High-level superheroes everywhere: lore implications for the "post-adventure-path cinematic universe"
A new feat with "You become expert in light armor. If you already were expert in light armor, you gain expertise in medium armor. If you were expert in both, you become expert in heavy armor. Requires trained in X, etc. etc." as its text is super easy to write, and feels like a natural extension of the existing rules, but will not still give what few of you want.
This is not really a rules or math issue. This is not about how powerful wizards would be in their heavy armor, this is about the emotional reaction that wizard class is meant to use robes and only robes and that is it. And that is actually a valid response all and all.
The task of isolating both versions from their past and only having the core rulebook in front of you is a tough one to put anyone up for. The quality of the core rulebook is unknown by itself, these things really come to life when you begin adding on top of it. Like an empty house, you only know what it is like to live in it when you have it full of furniture and few years of chores.
You don't start the ruleset with gunslingers, spell dueling and social combat. What is Pathfinder 2 like when it has atleast half of the books Pathfinder 1 has?
The rarity system existed in a far more faint manner already in PF1, lot of gameplay options were locked behind gold costs for lot of items, feat chains for feats, prestige classes for class features, etc. Just like lot of elements, in the transition it is now an actual, sitting in the plain sight, system rather than a collection of disparate, unconnected functions. It is just that wizard spell selection was not really regulated in any way, very vaguely by what book they came from and what level they were.
This is all still feeding into the reading of skill points that is ignoring the fact that level bonus IS STILL NOT ABOUT PROFICIENCY.
Ant can drown in a puddle. I cannot drown in a puddle, and it is not because I know how to swim and the ant doesn't, I am a freaking human and the puddle is a size of my foot. It is about literal POWER LEVELS.
Accept the abstraction.
I think a whole minute was dedicated to one round, so each attack could be representation of a whole duel between two combatants. Higher level fighters could kill whole TWO orcs in one minute, compared to the measly one orc in low levels.
It is easy to say AC and HP would make more sense if you made them more defined and took away away the abstractions. But the problem has never been that you COULDN'T do so, the problem has always been that the act of doing so is so bloody herculean.
d20 is pretty deviant dice, has a big spread of values. Heavy abstractions, but d20 just kinda works. All checks are binary, you rarely have to consult tables, it just works right? It can be shallow, but then again, nobody can drown in shallow waters. Any attempt to fix it by taking away the abstraction elements and adding more rules is asking for trouble, because eventually the interconnected elements of the ruleset pile on and you have exponentially growing list of interacting elements and boom, you become unsure of the quality of the final product.
Armor as DR for example has been tried so many times. Armor as damage reduction is much more intuitive idea than armor as extra abstractions of evading damage which is not real damage, rather just "reduction of overall representation of avoiding fatal woulds". But calculating the correct DR numbers, weapon penetrations, etc. is just so much work that AC stays.
Because the GM can literally not play the same way as a player, NPCs cannot interact with the world like a PC does.
NPC gallery makes no sense either if you refuse to buy into the logic of it. The 2 level beggars, the 14th level kings, it is all just as arbitrary as the GM puzzling it out himself with a simple system as his basis. You CANNOT make a believable world out of adventurer classes. It makes no sense for people to be random PC classes, beggar to have a rogue level just so he can sneak attack you. It just makes level 1 Rogues, player characters, seem even more pathetic if you do any kind of side by side comparisions. Or the fact that house cats overpower grown ass men and kill them easily.
Sorry if I take the bad doctor approach to this, but first step if the game world makes no sense if you construct it out of "lvl x class npcs", stop making it out such elements.
I know Paizo compromised and told that NPCs made with PC rules are legit, but do not do it. A town demographic no longer is a distribution of many low level npcs and then few higher level npcs. Infact, majority of the world will never be statted, only the exact pieces that end up interacting with the PCs do and they will have arbitrary numbers made up by the GM.
Level 10 cleric was not born level 10, but became level 10 after adventuring to that point from level 1. Everyone ought to kill the idea from their heads that the PF1 npc gallery method is still legit.
Lot of confusion seems to come from trying to use both levels and proficiency to measure the same things. Level is merely abstraction of power.
This is very different from PF1 where only pure skill rank mattered. Consider this metaphor: Artisan of past, present and future all craft an expertly made weapon. All of them are equally fancy inside their own cultures, but they operate on completely different level: sword, assault rifle and plasma destroyer.
To stay logically consistent, if you auto-succeed where you are good at, you auto-fail at the things you are not good at. Thus there is no need for rolling at any point then.
If it is a virtue, then that is a strong argument for just getting rid of d20 all together. Why bother keeping the power of the roll of the dice for rest of the game?
