Cayden Cailean

The Narration's page

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thenobledrake wrote:

A) No... even in those conditions, it is not. Get assigned items by level, rather than by price, is not "the local blacksmith won't sell you other stuff" any more than getting a big pool of coin and being told "you can't spend more than X on any one item" is - your character is allowed to buy what they can afford, but "afford" means "assuming they budget their wealth intelligently instead of buy the most expensive singular thing they can with their money"

B) No rule ever written, past present or future, can prevent GMs from making a bad choice. The issue will always be those GMs making a bad choice, though, not with the rules of the game.

A) Have you actually looked at the Wealth By Level table on page 348 of the Playtest Rulebook? Because you don't seem to understand how it works. When you're creating a character above 1st level, how many items you have of each level is predetermined. There is a small amount of loose cash that is not enough to buy a non-consumable item of a higher level than those predetermined. The rules do not allow a 4th level character to start with +1 heavy armor.

B) If the GM following the rules is a "bad choice" then that indicates that the rule is not working and needs to be fixed. This playtest is full of rules that don't work as intended. The whole point of the playtest is to point them out. Sticking your fingers in your ears and going, "Nah nah nah nah I can't hear you!" doesn't help make the game better.

Drake, can you name one person in this thread who has agreed with you? What do you think is more likely? That everyone else is somehow confused and you're the only person in the world who can see the truth, or that a single person is mistaken?

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Draco18s wrote:
The Narration wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:

And as to your "but if you build your character at exactly level 4, what level 3 item do you pick?" there is no point to answering that question because there is no single correct answer that would apply regardless of campaign details.

This is laughably untrue. <argument about how true thenobledrake's statement is>

In what way does what I said support his thesis that some characters not being able to get +1 to their armor at 4th level when the game's math assumes that as the default isn't a problem?

If it's that I said that everyone in my group of PCs had +1 armor, it's because none of them played a class with heavy armor proficiency in the first place. Frankly, they're all avoiding heavy armor like the plague even when they do play characters with proficiency because they're terrified of the penalties.

thenobledrake wrote:

That's weird... I've got my players complaining about how many times I roll a nat 20 in a night (it's a lot, usually 8+ times in a 4 hour session), and no characters hitting 0 HP since the 1st chapter.

No one went to 0 HP but they all came awfully close, and would have gone down if their AC had been even one point lower (because the 30 attack from the manticore would have been a crit if their AC was 20 instead of 21) or if I had run the manticore more aggressively. They had to burn all their healing and resonance after that single fight.

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I didn't want to run the playtest with an undersized party because I was pretty sure it would be a bloodbath if I did, which is why when only two people were still willing to play after seeing the rulebook, I had them make two characters each so we could have a full party of four.

That said, if the monster can hit on a 4, I feel like that's not really an issue of party size or composition. That monster is probably going to score two crits in a round, or a whopping three crits if it uses its agile tail attack. That means it's going to average 150 damage per round, which even a max-Con dwarf fighter couldn't survive at 9th level.

When monsters are already over-tooled to have a roughly 50% chance of hitting an equal-level PC with max AC, then using higher-level monsters as solo boss fights means that their hit chances get pushed up from "high" to "overwhelming" and the odds of critical hits become substantial. It was the same with the manticore in Pale Mountain, who was only two levels above the PCs but knocked off most of the hit points of every member of the party and exhausted all their healing resources and then some.

As it stands, PF2 has been a brutal meatgrinder of constant damage and frequent resting due to exhausted healing resources. Maybe there are GMs out there who like to run that kind of game, but I'm not one of them.

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thenobledrake wrote:

Anecdotally interesting, just last night I heard a player complaining of how using circle of protection felt "useless" because the +1 AC it provided didn't happen to stop any hits from being hits, nor any crits from being crits.

If you want to bring in anecdotes, I ran the first half of Pale Mountain yesterday, and even with the best AC they could manage, the entire party lost most of their hit points. At least once someone only avoided being crit on by a single point, so if they hadn't gotten +1 armor, they would have dropped.

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I'm pretty sure that the only reason that the Heal skill was Wisdom-based to begin with was because they assumed that clerics would be rolling it. And this then got carried over to non-D&D D20 games like D20 Modern and Star Wars, where Treat Injury was Wisdom-based.

You could make an argument that empathy is an important part of diagnosis and treatment, but it's still a bit weird that doctors aren't expected to be smart.

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shroudb wrote:

It's like fighters gaining proficiency in Martial weapons but not simple weapons.

I'd argue that it's even worse than that, because martial weapons are at least ostensibly better than simple weapons (putting aside oddities like the lack of a martial finesse bludgeoning weapon), but what armor is best for you is entirely dependent on what your Dex bonus is, and heavy armor is arguably the worst of the bunch because it has a high ACP and speed penalties.

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thenobledrake wrote:

And as to your "but if you build your character at exactly level 4, what level 3 item do you pick?" there is no point to answering that question because there is no single correct answer that would apply regardless of campaign details.

This is laughably untrue. Enemy attack rolls are assigned to have a 50% chance of hitting a PC if they have the maximum AC for their level. If a PC lags behind the AC curve, they will get hit and crit more often and take a brutal beating.

The second adventure of Doomsday Dawn is for 4th level PCs, and said PCs get to start with one 3rd level item. So this specific question is highly relevant for those of us running the playtest.

Everyone in my game (except the monk, who had to use bracers of armor, which were available a level earlier) chose +1 armor for their 3rd level item. I suspect that's probably going to be the overall trend. Other options aren't going to be an option until after you've secured a level-appropriate AC and saves. Because if you don't, you'll die.

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deuxhero wrote:

Saga Edition is also an option. It condensed 9 classes down to 5 (and frankly could have done with only 4 by combining Scout and Scoundrel) and had the new classes absorb the options of the cut classes. If martials are all one class and can learn special abilities like "rage" or "ki strike" you don't need to figure out what the Fighter is.

Saga Edition is fantastic, because it only had five base classes and never added any more, but each one got to choose from such a wide variety of talents and feats that they were infinitely customizable; you could have four PCs of the same class in a party and every one of them would play entirely differently.

When Paizo started talking about getting to pick class feats in PF2, I thought they were moving in a similar direction, so I'm rather disappointed that they're making the classes much more restrictive than they were before instead of more open.

