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There's now a PDF version of South Hook Tower (the first in the series). It can be downloaded here:
South Hook Tower PDF

It's 44 pages long (yeah, might have to go to a smaller font next time, lol), with Bookmarks, Maps, Stat Blocks, etc.

For anyone looking for a small adventure or wants to get the first in the series, feel free to snag it. Let me know what you think. It'll help me refine my works going forward.


First, let me say that anyone interested in a virtual table top should look into Fantasy Grounds by SmiteWorks. It's a fantastic host for online gaming (as either a GM or player).

With that in mind, want to promote an adventure series I am in the process of developing that currently exists on Fantasy Grounds (though PDF version of the adventures will be coming out after each release).

Details on the series, each release, and subsequent PDF version can all be found here:

Conquerors of Daexor Nu (Adventure Series)

Each adventure should be self contained enough to stand alone and should fit into most standard fantasy worlds. For those who get a chance to play the series, I hope you enjoy and I always have a willing ear to suggestions and feedback.

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Count me among those who see +1/level to be a solution, not a problem, especially in relationship to combat. I find that it creates a clearly recognizable advancement in power as characters rise in levels.

The test results have proved to be satisfactory in this regard for all my players but one who simply loves the Min-Max, Optimization First style of PF1 - unfortunately, he's found it frustrating in PF2 because he's simply not found a way to make his character significantly better than the challenges he's expected to face at various levels.

Personally, when optimization is the only path to success, I think it becomes more restraining. PF1 has innumerable options but the need to optimize/min-max actually railroads players tremendously. So many fun character concepts became trivialized by their relative inadequacy compared to the hardcore op character, resulting in frustration and abandonment. It's one of the significant factors to why PF1 campaigns have rarely succeeded at our local hobby shop and why 5E all but made PF1 extinct. The Playtest has revived Pathfinder here.

Now a concern of mine with PF2 (as it exists now) is that there isn't enough delineation between the advancement in Skills. There needs to be more meat on the bone between Trained, Expert, Master, and Legendary. Some skills show some structure that makes improved skill obvious, but many (most) don't. I expect that to change with a final release.

Like I said down the line, we've found it better than 5E Short Rests as it feels more in the flow of post-encounter actions. I know it's hard to see any changes in attitude down a thread as I am easily as guilty of just reading the first and then jumping to the end, too.

Captain: Hrm. I always read that as CONxLvL and then added in as CONx(Lvlx3) on crit. That would be a much different interpretation of the rules - but like a few things, some clarification would be nice. Wish I knew where it was headed in the final version.

On Full-Night's Rest: Oh, I agree, that full rest is generally for conditions, but there's not even any provision for how Medicine affects it at all. So a group with a good Treat Wounds gains big chunks of Hit Points in 10 minutes, that same group rests for 8 hours and probably gets fewer hit points on average. Maybe I just don't leave players Fatigued, Diseased, and Drained enough :P

Overall, to make it feel more a part of the "adventuring experience", players (and my narration) has given it a slower, individual feel to each use - the 10 minutes of guarding the exits, nervously attending to someone battered while the weight of time drags against their actions. This has helped a lot.

Because the alternative just feels too mechanically gaming instead of roleplaying: "Looks like Griblet will need about 6-9 Treat Wounds to get to full health, so we stop and Treat Wounds until he's full or near's my rolls". Time become irrelevant, rolls become tedious, and roleplay is largely lost.

I know we aren't supposed to compare against other systems here much, but as a regular player of 5E (before this playtest), the 1-hour rest always feels forced to me and it's all inclusive - you get everything for 1 hour, almost nothing more for 90 minutes, and nothing for 58 minutes. The 10-minute treat wounds feels worlds better to me.

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I agree with you by and large, Ed, especially on the Hero Points. In fact, I don't get why bouncing up from dying is a cheap purchase while rerolling a single roll and having to live with the results is twice the cost. I am already a bit stingy on Hero Points because of it - one of the few things I am not trying to play RAW by. I also don't give out Inspiration like candy, but at least it's not as impacting as this Hero Point system which just feels like an immersion-breaking gimmick to me.

That said, finding that balance is tough. As we've seen in other threads, there are some who want combat to last 1 round and others who have a great distaste for any Save or Suffer powers. It's likely the Hero Point easy out appeals to them.

I'd like to see Hero Points reworked, too, so that escaping death is the big save and the rerolls as the 1 point usage (with extra action being in between) - that way, I can feel more comfortable handing them out for heroic acts (and PLEASE, remove that garbage about being able to bribe a GM for more points - AWFUL!).

As for the dying rules, I like your approach but we made use of the current one even if it was awkward to start. Give us something that creates the drama at the table for everyone, that sense of urgency that at least my tables find fun, without being "gamey".

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Well.. there is some onus on the GM to know what players are getting into and if it'll put them in a no-win situation.

But, yes, a novice GM playing a high level campaign without much practical experience... it's tough. Good GMing doesn't come easy or quick.

But researching the Archmage's Tower to learn of rumors of a Lich and then hunting down a scholar (or using skills) to find out it's capabilities and weakness isn't metagaming, it's good Role-Play and should be encouraged.

As a GM, I would consider it a failure on my part if I sent them into a situation where they would be at a severe disadvantage without feeling I offered them enough narrative indicators to prepare for something that deadly. A Lich is a serious foe. A creature of legendary evil and horror.

Probably shouldn't be a wandering monster no one is prepared for.

I am just not sure how some fights are taking so long. Someone mentioned 1 fight in 3 hours (in PF1) and someone else mentioned 1 fight taking 2.5 hours in PF2.

If it's not because someone spends 2 hours looking up rules and trying to figure out how to adjudicate a system that's new, how can combat go that long?

If my players are taking 5 minutes a turn to act, that's too long. With even just 4 (we usually have 5), waiting 20 minutes plus DM turns (which I do fast, but let's say 4 creatures take another 5 minutes), no one wants to wait 30 minutes between their actions.

If a single round take half an hour, I can see why some PF1 players long for the days for 1 round fights.

All things equal (we know the rules, don't have to look up stuff), each round in a 4 PC vs 4 NPC combat probably averages about 5 minutes in our games. That way, a good back-and-forth battle that takes 4 or 5 rounds still finishes under 30 minutes.

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Those spells and powers that feel like Save or Die have been a source of contention for a long time. It is a harsh outcome, no doubt.

Granted, a simple Remove Paralysis spell (Level 2) will cure even permanent paralysis, as well as the Salve of Antiparalysis, so it's not really permanent.

I think this speaks to how the game is played/narrated. It's probably wise for any GM to at least leave some clues and rumors/hints as to the necessity to prepare for Paralysis because players will want to rage quit when a bad roll completely takes them out of the game.

