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Some notes from the Q&A session of today's stream. Answers from Mark and Jason are paraphrased:

- What's the data on people's feelings about removing potency runes / automatic bonus progression?

Mark: First time this question was posed, people were not too thrilled. Second time, worded slightly differently (do weapons need to go to +5?), 75% of answers were ok with weapons not contributing all the way to PC accuracy/damage.

This means they're exploring the possibility of having weapons be less influential to a PC's damage, and adding damage/accuracy from elsewhere.

Jason (in chat): Magic weapons aren't going anywhere though. Players like having magic items be important.

- What's the news on future updates?

Mark: Currently no plans for update 1.7. The update schedule was breakneck, and we want to give players time to catch their breath and finish the playtest.

Jason (in chat): We're looking for ways for folks to have fun with the game in the new year while waiting for the final release.

Jason (in chat): Look forward to preview rules pieces after the new year.

- What about the Dinosaur Fort mentioned in a previous stream?

Jason: SECRETS!

- They talked a bit about monster conversion. Mark said it's easy to convert from PF1 -> PF2. Much harder in reverse, because monster creation in PF1 is more complicated.

- Are there any plans to make buffs last longer?

Mark: PF1 had issues with parties pre-buffing themselves to high heaven. His own party did this often. The party would then steamroll an encounter and it would feel anti-climactic.

Now that Treat Wounds exists, there is incentive to rest for 10 minutes after a fight. Adding back 10 minute buffs would create an interesting choice for parties. Should they rest and recover hp or push ahead while maintaining their buffs?

- Any comments on the non-stackability of Rage/Inspire Courage/Bless?

Mark: Bless and Inspire Courage likely will still not stack. A party without a Bard but with a Cleric will see the Cleric casting Bless. Otherwise, the Cleric can be freed up to cast other stuff (like Bane, which is what the Cleric in his party did).

For Rage, there are tentative Rage changes in development. This ties in to the potency rune changes. No clear details were given here, but conversations are happening about it.

Please keep the discussion to the new information from the stream, thank you!


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Update 1.6 dropped today, and it's a big one, including changes to all classes, big to small. Here are my feedback on all the changes in today's update, along with my rationale for them.

1. Somatic Casting change:

A relatively small change, but it's a very welcome action economy boost to various classes and builds. This change obsoletes Warded Touch and Emblazon Symbol, and allows for spellcasters wielding 2-handed weapons to be a thing without the song and dance of changing grips. The image of a Sorcerer waving his greatsword around before touching a foe with his hand still holding it is quite amusing, though.

Also makes it so spellcasters can actually contemplate using crossbows as a fallback weapon now, since they can still cast spells while holding it. Overall an excellent change, bravo!

2. Alchemist and Alchemical items:

Acid Flask and Alchemist's Fire got buffed (Acid Flask damage from d4s->d6s, and Alchemist Fire is no longer an auto-recover without outside assistance).

Mutagens now have level 1 versions and can be crafted from the start. If you're a mutagenist, Bestial Mutagen grants the equivalent of Magic Fang for yourself as early as level 1, which is very welcome. I'm still not a big fan of mutagens because of the drawbacks, but I must admit this is largely due to me not having played an Alchemist yet. Mutagens may actually be pretty decent now, if you're a Mutagenist.

Research Fields:

I'll give my initial impressions of each Field, and how I effective I think they will be, theoretically speaking only, of course. I'll look at the initial bonus from Research Field, and the bonuses from Field Discovery and Greater Field Discovery as well. Henceforth, they'll be referred to as FD and GFD

Bomber: The basic, straightforward field for bomb-loving alchemists. The bonus it grants is not completely crucial to an Alchemist, but Bombers can throw their stuff with reckless abandon, which is a very nice quality of life trait, especially when you factor in Calculated Splash.
FD and GFD increases the Alchemist's proficiency with bombs to Expert, then Master. This is an incredibly welcome change, and one that I've requested in the past. However, Bombs still do not benefit from an item bonus to hit, which means Alchemists are STILL less accurate than their spellcaster counterparts who also target TAC and can benefit from Spell Duelist items.

Suggestion: Alchemists can reach up to +27 (22 proficiency + 5 Dex) to hit with bombs, while spellcasters can get to +32 with touch attacks (23 prof + 5 Dex + 4 item). My suggestion is to give Alchemists an item (gloves of throwing or something) that grants them a +1-5 item bonus to attack rolls with bombs. That way, they at least can keep up with monster TAC and can contribute meaningfully in combat. Please do not tie this bonus in with bomb levels, because it would mean perpetual bombs would be less accurate, which defeats the point of them being the Alchemist's damaging cantrip equivalent.

Chirurgeon: For the healers out there. I love the ability to use Crafting instead of Medicine. This allows the Alchemist to Treat Wounds effectively without having to invest in Wisdom. It's a strong ability, and a good incentive for picking this Field. I love it.
FD lets you prepare more elixirs, which brings your healing potential up even more (it also lets you prepare more mutagens). GFD lets your on the fly Elixirs of Life heal for full value, which is great in the heat of battle (also, it's basically Perfect Medicine, which is quite strong 3 to obtain 3 levels earlier).

Suggestion: I don't know if you guys played Final Fantasy Tactics, but the Chemist class there has a unique ability called Throw Potion, which lets them deploy healing items at range. I think it would be very neat if the Chirurgeon can throw elixirs at allies from afar, kind of like a reverse bomber.

Mutagenist: The only way to obtain mutagen formulas at level 1 (normal Alchemists need to wait till level 2 to grab them), being a mutagenist also reduces the onset time of your mutagens on yourself, which is great for the Alchemist who likes to brawl it out with bestial mutagens.
FD lets you ignore the onset times altogether, and GFD gives Expert proficiency in unarmed attacks. A mutagenist that multiclasses Monk can be a pretty effective melee fighter, especially since you effectively have access to a better melee weapon sooner than everyone else in the party (Your weapon scales at levels 1-5-9-13-17 instead of 4-8-12-16-20).

