Arcanist

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There are a lot of things I liked about what I saw in the Pathfinder Second Edition Playtest. At the same time I just can't bring myself to preorder. There were several serious core problems with the system that remained all through the playtest and, unfortunately, we only have the dev team's assurance that they are being fixed. I would be really disappointed if I preordered the game and those changes hadn't been made. Unfortunately I'll just have to wait and see what's released, then buy it if the changes I want were implemented.

If I'm spending 120$ on two books I need to know they're books I can use for months and years of gaming. I can't write that expense off risking them gathering dust on a shelf.


Volley doesn't make any sense to me. A character with a Longbow suffers a -2 penalty to hit a target 50 feet away, but if it's 55 feet away his accuracy increases. Meanwhile, a Glaive is perfectly effective at hitting an adjacent enemy, even if they're punching you two feet away and you therefore can't reasonably hit them with the blade of your weapon.

In addition, why don't regular bows let characters add at least part of their STR modifier to the damage? It takes a considerable amount of strength to draw back a bow, and you can definitely put more power behind it if you're stronger, doubly so if the weapon is built for it.

I would revise the Martial Ranged Weapon table thusly:

Bow: 45 sp, 1d6 P, 60 feet, Bulk 1, Hands 1+, Deadly d10, Propulsive
Composite Bow: 170 sp, 1d6 P, 100 feet, Bulk 2, Hands 1+, Deadly d10, Powerful

Powerful: This ranged weapon requires great strength to draw, but confers more force to its projectiles. You add your Strength modifier to damage rolls with a powerful ranged weapon, but you can't use it unless your Strength is 12 or higher.

With this version, the regular bow is well-suited for Dexterity-oriented characters who mainly want a cheap secondary weapon without too much Bulk. A composite bow has greater range and is more deadly in the hands of a very strong character, but it's also twice as bulky and nearly four times as expensive.

If the designers feel like they want to keep bow ranges shorter so that ranged characters can't 'cheese' encounters against melee-only enemies and get free hits in, they can easily cut the ranges of bows in half. But as it stands, Volley just makes no sense, and I think any GM would be wise to just ignore that weapon trait entirely.


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I think that comparing the playtest to a menu isn't really appropriate. When you eat at a restaurant you might only eat one thing off a menu with 60+ options. You can go back to that restaurant and eat the same thing every time, or even just 2-3 things you really like. 90% of the menu can be ghastly to you but if there's just a tiny number of things you like, you might eat there regularly anyway.

When you play a roleplaying game, sooner or later you're going to engage with all the rules. We've already seen how one rule can throw a serious wrench in the works - Resonance. Now I love the idea of resonance, but we've seen from surveys that the majority of playtesters disliked how it worked to some degree or another. Not it's temporarily 'patched' and getting reworked, and I'm excited to see what Paizo thinks up to replace it.

The point is, when somebody engages with the playtests and gives feedback, they're almost never just sampling one piece of it and rejecting it wholesale, they're experiencing the whole thing, all at once, for hours at a time. Which is the second problem I have with the menu metaphor; the playtesters are putting a lot of time and effort into playing the game and giving their feedback. They're not just being handed a thing and trying it for ten seconds before shoving it back, they're putting hours and hours into this. I feel like the menu analogy paints them as coming off entitled and whiny, and I don't think that's true at all.


graystone wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
This comes mostly from having run a lot of Exalted, but I've always used "Circle" for spells.
I don't want to use circle unless we're getting spell squares and spell triangles too...

(jokingly) What do you think Burst and Cone effects are?

In all seriousness I don't think we need 10 different 'tiers' of spells. Consider the following: are 1st level spells significantly different in terms of power and scope than 2nd level spells? How about 3rd level and 4th level spells? Or 5th and 6th? Why are some spells gated at higher levels when comparably scaled effects are available at lower levels?

For example, for two Actions and a 1st level slot, Burning Hands does 2d6 in a 15-foot cone, with the standard Reflex save to mitigate damage. Fireball does 6d6 in a 20-foot burst within 300 feet for a 3rd level slot; Burning Hands does the damage damage with heightening. Cone of Cold does 11d6 in a 30-foot cone, 60 if you have a crystal or icicle on hand, which is only 1d6 more than Fireball or Burning Hands heightened. The only practical change between a 1st level spell and a 5th level spell in this case is how big your explosion is. What if Burning Hands' cone range increased when you heightened it? What if Cone of Cold started as a level 1 spell?

Air Bubble is a 1st level spell that can be cast as a Reaction to give a nearby character one minute of breathable air. Water Breathing is a 2nd level spell that takes one minute of casting time to give up to five nearby creatures an hour of water breathing, or much longer when heightened. What if these were the same spell? Cast in one minute to allow longer water breathing, or cast in a pinch to not drown when your friend gets grabbed by a Dire Crocodile and is dragged into a bog.

Light is a cantrip that creates a light source for one day. Continual Flame is a 2nd level spell that creates a permanent light source for a small cost in ruby dust. Why isn't Continual Flame just a heightened option for the Light cantrip? To go one step farther, why can't it be a basic ritual anyone with Light can do with some ruby dust and a turn? I don't think allowing people with the Light cantrip to make Continual Flames is going to ruin anyone's immersion.

Honestly, Pathfinder 2.0 already has martial damage spikes built into the system every 4-5 levels or so. Why not just redistribute Spell Levels/Circles/Tiers to those points instead? Circle 1 at 1st level, Circle 2 at 5th level, Circle 3 at 9th level, and so on. Cantrips scale by the highest Circle spell you can cast, so people who multiclass Wizard need to take the feats for stronger spells to increase their Cantrip power. That way casters get a power spike at the same time as martials do, instead of getting one every 2 levels.

People are already complaining about the lack of impact of lower-grade spells, maybe do something like this:

Burning Hands (Spell 1)
Tags: Evocation, Fire
Casting Time: 2 Actions (Somatic & Verbal)
Gouts of flame rush from your hands. You deal 4d6 fire damage to creatures in a 20-foot cone; they must each attempt a Reflex save.
Critical Success: The creature takes no damage.
Success: The creature takes half damage.
Failure: The creature takes full damage.
Critical Failure: The creature takes double damage.
Heightened (+1): The damage increases by 4d6 and the cone extends another 5 feet.

EDIT: Before people see the spell and freak out, this is meant to be equivalent to a current 2nd level spell. Heightening it by 1 would be equivalent to a current 4th level spell. Spellcasters wouldn't get access to Second Circle spells until 5th level.


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Well, if we're just looking at weapon and armour proficiencies (and treating some martial weapons as all martial weapons for simplicity:

Total Combat Increases by class by level 20:
Barbarian: 7
Bard: 4
Cleric: 4
Druid: 4
Fighter: ~21
Monk: 7
Paladin: ~18
Ranger: ~10
Rogue: 6
Sorcerer: 1
Wizard 1

Assume that characters need Simple weapon proficiency before they can take Marital weapon proficiency, and they need Light armour before shields or medium armour, and medium armour before they can take heavy armour. I'm counting increases to one type of weapon as a combat increase, as well as increases to the entire field of simple/martial weapons. For the rogue I'm counting rogue weapons as their own category since it's fairly wide, but I' m not counting the cleric's deity weapon or the druid's scimitar proficiency.

This isn't taking into account saving throw proficiency or spellcasting proficiency, since their of them uses weapons.


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I apologize if I came off as overly confrontational. I just, well, fundamentally disagree with most of your views here. I don't think roleplaying plate armour as smaller pieces is a huge suspension of disbelief, since it's just a small visual change that doesn't impact the functionality whatsoever. On the other hand, I think add your Charisma modifier as an Armour bonus to AC is preposterous unless it's from a clearly supernatural source, like how Mage Armour works. Having a winning personality should not make my character harder to hit with weapons. Having a supernatural armour made from my own faith made manifest, sure, it's magic so whatever.

I'd also argue against the balance of allowing your attribute modifier to AC since heavy armour only grants up to +7 (base 6 plus max dex mod of 2) while a character with Charisma Armour could easily start with that much while ignoring the dex cap, check penalty, speed penalty, and bulk that comes with heavy armour. It's not exactly fair to tell Paladins "Hey, you can wear this big heavy expensive steel armour, or you can just go shirtless into battle and have the same AC." It makes investing in actual armour suck - and remember, even if you don't get better training in this Charisma Armour, your Dex and Cha modifiers can still go up as you level so it'll probably be the same or better.

