The Fifth Archdaemon

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FormerFiend wrote:
I'm building a fighter. However, with the character concept I have in mind, I will never, under any circumstances, use a shield. How can I trade this ability that is useless to me for something else?

Afaik there is no RAW solution so your only option is to "ask your GM (tm)", who might be willing to let you exchange your "useless" level 1 general feat for another one (or provide a shortlist of available feats). Apart from this I really do understand your plight as I can only assume many a Fighter or Warpriest would really appreciate even Ride instead of the chassis locked Shield Block.

The thing is though that we do not know how Paizo designed the chassis in the first place. Is Shield Block for Fighters and Warpriests something that brought their "class and chassis budget" from 95% to 100%, i.e. you are indeed "missing out" when not at least semi-regularly using it, OR was Shield Block granted as a cherry on top of the finished chassis, like "nah, independant from fighting style and favorite weapon every Fighter and Warpriest should really know how to use a shield properly, so we just throw this in the mix, even if it nominally raises the chassis from 100% to 105%".


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Ascalaphus wrote:

Another reason is that the effect, or expected effect, is often not really that big. Or the players just don't really know what it'll do. So they focus more on their normal abilities that they know well.

Another reason may be that the players' existing action routine is already quite demanding. If you're doing an underwater adventure and it's already quite hard to move around, then you don't have that many actions left to do fancy stuff.

These are the two main points I would have also highlighted if @Ascalaphus didnt beat me to it. Tight action economy on behalf of your characters and/or concerns regarding the cost-benefit relation of those actions.

For example in our group we found that it was mainly the ranged attackers (Ranger and Wizard) that sometimes had actions to spare because movement was not always a necessity.


SuperBidi wrote:
Loki42nd wrote:
More important than the RAW for me is the fact I still feel like it's a tough sell common sense wise, if you have to touch someone Mirror image should make that harder.

But that would affect any targeted ability then. If I demoralize you, I need to choose an image, if I cast Slow on you, I need to choose an image, if the Paladin protects you, they need to choose an image. It would also generate weird interactions, like removing an image because someone tries to Demoralize it or not removing an image despite it taking a Vampiric Touch (depending on how you interpret the rules on removing images).

In my opinion, the limitation on attacks is due to balance purposes. If Mirror Image was affecting any targeted ability, it would be way above a level 2 spell.

However that also depends on your definition of 'harm' as MI only works versus attacks. Does Demoralize harm you? Does Slow harm you? Does the Paladin trying to protect you harm you? Ever heard the saying 'sticks and stones may break your bones but words (Demoralize) can never hurt me'? ;)

And while playing devils advocate just for the fun of it, isn't it colloquial English to say: I was hit by a Fireball? So if Fireball is an attack that hits you...


This is a wonky one as far as I am able to discern from the available ruleset.

The definition for Attack (not the attack trait and also referred as lower case 'attack' in the index) found on page 12 of the CRB has the following to say:

Quote:
When a creature tries to harm another creature, it makes a Strike or uses some other attack action. Most attacks are Strikes made with a weapon, but a character might Strike with their fist, grapple or shove with their hands, or attack with a spell.

.

Mirror Image states:

Quote:
Three illusory images of you swirl about your space, potentially causing those who attack you to hit one of the images instead of you. Any attack that would hit you has a random chance of hitting one of your images instead of you...

.

However the later part of the Mirror Image rules also talks about attack rolls very extensively.

Which leaves 3 different and more or less plausible explanations:

1) MI works against any attack trying to harm you, even AoE's.
2) MI only works versus targeted attacks and regardless if they use an attack roll or not.
3) MI only works versus attacks that actually use an attack roll.

If you'd ask me, I'd roll with #2.


'Broader' Clerics in terms of doctrine and feat support as I do consider especially the Cleric to be extremely limited in terms of playstyle and feat selection, especially as many feats seem to have been written and/or work better with NPC evil Clerics in mind (and/or access to versatile font). And while some playstyles may be enabled by combining the correct archetypes this is not ideal, at least from my rather 'purist' point of view.


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The Raven Black wrote:
I think it is a very good thing that any PF2 tier list, especially with explanations of the ratings, will teach us a lot about what the poster likes / values in a game. And very little about the worth of the classes.

The problem being that a lot of "what the poster likes / values in the game" might be influenced by the environment in which the poster is used to play. A player in a campaign where the GM is using 'spring attack' unique CR+3 monsters at almost every corner might value a Fighter's +2 to hit a lot more than the Wizards ability to prepare for nearly every situation.


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Unicore wrote:
Isn’t the fact that a +2 alone is enough to usually bring a spell attack roll spell on level with a saving throw spell, and only spell attack roll spells can benefit from a flat footed enemy, a pretty strong indicator that the issue was known and built into the math?

