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I've noticed something with my time playing the low to mid level playtest... Healers eventually get to the point where they are only healing. They spend all of their actions to heal and move. Sure, it's their role in the party to be the one to get them out of trouble, but eventually it gets to the point that the healer can no longer do anything outside of healing during a nasty combat.


Logan Bonner was on the stream on Friday and he said that the Devs do want you to adjust the adventure to accommodate for the number of PCs.


Hurká wrote:

The only mention that I've found is in the introduction to Doomsday Dawn, under "Adjusting Encounters":

Quote:
Pathfinder assumes that the typical group consists of a Game Master and four players, but often a Game Master will find that the number of players interested in her game doesn't always align with this expectation.
Since it's not mentioned, I assume that you're free to have as many or as few as you want. The survey itself leaves "Number of PCs" as an open text field rather than a drop down, so I assume Paizo is giving GMs flexibility here.

Cool. Thanks for the knowledge drop. I'm going to see if I can drop the question on the twitch stream tonight to see if I get a definitive answer or at least something that falls in line with your thoughts.


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I'm not sure this Thread is going anywhere anymore. People are on both sides of the issue fairly equally.

My somewhat final thoughts (subject to no longer being final): There was a problem with PF1 that people would add ranks to skills and if they didn't go max ranks in a particular skill (like Perception or Stealth), they wouldn't be able to compete against the high CR creatures they went up against. This was the same for BAB and Saves, but not really controllable by player choice other than Class. Factor in magic items that gave flat bonuses to AC, Attack, Saves, et al and it became even crazier.

So the Devs decided that this needed to be addressed. They couldn't have high level play be so erratic that the class with a weak save would die from any monster. The numbers were just all over the place because player choice had too many pitfalls that could make the game too challenging at high level.

When looking at PF2, they decided to make bonuses swing up to a maximum range of -2 to +10 from proficiencies and items. This allowed for a much more predictable game from level 1 to 20. This meant that they could design monsters at any level that could account for the range of proficiencies and be challenging but not overpowering for all types of characters.

Trouble is IMO, they also decided that Level Bonus should applied to all d20 rolls as part of proficiency. I believe the intention was to make players always "feel" like their character was getting better every level. If you look at comparing to PF1: it meant that a character got a rank in every skill every level, got a full BAB every level, got +1 bonus to AC, +1 to every Save, and +1 to every spell Save DC.

In order to be able to apply this successfully, they needed to make sure that the Monsters and Challenges would fit the same mold. So if a lvl 7 character needed to pick a lock or hit a hill giant, the lock and hill giant challenges (aka target DCs) would need to be in a range that could be reached by the character.

But the Level Bonus is completely unnecessary and only contributes to a style of play that essentially makes lower level challenges worthless, no matter how much is thrown at the character. This even applies to challenges that are considered static, like climbing ropes or swimming or identifying a noble. Now the higher level character treats those challenges as pebbles on a gravel road, no longer necessary to pay attention to.

Without Level Bonus is a different style of play that ensures that all challenges must still be overcome no matter what level a character is. According to my playtest results of Ogres vs PCs and Hill Giants vs PCs (earlier in the thread), the play and results doesn't change all that much when pitting high level PCs vs Ogres or low level PCs vs Hill Giants. The only thing that really changes is that low level monsters and PCs hit more often without Level Bonus than with and more resources have to be spent to succeed at the encounter. The results are typically similar with or without Level Bonus: PCs win or Monsters win.

So whether you want one play style or another, the results don't change because of normal factors from leveling (more hp, more damage, more magic items, more proficiency, more spells, better spells, better magic items). To say that it fits a narrative to keep Level Bonus is not aligning my opinion, I think it cuts off more narratives than it preserves.

So I implore the Devs, don't cut off my narratives because you want challenges to only be relevant + or - 3 levels. From my playtest, the challenges outside that range are still relevant against the PCs but it doesn't slow them down (or outright kill them if it's a higher challenge).


Unicore wrote:
SqueezeBox wrote:


With the 2d10, proficiencies play an even larger role than they do with the d20. In addition, it helps mitigate Crit Success/Failure (in PF2 it is way too often, IMO). Tactically, it would benefit the game as well, because now those little bonuses that you help are even more important in order to hit or prevent being hit.

Getting Piazo to walk away from the D20 is a very tall order. It would be an even bigger deal than getting them to walk away from classes or attributes, as far as the legacy of the game. It might work fine as a house rule or later variant rule, but rolling 2d10 instead of a D20 is an incredibly unlikely step for the company to take. For better or worse,, it is probably necessary to focus on solutions that don't completely underwrite the single most sacred element of the game: Player declares their intended action, the GM determines the difficulty, and then the player rolls a D20 to determine the outcome.

Even though I think having so much riding on a single D20 roll is often a mistake, I am pretty sure nothing would push people away from the game faster than taking away their favorite polyhedron.

I'm in complete agreement that Paizo would never go away from it. It will be something I house rule with the current rules as written.


It's not that I can adjust the game, I'm wondering if the Devs WANT me to adjust the game. I have just not seen any information as to how they want me to test with more or less than recommended party number. With my kids or with 20 year experienced gamers, I think that I just want an answer in general.


Mathmuse wrote:
SqueezeBox wrote:


Change 1: Eradicate Level Bonus from all parts of PF2 except for Resonance (in its current incarnation).
Change 2: Change the Proficiency Modifier to as follows:
  • Untrained: -2
  • Trained: +0
  • Expert: +1
  • Master: +3
  • Legendary: +6

Change 3: Change the d20 roll to a 2d10 roll

Change 1: I have some thoughts on Resonance that would remove the level bonus to it, too.

Change 2: I love the triangular numbers, 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, ... :-) The gaps between them add the possibility of unique proficiency bonuses for signature skills:

  • Untrained: -2 (Signature -1)
  • Trained: +0 (Signature +1)
  • Expert: +1 (Signature +2)
  • Master: +3 (Signature +4)
  • Legendary: +6 (Signature +8)

Change 3: Sorry, but altered variance in 2d10 is a big difference in the odds. Suppose you need to roll 15 to hit a boss. On 1d20, that is 30% chance. On 2d10 that is 21%.

