True, average joe isn't a mechanically constructed character. But even then, PC's start off as average joe with only a difference of +1. Even with Master being gated at 7th level, should an Expert Climber be worse at climbing than trained, fourth level character?
And now we're back to the crux of the issue that I really think there's no clear answer. People who say "yes" are likely people who don't mind the inconsistency (honestly it's not all that important or even relevant in the grand scheme of things). Those who say "no" are those who read "proficiency" ratings as they imply.
Untrained < Trained < Expert < Master < Legendary.
The current system introduces an "except... when you're higher level". Which, at least in my mind, breaks the intuitiveness of the proficiency system (and why I prefer no level bonus at all).
Going back though to your example of Master being gated behind a level 7 prereq. To me that just makes it sound that there are no master craftsman below 7th level (which just seems fundamentally incorrect). Another reason why I think it might be a good idea (though an unlikely event) to decouple proficiency and level entirely.
It's the disconnect between these two viewpoints that I think leads to people talking past each other a bit.
You've touched on something I think is very relevant here. The context of the average joe vs a PC. And the best way to describe "average joe" is a character with nothing but raw ability scores in certain skills + proficiency bonus. No level at all. The average joe can spend time getting to Master if they so choose in something, giving them a +6 bonus. But average joe typically doesn't have "levels" in anything.
So why can't a 20th level Wizard be equivalent to the average joe in something? I think it would make perfect sense that my Wizard who has never had a reason to climb up anything but a ladder outside of casting a spell should be about as good at doing it as anyone else you might find on the street. No level bonus or anything.
But this also illustrates why I think the +level bonus mechanic breaks down. With the existing system the moment a PC becomes trained their (say at level 10), their bonus doesn't merely go up a bit, it jumps by 10. There's just no reasonable way to explain such a situation, how someone can become so much better at something so quickly, but additional training nets diminishing returns at this point.
That only matters if you care about it "making sense", and like all systems abstractions tend to break down eventually. But the base-line of "average joe" should always apply. Just because you don't get +level to something doesn't mean you're inherently bad at something, it really means you're average.
Maybe this means we need to decouple Proficiency and +Level from each other. Considering we already do that with quality vs proficiency vs magic on items I don't see that as much of an issue. But I think such a system might result in too drastic a change for PF2 as a whole.
I don't think in a game with as many mechanics as PF2 saying that you only add your level to trained skills is any more complex than saying you add it to all of them. In fact, I'd argue it's simpler, because the player need only worry about updating skills relevant to their character each level rather than updating the 5-10 skills they never use or even care about.
It won't be any slower, in fact the current system is easier because -4 always was throwing me for a loop. And no you need to add even less because you don't have to do it on every skill just skills that matter. The only thing that would matter in the scenario you've described is remembering which skills were/were not trained. It's really not that hard.
Consistency is only desirable when it makes sense. And while adding +level to completely neglected skills makes sense or not is debatable I'd say let players focus on the positive, constructive and relevant things for their character rather than having them constantly bump up numbers for things they may not care about.
The lack of a +level bonus to untrained skills is barely more complex than adding it to all of them. But to give you an idea I actually think +level is unnecessarily making the game more complex. It drowns the better and more interesting proficiency system under number bloat that isn't needed. I'd rather remove it all together so everything becomes simpler and more predictable.
One DC table, high AC is the same AC at every level, high hit modifiers are the same at every level, etc. I'm perfectly fine with PF2 only giving me a grand total of (using the new proficiency numbers) +15 to a Legendary Fighter with 20 strength and a +2 sword. Rather than the +25 or whatever they might actually get with level bonus added in.
You want to talk about simplicity and ease of play, why not drop having to update the entire sheet every level? But that's another topic and we as a community already know Paizo isn't going to drop +level. So instead they're trying to modify it to make the nonsensical pieces of +level go away when an easier solution is to drop it entirely.
My point was not to say that you can't learn from observation. The point isn't a matter of observation; it's a matter of a person putting in an effort to not only learn something but retain what they have learned.
It doesn't matter if someone gives me thorough instructions how to do something if for the next five years I never use that training and forget about it. With the automatically scaling abilities regardless of what your character does or the effort they put into something they will be getting better at it.
I would rather provide the player a choice of what they're progressing in than just doing it for them automatically because "reasons". A tabletop system is never going to accurately represent real world situations, but that doesn't excuse a mechanic that comes off as not only counterintuitive but serves to diminish the investments of other players.
This is besides the point that I believe +/level is wholly unnecessary to begin with, still I'd rather be terrible at things with a choice to not be than be seemingly adequate at things until I realize that number is really just fake (because even with my +20 relative to my level I may as well hope for a natural 20 anyways).
This has probably been said, but I figure I'll toss it in there. Much of the issues with training can be resolved by providing training feats towards things beyond just skills, such as "armor training" and "weapon training" with level gates that allow you to spend class/general/skill feats (whichever makes the most sense) to improve those despite your class not giving them to you automatically.
This way if you want to have a gishy wizard you can beyond multiclassing (at the cost of class features or some other benefit). This would also increase customization options.
