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I mean, the point of "fail forward" is fundamentally that each roll changes the world state in some way. In the aforementioned "climbing the wall makes a racket, which rouses some guards" we shouldn't jump immediately to combat, but we should force the players to choose between "keep climbing", or "get down and hide" or "get down and get ready for a fight" or "get down and try to bluff the guards that you saw the malefactors and they went that way, etc."

I mean "the guards in this area will be alerted if the PCs make a racket in a nearby area" is a thing that is codified in a lot of APs. But I fundamentally see no issue with "baddies pop in and out of existence" in places where the PCs can't see this happening.

It's a fantasy world, so people can look like whatever we imagine them to look like. Only real issue is if you have changed the appearance of a thing so much it is no longer identifiable as that thing- like if your gnomes are 12 feet tall and have 7 arms, maybe don't call them gnomes.

But hair color, skin color, build etc. can be freely changed within most parameters. Like I have long insisted Drow should be pale like cave salamanders and no one from any RPG company has told me to stop.

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One major difference in decolonization on Golarion, is that "whiteness" plausibly does not exist as a concept in a world where you can literally systematically oppress people for being a different species, without having to invoke specious pseudoscience as a pretense. Like, no matter how evil you are there's no reason to go so far as "people from this side of the Mediterranean are in the club, but not the people from that other side" when halflings are literally 3 feet tall and there are lizard people running around.

I figure there's no reason that those descended from Sargavan colonists might not see more of a common cause with other countries that were former parts of Cheliax (like Andoran, Nirmathas, or even Galt) than they would their former diabolist masters. I mean, Sargava was established prior to the Chelish civil war to begin with.

A plausible justification for social change here is just "the old guard dies off and is replaced by people who just don't see the value in emulating distant diabolists in order to create a less free and more unequal society." Like "the old guard refuses to yield power to those who are going to outlive them" is a pretty good way to radicalize entire generations.

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If you're in this hobby, you probably have come to understand that there's joy to be found in just reading the books. i have the core rulebooks for some games I have never played or ran, where I do not regret the purchase because I enjoyed reading them and might play them someday.

I can't speak to anyone's entertainment budget, but the Core Rules for PF2 absolutely feel like worth owning. After all the book looks gorgeous and the system is much easier to tweak and modify to one's liking than similar products (this, I feel is PF2's greatest strength.)

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I think the general rule for representing marginalized people in fiction is that if you are not a member of said marginalized group (or at least directly adjacent) you should probably stop at "representation." Leave the stories about "being oppressed" to the people who have personal experience with those or related systems of oppression insofar as those are stories they feel like telling.

From a world building perspective for a roleplaying job, the designer's job is to set it up so that all kinds of people can see a place to play themselves (or their ideal self) or just someone who reminds them of part of who they are or can see themselves becoming, then let people tell their own stories.

So insofar as a particular moral failing is not inherent to the identity of a place, we should leave it unstated in the canonical material. I mean, a major difference between reality and Golarion is that the "Great man theory" actual holds in the fictional world where high level character can warp reality itself, to say nothing of politics, culture, etc. Power may not be conceded easily, but it's hard to say no to the 20th level Wizard who would prefer you do things differently.

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Honestly one of my favorite minor things in this edition is "having extra limbs or lots of natural attacks does not grant you extra attacks by default."

Since lets face it, your natural attack builds got silly and everybody dreaded "I want to play a Kasatha gunslinger".

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Rysky wrote:
The Green Mother is evil, so no paladins for her. Magdh would work though, she is LN and has fate in her purview.
Oracles aren’t required to worship whatever curses them.

I mean, an Oradin who worships one deity and is cursed by an opposed deity could be a pretty fun RP situation, if the GM is up for it.

I mean, I could totally see the Green Mother looking to curse a Paladin of Halcamora (the NG Empyreal Lord of Wine).

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Aenigma wrote:
Well, if the colonists in Sargava wish to escape but Cheliax refuses to accept them, maybe they can simply go to Taldor, Andoran, Ravounel, or Varisia?

I figure the Order of the Coil can go live in the sea.

Verisimilitude is pretty subjective. One could argue that someone who will allow for unimpeded access to their locks and scalable walls for extended periods of time, simply relying on "they are hard to pick/climb" is someone who really hasn't thought through their security very well, and someone else should have robbed the place already.

Like an accessible lock that people don't check on with some frequency is fundamentally just security theater. I mean, some time antagonists just do ill-considered things, but if they aren't going to go to the level of "post patrols" then it's hardly a stretch to say they might not have managed to lock all the doors and might not have remembered to put their ladders away.

