Lord Soth

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I have been pretty critical of this new system so far, but I think I know what they are trying to do.

Change the focus of the game from numerical bonuses stacked through a myriad of means as the general path to power to one where the numbers are relatively even, but the actions and abilities vary. The old system, with the umpteen bonuses stacking, is a bit impenetrable to new players, since it requires knowing about a bonus existing at all in order to take advantage. Playing at optimal (or even just non-sub-optimal) levels demands system mastery.

SO everyone can have the same "bonus" to pretty much everything, but different classes do different things with those bonuses by virtue of having different class feats.

And this would theoretically extend to skill proficiency levels as well.

In order to save martial characters from becoming entirely pointless (not that they were doing much after lvl 15 anyway) this also requires a severe reduction in the power of spells. In practice, spells will have no great advantage over physical actions, since they are just another option for how to use your pretty-much-generic base number set.

The goal, then, is to radically shift the focus from numerical advantage to an 'available actions' advantage. IE: my proficiency in skill X allows me to do a special thing that requires that proficiency etc. numbers be damned.

All of that said, I think that the current implementation leaves a huge amount to be desired. Everything is WAY too safe and WAY too tight IMO. If the focus of the game is now meant to be on class-based feats-as-actions, then the actions really do need to become more diverse and more powerful for their specific task. The difference between Master and Trained should be far more significant than it is now, not numerically, but in how it opens up new possibilities. Same with class feats and same with regular feats.

Two problems here though:
1. That is really hard to design.. it is way easier to just slap a +2 bonus on something and call it a day.
2. If it is done poorly then you end up with what we have now, which is an overly tight system with an insurmountable numerical treadmill and not a lot of mechanical identity past the first few levels. Which means it actually draws more attention to the numbers. This is, as many have said, very much like 4e, and this failure to really make the powers distinct and interesting was the big failure point of that game's launch.

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I am going to try to put this as succinctly as I can:

The scaling in PF1 is down to the acquisition of resources which are indeed gained through leveling. When you level, you can choose what class to advanced, where to put skills feats etc. Its a pretty granular system. For those stating that Fighters were a +1/lvl class because of BAB, for example, remember that no character was a Fighter. They could choose whatever class they wanted at each new Player level, so this too was an intentional expenditure of character building resources. One camp seems characterized by a desire to return to a system where leveling means gaining new resources to spend on building a character, and where essentially everything is a choice. A system where competency in some activity requires investment... or rather investment is rewarded with competency.

What we might call the "bound accuracy" camp, is a bit less traditional, but sees the opportunity to escape the treadmill altogether.. While the first camp is interested with having far more control over where they can overtake or be overtaken by the treadmill through player choice, this Bound camp wants to eliminate the treadmill entirely. Eschewing the more numerically dependent and arbitrary system for one that focuses more on abilities, action types etc. If the numbers aren't going to be an expression of character, and don;t really change the dynamic of success/failure in realistic encounters, then why have them at all?

I think both camps are trying to either regain control of or eliminate a system that feels alien to the character and overly forced. Since its narrative manifestation is almost always problematic whenever its mechanical implementation isn't almost entirely irrelevant.

To Summarize:
Bigger numbers for the sake of bigger numbers are being argued against using option
(A) Bigger numbers are fine but only for the sake of intentional character definition by the player through choices
(B) Just get rid of the bigger numbers entirely if they serve no other purpose than to make the numbers bigger.

Cyouni wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:

I definitely value actual game experience over extrapolations and opinions on just reading the rules. But that's just me. You're feedback isn't "delegitimized" but it's definitely an important statistic to keep in mind is it not?

I'm just trying to take note of the more negative feedback posters and how much of the game they have actually played.

You would agree that if there's a correlation there that probably is important yes?

While playtesting helps with getting practical experience with how the game works, I strenuously disagree that statistical analysis gives worse results for making informed statements. That's how we've gotten through multiple people that PF2E uses a 50% success chance model for basically all levels of play. Knowing that alone leads to much more informed analysis, IMO, than the randomness of a playtest session.

So, nope. I don't agree with your opinion.

Not having information tested in the appropriate environment means that you can easily draw inaccurate conclusions from it. For example, the constant assumptions that you'll be fighting only things of your level or above, because CR=APL monsters were rarely ever a threat.

That isn't a failure to simulate on the table... its actually a failure to read through the rules for encounter design.


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Dire Ursus wrote:

So what if the vast majority of players played through say the full playtest were happy with the game. You would say that isn't an important detail? What if it came out somehow that the vast majority of negative feedback was from players who have played less than 3 sessions of the game. Wouldn't that mean statistically the game is just fun to play?

You really can't just read through a book and crunch some numbers and get an accurate estimate of how "fun" it is. At least that's my opinion. You can disagree with it but in my 15 yrs of experience, The numbers weren't the main component of our fun. It was the roleplaying and tactical teamwork that made it fun for us. And for my group 2e has improved tactical teamwork in combat for sure.

This is of course not to say that the game can't be tweaked and balanced better. But just running statistics isn't a good indication that you have a grasp on how the system plays.

Every playtest man.. there is always this guy with the 400 hours of playtime invested who hates rhetorical arguments and adamantly believes that complete system mastery of dozens of other games and decades of experience pales in comparison to his or her personal subjective experience.

You can see the arguments here right? You can read the posts and discuss the reasoning behind them, or lack thereof. You do not get to tell people that their opinion is disqualified because they have not met some arbitrary requirement that you set. Don't ask for proof of their doctorate, or their bonafide gamer card. Don't try to define other people's fun. If you can't speak to the argument as it reads, using rhetoric and logic, then don't participate at all.

Furthermore, if the vast majority of negative feedback comes from people who have played less than three sessions, you might actually want to ask yourself why they stopped playing your game.

Cyouni wrote:
Lord_Malkov wrote:

I think that is why you see a pretty warm reception to things like the new action economy, and the severe reduction in stacking a bajillion magical items/bonuses.

These are ideas that attempt to fix real problems.

The flat level-based scaling for everything might be a good idea, but I am at a loss as to what it fixes (Wizards needed full BAB?)

One of the reasons is to prevent sheer incompetence on the part of the party in a good amount of scenarios at high levels. There's a lot of high-level enemies (and characters) that can't see an avalanche coming down on their heads (this is an actual example from something that happened to our level 13 party. In retrospect, it was a bad idea putting that guy on watch.) Similarly, many can't climb or swim at all, and can't leap over a small gap. Not really things you'd expect of country-saving heroes.

The level-based scaling fixes that. It also allows for TAC numbers much closer to AC, so that touch-based attacks don't automatically hit.

You know, I have seen this argument before, and I think it has some merit.

But couldn't you fix some of these things (like climbing, swimming, jumping over a small gap etc.) by removing them from the skill-check requirement altogether?

Couldn't we just say that everyone CAN do all the basic versions of these things until they want to something truly outside the norm? Like swim up a waterfall or climb a wall of ice? You don't need +level scaling for that. It would also help to make a lot of these skills feel less mundane since training would automatically assume something more than the usual usage.

I think you could also just add certain skills to a list of "general" skills like perception, that DO follow the automatic scaling if they are considered to be necessary investments, while keeping other skills like Perform or Arcana unscaled for untrained characters.

I can see where you are coming from, but I don't think that some of the bad choices that were possible should obviate the notion of choices entirely. Lets just fix the things that were problems and let everything else fall to player agency.

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The Systems Agnostic wrote:
Lord_Malkov wrote:

But really, this is all down to the main thrust of PF2, which is: Keep everyone in line to make everything easier to control.

This has a name. It is called balance.

I am not certain at all whether you, Malkov, are for or against it, but I will say that the people against it are almost always the ones benefitted by the imbalance.

When children complain that something is "unfair" what they often mean is that it is not unfair in their favor. I think the folks at Paizo understand this and are accounting for it.

I am for it, that is why I spoke to it in the part of my post you did not quote.

Balance, however does not need to be achieved through homogenization. Its harder to do balance this way, I will grant you, but its not impossible, and I find it more engaging. Powerful things are not bad inherently, as long as everyone else has different, equivalently powerful things to do.

PF2 seems to be trying very hard to push everything into a thin band of acceptable math. That is NOT to say that it is attempting to balance across archetypes or classes, but to say that it seems very opposed to the idea that one character, through heavy investment, can be far better than another in that very area of heavy investment.

Previously, balance was achieved through an equal distribution of character building resources. Cutting out or elevating bad choices, trap feats and weak options as well as, yes, nerfing the overpowered ones is great. It means everyone gets the same bang for their buck and it fixes the 'economy of character building'.

It feels (to me) like PF2 is attempting to severely reduce the impact of all of these choices in order to enforce homogeneity regardless of choice. If you invest heavily in something, it will be a coin-flip. If you don't.. it will be a slightly worse coin-flip.

I hope that clarifies things, and I will add that this is just my opinion. There is nothing fundamentally flawed with this sort of balancing or this kind of system... It's just not for me.

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I fully agree with the OP.

PF2 has down-powered absolutely everything to keep all classes and characters in a rather thin area of power distribution. Everything feels incredibly safe and rigid, to the point where it is hard to see where the fun comes from. Pathfinder has not traditionally been a gritty game of wild swings and unpredictability... but the new systems make almost everything a coin flip at every level.

