I cannot favorite this enough. I despise the dismissive argument of "well, the GM can fix it" for this very reason.
Remember kids, any time a GM spends making their game not dysfunctional is time they aren't spending making their game great.
Anyone else feel that this is moving in a direction that’s actually more restrictive instead of less so
I don't know, I am a big fan of...
I never feel more powerful than when I'm casting Heal in 2e, precisely because I actually accomplish what I'm trying to do.
For that to happen, we would have to have a system where PC combatants don't go from full to almost dead every other fight. PF2E is currently not that system.
It is fairly simple. Death and serious long term penalties are supposed to be punishments. That is to say, they should be a consequence of the PCs screwing up. Those sorts of consequences should not be handed out for simply showing up to a fight and allowing an enemy to get off a single round of actions. That isn't punishment. That is getting randomly blown out through sheer chance with little you can reasonably do to avoid it*. This is why "roll to not be screwed" type abilities are very ungamist.
Similarly, this is why the death and dying rules are a point of contention. From the same gamist point of view, reaching the dying state should be a consequence of either extremely bad luck for a single PC or repeated bad decisions on the part of the PCs. A single PC should be saveable by their companions if it was just straight up bad rolls (since the chances of all the PCs having bad luck is virtually zero under normal circumstances through the magic of iterative probability), or the PC should have a very real chance of dying as a punishment for the PCs' collective failure. However, PF2E screws this up by making combat so swingy. Multiple PCs are going to get downed every now and again due to simple probability, so the dying rules are going to struggle to find a middle ground between making bad luck excessively punitive and failing to make bad decisions sufficiently punitive (hence why we have had several iterations of the dying rules).
*last time I checked, "don't go adventuring" isn't a reasonable option, and "aggressively cheese the encounter so that the opposition doesn't even get a chance to interact with you before getting locked down or dying" is exactly the sort of degenerate gameplay that PF2E was supposed to prevent.
Here's the thing. While you are correct, unless the GM/adventure writer is bad at their job, it isn't immediately obvious that the game is structured this way from how it is played at a table, especially if the GM preps situations that can resolve dynamically instead of fixed encounters, and hands out wealth in a sane way. The PCs are special, but it isn't constantly rubbed in their faces.
I agree that with the way hero points get spammed in PF2E, they also aren't doing any good for immersion. Fortunately, they tend to get hoarded for get-out-of-death-free cards so that mitigates the problem somewhat, but they are an issue the way they are used. That said, if the swingy lethality of PF2E combat was dialed down, I would not be sad to see them go.
So you're already playing a bunch of superheroes who work on a different set of parameters and rules than the rest of the universe. Your entire immersion rests upon assumptions such as "nobody looks closely at economy", "we're fine with falling and suffocation rules being what they are" and "we're not even considering what a medium level caster could do to a city full of innocent people before she could be stopped".
You have to think about it a fair bit to notice just how broken the economy is. Rocking up to a dedicated magic shop in a major city as a bunch of differently-moral persons-of-no-fixed-abode and hawking all the crap you found at half price isn't unreasonable at a first glance.
Falling rules are only ridiculous in extreme cases that virtually never come up in normal gameplay.
I just looked up the PF2E suffocation rules and holy christ are they terrible and they should be changed, so I agree with you that they are bad but that isn't actually helping your case.
Nihilistic murderous full casters rampaging through a city aiming for maximum casualties is also something that virtually never comes up, so you only notice if you dive through the caster spell lists and really think about it.
If you're fine with all of the above, you should have no problem with the fact that the goblin Archmage doesn't work word by word like your Wizard does.
Please go back and read the post you literally just responded to. Here, let me help you...
Notice the bit where I explicitly said that your **insert race here** archmage in and of itself isn't a problem. It is when the archmage and virtually every other NPC in the campaign work by their own rules in ways that are reasonably obvious, even ones which you would expect in setting to function fairly similarly to PCs, that causes the game's immersion to suffer. And no, every NPC being obviously different to the PCs in fundamental ways is not equivalent to a bunch of extreme edge cases, subtle emergent worldbuilding problems, and #$&^y rules that also should be changed.
The Once and Future Kai wrote:
The problem is that proficiency is all over the map for PC classes. I mean, Monks get master weapon proficiency at 13th, and Paladins at 15th. Meanwhile, Fighters get it at 3rd. You would basically have to redo weapon proficiencies for all classes and rearrange class features to suit. Which is doable, but decidedly nontrivial.
On the micro level, no, it doesn't. On the macro level, it can make an enormous difference.
Here's the thing. After using them in play, players don't look at the aspects of their PCs in a vacuum. They measure them against the rest of the game world. What that means is that if the mechanics that the rest of the game world runs off operates radically differently to the PCs, then the players will be constantly reminded that they are their own special little snowflakes with their own special little rules and their characters will never be a normal part of the game world (for better or worse). This is absolutely horrible for immersion.
Now, if NPCs are designed carefully so that they don't look much different to the sort of hypothetical class they would have if they were built like PCs, then this macro problem won't come up. The bad news is that we have multiple threads on things like random students having vastly better skills than highly trained and skilled PCs, or PCs being stuck with an obnoxious requirement for magic weapons so they can do level relevant damage, or non-spell DCs being broken due to the lack of proficiency boosts, or all creatures (including NPCs that shouldn't look that different to PCs) having better stats across the board for no in game reason, all of which would have been avoided by a decent NPC builder and a system that was robust enough that the designers didn't feel the need to just fiat their way around dogfooding their own game*. This is definitely a real problem that PF2E has not made large efforts to avoid. While building NPCs like PCs or having dedicated PC-like or PC-lite rules for NPCs isn't without it's downsides, it at least guarantees that the GM's players won't be constantly be reminded that their PCs will never ever be like anyone else for meta-game reasons that have absolutely no basis in the setting.
