Conjuration carries on, at least it's focus spell combines nicely with it's core concept of summoning. [...] I find the Conjuration and Abjuration to have thematic and relevant Focus powers.
The conjuration focus spell is exceptionally poor. Even if you're playing a summoner for some reason, it is very rarely worth using Augment Summoning. Because the list of conjuration spells is broad and powerful, conjurers were given an extremely borderline Focus spell.
Divination is pretty bad. I mean, if you roll a good number it's great. But there's no guarantee you will roll well; what if you roll a 1? Congrats, you just wasted an action and a Focus point.
The Divination focus power is bonkers good. As in PF1, Diviners have been given a wildly potent special ability to compensate for choosing a spell school that doesn't have a huge number of general-purpose spells that are easy to make sure of every day. (PF2 compounds this by making many Divination spells Uncommon.) Its in-combat utility is okay, but its out-of-combat utility is incredible. (It doesn't work with downtime activities, but it works with a pretty broad swath of other things.) It is better than rolling twice, and PF2 makes rolling twice extra good because grades of success are now part of so many more checks.
A lot depends on how often you expect to be able to retrain. If you can retrain a lot, then regularly retraining so that your incapacitation spells are just regular-known at high spell levels is good. If you can't, then it might make sense to make one a signature spell.
I've been thinking a lot about this, especially in the context of the premium that 2e places on higher-level spell slots. Here are some low-level spells that do benefit from heightening, but which are reasonable at any spell level:
(Note that I don't think this is necessarily a list of *good* spells, although most are okay.)
Charm (Assuming that there are low-level NPCs you want to charm.)
There are also many spells that you generally want to cast at a high a level as you can, but which are still a reasonable use of a slot/action if you don't. The vast majority of spells whose primary purpose is damage fall into this category, although very low-level damage spells get outpaced by auto-scaling cantrips quickly if they're not heightened heavily.
Spells that heighten for a distinct effect but that are still useful with their base effect are another pretty good option.
Out of curiosity, has anybody actually modeled how much damage paladins built with an offensive inclination actually do, or is it just being taken as a given that they're bad at dealing damage? Especially against evil enemies, the number of bits and pieces of additional damage scattered throughout the class, along with multiple potential ways of making attacks as a reaction, mean that they might stack up reasonably, while still retaining a healthy level of survivability just through their basic class features. I'd hope, for the sake of game balance, that they're not superstar top-notch clearly-the-best (especially against non-evil creatures), and I certainly wouldn't expect that to be the case, but they have a lot of ways to gain incidental damage through feats that aren't paralleled in other martial classes (which tend to have one or two very powerful core features that enhance damage). It's possible that they're already not too shabby. (Frankly, I feel like modeling paladin damage requires a lot more assumptions than most classes, because so much more of their damage is conditional, even if the conditions happen pretty frequently.)
Why are champions shoehorned into using a shield? I was planning on playing a Paladin with a polearm, what am I really missing out aside from "2 AC" (since my AC is already going to be fine.)
The core chassis doesn't have anything more to do with using a shield than the fighter does, but Champions have a bunch of shield-related feats and features and don't really have any feats that directly promote other combinations of held weapons (TWF, two-hander, free-hand). You're not punished for not using a shield or anything, you just don't have much of anything that provides a mechanical incentive for doing otherwise. (Unless you really don't want to use a flickmace, in which case the reach that a two-hander can provide is nice, even though you have no specific support for it.)
I'm not sure if OP is updating the guide any longer, but I agree that Assurance (Athletics) and Hefty Hauler are deeply underrated. Hefty Hauler is amazing unless you're flat-out not tracking encumbrance or are a monk or maybe a barbarian.
Entertainer seems like a very poor candidate for being called a "a good option overall." It gives you training in a skill that most characters care about only very marginally, if at all. The feat wants you to continue to invest in this skill that only bards and maybe some goblins actually care about, and if you do, your payoff is that you can, for six seconds, distract one or more creatures, maybe, provided that they're not doing anything important. It feels hard to consider that a "good option overall." I'd call it a maybe option for a character that was already going to invest in performance regardless.
I'd even say that there's arguably a third kind of "uncommon."
There's (1) things that are flagged as being potentially disruptive to campaigns - teleport, many divination spells, etc., which DMs might be more likely to want to ration out access to.
