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They need to gate a lot more uses of skills behind training level, or, impose more risks for using a skill untrained.

A few random ideas off the cuff:

For example, if you try a combat maneuver using Athletic or Acrobatics untrained, you treat all failures as a critical failure. If you are trained, a normal failure leaves you flat-footed vs. the target. At Legendary, treat a critical failure as a normal failure (but without the flat-footed).

If you use a Recall Information action untrained, it takes two actions. If you're an Expert or better, it's a free action.

If you are a Master at Deception, you can choose to treat a normal success as a critical success, OR, you can feint as a free action at a -2 penalty.

I think the fact there were very few real benefits for Master or Legendary was due to signature skills limiting players advancing to those ranks for most of their skills. Now that anyone can reach M or L, it's more sensible to make achieving them cooler.

As it is, the change to untrained being level -4, while welcome, really makes it much more useful to use skill training to become trained in a new skill, instead of raising a skill to Expert or above.

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A few comments.
First, resonance for slot items, to prevent constantly swapping x/day items, makes sense. "Attune" each slot during daily prep. I'm cool with that.

The real issue w/low level items like scrolls, wands, and potions tends to be out of combat use. A wand of burning hands made at CL 1 isn't a concern. It's only OOC items that provide a balance issue, and then, mostly healing. (Things that make skills useless, like Wands of Knock and Potions of Glibness or Spider Climb, are an issue with a different solution - make such spells enhance the skill of the user by, perhaps +1/+2 per CL, instead of providing such a powerful replacement that no skill check is needed.)

So, a simple patch: Item-based healing doesn't work if the CL of the item is more than 2 below the level of the target, because mumble mumble hit points are an abstraction and represent luck, divine favor, determination, and skill and mumble mumble when a high level character "loses" hit points they represent something beyond what a cheap potion/wand can fix. Handwave, but it'll do.

Now, let's talk about one of the points which really bugs me in your post, and in the system: The desire to remove various pools of points and create a "one size fits all" system. This greatly limits sub-mechanics, because if a paladin, a monk, and a wizard all walk into a bar, I mean, all use one pool for "special abilities" (and this one pool grows when you multiclass), then, all such abilities have to be of roughly the same power. No one worries (in PF1) if a Warpriest's Blessings are the same as a Gunslinger's Grit Deeds or a Monk's ki powers. Each pool can be adjusted in size relative to the powers they contain, and, barring a handful of specific multiclass feats, you don't have a Monk/Gunslinger (which is a cool concept, BTW) getting more Ki points by learning Deeds - which is not the case in 2e, where a Paladin who multiclasses to Wizard can get bonus Lay on hands due to all the time they spent *not* studying Divine magic.

People stuck with Pathfinder over 4e and 5e because they didn't want an overly simplified system. I'm happy to see a lot of the improvements in 2e, especially the action mechanics, but I want more improvements that expand, rather than restrict, choices, both at the meta level of character creation/building and at the round-by-round level of resource management. The flatter the design gets, the more that abilities are forced to a uniform power level without the tradeoffs of "many minor/frequent powers vs. few major/infrequent ones", the less interesting the game and the characters become.

BTW, is there any way to get the forums to email me when someone replies to a thread I've posted in?

I like the idea of more efficiency... one of my many gripes with the current feat system is that the same feat appears multiple times for different classes. But I am also hesitant because I think having variable effects based on save is one of the strengths of the new system, and I think that using a "basic save" shortcut could discourage designers from thinking about how to make spells interesting by varying their save effects.

A number of spells have non-damage effects on a failed save, such as knocking someone prone, deafness/blindness, or fear. It's easy to imagine relatively weak spells that impose a condition effect only on a critical failure, or powerful spells that have some minor effect even on a critical success. Those could also be feat, i.e., "master of flame", your fire attacks do 1 point of damage/die even if a save would result in no damage. (That works fine with the "basic save", but other ideas might not.)

