The races in the core rulebook are all classic fantasy and folklore races. That's what binds them together. Anything about ratfolk stats making them fit in stats wise doesn't change that they aren't common in classic fantasy or folklore. I like ratfolk. I like having them in the Golarion campaign world. I'd love to see them as a featured or standard race in a campaign or other rulebook, but their exclusion from the core rulebook makes more than a lot of sense in terms of theme.
The one to one, one sign language for one spoken language, keeps things simple, but it would be more interesting to mix it up a bit.
While sign language has signs for alphabetic characters, much of sign language uses individual signs for words and even larger concepts. Placement of signs at different places in front of the body can signify grammar. That makes sign language significantly different from written and spoken language in a lot of aspects.
In the real modern world deaf people from one nation to another, have sign languages different enough that it's difficult to communicate. Sign language in the US and Britain are different enough that learning sign language in the US doesn't make it easy to understand sign language in Britain, so having a common spoken language doesn't mean that there is as overlapping a common sign language.
Native Americans, on the other hand, created a sign language to let them communicate between tribes as a common language. In that case, people with vastly different spoken languages shared one sign language.
American Sign Language didn't develop as a single structured language until 1817. Before then, there were multiple sign languages in different regions. A significant portion of American Sign Language came from French Sign Language.
One to one is simple and doesn't take much space in the rulebook, but having sign languages that don't overlap so much could tie into history and culture in the campaign world in more meaningful ways.
Having a battle sign language might allow mercenaries from different nations to communicate stealthily on the battlefield without having to learn the complex spoken and written languages to work together.
Rangers or rogues might create sign languages to operate silently.
The sign language for a region might come from a nation or city dedicated to accommodating people with disabilities.
People who are deaf in one ethnicity may be an outcast class with no interaction with non-deaf people.
Sign language in one region may evolve as a way to communicate to crowds of mixed ethnic people.
Creating sign languages for a campaign world could create extra complexity and flavor to make the campaign world more interesting. It also might create practical tools.
A crossbow is the perfect hunter sniper weapon. The reload time is a problem, but the crossbow has advantages to compensate that the rules should reflect.
1. Bracing for precision - Unlike a bow or other weapons, you can brace it on a solid object to steady it. You can put feet on it and use the ground to steady it. That means that at least on the first shot when your target isn't ready for you, you can much more easily than with other ranged weapons get an ultra precise shot at a much larger distance. If you really know your anatomy, you're much more likely with less pure dexterity to hit the critical spot that you need to to take out your target. Rules should reflect this. If the character with the crossbow has stealth to stay quiet and nature knowledge of anatomy, a first attack against a flat-footed target should be devastating.
2. Bracing for one-handed operation - Because you can brace the weapon, even a heavy crossbow braced on an object should be fireable with one hand. The other hand should be free to hold a bolt for quick loading or another action. Two hands could be used to hold the weapon extra steady for more precision, and that could be a trade off between having the extra hand free or not.
3. Ready to fire for forever - You can be on a hair trigger aimed near where you expect a target to arrive ready to fire the weapon for a long time with little fatigue. If you have a bow drawn, that is exhausting to hold. Having a sling ready to fire, that's really bad. Spear or other thrown weapon, no. Having a prepped crossbow should have an advantage over other prepped weapons. Initiative should be higher using it than with any other weapon.
4. Firing is fast - There's just a small finger squeeze to fire it, no twirl of the weapon. It's nothing like bringing a thrown weapon back. Releasing an arrow is similar, but compared to other ranged weapons, it's quite fast. That should be reflected in how the action to fire it is processed.
The first attack by a ranger against a flat footed opponent should be similar to a sneak attack by a rogue.
Those advantages should largely go away after the first round when the target becomes aware of what it's up against and the direction of the attack, if it isn't killed immediately, but a trained crossbow wielder should know how to use distraction to go into stealth and find a new position to do it all over again. With a team of people to act as the distraction themselves, that should be even easier.
A ranger with a crossbow should rock as a terrifying sniper that could kill you unseen anywhere in an instant.
Igor Horvat wrote:
Same reason why you cannot fly by magic before level 5, or turn invisible before level 3.
The question was rhetorical, but you can Levitate at 3rd and Vanish at 1st because there are limited versions of the spells at lower levels in PF1, but you're missing my point. Dispel Magic is different from most other spells because it is metamagic that explicitly exists as a counter and balance to other magic. Until 5th level, because Dispel Magic is a 3rd level spell, there's a major hurdle to handling situations where characters are afflicted by magic, which exists in multiple forms and afflicts characters at lower levels, so that counter and balance isn't there until 5th level. That hobbles parties.
Conceptually, one of the major uses of the low level village spellcaster would seem to be handling magical affliction because of items or spells or reducing the advantages that enemies have because of magic.
And there is the issue of level in a couple of ways. Invisibility does have lower and higher level versions. Below Fly there is Levitate. While spellcasters exist below 5th level, there isn't a lower level Dispel Magic spell.
Having the ability as a spell at a specific level means that it has a very limited number of uses, but there may a larger of spell or item effects of various levels to dispel depending on how opponents are constructed. An encounter with multiple spellcasters armed with spells with long durations of multiple levels could be particularly problematic because of the limited times that effects can be dispelled per day.
The level does seem arbitrary, and there doesn't seem to be a good reason not to have the ability at a lower level. Dispel does work like a skill in that it does involve a roll to overcome a DC. A dispel ability at a lower level would still have trouble overcoming high level magic and an easier time overcoming low level magic, and the odds of overcoming high level magic would improve as the character gained levels. It wouldn't be dramatically unbalancing to have the ability at a lower level, and likely wouldn't be unbalancing at all.
