Errant Mercenary wrote:
Those are the types of things I would absolutely like to see.
One thing that i have noticed about 2e APs is that there are a lot “tasks”, especially in the early going. For example, while looking at the first Quest for the Frozen Flame, you are asked t: fetch water, capture tapirs, fix a stone, prepare the camp for evacuation, etc.
On the one hand this shows the flexibility of PF2, but on the other hand, I’m not interested in doing tasks. It just feels a lot less exciting to me. There is less tension and less conflict IMO. The author hints at something menacing that will happen but it has zero impact on the tasks themselves. Other PF2 APs have these tasks too (Strength of Thousands) and its one of the major difference I feel between a 1e and 2e AP. It just struck me as a stark difference in the tone of adventurers. Hopefully, as the system matures, these tasks can be presented at more opportune times and can have a bigger impact on the story that is more exciting. I am thinking that these sort of tasks could be really relevant in a rebellion or in a kingmaker setting and would work wonderfully there to support the larger narrative of events.
This is all just my opinion of course, but its feedback about the tone and difference for 1e vs 2e AP’s and this might be what some folks are identifying as different without putting their finger on it,
Of the ones I've actually played (which is sadly not many!), Curse of the Crimson Throne #2 "Seven Days to the Grave." It has a strong theme, there's a little almost-sandbox with a few missions for the party to choose from in the middle, and the finale dungeon is interesting and the right amount of challenging.
Seven Days to the Grave is another fantastic adventure I recall fondly.
Lots of threads about APs in general, but what is your number 1 favourite issue?
Mine is issue #97 In Hell’s Bright Shadows
For me, everything about this issue is fantastic - great adventure, evocative setting, and strong back matter articles (particularly how Kintargo information was laid out, it really gave me a great vibe for the setting and it let my imagination run wild which made it easy to convey info to the players). As a bonus, I thought it tied in very well with the Player’s Guide.
So what’s yours?
Was reading Lost Omens Legends today. I totally forgot that Irabeth Tirabade (half Orc paladin) travelled to the River Kingdoms prior to her escapades in Mendev. Since Kingmaker occurs several years prior, I think it would be cool for her to show up in the updated Kingmaker book as an Easter egg. Do you have any plans for that, and if not, how about now?
@Duskreign I don’t see any reason why the math on that wouldn’t work fine in general. You’re just moving the leveling effect from a positive bonus to a negative, should be a fine way to keep numbers low with just a bit of math as the cost. But unless I’m misunderstanding what you’re doing it won’t give me the flattening effect on the world I’m looking for. A group of level 5 characters would still need to roll At least 4 higher To hit a level 9 monster, while they could roll 4 lower and still hit a level 1 monster than they would have at level .
You are right on all accounts. I didn’t connect that that was your goal. I thought the flatter math of level gains was your goal. Not sure what else to suggest for you.
See my post above regarding how I do things in my games but from our groups perspective, leveling is faster and the game retains the exact same feeling. When the players realize that in most cases at level one you hit on an 18 or 19 AC and that on level 15 you need a 33 or 34 which is more or less the same number you needed 15 levels earlier you realize that the numbers just inflate and don’t really do much for the game. There ARE some very minor changes to the system but not enough to really care about IMO.
Just thought I would let you know my experiences.
I’ve mentioned this in other threads and it hasn’t been popular but here is my suggestion. I subtract the PCs level from everything. This makes the PCs effectively have no level but it retains the entire PF expectations regarding math, crit expectations and skill check DCs. A higher or lower level creature still works the way it should. We are level 15 in the Age of Ashes AP and it has worked very well and anyone who claims this doesn’t work is flat out wrong. The only downside is a bit more mental math for the DM in figuring out the attack rolls and such which I do purely on the fly with no extra prep.
The one thing that IS kind of weird with this is that creatures that are fought over multiple levels see their AC get lower which is odd at first. But accuracy is shifted from being added to the attack roll to lowering the AC.
Again, there will be a lot of naysayers about this but it works 100 percent maintaining the integrity of the PF2 system.
Thanks for your feedback.
