Technotrooper's page

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Lack of clarity on this issue brought my game to a screeching halt tonight. I have a player with a wizard PC who is very invested in his moth familiar (he added speech). He wanted to send it out to do some scouting nearby and return with information on enemy activity. We read the familiar rules together, and I just had no idea how to respond to his request. There was no guidance in the CRB about anything other than combat. It doesn't even say how intelligent they are. I finally decided to let the familiar scout ahead a bit (GM fiat) but then he started asking me what the familiar saw and how much detail the familiar could understand and convey back to him. Again, there was no guidance in the CRB on this. I was totally winging it (which is usually fine) but it made me uneasy because I knew I was setting a precedent for our campaign and the ability to scout ahead and report back will have a pretty big impact. I have to admit that I got a bit frustrated because I felt that Paizo was leaving me to make these big decisions without any guidelines and without understanding the full impact of what I was trying to rule on the fly.

I really hope there is some additional information and guidelines on how to run familiars (particularly in exploration mode) in the Gamemastery Guide. I don't need a rule for everything, but I do need some idea of what is intended in terms of familiar capability (especially outside of combat) and intelligence. In general, I have been amazed at how much more helpful the PF2 rules have been than the 5e rules in providing clarity and guidance. I just feel like the ball got dropped a bit with the familiar rules. Hope to see some clarifications soon as it really disrupted our game.

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On the Paizo Friday stream I asked if the GMG would explain how to better address using these rules in common situations such as ambushes and breaking down doors. Logan Bonner said “yes” and it specifically addresses transitioning from exploration mode to encounter mode. I’m looking forward to more clarity from Paizo on these issues (cuz, dang, this thread is getting long).

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Will there be additional guidance and examples on how to apply the stealth, perception, detection, ready action, and initiative rules (moving from exploration to encounter mode) in situations such as an ambush, breaking down a door, etc.? These rules are scattered all over the CRB and there aren't many examples on how to apply them to common situations.

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Would buy.

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During the Paizo Friday Twitch stream, the devs promised an update addressing key critical issues (not every little error/typo) in the first printing of the CRB "soon."

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It would really help if one of the devs explained this a bit better and provided some examples of how to apply the relevant rules (which are scattered all over the CRB).

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
For avoiding notice on the move versus ambush, there is this action:

TAKE COVER [one-action]

Requirements You are benefiting from cover, are near a feature that allows you to take cover, or are prone.

You press yourself against a wall or duck behind an obstacle to take better advantage of cover (page 477). If you would have standard cover, you instead gain greater cover, which provides a +4 circumstance bonus to AC; to Reflex saves against area effects; and to Stealth checks to Hide, Sneak, or otherwise avoid detection. Otherwise, you gain the benefits of standard cover (a +2 circumstance bonus instead). This lasts until you move from your current space, use an attack action, become unconscious, or end this effect as a free action.

I think it’s fair to say Wait in Ambush is an exploration activity which grants a +2 or +4 circumstance bonus to stealth rolls. This is available to both PCs and NPCs and means using your terrain creatively gives you substantial bonuses which I think is a good thing to encourage in my games (others may disagree for their games).

Good idea. I think there should be a difference when you are not moving and have taken up excellent cover/position.

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The roll is the same, but it's not a stealth vs. perception "contested roll." It's stealth vs. a static perception DC for each PC.

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I pieced this understanding together after reading all the material in the CRB on stealth, hidden, visible, perception, initiative, etc. This info is scattered everywhere. What finally put things into place for me was the PF2 designers explaining how this works during the Paizo Friday Q&A stream on Twitch. They discussed a similar scenario (sorry I don't have the time codes). What is important to remember is that rolling stealth for initiative and comparing this stealth roll against perception DCs are two different things. One is to see who acts first and the other is to see who can see whom when the action begins.

The only exploration activity that seems to affect this type of scenario is scouting. If someone in the party is scouting, all PCs get a +1 to their initiative roll--which could definitely help in an ambush situation. It's actually a fairly simple and elegant system; it's just not explained very clearly in the CRB.

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My understanding is that that everyone would roll for initiative when the encounter occurs. Goblins would likely use stealth to roll if they are trying to hide. The goblins would also use their stealth roll vs. the PC's perception DC (not their perception roll for initiative). If a goblin wins initiative and beats a PC's perception DC, he is hidden to that character (and the PC would be flatfooted to him). The PC could use a Seek action to try and find that hidden goblin. If a goblin wins initiative but fails to be beat a PC's perception DC, the goblin goes first but isn't hidden to that character.