Suggestion: I don't know enough about Mutagens to make any suggestions here. I don't like the drawbacks and the long onset times, but they're a minor annoyance at worst.

Poisoner: Without this ability, it's not worth it to try to specialize in poisons. Applying poison quickly is very welcome, but it's still not enough to cover the action economy of trying to poison your foes mid-combat.
You need an Interact action to take out the poison, an action to apply it, then an action to attack. If you're in melee, this takes up your entire turn and provokes an attack of opportunity. If you're using a crossbow, you will need to reload next turn and won't be able to constantly fire off poisoned bolts.
FD and GFD for the poisoner are a little bit uninspired. It's basically the feats Poison Resistance (with a +2 conditional bonus instead of +1) and Poison Touch) for free.

Suggestion: The Alchemist is still pretty lacking in terms of effective action economy. This applies to all Fields, not just the poisoner. I'll cover this suggestion at the end of the Alchemist section.

Perpetual Infusions:

I absolutely LOVE this feature. I believe I've suggested letting the Alchemist perform free Quick Alchemy once or twice an encounter, but this is just as good (and doesn't require tracking). I disliked the original Alchemist's reliance on Quick Alchemy for his feats (like the excellent Debilitating Bomb line) because QA won't last for the entire adventuring day, but now the Alchemist truly has a fallback for when he runs out of Reagent Batches. This is my favourite change in the new Alchemist. Kudos to Paizo devs for going this route.

Bomber: Lesser bombs are still good for applying status effects via Debilitating Bomb and exploiting weaknesses via splash damage. This is probably the strongest option for Perpetual Infusions, since the actual damage you're losing is not too big. Needs Calculated Splash for maximum effect.

Chirurgeon: The weakest option, but still nice if your party encounters Poison and Disease often. I would suggest creating an Elixir that grants temporary HP that can be created with the Chirurgeon's Perpetual Infusion. This at least lets the Alchemist spend his turns to pre-emptively prevent damage, and doesn't compete with Elixir of Life for actual healing. The amount of temp hp could be the same as Elixir of Life's healing.

Mutagenist: Lower level Mutagens are... incredibly underwhelming due to how item bonuses scale in PF2. If you're making items that grant a bonus 2 lower than expected for your character level, they're pretty much useless.

Suggestion: Mutagens should probably grant a one-shot effect in addition to their static bonuses. That way, even lower level Mutagens can be useful to some degree. As is, Mutagenists benefit the least from Perpetual Infusions.

Poisoner: The low DC of low level poisons can be counteracted by Powerful Alchemy, making even low level poisons kind of effective. However, considering this point brought up 2 more issues with the Alchemist for me:

1. Potent Poisoner (lvl 10 feat) is redundant. Powerful Alchemy (lvl 8 feat) already increases the DC of poisons to your class DC, and Potent Poisoner basically only applies to poisons crafted with Advanced Alchemy. It doesn't even work with lower level poisons. Potent Poisoner is just a very blah feat that should be buffed or removed altogether.

2. The Alchemist's DCs are pretty poor. Class DCs in general do not keep up with monster saves. Even Spell DCs can't keep up, and Class DCs are up to 3 points behind. This is not just a problem with the underlying math, but with the discrepancy between spellcasters and other classes that use DCs for their powers/features. If spellcasters can get up to +3 to their DC, the other classes need a way to compete with that somehow.

Double Brew moved being moved from Level 13 to Level 9 is very nice. Though it does beg the question: when you craft 2-3 items with Double Brew/Alchemical Alacrity, what are you holding them with? Is it possible to hold multiple alchemical items in 1 hand?

OVERALL ALCHEMIST FEEDBACK::

Research Fields are a very nice way for Alchemists to specialize and I LOVE Perpetual Infusions (though Mutagens do need some love here). Overall, these Alchemist changes are very good, and extremely welcome. It shows you guys listened to feedback and responded in kind.

Alchemists still have a few remaining issues:

- Bombs are still inaccurate compared to spells. Before, Empower Bombs added +2 item bonus to bomb attacks, but Alchemists are only Trained in bombs. Now, they are Master with Bombs but lose the +2 item bonus to attack. They need at least a +4, if not +5 item bonus to bomb attacks to make them comparable with spell touch attack accuracy.
SUGGESTION: Grant them the bonus somehow, either baked into the class progression (but not with Research Field, so that other alchemists can also use bombs regularly), or by introducing a new magic item that grants this bonus (some kind of magic Gloves, for example)

- Mutagen bonuses are still lacking some... oomph, resulting in Perpetual Infusion-made mutagens quite useless.
SUGGESTION: Give mutagens a one-shot effect that corresponds to the type and that's useful regardless of the item's level, and that is activated by a free action triggering at the start of your turn. For example, Quicksilver Mutagen could grant the imbiber an extra action for 1 turn at early levels, and the Quick condition for 1 minute at higher levels.

- The Alchemist's action economy is lacking. Using Interact to draw an item, then another action to use it is clunky and requires a free hand. Same with using Quick Alchemy to create the item. This is especially true for Poisons.
SUGGESTION: Field Research or Greater Field Research could grant you basically Quick Draw for Alchemical Items. You can either Interact to draw an Alchemical item and use it, or use Quick Alchemy to create an item and use it in 1 action. This should apply regardless of your Research Field and would help tremendously with action economy.

3. Barbarians:

The Rage change is... okay? I think flavourfully, it fits very well. I'm just afraid that mechanically it adds needless complexity and doesn't fix the main issues with the Barbarian.

The proficiency boost from Expert to Master is a good step in the right direction, but the Barbarian is still lacking something. The damage gap between the Barb and Fighter is now much lower. However, the Fighter still has a slight edge, not accounting for feats.