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I really wish that the proficiency ranks reduced Armor Check Penalty and other negative consequences of wearing armor, like Armor Training did in PF1. Being able to run around and do backflips in full plate would be a lot cooler than just getting +1 to AC.

Because everything in the game is balanced against the assumption that the players have the highest possible bonus for their level, every monster attack is going to be calculated to hit the character with expert/master/legendary armor prof 50% of the time, which means that anyone who isn't a fighter/monk/paladin is going to get hit a lot more.

And I really don't like the idea that fighters and paladins only get higher proficiencies in heavy armor. I'd rather choose what armor is best for my character than have it chosen for me. Not to mention that the fighter gets expert heavy armor at 11th level. By that point the fighter has gotten two stat increases. Even if they started at DEX 12, they're probably at DEX 16 by then, so heavy armor doesn't even fit them anymore.

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Data Lore wrote:
Drizzt didnt use one.

Drizzt didn't, but his fighting style was supposed to be unique, not a benchmark for all other rangers going forward.

Drizzt's ranger mentor did use a shield.

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thenobledrake wrote:
Did you notice that the distance a human character in heavy armor can move in a single round and still make a single attack has actually increased relative to Pathfinder 1?

Did you notice that the distance that a human character NOT in heavy armor can move and still make a single attack has increased even more relative to Pathfinder 1?

A character in light or no armor can now move 50 feet and a character in medium armor can move 40 feet.

Did you notice that the distance that a character NOT in heavy armor can move and still make two attacks has increased, from 5 feet to 25 feet?

Did you notice that the percentage of your movement speed that you lose due to wearing heavy armor has increased, from 33% to 40%?

Did you notice that the percentage of your skill bonus that Armor Check Penalty costs you is much higher now than it was in PF1 because total skill bonuses are lower? The highest possible skill modifier at 1st level is +5. Full Plate reduces that to +0.

Did you notice that skill DCs in Doomsday Dawn assume that the players have a maxed out skill bonus to have even odds at succeeding? Or that having a low bonus means that you'll probably critically fail and harm yourself? So that a fighter who tries to make an Athletics check to climb something with the penalties of heavy armor will probably fall?

Did you notice that the Fighter in PF2 no longer gets an ability to reduce Armor Check Penalty like they did in PF1? And has to wait until 17th level to be able to reduce the speed penalty of heavy armor, as opposed to 7th level? Did you notice that the Fighter doesn't get higher proficiency in light and medium armor like he does in heavy, even though by the time he gets it at 11th level, there's a very high chance his Dex will be up to 16 and he'll be better off switching to medium armor?

"Heavy Armor was terrible in PF1, too!" isn't an excuse. Heavy Armor was terrible in PF1 and 3.X, so terrible that I never wore it. They should take the opportunity of a new edition to fix that instead of blindly repeating the same mistakes. And at least in PF1 they didn't charge you more for the magic bonuses on your armor if it was heavy.

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GlennH wrote:

The cost of consumable healing dosn’t really matter.

If it cost too much then PCs will just take more full rest and parties will have to have a healer.

This is true. It's also a serious problem.

If the game only works if someone is playing a cleric to be able to dish out enough healing, that's bad game design. And players having to constantly stop to rest is terrible from a narrative standpoint.

The D&D paradigm of constantly taking damage and healing every round, of having one player be a dedicated healer, of having to stop to rest for 8 hours mid-adventure because you used up all your healing for the day... these are relics of a bygone era that most tabletop RPGs in the 21st century have moved away from. And rather than taking the opportunity of a new edition to change with the times, Paizo has decided to double down on them by causing PCs to take more damage, need more healing, and have more daily limits on healing resources. It's a massive step in the wrong direction.

If you want people to stop buying wands of cure light wounds, then maybe you need to examine what it is about your game that made people want to buy them in the first place and change that.

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thenobledrake wrote:

Getting a 12 dex is a very low-opportunity-cost investment, and it's all you need to have the best AC from heavy armor.

Except that's not true at all, because wearing heavy armor a) requires heavy armor proficiency, which currently only two classes have and b) carries massive and crippling penalties to skill checks and movement speed. Including the only skills that the classes with Heavy Armor Proficiency are capable of maxing out, STR and DEX-based ones.

Heavy Armor shouldn't be treated as a more powerful item than other armors, because it's not. As the rules stand, heavy armor is a punishment for low Dex characters, not an advantage.

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Pudgekins wrote:

2. Replace: Crafting w/ Tradecraft

"Tradecraft" already means something else.

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Add me to the list of people confused about this, because there are magical effects saying they can be dispelled, and listing a dispel level of (1st) or (2nd), even though there is no Dispel Magic less than 3rd level. And why does it also have a DC that you have to make on a spell roll in addition to a minimum level spell you have to expend? One or the other would suffice to set a minimum requirement.

Not to mention that requiring expert Thievery to disable a 3rd level trap is outrageous in its own right. At 3rd level you can only have one skill at expert rank, two if you're a rogue. If you chose anything other than Thievery to be your best skill right out of the gate, then there's no way to not set the trap off.

This isn't just, "Bring a rogue or you're boned." This is, "Bring a rogue, and there's still an 80% chance that you're boned."

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Thanks for these. The fact that they didn't include maps for half the encounters in the adventure was extremely annoying. I've got enough on my hands familiarizing myself with the module, the monsters, the NPCs and the new rules without also needing to draw a bunch of new maps. It wouldn't be an issue if it were an IRL game where I was drawing with wet-erase markers on a battlemat, but running it on Roll20 makes drawing new maps a major pain.

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Reverse wrote:
Is there a larger difference than the +2 skill difference between an Expert and a Legend?

They'd be locked out of any skill feats that required expert or master proficiency, and certain skill checks might require higher proficiency to even attempt (although at this point the rules have no provided many examples of those).

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shroudb wrote:

If doing an "average" task assumes:
A) Max ability mod for your level
B) max proficiency mod for your level
C) max item bonus mod for your level

Then, it's no longer "average".

Not only that, but it might not be possible to have A and B at the same time, such as how no class that can get max WIS also has the max Perception proficiency. You can only have A in one stat out of six, only have B in up to three skills out of sixteen, and probably can't have C in more than a few.