Having the ability as a non-spell with more uses would address some encounters and some collections of encounters better.
A lot of concepts for barbarians in particular might be very likely to use shields. Picts, vikings, vandals, gauls, and goths in particular might be groups that would have shield wielding barbarians in an Arthurian, Norse, Carolinian, or Wagnerian style campaigns. Alternatively, African, Native American, Aztec, Mayan, and Australian Aboriginal warriors that might fit the barbarian bill might use shields. In Golarion, Shoanti, Ulfen, Kellid, and Mwangi seems like peoples who would have shield wielding barbarians because of their similarities to real Earth and fantasy cultures that have them. I can see some barbarian plains horsemen using shields and spears. They may even be the precursors of cavaliers that appear when societies advance into feudal societies.
Rangers seem less suited to shields because their larger focus on stealth, guerilla tactics, and climbing. A shield seems like it would get too much in the way, be too clunky, and draw too much attention for all the things that they want to be able to do on a moments notice. Rangers also seem like their skills are more directly derived from stealth style hunting, which wouldn't use shields. Barbarian skills, on the other hand, seem to be built more around things like raiding and pillaging where a shield may be more useful.
It seems like it would be useful for spellcasters to be able to dispel effects like Charm and magic items at character levels lower than 5th. You would think that low level spellcasters would be called upon to counter magic too. It also seems like relegating it to 3rd level limits the number uses quite a bit. In that you need to make a check against a DC, it works a bit like skill. Maybe a better approach would be to make it a spellcaster ability and use spell points or burn spells or daily uses instead. That could let it exist at lower levels and make it easier to have it available more if needed.
John Lynch 106 wrote:
We gave Occult Adventures a chance for an entire campaign. The dislike for Kineticist, Psychic and Mesmerist is quite high.
Mesmerist is a lot of fun if you want a truly chaotic evil character. With the right build, they can get their bluff modifier ridiculously high, decrease their opponents sense motive, and then get opponents to believe impossible lies. More importantly, they have an assortment of spells that lets them get their opponents to hate, work against, and kill their loved ones and each other if the lies aren't enough to make it happen without spells. It's a beautiful level of evil and chaos that's hard to achieve with other classes. Use the class with a race that is telepathic for extra fun. Some well placed lies here and there and the right spells here and there, and quickly everyone in the neighborhood destroy themselves, and then you can savor the horror felt by the survivors who have to live with what they've done. Demons have a hard time getting to that kind of evil and chaos. It's sure to make them jealous.
Level 20 fighters: Lancelot, Julie d'Aubigny, Batman, Captain America, Bruce Lee, River from SerenityLevel 20 ranger: Robin Hood
Level 20 barbarian: Conan, Ghengis Khan
Do these level 20 fighters have magic-like abilities (anime/wuxia)or are they capped at plausible real world physics (and if the latter, how do we reconcile that with powerful casters)?
We should have both clean non-magic/low magic classes to represent fighters, cavaliers, rangers, barbarians, swashbucklers, assassins, martial artists and melee and ranged weapon focused and martail arts classes with some magical abilities like wuxia characters and shape shifting berserkers.
Do we want high level martials to be reliant on magic items or do we want them to stand on their own.
Martial classes and others classes should be able to stand on their own without magic items. Most magic should be able to be countered in some mundane ways like deflection, parrying, or blocking with weapons, shields or other items, shrugging effects off with strength, fortitude, or will, or use of materials like cold iron or herbs allowing ways to escape effects without significant damage, if done effectively.
I really loathe the way that they attempt to make wild shape useful as you progress up the levels.
1. Pest Form seems like something that should be harder than Animal Form. True, you are less useful in combat than in pest form when in animal form, but you are a tiny fraction of your natural size, so it would seem to take more power to get that shape. The real power is that most creatures, particularly humanoids, would likely ignore you, making it a near perfect scouting form and near perfect form to get past most creatures, which in some ways would make it more valuable than the other forms. As a GM, I see it as a low level spell making PCs want to spend time killing every rodent, amphibian, lizard, and bird to kill potential low level druids. In a city with a sewer system, a swamp with reptiles, or a farm with grain storage, every tiny animal is a potential enemy. If tiny forms were limited to rarer higher level druids, it would be less of a problem.
2. Dinosaur Form and Dragon Form don't seem like forms that nature druids should have to use to fight at higher levels. Dinosaurs are animals out of time, and because of that, don't seem that natural. Dragons are intelligent magical creatures often associated with the supernatural, so they even more seem unnatural. I could see some character concepts built around spells and feats that go from smaller to larger dinosaurs or from smaller to larger dragons, but having them as the only viable combat options at high level for Wild Order druids is disappointing.
2. Animal Form seems like something that should be available either as a lower level spell or as a weaker version with less powerful forms at an earlier level. I'd also like to be able to have characters have powerful common animal forms at higher levels that can go toe to toe with higher level characters. That would seem to be more in line with a nature druid concept. I loathe that animal forms are only useful for combat in a small window of levels in the middle. I'd like to see animal forms scale over levels in a similar way to animal companions with feats and abilities that enhance their combat.
This would make a lot of sense in terms of being more analogous to real world effects. If someone gets 20 times the amount of combat experience and training as a novice, they don't 20 times the amount of health and don't need to take 20 times the doses of medicine or use 20 times the ointment to get the same percent of healing effects. In a lot of ways, it's completely ridiculous that a higher level character has to take many times the number of the same level of cure potions or elixirs to get up the same percentage towards full health as a lower level character.