By the time the party is facing a lich, it should be pretty easy to get their hands on a few Salves (only 15 gp, or 150 gp for the AOE/stone to flesh version) or even have an occult, primal, or Iomedae cleric capable of memorizing that spell.

citricking wrote:

Do you think high levels are fun, but low levels too quick? Maybe it's a problem how much damage martials do at low levels, and at high levels it's a good balance.

Do you think low level combat should be faster?

I guess this is just for two handed weapon users. I think there's a good chance they're too powerful at low levels compared to say spell casters.

We haven't actually run into too many "low-level combat is too easy issues" because of the danger creatures possess. It's pretty easy to get roughed up at low levels, so longer combat is pretty scary for the characters.

Now I converted an old module that had a lot of orcs, so the Maul wielding Paladin really showed his stuff as it could do Massive Damage which I ruled circumvented Orc Ferocity. They enjoyed that ruling a lot. However, they have noticed not having a readied shield with shield block comes at a cost as the Fighter that uses on in the same group was noticably more durable and had more options. They love the balance of choice. The shieldless paladin has been dying at least 3 times this past week's worth of playtesting, while the dwarven fighter ran into this only once (when a pack of dwarf-hating orcs focused fire him).

At higher level, the additional powers, spells, weapon traits, etc., have continued that pattern, although combat is lasting a little longer in tougher fights, but that feels right and natural.

I am on the other side, too.

My players are literally having *more* fun because combat isn't a 1 round affair. They feel like there's an ebb-and-flow to combat and real variability to battle that includes sudden shifts due to sudden changes.

I know PF2 would lose the 5E converts and PF burnouts of my campaigns if they went back to trying to make PF2 like PF1 combat.

As for casters vs martial debate, I still think that there should be some balance taking into consideration when it comes to resource availability and things like HPs, defenses, etc. Granted, if PF1 players are used to 1-round combat and then rest, everyone needs to have the same impact in that 1 round - but god, I hope that's not what they do with PF2.

I honestly think casters should be more of a threat because they are also more vulnerable. The DPS thinking of MMOs I personally don't think applies to the more encompassing focus of an RPG like PF2. It's just 4E window dressing if everyone does the same damage.

That said, it is still important for the martial classes to have interesting things to do during combat, I just don't think that "how much pewpew" is the sole determiner on what class balance is.

I found it to be relatively the same, with the caveat that dealing with the sudden level jump sometimes leaves players less familiar with their characters than the gradual progress a normal character development would take. So any additional look-ups to understand a new power does have some impact.

As some one from PF1 who doesn't DM optimizers and power-gamers, combat started to drag terribly at higher levels in PF1 simply because there wasn't 1-round alpha nuking in my games. 6 rounds of combat took quite a while.

Interestingly, I can't quite put my finger on to the why (although, everyone has adapted to the 3-action system well in my groups), a 6 round combat encounter in PF2 has been significantly quicker than its counterpart in PF1.

For our groups, we don't really want combat to end in round 1. Longer combat builds more tension/drama.

That said, the real key to that is having rules and a system that allows for a nice flow to combat, without a lot of ticky-tack tactical stuff to slow down the game nor too much strain on the players to make decisions. Actions, reactions, and flow from combatant to combatant should be easy and smooth.

We've accomplished this, so far, in PF2/PT but that required a little effort because it was anything but to start. Obviously, it began with just getting familiar with a lot of new terms, actions, and features. After that, it became apparent that some aids would be needed to make tracking things like conditions and effects (such as poison stages, etc).

Once we had a smooth way to do that, having combat go 3, 4, or even 5+ rounds didn't seem draining, just exciting. We haven't had a combat encounter last for more than 30 minutes at any level. So far, so good. The 1 round combat encounters just tend to feel like filler, though, as they end up taking under 5 minutes to play and hardly feel worth the effort.

@thflame: Part of the problem for me, too, is that AoO was an incomplete system. Honestly, it should be done with facing, weapon effectiveness vs AC types, weapon speed, etc. I still struggle to see how characters have 360 degree vision and notice everything around them or how it would be easy to react with a Maul. As far as the removal equating to Fireballs - that has to be more about growing up with 3.5/PF. I started before then and have played many systems without it, so I don't find that mechanic ingrained in D&D.

One thing I do find perplexing is the occasional talk about fighting 4 Goblins taking over an hour. We are having the opposite experience. We average about 3 combats an hour here now that we are used to the system and have a feel for the mechanics. We glide through combats, enjoy the reduction to micromanagement, and seamless transitions from exploration to encounter.

Again, though, the bottom line is the rather nebulous "Fun Factor." PF2, in our groups, has a more narrative feel with less tactical game play than we were experiencing in PF1 which has made advanced it to the top of the RPG list even with all the problems it currently has.

In this area, 5E brought life back to D&D (and RPGs in general). Besides the new players wanting to see what it was about, there was a good portion of returning players who burned out on the weight of Pathfinder. This Playtest has been a success because it's attracting some of the new-to-D&D looking for more complexity while luring all of the PF burnouts interested in giving a new version of Pathfinder one more chance.

Some good arguments for AoO there, so I better understand that viewpoint that some are coming at. Definitely valid points, without a doubt.

I suppose part of the problem for me is that I don't want a Combat Simulator game - we just want to roleplay. Some of the arguments up there are so good, it begs to ask the question why aren't more actions, reactions, defensive positions, countermeasures, etc., all getting included.

It also explains why some will stick with PF1 regardless, unless PF2 becomes a more complex version, though that can certainly be done with a trimlined set of rules that would be better balanced and less exploitable as the current set is.

Unfortunately, for players like the ones I play with and GMs like myself, we aren't really interested in the minutia of combat, and not even completely interested in the logistics of creating a well tuned combat simulator in a fantasy setting.

I won't argue with people who aren't likely to budge from their position that every combatant is prepared to take Attacks of Opportunity at all times, assuming they have the energy to do so.

I will say that PF1 with its tightly controlled combat grid just isn't as fun as 5E or PF2/PT for the people I share the game experience with. It also seems that we aren't the only ones who find this to be true.

If they decide to return to the tactics heavy game that is PF1, I hope PF2 is a tremendous success. I love the Paizo group and their true passion for their games. Unfortunately, it's that particular fact that had us playing 5E over PF1 so from a selfish view, I hope they don't go tactics heavy considering how much we've enjoyed playing the Playtest.

Maybe there is a middle ground, but I just don't see where that is. The limited AoO of PF2 already seems like a middle ground to me over going to the pre-AoO days where we just played combat out in our heads or back to the everything has it of PF1.

Some are really married to the Oprah approach to AoO, aren't they? "You get an AoO! And you get an AoO! …"

I think it's in a good place now. The most disciplined trained warrior (Fighter) has the background to recognize the subtle weaknesses that come with vulnerabilities in combat. I think it might make sense if classes like Paladin and Monk could class feat into the ability, and maybe later in levels, options for Rogues and Rangers perhaps.

