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More good changes with this update.

I'm impressed with how much progress we've seen in these updates so far; by and large, almost all of the changes each time seem to be solid improvements on what came before.

Keep up the good work Paizo!


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One potential complaint regarding this proposal is that it doesn’t seem to help with skills that aren’t opposed. And most skills aren’t usually opposed: Survival, Knowledge, etc. And we want being Legendary at Survival to mean something too.


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Zamfield wrote:

One thing I notice is that the 4 degrees of success has LOTs of room for tweaking how a certain skill check feels and resolves.

  • Range
  • Number of Targets
  • Time between uses, bolstering duration
  • Actual result, like reducing conditions by 1 or more stages/steps.
  • Failure cost.
  • Affect on failure.

    Some of the skill feats do tweak these basic skill check results in one aspect or the other, but it
    would be awesome if proficiency had more impact. For some things, Master and Legendary mention this on the skill, but very rarely does Expert matter.

  • That's a good point. Another interesting way for differences in proficiency level to have a more tangible impact without changing the underlying math.


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    Zamfield wrote:

    All for #3 lite, each proficiency unlocks more skill uses. I think that solves the PFS problem of not having anyone capable of making the check.

    I think getting a free feat with each skill increase is very flavorful as demonstrating increased mastery in that skill by training towards a feat matches up with a lot of good stories.

    I still would provide some general skill feats to allow for choosing those below your proficiency. Perhaps you can only spend those on feats that require proficiency level below the current skill level.

    Yeah, if we're keeping the proficiency numbers the same, then there are basically two routes to make higher skill proficiencies feel like they mean something:

  • Route 1. The Negative approach: Make having a certain proficiency level a prerequisite for attempting certain skill challenges. (Option 2 from the OP is an example.)
  • Route 2. The Positive approach: Make gaining a proficiency level give you new things you can do. (Options 3 and 4 from the OP are examples.)

    The current rules are a weird mixture of the negative and positive approaches, largely focusing on the negative. Being trained allows certain new skill uses, but other than that, higher proficiency only serves as a prerequisite for certain kinds of skill challenges.

    But the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to think that a fully positive approach is better. As sadie and others in that thread point out, this pre-requisite function isn't very fun or "special"-feeling for those who can meet the prerequisite (so the super special thing I can do by being legendary in Thievery is get to attempt to pick a really hard lock? whee...), and feels punishing for those who can't.

    Whereas an approach which gives you something special and proactive that you can do when you get a new proficiency level feels much better -- you get some new special thing that you can do with the skill (over and above just the ability to attempt certain skill challenges).

    TLDR: Like you, I've become more and more persuaded that some version of the Positive Approach would be the best way to make skill proficiencies feel meaningful.


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    Ascalaphus wrote:
    I still think we need the option to "slum" for a lower-grade skill feat than the maximum you're entitled to, especially because there's a lot of Trained skill feats around. But apart from that, I prefer the 4.0 option most now.

    Yeah, I agree. So there's just the tricky question of how to best do that... Here's one thought (different from the one sketched above):

    1. Let your proficiency level in a skill = the highest level skill feat in that skill you have. (To ensure that anyone who's legendary in Stealth can actually do something legendarily stealthy, etc.)

    2. Replace the current skill feat and skill proficiency increases with a single disjunctive option gained every other level: You can either (a) pick *2* skill feats up to your current proficiency level in a skill, or (b) pick 1 skill feat one level higher than your current proficiency level in a skill (which would thus increase your proficiency level in that skill).

    If you choose (b) every time, you'll end up with the same number of skill proficiency increases and skill feats as in the current system. If you choose (a) sometimes, you'll end up with fewer skill proficiency increases than the current system, but more skill feats.

    And it would allow you to choose how to balance the quality of skill feats you can get and the quantity of skill feats you get. How does something like that sound?


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    Ascalaphus wrote:

    I've thought it over and my preference is actually #4: get one skill feat every time you raise a skill. Why? Growth opportunities for the system.

    If we say that when you gain a new skill level you gain all the new options, then you basically need to codify all of those options in the CRB, otherwise you get characters getting more powerful just because a new book was published. Or actually, new books probably won't publish new skill uses that you gain automatically. They'll probably make general feats that look suspiciously like skill feats, but that you don't get for free.

    With the #4 approach, we basically mandate that the CRB includes at least one skill feat for every proficiency tier for every skill, and preferably two, so that there's some choice. Seems like a good thing to me.

    Ideally, we also get defined skill check DCs for non-feat uses of skills going up to DC 50 (as I argued in my own thread). Those would become a sort of guarantee: "these things you can already do without a skill feat; everything not in here is up in the air". If a player wants to try something that's clearly part of the skill, but not in the table, the GM can set a DC by comparison, or it could be something they come up with a skill feat for.

    Yeah, I think those are compelling reasons. I've been moving toward option #4 as well.

    I've been trying to find easier ways to capture something like this idea, and was toying with something like this:

  • Option 4.1. Skill Feat Advancement: (a) Your proficiency level in a skill is determined by the highest level feat you have in that skill. (So if you have an expert-level skill feat in Stealth, than you have expert proficiency with respect to Stealth).

    (b) Whenever you get a skill feat, you can choose a skill feat in a skill that's up to one proficiency level higher than some other skill feat you have in that skill. (So if you have an expert-level skill feat in Stealth, and a trained-level skill in Thievery, you can choose a master-level skill in Stealth or a expert-level skill in Thievery.)

    The main con of this version of 4.1 is that it disincentivizes getting more than one skill feat of a given proficiency level (e.g., a second expert-level Stealth skill feat) because such a choice won't yield an additional "+1" numerical bonus with any of your skills.

    So I think I probably like the variant of option 4 sketched above better. (That whenever you increase your proficiency in a skill, that increase automatically comes with a corresponding skill feat of the same proficiency level (e.g., if you become an expert in Stealth, you also get an expert-level Stealth skill feat).)


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    Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

    Linking skill increases or making skill feats automatic seems to be a decent option, though I am not entirely sure how that will affect future options.

    I think having a fair number of set DCs (like jumping or climbing a rope) will be pretty critical longterm, while others really should depend on the challenge at hand.

    Diplomacy is a great example since the RAW rules are usually ignored in favor of custom DCs at least in something like PFS scenarios.

    I am not entirely sure how much gatekeeping will be useable (thinking about organized play and modules) since you can never be sure that you have a character with that proficiency level at the table, and the adventure needs to have a way to continue regardless.

    Part of me would prefer some sort of automatic unlock in each skill (not unlike untrained and trained skill uses) whether those are taken from skill feats or written for each skill might not matter all that much.

    Since they are also used offensively, increasing the actual bonus might be off the table, but messing with the way you roll the dice (rolling twice, rerolling etc.) might be an option to make the increased proficiency rank feel better.

    Of course, altering or replacing Assurance could solve a lot of those problems, right now the feat is better for you if you are terrible at the skill (low attribute bonus, ACP) which just feels rather unrewarding.

    I certainly agree that replacing Assurance would be a good idea! I think that the kinds of worries motivating the third kind of skill problems I described ("Skill proficiency levels don't mean much") will still be around, though.

    As for how to deal with that problem, the kind of "skill unlock" suggestion also sounds like a nice option. It'd sort of be a more conservative version of option 3.

    Likewise, linking skill increases and the level of skill feats one has sounds like an attractive option to me (that's more or less along the lines of option 4).

    Gloom's point that the devs seem to be adopting option 2 has made me try to reconcile myself to that thought. But I'm starting to get a bit more worried about this option, for both reasons you've raised, and reasons raised in the "Skill Gating - Common Misconceptions about Skill Proficiency" thread.