For me, the Barbarian's remaining issues are:
- Damage, not accuracy. Barbs should be doing more burst damage than other classes, but they should be a little bit feast or famine. This is represented in their lower accuracy compared to a Fighter, but the tradeoff is more damage. Currently, the damage bonus the Barb gets is not enough of a tradeoff, even with the 1.6 buff.
SUGGESTION: Either slightly buff the conditional bonus damage from Rage, or implement another way for Barbs to get their fantasy of big numbers without affecting their overall accuracy. It could be as simple as increasing their critical range (a la the Fighter's Savage Critical) while raging, but lock it so that Multiclass characters can't abuse it.

- Resilience. I maintain the the temp hp gained from Raging is too little, and the Barb's damage resistance class feature is too restrictive and minor. In our playtest group's recent foray into Heroes of Undarin, I noticed that our Barbarian player did not get to apply their damage resistance very often, and their temp hp always vanished in a single hit. That's not living up to the fantasy of a berserker ignoring flesh wounds to rampage across the battlefield, slaying foes along the way.

4. Cantrip increase:
A minor buff, but still a nice boost for spellcasters, increasing their versatility.

5. Bard:
At first, I thought locking muse feats to be a weird choice that made no sense, but upon reading more carefully, nothing has changed compared to before, just... the prereqs for feats are more clear, and Multifarious Muse is the same functionally as taking another level 1 feat for a different Muse.

6. Cleric:
Not much to say here. The Channel Energy nerf is warranted, since Clerics used to overshadow other healers in the party.

7. Druid:
Many nice changes here, especially for the Wild Order Druid. Removing prerequisites from higher level Wild Shape feats lets Wild Order Druids be more flexible with their feat choices, which is great. The little bonuses corresponding to each Wild Shape feat (like resistance for Elemental and Dragon Shape) also add a bit of flair to the ability.

Goodberry healing buff brings it in line with other healing spells and relieves some of the burden that Clerics have as the main healer class.

I love Wild Morph. So much more flavourful than Wild Claws. The persistent damage at higher levels is great, basically a souped up version of the Wounding Rune.

The Druid's remaining issues for me are:

- Wild Shape still has low attack modifiers and DCs (for Dragon Form especially). I hope to see this addressed in the final rulebook.

- Animal Companions still have low attack modifiers, even if their AC is now fixed (huzzah for that!)

- Wild Order Druid should have the option of getting Strength as a key ability, since it ties into their order perfectly.

8. Fighter:
Fighters are near-perfect. The stance change is neat, but I think this update missed a few nitpicks I still have with the class:

- Power Attack didn't get buffed. I thought Mark said it needed one?

- Two-handed weapon Fighters don't have a stance.

- Combat Reflexes either has a typo or is out of line compared to similar feats. The feat says "At the start of each turn, you gain an additional reaction that can only be used for Attacks of Opportunity". If it's truly at the start of each turn, then you're gaining 1 reaction for each of your allies' turns, and each of your enemies' turns, basically letting you perform an attack of opportunity multiple times in a round. I think the intention was to let you have only 2 attacks of opportunities a round, and the wording should be "at the start of each of your turns". Please correct me if I'm wrong on this.

9. Monk:
The Ki changes are AWESOME. Ki Strike is now actually worth taking, and Ki Rush is an alternative that boosts the Monk's mobility even further. The Concealment that Ki Rush grants also allows you to Stealth without cover, which can be quite strong. Very good for Monks that MC Rogue.

10. Paladin:
The other big class change other than Alchemist. I don't have any comments on the flavour or the alignment restrictions for each Paladin type, but I will talk about the mechanic changes.

Lay on Hands change is sweet, so is the Somatic Casting change. My level 7 Paladin at Sombrefell Hall had to take both Hospice Knight and Warded Touch, and he appreciates being able to select other feats thanks to these changes.

PALADIN'S REACTION::

Shared mechanics: The resistance to damage plays to the Paladin's role as protector very well, and provides additional incentive for enemies to target them over their allies. I like it. Shield of Reckoning working with all 3 variants is also great. Combined with Shield Block, and you could potentially use your Paladin's Reaction twice per round. Finally, the reaction triggering on an attack and not just a hit is my preference for how the ability works. I'm extremely satisfied with these changes!

Quick Block adds reactions to the Paladin, providing them tools that their Fighter counterpart has. It's a most welcome addition, since one of the problems with the Paladin is their lack of available reactions.

Divine Reflexes is similar to Combat Reflexes, but comes a bit late. Plus, it competes with Aura of Vengeance. I think it's similar enough to the Fighter's Combat Reflexes for it to arrive at level 10.

Retributive Strike change is great! Combined with Ranged Reprisal, a Paladin can be more flexible when protecting his allies. It's pretty amusing that the Lawful Good Paladin is the one that can do the most damage though.

Divine Smite is the same as before, but the wording is confusing. The phrase "evil target" in the first sentence seems to imply it works only on evil monsters, but the 2nd sentence shows that anyone you hit with Retributive Strike takes the persistent good damage.

The Mighty Aura ability for RS is quite nice, and a step up from the previous Aura of Justice. Monsters beware when the Paladin is coming at you with 2 other frontliners. Aura of Vengeance boosts this even more by reducing your allies' penalty by a whopping 3!

Smite Evil is... so-so. It's a Power Attack that's more restrictive and applies persistent good damage if it hits. It's only good for exploiting good damage weakness. Thankfully, at high levels, good weakness is more prevalent, but this feat choice really depends on here your adventure takes place. It's situational at best, and the 2 weapon damage dice increase is lackluster at this level.

Glimpse of Redemption is sweet. Both options are bad for the enemy, and no choices are good. It either loses the attack, or is debuffed for 1 round. Divine Smite makes the choice even less appealing, and though normally punisher effects like this are not good, when both options are terrible for the enemy, Glimpse of Redemption ends up being quite decent.

Mighty Aura's intention seems to be to allow the Paladin and his allies to rests aoe attacks like Fireball, but the requirement of the enemy being within 15 feet means this is not possible. Perhaps Mighty Aura can loosen this requirement to make it function as intended?