There is one thing we both agree on, we don't like Paladins being the heavy armour class. I think that martial characters' training should be a lot more flexible, let them invest in weapons and armour the same way they invest in and improve their skills. What if I want to play a Monk who uses exotic martial arts weapons instead of unarmed strikes? How about a Fighter who brawls with the best of them, or a Ranger who uses a bladed whip to slice and ensnare foes? Instead of getting specific training, martials should get Combat Increases, which work like Skill Increases but are only applied to your proficiency in weapon and armour groups.


Rysky wrote:
GwynHawk wrote:
Rysky wrote:

1) I said verisimilitude, not realism.

2) I very well can, thank you very much.

3) The phrase is "eat your cake and have it too"

1) Verisimilitude: "the appearance of being true or real." (OED)

2) Cool. Give me an example of a highly mobile, very durable Paladin wearing no armour being "the appearance of being true or real."

3) The phrase is correct when spoken in either direction, check Wikipedia.

1) Correct, the "appearance" of being realistic, not actually being realistic.

2) I'm not sure what the last part of your question even means in this context? In 1st there was plenty of archetypes that allowed you to be mobile and durable, Paladin had two that I know of, the Iroran Paladin and Virtuous Bravo. Neither of those are verisimilitude breaking.

3. Okies (it still bugs me when I see it)

I don't think it's very fair to say that fluffing heavy armour's appearance is unacceptable, but letting someone block sword strikes and dodge arrows with their roguish good looks follows 'verisimilitude'. Why do you get to decide what's verisimile and what isn't? And why should the Paladin get to add their Charisma to their unarmoured AC? Monks don't add their Wisdom to their unarmoured AC in this edition. Barbarians don't add their Constitution to their unarmoured AC either.

If you want your Paladin to feel mobile and tough, give them hide armour, high constitution, and a shield. Ask your GM if you can have their Heavy Armour training apply to medium instead. Heck, you could ask for it to apply to Unarmored Defence instead like the Monk. I'd say yes to both of those requests at my table. Just don't ask for Heavy Armour-level AC while wearing no armour, because that would make you sound like you just want the protection of heavy armour with none of the costs, and obviously you wouldn't start a thread just to complain about that.


Rysky wrote:

1) I said verisimilitude, not realism.

2) I very well can, thank you very much.

3) The phrase is "eat your cake and have it too"

1) Verisimilitude: "the appearance of being true or real." (OED)

2) Cool. Give me an example of a highly mobile, very durable Paladin wearing no armour being "the appearance of being true or real."

3) The phrase is correct when spoken in either direction, check Wikipedia.


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I think this is a very constructive way to approach the problem Lyee. There is however a big question that needs to be evaluated:

How many round of combat are Carl and Edd expected to participate in before Carl recovers his spell slots?

To balance Edd and Carl, you need to solve the following formula:

N*Edd's Arrows = (N-A-B)*Carl's Cantrip + (A)*Carl's Big Spells + (B)*Carl's Low Spells, where N is the number of rounds of combat before Carl recovers his spell slots

For example, let's assume that Paizo gets the numbers from the playtest and finds that, on average, an adventuring day is 20 round of combat. Let's say Edd's turn does 100% of Edd, so 1, while Carl's Cantrip does 50% of Edd, or .5, Carl's Big Spell does 300% of Edd, or 3, and Carl's Low Spells do 80% of Edd, or .8. Let's say Carl is 4th level and has 3 big 2nd level spells and 3 little 1st level spells.

Edd does 20*1, or 20 over those 20 rounds. Carl does (20-3-3)*0.5 + (3)*3 + (0.75)*3, or 7 + 9 + 2.4, or 18.4 over those 20 rounds.

A quick calculation says that if combat were about 17 rounds each day, both characters would be about equal. Shorter days favour Carl, because he can bust out his best spells early and get ahead of Edd, who conversely excels at longer days. However, it's important to remember that Carl has an advantage, since he (1) has control over when and how his damage increases, and (2) gets a head-start on Edd if he spends spells early.

Things get more complicated of course at higher levels when Carl has five or six different levels of spell, each of whom has a different efficiency. If this three 6th level spells do 300%, his three 5th level spells might do 250%, and his three 4th could do 200%, at which point Cal can spend the first nine combat rounds of the day and achieve 22.5, while Edd is at 9. If Carl only used cantrips after that, Edd would catch up at round 36, 27 rounds later. Even if Carl's top three spells were 300%, 200%, and 150% and he only used Cantrips after, he's at 19.5 after 9 rounds and it would take Edd until round 30 (21 later) to catch up.

Right now, you think that big spells do about 180%, and that lower ones are worthless. Let's assume Carl's got 6th level spells, that his biggest do 180%, his 5th do 150%, his 4th do 120%, and everything else is cantrips. If Carl casts all his spells at the start of the day, he achieves 13.5 to Edd's 9. Edd will catch up on round 18, 9 rounds later. That's very close to how Carl and Edd operated at low levels.

From this we can assume the following:
- When Carl has few spell slots, every spell needs to be much stronger than Edd's basic actions for him to keep up.
- When Carl has many spell slots, his best spells have to be marginally better than Edd's basic actions, and lower level ones need to fall off quickly for Edd to keep up.

Therefore we can draw two possible solutions, though there are doubtless more:
1) 1st and 2nd level spells need to have high impact at low levels, but higher level spells give diminishing returns. At 1st level, Carl's best spell is about 3-4 times as good as Edd's power per round. At 5th level, Carl's best spell is maybe 2.5 times as strong. At 11th level, Carl's best spell is maybe 1.5 times as strong.

2) Set casters to a more fixed number of spells, and make castings of lower level spells virtually unlimited. For example, imagine if Carl can cast his strongest spells three times per day, his second-strongest three times per day, and his third-strongest three times per day. This is equivalent to a 6th level caster's spells per day. Now imagine that, as Carl gets to higher levels, instead of getting more spell slots, he just upgrades what his strongest spell per day is. All those lower-level spells can be Heightened to those higher slots for free. In addition, perhaps give him the ability to cast his lower-level slots at will, perhaps with a limit of once per minute unless he spends a spell slot.


Rysky wrote:

Verisimilitude?

Some people are perfectly fine with their armor type not actually matching up to their outfit like that, I'm not one of them.

Okay, well if you want verisimilitude then warriors should wear armour, and not doing so should make you more vulnerable. If you want to be mobile nothing stops you from wearing Hide armour. It you want to tank hits then invest in a high Constitution and invest in shields.

You can't have mobility AND durability AND wear no armour AND verisimilitude. You can't have your cake and eat it too.


The Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest doesn't describe what Chain Mail or Half Plate must look like, only its benefits and costs. There's nothing stopping you, or any player, from saying that their paladin's Half Plate is a pair of heavy steel boots and matching gauntlets.


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My two copper:

Rogues and Rangers: I'm never against more options for basic class features. Barbarian Totems are a great example of this working well.

Untrained is -4: I'd prefer boosting Trained and up but this is okay too.

Wounded and Treat Wounds: Sounds great. Getting knocked to 0 should be bad. Player should be rewarded for investing in the Medicine skill more, and having Wounded carry over between battles makes combat healing more vital.

Shields: I'd need to see the rules spelled out in precise detail before weighing in on this issue.

Identifying Items: Great, there was no reason for it to take so long before.

Multiclass Archetypes for All Classes: In concept, fantastic. As for execution, we'll see. I hope that the existing feats don't get nerfed into the ground.

Resonance: If Resonance just replaces body slots, and consumables go back to the PF1 method... I think it's a step in the wrong direction. I really, really like the idea of Resonance as a replacement for item charges. If it's just a cap on your worn items it's much less interesting. I'd rather see Pathfinder 2.0 go risky with its mechanics than play it too safe. Perhaps an option to use Resonance in more than one way?


Mathmuse wrote:
That idea has an elegant symmetry to it. To exaggerate the symmetry even more, I would arrange it as: SNIP

I like most of these ideas. However I think that Stances Tactics implies that, well, all of those abilities are Stances. Monks do have a lot of stances, but they also have a lot of special attacks that inflict status effects or force enemy movement, which is an aspect of battlefield control.

Midnightoker wrote:

Sorcerer - One Spell Family of Choice, Bloodline Powers

Alchemist - Alchemy Caster, Infusion Powers
Fighter - One Tactical Family of Choice, Military Powers
Rogue - Skill Tactics, Mischief Powers

Good ideas here. I think it would be fair to make Sorcerers limited to one spell family, but I think Fighters should still get access to all Tactics in lieu of class-specific powers. Really reinforce the idea that they're the 'jack of all trades' warrior, the person who can adapt to any situation and bust out any fighting style imaginable. I'd love something like the ability to spend an Action to gain the benefits of a Tactic you don't have but have the prerequisites for, so long as it's at least 4 levels below your level. Maybe it lasts one minute, further uses change the Tactic you get instead of getting another one.