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I figure the "nine out of ten Maguses spent their childhoods in Minkai perfecting their shocking grasp" problem was not exactly unique to traits. I mean, how many Paladins were Fey Foundlings?

Mostly I think we run the risk of "this unusual character detail is optimal and thus way overrepresented" in this edition with heritages. During the playtest there was a period where being a Svirfneblin or "Cave Elf" was far and away the strongest choice for those ancestries (because darkvision), which hopefully has been addressed.

I think we can agree that if climbing the wall or unlocking the door is the only way to proceed, and if there are no repercussions for failing then there probably should not be a roll. Or at worst some kind of check for "how long did it take?"

But the issue I think is if the GM has planned for routes A, B, and C to proceed, along with recognizing that players are liable to come up with even more, when the players select the hardest, most obvious route and fail whether there should be consequences for not picking a better solution or whether nothing should happen and they are free to pick something else.

Like if the PCs are tasked to "get into a fancy party to which they are not invited" if the PCs decide "let's just bring a ladder, smash a window and get in that way" I figure the "fail forward" here is after a guard chases them away, security is more alert and posts somebody at the accessible windows. In doing that you make it clear "that is even less likely to work the next time, try something else." Plus you fail them forward because moving more security to the 2nd floor windows means there is less of a guard presence somewhere else.

My question is- what is gained from letting the players roll over and over again to get the correct number, other than insulation from narrative consequences?

I'm glad to see secondary feats in a style providing passive improvements to the basic stance. I saw a lot of wolf/tiger style without tiger slash or wolf drag because 2-action attacks didn't mesh well with flurry and/or hit and run tactics.

I feel like people are going to keep on doing whatever they have been doing regarding secret checks.

But for people without a previous notion of "how the game should be played" I think it is good to point out that some rolls represent information a PC should not have on a failed roll (e.g. "is that person lying" or "is there a trap here") and keeping the roll hidden removes the risk of a character's actions being dictated by meta-knowledge (i.e. the number the die showed) a player possesses but their character does not.

So "secret rolls" should definitely be part of the default rules. We can talk about the potential downside and changing it in the GMG, as part of a larger discussion on cultivating and maintaining trust.

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I want blindfolds for the rest of the emotions to instill in people I hit- particularly "surprise" and "anticipation."

I guess "trust" and "joy" would be pretty funny too.

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I figured that Vidrian mostly would have gone the "truth and reconcilliation commission" route once the old die-hard true believers in Cheliax largely fell out of power, having been replaced by the younger generation or forced to flee once their schemes of "bringing Sargava back to Cheliax" blew up in their faces.

IIRC one of the Pathfinder novels was about how a particularly important noble family in Eleder largely ended up dead or r-u-n-n-o-f-t because of the heroic actions of a Pathfinder, her crew, and some friendly lizardfolk, leaving the governor with a sworn obligation to improve things for non-Chelish folks.

One thing about ambiguity, I feel, is that it is much more appropriate for higher level items, feats, spells, etc. than lower ones. Not only is "we need some room for interpretation to make this sufficiently impressive" (think the "or any other effect" clause in "Wish") a real thing, but the overwhelming majority of "pick up and play" games with unfamiliar GMs won't be "make an 18th level character"- if you've gotten to the point where you have 10th level spells available, you presumably have some kind of an understanding with your GM.

Kyrone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think I'm going to try to homebrew a trait system that differs from the PF1 one in that traits have an upside and a downside built in. Just to represent those aspects of one's upbringing that are more specific than background.

Like backgrounds don't seem to do the "grew up in the witchmarket" or "hidden princess" stuff well.

I am pretty sure that you can do that with custom backgrounds, using the witch market per example, select to be trained in occultism, witchmarket lore, streetwise skill feat(or another that you see fit) and one boosts to int or dex and one free.

Problem I have is- if my backstory is "I was apprenticed as a blacksmith... in the Witchmarket" I need to choose between the "blacksmith" and the "witchmarket child" backgrounds, unless I am creating custom background for every single combination of two things.

Where this becomes particularly troubling is with campaign backgrounds- with those almost surely more relevant to the campaign than regular backgrounds, no one is going to have mechanical weight behind any of those weird details unless they were specifically anticipated by the writer.

I think I'm going to try to homebrew a trait system that differs from the PF1 one in that traits have an upside and a downside built in. Just to represent those aspects of one's upbringing that are more specific than background.

Like backgrounds don't seem to do the "grew up in the witchmarket" or "hidden princess" stuff well.

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Why do I expect "you can't start with 2 18s" will be the first response in like half of the "evaluate my build" type threads in a few months?