With the 2d10, proficiencies play an even larger role than they do with the d20. In addition, it helps mitigate Crit Success/Failure (in PF2 it is way too often, IMO). Tactically, it would benefit the game as well, because now those little bonuses that you help are even more important in order to hit or prevent being hit.

I also have the idea to give everyone a skill point every level, but give only the rogue a skill feat every level. That way, each character can build out those proficiencies in a more useful way. It would be cool to get Int involved there too so it's no longer a dump stat.


I think I know the best solution for this. It will never be taken up, but I think I'd house rule PF2 this way.

Change 1: Eradicate Level Bonus from all parts of PF2 except for Resonance (in its current incarnation).
Change 2: Change the Proficiency Modifier to as follows:

  • Untrained: -2
  • Trained: +0
  • Expert: +1
  • Master: +3
  • Legendary: +6

Change 3: Change the d20 roll to a 2d10 roll

This will allow for many different enemies being relevant at many levels, make proficiency more important than ability modifiers, and provide a much better distribution in dice result in order for the bonuses to be much more impactful than they are on a d20.

Just my thoughts.


I think that you are right in some regards, Int really should assist the character outside of class abilities and starting skills. Your solution might be all right, but I'm not sure how much of an incentive that is to have a higher Int.

I do think that the Rogue doesn't need to be the only class to get a skill increase every level. It should be open to all classes. Then it really feels like your character is getting better every level (outside of level bonus, which I have other issues with in another thread). Let the Rogue keep the Skill Feats every level, but give a skill increase every level.


Is there a required number of PCs to playtest with? If not, if we are playing with fewer or more than 4 PCs, should we adjust the adventure to make it easier or harder for the number of PCs outside of the 4 PC threshold. This came into question when I was trying to run the 2nd adventure for my 2 kids.

Is this something the Devs want to see? How 2 PCs do against an entire adventure? Or do they want to see how the scenario adjusts? How can this be reflected in the surveys released after each adventure?


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Hey everyone! It's your friendly neighborhood Ogre/Giant scenario tester!

I ran the same Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, and Wizard against 4 Hill Giants in a similar scenario I did earlier Post 368.

Here are the results:

Lvl 3 with Level Bonus vs 4 Hill Giants (No Wild Swing):

How long did the combat last: 4 rounds
Who won the combat: The Hill Giants
How many times did the PCs drop: 8
How often did the Party hit the Giants: 28.57%
How often did the Party crit the Giants: 0%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 0%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 7.00
How often did the Giants hit the Party: 77.27%
How often did the Giants crit the Party: 13.64%
How many of the Giants hits were crits: 17.65%
How much damage did the Giants do per hit: 21.59

Lvl 3 with NO Level Bonus vs 4 Hill Giants (No Wild Swing):

How long did the combat last: 2 rounds
Who won the combat: The Hill Giants
How many times did the PCs drop: 4
How often did the Party hit the Giants: 40%
How often did the Party crit the Giants: 20%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 50%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 15.50
How often did the Giants hit the Party: 81.82%
How often did the Giants crit the Party: 18.18%
How many of the Giants hits were crits: 22.22%
How much damage did the Giants do per hit: 24.78

Lvl 7 with or without Level Bonus vs 4 Hill Giants:

How long did the combat last: 11 rounds
Who won the combat: The PCs
How many times did the PCs drop: 4
How often did the Party hit the Giants: 66.67%
How often did the Party crit the Giants: 6.06%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 9.09%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 16.41
How often did the Giants hit the Party: 43.48%
How often did the Giants crit the Party: 6.52%
How many of the Giants hits were crits: 15%
How much damage did the Giants do per hit: 26.65

As you can see, the 3rd level PCs all died very quickly. But the non-LB PCs actually died quicker. In addition, the non-LB hit and crit more often and did more damage overall. So, technically, the non-LB PCs actually performed better against the Giants, but ended up getting hit and crit more often due to a little more luck on the Giants end to reduce the combat to 2 rounds.

The 7th level PCs hit a lot more often than the 3rd level and did more damage. In turn, the Giants hit half as much against the 3rd level PCs, but because of the nature of 7th level PCs, the combat was quite challenging on both ends. It was considered a severe encounter for 7th levels.

Then to make it more even for the 3rd level characters, I did it vs 1 Hill Giant:

Lvl 3 with Level Bonus vs 1 Hill Giant:

How long did the combat last: 8 rounds
Who won the combat: The Hill Giant
How many times did the PCs drop: 6
How often did the Party hit the Giants: 40%
How often did the Party crit the Giants: 15%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 37.5%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 12.13
How often did the Giants hit the Party: 50%
How often did the Giants crit the Party: 0%
How many of the Giants hits were crits: 0%
How much damage did the Giants do per hit: 36.88

Lvl 3 with NO Level Bonus vs 1 Hill Giant:

How long did the combat last: 6 rounds
Who won the combat: The PCs
How many times did the PCs drop: 4
How often did the Party hit the Giants: 55%
How often did the Party crit the Giants: 0%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 0%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 10.36
How often did the Giants hit the Party: 70%
How often did the Giants crit the Party: 0%
How many of the Giants hits were crits: 0%
How much damage did the Giants do per hit: 32.86

Lvl 7 with or without Level Bonus vs 1 Hill Giants:

How long did the combat last: 2 rounds
Who won the combat: The PCs
How many times did the PCs drop: 0
How often did the Party hit the Giants: 88.89%
How often did the Party crit the Giants: 33.33%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 37.5%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 17.25
How often did the Giants hit the Party: 25%
How often did the Giants crit the Party: 0%
How many of the Giants hits were crits: 0%
How much damage did the Giants do per hit: 46.00

This was a challenge for the 3rd level PCs. The LB PCs ended up losing and the non-LB PCs ended up winning. The numbers are a bit swingy for the Level 3 PCs, but you can see they and the Giants performed fairly similarly, just that the PCs lost on LB and won on non-LB. But the 7th level PCs absolutely crushed the Giant. It was no contest since they got to use their 4th level spells.

