One thing to remember about PF2 is that it is a collaborative game and that sometimes the value of certain feats and abilities don't really become apparent until you consider them in combination with a party.
For a wizard specific example, AOE damage and debuff spells like burning hands or even glitter dust, can feel pretty lack luster. But if the wizard picks up widen spell they can really affect a pretty large number of enemies. However, that usually comes at the cost of moving in a round, which can make targeting them all very difficult.
However, if the party is built around moving and immobilizing enemies, or around granting allies move actions as a reaction, then suddenly a first level wizard with burning hands can be in position to light up 4 or more enemies at once.
Sure a druid or a sorcerer can benefit from this as well, but the wizard doesn't have to go all in on a single spell or few spells like a sorcerer, and will be casting many more spells per day than the druid (by class and potentially thesis), as well as either having widen spell at first level (through thesis or human), or be able to switch spells out quickly (through thesis) meaning that they can take advantage of their versatility better.
There are so many ways for different ancestries and classes to synergize as a party in PF2 it is pretty awesome. The wizard is in a pretty good situation to be able to adapt to the rest of the party in play, whereas a lot of other mega-caster builds require the party to adapt around them, which can be difficult to do, or make the rest of the party feel like their characters are second fiddle.
Also, the need for AC is going to be party composition dependent. With good HP and healing support your characters need to stay at top AC might just be wasting resources. Especially in a party with a paladin, it might be better for the team for you to be a juicy target hanging out where the enemy can choose to move and then attack you, because it will be wasting actions on movement and triggering retributive strike. In that case, being 1 or 2 points of AC behind is almost useful, especially if it transitions into 1 or 2 HP per level.
My question is whether it matters if Electric arc is more powerful than other cantrips, but is it overpowered for a two action at-will power for a caster?
Personally, I think the answer is no. That electric arc should be a model for about where casters should be able to be with a cantrip attack spell.
Some of the other cantrip powers are a little weaker, but many of them have some real niche value. For example, for raw generic damage, Electric arc is better than acid splash, but acid splash will hit all targets next to the primary target with 1 point of acid damage (at first level), even on a miss, which is brutally effective against any creatures with a weakness to acid, but even against generic mobs of mooks that total damage output can easily exceed electric arc's if you can hit 4 or more creatures with it.
Produce flame is a little underpowered, but d4 persistent damage is absolutely brutal and likely to cause action loss to put it out, so it is very much a crit fishing cantrip, which probably isn't worth doing at two actions, but if it was a one action spell that did not add spell casting attribute to damage and then have its heightening progression cut in half, it would probably be about right, and see a lot more usage as a third action, even though it would be taking a -5 penalty if stacked on another attack. It would be nice to see one attack cantrip be one action.
I'm currently playing an Evoker in Age of Ashes. We're about 80% of the way through the first 'dungeon' of book 1 and I'm feeling extremely underwhelmed. With the lack of ability to manage AoE's hitting my allies my options are essentially Magic Missile or Cantrips with the utility spells feeling absurdly lackluster as they generally last only for a single fight, or even round, which makes me feel like a glorified potion rather than a wizard. Looking ahead it appears that things might be better down the road but I'm already hoping that they'll release some cool magic user archetypes because -at least for a blaster- wizard feats are...meh for most the game and I'm very unexcited by the changes (or removal) to utility spells where previously the buff/debuff wizard was my absolute preferred play style.
I've never been a fan of the evoker, but at low levels all wizards have always been pretty lackluster haven't they? PF1 Wizards would be using a crossbow instead of cantrips which is even less thematic or interesting. Meta magic feats in PF1 were even more useless to a low level wizard than in PF2 and most of the must have ones have essentially been built into spell casting with heightening covering both heighten spell and maximize spell with no additional investment.
It took 8 years for PF1 to have any offering for wizards to do concealed spell casting short of having to get silent spell and then have them take up higher level spells. Now you can get concealed spell casting by level 2 and you can use silent spell on cantrips and even focus spells with the right components.
PF2 has remarkable versatility with what spell casters can do, a lot of it is just very subtle and more thoughtful planing.
Divination is a perfect example of how there is absolutely power on the player side and that this issue has always been true.
Divination, illusion and enchantment are all schools that require a lot of good faith to be used and not abused in RPGs because they take a lot of narrative control into the player. Deciding to play one of these classes and then have the GM give you the most frustrating or least useful results because the GM hates how they will impact the story has always been a problem. Having a mechanic to force the discussion: am I going to be able to use these spells? as early as possible is a massive improvement over reaching 7th or 9th level, investing in the resources to be able to scry and have the GM have the villain sleeping in a dark room with no windows or clear features every time you use the spell.