I have never bought the idea that a defender would simply stop paying attention to threats to take out something from a belt pouch or that a combatant could have a 360 vision of the battlefield that allowed them to react instantly to everything around them, even 10' away. Or that a Druid was as capable of those reactions as a Fighter or that a ranging Barbarian paused in his fury to recognize the subtle movement of a Wizard casting a cantrip behind him.

All the AoO in PF1 really does bring the game to a halt, though, as every move has to take that into consideration. I was happy, and so were the players, to see that changed allowing for more action and less grid-by-grid tactical play come back into the game.

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Dire, you play exactly like we do...the round might be broken up as a 6-second span, but it's really just heartbeats between actions that are going on. It's also why I stress, in my games, that players don't try to overthink their actions because I am not going to overthink NPC actions.

Combat is chaos. Mistakes are made. Perception is usually limited to a very narrow, frantic focus. That's roleplaying.

Everyone carefully planning their moves, using precise actions to manipulate the battlefield, moving pieces like a chess board... that can be fun.. and very tactical. But my groups want to roleplay first, so we try to deemphasize the rigid feel that just playing the game like a board game gives.

So I can understand how people dislike losing some of the tactical, board game feel that can be very strong in PF1 - PF2 certainly is starting to move away from that (at least as we've experienced it) - but as a roleplaying experience, we like the easier flow and less restrictive nature that we're experiencing within this playtest.

I should note that I take the following passage:



When you’re actively using a skill (usually by engaging in one of its uses), you’ll often attempt a skill check by rolling a d20 and adding your skill modifier.

And really examine what it means when it says "you'll often". It doesn't mean "you'll always." It means that a GM can require you to roll a skill, but they could also rule that you don't need to - some things are trivial and somethings are impossible.

That said, maybe it should be clearer that there are some activities that don't require rolls (for various reasons) because obviously some interpret the rules to mean you can try anything and there's always a chance of success.

I don't know about anyone else, but my players won't succeed on something that a 20 wouldn't be good enough in (ignoring critical success).

You can't try a 90 long jump across a chasm because the math works out that you'd need a roll of 125 to make it... but a natural 20 still works? No.

You can't crack open a safe with a DC 30 with a +5 skill because it's beyond your capabilities. Etc.

"So you're saying there's a chance..." Yeah, even knowing that your +5 skill has a remote chance on a DC 25 vault, it's still a chance. They have also introduced multiple successes needed to beat a DC, too, so if you want it to be worse than 5%, that's very possible as well.

Similarly, if a character is +10 on an Athletics check (base or with boosts) against a DC 10 obstacle, I am not going to make a player roll for failure. They are clearly past the point where that activity has risk for them.

However, in the level appropriate challenges where success and failure are both possible, I think Critical Success and Critical Failure adds some extra intrigue, roleplay, and excitement to the game.

In our playtest campaigns, it has definitely enhanced the gaming experience and I hope to see it remain through to the final product.

I was thinking the same thing, Draco.. sort of gets closer to where I want Treat Wounds to be. Still more beneficial to high con characters (better chance at success, crit success), and with the 3x I proposed, more early on and a little less later down the road (30 HPs or 90 HPs is still decent at level 10).

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
If players go out of their way to spoil which foes have Reactions for themselves then of course the surprise will go quickly. The same can be said for pretty much anything that was meant to be a surprise but isn't. Of course that becomes less fun.
If players don't know what Reactions foes have, then of course they won't get to make interesting strategic decisions based on this knowledge. Instead they'll just occasionally take extra 'gotcha' damage through no fault of their own. Obvious, this is less fun.

Interesting. Different reactions to different groups.

In my campaigns, and maybe because I encourage the roleplay and reward players by making roleplaying important, my players will actually consciously decide to not-know what creatures do, especially at lower levels, as a reflection of their naivete. "I don't think Griblet would know.... so I do..."

On top of that, I create new creatures not found in some publication and they have to discover their capabilities themselves.

Now it's important to know how the unknown affects Encounter Difficulty, but I never start designing encounters assuming players (or characters) know everything about a creature to begin with.

I think this not only makes things fun from a discovery perspective, it creates a closer experience to what players get from a good book or exciting movie.

Not only that, but it rewards the characters who employ Recall Knowledge, research into what denizens of an area are capable of, and creates some intrigue when listening to the tavern rumors ("I'm tellin' ya, Buck, them Lizardfolk have been trained by Gorum himself. They be battle masters every one of 'em").

So for us, the mysterious, unknown enemy adds to the fun - it certainly doesn't ruin it.

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Yeah, it was the difference between an Master Heavy Musical Instrument and a Master Disguise Kit (4700 sp price difference there), for example.

Sort of makes it weird to decide if a character invests research, becomes highly trained in a craft/lore type deal, and I decide they are going to have the chance to create an unique item like say an Expert Backpack that can hold 5 bulk, etc.

Not that I can't just houserule the cost just like I houseruled the ability to make it to begin with, but looking at what comes before is often a nice baseline and those numbers are all over the place.

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This is well thought out and very well said, OP. I agree with much of your assessment.

They simply need to fix Heavy Armor so that at least having STR to wear it is beneficial. I don't mind STR being a dump stat for the less physically talented characters. I do agree that some of the contests of strength should not rely on CON (Fort Saves) as the opposition.

For me, that leaves the INT problem which I think stems from the reduction of it's contribution to skill points. Perception being INT based is an interesting idea, though. Even outside of non-perception initiatives, perception is an important skill and generally useful to everyone.

It's okay, though, to have less-important attributes for varying characters as well as character flaws, but I always thought that should be more role based rather than a part of creating a viable character.

I agree, and I admit I run a more gritty style where being at full health isn't always expected.

What stuck out to me, though, as characters were being made after the changes to Medicine with the Treat Wounds was that the chances of Critical Success were pretty high (30%) meaning that the 10 Dwarf Fighter was getting that spike healing of 150 HPs (10x5x3) pretty often.

But as you pointed out, the LVL+CON version, even with a crit, is only 45 HPs, so that quick treat wounds 1 shot averages only (50% of 15 + 30% of 45) 21 hit points per "recovery" period. For that 157 fighter, on average, without crit fails, it would require 7 10-minute rests to go from severely wounded to full.

Even if the party was willing to forge on with modest wounds (I'll say 25% HP loss), just getting to 117 health from, say 30, would require an average of 40 or 50 minutes of rest.

And that just seems too long to be a part of a narrative flow where characters are trying to push on.

I guess what I am saying is that I am coming around to the system as is simply because players are having more fun being able to "patch and push" in comparison to either "blast and bed" (alpha then sleep) or "nuke and nap" (alpha then short rest).

It just feels jarring when I see that Crit Success and someone gets all their health back in one hit, but that only happens with advanced levels.

I almost want to take CON out of it (though it feels right that the target's fortitude contributes to recovery) and go with something flatter like 3*level. This would allow for some okay healing (3 hp) at 1st level with a 9 HP crit heal while not making healing at 10 on a crit quite as dramatic (90).