I don't think it's that hard once you understand it, but it isn't presented in a simple-to-understand way in the CRB and the information to put it all together is scattered in several sections. Could have been written more clearly and examples (such as this scenario) would have been useful.

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I created this quick reference sheet summarizing all of the PF2 weapon and armor traits and thought others may also get some value from it. This information is not on the Paizo GM's Screen but comes up frequently in play.

Pathfinder 2 Weapon and Armor Traits Quick Reference

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Will Paizo issue errata/FAQ in a timely manner on these release issues/questions? Or will they follow their policy of not issuing corrections until the next printing of a book? What did they do with the first printing of the PF1 CRB? Just curious.

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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

I too am a bit disappointed with the first printing regarding errors and typos.

To a degree that I am tempted to cancel my second CRB preorder and just let my players trash the first one I buy like the heinous book ruining scum that they are, buying a second one after the 2nd or 3rd revision (hoping it sells enough to get one tbh)

Me too. Just canceled my 2nd (backup) CRB from Amazon. I will order a future printing with errata.

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The color version hurts the eyes and is difficult to read due to color contrast. The printer-friendly version looks much better.

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Based on my experience, Amazon tries to provide release date delivery.

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The guy's overall opinion on PF2 was:

"A super huge shout-out to Paizo and all its employees. You guys rock. 2E looks fkn awesome. I hope people got hyped from this thread and some pre-orders went down, because these books are pretty damn awesome, and 2E looks great."

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I don't know. Companies pay people to create online buzz and this guy was doing it for free and being very careful. It was mentioned that several CRB pre-orders had already resulted from what had been posted so far. I am sure Paizo knows what they are doing, however, even if I don't understand it.

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CRB Table of Contents can be found here.

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...on Reddit.


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The biggest positive of PF2 is that is it SO MUCH easier to prep and run. This is a huge deal to me personally because I found GMing PF1 to be a chore (even though my players liked it).

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Loved: Many cool character options and fun Adventure Paths.

Hated: Complexity of prepping and GMing a game, trap options, optimization and power gaming, rocket tag, and linear fighters/quadratic wizards.

Wanted: Nothing, it already has more options than a person could ever use in a lifetime.

Will Miss: Flexibility. It looks like PF2, while much easier to run, will not quite have the flexibility of PF1 (such as with multiclassing).

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For those of us on the fence about PF2 after playtesting, a blog post highlighting or summarizing the key rules changes between the playtest and the final version would be extremely helpful in assisting us to decide whether or not to remain excited about the launch of PF2.

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+1/level became our group's primary reason for abandoning the PF2 playtest and returning to 5E. It doesn't look like Paizo is willing to change this and is determined to have bloated numbers at higher levels, a steep power curve, and narrow bands of level-appropriate opponents. The effect on skill progression creates strange and unbelievable situations. I will take a look at PF2 if they address this, but also will happily continue to play 5E if not.

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I agree that the definition of hit points isn't (and has never been) just physical damage. This is why I really don't like the concept of having to "bandage everyone up" with a healer's kit after a fight. If they are real "injuries" or "wounds," just bandaging them up isn't going to somehow heal them instantly the way magic can. For me, the concept of Stamina and Health make so much more sense. I also like the simple 5e "short rest" approach.

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I find PF2 *much* faster to prep and *much* easier to run than PF1. This greatly reduces the burden of GMing--which is one of the primary reasons I switched our groups to 5E.

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Thanks. Something like this should be in the core book to help speed up character creation.

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I agree that +.5 per level would be greatly preferable. It would keep monsters usable for longer, lower the bloated high-level modifiers, prevent level from being such a huge factor compared to other things (such as armor), and mitigate the current problem of everyone becoming a master of every skill so quickly. +1 per level is just too steep. Those who prefer to rapidly have their characters "become gods" and not be threatened by lower-level foes seem to prefer the steeper power curve. Seems like two very different play-style preferences and Paizo likely won't be able to please both camps. 5E went with a flatter power curve for similar reasons. One could argue that 5E clearly did something right based on its popularity or that we already have 5E and need something steeper to differentiate PF.