Character's prowess should be defined by the situation they are in at the moment they make the skill roll rather than the size of the bonus modifier. We can't do anything about d20 at this point, but repeated rolls and crits allow even small number differences to make them feel distinctive. "Oh it is just 3 point", well the DC difference between something severe and impossible is also just 4 points.
Also the fact that the roll of the dice meant less and less the higher level you got in PF1 was not really as much a planned feature as the bug in the system. There is no reason to keep that, unless you are just so risk averse that your power fantasy is killed the moment your character does not succeed.
So, do you make the game to fit people who play it, or make players fit the game you make?
Because lot of people, I would dare to say most, just play Lawful Good as Ideal Hero and GMs just go with it. Appeal of Ideal Hero is easy to understand and it is appealing. In that context, whatever you write to the paladin code becomes more superficial, as long as it is easy enough to incorporate to general way to play good stern friendly smiter of evil.
But it is just more intriguing if paladins are ... weird. Alignment corners have lot more nuance to them if you consider them as places for people with extreme personalities, rather than faction camps for heroes and villains. In the first perspective, the Ideal Hero perspective, the difference between the LG and CG paladin is not important because there, alignment itself is not important. Like, "my paladin is chaotic good, he is cool and wears leather jackets, but no drugs because winners don't do it."
If I giver the baker in the town infinite HP and nobody attacks him, does he actually have infinite HP?
At some point both developers and players could truly, with all their heart, believe that the world could be reasoned and built from the class levels like building a castle from lego blocks. The "NPC Gallery" from the Game Mastery Guide, the 2010 book is to me kind of a ... bible of old faith. For example, let's take the humble "Beggar". One level commoner, one level rogue. I mean, when it comes to citizens in your world, this is one of the lowest positions you can be, and even then, the beggar is LEVEL 2 entity! Commoner levels in general are element of "non-importance" and one rogue level? Ah, the class "rogue" was after all meant to represent all kind of thuggish, criminal, backhanded level. In another way, his classes could read "non-important low life, lvl 2".
You can see rogue class being treated as measurement of "rogueness" every where. Merchant Prince has rogue levels because being a shrewd merchant has to involve rogueness. Pirate Captain has rogueness. Criminals are plenty rogueness.
Of course, this method of trying to build the world ran into many problems. First of all, there is not enough paper in the world to print enough NPCs for there to be one for every occasion. Second, NPC levels are also arbitrary. A generic King is a lvl 16 NPC. Alright, what does that actually mean? Why does it matter? So he can have +32 diplomacy modifier? If the king used his diplomacy on players, he could make it "illegal by the rules" to attack him. Ah, rules driven world! You can do anything you want, as long as it is written into the core rulebook!
In a way, there is a lot of desire to expose the strings holding the puppet show together. Tabletop RPG challenges have always been completely arbitrary, PF2 is just lot more honest about it than DnD 3.0+ ever was.
You cannot cling to the one perspective of the overall abstraction when going from system to system. You might have an idea what 18 looks like, but you also have to be able to re-calibrate that through out the years.
The third edition player's handbook did state that score of 18 strength was found in such creature such as centaurs or minotaurs. But PF2 18 does not have to mean what 3.0 wanted to represent with it. Not to mention, how strong are centaurs or minotaurs really.
Well the problem is about being rigorous about getting rid of the "something for nothing" options you were able to get in Pathfinder 1. If you think about 3.5 Druid, the one and only list of abilities you get are the ones listed into the class advancement table. Pet, nature sense, spells, stride, step, wild shape, thousand faces, etc. All druids follow the same list.
Paizo's archetypes and "swapping bad class features for good ones" was not really sustainable model for future. Weak class features are either meant to be not written, or endured. If your class has an anathema for example, it would be bad design to allow players to freely bypass it with an option. If you write out all the bad class features away, you are once again just trading scarce features away since good class features are not free.
Task DC must assume you gain bonus points from other sources instead of just yourself, because treasure that assists you is fact about the game. Treat wounds is a special case since it targets a person and his level is the basis of the DC.
But in the abstraction, it is not based on the level of the person as much as it is assumed that higher level people have been wounded by more and more exotic means and thus it is harder to heal. The wounds are scaling up.
Well "Trivial lvl 20 task" does seem a bit oxymoron.Can there be such a thing as trivial or regular high level task?
Maybe the table has a bit of a flavor problem rather than a number problem.
Whenever there is a huge change in the character, the character has a life changing moment and want to change into a different character, it is just so much better to talk to the GM and remake the character. This of course breaks the kind of "organic change" some people like, but personally I believe it is not that important. You got a Rogue that by plot twist gets divine powers, shuffle papers, rebuild the character, and you got narratively much better result. This applies to both editions, especially in PF1 it was much easier to just rebuild characters if players wanted big character changes instead of dipping into classes and realizing that multiclassing gets you just an ugly mess unless you planned it 5 years in advance.