I really don't see a problem that a 20th level monk who's never worn armor and has trained his whole life without it would have issue with putting something on as restricting as armor. Armor will limit your mobility in ways that someone not used to it would need to adapt to and thus justifies the +level being dropped entirely.
I also see the same as true for any kind of weapon beyond simple weapons. Martial and by extension Exotic/Rare weapons should always require devoted training to be competent with. It takes years of training to be good with swords, specialized polearms, bows and even axes. So yeah, a Wizard watching the Fighter hit things for 20 levels shouldn't magically make him better at swords any more than me watching HEMA duels would make me better at using a sword in an actual fight.
Perhaps another "out" for proficiencies might be specialties within a skill/ability. For example, the Fighter already gets this with specific weapon groups.
Why can't other classes get more specialized specialties earlier? Like a rogue who wants to be especially good at pickpocketing can pick up that skill feat and they are +1 proficiency rating for pickpocketing (or it auto scales and starts at Expert -> Master -> Legendary without having to invest more skill increases)?
Any way to allow players to both choose what they are specialized in and make the specialization more meaningful (and less buried within the depths of the skills section).
I think you're missing the point. When I say that the +1/level mechanic is a lazy version that doesn't necessarily mean it's completely useless. It does exactly what you're describing here.
However what I am stating is that the other systems I listed can accomplish the same thing. For example, a Goblin from level 1 in current PF2e can only hit a level 10 fighter on a natural 20 because anything less just won't cut it. But why does the separation have to be level? Why can't something as simple as the Goblin being simply trained in his Dogslicer determine his chances at hitting a fighter who is Master/Legendary in the use of his armor.
Instead of factors actually driven by player choice, it's largely driven by just level. As a player I want to be in control of those things. Sure, a high level Wizard might be experienced in combat. But what if in game my character has largely avoided any melee confrontations. He's just miraculously better at avoiding attacks in a melee now despite having avoided it consistently over his career?
These are the holes in this system, you as a player can't make logical decisions about what experience has actually improved your character or not. And while it's often fun to feel like epic heroes it's also fun to actually choose what your character is epic at. Instead the current system will present scenarios where suddenly the level 10 Paladin in half-plate is able to sneak up on a group of goblins simply because he has +10 from level to his stealth compared to their +1 from level, even if you consider potential penalties and a lack of proficiency.
For example, a Goblin Commando has +1 perception. Meanwhile, the Paladin in half plate is going to have at worst a +5 to stealth (assuming non-magical and non high-quality armor as well as untrained in the skill, this will be lower with magical/higher quality). This means to beat passive perception the Paladin need only roll a 6 without having done anything in character to advance that skill. That just feels strange to me.
Now swap that Paladin in Half-Plate out with a wizard. Instead of the measely +5 (due to the -4 from his armor), and likely slightly higher dex he's probably gonna have a +8 or more, bringing that check down to rolling a 3 or higher. Doesn't matter that the Wizard is loud and obnoxious and doesn't know how to sneak his way out of a paper bag at night; he's somehow better at sneaking simply because he's of higher level. And the player has pretty much no say in that outside of willingly failing.
I have a few things to say about the whole scope of the +1/level, skill proficiency and player choice problems being discussed in this thread.
I truly do think it all comes down to choice or the lack-there-of.
But the first thing I want to address is the idea that roleplaying a character based on mechanics is somehow less genuine that doing so without it. The idea that a character's flaws should predate anything written on a character sheet is just completely disregarding that people can derive enjoyment from any number of ways of creating a character.
In fact, I'd argue that creating a character and maturing them over the course of an adventure fall into three different categories:
1) You define a character before you even look at the options. A concept, perhaps even pulling from a character in other media that you like (Lord of the Rings, maybe a video game or a book such as Wheel of Time). You then create your character based on that concept, choosing what aspects of your character you want to reflect mechanically or not. As you progress, you choose to either continue down the path of your concept or adjust based on what's needed and the experiences of your character.
2) Mechanics, or in other words min-maxing. People who scour mechanics specifically to make the most effective character at a particular role and the RP comes after. Dumping strength, int or charisma and just "roleplaying" it to excuse the number or even worse not roleplaying it at all.
3) The hybrid approach, searching for mechanics that emulate a particular concept or finding mechanics that inspire a concept. A good example of this was a monk that I wanted to create. Finding synergy between tripping and sneak attacks inspired me to create a character with a specific fighting style and strategy, plus a personality and background to justify it. Another such synergy I found in Paladin and Bloodrager (not entirely optimal) but inspired me to create a Paladin that could lose their cool and bring some magic to the table beyond that given by their background.
So writing off people's mechanics decisions which inspire roleplay is really just an ego-driven attempt to justify the way you like to play. There is no wrong way to build a character or concept one into being; only bad roleplay and execution.
Now, that that's out of the way.
My big issue with +1/level is that it's unnecessary. The arguments for why it exists is to give a level of progression, improvement beyond player choices. The thing is, there are a myriad of ways to accomplish that within the current system. Proficiency and skill increases could be more readily available. More meaning can be put into item quality, rarity and magical bonuses. Training and classes can provide additional oomph to get you even more of that extra edge.
+1/level is, in my opinion, a lazy version of trying to make your characters feel as if they are improving when there are such alternatives such as proficiency, items, quality, rarity and potentially (if added) class bonuses and features.
