Playtest so far - Round Two! Three things you Love, Three things you Hate, and Three Houserules you'd Make.
observations for potential houserules:
I think making a new edition is pretty unavoidable. That being said, i dont really like the current version of pf2e, but NOT making a new edition is also not really viable either because the current PF1 is rather unappealing to new players. I play in two groups, the first has about 15 years worth of system mastery, playing pf1 is basically second nature, and we are very, very aware of and critical of the current systems flaws.
The second is more of a roleplaying club, extremely casual, more of a gateway to more serious groups. I play with them specifically to help beginners into roleplaying games. Granted, most of the time it is story heavy, more casual games, like mutant: year zero or blades in the dark, but the few times I have tried to run more crunchy games like pathfinder it is basically bring lots of pregens or you wont be able to start a game in the same session.
This has made pathfinder a game that is unappealing to both groups, since the first group even with system mastery knows how disparate the game becomes at higher levels, and it is hard to say to a new player that playing a rogue or monk is cool, yes, but it sucks. hard, or the mandatory feat taxes, or caster supremacy etc etc.
Contrary to this, 5e runs out of the box. it has power differences, yes, but it is a very welcoming game, that has brand recognition. I personally find it dry as sandpaper and boring and BASIC AS HELL, but it works.
The current pf2e also feels dry and boring and basic however, so eh, i am looking into other games.
I just flat out hate it. While the idea of differing initiative seems cool at first, the rigidity of this system makes it feel like everything is overly structured. it is a no-fun approach to roleplaying that treats all situations as a puzzle, rather than a way to enjoy the game and relax with friends. i could only run a game like this with the most asocial people i know.
Balance is an interesting thing. too balanced systems are unfun. I'd lean on "let everyone shine bright in their specialty". the problems are when that area is overly broad, like "magic", or "combat". being good at combat is not inherently an unbalanced thing in a game that centers on roleplaying more, but in a dnd game or dnd clone, everyone has to have ways to meaningfully contribute
I think the reason this happened is very simple. Spellcasters in pf1e are strong. Ridiculously strong. like, off the chains pull Supermans pants down strong. (a level 20 pf full caster could probably defeat everyone in the DCU, except the Flash, because he's the Flash)
I love high level play and abilities in pf1e, but i usually ban prepared full casters, why? because of bad experience in play.
I once played kingmaker, my group is not always the best at mechanical optimization, but they are very, very good at cramming the utmost of what they have in actual play.
we had, from level 4 onwards, after being savaged in rusty dagger shanktown and pretty much finalized our party, a party consisting of:
a witch (no archetype)
a druid (no archetype)
a crafting focused transmuter wizard
a paladin (no archetype)
a magus (me) (kensai)
I had originally played a inquisitor, but he got eaten by undead, so i rerolled as a magus, and our witch originally played a summoner, but the problems were evident from level 3 onwards, when our wizard found out about the create pit series of spells. after that, being a hexcrawl, with very limited enemy numbers, every enemy had to eat 2-3 save or sucks in the first round. We breezed through mostly, except during extended dungeon crawls. what got insane though, was when our kingdom expanded and we could afford to give money to our crafter, with lots of downtime (hint, if you are planning on playing kingmaker, ban crafting, seriously). From level 9 onwards, everyone selecting spells usually took more than 1 hour of session time, and we automated kingdom building, since it was too granular.
We later tried playing rise of the runelords, the druids player GM'd, and we all swore to play lower powered options to help ease him into it. He turned out to be somewhat obsessed by raw, much to our detriment, but we finished the ap despite not having any full casters.
The players that were the GM and the paladin in kingmaker swore off PF, and any type of dnd, forever, while still in module one of rotrl.
I dont like being on a treadmill in general. the stuff you are best at (skills), you should basically auto-succeed, as long as it does not interfere too much with combat math. if some people cant even roll, then the party needs a creative solution as to how to succeed. One of the high points in my roleplaying history was when we enetered a flying castle by intercepting it above a mountain top, the wizard animated all our ropes to get up to it, and the barbarian then climbed up and pulled everyone else up.
I agree completely with the OP. a "fighter" that is all about combat wont contribute much outside it, and for more rp-focused campaigns, that is a drag. almost all the archetypes for a figher in pf1 are shallow, and are potentially not high level concepts, but something you should be able to do with a feat or two. You need a concept that scales to high level, with unique abilities, and a clear out of combat role. I usually dont play fighters anymore, because i feel they limit my roleplaying and makes me drag down the party too much these days.