In regards to the bard, what do you feel becomes that much more game breaking for them? I’m genuinely curious. This suggested house rule still keeps a tight reign on what a caster can and can’t combine with magic in a given round. Thus it must be the extra action, perhaps as a stride to get out of harms way?
In my own games the issue seems to be the healer role but every player including myself has felt that casters turns just don’t feel as fun as a martials these days regardless of class and it’s not about the math. Casters are generally limited in how they can play around with the action economy when they spend turns casting spells. And god forbid if they add a meta magic action.
When you DM, have you ever found yourself saying that casting a spell seems suboptimal to the melee options?
Again, just trying to understand the concern you see in case I haven’t seen it.
Completely off topic of the current discussion in this thread, but I would like your analysis DMW on a house rule I have just implemented in regards to action economy and casters.
First some context. Players playing casters IME seem dissatisfied with their experience. Some feel it’s lack of damage, some feel they are behind on the proficiency curve, and some feel (looking at you cleric) that entire turns are taken up healing martials thereby limiting their own fun.
After some analysis, I believe that proficiency is not an issue. Casters are behind by one proficiency level on levels 5, 6, 13, and 14 but are ahead at level 19 and 20 when compared to non-fighter martials. Strangely, the more martial spellcasters (bard, cleric, Druid) are behind for 12 levels on martial proficiencies (although this isn’t where my focus is for this post). Damage and spell design has some issues but these are minor in my opinion. Where the larger issue seems to be in my mind is action economy. Martials get two or three attacks a round which means they are likely to hit at least once. From a play experience this is satisfying. Conversely, casting a spell takes two actions. If the spell is largely ineffective, the player has fewer options to feel they have meaningfully contributed with their last action. Compounding this, when martials take a feat they usually get further benefits to action economy. Essentially they do three things squeezed into two actions. Spellcasters, on the other hand, add actions to their spell to manipulate their spells (meta magic feats for example). Thus action economy seems incredibly punishing to spellcasters.
Therefore, I implemented the following rules:
1. All 2 action spells now cost 1 action but have the flourish trait meaning another flourish spell cannot be cast this round
In effect, this keeps almost all the same the same limitations on casters in terms of what they are limited to casting in a given round with maybe a slight loosening on the reigns. Ultimately, this gives casters an additional action to use for movement, pulling stuff out of their pack, skill checks, or the occasional third 1 action spell which gives a slight damage increase while they have the available resources.
I have had this in play for one session but it had a very noticeable effect on the fun factor of spellcasters. Healers, in particular, could do a 1 action heal, a flourish spell, and still make a decision for their third action. They seemed to have more choices which led to more fun with only a minor bump in damage.
Two questions arose from that session. First, Quicken Spell which I said either removed the flourish trait or did it’s current effect on a nonflourish spell. Second was magic items which I ruled that 2 action magic items were also 1 action with the flourish trait. This kept casters from double dipping with spells and items but interestingly enough, the magic item rule benefits martials as well as casters for action economy.
In my own experiences as DM (nearly done 2 full 1-20 level campaigns), I have not enjoyed spellcasters because using 2 actions on a spell that fails is a complete waste of a turn. But during this session, I had a dragon and I made liberal use of spells and melee attacks unlike anything before. It seemed liberating and very enjoyable. Also, I have found magic item use on both sides of the screen to be lessened due to the action economy and I feel this house rule improves that area as well.
Thanks for reading and for any insight you may have and I apologize if this is off topic for your thread. If you experience any of the above in you group, I highly encourage you to give this a try, even for a single session and get feedback.
So, for what it’s worth, my table tried out my proposed ideas tonight. My players are 14th level for context and the idea was loved. We will continue to test this but effectively giving casters an extra action while keeping spell casting limitations in effect due to the flourish trait worked spectacularly.
The only major question this brought up was magic items and how many actions they now took since many are modelled after spells. For now, I gave them the same caveat as I did spells which was that all 2 action magic items are now 1 action with the flourish trait. This in particular needs much more testing but I’m really pleased with my changes.
I think existing 1 action spells could continue to exist without the flourish trait as well.
