Hand of the Inheritor

The Systems Agnostic's page

26 posts. Alias of Alex Cunningham.


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Bit of a necro, but I ran the first chunk of SERPENT'S SKULL in STAR WARS / EDGE OF THE EMPIRE and found the common elements of exploration and swashbuckling matched well.

I worked up a conversion document I'd be happy to share if anyone's interested!

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Again we see the necessary and appropriate critical reevaluation of 4e!

I strongly agree with the OP here.

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Lord_Malkov wrote:

But really, this is all down to the main thrust of PF2, which is: Keep everyone in line to make everything easier to control.

This has a name. It is called balance.

I am not certain at all whether you, Malkov, are for or against it, but I will say that the people against it are almost always the ones benefitted by the imbalance.

When children complain that something is "unfair" what they often mean is that it is not unfair in their favor. I think the folks at Paizo understand this and are accounting for it.

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dragonhunterq wrote:

The 'official' nomenclature is hardly a bastion of agreement and clarity. Depending on who you ask and what specific period of history and where in the world you are referring too...

This just isn't true.

There are a handful of expert historians and curators who have simply and clearly defined most of the important vocabulary in English (and other languages). Of the dozens of museums and hundreds of even-a-little-bit-scholarly publications from the last 50 years, you won't see the term "chainmail". You'll see "mail". Please take a cursory glance at literally anything put out by the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Royal Armouries.

And claiming "authority figure has some small inconsistencies in edge cases so we shouldn't trust anything at ALL from that authority" suggests a lack of mental flexibility that might put at risk your ability to, you know, play games.

Aiken Frost wrote:

Armor should be more consistent with real world history!

Screeeeee, muh fantasy! Real armor is stupid and boring, I want amazing fantastical armor with spikes all over, studs in my leathers and shoulder plates bigger than barrels of manure! AND BOOBPLATES, DON'T FORGET THE BOOBPLATES!!!

Heavy armor should be better!

Screeeeee, muh realism! You are a steel croissant, there is no way you could even move without being dragged around by a crane exactly like in real Dark Ages!
Sigh. Sometimes I wonder why people don't just petition Paizo to remove martial classes completely from the system.

I loled. I can admit it.

Matthew Downie wrote:

But my preference is for a game where interesting problems are not trivialized as soon as you hit level 9, to the extent that stories have to be rewritten to accommodate it:

Week 1:
GM: "You must fight your way out of the slave-pits of Khazar..."
Wizard: "Teleport."

Week 2:
GM: "You have been hired to carry a valuable cargo across the perilous Sea of Scimitars..."
Wizard: "Teleport."

Week 3:
GM: "You must rescue the priestess from the city prison..."
Wizard: "Teleport."

Week 4:
GM: "It's a race against time! Can you bring the priestess to the temple in time to prevent the ritual? The Bladehawks will be trying to thwart you at every step!"
Wizard: "Teleport."

Week 5:
GM: "You must cross the Plains of Desolation and cast the evil artefact into the Bottomless Pit."
Wizard: "Teleport."

Week 6+:
GM: "There is a dungeon full of monsters. You must kill them all."
Wizard: "Finally, a challenge worthy of my skills!"

An excellent set of examples, Downie. I am grateful for the OP's detailed breakdown, but it really comes off as complaining about a non-issue, or a rich person complaining about estate taxes.

If you've run the numbers and this is the case, then:


That's a REAL problem.

thistledown wrote:

My problem with the armor table: materials. I'm making a druid, and our limitation of 'no metal armor' should be straight-forward. But I've seen plenty of 'Scale' armor out there made of leather, chiten, whatever. Also, how is Hide armor different from Leather armor?

Since there's no description, I could even do a Breastplate of 'not-metal' and be fine.

But there is already a bigger problem here: the ufcking absurdity of imagining an armor that does not use metal _anywhere_ in its construction, on top of the perplexing imbalance in why some druidic organization would be fine with the forging of scimitars but not of rivets.

More on-topic, just popping back in to say +1 to this thread's core theme that the tables and nomenclature are a mess.