I like the roles laid out for the classes. I'd redefine the Fighter as Adaptive Combat, otherwise it's a great analysis.

Alchemaic wrote:
So basically section feats off into sort of schools? It feels kind of similar to how Bo9S did it. I guess I don't disagree with it completely, as long as it's still possible to poach from other lists in some way or swap out one list for another, but it might be adding an additional level of complexity that doesn't really need to be there? If you start picking feats you don't want to have to worry about picking a perfect feat and then finding out it's the wrong KIND of feat, so you can't use it. Or having cool and unique feats effectively shackled to one of those groups, limiting the potential creative space.

Well, Bo9S essentially gave martials spells chosen from nine small lists, with spell slots recharging during the encounter. This is just taking the existing combat feats and changing how characters access them. They do exactly the same thing they did before, they're just not Barbarian-specific or Paladin-specific feats. The Barbarian will still get access to all the same combat tricks, but now a Fighter might learn them too, or a Ranger who spends a General Feat.

I don't think dividing combat feats/tactics into four or five categories limits the potential creative space. In fact, I think it expands it. Instead of saying "What's a Barbarian combat tactic?" you can say "In general, what does this tactic bring to the fight?" After that, a class' Tactics selection tells you what they're all about. Barbarians have Assault Tactics, they're brutal melee warriors. Rangers have Nimble Tactics, they can control the battlefield and limit enemy actions. Class identity becomes easier to understand, in the same way that the role of a Cleric is easy to understand when you look at the Divine spell list.

I also think this change would be great since future books could list Tactics not by what class it belongs to, but instead by what category it falls under. This means that if they (for example) release a Ninja class someday, it could have access to Skill Tactics instead of having to list every individual ability in the class description. Then later, when new Rogue options come out, they can be listed as Skill Tactics and thus the Ninja would be able to learn them. It's much cleaner design space for the future.


How about this? Wands cost 5 times as much, require the Invest an Item action before use, and don't have charges. Instead they merely cost one Resonance point per use.

Examples:
A Wand of Lesser Healing costs 135 gold and lets you spend 1 Resonance point to cast Heal as if you'd spent a level 1 spell slot.

A Wand of Moderate Healing costs 360 gold and lets you spend 1 Resonance point to cast Heal as if you'd spent a level 2 spell slot.

A Wand of Greater Healing costs 900 gold and lets you spend 1 Resonance point to cast Heal as if you'd spent a level 3 spell slot.

A Wand of Critical Healing costs 2025 gold and lets you spend 1 Resonance point to cast Heal as if you'd spent a level 4 spell slot.

With this change, one Moderate wand is clearly better than having two Lesser wands. Players will want to get better wands, just as they'll want to get better weapons and armour. It removes the long-term drawback of losing your magic item, while ensuring that characters cannot 'spam' Cure Light Wounds between every battle.


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Goldenfoxx wrote:

This is an awesome idea. I think this will pigeon whole a character alot, but currently the feat progression does a good job of pigeon holing a class already (at least with the current released set of feats).

Its important to notice that many of the spells cross spell lists, so I think the same idea can be applied to Fighter Paths with specific feats. It could even be more interesting to make these feats available to all Martial classes, with requirements limiting specific feat progressions and class features granting fight feats or powers.

I would say that for adding the monk feats, many of these would have to be very restrictive... like you cant do this feat in armor. I know the idea to have dragon stance full plated armor riding his animal companion into battle doing Power attacks sounds like a great idea conceptually... I think that might actually be non-viable.

Well, as it stands each class's combat feat list more or less falls into the categories I suggest. Some feats would be in more than one list, for example Sudden Charge fits into both Assault and Finesse. My hope would be for each category to include (at game's release) 30 feats, and for there to be about 100 feats in total: 20 feats unique to each of four categories and 20 feats each present in two categories (like Sudden Charge).

Tholomyes wrote:

I'm not entirely sure I agree with this idea, but it is an interesting notion. I think I still prefer a modification to the current system that allows greater freedom for weapon or combat style specific abilities across classes, but keeps certain abilities class locked, such as Stunning Fist and skirmish strike, but I think this has some interesting implications for the design and distribution of feats.

Still, I'd rather see the fighter gain something other than just access to all combat feats or flexibility, since I think for most cases that won't be enough to pull its weight (i.e. focus mostly on assault feats? Why not just be a barbarian? ect. Flexible feats might provide more, but based on my experience with 1e, I don't think it's enough. I'd far rather the fighter get abilities no other class can get, just as the fighter can't get abilities that the ranger or barbarian can).

In my opinion, I think that Class-unique feats should be limited to ones that directly improve your core class features, like Rage or Totems for a Barbarian. I don't see why a feat like, for example, Cleave should be unique to the Barbarian and not something a Fighter could access, or something a high level Ranger couldn't spend a General Feat to learn.

Aside from universal feat access and flexible feats, the Fighter still gets the best and fastest training with weapons, as well as Bravery and Battlefield Surveyor. I could see them getting more stuff if they underperform compared to other warriors; perhaps treat all of their Fighter feats as Flexible feats but only let them swap one or two out every day, since they have to practice their new fighting style a bit before they get the hang of it.

ChibiNyan wrote:
Not sure about the specifics, but as a mmechanic this would be a great solution to the issue with class feat and combat style siloing!

Thank you! I'm trying to present this idea in broad strokes since I know the devs have a much better handle on balance and fairness than I do.


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Pathfinder 2.0 has innovated with the creation of the Arcane, Divine, Occult, and Primal spell lists. Each spell list is keyed to a core Class, with overlap existing between them. This is a welcome change and a defining quality of this edition. I propose that we do the same for martial characters, by taking some class-specific combat feats and dividing them into similar categories.

Assault feats are all about brutal, powerful attacks. They're primarily melee-oriented, but can work with thrown weapons as well. Assault feats include things like Brutal Critical, Cleave, Knockback, Swipe, and Whirlwind Strike. Barbarians are the key class that has access to Assault feats.

Finesse feats are all about precision and mobility. They tend to use ranged weapons, but can work with lighter melee weapons. Finesse feats include Defensive Roll, Favoured Aim, Skirmish Strike, and Stalker's Shot. Rangers and Rogues are the key classes that have access to Finesse feats (Arcane spell list pulls double duty so Finesse can too).

Tactical feats are all about enemy and battlefield control. These allow you to move your enemies, apply conditions, and otherwise dominate the battlefield. Tactical feats include things like Mountain Root Quake, Sleeper Hold, Stunning Fist, and Whirling Throw. Monks are the key class that has access to Tactical feats.

Warden feats are all about defence and support. Some require a shield while others do not; they also cover morale bonuses, inspiring others, and punishing enemy actions and movements. Warden feats include Attack of Opportunity, Duelling Parry, Holy Wall, and Shield Warden. Paladins are the key class that has access to Warden feats.

With most martial classes left, this leaves us with the humble fighter. With this change, the FIghter's claim to fame becomes twofold. First, they are the only class that has access to Assault, Finesse, Tactical, AND Warden feats. Since there is some overlap other martial classes have access to maybe 30% of the list, while the Fighter has access to 100%. Second, the Fighter gains Combat Flexibility at 3rd Level, and gains an additional flexible feat at 9th and 15th level. This lets them spread their combat feats a little wider a little earlier and then specialize into the role their party needs each day.

What this change would not do is remove the core features or unique feats each martial class gets. Only Barbarians get Rage and Totems, only Rogues get Sneak Attack and Debilitating Strike, and so on. What it may do is make some feats and abilities non-class-specific. For example, Shield of Reckoning requires Retributive Strike and Righteous Ally (shield). It could instead require Retributive Strike OR Attack of Opportunity, and not require the Righteous Ally at all, so that non-Paladins could take it.

What this change could also do is allow characters to spend general feats to gain access to low-level combat feats that are normally outside of their class list; a higher level Barbarian could, for example, learn Whirling Throw (a Tactical combat feat).

As a side point, I'd love to see combat feats (and maybe others) adjusted so that instead of the strict level requirements, they're divided into Level 1-6 feats, Level 8-12 feats, and Level 14+ feats.


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Like

1. Three Action System: This is the most liked addition to the game for a reason. The action system giveth, and it taketh away. Everyone can attack three times in a row... but you take a cumulative penalty for doing so. You can take feats and select weapons to mitigate the penalty... but you're investing resources that could be spent elsewhere. Spells can require a variable number of actions... but if you don't invest as many actions as possible, you're usually getting less bang for your buck. This change has so much potential.