For those of us used to PF!, we can look at the system and ask the simple question: How can I get ahead of this treadmill of coin-flips? And unlike before, the answer is: you can't.

That said, I think a heavy balance pass was warranted for spellcasters if we were ever going to make a game that didn't become a overly dependent on proper use of spellcasting at the higher levels. This means some nerfs were probably required to keep the non-casters relevant.

HOWEVER, with the current state of spellcasting, they really should have doubled the spells-per-day at every step for all casters. You are going from a 70-90% success rate down to 50% and the effects are completely neutered. I could live with more spells that are less impactful to some extent.

But really, this is all down to the main thrust of PF2, which is: Keep everyone in line to make everything easier to control.
You will always be a slave to the coin-flip.

Unicore wrote:

I understand that the perform rules currently would allow an untrained performance on a musical instrument, I think that should change, and even if they don't it is very easy to house rule, so that doesn't bother me.

The numerical value of a untrained skill should be meaningless in situations where a check cannot be made. I see that as a feature. Most situations where these "comical consequences" show up are when the rest of the rules are not followed, or they are hypothetical situations that don't happen outside of theory crafting, or they are real issues that need to be addressed by appropriate proficiency and feat gating, not tossing the whole system out.

Without a +level bonus to proficiency, the level 20 Bard is not going to be able to hit numbers that awe level 1 commoners in a performance very well either, at least not reliably without the assurance feat, (which is its own discussion head/ache, but can't exist as is without the +level bonus either). The D20 swings really widely, you pretty much have to either have a very wide spread of possible bonuses to compensate, or have gates on specific levels of challenges. With the +/-10 critical system, those wide swings of bonuses become incredibly problematic and have been reigned in in PF to only existing between level discrepancy.

I would much rather level be the determining factor of competency than attributes or items. I get the desire to see proficiency as training, but level is also a part of training in RPGs because so much of what characters actually do in their daily lives is not played out by the players on the gaming table. It is really tough to represent that in a fashion where the player gets to full control over what skills get bonuses and not end up facing the monster of massive discrepancies between equal level characters on vital attributes.

1. Level in PF1 already determined your maximum rank in a skill and the number of skill points you had... so its not like this is the only way to incorporate level. Level has always been a factor.

2. Level requirements could be the gating mechanism that makes level stay relevant to Proficiency, even if the numerical bonuses were eschewed.

3. If the massive discrepancy in bonuses due to choice means that there are vital statistics that must be tied to level, then why not tie ONLY those statistics to permanently scale with level? Maybe every class gets Perception, but only trained characters get Perform or Lore?

I still don't understand why everything needs to scale in lockstep regardless of character choice, and I certainly don't get how this makes the game better. It might be simpler on the character sheet, but it raises the complexity of actually arbitrating the system in practice.

Matthew Downie wrote:
Lord_Malkov wrote:

I think that is why you see a pretty warm reception to things like the new action economy, and the severe reduction in stacking a bajillion magical items/bonuses.

These are ideas that attempt to fix real problems.

The flat level-based scaling for everything might be a good idea, but I am at a loss as to what it fixes (Wizards needed full BAB?)

Maybe it's there to replace the bajillion bonuses that used to make your character get stronger as you level up?

And it fixes a level-based disparity problem, where a typical cleric archer starts out tolerable but gets relatively worse compared to enemy AC every level.

And it's simple to understand.

It has bad side effects, but it's not without purpose.

I am not sure that this is the case for the cleric archer... I think they are just as far behind in PF2 as they would be in PF1 since they don't get the proficiency increases. The only difference in PF1 is the 3/4 BAB, which was certainly a thing, but the fix to action economy probably does more to fix this since it doesn't gate iteratives behind BAB.

My guess is that they want to homogenize accross all classes and builds so that they can create APs with the guarantee that everyone can make the Perception/Craft/Diplomacy/Stealth etc. checks at a certain guaranteed rate with very tightly controlled math. This would also apply to saving throws, AC and pretty much everything else that sits within a +/-5 variance regardless of character or build.

You could be right... I could be right...but I would prefer to hear the developers reasons rather than having to guess... and then judge the system based on my assumptions rather than their stated goals.

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Mechagamera wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
catman123456 wrote:

Our aim is to make the game easier to learn and simpler to play, while maintaining the depth of character and adventure options that has always defined Pathfinder. In this version of the game, for example, players can still build a dual-wielding ranger or an elemental-focused druid, but doing so is easier and more streamlined. Along those same lines, a lich is still the same terrifying foe that it’s always been, but now Game Masters can build one to add to their stories in about half the time.

From pg3 of the playtest doc.

What's interesting about this is that the goals are all framed in terms of ease of use and ease of adoption. What's missing is anything around making the game fun. Even the specific examples are framed around making it easier to build characters and NPC's.

As I dive into more and more details of the game I get the eerie feeling that the driving forces were making life easier on the GM and new players. Whether or not the game is fun to play seems to have taken a back seat.

Edited to add: I also agree with posters earlier in the thread who assert that PFS is a big component of the game design. Many of the rigid rule structures and class balancing decisions seem geared for problems that are found in Society play, where the GM has to rigidly adhere to published rules, and the party makeup is essentially random.

PF is hard to GM compared to a lot of systems even with PFS (and it has gotten harder as time goes on). Cutting down PC combos seems like the industry standard to make it easier to GM (at least that's what they did in 5e). Lack of GM's is one possible slow death of PF.

No one has ever said that 3.5 or PF was easy on new players (except with irony or a belly full of rotgut--Viva Thunderbird!). An aging player base plus few new players=another possible slow death of PF.

In short, the goal of PF2 is to prevent the slow death of PF. I think Paizo is shooting for the Goldie Locks spot of more...

I think that is why you see a pretty warm reception to things like the new action economy, and the severe reduction in stacking a bajillion magical items/bonuses.

These are ideas that attempt to fix real problems.

The flat level-based scaling for everything might be a good idea, but I am at a loss as to what it fixes (Wizards needed full BAB?), and I could say the same about the heavy restrictions on signature skills, skill uses, class feats, multiclassing etc. Are these things easier?

That is why I would like to know what exactly the intent was for these big system changes from the developers. The stated goals are far too vague and they don't relate to the systems that really seem to be stirring conflict.

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Lord Fyre wrote:

Because the more I read PF2, the more I am liking PF1.

What is the penalty for rejecting Pathfinder 2.0?

I am not suggesting that there is any penalty, or that you should like what has been presented.

I am saying that if we have a list of the design principles that went into each the creation of each major game system (particularly those that are new or radically different) we could give better feedback.

It might be the case, that we just disagree with the premise, and can, as you say, disengage from the product. Pathfinder is a lot of different things to a lot of different people, so if they spoke to what exactly they were trying to achieve we could figure out if its the implementation or the goal that we like or dislike.

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
* I really hate magic weapons. Not only does it feel non-heroic when you notice that most of your melee damage is from your magic sword and not from you, it has some negative mechanical effects too.

Great post, and yes, I really detest extra weapon damage dice coming from magic (and to hit from item quality/magic bonus), if it is integral/expected, it should be tied to Trained proficiency and character level, something like:

2-4: +1/2 x weapon damage dice
5-8: +2/3 x weapon damage dice
9-12: +3/4 x weapon damage dice
13-16: +4/5 x weapon damage dice
17-20: +5/6 x weapon damage dice

I agree that its not good to have this absurd reliance on magic weapons, but they may have painted themselves into a bit of a corner with this one.

If you tie it to level alone, then we are even further down the homogenization railroad and martial characters seem even less well.. good at being martial in comparison to their allies? I don't know, both options feel bad to me.

If you tie it to proficiency then you create a severe problem for any class that isn't fighter.. because you can't just choose to increase proficiency in weapons. It effectively down-grades barbarian, paladin, rogue or any future class that wants to use a weapon pretty immensely.

Previously the bulk of damage came from a concordance of feats, items, ability scores, class features, etc... so there were lots of character building resources that went into increasing damage output. This new simplification that puts it all into one source, means that the source has to be universally accessible, and I think since a magic item at least has some opportunity cost associated with it, they felt this was the only way.... because a feat tree, for example, would also feel mandatory and kinda bad.

Realistically, I think that the attribution of proficiencies being unlocked might be necessary, but then the optimization mindset will make it very hard to see why not to always take these weapon proficiencies (over armor or a saving throw or a skill) and we again lose identity for martial classes since they all need to invest in this thing...

Its not an easy fix IMHO.

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Dire Ursus wrote:
Lord_Malkov wrote:

but at least I know they aren't trying to claim that this system provides more customization, diversity or thematic mechanics.

I never understand this argument. Compare the customization, diversity and thematic mechanics of 2e to ONLY the core rulebook of 1e. I'm pretty sure the build choices and options are MORE diverse in 2e than in 1e right off the bat. Here's an example: Ranged attacker Rogues are actually pretty viable. There's no range limit on sneak attack anymore. And there are more ways to make creatures flat footed in order to get that sneak attack (intimidate for example, which comes online as early as 4th level and is actually pretty damn strong. I'm running the playtest with an intimidate rogue and it's really impressive.)

So the mechanics already existed in PF1.

You could make ranged sneak attacks, and cause enemies to be flat-footed.