We differate the two to ALLOW roleplaying to exist. To "Strike" is not just hitting someone, it is meant to represent any way of KILLING other person. In any situation, a character can slap a character. Because we know this is not a combat thing, we do not have to go insane and start counting out non-lethal unarmed attack penalties to hit the AC for a narrative moment.
We do not think walking in the park as "move actions". We do not count rounds when characters are talking to each other, remember, you are only allowed to speak 6 seconds at time before the other person has its own turn to speak!
A combat scenario is a combat scenario and GM ought not to make it too hard to distinguish when you ought to just roll init and have a surprise round and when not to. It is important that the players can assume it is not combat and if it turns to combat, the GM will signal it somehow. Usually it is just a skill roll to notice ill intent/hidden weapon/crossbows in the balconies and then get down to the surprise round. But an actor does not need to roll fist fighting attack rolls to see if they successfully slapped the other actor on the face with a glove.
And they are for some reason allowed to retreat?You are willing to make sure the wizard spents good amount of effort to making sure his traps are sprung, but will not act on it?
You are naturally not taking it to the logical conclusion because you do not want to actually TPK the party. But why did you posture the way you did originally then? Wizards are beyond clever after all, so they will kill the party.
And yet all villains exist to fall.
So for whose benefit do we do GOTCHA! moments for? So the wizard is super smart and has a contingency plan for every single thing that party could imagine. Let's say players did not assume far enough and the party loses. What then? Do you WIN as GM?
Matthew Downie wrote:
Because it fights against many people's suspension of disbelief. You can pick apart the setting, but then it becomes really hard to run an adventure in it if everyone is already ready to disbelieve it. You can call for change, but change what? Change the rules or change the setting? Changing the setting can result in setting people don't care for, changing the rules can result in ruleset people don't find fun anymore. So the best option is to not do it.
This time the doctor was right, if it hurts, don't do it.
Just because something is allowed, does not mean it is intended behavior.
You can make invisible wizards flying high in the air shooting fireballs down to the ground. But that is stupid, so you ought not to do it. There is no solid arm of the law to stop you from doing bad ideas, that is left to your own intuition. You can question everything, but the reality that it gets you nowhere.
Matthew Downie wrote:
Well you could still have challenge. The challenge is what numbers you demand your players reach. They might reach it, or they might not, but it would be certain success or failure.
Better word than novel is screenplay. The players enter as actors and play their role. They see which checks they can make and which they cannot make and know the proper lines based on this information. Of course this is all talking about this imaginary game even more extremely determined than just encounter-based spells. A roleplaying system that works more like a visual novel, critical story paths have branches that are unlocked with different attributes. But I digress.
It is starting to become a really common line of thinking that anything that inconveniences players/characters is bad because inconvenience is subset of frustration and thus inherently negative emotion. If we can get rid of all negative emotions in the game, surely we will have just net more Good Fun and the game would be Better.
But these little things give the game friction. Rulesets ought to push back at at player desires every now and then. That is why we have dice involved in skill checks, instead of deciding expertise by binary numerical check. We could just ask players to have X amount of skill points to pass this challenge. But we do not, because the game wants to disobey the player.
Okay so we increase the pace by making things per-encounter. That means removing the attrition idea from the encounters. So each encounter has to be individually dangerous rather than maybe dangerous as a collective. So then we create encounters where you are assumed to have all your best spells, so we make every encounter very dangerous. On a road with no friction, only way to slow down is a sudden stop.
Ruleset with zero disobedience stops being a roleplaying game and just becomes a novel. The adventure becomes determined.
Yeah, that's why I think we do need explicit examples. Because the alternative is really bad.
Except that would call for reverting back to how skills were handled in Pathfinder 1. There is a certain level of mutual exclusivity here, the streamlining makes things ambiguous because that is the price of commonality. Ok, how do I think about this...
Let's take acrobatics. PF1, acrobatics has a whole section for "trying to cross a narrow path", aka the classic tiny ledge the whole party has to slowly nudge through by hugging the cliff side. PF1 sets ... concrete DCs. The book even says that if you got a wide path, was it 3 feet, DC is zero. But then in the nitty gritty where you can make the slope 30 degrees, wet, how fast they want to go...
This is not streamlined. Explicit examples were the TARGET OF ELIMINATION. In the end, it is just as arbitrary that 1 feet ledge is DC 5 challenge that it is whatever 10-2 tells you. In the PF1 method, you are handed a pre-thought world that you then ought to follow. Hard to pass ledges are narrower than 3 feet, make a such ledge according to these rules. It gives no real advice what is actually proper challenge, it just lets you turn a world into DC. PF2 is only concerned with challenge. Whatever you imagine the ledge, it is a challenge of your choice if you follow 10-2.