  • One is, as you say, it's not clear it's a fun mechanic to use in modules, or PFS play, since it the party composition doesn't happen to line up with what's required, the players are deprived of the option of meaningfully engaging with the skill challenge in an interesting way.
  • Another is trying to make sense of a principled the difference between high DCs and high proficiency requirements.
  • A third is that largely punitive systems like gatekeeping just don't seem nearly as fun as ones which, say, providing you with extra perks, or new cool things you can do, when you advance to higher proficiency levels.


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    StratoNexus wrote:


    Simple vs Martial weapon could be why. The Crossbow has several disadvantages compared to the Short Bow, perhaps too many (it does have better range though). The sling is in the same predicament. It is possible they need to be reviewed (I am not sure why the sling has a reload of 1 while the Shortbow is 0, myself).
    If you are in a class that gets Martial Weapons, you should probably choose the composite shortbow. If you only get simple weapons, well then you probably aren't using the weapon all that much anyway? I don't think it is gimp to use a crossbow as a backup/range weapon if your class is not proficient with Composite shortbows. You should have other class features that make up for that lack of martial proficiency.

    A Ranger who uses the Crossbow does come out a feat behind to only be almost as good as if they just chose the Comp Shortbow. I don't think that is gimp, but it surely is weaker unnecessarily.

    To be clear, I certainly agree that there are rationales one can provide for why the composite shortbow should be better -- that it's a martial weapon, perhaps arguments from realism, and so on. One could likewise provide rationales for why (say) slings and thrown weapons should be decidedly inferior to bows in PF1.

    Nevertheless, I have players come to me who have character concepts they want to play (inspired by some film, movie, or comic) which primarily utilize these kinds of weapons. And it'd be a lot more fun if I could say "sure, just do this, and you'll be fine", instead of "well hold on, if you want to do that you have to carefully plan your character, and you should know you're going to have be strictly inferior to someone who just uses a different weapon".

    Since the goal of the game is to have fun, and a lot of people want to have fun by playing these kinds of character concepts, I'm inclined to think it would be a good thing if PF2 allowed people to do so.

    Quandary wrote:

    I think one approach is distinguishing simple from martial proficiency usage of crossbow.

    Similar to how bastard sword distinguished martial from exotic (previously).
    Both in baseline functionality, and eligibiliy for novel Feat functionality, it seems relevant
    to know if the user has martial proficiency (if only for that weapon), or just simple.
    This lets Feats and baseline functionality be "scoped" much more accurately and appropriately. /my2c

    Yeah, something like that would be great. It would certainly provide a simple and straightforward way of addressing the problem!


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    HWalsh wrote:
    Porridge wrote:

    In PF1, there were lots of character ideas that people new to the game would have ideas like:

    "I want to make a knife-throwing Inquisitor!"

    "I want to make a crossbow-focused Rogue, who assassinates people using distinctive red-shafted bolts!"

    "I want to make an Gnomish fighter who pretends to be a child with a toy sling, but who can rain deadly fire down once combat starts!"

    And as DM, I'd have to sigh, pull them aside, and give them The Talk: I'd have to tell them that if they want this build to do well, they need to carefully plan out their feat choices for the next nine levels, and should be prepared to be largely ineffective until they get there.

    It would be great if I didn't have to do this in PF2. Unfortunately, the current Playtest rules do not seem to be an improvement in this regard. But I'm hopeful that some further updates down the line will change this!

    The current Playtest rules do do that.

    I mean, seriously, it is all but impossible to gimp a character unless you completely drop the ball on stats needed to use the weapon.

    So, I’m not sure what you have in mind. But if you look at the expected damage calculations done here, you’ll see that (for example) a generic ranged combatant who uses a crossbow or a sling will do significantly less damage than they would using a composite shortbow. (In the “8-to-hit” version of the calculation, the composite shortbow user will do almost double the expected damage of a crossbow or sling user.)


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    In PF1, there were lots of character ideas that people new to the game would have ideas like:

    "I want to make a knife-throwing Inquisitor!"

    "I want to make a crossbow-focused Rogue, who assassinates people using distinctive red-shafted bolts!"

    "I want to make an Gnomish fighter who pretends to be a child with a toy sling, but who can rain deadly fire down once combat starts!"

    And as DM, I'd have to sigh, pull them aside, and give them The Talk: I'd have to tell them that if they want this build to do well, they need to carefully plan out their feat choices for the next nine levels, and should be prepared to be largely ineffective until they get there.

    It would be great if I didn't have to do this in PF2. Unfortunately, the current Playtest rules do not seem to be an improvement in this regard. But I'm hopeful that some further updates down the line will change this!


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    At the risk of repeating myself (since these issues are being debated in a couple of different threads... :P), let me flag that if the game is going to appeal to gatekeeping to distinguish between different proficiency levels, then it's really important for the developers to provide detailed guidelines, for each skill, regarding what kinds of skill challenges require what kinds of proficiency. The table provided by Gloom above is a nice first start. But to for this to really work in a satisfying way, I think we'd need a chart like this for each individual skill.

    As things are, we don't have these details, which creates a number of problems:

  • It makes increasing skill proficiency unsatisfying for players, since they don't have any tangible feeling for what this advancement means.
  • It makes it hard for players to know what kinds of things they should be able to expect to do with a given proficiency level.
  • It makes it hard for DMs to know when to apply a proficiency requirement to various challenges.
  • It makes it hard for DMs to assign proficiency requirements to challenges in a way that's consistent from session to session.


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    Two follow up thoughts:

    1. If the developers stick with option 2, and do provide detailed guidelines about what kinds of tasks require what kinds of proficiency levels, then I'd be fine with it.

    But it's hard for me to shake the feeling that this way of distinguishing between proficiency levels raises a number of uncomfortable issues. For example, it becomes very important to spell out, for each skill, what the difference is between a high DC and low proficiency skill challenge and a low DC and high proficiency skill challenge. And it's not clear (to me, at least) how to do that in a principled manner.

    2. Echoing a comment I made in Ascalaphus' thread, if option 2 is how we're distinguishing between proficiency levels, then assigning concrete DCs and concrete proficiency requirements to different tasks is something it's really important for the developers to work out -- much more important (IMO) than pretty much any other aspect of the game.

    Here's why. There are a lot of things about PF2 I'd like to see tweaked (dying rules, mandatory magic items, resonance, sorcerer spell flexibility, etc). But almost all of these are things which I could introduce relatively simple house rules to change.

    That's not true for skill DCs and proficiency requirements. There's no simple house rule I can slap on to get representative DCs and proficiency requirements for different skill challenges (to say nothing of working out how high DC challenges and high proficiency requirements are supposed to be different!). This is something that requires a lot of time and design expertise to do well. And that's precisely the kind of thing you want professional designers to do for you.


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    Gloom wrote:
    Porridge wrote:
  • Option 2. Gatekeeping: Another suggestion is to add skill uses that require higher levels of proficiency to be performed. ... .
  • This is something that is already referred to in the Rulebook under 'Proficiency-Gating' on page 336. It's the recommended method of running skill challenges.

    I do kind of wish they employed it a bit more in the modules to give people a bit more visibility to it though!

    Yeah, good. That makes it seems like Option 2 is the option the developers are currently intending to employ to distinguish between proficiency levels.

    Given that, the lack of guidance regarding skill proficiency requirements, or even representative proficiency requirements, has a number of very unhappy consequences:

  • It makes increasing skill proficiency unsatisfying for players, since they don't have any tangible feeling for what this advancement means.
  • It makes it hard for players to know what kinds of things they should be able to expect to do with a given proficiency level.
  • It makes it hard for DMs to know when to apply a proficiency requirement to various challenges.
  • It makes it hard for DMs to assign proficiency requirements to challenges in a way that's consistent from session to session.

    I.e., it basically raises all of the same problems that arise for the second big skills problem ("Skill bonuses/DCs don't mean anything").