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
it feels pretty awesome in play, it is just harder to imagine when you are drawing your character up. Conversely, some options sound much cooler on paper but become much harder to make use of in play. PF2 has done a good job of making metamagic more of the former than the later, but it might be difficult to see it until you try it out.maybe that is what you don't like, but I appreciate that wizard feats modify what you can do with spells (including focus spells), rather than give some specific abilities that probably belong more in another classes wheelhouse.
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
you are missing the point. The wizard always comes to life when you start putting together their spell list/ how they can put different spells together on different days to accomplish specific tasks. It has never been about the feats. The feats just enable you to do cool stuff with the spell list.
From the way I see people play spells like ghost sound and charm, a lot of wizards need to be picking up conceal spell/silent spell pretty early on, and then feats that let you cast more spells start rolling in at almost every level.
The counterspelling wizard tract has a lot of mechanical oomph to it. By the time you get reflect spell you have a pretty potent anti-magic character Abjurationist going.
The concealed spell, silent spell, advanced school tract works out pretty well for illusionists and Enchanters. Having some free levels to multi-class into rogue or bard for skill versatility is fine as well, and would be waste of wizard feats to try to accomplish.
The bond feats + scroll savant will equal absurd levels of spells per day for any route, especially universalist.
The bottom line about wizard feats is that they don't look like much until you start putting them together with specific spell combinations, of which, the arcane list is the broadest, but if you dip into another casting class, you can really be looking at an ultimate caster. A glass cannon, sure, but I am very glad that there are no obvious win choices.
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
Wizard feats are all focused on spell casting. People keep asking about the wizard's niche, but "ultimate caster" is the niche. Feats that modify spells or are based on spells are not going to look exciting on their own. A lot of the more utility/non-combat focused meta-magic feats are not going to look as good on paper as they will in play.
Now if you wanted to be an ultimate combat blaster, the storm druid might be the better option, and that is kinda weird, but wizards were not that great at it in comparison to other classes in PF1.
Bards are capable of disguising their magic, but not with subtlety. Enchanters, Illusionists, and Diviners don't want to be breaking into song and dance every time they want to use magic in a public setting without shouting "I'm casting a spell over here!"
I think a lot of the people looking for the big flair caster will be happier with sorcerers, druids and bards. Wizards no longer have to carry that role like they have in the past. The wiard in PF2 is the careful, studied caster who excels with the opportunity to plan a course of actions in advance.
if you give agile to the short bow, you need to get rid of deadly, or at least dial it back to a D4 or D6. Deadly and agile is an extremely overpowered combination.
Better is the suggestion of making the MAP penalty of the long bow higher, but honestly all of that is much worse than the long bow with volley. If you are a character with a speed of 30 or 35 the longbow with volley is still a pretty fun weapon.
I get that this is all a psychological disconnect for folks so making a house rule to replace it is fine, but remember that the longbow with volley is balanced against every martial ranged weapon, not just the shortbow. The shortbow doesn't need to be made better. If you take a negative trait away from the longbow, you need you need to add a fair negative trait to the longbow.
"Deriven Firelion wrote:
Well then I guess it is a good thing that you feel like the Druid and bard are classes more to your liking. I hope you have fun with that.
I very much enjoy the school focus powers of my two favorite schools, illusion and divination, and think there are a lot of good arcane spell options.
I do think you are massively underselling wands and staves in PF2 and the wizards high INT will then them be the undisputed crafting master. Unless your GM gives you almost unlimited down time, the wizards ability to crit succeed on crafting checks will mean your entire party having the magic items they want when they set out adventuring.
I don't intend to single out Unicore here who has been far more active on these boards than I and groks both PF1 and PF2 at a deeper level than I do but to this
I don’t disagree. I think some folks are just feeling like it might have been better for there to have been less cross over between the arcane and primal lists if certain arcane schools are just much more interesting now played as a different class.
My answer is that I believe there is still room to build back an interesting transmuter wizard, and that trying to come up with interesting and unique spells and focus powers to do so will get it done faster than pushing to retcon another classes list...however, I also think the primal spell list in particular is brutally powerful and similar to many traditional wizard list. At least the Druid will likely trail significantly behind the wizard in being able to craft scrolls and wands, or else the fact that druids inherently gain all common spells when they get a new spell level would be even more over the top. I still think the overall utility a prototypical INT wizard brings to the party, over the course of an entire campaign is a niche not easily filled by another class.