2. Archetypes: These are fantastic. They're my personal favourite method of multiclassing. Sorcerers can dabble in swordplay, Monks can call upon divine magic... it's just great. They also cover prestige classes and other niche concepts that don't warrant a full new class (like I hope psionics will). I just wish there were more of them. As it stands, there's no way to get Occult or Primal casting from an Archetype, and I'd love to be able to play a Rogue who dabbles in the occult or a barbarian with primal power at her side.

3. Critical Success and Failures: Now to be clear, I do not like everything about this. If you ask me, I think that you should get a Critical Success if you beat the DC by 8 instead of 10. It's become very clear that characters are stuck at around 40-60% success chance at appropriately levelled challenges, so a +/-10 for something exceptional to happen is just too infrequent to matter. Still, I like the concept of this change. It makes smaller modifiers somewhat more important, which takes away half the sting from Training bonuses being so low.

Dislike

1. +1/Level Scaling : Oh boy does this irk me. There are plenty of ways to make higher level characters stronger and more capable than adding their level to everything. This was the thing I disliked most about D&D 4E, and that system merely added 1/2 Level. Instead of higher attacks and defences, characters need to get better options. I look at mid-level Feats and I'm unimpressed. I look at high-level Feats and I'm disappointed. Bigger numbers are not a substitute for bigger adventures, and every remotely interesting feat is so high level as to be unreachable. It's also troubling that character level adds so much to your skill checks, yet training adds so little. Overall the scaling just feels wrong, and there's no way I'd keep it as-is at my table.

2. Resonance: As a concept, Resonance is really cool. Giving all player characters a reserve of inner magical power is both interesting flavour and a neat approach to limiting magic item abuse. However, the current implementation of Resonance is awful. If I could, I would at bare minimum change the following:
* Base Resonance is Level + your highest Attribute modifier. Whatever your character excels at, it is that from which their innate magic springs. In return, I'd be fine with removing Overspending Resonance, or giving it a higher cost for failure such as a persistent condition until you get some rest.
* Wands cost 5 times as much and cost 1 Resonance to invest, like a staff. Unlike a staff, you can have any number of wands invested. Casting a spell from a Wand only costs 1 Resonance point, and only the one who invested it can use it. Perhaps improve potions and/or staves to compensate.
* Alchemists gain additional Resonance equal to their Level, which they can only spend to create alchemical items. Or just remove the Resonance cost entirely and balance it another way. Whatever's fair.

3. Inelegance: The Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest presents a rule system that, for the most part, feels clumsy and counter-intuitive. It's not every rule of course, but they're common enough and wide-spread enough to be a serious problem for anyone new to TRPGs. Bolstered. Blindsight vs Blindsense. Aflfictions vs. Conditions vs. Debilitations. Exploration actions in general. Character Level vs Spell Level vs. Item Level vs. Condition Level. Item costs sometimes being in silver, sometimes in gold. It's not just that these rules are complicated, but that they're not always explained very well. Not even the Devs know how shields are actually supposed to work.


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My extremely unpopular naming and category revision would look kinda like this:

Level: Character Level
Spells and Powers: Cantrips (0), Minor (1-3), Moderate (4-6), Greater (7-9), Grand (10)
Magic Items: Common (1-4), Uncommon (5-8), Rare (9-12), Legendary (13-16), Artifact (17+)
Feats: Novice (1-6), Paragon (8-12), Epic (14+)


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Honestly, I'd like to see spontaneous heightening at will for all casters, with spells known or prepared being based on total spell slots (or maybe level). It's honestly so much less bookkeeping for a mid to high level character. I would also be fine if every class got spontaneous heightening... EXCEPT for the Wizard. Maybe something like this:

Most spellcasters know a number of spells equal to twice their level (plus cantrips). Clerics and Druids can no longer access the entire list every day, instead they (and Bards and Sorcerers) can swap a number of spells in their repertoire equal to their spellcasting ability modifier each time they level up. They can also swap out a spell by spending downtime, probably in communion with their source or training with someone versed in that kind of magic. All four of them use spontaneous heightening at will, so they can cast any spell at any slot it could be cast at whenever they want.

Wizards learn two spells every time they level up (plus cantrips) and they can add spells to their spellbook to improve their repertoire, like normal. Higher level Wizards are assumed to know about six spells per spell level above their highest. However, in order to properly capture, memorize, and then expend the arcane power, Wizards must prepare spells into specific spell slots. This gives them the potential to have far more options each day (with up to three different spells per spell level ready and from a larger list of spells known) at the cost of greatly reduced flexibility on the spot. Wizards are strategic, while other casters are tactical.

If people don't like how Clerics and Druids can't access the whole list every day, you could give them an ability kind of like the wizard's Drain Arcane Focus, only instead of letting them cast a spell already prepared, they call upon their power source directly to cast a spell from the list even if they don't know it. It could be cool for a Cleric under pressure to call out to Pelor and cause the symbol to fire light straight into an enemy's eyes (Blindness), or for a Druid about to be pelted by a deadly shower of stones to draw from nature itself and project a Wall of Wind.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
It's a failure... sure, but let's not go so far as to call it a company failure.

I'm really glad that the team is listening to feedback from the forums and is willing to change the game. I can't speak for everyone, but for myself at least, I know that 75% of the changes I want to see in the Pathfinder 2.0 final version aren't going to happen. What I am confident in, however, is that the Paizo team is going to make the best updates to the most important rules so the final product will be solid and playable. I just wanted to say that I appreciate not only your efforts, and your willingness to change and evolve, but also how much you seem to read and reply to the forums. It definitely makes me feel like I'm not screaming into an empty void.


Thaliak wrote:
GwynHawk, I'm not sure I like the idea of giving casters unlimited spells beyond cantrips. I'm worried that would keep the designers from putting powerful, world-altering spells in the lower levels. For example, you'll notice that they changed Create Water from an unlimited cantrip to a Level 1 spell. Since most of the games I've played in end before level 11, I'd like to get such spells earlier.

I see your point. I also think that you can flip it around. Take Create Water, with my spellcasting change a 7th level or higher spellcaster could cast Create Water once per minute. That means such a spellcaster could have a job creating water for, say, 8 hours a day and produce about 1,000 gallons. The water evaporates after a day if not drunk, but it'd still be a very useful profession. They could sell it in a desert town, or provide it as a service paid for by the local government. They'd be invaluable on a sailing vessel or as part of an army. Consider a 9th level caster who gets Create Food; with 8 hours of work they can feed about 300 medium creatures, though the food is unappealing and unsatisfying. Consider how that might improve the living conditions of settlements or armies that can afford a 9th level character's retainer fees.

Clearly similar options, tied to either class or skills, should be open to non-spellcasters but this is a thread about fixing magic so I won't go into detail about that here. Regardless, The potential for higher-level adventurers to improve the quality of life of their community should not be rejected, it should be embraced. Instead of fearing for how magic would alter society, it should be explored. I can't think of a better way to make players feel like their characters are well and truly becoming powerful and influential.


AndIMustMask wrote:
the sliiight problem i find with their lowered spells/day is that spells generally MUST be heightened to max level to be even mildly useful (and have their dc have the coinflip everyone works towards), with 3 (and only ever 3) of that slot per day, your spell list becomes a huge bottleneck. those that aren't heightened must either be buffs or DC-less spells, or they're pretty much harmless/useless.

Well, consider an 11th level spellcaster with this system. They get 2 6th level slots, 3 5th level slots, 5 4th level slots, and the ability to cast any level 1-3 spell they know auto-heightened to a 3rd level slot once per minute. That's a free Fireball to open any fight, or a barrage of up to six magic missiles. Outside of combat, they can cast Locate at will (so long as it's a different target each time), use Invisibility once a day, or remove the diseases of any number of sick people given enough time. If you can cast Heal, you get a free cast heightened to 3rd level on every party member and every stranger you want to meet and lend aid to.

Sure, their once-per-minute free combat spell won't be the hardest hitting spell they can cast... but it's free. It's essentially limitless. It demonstrates the spellcaster's mastery over lesser magic. It reduces the slots you need to track. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it's a -cool- ability. So what if it's not incredibly powerful? It's the kind of neat power that new players will look at and salivate over. "You're telling me that if I get to a high level... I can Fireball whenever I want? Dude, I totally want to play a Wizard!"


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magnuskn, your proposed solution would be to:
1) Remove the Uncommon spell list
2) Make buff spells last longer
3) Improve 'fluff' spells like prestigitation and unseen servant
4) Increase spell slots
5) Make damage spells a more viable choice
6) Give Sorcerers endless spontaneous heightening

I love almost all of those proposed changes. The only one I disagree with is increasing spell slots. Honestly, I don't think spellcasters need dozens of spell slots per day. Three to ten powerful spells, that's what matters. I also think that lesser magical tricks should become rote to an advanced mage, in the same way that (hopefully) lesser skill challenges should become rote to an expert or master in their craft. Given that, what would you think about something like the following (tweaked and balanced accordingly of course):

Each day, spellcasters gain two Spell Slots of the highest level they can cast, three of the second-highest level, and five of the third-highest level. A spellcaster may cast a spell four or more levels below their highest spell level at will, as if they had used a slot four below their maximum, but only up to once per minute. Characters affected by such at-will spells are Bolstered against further uses by that character for 24 hours.