    As Ascalaphus and ryric have convincingly argued, the only viable solution to the second big skills problem seems to be providing, for each skill, explicit guidelines regarding what kinds of challenges require what kinds of DCs, and/or providing a number of representative DCs for particular kinds of challenges.

    And if gatekeeping is how proficiency levels are going to be distinguished, then it seems the same needs to be done here: the book needs to provide, for each skill, explicit guidelines regarding what kinds of challenges require what kinds of proficiency levels, and/or provide a number of representative proficiency requirements for particular kinds of challenges.


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    Snickersnax wrote:

    You could eliminate the Assurance feat and use a modified version of it for the TEML proficiency system. You roll the dice and

    Expert: your minimum roll is 5
    Master: your minimum roll is 10
    Legendary: your minimum roll is 15

    and then unlike the current Assurance feat, you can add your bonuses to the roll.

    This might work well with Porridge's idea of

    Quote:
    Option 3. Merging Proficiency and Skill Feats
    which I really like

    I think eliminating (or heavily modifying) Assurance is a good idea no matter what. So I'm definitely on board with that.

    This proposal strikes me as an interesting version of option 1: changing the numbers in way that makes higher proficiency levels more consistent.

    It's certainly a better approach, I think, than versions of option 1 that just increase the bonuses proficiency levels provide. Those proposals run directly counter to the PF2 idea of allowing one to create challenges that can be both easy (but not automatic) for optimal skilled characters, and hard (but not automatically failed) for unskilled characters. This proposal (like proposals people have made about taking the best of multiple die rolls when you get a higher level of proficiency) avoid this problem.

    And, as you say, it could be merged with option 3, as they're not mutually exclusive.

    The main potential complaint one might raise is just that this treats skills in a different way from attacks and saves. But how big a cost that is is something I can see a lot of reasonable disagreement about.

    (I.e., it's prima facie nice to have consistency across numbers in these different regimes, since it makes encounter construction easier, and the like. But it might also seem that to a large extent, skills just play different roles than attacks and saves, and so trying to treat them all the same way is a mistake.)


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    @Gaterie: That's another interesting option. It seems similar to the first option in a lot of ways, both with respect to it's advantages (effectively yielding conditional numerical bonuses as one gains skill proficiency levels, which allows for bigger effective differences with respect to the same DC tasks) and potential disadvantages (treating skills proficiency checks in a way that's disanalogous to how they're treated in other domains, like attacks). Certainly something worth considering.

    @Ascalaphus:

    Re #4: I agree that it would also be natural to allow someone to (say) spend the skill feat associated with the increase to legendary proficiency on a lower level skill feat if they desired. I considered that, but was worried that this would allow the initial worry to creep back in: it would be possible for someone who was Trained in Athletics and someone who was Legendary in Athletics to be virtually on a par (if the person who was Legendary spent all of their skill feats on silly things at the Trained level, say).

    But I can certainly see the appeal of going the way you suggest!

    And I agree that this option forces one to make a decision about whether to keep the number of total skill feats the same (in which case there are virtually no free skill feat choices, unless one burns general feats on them), or whether to make these mandatory skill feats bonus skill feats. I was suggesting the latter option in order to allow for more customization with respect to how one developed one's skills. (And because skill feats seem pretty weak in general, so adding more of them didn't seem to be particularly threatening from a balance perspective.) But I might have been too cavalier there... In any case, I think either option would yield something more satisfying than the current set-up.

    Re #3: In my heart of hearts, I think I agree that this is probably the most attractive way to go. In addition to the advantages you describe, it would eliminate the possibility of people adding skill feats which retroactively ban certain uses of skills for those without that feat. (Something which many people found infuriating in PF1 -- "wait, now I need to have a feat to do this?!")

    I worry about whether this is too radical a change for the devs to take on board. But If they do, I'm all for it!

    @Leedwashere:

    Wow. That's an impressively detailed proposal! And as someone who's pretty sympathetic to something along the lines of #3 (as i noted above), I find this approach pretty appealing as well.

    My initial concern was that it might require too much work to develop, but after seeing your pretty comprehensive write-up, I think I might have been to pessimistic. Very interesting.


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    Snickersnax wrote:
    Porridge wrote:
    Snickersnax wrote:

    I guess I wasn't very clear about my proposal. Here is an example to demonstrate what I was trying to say.

    Say a 7th level sorcerer wants to cast a heightened Mage Armor spell. He has Mage Armor as a Level 1 Spell in his repertoire. He casts the spell using a Level 1 spell slot and as a free action spends a spell point to spontaneously heighten the spell to 4th level (his maximum level). This does NOT use a 4th level spell slot.

    Snickersnax wrote:

    have sorcerers have spells on their list only at their lowest level and then allow spontaneous heightening to only their maximum level.

    So the sorcerer casts heal using a level 1 spell slot and uses a spell point to spontaneously heighten it to max level.

    I think you're right that I wasn't following what your proposal was...

    Upon re-reading it sounds like this (is this right)?:

  • Sorcerers only learn spells at their lowest level. (So a sorcerer can only learn Heal 1, not Heal 2, or any higher level Heal spell.)
  • Sorcerers can cast those spells using their usual slots. (So they can cast Heal 1 using a 1st level slot.)
  • Sorcerers can cast heightened versions of spells they know, but (a) must spend a spell point to do so, (b) can only heighten to the maximum spell level they can cast, and (c) must use a spell slot of the spell's original level (not its heightened level) to cast it.

    If that's right, then it seems like Sorcerers may have a hard time making use of their higher level slots... (Since they can't just know Heal 4 and use a fourth level slot to cast it (because they can only know the lowest level version of a spell, Heal 1), and they won't use a fourth level slot if they choose to heighten the Heal 1 spell they know, because that uses a 1st level slot, not a 4th level slot.)

    But perhaps I'm missing, or misunderstanding, some part of the proposal?

  • Yes this is what I am suggesting. I'm not sure why sorcerers would have a hard time using their higher level...

    Ah, I see. I guess my main concern would be that this might oddly constrain one's spell choices at higher levels. At first glance, it seems like there will be a number of cases where you'd like to know a higher level version of a spell, but you wouldn't be allowed to do so on this approach. This seems like it could lead to people being forced to add in "filler" spells they don't really want at various levels in order to not waste them, and to try to get an opportunity to use their higher level spell slots.

    But that's all armchair talk. Whether these are real worries or not would have be tried out at the table.

    If you do try out something like this, let me know; I'd be very curious to hear how it works out!


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    Thinking about the various changes I'd like to see in PF2 has made it clear to me that this really is one of the most important things for the developers to work on.

    There are a lot of things about PF2 I'd like to see tweaked in one way or another -- the dying rules, mandatory magic items, resonance, sorcerer spellcasting, and so on. But almost all of these issues are things which I could introduce relatively simple house rules to change.

    That's not true for skill DCs. There is no simple house rule I can just slap on to get representative DCs for different skill uses. Trying to work out something that would yield reasonable results would require an enormous amount of time and design expertise, neither of which I have.

    So this is something which I think it's really important for the devs to do. This is something that requires a lot of time and design expertise to do well. And that's precisely the kind of thing you want talented professional designers -- like the excellent staff at Paizo! -- to do for you.


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    PF2 has tried to give skills a bigger role to play in the game, which is great. But there's been a lot of dissatisfaction regarding the way skills currently feel in the game. This dissatisfaction seems to stem from three issues:

  • Problem 1: Monster skills and challenge DCs are too high.
    As noted by Deadmanwalking (here and here), and many others, monsters generally have much higher skill modifiers than a comparable PC could have. This incentivizes players to pursue purely violent ways of resolving encounters -- why risk using bluff, diplomacy, or stealth to non-violently defuse encounters (attempts which usually put you in a worse position if you fail) when you're unlikely to succeed? Likewise, the DCs given for challenges in the rulebook seem too high, and presuppose access to skill increasing magic items. This runs counter the goal of reducing magic item dependence, and (more importantly) makes PCs to seem bumbling and inept.