[SARCASTIC FLAME WAR]But all y'all talking about how armor names are messed up but still using the term "chainmail" need to take a walk to clear your soggy brains.[/SARCASTIC FLAME WAR]

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Frustrating as it is in a world where this is considered thoughtful behavior from a designer, we'll never get a great balance of verisimilitude and fun gameplay.

So, OP, you're asking the wrong question.

"Why can't we just rename the armors to something abstract?" might be a better one, IMHO.

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The Gold Sovereign wrote:

Those are the suggestions for changes in the layout regarding the Spells section and powers.

1) Powers should go in their own section.

2) There should be a list o powers, sorted by class or class feature and ordered by power level.

3) There's no need for the redundant "Casting" in all actions required to cast the spell, as the description section is already called "Casting".

3.5) If casting a spell requires two or three actions, why aren't the two actions and the three actions icon being used? In favor of space economy, it could go like this: "[[A,A,A]] Material, Somatic, Verbal", instead of this: "[[A]] Material Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting.

4) Spells should get the magic traditions from which they hail in their description. Maybe among their traits.

These are exactly my concerns, and I wholeheartedly agree with these fixes.

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thejeff wrote:

I like to play casters. I think that they need to be weakened from PF1.

It's not about caster players vs martial players, each side wanting to boost their own favorites and weaken the other side's. It's about wanting a better balance between them.
Some certainly disagree about the problem and where the balance should be, but I still don't see it the way you describe it.

TheJeff gets it. Aadgarven talkin' 'bout how HE is less powerful now is, apparently, playing a very different game than I am, one where he is personally wounded by better character balance, and one where his individual need to feel powerful is more important than everyone at the table feeling like they have a fair shot at contributing to the fun.

I sign off on the title of this thread.

This PF2e was a great opportunity to clean up and clarify the language of PF1, and all we got in that department was Ancestry.

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IF they are going to cost a feat, they should be as powerful as all those other amazing feats that could also be chosen.

BUT I think they should ditch the "exotic" terminology, nerf them very slightly down to "martial" levels, and just use the "uncommon" tag to make some of them more flavorful than others.

gwynfrid wrote:

Lots of good points. For the sake of length, I'm going to leave out the parts I 100% agree with, and only comment where I'm not wholly aligned with you.

Just calling out my appreciation for thoughtful disagreement here. Really learning more from this playtest forum discussion than I expected to.

My perspective on the forums was much too cynical, I am delighted to discover.

gwynfrid wrote:
Vancian magic is the oldest of sacred cows. I would have liked an attempt to do away with it, but it seems like a bridge too far.

I completely agree with this. Doesn't mean it doesn't make a bunch of us mad to see it, but it's also a real dealbreaker for some of us, which is a shame all around.

gwynfrid wrote:

The Systems Agnostic wrote:

- Some are just plain better than others (e.g.: Dwarven stonecunning).

Not addressed! Multiple ancestries have feats like Stonecunning that are circumstantial and highly limited, right alongside feats like Nimble, that are useful to any character class in almost any situation. Meanwhile, darkvision and low-light vision are still somehow both included, despite the headache-y tracking involved, and despite the crippling of characters with normal vision. (This is a reason most play groups just ignore the vision rules, handwave them, or otherwise work around them.)

At least partially addressed. Some of the worst imbalances have been removed, in particular humans being the best in the vast majority of classes. Another example: Halfling Luck is gone. It may be that some of the ancestry feats are unappealing in the same way they were in PF1, however.

You raise a really good point. They brought everything much closer in line. I'm sore that they didn't do a better job, but I concede you are right that they did a better job than I initially gave them credit for.

The sizeism point, the choice of options point, also interesting perspectives where, I think, reasonable people may look at the same evidence and still disagree.

RazarTuk wrote:

From the Google Doc:

The Systems Agnostic wrote:
Weapons and armor use outdated and confusing terminology.