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I mean given the length and intensity of the "DC to jump a 5-foot pit" thread, I'm sure we would have people arguing whether the interval in which the effect operates is [0,7] days or (0,7) days.

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I personally let the players set a great number of the details themselves when they opt to, even if doing so gives them an advantage, provided they are being at all reasonable. Since one of the main jobs of a GM is to describe the world in a way that creates a mental picture that is shared by all. If we change "imagining the world" from a passive task (i.e. "listen to the GM and try to follow along") to an active one (i.e. "try to think of what sort of thing could exist here which would be helpful") I find it works much smoother.

Like RPGs are fundamentally "asymmetrical improv" with a bunch of systems grafted on, but there's no reason they can't be less asymmetrical. So if my players want to posit the existence of a convenient dark alley, secret tunnel under some ruins, a nearby hamlet, a chandelier rope, a scullery maid, etc. then I'm happy to confirm they are correct.

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Warrior Poet seems a fantastic entry to Devoted Muse, since Kitsune's Mystique lets you feint for free when you spring attack or make a move action to move and the biggest problem with the Muse is the action economy when feinting. Plus you get Cha to AC twice (as an armor bonus from the Poet and as a dodge bonus from the Muse.)

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Considering PCs basically never get to test things under a variety of different conditions (i.e. once the door is unlocked, the PCs don't lock it again to come back later to unlock it again), I don't think the GM finagling things behind the scenes in order to arrange coincidences (both fortuitous and otherwise) is not at odds with a simulationist approach.

Honestly things like "you are breaking into an active manor house and none of the staff is around" make the world feel not-lived-in which breaks verisimilitude for me more than anything.

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IMO "about a week" ambiguity just gives the GM wiggle room to grease the wheels so the item works correctly. Like the PCs are going to get immune to it quickly, but that one guard you saw 7 days ago might not be.

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I feel like expecting that the players can know the location and disposition of all NPCs in their vicinity is just unreasonable on the part of the players.

Like it's impossible to know that this wasn't a situation where a maid was cleaning the baron's chambers, but was just leaving. In case the PCs roll poorly, she hears a noise and turns left to investigate instead of turning right and going her normal route which avoids the PCs.

If fundamentally, there is no way to tell the difference between "this was planned" and "this was improvised" I think there is no difference as far as the players are concerned. It's not really different from how the illusion of choice can be just as meaningful as actual choice, if done well.

After all, the important part is "almost anything is more interesting than leaving the party standing on the wrong side of a locked door while one person tries to pick the lock again."

Hasn't the universe been through several creation/destruction cycles and Pharasma has been around through at least one? It's possible Urgathoa/Zyphus predate the universe Golarion exists in.

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Here's what I understand Failing Forward to mean:
1) Failing should not stop the action
2) Failures have consequences.

We recontextualize the roll to succeed as "a roll to succeed without consequences" but that doesn't mean that a failure necessarily results in success with consequences, just that it results in some change in the game state that is meaningful to the PCs, but never "nothing."

Essentially there are five basic ways to do this:
1) Make success come at a cost- you get across the river, but you got dragged into some rapids and got scraped on some rocks, take 2d6 damage
2) Charge for success- you climbed the wall, but the rope has fallen to the ground, and you can't retrieve it without climbing back down.
3) Create a story complication - your faux pas has outraged the mayor who wants you out of his city.
4) Create a game complication - you create some cracks in the frozen river that make it harder for anyone else to get across safely, increase the DC for the next person.
5) Raise the stakes so future failures are more fraught with peril - the bureaucrat declines your bribe and calls for a guard.

Only thing you need to do as a GM here is to ensure that failing never means "nothing." Never say "no" as a GM, but "no, but" or "yes, and/but" are all fine. Remember that the "forward" is about advancing the experience for the players, not necessarily the plot.

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Creating another avenue for the player to get where they want to be in case they fail to get there in the most direct way which is no longer available is practically the definition of "failing forward."

Like we allow the players to fail forward in a river crossing by figuring out where they wash up downstream, what's there, and what new obstacles they need to traverse in order to get back on track. Our whole objective is to move the experience forward a la "okay you're done with that, let's do a different thing" not to keep the PCs on a critical path towards their objective.

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Wasn't the diagetic reason that Orcs were these ferocious antagonists was that Orcs were originally from the Darklands and were extremely influenced from proximity to Rovagug? But living on the surface they have no more reason than anyone else to take their marching orders from the Rough Beast save for "tradition."

Presumably in the last several thousand years a great number of orc groups have had cause to reconsider some things and have had opportunity to forge different traditions.