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Mathmuse wrote:

In summary, GwynHawk's proposal to avoid the significantly game-altering difference between even levels and odd levels that +0.5/level would create is to play only the even levels. For simplicity, we would call those levels by half their usual level number.

That makes sense, but I prefer less drastic level-ups.

Pretty much. I'm also not a huge fan of drastic level-ups so I share your concerns. If Feats and Ability Boosts were more evenly distributed you could let people pick up individual class features and feats with XP until they got all of them, at which point their Level would go up. Something really roughly like:

Advancement: For every 250 XP you gain, pick one of the following. You can't pick the same thing twice. When you reach 1,000 XP, pick the last option and raise your Level by 1.
1) Skill feat and Skill Increase
2) General feat
3) Class Feat OR Improved Spellcasting
4) Class Feat

When you reach 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 9th level you also gain an Ancestry Feat.
When you reach 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th level you also gain an Ability Boost.

Again that's not a perfect model but it's a way you could piece out individual bonuses a bit slower.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
Right on, cool, sounds like another interesting way to go, have you tried it out yet, run comparisons, scenarios?

I just came up with it last night when I posted. I haven't had the time to test it yet, and my group has been having trouble getting together for the last month. You're welcome to try it out with your group, I'd love to hear what the players thought and how your session went.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Is tracking the total damage they took during the last encounter any easier than tracking Stamina?

It's a little bit easier. You could simplify and say that you don't recover more hit points with a second wind than your hit points at the start of the encounter. It would be a little less friendly to healing magic but otherwise fine.

Luceon wrote:
This is the reason I also hate Stamina systems, it's as if the party gets a long rest between challenges ... It becomes extremely difficult to have attrition in your game with stamina systems, which in turn guts the game of a very strategic and gratifying part of the challenges, many traps and hazards will become meaningless, imagine trying to GM a Dark Sun game.

Well, you don't need to drain hit points to inflict Attrition on your party. Pathfinder 2.0 has a large number of conditions you can impose as a consequence for traps, hazards, and even regular attacks. Just to list a few: Enervated, Enfeebled, Fatigued, Hampered, Petrified, Sick, Slowed, Sluggish, and Stupefied. In your Dark Sun game, characters that go without water for a few hours could be fatigued. Falling into a pit trap could leave you Hampered 10 from a broken leg. Getting knocked to 0 Hit Points or having an enemy critically succeed on an attack against you could inflict a head injury that's represented with Stupefied 2.

Luceon wrote:
Also there is a reason why hit points alone have been the way 95% of RPGs have handled the game, Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, stamina, the skill to turn a powerful strike into a lesser powerful strike, the will to live, and luck. So yes hit points are abstract, they have served the hobby well for many years, we also have temp hp, that can simulate stamina also.

I'm usually a fan of the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" school of thought, but in this case I think it is broken, not because old-school hit points are bad, but because Pathfinder 2.0 is a very different beast from, say, D&D 2nd Edition. PF 2.0 is more high fantasy; an 8th level barbarian can literally turn into a bear when they Rage, a 12th level one can sprout wings or punch a wall of force into nothing. Characters are a lot larger than life, so mechanics that reflect (for example) exceptional recovery times make a lot of sense.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
GwynHawk wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
GwynHawk wrote:
Here's an absolutely insane idea: Keep +1/Level, reduce max level to 10.
The 13th Age way, and 10th-level Fighters deal 10d8 with a longsword, no thanks.
Nope, I am not advocating 10d8 longsword damage, not in the slightest. The ONLY change I'm presenting here is (effectively) halving level bonus to ability checks. Every single other mechanic in the game works exactly the same.

I know, it's okay, I was just saying that 13th Age is a +Level, goes to 10th level game, they also increase weapon damage by class level, which would actually be good for PF2 (but toned down, something like +1 per 4 levels), so you do not have to rely on magic weapons to keep up (damage-wise).

I don't know enough about balancing damage scaling in PF 2.0 to postulate on that.

Vic Ferrari wrote:
So, are you advocating that ability checks are +1/2 Level, but everything else remains +Level?

Kind of? I'll explain again in case it wasn't clear.

1) Characters add their full Level to ability checks.

2) Level ranges from 1 to 10 instead of 1 to 20.

3) At Level 1, characters gain access to all the Class Features they'd currently receive at 1st and 2nd level. At Level 2, they get the 3rd and 4th level features. At Level 3, the 5th and 6th level features, and so on.

4) The Level requirements of Feats and Magic Items and so on are halved, rounded up. For example, an Invisibility Potion is currently a Level 3 Item, with this change it would be a Level 2 item.

5) Class features that depend on your Level now depend on twice your Level, and ones that depend on half your level now depend on your full level. For example, base Resonance is now CHA + twice your Level. Expanded Resonance for the Alchemist is now a 5th level Class Features that grants additional Resonance equal to your Level for use with Alchemy.

6) Skill DCs by Level and Difficulty remain roughly the same. A Level 10 character, the highest level in this model, would have the following Skill DCs (from page 337): Trivial 19, Low 24, High 27, Devere 29, and Extreme 32. You could possibly raise these by 1 since by level 10 you're expected to be Legendary in a few Skills.

7) Characters gain twice as many Hit Points per Level; for example, a Sorcerer would have 12 + twice their CON + their Ancestry bonus Hit Points at first level. At 2nd level it would be 24 + four times their CON + their Ancestry bonus.

Essentially, this crazy fix would keep all of the spells, feats, and class features the same, but it would 'effectively' cut Level bonus in half. This change also creates the fun situation where spellcasters get 2nd level spells at 2nd level, and 3rd level spells at 3rd level, and so on. For me, that's a lot easier for a novice to remember.

This does create the situation where characters get a LOT of feats at every level, since you're doubling up class feature gain per level. Honestly, my solution would be to boost the power of feats and reduce the number of feats you get, but that's neither here nor there.


I really like the Stamina idea, and I think you can implement it without needing to track a whole second health bar.

Second Wind: At the end of an encounter, characters that rest for at least ten minutes regain half of their maximum hit points, rounded down. They can't regain more hit points this way than the damage they took during the encounter.

Example: Amiri the Barbarian, Merisiel the Rogue, and Kyra the Cleric have defeated a squad of orcs. They were each hurt during the fighting and decide to rest.

Amiri's maximum Hit Points are 40, she started the fight with 40, and she took 25 damage. When she rests, she regains 20 Hit Points (half her maximum) and now has 35 Hit Points.

Meanwhile, Merisiel's maximum Hit Points are 20, she started the fight with 15, and she took 5 damage. When she rests, she regains 5 Hit Points, since she took less damage than half her maximum Hit Points. She now has 15 Hit Points again.

Finally, Kyra's maximum Hit Points are 30, she started the fight with 30, and she took 25 damage. When she rests, she regains 15 Hit Points, since she took more damage than half her maximum Hit Points. She now has 20 Hit Points.

In-universe, a Second Wind represents a character regaining their composure, bandaging minor cuts or bruises, and otherwise readying themselves. The upsides of this mechanic are many. First, it helps extend the adventuring day by reducing hit point attrition. Second, it prevent PCs from (in most situations) walking into a fight with less than half their Hit Points, which helps avoid nasty TPKs. Third, it keeps healing magic useful (but not absolutely required) since Second Wind cares about how much damage you took, not what your current hit points are. For this point I'll give an example:

In the same battle above, Valeros took a beating. His maximum Hit Points are 30, he started with 20, and he took over 40 damage that fight. Thankfully, Kyra was there to heal him up mid-battle, and he ended the fight with 10 Hit Points. When he rests, he regains 15 Hit Points, half his maximum since he took more than that much damage during the battle. He now has 25 Hit Points, more than he started the battle with, and he makes a smarmy remark about a good fight getting the blood pumping.

As a last benefit, this change does go a little way towards fixing the 'wand of cure light wounds' problem the Devs are worried about.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
GwynHawk wrote:
Here's an absolutely insane idea: Keep +1/Level, reduce max level to 10.
The 13th Age way, and 10th-level Fighters deal 10d8 with a longsword, no thanks.

Nope, I am not advocating 10d8 longsword damage, not in the slightest. The ONLY change I'm presenting here is (effectively) halving level bonus to ability checks. Every single other mechanic in the game works exactly the same.