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
You are play(test)ing a game where an entire suite of magical items is treated as nigh mandatory. From there, the question becomes do you want PCs trying to number up their numbers as much as possible, or do you want them to diversify with some more interesting magical bits and bobs? Because easy access to magic items is basically mandated by the system math. Restricting the interesting stuff just means moar numbers, because you have to hand those out unless you like comically party tailored loot drops, or you feel like reverse engineering the system math to remove the item treadmill and coming up with an alternate system for extra damage dice.
Captain Morgan wrote:
Don't keep your hopes up.
I say this for the simple reasons that a) skills have combat uses now so massive unrestricted jacking up of numbers is a no-no, b) one of the aims of this edition is to make sure that PCs don't routinely fall off the RNG in either direction, and there isn't much room left to expand the range of PC skill check numbers without falling off in either direction, and c) the things we have seen like low CR students with extremely high skill bonuses (relative to the PCs) with no mechanical justification suggest that the PF2E team have already considered the "problem" of narrow and relatively low PC skill ranges and have rejected attempting to solve them, instead opting to designer fiat away the problem for NPCs.
Not to be a complete debbie downer by pointing out the hard facts, but can we try and restrict ourselves to suggestions that are...oh, I don't know...remotely realistic?
The PF2E team has maybe a few months at most to implement changes, bulk out the rules with all the stuff they left out of the playtest, and have a finished product ready to go to layout/copyfitting (or whatever the procedure is). They don't have time to run a playtest, and they don't have a very good track record of throwing out revolutionary new systems on a time crunch that work well right off the bat (see: this playtest). Any fixes need to be reasonably straight forward, they need to be very easy to test or simple enough that their effects can be checked by number crunching alone, and they need to slide into the existing system with minimal changes to any surrounding rules components.
Stuff like "leave +level modifier off skills, except when defending against combat actions by other creatures" is within the bounds of reason. Stuff like "reengineer the game to be 10 levels with a partial levelling system" or "totally strip out level scaling and then reengineer entire swarthes of the bestiary so that PCs aren't blown out by the high level special abilities of things that they should be able to otherwise take" is not.
So...the barbarian has gone from 3 rounds of raging to 2-5 rounds of raging (average 3.4) and we have thrown in some randomness and extra dice rolling to boot.
Ok, serious question guys. Did literally anyone say the following: "Y'know, I am not a fan of my class features switching off every 4th round. You know what would make it better. Lots of flat checks and unpredictability"?
It is also ludicrous that you can't hit a creature with reach as they are trying to bite you, but that was explicitly how it worked in PF1 unless you had a certain feat. I would have also assumed that that is how it would have worked in PF2E, given that the lack of rules permitting attacking creatures using reach is almost the same situation as PF1E, and we know how the team ruled back then. It might be ludicrous, but that is the sort of thing we are supposed to be identifying and reporting on, not ignoring. In any case, you threw your PCs a massive bone there. Be aware of that.
On the "is Seek spamming reasonable for a bound guardian" issue, is there any guidance anywhere on how to run monsters in exploration mode? It seems to be completely ad-hoc and up to GM.
I have four questions:
1. How much are you focusing fire on individual PCs?
2. How much are you giving metagame hints to the players?
3. When rules are ambiguous, are you ruling in favor of the PCs or in favor of the monsters?
4. How aggressively are your NPCs exploiting the rules system when you run them?
I have skimmed through Colette's writeups, and I think I can answer for them.
1. Constantly as much as possible unless the situation or written behavior rule it out or make it tactically inadvisable.
2. Absolutely never.
3. Colette leans towards ruling against the PCs.
4. Unless there is a good reason to do otherwise, Colette has the NPCs exploit the rules to the best of their abilities. In other words, Colette runs them like Colette is a player and each NPC is a PC.
None of these are unreasonable in a playtest when you are trying to find flaws in the system rather than run a fun campaign for the PCs. However, they do dramatically raise the difficulty of each adventure, which would explain why Colette can get so many TPKs.
And yet your the only one who I've seen whom has reported the level of TPK that you have. That makes you the extreme outlier.
For the record, from my limited experience GMing the first part of the playtest and the experience of my group's other GM who ran it with a different group, I can say that Colette's experience isn't particularly out of whack with our own. In my game, I asked the players if I should play the goblins stupid or go hardball, because their tactics were ambiguous. They said $*&% it, go hardball. The result of this was that, despite a player severely misunderstanding dancing lights in a way massively favoring the PCs (which I didn't pick up on until afterwards), the PCs came within a hairs breadth of TPKing. The only reason they didn't was because the last remaining enemy couldn't hit enough to overcome their hero point revive spam.
The other GM in my group, who isn't that far away from me in terms of GMing philosophy, had a TPK at the second fight, pretended it didn't happen, and then had another later on.
You aren't playtesting to have fun. You are playtesting to playtest. Fun is a bonus, not the primary objective. If he is running the system by RAW in a reasonable way and his group isn't having fun as a result, then that is the fault of the system, and it should be changed.
Lets talk about this a little more broadly. Here's the thing. The GM doesn't have one job. They have several independent jobs that they should be working towards.
