Wilkins

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A little history for myself before I write out my opinions in a wall of text. My first experience ever with TTRPGing was 5e. I've played that like 4 times (and that is counting a shoddy 1 shot someone ran for my first game). My first campaign ever I DMed because no one else would. I had friends who had very negative opinions of 5e, and convinced me to try PF1e. It was ok, but it just seemed like bloatedness with perceived choices that weren't real since any attempt at not being a wet noodle resulted in mimiced choices. However, I don't want this thread to be about my potentially misguided views of PF1. PF2 is out, and I've played it from both a DM perspective and now a PC.

When the playtest started I was very excited. My group was a mix of people who enjoyed the simplified "just play the game" aspects of 5e, and those that loved the mechanical depth and freedom of PF1e. So, when this was announced I assumed this was going to be the middle ground system we would all maybe enjoy.

Well.....there are some real problems.

I love making characters in downtime when I just don't feel like playing video games. I love creating some kind of shtick (ex. Warforged Barbarian former slave with PTSD desperately seeking his first real emotional connection with friends but has extreme emotional instability) that can keep me entertained while also optimizing my character for what I perceive they would be good at. The best of both worlds. Well, right now I'm playing Age of Ashes as a rogue. We're about to hit level 7.

There is only one word for what I've consistently felt over and over while looking through my character progression, and it is disappointment.

I started as a Scoundrel rogue. I thought Thief sounded more solid for just raw damage (esp looking at later feats) but I love social interactions in the game more than combat, so my character being a scoundrel with naturally high charisma made sense. Plus, feint sounded cool. Final scores at level 1 rolling stats: 10 Str, 18 Dex, 14 Con, 13 Int, 10 Wis, 18 Cha. I was a goblin.

Level 1 was great for my choices. I'm picking my racket (which seemed exciting), my ancestries, skills, equipment, etc. All things with long term impact and seem like I'm making a choice that matters. It was fun. It's all downhill from here.

Level 2 Things start looking more bland. I already had nimble dodge which just seems inescapably better than everything else at level 1 (just my opinion). My Scoundrel specific feat at level 2 is awful for me. For the exact same reason being a scoundrel in my party was an awful decision. I have two other melee characters in my party (3 if you count our cleric whose most common turn is 3 action magic missile). With how sneak attack works with flanking I literally never need to feint. There were some extremely situational useful feats I could have taken, but none that were as generally useful as mobility. Not even close.

This is the level I also started to realize just how uninteresting skill feats are. I'll address that later.

Level 3 Was OK. I picked a general feat which are definitely more interesting than the skill feats, but only because of the handful that actually make an impact on my character. Since as a rogue I like to hit things before they act - Incredible Initiative.

Level 4 Was where I hit a deep depression. There aren't words to describe just how awful it was to realize how bad of a Feat poison weapon is. I will also address this later. Battle Assessment seemed very interesting at face value, but the information gained is only extremely situationally useful and just not worth the action given that the information gained can usually be determined through first turn actions and common sense due to the repetitive nature of combat actions. Reactive Pursuit was the clear winner here. Still situational, but at least generally useful in some way.

Level 5 was interesting because of Ability Boosts, and my Ancestry feat. Even that though was fairly shallow as my important stats are still important. I go to 10 Str, 19 Dex, 16 Con, 13 Int, 12 Wis, 19 Cha. At this point we have downtime in Age of Ashes so I retrain into thief as I have now realized that I have feinted one time in five levels. So, I might as well get some added flat damage, and gain access to some powerful class feats coming up.

Level 6 I get Gang Up. This isn't even a choice. My skill feat options still seem empty and vapid.

So, that has been my experience so far. Rare moments of "oh this might be cool" followed by a sudden realization that it isn't.

I'll go into more detail about what I think is the source of this starting with Feint for the scoundrel. I want to be clear that I still think it is an interesting racket design. In fact, I liked all three. However, Scoundrel only seems to be an option if you are alone in melee or even maybe with 1 other person. Otherwise, you will just never feint. This is compounded by the fact there are no real supplementary feats for the feint action if you do have multiple party members in melee. Which really pisses me off considering there is a level 1 Swashbuckler feat that allows feint to essentially give you +2 AC for the next attack against you. I don't know why rogues don't have feats like this that either replace the effect of Feint or build upon it in a way that benefits the rogue so that they can still use that action in a standard move-attack-____ or attack-attack-____ turn. I often just ended rolling a third attack praying for a crit roll because I had nothing better to do. This is a design failure.

Also, at no point in the first 6 levels has multi-classing been a viable option for me to partake in in such a way that would make my character more fun. Which I was told is supposed to be a way to supplement poor options for class feats. As a note, I think it is incredibly awkward that monk multiclass archetype requires 14 Dex AND Str. And as a whole I think multi-classing is neutered as a result of concerns from "dipping" that occurred in PF1. The only options I can take are Ranger/Sorcerer. I initially thought about doing a build around magical trickster at level 4 but quickly realized that it was dramatically worse than I thought since it requires spell attack rolls. As it stands, Id have to sit in melee casting spells as a rogue to gain sneak attack damage, which of course procs additional attacks against me. Unless I just want the first round to be the only round I benefit from sneak attack. Or I equip a whip (a weapon with reach). Regardless, this seemed like another case of unnecessary hamstringing of the feat. I would honestly consider this option viable even if I didn't maintain sneak attack benefits later in the combat if I could cast aoe reflex save spells like electric arc or fireball for additional value in the first round. As it seems now it's just a headache in comparison to standing in melee and just swinging a sword/dagger.

Then there is Poison Weapon. Now to be fair there are some other crappy feats - esp at level 4, but Poison Weapon was such a massive disappointment to me. It's also complicated because it's not solely the feat itself that's the problem but really it's consumables and crafting etc. My initial build idea was a Scoundrel Rogue with poison weapon and twist the knife. The idea obviously being I have the initial sneak attack damage with solid persistent damage on a beefy target. Well, this just isn't realistic. Unless of course I want to spend a quarter of my total wealth on one time usage poisons in combat per level. There are so many problems here it is boggling. For starters - why is my weapon poisoned for one and only one attack? I don't want to discuss the realistic mechanics of poisoning a blade but, this just seems dumb and just an unnecessary hamstringing of the mechanic. Then, even if you ignore that aspect and think you'll just use some poisons level-2/3 - well good luck gaining any real value from them. Encounters with enemies under your level aren't worth using your poison on, and encounters with a monster of level+1/2/3 have almost a guarantee to pass those poison DCs. It's a waste of time and gold. Then the cherry on top of the poop cake is that the poisons you are given in the feat itself do 1d4 damage on the attack. Not even persistent. All around and awful feat and mechanic - in my opinion.

Then last and not least skill feats. My group has universally agreed these are uninteresting and uninspired. I think Intimidation builds are the only characters with generally useful stuff? But my first real example of a feat that I thought had potential but just wasn't was Charming Liar. My rogue started as Scoundrel so I had high charisma, and when I read the feat on the feat list I was excited. I thought I could use deception reliably to make an impression, but when I read the full text of the feat I was of course disappointed.

Anyway, I have never posted on these forums, but I just wanted to share my experience so far. I hope it didn't come across as too toxic, but I have just been constantly disappointed.