As an addendum to this, I would add the existence of breastplate and chain shirt. They both feel like options from a piecemeal armor system that found their way into a non-piecemeal system. All you'd really have to do to remove the armor types that only exist in fantasy worlds is:

  • Remove the piecemeal armors and studded leather
  • Replace Leather as an armor with leather scales, lamellar, and plate, which all use it as a material
  • Make padded a serious choice
  • Introduce an untreated leather jerkin (what most people imagine when they hear "leather armor") as the new joke option
  • Remove the full/half plate distinction, because it's basically the same distinction as masterwork.

"Best in class" options at every level of weapons and armor.
I don't see what the problem is with this. Or rather, if they're introducing equipment levels from Starfinder, I think it's reasonable to have a variety of level 1 options, then add a level 2 option (or even potentially level 3, for something like plate) as that thing most characters will want to upgrade to when given the chance.

First point: I love, and believe I concurred with you on this point in another thread.

Second bit: My issue with "best in category" options, when they're so much clearly better, is that it degrades player choice. Having a Starfinder-style thing where, AMONG level 2 weapons, there are some that deal good burst damage and some that are more accurate (etc.) but all are clearly upgrades from level 1 weapons: THAT would intrigue me.

Definitely looking for others' thoughts on these takes, if they have them.

I've really appreciated the strong discussion on the Playtest forums so far.

AndIMustMask wrote:
[outrage]don't you talk about monk and rogue like that! they didn't deserve what was done to them!

Ha! I like a lot of how they were developed over the long history of PF1. I remain unconvinced that they have been moved as far as they should be or could be.

Other thoughts on classes, in terms of how they do or do not live up to the potential here in PF2e to fix long-established problems?

MaxAstro wrote:

Mark has said that the choice for which APG class to make into a base class came down to virtually a coin toss between Alchemist and Oracle.

That being the case, it's almost certain we will get an Oracle class at some point.

This is interesting. I would be curious why they are still "holding back" in that way. (Not suggesting any of us on the boards have the answer, necessarily.)

I can see both sides:

- On the one hand, go ahead and test the baseline first. Set a control group.

- On the other hand, ufck the 3.0 core classes; they had their day in the sun, and some of them wasted it.

When it comes to classes, this playtest is still a playtest of Wizards of the Coast's ideas, which is the most annoying thing about it. Paizo is acting like a stepdad who takes up the old dad's hobbies to try to better appeal to his new stepchildren.

Elleth wrote:
Thanks for these. It's interesting to read complaints of a previous system compared to the new.

Happy to oblige. Very much interested in your--and others'--thoughts, too!

Culach wrote:
Keylac wrote:

I doubt there will be an Oracle, except possibly as an Archetype, since the Sorcerer is now the all-magic spontaneous caster.

I disagree, I think the Oracle has a pretty unique design space that the Sorcerer is unable to fill.

Curses and their affects are interesting enough that they on their own could be worth bringing in Oracles. Imagine that the Blackened Curse still penalizes combat (maybe limiting them to untrained in any weapon proficiency) but they still get a +2 when working with Fire based spells.

Most gods would grant access to the Divine list, but other gods would probably grant access to other lists (Erastil = Primal, Nethys = Arcane, Pharasma = Occult) leading to a different flavor of caster entirely when combined with their curses.

Curses also incentivize story and roleplaying, which may be my favorite thing about the oracle.

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*I have several threads for all of my thoughts, but they are also collected--with a statement of the aims of my analysis--here in this Google Doc.*

- Acrobatics v Athletics is ill-defined.
Addressed! Both can be used to a great degree without training, and for very specific things. We have a clearer sense of why one is a DEX-based skill and the other STR-based. There is still a real utility disparity (Acrobatics being broken down into chunks that seem like variations on the same activity, while Athletics allows you do do more distinct actions), but that is a question of granularity in design about which reasonable people can disagree.

- Diplomacy is OP (and the rules are clunky).
Partially addressed! The “attitude” system is still clunky, in that it functions like an NPC stat but is also super nebulous, but the skill itself is simple and clear. The other social skills are plenty useful to balance out the “Diplomancers”.

- Heal (Medicine) is useless for PCs with access to magical healing (ie: all PCs).
Partially addressed! Now there’s a skill feat for Medicine that reads as pretty overpowered, which is a form of balance because it costs something extra, but you get something extra.