In classic fantasy literature, movies, and television, heroes rarely have to drag around a healer. Heroes don't get carved up like Thanksgiving turkeys gradually losing health they fight. They get nicked and scratched and bruised and fatigued, but when someone gets in a good hit, it's more often than not the decisive part of the fight against their opponent. More often, healers are at destinations to take injured heroes to on the rare occasion that they are seriously injured. The drama doesn't come from seeing how close to zero the hero's health gets, it's from seeing how close the blows get, seeing clever strategy, seeing tables turned, seeing dodging and weaving, and seeing weapons dropped and recovered. In the fights, characters are sizing each up and deciding whether they can succeed or not and whether to stay in the fight or make a strategic retreat or surrender. It's almost never the case that anyone is healed in the middle of a fight while they are still on their feet.
Healing after an encounter takes a way time that would be better used advancing players through the next encounters. Too much of the game is spent with parties having to after a small number of encounters go sleep for the night so that they can recover hit point and recover healing spells to get everyone all back up to full strength. It wasted a huge amount of time that again would be a lot more interesting and fun spent on the next encounters instead.
Some people really like playing healers and that's great, but it is not at all uncommon for a group of players to have no one who wants to play the healer or for someone to decide to make a healer character because no one else has done it. Players shouldn't feel obligated to play classes and roles that are far from their favorite, especially since it's a classic fantasy game, and healers aren't an integral part of classic fantasy hero adventuring parties outside of RPGs and MMORPGs based on RPGs.
Hit point whittling and having to clean up after it dramatically slows down the game. Combat should be a lot more interesting and fun without significant health or hit point loss for heroes on a constant basis, and healers shouldn't need to be an omnipresent part of the game. If people want to play character with dramatic healing abilities, that's great, but those characters shouldn't be essential.
A Pathfinder Boot Hill would be great. If we're going not make the core classes for the game from classic fantasy and folklore for Pathfinder, then lets just go full Ready Player One, and make core astronaut, fighter pilot, tank commander, and atomic scientist classes. Mixing unrelated settings can be fun, but there's a place for it expansions and distant corners of campaign worlds or in separate games altogether like Starfinder giving you space and science fiction. There's too little space in a core rulebook and too much to include to get classic fantasy and folklore right without wasting space on things that aren't related to the core genre of the game.
I think that when most modern people think of medieval bards, they think of non-magical poets, writers, or minstrels, but in Celtic history, folklore and mythology, bards like Teliesin, Myrddin Wyllt (Merlinus Caledonensis), and Myddin Emrys (Merlin Ambrosius) were very magical bards. In Celtic folklore and mythology poems, songs, and music do produce magical effects. Taliesin's poetry and songs does things like control winds and cause chains to drop off of prisoners. Poetry and music are very much like casting a spell. The dividing lines in Celtic history, folklore, and mythology between shamans, bards, druids, alchemists, and wizards are very thin, and all of them overlap quite a bit. A figure may be labelled as more than one of those frequently. There's actually a case to be made that a bard could have the same powers as a wizard, witch, shaman, or druid, but just cast spells through music instead of another method. Linking the effects of spells more directly to music does make some intuitive sense, but in folklore and mythology, that's not necessarily the case. In Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon books, people are bards before they become druids, and music is an underlying force under all magic, even if poetry, song, and music aren't performed to produce magic later in one's spellcasting career.
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Ah, yes, the Gunslinger, that is unlike any class in D&D/PF, it should be included, a serious iconic PF deal. I would like it unarmoured, ala the Monk. They should not target TAC.
The first firearm users are likely to be armored in the way that the soldiers of their nations are like conquistadors were. Since firearms are going to be advanced technology and expensive, firearm wielders are probably going to be better armored than the typical soldier. Simply being a firearms expert wouldn't at all make someone effective at martial arts dodges, moves, and acrobatics that make monks effective unarmored. If anything, it would teach them to find long range cover and inaccessible positions and avoid melee altogether, relying on the strengths of their weapon. Since their weapons are clunky and awkward and the loudest thing of the day, stealth is not going to be of primary concern. Their real power is distance and the force that their weapons hit with. Ranged attacks are going to be their biggest worry after they find a position. Armor is going to be their friend, especially while they reload. The conquistador, not Jessie James, is the best prototype for medieval or renaissance firearms wielder.
Witch isn't my first choice, but it's understandable why it's on top.
Hexes are far more interesting and useful than than any of the wizard abilities and don't run out like spells. Other spellcasting classes would benefit from the same or similar mechanics.
Also, the witch spell list combines cure spells with a lot of the most powerful wizard spells. If there isn't both a player who wants to play a cleric and a player who wants to play an arcane caster, witches can do double duty and fill both roles. Archetypes allow witches to channel and swap spells with cure spells, making the witch at good at healing as a cleric, although they lack some ability to end some conditions and do some restoration. The only reason that I can see to not put healing spells at all in the wizard list is to strictly enforce roles on player characters. That can give every player a job to play, but it's a significant problem when there aren't players who want to take specific roles. It's worth considering making wizard more like witches or making witch a core class.
Summoner also makes a lot of sense in that it lets players imaginations run wild or create companions that fit tight concepts. That's also maybe it's weakness. If a GM wants to set a certain tone or theme, summoner lets players easily go far outside that which is maybe a reason to keep it out of the core classes and make it available later.
Kineticist has a lot of issues, but what's really nice is that it gets away from daily spell slots that feel very unnatural for spellcasting when looking at most classic fantasy and folklore and also make players want to constantly put their characters to sleep for the night to get important spells back. With some significant tweaks, making spellcasting for some classes work more like the kineticist's abilities would make them feel more natural and address some other issues as well.