CONCLUSION: With the Giants and the Ogres fighting a groups of level bound and non-level bound PCs at 3rd and 7th level, I found that the non-LB PCs performed better against higher level creatures or the Monsters performed better against higher level non-LB PCs. Which was really what I expected. But I also noticed that the outcome of the combats didn't change all that much. You'd expect a 7th level monster would be a bad challenge for 3rd level PCs, and 4 3rd level monsters would be no challenge for 4 7th level PCs. And the results reflected that.


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Unicore wrote:

With the number of TPKs, are we sure that a group of lesser enemies are not overwhelming to higher level creatures when armed with bows? Afterall, if 100 people make 3 attacks, then that is , on average 15 nat 20s. With deadly weapons that might be more of a threat then we are anticipating.

It seems like there might be a massive cut off in threat level right at the point where a natural 20 is no longer a critical hit.

The opposite consideration doesn't really ever become important because not critically missing isn't even close to as valuable a distinction as not critically hitting.

It seems like the + level bonus's biggest role is changing the point at which monsters can or cannot hit critically.

According to my numbers against the Ogres vs lvl 7 LB (earlier in the thread), the ogres would miss so often that when they hit, it was most likely a critical hit. While the majority of their 40% hits against non-LB PCs ended up being regular hits and not crits.


Unicore wrote:

SqueezeBox, it is awesome that you are doing these tests and sharing your results with the forum. I have a couple of questions that I ask, not to trivialize your results, but delve further into your research:

Did the 2 level 7 parties have magical items/equipment? Equipment seems like a massive part of character growth in PF2, so the combat effectiveness of both +level and without it would probably change significantly if they were not equipped with level 7 equipment. WOuld the effects of that change be the same? Possibly, but I could also see items that give a +1 to various things making the party without the +level bonus more effective.

Thanks Unicore. I'll give some full disclosure.

I wanted to use Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, and Wizard because it is "classic" adventuring party and the classes are what Paizo measures other classes against. For each of these characters, I gave them starting equipment for their particular level according to Table 11-2 in the Treasure chapter on page 348. Each of the PCs were leveled up as if a player came into the game with a character that matched the level of the existing group.

I played this with my kids (16 & 12). I controlled the Ogres and the Fighter and Wizard while they played the Cleric & the Rogue respectively. My 12 year old GMs Giantslayer for his friends and my 16 year old is trying to break the Playtest with all sorts of different combinations, so they have experience with playing and tend to think outside the box.

UPDATE: I started the combat with the Ogres being 65 feet away from the party, and each Ogre at least 20 feet apart from each other so an area of effect spell could only affect 2 of the Ogres at a time in the first round. The PCs were separated ~ 20 feet apart, Fighter-Rogue up front, Cleric-Wizard in back. The Rogue rolled Stealth for initiative, the Fighter was Defending, and every but the Rogue rolled Perception for initiative.

Unicore wrote:
Are you going to try to repeat this experiment with any monsters that have higher AC? The Ogre is deliberately a monster designed to be a challenge for lower level parties and a minion for higher level parties because its HP is artificially high for its level and its AC is artificially low. This makes it easier for both parties to hit it, and favors parties that prioritize damage over accuracy. I wonder if the results would change significantly against an enemy geared around being difficult to hit, like a dragon?

Funny you should mention that. I have tried a few other aspects, but haven't gotten to the point of being able to publish it as of yet. For instance, I did the same 3rd level PCs against 4 Level 7 Hill Giants (complete slaughter) and the 3rd level PCs with LB against 1 Hill Giant (came close to winning). But I haven't done the 7th level PCs against the Hill Giants as of yet. That's why I can't publish. Perhaps this weekend I can get those last scenarios in.

I can post up the PCs and my excel spreadsheet if need be, but I'll only do it if someone is truly interested in looking at how I did my numbers.


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I've run a few scenarios with and without level bonus. I wanted to post some results here.

I took a party of Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, Wizard leveled to 3rd and 7th with and without level bonus (so 4 different iterations) vs a group of 4 Ogres (level 3 creatures).

Lvl 3 with or without Level Bonus (LB):

How long did the combat last: 9 rounds
Who won the combat: The PCs
How many times did the PCs drop: 3
How often did the Party hit the Ogres: 52.5%
How often did the Party crit the Ogres: 17.5%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 33.33%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 12.86
How often did the Ogres hit the Party: 40.48%
How often did the Ogres crit the Party: 7.14%
How many of the Ogre's hits were crits: 17.65%
How much damage did the Ogres do per hit: 16.06

Lvl 7 with LB (Wizard and Cleric only cast cantrips):

How long did the combat last: 4 rounds
Who won the combat: The PCs
How many times did the PCs drop: 0
How often did the Party hit the Ogres: 85.7%
How often did the Party crit the Ogres: 61.9%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 72.22%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 17.61
How often did the Ogres hit the Party: 30%
How often did the Ogres crit the Party: 30%
How many of the Ogre's hits were crits: 100%
How much damage did the Ogres do per hit: 16.33

Lvl 7 with LB (2nd try, Wizard and Cleric cast spells too):

How long did the combat last: 4 rounds
Who won the combat: The PCs
How many times did the PCs drop: 0
How often did the Party hit the Ogres: 84.21%
How often did the Party crit the Ogres: 52.63%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 62.5%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 18.56
How often did the Ogres hit the Party: 11.11%
How often did the Ogres crit the Party: 0%
How many of the Ogre's hits were crits: 0%
How much damage did the Ogres do per hit: 17

Lvl 7 without LB:

How long did the combat last: 5 rounds
Who won the combat: The PCs
How many times did the PCs drop: 0
How often did the Party hit the Ogres: 70.59%
How often did the Party crit the Ogres: 29.41%
How many of the Party's hits were crits: 41.67%
How much damage did the Party do per hit: 17.17
How often did the Ogres hit the Party: 42.11%
How often did the Ogres crit the Party: 0%
How many of the Ogre's hits were crits: 0%
How much damage did the Ogres do per hit: 9.63

As you can see, the lvl 3 is our baseline because the ogres are level 3 and the PCs are level 3. Roughly an equal proposition based on level bonus. The PCs had a very difficult time with the encounter with a few of the PCs dropping only to be healed by the cleric to get up again.

