasimar aren't half-planar. If you want to build somebody with orcish heritage or bloodline, then go for it. Actively calling out half-orcs as the product of violence may have felt necessary as an interim step for PF1. It looks really awful now, and I'm really tired of having players skip over the race because of it.
What is a public playtest?
A bunch of folks get early access to the beta rules. A much smaller than widely believed number of those folks will do any actual play involving those rules. Of that number, an even smaller amount will provide any kind of constructive, well-organized feedback. Of the feedback number, an even smaller amount will test the rules as provided rather than immediately making enough changes to drastically throw off any kind of reliable results.
A huge number of folks who got the early access will make entire libraries of posts regarding "ignoring the results" while never turning in any feedback. There will also be a noteworthy amount of feedback that comes exclusively from theorycrafting in a vacuum, with no actual play, which will serve to make it even harder to find quality data.
Playtests, in general, deliver a significant amount of quantitative data. Qualitative data is a much smaller amount.
Core means it happens to be contained in the core rulebook, rather than a book published later. That's it, nothing more than that. It doesn't speak to frequency in setting, "official"-ness, or any sort of statistical representation.
Core in the sense of what's allowed in games I'm running is determined between the group and I. Conflating this with core seems to be at the root of more than a few contentious topics on the Paizo forums.
I can only judge what's being presented to me, but to be fair Paizo wants us to place preorders, so is it really wrong to try and judge whether or not the information they've given me justifies that purchase?
I just want to drop this in here as somebody who has been on the business side of printed playtests. Paizo doesn't WANT you to place pre-orders for the playtest. They simply want to print to order, and cover costs. That's why they are asking for a headcount early. There is very little, if any, profit to made on the playtest. (The core rules are a completely different story.) The other versions of the playtest really only exist for the die-hard collectors. The work and time that went into the PDF (and its wide, free release) already likely put this into the loss column. The pricing on the physical copies is just to cover printing costs there.
The real benefit of the playtest financially (outside of the actual playtesting) comes in, ideally, by driving up pre-orders of the actual core rules.
1. Paizo. It's the company over everything else. They've got a fair use policy, an electronic product policy, and a community mindset that meshes well with the other companies I tend to favor (Posthuman, Evil Hat, MCG).
Everything else comes after that. I've done my tours with more systems than I care to count, as well as my share of time with great games from outright terrible companies. I don't want any more time with terrible companies.
And another not ten year adopter here. Can we remove the fake meme that everybody having objections to parts of this is just an old fuddy duddy that needs to get out of the way of ‘progress’?
The old grognard idea needs to go, right alongside the "supporters are only young and want videogamey rules." Early supporters or detractors are both far more complex than that, whether or not you agree with them.
I can only comment on this from my prior experiences doing playtesting with other systems.
House rules aren't likely to be used, or helpful during the playtest. If you're looking to stress-test the system, then you need to use that system, as it stands. Developers will need to take the feedback of what works and what doesn't to make any needed rule changes.
Waves are pretty likely. It's a better than average chance you won't even get the opportunity during each wave to complete the whole adventure, just as much as you can and still report on reliably. And while I'm sure the developers are aware, the community also needs to realize that the actual playtest group will be smaller than expected. There will be a large group of "playtesters" that do little more than take advantage of early access. Or they'll simply focus in on one or two aspects, ignoring waves they don't like.
This is going to be closer to actual video game testing, not what many gamers think is video game testing (ala "play games all day for fun for money!"). Benchmarks, waves of testing, minor tweaks and then re-tests...
The best thing we can give them is as close as we can possibly get to unbiased feedback. It'll never be truly so, but that's the goal for any of the playtests I've dealt with before.
However, from what I've seen they are going to lose around 1/4 to 1/3 of their base, and they are simply put, too close to either 4e or 5e to really attract anyone away from those systems for long.
Using the forums (note: I'm not saying you are, just nothing this, as it has come up elsewhere) as any kind of guide towards reception isn't a great idea. Positive or negative, forums for RPGs (even online communities in general) are pretty statistically irrelevant. They're always comprised of the vocal minority of a fan base, regardless of what their opinions may be.
Even personal groups and interaction offline is a mistake when trying to grab numbers. The entire tabletop market is incredibly difficult to get accurate numbers on, whether it be players, sales, or anything else. There are a few outliers (Evil Hat springs to mind, with Fred's posts covering budgets and expenses for a particular project), but they are absolutely outliers. Even something like Icv2 isn't going to give you anything resembling a full picture, as it tracks retailers only. Even combining something like OneBookShelf and ICV2 isn't close to a full picture.
For my own sake, this is the ninth or tenth edition change I've been through on a game I play regularly. Most of it seems to be about what I expected in terms of the community. The big difference in this one has been the company's reaction. I wasn't involved with Pathfinder for their first playtest. But I can say that a six month long playtest, open to the kind of numbers this one will be, is anything but normal in the tabletop market. While something like DnD Next is impressive...it's definitely not normal. Neither are the previews Paizo has put time into.
That level of interaction is the thing giving me the most positive feeling towards their design goals and philosophy. They're responsive, and they're actively looking for a significant stress test. That alone makes this very different from any other edition change I've faced.
That's going to quickly move it out of the territory to match saves and attack ratings, something that seems to be a design goal for this system. Once those numbers change, it becomes a lot harder to be able to swap out a skill for an attack roll to pull off a combat maneuver. Just as an example.
That's one of the things that actually leaves me pretty hopeful about this system and the flexibility it will allow. If proficiencies are more universal (like feats seem to be now), it opens a lot of options over the long haul.
I doubt many oddball items will get the 'worn' tag, though. Even if they are cloaks, they wouldn't require investment.
That was my immediate thought in reference to things like the campfire bead and traveler's tool. Until we see the magic item section, and whether the trinket type items even matter for Resonance, the concern over the hard limits is a bit premature. I'd wager a guess that the designers go more along those lines, with minor magic items not mattering for Resonance usage.
While I don't agree with the folks concerned about running out of Resonance, there's a pretty simple solution from a design perspective.
If key ability scores are used in PF2 (as they are in Starfinder), simply change Resonance to be level + key ability score. While I prefer the CHA route, it seems like a pretty easy compromise that could be easily shown to work during the actual playtest.
I couldn't believe the level of difference I found in my groups for classes popularly considered to be substandard. This was mostly with Pathfinder, but now with Starfinder as well. When I switched out from using APs with a few modifications to custom-built campaigns of my own creation, my players found big differences in classes and archetypes they often found little value in previously.
Edit: For most of my three decades in gaming, I did custom content. But the last five years or so (until just recently), I had switched to AP content mostly, due to lack of available time.