I have a problem with per creature defeated XP awards. I think that they encourage players to go out of their way to kill as many of the things that they encounter as they can get away with. It makes the game more hack and slash and less strategy or genuine role playing. Players should be best rewarded for the most strategic and most efficient solutions and solutions that from the best role playing that doesn't get in the way of meeting the campaign goals. Per creature / per combat XP gets away from that.
The original introduction of paladin made it a sub-class of fighter with all of the fighter abilities with trade offs being a limit on magic items and alignment restrictions. Then it was made a sub-class of cavalier, which was probably the best match up to the folklore paladin. Paladins in history and folklore were supposed to be the best of the best knights and cavaliers. The PF2 paladin is how someone might create a cleric if they started from scratch with the possible exception of getting a horse that's harder for classes without animal companions to get. The class isn't an offensive knight or cavalier and isn't really able to wield a weapon with the same skill at all, which is far from it's role in literature. In probably the most famous work involving paladins, The Song of Roland, Archbishop Turpin joins them in largely the role that clerics do. Most of the PF2 abilities would be far more appropriate to someone like the Archbishop, with the paladins, instead, serving the role of the weapons to carve through their foes. The PF2 paladin's abilities are more that of a prophet or traveling tent faith healing preacher than the divine weapon that the paladin is in it's place in history and literature. In a game where clerics are already very present, that's a large disservice to what the basis of the paladin is.
If people want options to have characters like the PF2 paladins, that's swell, but there really needs to more at the core be true paladins that are a better match for historical, folklore, and other paladins in literature. The options for a mount are good, as are the abilities to enhance weapons. The class really needs some of the more offensive smite abilities from the past to show that the characters are divine weapons. More importantly, it needs some serious offensive combat skills that show their ability to wield weapons themselves and that they are worthy to be made divine champions and be granted divine enhancement.
I looked at creating Conjuration school wizards focused on summoning, and I don't see a lot of options to support that style of combat casting. Summon Monster doesn't work like other spells in that there isn't a DC for saving throws or a direct attack roll, so a number of class feats don't help it. It also requires all three material, somatic, and verbal, and it requires concentration, so the casting time is longer than a lot of spells, and feats that require one of the casting components to be open can't be used. Effortless Concentration helps. Quickened Casting reduces the casting time too, but not for the highest levels that a wizard can cast. There aren't any class feats specifically to help summoning, and there isn't much in the way of spells to make that type of combat easier. There is very little in the choices of creatures to summon, mostly demons and devils. There aren't even any outside familiars to give the feel of that style of wizard concept.
In classic fantasy literature, television, and movies, heroes don't need constant healing after while they're fighting and after most of the fights. The drama in the fights is in parrying, dodging, blows, creating openings, disarming opponents, and using clever strategies. Minor hits are largely ignored, and when a solid hit happens, that's the end of the fight or the end of the opponent.
Characters are not whittled down like like Thanksgiving turkeys with hit after hit taking bits of health off.
Healers exist in classic fantasy, but they're usually at destinations to take characters to when they are grievously wounded and not a central parts of most scenes and encounters. Healers aren't a part of the fight healing people in the middle of combat, especially not people who haven't fallen and haven't for the most part been taken out of the fight.
In real life, when people become more seasoned combat experts, they don't gradually get the ability to take an order of magnitude more damage than novice combatants. They don't win fights because the same hits hurt them less. They win fights because they're genuinely more skilled.
Some people say that they like playing healers, and that's great, but often no one in a group of players wants to play the healer or someone decides to be one because no one else wanted to. It would be good if people could more easily play the characters that they want to, or at least less often get stuck with their last choice. Clerics, paladins, and druids get created less often than fighters, rogues, wizards, and barbarians according to https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-your-dd-character-rare/. Those numbers for clerics, paladins, and druids are probably even too high when thinking about what people want to play, because someone has to play them to keep everybody else from dying. People would rather be a more central part of the fight instead of doing clean up.
Healing in the middle of combat drags on fights, especially if both sides can do it.
Because party characters get whittled down on hit points during a significant portion of fights, healing takes up time after fights that would be a lot more interesting and entertaining spent on the next encounters.
Because after just a small number of encounters party characters are down on hit points and down on uses of healing spells and other healing abilities, players end the game day to replenish hit points and healing and that takes up game time that would be more interesting and spent on the next encounters instead deciding watches, dealing with night time encounters that usually have little to advance the main plot, spend time resetting daily accounting, and spend time healing what couldn't be healed the previous game day.
The game would be a lot better if it were a lot less whittling down of hit points and had a lot less need for characters to be constantly healed.
The drama, like from most classic fantasy, should come from more interesting and entertaining combat and less from the fear of seeing how low your health got before the fight ended.
I played a PF1 game for years once ever two weeks with hero points and the GM would go several months without giving out points. When I GMed, I never used them. I think that GMs have to deal with so many other things that when hero points do get used it tends to be more random than anything else. I think that hero points are a waste of character sheet and core rulebook space. I'm fine with it being an optional rule, but I don't think that it should be core.
Swashbuckler!!! The class that best fit the character concepts that I was most often trying to make fighters, rogues, and rangers into with leveling into the duelist prestige class until the Advanced Class Guide came around. Before Advanced Class Guide, rogues were mostly used to make characters that fit swashbuckler, slayer, or thief/burgler concepts. The PF2 rogue leans toward the slayer concept.