But now you feel that those mechanics are stronger at a baseline level, and that is the same as more customization for you? Not just more powerful?

Well the power level of certain choices has shifted all over the place, (this is not irrelevant at all, but its not even across the board since some archetypes got considerably down-powered) so lets ignore that aspect for the moment, and ask the most relevant question:

Does the character creation and advancement system in PF2 offer me more character building resources or greater freedom in how I spend those resources?

I would argue that you get less choice, and that the choices offered have less impact. As I said I think the goal is to homogenize across all archetypes to ensure that any party makeup has access to everything, but this (in my opinion) is achieved at the cost of role diversity and customization.

That is not to say that such an approach is wrong. Lots of systems do it, but it would be helpful to know that so we aren't arguing over one game while the Devs are actively trying to make another.

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It would actually be nice to see a list of goals rather than some over-arching philosophy.

Specifically, each contentious system could be described by what it is attempting to achieve.

To say "this is why resonance works the way it does, and this is what we are trying to achieve with its implementation" or "this is what we are trying to achieve by adding +1/level to everything".

If the Devs came out and said: "we want player choices in feats/class features to be less powerful/diversifying in order to homogenize playstyle and power level across archetypes in all situations of play", then I could at least say that they have achieved their goal... and we may even be able to talk about whether or not that is the kind of goal we are interested in seeing pursued.

The same with +lvl to everything... if they just say that they are trying to ensure that everyone can always participate in every part of an adventure, and that role diversity is something they are trying to avoid to make the sessions more inclusive (and to guarantee that every AP will always have access to the player skills they want) then OKAY. I may not like that idea, but at least I know they aren't trying to claim that this system provides more customization, diversity or thematic mechanics.

Reasonable set of questions. Here you go:

Unicore wrote:
How much better should your character get when they level up?

It really depends on the system in question and the frequency of level advancements. I think the goal is to ensure that a character feels a noticeable advancement in the areas they care about in comparison to the environment of the game. They should improve mechanically so that the next encounter/obstacle/opportunity which concerns their choices of advancement feels more likely to succeed than before.

Unicore wrote:
How much of that should be determined by things you specifically choose?

Ideally everything, but there are many systems which assume that certain statistics like hitpoints are so essential, that they are ultimately uninteresting non-choices (i.e. you are going to take this choice anyway, so it may as well advance automatically since its also not a particularly interesting or character-defining decision)

A level should offer some amount of character building resources that can be spent by each player to advance or build upon those elements of the character that they deem most important, interesting or defining. This allows each character to feel more unique as they progress. A good leveling system should offer a chance for the expression of a character which mirrors and/or informs the non-mechanical roleplaying expression.

Unicore wrote:
How important is your character's equipment to sense of who they are as a character, and how they improve?

Ideally not at all unless that character decides to make it so. A character may want to define part of their story through a magical ancestral blade or a utility belt of clever wondrous items, but that should not be required. A game that requires you to have a host of magical baubles in order to be effective actively diminishes the relative power of the character using those items. (i.e. without them they are weak and ineffectual)

The expenditure of character building resources could and perhaps should extend to items. It could be an interesting choice whether to become more proficient with all swords, or to spend you character resources on a magical sword. The benefit of the latter may be more powerful, but could also be more limiting. Elric is an interesting character, but perhaps you prefer a Conan type who doesn't need a magical sword.

Unicore wrote:
Does leveling up need to feel balanced between all characters in the party?

Yes and no.

Everyone should get the same amount of 'character bucks' to invest in the parts of their character that they want to advance.
That does not mean, however, that regardless of investment, all characters should be equal or balanced in all things... it means quite the opposite. I believe in a balance of resources and opportunity, rather than a forced balance in effect. The character who dabbles in spellcasting should feel no injustice at the thought that the dedicated wizard has more powerful magic. They could have spent their resources (class-levels, feats, ability scores etc.) to also be a dedicated wizard. They instead chose other options that the wizard does not have, and that is as it should be.

Unicore wrote:

Does level need to have a static meaning that works on a narrative level? (If the party is level 1, do level 1 enemies need to be equal in power for general world balance? or is it ok for the party to exist as a special exception to the rest of the world?)

This is really two different distinct questions.

To the first: It does not need to be a special abstraction. It can be a measure of skill and experience and nothing more. e.g: soldier A has been on 4 campaigns and fought in dozens of battles while soldier B is a new recruit. Soldier A has more experience, and is likely of a higher "level". That experience translates into the opportunities for growth, but that does not means that soldier A is necessarily better at all possible things than soldier B.

To the second: Monsters or enemies of equal level can be worse or better. Level in this sense is just an abstraction used for guiding us toward creating compelling encounters. The party can be a special exception or it can be right in line... it really depends on the game you want to play. Perhaps you are building a world of over-powered high-fantasy superheroes, or perhaps instead you want something more gritty or realistic. This is all very setting-dependent.

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breithauptclan wrote:

That is where the problem comes in. I agree that it is virtually impossible to get more than about a 4 to 8 point difference between the modifiers between the characters. Skill feats help a bit for that feeling of expertise, but that requires additional character creation cost.

So, why the competition? I am getting this vibe from a lot of the people that I read on this forum. It feels like the game is less about role playing and creating characters and having fun; it is not a cooperative game where you and your friends go adventuring. It becomes a competitive game where each player tries to build a character that can out-do the other characters in some field or other.

So why do you need your bard to be so much better than the other characters at bluff and deception?

It is a different point of view of the game than I have and I am trying to understand it. So please take my questions literally.

People here are used to Pathfinder, where one can have the mechanics of their character match their roleplaying intent.

We could, of course, all just flip coins for success or failure on everything and just roleplay it out. With a good GM, that would work out fine and be a fun night.

But if you like complex systems for describing what makes your character special in the world of the game, its nice to start with what makes them special compared to their fellow party-mates. It also allows the GM to really tailor certain encounters and role playing opportunities to specific players... giving each a time to shine.

In the current Pathfinder, player choices in the expenditure of character building resources have far more weight in determining how good a character is at something than in Pathfinder 2. And since this is ostensibly a forum of Pathfinder players, its not surprising to see a lot of negativity around this issue.

Even great heroes have flaws and weaknesses. It makes them more interesting.

Its also worth noting that being really good at something like Diplomacy is worth far more when no one else is. It makes your character essential in some way. It proves that the group of heroes need each other, because no one can be great at everything.

Doing it the other way, where everyone can do everything, is fine mechanically. It is a roleplaying game after all, and you make your own fun... but I do not like these mechanics, and I can take my roleplaying to any other system out there. Preferably one where I like both.

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Unicore wrote:
I think the biggest detriment to the +level to proficiency system is that a lot of people are not actually reading the full rules of it or try to understand what it is supposed to be doing, and deciding that proficiency gating works someway it is imagined in their head without actually thinking it out and having faith in a GM to arbitrate what can and cannot be done with skill checks...which is what has always been required unless you design skill challenges like some kind of numbers mini-game that has no room for creative problem solving.

I think that the biggest detriment to the +level system is that the rules never clearly state any of what you have said here. Aside from saying that the GM is the boss... which is not a feature of this system. That is just tabletop roleplaying.

You can perform(action) untrained with those bagpipes. Its pretty clear in the book. You need to be trained to 'stage a performance' (i.e. put on a musical).

More to the point, why have the +level at all if proficiency is what is important? Why give the barbarian +15 to perform checks and then tell them they can't use it? Most of these dice rolls ARE just a numbers mini-game, so why not cut out the middle man?

Want to pick an expert lock? Have expert or higher proficiency in Thievery.

Want to climb? Untrained you can climb with a rope or up a steep hill, trained you can climb a sheer surface with many sufficient handholds. Legendary you can climb a smooth wall one-handed at normal speed.

And on and on...sounds neat.

But that is not the system in the book unless you do all the work to arbitrate everything yourself, in which case its as good as not having a system at all.

"The system is nonsense, but the GM can fix it" is not a great sales pitch.

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Matthew Downie wrote:
I was under the impression people were mostly just saying, "It's simpler," or "It reduces certain types of imbalance between high-level PCs," or "It makes us less dependent on getting AC and saving throw bonuses from multiple items."

You know I keep waiting for someone to directly answer the question in the title of this thread, and no one has yet... but these are a pretty good distillation of the points made by the 'pro' side of this discussion.

My response would be:
1. It's simpler
A: No it isn't. The PF2 rulebook is really at just about the exact same level of complexity as the core PF1 rulebook. The numbers are just different. I would argue that the formatting and action qualities are actually more complicated, but I can attribute that to its newness. So they are essentially the same.

2.It reduces certain types of imbalance between high-level PCs
A: Yes it sure does. Everything that auto-scales, which is everything mundane characters can do, will... well... auto-scale, for everyone. And this fixes that problem that PF1 had where mundane (i.e. non-spellcaster) characters were just too darn good at high level compared to their spellcaster friends, who lets face it, were just useless past level 13. Sarcasm aside, I can see how shrinking the gap of min-maxed vs. un-optimized is a good thing, but this system took a gap of +25-40 on a roll and made it +3, which is probably way too much homogenization for a game that advertises 'customization' as a feature. e.g:"Everyone can only play the Fighter class" also "fixes" this issue, but that doesn't mean its a good idea.