I mean, PF1 had many examples of some abstracted "loot points", or "defense points", or "negotiation points", or "militia points", or "supplies points" which are won or lost through various events and clearing certain thresholds got specific desirable results (e.g. "more defense points means fewer are lost and less infrastructure was destroyed").

Since the PCs are in some diplomatic negotiations and it's not about "how high is your diplomacy mod" but "who can you convince, how much do you need to promise, and how committed are they" is just a better way to model this sort of thing than binary pass/fail.

Latter day APs did this sort of thing all the time- the Silver Ravens organization can be pretty incompetent, but the PCs can be hated by Kintargo but they're still going to murk Barzillai, the Ironfang PCs can be woeful at leading the survivors but their group will never disband, etc. Instead of asking the PCs "are you bad enough dudes to do the thing?" just give them better or worse outcomes based on how they went about doing the thing and let the thing get done.

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Magus Black wrote:

Now this might seem outrageous but it’s tragically true, why bother thinking about a alternate method to overcome an obstacle if your already going to succeed using the default option regardless of success or failure . It encourages ‘one true method’ thought process and teaches Players and GM’s alike that there is only room for ONE answer to any question.

To use the ‘locked door’ example you can pick the lock to proceed…or you can

I think this is kind of a bad faith reading of what failing forward means. Certainly there are many, many ways to get past a lock. What's important though is that the PCs commit to something and there are repercussions to their choice and its success or failure rather than "nothing happens, keep trying this or other things until something works."

What should motivate the PCs to try picking the lock in lieu of smashing it, or bluffing past the guard instead of sneaking is some combination of "the chosen tactic has the best estimated risk/reward ratio" and "the chosen tactic is more compatible with the PCs' abilities and priorities."

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I mean, I'm a fan of just handwaving "you succeed" if I can't think of anything interesting to happen in case you don't. Like if a PC is stuck in a hole and literally the only option to get out is "climb" then they are climbing out and if any rolls are required it is to figure out how long it takes.

Likewise if you absolutely want to shut down a particular PC plan, it's much better to just not let them roll ("a la no, you cannot jump to the top of the tower, it is not possible") than to let them roll and fail and give them nothing.

As an aside, I think PF2 will have a much greater focus on time pressure than its predecessor, if nothing else then to make the 10 minute rest less automatic.

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Failing Forward fundamentally means "regardless of whether you pass or fail, something interesting or engaging happens". Now the thing that happens will be better if you succeed than if you fail, but what won't happen is "nothing, no progress is made."

For a simple example: the PCs are trying to get through a locked door and roll to pick the lock.
On a success: you pick the lock and can go through the door, progress is made.
On a failure: you make a noise that alerts someone on the other side of the door, who opens it and puts the PCs on the spot leading to a combat or social encounter. Once that is resolved, the PCs can go through the door, and make progress.

Basically the idea is to never waste your players' time by making them wait around for a big enough number to appear- failure has a cost but it is not "you are stuck here." In terms of player agency, the kind I am 100% in favor of removing as both a player and a GM is "the agency to create situations in which nothing a player would be interested in, want to happen, or enjoy happening does happen." I strongly prefer fail forward style games and I did this in PF1 games I ran too. I just feel "you fail, and are back to square one" to be fundamentally disrespectful to people's time, which is precious since scheduling a time that works for everyone is hard.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
So we can build magic items by just etching runes into things, but are effects like "it casts lightning bolt" available with bespoke items (it's inherent to the shock rune, perhaps) through means other than "GM fiat"?
You can upgrade the fundamentals of a bespoke item, but it has no slots for property runes. In essence, the unique bespoke abilities are in lieu of property runes.
I think Cabbage meant the other way around - is there a non-fiat way for a player to get "shoots lightning bolts" on a custom crafted weapon?

Pretty much, like if I want a hammer that shoots lightning or a rapier that casts cone of cold, would I be better off reskinning an existing item like Storm Flash, or do I have the tools to build one from scratch?

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So we can build magic items by just etching runes into things, but are effects like "it casts lightning bolt" available with bespoke items (it's inherent to the shock rune, perhaps) through means other than "GM fiat"?

flfontes wrote:
Is it just me, or the activation of the first ability of Storm Flash is censored?

I'm assuming it's 2 actions but it didn't show up in the picture.

Hm... so sluggish is gone. I wonder if that means there's no debuff for giant instinct barbarians.

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One option I would suggest- some kind of martial who would love pounce but can't normally get it. Mythic rules make it ridiculously easy to move and full attack, so you won't find a more rewarding AP to be a Bloodrager, Swashbuckler, etc. in.