  • Problem 2: Skill bonuses/DCs don't mean anything.
    As eloquently noted by Ascalaphus and ryric, among others, the lack of guidance regarding skill DCs, or even representative skill DCs, has a number of undersirable consequences. It makes advancing skills unsatisfiying for players, since they don't have any tangible feeling for what this advancement means. It makes it hard for players to know what kinds of things they should be able to expect to do with their skills. It makes it hard for DMs to know how to assign DCs to various challenges. And it makes it even harder for DMs to assign DCs to challenges in a way that's consistent from session to session.

  • Problem 3: Skill proficiency levels don't mean much.
    As noted by Midnightoker, among others, skill proficiency levels don't currently seem to mean much. The only requirements on skill uses just require being Trained, which makes it hard to differentiate between the higher proficiency levels. The numerical bonuses beween the higher proficiency levels is small. And while there are different skill feats available at different levels, they might not get chosen, making it easy to have cases where there's no discernable difference between someone who's Trained in Stealth and someone who's Legendary in Stealth (for instance).

    Although all three problems are important, I want to focus on the third problem here. Here are four ways of resolving the third problem:

  • Option 1. Number Tweaking: The most frequently offered suggestion is to change the numbers for skill proficiencies relative to (say) attacks. E.g., one might change the numerical boosts proficiency levels provides. Or one might change how checks are rolled at different proficiency levels (e.g., expert means you take the best out of two rolls, master means you take the best out of three rolls, etc).

    The big con of this kind of approach is that it breaks the uniform skill/saves/attack set-up the developers have set up. It also monkeys with the underlying math in a number of ways (the details here depend greatly on what the proposal is).

  • Option 2. Gatekeeping: Another suggestion is to add skill uses that require higher levels of proficiency to be performed. For example, one might add to each skill a chart like this:
    Athletics Proficiency Levels:
  • Trained or higher proficiency is required for tasks such as maneuvering in flight, climbing surfaces without handholds, swimming (not just staying afloat) in rough waters, etc.
  • Expert or higher proficiency is required for tasks such as climbing surfaces with a negative slope, climbing (with equipment) up Mt. Everest, swimming down to the bottom of a deep lake, etc.
  • Master of higher proficiency is required for tasks such as climbing upside down or climbing one-handed, swimming up waterfalls or whirlpools, jumping to the top of a tree, or jumping out of a cliff and landing unharmed, etc.
  • Legendary proficiency is required for tasks such as doing things with both arms (e.g., firing a bow) while hanging upside down, diving down to the ocean floor, jumping over a tall tower, etc.

    The big pro of this option is that (unlike option 1) it keeps all of the existing math and mechanics the same; it just adds another level of rules on top. The main con of this option is that it requires some delicate decisions regarding what skill feats are supposed to do, since they're supposed to add something over and above what (say) legendary proficiency in a skill already allows you to do.

  • Option 3. Merging Proficiency and Skill Feats: A third option is to fold skill feats into proficiency of the appropriate level. So someone who was (say) an expert in Athletics could do (for free) anything that a skill feat of expert or lower level allows one to do.

    This big pro of this option is that (unlike option 1) it keeps the underlying math the same, and (unlike option 2) it avoids delicate decisions about what should be a skill feat and what should be a "unlocked" skill use. And it makes for clear, dramatic differences between levels of skill proficiency. The big con of this approach is that it removes skill feats as a separate element of the game, which would require at least some changes to the way things are set up (to remove dead levels, etc).

  • Option 4. Proficiency Requirements: A fourth option is to pair every skill increase with a free skill feat that must be of the proficiency level gained. (So if one raises one's proficiency in Athletics to Legendary, then one must also pick a Legendary skill feat to go with it.) This effectively imposes a requirement on proficiency levels: you can only be Legendary in Athletics if you can do something Athletically Legendary (i.e., do that thing that the Legendary skill feats allows you to do).

    The big pros of this option is that it ensures (unlike option 1) that the underlying math is the same, it avoids (unlike option 2) further delicate decisions about what skill uses should require which proficiency levels, and (unlike option 3) it keeps the skill feats framework. The big con is that it would also require tweaking the existing rules slightly (since one would get twice as many skill feats). And it would require adding substantially more skill feats to choose from.

    __________

    I like all four options (though I think option 4 is the easiest to implement, and so probably the most attractive option from the perspective of the developers).

    Do any of these proposals strike you as attractive options? Are there big pros/cons to these proposals that I've missed? Any different kinds of proposal that should be considered?


  • Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Snickersnax wrote:

    I guess I wasn't very clear about my proposal. Here is an example to demonstrate what I was trying to say.

    Say a 7th level sorcerer wants to cast a heightened Mage Armor spell. He has Mage Armor as a Level 1 Spell in his repertoire. He casts the spell using a Level 1 spell slot and as a free action spends a spell point to spontaneously heighten the spell to 4th level (his maximum level). This does NOT use a 4th level spell slot.

    Snickersnax wrote:

    have sorcerers have spells on their list only at their lowest level and then allow spontaneous heightening to only their maximum level.

    So the sorcerer casts heal using a level 1 spell slot and uses a spell point to spontaneously heighten it to max level.

    I think you're right that I wasn't following what your proposal was...

    Upon re-reading it sounds like this (is this right)?:

  • Sorcerers only learn spells at their lowest level. (So a sorcerer can only learn Heal 1, not Heal 2, or any higher level Heal spell.)
  • Sorcerers can cast those spells using their usual slots. (So they can cast Heal 1 using a 1st level slot.)
  • Sorcerers can cast heightened versions of spells they know, but (a) must spend a spell point to do so, (b) can only heighten to the maximum spell level they can cast, and (c) must use a spell slot of the spell's original level (not its heightened level) to cast it.

    If that's right, then it seems like Sorcerers may have a hard time making use of their higher level slots... (Since they can't just know Heal 4 and use a fourth level slot to cast it (because they can only know the lowest level version of a spell, Heal 1), and they won't use a fourth level slot if they choose to heighten the Heal 1 spell they know, because that uses a 1st level slot, not a 4th level slot.)

    But perhaps I'm missing, or misunderstanding, some part of the proposal?


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    This was such a good, thoughtful, post that I feel I need to make my agreement explicit.

    As the OP says, having explicit, or at least representative DCs for each skill would do an enormous amount to help the way skills currently feel in the game, on both sides of the screen:

  • PRO 1. It would help make players feel like they're actually making tangible progress as they invest/progress in a skill.
  • PRO 2. It would give players an idea of what sort of thing they should expect to be able to do with a given level of skill.
  • PRO 3. It would give the DM a sense of what kinds of challenges they should construct to challenge players of a given skill level.
  • PRO 4. It would help DMs ensure that the kinds of challenges they present their players with feel consistent, DC-wise, from session to session.
  • PRO 5. It would help the DMs figure out what skill levels (and levels) to make various NPCs the party might encounter -- "well, they're skilled enough to do X, so that makes them...".

    Now, I understand Stephen Radney-MacFarland's reasons for being hesitant to provide such values:

  • CON 1. It lessens the amount of power the DM has in setting DC checks for particular tasks.
  • CON 2. It's a lot of work on the developers to flesh out how these skills should (quantitatively) work.
  • CON 3. It's difficult to provide such details in a way that will satisfy everyone, since (for example) there's a wide amount of variation among gamers in how epic people want high level play to feel.