Moving to Level 7, the PCs expectedly won handedly whether they were with Level Bonus or without.

I do notice a few things. With all cases of 7th level, the PCs hit 70% of the time or more. However, the LB PCs Crit on Hits an average 62% of the time opposed to almost 30% for non-LB. Additionally, the Ogres hit the non-LB Party 42% of the time, which is far more than the LB Party which averaged about 20% between the 2 scenarios. And the Ogres almost never critted, or if they did, it was because they could only crit on an LB character with a 20.

One final thing, I did the first Lvl 7 LB encounter with the Cleric and Wizard only casting Cantrips and no healing spells. Essentially, they destroyed the other side without spending any resources in 4 rounds. You'll also notice that the Ogres were significantly worse against the second group of LB PCs when they actually cast spells.

What this tells me, is that no matter if you have have Level Bonus or not, the 7th level PCs are going to clobber the 3rd level Ogres. The Ogres just had a little bit of a better shot at wasting some of the resources of the non-LB PCs than the LB PCs because they hit more often.


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I am observing a few things here...

There are those people that think "Gonzo" fantasy is the way to go, where no matter who you are, level 20 just means you can do things with no threat to your personage because you are level 20. AKA Superheroes.

The 2nd type of people, want what were once threats to still be threats applied with enough force. A level 20 character can still get attacked and killed by an overwhelming force of lower level creatures. AKA Verisimilitude.

I don't know if people really want either side or they are just disenfranchised or empowered by PF1. Perhaps that's one thing we should all be looking at ourselves first.

I will give one more example of narrative vs level bonus. In LotR, the Fellowship gets ambushed by the Uruq'hai Orcs on the way to Mordor. Seemingly amazing, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli cut down orc after orc destroying them. Boromir does a great job too until he meets the orc leader who kills him with 3 arrows to the chest. Aragorn sees this and decapitates the orc leader after a challenging fight. Meanwhile, Merri and Pippen get captured by the orc minions and are taken towards Saruman.

Looking at this scenario, we have multiple high level characters who can slaughter orcs with no problem (Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir) and 2 hobbits who are capable warriors but are no match for these orcs. Then one orc leader who is above everyone else, except for perhaps Aragorn.

In PF2, having lower level characters fight with vastly higher level characters is a death knell. They would die first or never get in the battle, which sounds like a horrible position for a PC to be in. Instead of making something challenging for everyone, the orcs are easy for the higher levels, impossible for the lower levels, and the orc leader is challenging for the higher levels and death for the lower levels.

You may say that it would never happen that way in PF2 because it's not good encounter building. But I say, it's the narrative that matters more. Removing the level bonus allows this narrative to exist while keeping it, prevents it from ever happening.


I think everyone has a right to say they have problems with a game even if they don't playtest. You can still be smart, gauge the content on it's concepts, and come up with educated theories and hypothesis. However, the OP really didn't do this, and only complained about things without providing any sort of interesting insight. Come to the table with more or else you do no one any good. You are just a seagull, swooping in, crapping all over everything, and then leaving.


I think that the Skill bonuses you get for UTEML make some sense, personally, I'd rather see it being -2, 0, 1, 3, 6. But the reason why they did it, is that a +1 is effectively 10% closer to a crit success than a 0. Likewise, a -1 is 10% closer to a crit fail. So the bonuses are significant when measuring your success.

However, the problem I see has to do with combinations of factors. Ability bonuses are immensely more important than skill proficiency. You get an 18 and a 16 at 1st level now (typically), which are both equal to or greater than Legendary proficiency now. And that seems wrong to me. At 5th level, you get even more boosts which affect many skills. So now, even though you can't increase any skills to Master until 7th, or Legendary until 13th, you get ability boosts to the skills before you can increase your skill proficiency.

Personally, I think that the skill proficiency is more important than the ability modifier (training over talent) and the system should reflect that. But because he +1 is vastly important to measuring your success, that can't be fixed without drastically changing the ability system which affects almost every part of the system and not just skills.

Maybe you get half your bonus to skills and increase skill proficiency?


Yup, a Hill Giant does 3d10+5, 21 damage on average at 7th level. It pretty much makes shields worthless since you have to spend an action to just raise one and a reaction to block. Those shields need a lot more hardness to make a difference against higher level creatures.


ug... changing die types for different skill levels is not a good idea. The 2d10 idea is very good, but it won't be adopted by almost anyone. That's just an extra number to add, so now you have 3 to add instead of just 2. Not many people will want to do that. Really, there should be a d100 that goes up to 20 and acts like 2d10 so you don't need to add 3 numbers together. Of course, a d100 doesn't roll very well.

Or they can put back Take 10.


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I playtested a 7th level party vs a 3rd level group of Ogres and one of my players utilized intimidate (with a critical success) to force one Ogre to run away until the end of it's next turn. On the next turn, it came back and the character did it again, but with no penalty.

2 Opinions:

1) I'm not sure that a critical success on Intimidate should bestow Frightened 2 AND forced to run away. Seems like double penalty and a skill check can make battlefield control. The Fear spell is 1st level and it only forces an enemy to run away on a critical failure as well, but it is magic, while the other is a skill check that anyone can do. It reduces the specialness of Fear.

2) There are no penalties to intimidating an enemy multiple times. I would think that an enemy would steel himself against the object of his fear and the PC would get a penalty to his roll for every subsequent check. Also, since it's an action, a PC can do the same action over and over until he gets a success on the check.