The second issue is loot. Making the fighter a weapon expert means that you lose a LOT of class features by going for the shiny new weapon you looted in that crypt, making that new shiny weapon potentially useless to the entire party. D&D 5e has no weapon mastery probably for this very reason.
I feel the need to stand up for the kineticist. Sure, it has flaws (like how hard it is to hit with physical blasts at late levels), and being underpowered compared to trad casters, but the rules arent too complicated (just dense). I'd love it if they released the kineticist early in 2nd ed, or made the sorcerer like the kineticist.
Edit: i lovecit when companies experiment with mechanics. I hate vancian and spell slot based casting and love alternatives like psionics, tome of magic, magic of incarnum and warlocks/dragon shamans.
Dislikes: oh boy, a LOT, but condensed
2: The dropping of skill points, and the 50% paradigm. This was the main reason I dropped 4th ed dnd, and it infuriates me. My own campaigns are usually very light on dungeon crawling and combat in general (essentially i play the game wrong), so a robust and diversified skill system is necessary.
3: Mandatory healers. I've written it everywhere I've posted, but my main group refuses to play healers, and has so for 15 years. Me and another guy could sometimes do it if we could without using spell slots or daily resources, but wands of clw or minor regeneration has never been a satisfying solution. A short rest/healing surge mechanic is flat out needed for us to play this.
So, my group violently refuse to play healers, which has forced me to look at this playtest in a certain way (i just need a short rest mechanic), but i dont actually hate the resonance idea. having a mechanic to govern item uses/day is pretty neato, but i think just tying it to level is enough.
I know a lot of people dont think cha/int should be dump stats, but lets be real. You cant max every stat, regardless of stat generation method, and most spellcasters can safely dump strength, since it really does not matter much for a spellcaster.
I also wish they could understand, regarding feats, that in order to be a powerful option, it needs to be something that can be guaranteed to be used in EVERY combat, or near so, everything else that is too situational should just be tacked on additions to a powerful option, like say, two situational abilities (like a bonus vs one enemy type) and a powerful one.
Also, if you gain a stance, in order to be meaningful, you need to get two different ones at the same time, so you have tactical depth.
My party had a rogue and a slayer. The rogue instantly died in module three? To an ogre aoo crit. We ressed her, but it got worse from there. Both characters had trouble contributing in modules 5-6. We also had no full casters due to a player pact to make it easier on the gm who was a newbie gm. To be fair though i almost wish we did not since said dm played excruciatingly by RAW, no mother may I's allowed.
I've done rotrl as a player, and it is kinda hard, but we were also playing it wrong. Every animal companion/summon/cohort adds 0.5 to a full player in terms of player power. (some even more if the player is not optimized). The leadership feat is restricted by default for a reason.
Well to be that guy Drizzt in 3.0 is lv. 15 but your spot on for elminster lv.31 w/mythic and a template. Also a marty stu.
Ok, I misremembered, rechecked, lvl 16+2 LA. still about 4-5 levels too high imo.
The epic level handbook was the biggest mistake in 3.0 apart from the haste spell. Messed with perceptions about the game. You should not need more than 20 levels to be truly epic. most OSR retroclones cap at 10 for a reason. I just personally want to feel epic at levels 10+, and a basic fighter or rogue is not a high level concept.
Somebody else said it, but the only reason i am still here is because in a playtest, the only time you can meaningfully impact decisions is in the playtesting stage. I like paizo materials overall, i just cant see myself playing pf2e if the actual product is going to be close to what they have right now, ever.
I used to be big on monsters having stats like pc:s, but it just is not feasible to put that on the GM, and big boss enemies need special rules to have boss-like hit points, or you risk having what happened in pf, with big monsters like dragons having so many hit dice that armor got rendered useless. (and other issues, but that is a big one)
Yeah, i have played superhero games as well. played a decent length campaign in m&m 3e. I found the narrative bent unsatisfying as well as disliking the lack of hit points. My groups powergamers also misused teleportation powers and arrays hard.
Zero to Superhero in a more simulationist system, like what d&d 3e tried to do, is really satisfying. I've had multiple gm:s stating that they wanted to run from 1st level to epic, but none ever did due to practical reasons. I prefer starting at higher levels, usually 4th or 6th.