This is a little complicated to explain, so I will pick a "real" life example that follows the same logic. A small business owner has different legal responsibilities as the sole shareholder of the company that they put their business under, as the person filling out the tax paperwork, and as the CEO of that company. Each of these is a distinct role, and there isn't bleed over of responsibilities just because a single person is filling multiple roles e.g. if the person breaches some law while running their company (as the CEO), then their company may be fined, but unless the law they broke was serious enough that they are personally fined for being the CEO responsible for a breach of law, then they themselves will suffer no consequences because in general the shareholder is not held personally liable for the actions of a company they hold shares in. The fact that the shareholder and CEO are the same person is completely irrelevant.
Similarly, the GM has several distinct roles. Usually, these include (but are not limited to) the designer of the adventure the PCs play, the designer of whatever personal variation of the RPG you are using (because virtually no GMs run a long term campaign without *some* houserules), the arbiter of the rules, the "ship's captain" at the table, the person ultimately responsible for making sure the table has fun, the players' sole gateway into the game world, and the meat computer that each NPC's AI runs on.
Sometimes these roles conflict, and conflicts of interest are always fun, but that isn't relevant here. Because this is a playtest. Colette isn't the designer of the adventure. Paizo is, because this is a playtest. Colette is not supposed to put his own spin on PF2E, because this is a playtest. Colette's job is not to make sure the table has fun when it comes into conflict with running the adventure as written using the rules as written, because fun is not an objective because this is a playtest. Colette's job as the GM in this playtest is to communicate the adventure and setting as written to the players, run the rules as written, run the monsters as is reasonable for their written tactics and expressed behavior and motives, and do whatever administrative functions are necessary to facilitate the above, because this is a playtest. Criticisms of Colette's GMing are only fair when it comes to the parts of the playtest that are actually his responsibility.
Now, remember how I went on about roles and businesses and CEOs above. Here is where it is relevant. You said this:
Also No I don't know any games where when the GM tries to kill the party he doesn't succeed.
Part of the GM's role is to act as the intelligence for NPCs. If those NPCs are committed to killing the PCs then yes, it is 100% the GM's job to kill every single PC then and there using the resources available to the NPCs the GM is running, by whatever means necessary. The GM shouldn't be unfair about it by screwing the players over with bad rulings (because the arbiter's job isn't to kill the PCs), and they shouldn't design the encounter to kill the PCs (because the adventure designer's job isn't to kill the PCs), but they as the NPC AI should take every resource given to them by the adventure designer and use them according to the rules set by the arbiter to accomplish the goals of each NPC, and if that goal is to kill the PCs then they should do their best to kill the PCs dead. If Colette does his job as the NPC's brain correctly and this results in the players having a miserable time, then the takeaway from this is that a GM acting reasonably and in good faith can take the PF2E system plus an adventure made in the Doomsday Dawn style and make their players completely miserable. If you want to debate whether or not Colette is running the NPCs in a reasonable way then we can have that debate, but unless Colette is running their NPCs in an unreasonable way, don't hate on them for being the bearer of bad news about the PF2E playtest adventure and ruleset.
Bulk is explicitly 5-10 pounds per unit. If we assume that longbows are some of the hardest things to carry ever and that bed rolls are some of the easiest, longbows are 10 times heavier. If we assume the reverse, longbows are 40 times heavier. All of these are nonsense, so we are just quibbling about irrelevant details at this point.
The problem isn't just that a few particular bulk values are off. It is that the entire system is completely incoherent as written. It is as if every single bulk value was assigned by a different person with different ideas about what makes something bulky and how much a person can carry, and not a single one of them compared notes. Throw in the fact that the listed bulk values outright contradict the guidelines to a jarring extent, and we are left with a system that you cannot apply logic to to derive the bulk values of new items, because the system is totally nonsensical.
Simple, easy, no moving parts, and I didn't have to look up a table of DCs even once.
1 Star, thumbs down, would not recommend. #NotMyPathfinder
The difference is that, as per Jason's post above, in theory players can almost always get uncommon items if they put a bit of time and effort in, while with rare items all bets are off.
I don't believe for a second that this is how it will work out in practice, but that appears to be the model they are operating under.
Here is a fun question. Lets say that instead of a fantasy game, Pathfinder 2E was a superhero game, and high level heroes are basically on par with Superman or Thor or *insert favorite walking battleship here*.
Would the +level to everything thing still be inappropriate? If yes, then what would you replace it with, because 30 goons with handguns should not be a mortal threat to Clark Kent, God of Thunder.
My thoughts are that I also do not have particularly good feelings about PF2E.
If I could, through some improbable chain of events, get the designers to sit down in a room and talk with me, I would want to forget the actual system for a moment and ask a whole bunch of basic game design questions that are vaguely related to PF2E, go over the answers with a fine tooth comb, and work my way up from there. Questions like: what is the point of classes, what is the point of levels, what is the point of skills, what is a good rate of success for players, and so forth (I could write a page on basic stuff alone, lets not even get into follow ups). This system feels like it was hammered out by cobbling together a core mechanical engine from some stuff that looked good on paper, and then turned into the playtest by roughly converting a lot of PF1 stuff and then making a bunch of broad sweeping changes that aim to fix problems that the designers perceived were present in PF1 regardless of how much or how little those lessons apply to PF2E (assuming all of those perceived problems were real in the first place).
I don't get a sense that there was a strong vision for how PF2E would turn out. I don't get a sense that there was a strong theoretical foundation for the design of PF2E beyond "make the maths tight this time". I don't get a sense that their internal processes are capable of identifying problems with the game given how many serious problems ended up in the playtest and some of the stuff I've seen said by Paizo's staff. I don't get a sense that there is a lot hope for a PF2E that I want to run or play. And I say this as someone who would love to have a system that fixes the enormous pile of problems that the 3.X system is shackled to, and doesn't care how many sacred cows get slaughtered in the process.