Here's an absolutely insane idea: Keep +1/Level, reduce max level to 10. Double the Hit Points you'd get from levelling up (Sorcerer would be 12 + twice your CON, for example). At 1st level, get your 1st and 2nd level Class Features. 2nd Level gives you your 3rd and 4th level Class Features, and so on. Feat and Magic Item level requirements are halved, rounded up. Double the XP needed to level up. You keep +1/Level and none of the powers or abilities need to change at all.


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I think it depends on the character's level. In my head, there's three distinct 'phases' of an adventurer's life and power level.

Rural Rookies (Level 1-7): Characters in this phase are still fairly mundane. Sure, the warrior can fight well, but he'd have a tough time handling a troll or a couple of street thugs. He can't bend steel with his bare hands or throw a horse at you, but he can punch your average person out with one good swing. The spellcaster has access to magic, but at this level it's stuff that's comparable to mundane activities. Magic can fix small problems, make some things easier, but that's about it. It's convenient, and it's situationally powerful, but it's also quite limited in quantity and scope at this point.

Local Legends (Level 8-13): Characters in this phase are clearly better than 'normal' people. The warrior can fight half a dozen thugs and walk away; he sees a troll and cracks his knuckles. He can bend steel, kick an iron door down, and catch up to a speeding cart. The spellcaster's repetoire now includes problem solving magic that exceeds the mundane; teleportating, scrying, raising the dead. Casters are still limited by time, and slots, and their classes' repertoire, but when facing a challenge they have the right spells for, they can overcome it with sheer arcane power.

Cosmic Champions (Level 14+): Characters in this phase are far above and beyond the mundane. The warrior can hold a pass against an army or beat a giant in an arm-wrestling match. He can leap great distances, make enemies quake with a stare, and drink pure poison without so much as wincing. The spellcaster has mastered their craft, now able to perform feats like stopping time, travelling to other planes, or slaying lesser foes instantly with blasts of deadly fire and frost. The challenges such characters fight are great, and lesser foes (while dangerous to many) are easily dispatched by such heroes.

Ideally, in all three of these phases the martial character has as many interesting powers and options as the mystical one. That's very hard to pull off but I'm hoping that Pathfinder 2.0 can do it. As a side note, in my 2.0 homebrew I already group Feats into level 1-6, 8-12, and 14+ so players get more options and don't feel forced to pick something they don't like because everything else at that level or below was worse.


First, I think that Performance should absolutely be removed as a Skill. It's just not useful enough in this system. Second, I think that Bard could absolutely be made into an Archetype, or alternatively into a number of general Feats. I honestly think you could combine multiple feats into one, like this:

Performer (Feat 1): You are a consummate performance artist. You are considered Trained in ability checks with any kind of artistic performance. At 3rd level, you become an Expert. At 5th level, you become a Master. At 13th level, you become Legendary. In addition, choose one type of performance, such as Acting, Dance, or Strings. You have a +2 circumstance bonus when performing in that way. Finally, you can substitute a performance for a Diplomacy check when you Make an Impression.

Fascinating Performance is fine, but could be made into a Bard-Archetype Feat. Legendary Performer should honestly be removed, it doesn't do anything meaningful for a character.


In my humble opinion, I think Pathfinder 2.0 has incredible potential to address the power of spells and spellcasters. This is because of its strict action economy. Characters are bound to three Actions per turn as well as restrictions on those actions (multiple attack penalties, for example). Feats often exist to remove those limitations under specific circumstances. I'll give some examples from the Barbarian:

Sudden Charge (Barbarian 1): Spend two Actions to Stride twice and then make a melee Strike against an adjacent enemy.

Swipe (Barbarian 4): Spend two Actions to attack two adjacent enemies with one attack, essentially removing the Multiple Attack Penalty (MAP) for the second attack.

Furious Sprint (Barbarian 10): Spend two Actions to Stride four times, or three Actions to Stride six times. but only if you move in a straight line. Fun Fact, you can't use RAW use Sudden Leap with this ability to jump during this movement, which is strange.

Whirlwind Strike (Barbarian 16): Spend three Actions to Strike all adjacent enemies with no MAP.

So, as it stands, all characters interact with the Action economy and martial characters have ways of removing specific limitations under specific circumstances. Therefore, why not apply the same design to spellcasters? We've seen this with the Heal spell, it provides different healing and effects based on how many actions are spent casting it, and it's brilliant design. But I think we can go even further. Here is my proposed adjustment to both Feats and Spells, which works in tandem as you will see:

1) Feats are divided into 1st Level, 8th Level, and 14th Level. 1st Level Feats includes old level 1, 2, 4, and 6. 8th Level Feats include old level 8, 10, and 12th. 14th level Feats include old 14, 16, 18, and 20. This more clearly divides low, mid, and high level play, and lets the designers keep the 'gritty' stuff to 1st Level feats and the 'superheroic' stuff to 14th Level feats, with the 'mid-range' options at 8th Level. This also makes the system work better with the 'E6/E8' types of players and GMs.

2) For the sake of simplicity, the number of non-cantrip spells a spellcaster can know/prepare/memorize is roughly 1 + their Level in spellcasting classes. Maybe Wizards can add tons to their spellbook, or druids and clerics can access the whole list in theory, but the total number of spells they have during any given day is limited.

3) Spells are divided more clearly into Cantrips and Rituals, and the number of Cantrips is expanded. Cantrips are spells whose only cost is Actions, and are therefore limited to combat-oriented effects. Some higher-level offensive spells, like chain lightning or even fireball, can become cantrips with reduced base power Cantrips no longer scale with highest spell level, instead they rely on a caster's magical fuel. Rituals, meanwhile, require longer periods of time to cast than is feasible in combat, but cover all manner of healing, utility, and status inducing effects.

4) You can spend a Spell Slot to either (1) boost the power of a Cantrip or (2) cast a Ritual in combat. You spend one Spell Slot per Action involved in the casting of the spell. That's right, the more Actions the spell requires, the more magic you need to invest to empower it. If you spend multiple spell slots of different levels you use the average of their Levels, rounded down.

Example: Fireball is a Cantrip. You can spend three Actions to fire a 5-foot burst of flame that deals 1d6 + your spellcasting modifier damage to everyone inside the burst (Half on a successful save, none on a critical success, and double on a critical failure). You can spend three Spell Slots to increase the radius by 5 feet per Slot Level and the damage by 2d6 per Slot Level. Ergo, a Fireball cast with three 3rd level Slots would deal 5d6 + spellcasting modifier in a 20-foot radius.

Example: Heal is a 1st level Ritual. You can spend 10 minutes casting it to restore 1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier hit points to a willing adjacent living target. If you spend one Spell Slot, you can cast it as an Action and they regain 2d8 additional Hit Points per Spell Level above 1st. If you spend two Spell Slots and two Actions, you can cast it on an ally within 30 feet instead. If you spend three Spell Slots and three Actions, you heal all living creatures within 30 feet but your healing total is halved (after rolling).

Solutions and problems with this approach:
1) Casters now lack an at-will attack that gets automatic damage scaling. Then again, martials don't get automatic scaling to their damage anymore either so it seems fair (aside from Rogue sneak attack which is niche). To compensate for magic weapon buffs casters could easily get magical implements of some kind, there's lots of precedent in fantasy roleplaying.
2) Casters can (at most) spend four spell slots per round (three for casting actions, one for their reaction). This means they can burn dry very quickly at lower levels, and have more of a reserve of power at higher levels. Since martials tend to get excellent passive abilities over time, this hopefully should compensate so the caster still has enough staying power to be relevant.
3) Making more spells Rituals means that magic is (1) more available to those who want to dabble in it and (2) less of an immediate problem-solving tool. For example, a spell that opens a locked door instantly might have a 15 or 30 minute ritual, which is occasionally useful if you lack a rogue and still need to get somewhere you shouldn't be. Yet it's still good utility to have in case you're being chased by a Troll and really need to get through that locked door RIGHT NOW. Utility rituals can easily be one Action to use normally so they drain fewer spell slots, leaving more power for the mage in combat while not being constant problem solving tools.

Ultimately I don't think this fix is going to happen, first because the rules are already firmly established, second because it's a bit of a departure from previous editions. Heck, if I had my way I'd divide spells into three categories like Feats, available at 1st, 8th, and then 14th level. But I know that such a thing would cause a riot in the community and tank Pathfinder 2.0 sales, so I'm sticking with the most reasonable suggestions in the hope that maybe some small part of this will resonate with the devs. Anyway, thanks for reading, feedback is appreciated as always.