    And I can see how given these points (especially CONs 2 and 3), providing more concrete DCs can seem pretty unappealing from the point of view of the developers. Because no matter how they flesh out these details, it'll be a lot of work, and they're going to upset some vocal group or another.

    But if you weigh all of the different ways in which adding these DCs would improve the gaming experience, it's (IMO) clearly worth it.

    So as someone who really wants PF2 to succeed, I hope the developers will revisit this issue and provide representative DCs.


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    I'm in complete agreement with the original poster.

    Indeed, I think the game would be much more flavorful, and fun, if magical bonuses from items where always mediated by effects, instead of being bland bonuses.

    An item that makes you Quick 1, or which imposes Sickened 1 on enemies within 10', or which hits you with a continuous Protection (Evil) effect, or something, is much more fun and interesting (IMO) than an item that gives you a bland "+1" just cuz.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    It seems there might be a little confusion about what the various proposals are. So let me spell them out, as I understand them.

  • Mark's original idea, as I understand it, was basically what a number of people have advocated on the boards. Namely, that Sorcerer's would have a certain number of spells known of each spell level, as in PF1. And then they would be able to spontaneously heighten these spells -- use a higher level spell slot to cast a higher level version of the spell -- whenever they want.

    This, unfortunately, seemed to lead to decision paralysis and was considered unbalanced.

  • The proposal I was making was pretty much the same as Mark's, except for two things. (1) To spontaneously change the level of the spell, you need to spend a spell point (a free action). (2) Upon doing so, you can spontaneously raise or lower the level of the spell.

    So if you know Heal 2, you can (a) cast Heal 2 using a 2nd level slot, or (b) use a spell point to cast Heal 1 using a 1st level slot (if you're out of 2nd level slots, say), or (c) use a spell point to cast Heal 3 using a 3rd level slot, and so on.

    Snickersnax wrote:
    So your Desideratum 3 isn't satisfied here at all.

    I'm not sure what you have in mind, but here's why I was thinking desideratum 3 would be satisfied by the proposal I sketched in the OP.

    Because you only have a limited number of spell points, you're not expecting to change the spell level of your spell very often. Instead, you learn spells at the levels you think you're most likely to use them at. It's only in special cases -- e.g., you know Heal 2, but have run out of second level spell slots, or you know Charm 1 but you want to try to charm a non-humanoid -- that you'll be thinking about using one of your spell points to change the spell level. So (unlike with Mark's original proposal, where you could heighten for free) it's not a choice you need to actively consider whenever you cast a spell. Usually, you'll just use the default level, since it costs precious resources to do otherwise. And so usually it isn't something you'll need to devote much mental energy to considering.

    Snickersnax wrote:

    The best way to fix this might be to have sorcerers have spells on their list only at their lowest level and then allow spontaneous heightening to only their maximum level.

    So the sorcerer casts heal using a level 1 spell slot and uses a spell point to spontaneously heighten it to max level.

    The spontaneous heighten class feature gets replaced with: Use spell points to spontaneously heighten a spell you cast to your maximum level for 1 spell point and the feature gives you an extra 2 spell points.

    This:

    1) meets all your desiderata
    2) eliminates the funk of sorcerers having Heal1, heal2, heal3, fireball4, etc
    3) adds a cool side effect of sorcerers sometimes using more power than is necessary to solve a problem. They only have base level spell and max level spell.
    4) Spell point use keeps the power balance in check, but gives the sorcerer a much needed boost.
    5) Bloodline powers are still slightly favored because they don't use any spell slots

    The wizard is a screwdriver, the sorcerer is a hammer

    That's an interesting proposal. And I agree that it has a lot of nice features. A couple drawbacks of this approach, if I'm understanding it correctly:

  • This would seem to lead to very limited heightening. I.e., if your max spell level is 5, and you have 2 5th level spell slots, then you can only heighten twice a day. (And only in one particular way: raising a spell to max level.)

    While I agree that this would reduce the cognitive load of decision making even more than my proposal, it wouldn't leave much in the way of using heightening/undercasting as a way of making the Sorcerer a flexible spellcaster.

  • This proposal would put your mid level spell slots in a weird position. If you can only learn spells at their lowest level, and only heighten them to their highest level, then it looks like it could be difficult to find easy ways to use your mid-level slots. I guess you could carefully select spells whose lowest level is one of those mid-level slots, or something, but that would seem to constrain the spells Sorcerers learn in awkward ways.

  • Although I agree it's a neat idea that captures the picture of an overpowered blaster without much control of their magic, it's not that great a fit with the typical fantasy trope of a magic user who's really good at, say, fire magic, and can cast all sorts of fire spells from weak to strong, as the situation warrants. Insofar as we want the Sorcerer to help us to play something closer to that fantasy trope, one might want a version of the Sorcerer that allows for a bit more flexibility than this proposal allows.


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    Regarding the description of A8: what are the critical fails/fumbles you’re referring to here? (I don’t recall seeing any consequences for critically failing an attack in the rule book, but maybe I missed it?)


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    Kaboogy wrote:

    A heighten metamagic feat is an option that’ll sidestep the resource problem while remaining balanced.

    Here’s a few other options (desiderata satisfied in square brackets)
    - Heightening using spell points as suggested, coupeled with the ability to burn slots for points. This has the added value of further connecting the sorcerers’ innate magic (bloodline powers) with their learned magic (spell slots); it’ll also make sorcerer mc builds really interesting. [1,2,3?,4?]

    - Free heightening and lowering, and reducing the spells known by one per level. [1,2,3?,4]

    - Change bloodlines so you can only choose spells with the appropriate traits (from all lists), with complement powers. [1,2,3?,4?]
    Examples that are not be balanced but show what I mean: Fire bloodline only gets fire spells (duh), one of the powers bypasses some resistance; Fey chooses from spells with the charm or plant traits; Celestial gets all good and light spells, and one of the powers grows wings.
    This option needs some elbow grease to be balanced, and I put it here because I think themed magic fits the idea of sorcerers really well.

    Great suggestions!

    First, as an aside, in each case I think it's important to allow for heightening and lowering -- it just feels wrong to me to be able to (say) be able to cast a powerful Heal spell but not a weaker one. But I take it everything you're saying is compatible with that.

  • 1. I like your first suggestion a lot (can heighten/lower for a spell point, and burn slots for more points). It's a tad more powerful than the proposal I offered. But it's a very nice fit thematically.

    And, as an additional perk, it boosts the impact of your bloodline choice, since it allows you to use your bloodline powers a lot if you want to. That really puts the bloodline at the front and center of the class. And it really helps to distinguish the Sorcerer from the other spell-casting classes.

  • 2. I like the second suggestion too (free heightening and lowering, and lowering spells known by 1), but I suspect that many of the worries regarding the original proposal will probably apply here as well (especially regarding decision paralysis). Indeed, I suspect this is the first think the devs tried changing when they encountered problems with the initial proposal, but found that this didn't work either. So I think the odds of us getting something like this are low... :(

  • 3. The third suggestion (small thematically linked groups of spells and powers that one can, presumably heighten and lower for free) is the option that best fits the magic user in most fantasy literature. It would be awesome to have an option like this for people to play.

    My main worry about this option appearing in the CRB are the same as the worries you raise -- namely, that it would require a lot of work to put together and balance properly. (It also might irk some who wanted the new Sorcerer to not be too different from the old one.) And I suspect that this is something the devs won't have time to do.

    But, like you, I think this is in many respects the most attractive option. And if we don't get something like this in the CRB, I really hope we'll get an archetype or different class which does work this way in the books to follow!


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    Dragonborn3 wrote:
    On the Bloodline Powers point maybe if they were worth a spell point more often than not? come on, a bite attack? Natural weapons are cool but putting them on a class not meant for the front lines seems wrong. Certainly wasn't easy to use in PF1...