Let me pose a question for you.
What fraction of unbalanced splatbook rules elements do you think the writers knew was unbalanced or potentially problematic at many tables. Because take that, subtract it from 100, and you get what percentage of broken options will be labeled common and thus carry an implicit Paizo certified a-ok seal of approval because supposedly only the uncommon or rare stuff is imbalanced (stop laughing, this is serious).
I sincerely doubt that the splatbook writers were trying to make imbalanced options in PF1E. Stuff like that happens because Paizo has never been particularly amazing at consistent quality control. Rarity won't help with that in the slightest.
Throw in little things like the fact that most of the uncommon/rare stuff will be fine anyway, because rarity is doing over a half a dozen things at once and most individual GMs may only care about one or two of them, and the fact that some of the writers are going to use the rare tag as justification to write deliberately imbalanced options which are pretty much unusable at most tables, and you end up with a situation where the usefulness of rarity as a mechanic is diminished to very little. A lot of broken stuff will slip though the cracks, a lot of it will be implicitly labelled "completely fine to use in your campaign", and a lot of the stuff that is labelled "possible questionable" is totally fine for the overwhelming majority of tables, so you can't really take it as a reliable baseline for allowed options. Like I said, 2 steps forward, one step sideways onto a rake.
Oh yeah, and PF2E's design subtly encourages imbalance from splatbook options, just to throw some gasoline on this raging inferno. This probably isn't the appropriate place for a detailed explanation, but the short of it is...well...you know how the conventional wisdom is that small bonuses matter a whole lot now, so the designers have to be careful with handing out numbers. How much do you trust the people who brought you hilariously imbalanced splatbook crunch to be as careful as this system needs them to be. PF1E was at least partially tolerant of extreme number swings.
By the way, slapping an uncommon symbol on everything from a splatbook isn't happening, because then Paizo's own ruleset is telling GMs to disallow the majority of Paizo products that players purchase unless the GM goes out of their way to read the book options and make case by case rulings on everything. Disincentivizing the purchase of their products like that is crazy.
O. N. wrote:
The Sorcerer bloodline still has it.
I feel like reminding people that this is in the core rule book (or the playtest version of it, at least). This is Paizo attempting to put their best foot forward. It only goes downhill from here when we get to the splat-books.
It's another tool for GMs to use, that is all. Even if you are gonna make your own lists, this will save you a lot of work by have a default for every item, as well as having an official framework to limit options in the game.
I virtually guarentee that the people designing content for Paizo are going to uses it as an excuse for dubiously designed content with the rationale of "the GM will vet it so it doesn't matter if it is OP or broken". Oh, and it means that non-common stuff is going to be designed with the assumption that if it causes problems then it is the GM's problem because they allowed it, instead of designing content that meshes with the rest of the system from the start. To pick an example, we still don't have a good way of warding large areas from teleportation, but hey teleport is uncommon so it is the GM's problem. We are taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
As an aside, while double checking that the above example was correct, I couldn't help but notice that a sorcerer bloodline and a cleric god pick (nethys) both grant access to Teleport, which is the go-to choice for "plot wrecker" spells.
I am sorry, did I say 1 forward, 2 back. I meant 2 steps back, and then one sideways onto a rake. Because what the hell is the point of restricting general access to this stuff if PCs are explicitly allowed to pick it anyway through slightly roundabout means if they really want to.
Also, from a setting standpoint, it is really helpful for establishing certain elements of the setting. One example is Blood Money, mentioned up thread. This was supposed to be a spell unique to Karzoug. It was never meant to be a common spell, but rather a unique bit of flavor for the main bad guy and possibly a reward for beating him. We all saw how that played out. Now we have a framework for this.
You know what would be nice. If this wasn't mixed in with the frameworks for setting flavor restrictions and house rule enabling conveniences, among other things. Oh, and if it wasn't half assed (see the aside above). That would also be nice.
Why isn't "If you want something which is not common, ask me first" a reasonable way to handle rarity as a GM, but everything common requires no preclearance. Even if I'm not going to say "yes, you can have that" right away, I'll probably make a note to put one in that's acquirable somewhere.
Because with the sheer breadth of options that are restricted and the amount of moving parts a mid level PF2 character has, it is entirely possible for a single player to have a couple of dozen restricted options that they consider at some point. Most players aren't going to ask every time they momentarily consider picking something restricted because that becomes really damn obnoxious when you do it a dozen times and the GM has to either stop whatever else they are doing and find whatever rules element you are looking at every 3 minutes, or sit beside you and give you their undivided attention for half an hour as you level up your character (while having to make decisions on the fly about what may or may not be a problem down the line). Oh, and most of this stuff you are annoying the GM about is stuff you probably won't end up actually taking. I am not being hyperbolic when I say a couple of dozen options, by the way. Spells for a mid to high level character are an area where this is a pretty straight estimate, for example.
If there was only a sprinkling of restricted rules elements that were clearly restricted for a particular reason then "just ask" would be a reasonable approach, but the sheer breadth of restrictions and the complete opacity of why those restrictions are in place torpedoes that in practice as a general approach.
Here's the thing though. If rarity was for one thing specifically, then that would be at least somewhat reasonable. For example, using rarity as an indicator of broken spells that get handed out as rewards is...well, I am not convinced it is fine* but it is probably better than nothing. But that isn't just what it does. It also restricts access to high powered setting warping game changers (teleport), minor utility effects that can break a very narrow catagory of campaigns but otherwise don't matter one iota (tongues, create food and water), things the GM may want to restrict themselves for reasons that are otherwise beyond the scope of the core rule book e.g. removing alignment (Protection from Evil), setting based restrictions (the Wayfinder magic item) and probably a few other things I am missing. Oh, and it makes no effort to distinguish between rules elements restricted for one reason or another.
