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WatersLethe wrote:

The comparison to real world "classes" breaks down for multiple reasons, but not least because in the real world we don't have levels, and if we did it'd cap around level 5.

So, getting help from a fresh out of school surgeon or a world famous excavator operator should instead be a newbie surgeon versus literally Superman.

The surgery example isn't all that helpful because we lack a proper, detailed mapping between the ingame check and the equivalent real life result. One skill for which we do have such a mapping is the athletics skill, and the long jump activity in particular.

So, according to the long jump rules a level 20 human legendary athlete with 22 str and the fleet and powerful leap feats can clear a maximum of 35'. This is less than 20% beyond the current record of about 30', which is itself 20% higher than the 25' record at the beginning of the 20th century. High jumps are much the same. Certainly not Superman-tier stuff, and certainly not what we were led to believe about the capabilities of legendarily skilled characters in the run up to the playtest when the idea of +lvl to everything and the concept of legendary skills were introduced.

In essence, the question is this: how does it make sense for a mere-human fighter to plant himself in front of a titan more than ten times his height (and more than 1000 times his mass) and proceed to pound him into submission in a blow-for-blow contest of pure martial prowess, only to be pulled back down to earth again when it comes to how far he can jump or how fast he can run? Am I supposed to be picturing a tiny figure repeatedly stabbing the colossus in the toe until he dies from annoyance because the logical alternative supposedly feels "too anime" to some people, or what? It seems like PF still doesn't know what it wants to be.

Dasrak wrote:

You're comparing two-action spells with a single-action at-will attack. I sincerely doubt that 24.5 DPR (before considering accuracy) will be representative of a 9th level fighter's abilities in PF2. Even making generous presumptions about his accuracy, this would put his DPR at around half his PF1 counterpart, and I don't think anyone is talking about damage falling by that much.

If damage really is that low, though, then it means combat encounters could easily last 10+ rounds. Wizards don't have anywhere near enough spell slots to spam 3rd level spells constantly under those circumstances. You'll deplete yourself after one combat encounter, and be forced to use cantrips for the rest of the day.

If damage is closer to the PF1 counterpart, the fighter's damage is probably closer to 40 DPR after considering accuracy. If that's the case, then 21 with a save for half in an area of effect doesn't sound entirely unreasonable as an at-will ability. In fact, the Kineticist can easily do better than that (and I'm no expert on kineticists).

I think the martial damage I'm assuming is fairly plausible; if it's a bit on the low side, I would say that's because the +3 weapon bump is probably just around the corner (at level 10 or 11).

Anyway, my numbers will yield something like the 40 DPR you're assuming if you remember that crits basically cancel misses, so at 75% chance to hit the first strike, we get the the full 24.5 DPR + half that for the second strike. Factor in crit riders and we're basically there.

The same considerations apply to blast spells, which can also cit, so I didn't specifically mention them. The 1 action martial attack vs 2 actions blast point is of course valid, but then again we're comparing a single target attack to an AoE spell, so it's not apples to apples either way. This can't be helped until we get more single target blast previews.

I think good game balance is found when on the average adventuring day, a blast Wizard deals a bit less damage than a Fighter over the expected encounter number. So if we're expecting an average of 4 encounters, the Wizard should match the Fighter on days where there happen to be only, say, 3 encounters (easily overtaking the Fighter in one of those encounters if he goes all-out), but fall behind if there's more.

Two reasons for why such an imbalance seems necessary to me are one, that some encounters are more important than others, and the limited-but-big nature of spells allows the Wizard to specifically dominate those imporant encounters, and two, that the blast Wizard still has access to the immense versatility (in and out of combat) granted by the entire arcane spell list. Combat takes up the lion's share of many PF games, so the in-combat imbalance cannot be too great, but I do feel it has to be there for the game to be balanced overall.

Dasrak wrote:
Damage calculations so far indicate that low-level blast spells go obsolete very quickly, so only your two highest spell levels are relevant for damage-dealing purposes.

I would be very surprised to find that a level 9 Wizard will be better off spamming cantrips than casting 3rd level Fireballs, if damage is what they are going for.

Here are the basic damage numbers for a martial attack, a highest spell level blast, and a third highest spell level blast.

+5 STR mod, +2 Greatsword: 3d12 + 5 (24.5 avg)
5th level Cone of Cold: 11d6 (38.5 avg)
3th level Fireball 6d6 (21 avg)

The CoC damage is over 150% of the martial attack (per target). The Fireball damage is over 50% of the CoC, and about 80% of the martial attack (per target). Do you really expect Wizards to get a cantrip that deals more than 80% of a martial attack damage, to multiple targets, at-will?