And I think the risk of Bolstered still is important even if it's only ever 5% but I may houserule, should this be the final version, that a Hero Point can remove a single Bolstered.

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Yeah, I think tactics has been and will be important to both versions of PF.

Maybe it would be best said that a highly optimized character in PF1 with non-op characters against unaltered, CR appropriate enemies, gives the appearance that tactics aren't necessary because they can bulldoze encounters by comparison.

Necromental is right, a DM who optimizes and alters accordingly can really challenge those optimized, superior characters. But, again, that's where the divide comes in. There are casual GMs, too, who don't want to have to rework material to make it appropriate. They want to be able to buy an AP and just play it as is (and my experience with that was supercharged characters outclassed RotRL played as is but the more casual player found it very challenging).

If MER-c has seen what I have seen, it may simply be that without GM intervention, the truly optimized characters using all the available rules can make teamwork and tactical strategy negligible. It was in the buff thread (iirc), amongst others, that PF1 veterans were complaining that PF2 lacked the ability to decide battles (even against the BBEG) before hand or in the first round - but that only came as a compliment to all the optimization of PF1. 1 round combat is only common to those characters.

I would hope that PF2 finds a way to reduce the disparity so that canned adventures are playable by all comers and teamwork, tactics, etc., can be the agent that makes encounters much easier and more rewarding.

Interesting, dm, that seems workable. Most the time there's sort of a natural 10 minute search-and-loot period between encounters that the group is now folding a quick "anyone need any wounds treated?" adjunct to it that seems natural and part of the adventuring flow.

The 1-hour short rest of 5E always felt like a significant pause in play in the campaigns we were playing before the playtest, so maybe these quick interludes help maintain the immersion better by comparison.

Last night, in our No Healer campaign, the group forged on despite the paladin being bolstered against treat wounds. They learned quite a bit in a tough battle against the Orc Warchief and his cohorts (which included a shaman):

1) If you go healerless, better not have just 1 person capable of Medicine. The dwarven fighter was the medicine man and when he went down, there was a *long* struggle for life for him because he kept failing his Recovery Check only to succeed later.. he hovered between Dying 1 and Dying 3 for at least 8 rounds. Everyone else was at least a -3 medicine which meant they were more likely to increase his chances of dying that recovering.

2) Strategy definitely changed for the paladin who no longer could heal even out of combat. He shot his crossbow more and moved in more cautiously.

3) Having an emergency healing potion, even minor, will be important. The dwarf was still on the brink of death (he had already used his heroic point) when the group found and unidentified vial of a milky white liquid and just took a chance that it wasn't toxic or otherwise useless in this situation, forcing it down his throat. As luck had it, it was a minor healing potion and the dwarf was alive, if wounded, once again. The frantic search of the warchief's party, the what-the-heck decision as recovery rolls were still going vacillating close to death to he might make it, and the collective sigh of relief played out dramatically.

Still debating on going LEVEL + CON to help early healing and slow down the massive later level healing, but we play as written right now and it's been fun.

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I am with Krysgg, I think Recall Knowledge and Automatic Knowledge are enhanced by this system.

Keep in mind, though, I came from a day and age where we couldn't just google up a creature real quick and know what it was before we even fought it.

As odd as it sounds, as a player back then, part of the excitement of encountering these fantastic creatures was discovering what they were capable of. It also enhanced the RP of the game as we sought out tidbits, rumors, and wise people who might help us prepare for the coming encounter.

Again, though, I like the uncertainty and the mystery, but I am not sure if that still holds true for people who grew up with click-to-know availability.

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One interesting thing comes to mind off of Starfox's comment...

My group proceeded in this scenario with the idea in mind that they'd have to conserve resources and even risk overextending themselves as they race against time in hopes of rescuing someone. So they didn't go in guns blazing and alpha-striking from the get go - no rest and recharge every couple of battles.

Is that a foreign concept to many? Is there a place for that kind of scenario or is the 1-4 encounter day now the norm?

This group has enjoyed how Treat Wounds has allowed for the extended adventure day where it doesn't feel like the average 24 hour period is 30 seconds of action followed by 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 30 seconds of rest.

It's also why having improved cantrips is important to the viability of such a campaign.

Still struggling to figure out why some gear is much more expensive than other gear at the same quality level... some guideline would be nice because I will always want to expand on what's available and what a crafty character might be able to come up with through their own research, etc.

But, man, that was a mess to find...but I expect a final product will be much better organized.

Now the question is will the +1dx per potency last through playtesting into the final version...

Interestingly, the party Wizard has managed to conserve some of his spells as he has most of his spell points left and 1 first level spell. While I am not sure if Cantrips are entirely up to speed, Daze as a 1 action spell and Electric Arc as a two target spell get regular use along with some others that have utility/combat control. I don't think he feels quite as hamstrung as he might have in PF1.

Okay, for the life of me, I am struggling to really understand Item Quality, Item Potency, and Item Bonus as they exist now and as they interact with each other.

So in Doomsday Dawn, the Lost Star, a creature has with it an Expert Longsword. Looking at the Rulebook, here’s what I find:

(Page 180) – Longsword, 10 sp, 1d8 S, 1 bulk, 1 hand, Versatile P
- Simple enough. A basic longsword worth 10 sp, not frills other than versatility.

(Page 190) – Item Bonus: Weapons and skill-boosting items of expert, master, and legendary quality add the listed item bonus to attack rolls with the weapon or skill checks using the item (see Table 6–19).

Table 6-19: Item Quality
Expert, +1, 350 sp….

Okay. So that should mean an Expert Longsword is 350 (or 360 as I would probably rule) sp and is +1. I am guessing it’s therefore really a +1 non-magic Longsword that does 1d8 damage but is +1 to hit? Because if we look at page 178, we see this:

(Page 178) – Magic weapons add one or more weapon damage dice to your damage roll. These extra dice are the same die size as the weapon’s damage die.

An expert weapon isn’t magic, just well made.

To make it magic, we head to:

(Page 370-371) – Runes, Weapon Potency: A weapon potency rune grants two offensive benefits. The weapon’s wielder gains an item bonus to attack rolls with the weapon equal to the potency value…Second, on a successful attack roll, the weapon deals an additional number of weapon damage dice equal to the potency value.

Okay, so our Expert Longsword needs a +1 potency rune added to it to get the damage dice, although it’s already a +1 weapon from expert. I guess. Anyway, this costs 650 sp and is a level 4 feature.

So our +1 longsword is now around 1000 sp and can do the +1 attack rolls and 2d8, but that Expert Longsword must only be a +1 with 1d8 at 350 sp. Right? Both could have a Property Rune etched on it, if desired. So I could have a Ghost Touch Expert Longsword (non magic) worth 450 sp or +1 magic version worth 1100 sp.

Is that actually right? Am I getting this correctly? This stuff jumps all around and there’s not always a lot of clarity involved.