Weight of Guilt is so-so. Stupefied 2 is great vs. spellcasters, but those are the ones that aren't generally within 15 feet of you when they attack.

Lasting Doubt is pretty good. -1 to attack/damage or -1 to attack/DC are both good debuffs to apply.

Liberating Step is situationally, but it can potentially be the best reaction. Many monsters try to hinder the PCs by grabbing or otherwise immobilizing them.

Divine Smite for Liberators, however, is the worst option. It doesn't trigger often enough to be reliable.

Mighty Aura provides a powerful repositioning tool for you and your allies, and can shift a battlefield in your team's favour. Requires your party to be close-knit to be fully effective though.

Unimpeded Step is again quite situational, and is even less effective if your allies have the feat Nimble (by being Elves or having taken Adopted Ancestry).

Liberating Stride is quite strong. Striding 1/2 speed outside of an ally's turn can get them out of danger or in position to flank.

Overall, I really dig the Paladin changes. I don't really have any issues with the class now.

11. Ranger:

Hunter's Edge is a nice way to distance the Ranger from the singular pew-pew attack spam build. The text isn't clear on if you need to pick 1 Hunter's Edge and stick with it, or if you get the benefit of all 3 Edges. I think it's the former, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

How does Hunter's Edge work with Multiclassing? I assume characters who MC Ranger don't get a Hunter's Edge, like how they didn't get the MAP reduction before.

The Animal Companion changes in 1.6 and the previous one that granted the Ranger's companion a free action on turns where it's not commanded has finally made the class feature viable. Sure, the companions attack modifier could use a little bit of love, but DPR-wise, it's still competitive with someone not using an animal companion.

Rangers who have an Animal Companion will very much appreciate the Precision Hunter's Edge. A Crossbow Ranger with a Cat Companion can add up to +3d6 precision damage per round, and +4d6 at level 17. That's not too shabby, even if the Rogue can still do more precision damage. The Ranger gets higher accuracy and doesn't need their enemy to be flat-footed to apply his precision damage.

12. Animal Companion:

The AC change is much needed, and now brings the Animal Companion's AC to acceptable levels. Here are some AC benchmarks with the 1.6 update:

Level 1: Dex+2, Item bonus +1 (up to +3 from barding) => AC 14-16
Level 4/6: Dex+3, Item bonus +2 (up to +3 from barding) => AC 19-20 or AC 21-22 at lvl 6
Level 8/10:
Nimble Companion gets Dex+5, Item +3, Expert prof => AC 27/29
Savage Companion gets Dex+4, Item +3 => AC 25/27

Level 14/16:
Dex-based Specialization gets Dex+7, Item +3, Master Prof => AC 36/38
Str-based Specialization gets Dex+5, Item +3 => AC 32/34

Level 20:
Dex-based companions get AC 42
Str-based companions get AC 38

In terms of accuracy, Str-based companions get Str +6, Expert prof, for a total of +27 attack at level 20.
Dex-based ones get Dex+7, Expert prof, for +28 at level 20.

These attack modifiers are still too low compared to a PCs (they get 35 max, 32 normally), and with the AC change, suddenly Dex-based companions can hit more often than their Str-based counterparts, while having more AC.

My remaining issue with Animal Companions:

- Companion attack modifiers are still too low

- Str-based companions are even worse off than before, with both their AC and attack modifier being lower than their Dex-based counterparts. It's a pity, because having a bear cavalry is a great image.

13. Rogue:

Brutes get a nice buff in medium armor proficiency and the ability to use Str instead of Dex as a key ability score. This opens them up to MCing Fighter and using Heavy armor, making them less reliant on Dex. A Grey Maiden Brute Rogue is also possible as a fun thought exercise.

Scoundrels getting Cha instead of Dex as a key ability score opens them up to multiclass into Bard or Sorcerer, further emphasizing their social trickery. Unfortunately, Feint is still a poor combat maneuver due to how high monster Perception DCs are (they're consistently higher than Will DCs, which determine the success rate of Demoralize. Demoralize remains the superior combat maneuver).

I'm not a big fan of locking Tactical and Vicious Debilitations behind the Rogue specializations, but I understand wanting to make each one unique. I'm gonna miss those 2 debiliations, though Precise Debilitation is quite good.

2 questions though: Does the enemy take the additional 2d6 precision damage when hit by the attack that applies that debilitation, or does it only apply to future attacks?

e.g. Rogue A hits a flat-footed monster and deals 2d6 sneak attack damage. He also chooses to apply the first option of Precise Debilitations. Does the enemy take a total of 4d6 sneak attack damage for this attack, or will only future attacks benefit from the extra 2d6 precision damage?

And how long does the flat-footed condition last on the enemy? Until the start of your next turn? End of your next turn? 1 minute?

14. Sorcerer:

Bloodline Heightening is an interesting ability that I think should just be included in bloodlines. That would go a long way towards alleviating this heightening restriction that's been put on spontaneous casters.

The Diabolic Bloodline seems fun. Hellfire Plume looks like an absolute blast of a power. There's a typo in the power though, the heightened entry should read "1d4 fire damage and 1d4 evil damage", not good damage.

My issues remaining with the Sorcerer:

- Still not as versatile as I would have liked. Perhaps Sorcerers can get a flexible spell(s) in their repertoire, which they can swap out during each daily preparation. Wizards can get Quick Preparation for free, why can't Sorcerers get a similar option that lets them prepare for the day's adventure?

- Some bloodline powers are still anemic (looking at you, Aberrant Bloodline). Dragon Claws could use a tune-up like the Druid's Wild Morph power.

- Doesn't feel distinct enough from the Wizard. Still feels like its inferior cousin.

15. Wizard:

Quick Preparation being automatic is good, it was pretty much a feat tax, and this increases Wizard versatility.

Spell slot trading can be preeetty powerful. You can get up to 4 more spell slots of your highest spell level, or use your lower level slots to cast higher level spells. I'd gladly trade two 1st-level slots to prepare and cast Haste 1 more time.