    Yeah, I'm not unsympathetic to this thought. And tweaking bloodline powers a bit might also help to ensure that the option of using spell points to change spell levels was balanced against bloodline powers.

    Sir NotAppearingInThisFilm wrote:
    If using spell points to heighten spells raises a concern over diminishing the use of bloodline powers, how about using Resonance instead? Especially with the current talk of using Resonance only on permanent items, a sorcerer could invest in whatever items, and then use the rest for spell-heightening.

    Yeah, that's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure how this would fit in with the replacement Resonance system they're implementing. (In part because I'm not sure what exactly the replacement system will be!)

    It sounds like there will be two kinds of resonance-like systems, one for permanent items, and one for boosting temporary magic items. I'm not sure the points allocated for permanent items are a good resource to use, because this would effectively de-power the Sorcerer, by making it harder for them to avail themselves of permanent magic items if they want to use those points on spell-level-changing.

    But maybe the resonance points that are designated for consumables and the like might be used in this way? Hard to tell without seeing the system in question...


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    Snickersnax wrote:


    As far as balance goes. I'm not sure how this is a problem at all. Instead of casting a level 4 spell, the sorcerer casts a level 1 spell at 4th level. Both use the same spell slot. How could there possibly be a balance issue?

    Maybe folks are confused about how the spontaneous heightening idea works, because the language is a bit misleading. IF they thought that ALL spells automatically get heightened to your maximum spell level, I guess I could see how that might be a balance issue. But that's not the solution I or most people have been suggesting.

    If balance is somehow still a problem, I wouldn't mind a slight decrease in spell repertoire to get this change. Right now the spell selection is so weak I'm often just trying to pick the least bad option rather than the next good one when I'm filling out the spell...

    I'd link to the posts in question, but I haven't figure out how to access the posts on the previous playtest thread... :(

    Balance-wise, I think the worry was that by allowing heightening of any spell one has (using the appropriate level slot), one could have a menu of a 10 or 20 different spells one could cast using one's highest level slots, and I guess they found that this was too powerful?

    Decision-paralysis-wise, I think that in their internal playtests it seemed like when people had that many options to choose from, their turns took a lot longer than the other classes did.

    But like you, I found both of those results surprising (as did Mark, obviously, since this was how he originally designed them).


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    Snickersnax wrote:

    Just allow sorcerers to use spell slots to cast whatever spells they have in their spell repertoire spontaneously heightening any spells that get cast using a higher spell slot than normal.

    Its simple, its not OP, it satisfies your 4 desired criteria.

    Yeah, in the old play test thread, Mark noted that what you describe was the original way he designed the Sorcerer to work. But internal play tests convinced the developers that it didn’t satisfy desiderata 3 and 4. That is, there was a lot of decision paralysis, and balance concerns.

    Like you (and Mark!) I find this surprising. But granting that the original propoposal does, indeed, fail to satisfy desiderata 3 and 4, then that option is off the table. :(

    So the question becomes: how else might things be set up that avoids these problems?


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    Kalvit wrote:
    If Spell Points as a resource to heighten or otherwise adjust spells were to be implemented, then the consequences must also be considered. How does this affect bloodline powers? Other than losing valuable points that could fuel those abilities, could this feature impact Sorcerers play experience in a way that makes any bloodline power completely ignored as a result? And if it doesn't, should another feat that gives a couple extra Spell Points be a consideration for the Sorcerer as a class feat in lieu of the increase from the advanced bloodline power feats?

    Yeah, good questions. So you raise two potential worries here:

    Potential Worry 1: Will this use of spell points lead to sorcerer bloodline powers being ignored?

  • I think this will depend on what spells known one chooses.

    If you pick spells at the levels that you're most likely to want to use them (as this system would incentivize you to do) then I could easily imagine only using the changing-spell-level ability a couple times a session, if that. That would leave plenty of spell points leftover for using bloodline powers.

    On the other hand, if you stuff your 1st level spells known with a bunch of spells you only intend to cast at higher levels, then I could easily see burning through them pretty quickly. But this set-up disincentivizes you from picking spells this way (since changing spell levels costs resources), so I suspect this won't be too big a worry.

  • Of course, this is just armchair speculation. One would want to do some play-testing to see how this works in practice!

  • If this did turn out to be a problem, one could have separate pools for changing spell levels and using bloodline powers. But I'm a fan of PF2's consolidation of things you have to keep track of, so it would be nicer if one didn't have to do this.

    Potential Worry 2: Will the Sorcerer have enough spell points in general?

  • The default rule in PF2 seems to be that for each extra way of using spell points you get comes with a spell point boost equal to the cost of using that ability once. So in this case, it would be natural to pair the spell-level-changing ability gained at 3rd level with a +1 increase in spell points.

  • That aside, I agree that having some class feats that increase spell points would be nice. To some extent, those already exist, since more advanced bloodline powers also increase spell points. (And that might be an independent motivation for taking them!) But one could also include a separate feat that did nothing but increase one's spell point pool by (say) +3. That would seem like a natural addition.


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    pixierose wrote:
    I could see this solution has potential. Would it be 1 spell point, and they can scale it to any level they can cast?

    Yeah, that was the thought. 1 spell point to scale it the any level you can cast, up or down.


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    A number of people have raised reasonable concerns regarding the sorcerer: worries that they compare poorly to other classes with the same spell lists, worries that they have fewer class feats than most classes, worries that their class feats aren't a good fit for non-arcane spell lists, and so on. While I share many of these concerns, I want to raise a different concern.

    Most spell-using characters in fantasy literature are not Vancian. They don't change what spells they can cast daily, they're not locked into casting a spell at only one particular level of strength, they don't lose the ability to cast a spell as soon as they've cast it, and so on.

    The point of having a Sorcerer class, IMO, is to allow us to create non-Vancian magic-users along these lines. Thus two desiderata for the Sorcerer class are:

  • Desideratum 1. They have a general mastery of certain kinds of magic that doesn't change from day to day.
  • Desideratum 2. They have a general mastery of certain kinds of magic that allows them to produce stronger and weaker effects, as they desire.

    Of course, we also want Sorcerers to be fun to play. And developer commentary (especially from Mark Seifter) has helpfully identified two further desiderata to ensure they're fun to play:

  • Desideratum 3. Their flexible choices regarding what spells to cast should be constructed in a way that helps curb decision paralysis.
  • Desideratum 4. Their flexible choices regarding what spells to cast should be constructed in a way that is balanced against Vancian casters (i.e., is not too poweful).

    The PF1 Sorcerer satisfied desiderata 1,3 and 4.

    The PF2 playtest Sorcerer satisfies desiderata 3 and 4. But it doesn't satisfy either of the desiderata that (IMO) motivate having a Sorcerer class in the first place -- namely, allowing you to create spell-using characters that better fit typical fantasy literature.

    Here's an alternative that, I think, satisfies all four desiderata.

  • Allow Sorcerers to have the same number of spells known and spell slots as they currently do.
  • Replace the Spontaneous Hightening ability with the following: a Sorcerer can use 1 spell point to spontaneously heighten or decrease the spell level effect of any spell they know.

    This would allow Sorcerers to satisfy desiderata 1 and 2 -- what spells they can cast doesn't vary from day to day, and if their mastery of a spell allows them to produce stronger and weaker versions as they like.

    It would satisfy desiderata 3 -- avoiding decision paralysis -- since there would be a "default" spell level to cast their spells at, and the option of casting a weaker/stronger version of the spell would only come up in special circumstances.

    It would satisfy desiderata 4, since this change would, if anything, decrease the power of the Sorcerer class. (That itself might be a concern -- and if so, they might be beefed up a little to compensate for this -- but this kind of spell-casting flexibility wouldn't by itself make them too powerful.)