- Knowledges range widely in utility.
Partially addressed! None of the “lore” skills/subskills are ever going to be as useful as Arcana or Athletics or Deception, but they’re not so rigidly predefined, so you can work with your GM (if you have that kind of GM) to make them useful for your specific campaign. Arcana and Nature got HUGE buffs, increasing the divergence further.

- Perception is the Daddy of skills. (It’s more useful than SAVING THROWS!)
Partially addressed! It’s a separate “thing”, not well-defined, when it should just be another one of your Saving Throws, which would be imbalanced, except that Will Saves should always have been based on CHA anyway, so swap that in. It is impacted by proficiency, which is fantastic.

- Skill taxes like performance, disable device, pickpocket, craft.
Partially addressed! Okay, mostly addressed. Giving a common crafting skill and making it ever more useful with skill feats, making performance clear and sensible--these are nice touches. Apparently opening a lock and disabling a trap require separate actions, but are down to one skill. But if you want to do much that is cool or unique with skills--regardless of the skill--you often have to pay for it, and pay for it by buying something that any other PC could also buy, so yeah, rogues will probably feel some taxation.

- Skill runts like profession, spellcraft, ride, climb, and swim.
Addressed! All rolled into other skills. Very sensibly done.

- Feat taxes / “mandatory” feats.
Addressed! In a number of notes elsewhere--long and the short of it; there are some feats that are slightly imbalanced here and there, but nothing wildly egregious, and nothing like the math problems early-stage DnD4e presented.

- Weapon finesse is either useless or mandatory.
Partially addressed! Agile and finesse weapons give DEX-based characters some clear benefits just for picking those weapons up. But the long-sought-after DEX-to-damage is a rogue-only feature, for what reason Aroden only knows.

- Magic Item Creation feats are either useless or broken OP.
Addressed! There’s one magical crafting feat (level 2!), and you tailor your use of it to fit the items you want to make, each of which now have (somewhat) flavorful creation requirements. No more cases where you can craft a rod but not a staff.

*Equipment/Magic Items:*
- The “Christmas tree” effect.
Addressed! Resonance is a thing. It’s another resource to track, which in a sense adds complication, but it ultimately is a huge reduction, as it gives more control to players in how dependent their characters are on magic items (see below) and how and when they use them. It seems to turn “mandatory” or “best in slot” items into choices on a menu, any of which might be more or less useful at a given time.

- Items are not useful to all character classes equally→ wealth disparity issues.
Partially addressed! Mundanes still need good gear to keep up, and casters still can do a ton of cool stuff without gear. But Resonance means that you can make a choice to truly dedicate yourself to using cool magic items, or get more out of them if you want to build towards that, even as a mundane character.

- Weapons and armor use outdated and confusing terminology.
Not addressed! Hope you like armor that only exists in fantasy art or cosplay, and even then the art will probably heavily diverge from the description given in the book! Hope you like shields that absorb damage (even though they are mostly there to deflect) and armor that deflects it (even though it’s mostly there to absorb)! Hope you also like weapons with the same problem, plus they also have features or rules that contradict even the most rudimentary understanding of weapon combat! In the age of increased popularity and understanding of hand to hand fighting with weapons and armor, who would ever want to look something up by name and not be confused, or watch some cool videos of the real thing and want to have that excitement carry over to their fantasy gaming? Not me or any other human being ever. PoundSignKiddingNotKidding, PoundSignNailedIt.

- Exotic/martial/simple/monk weapons are poorly organized and, in a few cases, straight up prejudiced.
Partially addressed! They’re still horribly organized in the largest sense: one cannot scan through the simple/martial/exotic/uncommon lists and get a clear sense of how and why they are balanced into these categories, the way, for example, the DnD4e GAMMA WORLD categorized weapons. But most of the monk/Eastern weapons are no longer explicitly “exotic” (with all the baggage that word entails).

- “Best in class” options at every level of weapons and armor.
Partially addressed! Armor is a mess--heavy armor is terrible specifically for the character classes most likely to want it. But weapons are more diverse, and the traits (though they tax player brain space with keeping track of them) are a large and interesting part of that.