For another example, take Rise of the runelords. There is no way a normal mortal human fighter can survive to the end of that ap without supernatural help. we played it with a gm adhering strictly to RAW, and our martials were absolutely miserable towards the end.
I think the reason for all these TPK:s are due to a strict adherance to RAW, with no regards given to player satisfaction whatsoever, and no fudged dice. Awesome for data collecting in a playtest, though.
I followed the pf2e generals on 4chan when they existed, so i guess all this is just due to overtuned monster math, and a very lucky gm with a fetish for anime girls.
Interesting discussion. I'll also add another question mark:
I am 32, and neverwinter nights got me into TTRPG gaming, i almost did not need to read the rulebook (the then new 3,5 core) after having played it (showed up to the game asking "where is my parry skill" ...hurr...)
D&D has not had a decent computer game since neverwinter nights 2, and they always get people interested.
Also, I have been wanting a pathfinder 2e for years. When i run the game i run it with about 8 or so pages of houserules to make the core rules workable, but i think more people wanted a gradual iteration, with bugfixes of the old system worked in (automatic bonus progression, AOO fixes, game balanced around full attacks as standard), not a nuke it option. This feels eerily similar to the lead up for D&D 4, complete with the designer/customer interactions. Considering what built pathfinder in the first place, this is really, really strange.
Because we like the whole zero to hero thing.
Starting out as a low level weak nobody that almost dies to goblins, fighting all the way to the top? Not that hard really, its just that no system really does it well. D&D 4 tried, with those really awesome epic destinies, but the math broke down in higher paragon and turned into a grindfest. (I also hated scaling dc:s and to hit being balanced around 50%, which is why i currently cant get myself to like this playtest) D&D 3,5 had lots of super awesome prestige classes (Sadly the coolest ones were usually comically weak).
Pathfinder has lots of cool stuff. I recently played an aquakineticist kinetic healer, and while it was weak mechanically, it did deliver on the flavor.
I'd also add to it that levels have suffered from devaluation in every single version of D&D, with the biggest offender being the forgotten realms guide in 3.0, which statted up drizzt as a level 25+ character, and elminster as level 30+. There is no way Drizzt in the books (at that time) was anything beyond maybe level 11, but it colored peoples perception of levels for a long time.
The fact remains a level 9 cleric (not level 9 spells, level 9) in 3.pf can call down a miracle equivalent of almost everything God did in the old testament to prove His existance, beyond level 9 it just gets silly.
I want awesome stuff at higher levels, quite frankly, everyone NEEDS a supernatural power source at levels 10+ to be competitive against higher level spells. In the original ODnD framework, that the spell levels are still built around, level 4 was hero tier, like conan, level 6 was peak humanity, like batman, and level 8+ were explicitly superheroic. the rules did not support that playstyle, but it was the assumption, and 4th+ level spells have a feel way, way outside the fiction that inspired dnd, except the Vance stories, and in those stories, you had, tops, 6 spell slots total.
Therefore, if you want to have realistic fiction, keep it to levels 10 and less, and let those of us who want fantasy superheroes, maybe with anime etc inflences get them at level 10+.
Personally, i'd prefer a system where you have normal classes at below tenth level, and upgrade to a prestige class at 11, like archmage for wizard, cultivator for monk, dragon rager for barbarian etc and let all those have supernatural underpinnings. Lots of opportunities to sell splat books too.
Just dont pretend you can keep the Sword and sorcery/lord of the rings feel of lower levels past level 5.
I dont think they should be. Out of combat healing should be in-built in the system, or you risk what happened to my group when we started with 3,5. Our prevalent gm at the time liked to peer pressure new people into playing healbots, and the result is that every one of our players see playing healers as a non interactive npc role (and thus refuse), especially since in 3,5 and pf healing is not worth the actions in combat due to healing scaling badly.
The lack of enthusiasm for the martial classes is pretty easy. While they are mechanically well done, they lack "cool" high level abilities and good fluff ones. Legendary skill feats (which should be martial only, or restricted for casters) is the main area this could have been done in, but they dont necessarily feel like true legendary abilities. The coolest abilities ive ever seen in dnd was the truenamers level 20 ability to give out a part of his name and then being able to react to it from anywhere, and the ability of the thief epic destiny in dnd 4 to steal intangible things like dreams. Those are legendary abilities (or maybe a higher tier, mythic).