    __________

    I'm curious as to what others think. Does something like this proposal strike you as an attractive option? Are there modifications or alterations to this proposal that you think might do a better job of satisfying these four desiderata?


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    Wow. That’s a brutal way to go down!

    I guess that the oft-repeated claims that in PF2 a party with a cleric is impossible to kill aren’t true after all... : P


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    Zwordsman wrote:

    I personally like the wounds/dying levels idea. Sure there is the danger of nat 1=dying faster than you thought. But. I always kind of hated how you could literally calculate the damage output of what is on the field and know exactly if you could die or not. I rather like that death is kind of unpredictable. Baring magic, I don't think many people, even medical professionals could glance at someone and "Fine slice" how close to death they truly are. Just a guestimate.

    All of that said.
    I do think it needs to be altered a bit.
    The modular DC? I hate it. book keeping is a bit annoying-more so because as a player I have no clue what DC i'm rolling against unless I sorta guestimate or know the monster situation.

    I guess I'd be fine with something like a Flat check that increases via wound amount. Though that could get messy so damn quick that it'd be hard to scale. starting at 10 would be terrible. Starting at DC 5 might make it too easy to get up.. as it would scale to DC8/9. though that woudl be close to 50% failure to die die.. which i guess might be fine. You'd have to ask someone more knowledgable.

    Well said.

    I likewise am generally a fan of these changes to the dying rules. But I share the concern that the variable DC requires too much complicated bookkeeping.

    1. This is a rule that won’t come up all the time, so it’s not something we need complicated rules for to differentiate between characters. (Unlike, say, attack bonuses, or AC, or saves.)

    2. Going down in a high powered fight is going to be stressful/high stakes no matter what — we don’t need complicated opponent-relative DCs to make things tense.

    3. Having to stop the game to figure out complicated DCs isn’t fun. Having to spend a bunch of time figuring this out, and make everyone wait around for a while, robs the moment of its drama and tension.

    Pairing the current rules with a flat DC, or flat con adjusted DC — DC = 15-con bonus, or something — would avoid these worries.

    It’d be easy to calculate, wouldn’t slow things down, and would still make things tense — if someone goes down, they have a good chance of dying without assistance. Bam! Tension and drama!


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    The PF2 stat boosts (and lvl 1 stat assignments) go a fair way toward mitigating MAD worries for certain classes.

    PF2’s initial stat assignments also make character construction more “new player proof”, by making it harder to accidentally choose an untenable stat line.

    And the different way races contribute to stats in PF2 makes things like, say, a Halfling Barbarian or a Dwarven Sorceror viable (unlike PF1).

    So, on the whole, I think it’s a much better system than PF1’s.


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    Data Lore wrote:

    Seriously, these changes. They are freaking great. I didn't expect them to do so much. Love the downtime healing. Love it.

    The thing they are gonna do with fighter dedication and armor prof was something I was gonna suggest. Super cool.

    I love that they are so willing to make such substantive changes.

    Great job, Paizo.

    This.

    Great updates, that improve quality of life in a bunch of ways. Awesome.

    (Ps. And thanks for the summary Joe! Much appreciated.)


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    CaniestDog wrote:
    Having watched my ranger struggle with a heavy crossbow in the last two games, I think the rules as written just sap the fun from the game for them.

    Yeah, the heavy crossbow is generally worse than the crossbow for sustained fire (as the expected damage calculations above indicate). So switching to a normal crossbow would help a bit.

    But even with a normal crossbow and the ranger's Crossbow Ace ability, you'll be doing roughly the same damage as a composite shortbow. And if you used a composite shortbow instead, you could use your class feat on something else (e.g., Animal Companion).

    So even in the best case scenario (crossbow + ranger with Crossbow Ace), the crossbow looks like a strictly suboptimal option.

    CaniestDog wrote:
    They really need to alter crossbows to make them an fun and interesting choice regardless of if you are a ranger or not.

    Yeah, I agree some change would be nice (especially for non-rangers, who don't currently have any way to make a crossbow a viable ranger option).

    CaniestDog wrote:
    My preference would be to remove the loading time entirely, but give a penalty to hit with a crossbow unless you take an action (maybe two for a heavy) to aim.

    Removing reload times entirely would certainly make a big difference. But without some further tweaks, it would probably make them too good.

    CaniestDog wrote:
    If a reload time was still required I’d be tempted to allow an aim action to target touch AC just because the difference in a magical crossbow and a magical bow is pretty huge.

    Allowing one to spend an aim action to have them target touch AC is an interesting option, that would give them a certain niche that composite shortbows can't occupy. I suspect that the extra action cost generally wouldn't be worth it unless fighting a very high AC opponent.

    But maybe something else along those lines? Perhaps having them target touch AC when within 30', or something?


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    pjrogers wrote:
    Tridus wrote:

    I really hope the shield block question prompts them to get together and sort out what it's actually supposed to do. It's clearly a source of major confusion even amongst the team and a clarification would be really helpful.

    Was a good stream overall. I'm feeling pretty positive about where things are going.

    I find this to be a little nuts. The design team is throwing all these brand new mechanics, rules, and concepts into PF2e, and they're not even sure how they work. This doesn't give me a warm feeling about the design and development process.

    Well, given that they’re new rules, and being tinkered with all the time by a half dozen people, I think it’s understandable that someone can’t remember what the latest iteration of all the rules are off the top of their head.

    Heck, I often go the store to buy 3 things, and then can’t remember them all... :P

    EDIT: Which is not to say I wouldn’t welcome more clarity on the shield blocking rules. :)


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    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    I despise Volley and see no need for it, personally. ... It makes Shortbows see more use, but surely there are other ways to achieve that (I like adding Agile, but you could probably add other stuff as well).

    I like having something to make shortbows more attractive than longbows in certain respects. In that respect I'm happy with Volley, though I'd be happy with some other way of giving the shortbows an edge in certain circumstances.

    One problem, though, with just removing Volley from longbows and giving shortbows a further perk (like making them Agile) is that it makes the gap between shortbows/longbows and the other ranged weapons even greater.

    As things stand, shortbows and longbows are the best ranged weapons. (See the expected damage calculations starting here, and in the posts that follow.) The halfling sling staff yields pretty much the same expected damage, but costs at least one extra feat (since it's exotic), for no real gain in expected damage. Likewise, while a crossbow using ranger with the right feats can yield pretty much the same expected damage, its cost an extra class feat.

    In both cases, you're usually just better off using a shortbow/longbow and spending your feats on something else.

    If Volley is removed from longbows, and shortbows are made Agile, then the disparity between shortbows/longbows and the other ranged weapons grows even larger. Even a crossbow-focused ranger who sinks class feats into improving crossbows will be better off ignoring crossbows and using a shortbow/longbow instead.

    So if longbows and shortbows are made stronger, then the other ranged options really need to be given a substantial boost to keep them viable.


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    PF1 tends to require more combat than I'd like. I'd prefer a system which did a better job of encouraging players to pursue ways of doing things that don't involve slaughtering everyone involved. To do this, non-combat options need to be attractive enough to be worth pursuing.

    1. Trying to resolve something in a non-violent manner and failing often puts you in a worse position than just trying to resolve things violently in the first place. So if non-combat options aren't attractive enough, they won't even be attempted.

    2. If non-combat options aren't attractive enough, then it won't be worth investing resources (feats, items) to boost non-combat options over combat options. And if they're not invested in, they won't be effective enough to bother trying to use.

    Given the low chance of success for non-combat options in PF2, it seems the incentive for players to favor violent ways of resolving issues over non-violent ways will be even greater than in PF1.


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    Turelus wrote:
    Rysky wrote:
    Rob Godfrey wrote:
    The 'big 6' and the 'magic utility belt' are a large part of what makes PF mechanically fun, they aren't a 'problem' that needs fixing they are a core and interesting feature. That for me is the disconnect here, Paizo are introducing a system to 'fix' what makes high magic, high fantasy games fun.