Different class breakdowns:
Classes that are just a tweaks difference from each other and could be handled with something similar to orders, totems, muses, bloodlines, archetypes, or feat chains are:
Classes on a continuum (or that should be) are:
Groups of classes that would be hard to draw the line between in history, folklore, mythology, and literature are:
High Tier Physical Combatants (High BAB):
High Tier Spellcasters:
Mid Tier Physical Combatants (Mid BAB):
Mid Tier Spellcasters:
Classes with Companions:
I think that in a polytheist setting like Golarion, fixed healing class features like channeling don't make a lot of sense. Many of the deity domains and portfolios seem removed from healing. Healing is certainly in the wheelhouse of deities like Sarenrae, Selket, Sekhmet, Pharasma, Iori, Osiris, Isis, Milani, and Qi Zong that have associations with it, but a lot less for deities like Calistra, Shelyn, or Abadar who's domains and portfolios seem opposite or dissociated with healing. Because of that, some others classes make as much sense or more as healers as default clerics do.
Druids on the other hand with a nature focus seem as close or more to dealing with life forces in a way that would more uniformly deal, with healing for Storm Order druids in concept maybe being a little more distant from that than other druids. Celtic druids were in fact healers. In a polytheistic world, druids make more sense conceptually as the default healers than clerics. Giving druids greater access to healing abilities on a conceptual level makes sense, maybe more so than the clerics of less healing and life force associated deities. A healing order of druids would also make a lot of sense. Channeling ability makes some sense for druids, but maybe not positive or negative energy, but maybe life or nature primal energy in a way that generates healing.
Alchemists in history, in folklore, and in fiction tend to have to focuses, looking for the ability to transmute lead to gold and looking for the ability to bestow immortality. Developing healing is a part of the path of finding how to bestow immortality. Elixirs of life are already in the mix, but healing bombs that burst with healing salves would be well within the wheelhouse of an alchemist, particularly one with knowledge of both healing and bombs. That would make a lot more sense than channeling for an alchemist. Also just making it easier to dispense enough healing and powerful enough healing that they're similarly as helpful as a cleric currently is would make sense. If that makes them too powerful, give alchemists options to scale down other abilities to scale up healing.
As a note, some alchemists do have divine associations. One of Isaac Newton's driving forces in pursuing physics was understanding God. He was an alchemist in addition to a scientist. He studied the scriptures looking for hidden encoded secrets of science and alchemy. Divine alchemy would have some historical justification for characters.
Wizards traditionally in D&D and Pathfinder have been somewhat walled off from healing for some reason. Wizards, or at least their inspirations, in history, folklore, and fiction have been healers. Myrddin was likely and astronomer and healer. Morgan le Fay is sometimes depicted as a healer, in some stories she leads the women who heal King Arthur. In other stories, she is focused on dark magic outside of healing. Merlin in some representations has healing abilities, sometimes focusing on healing with dark magic opponents using their magic for more frivolous things. In a lot of cases in history, folklore, and fiction, deciding whether someone is a wizard, druid, or healer is hard to do. The D&D and Pathfinder distinctions are kind or arbitrary and maybe more to create player or character roles more than anything else. Witches in Pathfinder 1st edition have access to both healing spells and some of the more powerful wizard offensive spells. Hex Channeler archetype witches could channel though themselves or their familiars. Hedge Witch archetype allowed witches to swap prepared spells for cure spells. Giving wizards options to do similar things would make sense. I never saw anything where there was any consensus that healing for witches broke the game. It likely wouldn't for wizards either with the right controls in place.
Monks focus on body control, ki, and affecting opponents bodily function seems like a good match for healing. Monk of the Healing Hand and Discipline of Wholeness archetypes in Pathfinder 1st edition gave healing abilities. Channeling doesn't make a whole lot of sense with monks, but out of combat healing, maybe helping others align their ki would make sense. Monks healing themselves with their ki in combat also would make some sense.
The cleric archetype doesn't have channel abilities, but it might be good to have channeling feats as a part of the cleric archetype or as a part of a druid archetype. An alchemist archetype that gave access to elixirs and healing bombs would make sense too.
Ranger: Feels lackluster. With no spells and most nature related class features being the weak option, they just feel like a pen and paper version of a WoW hunter.
I agree with most of what you said, but I really like the clean skeleton of the ranger class in PF2. I always thought that the core ranger in PF1 and D&D should have been more of a clean non-spell casting woodland guerrilla like Robin Hood and his Merry Men or Legolas from Tolkien, and less of a fighter and druid multi-class. I would be fine with spell casting class feats giving access to spell casting, which wouldn’t surprise me if that was a current end plan, but I’m glad that it isn’t a default class feature. A druid archetype would probably give a similar result, and seems to be needed to give characters access to Primal spell casting the way that Cleric and Wizard Archetypes give access to Divine and Arcane spell casting.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Actually, I do play, duelist and swashbuckler characters, and I love parry and riposte. It is a little slower than having the attacker make all the rolls and making weapon combat in gameplay all about offense and nothing to do with defense, but I like being a part of defending itself. It also feels more like really fencing.
There are things going on now in gameplay that are REALLY slowing down the game:
What I’m proposing to speed things up is to make successful hits or extraordinary actions count more and do more damage, more likely to kill the opponent outright, more likely to disable them, or more likely to make them flee or surrender. Even if there are a similar number of actions in encounters, reducing out of encounter healing and rest speeds up play and gets more encounters in.
Currently, players feel successful in weapon combat because they come up with clever strategies, score successful hits, do significant damage, and disable or kill their opponent. Dramatic tension is inserted from opponents damaging player characters, and player characters surviving that damage.
