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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I find resonance an unnecessary completely and pointless. Anyone else?
I get that there are issues with character balance and encounter balance and magic items can make that very hard, and resonance points probably seems like a good way to do that. Resonance is a ham fisted way of doing it. I've dealt with trying to keep characters and encounters balanced, and it's a pain. Resonance seems like it was a noble attempt to do that.
Before, I kept track of player character's total gear value, the class levels of items, and the enhancement bonuses to try and come up with formulas to keep things balanced, and I came up with some okay rules of thumb to try and keep things where they needed to be. Resonance might address those balance issues without GMs doing the behind the scenes accounting that I was doing.
But... with Resonance...
* Now we have yet another set of points to account for.
* Before some items could be equipped and and you didn't have any accounting to do and others that had charges or times per day or were consumed.
* Now, all of the previous accounting exists, plus nearly EVERY item has accounting that needs to be done either when equipped or used.
* If a potion is consumed, we don't just mark off that it was consumed, we also have to do accounting on resonance points.
* If we use a wand, we have to keep track of both charges and resonance points.
* When we get up in the morning and put equipment on, we have to do accounting for all the items "activated" by putting them on.
* Before, players wanted to constantly end the game day and put their characters to bed because of all the spells per day, ability uses per day, and various other sets of points that got drained. Now we have yet another set of points to drain away on consumable magic items that will make players want their character go to bed with even fewer encounters and make beginning of the game day accounting, resets, and other prep take even longer. The flow of going from encounter to encounter will be even more frequently interrupted, and everyone will be taken out of the story flow even more.
* What was really basic and simple like wearing armor or drinking a potion now has this goofy point system involved.
* It pulls us out of the immersion of the story.
* It doesn't really have a real world or fantasy, folklore, mythology analog, and it doesn't make sense in the understanding of the fantasy, folklore, and mythology that inspired the content. Frodo or Gyges didn't fail to turn invisible when he put on the ring because they didn't have enough mysterious energy gained from becoming the most powerful wizards or warriors. Being a young person with no experience didn't prevent Aladdin from using the lamp or the ring. Prince Hussain in The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou can just buy a magic carpet and use it. Teenagers from Earth in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon with no experience in their "classes" can still use the items that their given, though the wizard has a ways to go to figure out the hat.
A lot of the other mechanics like disappearing scrolls, spells per day, and once or a small number of times per day abilities do have a lot of the same effects of pulling people out of the immersion and disrupting the flow of the game, but resonance just adds a whole extra layer to it and it does it for every freaking class, even the classes like fighter that were low on accounting before.
Some players liked fighters and other simple melee classes just for that fact that those classes got them away most of the high accounting that other classes had. Fighter items were nice and simple, put armor on, grab a weapon, and occasionally drink a potion. Those players aren't going to like the extra accounting.
It's making a lot items that were much simpler before more complicated and introducing another set of bizarre limitations on things that should be easy to use. It's also putting more hurdles in keeping game play flowing and adds more time for accounting in a game that already has a lot of accounting.
All that said, I genuinely would like a way of maintaining balance. I may discover after more games that resonance does keep everything more in balance, and that would be great.
But I want a way that maintains character and encounter balance with magic items that keeps using simple magic items simple to use, doesn't require a lot of accounting in the middle of game play and doesn't do much to take players out of the immersion, and does let fairly powerful magic occasionally end up in the hands of really low level characters for at the very least interesting story effect.
One thing about the magic item accounting that I was doing before was that, even though it was tedious and a bit of a pain, it was between game sessions, and it didn't disrupt game play with the players in the game itself. Resonance is right in the middle of the game the whole time, and that's not fun. If we're going to have accounting to maintain balance with magic items, I'd like it not to be in the middle of encounters and not slow down getting to the next encounter, and I'd like it not to take players out of the immersion.
The Narration wrote:
My biggest gripe with Vancian magic is that it's built around daily usage, which causes everything else in the game to also run on uses-per-day, which I don't think is good for balance or narrative. I'd prefer to not have to stop and nap mid-adventure.
I strongly agree with this. Particularly at lower levels, players cast their spells, and after the encounter is over, they immediately want to end the day or sleep 8 house to get back to full strength. From a strategy standpoint, it makes perfect sense, but it beaks the flow, it takes extra time, and it's not how the world works in fantasy books and media. As a GM, you can work to fight it, but that's extra work, and your hurting the party to impose your sensibilities on the players. It's not a fun problem to deal with. I'd rather have system that allows the flow of encounters to keep going with less interruption. If magic needs to be nerfed a bit, that's fine
I'm quite certain none of those who are complaining about "unneeded gendered verbiage" would be complaining if the book was consistently using male pronouns only.
That's not true. I'd have the same issue with that. If people who are complaining about gendered pronouns wanted male gendered pronouns, they'd be asking for them instead of complaining about the use of gendered pronouns.
When talking about nonspecific characters in the rulebook, the pronouns are always gendered, which makes my head explode.
For example, the book will say "your character within 'her' class".
No one that I know of speaks like that in a professional or formal setting.
I do technical writing as a part of my job, and no writes like that either, nor does anyone write like that in most other non-fiction writing, including newspapers and magazines.
A normal way to speak or write anywhere else would be to say "your character within 'their' class".
In contemporary modern writing and speaking 'they', 'them', and 'their' aren't plural if it's known that the subject is singular. We don't need to use (and few people in formal settings do use) gendered pronouns for nonspecific people anymore.
When writing about medical doctors, you'd write something like "a doctor after treating a patient must wash 'their' hands".
When writing about driving, you'd write something like "a driver must always look both ways after 'they' enter an intersection when at a stop sign".
It's not necessary to apply a gender to something or someone when the gender is unknown. Most of the English speaking world doesn't do it. It doesn't need to be in the rulebook either, and it's somewhat ridiculous when people read it.
I'd agree with you that the +1 per level has issues.
Everyone's skill modifiers are only off each other's by a few point points per skill. For 60% of skill checks characters will largely get the same results.
What's bizarre about it is that a fighter without trying is only a few points off a wizard for arcana and occultism and a few points off a druid or cleric for medicine.
Beyond that making any sense from a character theme standpoint, there are couple of game play issues that I have with it. As a GM, I do want all players to feel that they can contribute to the party's success.
If everyone has a roughly the same chance of success on most skill checks, a huge portion of the player character's roles overlap. Either the GM has to direct who makes the checks and do something lame like go in a circle or try and be random, of if the players volunteer to do it, the more aggressive players will make all of the first checks.
Because has as strong a chance for success as everyone else, for less likely successful checks, every player will make a check, which is much more time consuming than if one or two players have a reasonable chance. If will make those encounters take longer.
For saves, what it means is that instead of one or two characters being significantly likely to succumb to something, there will be more circumstances where every character succumbs, and more circumstances where no one succumbs. If everyone succumbs to poison or charms, that's a total party kill. If the DCs are lowered to avoid that, then it will be more frequent that no one succumbs, and that kills a part of the drama and conflict and adventure of it. It's not bad if the barbarian occasionally gets charmed or the wizard gets poisoned. If everyone does, that is bad. If no ever does, that's also bad.
I hate it.