The thing is that for martials flat footed can be achieved quite naturally, more often and more reliably, simply by flanking. No free hands, no weapon qualities, no checks that can and will fail. If you want flat footed for others (ranged) your party will have to build for it. When I started with PF2 we could not reliable inflict flat footed apart from flanking in a party of 5. Can you do it? Yes you can, however it requires just another extra set-up for spell attack spells, that melee attacks or saving throw spells simply do not require.

Apart from that I have always stated that the hit is the important issue here, not the raw damage, which could easily even be turned down a notch. However I admit that their own design choices are probably limiting what the designers can do. In my opinion too much emphasis and value was assigned to at least some of the critical hit effects of spell attack spells, so if accuracy would be improved this also would need to be looked at. For example the slow effect on a Ray of Frost critical is nice to have, but I'd rather have a +1 to hit in the first place. Why worry about effects that are only likely to happen 5% of the time, and if they do happen are nonetheless often irrelevant (enemy is dead, a ranger attacker that doesnt move much, battle is already in the clean-up stages etc).


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Unicore wrote:
I think the fundamental moral of this discussion is that examples given in rules text should explicitly state the most common situation the rule would apply.

*cough* Focus points from multiple sources *cough*


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Unicore wrote:
That said, the one place this gets tricky is that cantrips, being endlessly spammable, tend to put their highest damage dice and crit riders are spell attack rolls, so it can be the case that, at very low levels casters are over exposed to the problem of spell selection that is spell attack roll dependent, at the point in their character career where the fixes for its lack of accuracy are least available.

Case(s) in point: Me!

* Choses Cleric, Warpriest of Sarenrae (yeah, my fault)
* Choses to start with WIS 16 only (my fault too)
* Uses Divine Lance a lot, to a point where my own party relabels the spell to 'Divine Miss'
* Picks up 'Fire Ray' as a domain spell, because he thinks it is a cool spell
* Starts to use said spell only when enemy AC is already known and hit chances are 50% or better which, while doing so is yielding mostly positive results, isn't very often, especially as Fireball is available as an alternative too
* Changes mindset to: "If you can't beat them, join them!" and by level 9 finally picks up Electric Arc as well as True Strike via Human ancestry feats, in order to better being able to dish out divine justice in style

And while the above is of course purely anecdotal a couple of points remain. First, not all spell lists and/or ancestry combinations have access to TS, though many have. Second, it takes some play experience to realize when to use spell attack spells (if at all), respectively that those probably need an enhancer/enabler. Third, it took some (planned) character revamp (i.e. I ditched Multitalented: MC Champion) in order to adjust to the meta.


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HumbleGamer wrote:
Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:

If you're expecting your caster to be a damage dealer just behind martials AND can alter the game with your utility magic at the same time, you're expecting too much.

It all comes down to this.

The question being, why? God caster delusions or game design requirement, you decide. I mean, the game more or less assumes that eveybody participates in and contributes to combat. So in order to contribute for any non-pure-support caster this means "be a damage dealer just behind martials". And cantrips are a meaningful way to do so, at least they are far better than to resort to such wizardly things like throwing darts once you ran out of spells, just like we did in the "good old days". The only question now is how far behind is acceptable for class balance and how to achieve it. Mathematically speaking there is no major difference in between how effective damage is achieved. Keeping hit rates low but potential damage up will yield the same result as keeping hit rates high but appropriately reducing any potential damage as long as your sample size is sufficiently large. However from a psychological point of view the difference in between the two solutions is huge and likely the main driver behind such discussions.


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Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
I am once again asking what would be the point of playing a martial if casters could do reliably comparative damage with at-will magical ranged attacks while at the same having all the utility/narrative-altering magic at their disposal. I'm yet to hear a good answer to that, beyond "well idk you can have fun playing a guy in armor with a shield, all I want is just to win the game"

I am not seeing a contradiction here. People like to hit, so let them hit. You can always tweak damage so cantrips are guaranteed to be behind martial attacks. The whole discussion about "...but True Strike!" is really just convincing me more and more that it would probably have been better to ditch that abomination (from a balancing perspective) of a spell and to have spell attacks and melee attacks work exactly the same way, using the same items, at least as far as to-hit ratio is concerned.


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breithauptclan wrote:

Also on the side of having static locations for Bane and Bless and Circle of Protection, the 3rd printing CRB errata has this:

CRB Errata wrote:
Pages 165, 331, 391, 395, 402, 406, 407: Several auras were missing the aura trait. Add it to monk's Enlightened Presence feat and the divine aura, destructive aura, protector's sphere, angelic halo, dread aura, and protective ward spells.
Since the trait was added to these spells, but not the others, maybe it is deliberate that it isn't there and those should be a fixed position emanation.

Seems like an oversight to me as I can't find any reason why - for example - Enlightened Presence got the aura trait retroactively assigned and feats like Aura of Courage or spells like Cloak of Shadow have not.