In a game where successful hits do more, there’s less grinding down of hit points to make players feel a little part of the success and feel less dramatic tension from their characters losing hit points, active defense can be a way to up the successes and dramatic tension. Maybe we don’t need active defense. Maybe having all the rolls in for offense is satisfying enough for most players. I like the idea of active defense, and think that could help with a game where things are rebalanced a bit and make it feel engaging. It also just feels more like being in real combat.
No matter what, we currently have a game where hit point whittling slows down the game a lot during and after encounters, and few people enjoy being given the job or feeling obligated to take the job of healing the damage from all of the hit point whittling, but healing is an integral part of the game to keep players from encounter to encounter. It seems like there are ways to address this.
Charles Scholz wrote:
Your last question is my biggest concern. With PF1 and significantly more spells per day, players constantly want to sleep to get their characters back up to full strength. Then that disrupts everything potentially with a nighttime encounter. It also disrupts everything with ll of the extra tasks like the day, healing with unused spells, and resetting numbers. With PF2, all of that is more frequent, and you have the extra daily accounting for resonance. I would have preferred to have seen the game make it easier to flow from encounter to encounter, and the game is going in the opposite direction.
Nothing about healing is fun. It is way too big a part of the game.
In movies and television, including fantasy, where melee or ranged combat occur, heroes don’t take significant damage very often. If they do take significant damage, it’s in the climactic battle, or it affects the story in a significant way. When real fencers get better, they don’t get more “hit points” to take more damage, they get better at getting through defenses and more importantly, they get better at blocking damage. Ranged combatants get more accurate but also get better strategies at using cover and getting around opponents protections and at getting opponents to expose themselves to attacks. Maybe we don’t need combat to always be inflicting massive damage on player characters. Maybe we could make combat itself more fun and make those attacks that get through mean more instead of whittling characters down in health in combat like Thanksgiving turkeys.
Instead of using AC, roll for defense. Rolling for defense is kind of already built in. PC AC starts at 10 and gets modified for dexterity and armor and other modifiers. An average roll on a d20 is 10.5. Instead of using the 10, use the die roll and add all the other modifiers.
Then make defense more interesting. Make it more a battle of wits.
For melee, do more with parrying. Do more with the direction that the strike comes from. Do more with alternating from fighting defensively to aggressively. Do more with strategies like feints. Weapons like quarterstaffs should be a lot better at blocking other weapons. Dual weapons should be a lot better at catching weapons, and getting past one or two weapons could be made more interesting.
Ranged combat could do more with feints to make characters think that their opponent is open or not. Getting in and out of cover without an opponent seeing the opening could be treated more as a useful skill.
Counterspelling has been too hard. It shouldn’t continue to be, and it be fun and feel like an accomplishment. Giant unavoidable damage from spells should be less a part of the game. Magic should be more mysterious and interesting and less damaging rays and exploding balls of energy. It should be more genuine fantasy and less duplication of science fiction. It should be more otherworldly summons, clever illusions, and things that just put opponents in a state of horror.
Maybe it should be easier to get opponents to run away or surrender.
Maybe there’s a better way to handle things than constantly carving the PCs up with damage levels that put people in ICUs.
Whirling Dervish wrote:
Personally, I’d like to see the Rogue Dedication offer access to Finesse Striker (the rogue Dex to damage ability) rather than Surprise Attack. This small change opens up a wealth of builds (e.g., Dex-based but still melee paladins, fighters, barbarians, rangers...)
In the real world, people with high dexterity, but lower strength are never going to hit with more force, which is what in the game represents as the extra damage, but the advantage of dexterity over strength to get damage in is the ability to strike places on the body more precisely. Someone with more dexterity will be more able to, if they know how to, hit vital organs or arteries. When attacking someone wearing armor, they'll be more able to hit the weak spot or get a weapon between plates or scales where they can get more damage in. Not every attack by someone with high dexterity is going to do these things, but they're going to be more common for someone with higher dexterity and lower strength over someone with higher strength and lower dexterity.
In the game, characters with higher dexterity are already getting a bonus to AC, which compensates for the lower damage, but there may be ways to simulate real world advantages of dexterity.
* Maybe a feat that lets characters with higher dexterity or a finesse or agile weapon get a critical success with being lower than 10 over AC on an attack.
If someone can prove statistically that higher dexterity has less advantage than higher strength, then maybe include something like the above without an extra feat when a character has high enough dexterity or uses a finesse or agile weapon.
Bonus Language makes Intelligence the only ability score that makes characters lose long term if it isn't high
Bonus Language appears to be the only ability that a character can only get at first level that requires a high ability score. That means that Intelligence is the only ability score that makes characters lose out if it isn't high from the start. It pressures players to put points in Intelligence at 1st level when there is no similar pressure to do it for other ability scores. Unlike racial traits that might be genetic that might make some Ancestry feats only make sense at 1st level, languages are learned. I don't see any reason not to grant the bonus language with ability boosts that bring Intelligence up to 14.
In cultures with familiars, folklore, and mythology, shamans, witches, and other spell casters would go out into the wilderness on quests to encounter spirits that would take various forms, sometimes animals, or possess animals. Some were devils, demons, nature spirits, or ghosts that took forms to avoid attracting attention. These familiars, familiar spirits, or weyekin would become a source of power for the spell casters or guide them on obtaining power and teach them how to cast spells.
In first addition Pathfinder, most familiars had all of the normal animal abilities, and most of them could communicate empathically with their masters, receive any spell that a spell caster could cast on themselves, deliver touch spells at 3rd level, speak with their masters at 5th, speak with animals of it's kind at 7th, get spell resistance at 11th, and be scry'd on at 13th. They had starting intelligences of 6 that progressed to 15, and could have knowledge, and spell crafting skills. They granted an additional ability based on species, and had improved evasion too. Familiars with the Sage archetype could be vastly intelligent with a large number of skill ranks to allow then to guide and advise their "masters". Witches got all of their spells from their familiars.