IMO I don’t think spell casters are as far off as you. Allowing casters to play with the action economy more is a good start. In a clerics case, it now allows a 2 action heal as well as some additional fun, which is where I notice the issue most in my own games. In my own games, I see 2 action healing the most followed by 3 action healing when the party is in trouble. 1 action healing is used sparingly but conversely these are the rounds the cleric can have the most fun because he can cast another spell and feel more useful. So allowing the 2 action spell to work with a flourish spell is a significant upgrade in my eyes already.
In regards to magic missile, I have seen it used as a single action to finish off a creature fairly often so it has its uses.
The other issue I see with spell casters that no one has mentioned is the dice that are used. First, at mid to higher levels, they chuck an awful lot of dice. This takes time to gather the dice, roll them, and add them up. Spell casters turns are already lengthy by that measure. Additionally, dice tend to roll towards the mean. Seeing loads of dice looks good at first glance but the mean means the damage isn’t as significant as first thought. I think the system would have been better with less dice rolled, say up to 5, with the rest of the dice statically set as damage at say 75 percent of the die total. For example, instead of rolling 10d8, roll 5d8 and add 30. This is 45 damage vs 52 damage. Speeds up the game and makes casters more potent but also greatly removes the big swings in damage where maximum is really impossible to achieve. But many players like chucking dice but if you look beyond that thrill, it’s actually a drawback. And this is another difference between martials and casters. Martials static damage bonus from high strength and other sources makes it feel good even when they roll poor damage. Spell casters, much less so.
My initial thoughts are that:
It preserves the PF2 system mostly as is. It’s an easily remembered rule with maybe a few edge cases. Done.
For me, as few rule changes as possible is a plus. It gives casters more flexibility without substantially changing anything.
That's not how removing +level is likely to work in the GMG though. That seems like it will be "remove each thing's level from itself", not "remove the PC level...
I'm not so sure this is correct. I would think Paizo would still want to keep the integrity of the game in regards to how crit percentages scale up and down with level variance between enemies. Granted, they may have a different way of doing it, but whatever answer Paizo uses still needs to keep in mind level variance for crit success/failure reasons.
We will know in a few months how they do it.
There was this "verily the +level treadmill, wrought, unnecessary, tacked on, will discard at earliest opportunity" fellow who was super active and then vanished into thin air, suddenly, like a candle on the wind. Shame, I'd love to hear his account on just how well did the discarding go.
Well, I intend to at least try this out. I'm not opposed to the core game with the +level so don't think of me as hard core against the norm. It's just something I am willing to give a shot to see how it actually works. I find too many people theorycraft without actually trying things. PF2 is a great example of people having many ideas before even giving the game a chance.
The mindshift in all this is that the enemies haven't grown weaker, its the PCs who have become stronger, making the challenge against them weaker. I'm pretty sure that its because of this mindset that removing +level is something that is showing up in the GMG and not just a sidebar in the Corebook.
Ah, these are very good points. Let me give you my thoughts on these.
First, in regards to AC. AC is really a relative thing in the game and has been for a long time. A creature is given an AC to match the level it should be on. PF2 is more transparent in this than ever before. So, if we assume AC is just a number out of thin air to make the math work, then what if AC lowers as one gains more experience because you are more accurate at hitting? Instead of level bonuses to hit, its level penalties to enemies. Does that make sense?
Example: A level 1 character fights a level 5 troll. It's AC would be 19 (20 - 1 (party level) = 19) because of hide and its ability to avoid getting hit. Then that character levels up to level 2 and fights a troll. The trolls AC is now 18, not because the troll is weaker, but because the character is more accurate and better at hitting. This is how experience is manifested now.
Taking it a step further, can an average DM really explain the difference between AC 45 vs AC 25 or 40 vs 38? Not really, its just arbitrary. In this system, AC is now a combination of armor, dodge ability, AND SKILL. As you gain levels relative to the creature, it can't avoid you as easily. Thus, its AC is dropping because of your skill.