In PF1, the whole point of skill improvements and other improvements were to reflect the progress your character has made. Progress they are actively working towards. In PF2, you character almost doesn't have to actively work towards anything... they just get inherently better. And even worse, they aren't actually getting better because DC's scale... so it's a false sense of advancement.
+1/level isn't really the core of the problem, the real issue is that success and failure is so tight between different proficiencies you can't really specialize to the extent you expect in the game nor can you truly be flawed to the extent you want either. I routinely roleplay bad rolls, always asking if my character would attempt a roll despite knowing they aren't good at it. In 2e, I don't feel like there's truly a "I am so bad I will almost surely fail outside of a miracle". And the reality is there are characters who are just that terrible at it, and not for a lack of trying.
Personally I love mechanics reflecting my character, otherwise why are we even bothering with mental stats or physical stats? Why even have a sheet?
I think the real issue here isn't about having more bonus types, it's about making sure key class features are always usable by the players. A bard invalidating a support cleric, or a Barbarian's rage invalidating a Bard's buff are all non-starter problems that force players to make careful choices or be consistently disappointed when they can't use that cool thing they want to use.
Thus, we need to make sure that classes cannot have their key features shut down by other classes simply because the system's math is so tight that it's prioritized over player enjoyment. Perhaps there's an answer to have it both ways, but honestly with how tight the system's math is I don't really think there is without loosening it up.
Downloaded the update PDF, the only thing I see under 1.6 are the "Hands and Casting" section, and the "New Alchemical Items" section.
 Ok... it's inconsistently been buried in prior update sections. Nevermind.
I guess what makes me realize that the Sorc is less interesting in 2e is that in 1e, the first thing I thought about was what bloodline/concept I wanted for my Sorcerer and that would dictate where I went with the character. Did I want a trickster magician? Did I want an Ice Queen? Or perhaps I wanted a molten rock and I'd pick Fire + Rock themed bloodlines. The options were numerous and always interesting, allowing unique combinations and they always defined your character heavily.
In 2e, the most important aspect of the bloodline is the spell list it gives you, the rest is just nice additional things. What bugged me most was that the spell lists often conflicted with the concepts I had. Even trying to make a Storm Sorcerer found me bouncing between two inadequate bloodlines (Fey and Draconic).
Except that many people still feel like no matter how much they specialize, their attempts to succeed come off as a coin toss and not a specialization. Focusing on something merely keeps you adequate, whereas the opposite makes you worse over time relative to DC's of appropriate level.
In 1e, you could get a high enough bonus to make success almost certain in specific things which made you feel you could always contribute at least that one thing effectively. Now even a specialist fails a large amount of the time and that threatens having a party that cannot progress cause everyone happened to fail their rolls.
The Once and Future Kai wrote:
All I want is Ranged legerdemain back.
Also, it would be nice to see a return of Inquisitor as an archetype. Summoner would also be cool, but I feel that it's impossible given the way pets action economy has been implemented.
I think the meat of the issue is that in the goal to tighten the math on the game, handing out stacking bonuses from multiple sources was counterproductive.
Most things in the game give at most a +3 bonus. The only exceptions are certain items and ability score modifiers. If you look at it this way, spells/powers fall right into that system as a single layer.
* Ability Score
When you realize that, it makes complete sense that these things conflict, because the goal here is reign in the amount you can stack bonuses to keep things in line with the current DC scaling.
Unfortunately, what this means is that players must choose very wisely what things they do and don't use, and often times they might be relegated to doing something their class isn't even meant to do because someone else in the party has made one of their primary class features useless (case in point demonstrated with Bard and Barbarian). It also has the added drawback of players thinking they can use things and then having to do a little homework to find they actually can't (whereas this wasn't super common in 1e outside of similar classes that shared toolsets, like Barbarian and the spell Rage for example). In 1e naming was typically good enough that you'd know something likely didn't stack.
So no players are punished for picking things sub-optimal (even if it fits their character) and if you want to be optimal your choices are reduced signficiantly (and thus the creativity of making a character). 2e has a lot of this, where choices often become requirements because even if something seems like a fun concept it just functionally cannot be combined with anything else. I think this is where a lot of people feel that despite the intent to open up the system to be more flexible it's really only surface deep.
In this edition it is actually far more worthwhile for the Wizard to hit something with a pointy thing than it was in previous editions; especially if you don't pick a decent damage dealing cantrip. And also because "gish" is baked into Sorcerer, Cleric and Wizard to some extent.
Just because "hitting with a pointy thing" isn't the classes primary draw or purpose doesn't mean that those classes don't benefit from automatically scaling their armor and ability to attack with weapons. The reality is that for almost half of a character's level progression a Wizard can be as competent as a Fighter with a staff or other weapons. The only difference between them is the breadth of weapons they can choose from (which can be further mitigated with ancestry).
I figure PF2 manages this even better since a level 10 fighter would be sufficiently practiced at "getting out of the way of the dangerous thing" that they should be harder to hit than a level 1 fighter with the same stats and gear, so +Level to AC makes a ton of sense to me.