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Unicore wrote:
The biggest issue that wizard's face is that many of their best spells can be campaign breaking for a GM that doesn't prepare for them, which can lead some GMs to deny access to uncommon options for wizards and for some wizard players to feel like their GM is acting hostilely towards them. It is a class that requires close communication and understanding with the GM to neither let the wizard steal the show and turn the campaign into the adventures of Wizard + friends, nor to be relegated to feeling like they might as well just memorize 4 fear spells everyday and have been a sorcerer because they never know what is coming up next and so they just spam the same 2 or 3 spells for the entire campaign.

This is a big issue. During all my adventuring days I rarely felt like, I am glad we have a Wizard with a full spellbook in our party and we are thus prepared for the mostly known challenge ahead of us. On the contary it most often was like: Damn, another jump attack Tyrannosaurus Rex and our Wizard already used up his compliment of top slot combat spells for today...


Gortle wrote:
Better spells and effects subcategories

Though you have defined the subcategories much better than I did, I do not agree to put spells like Mud Pit, Obscuring Mist or Darkness in the same category as Wall of Stone.

The former three all have a duration and conditions will return to normal once the duration of the spell has run out. More more mud on the ground, no more mist in the air, no more darkness (though I am open to debate what "the effect ends" means for those kind of spells). As such I still consider them magical mud, magical mist and magical darkness throughout the running time of their respective spell, which means that the Golem might be immune against those effects (debatable of course).

On the other hand Wall of Stone is permanent, it simply is after casting.

Consider it like looking at the spell or effect one round after casting using Detec Magic. Which ones will still register as being (active) magic?


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The thing is that the given rules do not distinguish in between at least 3 separate cases when taking about spell and magical ability immunity.

1) Spells and magical abilities that directly interact with the Golem.
2) Spells and magical abilities that indirectly interact with the Golem.
3) Spells and magical abilities that interact with the environment and which may possibly interact with the Golem at a later time.

Fireball or Produce Flame clearly fall into the first category. Darkness, Wall of Force or even Stoneskin imho all fall into the second category. Wall of Stone falls into the third category. My best guess for Golem Antimagic has always been that RAI it applies only to category one, however without further distinguishing in the given RAW it could easily also be category one *and* two, or even all three of them.


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wegrata wrote:
This to me sounds like how true strike is problematic. If a single first level spell has to be taken into account that globally for the game, that spell needs fixed.

This! My Warpriest would rather have better base accuracy than 37 ways to access (and abuse) True Strike.


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Once you enter encounter mode, PF2 more or less becomes a cooperative board game. So if you dont want to or can't fudge dice or don't want to or can't change the inherent difficulty you only have one option left: If your players play subpar for any reason, you also have to play subpar, else the cooperative game will quickly spiral into a competitive and deadly one.

And I literally mean any reason, which does include the players playing bad, but not exclusively so. For example if a character (not player) has arachnophobia and the module/adventure comes up with a +3 level boss fight versus a spider creature and said player does a great job of roleplaying his fear by rarely completing coherent and useful turns and actions, then you can not have the monster simply fighting on as if nothing has happened versus a party deprived of one members HP and actions.

To come up with plausible bad moves for deadly enemies is one of the GM's hardest tasks because it is not easy riding the line in between keeping tension and a general sense of danger versus making fights feel cheated in favour of the players and the feeling of being invincible no matter what you do.


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Rule 1 in PF2: You will get hit and bleed, i.e. you can't tank properly, at least you can't tank as you might think you can using play experience from other games or editions or books or movies. You might chose to play a class that is harder to take down, aka Champion or Fighter or Monk, and that has means to mitigate damage, however you still can't tank in the classical understanding of tanking. At least not against multiple enemies and/or against creatures of higher CR. Our fully healed level 4 Sword and Board Fighter tried to against a notorious CR+3 enemy in AoA but got as soundly shut down in 1 round as the Champion in the given example. All it took to get on a downward spiral were some above average (or lucky) early rolls from the GM.


breithauptclan wrote:
Ubertron_X wrote:
There is a huuuuuge difference in between having to actually hit your spell and simply just targeting the Golem, just saying.
Yes. But we are all used to that. That is why saving throw spells are generally considered more reliable than spell attack spells.

Yeah, but the often quoted poster child anti Clay Golem spell Ray of Frost is targeted.


Fumarole wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:

Why wouldn't I just run it like the normal spell and just replace its effects as they are applied to the Golem.

So Produce Flame gets cast. The caster makes a spell attack roll. On a success, the spell successfully targets the golem and deals damage. The Golem Antimagic replaces the damage with the golem's entry - so for a lot of golems it would deal 0 damage. For wood golems it would deal 4d8 damage. If the spell attack roll is a critical success, then the spell deals damage and persistent damage. The damage and persistent damage both get replaced by the Golem Antimagic entry. For a wood golem the immediate damage is 4d8 and the persistent damage is 2d6. And the persistent damage can be removed with flat checks as normal for persistent damage.

So the spell still does its normal things. But the way that it affects the golem is replaced. The spell still affects the golem, but in a different way than normal.

This is how I run it in my games.