Second, how to stat creatures for this system. To be honest, I haven't given that any thought because I plan to play APs as opposed to home brewing stuff (I used to home brew all the time, but life, aka family and work, take up too much time these days). Based on this, I need a system that is essentially compatible with what Paizo produces, otherwise I might as well play a new system. What I would do is simply follow the monster creation guidelines that Paizo has put out. Those are solid rules to follow. Then simply subtract player level when they fight said creature at whatever level and keeping in mind my answer to AC above. AC now reflects skills, so as a character improves, AC lowers
I don't know. Its not perfect and its likely too far from the norm for the average player/GM to consider but its an interesting thought exercise that level changes not the player, but everything around them. Maybe its unsatisfying for some to not feel they are gaining things when they level, but I bet when they next fight that troll 2 levels later, in that very moment, the player, and by extension, the character, will feel more powerful.
I'm sure there are things I haven't thought of, but in a +/- 4 level thing as PF2 suggests, I don't see it being too hard to implement.
I’m not sure I follow you. I can’t think of an AP where this happens and if it does, I think the boss tends to level too. A boss never becomes a minion, except I suppose in some weird circumstances.
Another way of saying what I intend to do is this.
1. Players never add +level bonus. Everything else stays the same.
This perfectly replicates the numbers using the normal system at higher levels.
I don’t understand how this makes things more confusing. It perfectly replicates what is already happening but without inflated numbers. If you want to see this for yourself, take a look at several level 10 creatures in the bestiary and subtract 10 from everything. Suddenly, every single number works for a first level character.
I totally understand that removing the +level bonus breaks immersion or whatever you want to call it for some folks (and that’s cool) but PF2 works the same at high levels as low levels. It’s super simple to remove it if you want.
I’m not trying to compare to PF1. I am looking at PF2 as it’s own system.
If you feel the mental math is not difficult, that’s your opinion. I don’t find math difficult either, but my statement is my opinion based on a year long campaign, 5 months of which have been at what I would call high level. As a DM, it’s easy to lose track what becomes a hard save or a hard attack for players because the numbers are always moving. It’s the same from the players perspective. But at the end of the day, the numbers are the same as first level, just inflated modified by the difference in level. I find NPC spellcasters particularly underwhelming at high levels (unless they are higher level than the players) and am constantly surprised at the low numbers the players need to pass the spell DCs (which is a result of the designers wanting to increase the odds of success as players level). This catches me off guard because I don’t track the players save bonuses. If the numbers didn’t constantly change I’d have a better sense, allowing me to fine tune things without extra homework.
You are welcome to feel differently, and clearly you do. My belief is the +level bonus obfuscates the game to a degree. Once I try playing without the +level bonus I can confidently tell you if I think the game is better for it or not (IMO). Until then, I can’t state whether one is better than the other.
I haven't really followed this thread, but I will weigh in here with an unpopular opinion.
Our WftC campaign is nearing its end. We have played the entire campaign based off of either PF2 Playtest rules or PF2 rules. I am the DM, the PCs will level up to level 17 next session.
After DMing for nearly a year, I have the following observations:
1. PF2 is a great system
My group plays APs and therefore follows a set story. The story progresses, the stakes amp up, and there is very little to no chance of fighting the same creatures on level 10 or 20 as level 1. I plan to run Age of Ashes without +level bonus, while still keeping level difference of enemies relevant. That is, if the PCs are level 5, one enemy is level 7, and the other three enemies are level 4, the following would happen:
1. On the players sheets, they have no +level bonus so all things look fine from their perspective.
Damage, HPs, etc are all preserved. The only change is essentially removing the +level bonus while still maintaining the level difference.
At this point, I don't see any issue with the game, and I am hoping as we hit high levels, it provides more transparency to the players on where they stand in regards to the game because at the end of the day, the +25s, +38s, +22s of the world are mind numbing numbers at high level that mean very little.
I think that this hits the mark that some posters in this thread have hinted at and is very simple to do.
One thing I AM unsure about, is that by the time we hit level 10 and I announce, yet again, another AC 20 or 21, will the players say "Again?". The reality though, is that if you looked in the bestiary and picked many creatures from level 8 or above and had an equal level party fight it, the majority of creature ACs would be between 19-21 (excluding level bonus). There are some outlier creatures but the math is really the same regardless of level.
Just my thoughts on all this.
Captain Morgan wrote:
One dial can be turned up while another is turned down. More damage could mean less HPs or lower AC. There are ways to still balance the encounter. I think the game would be better for it with more of these adjustments. I just think Shields is one of the things that is thus far limiting these changes.