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Hell's Vengeance is impossible to keep the party on track in anyway, since the player's guide kind of points you away from "Chellish Patriot" and towards "Mercenary Psychopath" and the AP gives you way more reasons to hate your employers than your supposed antagonists.

Having played Strange Aeons, the inquisitor I would want to play in it would be an Inquisitor of Shyka, Sworn of the Eldest (with the madness domain.)

Unlike all other APs, this is one where "work with the GM to come up with character concepts" is extremely important, because of the fugue state thing requiring a player to lack certain important information about their characters- you literally start not knowing who you are, where you are, or why you are there.

I'm pretty sure Batman is just a 20th level Vigilante with both the Stalker and Avenger specialization and all of the class talents.

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Fumarole wrote:
Why are you assuming such feats would be a bonus on top of their normal feats as opposed to the benefit simply being access to them? Has someone from Paizo said as much?

I think it's helpful to think of bonus feats as "a free dedication", or "an extra focus power." I don't think someone having 4 more ways to spend their 3 focus than I do is going to be a huge deal provided that I like my focus power.

But honestly, if I have a new player dropping into an 8th level game, I wouldn't say "use an 8th level character you have from another game." I'd say "make a level 8 character subject to WBL plus modifications." Via said modifications I can account for "oh, the party got the Eagle Knight dedication and 2 extra skill feats, so you can just have those pending backstory."

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graystone wrote:
GM OfAnything wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think we can solve a large bit of the problem if "feats as loot" gets normalized via APs, PFS scenarios, etc. Just make sure that every GM is aware that this is a thing you can do, and a feat might be a much more exciting reward than money or items. Plus "do this for me and I will teach you my secret technique" is kind of more natural than "do this for me and I will give you an item."
While that sounds awesome, it could cause issues moving characters to different tables and/or creating characters at higher level. Part of the 'normalization' is going to have to be how many bonus feats to expect as you level.
What issues would it cause?

Well you could have someone with no bonus feats [being unlucky and not gong on any bonus feat giving games or starting at higher level] next to someone with 4 bonus feats and someone that's lucky and has 8. If the feat have actual worthwhile, those characters aren't going to be the some power level, with the no bonus guy seeing the 8 bonus guy clearly having more options for things to do that he can't.

Basically if everyone doesn't have around the same bonus feats, it's going to cause imbalance.

In PFS loot is pretty standardized for loot and supports mixed level groups anyway, so I don't see that as being an issue. In home games though, isn't this exactly the same problem as "one GM is stingy and players are well behind WBL" and "another GM is generous and way above WBL"?

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I think we can solve a large bit of the problem if "feats as loot" gets normalized via APs, PFS scenarios, etc. Just make sure that every GM is aware that this is a thing you can do, and a feat might be a much more exciting reward than money or items. Plus "do this for me and I will teach you my secret technique" is kind of more natural than "do this for me and I will give you an item."

Having "one class archetype per character" is pretty reasonable, since with just books sometimes figuring out "do these stack" was nightmarish.

But I am going to miss my drunken sensei.

I think the biggest issue I have with PF2 multiclassing is that casters get vastly more from a martial multiclass in most cases than other martials do. A wizard who wants to use a sword gets a whole lot more from the fighter dedication than "a barbarian who wants to be better with weapons". Whereas caster/caster multiclasses with the main stat lining up seem like the most powerful combinations (e.g. Cleric/Druids and Bard/Sorcerers).

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My problem with multiclassing in PF1 is that basically all of the multiclass characters I saw were fundamentally about "grafting a low level ability on a different class" or "acquiring some free feats" with a 1-2 level investment. PF2 does much more to enable "thematic multiclassing" that PF1 previously relied on hybrids to give us things like "a warrior bard."

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I feel like part of the problem was "casters who do martial stuff" (e.g. Magi, Inquisitors, Battle Clerics/Oracles/Shamans, Occultists, etc.) were darn near everyone's favorite thing in PF1. But I feel like martials getting stuff casters would love to have but can't have without significant cost, is extremely important in PF2.

What we can do with combinations of a class and a technique that is not normally available to that class is make it into a class archetype, assuming enough people want to do this sort of thing.

So something like a runesmithing wizard with better weapon proficiency and crafting acumen, or an Erastilite Druid who can use a longbow in the woods are good options for a class archetype. Probably things that are less popular (e.g. Polearm Bards) will have to multiclass, but if there's a thematic commonality that makes people want to combine things together, we can do it as a class archetype post-CRB.

I mean, you'd be hard pressed to find an archer druid in PF1 who was not an Erastilite, since they could get that "Wis-to-hit with a longbow" feat."

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