See, I feel that proficiency can handle this role. Your breadth of experience is your general proficiency in something. Fighters naturally get more proficient in weapons and armor; reflected by their class abilities because they use them all the time. And similarly, primary spellcasters should get similiar boosts to proficiency in spell rolls, etc.
I really don't see why +level is truly necessary when you could more adequately describe the same kind of progression with one mechanic rather than two. If simplicity is the goal, why are we so resistant to eliminating a system that doesn't meaningfully affect your chances to succeed and rather serves to differentiate different levels only? And even then, proficiency should be up to that task.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
+Level and Proficiencies served as a means to quell that apparent disparity (since Martials are more inclined to rely on numerical bonuses compared to Spellcasters, who don't need to rely on if they have enough bonuses to hit a target more often than not). Removing it now just brings back more of the same frustrating PF1 playstyle that most people hated, and the dumb thing is people don't realize that. Proficiencies by themselves aren't enough to solve that issue, no matter what sort of crazy options you tag onto that.
Except that spellcasters benefit from just as much as non-casters do, so I don't really see how it solves the problem you are describing.
Until level 9, a Wizard is as good with his weapon as a Fighter is. For 9 levels... they aren't any better or worse than each other. In 1e, at least a Fighter was always better at hitting things with a weapon than any Wizard.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The difference (which admittedly I should have included) is hit points. Sure, they have a reasonable chance of hitting and dealing damage. However your level 10 is going to have at minimum 90 more hitpoints.
The reason I am not against proficiency being the biggest source of bonus is because it's a choice for the player to invest in it (and making that choice more accessible outside of class features would be a nice change as well). If we want to make the proficiency system matter beyond arbitrary action gating and feat gating, then it needs to stop being drowned under +level.
+level diminishes the decision to invest in proficiency at face value. Why should I invest in making something Master or even Legendary unless there's some kind of skill feat or action I unlock? It's only a +2/+3 bonus... when I'll have far more than that in 3 levels (faster than you can even get to Master or Legendary in anything).
Swimming across the same river wouldn't. But now you can swim up the underground raging torrent full of rocks and only the occasional but of airspace. Just like you used to only be able to fight goblins, but now you can fight dragons. The point of getting better is to do harder things.
The problem is then you're not giving a player the appropriate DC as per the DC chart. The reality is those kinds of things are statically difficult. Removing +1/level means that a difficult encounter is always the same DC, and as you level (and improve your items, stats and proficiencies) you will also get better at doing harder things. The +1/level just makes harder a bigger range. And that isn't necessary.
More generally: The argument that it was present in PF1 is against the specific arguments about things like broader ranges of monsters and the like. And it's basically conceding, but saying that's how the game has long worked and what some people liked about it. You get powerful and that lets you easily handle things you used to struggle with and try things you wouldn't have had a...
The thing is though... without +level you would still be able to easily handle them, it just wound't be a cakewalk. Your armor proficiency, quality of your armor, runes, etc can make it significantly harder for you to be hit. On the other end it also makes it easier for you to hit enemies, and even easier to kill them with the additional damage dice from spells or magical weapons.
So again I argue +level isn't necessary for that to be true. To give an example (no +1/level):
Level 1 Fighter (18 str, 14 dex) w/ Bastard Sword and Chain Mail:
Level 10 Fighter (20 str, 14 dex) w/ +2 Bastard Sword, +2 Half Plate:
Level 20 Fighter (22 str, 14 dex) w/ +4 Bastard Sword, +5 Half Plate:
While these numbers are smaller, they are still progression. And if proficiency was more spread in its bonuses, you'd get something far better I think without the +1/level nonsense. For example, if UTEML was -3/1/3/6/10 or something along those lines:
Level 1 Fighter (18 str, 14 dex) w/ Bastard Sword and Chain Mail:
Level 10 Fighter (20 str, 14 dex) w/ +2 Bastard Sword, +2 Half Plate:
Level 20 Fighter (22 str, 14 dex) w/ +4 Bastard Sword, +5 Half Plate:
Do those numbers really seem that unreasonable?
Playtest so far - Round Two! Three things you Love, Three things you Hate, and Three Houserules you'd Make.
I think a lot of people arguing that +1/level being present in PF1 justifies it being present in PF2 is a bit of a stretch.
Things like BAB and save progression used that kind of metric because different classes progressed differently. A fighter got +1/level, a wizard got +1/2 per level. In 2e, everything gets +1 per level everywhere. And what's more frustrating about it is that +1/level isn't the important part of any of your abilities.
The important part of your abilities are proficiency, quality, magic and attributes. Those are what determine the variance of success/failure for skills, attacks, saves and DC's.
All the +1/level does is trick you into feeling like you're progressing and provide artificial gates for lower level characters/monsters/npc's to prevent them from putting up any kind of a fight against higher levels.
People say it's super easy to remove, and to me that's an even bigger indicator that it's an artificial stat. It doesn't mechanically represent anything meaningful if it's so easy to extract from the game. It's just more math and work for players to make them feel better whilst simultaneously making it harder for GM's and encounter designers to come up with new challenges that make logical sense (why would swimming across a river suddenly have a more difficult DC compared to level?).