I'm just saying that comparing 5e in regards to level/proficiency bonus to PF2 doesn't make a ton of sense because it is effectively the only way (outside of class) that a character can improve, and everyone improves that way. PF2 actually let's you improve with something outside of class at every level advancement and has nothing to do with level bonus.

tivadar27, we are not really on opposite sides of this thing. Take level bonus out and what do you have? A game where lower level creatures are more challenging and higher level creatures are less challenging. Though the difference in that challenge rating isn't much because of all the OTHER benefits a character gets due to leveling or a monster has being a higher level than the character.


Quote:
Your second argument holds no water. High level play in 5e is different from low level play in 5e without this bonus. They have stories that span levels of power growth. Arguing you need +level for that is simply incorrect.

Technically, 5e does have a level bonus: approximately (level / 5) +2 in the form of proficiency bonus, it affects attacks, saves, skills, and spell DCs that you are proficient in. In 5e, it makes the game scale, but still allows lower level creatures to hurt you because it does not affect AC.

However, I don't think that 5e is as good as PF1 or PF2 because of some other issues. But I do think that 5e's level bonus is necessary because YOU CANNOT IMPROVE OR CUSTOMIZE YOUR CHARACTER outside of class advancement albeit in rare cases (ability bonus/feats). PF1 & PF2, you can improve your character every level outside of your class advancement with skill feats, general feats, ancestry feats, and ability boosts. Which is superior in my opinion.


Vic Ferrari wrote:

Monsters seem to have really good proficiency with and item quality in their natural weapons.

Let's take the Nightmare, its Str (+4) and Level (+6) account for +10, but its attack bonus is +15.

Since monsters are made differently, they don't need to justify the math for extra attack and whatnot.


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Unicore wrote:
+level to proficiency allows for concepts to scale up by level in a way that doesn't quickly become unplayable in a collective environment. The "real" Str 8 wizard probably never really becomes an adventurer in the first place. Making it so that STR 8 wizards gets critically hit by every tentacle monster that grabs for 20 levels of gaming (even ones vastly inferior in power) is boring. If the game is going to play that way, it has to give players so many skill points that they could be investing one in each essential skill any way and at that point you have a lot of needless book keeping.

Even without level bonus, that tentacle monster doesn't improve over 20 levels while the Wizard gains hp, attribute boosts, better gear, more powerful spells. Even though the Wizard still can get hit by the tentacle, s/he gets so many more ways of mitigating the damage and overcoming the challenge. The Level Bonus is only there to say, this challenge is guaranteed to not be an issue anymore. You are stacking natural performance gains with an arbitrary and artificial number.


Yes, we need some hard and fast playtest numbers on this discussion. That's why I showed the Ogre vs Hill Giant. I'll post something again on Monday after I've had a chance to run some data.


What I like:

Actions - It's not the 3 actions I like, it's the death of the Full Round Action. And give everyone the opportunity to attack multiple times! Those are good solutions.

Multiple Proficiency Levels - No more Class Trained bonus, you can be proficient at any skill you want. And you can have different capabilities based on level of proficiency. I do wish there were more verisimilitude with the differences per proficiency level, but I like it still.

Cantrips - Cantrips scale with level. Makes cantrips useful beyond utility. Also Detect Magic must be cast at a higher level to bypass illusions. No more cheating the system.

What I don't like:

Level Bonus - Breaks verisimilitude by allowing weaker creatures become nothing but speed bumps. No resources need to be spent to overcome them, you are not threatened by a mass of them, it's very boring. It also makes it so that all characters can do everything and prevents specialization in skills.

Class Feats - Class feats being unattainable by other classes reduces what was once a highly customizable character by feats, to being reduced to only a specific number of feats that you and no one else can take. Widen spell should be accessible by all spell casters (Clerics cannot get it). Two-Weapon Fighting (or Double Slice) should be something that can be accessed by everyone. Really, classes are only specialists now and cannot allow for a particular playstyle without multiclassing (See the Gish/Magus). Open up class feats to every class, even if it's only access to a lower level feat instead of an equal level feat. The great part about PF1, was that you could take any feat you wanted if you qualified for it. Now, you have to go through a particular class to get it.

Spontaneous Heightening - Please fix this. It makes Sorcerers pretty useless to force them to learn spells again to heighten them. They get such a limited number of spells, that it's almost impossible to decide what to cast. And they don't cast more often as they did in PF1. They are already hampered.


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Unicore wrote:


For example, a whole lot of people keep making the same suggestion that + level bonus be removed and that difference between proficiencies be expanded. Both of those ideas together, with no other changes to the PF2 system, would be a train wreck.

What I think a lot of people are really asking for is to super impose PF1 skills back over the general framework of PF2 as far as action economy, more balanced spells and the 4 degrees of success.

Such a game may be...

I know for myself, that I am playtesting with rules as written. However, that doesn't prevent me from seeing problem areas that break verisimilitude (which is my primary concern). Why can't I express my issues with Proficiency (which is Level plus TEML) and hope that the devs view my concerns as being serious?

And yes, historical examples are important (like 4E) because establishes precedence to rules that did not work before and dragged down a system that could have been so much better with proper changes. I want to see PF2 to be awesome, and there are many awesome things that I plan to add to PF1 for our existing PF1 campaigns.

But to criticize me as not taking the playtest seriously because I have some gripes about the Proficiency system, something that won't be changed during the playtest (according to you)? That seems completely out of hand and against the spirit of the playtest.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
Part of the design philosophy we heard for thi edition was to minimize the christmas tree effect and reduce gear assumptions. They reduced the amount of "assumed" items, but the few that remain have become more mandatory than ever.

I'm glad you said this. I was wondering how I could put this exact thing into words, and you said it perfectly. We still have a Christmas Tree effect (which I don't believe can really go away). It's just a smaller amount that can be added. Pretty much item bonuses and ability bonuses and proficiency bonuses. So for every 5 levels, the monsters get harder, and at 7th level (when master proficiency is unlocked for certain classes) they get harder, and when you get 4th level items (a magical sword or armor) they get harder.

It makes sense that they get harder, I don't think they shouldn't. The math is tighter in this regard where we don't have massive swings in who is effective and who isn't.