I guess I'm saying: I like a more efficient writing style and don't want needlessly repeated text, but don't use so many "standard" effects that it ends up explicitly or implicitly constraining the design space. (One of my big worries about PF2 is that a constrained design space is considered a feature, not a bug, because it makes Organized Play more predictable and uniform, with fewer odd combos or unexpectedly strong/weak character choices. It would be better to keep the core game as expandable and flexible as it can be, and simply produce a subset of all available rules for Organized Play.)

There's a lot of things I like in PF2, but I'm not mentioning them here... why bother? If you don't see something mentioned, assume I don't want it changed. :) (As a programmer, I'd be really irked if QA sent me message after message of "This works just fine!". The job of testers is to find bugs. And that's what I'm doing.)

Biggest Peeves:
* ATTACKS OF OPPORTUNITY. No, no, no. This is a real deal breaker. Making this just a fighter shtick (or given at random to monsters) undercuts one of the core mechanics of D&D since 2000. Yes, the rules can be complex, especially when reach is involved. There's room to simplify them without eliminating them. This dramatically reduces much of the tactical thought involved in PF combat. Points where you must decide to take a risk - "Do I stand and get AOO, or lie here on the ground and hope someone distracts the guy next to me?" "Do I risk casting defensively or take a 5' step back, which puts me in a less useful spot?" - enrich combat. Removing AOO for all but a few specific monsters, and then, only for moving and nothing else, is a HUGE, negative, change.

* Hyper-siloing. The reason I went to PF over 4e was because I liked the freedom to build characters from a relatively granular set of building blocks. I could easily take a feat or invest in a skill outside my alleged "role" and, as a GM, i could build complex and rich NPCs, even for low level commoners, due to the choices I had. PF2 strips this out. And it's going to scale poorly. Very poorly. Two years from now, as you introduce new classes with overlapping roles, you're going to either be flooding the game with effectively-identical feats for combat, magic, and roguery, or you'll have things like "Swashbucklers can take these rogue feats or these fighter feats, but not these other ones"... and then update it for every new feat you add. (Heck, Fighters and Rangers already both get Double Slice. I haven't seen if there's more examples. And this means you end up printing the same feat twice. Why not treat feats like spells? So:
Double Slice (Fighter 1, Ranger 1, Rogue 3(hypothetical))
Power Attack (Fighter 1, Barbarian 1(hypothetical))
All in one section?

(Yeah, barbarians don't get Power Attack as a feat currently... which just reinforces my complaint about siloing, because "BRONK SMASH!!!!" is so iconic it makes my teeth ache. No, wait, that's the pack of jelly beans I just ate. But it's iconic as hell. Ditto my Rogue/Double Slice example.)

And one of the things I really liked about PF, especially in the later classes, was how many classes got their own mechanics. barbarians have powers, rogues have talents, gunslingers have deeds... now, everything's a feat. Again, to draw on my programming experience: Constantly adding new properties and methods to a single class in order to avoid having "too many classes" (which can be programming or RPG design...) is an Anti-Pattern. (As is making up a new class (again, code or RPG) for every minor variant.)

Lesser peeves, in no particular order:
* Size adjustment to AC and damage (and combat maneuvers, etc.). The lack of this was a real issue for me in SF, and I'm sad it's been carried over. The rules were simple, they were generally calculated once (size change is relatively rare), and helped create some verisimilitude, making greatsword-wielding kobolds rare compared to stabby sneak attacky kobolds. I suspect the change is due to the desire not to impinge on "freedom" and not "force' someone who wants to be a halfling or goblin to avoid "tank" type classes/roles. There's better ways to do this, such as a few special feats intended just for those narrow situations.

* Bulk. Yeah, calculating encumbrance is a b&$!! and no one does it once anyone in the party has a Handy Haversack. I still find it too abstract. I can live with this,but I wanted to at least whine a little.

* Skill Point Removal: I do not get the Skill Point hate. I *like* the granularity of it. I love skill feats, I love the idea of ranking skill by expert, master, etc., but you can do this and keep granularity! (Yes, I say "granularity" a lot. I get paid by the American Grain Association. They think I'm writing about corn futures.)