I really hope this isn't the case. Balancing games around "professional" play is always a road to self destruction. If they want PFS to work at higher levels of play, then develop a set of PFS houserules. Don't let PFS which affects maybe 1% of players dictate how the other 99% of players should be playing the game.
One of the biggest offenders is not putting all the rules in the relevant sections. For example, some of the core elements to casting spells (specifically how save DC's work and spell rolls) aren't even in the Spells section; they're in the "Playing the Game" section. And this is a theme repeated quite often.
Honestly, I don't see this as any slower than the fighter having to add up all those conditional bonuses to figure out thier damage. Things like hammer the gap, etc were common culprits in having a player sit there for five minutes adding power attack, buffs, conditional modifiers for each attack.
Rolling lots of dice is easily solved by the player or gm bringing lots of dice or players sharing dice. But I'm a little biased as I came from a WoD background where dice pools were the norm.
So my question here has two levels to it.
1) Are you able to throw shields? I assume you can under the improvised weapon rules considering attacking at all with a shield is "as if you're attacking with an improvised weapon" (which is really odd to begin with, shields ARE weapons).
2) If you put Returning on the boss of a shield, and throw the shield as an improvised weapon... does the shield return to you?
Joey Cote wrote:
I don't see how its any different then being a bow fighter in Pathfinder 1, without all the added books.
Exactly, I didn't find Fighter Archer fun until they released the Mobile Fighter archetype, and even then I still think the most entertaining archer class was Monk with Zen Archer. The only disappointments I have so far with archery is that it seems very difficult to make any class other than Fighter or Ranger any good at it. But that's more a symptom of previously generally available feats being locked behind specific classes now.
I think simply differentiating the Sorcerer's powers via bloodlines (rather than just swapping out their spell lists) is the best way. As it stands the powers are very lackluster and don't truly scream Sorcerer. There seems to be a distinct lack of passive abilities in Sorcerer Bloodlines and many other magical class features.
I think the Druidic Orders actually provide the necessary flavor that Sorcerer bloodlines presently lack.
Just take a look at the Storm Order. It gives you a skill (bloodlines do that, I'm good there). It gives you a Feat (Storm Born which has nice storm-themed flavor). And it gives you Tempest Surge.
Then look at the closest equivalent for Sorcerer, the Fey domain. It gives you a couple trained skills, swaps your entire spell list for Primal, and then gives you some spells that are spooky, fey-like spells. The initial power isn't too different or unique than other spells at that level and honestly you may as well use Sleep as it's better in general. Other than that, there's little direction for the kind of Sorcerer you are.
Maybe when there are more bloodlines this will change, but thematically they feel week and don't really define the characters that much (though they are far and above better than the current Domains.
If your concern is that you do not want someone who is untrained in a skill to be able to make a roll on more nuanced uses of a skill because they are not trained then that is already the case.
That's not really the goal I'm trying to get across. -4 is also fine, and personally I think the level bonuses in their entirety are pointless. IF you remove it from the game the math remains largely the same.
What I want is to have the initial skill proficiency to feel worth it, but also specialization to feel worth it as well just from a bonus perspective. The math being as tight as it is means players are commonly feeling 50/50 on all their rolls. While I've not gotten a chance to play level 7+, I've yet to feel like any of the modifiers are meaningful even with level bonus. Even playing a level 4 paladin, I missed more often than I hit. And I feel similar outcomes as a result of skills.
So either the gates need to be more integral and in the forefront, or the bonuses need to start feeling more potent.
Honestly, I think the real solution is to create a Paragon class that is the Paragon of whatever deity is selected, and depending on the alignment that opens up "paths". Which can be anything from Paladin, to Anti Paladin, to Crusader, etc.
This leaves paths, or archetypes, open so that you can really make whatever alignment you want and pick and choose just how restrictive your character is for a given reward.
As far as the numbers go, I think a simple change to the bonuses would help make the increases feel better.
Untrained: 0 (no level bonus, or if we eliminate level bonuses entirely make this -4)
Then you can also roll in skill feats/gates into those skills if you like. What's nice about this kind of setup is it forces players to make a decision between eliminating a large penalty on a skill, or getting increasing returns on upping an existing skill.
One of the things I noticed in this playtest was that making a Cleric with the kind of flavor I was hoping for was incredibly hard. Mostly because when I read through the gods - and much of those blocks made sense - one of the things that seemed strange was specifically the domains and their powers. In Pathfinder 1e, fist level domain powers were typically powers that provided some significant utility or mild combat effect. It ranged from save or suck things like AoE confusion, to getting bonuses to skills, etc. In the playtest however as I read through some of the first level domain powers granted by the domains many of them just felt... non-thematic.
For example, the Might domain's first level power feels more like a Dwarf domain power. All it does is prevent penalties from armor or encumberance for one turn. Not only is that highly situational, and a cleric of Might may not care about armor at all; perhaps they care more about being strong and powerful? I feel that Destruction's 1st level power fits here far more. Another great example of this is the Magic domain's first level power. All it does is provide a slight saves boost. To me I feel that a Magic domain should provide some other benefit. Perhaps a free Identify spell that can be used from your pool?
What do others think? Do you feel the domain powers feel not only thematically appropriate to their domains, but do they feel worth it? I find that I care more about my spell choices and the spells granted by my god more than the domains themselves. And some of the domain powers are just hands-down more effective than others (I'm looking at you, Zeal).