There is a huuuuuge difference in between having to actually hit your spell and simply just targeting the Golem, just saying. How is PFS handling this?


Well colloquial wording is one of the main reasons why sometimes we can't have nice things. For example an easy interpretation of AoE could be that the effect targets everything in its area indiscriminantly, however they can't use that wording because (among others) that would clash with the rules for concealment, so AoE ony affects those in the area. This however clashes with other rules, e.g. Golem Antimagic.


SuperBidi wrote:
Megistone wrote:

Relevant rule:

Quote:
Any magic of this type that targets the golem causes it to take the listed amount of damage (this damage has no type) instead of the usual effect. If the golem starts its turn in an area of magic of this type or is affected by a persistent effect of the appropriate type, it takes the damage listed in the parenthetical.
So if you hit the golem with an Acid Arrow, no matter the level of the spell, it takes 9d10 damage immediately and 2d10 each time it would take persistent damage from the spell.
You don't need to hit, just to target. Because it's immune to magic, the Acid Arrow doesn't have any effect and as such there's no persistent damage.

So what is the consensus here?

Example using Clay Golem:

1) Hydraulic Push: Targeted spell, i.e. no roll and automatic 5d10 damage.
2) Holy Cascade: Instantaneous area spell (i.e. not targeted), so 2d6 damage instead of the original effect.
3) Obscuring Mist: Area spell with a duration, i.e. as per 2) the moment it is cast (and despite the spell not dealing damage per se) and 2d6 damage each turn that the golem starts its turn in?

Is this correct?


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Baarogue wrote:
Holy cow. The damage rules are just fine as is. You're overthinking it

No they are not. Even simple things like Shield Block aren't even managed properly under the current rules, e.g. when to reduce damage and by how much.


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Ravingdork wrote:
*holds phone up with dice rolling app*

The question being, will your phone receive the same kind of exemplary punishment, that many lucky-dice-turned-unlucky have ever received? :D


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Michael Sayre wrote:
Heavy armor comes with a padded armor undercoat included in its Price, though it loses the comfort trait when worn under heavy armor. You can wear just that padded armor undercoat to sleep in, if your heavy armor is destroyed, or when otherwise not wearing the full heavy armor. This allows you to keep the armor invested and benefit from the power of any runes on the associated heavy armor, but no one else can wear your heavy armor without the padded undercoat.

Does this mean that for the cost of 1 AC you can actually mount heavy armor runes on your padded armor without repercussions, e.g. Fortification, which would increase bulk and strength requirement of the main armor, even if you are not proficient with heavy armor or ever considered wearing one. Depending on the challenges ahead and how likely you are to being crit this may be worthwhile, especially for high end runes.


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Lycar wrote:
In other words, the game design does no longer reward system mastery with (much) more power. For some people, that is the turn-off.

PF2's bound accuracy is both a boon and a bane and for sure a deciding factor if people like or dislike the game. In a way people (including me) expect that they will be better in any hobby or game that they sink enough time in. In an RPG this most likely is related to time to learn all the rules for setting up and time to learn all the potential strategies when it comes to the board itself.

Given PF2's bound accuracy and d20-always-matters maxime however this means that a total newcommer playing a pre-gen Fighter moving about the board with just enough common sense while having his dice run hot is very likely to outperform your meticulously crafted and masterfully played flavour-of-the-month-base-class/flavour-of-the-month-archtype character that happens to have a streak of unlucky rolls. PF2 simply just does not allow (player) skill to mitigate luck in a magnitude that most other games do.

This is a boon for game designers and GM who do not have to worry about the game balance being invalidated by (untested &) wierd class/feat interactions or stacking of bonusses as well as for new players who dont have to worry about the meta as much, however this easily might be a bane for experienced players to which after a couple of games the whole game simply boils down to luck >>> skill (very simplified last statement, but I think you get the idea).


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AlastarOG wrote:

However when considering the ''most likely scenario'' basing ourselves on ABP as the ''expected math'' is the best way to go.

Macro stats are just that, broad strokes, individual situations can vary wildly from that, but the macro's are useful to consider ''is this a real problem, or is it a perceived problem skewed by a bias?''

Which for me as a 'tech' guy is more than ok, as some kind of approximation or model has to be taken into account when doing theoretical exercises, however one should never forget that while some things may very well work on paper, reality may look a lot different, especially if one or more additional and probably indirect variables are taken into account, e.g. time. In effect this means that both parties can be correct, those who claim that the math / theory is flawless, and those who claim that there are (perceived) problems outside of theorycrafting.


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AlastarOG wrote:
Counteracting often has the perception of failure because its often attempted agaisnt the highest level spell slot of a very potent (level+2) spellcaster. They're better then you, counterspelling as a reaction would negate their whole turn, of course its hard.

While this is of course not wrong when facing higher level opponents I do remember many occations where an even level spellcaster was simply ahead in proficiency (if you did the math behind their DC), i.e. you were down by at least 2 (and depending on attribute sometimes even more) on DC and counteracting checks.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Obviously, I have considered max item bonus.