Also, your words at the beginning of your post were very kind. Thank you.
The issue with the Transmuter specifically is that the Druid gets access to almost every spell the wizard does, and then some, except specifically for the equipment stuff, but that is not a particularly exciting branch of magic to specialize in, like magic weapon, shrinking items and knock.
I think it is fair to ask whether or not Primal casters needed to get spells like haste or gaseous form as default parts of their list that they can pickup on a whim any day? Maybe it would have been better for a fair number of the less animal and plant focused transmutation spells to be uncommon spells on the primal list so that it wasn't such a slap in the wizard's face that a druid gets to 5th level and can instantly cast fireball, haste, nondection, slow and stinking cloud as they desire, while the wizard has to drop a fair bit of gold to have that same level of flexiblity. Since there is no more having access to certain spells earlier than other lists, the primal list does get a lot of the classic wizard spells without the limit of the spellbook. It does also get less spells per day, but it seems a little hokey that the druid can use the nature skill to identify magic and scrolls of so many arcane staples.
Using nature to be able to identify spell effects feels very off to me.
I think a really good question, maybe for a new thread, might be: What does the arcane transmuter need to live up to past expectations for the build, that will not step on the toes of Dragon/Aberration sorcerers or Druids?
The good news is that the answer is probably new spells and focus powers, both of which are relatively easy to see coming in new content. This feels like less of an inherent flaw in the wizard class than a, "The options are not quite here yet" situation.
I wonder if one possible solution wouldn't be to let the transmuter have access to a focus power that lets them trade physical attributes around for a period of time. That would be relatively unique design space that encourages them having one physical attribute that they keep higher then the rest and then switching it around between STR, DEX and CON when necessary.
I do think people got a little to hyped up in the playtest about the idea of Wizards using Heavy Armor and Weapons to fight, just because the 3 action economy and proficiency system made it possible. Letting Wizards excel at melee combat is a very slippery slope to the PF1 situation of the Wizard being the ultimate class. If your character's best action is going to be to attack someone with a melee weapon, their first class is not wizard.
I once thought about writing a diviner’s hand book for PF1, because I think a lot of players underestimate the value of intelligence in play. Not just the attribute, but the the ability to collect and process information. The bard and the sorcerer just are not that likely to want to keep INT high enough to make prioritizing recall knowledge skills high enough to make critical success likely with arcana or occultism or society, which together can cover more than half of monsters and give you tons on useful information about NPCs. Focusing your skill raises in these three groups and picking skill feats that coincide with them usually go hand in hand with being a wizard, at level one you probably have a 2 point edge over most other characters in these skills. But it increases as you level because very few classes will ever boost intelligence at all and rarely above an 18. By level 10 it is pretty reasonable to assume a wizard will have a +21 or 22 to arcana and maybe occultism. A rogue or Maybe a bard trying to cover knowledge skills might have 19, but a Druid or a cleric or a sorcerer is likely at +16. And the wizard has the most to gain from keeping high up on their arcana skill.
Yes, druids and clerics can keep up with religion and nature which for many campaigns is just as important, but there is only one other class that gets an INT boost and is almost required to focus first on crafting over a knowledge skill, and doesn’t get to use INT to attack.
Sorcerer’s can be monsters of the face skills, but a party with a wizard should always be the most capable of figuring out what might lie ahead and how to deal with that.
Basically, I think it is a mistake to undervalue the wizard as an INT caster who was the skills and spells to exploit their mastery of knowledge without having to sink class feats into it, and the versatility not to have to dedicate all of their spells to the information gathering.
Not to mention it is good in combat and out of combat. There are few focus powers that are as versatile and likely to see as much use
There is no caster like the illusionist, and both the illusionist and the diviner have focus powers that are thematic and relevant.
I think I agree with some of your analysis here. There are some types of wizards that were possible in PF1 that are better for now as other classes. Transmuter / shapeshifter being one of them, although Druid’s were pretty good for that build inn PF1 too. The modularity of the new system though makes it pretty easy to advocate for better arcane transmutation options, although that issue in particular seems tied directly to the move away from schools of magic being significant to all casters and isolated more by magical essences. It could be that transmutation really shouldn’t be a Wizard option in PF2, but couldn’t be cut due to player expectations, so the end result was a sub par option. Right now the necromancer is kinda in that boat too.