I also wish we had a little more clarity on a pricing mechanism for Adventuring gear that can be expert or master as there doesn’t seem to be rhyme nor reason behind which are worth 2500 sp and which are worth 7200 sp at the same level and quality.

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My preferred method of spellcasting has always been the Mana/Power/Spell point system (such as RoleMaster) with interesting spells/spell lists to accompany it. It also allowed for the risk of overcasting and excessive PP use to add extra possibilities/dangers.

It's not going to happen, but that type of system has always been to my liking.

As a first draft, this is terrific stuff, dmerceless! This is well thought out and on the right track for what PF2 should evolve into.

In an effort to avoid my usual wall of text:

Narration vs Rules: Since we play with narration first, then fitting the rules around it, the scene-to-scene flow (even if it's just the cautious dungeon crawl) makes this work for us. Players state character actions (modes, if you will) and appropriate skill checks are made - these affect initiative such that if exploration transitions into action, initiative is already done and the narration of the encounter begins without the need to break the flow.

Stealth and Perception: Stealth doesn't have to be contested against Perception. If our dear Griblet slinks up ahead where some Kobolds are also trying to hide and surprise, the contests isn't between perceptions and stealths but who did the best job of staying unnoticed. Instead of requesting rolls, an encounter will just be an extension of this contest. For those in a more seek/perceptive mode, then it is the classic how well A hid versus how well B perceived.

Other Modes: So one of the maybe more unusual rulings I've given is how a readied action works. We have a Dwarven Fighter who sometimes wants to have her Shield Readied or the Elven Ranger with his Bow drawn. With this, I have allowed it but at the cost of being able to react to events beyond that readied state. Yes, the Ranger can have his bow readied to shoot at the first enemy he sees as they open a door, but he won't be able to take stock of the situation as quickly as others who first observe than react rather than react then observe. Having a prepared action sets your initiative to 0 after the initiation of the encounter. If readied action isn't met (such as being unable to see an enemy around a corner), the Ranger still has a 0 initiative as they try to react to the changing environment.

This actually has worked well as players have to decide on the trade-off between having a single action readied at the risk of then being slower to react in the chaos of combat. I know the Dwarven Fighter now relies more on his quick wits and Reactive Shield more often than not now so he keeps his eyes open for trouble, searches for traps, or navigates through the underbrush.

Again, this is all done in an effort to let the story drive the flow of play rather than the rules and probably not as suitable for those who want to play this as a tactical, miniatures type game with very tight control of rules.

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I thought tying damage dice to weapon bonus was fun at first, until I had to decide what to give out as a reward in game. The changes in party balance from just 1 character getting that +1 weapon was dramatic and I really started to wonder if the tidal shift that came with weapon bonus wasn't overdone.

However, maybe it's my distant roots with D&D, but I don't want to see such a dramatic change as eliminating magic items altogether from D&D. It just seems so "unfantasy" as well as unfun. Part of the excitement of finding Excalibur is that it's better than that sword you bought at the renaissance faire.

I also tend to disagree with the thought that, in the old system, the different with a +2 weapon and a +3 weapon (+1/+1 hit/dam) was still too big. A +2 Dragonslayer or a +2 Vicious Morningstar isn't relegated to useless just because someone found a +3 Longsword. Or the simple fact that even a normal +2 can be useful when fighting a creature that's immune or resistant to slashing damage, so having a bludgeoner on hand is still worthwhile.

I guess for me, I want to see a little juicy magic still have some impact, but that the core of a character's effectiveness still comes from within.

As far as buffs go, the idea of pre-buffing turning a challenging fight into a trivial one - ugh! There should be advantages, for certain, to the well planned, well informed party going into a BBEG fight, but having buffs becoming so impactful as to make combat mundane isn't great. It goes back to that Pathfinder 1 PHD required to play the original edition of this game - I don't want to see PF2 degenerate into the Power Gamer monsters vs the Casual Gamer pitifuls of PF1. That disparity *has* to be reduced, in my opinion. My players don't want to have to read forums, study synergies, and pour through rulebooks to be effective, viable. And I can't fathom the idea that anyone finds it fun to have combat become trivial throughout because AP and Adventure design should be done with the more relaxed gamer in mind.

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I am with you, Vid. Moby Dick, 2E, is a winner!

I don't mind it being 2E - every new edition of D&D has been pretty drastically different than the previous version except for AD&D to 2nd Edition AD&D.

What I want most from what I have seen so far is much more vague and much more encompassing. I see a lot of good ideas and too much poor execution. I think trying to tighten up the rules for easier application is a great idea, but then they scatter them about in an awful layout that makes finding all the pieces an exercise in PDF hopping. If this had been a hardback book, I would have broken the binding constantly flipping back and forth.

There's also this feel that the original goal was to make the rules easier to use, and I think there was a lot of progress there, only to have some individual components completely forget that was the intent as the brainstorming session group for that feature got lost in micromanagement. Because some pieces of game play are unnecessarily convoluted, hopping between the smooth and understandable to the confusing and unruly makes it all seem worse.

Poor Griblet ran into some trouble when the group came upon a room too well lit to sneak around in. That perception check for initiative doesn't favor him well.

As the party continues to get used to the new format, the flow from exploration to combat has really gotten smooth. Tonight, in an hour and 45 minutes of play, the group manage to explore a nice chunk of the orc caves they were trying to rescue a captive from. This included spending time searching three areas of interest, some very slow moving dungeon crawling (this group is a cautious one, with good reason), and 4 full combats (although one was a 1 crit hit affair) followed by two shortish rests to recover from the combat.

Honestly, we probably used about 30 minutes of that time up checking a couple of rules that we weren't familiar with and taking a short break in the middle.

Generally speaking, there's no jarring transition from exploration to combat and battles are going pretty cleanly as we get more and more used to the ruleset. I'd say that 3 challenging combats and one trivial one plus exploration, looting, and rests in about 75 minutes of playtime is a promising pace.

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So we played tonight in a healerless group, except for a modest amount from the Paladin. It's a new group, so level 1.

After a couple of battles that went very much in the party's favor (which included the beauty of a readied shield with blocking damage, and paladin's retributive strikes), the group finally ran into trouble against a couple of giant animals (lizard and ferret).

The first short rest period (30 minutes) saw the Dwarven Fighter healed to full with Treat Wounds. However, the Paladin, who has only a 12 CON, was a little unlucky and received only 1 HP of healing, leaving him with 7 wounds still after the rest. The group decided to forge on as the Paladin had 3 Lay on Hands left and the rest of the group was in good shape and fully charged.

However, the next battle, against an Orc with a trained Giant Ferret at its side saw the misfortune of a big hit landing on the Paladin. This took him to dying. The orc was cleanly dispatched despite its Ferocity reaction, and the Giant Ferret was actually calmed by the Gnome Sorcerer (and a good Diplomacy check per Animal Whisperer) who has the ability to speak with animals innately as the Ferret was already severely wounded and wanting escape.