What you end up with is a mess of different elements at different rarities, with no way to tell quickly why anything is restricted. This leaves the GM with roughly four approaches:
- Hard ban everything, and remove 20% of the book's selectable content, even though most of it is fine, and even though a lot of it is the more interesting stuff.
- Allow everything, and deal with the consequences of the fact that Paizo decided to hand themselves a justification for making whatever broken imbalanced nonsense they want, which comes in the form of "if our non-common rules elements are problematic then it is the GM's problem, not ours, because they allowed it".
- Go through every non-common rules element that their players might consider, and vet that rules element's appropriateness for their campaign. Then write up a honkingly huge list saying what is or isn't allowed. Since restricted rules elements tend to be some of the more "interesting" ones, this is arguably worse than just writing all the rules under the assumption that players can pick whatever the hell they want.
- Sit beside they player every time they select rules elements for their character, and make go/no-go calls on the spot about that rules element. Oh, and as mentioned, 90% of the stuff is fine, but between the complexity of a lot of the stuff in PF2E and the option paralysis some people are reporting while making higher level characters, this is likely to take up a lot of the GM's precious face to face gaming time
None of these are good options for the GM or their players. In fact, now that I think about it, I am beginning to dread trying to run a campaign, because I will have to go though the entire damn rules list and vet every single damn thing, because I refuse to run a campaign where basic staples like Protection/Evil aren't around because Paizo couldn't be bothered putting in a sidebar about removing alignment instead of mixing houserules into the rarity system.
*the reason being that decoupling spell power from the skill/capabilities of the caster doing it has nasty implications for your setting, regardless of how rare it is, so it is probably best to not open that can of worms.
Didn't everyone know this going in? I mean, if you know that literally the whole point of the process behind the book is to obsolete the book in short order, and you don't need to buy the book to participate in the process, then there really isn't much to complain about if you do go ahead and buy it.
I would like this, but I am aware that fussing about with the PDF is a lot more time consuming than releasing separate erratas. I wish they would integrate it into the books, but I can cut them some slack on it given the time crunch they have.
It doesn't help that the PF2E team does a lot of podcasts for random shows all over the place, and it is hard to consolidate all that info. There might be a bunch of comments by the design team that explain why they are doing things a certain way, but because they are buried 2/3rds of the way into an audio file, most of us will never know.
I like resonance! A high magic world can still have fewer magic items and less usable versions. I agree that spending resonance for potions is too much, same for scrolls, and maybe consumables should have a longer duration so players can buff up before heading into danger.That is funny. I am the opposite. One of my major complaints about PF2E boils down to "too many moving parts". Cut most the 1/day+Focus nonsense, link it solely to Focus instead, tweak how wands work, and then cut item limits entirely, because they are basically superfluous at that point.
There's clearly room for some change, but what I'm seeing is that this version of the game is heading into the same crowd-sourced hot mess that first edition became.
First edition's problems were a convoluted mix of a dubious quality chassis (the 3.x engine), a bunch of piecemeal fixes to said chassis, general option bloat and accumulated quality slip from publishing a honkingly large amount of mechanical options (eventually, you are going to get stupid, OP and/or broken things slipping through the cracks).
Now, in fairness, they are trying to fix some of these problems. They are trying to build a sounder chassis so those piecemeal fixes shouldn't be necessary. I do have concerns, however, that the tight math and lack of in-built expandability creates a problem. If you want overly pressured developers and freelancers to produce acceptable quality work, then it is a good idea to informally hand half their job to them and ask them to fill in the gaps. PF2E doesn't really do this. There are no design patterns for developers to follow, and everything beyond the basic game mechanics is pretty much ad-hoc. Throw in the fact that there is a lot of illusion of choice in the playtest and that the tight math makes designing overpowered options surprisingly easy and I suspect that PF2 proper is likely to become unbalanced in short order, with a sea of narrow garbage broken up by totally OP gems.
As for the dangers of "crowd-sourcing" your designs...eh, its complicated. You know the old bit about if Henry Ford asked people what they wanted, they would have wanted a faster horse. Well, on the other hand, if Henry Ford gave some people a car and asked people what they wanted, and most of them replied "less obnoxious transmission changes because holy crap how do you even change gears on a Model T", then that is genuinely useful feedback. "Moar flame decals" from a couple of them, not so much. A reply of "better color choices" might be worth investigating, but if you can sell Model Ts at 10% off by making them all black and people will buy them despite being black, then you can seriously consider ignoring that feedback.
Designing a game is, in its own way, a form of engineering, and like all engineering there are tradeoffs and cost-benefit analyses to be done. Most playtesters aren't approaching the game like an engineer designing a product, and even for those that are, they are usually focused on a couple of particular parts of the game and any feedback they give won't factor in other changes the designers are going to make to the game. Dealing with a piece of feedback is a complicated process of trying to guestimate how many of your potential customers feel that way, trying to figure out how much they will care if you don't factor in this particular piece of feedback, guestimate how many of them will actually dislike the changes you will have to make to address this feedback, and guestimate what the opportunity cost is to address this feedback instead of dealing with something else. Oh, and if you are a smart *insert preferred noun here* and noticed that I didn't mention what happens when you have several different ways to address a particular piece of feedback (which you usually will) or what happens when your changes have ripple effects in other parts of the system (which they usually will), then congratulations, you are in the fractal hell called being an engineer. Have fun. The sloppy approach of "throw it all in and end up with an unfocused mess because we are no longer designing a game but crowd-sourcing a fairy floss, muffin and scallop stew" is a terrible idea, but so is "90% of our playtesters despise X with a passion, but we keeping X because of *weak rationalizations*". You really do need to handle feedback on an individual basis, and try to guestimate what bits of the feedback will make a better product, and what bits will make an unfun product or a convoluted, unfocused mess. TLDR designing be hard, yo.