It sounds like your primary interest in casting is being a blaster or a transmuter. The druid is really good at filling those roles and gets many of the advantages of being a prepared caster that a wizard gets, plus the medium armor (limited by no metal). If the storm druid or the wild druid fits what you want from the prepared caster role, awesome! Personally, blasting spells are unexciting to me and a druid is only going to be good at Nature and maybe religion as far as knowledge. Which can be fine, but I like the know it all wizard and it is easier to justify Wisdom as a secondary stat than Intelligence because wisdom also boosts an important defense.
As I have said before, I'd be happy to run a wizard in anyone's campaign that is curious about how they function in play.
I love the wizard because I enjoy how I can eventually buy most of the spells I might ever want to cast and have most of the low level situational ones tucked away on a scroll or in a wand that I can use when needed but not take up space in my usual daily preparations. The cleric has this too, but has less effective general utility spells and the big hitters of the arcane list like invisibility, and haste. So for me, the PF2 appeal is, the arcane caster list, the prepared spells, and the class abilities, including the thesis, the focus spells, and the benefits of school specialization.
But it is also because their casting stat is intelligence. My too favorite wizards are the illusionist and the diviner. The diviner took a knock down in power from PF1, but was so over the top powerful in that version that it was justified. ( always acting in the surprise round and rocking a +1/2 level to initiative made them very very good at rocket tag). The illusionist was boosted significantly and made much easier to play without having to create a treatise with your GM about how illusions work.
Both of these wizards need to know things and the easiest way to have a character good at knowing things is to have INT also work well as your attack stat, which is not the case for the alchemist.
Flexible utility. It has always been the wizard niche. Cantrips in PF2 give them a fairly reliable weapon that uses their primary attribute and doesn't have to tie up their hands. And they can be pretty decent at a lot of very valuable skills including many of the knowledge based skills. As a long time fan of the wizard, I'd say the PF2 niche is about the same as it always has been: "Don't worry, I've got a spell for that."
Don’t undersell the value of wands for MC characters. They are relatively cheap by the time you hit 12th level. Pretending like your spell casting is limited to your spell slots is disingenuous. Also your ability to hit with spells will still be better than a caster MCing into a martial class, as far as hitting with AOE spells enough to trigger weaknesses. And by lvl 12 you should be at most one attribute bonus behind a dedicated class.
Comparing a RPG to a video game is an unfair ability. Video games almost universally now are downloaded or connected to machines that download new content and patches automatically. Much of it happening without the user particularly noticing.
A table top RPG requires players to learn certain aspects of the rules system and changing that too often (I.e. the playtest) is more than your average table is going to be able to keep up with.
Also, the RPG is exceptionally mod-able. Fix the things that feel broken at your table. If “official” errata comes out that you like more than your fix, use it. If not, don’t.
Rules for streamlining official play will certainly happen, but again, should not be changing weekly or even monthly. It will lead to chaos at the gaming store. There are things I want to know too as far as design intent, but thankfully, the developers have been around to talk about that and mistakes, even if they don’t want to rush out all the solutions before they are vetted with the other content.
Well, for now, until any of this gets updated, Chill touch adds to your Map, so you'd want to make any other kind of attack action first, before casting it, while touch of idiocy, or polar ray, do not. Its not really a bid enough deal yet for me to understand what about touch of idiocy would be different from ghoulish cravings in terms of how the spells work, but its possible that there is some intention there. If so, I'd love to hear what a developer has to say about it.
Steve Geddes wrote:
My honest guess is that what the attack trait meant for spells changed at least once, maybe twice over the course of playtesting, and then got reviewed by an editor but not a developer, so the existence of a rules inconsistency there would not have jump out to the reader. Spells have always been a mess in every RPG I have every played in the last 25 years.
PF2 's are not as bad as PF1s or any version of D&Ds. Get 5 people working together to make a spell system and you get 5 different versions of how spells are supposed to work.
I honestly thing that spells like chill touch and all the other saving throw spells have been balanced around having to make 1 roll and not 2, so an attack roll (especially one without a critical success option), would be heavily debuffing the spell's intended power level.
I think the clearest interpretation of the rules at this point is to only do what the spell says in its description and only use the attack trait for determining if casting the spell would add to the MAP, because that is the only official thing that the attack trait does, and because spell attacks are explicitly called out as not working like other attack actions, and say that they do not always call for an attack roll.