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We almost had a TPK in part 2 but the PCs barely survived. One thing we did have was a lot of camping in the dungeon to recover from the previous one or two rooms in order to press on--even though the party had a cleric. It seems like spells kept running out and no one wanted to press forward without enough spells.

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What makes PF2 "special" or at least different than 5e and PF1 in my mind is:

1. Richer character, monster, trap, and tactical combat options than 5e.
2. More clearly defined skill system than 5e.
3. Better supplement and adventure support than 5e.
4. You have to make up fewer rules as a GM than you do with 5e.
5. Allows high-fantasy/gonzo play, unlike 5e.
6. Takes place in Golarion rather than the Forgotten Realms.
7. Encounter mode is a cool innovation and stealth rules are better than 5e or PF1.
8. Has 4 degrees of success rather than a binary approach like 5e and PF1.
9. Much tighter/cleaner rules/math and *significantly* easier to run than PF1.
10. GM prep time is reasonable, unlike PF1.
11. Significantly improved and less-confusing action economy than PF1.
12. Magic item spamming and craziness from PF1 is reigned in via resonance.
13. Doesn't (theoretically) break down in high-level play like PF1.
14. Much better balance between casters and martials than PF1.

I believe the game still needs a lot of work but also has a lot of promise. For me, a PF1.1 wasn't going to bring me back from 5e.

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On the other side of the equation, it's now a lot easier to just destroy the doors! Much easier than trying to lockpick them imo.

My players decided it was much easier just to smash all the chests open rather than bothering to deal with their locks.

Tried to look up the "sweep" trait and couldn't find anything.

PCs got a "minor healing potion." Tried looking up that phrase, nothing. Tried looking up "potions" (which I thought for sure would be in the index) but nada.

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One of the best parts of 5e is the starting equipment packages for each class. It really helps speed up character creation. Would love to see something like this in PF2.

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IMO, it makes level far too important and limits the number of challenges that can be used to a narrow level-appropriate band. It makes things like armor differences become mostly insignificant. It also bloats the numbers at high level and diminishes the importance of the d20 roll. I am hoping they will dial it back to something like level/2 to widen the band of appropriate challenges, monsters, etc. and reduce the modifier bloat.

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Surprising or ambushing unaware opponents could use some additional explanation and examples in the rules. It's not very clear.

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Some of us like the nerfs to magic and the reduction of C/M disparity. Don't know how Paizo is going to please everyone on this issue.

I agree with the criticisms of the proficiency system. Adding your level as a bonus to everything is just too much and results in some strange outcomes.

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The Raven Black wrote:
Technotrooper wrote:
This is the first blog post that made me feel like PF2 is not for me. I'm happy for those who seem to be getting what they wanted (high-level martials just as ridiculous as high-level spellcasters) but, for our table, the legendary skills seem like they would turn the game into a cartoon, parody, or joke. I would have preferred to see the power level of casters reduced rather than boosting martials to "ridiculous," but 5E gives me something closer to the power curve and experience I desire, so it will be simple to just continue playing that. Even though PF2 isn't for me, I'm glad there is such an option for those who prefer it.
Maybe you could try the playtest but enact the No Legendary rule that Mark Seifter mentioned. I think the devs would be greatly interested to know whether it works well for those people who do not want their high-level game too far from realism for martials

Thanks for the suggestion. I thought about that but concluded that I don't want to have to "fight the default system" and rebalance the villains accordingly. What I really want is more balanced but less god-like high-level martials *and* spellcasters. I want something easy to play and run. It occurred to me that 5E gives me exactly this, without having to modify or rebalance anything. I like bounded accuracy, the smaller mod numbers, less magic items, and reigned in spellcasters (with mechanics like concentration). For those who want D&D to be more like Exalted at the higher-levels, PF2 sounds like exactly what they are hoping for. Fortunately, there are great options for all tastes!

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This is the first blog post that made me feel like PF2 is not for me. I'm happy for those who seem to be getting what they wanted (high-level martials just as ridiculous as high-level spellcasters) but, for our table, the legendary skills seem like they would turn the game into a cartoon, parody, or joke. I would have preferred to see the power level of casters reduced rather than boosting martials to "ridiculous," but 5E gives me something closer to the power curve and experience I desire, so it will be simple to just continue playing that. Even though PF2 isn't for me, I'm glad there is such an option for those who prefer it.