In the Playtest, all familiars can communicate empathically. If the familiar is a raven or owl that flies faster than a human can move it gets no additional magical related abilities. If it's a rodent or cat with scent that can climb, it gets no additional magical related abilities. If it's a frog that can swim or an animal with just scent like a dog, it maybe gets dark vision, maybe can speak one language that it's master can cast, maybe grants a low level spell, or maybe can deliver a touch spell, but only one of those magic related abilities. Familiars in the Playtest have little in the way of mental traits, no knowledge skills. They can have one or two minor supernatural qualities, but that makes them lose the natural abilities that their animal counterparts would have. Familiars aren't familiars, instead they are basically just pets with a little empathic communication, and they're significantly more diminished than they were in first edition, which is the opposite of the direction to go to fit the folklore equivalent and a significant disappointment to players that loved them as more useful partners in first edition.
1) Multiclass archetypes lock class abilities behind what is, in many cases, a useless feat. In particular, archetyping martial to martial is discouraged, as you have to waste a feat to get access to another set of combat abilities. Probably the entry feat for each class should give something interesting (note: Fighter might be okay with the proficiencies).
Agreed. Archetypes seem expensive at lower levels. It makes it hard to justify taking them.
2) Combat styles are locked into classes, rather than being globally accessible, and based off weapon proficiency.
Agreed. Weapon use seems far too unnecessarily different from class to class, when it doesn't seem that it should be. It also seems to explode the number of feats that you need to keep the classes balanced and equally interesting.
3) Weapon and armor proficiency progress at the same rates, meaning all this whiffing you do at level 1 is going to continue to level 20. At first level, when you need 1-2 hits to bring down an enemy, that might be okay. It's not at level 20 when you probably need 10 or so hits.
Damage is actually significantly higher with magic weapons now because the number of damage dice go up (not so much with non-magic weapons, which has significant issues for how to go through stories and game play).
4) Classes *don't* feel the way they used to. Rangers are now much better with crossbows, and choosing bow feels like an inferior choice. Bards, which used to be the only Core 3/4BAB class that could cast in armor, now are the only caster class that don't get Magical Striker, the one thing you truly want as a Gish.
I completely about ranger. Legolas in the Tolkien books, and Robin Hood seem like the real prototype rangers. Bows were their things. Now, Pathfinder 2 appears to be going away from that, which is weird. Maybe follow on books would give bow feat chains, but bows seem like they should be core more than crossbow or any other weapon specialization. I actually have hard time seeing an elven ranger using a crossbow, and elves seem like the most associated non-human race with the class. There are a lot of weapon types, like quarterstaff, that seem more associated prototypical ranger characters from fiction and folklore.
I don't mind so much that Bards don't have the lock on spellcxsting in armor. Gandalf and a number of archetypal wizards don't wear armor, but armor wearing spell casters do appear in fantasy, though such character usually also have degree of martial proficiency.
In some respects, I think that classes did become more of their fantasy and folklore core.
I like that alchemists have more of a pure and integrated alchemical crafting mechanic instead of separate bomb, mutagen, and elixir mechanics separate from still another mechanic for crafting other alchemical items.
I like that ranger lost the spell casting that really wasn't a part of most prototypical rangers in history, literature, fantasy, and folklore. Archetypes still give them a spell casting option for emulating the small number of fictional rangers that do.
I like that Wild Shape isn't a default part of druid characters, again because a lot of prototypical druid characters didn't have it, although for druids that do Wild Shape, I preferred how they did it before. It made more sense as a progression before.
Adding Combat Flexibility to the fighter class seems odd. I know that they did things that were similar in later rulebooks with non-core classes in 1st edition Pathfinder, but a simple fighter magically getting knowledge about how to fight out of nowhere at the beginning of the day breaks the concept and doesn't have any real world, fictional, or classic fantasy analog. It just seems like something randomly thrown on to an otherwise nice and clean class. There are a lot of other things that I'd rather see done with fighter if there's a need for added abilities for balance.
Would also be nice if you could have the option to keep your animal companion small. I enjoy having a dog companion and there are plenty of dogs that remain small when "full-grown".
It would be good to be able to have a mount sized riding dog, wolf, or goblin dog from the start. Weirdly, the price for renting them is in the equipment price, but they don't exist as a companion mount anywhere else. Goblins have the Rough Rider Ancestry feat that gives bonuses to handling goblin dogs and wolves as mounts, but wolves (and presumably the wolf statistics that would be used for goblin dogs) start as small as animal companions. The Cavalier Dedication feat explicitly says that even if a GM allows a non-horse companion, the companion doesn't get the mount "special ability", which seems bizarre considering the Rough Rider feat, the existence of riding dogs, and the past history of the game.
Secret Wizard wrote:
1. Very limited trained skills. 3 + INT seems very restrictive.
Agreed about Occultism in particular. Not so sure about the others.
4. LACK OF RANGED WEAPON PROFICIENCIES CREATES LARGE GAP IN CAPABILITIES. Being able to efficiently attack from range is an essential part of a martial character's toolkit. There's a large incentive to get Monastic Weaponry just for this reason, and it gives a "feel-bad" vibe to be spending a Class Feat in covering a glaring weakness instead of growing more powerful, even if they are the same thing.
Agree. Improvised ranged weapons would fit the theme.
10. FEW INCENTIVES TO TRY OUT MONK WEAPONS Other than the Bo Staff (which has parry, reach and trip), only the Nunchaku seems interesting (with its ability to disarm).