Fuzzypaws wrote:
I'm obviously going to have to wait and see the actual spell selection and monster selection when the books come out, but my line in the sand is that if a blaster has to keep upgrading to higher level spells to be effective, so should a controller. If at 13th level a controller can be just peachy locking down and beating level-appropriate enemies with 2nd and 3rd tier control spells, and gets to use all their higher level slots for amazing utility and buffs, while the 13th level blaster has to lean heavily into 5th-7th tier attack spells and doesn't get the same versatility as the controller... that's a problem. And I think that's what a lot of people are trying to express concern about, one way or another.

That's fair. I think we've already seen indications that this will be the case with tiered conditions. So high level casters using low level debuffs might have a good chance using low level spells to impose conditions like slowed 1 even on high level enemies, but for the more severe effect levels (perhaps stunned is the climax of the slowed ladder) they will either need repeated castings or use high level slots.

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Low level spells prepared in high level slots need to be strictly worse (not in every respect, but overall) than equivalent, naturally high level spells. The opportunity cost of learning one high level spell over another was mentioned already, but there's also a flexibility cost due to the lack of "downcasting". Burning Hands can be prepared in 1st to 9th level slots, so a 3rd level Burning Hands obviously cannot be as good as Fireball that can only be prepared in 3rd to 9th level slots, and a 9th level Burning Hands (or Fireball) obviously cannot be as good as Meteor Swarm that can only be prepared in 9th level slots.

Link2000 wrote:

I'm not talking about a single level 1 fighter.

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Blackwaltzomega wrote:

I think you're extrapolating rather far in that point. I would wait to draw any conclusions on that matter until we actually discuss how weapons and armor work, because from what I'm reading of this it will not be similar to what we're familiar with, and degrees of proficiency will matter.

I'm going to go out on a limb and suspect that not having any weapon or armor proficiencies at all, which is where I imagine our friend the wizard is going to end up, is going to effect a fight with a group of lower level fighters in which he is not equipped and doesn't use any of his abilities in ways that make it easier for the Expert-level fighters to combat him.

I admit that I'm extrapolating, but I don't think I make any unwarranted leaps. Mark's post did not assuage my fears because like you, he assumed a decked out wizard whose magical gear almost completely prevented the fighters from hitting him (the suggested hit and run shield block tactic also seems iffy if it still costs an action to raise a shield, in which case it's not possible to attack, double move and block all in one round, but these things might be in flux in internal playtesting).

I may well be mistaken, but to me, this is what it seems like universal proficiency scaling by level gets us: unless wizards have zero even simple weapon proficiencies and there are crippling untrained penalties to weapon use which make it (virtually) impossible to deal damage (unlikely, and difficult to square with improvised weapon rules), a naked level 20 wizard will have +20 (+18 untrained) to hit with a STR of just 10, and an AC of 30 with a DEX of just 10. Against low level foes, his attacks will very often clear by 10 to crit for double damage, while he himself is impossible to hit on anything but a 20. He can demolish group after group of low level fighters without breaking a sweat.

I'm honestly interested in whether people here approve of changing the game in this direction if that's where the developers are going, of alternatively if there are any concrete ideas as to how this will be prevented.

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Blackwaltzomega wrote:

Then you're missing the point because the situation you're modelling is not one I object to happening. If a level 20 PF wizard is decked out in tens of thousands of gold worth of magic items, then I'm perfectly fine with him defeating a small group of rookie fighters without casting a spell. I want extremely powerful magic items to be extremely powerful, such that they can compensate for a character's innate weakness. But, and this is the important part, even a high level wizard should not be able to simply wipe the floor with a group of fighters by stabbing them to death with a rusty dagger while being wrapped in only his loincloth. In PF1 he is not. From what we've seen, in PF2 he is. Do you dispute this?

Blackwaltzomega wrote:

The NPC codex wizard has magic items. Did you read my post?

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
On the contrary, I'd say that stat spread is EXTREMELY unusual if you're not using basic stat array. Wizards tend to ignore strength, but dexterity and constitution are both stats adventuring wizards prioritize and even NPC wizards tend to have plenty of both.

I'm perfectly happy to go down that road if you honestly think that I'm misrepresenting the situation, but if this is just nitpicking and you're not really challenging the conclusion I'd save myself the effort. So do you want me to do the exact math for a couple of level 1 optimized fighters against an unarmored level 20 Wizard without magical items with a different ability score spread of your choosing?