3."It makes us less dependent on getting AC and saving throw bonuses from multiple items
A: This one is just plain false. Fixing items and how they give bonuses along with adjusting the monster math fixes this, it has nothing to do with +1/lvl to everything.

4."It is to make levels feel impactful"
They were already hugely impactful. This sort of comment came up a lot in this thread and its really confusing to me, so I won't pretend to understand it.

In short, I can agree with almost every problem that anyone here has accused PF1 of having... but that does not mean that this is the best solution to any of those problems, as it is quite obviously not satisfactory to a large group of players.

I think it needs a serious re-think and some very clearly defined goals for the community to chew on.

I like the cantrips.
I like the action economy.
I like the severe reduction in necessary magic items.
I like the idea of backgrounds
I like the unified arcane divine etc. spell lists

I think resonance is a ham-fisted solution and should be changed.
I think martial damage scaling should not be tied to magic weapons.
(You did so well the rest of the magic item stuff why mess up this one so badly?)
I think that the idea of proficiencies gating certain skill-based actions is a good idea, but its implemented badly.
And I think that flat +1/lvl scaling for everything (coupled with the increbibly low impact of character class-feats, ability choices, stat allocation etc.) is so dull and homogenizing that it makes me completely disinterested in playing PF2 at all.

There is a lot here that could work if it was really refined.
There are many problems to tackle from PF1.
I still do not understand the problem that this specific game system fixes, and why it is the best way to fix it. Which makes it hard to swallow the new problems that it creates.

So if anyone can help me understand... please do. I really do not get it.

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Just to offer some counter points. I don't want to be argumentative, so let me say first that I am just giving a different viewpoint. I think all of your points are credible.

John Lynch 106 wrote:

Do you really think it's unreasonable for someone whose had 7 extra levels of real-world experience to be able make Arcana checks slightly better than a 1st level character whose only book smart?


For some things.

Absurd hyperbolic example: "Of course Bill is a better programmer than you! You just got out of college, but he has been a carpenter for over 25 years!"

The point here is less about the effect and more about the impact that spending character resources has. Whether or not its relevant in the game is not my argument. You could previously choose to learn skills to do something others could not (because they chose to learn different skills). That is no longer the case.

Probably works fine, doesn't feel good to me.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
This is demonstrably not true. All you have to do is go up against level appropriate challenges rather than level 1 challenges. If level 1 challenges make up a regular part of your high level play then you're going to struggle to have fun in PF2e, but I'd have to question how much fun you actually had in PF1e.

True if the DCs all scale.

But then why scale the bonus and the DC at all. Its the definition of a treadmill. And at mid-level in PF1, the specialists were far more than +1-3 points ahead of their party-mates, which contributes to making a character feel special when their "thing" comes up in play.

Again, just my opinion.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
The world's greatest swordsman will be able to switch between any melee fighting style (shield+sword, TWFing with swords, two-handed sword and one hand sword and free hand) freely between battles whether he needs to become more defensive or stay focused on offense.

With the current form of magic weapons, this is actually less true than it was in PF1. Way more of your damage comes from you magic weapon, and you can't afford to have 2 or 3 lying around RAW.

So you are not adaptable once magic weapons become a thing.

This, I think, has some hope to see a change.

John Lynch 106 wrote:

There are a lot of benefits and ways for someone who has devoted their resources to the craft of fighting with a sword to be significantly better than a wizard whose decided to pick up a sword and fight with it with no resources invested.

Just far far less than PF1. Give wizards a full BAB in PF1 and there would STILL be more separation than in PF2. Martial feats are currently quite under-powered (my opinion), arcane spell failure is gone so no more full-plate advantage, and the majority of martial damage comes from the weapon rather than the wielder.

A PF2 fighter IS better with a weapon than the Wizard... the gap has simply closed an extraordinary amount. This is directly related to the +1/lvl to everything system.

I really think you should build a mid-level PF2 wizard that works toward being a fighter (still gets full spellcasting) and compare that to a straight up PF2 fighter.

Its not a great comparison.

The class budget previously tied up in full BAB has not been given a charitable refund here. It used to justify not getting powerful tools like spells. Now you have to compare spellcasting to.... a slightly better proficiency bonus and some more hp.

But hey, maybe its just me. Like I said, this is more about how this feels to me than anything else.

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Bobson wrote:
Lord_Malkov wrote:

Personally, my main gripe is that the +1/lvl very rapidly diminishes things like proficiency bonuses, ability scores etc. Just mathematically,these flat bonuses inevitably shrink in comparison to one's flat level bonus.

And since these are the things that come from character choices in class,feats, etc. the system actually diminishes the sense that a player has made meaningful choices along the way.

The level bonus makes other bonuses numerically a smaller percentage, but since everything (except static DCs) scales at the same rate, the fighter having +3 on attacks on top of his level will still be 15% better at everything than the wizard with +0.

If monsters didn't scale the same, then it'd matter. But since you get the exact same results from an equal-level encounter regardless of whether everything has +level or not, it doesn't end up mattering that the +level becomes a larger single bonus than everything else.

That is why I said that it diminishes the "sense" that meaningful choices have been made. Devoting everything you've got (ie class levels, feats etc.) to be the worlds greatest swordsman should separate you more from those who do not. Perhaps, mechanically this is enough at +3, but it doesn't feel good (to me). Its actually good, in my opinion, for players to feel that there is something their group really counts on them for, because they are really far superior at it (ie more than having an extra +1 to a check in system with a variance of 1-20 as the starting point). It offers a role to play which is supported by the mechanics. Some don't care about this, and more power to 'em.

The previous gaps between characters grew immensely over levels. Probably way too much. But now the single largest contributor to any regular (i.e. non-magical) check is a bonus that everyone gets.

And this goes for skills and martial combat and everything... exceeept spellcasting.

This is an issue for me now, where it wasn't before, because as the fighter, one could previously, without spells, do things that the wizard couldn't, and feel good about it. Magic is the ultimate trump card in the end, but you could contribute in a party in ways they couldn't.

The fighter is 15% better at fighting.
The wizard is 15% worse and gets spells.

It might function, sure. I have already conceded that point, but I do not like how it feels, and that is something I consider just as important.

As I said, this is a big split and it is unlikely to change or be resolved, but I am offering my opinion nonetheless.

It should be 1 lvl 8 item:

from Page 370


The level of an item with runes etched on it is equal to

the highest level among the base item and all runes etched
on it; therefore, a +1 mace (4th level) with a disrupting
rune (5th level) would be a 5th-level item.

bugleyman wrote:
Lord_Malkov wrote:
And you might argue that comparisons between PCs are irrelevant, and I would agree to the extent that the game is not about PCs fighting PCs... but you really DO want the Fighter to feel very much like the best Fighter in the group, and to allow them to emphasize that role rather than see their early level advantage slowly erode away to the point where they start to wonder how 9 levels of spellcasting is somehow equivalent to their extra +2 on attacks.
This post could only be better if you also complained that all of the good combat feats are "locked" behind the fighter class.

I'm not sure I follow you.

The class feats are locked because they are the class's features. If they had decided to call them "Class Options" no one would be complaining. Its only because they are called feats that people feel like there should be some universal access.

I have no problem with that.

I would like them to be more impactful on the whole, but its a good idea... particularly because its so easy to expand on a class outside of the old Archetype system, which was necessarily a bit more narrow. I expect to see many books with many new class feats to choose from.

Doesn't make me like the flat scaling of everything for everyone, but hey, I don't have to like it. Maybe its just not for me.
I'm sure that the move toward 4e is meant to grab some unused space in the market since WOTC abandoned it, and I hope they are successful with it.

Unicore wrote:

I am asking out of honest ignorance here, but have you read through the whole section about skill checks and proficiencies in the play test? Because the rules call for GM arbitration for what any character can accomplish from a skill check based upon their proficiency. This is very different from PF1. Instead of saying it is a X DC to learn this specific fact, with the new system, the GM is perfectly within her right to decide that that untrained society check to learn something could have a higher DC for the untrained fighter vs the local diplomat. She could also decide that the information the fighter wants can't be determined from an untrained check alone. Maybe that untrained check can find them the person who might know, but that check may be much harder because the person who knows is a criminal who is trying to lay low.

GM Fiat is a bad place to have to hide your systems answers in a game that is historically all about crunch.

It always works, I will grant you. You can handwave the players' into a much more believable world at any time.

But if this is the intention of the system.... to determine what a player or NPC can do by virtue of their proficiencies and NOT their numerical bonus to the Skill Check, then lets see THAT system. Because PF2 is currently NOT that system in the way that it is actually written or expressed.

Of course there will always be an aside that establishes that the GM is the ultimate arbiter of what can or cannot be done, but if you have to rely on that, then you are not relying on the system they created and it begs the question: "Why have the system at all?" or "Why not change the system so that it CAN be relied upon to be the arbiter of what a character can and can't do?"

And this is the crux of this particular argument. The systems, as written, describe the way the world functions. All of the athlete-wizard and poet-laureate-barbarian examples are hyperbolic, but point toward a bad system for describing actions and characters in the world... unless you abandon that system and turn it over to GM fiat, which you are free to do, and will make for a better game.... but it does not excuse the system for requiring such intervention.

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N-Sphere wrote:

Bulk is a system that seems smart and simple, but is basically dumb and complicated in practice.