* Monster Building: I really prefer that monsters and NPC use the same system as PCs, though an optional "build by role" system is fine. Again, this was a real issue for me in SF, because the system wiped out most of the racial and class features. An ogre soldier NPC and a goblin soldier NPC were pretty much identical. Both could use the same weapon with the same skill and had the same stats and melee attack bonuses. Maybe there were 1 or 2 small points of difference, but nothing compared to what you'd get trying to build a 5th level goblin fighter and an equivalent ogre fighter (allowing for racial HD) in Pathfinder. The flat skill bonus for all non-listed skills lead to things like any relatively high level monster having huge bonuses to every skill. (And when you remove the size modifiers for many things, as noted above, a purple worm has a quite respectable +14 to Acrobatics, as opposed to the -2 it has currently. ("But the GM is supposed to just decide not to allow that!" Yeah, yeah, yeah. Arguing "The GM can ignore the rules" is like saying "Look, if your word processor crashes when you use too many 'q's, stop using so many 'q's!" We're in beta. Lets point out bugs and fix them if we can. If the product ships with bugs, THEN, we can discuss workarounds.)

* And that leads to the next peeve, I guess: Too much homogenization. In order to avoid (I am guessing) the problem of "This spell will kill half the party and be ignored by the other half"/"Half the party can't hit this monster, the other half can't miss it"/etc, you compressed all the numbers so that high and low saves, attack rolls, and so forth are all within a few points of each other. The "your level is your base bonus" mechanic means everyone is generally good at everything, and the skill rank bonuses (trained, expert, etc) are VERY close together, so that a 10th level Trained Acrobat with a decent Dex is only two points away from a 10th level Legendary Acrobat. ("But that's what skill feats are for!", you say. I like skill feats, a lot more than class feats. But they grant generally exceptional abilities and tricks. Meanwhile everyone's about as good as everyone else at everything. A range of level -2 to level +3 is not a good range.)

And I get the problem you want to solve: "Well, Fred the Fighter never put any points into Climb, so, this DC 10 cliff is suddenly an obstacle for the party when it shouldn't be at this level." or "One guy in the party with a +20 Perception is never surprised, and the rest of the party always is." or "No one put any skill points into social skills (or the one person who did is elsewhere) so every encounter is a fight."

But for those of us playing since the dawn of time (in my case, 1978), things like this are features, not bugs. (Or maybe they are bugs, but we've learned to live with them, and fixing them makes things feel strange and wrong.)

This problem of "you're either dead or immune" is already addressed in PF2 by making most effects have progressive or weaker effects unless you roll really, really, badly. The Medusa, for example, is still terrifying, but it can't wipe out a party with one round of bad rolls.

*BAB, Or Lack Thereof*: Yes, when you figure in Str bonus and (to a limited extent, see above) proficiency, a Fighter and a Wizard aren't going to be as good with a broadsword, but "your level is your BAB" removes much of the "flavor" of D&D-derived games.

Oh, BTW, Paizo - how come your books are among the most beautiful and professional on the market, but your forum would embarrass someone running a BBS on their TRS-80? I want to be an active, and hopefully helpful/positive force for the development of PF2, but this forum is like pulling teeth. I couldn't even get into it on Firefox, I had to switch to Chrome. No WYSIWYG editor? Seriously?

OK, that seems to be a full consensus.

This came up during a recent game. Is it assumed that spell areas (in this case, the cone of Burning Hands) are three dimensional, so that a 15' cone terminates in a circle 15' in diameter? (Assuming the center of the cone is ground level, this would make it a half-circle 7.5 feet high)

Obviously, fireballs and the like are 3-d, but are all such effects?

Jason Grubiak wrote:

They arent just for Eberron.

Unearthed Arcana had Action Points to.

Waddaya think?


I loved them in D20M and have been using them in my current 3x game following the UA rules. They add a lot of flexibility and dramatic feeling to the game.