Trying to avoid making trap feats doesn't mean never make specialized feats.
In fact, the most infamous trap options in PF1 aren't generally traps because they're too niche, they're traps because the math doesn't work out for them or the benefits they provide appear much more useful than they actually are.
The problem isn't releasing a desert based Feat so much as it's releasing a desert based Feat when there's already a feat that does deserts and more, or releasing a desert based feat that's so specialized or so low impact that even if you spend all campaign in a desert it's still not very good.
That was one of my least favorite parts. "It's just magic" kind of undermines the whole flavor of the class to some degree.
I'm not sure I understand this argument. Yeah, there were more stat buffs in PF1, but you'd still always be behind someone who started with a hugher stat and got the same buffs (because why wouldn't they?) with no way to catch up.
Generally the idea is that the more different ways there are to gain a certain type of bonus, the less individually important each instance of those bonuses is. If there are a hundred ways to get +X to hit, then it's less important to worry about a specific option like maximizing your main stat, while in a game where there are only a couple ways to improve your to-hit it's much harder to 'make up for' a lower mainstat after the fact.
Obviously for some people this will be a good thing, because tighter system math keeps the game from going out of control and it makes stat choices more meaningful, while other people might see it as a hit to build diversity and create a more min-maxy mentality.
Either way I think it's something to keep in mind when designing a tightly regulated system like PF2.
Since Cheliax came up, I remembered another thing that always sorta bugged me.
In general, Cheliax/Devils/LE outsiders do a really poor job feeling actually lawful. Sure, they're organized and regimented, but they lie, cheat, steal, betray and usurp almost as much as demons do which all kind of fly in the face of loyalty, honesty, commitment, tradition and duty that are supposed to form the backbone of the L side of alignment.
I feel like they'd be much more interesting characters and organizations if they held to the tenants of their alignments a bit better instead of just being... generic badguys with the trappings of organization.
To a lesser extent you could do the same with Outsiders of every alignment better, I think, but devils always stood out to me as the most egregious.
2. A swashbuckler or gunslinger cannot be adequately represented by the classes already present in PF2.
I'm not sure I really buy this point. you can't build a gunslinger in PF2 right now because guns don't exist, but as it stands swashbucklers seem perfectly manageable off the bard, rogue, fighter or maybe even ranger chassis.
In fact, my concern is pretty much the opposite of this point, that the conceptual niches these classes fill already exists in the PF2 framework, which suggests that creating a new class to do the same thing would require diminishing, directly or indirectly, what we already have.
go over why to pick A vs B for a given scenario, and why C is usually a trap
That's a good way to help someone learn a system, but C being a trap is not really an ideal state. It means any playstyle that would be associated with C is nonfunctional or, at best, requires someone to jump through a lot of hoops. What if C is a really cool weapon? Or interesting spell? Or a basic character archetype? That's not rewarding system mastery, that's making the best of a developer's failure.
If we were playing playing a strategy game or a shooter or fighting game or whatever, the argument that certain guns, factions or characters should intentionally be bad so that good players could feel better about themselves when a new player naively decides to use one you'd probably get a lot of weird looks.
The rewards of system mastery should be able to build and execute ideas more effectively and in more esoteric ways than might be readily apparent to someone with less experience, probably with an emphasis on the execution part, not... schadenfreude when you get to tell someone their idea doesn't work because the system is balanced terribly.
It's very die based though. PA is best with a d12 weapon which are all Str based to hit. If you are using a d8 curved blade it is less useful.
To an extent, but even if you are strength based it's going to be more valuable to characters who didn't cap their strength than characters who did.
Like I said, hardly the end of the world, just something that struck me as a little odd in terms of ability flavor.
I really like the idea of opening with a regular attack or some other strike and then using power attack as a second attack to get almost three attacks worth of damage but only two attacks worth of penalties.
If I had one problem that came to mind, it's more thematic. Since PA gives you two attacks worth of dice but only one attack's worth of Strength, it's going to be better on characters with less Str than on characters with a lot of it. A fighter with a curve blade isn't going to care as much about losing the Str mod to damage that you'd otherwise get from a second attack if their strength is lower to begin with. Even a fighter who uses Str for rolls but has a lower stat for whatever reason might appreciate being able to 'concentrate' two attacks worth of damage when their secondary or tertiary rolls might be really low.