Blackwaltzomega wrote:

I gave the wizard 10 STR 10 DEX 12 CON. Not terribly unusual. No magic items, just his robe and a dagger. The fighters were very unoptimized as well; this was just ballpark figures. I could haven given them 18 STR, greatswords and power attack and needed even less of them. Or made them level 2. It doesn't matter, the point stands.

Mark Seifter wrote:

I was assuming an unarmored Wizard without magic items. In the PF2 example, the same wizard could just use a greatsword at the lower -2 untrained penalty to easily bypass ordinary shields. He would regularly crit for 2x damage due to his untrained +18 attack rolls, so even with a dagger he could bypass the 6DR (which is what I think a regular shield has). And of course he would demolish low level fighters without a shield.

There may be some additional info we're not privy to yet that prevents these situations in internal playtesting, but I do think this potential problem merits attention.

Edit: The PF2 wizard would also presumably have an unarmored AC of 30 due to the unified scaled proficiency system.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
A couple of level 1 fighters lose to a particularly vicious HOUSECAT. A level 20 wizard would slaughter them all long before they did enough damage to even moderately inconvenience him.

Do we really have to do the math for things we all know to be true?

An unoptimized level 1 fighter with very ordinary stats would have something like 12 HP, an AC of 17, and an attack +4 for 1d8 + 2 damage. The level 20 Wizard with a dagger might have like 90 HP, an AC of 10, and an attack +10/5 for 1d4 damage. Ball-park math has each fighter dealing an average of about 5 damage per round, and surviving an average of 5 rounds. Take a group of 6 fighters. In the time the wizard kills 1 fighter, he's down 30 HP (6 fighters * 5 rounds). For the next, down 55 (5 fighters * 5 rounds), the next, 75 (4 fighters * 5 rounds), the next he's dead. So he would take down 2 or 3 of them and then die. These are ball-park figures and rough calculations, but you can easily do the exact math with exact stat blocks yourself if you want.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:

A PF1 level 20 wizard with a dagger will lose against a regular ogre, a level 3 or 4 fighter in mundane gear, or even a couple of level 1 fighters. The new rules seem to imply that a level 20 wizard will demolish such foes without even taking damage.

Here's something that hasn't been discussed so far, but is relevant to the ensuing martial/caster debate. I'm assuming intelligence will still contribute to skill ranks in some manner. If so, is there anything that balances the scale so wizards will not have an easier time of becoming legendary athletes and/or acrobats and/or sneakers than martials? Having set-in-stone class skills could help, but would conflict with customizability via ancestry/background as alternative paths to "preferred" skill access (I was going to say "treated as class skills", but that kind of language is supposed to go away). And this solution is obviously vulnerable to level-dipping, so not very robust anyway.

In the PF1 system, of course, there was for the most part just this 1-dimensional DC scale to measure the total magnitude of a skill against, so attribute bonuses easily prevented standard build wizards from ever really competing at strength/agility based skills, but it seems that the raw modifier now takes a back seat to proficiency levels in determining actual competency, especially given that there are skill feats which grant auto-success depending on DC and regardless of modifiers, and that there will have to be a system of proficiency-gating to ensure that high skilled lower level characters aren't hopelessly outclassed by untrained higher level ones due to the extreme level scaling. If intelligence only contributes to breadth (and/or if wizards get less base skills from their class than martials) then some of the problems are ameliorated, but not solved because the "modifier depreciation" issue would still be there.

Couple all this with the automatic +1/level attack and AC scaling, and it looks like it will be very easy (hard to avoid, even) to build high skilled combat machine wizards who absolutely demolish all lower level threats via pure physical superiority, without even needing to dust off their spell book. This certainly rubs me the wrong way; my image of a wizard is an arcane specialist who is in big trouble when caught with his magical underpants down, even against low level threats.

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Mark Seifter wrote:
As to the question "So what's the difference here?" Well it's certainly true that a Stealth-focused character at level 15 in PF1 (probably has in the +40s without even relying on huge bonuses from spell) is going to crush the Stealth check against a basic max ranked level 15 guard (who might have +20 or so if Perception is a class skill and maybe 14 Wisdom at best with the way elite array and stat raises make secondary stats tricky in PF1), so that hasn't changed much. But the difference is that in PF2, the untrained 14 Dex 15th level fighter is at +15 (or worse from armor, perhaps +14) instead of +2 (or worse from armor, perhaps +1), so while he is still more likely to fail than succeed against DC 28, he at least has a reasonable shot at trying, rather than no chance at all (opposed roll +1 Stealth vs +20 Perception).