Unfortunately, the Paladin was dying and getting worse (dying 2 by this time). Quickly, the Dwarven Fighter who is a Trained Medicine man, tended to his wounds hoping to keep him from the brink of death. A solid roll there stabilized the Paladin and left him unconcious, and wounded, but no longer dying.

And then the twist...deciding it was important to get him back on his feet, the dwarf then attended the paladin and Treated his Wounds. Critical failure (1). No other healing available.

This was really the first time that using a Hero Point really mattered. Using that, the Paladin shook off the ill effects of having that Giant Ferret tear into him, he sat up, exhausted and battered, and promptly set out to Lay on Hands himself all three times. He's not at full health (just shy with 2 points of damage), can't receive any healing from Treat Wounds, and there's no other healing available now.

We left it there as it was getting late, so I am not sure how the party plans on progressing. There's a poor farmer's son that's been abducted, so leaving him at the hands of the Orcs is a tough decision. However, the Paladin is healthy enough, but still suffering from the ravages of early combat and is in a weakened state physically, such that recovering from further trauma might be very difficult.

We are definitely enjoying the interplay with Treat Wounds and groups both with and without true healers.

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What we ended up doing is allowing for Treat Wounds to be combined with a Full Night's rest. IE: If the Healer's Tools user wanted to Treat Wounds on their watch, for that 2 hour stretch, they could do up to 12 Treat Wounds checks for characters that appeared would not be recovering from previously inflicted wounds, exhaustion, trauma, etc.

To be fair, I run a grittier campaign world and have GMed in game systems where things like broken bones, head trauma, and severed limbs was a part of the game. I am happy to be back to less complicated gaming now that time and effort are both less expendable, but I still balk, just a little, at the FULL HEAL button where characters are usually either just dying/dead or at full HPs.

And yes, I realize that's today's D&D and I am fine with that. If the voices here that believe Treat Wounds isn't strong enough are the majority and they boost it more, I'll be okay with that, too. I am just looking at our experience with it and how it reflects on game play and our preferences.

Not to mention that I don't remember the last time I actually played/GMed in a campaign where every single aspect of it was pure RAW.

Not to say that I am not aware of the fact that some things *are* directly borrowed from other editions of D&D (of which I include PF), but I think it's a bit unfair to categorize their efforts as being a hodge-podge of the available rules out there. Some things are relatively expected. As much as I am not a fan of the Vancian spellcasting system (I like power/spell points), it *is* D&D, just like the D20 is. Flawed but part of what identifies a game as D&D based. I don't think Pathfinder is ready to be not-D&D. If you don't think cutting away entirely from the D&D convention is dangerous, look at how some people LOATHED 4E.

However, from there, it's very hard to be completely original. Just saying, oh look, this feels similar to that doesn't mean that the devs went "how can we make 5E's BlahBlah work in PF2." My guess is that they are RPG enthusiasts so when they sit down and consider how they want to write a particular set of rules, it'd be impossible to divorce their ideas entirely from their previous experience in the field unless they specifically decided "we cannot do anything that's ever existed before." If they tried that, I would bet you'd get an even worse mish-mash of rules.

5E didn't try to reinvent the wheel. Didn't try to change D&D as we know it. It has a pretty simple plan, went through some awkward playtesting phases, and come out with a pretty solid product that was very end-user friendly. PF2 doesn't have to be revolutionary, just evolutionary, and I personally don't think it should just be PF1.5 because that's just not that interesting - I have PF1 already and have learned to control it's chaos, why should I invest in what I already have?

Personally, I think PF2 would be best suited if it was something with more meat than 5E (which is wonderful, but not complex) without being the morass of uncontrolled rules that made PF1 completely suited for only those experienced with it already or people who could devote hours each day trying to decipher it.

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Our Doomsday Dawn testgroup had another short game session tonight (just over an hour) and it was interesting again.

1st) Even with a Cleric, Treat Wounds is valuable. The group got severely beat up after 2 fights and each time they managed to use Treat Wounds effectively. The first time, the group healed all 4 battered characters to full. The second time, 3 of the 4 were in bad shape and we finally had a Bolstered (crit fail) that stopped the healing for one. We finished with 3 completely healthy character and 1 moderately wounded character (about 70% health). The Cleric has been out of heal spells since using his last 2 sessions ago.

2nd) Some regret was expressed about not raising CON more now that Treat Wounds is the dominate healing path.

3rd) Very satisfactorily, the group is much more willing to forge on rather than have those awful short adventure days when healing spells are expended.

We also have a second test group where they are purposefully playing without healing to see how things like Treat Wounds and Battle Medic will go as the primary healing. The characters will definitely be built a little differently with that in mind.

Pathfinder, at its core, is simply the continuation of 3.5E when that was discontinued. It is the 3rd Era of D&D kept alive. D&D is always just a Fantasy Based Roleplaying Game that is nothing more than a social game of player interaction that uses a combination of dice and conversation to propel the game play.

If you want to know what Pathfinder means to me as a Rules Set, that’s different. I am pretty honest there, as I am not a pompom wielder.

1) It’s enormously customizable. Character creation is a beautiful beast that offers almost unlimited possibilities.

2) It’s terribly unwieldly for the casual player. Every successful campaign I have been a part of has required a very dedicated GM who’s willing to sacrifice a lot of time to keep the multitude of varying rules, adjustments, and features easily managed.

3) It’s wonderfully supported by a team that cares about their product.

4) It’s awful as an entry RPG, almost impossible. Even as an experienced GM with players who’ve played 5E and 4E, I have to hand-hold even months later as those players work on characters and play through APs using PF1 rules. It’s exhausting.

To be honest, it’s the dedication and the effort of the good people who support this game, mainly Paizo, that make Pathfinder a game worth playing. I still have to houserule the heck out of it to keep it from being overwhelming, but the development of Golarion and all the wonderful stories that can be spun out of it make it worth the effort – most the time anyway.

It is also for that reason that I am happy to take players through PF2 hoping we can play some part in their efforts to develop the best version of the next edition possible. If it falls short of our expectations, I know it won’t be for a lack of effort.

I was seeing about 25%+ crit rate chances with focused characters using level appropriate boosts.

Let's look at Level 10, for example.. Right in the middle...

Although our playtest groups have had a high wisdom character most times, going to say the highest in this test is a Wisdom of 18 (+4). With an Expert Healer's Tools (+1) trained to Mastery (+2), this character will be 10+4+1+2 for a total of +17.

Aid seems reasonable in this activity (IE: a doctor with assistants), so +2 circumstance. There was some debate on whether or not other boosts could be used, but we left it at that.

Level 10 Treat Wounds DC is 24. That means that at +19. the actor needs to roll a 5 for success and a 15 for a Critical Success.