These two abilities push the Wizard's power even more, and makes them the definitive spellcaster, while the Sorcerer is still playing around with his 2 auto-heightened spells per day.

My issues with Wizard:

- I only have issues with this class in relation with Sorcerer. Namely, the Wizard puts the Sorcerer to shame in terms of versatility.

- The biggest problem with playing the Wizard and other prepared spellcasters is the fiddly aspect of Vancian spellcasting. I'm in the camp where getting rid of it altogether is preferred to keeping this old, dated system. I'll still play the game if the system remains, I just won't be as happy about it.


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The Ranger's mechanics are at odds with each other. Hunt Target wants them to stand still and use all their actions to Strike a target, focusing them down, but it doesn't benefit Crossbow Rangers much, and even TWF Rangers have Double Slice.

Crossbows have the Reload 1 trait, meaning that your turns will go Strike-Reload-Strike into Reload-Strike-Reload. You can only benefit from Hunt Target once every 2 rounds, and you don't benefit on the turn you first use Hunt Target. Rangers have Crossbow Ace and Running Reload to support a Crossbow fighting style, but their main class feature doesn't work well with a Crossbow at all.

Anecdotally, I've heard from several Rangers who use Double Slice that they don't want to waste an action to Hunt Target, because they would rather move up to their main target and use Double Slice, which already uses up all their actions in a turn. If they're next to the target, they would prefer to Double Slice then Strike (or do something else) than waste an action on Hunt Target. I know this isn't enough evidence to support how Hunt Target doesn't work well with TWF, but it's true that Double Slice doesn't interact with Hunt Target unless you can make a 3rd Strike that turn.

My suggestion is twofold: Add another level 1 Feature that takes advantage of Hunt Target, and change up Double Slice to work with this addition. I know the devs have considered changing Double Slice for Rangers, and this is my suggestion on how it could work.

1/ Lethal Hunter:

Lethal Hunter is a level 1 class ability unique to Rangers.

[[Free Action]] Lethal Hunter
Trigger: You complete the last action on your turn.
Requirement: You have made 1 or fewer Strikes this turn.
Make a Strike against a target you are hunting or Interact to Reload.

What does this ability do for the Ranger? It helps with action economy while not affecting the class' maximum damage potential. It ensures that you can almost always benefit from Hunt Target in a round, making the ability truly the Ranger's bread and butter.

The Crossbow Ranger can now start a combat with the following sequence:

Round 1: Hunt Target -> Strike -> Reload -> Strike with Lethal Hunter
Round 2: Reload -> Strike -> Reload -> Strike with Lethal Hunter
and so on.

Combined with Running Reload, you have a skirmisher who darts from cover to cover, popping out for brief moments to land a hit. This Ranger is also taking advantage of Hunt Target every round.

What about a Ranger who decides to use 2 Weapons? This brings us to the Ranger's Double Slice replacement.

2/ Two-Weapon Rend:

Two-Weapon Rend is a level 1 Ranger feat that replaces Double Slice.

[[2 Actions]] Two-Weapon Rend
Requirements: You are wielding two melee weapons, each in a different hand.
Make a Strike with one of your weapons, it gains the following enhancement and failure effects.
Enhancement: You deal extra damage equal to half the damage of your other weapon.
Failure: Your attack deals its minimum damage. (Treat this as though you had rolled a 1 on every damage die.)

Okay, that looks complicated at first glance, let's break down what the feat does.

Two-Weapon Rend is a single Strike with both an Enhancement and a Failure effect, similar to Combat Grab (Fighter feat 1, page 89). None of the effects are new, and both have precedence in the playtest rules.

The Enhancement adds extra damage, similar to Power Attack and other such feats. The extra damage is half that of your off-hand weapon, meaning it's less than if you had hit with 2 Strikes, but because you're only making 1 Strike, you get the same benefit as Double Slice when it comes to resistances.

The Failure effect is the same as Certain Strike, but you get access to it 9 levels earlier. To compensate for the early access, you need 2 actions to benefit from the same safety net that Fighters get at level 10.

But why does the feat work like that?

The main difference between Two-Weapon Rend and Double Slice is the fact that TWR is one Strike with bonuses. This lets the Ranger use Lethal Hunter the same turn it uses Two-Weapon Rend and no other attacks.

Another difference is the absence of the MAP increase clause that's in Double Slice and other 2-action attacks. I wanted to keep the damage between TWR and Double Slice similar, and that was one of the ways to make the math work out.

The Failure effect was added to keep TWR competitive as an option. Without it, TWR would do less expected damage than just attacking twice.

The main benefit of TWR over Double Slice is the free action you get that can be used to move or do something other than attacking. Even if the raw damage of TWR is lower than Double Slice, the action economy improvement makes it worth it.

A Ranger with Double Slice who has to move and attack can only use Double Slice that turn.

A Ranger with TWR and Lethal Hunter can move and still use TWR and make a Strike at the end of their turn.

The End Result:

Between Lethal Hunter and Two-Weapon Rend, I want to give Rangers the option to skirmish and to grant them a combat advantage that is not just pure numbers. They now benefit from a pseudo-Quick condition against targets they are hunting, and they can zip across the battlefield to find their chosen foe without losing out on damage. This should make them more effective combatants while mostly keeping their current mechanics.

I would appreciate thoughtful criticism and feedback. What could go wrong with this change? Are there any edge cases that can be abused?


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Paizo's blog post on September 4, 2018 about codifying basic saving throws got me thinking about why we even need saving throws in the first place.

Saving Throws have always existed in D&D, but I'm mostly familiar with the Fortitude, Reflex and Will saves as they existed in 3.X. They've always functioned as an inverse attack roll, with some caveats.

A spell with an attack roll used to have a binary result: you either hit and the spell has an effect, or you don't, and there's no effect. This all or nothing nature of spell attack rolls made them unappealing, as players wanted some effect for using a limited resource.