I think that Pathfinder 2.0 is trying to achieve the following design goals, when compared to 1.0:
1) They want higher level characters to be tangibly more powerful than lower level characters, and in a way other than scaling hit points and damage.
2) They want character to be capable of attempting skill checks even if they haven't invested the maximum number of skill points/training into that skill.
3) They want to reward characters for investing in certain skills or proficiencies.

Unfortunately, the current Add Level to Everything system causes a lot of problems along the way:
1) Monsters more than 5 levels above or below the PCs can't really be used in a fight. They either never hit the characters, or are going to hit them almost every time. The range of enemies you can reasonably fight is very small because of this, and essentially forces the GM to scale up monsters' levels if they want to keep telling adventures involving those enemies.
2) and 3) meanwhile are working at odds with each other. Assume that an average challenge is a 50% chance of success for your standard adventurer. A character with a +3 over their friend only has a 65% chance of success, barely any better. It's hard to find a point where challenges are both possible for the average party member and the specialist. Indeed, a lot of the math in Pathfinder 2.0 is geared so that the Specialist is the only one with a good shot at succeeding, which I can only assume is an oversight by the devs.

A solution I like would be similar to the following: characters don't add their level to ability checks. Attributes and Skills still rise. Instead of -2/0/1/2/3, Skills add -2/0/2/4/6 based on training. When characters face a challenge 3 or more lower than their Level, they roll twice and take the higher result. When they face something 3 or more higher than their level, they roll twice and take the lower result. You can justify this by saying that their expertise against lesser challenges gives them a consistent edge against their foes. Likewise, while facing a more dire threat the party is 'out of their depth' and more prone to mistakes.

Rolling twice and taking the higher/lower is about equivalent to a +/-4 modifier, but without changing the absolute maximum and minimum results you can get. This means that lower-tier monsters can still be a threat, and higher grade ones are terrifying, but neither side is ever put into a situation where they MUST roll a natural 20 or fail spectacularly.


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Liegence wrote:
#3 is a deal breaker, honestly. This skill system makes zero sense. Stats being equal, why again would a 7th level sorcerer who may have never touched a flute in his life be statistically superior when using it to a level 1 Bard who has trained with it his pre-adventuring life? I don’t know how the devs got comfortable with “just add level to every skill”, but it greatly sacrifices realism for system and for what? It isn’t even really that much simpler than what we already have...

It's easy to see why this change was made. At low levels of PF1 the maximum range of Skill bonuses between characters is pretty low. As you get to higher levels, characters get more and more specialized, or rather, they simply STOP being able to even attempt skill checks that are challenging for their character level. By effectively capping Skill ranks at +5, PF2 ensures that higher level characters can still try to participate in roleplaying and exploration challenges, even if they're not highly trained or don't have a high attribute modifier.

As, for the system itself, let me quote a passage from page 142:

"Anyone can use a skill’s untrained uses unless some circumstance, condition, or effect bars them from doing so. You can use trained uses only if you’re at least trained in that skill and no circumstance, condition, or effect bars you from that use. Sometimes using a skill in a specific situation might require you to have a higher proficiency rank than what is listed on the table. For instance, even though a high-level barbarian untrained in Arcana could reliably use Arcana to Recall Knowledge regarding the breath weapons of the various colors of dragons, the GM might decide that Recalling Knowledge about the deeper theories behind magical energy of a dragon’s breath weapon might be something beyond the scope of the barbarian’s largely utilitarian and anecdotal knowledge about how to fight dragons. The GM decides whether a task requires a particular proficiency rank, from trained all the way up to legendary."

So basically, your GM can definitely say "Your sorcerer doesn't know how to play a flute, you can't make the Perform action." If they were Trained in Performance, and had a history of playing the flute, then he probably won't say no. If your Sorcerer is an Expert in Perform and has a history of playing musical instruments, then the GM could (for example) let you Perform with a flute, but perhaps with a -2 or higher penalty since it's not an instrument you're that familiar with. If you have Legendary Performance, your character is probably musically and theatrically talented that they could pick up any instrument and use it with ease with maybe a minute's practice and tuning.

You can apply this to less tool-based skills as well. A GM can absolutely say that the Fortress of Shadowed Steel is filled with watchful guards and magical sensors, and anybody with less than Expert Stealth is going to get detected right away. No rolling for the Sneak action, you just don't have the training to infiltrate such a place properly.

Is the "add half level to all skill checks, regardless of proficiency" mechanic flawed? Sure. But at least the book clearly indicates that, yeah, if it wouldn't make sense for a player to use a skill that way, the GM can prohibit or limit that skill use. It's not a perfect solution but, arguably, it's better than having increasingly large skill gaps between party members.

In PF1, especially at higher levels, almost all Skill challenges are open to everyone but only those who heavily invest in those skill are actually doing anything. There's no way to make a tense sneaking session for everyone, because if the Fighter sees it as a challenge, the Rogue probably can't fail it, and if the Rogue is struggling, the Fighter can't possibly succeed. There's no way at higher levels to let both highly skilled and less skilled people participate in such a challenge.

In PF2, if a Skill challenge is accessible to all PCs, everyone can attempt it and the skilled folk have a definite edge that does, indeed, get better over time. In that situation, everybody has a chance of success and failure because the range of modifiers is pretty bounded, for lack of a better term. If a Skill Challenge requires a Training level, then it turns into a cool 'spotlight' moment for that one PC, where the Bard gets to describe his awesome lute solo or the Rogue narrates his cool stealth moves as he makes his way to the secret passage to let the rest of the party into the fortress.


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How about Rebuff? As in for Battle Medic, "Regardless of your result, the target Rebuffs further uses of Battle Medic upon them."


Honestly? I'd like to see something like the following:

At 1st level you get your Ancestry's starting benefits and Ability Boosts, -two- free Ability Boosts (not four), and five Ancestry Traits. Like LordKalias suggested, some Traits cost 2 points because they're stronger. Maybe reduce it to 3 traits if that's too many choices.

At 2nd level you get your Background's Ability Boosts, Skill Feat, Lore Training, and -one- additional Ability Boost. Maybe move one or two of your starting Skills here as well, divorce them a bit from Class. In additional, your Background gives you a few Hit Points as well, just like your Ancestry and Class.

At 3rd level you get your Class' Ability Boost, -one- additional Ability Boost, and their starting Class Features. Make those starting features bigger and more impactful as well.

This change both increases the speed of character creation and sets up a starting 'adventurer' at 3rd level, and with (probably) around 24 + triple CON starting Hit Points. A Level 1 character is a regular person without significant training but with tons of potential in their future. A Level 2 character has 'graduated' from their profession's training; the Blacksmith's apprentice becomes a full Blacksmith, the Street Urchin has learned the ins and outs of the city's underworld. A Level 3 character thus decides their calling; they connect with a Deity on a fundamental level, they dedicate themselves to martial training, they find their inner rage.


Phantasmist wrote:


1. Do you currently like pathfinder 1e? (I know it sounds loaded, but please bare with me.)

2. Did you once like pathfinder 1e but now find it troublesome? (feel free to give details.)

3. Do you like 4th or 5th edition D&D? (Also sounds loaded but again no judgments)

4. Which are you looking for class balance, smoother high level play, more options, or even all of those things? (Small edit: these weren't meant to be mutually excursive, I just want the gist of what you're looking for, feel free to add additional thoughts/desires as well.)

5. How do you feel about making the game more accessible in general?

6. Are you willing to give up on accessibility if you can still gain all of the benefits listed in question 4?

7. Would you be willing to play an alternative rules system then what we have been presented? (A different version of pathfinder 2nd edition if you will).

8. And if you said yes to the above question what would you like to see in that theoretical game? (Most of you will see what I'm doing here, I'm finding common ground)

1. Yes, but it's no longer my system of choice.

2. Yes. There are too many fiddly little modifiers, my group groans at heavy math and layered rules and adjustments.

3. I think 4E had some great ideas mired in wonky math, again with the loads of little modifiers. I think 5E is an okay game but it fails to fix any of the problems of 3E.

4. I want classes to have fewer, more impactful abilities. I want a class feature to be a huge, powerful, useful thing, not a dinky little +1 to something. I want feats to be game-changers; the Dwarven Hardy feat should make you immune to poison. Barbarian Moment of Clarity should just remove the 'no concentration' effect from Rage. Paladin Shield Champion should make your shield indestructible and prevent any forced moment you Shield Block. When a player sees a Feat or Class Feature, I want them to DROOL with envy over it, I want them to say "Oh man, I wish I had THAT ability, Dave you're so lucky you're a Dwarf/Barbarian/Paladin/etc!"