There's (2) things that are mechanically largely insignificant in terms of the texture of the campaign and what characters are capable of, but are simply less common in the inner sea region - most uncommon weapons, for example.
Finally, there's (3) things are meant to be universally accessible to characters that have a specific feat or class feature, and generally off-limits otherwise. Most focus spells fall into this category.
And that's just for player options.
These aren't exclusive categories, and there's a little bit of blur between some of them, but the rarity system does seem to be serving multiple roles that are partially orthogonal. I don't think this is a crisis or anything, but I would not be surprised to see "which kind of uncommon is X supposed to be?" becoming a question people have in the future.
It probably doesn't work for downtime activities:
"Some downtime activities require rolls, typically skill checks. Because these rolls represent the culmination of a series of tasks over a long period, players can’t use most abilities or spells that manipulate die rolls, such as activating a magic item to gain a bonus or casting a fortune spell to roll twice. Constant benefits still apply, though, so someone might invest a magic item that gives them a bonus without requiring activation. You might make specific exceptions to this rule. If something could apply constantly, or so often that it might as well be constant, it’s more likely to be used for downtime checks."
That would seem to suggest that the DM may allow it provided that you're able to spend your own downtime continually aiding, but you probably cannot pop up at the last minute (or the first minute) and only aid just at that one point.
There is no such language in the section on exploration activities. This could be interpreted to mean that it works just fine for exploration activities, or it could be that we're supposed to interpret backwards a section from the downtime section that the downtime rules also apply to long-running exploration checks. (It should work fine for any exploration mode check that doesn't represent "a series of tasks over a long period.")
Fighter flexibility (and the improved version) explicitly only lets you choose fighter feats. It doesn't interact with multiclassing at all, except in the very loose sense that having an extra combat feat means that you might be more likely to use one of your normal class feats on a multiclass feat. It doesn't make fighters meaningfully better at multiclassing.
For what it's worth, Pathfinder 1e NPC statblocks for paladins routinely feature them using weapons that aren't the favored weapon of their listed deity, even when the deity's favored weapon fills a comparable role. (E.g., Paladin of Torag with an axe, paladin of Iomedae with a mace.) It does not seem to be a baseline expectation at all that Paladins in Golarion strongly default to using their deity's favored weapon. (Although there's certainly some correlation.) It's obviously a GM's prerogative to do whatever they like, but in Golarion as presented in the printed material, paladins take full advantage of their proficiency with all martial weapons, and frequently use weapons that differ from their deity's choice even when there's no particular mechanical incentive to do so. (Clerics, who have more incentive to do so, are more likely to carry their deity's favored weapon, although this is also far from universal.)
The few examples available suggest that the game thinks that Athletics is the check for this, but there's no table that ties particular weights to particular DCs, unless the thing being lifted is specifically a portcullis - and even then, it just has DCs for different materials, rather than for different sizes. The Belt of Giant Strength equipment item refers to "athletics checks to lift a heavy object," but the athletics skill itself doesn't mention this.
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Is giving Meditated Strike the Fortune trait intended to make it a roll-twice ability, or simply cancel out misfortune effects? Currently, the number of misfortune effects in the game is quite small, which makes it a very situational benefit (which is fine, if that's the intent). If it's supposed to allow you to roll twice, I think it needs to spell that out; fortune is a tag applied to things like Assurance and True Strike that affect how you roll the dice (or don't, in the case of Assurance), but does not on its own have any rules effect aside from the cancel-out effect with misfortune and to indicate that it doesn't stack with other fortune effects.
It's worth noting for anybody coming into this thread now that it's a little bit of a necro from very soon after the game released, and that many of the takes early in the thread are based on first impressions. They're not uniformly actually reflected in how the game actually plays. Multiclassing turns out to be really good for most characters, and basically every class is a reasonable multiclass option for at least some character. It's true that the initial dedication feat is a bit of a tax for many characters, but many of the suggested "fixes" in this thread are overkill that would make multiclassing go from being a great option for nearly every character to totally bonkers.
We sort of misevaluated the value of multiclassing before anybody had actually played the game much by focusing on things that it could have offered but doesn't, rather than looking at what it does offer.
The Deific Weapon feature exists for two reasons:
1) To make it so that if your deity has a simple favored weapon and you want to use that weapon, it's somewhat less bad of an idea.