Enter saving throws. Instead of the player making an attack, the enemy made a saving throw against a DC based on the player's prowess. Saving throws allowed for more granular effects, such as half damage on a save, or a more minor effect from a debilitating spell.

At its core, though, a saving throw is nothing more than the monster rolling to dodge your spell attack DC. If we inverted the situation, a spell that imposes a saving throw, like the iconic Fireball, could work out like so in D&D 3.X or PF1:

Fireball
Make a spell attack roll against the target's Reflex DC. On a miss, you deal half damage.

Simple, no? There was no damage on a miss back then for attack rolls, so saving throws were adapted. That's understandable. However, now there's no reason for saving throws to exist.

Pathfinder 2 situation:

In Pathfinder 2, the 4 degrees of success is a core part of the game's design, affecting attacks, skills and spells. Everything that required a d20 roll is a check, and every target you need to hit with a d20 roll is a DC (yes, even AC). Instead of having both attack rolls and saving throws, which are basically just inverses of one another, why not simplifying things and make everything an attack roll?

Let's take the Fireball spell from the blog:

Fireball
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage; creatures in the area must attempt a Reflex save.

Success The creature takes half damage.
Critical Success The creature is unaffected.
Failure The creature takes full damage.
Critical Failure The creature takes double damage.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

If we used an attack roll for the spell, it would instead be:

Fireball
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst

Make a Spell Strike against all creatures in the area, targeting their Reflex DC. The Spell Strike deals 6d6 fire damage.

Failure The target takes half damage.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

There's no need to write out the other 3 degrees of success, because they were already part of the Strike rules (full damage on a hit, double damage on a crit success, no damage on a crit fail). Failure effects exist in PF2 abilities, such as the Fighter's Certain Strike. Checks vs. Reflex DC or Fortitude DC exist, look at the Shove action, or the Barbarian's Awesome Blow feat.

The only thing not mentioned yet is the Spell Strike action. That can easily be defined as a Strike using your spellcasting ability modifier instead of Str or Dex. For damaging spells that don't double damage on a critical hit, a Critical Success line can be added as normal.

What about for non-damaging spells that require a save, like Paralyze? Let's take a look:

Paralyze
Enchantment, Mental
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Target One humanoid creature Duration Varies

You attempt to paralyze the target. Make a spell roll against the target's Will DC.

Success The target is paralyzed for 1 round.
Critical Success The target is paralyzed for 4 rounds. At the start of each of its turns, repeat your spell roll. Reduce the remaining effect by 1 round on a failure or end it entirely on a critical failure.
Failure The target is slowed 1 for 1 round.
Critical Failure The target is unaffected.

We already have rules for a spell roll, and precedent for this kind of check vs. Fort/Ref/Will DC in the Barbarian's Awesome Blow feat.

Touch Armour Class:

TAC is fairly useless in PF2. It's normally a few points behind AC, and correspond closely to a creature's Reflex DC. It's vestigial, creating more stats that don't do much.

With Spell Strikes using spellcasting ability modifier (and thus granting more accuracy), spells that used to target TAC can now target AC instead, at no loss to the players.

Other effects that require touch attacks like the Monk's Ghost Strike can now target Reflex DC, which is analogous to TAC.

Conclusion:

Saving throws are just inverse attack rolls and don't need to exist in PF2. TAC can be represented by Reflex DC and don't need to take up space in the game design. Both these concepts can be safely thrown out without affecting the cake that is PF2.

I don't see any reason to keep them in the game save for the argument that they've always been there. Perhaps there are advantages to them that I'm not aware of yet. I encourage others to point them out.

Otherwise, I strongly wish that Paizo would get rid of these old concepts and streamline PF2, making it easier to get into.


Hey everyone, I'm posting this in general discussion because there doesn't seem to be a forum for posting builds and theorycrafting.

I'd like to crowdsource from players who like to optimize their characters to try and build a team that can take on the highest CR monsters in the playtest bestiary. A sort of stress test for the system, see how it holds up at the high end of play.

The rules: Create 1 or more characters at level 20, using every trick in the book to make the most effective character(s) you can. Any exploit you can muster, any cheese you think you've discovered, use it. Just keep in mind that you're trying to fight the most dangerous monsters designed by Paizo for PF2. Spare no expenses. Assume your character will be used in a party of 4 used to take on each of the big monsters below. You don't have to use the same party for each threat, but it's a bonus if you can make the same party work for multiple threats.

Treasure: Ideally, I'd like to see a party that can take on level 19 and 20 monsters, as well as monsters from level 21-23. The character wealth table on p.348 provides a nice guideline for what a character at level 20 should start with, but in order to fight higher level threats, I think the PCs need all the help they can get.

Therefore, I'd like you guys to have 2 sets of items ready: 1 set based on the table on p.348 to fight threats at level 19 and 20, and 1 set to fight against threats at levels 21-23.

For the first set, you start with the items listed on the table as well as the starting gold. There's no mention of item rarity, but let's just say you get 1 rare item and 2 uncommon items from among them.

For the 2nd set, pick any number of magic items of any level in the book. Be the most Magical Christmas Tree you can be. You'll need it.

The enemies:

Level 19: Ancient Red Dragon (p.59), Grendel (p.77).

Level 20: Fire Demon (Balor, p.42), Pit Fiend (p.51), Star Spawn of Cthulhu (p.108)

Level 21: Grim Reaper (p.78), Mu Spore (p.89)

Level 22: Devastator (p.47), Thanatotic Titan (p.109)

Level 23: Jabberwock (p.82)

These monsters are all nasty and will chew you up. I recommend having at least 1 way to grant buffs to your party, as you'll need every advantage you can get against these guys.

Good luck, and happy brewing!


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As written, the Barbarian's level 16 Rage action Dragon Transformation is a huge trap.

The relevant texts are "You transform into a Large form of a dragon" and "The special statistics of your dragon form can be adjusted only by penalties, circumstance bonuses, and conditional bonuses (such as those you gain while raging)."