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I am likely a member of the target audience for this new edition--a former Pathfinder GM who migrated (with all 3 of my groups) to D&D 5e because the overhead of prepping and running Pathfinder just got to be too much for me, especially at high levels. It became too complex, fiddly, and time-consuming. A lot has been learned about how to design a fun yet streamlined RPG in the last 10 years and it feels to me like Pathfinder has fallen behind competitively by clinging to its aging 3.5 framework. Yes, the diehard grognards are happy, but only serving their desires is probably not a viable long-term business plan. A change is needed if Paizo wants to bring back those who went to 5E and new players who find 5E to be a much easier entry point into the hobby.

I like D&D 5E, but find myself really missing some things from Pathfinder--such as lots of flexible character options, richer tactical combat, Golarian, and the adventure paths (which are much better than the D&D adventures so far). Give me a Pathfinder 2E that is much more streamlined, easier to introduce to new players, easier to prep and run, less prone to power gaming, reduces the caster/martial divide, and still has lots of interesting (but not complex and fiddly) character and combat options, and I would seriously consider bringing myself and our groups back to Pathfinder. I want the richness and options without a ton of additional complexity. Something between the current Pathfinder and D&D 5E would be just right for me. I believe that many who are playing 5E would eventually welcome another alternative that is a little more (but not a lot more) complex and rich in terms of options and story potential.

I believe Pathfinder has 2 primary competitive advantages over D&D 5E:
* richness of character and combat options
* Golarion and the adventure paths

These are the things that I hope you are able to keep part of Pathfinder 2E. If you do, it will likely still "feel like Pathfinder" to me.

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After nearly 10 years, it's time for a change. My one plea is to make the monster stat blocks as self-contained and ready-to-run as possible. Having to look up individual feats and spells in stat blocks is what drove me to simpler-to-run systems.

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I believe Jessica and Robert and would like to see Paizo address this situation with the seriousness it deserves.

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Agree on a martial SoP. Also really want a hardback Ultimate SoP compilation.

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I thought I might also share one other simple house rule I use to make martials more effective and battles more dynamic:

Assault (Full-Round Action)
You can use a swift action and full-round action to move up to your speed while performing a full attack. You can move after, before or between your attacks. You still provoke attacks of opportunity while moving, and can't make a 5-foot step during a round you perform an Assault action. When you begin moving, you are considered to have committed to the Assault action, even if circumstances prevent you from attacking at the end of your movement. Creatures can only perform an Assault with melee weapons and unarmed attacks. Assault works with effects such as haste and two-weapon fighting.

I got this idea from someone here on the board but I can't remember who (or I would give credit). It kind of channels 5e's martial mobility--which I really like.

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Ssalarn wrote:
Smart look at allowing shield bonuses to Ref saves; I've looked at implementing solutions that intertwine with iconic martial class options like heavier armor, shields, etc., though obviously the limitation there is how easy it is for casting classes to manipulate the equipment options and take advantage of them more efficiently then the classes that actually rely on them. Still, there's some room there to tie in to things like BAB or even average size of hit dice that can be used to reinforce and refine that idea.

I like your way of thinking. I've always felt shields are too weak in Pathfinder (and D&D in general) so this is one way of giving them a little more power without unbalancing things. It also helps martials using a shield vs. spells with Reflex saves--which, to me, makes sense.

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If you don't mind me asking, which spells have you banned?

As requested, here is my current list of banned or modified stuff. I add things as they become a problem in our game.

• The Invulnerable Rager, Synthesist, and Vivisectionist archetypes are not available.
• Archetypes can only be selected if a character takes at least 5 levels in the relevant class.

• Antagonize (Intimidate), Bouncing Spell, Dazing Spell, Quicken Spell, Divine Interference, Natural Spell, Opposition Research, Persistent Spell, Rime Spell, Sacred Geometry, Leadership, and Spell Perfection feats are not available.
• The Vital Strike feat chain can be used anytime you make a single attack (charge, spring attack, etc.).

The Finding Haleen, Magical Lineage, and Rich Parents traits are not available.

The Water Sight and Earth Glide revelations are not available.