Chill touch, Goblin Pox, Spider sting, Death Knell, Ghoulish Cravings and other spells that don't call out a spell attack roll shouldn't require one. Disintegrate does call for both and tells you how it works (and also lacks the attack trait for who knows what reasons). The purpose and application of the attack trait is not clear or consistent. The spell descriptions are all pretty explicit and conform to the rules about spell attack actions, with far fewer mistakes, which can require saves instead of attack rolls.
Should you be able to crit on polar ray? probably, but not by RAW. the rules as written work here, even if they nerf the spell.
Should every spell with the attack trait require an attack roll? Not by Raw, and not in any way that the rules tell you how to handle that attack roll. Trying to implement this interpretation means having to make up another rule like a basic spell attack roll, which would work like a basic saving throw. Not a difficult rule to invent, but one that would probably be present in the rules if it was intended.
Trying to extrapolate from the general rule, Attack actions require attack rolls, that Spell attack actions require attack rolls would directly contradict two specific rules about Spell attack actions that say they can require saves instead, and that they do not work like other attack actions and so have their own section instead. (All of this is from 446 to 448).
Steve Geddes wrote:
This actually would be a bit of problem for a number of spells and should probably be a FAQ, because it looks rather arbitrary to which spells it applies to, and for spells that only list what happens on a saving throw, there is actually nothing in the rules that would tell you that the effect of the spell only happens if you succeed, nor what happens on a critical success.
Polar Ray does not have the attack trait, requires a spell attack roll, but gives you no indication that you gain any benefit from getting critical success.
Nowhere in the spell attack description on 447 and 448 does it say there is a basic formula to follow as far as getting critical success on a spell attack. In fact, on page 305, under spell attacks, it says "Spell attacks don't deal any damage beyond what is listed in the spell description." But there is also nowhere, outside of the individual spell descriptions that tells you that you even require a success on a spell attack roll to hit. Which is why I think the spell attack section on 447 and 448 ends with this:
"Many times, instead of requiring you to make a spell attack roll, the spells you cast will require those within the area or targeted by the spell to attempt a saving throw against your Spell DC to determine how the spell affects them."
Because otherwise each of the attack trait spells that require a save would also have to tell you what level of success is required to force the save. There is nowhere else in the rules that spell that out.
I think it is instead best to understand that the attack trait is specifically defined on page 629 of the glossary as being: "An ability with this trait involves an attack. For each attack you make beyond the first on your turn, you take a multiple attack penalty."
Which is weird because saving throws are not affected by MAP, but if you cast an attack action spell that required a saving throw and then attacked wjth a weapon, you would take a penalty to that second attack.
Another possibility is that not all of these spells were written at the same time and there were different rules governing how they would be handled, which might explain why polar ray does not have the attack trait, nor a critical success description while a spell like produce flame does.
But right now any spell that does not require a spell attack roll, and tell you what happens on a success in the description, can't have an attack roll, because there is no where in the book that tells you generically what happens when you succeed or fail on a spell attack roll. We can't apply generic melee or ranged attack roll rules to spell attack rolls because, as it tells us on 446, "Spell attack rolls work a little bit differently, so they are explained separately on the next page."
Mark Seifter wrote:
Mark,I have to say the balancing of mobility and the multiple attack bonus the way you all have is an absolutely mechanic. Because that first attack is so powerful and important, the party can do amazing things when they pull it off right, or accidentally set their most vulnerable party member up for an attack that can have a high chance of getting a critical hit. It is so much fun because you can never know if you will be able to set it all up until you are at the table.
Also, we definitely noticed that tactics trump numbers in terms of battle by battle survivability. Attacking with the wrong weapons and letting the enemy control the party by forcing the party to move often without having to waste many actions on movement themselves looks like a TPK waiting to happen. its been amazing to see how much mobility can deny actions. Spells that give a -10 to movement and difficult terrain can waste whole enemy turns.
I just had my second session as a player, playing as a pretty vanilla fighter: Human - axes and board fighter (I actually like using the hatchet more than the battle axe when possible because it has agile and sweep). STR 18, sudden charge and reactive shield, and I am loving it.
I feel like I have so many great options in combat. Against a lot of lesser enemies that swarm me, I can attack 3 times at +9, +6, +2 (if I can swing at 3 enemies or swing at 2 and then throw the axe at a +0 instead of a +2 on the last attack). AND I can still benefit from the shield with reactive shield to have an AC of 20.