Agreed. It does seem like "monk" weapons should actually be useful to monks. Plenty of monks in martial arts movies and television fight with weapons, and they're quite good at it.
Wild order druids are the most klugey. There's only a couple of Wildshape related feats at 10th level that don't just expand the number of things that you can shapeshift into and eventually let you shapeshift into everything under the sun if you focus on Wild order related feats, and some of the feats that that let you shapeshift into more things don't seem very druidy. Dinosaur seems thematically to be something that should be rare and outside of common knowledge for characters outside of certain regions. Dragons seem like more arcane creatures and something a bit outside of a standard druid. If you don't take one of them at the appropriate level, then your Wildshape just isn't that powerful. I'd rather see more options that make Wildshape more useful like being able to attack with natural weapons to overcome different types of resistances or shapeshift quicker and easier or being able to do some spell casting while in Wildshape or talk or talk as an animal of your form or talk to all animals or get advantages from some gear while in Wildshape. It would be nice to be able to pick a form and have it scale up in abilities over a feat chain the way that Animal Companions do with different class Animal Companion feat chains. The existing options, just seem lame.
Maybe we were reading different Tolkien, but I don't remember Aliens (Golarion's Elves are aliens)
That's not "core" rulebook. That's a very far a field campaign setting detail, and it's far from clear that that is cannon or even a correct interpretation of what has been published.
Gnomes were Tolkien's The Book of Lost Tales. Gnomes are very common characters in classic fantasy settings, and gnomes are really an amalgamation of smaller sylvan characters like shorter versions of elves, dwarves, brownies, and non-evil shorter Scandinavian trolls that exist throughout folklore and mythology. They're a way of having those very common fantasy shorter characters along side more Tolkienesque taller elves, dwarves, and trolls without having races with the same name and without having to explain the size mismatch.
or much of any Half-bloods (Orc or Elf) in Middle Earth.
Half-elves were not just a part of Tolkien, but some of the core characters of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are a part of human and elf pairings that produce children, and entire prominent lineages in Tolkien are descended from human and elf pairings.
Orcs in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are mostly just brutal violent antagonists, but elsewhere in Tolkien they have more significant interactions with characters. They are depicted in a variety of sizes. Half-Orcs aren't depicted, but given that there are half-elves that are the result of two races producing children together, it's not at all absurd to think that they would exist. They likely wouldn't advertise their ancestry.
Apart from that, the Tolkien influence is only a small part of all the influences on D&D.
The "core" D&D and Pathfinder races are clearly primarily influenced by Tolkien and what is "core" and common to the other classic fantasy settings in books and media that were also influenced by it and the folklore and mythology that they are derived from.
depends on the setting i think.
That's exactly my point, the main focus for the game is settings based on Tolkieneque characters, not Tom and Jerry cartoons.
the notion of always excluding them from core on grounds of it not being a cartoon or book (or just sticking to western fantasy tropes, which are in turn based on mythology and popular fantasy fiction--importantly though, they aren't eternally bound to those conventions, else eberron would never have existed, and it is by far a favorite setting of mine)
Ebberon and it's deviations from "core" D&D races and classes never became "core" D&D because it was a campaign setting, not "core" D&D. If someone wants to put spaghetti monsters or talking cars in a campaign setting, swell, just keep it out of core. I love mixing sci-fi with fantasy. It's fun. And I think that it would be fun to have android characters in a campaign setting, but androids should never ever be a "core" race.
sounds more like your taste/opinion rather than hard fact.
That's a straw man argument. I never claimed to not be giving my taste or opinion. It is a fact that all of the original "core" Pathfinder races are derived from Tolkien fantasy. That is what they have in common. Even outside of Tolkien, there are fairly common core races and types of characters in fantasy books, movies, and other media, and to keep the feel of classic fantasy, "core" should be true to what is "core" fantasy settings. I do get that there are intellectual property issues and that Paizo has to do things to fill in the gaps created by that, but If "core" becomes random stray whims, then the game won't have the foundation and history that's built on, and that would alienate many of the people who grew up playing D&D and Pathfinder.
It's a Tolkien inspired fantasy setting, which was inspired by European folklore and mythology, not something derived from a Thundercats cartoon or Richard Scarry books. Orcs would be fine, but Catfolk or any other anthropomorphic animals should absolutely never ever be a Core Race.
Marvin the Marvellous wrote:
With 2 ability boots for Ancestry, 2 ability boosts for Background, and 4 more ability boosts at first and every 5 levels, not putting enough increases into Dex to go over the 1 Dex Modifier Cap for plate mail seems like a ridiculous thing to do. Now, the main reason for a Cavalier or Paladin not to increase their Dex over 12 is to not feel like an idiot wearing for Plate Mail. Front line melee characters will only want heavy armor if they want to dump a large number of boosts into mental stats to create cerebral warriors. If Pathfinder v2 keeps all of the ability boosts from the playtest, the heavier armors are going to be pointless to use if they don't give some advantages in the future that they don't currently have.
Colette Brunel wrote:
I've found that for Ancestries other than human, which I mostly take Natural Ambition and General Training, I hate the lists of Ancestry feats so much that I take Adopted Ancestry to get access to other Ancestries, which so far have been Goblin and Human, which I usually use to get Natural Ambition and General Training. Ancestry feats, for the most part, either don't fit my character concept, just aren't that interesting, or seem useless Unless we got a more appealing set of Ancestry feats, if they got rid of Natural Ambition and General Training, I'd rather replace Ancestry feats altogether with something else, maybe more General, Skill, or Class feats.