There should be a cost to getting a character to do what you want, but that cost is better served by teaching GM's to be open, flexible and able to handle unbalanced parties.
No RPG teaches GMs well as far as I know. While I would love to see an RPG that instills good GMing practices in those who use it, I am not holding my breath. I would rather the designers hand the GM something basically functional on the plate than go around with the toxic attitude of "we can put out any crap and it is the GM's problem to deal, because the GM can just fix any problems".
The best adventures of literature never include a balanced party.Yeah, and the best adventures of literature are backed by author fiat. A big part of the attraction of RPGs is player agency, and that means agency to fail, or agency to breese effortlessly through the story, or agency to be a useless fifth wheel while other people do the work. Compromises will have to be made if you don't want those happening unintentionally all the time.
Paizo, please stick to your guns a little longer. Spend more time publishing explanations and contextual suggestions for your rules rather than just changing them. Help new players and especially GM's understand how they might find roleplaying solutions to their complaints.I though Paizo has been pretty conservative with their changes so far. I don't particularly blame them for that, because feedback like "spells are miserable and unfun - fix them" isn't something that can be addressed quickly, but they haven't exactly been gutting their system in a quest to seek approval from playtesters.
Just dropping more rules as written to give the people what they want will just make for more of a mess.Maybe, maybe not. Designing be hard, yo.
IIRC, one of the owners of Paizo (Lisa, I think) looked through TSR's financial data (which would include the 2nd edition period) on behalf of WoTC to see where they screwed up. The conclusion they came to was something along the lines of "TSR split up the base by publishing a bunch of books that sold well but inhibited further sales". I suspect that throwing out a lot of products that focus excessively on individual parts of their setting (or even worse, create other settings) may create a similar problem. In any case, the owners probably know a lot more about this than you from sources you don't have access to. You might be able to ask them, though. I would certainly be curious to see what they say.
I hope you agree, and thanks for the great times paizo!
For the record, despite how incredibly cynical and snarky I can be, I do appreciate what Paizo is trying to do with PF2E, and I do actually want PF2E to be something I want to play. My cynicism stems from the fact that there are quite a few obvious and not-so-obvious problems in the playtest which I struggle to explain in ways that don't justify my cynicism. Combine that with my general worldview which boils down to "If I assume everything is terrible then I will either be proven right or pleasantly surprised", and you are not going to see a font of positivity in my general direction.
Don't be ridiculous.
Magic Swords aren't nerfed. In fact, you could say that Magic Swords are so great that they are the real protagonists of PF2E, and high level characters are just taxis for the godlike power of the +5 potency rune and it's herald, the legendary quality bastard sword.
Unless that high level character is a cleric. Because editions may come and go, but CZilla never dies, apparently.
And the people who want more equality are themselves a spectrum between "nerf casters to oblivion" and "buff martials to infinity".
That is a great idea. Then when your players figure out what you are doing (which they probably will because you aren't as smart as you think you are), you are likely to have a lot more free time on your hands with the lack of burdensome things like a gaming group and friends.
Or, to put it more bluntly, if you indicate that the game's item availability works a certain way under normal circumstances, then I damn well expect the game's item availability to work that way, and I am going to trust that you aren't just flat out lying to me. If you then decide to betray my trust and change the item availability to "whatever the GM feels like" while still acting as if we are playing by the rules you communicated to us, then I am going to think long and hard about whether or not I want anything to do with you.
I can't be bothered finding the rules text right now, but the "0hp=dead" thing is basically a GM shortcut that they are encouraged to not use for things like major NPCs, or for any creatures that have healing backup. Going off this, any intelligent NPC would have to be aware that stabbing things until they fall over may not finish them off permanently.
You don't. You would need to completely revamp weapon and armor proficiency for this to be viable.
Uncommon spells aren't uncommon just because they are slightly more powerful than common spells. To pick an example, Mark said in another thread that Protection from Evil is uncommon so that it makes it easier for GMs to deemphasize or remove alignment from their games. You can't just hand out higher rarity stuff willy nilly, because the rarity system does several different things and granting blanket access undermines some (but not all) of those things.
On an unrelated note, this is why I hate the rarity system with the burning fury of a thousand suns.
This seems to mostly impact casters and I kind of don't want casters starting out as good as martials, they have their spells they don't need to be as good with a blade as a rogue or paladin.
If letting a caster start with an 18 in strength makes them as good starting out as martials, then we have far bigger concerns than tweaks to the ability score generation system.
This caught my eye, so I thought I would go check the bestiary and see how true that is.
I couldn't be bothered counting the number of creatures in the bestiary, so I did a quick estimate - the left column of the first page of the creature list is 53 creatures, so going off that the book has about 250 creature total. Of those 250, 44 creatures had attack of opportunity. Some of those were only a subset of that particular creature (Orc Warrior, for example). Creatures with attack of opportunity tended to be one of the following:
That would mean that Attacks of Opportunity are common enough that you have to assume they are a risk on anything that really wants to get into melee and is capable of eating your face.
I hear this is called progress, apparently?
Ah, this makes total sense. It is an inevitability that with Chaotic Paladins comes Chaotic Stupid, and this is pretty Chaotic Stupid. Glad to see the cycle of Paladin Stupidity continuing.