Against bigger creatures I can be cautious and use an action to raise shield and then wait to decide if I want to shield block or take an Attack of opportunity depending on how the enemy reacts. Sudden charge allows me to cover a lot of ground, especially on a round of combat where I have to draw a weapon, (I am definitely thinking of MCing into rogue and eventually picking up quick draw with this character because being able to throw the hatchet at a new enemy to benefit from the sweep is a lot of fun.)
Honestly, I think all the talk of choosing between Dex or Str for fighters is way over blown. Dex skills are great for fighters, Armor specialization effects not that amazing and the difference between medium and heavy armor for those is pretty minimal, and thrown weapons with a good Dex and Str are great.
The fighter has proven to be versatile, tough, a powerful hitter, and having enough skills to do a lot of things (CHA 14 has proven enough to be the party face, and have fun with intimidate).
Athletics and combat maneuvers are a blast, but the most fun thing I have done thus far is managed to critical hit a swarm of bees with my shield boss and roll max damage (20) to one shot them after they flew up and stung me. (I had no weapon drawn, and the idea of drawing an axe to attack bees just didn't make sense to me).
Before actually playing, I wasn't really that excited about sudden charge or reactive shield as feats and thought about twin strike with a shield as the first weapon and the hatchet as the second, but the mobility and the ability to take three actions and still get the shield up if I needed are just so much fun on the actual battlefield. Due to a great GM, we have even managed to have 3 out of 5 fights where we had fun major objectives we could achieve without having to kill the enemy to accomplish them.
I highly recommend not over specializing into having only one ideal action that you want to repeat every round, because combats move all over the place and you have a lot of things you can do that can really set your allies up to shine.
To reitterate Rysky's point in a focused manner, the speech patterns and tones should be about making a rich, deep and interesting character, not playing into a stereotype.
It is usually pretty difficult to assess someone's intelligence by their vocal patterns or looks. Education and vocabulary might come across quickly in hearing someone speak, but neither of those alone are truly a sign of intelligence, although letting characters make assumptions about the NPCs they meet based upon the character's vocabulary can create interesting situations that play against stereotypes.
Malicious people might be more prone to yelling and treating others with disrespect immediately, or after assessing that other person's power and ability to make like difficult for them. A malicious person that meets the party first with words of friendship and a smile can make for a more memorable villain later on.
I think the key is to focus on having the character's be able to express the right emotions, or try to hide their emotions with speech patterns where you have the capacity for displaying multiple emotions from. People who are strong or smart or talented might speak with confidence or even arrogance...or they might not depending if the character is supposed to be dismissive of the PCs when they first interact, or welcoming.
Captain Morgan wrote:
Talking about the specifics of how differently-abled characters will be handled at the table is something that should be done table by table and does not need codification in the rules.
If the entire group feels good and included about one option or another, great. Perhaps a future supplement about optional rules for making gaming more accessible for all would be a great book to make, I'm guessing that would come in the form of a 3rd party product, because I am not sure that the company has the staff with the background in accessibility rhetoric or not, but if they do, great! Until that point, much of the specifics of integrating characters with unexpected limits or abilities is mostly a subject for homebrew discussion.
But there is a difference between how characters utilize specific in game options, and what is explicitly excluded by the way the rules are written, which is more the point of this thread.
The more the game relies on open and accessible language, like using terms "observed" instead of "seen," the less any of this becomes an issue. When issues specifically related to a particular sense come up in a rule or game option, they should be specified in that rule or game option. This is why I accept that calling the movement action stride might not have been the best choice, but at this time it is pretty codified and would be difficult to change. Maybe next time it will be a consideration. The assumed sight thing on the other hand is in an awkward half-codified space, and it would be my preference, and more in line with the principles of accessible design, to favor proceeding forward with a preference for the actual rules language of perception, rather than the undefined and unnecessary language of sight, and what applies as common sense about what people can see specifically, rather than what can be considered to be observed.
John Lynch 106 wrote:
My point about the wheel chair wasn’t to suggest that having characters with different kinds of abilities and limitations with mobility shouldn’t be able to be adventurers, simply that wheel chairs specifically don’t need to be the method that adventurers use to gain mobility access in Golarion. It is relatively low levels of magic that allow for floating disks, transforming limbs, gaining the strength of an ant.