Thats ok but please remember that items of approriate level dont instantly materialize in your characters possession as soon as you hit the respective level in "real life". Some items may start to appear rather early, but more often then not they only start to come online mid level, and depending on your current campaign (aka "the great outdoors") they may even be several levels late, simply caused by the fact that a typical campaign is much diffent from e.g. PFS oneshots, where you have a chance to aquire gear and resupply after each single session. I specifically mention this because many challenges in AoA seemed to operate with the same premise, i.e. once you leveled up in the middle of nowhere you are magically supposed to be maxed out nonetheless.


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SuperBidi wrote:
The 60% mark is quite working. I've very often seen 9s and 10s being successes.

The only question that I do have in this regards is, how white roomy are those 60% (expected to hit versus monster building AC guidelines), because I do not remember 9s and 10s mostly being successes, at least not during the first 2 volumes of AoA that I have played (which however means that I am definitely missing high level experience).

AoA spoilers:

For example the first on-level monster you meet is a Fire Mephit, AC17. Thats a 10+ or 55% with +7. Other notable level 1 monsters that you meet in the adventure include Charau-ka AC18 (50%), Graveshells AC17 to 19 (55%-45%) or Blood Blade Mercenaries AC18 (50%). But this may just be adventure path specific monster selection though. However even a "simple" level 2 Bandit has AC19, i.e. a non-fighter character level 2 would need a 11+ to hit (50%).

Also, if you do a success chance for other activities, e.g. counteracting, your success chance might be really lower (not done a survey about this yet, but most enemy casters or hazards encountered seemed extraordinary hard to counteract), especially as you mostly can not pump those rolls with easy to achieve conditions or buffs.


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Claxon wrote:
I suppose as a player I could demand the the GM lower the CR of everything by 2 levels or make the party 2 levels higher to get closer to the feel of the game I'd like to have.

Thinking about this I seem to remember that at least in AoA many "on level challenges" seemed to be on level in name only.

On level melee enemies hitting like fighters or better.
On level caster enemies casting like full casters or better.
On level hazards..... we don't talk about hazards.

Perhaps this is why people feel weak.


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
But then balancing becomes an abstraction on the GM's part as they try to feel their way to a balanced game by creating sessions that specially challenge as well as spotlight all their players......I'd rather have a balanced game and focus my session prep on story

What kind of balance are we talking about exactly?

The specialist has 50% of succeeding while everyone else is more or less shafted either by proficiency gating or % values (trained skills anyone?), or the specialist has a 90% chance of succeeding while everyone remotely invested still has a realistic chance of making the check?

Setting the baseline for the specialist is one of the major contributors if a specialist is considered weak or not. If said baseline is set to one in two for the specialist as it is for PF2 it is only natural that many players do consider them weak.


Still dont like the spot medium armor is in, because later in your career (and when you have finally figured out the meta) you either want heavy armor & bulwark or light/no armor & DEX.

However not unlike heavy armor and by its requirements alone medium armor sets you up for high strength and low dex without providing the mechanical benefits that the former type does. This means that medium armor might become a worse option for later levels, especially considering your reflex save.

And while I do not doubt the mechanical benefits of medium armor during the very early levels of your adventuring chareer later on it can easily become a "feels bad" armor, when you finally realize that you should have either upgraded to heavy armor or raised dex nonetheless.

Two examples just from my own gaming group would be our nature themed Barbarian that went for STR, CON, WIS (because of skills) and CHA or my own Warpriest that would rather reverse his STR and DEX stats and wear Studded Leather instead of his "doctrine" Breasplate in order to not getting their faces melted off from every single enemy area effect.


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I support the request for an item that improves a single save without having to go through hoops in order to do so, especially as some classes are set up in way that suggests to neglect an important save stat. For example Warpriest gets medium armor. Medium armor suggests a Dex cap of around 12. You can now go and start with higher Dex and raise Dex through the levels, eventually invalidating your medium armor entirely or spend 2+ class feats aquiring an archtype giving access to heavy armor and bulwark. For some levels Canny Acumen may also help you out, however there is a huge level gap in the effectiveness of this feat.


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Healing in general, and even in combat healing, have greatly dimnished effects in PF2. The burden of in between combat healing has been taken from the healers (or their wands of CLW) by the simple fact that focus spells and medicine skill exist. And in combat healing is only really required if somebody got unlucky and/or is about to go down and the situation can not otherwise be salvaged by brute force (killing or disabling an enemy > healing your friend). In addition situations where one character can deal enough damage for two characters are truely rare (but still possible, e.g. when your Barbarian friend meets low AC opponents but needs healing in order to stay active). As such it is almost always better to also cast top down offensive spells rather than going for heals, even as the dedicated party healer, and our group usually scored some nice results when both our Wizard and my Cleric of Sarenrae started tossing Fireballs simultaneously.