2) To make it so that if your deity has an uncommon favored weapon and you want to use that weapon, you have access to it.
"You zealously bear your deity's favored weapon" is just flavor explaining the ability. Champions do not need to use their deity's favored weapon for any reason. It's often not the best idea, and in the case of several deities, it actively works really poorly with your class features. You're proficient in all martial weapons, and can use any of those. It's perfectly fine, both in mechanics and flavor, for a Champion of Erastil to choose a melee weapon.
If something isn't called a circumstance penalty, it's not a circumstance penalty. MAP isn't called a circumstance penalty, so it's not a circumstance penalty.
For example, Wall of Wind imposes a penalty to ranged attacks that pass through it that's specifically called a circumstance penalty. True strike lets you ignore that penalty. Levitate forces you to take a circumstance penalty to attack rolls, so True Strike lets you ignore that.
While this doesn't do much to clarify intent for Metamagic, there's places where "next action" almost certainly does *not* mean "immediately after." For example, the Animated Broom's "Dust" ability works pretty poorly if it only works if it's the Broom's last action and the affected creature is next in initiative order.
On the other hand, there are places where the opposite is true - where things make less sense if "next action" is allowed to span turns. For example, the Wall Jump skill feat says " If you’re adjacent to a wall at the end of a jump[...]you don’t fall as long as your next action is another jump." It's hard for me to read that as intending to span multiple turns, as the player doesn't take their next action until everybody else goes first.
That said, neither of those things have the "directly after" wording associated with them.
The rogue has no mandatory choices that involve anything criminal. One of the three rackets makes you trained in Thievery, and goes out of its way to offer examples of why a law-abiding person operating on the up-and-up would have those skills. You're picking and choosing words out of the descriptions to support the incorrect idea that the rogue class means you must be a criminal. You could just as easily have said that the three choices are described as security detail, diplomat, and security consultant.
It's literally impossible to build a rogue archetype that removes the mandatory criminal elements because there's literally zero of those to remove. You can play a rogue that's not a criminal as easily as you can play a fighter that's not a knight.
The idea that a crossbow is a better champion weapon than a longbow is so hyperbolic that it borders on parody. Even if you do nothing to address the volley issue, with a longbow you fight more or less like a Warpriest. With a crossbow, you fight like a character that's permanently Slowed 2, and that's on the turns when things go as well as possible.
You could probably do a nine-level caster that went up to master-level weapons proficiency if you limited the number of spells/day they got at each level to a low enough number, but it'd eat up most of the class's power level budget. You'd probably have to either turn all of the other turnable knobs in the basic class framework (HP, proficiencies) most of the way down and/or somehow mess with the basic class chassis. I think that trying to work it into an existing class, especially one with as many bells and whistles as bard, is probably more difficult that doing that from scratch.
You could probably make a better martial bard by creating a bard option that doesn't go all of the way to scaling like a full martial class but that has significant martial advantages. Between their very easy access to status bonuses to fighting-oriented things and okayish weapon selection, Bards are already a big part of the way there.
In addition to AoO-seekers, MC fighter is also appealing for -
* Many characters who want to fight with two weapons. Double Slice maths out to being an effective part of an attack routine even with other options that are available.
* Many characters that want to focus on grabs, both for the grab-related feats themselves and for the one-weapon-free-hand feats.
The listed trigger is "A creature targets you with an attack and you can see the attacker." I read that as meaning that the reaction is made in response to being targeted by the attack, not in response to being hit by the attack. Contrast the trigger on Reactive Shield (https://2e.aonprd.com/Feats.aspx?ID=360), which is very clear that it's used after the attack roll is made and that the AC bonus then applies to the check.
Now, assuming that things work differently just because they have different wordings is risky business, but I'm not able to turn up any rules support for it being something that the player can use the reaction after the check is made. The only way I think that works is if we consider choosing target + rolling check to be one atomic game event (but separate from rolling damage), but I don't see any specific support for the idea that that's the case.
I do think you have to be clear enough in your communication to the player about what's going on that they're clear about when Nimble Dodge is a legal reaction. The player can't, by RAW, use their Nimble Dodge in response to something that isn't an attack, so it isn't possible to waste their reaction in that fashion.
A few patterns I've noticed -
In addition to Dispel Magic, monsters -really- like Invisibility. This does not really help with Spell Immunity.