I agree, its a slippery slope. But I do think a brief beta test would have been good. If I recall, PF1 went through alpha and beta tests and that was already on top of pretty polished 3.5 game (ymmv).
I think overall, PF2 is very solid, but a beta test would have caught some of the language omissions and rules edge cases that exist now.
Well, I currently run a level 13 game, and shields work fine at these levels if you believe in the idea that shields aren't meant to block damage round after round. But I also think there is a lot of moving parts with shields. If you run shields differently than the expected way (which is admittedly confusing), then you will have drastically different results and feelings about shields.
Slamy Mcbiteo wrote:
Slamy Mcbiteo wrote:
Well, that's the real trick. I think Jason plays it simpler for the stream but who knows. What I do know, is that I had a long conversation with Mark Seifter (one of the PF designers) about this and he stated this was how it worked. Although he did say that he wasn't authorized to make it official as Paizo wants to have a single source for definitive FAQs and errata. So while its not official, its as close as it can get. Further, he brought up the resistance example I used above which clearly illustrates that you need to know that you actually take damage before you can trigger the reaction.
NA Palm wrote:
I just felt it was important to point out to anyone reading the thread why the timing for Shield Block is important and that players benefit from knowing the incoming damage before making your decision. A certain segment of DMs force the player to decide before hand, and this is not the correct ruling. So I grabbed the opportunity to reinforce this. :)
Matthew Downie wrote:
So the trigger has to happen after you are told damage.
My take is that shields are meant to absorb damage once a fight. You have the option of doing it more, but at extreme risk of destroying your shield.
Shields are not meant to absorb damage endlessly. Remember that choosing a shield build needs to be balanced with other non shield builds, and being able to absorb damage multiple times in combat in addition to an AC bonus quickly eclipses the benefits of non shield builds. The math (creature damage vs hardness/hp levels of shields) strongly supports the once a combat Shield Block.
Thus, shield users are meant to use Shield Block later in the fight when the healer is busy and your shield wielder would remain standing by using the Shield Block action.
Certain magical shields CAN support taking more hits though. In my own games I see almost every shield wielder gravitate to shields that have higher hardness and HPs in order to absorb more damage which is understandable because people who use shields want better defense whether its through an AC bonus or damage absorption. The tradeoff is that you are giving up some potential offensive/utility abilities of other magical shields for a purely defensive build.
Once you understand that shield damage absorption is limited and you understand when you should use Shield Block, magic shields with other abilities than a higher hardness/hp threshold become a little more appealing.
In my view, if the designers were a bit more obvious about the shield niche in the game, this would curb a lot of confusion.
James Jacobs wrote:
I know that you already answered this but I still feel I want to second the "cutting room floor/developer's addition" content idea. Many GMs don't run APs as they come out for various reasons and I think this is an opportunity to further link the individual adventures tighter together. I've read enough anecdotes about published adventures that sometimes things get missed, forgotten, or not entirely lined up with the overall story that this provides an opportunity to resolve some of this at the very end.
I completely understand that this could lead to a lot of work and that perhaps producing this in the final volume is still too soon to notice these sorts of errors/omissions but I think it would be great if you tried the concept at least once in the future to gauge community feedback. I think this sort of thing can only enhance the overall AP in my opinion.
Got a rules question about Pathfinder Second Edition? Post it here! And we might answer them on stream!
1. What is the design reason behind some adventure gear giving a bonus to some skills, while others provide a penalty if you don't have them. It seems that penalties for not having an item can be easily forgotten about (compass and crowbar for example). It seems like it would have been easier to make them all one way or the other.
2. Can a hero point save you from an instant death? Say a creature that kill you outright on a failed save?
3. Musical Instruments in the equipment section are 2 handed items. On pg 96 under the Bard Occult Spellcasting, it states if you use an instrument you don’t need a spell pouch or another free hand. Does this mean a bard can cast spells with an musical instrument in one hand?
At one of the streamed panels from Gen Con, Mark Seifter specifically called out that Disrupt Prey was meant to be a reaction and not a free action. I'd suggest treating it as such as there will be errata for that in the near future.
I have no link, but it should be on Paizo's twitch channel and I believe it was the PF2 Rules Q&A seminar.