Regarding ratings I do not agree to the beforementioned list, simple because of the fact that "works 100% of the time, all the time" actions are usually worth much more than actions that may as well and easily fail. As such I rate buffs > debuffs (unless of course sufficient failure effect) and battlefield control > enemy control. I agree however that healing is rather down the list.


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Sandal Fury wrote:

So from what I'm reading and my somewhat limited experience, when people describe 2e as tactical, it's not in the sense of "tactics and strategy will improve your odds of success," but more "if you don't employ in-depth strategy with your team, you will fail."

I... *really* do not like that. One thing I've grown to detest in 1e was when a player's turn would start, and the whole party would start strategizing out of character, telling who to go where and target which with what so they could optimize their own turn and the party would be most efficient. "The Quarterback," for those familiar with the trope/webcomic. This could happen, and it was admittedly effective, but it was almost never necessary. In 1e, you could just wing it most of the time. If your buddy happened to be flanking, cool. It feels like Paizo took some common player habits (some of them bad) and baked them into the system.

Also, in the way it's presented, Recall Knowledge feels less like identifying monsters in 1e and more like mechanically incentivized metagaming. IMO.

I know this sounds weird, but I'm sure someone will get what I mean when I say this system feels "too much like a game."

The thing is, while not fully untrue, PF2 feels as much as a game as your group of players *including* the GM wants to feel it like a game. Same is true about difficulty and teamwork dependent success.

If you have a rather antagonistic and probably also competitive GM, who never changes encounter difficulty, never matches loot to suit the group and who plays every monster, encounter and challenge to the best of its mechanical ability, like a chess player would, then yes, the game will feel very much like a game as your only "counter" to this as the players will be to game the metagame yourself.

If however you have a lenient and benevolent GM, that is not afraid of adjusting difficulty to the playstyle of his group, never afraid of providing more information about events, places and creatures than the rules indicate, never afraid of changing things on the fly if they better suit the party needs and narrative and who actually roleplays the various monsters the party is likely to encounter, then welcome to the wonderful world of RPGs.

And dont get me wrong, we are not talking an evil friend / GM here, however even a GM that mostly tries to play "by the book" can easily fall into the first category, especially if inexperienced.

Our gaming group had this exact experience when we started Age of Ashes with both GM and players being new to the system and having a really bad time in volume one, just by trying to follow the letter of the law. Things got a lot better by the end of volume 2 however, once our GM (and we the players) had figured out how to best avoid all the pitfalls that playing by the book might include.


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Temperans wrote:

I still find it incredible how many people ignore the value of teamwork in general when it comes to TTRPG. Specially in d20 games where you can get some crazy things if you work together.

But then again, not everyone is built to think throught tactics. Much less if they are play this in their off time after work. So I am able to see the value in a game being balanced towards the easy side vs the hard side. After all some people likes soul-likes or tactic RPGs, but many more people like action RPG were you just face stomp.

The thing about teamwork is, that there are a couple of different types of teamwork, not all of which apply to every TTRPG. When playing a future type of TTRPG (aka Shadowrun or Cyberpunk) I expect the weapons guy to carry the brunt of any fights, the hacker type character to deal with any computer stuff and the vehicle ace to deal with transport, escapes and chases. Specialists in their own fields working as a team, however probably not at the same time. And while we can have a similar split in PF2 when it comes to out of combat activities, everybody seems to need to contribute to a fight in almost equal amounts (via his 3 actions), which apart from 4E is more or less a novelty.

However many issues about PF2 are about recognizing the meta, which is something which almost threw our group of course after 30 years of TTRPG.

You have to recognize that its a game of the GM having to empower the players (reducing or increasing enemy levels, add more details to recall check results etc.) and perhaps also the players having to ask to be empowered (which apparently can be a problem for many players). You have to recognize that everybody has to contribute to a fight in almost equal amounts (actions). You have to recognize that any fight actually has to be solved by actions within the fight, not before (build or buffing). You have to recognize that while individual monsters may have the numbers advantage (which can be demoralizing in itself) the players usually have the action and/or flexibility advantage. You have to recognize that (early on) even specialists will have a 50% miss chance at on-level challanges. etc.

PF2's design paradigms of "solve the fight within the fight", "everybody in the group has to contribute to victory" and "the d20 has to always stay relevant" are not universal TTPRG concepts, which however need to be recognized and accepted by both GM and players in order to have fun with PF2.


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The Raven Black wrote:

This is odd. Based on PFS standards, a PC goes through approximately 10 fights to gain a level. That makes 30 fights to get to level 4. If we make a hypothesis that you cast 2 spells with a save in each fight, that makes at least 60 saves that enemies have to roll. Likely more as many save spells have more than one target.

At least 3 of these save rolls should have been Nat 1, which is almost always a critical failure.

Zero critical failures on the enemies' side for 3 levels defies probabilities.