Paralyze and Charm are common on monsters, especially the latter, but they're often slotted at levels that makes them useless unless you're fighting the monster when it's several CR above you, and they're sometimes even lower than that. Despite this, they might still be the most common offensive monster options.
In a campaign with minimal downtime, I'd probably adjust the retraining rules. I'd either make it something that can happen in the evening (like foraging for food) or just something that can be done for free when the character levels up. If the player chose a feat that's literally doing nothing at all because of how the campaign runs, I'd probably even just let them reselect the feat right away. Depending on the circumstances, I might try to find some other minor cost to attach to this retraining.
I understand the motivations for putting a safety valve on retraining, but I consider the ability to adjust a character something that's too useful for maximizing everybody's enjoyment to limit it to campaigns that happen to feature substantial stretches of downtime (or the use of a fifth-level spell to which the party is very unlikely to have access.)
Not Monk-related, but the biggest surprises to me from actual play:
* The Liberator Champion is a lot better than it looks on paper. (Or looked on paper to me, at least.) I had initially deeply undervalued the impact of giving an ally the ability to step after moving. This can not only help set up flanks, but a lot of really common scenarios with enemy movement and attack activities make it so that that step effectively results in the rest of the monster's turn being wasted. It's possible for many monsters, especially ones with reach, to work around some of these advantages, but if they don't, then the Liberator has almost unmatchable action-wasting potential.
Because of the order in which the abilities are listed, its easy to misread the primary effect of the Liberator's reaction as freeing people from grapples and stuff, and that's certainly a perk, but you're mostly there for the awesome free Step.
I haven't heard people talking much about the Liberator online; it's possibly the most slept-on option in the game right now.
* Dazzled has gone from one of the least relevant conditions to one of the best. It has a decent chance of wrecking almost anything the afflicted tries to do, and it's budgeted pretty cheaply on spells.
* A dynamic that's not immediately obvious, I think, is that spellcasters in general and offensive spellcasters in particular have tremendous competition for their highest-level slots, which are not only the only places you can cast your new, coolest spells from, but which are also the best homes for a wide variety of other effects that benefit a lot from heightening. (Including Incapacitation spells, most spells whose primary function is damage, spells that rely on counteracting, summoning spells, and others.)
* One consequence of the above is that spells that do their thing perfectly or almost perfectly even when prepared or cast from their lowest-possible slot are really great.
* Multiclassing is really good. Somebody made the observation that, for most characters, the most exciting class feats from any other class are probably more exciting than your less-exciting choices from your own class. This seems borne out in practice.
Animal Instinct is the defensive barbarian option, with arguably the most general-purpose resistances and the potential for the highest Armor Class. The primary cost it pays is in raw damage, with a lower damage bonus to rage than some of the alternatives. They can also use a shield without giving up much offensive ability as long as they're raging. It's difficult to precisely weigh the value of added defense vs. the lost damage, but you'll still be a high-damage character - just not at the same level as a Giant or Dragon instinct barbarian.
Ape Barbarians and others with Grapple weapons can reach nearly unmatchable levels of Grappling ability. This synergizes somewhat well with the more defensive nature of the class, as one of the risks of grappling some enemies is that, with no other good options available, they use all of their actions attacking you.
Human is a fine choice for an Animal Barbarian. To the best of my knowledge, there aren't any ancestries with exceptional synergy that make them a must-take.
Another advantage of making all of the Weapon Specialization features have the same rules associated with them even if those rules don't currently matter for every class is that then they can give all of those features the same name without it being the case that the same-name feature has different rules depending on where you get it. Giving them all the same name makes it easy for players to refer to the feature, and makes it so that other things in the system can refer to the ability.
Technically, the Barbarian's Weapon Specialization violates this slightly by having extra text, but it's probably close enough to not break things that might want to refer to it.
I don't believe so, but the 4) is a an actual question on my part since I don't know.
The extra size would be a complete nonfactor. They could hyperlink every word in the document to something else and it'd have essentially no impact on the size of the file, relative to its current size. Hyperlinks are extraordinarily cheap compared to images.
There's niche other cases where it might be useful to not automatically heighten. For example, the Cleric focus power Dazzling Flash gains a larger area at level 5 (spell level 3). Normally, this is great, but it can also make it more awkward to avoid hitting allies with the cone. (The power hits everybody.) It's clearly a net advantage, but situations where the smaller cone is better aren't inconceivable.