It abstracts weight in such a way as to hide how strong your character actually is... thus creating massive confusion every time people need to try and translate the alien nonsense units into physical strength that is actually relatable so they can figure out if the character can do something involving strength.

Horrible 'so smart it is stupid' system that creates a mass of confusion just save people from doing some grade school addition to sum up weight numbers by replacing it with the need to do grade school addition to sum up bulk numbers and Ls that have no real meaning to the person.

Yeah this was my first reaction as well.

Realistically, they could have just rounded all of the item weights, and said that everything is either negligible weight (i.e.0 lbs), 5 lbs, 10 lbs or some greater multiple of 10 lbs to make the math easier, which is the only annoying part of the previous system.

As is , this seems like a redefinition that exists solely to be a redefinition. The term "Carrying-Capacity" as expressed in pounds or kilograms is just about as intuitive as you can get... no one will have a hard time understanding what that means or what it allows you to do.

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Aadgarvven wrote:
Lord_Malkov wrote:

This seems to be the main split on the reception of this rules set.

If you think it makes characters very quickly become far more powerful than enemies that once seemed powerful, you are correct.

If you think its a treadmill, you are also correct.

Personally, my main gripe is that the +1/lvl very rapidly diminishes things like proficiency bonuses, ability scores etc. Just mathematically,these flat bonuses inevitably shrink in comparison to one's flat level bonus.

And since these are the things that come from character choices in class,feats, etc. the system actually diminishes the sense that a player has made meaningful choices along the way.

It can still work, bu they need to tune up the impact of these differentiating factors. Perhaps make Proficiency bonuses double at 5-10-15 etc. Or make them determine your per level scaling entirely, I don't know. But this is the biggest flaw in the system as I see it.

add to this that at some levels FOUR atributes are raised by 2 levels unless above 18, then 1.

Raising your 4 lower abilities is optimizing, you could build 1 over 18, but very few people will raise 2 atributes above 18.
Level 1 characters will be different, with these differences diminishing with level due to the +1/level and the atributes, besides for spellcasters, the low number of spells will make them choose the most effective ones.

My guess is that after 6 months there will be a power build for every archetype, with very few outliers and even them very similar.

I agree, this will lead to further homogenization as players learn to optimize.

There is an argument for making the gap between a character that dedicates no resources to a skill or action type versus a character that has invested as much as possible shrink. I think that it can open up space for more thematic or marginalized archetypes if you can put a hard ceiling on the benefits of min-maxing, while minimizing the cost of un-optimized choices.

The stated goals of the system include 'customization' as a key feature. And customization ONLY acts as such if it has weight and impact. To use a hyperbolic example: In a game where the average damage total is 1,000, getting an ability that adds +1 damage is not real customization since its will be subsumed by the scale of the system.

Here we do have a similar result. The unique class identifiers of proficiency and feats are very small nudges that don't have a dramatic impact on the result.... at least not in comparison to the flat level bonus in mid to late levels.

I can't say that it is 'wrong'. Only that it feels bad.

And you might argue that comparisons between PCs are irrelevant, and I would agree to the extent that the game is not about PCs fighting PCs... but you really DO want the Fighter to feel very much like the best Fighter in the group, and to allow them to emphasize that role rather than see their early level advantage slowly erode away to the point where they start to wonder how 9 levels of spellcasting is somehow equivalent to their extra +2 on attacks.

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This seems to be the main split on the reception of this rules set.

If you think it makes characters very quickly become far more powerful than enemies that once seemed powerful, you are correct.

If you think its a treadmill, you are also correct.

Personally, my main gripe is that the +1/lvl very rapidly diminishes things like proficiency bonuses, ability scores etc. Just mathematically,these flat bonuses inevitably shrink in comparison to one's flat level bonus.

And since these are the things that come from character choices in class,feats, etc. the system actually diminishes the sense that a player has made meaningful choices along the way.

It can still work, bu they need to tune up the impact of these differentiating factors. Perhaps make Proficiency bonuses double at 5-10-15 etc. Or make them determine your per level scaling entirely, I don't know. But this is the biggest flaw in the system as I see it.

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ErichAD wrote:
It's doubly odd since Rogues get an ability that makes it so that they aren't flat footed to sensed and unseen targets. That's an irrelevant defense, isn't it?

No, because something can still be unseen without relying on stealth.

Or the rogue could be blinded.

This only applies very specifically to the use of the stealth skill to stay Unseen.

That said.. this does seem incredibly silly. Especially since they are keeping the name "Sneak Attack". If you Sneak up to make an attack... you do not gain the benefits of sneak attack. (unless the target has not acted in combat, in which case they are flat-footed, but the sneaking part then also becomes completely irrelevant)

There is also this weird bit where Advanced Alchemy states that you get the formula book with 4 common formulas as described in the feat... and then the next entry for Formula Book states that you start with a formula book that contains 4 common formulas.

So you start with 2 books that have 4 formulas each?

Seems like a typo.

At 6th level a FIghter can take the exotic weapon training feat which reads:


Choose an exotic weapon when you gain this feat. You gain trained

proficiency with that exotic weapon and access to its critical specialization effects as if it
were a martial weapon in its weapon group.

But the Fighter starts 'Trained' in all exotic weapons and can become an 'Expert' in one Exotic weapon group at level 5.

So either this is meant to provide a higher proficiency than Trained, or the text is redundant and its effect is actually to just give you access to critical specialization effects for that weapon.

This should be cleaned up or clarified.

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Fappy wrote:
Speaking of Constitution, does anyone know if CON mod boosts affect your total HP retroactively? It obviously did in PF1, but I have found nothing in the playtest to suggest it works that way.

I believe that it 'should' based on the wording for the 'Potent' magic items, where it very clearly states that you get any benefits retroactively (i.e. additional trained skill/skills for an intelligence boosting item).

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And the treadmill becomes so obvious and static that they may as well never add any bonuses at all.

In fact, since the limited number of flat advantages that any character gets from ability score or proficiency will inevitably be dwarfed by their simple level bonus, characters will ultimately feel more and more homogenized and less and less unique as they advance. Which feels backward.

This is maybe the most absurd change.
It makes almost everything a coin flip attack at best.

There are ways of toning down the numbers without making the best fighter in the group suffer with a permanent 40% miss chance. These sorts of outcomes feel bad (and slow) in a binary-result game with such a limited set of actions. And then feel worse when you can see quite clearly that there is no way to improve the situation.

I am not suggesting that the old armor class setup was particularly good, but this is not the way to fix it.

There are now about a bajillion feats for each character... let them invest in what they want to be good at. And let them be far better than those that do not invest in those same abilities.

Its okay for the 12th level wizard who has never used a bow and arrow to be worse than the 4th level fighter in an archery contest.

There was a FAQ stating explicitly that Impact and Lead Blades do not stack. So that is first off.

The second issue is really that these are all the same sort of effect. If they were "bonuses" then there would be a great argument for allowing them to stack, but they aren't. Each of these is an effect, and similar effects do not stack... you just take the strongest one.

The best you could really do is Imp. Natural Attack, Enlarge and Strong Jaw.

Imp. Natural attack increases the damage dice flat out.
Enlarge increases the actual size of the weapons
Strong Jaw treats them as two size categories larger.

Since impact, lead blades, belt of thunderous charging et all also "treat the weapons as X size categories larger" they would overlap with strong jaw and not stack.

Nefreet wrote:
Magnus Arcanis wrote:
Spellstrike and FD, can it work?

No, for the same reasons a Wizard cannot Fight Defensively when delivering a regular touch attack spell.

I can't find the SKR quote right now where he said the Design Team was considering allowing things like Fighting Defensively with Spell Combat. That was the last I'd heard on it, several months ago. I haven't seen anything since. Perhaps we should start a new FAQ thread for just that question. Would get a quicker response that way.

Yep. Its weird that fighting defensively is its own set of actions, but it definitely is. As a magus, you could always use Combat Expertise instead, since that does not have the same restrictions, but not fighting defensively.

I think there is some justification for the FD action types. Crane Style becoming a great option for grappling would be a bit strange... and then you would have that wonky question about whether an escape attempt (which is an attack roll, as are all CMB checks) could be deflected... and I don't want that to happen.

It also doesn't fit with things like overrun or charge attacks IMO, which puts it in a reasonable category. The spellcombat thing, though... that should probably be just like a regular full-attack and allow the magus to fight defensively.

Honorable Goblin wrote:
Mechanical Pear wrote:

(the base bite for this creature is 4d8, but gets increased 5 steps due to a monk's increase, and Monastic Legacy)

I don't think this works the way you think it works (Link to the FAQ in question). The monk's Unarmed Strike feature doesn't say it increases unarmed strike damage by X "steps"/die sizes/whatever, it says a monk's unarmed strike has X damage dice.

Say you have a bite attack that does 1d6 damage, but you're effectively a 12th level monk with regards to unarmed strike damage; you can use the monk unarmed strike damage die in place of the normal damage die of your claw attack to deal 2d6 instead of 1d6. It does not "boost the damage die by 5 steps" to 2d8 (or higher depending on what scale you're using).

If I'm somehow misinterpreting the FAQ or there has been Dev clarification that contradicts the way I'm reading it, I'd appreciate a link.