Two notes. First, the rule of large numbers is a thing, i.e. it may very well be that no natural 1 has come up yet at any given table for a very, very long time. Second, not all crit fails are equal, neither by ingame effect, nor by memorability. The crit fail of a mook to Electric Arc during the clean-up phase of a fight - while probably already being on his last leg and who would have died anyway even without receiving double damage - might techically count as one but will probably not be registered as one. A miniboss or boss crit failing his save versus Slow during the first round of combat, possibly even before having had a chance to act himself, is an entirely different story.


Squiggit wrote:

IF that was the whole statement, I'd 100% agree with you on this ruling.

But we have a sentence right afterward that clarifies that 0 doesn't actually mean nothing happens, but rather that you reload as part of the strike. Which is substantively different than not doing it at all.

The things is that at least for me (non-native speaker here) the second sentence can still be read and interpreted both ways.

Quote:
This can be 0 if drawing ammunition and firing the weapon are part of the same action.

Interpretation A: Confirmation that the Interact action is (just) a virtual part of the same action (Strike), i.e. to disregard all Interact aspects and to just proceed with the action (Strike) as normal.

Interpretation B: Reference to the fact that the Interact action is a literal part of the same action (Strike), i.e. to consider this action (Strike) inheriting all Interact aspects.

But perhaps I am simply not seeing the wood for the trees here...


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In effect this whole discussion centers around two different types of rules reading and a such we will probably never see a clear winner as in principle both sides can be right in their own way.

If you use a formalistic approach to the governing ruleset, i.e. you consider those rules like you would consider math operations or computer algorythms, a 0 is and will always be a 0 to you, and zero times something equals plain zero, no matter what.

If however you try to gauge the rules with an holistic midset, not considering anything as fluff, even if it may be written in colloquial wording, while equally applying common sense and minding the overarching rules context it is not especially hard to also follow this line of reasoning.


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The problem is not undershooting alone. In fact I really do like the undershooting approach in any game in order to avoid power creep. Apart from this there is always the psychological aspect of nerfing/buffing, which make undershooting relevant, i.e. for the players it is much easier to accept buffs to the Witch, than to accept nerfs to the Bard. However in my humble opinion any such approach should also be accompanied by frequent balancing patches, which of course is easier said than done for an offline game.


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Squiggit wrote:
I don't understand what this has to do with 2e.

My best guess is that there are multiple issues at work here, not all of which can be attributed entirely to 2E, but 2E's "beat your enemy by your actions, not by your math" design might be one of them.

*encounter design (partially 2E)
*encounter presentation (all systems)
*underlying ruleset (2E)
*player expectation (all systems)

All I can say to this topic is that by the end of volume 2 of AoA our group did not feel like the immersed heroes of the story but a band of rag-tag survivors that somehow happend to be in the story, and that much of this feeling was caused by the clash of governing ruleset (encounter design/budget and level bound accuracy) vs player expectation.


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Mathmuse wrote:
The meaning that best fits the sentence is that an Interact action and a Strike action are merged into one action that is both Interact and Strike, but that greatly violates how Paizo handles actions, so I reject that interpretation. What would fit the action rules would be an Interact action as a subordinate action inside a Strike action, a Strike action as a subordinate action inside an Interact action, or an Interact and Strike as subordinate actions inside a nameless action. Most of the subordinate-action cases would break some features of the game, such as a ranger's Hunted Shot, but the Interact action subordinate inside a Strike breaks the fewest. Yet I have never seem the Paizo developers put a subordinate action into an action without giving that containing action its own individual name.

I fully concur that the designers probably wanted to do this RAI, without actually doing it RAW.

Strike (Reload 0) ♦
You reload your weapon and attack with the same motion. You Interact to reload a weapon, then Strike with that weapon.


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Gortle wrote:
I treat lifesense like normal vision, but I consider that every creature emits life energy like light. So an opaque solid barrier would stop it. But you might see some leakage through cracks. If a creature was waiting around a corner, you would see a glow at that corner. I think that is a pretty good sense.

In my humble opion there are at least 4 different issues to consider when it comes to special senses.

1) Is the sense considered active or passive. Our normal vision is a passive sense, i.e. we can only perceive objects that directly emit or reflect light. Counterexamples of active senses would be the typical uses of echolocation, RADAR or comic book X-Ray vision.

2) Is the target active or passive. While a human can of course not look through a wall somebody with X-Ray sense (or a Geiger counter) might be very easily be able to determine a source of radiation behind said wall. Same might be true for a creature or object actively projecting positive or negative energy.

3) Is the barrier able to block either (sense and/or target)? As detailed most solid barriers block normal vision because visible light usually can not pass through solid matter. Things might be very difficult however for somebody with X-Ray vision or X-Ray sense, as most materials will not be able to block X-Rays that easily.

4) In game terms, is it a precise or imprecise sense which may or may not be related to active or passive senses. For example normal vison is a passive sense but also a precise one because our brains are fully set for stereoscopic vision. Normal Hearing also is a passive sense for a human, but an imprecise one, as our brains can usually not deal with the very small transit time differences from one ear to the other. On the other hand Echolocation as found in bats is both an active and precise sense.

tl;dr Many factors involved and probably "ask your GM" territory.