But that’s not how the final version of Harm works. And if the error was in Heal and fixed for Harm why does Harm have the typo stating positive energy?
Presumably that's another small error that wasn't caught. I have a much easier time believing that that sort of error occurred than that somebody was trying to communicate "This spell's area is the union of a 30-foot burst and a 30-foot emanation. It targets all living and undead creatures in the area," but the words that their brain produced were "You disperse positive energy in a 30-foot emanation. This targets all living and undead creatures in the burst." Even coming up with the idea that a good way to produce that effect is by introducing an overlapping burst instead of using the technology used by the rest of the system is a pretty huge leap. That the author would then have whatever mental spasms are required to then communicate that idea so poorly and have it make it into print requires another leap on top of that. (And also seems wrong; as written, it says that it targets creatures in the burst, but doesn't say anything about the emanation other than that's where positive energy is, which would seem to make the idea of the emanation entirely superfluous.)
If it's both an emanation and a burst, which is its actual area? There's one square that's in the burst but not the emanation, and there's a bunch of squares that are in the emanation but not the burst. (Assuming, I suppose, because there's no better option, that the undefined-radius burst with no defined origin point has the same radius as the emanation and originates in one of the corners of your square; as written, it is unique among bursts in not explicitly defining the radius.)
Is its area the union of the area covered by the emanation and the area covered by a 30-foot burst centered on one of the corners of your own square? If so, "You disperse positive energy in a 30-foot emanation. This targets all living and undead creatures in the burst" is an extremely strange way to communicate that intent. Invoking the idea of a burst at all is an very weird choice (which is why the many other abilities that want to target an emanation and also you choose the much clearer path of simply also specifying that it affects you). Even if you were going to get the effect to work the way you wanted by making the area the union of an emanation and a burst, you'd never choose to communicate that using the words in Heal.
The wordings of Heal and Harm in the playtest suggest a much more plausible explanation for why Heal's three-action version refers to it as both an emanation and a burst: it's an error. In the playtest, Harm says "You disperse negative energy in a 30-foot [emanation]*. This has the same effect as the two-action version, but it targets all living and undead creatures in the burst and reduces the amount of healing or damage to your spellcasting ability modifier." If the intent was that referring to something as both an emanation and a burst was that you were supposed to infer some of the characteristics of the burst from the characteristics of the emanation, plot both, and use the union, it seems very unlikely that Harm would have been written with that wording, because that makes it hurt the spellcaster. It seems much more likely that the word "burst" was used by mistake in both Heal and Harm, and the mistake was caught in Harm but persisted in Heal. This explanation only requires them to have made one small proofing error instead of a series of absolutely baffling communication choices.
*It technically says 'aura' rather than 'emanation,' because the name of that shape hadn't changed yet.
I'm personally more fond of the other level 6 feat the duelist gets, which gives you a free demoralize any time you crit. I don't think anybody currently has that.
Battle Cry, level 7 skill feat, if you're legendary in intimidation, but it eats your reaction. Duelist ability is better and comes online earlier, albeit at significantly greater cost.
Oh, wow, I don't think I would have noticed that in a hundred years. If that's actually intended, it seems super easy to miss; none of the other abilities that are supposed to hit everybody in the emanation and also the caster rely on that terminology. It's also hard to tell what the shape of that burst is actually supposed to be; if it's intended to be a burst, then yes, it should hit the cleric, but if it's intended to be a burst than it should also require slicing off a square from one of the sides of the emanation (more if the cleric is larger), because a 30-foot burst doesn't have the same diameter as a 30-foot emanation. I can't see any reasonable way to parse the sentence that means "pretend that this is a burst when you're determining its shape for the purposes of deciding whether the caster's square is included, but don't pretend that this is a burst when you're determining its shape for the purposes of deciding anything else about its shape." I can't imagine that that's intended. There's no way on earth to determine which pieces of an emanation's shape and which pieces of a burst's shape you're supposed to stitch together if you're not starting with PF1e assumptions about how channel energy works.
I'd argue that even if that is how it's supposed to work, it should be errata'd to use the same terminology as the other dozen "hits everything in the emanation and also you" game options instead of hoping that people will understand that it inherits some but not all of the shape rules from bursts.