- Prepared casting is immersion-breaking, non-intuitive, taxing on the player (without helping anyone else), and potentially OP compared to spontaneous.
Not addressed! There are more prepared casters than spontaneous in the game--despite the sorcerer arguably functioning as a kind of catch-all spontaneous caster--and they are clearly weaker. All but the slightest minority of media (and therefore players) think of magic in this “fire and forget” mode (Paizo’s own novels ignore this for all intents and purposes), and no other rules support it (like, say a heavy emphasis on material components). Vancian casting incentivizes player expertise far over player expertise, further widening the gap between old players and new.

- Spell lists--as a concept--are confusing, fiddly, and--in practice--do not support theme or story. (Example 1: A lightning bolt from a wizard is the same lightning bolt from a cleric of a weather god. Example 2: the arcane spells open to wizards and sorcerers are different without any clear reason.)
Partially addressed! And only by the slimmest of margins. There remains no clear reason why a wizard should be better at lightning spells than a weather druid, but spells are now simply typed and not restricted to class lists. The distinction between “arcane” and “occult” is not fully or usefully articulated (especially given that those words are near-synonyms), but there at least is some attempt to divide spells and spell types across lists, so that there is interdependence without over-dependence.

- Spells have too many variables and their implementation involves much too much math. There are low-level spells that, if cast in a higher-level spell slot, are much more powerful than spells native to that level.
Addressed! Spell Heightening is a decent design choice--and more or less obvious thieving from DnD5e--though it’s also not as broadly implemented as would take some of the mental/tracking burden off of most players of caster PCs. Spell DCs are easier to track, and damage has been more standardized, and save-or-die spells are gone (fanfare!). The power curve is a flatter line, though still not flat.

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*I have several threads for all of my thoughts, but they are also collected--with a statement of the aims of my analysis--here in this Google Doc.*

Classes (using cores--not archetypes--as reference point):

- Crafting anything other than bombs is uninteresting, unprofitable, difficult, and useless after level 3 or so.
Partially addressed! The majority of items (meaning items that actually create different effects, not just providing gradations of power) are level 1 or 2 items. Many of them, oddly, do not have upgraded versions, so if you can hit someone with a level 1 tanglefoot bag, then they are entangled, period.

- No downside to raging/rage cycling is a thing.
Addressed! Very clear rules in the basic version of the action that give you -1AC/fatigue and prevent you from cycling in and out all the time. Titan Mauler applies further penalties. Rage is still an optimal choice, but it’s a choice, and there don’t seem to be ways to game this system to “rage” but be in total calm and perfect control.

- Playing music in battle is weird, in an RP sense.
Addressed! The bard now has compositions that are special bard spells. These spells, incidentally, use Performance as part of their casting, but this is already rolled into the verbal/somatic component of the spell. No more serious, deadly high-stakes fight where the party member in the back whips out her violin--unless that’s the tone the player chooses to take.

- Performance is a skill tax.
Addressed! At first level you can choose a bard feat that lets you use Performance in other situations, so while investing in the skill doesn’t explicitly help you do bard-specific stuff better, it does help you be a good all-rounder, which is kind of the bard’s shtick anyway.

- OP/CoDzilla.
Partially addressed! They are still a “full” caster with nice armor and weapon proficiencies, plus domains. Worth playtesting to check to see if OTHER classes got a significant-enough power BUFF, but it sure looks like, on paper, clerics are still grossly overpowered.

- Not all gods are created equal (weapon profs, bonus spells).
Not addressed! Bonus spells are somewhat balanced against one another, but weapon proficiencies and skills are not. It’s extremely cool that Nethys gets so many bonus spells, but poor Pharasma… The domain powers are similarly varied in power and utility (at least you get some nice range of choices for your character) and, just for fun, they’re listed as powers, not spells, but to find them you have to look in the list of spells, and nowhere is this indicated in the book, not even in the index.

- Limited incentive to RP to your god.
Partially addressed! But really “not addressed!”. There’s 4 paragraphs of suggestions on how to implement the new anathema mechanic that amount to general roleplaying advice. They describe some “best practices”, but nothing that will help PFS players deal with edgelords and min-maxers.