HumbleGamer wrote:
Gortle wrote:
my barbarian has a PhD in Mathematics
That's quite a nice idea for a character.

Leibnitz, the Mathbarian: "What do you mean I have to use 5ft steps and can not go infinitesimal...?"


Gortle wrote:

But I'm not insisting this is the general case. All I'm saying is you won't CHOOSE to walk through it until you have disbelieved it. You can touch it, fire an arrow at it, Strike it, Shove someone else into it, because it feels real but you think there is something wrong with it - but just not walk through it yourself.

Once you have successfully made your disbelieve roll you can see targets behind it (potential concealment) and you can walk through it.

And this is where things get iffy, e.g when we look at @HumbleGamer's example:

If the enemy casts a real Wall of Stone the Fighter can choose to hurl himself at the wall, probably ending up damaged and prone (but his decision, so no ragrets), however if the enemy just casts the illusion of a stone wall he won't (can't?) choose to do that?

Again, I understand that hurling yourself at the illusionary wall probably counts as interacting with the wall as a basis for future attempts of disbelieving, however it probably also stops your ongoing movement, which is perfectly fine from a balancing and rules point of view, however just not especially intuitive.


Gortle wrote:

Its not really well spelled out. That's how I read the illusion rules

https://2e.aonprd.com/Rules.aspx?ID=267

The way I think of it is that because you believe the illusion you can't choose to act as if it is not there. You can doubt the illusion but you can't choose to walk through it, until you make the disbelieve check. There is no limit to your number of disbelieve checks.

Even knowing that it is mostly balancing reasons to not being able to circumvent illusions too easily, the discrepancy in between sensory input and the law of physics always creates a major disconnect, at least for me.

If you go by the "as long as you think its real, its real" approach that the rules imply then you should theoretically also be able to walk over an illusionary bridge. However in this case physics are adhered to by the rules part regarding forced movement. If however you deliberately fling yourself against an illusionary wall or even more evidently do a long jump right at it, you can suddenly not pass the illusion because your momentum somehow stops midair?

Dont get me wrong, as this is no attempt to bypass a rule or to invalidate illusions, and I very well understand that the difference is in between you getting moved (forced movement, falling or sliding down a slope etc) and you moving yourself against your tricked brain, however it does feel wrong on some levels because momentum (which I do consider a type of forced movement) is not taken into account entirely.


My take is that PF2 is a roleplaying game after all and no computer simulation or simple board game. As such I as a GM generally handwave any player decision that matches how the character was presented and played in the past, not minding if it is a roleplaying situation or an actual challenge.

As such I would not mind, e.g. an arachnophobic character to run away from a fight with a spiderlike creature even while not suffering any mechanical fear effects or an idealistic character to boldly assume a "No, you move!" stance even in the face of overwhelming odds.

People make bad calls, mistakes and irrational decisions every day and PCs and NPCs are no exception to this.

I mean, nobody would probably bat an eye when I as the GM will have the evil cultists going for the good PC Paladin or Warpriest first because despite them knowing that those are probably the harder or even hardest targets for them they are also the prime "logical" targets, representing all they hate and oppose.

The only time I would probably step in as a GM is when the other players (not characters) are in more or less open disagreement about the players course of action, e.g. the player actions are the cause for permanent dissention in the character ranks or a player is having his character acting against the code of conduct established in session zero.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Some builds basically require retraining because they use corner cases in the rules.

In a rules mechanics heavy game like PF2 you can easily run into (perceived?) continuity issues even if you are not looking at playstyle enabling feats, obscure feat min-maxing or major character revamps.

For example and right out of the CRB my human Warpriest took Canny Acumen early on, only to train out of it at level 11 and will very likely choose it again at level 17.

And while Canny Acumen provides a passive bonus only and probably will be retrained on a one-on-one basis I personally do consider this a (minor) character continuity issue, which unfortunately is inherent to how this feat works.


SuperBidi wrote:
My main issue isn't the fact that it costs twice more downtime (even if it's annoying) but the fact that I'll end up at some point with an undesirable build (First World Magic and Empathetic Plea).

On the contrary I'd say this is the core of the issue, because if you could simply retrain one or more class/skill/feats at the blink of an eye many or all of the raised issues would be void.

However in order to avoid any of the described continuity issues I as a GM would probably bundle up total downtime / retraining time and only apply all changes when this time is finally up. So if you go for a major character revamp all required/requested changes only take effect after the total amount of retraining time has passed after which all changes will take effect immediately and simulaneously.

The minor downsides of this approach are that you will keep your old spec for the complete retraining period and that you will potentially also have to choose filler feats until total retraining is complete.

tl;dr skip sequential retraining in favor of en bloc retraining in case of major character revamp (i.e. anything more than an exchange on a one to one basis)

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