Mechanically that's fine, but thematically having 'Power Attack' be more valuable the weaker you are ones feels a little odd.
The idea that it is somehow "wrong" to ask to get paid some small amount for that work confuses the heck out of me.
Four people paying for the privilege of playing a game with a fifth person (who is also playing a game) feels a little bit shady to me, but I guess if people are willing to spend money on it it's their business.
Thirdly, explain to me how an Archetype (a collection of feats) has more modularity than a class (a collection of initial abilities and feats)? I do not understand your logic.
A collection of feats can be stapled onto any class that has access to them. Class features are inherently limited to that class and whatever is allowed to be poached via multiclassing, which is itself a more restrictive system than regular feats.
My concern is that, for a lot of the things being described as potential niches for the swashslinger to fill, one question that keeps popping into my head is "Okay but why couldn't I just do that with a fighter, rogue or maybe ranger?" I don't see a compelling way to make a fencing, dashing swashbuckler that doesn't feel like it thematically steps all over a swashbuckling rogue.
In PF1 the answer was that the system had holes in it that could only be filled by sweeping packages of class features, which was unfortunate, but a necessary evil.
Here it just seems like the dividing line between where the existing classes end and where the hypothetical swashslinger begins feel kind of arbitrary and like it would lead to one class or the other feeling shortchanged.
@Rainzax - I could see Grit working as a Class Feature. My real worry with/about Grit ends up being classes getting access to too many seperate pools for arbitrary reasons.
I'm not sure that's a big problem. These pools are pretty self contained and separate, generally speaking and if someone takes the effort to go out of their way to get as many pools as possible that's clearly something they're okay with managing.
I think system mastery is great and someone who's good with the system should be able to handle it better, but that's also kind of a given just based on how learning rules works.
At the same time, system mastery being valuable shouldn't come at the expense of a new player being allowed to play the thing they want to play.
System mastery should be about knowing how to combine things in new and interesting ways to produce fun results, not realizing that half the ideas you had when you first started playing are actually unworkable garbage or that by combining a couple abilities across a handful of books you could flip system math on its head and build yourself a win button.
Unfortunately PF1 system mastery was defined by those qualities and oftentimes more about memorization than any sort of cleverness or adept handling of rules and options.
From my reading that's basically it. Archetypes sound like class paths they're adding after the fact for classes that don't actually have paths. I'm not sure there'll be any meaningful difference between deciding to play a caster or warpriest cleric vs playing a base fighter and a hypothetical fighter archetype that replaces AoO with something else.
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I wasn't referring to you. Your comments seemed completely appropriate given the OP's question. It's definitely important to be mindful of what you're saying or what you might be perceived as saying when doing this, especially if you're drawing on real world cultures as inspirations for the aesthetics of specific fantasy species.
Yeah, it is. I mean games with heavier themes and deeper explorations of relations and meanings are great but I don't really see why we should throw shade at someone who wants to make blue orcs and purple elves or use aesthetics from different cultures and periods than renaissance Europe without going any deeper than that.
If Pathfinder 1 classes are eventually trickled back into second edition, which do you hope return first?
Aether is pretty much just straight telekinesis, lots of throwing objects and a few force-energy type powers. Void kineticists draw energy from the negative energy plane in the same way pyrokineticists tap into the plane of fire. There's nothing really conceptually finnicky about it.
I'm honestly kind of confused by such a hostile reaction to them existing.
I feel like the essence of the gunslinger is less "you can use guns" and more "your uncommon skill with guns allows you to do borderline impossible things." We can do the former as an archetype, but I feel like the latter should be part of a class.
I feel like the former should just be something anyone can do and the latter could easily be an archetype or feat chain to specialize.
I love the concept of panache/grit, but I don't really love the idea of a single class owning that concept. Conceptually what panache and grit represent absolutely seem like the kind of things rogues and fighters and nonmagical monks and probably barbarians and rangers should be able to pull off too.
I think it might be more valuable then to turn it into an open mechanic, kind of an alternative to focus with unique rules and nonmagical flavor.