If you look at Creature Adjustments on page 22 of the Bestiary, they scale the monsters just as if it had a level bonus, and increase the damage it does and the hp it gets. Seems like the monsters follow level bonus pretty accurately there.

Elite Adjustments
Sometimes you’ll want a creature that’s just a bit more
powerful than normal, so you can present a challenge
that would normally be trivial or show that one enemy is
stronger than its kin. To do this quickly and easily, apply an
elite adjustment to its statistics by adjusting them as follows.
• Increase the creature’s AC, attack bonuses, DCs, saving
throws, Perception, and skill modifiers by 2.
• Increase the damage of its Strikes and other offensive
abilities by 2. If the creature can use an ability (such
as a dragon’s breath weapon) only a limited number of
times, increase the damage by 4 instead.
• Increase the creature’s Hit Points based on the its
starting level.


Moro wrote:
I thought monsters were now not being built with the same framework as PCs at all? If so, simply adjusting them + or - level will not really get you an accurate picture for comparison.

I doubt they omitted a level bonus from the monster when building it. My guess is that they wanted a way to increase or decrease the difficulty easily and by raising or lowering the level bonus for a monster can make it easier or harder to deal with across the board. Kinda like templating a monster.

Even so, comparably, the ogre and the hill giant should probably be equal challenges for a 3rd level party and a 7th level party respectably. I don't think that there would be much of a difference between the two encounters. However, the Giant is a lot tougher than the ogre even if you factor out the PCs level bonus for both encounters. So, in my mind, the monster's difficulty are accounting for the PCs gear, class abilities (like spells), and the ability boosts that they receive at that point.

In other words, the challenge needs to be harder for upgraded PCs and has nothing to do with level bonus.


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I just compared the Ogre (lvl 3) and the Hill Giant (lvl 7) to each other without the level bonus added. I figure that the two are roughly similar experiences for like level PCs. They both are large, swing big weapons, and are kinda dumb.

However, it seems to me that they aren't at all. The Hill Giant is more challenging across the board. PF2 is certainly taking into account gear, ability boosts, and class abilities to give the Giant more power overall. I suppose that's good because challenges are certainly scaling outside of just level bonus, but it does go to show, that monsters are even more deadly if you try to fight one 3-4 levels higher than you (in this example). A PC would die faster if you scaled with level bonus than without because it adds even more bonus (3 or 4 points) to all stats.

ogre vs hill giant stats without level bonus:

Ogre
Perception +2
Skills -2; Acrobatics +1, Athletics +6
AC 13, TAC 11; Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +2
HP 60
Melee ogre hook +7 (1d10+7)
Ranged javelin +5 (1d6+7)

Hill Giant
Perception +7
Skills: +0; Athletics +8, Intimidation +6
AC 15, TAC 12; Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +1
HP 135
Melee greatclub +10 (3d10+5)
Melee fist +10 (3d8+5, agile)
Ranged rock +8 (2d10+7)


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There are a lot of things from PF1 that I thought needed to be gotten away from, the biggest problem was probably certain classes outdistancing other classes significantly that a Fort save for one is easy and the other is death. So with PF2, I wanted to see a lot of things change to make a better game. And primarily, they did that.

Aside from the level bonus, proficiency impact, and a few minor gripes, I love the new edition. The great thing about the level bonus, it's extremely easy to remove by house rules. However, I see it as a greater problem because I feel many people are being led down the wrong path on this one, that's why myself and many others are worried about it. Verisimilitude seems to have gone out the window on this one.

My argument about this issue was never, "Let's go back to PF1." I want a PF2, and one that is vastly different than PF1. I just want it to be great. Getting rid of Level Bonus IMO will be part of that step to greatness.

I'm going to playtest a 3rd level party (F, R, C, W) vs 4 Ogres with and without the level bonus, and then I'm going to test a 7th level party (the 3rd advanced to 7th) vs 4 Ogres with and without the level bonus. I think this will give me some decent insight as to style of play in both cases.


Elbedor wrote:

I have read through the rules but not played this yet. My group is busy with other campaigns at the moment but is looking into this for our October game nights.

That said, I have to say I'm unhappy with the way they seem to be blurring everything so that everyone is good at everything. I think that really takes away from characters who look to excel in certain areas.

Why is a Legend in an ability only +5 better than the guy who isn't even proficient in that ability?

Paizo could have blunted this some by changing the Untrained bonus to 1/2 level instead of only -2 and making the Expert/Master/Legendary bonuses stack with each other in order to get a +1/+3/+6 progression. But that's IMHO.

My group will dedicate to playtesting this by the book. But if we go forward with this system afterwards, it's going to get heavily house ruled; proficiency progression being one area.

I have to agree with you completely. Everyone is good at everything is problematic to me as well. And that has nothing to do with the level bonus (except for static DCs). Untrained should really be... untrained. Just unable to make rolls or be vastly worse than someone trained. Someone made a post in a different thread (I can't remember where) that said, bring back "take 10" but make it only available for people that are at least trained in a skill. Then, increase the proficiencies to be greater than +1 each rank, maybe even +1/+3/+6 as you propose to indicate that a character is very good at what he does or not very good at what he does if he is only trained.

For instance, using diplomacy to convince the king to mobilize his army against the Duke who is accused of slavery. A Legendary character should be able to have a fantastic chance to convince the King, while the Trained character should have an outside chance, and the Untrained character should have NO chance, not without help.


Yes, Assurance is terrible, but it's meant to go against only static DCs not contested DCs. I put my opinion on that thread too (Assurance as a feat is terrible).

Has anyone tried to pit a level 3 party vs 4 ogres and then switch to a level 7 party vs 4 ogres and track the results? I'd also be interested in doing the same thing, but without the level bonus.

I'll see if I can attempt this at one point this week and see what results I get.


I look forward to playing the adventure against very deadly monsters to see how resources are used and if they are outright too hard or can be overcome easily.