I know I am late to the party, but what I see in 2e so far is that it has a lot of illusion about it. The biggest illusion is that of progress in leveling. The +1 bonuses from level simply don't serve anything but to be a inflation of numbers, and even at times miscommunication what a character is capable of. The +10 in a skill/ac/attack from level is less important (and rightfully should be) than one's proficency.
In regards to skills, some skills can't even be fully utilized without being at least trained. However I can imagine players expecting having +10 means they have at least a chance at picking a lock, when in truth they can't even attempt the check.
Another illusion present in the game is the illusion of choice. Many of the features that used to be generally available are locked behind classes now and they aren't even things that were actually unique to those classes. Things like Double Slice, Power Attack, etc are feats that aren't explicitly Fighter or Ranger staples. They're things that arguably anyone with the right training should be able to accomplish (all martial classes).
What I find happens here is this leads to repetition amongst classes. Wizard and Sorcerer share a few class features with the same name, this should be a clear indicator that this are not traits of either class but traits that are inherent in arcane casters (or perhaps casters in general).
I think opening up class feats to some "universal" class feats would be really powerful and allow for a higher level of customization. Combat feats and spellcasting feats that any class that meats the pre-reqs can swap out at anytime without having to dedicate to a particular multiclass or archetype.
That all said, I really do enjoy the playtest so far and it has a lot going for it. It's fun and easy to play, it just has a lot going on and I think the attempts at lowering the barrier of entry and attempts to balance things have caused some decisions that make choices truly not feel like choices.
In 1e, there was so many options regardless of class. Two domains, 1 or even 2 bloodlines, general feats, traits to flesh out backgrounds, ability to outright take levels in other classes and high flexibility in skill specialization or generalization that could be finely tuned by the player.
Instead of skill feats that are largely lackluster, open up the choice for players to take more class feats, general feats or skill feats at their leisure. And pull some of the less archetypal ones out of the classes and make them generally available.
I know the goal is to release more content and start adding in more and more classes/archetypes/prestiges that can flesh out the different possibilities but as it stands when directly comparing 1e to this playtest there are substantially less choices you can make, even ignoring the fact that many of the 2e choices are "obvious" to the point that there isn't a terribly large amount of decision making.
Anyways, that's my overall feedback. I think it's important to note that Pathfinder is successful because its playerbase loves the sheer volume of content and customization available in the system. I know Paizo understands that, but don't let your judgement be clouded by the noble goal of simplifying this system. People have stuck with Pathfinder for two reasons, customization and content. 5e, while widely successful, fails in both of those respects compared to Pathfinder. So you really need to hold those to heart.
And I don't see that as a problem. I can make a similarly narrow comparison for the Monk, or the Ninja. Both those classes were dedicated to being renditions of cheesy Chinese Kung-Fu movies.
I think what we're forgetting here is that combat to the fighter is magic to the mage. It's religion to the cleric. It's music to the bard. And there's nothing wrong with that unless for some reason you think that being deeply immersed in your art (combat) as the Fighter is somehow a negative. Just because the fighter doesn't rage, or smite evil, or throw down mystic totems or lurk in the shadows (most of the time) doesn't mean he needs some "unique" thing about him. There comes a point where everyone being unique becomes boring, and the most of all limiting to a player's creativity.
Warriors of past and present are not dumb, unintelligent or uncharismatic. They can serve as diplomats without needing to resort to intimidate. They CAN and have solved detailed problems that required extensive study in the fields of medicine and logistics, despite what the playtest rulebook seems to think.
There is nothing stopping the Fighter from doing any of those things. Especially not in Pathfinder 2e where the Fighters get even more skills than they did in Pathfinder 1e. This already allows them to be more versatile in out of combat situations should you so choose them to be.
The ability score system also allows for more varied attribute fighters. Charismatic ones, Intelligent ones, Wise ones. Heck, even Pathfinder 1e had an archetype which allowed for an Intelligence based Fighter. That said, nothing in the playtest prevents fighters from doing what you've stated. They just aren't going to be the absolute best at it.
The Pathfinder fighter embodies none of these things RAW and 2nd edition doesn't seem to be helping in trying to define the fighter as anything other than a wargaming miniature pidgeonholed into an RPG.
Personally, I find this complaint similar to complaining that the Bard is simply the party jukebox. Or the cleric is just a walking medpack. Sure, you can dilute each class to such descriptions but at the end of the day the liveliness and detail of a character often comes from a player, not the rulebook. If you can't see the fun or interest in making different kinds of combatants and flavor through them then perhaps it's more likely that the class is just not for you?
The fighter is the martial Wizard. They don't have special fiddly class features for a reason, just as a Wizard can optionally not have weird fiddly class features either (Universalist).
The reason I play a Fighter is because there is incredible flexibility with how he fills his role. And while many may think "fighting" is a narrow role, they forget the fact that over history there has been hundreds of ways of fighting for various reasons.
The Fighter is meant to embody that and allow for all kinds of play in the space of combat. You can play a fencer, an archer, a crossbowman, a sword and board, switch hitter, pikeman, knight, hussar, etc.