Because the technologies of Golarion are so different, i’d Have no problem as a GM allowing for a player character who has restricted mobility but wants to create a narrative explanation for how they will move around in an environment that will often times be challenging and hostile. If they wanted to come up with a cantrip like ability with its own level balanced limits and abilities that could even scale with level, that sounds cool and interesting to me, and not trivializing, because Golarion is a world where this kind of magic is common.
I’d also be fine running a campaign built around the idea that a flight of stairs could be a real challenge that requires party cooperation and problem solving, but I’d want to make sure that was the game that everyone wanted to play. Choosing what kinds of encounters and environmental hazards are appropriate for an individual table should always be a collective process.
Maybe there should be a consideration to move away from stride and step as the action words for movement. Maybe there are more accurate and accessible ways to differentiate kinds of movement? Maybe stride and step can stay specific action but other kinds of movement can have actions too and the differences between them can be defined by key words that affect what provokes reactions, etc.
My goal wasn’t to say your concerns were invalid, just to point out that being differently abled, in relationship to mobility, in Golarion, wouldn’t require earth based technologies. No one on earth is disabled because they use a wheel chair. A wheel chair is an Earth based response to having different mobility limits.
Using a wheel chair for mobility on planet earth is not an experience that needs to be replicated exactly on golarion because using a wheel chair is an application of technology to increase physical accessibility to spaces constructed by people for other people to use. It is ableist when we know that some people require wheel chairs for mobility in spaces we build for public usage, and then don’t build buildings to accommodate that technology.
Are dungeons spaces built for public usage? Not usually. Usually creators of dungeons build them explicitly to deny accessibility to a public audience and over coming the challenges of a dungeon is fun because the party uses the resources they have to prove that they are more capable than the dungeon’s designer, or controlling force, anticipated. “Disability” is not an static isolated identity. It is a condition that only exists in relationship to others (or sometimes a past self) and what the expectations are for what abilities a person is expected to have within the spaces of those relationships.
Expecting creatures, Cultures and nations of Golarion which fetishize power, authority and control to embrace politics of egalitarianism and equal access is narratively limiting of the stories people can tell and does nothing to make the game more accessible to all.
All characters have hard limits on what they can and can’t do in a RPG, and the capacity to grow in power and ability, to extreme and super heroic levels, is a built-in mechanical assumption of Pathfinder 2nd edition, evidenced by decisions like adding level to all trained or higher proficiencies. The question becomes what base abilities are necessary to begin this journey?
Yes, player characters who will go on to become Heroes require some abilities that can be pitted against the abilities of antagonizing forces with a decent chance of success. Otherwise these become stories of divine intervention. But is there an exclusive body type for what that looks like? Is it necessary to limit all playable characters to having exactly 2 arms and legs? No more, no less as a starting point? 2 eyes with 20/20 vision and a standard depth of color field vision? Or could we instead make assumptions about requirements for starting player mobility, perceptive capacity, and ability to manipulate the environment that are less about specific body parts functioning in exactly X ways, and let players have more control over describing these abilities themselves, so long as they conform to definable power levels in game. (Which is what PF2 does when it decides flight is an ability limited by level)
Also, it is important to point out that the game took some steps in this direction already with the language describing perception and how it is used. It isn't being hyper critical of PF2 or an attack on the developers to suggest that doing more to standardize this language in the future would help accomplish developer stated goals.
Trying to apply advanced physics to magical effects as an assumption of common sense is going to result in a lot of problematic bickering. Assuming that it is common sense that a wall of force would stop sound or scent is far from a common consensus of opinions. Can I bang on the wall to make sound on the other side? What if the wall does not enclose the target? sound very easily travels through physical objects and around corners as can smells. The details of this do not need to be spelled out in every instance if the general idea is that a magical effect does or does not generally impact perception, only if it is intentionally meant to impact specific kinds of perception.
The rules already do some of this. It would be better if they did it consistently and that would be best done by not setting one as default, but by setting a generic "perception" as default, and then allowing specific senses to call out their variation. Again, the frame work and intention for this is already there. It just wasn't exicuted as well as it could have been and being aware of this moving forward can lead to clearer and more consistent language in the future.
Ok, let’s all take a step back for a minute. I never claimed every character without sight as a precise sense would have some extra ordinary sense. I said that there was no reason to assume that a wizard required sight to cast a magic missile.
Especially after going to great lengths to establish rules language about perception that would make for clear and consistent perception and targeting rules, deciding not to use it feels like a mistake.