Naw, you got it. It replaces the damage.

It is important to note, however, that the damage listed for a monk's unarmed strike is for a medium sized monk. That means that the damage would increase based on size up to whatever the shape being used is.

Really, the monk+druid+FCT thing is only effective if you are using a form that has a bunch of low damage attacks. Try a giant lake octopus (8 tentacles).

Otherwise, its only really useful to use flurry with something that has just one big attack. Of course, then you downgrade that attack to 1x strength instead of the 1-1/2 it gets for being the only attack.

Its tough at higher levels with mundane guards.

You have to think of the transference here... by which I mean, this group can likely take down a full-grown dragon. Would a dragon stop when 5 crossbowmen and a guard captain threatened it like this? Would it care?

Probably not... and since the group can easily be far more powerful than a single dragon, they probably won't care either. Threatening civilians, OTOH can work wonders on a good-aligned group. Just like in the real world, good guys hesitate when innocent lives are at immediate risk.

Its hard to say that the mongrelman could make both a slam and a 1-handed club attack. Generally speaking, you lose a natural attack if you wield a weapon in that limb.... now what limb is being used for a slam? Umm... not sure. Frankly its the most vague type of attack.

An elemental could not really have limbs at all but still make a slam. If it were my game, I would say that you would get to pick either or, just like the mongrelman. There is no RAW here to support either really since we can't say what is being used to make a slam attack... we know arms are involved somehow, but whether it takes one or both or a full body sort of movement is hard to determine.

But in any case, I would rule that way because otherwise an elemental shaped druid could make full manufactured attacks plus all of their slams, and probably more dangerous, a vampire would be able to make full weapon attacks plus a slam with drain.

Now I may indeed be taking multiple attacks out of context, but the counter-argument would be that you are inferring that the same phrase is referring only to natural attacks, which it does not explicitly state. So both are possible interpretations with fairly solid ground to stand on.

In any case, this is a very odd set of circumstances and definitely qualifies as an edge case. If the creature has just the one attack, and it is only using that attack, then the difference in viewpoints is full-str or 1.5-str, which probably won't shake the roots of the world if ruled in either direction. But I hold to my reading of the text as I am sure you will hold to yours.

1&2. Sort of... but mostly no. A powerful charge is a specific special attack that is listed in the monster's stat block. So you just get that one "powerful charge" attack because it is listed as an attack ability. Or you could make a full attack with pounce, not both.

3. Only the mount needs charge through, because only the mount is charging. If you are riding a mount, there is literally no reason for you to have charge through. The bonus to attacks made on a charge generally apply only to the target of the charge, but I could see an argument for getting the +2 on the overrun check (also, check out coordinated maneuvers... good feat for mounted combat).

3B. Again, powerful charge is a special attack, not just a bonus to attacks made during a charge, so no... it would just be a regular AoO.

4. Rhino Hide does indeed apply to all attack made as part of a charge so yes, it will apply to all pounce attacks.

..... there is nothing that says that the particles give off light.

You quite literally summon a garish burst of glitter...it gets in people's eyes and makes them look absurd, cool. Got it.

But there really is nothing in the spell that provides any RAW evidence that it makes subsequent castings of invisibility impossible, unlike Fairie Fire which says that it negates invisibility for its duration. This just outlines a creature just like flour outlines a creature. No reason to imply that it does anything other than just that.

It is golden dust.... that really is all that it does.
I am not sure what else you need out of a level 2 spell that doesn't have a saving throw (for the outlining invisible creatures part).

Either way though, your table, your ruling.

fretgod99 wrote:

I had some time to kill, so I checked out the bestiaries to see if I could find a particularly enlightening example (beyond the Mongrelman I mentioned above).

It was actually not easy, but because my criteria were specific. I wanted to find a monster which had a stat block including only a single natural attack, but which would be capable of making a manufactured attack, and which had a strength bonus high enough to demonstrate the use of the Full BAB/1.5 STR rule. Because most relevant monsters either have multiple natural attacks or the stat blocks include manufactured attacks (thus stating their primary natural attacks as secondary) it took a little bit.

But, I did find a perfect example.

This creature has the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a bee. She wields a longbow with uncanny skill.

LN Medium monstrous humanoid
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee sting +10 (1d8+7 plus poison)
Ranged composite longbow +8 (1d8+5/×3 plus poison) or Rapid Shot +6/+6 (1d8+5/×3 plus poison)
Str 20, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 15

I've included all the necessary information. As you can see, the sole attack stated for the monster is a single natural attack: a sting. A sting is ordinarily a primary natural weapon. With a strength score of 20, the damage indicated in the stat block is clearly using the 1.5 STR rule (+5 modifier times 1.5 rounded down).

The most important piece of information in all of this is the fact that the creature is a monstrous humanoid. As you can tell from the PRD, monstrous humanoids are "proficient with all simple weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entry." This means that the Thriae Soldier is proficient with unarmed strikes and could make one at any time. And yet, the Thriae Soldier still benefits from the Full...

Interesting stuff... convenient of you to just skip over the Thriae Seer...

Really interesting.... because these stat blocks are actually showing a very odd thing. The Thriae Seer is ALSO getting 1-1/2 strength damage with its sting while it makes quarterstaff attacks.

So either we are both wrong, and the Minotaur entry is incorrect, and so are a ton of others... or the Stat blocks here are wrong...

Actually there is no reason that I can gather why the Thriae Seer would be getting 1-1/2 str on its sting... of course its also getting a -5 to hit, soooooo...... yeah, not sure what is going on there, but it shows that these flawed stat blocks might not be the best examples.


This thing about unarmed strikes... you are really not getting it, and I am not sure why.

Are you genuinely asserting that any creature can make unarmed strikes in addition to their natural attacks when they only have natural attacks listed?

I can see the argument for making an unarmed strike [in place of... but in addition to? No sir. Even 'in place of' doesn't have a whole lot of mechanical footing, but in addition? So there are all these creatures that are just not taking their extra attacks each round?

Because what I am saying is right in line with RAW. An unarmed strike acts in many ways like a manufactured weapon (though it isn't one) in that it makes attacks iteratively from high BAB and can downgrade natural attack to secondary attacks. With me?

Okay, so when you attack with a weapon that isn't your natural attack, you lose a natural attack, right? That is right there in the natural attack rules. Now usually this means that you are doing what your own example creature, the Mongrelman, is doing... you are using the limb/limbs needed to make a natural attack in order to wield a weapon. If it chose to do so, however, it could probably make an unarmed strike in place of its slame. The mongrelman in this case does not have the ability to make both a slam and an unarmed strike in the same turn. If you believe that it can, then we are just way too far apart and you are reading a different rulebook than I am.

If you have followed me this far, then please just listen for a moment to the argument I am making. What I am saying is that the capacity to make an attack other than your sole natural attack, in addition to your natural attack, voids the full BAB and 1-1/2 strength upgrade. That is it.

This all comes down to a reading of what it means when it says, "If you only have one natural attack", and what it means when it says "if you have multiple attacks but choose to take only one".

I though this was pretty clear, but obviously we are reading it differently.

Your reading says that "only one natural attack" means only one natural attack, disregarding other attacks.

My reading says that "only on natural attack" Means only one natural attack including other attacks.

Your reading says that this increase does not apply if the creature has multiple natural attacks but chooses to take only one.

My reading says that this increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks of ANY kind but chooses to take only one.

Finally, the only thing to clear up here is the idea that the secondary determination somehow overrides the full-BAB/1-1/2 str rule. I am not sure how that comes out that way TBH. In my reading it is obvious. In yours I am not sure exactly how it happens.

So, the order, for you, is
1. Determine if the attack is primary or secondary
2. Apply full-BAB/1-1/2 modification when appropriate
3. Turn the attack back into a secondary attack?

Mine is:
1. Determine if the attack is primary or secondary
2. Apply full-BAB/1-1/2 modification when appropriate
there is no step three because that conflict cannot arise in my reading of the rules.

Now... that is not too say that you are wrong. I am not saying that. There is room for interpretation here, and I don't want to say that I am 100% correct by Raw or that you are 100% wrong... or really that either of us is 100% anything. But I would like to know that you at least see where I am coming from. I think I see where you are coming from.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
If you don't plan on throwing spells that require saving throws (and you're willing to spend money on pearls of power for bonus spells) you won't need much Int. At level 11 you'll be casting 6th level spells, so you'll need an Int of 16. If you plan to put your 4th and 8th level points into intelligence, you could therefore have a starting intelligence of 14; if you are willing to assume you can get a headband of Intelligence, you could even start lower.


You can certainly ride along with a lower int if you aren't worried about spell DCs. It is a pretty common way to go if you plan on being a melee wizard, (which yes can be a thing).

It is hard for some, however, to see how someone would do this... because a full-blooded spell-focused wizard is probably the best class in the game. Personally, I prefer doing it with a dragon disciple, but that's just me.

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Xaratherus wrote:

There's definitely something about Glitterdust that suggests it would act otherwise: It's a magical spell.

There's a pretty big difference between tossing a handful of mundane, inexpensive flour onto an invisible creature, and tossing a handful of spell-created magical dust - the purpose of which is to negate invisibility - onto a creature who then tries to turn invisible.