- OP/CoDzilla.
Partially addressed! Great saves? Check. Good weapon and armor profs? Check. Full caster? Check. Animal companion and wildshape and dominion over nature? Only a partial check! You now have to choose which extremely powerful special ability you use. And there’s some token--weak--anathema in there.

- Wildshape with Wild-Casting is especially terrifying.
Addressed! Not only is Wildshape/Wild Shape now shortened in duration and gated off from OP forms by class feats, it also seems to be impossible to cast spells in animal form (other than other self-targeted polymorph spells).

- Metal armor is a bad thing, even though there’s no such thing as armor that doesn’t have metal in it somewhere, and even though metal weapons are fine.
Not addressed! Not explained! Still just cockamamie and arbitrary!

- Animal companions are imbalanced and Handle Animal skill is not meaningful.
Addressed! Animal companions (and companion characters/minions in general) have been balanced out in their stats and in how you may use them in combat, and Handle Animal is gone.

- Feat taxes.
Partially addressed! This really is mostly solved; fighters still get a smorgasbord of feats available to them, many of which have been balanced (up AND down), though a few oddities remain. Combat Reflexes is level 10! And in order to knock an opponent prone with a strike--a trip attack available to any PC/NPC in PF1--now requires a LEVEL 14 feat!!! So there’s some jank in there.

- Underpowered compared to...everyone.
Partially addressed! It’s clear why AoOs were simplified; it’s not clear why they were also nerfed, or why shields were nerfed AND made more complicated. (On that note, there’s some real nonsense in the way that shields, which work primarily by keeping your body from getting hit--like AC, in other words--now can give you DR, while armor, which works primarily by reducing the damage you suffer when your body IS hit--like DR, in other words--still only give you AC. SHENANIGANS.) Multiple attacks starting at level 1 is great, their saves are better, and AC means more in PF2e than in PF1. So it’s a wash.

- Limited options for battlefield control.
Addressed! Many, many feats that recall THE TOME OF BATTLE and give the fighter control of where the battle takes place. My quibble is that there is still limited ability for the fighter to “taunt” or otherwise control who is fighting him, and it’s still up to “fair” GMs to manage this.

- MAD.
Addressed! It’s not even clear that the average monk needs a lot of Wisdom (though it still helps), and there is a clear favoring of DEX over STR, but it’s not mandatory for all stances/styles of play.

- Easy to kill, bad at fighting.
Partially addressed! While there are still only the MAD options for getting a monk to a decent AC, they have a lot of mobility and a better hit die. Meanwhile, they can do solid damage with monk weapons or stances from very early on.

- Little about them is mystical.
Partially addressed! There isn’t much in the rules that suggests you roleplay the monk as anything other than a kind of mobile fighter. In addition, the really interesting mystical abilities aren’t available until the higher levels, where everyone else in the party is also a magical superhero. On the other hand, there is a much clearer design mandate that the monk is a wuxia-style kung fu warrior, so the lack of compelling mysticism doesn’t feel so out of place.

- Alignment/devotion not supported positively, only negatively (and weakly).
Not addressed! There is some additional--helpful--clarification as to how to resolve conflicts/edge cases in the paladin’s code, but even then the final message is what it should have been from the start: “don’t be a dick” (my paraphrasing). There are no positive incentives to use or follow this code; the code doesn’t offer flavor of any kind; and it still applies unique levels of roleplaying restrictions on one character class more than all others.

- The paladin is either a better fighter or a worse cleric or both.
Not addressed! You fight virtually as well as a fighter, but can do all kinds of interesting magical things no fighter can, and many of your paladin feats make you good in combat the same ways the fighter’s do.

- The focus on the “iconic” bow v. TWF is not explored or explained in a way that connects with the nature theme of the class.
Not addressed! The question has always been what fighting with two weapons has to do with being a hunter, and that question remains.