    You will find this position highly debatable.

    Having magic items is fun. Having to have certain magic items so you don’t fall behind which means you’re cut off from using other fun magic items, not so much.

    Pretty much every game I've run my players eventually end up disappointed they had to give up that interesting item they found for a +bonus item in that slot.

    I *REALLY* like how the new attribute buff items work, you can only have one and you have to choose a +2 or instant 18.

    I’m also a fan of having fewer (or no) required magic items.

    FWIW, I’d actually prefer not having stat increasing items at all. Among other things, given how tight the math is, it would give us another point of variation to give to something else (such as how proficient you are).


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    This sounds like a decent proposal to me.

    The main “hitch” is that it presumably wouldn’t apply to things like attack rolls or saves. So that monkeys with the desire for a uniform treatment of all of these things. (With the goal of making the system easier to learn, and to provide a uniform way of constructing numbers for challenges of all of these kinds.)

    But given that these checks are already asymmetric in a number of ways — e.g., attack rolls are something you get to make repeatedly to overcome a challenge, while skill checks (and saves) are things you often only get to try once — maybe introducing *some* asymmetry into how these different kinds of checks are treated is not a bad thing.


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    ikarinokami wrote:

    ok I rewatched the stream.

    i was wrong. the Map does apply to flurry.

    Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification!


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    Any chance you could direct me to the twitch stream you’re referring to, and when Jason talks about this?

    Because now someone in the order of the amber die thread has said they got confirmation that it was supposed to be 0/-4...

    So confusing!

    Daniel Scholler wrote:
    FireclawDrake wrote:
    Adam Smith wrote:
    Flurry it was played as 0/0, then -4 (agile) and -8 (agile).

    This does seem to be an incorrect reading of the ability, as it does 2 Strike actions, both of which have the Attack trait (and thus both are separately affected by MAP).

    I could see an argument for both strikes occuring at the same time and thus not affecting each other, but then the remainder of the attacks would be at -8 with agile (since you've already had two actions with the attack trait from Flurry). However, with the conspicuous absence of such language from the Flurry description (whereas Double Slice includes it, for example), I'm fairly certain 0/-4 for flurry is the correct reading.

    Yes, received confirmation to end the debate. No matter how we've each chosen to play it, correct ruling is 0/-4, which--most importantly--means Lem might just have a chance at showing Sajan up in a combat on the next blog. Hehehe!


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    I was pretty much convinced that the 0/-4 attack penalty for a flurry is what they had in mind. But in the Order of the Amber die playest blog, they ran it as 0/0 for the flurry attack penalty (followed by -4 and -8 for the follow up attacks). And they tend to be pretty good at getting the rules right.

    So now I'm again unsure as to how this was intended to work...


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    Adam Smith wrote:
    SilentInfinity wrote:
    Question for the DM and Sajan: with the flurry action did you do the two Strikes as 0/0 or 0/-4? We did the 0/-4.
    Flurry it was played as 0/0, then -4 (agile) and -8 (agile).

    Huh, the tentative consensus in this thread seems to be that it should be 0/-4. But I suspect you guys have a pretty good track record of getting the rules right...

    Would be great to get some developer clarification regarding what was intended here. Maybe Mark Seifter or Jason Bulmhan will chip in?


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    Huh. Maybe as an improvised weapon or something?...


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    NemisCassander wrote:
    D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:
    how does the results change if we assume "hit on 8" instead of 11 (flanking and +1 buff from an ally) ?

    I ran 'hit on 7' above, which shows that the Fighter increases his lead on the Barbarian at most levels.

    'hit on 8' is actually worse for the Barbarian and the Ranger, because in this event, the Fighter will crit on his first attack with 18-20, while the Barbarian and Ranger will still only crit on a 20. I didn't run this because it might be seen as Fighter-biased. Actually, wait, the Ranger would normally crit on a 19, in that situation... it would be better, certainly. I can run that really quick.

    Level 8, hit on 8:

    Ftr: 97.529
    Bbn: 76.808
    Ran: 63.407

    Not as bad as others, I think...

    Difference:

    Ftr: 97.529 - 59.60 = 37.929
    Bbn: 76.808 - 49.80 = 27.008
    Ran: 64.407 - 42.16 = 22.247

    Make of that what you will.

    Porridge: Yes, I assumed that the Str mod for the Composite Longbow would be half of the Dex modifier for the Ranger. So 14 Str, 18 Dex, to start with... Which means that the Ranger at level 2 is getting a +1 bonus to damage, when the Fighter and Barbarian get +4. It's very noticeable.

    Yeah, I can see how the MAD of composite bow users will decrease expected damage by forcing them to rely on two different attributes.

    I’m actually OK with ranger weapons being generally less effective than melee ones, since they have a number of other benefits (like not needing to spend actions to move on to another target). And, as Deadmanwalking suggested, a melee ranger is probably a better point of comparison. That said, back of the envelope calculations suggest that the results will be roughly the same: fighter will be best, followed by barbarian, with rangers at the back.

    (Ps. Greatly appreciate the quantitative analysis. Keep up the good work!)


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    NemisCassander wrote:
    Deadmanwalking wrote:

    Ranged weapons are not very good, damage-wise, in the Playtest. Comparing them to two-handed melee weapons is always gonna be more weapon-based than Class based.

    If you want to compare Rangers, you probably want to go with a greatsword. No reason they can't use it and the Hunt Target bonus does indeed apply.

    You could also do TWF, but since Fighters can do that as well and it involves Featr support, this may not be the best for class comparisons either.

    I could do Fighter vs. Ranger with TWF, I guess. The action economy is much simpler with a Bow, though.

    At least with my numbers so far I can show pretty nice quantitative data as to how bad bows (and, really, all ranged weapons) are so far.

    I dunno. The biggest issue is that they are not getting damage bonuses from attributes, really. That's where the damage disparity is coming from, I am fairly sure.

    I don’t think I understood that last bit. As you noted above, composite longbows do add attribute damage... (Well, +Str/2, anyway.)


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    Unicore wrote:
    So this weapon is really good, and giving it extra benefits is dangerous as far as making it the only weapon a halfling would ever want to use, but it feels "not-quite-right" that the weapon doesn't have a built in feature to be used as a melee weapon, either as a club or a staff. Personally, if it could be used as a staff, I'd be alright with the ranged damage dropping to a D8. This would allow for some design space where the halfling ranger and fighter become experts at the fire and fight combat style, getting a good ranged attack and not have to switch weapons to use a two-handed weapon.

    I like this suggestion a lot. It would help give the sling staff a clear niche to occupy.

    I'm not entirely sure that giving the sling staff extra benefits is that dangerous, though. My expected damage calculations for the sling staff as compared to the expected damage of a composite short bow seem to indicate that the sling staff is on a par with, or slightly behind, the composite shortbow with respect to damage. And the composite shortbow doesn't require any feat investments. So, as it stands, it seems like the composite shortbow is a strictly better bet for a Halfling than the sling staff.

    Now granted, there are some qualitative differences, like the fact that the sling staff deals bludgeoning versus piercing damage. Still, as it stands, it seems mechanically difficult to justify a halfling fighter picking a sling staff over a composite shortbow.

    Which is to say: adding some nice features to the sling staff, like dual use as a melee weapon, would be a welcome addition!


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    Sadly, the error is back for me. :(


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    Re: Dragon Stance: I agree that these are nice perks. But there are a lot of incentives to go for one of the dex-to-hit styles, making it hard for Dragon Stance to compete without some nice perks to offset the cost of investing heavily in strength. So the nice features it gets are arguably necessary in order to make it a viable option.

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