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O. N. wrote:
If I remember correctly from an earlier thread, a developer mentioned the DC20 door was put intentionally there to see how players reacted to am out-of-level challenge. It's been weeks though so don't quote me on this.

The problem with that idea is that the core book's equipment chapter says that simple locks normally start at DC 20. So apparently 1st level characters with maxed-out Thievery are supposed to find it nearly impossible to open even the most simple of locks.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Bad rolls happened (and there were still rules for breaking lockpicks), and in PF1 there wasn't really anything you could do short of just busting down the door.

Um... no? Disarming a trap had negative consequences if you failed by 5 or more, but picking a lock didn't. Picking a lock in PF1 allowed retries and you could Take 20. That was why the lowest lock DC was 20 and the really good ones could be as high as 40: because if all else failed you could spend two minutes working at it until you got through.

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Agreed. Non-rogue martials have way too few skills, especially when some of the caster classes are getting way more, and Signature Skills as they currently work are way too restrictive. They're both basically a step backwards from how it was in PF1 instead of a step forward.

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Vic Ferrari wrote:

It seems like Skills really work in a system based around them (no classes), hence why they never seem to quite work as they should in D&D, just an impression/feeling I have developed over the years.

Having played both skill-based and D20 RPGs over the years, I don't think this is necessarily the case.

The big differences, I think, are that in skill-based RPGs you get way, way more skills (except for Savage Worlds), that there are no restrictions on what skills you can take, and that the progression happens more slowly and individually.

You usually start out more generally competent in skill-based RPGs, with some key skills that are elite-tier and quite a few things that you are at least decent or passable at, but improve rather gradually after that, and likely do more broadening of your skillset rather than pushing your best skills up to the max, since the increases usually get more expensive the higher the skill rank you already have.

The big problems with D&D and skills, I felt, was always how incredibly stingy they were with the skill points if you weren't a rogue (2+Int is a joke, especially for a non-spellcaster), and how rigidly they limited what ones you could have to try and keep everyone in these narrow little niches. There's also the issue of how easy it is to get an outrageously large bonus, but if we're limiting item and circumstance bonuses more and tossing Skill Focus then I think that issue's already substantially reduced.

My last couple PF1 characters were a slayer and a stalker (from Path of War), both of which had 6+Int, and I felt like they both managed to have a pretty decently broad skillset with that amount (plus the extra skill point from favored class and two free Knowledge Skills from the optional Background Skills rule). And PF1 isn't too restrictive in terms of what skills you can take: if it's not a class skill you miss out on a +3 bonus (unless you take a trait to make it a class skill), but it's nowhere near as bad as 3E (where you could only get half as many ranks at twice the cost in cross-class skills) or PF2 (where your advancement in non-Signature Skills is capped at 3rd level).

The main things that D20 needs to do to make skills more workable, I think, are to give way more of them to most of the classes (especially non-rogue martials) and loosen the restrictions on what skills you can take based on class. I feel like PF2 took a step backwards on both of these rather than a step forward. Also, that skills that mostly just provide character flavor like Knowledge, Craft, Profession and Perform probably shouldn't come out of the same pool as skills that you actually use to do cool things, like Acrobatics and Stealth and Perception. They're really just not on par in terms of how often you can use them, so taking a skill for flavor winds up costing you heavily in encounters. PF2 takes a small step in this direction with the free Lore skill from Background, for what that's worth.

(More specific to PF2, there's a serious problem with a lot of the DCs appearing to have been copied over from PF1 without accounting for the lower bonuses in this system, resulting in a lot of the skill checks being unreasonably difficult, combined with critical failures and the loss of Take 10 and Take 20. See the stories of people breaking twenty or thirty lockpicks trying to pick the lock in Doomsday Dawn for more details. But that's not a problem with the skill system in general so much as a math problem.)

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Madame Endor wrote:

Nothing about healing is fun. It is way too big a part of the game.

In movies and television, including fantasy, where melee or ranged combat occur, heroes don’t take significant damage very often. If they do take significant damage, it’s in the climactic battle, or it affects the story in a significant way. When real fencers get better, they don’t get more “hit points” to take more damage, they get better at getting through defenses and more importantly, they get better at blocking damage. Ranged combatants get more accurate but also get better strategies at using cover and getting around opponents protections and at getting opponents to expose themselves to attacks. Maybe we don’t need combat to always be inflicting massive damage on player characters. Maybe we could make combat itself more fun and make those attacks that get through mean more instead of whittling characters down in health in combat like Thanksgiving turkeys.

I'll absolutely agree with this part. I'm not a huge fan of D&D/PF's "get hit every round, take tons of damage, use up healing spells" approach. Most tabletop RPGs don't operate on the assumption that PCs will get seriously injured on a regular basis, and while a character might have a healing spell or skill, there won't be a party member dedicated to healing like in D20 games or MMOs. Pretty much every non-D20 system has armor soak damage to some degree, so you can shrug off a lot of the lesser hits or only take minor damage from them, and only get badly hurt on rare occasions of bad luck or particularly dangerous foes, at which point being so badly hurt is serious business (and thus dramatically appropriate).

I'm not sure if I agree with the idea of rolling for defense. AC is already basically taking 10 on the proposed defense roll (and it finally has a skill component to it in PF2 now that you're adding level rather than basing it entirely on magic items), so it seems like it would slow the game down unnecessarily and add an extra element of random chance. Yeah, a lot of other RPGs have defense rolls where you basically determine if you hit in melee with opposed combat skill checks, but those RPGs were designed with that in mind and the degree of success usually determines damage so it matters a lot more. Attacks in D20 are more of a binary pass/fail unless they crit, where the amount of damage dealt has nothing to do with the accuracy or skill of the attack.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Yeah, which is a current problem, where are they getting these bonuses? Monsters don't have to be built like PCs, but some sort of sense of where these bonuses are coming from would be nice.

I think this is legitimately the wrong way to look at things. NPCs give up a huge amount of the flexibility that PCs enjoy in exchange for certain numbers (and only certain numbers) being higher than their stats would indicate.

An NPC 'Warrior' class that traded most stat-bumps, Feats, and other options a PC gets away for a flat bonus to-hit and to certain skills is not hard to imagine, and in many cases basically what's happening. I'm fine with that.