If Pathfinder 1 classes are eventually trickled back into second edition, which do you hope return first?
It just feels weird to me to have a culture which is thousands of years old which has not developed religious traditions both good and evil specific to that culture.
They could have their own traditions and rituals, but Golarion is also a world where the existence of gods is objective fact and most of those gods have been around an incredibly long time and that kind of makes the waters murky in terms of outright brand new and different religions entirely, I think.
Sarenrae is one of the oldest gods in existence, basically one of the original major deities. She's as valid of an orc god as she is a human god and she dramatically predates both of those species. Even calling her a human deity feels disingenuous.
If Pathfinder 1 classes are eventually trickled back into second edition, which do you hope return first?
See where I'm going? You can't have the Fighter be the sole weapon feat getter and still expect other martial classes to function.
Did anyone say that Fighters should be the only class that gets good with weapons? I don't think anyone did.
But the fighter being great at using weapons is core to their identity, so any class that usurps that role for a specific weapon is chipping away at what Fighters represent. In PF1 it was a necessary evil because of system mechanics, but we shouldn't need "exists to make this weapon work" classes in PF2. It doesn't mean bow rangers can't be awesome, but it does mean that if bows only work for rangers because of some core flaws they have there's a problem.
And Grit, while a cool mechanic, doesn't really have anything I think that should intrinsically be owned by the Gunslinger. It'd be much better to branch out and offer up similar options to other classes, because it's a cool idea. Opening up options is good.
I disagree with graystone that it necessarily needs to be focus, but it could be a sort of martial equivalent to focus with its own set of rules.
"John Lynch 106 wrote:
I don't think anyone is arguing it isn't possible. I think they're arguing it isn't fun.
This. It's not that crit fails can't happen 'realistically', it's just that they aren't a great game mechanic, especially in a more serious games.
Frankly, fumbling only one in twenty rolls was a bad enough houserule in 1e. Even if that was the standard in PF2 it wouldn't be great, so "only 5%" isn't really a compelling defense in my opinion. The fact that for some characters it can easily end up being 20 or 30% or possibly higher kinda just sounds awful.
Really, assuming they're all glass has always been a deeply odd assumption.
Glass vials of weirdly colored liquid are kind of an iconic element of alchemist/chemist aesthetics in various media, so I don't think it's that odd. That said yeah it's not really something to worry about either.
I'm not sure it's quite as bad as shroud is suggesting, but it does sort of feel like a number of alchemist mechanics weren't fully planned out.
Not that the class is going to be bad, but that you're going to have to jump through some extra hoops to make everything work properly in a way I don't think is really true for most of the other classes in 2e.
Obviously everyone is entitled to like what they like but a few of these really stood out to me.
If I succeeded only 50-75% of the time at my job, at a task reasonable for my tenure, I'd be fired.
CR appropriate challenges aren't average, mundane tasks for your ability though. They're challenges. It's in the name.
Moreover this seems like a self defeating argument. Because by insisting you should succeed 95-100% of the time, you're at the same time suggesting your opponent should only successfully be able to resist you 0-5% of the time, but this character is supposed to be your peer. A challenge equal to you. I don't know how you can rationalize a 75% success rate as unacceptably low but a 5% success rate as reasonable for someone who's supposed to be, broadly speaking, your equal.
Finally, being able to succeed 100% of the time at your specialty doesn't seem like it would make for a very engaging tabletop, at least to me.
Spells are terrible now.
This one is simply untrue. Spells are less oppressively powerful than they are in 1e, certainly, but calling them terrible is more than a little bit silly.
This makes low level spells completely useless at high levels
This is generally only true for damage spells, which scaled terribly in 1e anyways so this isn't really something new. I certainly wish damage spells scaled better in 2e and I'm not convinced 2e solved the blasting problems 1e had, but you're overstating the issue. Especially given that DCs now scale universally, which means low level debuffs are significantly more useful across the life of the campaign than they ever were in 1e.
Cumulatively, these mean that you can't determine the outcome of a fight before it starts with good builds and planning.
Is a game where the outcome of every fight is preordained by the sheer weight of numeric advantages even a good game? I mean, again, to each their own but this seems like an incredibly positive thing.