Now, the Dragon Form spell on page 218 has you either transform into a Large Dragon or a Huge Dragon when heightened, with the Dragon's statistics overwriting the PC's. The stats for a Large Dragon are appropriate for a level 11 PC (since it's a level 6 spell), but you only get Dragon Transformation at level 16.

By this level, your Dragon stats are woefully inappropriate. +20 to attack is 7 below the expected attack bonus of a Barbarian of the same level, 27 AC is 10 below a Barb (and you get a -1 penalty from raging too). Finally, the 24 DC saving throw on the Breath attack is trivially surpassed by monsters at levels 14-16, which the PCs are fighting.

Even if you could transform into a Huge dragon, the upgraded stats are still a little bit behind (-1 for attack, -3 for AC).

Right now, there's no reason to take this feat, because the moment you transform, it's like you suddenly lost 5 levels and become much less effective in combat.

An easy fix would be to let the Dragon Form use your attack bonus and AC, like Animal Rage does, and have the Dragon Breath DC be your class DC. Also, you should be an Expert in the unarmed attacks granted by Dragon Transformation, just like its counterpart Animal Rage.

Looks like this ability needed some proofreading to find the glaring omissions that make it a downgrade when used. I hope it gets fixed in future rounds of errata.


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Preamble: People complain that Power Attack is locked to the Fighter class, and suggest that everyone should get it. I think the real complaint is that Power Attack is almost NEVER a worthy option to take during combat, and I will set out to show it with mathematics.

Average Damage (AD) and Expected Damage (ED): Let's get some definitions out of the way to make the analysis easier to read.

  • Average Damage is the average damage you would get from rolling damage. E.g. the AD of 1d12+5 is 6.5 + 5 = 11.5

  • Expected Damage is the actual damage you can expect from an attack, factoring in accuracy. Looks simple right? Just take your Hit Rate and multiply it with your AD. But that's where Crit Rate comes into play. The formula for ED is actually:

  • Hit Rate * AD + Crit Rate * 2 * AD.

  • If you hit an enemy's AC on a 10, you have a 55% accuracy. Your Hit Rate is 50% and your Crit Rate is 5%.

  • ED = 0.50 * AD + 0.05 * 2 * AD = (0.50 + 0.10) * AD = 0.60 * AD

Opportunity Cost: To understand why Power Attack is bad, we need to look at the opportunity cost of using it. Power Attack costs 2 actions to make a single Strike, in its place we could have made a second Strike at -5 to attack.

In order for Power Attack to be worth it, its ED MUST be greater than the ED of our second Strike.

Assumptions: We'll make some assumptions for this exercise. They will try to be favourable towards Power Attack, when possible:

  • 1. We are using a d12 Weapon. Power Attack is normally the feat choice for 2H fighters and a higher damage dice means its ED is also higher.

  • 2. We assume a 55% accuracy for now. We'll examine other accuracy levels later.

  • 3. We assume the PCs are getting magic weapons at the appropriate level (1 below the item's level).

The nitty gritty: Ready to see why Power Attack is not worth it? Let's take a look.

At Level 1, Power Attack adds 1d12 to our damage, or 0.60 * 6.5 = 3.9 Expected Damage (see above for how we got to the equation).

If we made a second Strike instead, it would be at 30% accuracy, and its damage roll is 1d12+4, for an AD of 10.5. Its ED is:

0.25 * 10.5 + 0.5 * 2 * 10.5 = 0.35 * 10.5 = 3.675

At level 1, we are expected to deal 0.225 more damage with Power Attack. That's a very slim advantage. Looks like it could easily be quashed if, say, we increase the damage dice of our weapon.

Level 3 is where we obtain our first magic weapon (or our Wizard friend could cast Magic Weapon on us), and that's when Power Attack starts becoming worse than just attacking again.

Power Attack's ED stays the same at 3.9, but our second Strike is now dealing 2d12+4, for an ED of 0.35 * 17 = 5.95 damage.

Do we catch up at Level 10, when Power Attack is +2d12 damage? Let's see:

Power Attack: 0.60 * 13 = 7.8

Our Strike now deals 3d12+5 (+2 Weapon, 20 STR), for an AD of 24.5 and an ED of 0.35 * 24.5 = 8.575.

Nope! Still worse, and it doesn't get better from here on out.

But what if our accuracy is higher? Wouldn't Power Attack crit more often?

An excellent question, but the results won't change. At 60% and higher accuracy, we start to crit more often due to the new rules.

60% accuracy means hitting on a 9, so a 19 or 20 is a crit, i.e. our crit rate has become 10%. What's the formula for ED now?

Power Attack ED = 0.50 * AD + 0.10 * 2AD = 0.70 * AD

Our second Strike also has increased its ED, but by less because the Strike's crit rate did not go up. The formula is:

2nd Strike ED = 0.30 * AD + 0.05 * 2AD = 0.40 * AD

As we can see, with each +1 to attack, Power Attack's ED goes up by 10% and 2nd Strike's ED goes up by 5%. Will this actually help Power Attack? Let's compare these 2 values at level 10.

Power Attack ED increase = 0.10 * 13 = 1.3

2nd Strike ED increase = 0.05 * 24.5 = 1.225

While Power Attack improves very slightly with bonuses to attack, it would take a +10 attack bonus to bridge the gap, and that's just not possible to obtain.

Conclusion: Using Power Attack is ALWAYS worse than just attacking twice, and this is true in all cases except at the very beginning of the game (and that's only without the spell Magic Weapon).

Power Attack is in desperate need of a buff to make it a feat worth considering. Double Slice is just pure benefit, no matter the level, yet its competition is a lame horse.

Suggestion: Power Attack's damage dice progression needs to mirror the damage dice increase from Potency Runes, or stay only 1 dice behind at higher levels. To this end, I suggest that Power Attack gives 1 extra die at lvl 1, which increases by 1 extra die at levels 3, 7, 11, 15, 19.

This will give an expected damage increase of 0.225/1.85/3.125/4.75/6.025/7.3 assuming 55% accuracy, not entirely out of line with the damage boost from Barbarian Rage.