On a more serious note, a hypothetical "Chaosodin" might not be Lawful, but they are still Good. Subterfuge, deception and misdirection aren't inherently chaotic (see Devils, who are literally made of Law but are oh so very manipulative). The Paladin's Stalwart honesty embodies both Law and Good together. Hence a simple code flip is not appropriate. That is the sort of thing that is more appropriate for the Anti-Paladin (who should be a mirror of the Paladin). Deadmanwalking's code is a much better approach. Just as the conventional Lawadin's code is Good viewed through the lens of Law, Deadmanwalking's code is Good viewed through the lens of Chaos.
I agree that the whack-a-mole hero point use is as wonky as all hell. I don't agree that points should carry over. I much prefer the WH40K RPG fate point style "X points per session" approach, since it means that hero points actually get used instead of being stockpiled for a crisis that may never come (the "too awesome to use"* problem).
*Warning, TVTropes link. View at your own risk.
Yeah, and 5e had something like two years and two months between initial playtest release and final release. PF2E is getting what, like a year or so? And everything has to be sent to the printers well before then and non-game-design stuff has to be done like getting art assets together and doing typesetting which adds a constant time overhead.
The reality is that in terms of time that the PF2E team can spend tinkering with new mechanics before locking it in, they have maybe a quarter of the time the 5e team did. Throwing in the fact that the PF2E playtest is oh so very rough around the edges, I just flat out think that they don't have the time to sort out all it's myriad issues.
I think this is a major part of why some people are so disheartened. If PF2E was coming out in 2020 and we had over a year of constant tinkering before everything was locked in, playtesters could at least comfort themselves with the knowledge that there is enough time between playtest and release that the entire game could be gutted and rewritten if necessary, so any problems they have now could reasonably be fixed. Contrast to PF2E, where we have a long list of untested subsystems that are tightly coupled to each other. All of them feel wonky in one way or another, some more wonky than others, and there is a real possibility that there just isn't enough time to fix everything. At that stage, it is tempting to write off 2E as a lost cause and abandon the playtest.
True Snowblind but also keep in mind some people will be happy about that too.
Here's the thing though. Pathfinder 1E also had severe balance issues, but it also had several design features that mitigated those issues. Skills could be ramped into the stratosphere, but skills did very little in combat so that wasn't a huge deal. In PF2 skills are much more combat relevant. Attack bonuses did nothing beyond improve chance to hit, so even slapping a +10 modifier onto your attacks wasn't going to do that much to a lot of classes - attacks tended to hit a lot more by default and there wasn't any of this +/-10 malarkey, so all it would be doing most of the time is increasing the reliability of iteratives. Something like a Barbarian is going to land most of them anyway, while 3/4 BAB characters don't get many of those so it isn't that big an issue. In contrast, giving a +10 boost to a PF2 character boosts their DPR to something like 340% of it's normal amount.
Spells have a similar issue - so long as they are carefully curated then they will probably be fine, but throw in a couple of badly balanced buffs/debuffs/battlefield control effects (easy to do since any numerical buffs/penalties matter) and casters will become the encounter ending monsters we have all come to know and love/hate, while still being fairly bad on fronts like "shape shift for more than a minute and have fun walking around town as a dinosaur". Y'know, the fun but harmless stuff.
Basically, instead of making a system that mitigates imbalance, they made a system that amplifies it and are relying on keeping extremely tight control over any sources of imbalance to mitigate this. It might work in the short term, but I don't think it will work in the long term after a few things slip through the cracks.
I am pretty sure the majority of the people here have heard of that quote.
If I am not mistaken, ryric is saying you have it in reverse. We are giving up the freedom (options) that we had in PF1 for security (balance) in PF2.
I am not sure I agree with the sentiment, but I do think the exchange rate has gotten really bad with this new edition.
Frankly, I also doubt that the whole balance thing is going to work out in the long term with the system as it is. The new system is fragile, to the point where the design team has to keep a death grip on any modifiers that might boost numbers beyond that 50% system mandated sweet spot. Give it half a decade of splats by developers with a weak sense of balance under time crunch and I doubt that the system will stay this neat and tidy balance wise.
John Mechalas wrote:
I sure would like to know what the motivation was for the new dying rules. One of the goals of the Playtest is to have a system that's easier to play with simpler rules. What could be simpler than "you die when your HP's reach -Con"?
Dying at -Con is completely inappropriate at higher levels when some monsters are dealing 40 damage a hit not including crits?
Micheal Smith wrote:
My problem is how to you justify the Half-Orc obtaining Dark Vision at 5th level? He just wakes up with it after leveling. Its not like you can train it an learn it over time, I mean that could be implied but you level up and just get it.
PF1e Half Orcs could get things like Ironhide (and Improved Natural Armor), Keen Scent, Iron Guts and Extra Traits(Tusked) at later levels. It isn't that much more far-fetched to suddenly gain Darkvision.
Of course, this could all be solved if we got an extra ancestry feat or two at first, so innate biological abilities don't have to be shoehorned into higher level ancestry feats for lack of feat slots at level 1.
I don't get the problem people are having. I read the book cover to cover. Character creation takes maybe 30 minutes maximum for any class. Where is the confusion? I can understand it if you are coming at it from a min-max munchkin style but if you just want to build a decent character, it's extremely quick.
It takes hours if you haven't sat down and read the book from cover to cover several times and read a bunch of forum posts assessing character options, and if you are approaching char gen from a pretty standard RPG mindset of "If I make a bad choice, I will be haunted and mocked by it every time I look at my character sheet until the day I retire this character, so I better know exactly what I am selecting". Given how PF1 works, this isn't exactly unreasonable.