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One thing to remember, if you are worried that a oth level goblin can punk a 10th level rogue (or whatever class) if you remove the +1/level factor, that rogue has 10 levels of hp, tons of different ways to eviscerate the goblin, 2 rounds of attribute boots (5th and 10th level), can't be caught flat-footed, 2 extra ancestry feats, and can sneak attack with 2d6 damage. Plus the rogue has at least expert gear, let alone magical gear to help with attacks and defense. That goblin, even if he gets lucky, will never ever punk the rogue. Even his 10 buddies are going to get slaughtered with him.

Power isn't due to just level, it's all the abilities a character gets that makes them so dangerous (spells, feats, class abilities).


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Because PF2 decided to move all available feats to class feats, it's actually limited character concepts. For instance, no longer can you take Power Attack (which is actually Vital Strike in PF1) unless you are a fighter. I think that they've really made less choices for creating a character concept even though they've made more in-class choices available. Really, they've made the game much more class focused than ever before.

I have a suggestion that could help open up options to all classes that goes away from multiclassing. As a General Feat, let someone take a class feat from any other class at a lower level than your current level. Perhaps 2-4 levels lower. This allows someone who wants to play a blood rager or a warpriest with some arcane abilities without needing to multiclass. Really, you can pick and choose what you really want to be able to do as a character without needing to be restricted to a particular class. Leave multiclassing to get some of the core class abilities that don't come as feats (like sneak attack or channeling energy).


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Ewww... If you have to make a recovery save to wake up even though you have been healed, that is a big crimp in the rules. It's not fun for the player and it requires more bookkeeping than necessary.


I at least plan to take some aspects of PF2 to my PF1 game to my group who does not plan to move to PF2. Getting rid of full round actions, using 3 actions and reaction, and actions for spells are on the tops of my list to add.


Interesting idea that people could be turned off just because the word "feat" is overused. Perhaps a survey could be in order to find out if people like it or not.


I believe it states to use the class's key ability score.


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Again, this runs into problems with contested rolls (or rolls against another NPC/PCs DC). Assurance doesn't scale with level, so you can't use it on your opponent reliably at 1st level let alone even succeed at 5th level. Perhaps this was only meant to be used on static skill checks, but it doesn't feel like that at all. I want to be able to get a result of 10 and it to mean that I'm going to succeed at a particular task.

I like take 10 much better than Assurance. I love Fuzzy's idea that you can only take 10 on a trained or better skill. which is incentive to become trained in Athletics so you can take 10 in climbing a wall.

Get rid of level bonus and Assurance, return "take 10", and skill checks will be better off.


My son has created a sorcerer who uses a bastard sword and breastplate. He has +2 higher AC than an unarmored version of a sorcerer with only an armor check penalty to dex and strength based skills. By the time he reaches later levels, he'll have better quality armor like expert Full Plate and have +5 to AC and -4 check penalty. This seems like an issue. Mage Armor is effectively a worthless spell since he doesn't have to spend a spell slot on it (nor have to cast it). The ONLY draw back is an armor check penalty which armor quality can negate eventually. And if he takes the Fighter Dedication at 2nd level, he immediately gets proficiency in the armor and weapon to give him +2 to hit and +2 to AC.

This seems like a big problem.


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Yeah, I think that if you are sneaking, your first attack should count as flat footed, but you are seen after that. Really, when you think about actual applications, you wait for your opportunity when the dude is distracted, sneak out of cover, and stab him in the kidneys. At that point, he looks at you and says "Ow! Dude!" The Sneak rules currently denying this situation seems pretty dumb.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

Why does it make more sense that a 15th level wizard can take 15 times as much damage as a 1st level wizard? Leveling up makes you tougher across board. It makes you withstand poison better (fortitude) and better at dodging and reaction to things (reflex.) It also makes you better at hitting things (BAB). This was all true for every class in PF1, albeit at different rates.

So why is it hard to believe the character whose body can now hold 15 times the spells and 15 times the hit points is also stronger?

Also, you don't seem to understand how the ability boost system works. It isn't "universal Stat bonuses every 4 levels."

It is a "+2 to 4 stats every 5 levels." Which means in your example the wizard chose to invest resources into strength instead of Dex or Con or whatever. So why shouldn't they be able to do strong guy stuff?

I am not trying to compare this to PF1. In fact, I think PF1 is flawed by scaling your saves and skills too. I think that characters should get better and customizable in how they get better as they level up, but not to a drastic extent. But to give flat bonuses that are pretty much arbitrary in comparisons with like levels but vastly out distance those with lower levels makes challenges either impossible to succeed or impossible to fail if they are not within 2 levels of each other. This door example is one of those issues. Getting through an iron bound door to chase a bad guy through a castle is extremely difficult at 2nd level, but you get to 15th level and now you are the Kool-aid Man just busting through whatever you want.

As for the +2 to 4 stats every 5th level. I may be incorrect about that, but honestly, is it that big a deal that it's 2 less stats? Now in the example I gave about, the wizard only has a +0 to his Strength because he didn't boost it and he needs a 5 to make it, 80% chance to bust through that door when the 1st level character has a 5% chance.

Yes, characters are vastly more powerful than lower level characters in their abilities to take more damage and deal more damage or worse effects. But why does that need to be reinforced with a flat level bonus that outpaces any challenges (or falls behind in greater challenges)? They already are getting vastly more powerful. Fireball alone will destroy swaths of lower level characters because they don't have enough HP to handle it. But now we don't even want to give them a chance in hell to stop this baddy? That dragon that is terrorizing the countryside, well you can't stop him because not only can he destroy the entire province with his breath weapon, but the only heroes that can fight him, have no chance of hitting him nor affecting him with spells because their level bonus is 5 behind the dragon's. Don't worry about mustering the local army with their ballistas either. Their level bonus is 10 behind the dragon's. You are just screwed.


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So, they just talked about static skill rolls in the latest blog. I think this makes the level bonus even worse. For instance, an iron bound door has a break DC of 20. Now my 15th level Wizard with a +3 Strength (assume they get universal stat bonuses every 4 levels) can now burst the door on anything but a 1... Why does that seem plausible? Is the Wizard just now so experienced that he can see the flaws in the door and can hit it in just the right place to get through it?