Seconding everything, i had high hopes for the system, and i've been expecting a pf2e for years, and was scheduling to run the playtest.
And then i read the book....
I tend to see new material that comes out late in a products cycle as playtesting for a new edition, and a lot of stuff (unchained etc) definitely seemed that way, It is just that the developers took a lot from it noone wanted, and removed things that made the game work.
I was hoping for starfinder style stamina, martials raised up at higher levels (I thought grit was a decent mechanic that could have been expanded upon), and less add fraction of level to x style abilities and a game balanced around full attacks being standard actions. with two of those i would have happily run the game. With all i'd be over the moon.
The main reason I left 4e was that i prefer more simulationist systems to gamist ones, and pf2e is a lot more gamist than its predecessor. I've come to appreciate healing surges and simplified monster math in hindsight, but for everything else i really preferred the simulationist touch of 3.pf
Yeah, i'll have to chime in here as well in support of the OP.
Dnd 5e pros: simple, easy to generate characters, well working combat system, MASSIVE BRAND RECOGNITION.
Shadows of the demon lord: I have not run it yet, but the boons/banes mechanic seems good, it does a warhammer type aesthetic very well, and seems well balanced.
DCC: best martials in any system i have ever played, very pulpy, funnels are fun.
The way I see it, pf2e now occupies roughly the spot fantasy craft does, but with less interesting feats.
I dont really play mmorpgs, but i have played a LOT of MOBAS, and overall i prefer playing tanks/support, the best support classes are imo the ones that focus on shielding, buffing etc, and i also like playing healers from time to time in rpgs, just never clerics, because reasons. In my case it is from souring on them because i got peer pressured into playing the group healer one time too many, and i overall think a game works better if you dont make a class mandatory, it gets stale.
Heh, i said "almost" no one. And i dont think we are as far apart as you might think. I have not played warframe,but you are describing playing support, which has other aspects to it, and is not supported in most rpgs. I was mostly talking about pure hp recovery, which has been mostly ineffective from 3.0-pf. It actually works in the pf2 playtest, but only really with the cleric.
Oh, and to add to it: Almost no one has power fantasies about healing, there are no major super heroes or anime protagonists with healing powers of any note, so most new players naturally stay away from those classes, healing magic also messes with fiction and world-building, like quests to find the antidote.
So, first let me get this out of the way, i wont be playtesting the system, because reasons. Paizo has produced a lot of products i've liked over the years, starting with 3.5 era dragon, so i do still follow this playtesting project.
The specific problem with the playtest materials will be discussed later (the nature of the classes)
So to to get this out of the way: Very few people like playing healers, at all. Fundamentally it is because it is a reactive playstyle, you blow per day resources, often out of combat (because healing has historically not been effective in combat, or at all, more on that later) meaning you usually have to save resources that could be used having fun at the table, and in the cases healing is effective, it is still reactive and rather boring, unless it comes with interesting rider effects. I played a cleric once when i was new to roleplaying in 3,5, hated every second of it, then we discovered how effective wands were, and i had fun again.
The second issue is the old "sacred cow" in DnD that good healing has to come from a divine source (and druids count as divine). Most of the players in most of the groups I've played with have been atheists, and a lot refuse to play divine characters at all (As a christian myself, you could say their religion forbids it :P). This is not tied to any game mechanics, but it is an issue.
The most fun I, or anyone else in my main group has had with healers was in 4th edition dnd, where healing was effective, tied to surges, and came with interesting riders all used as bonus actions in combat.
Suggestions: either go with the stamina/hp system used in starfinder, and make healing in combat interesting, or tie effective out of combat healing to the medicine skill. In d&d 5e, the most effective healing resource is interestingly enough the bandage feat.
The cleric class in the playtest is really, really good (probably top-tier) but people might not play it, mostly atheists but also people tied to abrahamic religions, because worshipping another god in game is too much for some people as well, it does not matter how good you make a specific class, people might still not want to play it, and it also prohibits class diversity and limits design space for new classes.
I was going to talk about wands of clw and the like as well, and how they are frustrating from a dm perspective, but were absolutely necessary in 3,5 and pathfinder, but that might be another thread.