I strongly agree that senses can be different. I am not sure that anyone, naturally, on planet earth could be capable of having scent be a precise sense. But on Golarion I am willing to accept that there could be ways for that to happen, and I wouldn’t want such a character to be forced into thinking of that sense as “exactly like sight, except when it wasn’t.”
Why is it better to say wall of force does not block line of sight, but it does block line of effect, than to say wall of force blocks line of effect, but doesn’t interfere with perception, or ability to observe?
The Rhetoric of accessibility is about recognizing that we should use the clearest words we can, especially when establishing rules or conventions that are supposed to apply to everyone, and not rely on colloquialisms that don’t say what they mean, and might exclude possibilities that the rules are suppose to allow for. Paizo has clearly made leaps and bounds to apply this principle to the core rule book. They also could still do better.
The point of this thread was to help them do something they have already stated as a design goal. The use of the rules of perception and it’s subcategories in the game are inconsistent. This impedes their effective usage now, and it makes for awkward and unnecessary difficulties in incorporating future material, because every ability that grants a precise sense other than sight has to interact with all the rules about how it interacts with perception, and all the situational colloquial usage of sight as the default sense tucked uncomfortably into specific spells and abilities, rather than just how it interacts with the rules of perception.
So it is better to have explicit rules and rules vocabulary tucked away in a less read chapter of perception, and have many spells and abilities reference that language, but not do it consistently?
I don’t see the logic here. A core rulebook is a manual. It should use consistent language when referencing rules, especially when the language choice of observed was a deliberate choice.
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
We have a fundamental disagreement here. Your solution vastly overcomplicates a system that works really well. Standard<Diversion creates solid groundwork, allows for specific exceptions, and creates a universally understood play expierence. The current rules are not ableist at all, and there is a constant effort for inclusiveness.
I agree. It does appear that we have a fundamental disagreement here. My solution is to use the rules already developed in the section under perception on page consistently throughout the book in feats and spells so that there is no need to assume a "standard" that isn't standard for all people or characters. The current rules in this section are much less problematic than any RPG I have seen before. They are also not consistently applied. And if they were, it would result in a more inclusive and clearly defined gaming system.
Congratulations to finding PF2! It is overall, a very great game with a great set of rules.
You are correct that characters with primary senses other than sight are not yet available to create at character generation. But the possibility that a future ancestry or player option might allow for it are very close to being worked out within the system for perception laid out in the core rulebook. In fact, it looks like some effort was undertaken to divorce sight from the default primary sense in the general language of perception, observed, hidden, undetected, etc.
It just wasn't done consistently, and that is unfortunate because the PF2 system was very close to making this easy and not requiring magical items or high level feats for this to be an easy option for characters to choose. Helping them develop that further and avoid ruling it out by making assumptions about default senses that are unnecessary for game play is the point of this thread.
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
Not if the general assumption is that spells, feats and abilities generally do affect senses in similar manners. Then you only have to include an exception when the situation calls for it, which is something that would be useful to players and GMs anyway, because the spell invisibility should not say it leaves the target unobserved if it literally is only meant to block the precise sense of sight. That is something that should be called out in the spell, while using the language of sight to talk about spell targeting, when that targeting should not be dependent on sight, like magic missile, is making the exact opposite mistake.
Assuming precise sight as a default sense for all things actually causes more confusion than it clears up when there are easily ways for characters to have other precise senses in the game.
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
Alternatively, the rules for observing can not assume sight, can cover all senses generally when that makes sense and make exceptions when necessary, which is what should be happening anyway, rather than always assuming sight and having to deal with every possible exception for things that might obstruct tremor sense in the description of the ability that grants it.
For example, is a creature on the other side of a wall of fire observed, concealed, hidden, undetected, or unnoticed by precise sight? precise sent? hearing? tremor sense? It is much easier and more clear if the spell can just say undetected or hidden or concealed (if that is the intention) except for tremor sense if tremor sense should have a better level of observation. Or say for invisibility, just specified that it made the target undetected by precise sight, than to say unobserved in the spell text and then have to include an aside in a different part of the book talking about senses that it only applies to sight. It also makes it easier to have heightened forms of perception or stealth altering spells that call out different senses in interesting ways without having to include all the rules that might go along with them.
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
Except for the fact that the rules for being observed do not interact as well with the language of a target "you can see," as if the specific sensory condition "observed," or "observed and not concealed" was called out in the text. Which is why there is actual confusion about how the spell interacts with concealment. In a game as complex as Pathfinder 2, consistent use of language related to perception and targeting should be a priority.