It is a conjuration spell, which means that it creates physical objects made of real substance. There is nothing to suggest that those objects (the dust) are somehow immune to invisibility, which I will note, is also a magical spell.

Lakesidefantasy wrote:

If what you were saying were true then Glitterdust would work like mundane powder, it would just become invisible a moment after touching the target.

Except that doesn't happen, a mundane bag of flour really can outline an invisible creature. If you pick up an object it does not become invisible unless you can hide it under your invisible clothes, cloak etc.

From CRB:"If an invisible character picks up a visible object, the object remains visible. An invisible creature can pick up a small visible item and hide it on his person (tucked in a pocket or behind a cloak) and render it effectively invisible. One could coat an invisible object with flour to at least keep track of its position (until the flour falls off or blows away)."

Domestichauscat wrote:

Don't post often here at all, but I do lurk here regularly. In any case, I just GMed the first session of a game last Friday and it worked out great. But there's a few things that came up both in that session and in my preparation for tomorrow's session.

1: Does the spell magic missile always hit or something? We were reading the rules of this spell when our Sorcerer chose to attack three goblins with it. The rules for it don't say there's any saving throw for the attack and doesn't even say that it's a touch attack. It only says that it hits unerringly, which seems to mean that it never misses. But that did not make much sense to us because that sounds overpowered. What kind of attack roll is involved when casting magic missile?

2: In the description of the composite longbow, it says that it can be used while on horseback. Does this mean that a composite longbow can be used on horseback without penalties? Or does it mean that the composite longbow is the only bow that can be used on horseback, but you still take the -4 penalty?

3: How does the CR system work? The way I see it in the bestiary is that a CR 5 monster is a fair fight for four level 5 PCs (for example). But what about a mix of weaker monsters? Would two CR 2 creatures and one CR 1 creature be a CR 5 encounter because they all add up to 5? Or would it just be a semi hard CR 2 or 3 encounter? It's rather confusing.

Thanks for the help in advance, hope you all had a great time this week with the families!

1. Yep, it hits unerringly, no attack roll needed. That means that it also ignores things like miss chances from concealment as well, including the blur spell.

2. You can't use a Longbow while mounted, but you can use a composite longbow while mounted or a shortbow, or a composite shortbow. The penalties are the same for each and are outlined in the Mounted Combat section of the combat chapter. (they are different depending on the mount's movement)

3. CR equal to APL (average party level) is considered a reasonable encounter. There is a chart in the Beastiary that outlines a few different combinations that are equal to the same CR, but really when building an encounter, you can look at the Exp value of a CR=APL creature and then "spend" that budget on any combination of monsters that you like.

For example, four level 4 PCs means an APL 4 group. So CR 4 should be a fair encounter (general guideline is that this takes appx 20% of the group's resources to overcome. Resources being items, rounds of rage or performance, spells per day, hitpoints etc.) A single CR 4 monster is worth 1200 exp... so that encounter could be 1 CR 4 monster, but those sorts of fights (where the monster is alone) are usually pretty easy.

So, you can budget out the exp differently.
CR 3(800exp) + CR 1(400 exp) = 1200
4xCR1 creatures = 1200 exp
2xCR 2 = 1200exp
2xCR 1 and 1xCR 2 = 1200 exp

And all of these should be fairly equal encounters. Now that may make it seem like CR X + CR y = CR (X+Y) but that isn't actually true, as EXP values increase at a faster rate as CRs go up. (EG a CR 9 encounter is worth 6400 exp, which would be 8 CR-3 monsters.)

Still, CR=APL is not usually a 'challenging' encounter... this is the sort of encounter that the group should be able to face 4 times per day without much issue. The thing to remember also, is that not every fight needs to bring PCs to the brink of death... or even be difficult at all. The goal is often just to wear the PCs down, make them use their spells and x/day powers. Attrition will make sure that, though the first fight seems easy, they get seemingly harder as the day progresses and the party is left with less and less tools... even though the CR hasn't really changed.

Anyway, good luck GMing, and have fun.

Ummm.... actually I would say yes, it turns invisible.

Glitterdust is a conjuration spell, so its actual factual physical dust on the target. Its very similar to tossing a bag of flour, except that the target can't remove glitterdust so easily.

In the same situation, if you toss paint or flour or whatever onto a target while they are invisible, it makes them visible.

If you are covered in paint or flour and THEN turn invisible, these things just become invisible with you. Nothing from the Glitterdust text suggests that it would act otherwise.

This is ridiculous.

If a creature makes a manufactured attack, its natural attacks become secondary, yes?

If a creature has only one natural attack (according to you regardless of its other non-natural attacks) then it gets 1-1/2 strength and full BAB regardless of type. Yes?

So you are saying that all the stat blocks that do not conform to this are wrong. It doesn't matter that the attack becomes secondary, because it would still be the only natural attack and still get full BAB and 1-1/2 strength damage.

Interesting, isn't it, how neither of you can find one singular Stat block to support your claims. Not one. Not a single monster in the entire game conforms to your reading of the rules.


And the support for your argument is? What exactly? You want me to find a monster that has just unarmed strikes and a bite? That still doesn't get 1-1/2 strength....

Still has just one natural attack....

How are you missing the part where the creature doesn't gain the increase if it has multiple attacks but chooses to take just one? I mean, seriously? What is the argument on your end? When exactly does this bonus get applied? To a toothy Orc that chooses not to make an unarmed strike? Is that really the argument here?

Okay then, find me the stat block that supports that.

It all depends on the class, and what you want to do...

But there are serious issues with dex-based melee.

The benefit sort of kills itself. Max dex bonus is a real thing with armor. If you have a 24 dex, you are pretty much stuck.

A mithral chain shirt has a max dex of +6, so you are limited there and aren;t getting full dex, but it remains your best option, to get a total of +10 AC.

Another character with a 12 dex who just uses strength can throw on some full plate to get +10 AC.

So that is issue number one.

The second is that there are costs required for dex based fighting, weapon finesse, dervish dancing (yuck for anyone but a Magus IMO), or even TWF.

TWF is probably the biggest ruse in the game. You get to pay double for your weapons, you have to have a 19 dex to fill it out, and just look at the options.

Lets say you use two short swords. So at level 11 with Greater TWF, you get 6 attacks. You deal 1d6+Str with both (say you have double slice) so you are getting 6d6+6xStr+6xEnhancement+4.5xPower Attack.

Now look at a two-handed guy. His strength is going to be higher, so lets say you have a 16 str, and he has a 22. Fair yes? That means we can say that he deals 3 times your strength on each attack. (+3 versus +9 total per attack)

So, his three attacks with a greatsword deal 6d6+9xStr+3xEnhancement+4.5xpower Attack

So, he is getting 27 damage from strength on these attacks, while you are getting 18. Power attack works out to the same. damage dice work out to the same. His enhancement bonus is going to be +1 higher in most cases since you have to pay double and he doesn't, so lets say he has +3 and you have +2. That means that you are getting +12 from enhancement and he is getting +9.

Overall, that means his damage potential is +2 per full attack higher than yours.

Of course, you also spent feats on TWF, Imp. TWF, G. TWF, and Double Slice, and are taking a -2 on every attack... and the two-hander guy didn't have to.

The only way to slide TWF into relevancy is to have a bunch of other static damage boosts... so really the only good TWF class is a fighter, who gets Weapon Spec and Weapon Training and can also use his high dex in combination with heavy armor due to armor training.

OR to be a rogue, where sneak attack can act as static damage. rangers can also get a benefit, since they do not need a high strength, which can keep their damage up there... but even then, the benefits for TWF are really pretty sad.

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Well... it is not a hard and fast equivalency...

In fact, there are a lot of cases where power attacking is a terrible idea. Two weapon fighting rogues know this to be true.

ANd it all comes down to the same things it came down to in 3e... too much accuracy is a waste, so dropping some of that for damage is a great option.

CR 12 monsters have an average AC of 28

If you are a level 14 fighter, you will likely see a lot of these, plus some CR 14 monsters that are meant to be solo according to the CR tables.

So example level 14 fighter has:
Str 24
Weapon Focus
Greater Weapon Focus
Weapon Training +3, plus gloves of dueling for another +2
A +3 Greatsword
BAB +14

So a total bonus to hit of +31
Against a 28 AC, this is just wasted bonus.

If they power attack, then their attack bonus drop to +27, but they get +12 damage with their two-hander. So its a great trade off.

Adding some more feats (W.Spec., G.W.Spec just to show static damage)
Full attack without power attack (+31/+26/+21), 2d6+22
With power attack (+27/+22/+17), 2d6+34

Against 28 AC, he will average 2.6 hits per full attack without power attack, and 2.2 hits per full attack with power attack.

That means, that before crits, the DPR without power attack is 75.4
With power attack it is 90.2
So obviously a good trade... crits will also fall in favor of power attacking, especially since critical focus can pump up the confirm roll, and a fighter is pretty much always going to hit with the threat roll anyway.

And this all makes sense... the fighter goes from an average damage per hit of 29 to an average hit of 41 when power attacking. That means that his attacks are dealing 41% more damage. But he is only taking a -4 to attack rolls... Going from a +31 to a +27 is a difference of about 13%.

You can't just look at the flat 5% per -1 concept here, because everything is multiplicative... so you need to think about the ratios.