My concern is with the final numbers. The method of getting there is not a huge deal, IMO.

I'm going to disagree with you here. While I don't think NPCs and monsters necessarily should be made the same way as PCs in terms of how many feats and skills they have, I think making their bonuses arbitrary like this creates three very serious problems.

1. One of the changes in PF2E that I really like is that everything is scaling at the same rate of +1/level instead of the wacky mishmash of +1, +3/4, +1/2, +1/3, etc. in PF1E. It keeps things balanced. But these arbitrary bonuses are breaking the scaling system and upsetting the balance. An extra +1 is valuable in this system, so much so that they cut down on ways to get them substantially. Getting Feats doesn't really outweigh those higher bonuses, especially when some of those Feats are "get +1 on a single attack roll if you critically succeed on a Knowledge check" or "get +1 on a single attack roll if you spend a Spell Point."

2. You pointed out before that "feels bad" is a valid concern for game design, and these arbitrarily-high bonuses are demoralizing for the players. A player goes to the trouble of maxing out their Strength or Dexterity and being a fighter for the expert proficiency and is the best warrior a 1st level character can possibly be... and the 1st level orc warrior is better than him with his sword. And at Athletics. And ignoring the armor check penalty of that breastplate somehow. Is the orc stronger than him? No, the orc only has a Strength mod of +2. Is the orc more skilled? No, they're the same level and the orc has no expert proficiencies. At this point, the player wonders why they even bothered. Martials are going to get one-upped at attacks and skills by equal-level creatures, so why even bother being one? You're not actually good at the thing you specialized in. How can you be if you're not even on par with generic goblin mooks?

3. It's immersion-breaking. That orc or that goblin has a low Wisdom? That means that they're easy to fool, right? Nope, their Perception has nothing to do with their Wisdom, and is probably higher than your fighter's. That ogre is clumsy and slow with his low Dexterity? Doesn't affect his Acrobatics or ranged attacks or Reflex saves. You might as well take ability modifiers out of the game, because they don't actually do anything. And every monster of the same level starts to look identical. That ogre is huge and strong, so it's much more of a melee threat than a hobgoblin, right? Nope, same attack bonus for both, and the hobgoblin actually has a bigger damage bonus for no reason! Players know the rules of the game and they know when the monsters are breaking them.

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Unfortunately, not everybody working on the rulebook seems to have looked at that chart, because the Equipment chapter says that a standard lock is DC 20 (beyond extreme difficulty at Level 1, and still severe at Level 4) at pretty much exactly the point at 1st Level where you're as likely to critical fail as to succeed, making it dangerous and unwise to even try.

The Lock DCs appear to have been ported straight over from PF1E without accounting for the fact that skill bonuses are lower and you can't Take 20 anymore.

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One of the uses of Acrobatics is "Tumble Through" which lets you move through an enemy square (but no mention of past it) and says that it triggers an Attack of Opportunity on a failure, which seems to imply that it doesn't on a success. If so, it really needs to be rewritten to make that more explicit.

If you can go through an enemy square, then it seems reasonable to assume that you can go past it, but it doesn't actually say that anywhere in the rules.

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

It's to hedge against critical failure, not to pass trivial DCs (which the game gives to you automatically, as you go on to say:

If Assurance can't let you pass non-trivial DCs, then it doesn't matter if it keeps you from critical failure, you still fail and have no chance of succeeding and moving forward unless you actually roll and take the risk. So it's useless.

Also, even with Assurance you'll still critically fail if it was DC 20, because Assurance just gives you a 10. Picking Locks starts at DC 20, and so does using Battle Medic, so if you have Assurance in those skills you will break your lockpicks and kill your patient.

Assurance is a useless feat that serves no purpose.

There was a reason that skills didn't auto-fail on a natural 1 before and Take 10 and Take 20 existed. It was to prevent exactly these sorts of slapstick fumbles.

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So I just finished running the first adventure of the Playtest a few hours ago, and neither I nor the guy playing the cleric realized that Guidance made the target bolstered, so he was using it quite a bit. Not that it made much of a difference.

I don't feel like letting it be used an unlimited number of times would be unbalancing. Spending an action to grant a +1 isn't even as good as taking the Aid reaction.

There's no point in this being a cantrip as it stands. Cantrips are supposed to be spells that you can use all day. You can only use Guidance as many times as you have party members.

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A couple of additional bits of information:

After the Playtest Rulebook came out, a lot of people lost interest, so I only had two players, who each made two characters. The cleric and wizard were one, the fighter and sorcerer were the other.

I did not realize that Guidance resulted in the target being bolstered against it. The cleric was spamming it like crazy. Not sure what point there is in a cantrip (which is supposed to be unlimited use) that only works once per party member.

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
... Why does an immobile lump of fungus anchored to the walls and floor have a Reflex of +4...?

Agreed. Inanimate objects should automatically fail Reflex saves.

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So, me and a couple of the guys from the Sufficient Velocity forums decided to run the playtest, since both of my IRL groups are already doing campaigns and don't want to drop those for beta testing.

We're getting kind of a late start because we had to cancel twice due to schedule conflicts, so we're just now doing The Lost Star. So yes, I'm aware of the irony that Sufficient Velocity is running late.

Despite not being super-enthused with PF2E, we wound up having a decent amount of fun.

Time to play: approximately four hours, including having trouble getting my mike to work on Roll20.

Number of times players had to rest: once, because the cleric was out of heals and the mages had burnt most of their spells.

Number of deaths/reductions to 0 hp: none. But some PCs got pretty close.

Doomsday Dawn Part 1 Open Response Survey

* 1. While participating in Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn, were you a player or the Game Master?

Game Master

2. Please give us any feedback you have about the narrative structure of Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn.

There was a lack of information on how to handle the players pursuing non-combat solutions, interrogating captured goblins, or at what point the goblins should break and retreat. It also doesn't provide any guidelines for how they should react if the players attack and then retreat to rest: do they not consolidate their forces or otherwise react to being attacked? That the players needed to stop to rest partway through a dungeon this short because they were out of healing seemed awkward for the narrative.

3. Please provide any feedback about the play of specific encounters in Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn.

A1: Sewer Ooze was a poor choice for the first combat of the playtest, as it's immune to critical hits and basically give no opportunity for the players to show off.