Looking at that, we will compare it to a typical 18 CON target (starting at 14 con, and putting +2 at 5th and 10th). 30% of the time, they will heal for 120 HPs in 10 minutes. 50% of the time they will heal for 40 HPs in 10 minutes. 20% of the time they won't heal at all. And 5% of the time they'll be unable to try healing again. That averages out to about 56 HPs healed per attempt. A 18 CON Human Ranger at level 10 probably has about 148 HPs.

That means 1 crit heal (30%) almost heals to max (81% of health healed). Even a regular heal (50% chance) is over 1/4th of their total HPs. 80% of the time, they are getting a big chunk of HPs with a pretty decent chance of just needing one 10-minute stop to max out, or near max.

At level 20, it becomes even crazier. 20 CON will be more the norm, skill bonus (with Aid) will be +31 vs DC 36 which means 30% chance of a 10 minute rest resulting in a heal of 300 HPs. Yes, 300 HPs in just 10 minutes.

Even if we rolled it back and said character won't use CON as one of their 4 bonus stats all the time (why would they do that? good question), a 16 CON still results in 30% chance of 180 HPs of healing in 10 minutes.

If for some reason, a player wanted to play a sickly elf who never got any better (8 CON at level 20), well then you can at least hold healing down to a modest 30% chance of 60 HPs in 10 minutes. 80% chance of getting at least 20 HPs. In an average 40 minute rest, the sickliest adventurer possible would get at least 100 HPs.

Any average adventurer, if for some reason they wanted to rest that long, would probably get around 500 HPs or more in that 40 minute rest.

But even at the more modest mid levels, 10 or 20 minute rests are going to heal a lot.

If that's the intention, so be it. Characters will be able to pretty much charge up to full HPs between battles if even a short amount of time allows (say, a group who just beat some foes is quietly searching about the room for loot/clues uses that 10 minutes to also Treat Wounds).

I would suggest, though, that if that is the intent, please put in some optional rules where this doesn't feel like an MMO or cRPG where you just hit a rest button, everyone heals to max, and 10 seconds later they are back at it at full HPs.

The Hot Topic of our playtest group continues:

Other thoughts. In the second group these players are testing, we have no healer or WIS based character. The Treat Wounds character has a 14 Wisdom with Trained in Medicine to start.

At level 1, this means 50 silver pieces offers a 55% (+3 vs DC 13) chance of a successful Full Night’s Heal equivalent (Level x CON) with a 5% chance of Bolstered (no healing through Treat Wounds) and a 5% chance of crit success for Level x CON x 3. On average, this means about 10ish rolls before Bolstered with 5+ full nights of healing as a result. A 12- CON gets about 5 HPs. A 14 CON get about 10 HPs. 16 CON, 15 HPs.

In comparison, a Minor Healing Potion costs 30 silver pieces, 1 resonance, and heals 1d8 (4.5 avg). It is, however, usable in combat.

By level 3, that 14 WIS on an Expert Medicine now is 60% (+6 vs DC 15) chance with 10% crit success and still only 5% bolstered. Again, with 10 segments to Treat Wounds, it would be 15 HPs at the low end to 45 HPs (or much more) at the high end.

The Lesser Healing Potion now costs 80 silver pieces for 1 resonance worth of 2d8+4 healing (13 average) while the healer’s kit from level 1 is still in use for free. Again, though, in a combat situation, that could be life saving.

If you look much later.. say at level 12.. where a single success of Treat Wounds on a 14 CON character results in 24 HPs, so a 14 WIS, Master Medicine character would be +16 vs DC 26 (55%), getting in 10 uses of Treat Wounds per day on average would be at least 120 HPs of healing.

The Major Healing Potion now costs 2500 silver pieces for 7d8+20 healing (51.5 average) for the resonance point.

Heal potions are still valued, though, so the inclusion is somewhat just for comparison on the coin. The real issue feels like full rest and Treat Wounds effectiveness.

We looked at a number of House Rules we could adopt.

Would higher DC (say just the small step to HARD) help balance it? It would definitely create more uncertainty on the Bolstered end. If crit fails happened 15-20% of the time, reliability on this would be uncertain. That made players a little itchy.

How about a cost association? Say Healer’s Tools had 20 charges. A group of 4 would then burn through a full tool kit in just 5 full Treat Wounds uses on those 4 players. Now we’re looking at Healer’s Tools mules. Meh. It might be good for a silver sink, but seems undesirable. Even with higher charges, the feel is that carrying about bunches of kits hurts immersion and feels gamey again.

How about longer time periods? 30 minutes would certainly put that 10 rest period into the “this feels impactful range”. But the game mechanic feel of Short Rests in 5E being 1 hour isn’t desired either. Stopping for a 30 minutes repeatedly would work better than the previous ideas, and even better than Short Rests in 5E which are ALL or NOTHING nonsense, but it’s still a time sink that doesn’t feel nature in the course of an adventure. With 10 minutes, if something comes up, it doesn’t seem unreasonable. You get partial successes in good bite-sizes. “We were hoping to get a good hour rest in, but those Bugbears jumped us after just 20 minutes – thankfully, that was enough to recover some of our energies to hold them off”. At 30 minutes, it starts to get into the.. “Yeah, we lounged around in the Gnoll lair for 2 and a half hours until we felt ready to go” that feels unnatural to us.

That led to probably the solution that had the most traction: Reduced healing. If it was just Level+CON (min 1 per level with a Crit being doubled), it felt like at the early levels, it really helped. “In that 30 minute break, we managed to catch our breath and refocus our efforts!” as they get 4 to 8 HPs back without being as absurd at high levels (a crit success currently for an 18 CON at level 20 would net 240 HPs in 10 minutes whereas the reduced would only be 48 HPs).

As for full night’s rest, that feels like it would then need a bit of a boost itself. Maybe something like Level x CON x 3 as if a full night’s rest is equivalent to an automatic critical success with a Treat Wounds as it exists now or at least x2 instead of x3.

I am certainly not saying this is *the* solution to this or even that everyone sees Treat Wounds as being out of balance, just that these were our observations and thoughts to this point.

Yes it does, Dark_Davey.

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So my playtest group welcomed the advent of the Medicine: Treat Wounds addition to the rules with open arms. A chance to have something different than Cleric Healbotting as an avenue to adventuring in Golarion.

However, we just played a couple of nights of PF2/PT where characters were getting beat up pretty notably. The Cleric’s Heals were all used up but the desire to stop just to get heal spells back was undesirable based on the RP of the campaign. Fortunately, players had invested in both Medicine as a skill and the Healer’s Tools as an item – it was our first real test of the newer features that came with the rules update.

This began some real observation on the use of Treat Wounds in the game. After literally hours of discussion on the subject, here’s a lot of what was expressed (as an aside, this group is coming from 5E with Short Rest, Long Rest, Second Wind, and Hit Dice healing):

1st) Treat Wounds felt like a more “in character” way of healing naturally. This was appreciated, though some thought that the 10-minute skill check routine created a lot of die rolls that then broke immersion as more and more were required.