• Detect magic counts as interacting with an illusion, granting a save against it. If the save is failed, no magical aura is detected.
• Protection from good, evil, chaos, and law do not make the target immune to any attempts to possess or exercise mental control over them.
• Freedom of movement provides a + caster level bonus to CMD versus grappling and checks to escape grappling rather than immunity to grappling.
• The duration of rope trick is 10 minutes / level.
• The casting time of mage’s magnificent mansion is 1 minute.
• Casting time for teleport and greater teleport is 1 minute and the caster cannot teleport to a location he or she has not physically been to before.
• The range of black tentacles is close (25 ft. + 5 ft. / 2 levels).
• Glorious heat only works with level 1 or higher spells.
• Wall of thorns grants 30% concealment.
• A Will save negates the effects of irresistible dance.
• Detect alignment spells only work on supernatural creatures, auras, items, and places.
• Acute senses, blood money, cacophonous call, cold ice strike, detect thoughts, earth glide, enervation, fickle winds, gate, icy prison, magic jar, mass icy prison, seek thoughts, speak with dead, mage’s disjunction, planar binding, prediction of failure, and terrible remorse are not available.
• Simulacrum requires a pound of flesh from the type of creature being replicated as a material component and the resulting simulacrum is unable to cast spells.
• Long-distance teleporting causes the dazed condition for 1d2 rounds.
• Reductions to metamagic effects can’t bring the cost lower than one level.
• A creature cannot have more than 3 helpful, harmless spells active on itself at once. Additional helpful spells cast on it fail to work.
• 7th, 8th, and 9th level spells take at least a full-round action to cast.

Magic Items
Metamagic rods, Candle of Invocation, Dust of Sneezing and Choking, Otherwordly Kimono, and Pearl of Power are not available.

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knightnday wrote:

Very nice list, Technotrooper. Thank you for all the ideas.

One of the things I like to do is watch the threads here and elsewhere, making notes of what people believe are "must have" spells, items, and the like, especially on the threads regarding powering up casters. It gives me an idea of what items and spells might be causing problems, and, assuming I haven't already dealt with them, making note to do so.

That's exactly what I do. I watch the boards here to see which spells cause problems for GMs and I have a list of 20-25 spells that are either banned or modified. I'm also lucky because I have awesome players who will sometimes tell me, "I'm not going to take this because it seems too powerful and might disrupt our story or cause another player not to shine." They feel some ownership of not derailing the story/game and making sure everyone has fun. Ultimately, that is perhaps the very best solution to this issue.

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This is my favourite solution so far. Thanks for sharing!

In my opinion these suggestions plus an informal understanding between the players and the GM to not ruin the game with over the top caster builds solves the martial / caster disparity.

Thanks. I believe in keeping solutions simple and easy to implement. I also do things like allow no more than 3 simultaneous spell-based buffs on any creature because I am lazy and I just don't want to deal with too much complexity and tracking. I have heard many people say you would have to rewrite Pathfinder from the ground up to even begin to deal with the M/C divide, but I believe some relatively simple modifications go a very long way in helping the game to work better. As you say, it also takes trust and goodwill between the players and the GM.

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The following are some specific things I do to try and manage the M/C divide:

  • Martials get hero points, casters do not. This especially helps with making key saving throws.
  • Fighters and cavaliers get good Will saves
  • Fighters get +2 skill points. Perception is a class skill.
  • Fighters get a bonus feat every level. This ends up being similar to consolidating feats but I don't have to actually modify any feats.
  • The most problematic spells are removed or adjusted
  • Martials get access to a Stamina pool (fighters get this for free) from Unchained
  • Metamagic rods are removed
  • Spells of levels 7-9 take at least a full-round action to cast
  • Encourage the use of Spheres of Power
  • PCs can add the AC bonus of any shield they are proficient with to their Reflex save
  • The target of a slumber hex gets +1 to its saving throw for ever 2 levels (based on CR) it is above the witch
  • Crafted gear counts the same as found or purchased gear when calculating WBL
  • Combat maneuvers only provoke on a failed check
  • End most campaigns around 15th level

I realize that even all of these interventions don't fully "solve" the disparity but I do feel like they go a long way in mitigating the divide without completely nerfing casters. They seem to work pretty well at our (non-optimizing) table.

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I love Spheres of Power and believe it does truly help with the disparity issue being discussed. I have wondered how to best use the system with monsters and enemy spell casters because I don't want to have to do a lot of conversion work.

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SORD PF is your friend.

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I have high hopes for this book. My group is on the fence about switching to 5e and I am holding off until we can see what is in this book and whether or not there are things that can simplify play and fix some of the legacy 3.5 issues in PF.

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