Is it a conscious design goal to have untrained characters be, individually, so universally competent that they can succeed semi-reliably at equal level challenges involving their weak spots, and pretty much auto-succeed at everything a bit below?

If not, I raise again the suggestion that instead of upscaling the abilities of untrained characters per se (at least to this degree), we could leverage the 'four degrees of success' paradigm for a system of aiding each other in group checks such that high skilled characters will be trying to go for critical successes to "bail out" the low skilled ones, who will be trying to avoid critical failure. This way everybody's rolls matter, which seems like an improvement over the above boring situation where there is no point for the rogue to roll at all. And the fighter will also no longer necessarily screw up the group task, but not because he is for some reason able to avoid detection by a trained high level guard purely by virtue of his own explicitly untrained skill at sneaking (which incidentally also makes him impossible to spot for all sufficiently lower level creatures in the same situation), but because he's not so bad that the amazing rogue cannot help him over the hurdle.

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Dave2 wrote:
Seems like same issue to me.

It's not the same issue because the numbers are so different. But it is a bit odd that every PF1 wizard must become better at weapon fighting, even if at a much slower rate than a fighter. But as for why your example is different:

PF1: BAB = 1/2 * level
PF2: BAB = 1 * level

PF1: Untrained weapon penalty -4
PF2: Untrained weapon penalty -2 (presumably, as per unified proficiency)

PF1: AC = 10 + various
PF2: AC = 10 + level + various (presumably, given AC counts as proficiency)

So the PF1 wizard has +6 to attack untrained with a greatsword for pitiful damage, while having an unarmored AC of 10 (ignoring magic items), wheras the PF2 wizard would have +18 to attack (which means auto-hit against AC 19, with 50% chance for double damage) while sporting 30 AC unarmored (if AC falls under proficiency, which is a safe bet, seeing as saves and such do).

The PF1 level 20 wizard meleeing a regular ogre will get his head bashed in even despite his HP advantage, wheras the PF2 wizard would demolish the same ogre (or a 5th level fighter, for that matter) by critting him into oblivion without even taking damage. And by the way, he will also effortlessly succeed at each and every skill check a regular untrained person can even attempt (DC 19), with half his successes critical for clearing by 10.

The two are clearly not in the same ballpark, unless we're missing key parts of the picture.

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KingOfAnything wrote:
I find it silly to think the cleric couldn't pick up a few basic sneaking tips from hanging around with a rogue for twenty levels.

He's free to spend just one of his skill rank increases on sneak at either level 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, or anywhere between by retraining.

I don't understand the point of pretending that there is this binary choice between letting untrained level 20 clerics auto-succeed on DC 19 sneak checks (which untrained level 1 clerics fail 95% of the time, and expert level 1 rogues with +4 DEX fail 65% of the time) on the one hand, and prohibiting anybody from ever taking non-class skills or something on the other. That's not what this is about.

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That's not what my suggestion implies. The cleric and rogue would both roll: the cleric to avoid critical failure, and the rogue to attain critical success. This extends the functionality of the scale beyond the d20 range and leads to more opportunities for meaningful rolls by everybody.

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The group check issue is trivially easy to solve by just allowing critical successes of one party member to compensate for failures of others, in an extension of the 'Aid Another' rules.

So the plated cleric failed his sneak check, as expected. Did he screw things up for everybody? No he didn't, because the rogue cleared by 10 and was thus able to help him avoid detection. Problem solved, without giving every untrained level 20 cleric a default +18 to sneak.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
If you don't like the grappling example, the same lvl 20 sorcerer spices up his soup with arsenic. Just because he likes the taste.

You're missing the point. Everybody here obviously knows that there are cases of auto-scaling by level in PF1 (albeit often with internal contradictions, like the grapple case). The point is that those cases do not exlusively characterize PF1 any more than the cases without auto-scaling. If they did, you would not have a level 20 wizard who has trouble climbing trees to complain about. So yes, PF1 is inconsistent in that there is auto-scaling in some areas, and no auto-scaling in others; the former being primarily the capacity for withstanding punishment via HP and saves, but also attack rolls, the latter skill and ability checks, but also things like AC and weapon damage rolls. Whether and how to resolve this inconsistency is a design choice. The decision to resolve it unilaterally by simply auto-scaling everything, and at the same high rate (a full +1/level) at that, is bound to be controversial for obvious reasons, especially given the fact that many PF players migrated from D&D instead of moving to 4e which took a similar route.