2nd) The bigger concern was how it felt like Treat Wounds really made Full Rest healing terrible. A single 10-minute rest with a competent Medicine user was as good as a full night’s rest. That 16 CON level 4 Fighter got 12 HPs in 10 minutes – and 36 in just a half an hour. Had he taken a full 8 hours rest, he would get just 12. The DC of that Medicine Check was 16. Assurance on an Expert Skill almost made that automatic, but luckily it’s not (however, at level 3, EVERY SINGLE Treat Wound check will automatically succeed with Assurance – DC 15 – so Treat Wounds is essentially a regeneration skill, but fortunately it’s only that level the numbers work). The Healer had an 18 WIS (+4) and Expert Medicine at level 4 (+5). With a DC 16 and a +9, he will succeed 70% of the time, which he did 3 times in a row in the case we had for 36 HPs. There was only a 5% (crit fail 1) of any sort of healing train slowing.

So the real concern was that suddenly 8 hours of rest seemed inconsequential. Couple that with how good Treat Wounds is (from 4 to 12 in our 4th level group) with time, there was concern that it became a Must Have skill (medicine) and item (healer’s tools), even with a Cleric in the group. With there being no associated cost after the initial kit purchase, it felt a little odd – are there really 100 hours of bandages, tinctures, herbs, salves, etc., in that one medicine kit so that a Medicine trained character can use it forever, healing 1000s of points of damage? That also seemed unreasonable - maybe there should be some associated cost with more and more use (IE: limited charges on each Healer's Tools).

It really did feel like a 10-minute AoE regeneration tick hoping to dodge that die roll of a 1. That made it a must skill for every party it was decided.

@FuzzyPaws: I am going to defer here, but if you are right - that PF2 requires maximization for the math to work out - then I agree, that's a problem.

In PF1, the disparity between optimized/min-maxed characters and just organically grown, RP concept characters could sometimes be ENORMOUS. The first attempt we made with a 5E group was a bit of a game balance disaster. I had one guy who liked to research character build and even perused through all the books reading feats, etc., to see what sounded coolest. And he came up with some amazing combos. The other two guys and the two women were just "this sounds fun" and had more whimsical ideas when building characters (one guy created the street rat who wasn't used to armor or any weapons more than a knife/dagger and a woman wanted an archer but couldn't imagine her being unattractive or unintelligent so started with only a 14 DEX, etc).

The optimized character dominated combat... it wasn't even like, yeah, he's better.. it was, yeah.. we could skip our turns because his dude annihilates everything.

Now this same group is testing PF2 together, and we aren't seeing that. The opti guy is digging around for the best combos, still, but we haven't seen as much evidence that this gives a significant advantage to him yet.

That said, we have noticed what an impact at least magic weapons have on the game. Added damage dice is impactful and the difference between 2d8 and 3d8 is noticeable. If it's game breaking, I haven't encountered that yet, but maybe because I have allowed players to invest in etching runes to upgrade their current weapons.

The additional properties on weapons, though, is what I am concerned with. The expectation of having a +2 weapon at level 8+ (ish) doesn't bother me as much as I could even take that into account in a low-magic world. It's when players insist that having a +3 Master Dancing Holy weapon or their character is invalid that would worry me.

@Vic: PF1 seems to have set a must-optimize standard for Pathfinder campaigns, at least in the minds of many of its players - and, for all I know, that's justified because without it, characters can't be successful. We haven't played through enough material to know if the math insists on optimization as a lot of what I run is homebrewed conversions of classic AD&D modules or, like we are currently doing, the Rise of the Runelord AP that is a bit older so maybe not as deadly(?).

If that persists in PF2, or is even worse as FuzzyPaws suggested, that would be disappointing. I'd rather see an 8th level character with a +2 weapon be a little better than normal than that same character being handicapped because it was only +1.

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I wonder if it's just a Pathfinder thing. The need to have specific items available for builds that are done out to level 20 or the character is ruined.

I have to admit, this is foreign to me, but I am not a hardcore PF player. We are very casual, even if we play on a weekly basis, and I don't think anyone demands or expects any particular magic item to be automatically available to them. Honestly, I'd be surprised if more than a couple players even think beyond a level or two ahead of the 13 active in current campaigns.

That said, I do have players who ask how they might find something and no one else at the table has a problem with the idea of individual goals as part of the team concept.

And I really don't get hints of the must-have thinking in our 5E campaigns or in other games we play from time to time (SW:EotE, CoC, RM, SF).

@Merlin: Curious, then, has every magic item, ability, spell, feature, feat, trait, archetype, item, etc., been available in your campaigns? Or is it that what you recommend is a simple black-and-white approach? Either it's in the game and readily available or don't include it at all?

I wish I had gotten into the PFS play. Some of it sounds quite intersting (although there are some indicators that there's a lot of petty interactions that happen, too). It includes at least some sort of restricted play rules, does it not? I am guessing that what makes that work is the simple hard, blanket ban on various features, classes, rules, etc.

I have no doubt that a PF2 PFS would do the same, regardless of rarity.

Well, I would be a bit disappointed if they tried to recreate that in PF2, to be honest. Even the gunfight at the Ok Corral lasted longer than that, with plenty of rounds fired, etc.

If that is the goal, I'd probably have to tweak the system to make it work for the style of play we generally employ.

Granted, we just played a couple of encounters two nights ago and they went like this:

Encounter 1 - Trivial: Lasted 2 rounds, but probably could have been decided in 1 round with better rolls. It was a 4v1 encounter of equal levels.

Encounter 2 - High: A more level appropriate challenge with quite a bit of ebb-and-flow involved, including 2 PCs being dropped and use of both channeling heal spells to overcome it. It lasted 4 rounds and was quite intense. Without the crits, I could see that being a 3 round combat encounter or even quicker if the Power of the Crit had been strong with the players. It was a 4v4 against creatures of lower level (-2) making it a High encounter.

That felt satisfactory to me, although a couple of crits certainly made it a tense affair.

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So many mixed emotions on this subject.

1) I really disliked the Super Hero aspect of PF1 that Captain mentioned, but really not because of the Super Hero build itself, but because of the disparity it created between the haves and have-nots. That specific aspect almost made PF1 unplayable within this community until we found a balance that worked for everyone - and even that was unfortunate because I have some players who literally scaled down their characters to be more compatible with the others who weren't as good or as caring about maximizing efficiency.

So in that regard, I want to echo what Captain said in his post: a lower threshold for mastery and a higher floor for non-optimizers would be welcome.

2) There is some interesting aspects to the PF2 approach with more feats broken into different categories. Players are enjoying more customizing options. However, there's definitely been commentary on how some feats just seem to be lacking and that's the problem with so many options - breaking them up into segments sometimes leaves a disparity in what was a key feature and what was rather mundane. Now there exists some feats that feel highly desirable with others being very, very meh.

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