I see a lot of people talk about how it makes sense that a more powerful character can do things a lower level character can't just because they are higher level. I really feel like verisimilitude is missing with level bonus.

The more and more I look at this, the more I want to pull level bonus out as a house rule.


I just thought about this.... a 10th level anything would also have a higher initiative than anything lower level than it without the dex or wis to back it up. Since it's all skill or perception based.


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Loreguard wrote:
But I have to admit that this seems a completely appropriate style, but admittedly high fantasy. But lets specifically look at it from a math's standpoint. This is also stylistically the most distinct style from the largest recent competing RPG's default play-style. (which averages a 1/4 per level bonus). I'd of course still recommend playing it as intended first, but this could potentially be used to create a distinct home flavor.

I appreciate the thoughtful insight to the questions you posited. I think to NOT playtest the game "as is", would be a huge mistake. But it doesn't hurt to think about possible places that the rules become klugy. I do not know how to respond to a lot of what you said at this point, but I will respond to the level bonus as it applies to my original post.

With the level bonus (and attribute bonuses) increasing as written, combining lower level challenges with higher level characters become impossible. Even a 5 level difference makes challenges meaningless. Why can't we have a goblin or orc plot be a threat to higher level characters? Is it only because they are too powerful for them? Should they not care?

A lot of people have commented about the 200 Goblin scenario. The higher level wizard has lots tools to use against those Goblin archers, but why do we also have to make him invulnerable (35 damage in one round without magic to help the wizard) because of levels? Shouldn't his resources make him invulnerable and thus forcing the wizard to spend some of those resources?

Deadmanwalking wrote:

For clarity, adding only 1/2 level to everything instead of level works great. Heck, you can choose to not add level at all, and that still works fine, too.

Both work perfectly well with the game's math and just rebalance how much of a threat creatures of much lower level are to those of level X, though that's their only major game impact other than the purely aesthetic.

What breaks the game's math on a profound level is having 1/2 level on some levels of training and then full level on others. That's what I was objecting to as a bad idea.

I'm in agreement, if there is a way to make changes across the board that is simple, like reducing the level bonus impact, then it can be a simple change. Starting to modify aspects of the math based on different algorithms for different cases ends up becoming a big challenge for making changes on the fly.

If level bonus can be abstracted or even proficiency bonuses be abstracted, it could be extremely easy to adjust. Of course, there is a caveat that this is an actual problem. A lot of people have said that they think the math will work just fine.

Someone said that it is very similar to a 4E rule for bonded accuracy and when I was testing or playing 4E, it always made me upset. Those rules automatically added 1/2 your level to every aspect of your character. PF2E is adding full level to every aspect of your character. I hated 4E for a lot of reasons, and this was a big part of it. It's no wonder why I've reacted so harshly to PF2E concerning the math.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Brock Landers wrote:
RangerWickett wrote:

TL;DR - I am very skeptical of adding level to all d20 rolls, and of magic weapons doing extra damage dice. I'd rather flatten the DCs and lower the HP gained per level.

I played D&D 4e. I liked 4e well enough. One of the least useful parts of 4e was how everything scaled by level. It was useless math that made 'narrative reality' increasingly hard to parse as the game got higher in level.

Yeah, I removed the +1/2 level treadmill from 4th Ed, works out great, and I also plan to remove + Level from PF2, see how that goes. Though, PF2 is really leveraging big numbers with the 4-tiers of success system. For some reason I went off big modifiers in D&D/PF like d20+31, that sort of thing, just aesthetics.

Its important to note that +level isn't required for a 4 tiers of success system. All that is required is that for a decent portion of rolls you need to roll below a 9 (and thus a 19 or 20 is a Crit Succ) or above an 12 (At which point a 1 or 2 is a Crit Fail.)

E.G If at level 20 your attack bonus is +33 and the enemy AC is 40 you need a 7 to hit and thus a 17+ to Crit. If you remove the level component from that you are at +13 versus an AC of 20 and the odds are the same.

I think the mathematics of 2E are open enough that reducing level bonuses by 1/2 or 1/4 could be done with minimal work. I want the wizard to melt peasants with a 10d6 fireball, but I also want the chance for some of them to save against it ("Get behind the wall of dead bards!"). But I also don't want the wizard to be able to wade through entire armies without worrying about them as a threat. A throng of arrows fired by 100 goblins should be scary even though they are level 1 creatures. I think this can be solved by reducing level bonuses by a ratio can simulate that. The wizard still gets feats and higher level spells, so he is still a nasty threat to everyone, just that he doesn't get the uber level bonus.


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Ellith wrote:
In practice I think it'll kind of work fun with the +level and four degrees together (though Dead Man Walking has noted that removing it from what we know will produce bounded accuracy. You seem to like 5e so it could work well for you), because you can get high level players slaughtering monsters en mass (while kaijus should be nigh unstoppable). A regular fireball from a level 20 wizard has a save of what. 39? 19/20 minions are critically failing that saving throw, taking enough damage to pulp them. At the same time, the wizard in question is experienced enough to dodge the returning volley of sling bullets.

That's the type of gameplay I think should still be applicable. The fireball should destroy a ton of regulars, but I want the regulars to cause that wizard problems too. If a mob charges and grabs the wizard, shouldn't the wizard struggle to overcome them? With adding level to all checks and DCs, that goes right out the window and masses of lower level creatures become useless.

Brock Landers wrote:
Yeah, I like if for several reasons, makes monsters a threat for a wider range of levels, good for immersion, for me, 20 orcs are always a problem to take on solo (like in The Princess Bride, even Inigo cannot take on too many guards at once). Characters don't feel like they go from peasant to un-hittable demigod in a month, the aforementioned aesthetics on paper, etc.

This reminds me of WoW and the Zones. "The undead castle is for 15th level characters, while the Dwarven Mine is for 10th. My 12th level fighter probably shouldn't get to the undead castle until he's grinded the Dwarven Mine to 15th." It's just not appealing and really cuts of storylines.

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