The game has little reward for system mastery.
This is more or less just a repeat of your previous couple points but again I don't really get this one. A new player is less likely to make a broken character under the naive assumption the designers presented reasonable options for them to take and the game is less likely to collapse under heavy optimization, but that's not "little reward for system mastery"... that's just a system that's better balanced.
Companions/minions are basically worthless...They were done very well in 1e
I feel like I've been teleported to an alternate dimension now. Companions were some of the worst bits of balancing PF1 had, though admittedly that might not be true in the sorts of games you seem to run where players are expected to min-max to the point that they can never fail.
No touch or flatfooted AC. How in the world am I supposed to model the interaction of different types of attacks with armor and mobility without these two statistics?
So you want some way to test an attack without factoring in the armor they're wearing. That makes sense. Only their innate ability to dodge. Some way to test their reflexes. It's a shame Pathfinder doesn't have some sort of... Reflex mechanic that would cover this.
Can't do anything longer than 3 actions in combat. If the evil wizard is doing his ritual and has 30 seconds left, and doesn't have the supplies to do it again, all you have to do to save the world is slap one of his nearby minions. Boom, he's now been dragged into encounter mode, can't do anything that takes longer than 6 seconds, and his ritual fails. So much for timed battles like this.
So in 1e your GM was comfortable handwaving the wizard as taking 5 consecutive full round actions to complete their dread spell to destroy the world or whatever, but for some reason you feel you can't handwave the same way in 2e? This seems like an entirely manufactured problem.
Have to agree that Gunslinger doesn't really need to be a class.
Grit is a cool mechanic, but I'd rather see it be focus for martials and easily accessible to everyone, not a class-locked mechanic.
And outside of Grit, the Gunslinger really only exists to solve Paizo's self-made problem of guns not working without supporting class features, which doesn't need to be true in PF2.
The problem is that you will always get that ONE PERSON in the party who trained in Arcana and has to quantify everything as being either "definitely magical" or "very possibly natural." Sense air bending doesn't fit into either of those categories
What? Kineticists are very explicitly magical. All of their abilities are supernatural.
I guess it is because unless there are New first level class feats you won’t have a unique identify as a bloodrager until level 2 and will probably have to wait until you can take a “bloodrager type” feat at 4 to really feel like one
This is the one reason I'm really excited on the other hand to see hybrid classes in PF2. Multiclassing theoretically lets you build whatever, but in practice you're taking a dedication at 2 and your first extension feat at 4 and your next at 6 and then maybe your character is starting to look like what you want to play midway through the campaign and with only one 'free' feat in that period. It's a little bit of a drag.
The stuff that can't be handled well by the current system. Generally speaking that's the Occult classes.
I figure stuff like the Magus, Oracle and Witch are going to come first because they're really popular, but for me the stuff I'm most interested in seeing added to PF2 are the classes that can't be approximated very well in the existing framework.
Oracle will probably be way cooler than the divine sorcerer, but I can still use the latter to make a passable facsimile of an Oracle. I can kinda fudge a Magus by MCing Wizard or Sorcerer on a martial or MCing some martial on a Wizard, too. On the other hand there's really nothing that lets me approximate what a Kineticist, Medium, Spiritualist or Occultist can do.
One of my minor fears for PF2 is that we're going to see a lot of retreading old ground early on where basic, popular classes from PF1 get support and while I firmly believe the classes will be cool, they might not be very mechanically groundbreaking.
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Let Pathfinder 2nd edition stand and succeed on its own merits, rather than look good by rubbishing what came before.
While I think there is some merit in comparing systems, especially when looking at how to move forward, John has a point. PF2 is its own system. PF2 has its own mechanics and the game ultimately needs to be judged on how those function in their own environment.
Frankly, when I'm thinking about the best way to build out a concept in PF2, whether or not that concept was harder or easier to build in PF1 literally doesn't matter at all. Telling me that Wizard/MC Fighter is better than PF1's EK doesn't in any way shape or form help me build a Wizard/MC Fighter better or address any concerns I might have trying to build a Wizard/MC Fighter.