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In PF2, the decision to make Attack of Opportunity a Fighter only ability is a controversial one. Some people hate it, some are ok with it. Aside from Fighter, only the Paladin gets a comparable ability, a reaction they get from level 1 that they can use at will under certain conditions.

Every other class either has to dip into spells/powers/feats to get a reaction, and some don't even get to use any until much later on.

I think it would be nice if every martial class gets a default Reaction to start with, tailored to the class. I was inspired by PossibleCabbage's suggestion in this thread. Here are some ideas for default reactions:

  • Alchemists would get to use an Interact action to draw an infused alchemical item when targeted by an attack.
  • Barbarians would get Vengeful Strike (level 14 feat) but using it ends their rage.
  • Monks would get to take a Step when an enemy hits or misses them with an attack. If they have Crane Flutter, they can take this Reaction before or after the one granted by that feat.
  • Rogues would just get Nimble Dodge as a free feature.
  • Rangers would get to use Hunt Target on a creature that hits or misses them.
  • Special: Paladins could get a level 1 feat that lets them use Retributive Strike with a Ranged weapon against a target within 20 ft, increasing to 30ft at higher levels.


The new weapon damage dice system prevents weapons with 2dX damage from existing. The Greatsword now deals the same damage as a Greataxe, and Versatile is a weaker property than Sweep.

Before, the Greatsword has 2d6 damage and traded explosive damage for consistency. Now, they don't have that advantage any more.

I personally think the current weapon damage system is fine, but others have expressed a concern that the d12 can bring some real feel bad moments, especially for the Barbarian, and are keen to introduce the 2d6 Greatsword back into the system.

With the change to the potency rune system, a 1d12 weapon eventually becomes 6d12, and a 2d6 weapon would become 12d6.
On average, a 1d12 weapon does 6.5 dmg while a 2d6 weapon does 7 dmg. The potential loss of damage is 0.5 -> 3 dmg as the game progresses, plus the minimum damage loss is between 1 -> 6 dmg. (2 -> 12 on crits).

These numbers may not seem large, but static damage bonuses are hard to come by in PF2, and the loss of average damage due to die size is not insignificant.

While I'm firmly in the camp that 2dX weapons need not be reintroduced to the game, I think a compromise could be reached to help 2H-weapon users feel better about their choice and prevent low moments when they get unlucky with their damage rolls.

My proposal: Introduce a weapon property similar to the Brutal property in D&D 4e. It could guarantee a higher minimum result on the die, like turning 1s and 2s into 3s.

If we just copy the Brutal property, the average damage of a 1d12 Brutal 2 weapon would be 7.5, higher than a 2d6 weapon and requiring players to reroll dice.

If we guarantee the minimum result on a 1d12 roll is a 3, the average damage increases only slightly, from 6.5 to 6.75, but we can mitigate the low moments of a minimum roll and provide a slight incentive for those who want to roll large numbers to stick with 2H-weapons.

Thoughts?


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Wizards have traditionally enjoyed the top dog position in D20 games. Spellcasters are normally the most powerful classes, but the mighty Wizard stands above the rest of his pleb siblings.

In Pathfinder 2e, the Wizard gets an Arcane Focus which he can use to duplicate a spell already cast 1/day. An innocuous feature? Perhaps.

The Sorcerer gets the same feature, times 9, since they get bonus spell slots thanks to their bloodline, and they don't even have to recast the same spell twice. Yay Sorcerers!

The story does not end there, however. At level 20, every spellcaster can gain access to a hallowed 10th-level spell slot, used to cast the most powerful spells known to creation. Everyone is equal and only gets the 1 chance per day to feel as powerful as a god.

Every, that is, except for our friend the Wizard. Arcane Focus lets him cast TWO 10th-level spells per day. For them, the fun has been doubled! Or to put it more pessimistically, the other spellcasters' fun has been halved.

"It's ok" the Sorcerer says, "I can still cast more low level spells than Wizard. I wield a machine gun of magical might!"

"Nah, dude" the Wizard responds, "By not specializing in a school of magic, I too can do what you do, but better!"

The Universalist Wizard laughs at his colleague, the beleaguered Sorcerer, and proceeds to spend 10 minutes to swap his prepared heightened Fireball into his 10th level slot while the Sorcerer laments having spent his Spontaneous Heightenings on something else already and looks on in envy.

TL;DR: Paizo pls make Arcane Focus exclude 10th level spells from being cast again. I think it's too powerful an ability for Wizards to double up on 10th-level spells. Also, the wording of Universalist Wizard has been misinterpreted such that some people are arguing it lets you re-cast your 10th-level spell 10 times a day.


After reading the playtest rulebook, I noticed an inconsistency when it comes to Class Feats that grant an animal companion.

So far, there are 4 feat chains that grant an animal companion (A.C.) and improve it. The Ranger's feat chain is the odd one out, if we look at the comparison below:

- p.83, the Druid's Full-Grown Companion level 4 feat grants the A.C. 1 action on your turn if the Druid didn't command it during that turn.

- p.110, the Paladin's Imposing Destrier level 10 feat grants the same bonus to its mount.

- p.279, the Cavalier archetype's Impressive Steed level 10 feat again grants the same bonus to its mount.

- Finally, p.116, the Ranger's Incredible Companion feat is a level 12 feat, even though it does the same main thing as the Paladin and Cavalier's feats (give your A.C. the nimble or savage designation). Not only that, it doesn't even give the 1 action when not commanded to the A.C.

My question to the designers is: Is it intentional to make the Ranger's A.C. weaker than other classes that share the same feature? Other than the feat at level 12, the Ranger's A.C. feat chain progression is the same as the Paladin and Cavalier (feats at levels 1, 6, 10, 14).

I believe there's an error here, and the correct text for the Ranger feat Incredible Companion should put it at level 10 and grant the Ranger's A.C. 1 action on turns where the Ranger doesn't command it.