- Favored enemies are imbalanced (e.g.: Fav. enemy (human)) and ill-defined (what makes the difference between sniping a human versus an elf LESS than sniping a deer versus an octopus?)
Addressed! The ranger finds it easier to hit (and therefore crit) a target whom she has studied or pursued. The end. Explaining this simple concept takes a lot more words than it ought to, but it’s fundamentally fixed. Fixed, it should be noted, means nerfed. (No more damage buff, and you can’t use the ability on multiple targets until 12th level.)

- Animal companions are imbalanced and Handle Animal skill is not meaningful.
Addressed! Animal companions (and companion characters/minions in general) have been balanced out in their stats and in how you may use them in combat, and Handle Animal is gone.

- The ranger is either a better fighter or a worse druid or both.
Partially addressed! The ranger is a now a more versatile fighter rather than a strictly better one. All of the ranged/TWF abilities the ranger can get are not denied the fighter for any clear reason. (Couldn’t the Hunt Target ability be reflavored nicely and easily for a duellist fighter?) The ranger no longer gets hella awesome spells, which actually only highlights how they are just a worse druid.

- The rogue is characterized as both a personality type and a set of abilities, facing the same awkward combination of fluff and crunch as the paladin.
Partially addressed! Many of the rogue feats create or imply a level of secrecy and cruelty that make the rogue gesture towards what we might call roguishness, but what could also be swashbuckling.

- Conditional utility.
Not addressed! The rogue still struggles to use its signature ability (still called “Sneak Attack”, even though it’s not usually used while sneaking) until the higher levels, at which point the rogue has to give up other choices just to still lag behind in combat utility. E.g.: the rogue cannot, with a class-specific ability, create her own flat-footed enemies until level 4, and not consistently or easily do it until level 6. Virtually all of the rogue feats are related to combat, meaning that even the skill-monkey role, while supported with the large number of signature skills and proficiencies, is not supported by elements unique to the class itself. An expertly deceptive alchemist is as deceptive as an expertly deceptive rogue.

- Power disparity with Wizard.
Not addressed! Sorcerers have all the cool flavor in the world now--like, seriously, the broad variety of spell lists from which you can choose, and the freaky-deaky-ness of the powers is front and center--but they still have greatly limited spells known and metamagic comes online identically for both classes. If you want to be a sorcerer who acts kind of like a wizard, you can use the Imperial bloodline and a couple of sorcerer feats, but you’re still a weaker/less versatile wizard. See also: the sorcerer feats like Vicious Concentration that are weak and complicated for the player and GM to track. And though it seems like the sorcerer has the edge in skills, those skill proficiencies are still based on INT, so at best it’s a marginal advantage.

- Power disparity with Sorcerer.
Not addressed! Wizards get more spells known, and now even can cast spells the same amount of times per day OR MORE (if they are a universalist wizard). Arcane schools do a great job of making a spellcaster better at casting spells, where many of the sorcerer’s bloodline powers make the spellcaster better at doing things that aren’t casting spells (like hitting people).

- Limited flavor (spell schools don’t do enough).
Not addressed! School powers make you more powerful, but offer no roleplaying hints or incentive, and now don’t even offer a negative/opposing school. There are a few feats that give you the option to double down on your chosen school but do not make your PC act like they committed to anything.

*I have several threads for all of my thoughts, but they are also collected--with a statement of the aims of my analysis--here in this Google Doc.*

- That they are “races” and not species.
Addressed! The races are now ancestries. The proliferation of humans as the dominant species means that half-humans are humans first (which better syncs with the fluff of the genetic flexibility of humans) and "others" as ancestry feats. Ancestry feats are a little weird--there’s not a lot of good in-game justification for a feature of your species “coming online” only when you hit level 5--but even this is addressed by some ancestry feats being “heritage” feats.

- Some are just plain better than others (e.g.: Dwarven stonecunning).
Not addressed! Multiple ancestries have feats like Stonecunning that are circumstantial and highly limited, right alongside feats like Nimble, that are useful to any character class in almost any situation. Meanwhile, darkvision and low-light vision are still somehow both included, despite the headache-y tracking involved, and despite the crippling of characters with normal vision. (This is a reason most play groups just ignore the vision rules, handwave them, or otherwise work around them.)