A2: Players won initiative on the goblins and took them out reasonably quickly, taking several hits in the process. Players took one goblin alive with Sleep, interrogated him. Module didn't not provide information on what he should share in this circumstance.

(I forgot to include in the survey: rules did not provide any circumstance bonus for Intimidation when the target is tied up and has a halfling sorcerer's dragon claws in his face. Not that it mattered because he rolled 16 against the goblins Will DC 10.)

A3: Players did not enter this room. If they had, it seems likely that the centipedes would have done them substantial harm.

A4: Odds of making a critical success on the Medicine check while examining the bodies are extremely slim. It's also strange that recognizing that it's not the work of a vampire wouldn't be a Religion check, since it's about knowledge of the undead.

A5: Players didn't enter the room as soon as they realized it was full of fungus. If they had, it seems unlikely that they would have been able to disarm it.

A6: Took two times through the room to notice the idol, then used Mage Hand to remove it from the pool, removing the need for a Thievery check.

Players did not bother trying to unlock the door in the south and just bashed it down with an axe. Even if they had Thievery, the odds of succeeding at three DC 20 checks before breaking their pick are almost nil.

A7: Players came to this room on the second day. Halfling sorceror snuck into room and was only noticed by Goblin Commando, then ran back to the party, who were waiting to ambush at the other end of the passageway. Module text said that goblins should wait for players to come to them and trigger trap, but I didn't want a long stalemate where neither side moved. Goblins pursued, Goblin Commando and two Goblin Warriors were killed, inflicting some damage on the fighter in the process. Last Goblin Warrior and Goblin Pyro retreated back into the room and waited by the trap, but players did not pursue and instead tried to shout demands for surrender. Eventual stalemate, players never entered room.

A8: This was the last room that the players came to on the first day. They burned the last of their healing spells after this room, and still weren't back to full, so they went back to rest. Hard to keep track of six creatures with three attacks each; almost forgot one a few times. Combat started at close range, so skeletons got all three attacks often and it seemed like every time they hit with the first two. Skeleton resistances barely slowed down the fighter's axe hits, but rendered the sorcerer's cantrips pretty useless; he had to resort to Magic Missile. All of the wizard (enchantment school)'s 1st level spells were useless against mindless undead, but he had Telekinetic Projectile so he was fine.

Given that Pathfinder Society Hopeful is a background for this adventure, it would have been nice to know what information Pathfinder Society Lore could have provided about the dead Pathfinder in this room. There doesn't seem to have been any opportunities for players to roll their background-granted Lore skills.

A9: Gnome wizard player wanted to try knocking over hourglass with ten-foot-pole before halfing sorcerer reminded him that he had Mage Hand. I let the sorcerer use his spellcasting modifier instead of Thievery to remove the hourglass; nothing in the rules about it but I wanted to give them a sliver of a chance. Sorcerer was going to crit fail, but used Lucky Halfling to reroll and succeeded.

A10: Players passed up their door on the first day because it was stuck, went through it on the second day after facing the goblins from A7. I assumed Drakus would have heard the fighting and thus was hiding next to altar. Dwarf fighter and human cleric rolled well and saw him. Cleric used Summon Monster. 1st level Summon Monster options were a bit thin and didn't include anything with a celestial flavor, so the cleric summoned a pig in the square in front of Drakus. This blocked dwarf fighter from reaching Drakus; I suggested that he could jump onto the altar but he noted that would be an action, so with the move before and after the jump he would have none left to attack. Dwarf moved up to just behind the pig instead. Drakus spend two actions making claw attacks/grabs on the pig, taking it out, third action to suck its blood for terror factor. Halfling sorcerer unleashed three magic missiles. Gnome wizard cast sleep, Drakus saved, save success effect on Sleep is -1 Perception which is pretty useless if you're already in combat. Cleric cast Disrupt Undead, confirming Drakus is not undead. Dwarf fighter Stepped up, Double Sliced, one crit and one hit. Drakus revealed his true form, then attacked with longsword and claw, one hit and one crit. Huge attack bonus plus bonus from revealing true form made his attack so high there was almost no chance of missing. Halfling sorcerer used scroll of Shocking Grasp from A8 and Dragon Claws to finish Drakus. I handwaved the action cost of running up and jumping onto the altar as just one action and the combining of Shocking Grasp with a natural weapon because it was cooler that way.

4. Please provide any feedback about the player characters and how they interacted with Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn.

Player character AC ranged from 12 (cleric without shield) to 13 (wizard, sorcerer) to 14 (cleric with shield) to 16 (fighter). With all Level 0 monsters arbitrarily having +6 to attack regardless of ability scores or proficiency, PCs were getting hit rather often.

Fighter's player was somewhat demoralized that maxing out his stat and having expert proficiency only got him on par with goblin mooks, and the cleric and mages didn't have a very good chance to hit.

Cleric almost never used his shield block reaction when his shield was raised because he was afraid of breaking his shield. It's immersion-breaking that the hardness of wood suddenly plummets when it's used in a shield instead of a door.

Cleric avoided medium armor and fighter avoided heavy armor due to fearing the speed penalties. Even in breastplate, Armor Check Penalty entirely negated the fighter's Strength advantage on Athletics checks.

Fighter used dwarven axe and clan dagger, a fun and versatile combination. Fighter's player praised the interesting variety of weapon abilities.

Gnome wizard (enchantment school) complained about the number of enemies that were immune to enchantment. Cleric complained about area-effect heal doing too little to be worth using.

Problem arose when mages couldn't Ready to cast spells because you can only Ready a one-action activity.

Several complaints about having to spend action to do things that were free actions previously.

5. Please provide any feedback about the monster, hazard, and treasure mechanics in Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn.

The players stayed out of the room with the mindfog fungus as soon as they identified it, which is good because there was only a very slim chance that they could have disarmed it even with trained Survival and a buff from Guidance. DC 19 is much too high for 1st level.

No member of the party had Thievery or dispel magic (which isn't available at this level), so we had to get creative to disarm the Sands of the Boneyard trap using Mage Hand.

If it were not for lucky rolls, the players would have missed out on a fair bit of treasure. Needing to crit on a DC 10 check (i.e. DC 20) is very unlikely at 1st level. It wasn't until they went through A6 again on the second day that they made the DC 15 check to notice the Lamashtu idol in the fountain.