Effectively DPR = Accuracy X Damage.
Attack bonus = A
Damage = D
Power attack accuracy reduction = X
Power attack damage increase = Y

Ratio of Damage Change = (D+Y)/D
Ratio of accuracy Change = (A-X)/A
To get the DPR change, just multiply these two results.

If these ratios multiplied are greater than 1, then power attacking is a good idea... but as you can see, the higher D is before adding Y, and the lower A is before subtracting X, the worse power attack will be.

In the fighter's case, we see an actual DPR change of +23%

So plug in some other numbers... lets say that you have a +10 to hit, and deal an average of 40 damage per hit. You can power attack for -3/+6.

Damage Change = (40+6)/40 = 1.15
Accuracy Change = (10-3)/10 = 0.7
Multiplied we get 0.805, so in this case, power attacking will reduce the character's damage output by about 20%.

HangarFlying wrote:
Davick wrote:

You seem to be missing a big part of the discussion. There were consequences to allowing the phrase "has only one natural attack" apply to nonnatural attacks. Those consequences are alleviated by the existence of unarmed strikes and their ubiquitous necessity for anyone attempting to use manufactured weapons.

So the case of the minotaur (sounds like an awesome adventure) has nothing to do with manufactured weapons at all.

Well, sure, if the Minotaur only attacks with his gore attack (i.e. he's not carrying his greataxe, or if he chooses to not attack with his greataxe, for whatever reason) he gets full BAB to attack and 1.5 STR to his gore damage. Once he attacks with that greataxe, the gore attack becomes a secondary attack (BAB -5 to attack, .5 STR to damage).

This fact is so elementary,I'm having a difficult time understanding why you are having an issue with it. Do you think that the gore attack should still get 1.5 STR to damage, even though manufactured attacks are also being made?

Again, categorically wrong.

The Key phrase, again, is here: "This increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks but only takes one."

So, it really doesn't matter if the minotaur 'chooses' not to take its greataxe attack. There are several mechanics here and they are very different.

1. If the creature is question makes an attack with a manufactured weapon, its natural attacks are all secondary (-5 to hit, 1/2 str)

2. If the creature does not make an attack with a manufactured weapon, then its natural attacks revert to their initial categorization of primary or secondary.

3. If the creature has only one type of natural attack, then that attack is considered primary, otherwise refer to the chart.

4. If the creature has only one possible attack... just the one (and there are many examples of this) singular sole attack, then it gets 1-1/2 times strength.

So, a minotaur can attack with its greataxe, and make a secondary gore attack.
Or it can attack with just the Gore as a primary attack.
That does not mean that the minotaur doesn't have multiple attacks available to it.... it does.

And as for the Multiattack druid issue... yes, you do lose the 1-1/2 strength damage when you get multiattack. Evidence is found in the beastiary when a Medium Elemental (1 slam, full BAB, 1-1/2 str) is compared to a large elemental (2 slams, Primary attacks, 1x Str).

The rule for getting 1-1/2 str is very very restrictive. It needs to be your ONLY attack... so if you have the capacity to make another attack, even if that is an unarmed strike... you do not get 1-1/2 strength.

fretgod99 wrote:


PRD wrote:
If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature's full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls. This increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks but only takes one. If a creature has only one type of attack, but has multiple attacks per round, that attack is treated as a primary attack, regardless of its type.

All the necessary information regarding how the Full BAB 1.5 STR rule works is contained here, entirely within the confines of the section regarding Natural Attacks. They use the term "multiple attacks" because, in context, it is redundant to keep typing "multiple natural attacks". This is similar to how they don't repeatedly mention "Fighter Bonus Feats" in the "Bonus Feats" section of the Fighter class. Doing so wastes space because context is clear.

"Multiple attacks" refers specifically to available natural attacks. We know this because it comes directly after referencing creatures which have only one natural attack. It then clarifies that it does not mean creatures which have multiple iterations of one type of attack (e.g., hooves or claws).

The reason monsters don't make unarmed strikes in conjunction with their natural attacks is not because said creatures do not have unarmed strikes available. They do not make them because doing so is vastly, vastly inferior. They can either use their natural attacks (most of which are primary weapons using full BAB and at least full STR) and not make an unarmed strike, or they can make the unarmed strike (provoking an AoO for not having IUS and dealing a pittance for damage) and then make all their natural attacks but now as secondary natural weapons, meaning they all attack at BAB-5 and do at most .5 STR. Why would a creature give up its bite attack if it made an unarmed strike? That makes no sense.

What about a minotaur? They have one natural...

Minotaur is actually a great example here...

1. The minotaur only has one natural attack, a Gore. The full-attack stat for the Minotaur lists the Gore as a secondary attack, because it is also using a greataxe. Natural attack plus weapon attack means that the natural attack becomes secondary (-5 to hit, 1/2 str). So, even though it has only 'one natural attack', it does not get full BAB and 1-1/2 times strength. If the minotaur decided to only attack with the Gore, then it would indeed be a Primary Attack, getting full strength to damage, but it will never get 1-1/2 times strength (aside, of course, from powerful charge which is a separate ability)

2. When I am saying that some creatures would have to make unarmed strikes in place of natural attacks, I am talking about things like Elementals or a Giant Hippo or a Big Cat. These creatures do not have limbs with which to wield weapons, so to make an unarmed strike they would have to treat that unarmed strike like a manufactured weapon, and lose a natural attacking limb in order to make such an attack.

The minotaur has two attacks built in. It has a Gore, and it has arms. So at the worst, it could make a gore and an unarmed strike. Or it could wield a weapon and a gore. Either way, by default, the minotaur has more than just the one natural attack available to it. The is the same case with a PC Half-Orc that has the Toothy trait.

The capacity to wield a weapon ensures that you have an attack available to that limb or limbs without a weapon. Sometimes that is a claw (Tengu, werewolf) sometimes that is an unarmed strike (Human, minotaur, dwarf etc.) sometimes that is a tail slap (Kobold) and so on.

Other creatures do not have the anatomy or the extra limbs needed to wield weapons in addition to whatever natural attack they have. They just have the one. And these are the creatures that get to use full-BAB and get 1-1/2 str on their attack.

So, a Medium Elemental has one slam.... if you rule that it can wield weapons, that is fine because it will necessarily have to lose its one attack to do so.

A Hippo has just one bite.
An Axe Beak has just one Bite.
A Dire Boar has just one Gore.
A Triceratops has just one Gore.
A Stegosaurus has just one Tail Slap.
A Goblin Dog has just one Bite.

All of these stat blocks will show that these attacks are being made at full BAB and are getting 1-1/2 strength.

An Orc that takes a feat or a trait to get a bite attack DOES NOT have that bite as its only attack. Pretty straightforward logic there... could the Orc make an attack as a base creature if it did not have that bite? Yes. Okay then, that is not its only attack.

Well... I think that the best methodology here would be to simply use wildshape...

The synergies are excellent. Aspect of the beast is ... alright I guess?
I am not sure why you have Boon Companion if you are taking a Domain...

But I would seriously consider Shapeshifting Hunter... more wildshapes per day and Druid+Ranger levels for Favored Enemies... favored enemy is fantastic.

You can also use the World Walker archetype for Druid to stack ranger levels with druid levels for favored terrains...

So you can have full wild-shapes/day, full favored enemies, and full favored terrains.... pretty excellent.

As for the Natural Weapon style... its good stuff, but there is really no need to have aspect of the beast if you plan on wildshaping. If you want an option for non-wildshaping fights, you can get a totem transformation from pretty much any Totem druid. That being said, I would just take Imp. Natural Attack (Claw) as your level 2 Combat Style feat... you don't need prerequisites for style feats, so this is totally legit.

Seems like you will want to be an animal that has claws primarily, which is a good plan. This being the case, Planar Wild Shape is a great feat, which will net you some SR, some DR/Evil and resist Cold, Acid and Electricity. Anywho, the rending claws feats are pretty underwhelming... seriously. They sound good in theory, but they are actually quite weak.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:

Thanks for the help all. I have another question: do any of you have an inkling as to why the developers made Wild Shape so complicated?

It just seems like it would've been much simpler to say "Use the appropriate stat block in the Bestiary".

That opens itself up to all kinds of abuse that ran rampant in 3rd edition. Basically, Druidzilla was unstoppable from level four.


And really, the other big thing is that this keeps your character's physical stats relevant, for good or for ill.

It also means that wildshaped forms scale more appropriately as you level.

As for getting a good AC, you certainly can.

Huge animal is -4 dex, -2 AC from size, +6 natural armor.
By level 12 you can have a +1 suit of Wild Dragonhide Full-Plate for +10
Dex is probably going to be +0 with a belt of physical perfection on.
Barkskin is another +5 to natural armor.
Ring of protection +2 for another +2.

That totals out to AC 31.

A fighter at level 12 with the same dex of 14, full plate +4 (the equivalent of wild +1) and the same ring plus an amulet of natural armor +2 (which you wont have since you need an AoMF). Will have an AC of 29.

So its really not bad. If you take the favored class bonus for Half-Orc druid (+1/3 to nat armor when shaped per level) then you are up to AC 35. So its not bad at all.

You can also grab Planar Wild Shape to add on Resistance to Cold, Acid and Electricity 15 and DR 10/Evil and SR 17.

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