If PF2 does something better, but still doesn't do it well ... it still isn't doing it well, there's no consolation prize for failing slightly less than another system. If PF1 did it better, but I can still make it work in PF2, it doesn't mean anything that I could do it in a different way in what's literally an entirely separate game.
There is no normal situation in which a PF1 Eldritch Knight and a PF2 Wizard/MC Fighter are going to compete against each other either. So it's not like I'm deciding between those two options when I sit down to write my character either.
Wasn't one of the flaws of PF1 that the system was being held down so much by 3.5 baggage? Wasn't part of the reason it was held down by that baggage because the developers were worried changing too much might scare people off? Constantly obsessing over how PF1 and PF2 rank up against each other is ultimately just feeding into that same set of circumstances. I'm not saying I'm not guilty of this too, but at some point it just isn't really relevant at all.
Kind of off topic but I just wanted to thank everyone who's been posting in here. I didn't expect nearly this much discussion when I first started the thread and I think it's been really interesting to see all these different perspectives on these issues, what people are worried about or not worried about and why, all that stuff.
Just saying "I want to use a bow" is not enough. It must be reinforced such that there is a mechanical reason to use a bow and not another weapon - seemingly, no matter how slim a reason, as long as it exists - or using a bow will somehow be unsatisfying.
I feel like you're kind of thumbing your nose at it here but I don't think it's entirely an unreasonable concern.
Certainly anyone can use any weapon they want and probably do decent enough, but it can be understandably frustrating I think to realize that the weapon you want to use is just strictly inferior to another. It's often not even really a playstyle choice, because most weapons don't really have much of an effect on how you play the character anyways. So you end up pretty much just paying a tax on an aesthetic choice.
This has me curious. Could you elaborate?
Nothing really groundbreaking to the thought, I just think that when it comes to enabling concepts it would feel better if you could start doing it from level 1 and expand upon it at level 2 instead of starting at level 2 and expanding at level 4.
That doesn't solve Water's issues with investment, but it does help address enabling concepts in a more timely fashion which I think is important.
I don't think it is a wise idea to have very specific feats for specific weapons.
While normally I agree, this is also a system built with certain weapons being, by design, worse than other weapons. Given that you kind of need specific support for some of those options if you ever want to enable them competitively.
I feel like "my character concept does not function until level n, n>1" is not a new thing by any stretch of the imagination.
I don't think anyone said they were, but it's also one of those problems PF1 had that a new system could have improved upon.
Like a dedication which gives longbow proficiency and access to archery feats seems a solution for every level except one.
I'm starting to feel like dedications starting at level 2 is a design paradigm that causes more issues than it actually solves.
It's not really about classes having no class features on their own, that's pretty demonstrably untrue, but I don't think it's really arguable that class feats drive core mechanics a lot more here.
Fighter needing to spend class feats to focus into Spellcasting (aka something not specific to his class)? Fine.
I'd argue that's actually a decent example of a potential concern, albeit not a huge one. A magus or arcane trickster style character isn't an especially esoteric concept, the former is one of the more popular classes in PF1 even.
In order to enable this concept at even a baseline level, you're looking at spending a dedication feat to wizard multiclass and an archetype feat to unlock basic spellcasting. That gets you first level spells. I think that's a pretty reasonable baseline assumption for a battlemage character.
Two feats isn't exactly feat starvation, but it means you only have one floating feat you can spend to differentiate yourself until level 6 and the basic premise of your concept doesn't come online until level 4.
I'm not going to argue that that's worse than PF1. In fact, waiting until level 3-4 for your character to start working was a common criticism of PF1 and being feat constrained until 5 or 7 by basic mechanics was fairly common too. So no, not worse than PF1... but I don't think "pretty much the same" is something we should be happy about either.
Naturally if you aren't multiclassing this is less of an issue, but again I don't think "battlemage" is a particularly esoteric concept either, so it's not like I'm jumping through hoops to show a character who struggles to come online at a reasonable speed and has issues with feats until midgame.
AnCap Dawg wrote:
Martial characters *strike.* It's what they do. So why penalize them (and only them) for doing it more than once a turn?