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I don't think anybody considers the way grappling is handled in PF1 to be exemplary. One obvious contradiction: why is it possible to move a creature you're grappling at half your speed, even if its weight is so far beyond your drag limit that you shouldn't be able to move it at all?

But if you really want to take the risk and go the superhero route, at least make it coherent, and don't just aggravate the inconsistencies of PF1 several fold. The obvious solution to making characters consistently superhuman is to automatically scale ability scores by level. If you really want high level wizards to wrestle down elephants, then I don't see a way around this that doesn't result in some schizophrenic state of affairs where the same elephant-wrestling wizard suddenly needs to ask Ordinary Joe for help when he wants to move his furniture, and similar nonsense.

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All this talk about how unreasonable it is that under PF1 rules, level 20 Wizards may have trouble climbing trees and such seems way off the mark, for several reasons.

One, it's not true in all (perhaps even many) cases. There is plenty, and I mean PLENTY, of opportunity to buy just a couple ranks of climb (athletics) on your wizard's journey to 20, and he'll manage those trees as well as anybody. If the current trade-off between maxing ranks versus acquiring a broad skillset of basic competency seems unbalanced, then why not simply make it cheaper to buy ranks in skills you have few points in than those where you have many points invested? There is also talk of further skill consolidation, which would help as well.

Second, in real life, climbing a tree is a very basic task under ordinary conditions, at least for many types of tree. It's literally something children can do. The DC 15 difficulty listed in the core rules implies that an ordinary person without special training (10 STR, no ranks) has a 50% chance of falling (fail by 5) each time he attempts to climb less than a dozen feet of tree (one round at 1/4 speed). This may be reasonable for difficult-to-climb trees (smooth bark, far-apart branches, and so on), but then the idea that no high level Wizard could ever have trouble manually climbing such a difficult tree, just by virtue of "skill osmosis" (or whatever), even if he has had zero actual practice, seems pretty far fetched. So maybe the DCs for some basic tasks need to be retuned, but that's not something that requires this radical of a solution.

Third, and most importantly, the suggested degree of auto-scaling by level is just SO. VERY. EXTREME. To make clear just how extreme, this is what the new rules imply:

At level 1, an untrained character with 10 in some ability score will perform just like any other ordinary person, which is just what we would expect in a game that takes us from ordinary to legendary. No problem here.

At level 6, he will, by virtue of having leveled up 5 times, perform all untrained skill checks as if his associated abilty score was 20 (+5 from level, equivalent to, for example, the +5 from strength 20 to athletics checks). This seems a bit fast paced for what amounts to passively transcending the untrained performance of even the most talented ordinary people.

At level 11, he will perform this and all other untrained skill checks as if his ability scores were 20 points higher. For our strength 10 wizard, this means he climbs/swims/jumps like as if he was a PF1 untrained humanoid with a strength score of 30. Wow.

It only gets more ridiculous the higher you go. And it bears stressing, this off-the-charts improvement is not limited to some special corner cases (climbing trees or whatever), but extends to literally any untrained skill use you can think of. Anything any normal person could even attempt to do, every single high level character, regardless of his specialized skillset, will succeed at without any difficulty whatsoever. That 19 DC check the untrained Ordinary Joe (+0 from his ability scores, -1 from being untrained) will only succeed at 5% of the time, and critically fail 45% of the time? A 10 ability score level 20 character succeeds every time, with zero chance of failure, much less critical failure.

Now maybe it is a conscious decision on the part of the developers to take the game in this direction, but then I wonder, why not go all the way and halve the +1/per level proficiency bonus while giving a flat +1 to all ability scores every level? The numbers work out the same (STR/AGI to damage might need some tuning), but high level characters will actually have the godlike ability scores to back up their astronomical skill check results, and you avoid nonsense like a level 20 wizard with strength 10 performing (untrained) feats of athletics as if he had a strength of 48, but not being able to carry around as much weight as somebody with strength of even just 12.

All that said, we might of course be missing key parts of the picture. For example, maybe there is meaningful differentiation between cases where somebody with godlike ability scores attempts some untrained skill check as opposed to a high level character with ordinary ability scores. Perhaps check results modify base values provided by ability scores. But if what we see is pretty much what we get, then this means a monumental change to the feel of the game, in a direction we've seen taken once before. And I very much doubt that ridiculing the idea that God forbid, some high level wizards might not be very good at climbing trees, will convice many not to reject this kind of game once again.