- Standard races are boring.
Partially addressed! Goblins. We got goblins. This is the same problem seen in the choice of classes: they did one thing that is, indeed, very very Paizo. Then they didn’t do a damn thing else. Anything more would have been great, and they already compressed the list by losing half-elves and half-orcs, so they sure had room. Dhampir, grippli, ratfolk, tengu--where are they? Ratfolk would have even overlapped nicely with Starfinder!

- Gnomes, despite Paizo’s best efforts at writing compelling fluff for them, are not meaningfully distinguished from halflings.
Addressed! They have different ability boosts and really quite different ancestry feats. Gnomes are more familiar with glaives and kukri, for no good bloody reason (“blades with curved and unusual shapes”? What? Has anyone at Paizo seen a glaive? Or a starknife? Which has the more “unusual” shape?).

- Small races do not feel properly balanced (being small is a minor hindrance and almost no benefit, unless you’re a caster, where it’s no hindrance at all and a solid--if not overwhelming--benefit).
Not addressed! -2 STR has never been anything like a good mechanical representation of what it’s like to have half the mass and a quarter of the leverage of a “normal” human. Paizo has made a choice to put player convenience first, but that is not something they’ve done in very many of the dozens of other choices they’ve made here, so even that is inconsistent and irking.

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*I have several threads for all of my thoughts, but they are also collected--with a statement of the aims of my analysis--here in this Google Doc.*

- “Flat” probability.
Not addressed! Expect a low-level specialist to beat a high-level generalist. Yes, the proficiency levels are gated, and based on level, but stats still mean a lot, and in fact it’s easier than ever to get a high stat (or several high stats) at character creation. The gating is some fancy and fun math, but relying on a single die--and letting people stack modifier after modifier--means there will still be situations where you more or less auto-succeed or auto-fail.

- No proper rules for crit fails, no interesting rules for crit fails or crit successes.
Addressed! This almost makes up for the lack of “degrees of success” in the basic single-die-plus-flat-numbers system being used. These rules are easy to understand, pervasive, and pretty balanced.

- Ability scores mean nothing (only modifiers) and vary in power/utility.
Partially addressed! Ability scores are still in the game, still mean nothing, essentially. They still vary wildly in utility, though this is at least more dependent on character class, and there are now at least 2 classes for each “main” ability (barring CON, of course). The new ability score generation method steals ideas from “lifepath” style systems, and leads to better built-in optimization, though it also results in something like the equivalent of 25-point-buy as the standard.

- “Level” means too many damn things.
Not addressed! I suspect this is a hurdle we’ll never get some players over.

- Healing is less efficient than dealing damage.
Partially addressed! There are more ways to heal and be healed, but damage scales up plenty quick, and with character classes now giving flat HP boni at each level, by the middle of a campaign there will be a decent gulf between the “tanks” and “glass cannons” in terms of durability, so you’ll either want to get hit or get out of the way.

- Big imbalance in favor of player skill over character skill.
Partially addressed! It would be unfair not to note how the action symbols, the flatter power progression, gating at levels, simpler monster stats, and the use of feats for everything all help make player choices simpler. And yet we still have prepared casters, spell/power durations measured in minutes instead of per-encounter, too many weapons, and condition after condition after condition.

- (Subset of above) not a lot of mechanics to support storytelling openly or give players control over the story beyond their actions in combat.
Not addressed! Hero Points get half a page.

- Paizo-specific classes (the ones that really make it Pathfinder and not DnD 3.5) all come late to the party.
Partially addressed! The alchemist is included, which is rad, and a perfect choice, if they had to include only 1 “new” base class. But they don’t. They don’t at all have to include only 1 new base class. And they don’t have to stick to the original DnD3e set. They could have done a lot that would have made this PAIZO’S Pathfinder 2, like including the magus or summoner or witch in place of the wizard, or including the oracle instead of the cleric, or one of the occult classes in for the paladin.

- Archetypes “fix” the problems with many classes, but at the cost of increased complexity.
Addressed! They’re just feat paths. That’s it. They’re beautiful.