I cannot 100% support either solution. Because from one perspective, the world matters not one bit. This wide ledge, that wide ledge, why does that matter one bit? The GM just wanted a ledge that the party can fall off, do we need to study the geometry of balancing on such and such wide ledges? On the other hand, tying the logic of difficulty classes to somekind of worldbuilt logic gives them credibility like people have been saying. 10-2 is honest in the arbitrary of the challenge, how the sausage is made. I get strong feelings why I want to say that is better, because you could pretend to be all hardcore, "it is so good because roleplaying is now harder and demands more from everyone! Durr hurr I'm so good at this game!" It feels fake, roleplaying disconnected from a tactile connection to the imaginary world. Honesty exposes the lies we try to suspend to belief.
But PF2 cannot have explicit examples because its goal was to kill them to begin with.
Yeah, I can see it being super haphazard. But outside of writing explicit examples into every skill entry, it is the way it is going to go. Playtest scenarios will eventually get to high levels, which means someone at Paizo has to had a thought spent into creating that context. So either they see nothing wrong with it, or they will change it.
They make it official by proxy. Eventually someone has to write the book with nothing but upper two-digit level challenges and the DC numbers are XX so at that point doing so is that DC. Development team be damned, Paizo product is a Paizo product, be it written by a developer or commissioned writer. They gotta carry that weight.
Probably not.Unconscious or dead is not really relevant to "I want to wrap this body inside my gelatinous cube body and melt it down" thought pattern. Zombies are not really "trying" to kill you, you dying is just a side-effect of your innards being removed and eaten.
I cannot accept this logic on options that are outside of permanent character option choices. A s$!@ty potion is s*~!ty, sure, but it can also be your ONLY option. And it is always a net benefit. There might be a situation where, yes, you can choose from a weak potion, lean wand and powerful scroll. But these are not interchangeable AND they are not equally distributed.
"Potion did not save me, it was a trap to drink it" is a valid statement, BUT it is not proof that the potion is too weak. It can also mean that drinking the potion at the wrong time was a tactical mistake. It is not a fact that potions ought to be good source of healing in middle of a combat.
I am sure healing weak to make sure combat is not prolonged by potions in your belt being "extra health bars". The NPC is near death, he chugs a potion, he is now topped off, party needs to repeat the combat.
The desire to not die is super strong among players, for obvious reasons. But proper challenge curve is meant to make sure that one dungeon either kills someone or results in a near death situation. I am one of those who can subscribe to the thinking where loss can lead to triumph, victories have to be earned with blood. Bad potions and resonance exists to make damage last, and if your enjoyment is tied to your character staying alive, you can never enjoy resonance, because it literally exists to kill your comfort zone.
One way to solve the "combat attrition" design is just to assume the party will do one single long combat event per dungeon. The combat encounter literally never ends. When one wave of monsters is dead, the next one spawns. Or maybe put a delay of 1 minute until next wave barges in from the door for some emergency healing.
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
There is always a cost to a more deeply explained systems. You have to spend lot of energy and time building them, and they have to be incorporated to the rules to matter, and if the players do not care for them, they get in the way because they still come up every now and then and are probably pain in the butt to resolve. I can just say SHADOWRUN, let it float in the air for all to see. Not everyone wants to know how the sausage is made. It is not even always relevant.
This is why one ruleset can never ever satisfy all bases, because some desires are mutually exclusive.
Alright, but is this not bit like reading inspirational scifi and then having the enlightenment that maybe things should not be so easily fixed? Free energy, flying cars and fantastic clean environments are clearly false and we need "real" scifi, skeptical scifi, question how future actually looks like. You get real, or maybe even cynical, and thus invent, to put it simply, cyberpunk.
Setting speak. This is not antagonistic, but everyone can get cynical about the absolute simplicity of a typical DnD magical system. The fact that the effects of DnD magic is not more deeply investigated and its effects examined, how it will affect societies, how it affects trades, how it gets political, this is not done because old DnD writers were lazy or stupid. You are just meant not to question it.
There will always be settings that are meant to be taken for face value. Is the wizard society in Harry Potter ACTUALLY functional? Is it believable? Do wizards control the parliament, are wizards immune to bullets? Rowling will introduce money, banks, wizard councils, but she will not have armed muggle soldiers fight wizards, because that is not actually part of the setting. You can create new settings by just doing the "twist spinning". I am sure you have not been the first one to think what "oh, what if magic was actually dangerous to use..."
But inspirational high fantasy is not inherently foundationally flawed because "it refuses" to put a skeptical spin on magic. It is perfectly normal to roll your eyes at a show where love conquers an obstacle. But on the same notion, that kind of catharsis is not flawed because you can point out that love cannot actually conquer all obstacle.