List any historical warrior or combatant and a Fighter can readily exemplify them. So the idea that the Fighter is just... a Fighter is a shallow way of looking at it. Character concepts aren't linked only to their mechanics, and just as Wizard can be an illusionist, a necromancer, or a evocation specialist a Fighter can be so many different things. It's the whole purpose of the class.
I think Fighters will truly shine when we have a full list of Archetypes and Multiclasses out. If you want to specialize your Fighter and make him more unique beyond the selections bound to the class you have plenty of class feat slots to dump on multiclassing.
I think the simplest change would be eliminating resonance for consumable use. It should be a pool optionally used by class features and specific items.
The biggest drawback of Resonance is that now, as a Fighter, I am forced to track a pool when before the very reason I played Fighters and other martial classes is so that I wouldn't have to track various pools. This allowed me to focus more on my character's positioning and strategy rather than having to pause and debate about expending a resource.
Resonance has a noble goal, but while it did simplify the fragmentation of tracking magical item pools, it has now resulted in even more resource tracking because it simply cannot be avoided.
This ignores the fact that using your "innate magical energy" on items makes absolutely no sense for classes like the Fighter which explicitly are not magical characters.
This is why I think all consumable magic items or activate-able magic items should be invested item at time of crafting, this way your Fighter or Rogue who doesn't care about magical abilities can still sensibly take advantage of them. Unless of course we're making the argument that everyone in Golarion innately has magic in them (then what the heck is the point of a Sorcerer if everyone has it?)
I am of the opinion that removing level bonuses is a great idea for these reasons:
1) Less to update on character level. When you get new things, you focus on the big ones. Class features, new feats, and updating skill proficiency or getting a newly trained skill.
2) Less math. You don't have to recalculate everything every level, which presently you do.
3) Those saying that it will cause lower level encounters to be too effective have ignored the fact that players will have both more damage and more HP than those enemies. And, proficiency bonuses can be used to effectively gate lower level opponents (lots of untrained/trained vs PC's expert/master/legendary weapons, armor, etc).
4) The proficiency system is a great system, let it shine.
As it is, the important parts of proficiency is the proficiency rank itself, and the level bonus both adds unnecessary mental processing while giving people false confidence in their skills. Someone has a +15 to that skill? Awesome! except you're untrained and can't actually do anything of significance.
Instead, with Procifiency bonuses alone you'd always have a clear indicator of what you are good in and not. This also makes the choice of things like armor more important while opening up an avenue for more interesting armor choices. As it is now there's a point where the armor you pick is secondary to its quality and your proficiency.
For example. With a 16 dex, and +1 scale mail at level 10 you currently have the following AC:
Without the level bonus, you'd have the following:
That seems like a perfectly reasonable AC to me. If we really want to sell the proficiency system, make it the primary way of adding to your bonuses and remove the level bonus. I love the proficiency system, but it feels drowned under the level bonus.
I agree with that, but I still think this needs to be made more explicit. A simple entry in the Sneak Attack feature or even under the Strike action of "Spell attacks do not count as Strikes." would put a nail in the coffin, though.
While much of what you posted is true, I want to highlight the area of the rulebook that muddles the whole "spells aren't strikes" point. On Page 305:
Now that can be read one of two ways, that it's saying the Strike action specifically is an action with the attack trait, or actions with the attack trait are a Strike. If it was meant to be the former, it really should read as "The Strike action allows you to attack..."
Now even if you read it the latter way, (which I honestly think is incorrect), spells are Activities, not Actions. But what conflates this is that spells have Attack traits of their own, and nowhere in the Spells section does it explicitly explain what the Attack trait means.
It does say that some spells require spell attacks (which I assume is where this trait comes from). But then the Somatic Action really already covers that (also, as that is an Action which gives you an attack... is that now a Strike under the latter interpretation?).
I think that this is likely where the most confusion comes from, that people are having a hard time differentiating "melee attack/ranged attack" from "Strike".
But personally, I will always read the rules in the least opportunistic way as to not "lawyer" them to my benefit. Still doesn't change my sadness at not being able to have a sneaky caster get the drop on someone with a spell for some bonus damage (rewarding careful and intelligent play).
I'm kind of split on this issue myself.
Healing after every combat, from a gameplay perspective, allows for players to move forward rather than constantly stop. It enables progress and encountering more content.
However, HP is something that is fundamental enabling a more "realistic" world. Despite the incredibly abstract nature of HP in Pathfinder and the fact that it truly doesn't make actual sense, HP forces players to take a step back and think about their next move carefully. It isn't so much about being able to survive encounters, but communicating to the players that their character is hitting their limits and, in reality, probably needs a rest or medical attention.
Removing that aspect means that such risks in many ways disappear, and have to be offset by individual encounter threats.
Personally, while I am all for streamlining the game and making it easier for players to trudge on I don't really know how I would narratively represent the fact that my character was beaten to within an inch of his life in that last fight, perhaps even lost a limb. Auto-heals after combat eliminates all that.
This is a game, yes. But it's not a videogame. It's equally a storytelling medium as much as it is a game.