Monsters having three attacks and arbitrarily-large attack rolls means they'll likely damage the players every round and run a good chance of damaging them seriously. It results in burning through a lot of healing spells. Without a cleric, I don't see how this could have worked.

6. What was your favorite aspect of Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn?

RPing goblins during the times that players interrogated or negotiated with them. Drakus eating that pig in front of the PCs and getting his heart ripped out by the halfling sorcerer's shocking/icy dragon claws.

So... basically the parts I adlibbed.

7. Were there any aspects of play in Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn that did not live up to your expectations?

Information was not terribly well organized, had to go looking through a lot of text for answers to player questions. Lack of morale information on goblins, or how to RP them.

Spellcasters didn't feel like they got much bang for their buck when they used their 1st Level spells, compared to just attacking with their cantrips or the cleric's scimitar.

Lore skills from the backgrounds never got an opportunity to be rolled.

Non-linear layout made it a little too easy to accidentally skip straight to the boss fight.

8. Do you have any other comments, feedback, or concerns relating to Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn?

Was not the brutal slugfest I expected from other people's reports of TPKs, but players avoided some of the worst fights and got lucky on others. I didn't play the monsters very tactically. It's still troubling that they needed to rest during such a short dungeon because they were out of healing from taking so much damage. Wound up going off script on the module a lot for the sake of letting the players do whatever creative idea they had instead of sticking rigidly to the playtest.

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Quijenoth wrote:

Assuming 4 Free ability boosts and using the stat creation from the rulebook.
Characters will have 14 14 14 12 12 12 average stats.
at 5th that's 16 and 5-14s,
at 10th that's 5-16s and a 14,
at 15 only 3-18s and 3-16s,
at 20 you have 5-18s and one 19.

In PF1 this sort of balanced approach would be fine, but in PF2 all the skill DCs and monster stats are calculated to give the player even odds of success if they've maxed out the relevant stat, so this sort of jack-of-all-stats approach would result in failing more checks than you succeeded.

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Isaac Zephyr wrote:

Concerning Battle Medic specifically though, if Assurance was any more powerful you're looking at automatic critical success in most cases.

What? To crit succeed on Battle Medic with Assurance, you'd have to be Legendary in Medicine (DC 30). To even succeed you'd have to be Master (DC 20). If you're Expert, you'll fail. If you're Trained, you'll critically fail and kill your patient.

You can't even succeed to perform First Aid with Assurance unless you're Expert (DC 15).

For that matter, what are these fixed DC skill checks that Assurance's DC 10 result can make? The only ones I see are pulling an arrow out of a wall, Long Jumping 5 feet, Recall Knowledge to recognize a Legendary Performer or Professional and Aid if it's "a particularly easy task." That's it.

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I can't quite think of something that might fit Armor as an automatic Proficiency bonus,

How about reducing the Armor Check Penalty, much like how fighters had Armor Training in PF1? Eliminating speed penalties? As it stands, the downsides of wearing heavy armor are pretty brutal.

So, instead of your sword's +X bonus determining how many dice you roll, make it based on Proficiency.

This idea has been floating in other threads, and while I love the idea of making the damage increase tied to level progression instead of magic items, basing it on proficiency has a ton of problems. Proficiency increases are wildly uneven across different classes, and only the fighter gets Legendary weapon prof. You're going to wind up with huge variance in the damage between different characters, even martial characters.

My preference would be to add proficiency bonus (including level) to damage like we do to every other stat.

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Jason S wrote:

Couldn't you say that about every character and every class, that everyone wants to have something outside of their iconic skill set to make them unique, including classes like fighter who have only 3 trained skills?

Yes, absolutely. The fighter needs to have more skills. 3 + Int in this system is basically the same as what it had before (when you account for the extra skill from favored class), which I know the devs know is too few, because after the core book they never made a martial class with no spells that only had 2 + Int skills ever again.

The ranger's particularly problematic because it actually had its number of skills reduced while the bard became a full caster and had its increased. There just seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

Honestly, I think there needs to be a lot more skills in general, because with the exception of Savage Worlds, D20 system games are by far the stingiest RPGs when it comes to skills that I've ever played. But non-spellcasters need to have more skills than spellcasters, because spellcasters have spells to let them do nearly anything, but skills are the only versatility that other classes have.

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Cantriped wrote:
I don't think there is a mechanical issue with Wizards (or any other spellcaster really) wearing heavy armor... because armor is a death-trap. Armor has no impact at all on your potential AC (if you're properly built); rather the heavier your armor, the worse your TAC, Speed, and Checks. The worst part is the Wizard is paying a dedication feat for the 'privilage' of suffering those penalties. At least Fighters and Paladins are getting greater proficiency ranks to compensate (ineffectively)

In almost twenty years of playing 3.X and Pathfinder, I've never worn medium or heavy armor because the skill and speed penalties weren't worth it. And if anything they're worse now, so I don't see that changing.

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Knight Magenta wrote:

I think that bench-marking against creatures you face is very reasonable. It is a simulationist view of the game. The thinking goes: The bonuses I have to my attack represent my martial skill with my weapon. Even if I can't "see" the bonus of enemies in game, if a goblin is hitting me more often then I could hit my evil twin, then I feel like said goblin is more skilled then me. This is very discouraging if the fantasy you are trying to play out is "blade master."

This. You don't feel very heroic when the most famously-weak mooks in the game are as good or better than you at the thing you've focused on.

Cantriped wrote:
The Bestiary is written operating under the false assumption that every character is acquiring all of the standard modifiers relevent to every check they perform as fast as possible. By standard modifiers I mean Ability, Proficiency, Quality, etc...

Agreed. It's impossible to max out more than one ability score or more than three skills (six if you're a rogue), whether or not you can max out your attack, saves or Perception is dependent on your class, and you have no way of knowing if you'll get a bonus-granting item at the first moment that it becomes available (and you may not be able to wear the best armor for your Dex bonus).

Not to mention that they're designing everything around the assumption that you've min-maxed rather than trying to make a balanced character, and are never doing anything that's not your class' main specialty.

Things should be balanced around the average bonus, so that being extraordinary at that thing is an actual advantage rather than a bare minimum requirement to even bother trying, with everyone else being hopeless.

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The various standard D&D armors are kind of from all over history, rather than all being contemporaries.