I doubt you occupy the side of your space. If you do, then there's a bunch of offensive actions and spells that damage all creatures in the emanation that suddenly affect the user. There's a few things like Circle of Protection and the second Destruction Domain power where the wording makes a little more sense if the author was assuming that the center person of an emanation is in the emanation, but for the most part the book is written as though the person in the emanation is not by default included in the emanation (or else is agnostic, with wordings that would make sense either way.)
It does not have the attack trait, and you can cast it while wielding a greatsword. The one-action version's only component is somatic, which has the associated rules:
"A somatic component is a specific hand movement or gesture that generates a magical nexus. The spell gains the manipulate trait and requires you to make gestures. You can use this component while holding something in your hand, but not if you are restrained or otherwise unable to gesture freely.
Spells that require you to touch the target require a somatic component. You can do so while holding something as long as part of your hand is able to touch the target (even if it’s through a glove or gauntlet)."
Even with the interact action to remove the blindness, they're still dazzled typically until the end of combat. Dazzled is really good in PF2e; putting dazzled on the enemies is the equivalent of casting Blur on your whole party and also has other benefits. That they're also forced to use an action if they don't want to be blinded for the whole round is icing on the cake. The interact action to remove the blindness provokes AoOs, making it very difficult for an enemy hit by it to have a productive turn without eating an attack if your party contains a fighter or somebody who's taken a feat that grants AoOs. It's not the best effect in the world, but it's a big step up from the vast majority of offensive Domain powers in PF1e.
I obviously don't have extensive experience with every class from levels 1 to 20, but based on the experience I do have:
- On a class-by-class basis, Pathfinder 2e is in the conversation for best-balanced game of its general style and complexity level that I've played, and I've played a lot of them.
I don't think that they're disasters, but if I had a free blessing to bestow on any class to give them just a little bit more juice, I'd probably choose the Ranger or Alchemist. I don't think that it's overpowered, but if I had to identify a class to be the "be careful about what we do with that one in the future, because it's already really good" class, I'd probably choose the Fighter.
I kind of think it's a good thing that much of the archetype material in the guide is fairly niche. I'd much rather they undershoot on these things than to make it so that every rogue in the world specifically wants to be a Lion Blade or something.
That said, there's a few just bafflingly niche options. Like, spending an action to maybe temporarily suppress the illusions on somebody you just punched does not feel like a complete class feat to me. I get that there's some great defensive illusion spells, but I have a hard time imagining a campaign where they're so common that it was critical that such a narrow feat also have conditions and limitations.
As far as Living Monolith goes - most of its features are purely defensive, so it makes more sense on somebody who expects to take an above-average number of hits. Short-range Tremorsense also makes more sense on somebody who wants to stand in front. Aside from that, it's mostly independent of any role. Realistically, if you wanted to go really hard on Living Monolith, the most important thing would be to be a character that can get by at their primary roles without needing too many class feats, as Living Monolith only lightly contributes to most things.
I recognize that this is a mileage-may-vary thing, and one person's "The Gnomish Tickle-duster is far too silly to be something that's mechanically a good weapon" is another person's "The crossbow is something that's far too silly to be mechanically a good weapon," but, where possible, I think it's ideal if bizarre weapons are not distinctly the best choice for a very common thing that somebody might want to do. I have no problem, and actively like it, when a bizarre weapon has niche advantages; hit me with your stormshaft javelins, etc. I'm much less on board with things like the Orc Hornbow where you have this unusual racial weapon that happens to be just bonkers levels of superior to the "normal" weapon that fills that role for the extremely broad and common character concept of "Archer." This isn't a realism quibble, but more of a thing where players end up choosing between things that are thematic and make sense and things with a very specific flavor that are substantially better in game-changing ways.
Unfortunately, I think that PF2e has already dropped the ball on this a little with the Gnome Flickmace. That one's not *that* outlandish, though.
It'd be a little bit of a different dynamic, but I think that one way to do a character that has spellcasting as less of a fraction of its power budget would be to keep the same spellcasting progression in terms of when new spell levels are learned but to limit the number of spells/day, perhaps to as few as one spell per day per spell level, or perhaps two at lower spell levels. There's already between-class variation in the number of spells per level per day that different classes get; this is just taking that to the next step. This would produce a meaningfully different dynamic for partial casters than PF1 had, and may not be appropriate for all partial caster concepts, but it doesn't require introducing any new basic architectures for how classes are structured.