5. The game needs to be WAY more accessible. If I had my way, Level 1 would be Ancestry, Level 2 would be Background, and Level 3 would be your starting Class features. Put task resolution and combat earlier in the book and make it simpler. Simplify weapons and armour so players can get going faster. I think the designers should look at every section of the rulebook and ask themselves "Can I make this easier to understand? Can I make it faster for a novice to make a new character? If I can't make this element simpler, do I absolutely need to include it?"

6. I think my suggestions for question 4 are designed to make the game MORE accessible, not less.

7. Absolutely. As it currently stands... as much as I like Pathfinder 2.0, I don't think I could convince my group to play it. They all have at least 5 years of TRPG experience under their belts and I don't think a single one would enjoy this edition AS IT IS NOW. A revised or alternative version might well work for them.

8. Bigger, more useful feats and features. Fewer and simpler weapons and armour. Better explanation of rules. Maybe fewer Skills since there's so much overlap. Fewer spells known or prepared while keeping them nice and powerful. Moving all 'utility' magic into Rituals so they consume time instead of slots. Magic items that are more than just bonuses. The total removal of colour-coding from the book, I have a player who is colour-blind in two ways and he'd be incredibly frustrated by the rulebook as it stands. Removal or alteration of "Add level to everything" so the math is less daunting (maybe add +1 to DC for every 3 levels difference or something).


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One of the few things I liked about a certain fourth edition of a popular role-playing game was how 99% of magic items were more than just a bonus to hit or defence. They provided some other cool function that was usable each battle or recharged each day. I also know that a lot of players like numerical bonuses to weapons and those tend to be better than other benefits.

The magic rune options kinda echo those effects but I think they could do a lot more. I too want to see a flaming sword that you can spend RP through in order to shoot gouts of flame from the end, or a gleaming shield you can invest RP into that'll store damage it takes and send it back into enemies as a huge shockwave.


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Some Suggestions for Revamping Weapons

Fist is replaced by Unarmed Attack, since it can represent kicks, flying elbows, or even head-butts. It does not require a free hand, unlike conventional weapons. It still only deals 1d4 damage baseline.

Simple weapons deal 1d6 damage if Light, 1d8 if Bulk 1, or 1d12 if Bulk 2.
Martial weapons deal 1d8 damage if Light, 1d10 if Bulk 1, or 2d6+1 if Bulk 2

Light weapons can only be used with one hand.
Bulk 1 weapons can be used with one or two hands. If used in two hands, their damage die is stepped up twice (1d10 for Simple, 2d6 for Martial).
Bulk 2 weapons require two hands. All bows and most crossbows require two hands, with the exception of the Hand Crossbow that (naturally) only requires one.
Creatures below or above Small and Medium treat weapons as having higher or lower Bulk for the purpose of hands required; a Tiny fae creature might need both hands to swing a Mace, while a Troll could wield a greatsword in one hand, but wouldn't be able to even use a Dagger effectively as a weapon since it's the relative size of a toothpick.

Simple Weapons have 1-3 Traits and Marital Weapons have 2-4 Traits. Some Traits are better than others so the more powerful ones count as 2 or even 3 traits. Other traits, like Nonlethal, probably count as 0 and are more for flavour than anything else. In certain cases you could reduce the die size of the weapon by one step to gain an additional Trait, such as with the versatile Main-gauche or Starknife.

Remove Fatal trait (Deadly overlaps too much). I'm considering whether removing the Racial traits would be good; on the one hand it's good for future weapons because you can indicate that they're an Elf weapon or a Dwarven weapon or whatever. On the other hand, if you create a new race (like, say, the Goliath) and they include the Greatclub as an Ancestral Weapon, then you run into problems because it's not listed in the Rulebook as a Goliath weapon.

Forceful might need to be evaluated against the power of a two-handed Martial weapon, but I feel like the extra boost they get is fair. You lose the potential benefits of a shield or dual-wielding when using such weapons, and frankly a huge greatsword or maul is going to build a lot more momentum than a Club by virtue of being a lot heavier.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:

Things they could do, probably all at once:

* Since a Block only prevents damage to you up to Hardness, your shield can only take ONE dent on a block, except on a crit, which always deals 1 extra dent even if all the damage is prevented.
* It takes as many dents to go from Broken to Destroyed as from intact to Broken, instead of only 1 more.
* Each tier up in quality (Expert etc) adds a dent.
* Even a destroyed shield can be repaired, just at half purchase price instead of the lesser cost of a normal repair.
* Magic shields always automatically restore at least 1 dent per day as long as they are not destroyed.

I like all of your suggestions. If I had to choose, and had the power to implement those choices, I'd go with 1, 3, and 5 (1 dent per Block or 2 with a crit, +1 Dent per Quality, and magic shields restoring dents over time). You definitely seem to be in Camp #3 like me, i.e. shields should be more durable, not more effective or cheaper.

As a side note, I LOVE the Dents mechanic for Shields but I'm also perplexed at the lack of a similar mechanic for weapons. If I Raise Shield against a rapier, the weapon doesn't suffer any Dents, which is weird because you'd think a slim rod of metal hitting a large, heavy piece of steel might inflict some wear-and-tear on the weapon. Heck, it seems like you can stab an Orichalchum shield with an iron dagger and the blade won't so much as crack. That seems like a bit of an oversight to me.

Now I understand WHY weapons don't Dent - it's because you don't want the Rogue's cool finesse weapon to break in the first encounter with an Earth Elemental. Because ranged weapons would probably be a lot stronger (unless you make bowstrings snap sometimes as well). Because weapon breakage is, unfortunately, not a very fun mechanic for most people unless your game is centred around scarce resource management.


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I have a concern related to shields, figured it would be better putting it in this thread rather than starting a new one. In summary, shields have strange prices and mechanics and I think they should be adjusted.

1) On page 190, why do +3 Shields only cost twice as much as a +2 Shield, while +3 Weapons cost eighteen times as much as a +2 Weapon? Was the price intended to be 60,000 sp instead? If not, why are +1 Shields valued at the same price as +1 Weapons?

2) On page 355, an Expert-quality Light Cold Iron Shield costs 500 sp and has 5 Hardness, which (from what I can tell) is cheaper and equally effective to its Iron equivalent. I've spend 45+ minutes scouring this section so if I am wrong, it's not for lack of reading.

3) An Indestructible Shield (page 394) costs 230,000 sp, while a regular Legendary Heavy Adamantine Shield (page 354) costs 150,000 sp. Yes, the regular Adamantine shield is available at level 15, three levels earlier than the Indestructible shield, but for a measly 53% cost hike the Indestructible one is, well, indestructible. Usable infinitely, whereas the Adamantine shield can take at most two Dents before being broken. No need to spend an hour repairing it, and you can use it an infinite number of times per battle.

3a) The DC to repair an item appears arbitrary. One assumes that Adamantine would be notoriously hard to work with. This makes a regular Adamantine Shield even worse since there's a chance you might destroy the item since it's likely not magical.

4) All of this seems very pricey when you consider that Shields are, basically, a semi-consumable item. Yes you can simply use them for the AC boost, but only at the cost of one Action per round which can really hinder... well, whatever it is your character is trying to do. The Shield Block action is great... until you realize that it breaks your (possibly quite valuable) item. In that sense, Shield are -basically- like magical items with ~1d3 charges per day. Like so:

Talisman of Protection: You may spend an Action and hold aloft this Talisman to gain +1 AC and ATC until the start of your next turn (or +2 if your Talisman has Bulk 1). While doing so, when you taken damage from a physical attack you may React to reduce the damage by 3 (or 5 for a Bulky Talisman). If the damage exceeds your Talisman's protection, it loses 1 charge and you take the rest. Your Talisman starts the day with 2 charges. Higher-quality Talismans add their Hardness to the damage prevented.

That's not a bad item... but would you rather have that over a bow, or a two-handed weapon, or dual-wielding? The benefits those combat styles give don't require Action investment just to get rolling, they provide it by improving the Action you're already going to take pretty much every round: Attack. The opportunity cost you pay to use Shields just seems to outweigh the benefits you might get out of another combat style.

So, constructive criticism time. I think that Shields could either be (1) more effective, (2) cheaper, or (3) more durable. Examples of these solution would look like:

1) Shields grant +2 AC for Light and +3 AC for Heavy when you Raise your Shield, plus their Quality bonus. They have the Hardness of a Standard item, not a Thin one.

2) Shields cost 25% as much as a weapon of the same Quality, but aren't available until level 2 / 7 / 15 like other such weapons, since they're still difficult to craft.

3) Shields are meant to absorb blows without Denting, unlike other items. Each time they take a Dent, their Hardness goes down by 1. When you Repair a Shield, for each Dent you remove you instead restore half of its maximum Hardness.

Any of those changes would probably make Shields more useful. Personally, I think the third option is the best of the bunch.