You've got bronze breastplates in the classical era, and then (chain)mail started to show up. Mail would eventually extend to cover pretty much the whole body. Then over the course of the medieval period, people started adding more solid plates to their mail (including first coats of multiple smaller plates--what D&D mistakenly calls studded leather--and then later solid breastplates) until eventually it was almost entirely plates with only some mail at the joints. At that point, shields fell out of use because the armor coverage was so total that there was no need for it.

Then guns came along and started punching holes through the steel plates.

The reason the breastplate was one of the last armors to become obsolete was because, as firearms came on the scene and became more powerful, armor plates had to become thicker to stop it. (Mail was just plain useless; it actually made bullet wounds worse.) It very quickly reached the point where a full suit at that thickness would be too heavy to be practical, but keeping just the breastplate to protect the center of mess would still work.

Firearms then eventually rendered those obsolete as well, and armor disappeared from the battlefield for a few centuries.

(Modern steel ballistic plates to protect against rifles are way thicker than medieval armor was, and heavy enough that they can only manage 10" x 12" plates front and back, which weigh about 15 lbs.)

So in the kind of era D&D tends to take place, where firearms are rare, I think it's very unlikely that you'd see a breastplate by itself, rather than as an addition to an armor with more coverage (like chainmail) or as part of a full plate suit.

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Even when there was just the core book, I feel like PF1 gave you a lot more choice in how to customize your character. Yeah, some classes were more restrictive than others (if you were a ranger, your five bonus feats could only be related to two-weapon fighting or ranged combat) but at least you still had your ten general feats to take whatever combat feats you wanted.

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At this point, I feel like I'm doing the playtest more for the sake of giving the feedback than because I think it will actually be any fun.

For my part, I'm struggling to find players to run the playtest with. Some people who were previously interested were turned off as soon as they saw the rulebook. Currently I only have two. I've run or played Pathfinder with only two PCs on several occasions, but I've done that by changing the parameters to balance the smaller numbers: extra levels, mythic ranks, Path of War. I can't do that in the playtest without invalidating the data and by all accounts it's a total meatgrinder so without a full party and dedicated healer they won't stand a chance. right now the plan is to have them run two PCs apiece, so at least they'll get to experience multiple classes.

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Vic Ferrari wrote:

Yeah, Stances debuted in ToB (very cool stuff), and came back in 4th Ed Essentials (again, some very cool stances).

My experience with 4E begins and ends with the PHB. My group tried playing it when it first came out and had such a miserable time that we dropped it like a hot rock and went back to playing Star Wars.

But yeah, considering that Legendary kicks in at the same level as 8th level spells, it really needs to be way more powerful than it is.

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Doktor Weasel wrote:

I know that dex to damage can be a bit contentious. Basically it kind of makes Dex the One True Stat. Use it to hit with a finesse or ranged weapon, use it for damage with dex to damage, use it for AC, for Reflex Saves and for acrobatics, stealth and thievery skills. So you can just ignore Strength. Strength on the other hand is only used for attack for melee weapons, damage, carrying capacity and the athletics skill. Dex is already more versatile, dex to damage makes strength almost a non-issue for dex builds.

If that was the concern, then why give it to the rogue for free? It lets them dump STR without any repurcussions in a way no other martial can. (And they're arguably the ones that need it least, because they're supposed to be using sneak attack to keep their damage competitive.)

I would be okay with not having options for Dex-to-damage; I would be sad for the Dex fighters and rangers, but I would understand why they would not want to let you ignore the consequences of dumping a stat. I would also be okay with it being available to anyone (or at least appropriate classes) as a feat, because I figure there should be a cost for dumping STR and a feat seems like a fair one. It being free for one class and denied to all the others I'm not so okay with.

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AndIMustMask wrote:

all these legendary figures to try and emulate, like beowulf (dismembering monsters with his bare hands), cu chulainn (rhiastrahd transformation, feats of acrobatics, slaying armies singlehandedly, fighting while dead), siegfried (nigh-invulnerability, other feats of heroism), fionn mac cumhaill (tossing huge boulders/small islands at people), fergus mac roich (cutting/blasting the tops from hills, slaying armies singlehandedly), and so many more--not even touching the greeks or the japanese, and the only real mythical fantasy you get to actually live out is merlin.

This. When they talked about "legendary" feats for martials, I was expecting to be able to do, if not the sort of mythic stuff described above, then at least anime/wuxia-type stuff.

Kalindlara wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

As a lover of all those things, I was really excited for 4e. It ended up being less awesome than I'd hoped, but still (to me) quite enjoyable.

I liked it far better than the PF2 playtest rules, though.

Mark me down as another one who loved SWSE and looked forward to 4E because I thought it would be in the same mold, only to be disappointed.

Never got a chance to play with ToB/Bo9S, but I have used the third-party Pathfinder version, Path of War, and it's been working great. When the previews started talking about fighters having stances and combos, I was hoping for something like PoW.

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Yossarian wrote:
As a GM designing encounters in PF1 adding mooks is a tricky business. Either you have them unable to hit the better protected PCs or their CR gets too high and there's no room for them alongside their boss to get the action economy balance you want.

As someone who's GMed a fair amount of SWSE and PF1, as well as other RPGs, in my experience the mooks aren't supposed to be a genuine threat to the PCs. That's why they're mooks. In a fight with a more powerful boss, they're mostly there to divide the PCs attention so that they don't overwhelm the boss too quickly though sheer number of actions and to let those with AoE or multi-target attacks a chance to use them. In a fight without a boss, they're there to let the PCs feel like heroes by taking out a numerically-superior foe and maybe consume some resources. I don't expect them to have a 50/50 chance of hitting the PCs, because then they wouldn't be mooks, they'd be equals. Even a 20% chance, across multiple mooks, means that there's a decent risk of someone getting hit and the players will want to clear them out quickly. All the more so now that every single one is getting three attacks. That's a lot of chances to roll a 20.

(SWSE made using mooks even easier by letting stormtroopers Aid Another each other without needing to roll, so multiple stormtroopers could form up like Voltron to make one attack with a higher bonus instead of multiple attacks with low ones.)

A game where even the weakest enemy I throw my players up against is going to have just as good an attack as their very best and roughly a 50/50 chance to hit even the best ACs among them... that just doesn't feel very "heroic fantasy" to me.