The martial caster divide is oh so very real, and also a dm issue. I am personally in the camp of bringing the martials up, and the casters down a slight notch, especially in terms of versatility, while still having a high powered system. spell levels 7 and up (mostly the noncombat spells), but also noncombat spells of 4th level and up, plus the fly spell make a lot of games a nightmare to run and balance, and the kind of casting that Highest level dnd gives you is unmatched in any other kind of system, including exalted.
I really did not wish this thread to turn into the martial vs caster thread though, i mostly just wanted to point out that reading through the class tables felt like blandcakes (esp. at higher level), mostly on the martial (and alchemist) side.
Filling out the classes from start with options that are not trap options, sound exciting, and give meaningful bonuses rather than a +1 here and there. Role playing games that are overtuned for balance, at least in noncombat scenarios, are not really that fun. Everyone should be able to meaningfully contribute to combat, but also to other aspects of the game, even going into higher levels.In pf1, the paladin gives off the implacable warrior of righteousness vibe that the pf2e one somehow just lacks, thanks to smite evil, lay on hands and divine grace. The alchemist in pf1 is a unique class that gets a lot of conflicting freebie abilities that are situationally useful enough to make it an awesome toolkit class. The pf2e one can get them, but it does not feel the same way.
The pf2e playtest book feels like they made a safe system (that is very different from the last one), and in order to not upset the math, avoided giving anyone fun stuff or being mechanically different. I do not feel like the 6th level casters that were the best designed classes in pf1e can slot into the new system easily.
My personal opinion regarding the market is that there are a lot of systems out there that do low fantasy basic adventuring stuff very well, but very few that tackle higher powered characters (at least well).
Personal sidenote, i'd be willing to support any system that went out of its way to support differing subsystems between classes. I love learning new stuff, so i've played swordsages, warlocks, shugenjas, psions, incarnates, and even a truenamer once. In PF my favorite class is kineticist, despite understanding it is a flawed class.
My main point was not concerning numbers, i actually assume the numbers are good, or will be after the playtest. the point was that there is nothing to excite me as a player concerning cool abilities, a thing that i've always thought was paizo's forte, ever since i collected a couple of dragon magazines published by paizo in the 3.5 era.
I also do have a personal bias on the linear martial/q caster issue. It was my experience in pf1 that the tier lists are very, very real. I've played in two major pf1 campaigns. The first was kingmaker, which we played with a party consisting mostly of casters, we kicked butt through the first four modules, after which our dm ragequit because he could not handle the power level. Then we played rise of the runelords. Because of our previous experience, and because we had a new DM, all players agreed on not playing full casters. The last two modules were pure misery, that we only finished because of our investment in the story.
Sometimes style matters more than substance. Way back when the original pathfinder (1e) playtest rolled around, the general feeling you got when comparing pf to 3.5 was something like....
Awesome! All classes get these extra bonuses on top of what they had before! We get more feats per level! Favored class actually does something now! Races give more perks!
I got sucked into that playtest, and have been using pf as my dnd-clone of choice for several years now, and i have played a LOT of systems. Over time, since the 3.pf chassis is almost 20 years old now, you notice more and more cracks in the system, and last time i dm:d pathfinder i used something like 8 pages of houserules to make it palatable.
Last year Paizo released starfinder. I found that while not perfect, it showed that the Paizo team had learnt from some of the bigger flaws in the 3.pf engine, so when i heard about the pf2e playtest, i was pretty hyped.
And then we got....this. Even if the system is solid, it is just...boring?
In the end, i will skip this playtest, since my hype is dead. If there are some major revisions coming at a later date, i will look it over again and see if i can get a playtest group rolling, but with the material as it stands, i dont see where it fits in the market.
Combat focused? Dnd 4e
I dont see how pf2e is going to be better than any of these systems, there would have been a place for a higher magic, more gonzo system, especially if martials had been given meaningful high level abilities, which was what i thought you were going for, considering the last few years class additions (kineticist is my favorite class in pf1e, and i love all the caster hybrid classes).
I am sort of sad about this, i really liked where paizo was going with grit and panache, and thought that was going to be reworked into the new fighter, instead we got the simple type one. just getting static bonuses is boring, and i think all classes should be made so you want at least one mental stat high
Just started pathfinder, and i have a question. in 3.5 all characters recieved lower skill ranks for being below intelligence 10. I was wondering whether this still applies in particular to animal companions and eidolons, who start with below 10 int, i am not particularly sure that it is so, especially based on the wording, buti'd still like it clarified.