Because if there's no degradation in attack actions, you just recreate the full attack paradigm that's part of the reason martials suck so much in PF1.
By making extra attacks degrade they become more of a choice and less of a default assumption about DPR. This is a good thing.
As much as you think you're championing martials right now, making extra attacks less mandatory is a buff to them, not a nerf. Your proposal would destroy them in the long run.
How about casting more than one spell?
Generally you can't even do that anyways.
I believe JJ once confirmed that after an unspecified period of time, animal companions and familiars whose master's has died go back to being a normal creature of its type.
There's something really depressing and unsettling for me about imagining some familiar going all flowers for algernon after their master dies.
This thread has blown up a lot. Really amazing stuff and excited to see all the discussion, lots of good points. I was gonna reply to a ton of people but I found one line I think I could just summarize with.
Stone Dog wrote:
Yes, if you want to be a trap specialist, you need to make choices that involve being a trap specialist. This is a feature to some of us, not a bug.
I don't think many people here are going to disagree with you. Customization and choices are awesome. Modularity is great. Not being stuck with something you don't want or have to struggle too hard to get stuff you do want because of the way feat trees are designed is all awesome.
My fundamental concern is not that these options exist, because that's great, but that all of your options are tied to one singular track. Your major class choices are tied to feats, which you gain every other level.
Look, I'm not going to pretend PF1 was great in this regard. There were a lot of really bad feat trees and taxes, absolutely. I'm just worried that between removing the feat taxes and condensing essentially four progression tracks (archetypes, multiclassing, feats, talents) into one the end result might be closer to a net neutral than positive and we're still going to end up with characters waiting until the middle of a campaign to fully realize the concept they're envisioning, especially when it comes to multiclassing.
Totally off topic but looking at this combat/non-combat debate and the way its stuff works I kinda wonder if the Vigilante's dual talent system wasn't in some way a prototype for PF2.
I really like the modularity PF2 is embracing and the way they're making PF1's generally well received talent systems universal.
But I'm a little worried long term that this kind of makes a character's feat options a bit overloaded in terms of the functions they fill. Multiclassing is feats, class talents are feats, actually class features in general are mostly feats, then of course your feats are feats too.
My concern is just that, especially for more esoteric builds or ones that want to lean heavily on dedications, you're going to have to spend a lot of feats just enabling your build at all. A rogue who wants to build an arcane trickster is spending two of their first three feats on multiclass stuff just to enable spellcasting. More if there are specific rogue or wizard class feats they need to fully enable the idea. If they have another dedication they want to go for a more specific option that locks out their feat options for another four levels too.
Granted, this is entirely a self-made problem as opposed to PF1's bounty of +1s and unnecessary taxes, but I'm just a little bit concerned that certain build ideas are going to have to devote a lot of energy just to turn their various features on and not have a lot of room to use feats as a way to customize or flesh out their character.
I'm sort of curious if anyone else has similar or differing opinions about this. So I made a thread, right now. Here. Yep.
This is a good point. Right now we've mostly seen focus as an addendum onto other classes, but having some sort of kineticist or psion inspired class that gets significantly more focus points than normal and runs their class on them could be a lot of fun.
The problem I think with some of the suggestions in this thread is that they're designed around heavy investment in Charisma.
But the problem isn't really people who invest in Cha heavily, it's people who don't invest in Cha at all.
To put it another way, if you aren't going to use social skills very often and don't have class features that run off Cha, there's no real cost to not having Cha and no real incentive to throw a couple points in Cha. Cha 12 over Cha 10 gives my fighter basically nothing, even if I think it fits the character I'm picturing in my head better.
Contrast with Dexterity, where even if you have no class features that run off Dex or are leveraging Dex as one of your primary attributes there are tangible reasons where throwing a few points in Dex is helpful and why taking points out of Dex is detrimental. Dex 12 over Dex 10 has meaningful (albeit small) benefits, even for someone who isn't using a Dex based weapon or leaning heavily on Dex based skills.
That's where I think any adjustments to Cha should be directed. The bad or sorcerer who's got an 18 in Cha already knows what they're doing with the stat and that's fine (and presumably the game is balanced with primary stats in mind), but as a tertiary stat it's got literally nothing going on.