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Moro wrote:
The Narration wrote:

unabashed powergamer who considered "I am the star of the show and the rest of you are just here to be my entourage" to be the appropriate way to play. He always played wizards. :-P

Our unabashed powergamer was awesome, but he always played his Wizard (or Druid, or Cleric) in a manner that made everyone else the stars of the show, as far as encounters went. Took the rest of the group a couple of years, and a few sessions where he wasn't able to make it, to catch on to exactly how it was working.

When I ran Second Darkness a couple of years ago, a different friend of mine played a wizard who focused on counterspelling and supporting the rest of the party. The result was that everybody had fun and the most potent and frequently cast spell in his arsenal, even when he could be casting 8th level ones, was haste, because it meant that the arcane archer and rogue got even more attacks than usual.

He spent the final battle holding an action to Spell Parry the BBEG cleric, and was so effective at rebounding anything she used back at her that she had to give up on casting entirely and fight the rest of the party in melee.

The game is always more fun when the players are playing with each other instead of against each other.

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Andarr wrote:

I will admit it - I am a caster player, and I am VERY disappointed by the general "hit the casters with a bat until they stop moving" trend that started with the 5e, and which I'd hoped would spare the second edition of Pathfinder. Seems to me like a vocal minority is making a crusade to try and paint casters in a bad light, therefore ruining them for the silent majority.

Of the dozen so people I've played D&D/PF with over the years, pretty much all of them thought that primary casters had game-breaking balance problems, including the ones who were playing casters. The only one who I can imagine disagreeing is the unabashed powergamer who considered "I am the star of the show and the rest of you are just here to be my entourage" to be the appropriate way to play. He always played wizards. :-P

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I've put forth this idea before in other threads, but I feel like the simplest and most straightforward answer is to add your proficiency bonus to damage just like you do for every other stat. +1/level comes in right between the average of 1d6 and 1d8 per 4 levels, and if magic weapons still added +1 to +5 then it would bump it up to between 1d8 and 1d10. Those with higher proficiency would have a bigger bonus to damage just like they did to attack; admittedly not a lot, but more than they have now and not so much that it unbalances the game like an extra die would. Fighter would have slightly higher damage normally, but barbarian would go a little higher while raging, as it should be. No need to create a wacky new subsystem, just applying the existing system to the one thing it doesn't apply to already. The math stays simple and I don't need to buy 12d12 for when the +5 greatsword crits.

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On the subject of "just because people bought 4E didn't mean that they played it," I own a 4E PHB. It's been sitting unused in a closet for more than a decade. My friends and I were eager for 4E because we thought it was going to be something akin to Star Wars Saga Edition, which we'd found to be the most fun we'd ever had with the D20 system. But when we actually tried playing it we utterly hated it, so we dropped it like a hot rock and went back to playing Star Wars until Pathfinder came along.

It wasn't that it was different from 3E, because a lot of those changes had worked extremely well in Saga Edition: per-encounter powers, defenses and damage that scaled with level. But it gave the players very little choice and no options to make their characters unique and interesting: you had to follow the most generic archetype of your class. And combat was a miserable experience, getting constantly beaten bloody by generic monsters with better attacks and AC and only staying up by being constantly healed by the cleric until the healing ran out. We didn't feel like we could make interesting characters and we had no fun playing. Those were unforgivable failings.

This is why I find it extremely insulting whenever someone tries to claim that people who don't like the PF2E playtest are just complaining because they don't want anything to change. There are plenty of things about PF1E that annoy me, and pretty much all of them are legacy problems from D&D that PF was forced to inherit in the name of backwards compatibility. A new edition was a chance to finally break free of the constraints of the past and fix those problems, take things in a new direction. And PF2E is making improvements on a few of those things: level to AC, standardized progression, maximized hit dice, nerfed save-or-lose spells, stronger cantrips, progressing weapon damage. But it's also keeping a lot of those problems: magic item dependence, looting, per-day abilities that prompt players to interrupt the adventure for a nap, iterative attacks that slow down combat.

Reading the preview blogs, I was really enthused. The idea of class feats letting you pick your class features reminded me of Saga Edition and how selectable talents made every class infinitely customizable. But now that the rulebook is available, it turns out that each class only has a very limited number of feats to pick from and the class features give you less choice than PF1E did. And the monsters in the Bestiary have arbitrarily high attack and skill bonuses, and people have described the combat as a meatgrinder with a high risk of TPKs. That's a disturbingly familiar description.

I've played worse systems than this. If one of my friends wants to run it, I'll play. But I don't see any reason we would ever play this instead of PF1E. That system has problems, but it has far more freedom of choice, cooler options and we have options to patch up the issues.

I don't think they need to rebuild from scratch, but this needs a lot of work if it's going to be something that I'm going to want to play more than its predecessor.

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Letting any trained character Treat Wounds out of combat (as they could in PF1) and then having Battlefield Medic let them do it in combat seems sensible to me.

And the DC really needs to come down. A DC 20 wasn't unreasonable in PF1, but bonuses are lower in PF2 and critical failures are a thing.

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Red Rabbit wrote:

As far as I know, in PF1, there is only Ki Stand if you wanted to stand up without provoking. I am reasonably sure that you cannot do it with an acrobatics check.

Hmm... looking at the books again that seems to be the case. That really surprises me, because I'm quite certain that standing up as a free action existed in older versions of the game. I know it was a DC 15 Acrobatics check in SWSE.

(Apparently it was a DC 35 check in the 3.5 Complete Adventurer? That's nuts. Kipping up is not something that only a handful of people in the world can do, it's a fairly common move. In 3.0 a DC 40 would let you move 10 feet in a 5 foot step.)

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That wizards have the least skills is understandable. I'm fully of the opinion that skills and spellcasting should be inversely proportional. Skills are how non-casters are able to participate, so those without spells have the most need for them. I do kind of think that 2 + Int is probably too few skills for any class to get, but wizards should definitely be on the bottom of the pile in that regard because they're on the top of the pile for spells.

Why the alchemist has so few doesn't really make sense to me. The alchemist isn't a spellcaster. Their bombs are basically on par with cantrips and scale similarly but have limited uses per day, as making them consumes Resonance.

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