It's worth noting that in the final version of the game, there's no such thing as a "somatic action" (or any other type of component action.) The number of components generally correlates with the number of actions that the spell takes to cast, but the rules no longer state that you spend one action on each component or anything like that, the way that they did in the playtest.
Cast a Spell is now simply an activity that takes a specified number of actions that depends on the spell being cast and which has a set of traits and requirements that come from its components. No matter what happens to the components of a spell, it always takes the specified number of actions unless something else specifies that it doesn't. Similarly, something like Quickened Casting doesn't change the spell's components even though it reduces the number of required actions. As another example, Magic Missile always has a somatic component and a verbal component regardless of whether one, two, or three actions are spent to cast it.
In other words, you don't really have "two somatic actions" for the spell. You're spending two actions on the Casting a Spell activity, and because the spell has a somatic component, it has the Manipulate trait and requires you to be able to gesture freely. This distinction matters because there are things like Silent Spell that outright remove a component, but which do not change the number of actions required to use the Cast a Spell activity.
I think it's deliberate that Breath Weapons don't contribute to and aren't affected by MAP. Monsters with special abilities that are attacks have those abilities labeled as such - see the Dire Wolf and the Sea Serpent for examples. The technology to identify specific special abilities as attacks is used by the bestiary with some regularity, but is not used with breath weapons. (And is also not used with a variety of other offensive special abilities.)
The Ageless Patience feat (Ancestry, Elf, Level 5) reads "You can voluntarily spend twice as much time as normal on a Perception check or skill check to gain a +2 circumstance bonus to that check. You also don’t treat a natural 1 as worse than usual on these checks; you get a critical failure only if your result is 10 lower than the DC. For example, you could get these benefits if you spent 2 actions to Seek, which normally takes 1 action. You can get these benefits during exploration by taking twice as long exploring as normal, or in downtime by spending twice as much downtime.
The GM might determine a situation doesn’t grant you a benefit if a delay would be directly counterproductive to your success, such as a tense negotiation with an impatient creature."
It is not obvious to me how this interacts with skill checks made as parts of a reaction, such as Aid. I can think of a few reasonable interpretations, none of which I think are clearly the correct one:
1) Ageless Patience doesn't work with reactions, as they don't have a defined time to double.
I'd appreciate any pointers to rules I've overlooked, developer insights, or even just general thoughts about this. (For what it's worth, I think that Ageless Patience and Aid are both plenty good in PF2e even if they don't interact.)
I didn't have a chance to watch the Twitch stream, but that matches my experience with the Alchemist in general and the Mutagenist in particular. Mutagenists really feel like Jacks-of-no-trades; they're just kind of mediocre at everything, with no real combat role. I don't think the class is fundamentally misconceived or anything like that, it's just a tiny bit undercooked - especially the stuff that's not centered around bombing. Strategic mutagen use has interesting out-of-combat benefits, but it's hard to feel like it compensates for a chassis that doesn't have any clear strengths. (Chirugeons may be in the same boat, but I have no direct experience with them.)
There might be some hidden configuration of options that really makes them sing, or I might be underrating the versatility, but it's hard not to see Mutagenists as strikingly underwhelming in play. I think that legitimately the most capable Mutagenist might be one that only sprinkles in Mutagen use and primarily relies on bombs, but then you're pretty much just a worse bomber, which is already not a particularly impressive class.
While they're near the top of the list of classes that care, #6 isn't really a Monk-specific issue. A number of classes or builds would optimally like to start with an 18 in one stat and 16 in another and would thus prefer a background that has one of those two stats as something in can boost, with the Free boost going to the other one. Even among classes that are a little more flexible in what stats they'd like to start with, backgrounds where the only options are unimportant stats are less appealing.
The skill feats are also not irrelevant; while characters get enough skill feats to generally get most things they want eventually, but it's still a lot better to start with a highly-coveted skill feat that you would definitely like to take early like Battle Medicine than a very poor skill feat that may have no mechanical impact at all, like Courtly Graces.
While the degree of severity varies from character to character, Background isn't really a pure roleplaying choice for anybody. (Unless you value all skill feats equally and plan to really spread out your starting stats.)