Alright, that's kind of where I was landing as well. I still find the whole verbiage about "magic attacks" and "ranged magic attacks" to be what conflates this whole nonsense. It does sadden me though that now both D&D and Pathfinder have seemingly done away with spells and sneak attacks (Arcane Trickster).
Though at least in Pathfinder 2e the chance for a Prestige class bringing it back is there. Thanks again for the info!
Just a Mort wrote:
Take a 1 lv hunter dip, get your animal companion early. Remember animal aspects are permanent on animal companions until changed. You can thank me later.
Well I'm already level 4... so I'm getting it right now from my domain. Second, you didn't even answer my question of which animal companion would fit the module's setting.
So I am playing a Cleric of Erastil (Evangelist Archetype) using the Feather Domain. As much as I'd like to pick a bird... I get the feeling they won't fit well inside of a giant subterranean tower. I am wondering what would be good to pick. So far I've had my eyes on Small Cat, this way I don't worry about getting a large animal companion squeezing through corridors in the dungeon.
Perhaps something that's good at scouting, etc. Does that sound like it makes sense?
PS: I plan on taking Boon Companion probably next level (5th).
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Once pistols evolved to revolvers, sword and pistol gave way to either Pistol, Pistol,Pistol, or Dual Pistols.
Even after revolvers, we didn't see rifles with multiple rounds for a while, so sabers were still common amongst the military.
As far as the topic goes, your best bet at bypassing reload times is multiple pistols and quick draw. Personally this is the route I would go:
B - Point-Blank Shot
If you're using hero points, then Antihero nets you another feat at 1st level for which you can take quick draw earlier, though you likely won't absolutely need it till you have enough gold to afford two pistols.
Typical strategy here is to open with a pistol round within 30ft. You effectively get a 1d8+1 vs touch. On a successful hit, you get +4 to your next attack. Throw in power attack and opening volley negates the minuses for it. Excellent switch hitter, with the option of focusing on ranged or melee.
By 7th level you could have both Deadly Aim and Power Attack, bringing your opening shot to 1d8+5, and your first attack still getting a net +1 from Opening Volley after the minuses from power attack.
Just my idea. Though now this makes me want to make a sword and pistol character in a game, haha.
@Wheldrake - exactly, that's the thing I am concerned with. But to be fair, hirelings and companions aren't much different unless I allow the players complete control over them and what they do. I suppose they could just ask me "would they be okay with this" and I'd confirm or deny it. Also, the players are not adverse to the GMPC, in fact the two experienced ones unanimously suggested that I do just that.
As for them finding a hireling or NPC, they'd have to travel back to town for it. This camp is several days journey from any town, high in the mountains. I'll try and work it in later when they have a chance to be at the towns again or maybe hint at it.
Another option is to just have a mountaineer of some kind be there (ranger of some sort) who has been casing the place out for weeks due to disturbances by the Giants and that could be a short NPC that has good stealth abilities (wish I'd have thought of that sooner now, haha).
@Gargs - one of my players already went on a rant about how strong the enemies were (seeing as he's a brawler, and has 1-hit pretty much everything he's come across) after trying to punch one of the "minions" and them being able to take his punch. I get the feeling that if they die in the game, it'll not go over very well. I want the game to be a challenge, but I don't want it to feel broken and unfair.
Still, I think even if my players think their characters wouldn't know how to do things the way the adventure expects them to (ie, sabotage things stealthily or without being discovered) should at least be considered over the RP. It doesn't matter if you're RPing your character to a T if the story gets halted as a result.
Regardless I've gotten some good advice on how to handle this, the goal of the GMPC was mostly an in-character reason to offer up alternatives to the party. Not to be highlighted in combat of even disabling traps. At best, scouting and sort of setting the tone for encounters.
See, this was my opinion as well. I gave them feedback and suggestions that the way they were approaching this was slowing the game down and preventing other people from enjoying things. They were only using one mechanic, not being very careful about it. I offered up alternative actions and their rebuttal was "our characters wouldn't think that way, and none of us are stealthy so it won't work."
I guess the hireling is a good idea.
@Ascalaphus - if it wasn't potions, it'd have been scrolls or wands with UMD. The adventure path mentions they'll take serious effort to counteract anything the players do recklessly (iirc it specifically mentions things like see invisibility). The path was written to challenge the players into coming up with varying tactics that successfully evade suspicion, but it seems the players created characters they believe couldn't adapt to the scenario.
So my party consists of 3 players. At present they are level 12 and we just entered the Ice Queen's Tomb in book 3.
Party consists of Starsoul Sorceress, Time Oracle and a Brawler (Pummeling charge optimized).
The problem we ran into with the frost giant camp was that the party is a group of people not inclined to subterfuge or sabotage (in character) and the last few sessions have boiled down to just the Sorceress running around with invisibility. The Brawler isn't particularly stealthy, and the Oracle in her full plate isn't either. And since they screwed up their invisibility abuse pretty hard the towers all geared up with See Invisibility potions. The players themselves out seem to have pigeonholed their characters personalities to overly direct approaches to everything.
So what I want to do is shore up their lack of flexibility a bit with a GMPC, but I'm uncertain as to exactly what I want to make. I think a rogue-like would be good, although not a necessity. Someone who can aid and suggest alternatives but not necessarily steal the spotlight from the players.