Lets look at the rogue's class feats, shall we, just to illustrate my point. We are making a first level character with the assumption that they will be used in a longer campaign. These are our options: Bludgeoner, Nimble Dodge, Trap Finder and You're Next. We will examine the first one, Bludgeoner, and try to figure out how valuable it is. Yes, I am only doing one of four, I have neither the energy nor the SAN to do any more.
spoilered for length:
Question one - what the hell does Slowed 1 for a turn mean - index on page 427 says slowed (the condition) is on page 324. Page 324 says it means the target loses one action on their next turn. The tactical utility of this is highly dependent on how much the target cares about their third action (not much for melee monsters next to the rogue, a lot for casters who also have weapons).
Next, are strikes things our rogue will be usually making so they can get sneak attack- here I will assume for the moment that the intro section of the book isn't lying, strikes are things that get made a lot by rogues, and we aren't in a PF1 Standard Attack Action situation (if we were less trusting of the book's writers, we would need to read a lot more rules to verify this).
Ok, next question, does Enhancement just mean a rider on an attack or is there some special quirk to that keyword. The blurb on the rogue page says it is just a rider. Just to double check, Appendix:Glossary agrees with this. Hey, not doing too bad so far. A bit of cross referencing, but no landmines yet...hold that thought.
Next up, what is the finesse/agile trait, and how significant is it that we can skip needing it on maces and clubs. Off to the equipment chapter, where we get to look through the entire weapon selection to compare maces/clubs versus agile/finesse weapons. Oh, but we still can't finesse them, so that needs to be factored in too. And a lot of these weapons have other keywords, which we also need to read. What fun! ***5 minutes go by*** Oh hey, there are no maces or clubs worth taking that aren't already agile or finessable. This 5 minute diversion was completely pointless. Why can't all weapons be sneak attacked with again?
Now for the fun bit - by using a mace or a club, we are forgoing using another type of weapon, and this means there is an opportunity cost - I am assuming that upgraded weapon costs will prevent golf-bagging because I can't be bothered assuming otherwise. Setting aside the stats of the weapons themselves, this means we need to read all the rogue feats across the levels we care about to understand what we are getting in to. Lets assume we will probably be playing this rogue for 8 levels at a minimum, and restrict our concerns to this level range. We also need to concern ourselves with other feats that interact meaningfully with bludgeoner, so lets cover them too.
There is nothing else at first level that restricts weapon choice so...at second level, footpad's focus gives the critical specialization effect on a flat-footed crit for most roguish weapons...Jesus Christ right down the rabbit hole we go, time to open up a 3rd PDF reader window...ok, another couple of minutes gone, this can stack with bludgeoner and may or may not be taken alongside it. The combo of slowed 1 and 10ft knockback seem pretty decent to finish an attack routine with, but knockback is counterproductive on the first strike of a 3 attack routine (which is more likely to happen thanks to iterative penalties and the crit system) so yay for even more cognitive load and a need for assessing situational optional tactical actions that may or may not be benefits in a game we picked up an hour ago. And I haven't even brought up the other possible crit specializations from using non-club/mace weapons.
Hey, remember the days of Bleeding Attack and friends. Those were the days, huh. Just "when you hit something that is flanking or flat footed, you get one thing".
Next, are poisons worthwhile using on weapons. We need to know this because another feat choice deals with poisons...oh, what fun, bludgeoning weapon can't take injury poison ever unless they are versatile P or S, and contact poisons can't be put on weapons...unless you use the Poison Weapon rogue feat, which costs an action in combat. The only bludgeoning weapon that can deal P damage doesn't have finesse, so poison and bludgeoner are basically incompatable for a rogue. Now we get to assess the value of injury poisons on sharp weapons without the Poison Weapon feat versus the value of injury and contact poisons with the Poison Weapon feat (which involves spending actions, and the tradeoff of action based injury/contact poisons vs previously prepared weapons with injury poisons), versus the value of Bludgeoner on a finessable bludgeoning weapon, and critical specializations may or may not be involved somehow. This is assuming I didn't miss anything about poisoning weapons beforehand - the text about applying poisons to a weapon was a bit vague. Oh, look, I just failed an intelligence roll to understand the significance of the decision point that lies behind this entire paragraph. I get to not waste 3d10 sanity and the next hour of my life figuring this thing out. Moving on...
Unbalancing Blow - affects the critical specializations feat, and thus affects the other rider that can be comboed with the bludgeoner rider, not even bothering to assess it's value because boredom, moving on.
Twisted Knee - comboes with things that combo with things that combo with one of the four things we may pick this level. Skip.
Improved Poison Weapon - ditto, skip. Ok, that is the last one. I think we are done here.
Ok, we have looked at how bludgeoner interacts with other feats and only come out 3d6 sanity shorter. I think that is it. We now have a really, really vague idea of how valuable bludgeoner is. The only things I skipped were a mathematical analysis of how much the slowed 1 rider really matters in a game where critical rates are unpredictable, an analysis the impact of using a sap or a light mace over something like a short sword or rapier (which involves the magic rules), and probably some other stuff, and I skipped them because I really cannot be bothered despite the fact that having a rough intuitive grasp of this stuff is really, really important for not screwing up a character.
I will leave the analysis of every other character decision made at first level (including decisions about future character options to be taken) to the audience.
Funny, from what I have seen, the majority consensus is that overall framework of PF2E is reasonably sound, but there are serious problems with the implementation.
Even the OP's problems basically boiled down to the playtest book being rather impenetrable, which has nothing to do with anti-change or simulationist sentiments.