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Rameth wrote:
There are many problems with Colette's whole GMing experience. The excessive assumption and enforcement of un-fun rules (if you're not sure of a rule you give the players the benefit of the doubt, this is supposed to be a fun game), constantly giving the players the short end of the stick (like when they fought the Manticore and it was argued that they were in a open field with no cover yet apparently the Manticore could sneak while flying in the air when it says it requires cover to sneak), and not explaining to the characters that they were making bad character making decisions (like forgoing medium armor because of the speed reduction). It was really aggravating to read because it was just so...it's just a shame to see. But this isn't about that and I'm off topic.

How dare someone playtest an adventure using the rules documents provided and the statements in the adventure. The whole point of testing - well, actually, in practice I think the main point of testing like this is a PR stunt, but whatever - is to identify areas where what has been written down and what leads to a fun game are not in sync and call them out. What you propose to test is whether or not the GM can run a good game, not the playtest documents themselves.

Here is what the adventure says:


Two-thirds of the way up the mountainside to area B5, the manticore notices the PCs unless the entire party is stealthy in their exploration. If the manticore notices them and attacks, set up the map for the battle to show a 20-foot-wide path traveling in a gently winding route from one edge of the map to the other. Choose one side of this map to be down and one to be up—these sides are steep mountain slopes (see the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary).

The manticore considers the side of Pale Mountain its exclusive hunting territory and attacks anyone it sees climbing the mountain. It uses Stealth for initiative; it tries to approach as quietly as it can from the air.

A 20' wide path with a steep rock face on one side and a slope on the other doesn't sound like an environment with a ton of cover to me.


In regards to Critical Hits in order to critical you need to either roll a 20 or get +10 over their AC, as mentioned above. A lvl 1 party should have anywhere from 14 to 17 AC. That means the ones who are getting attacked the most should be impossible to Crit unless on rolls of 19 or 20. I don't know about you but I AM NOT rolling 19s and 20s for my monsters all the time. Therefore a medium armored character with breastplate (or chain mail) and 14 dex has a starting AC of 17 (10+lvl+dex+4) so at the very least the light armored character would have 16 AC, with no armored spellcasters coming in at 14 (15 with mage armor). So that means the characters in the front, the ones who should be getting attacked first, aren't getting crit very often. In a surprise yes the squishy character's could take a hard hit but once it's the players turn they should quickly retreat to the back (as AoO are rare now) and the monster's would focus on their current threats.

Now if you take a shield and ready it every round and that AC goes up to 18 or 19, depending on Dex and armor choices. You wouldn't be able to be crit by ANY monster lower level than you, except on a 20. Even monster's your parties lvl, which you would only be fighting 1 at a time as with...

And flat footed characters that would normally be crit on a 19 are instead crit on 17 for the first attack. So it's hardly unreasonable for four such enemies to get a crit in a round.

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I've been playing it some, and I'm in agreement with commandercoyler. When everyone can either move freely or barely care that people are in their face because nothing provokes, positioning loses a lot of meaning imo. It's the presence of good and bad places that makes maneuver relevant. The default set up in pf 2/is pretty much people can run around to flank on their turn without other people being able to do anything about anything about it. That's not really all that different from static mutual flanking. It's kind of like the old crpg Arcanum, where in turn based mode you could just run around behind enemies to backstab them every round.

It is perhaps a step up from first edition. But PF 1 is a step back in combat mobility from base 3.5 because of tumble nerfs. And other dndish games have come up with other ways to make combat less static while still having some kind aoo or zone of control. There were things people could do to be unstuck, but also ways to play around them. And the wizard getting stuck in melee could prompt people to use knockbacks to be themselves, or a buddy out of that situation. There seems to be more room for interaction in that model than having no zoc at all.

Moreover, because PF 2 does not have a "move" action, and instead has 3 actions which can be used for offense and defense, it seems to lead to the same kind of incentives for relatively static 'full attacks' although these may now be non attack actions, as regular pf and 3e. Yeah, you could move without provoking. But the guys you are fighting can move after you without provoking in many situations as well. Not necessarily a net gain. But some one could attack and cast a spell instead, use a shield and double attack, etc. Being able to get two attacks with a move in between is a step up in mobility. But not being able to step while making two attacks and using a shield is a step back. The more a character can get out of three actions, the more they want to stand still.

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At level 1, the potential healing seems deceptive, since you need to hit a DC 20 check with plus four. Base, your chance to heal is actually less than your chance to critically fail and unheal people. And the odds aren't favorable even someone helping. Do you ignore to hit when talking about effectiveness as a damage dealer? So why ignore chance to heal for a healer?

Natural medicine is also 10 minutes, not one action, and also requires a check.

So your level 2 healing for 56 or 74, times a 35ish chance of success, is right around the cleric's low single target amount. If we ignore the chance for critical failure.

Finally, who gets the signature medicine to level up battlefield medicine? Alchemists, clerics, and Angel sorcs. All classes with innate healing potential.

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page 178 wrote:
CRITICAL HITS When you make an attack and roll a natural 20 (the number on the die is 20), or if the result of your attack exceeds the target’s AC by 10, this is called a critical success (also known as a critical hit).

There you go.

Iirc, not only did drawing a weapon not provoke, you could do it as part of a move with base attack +1.

And a while attacks of opportunity are much less frequent than before, a fair number of the monsters released do have them.

Many of the scenarios seem designed to test certain situations and mechanics in particular. This may make them less than ideal as a full blown campaign. Oh well? If the adventure path tried to push the envelope in adventure design, would reactions be about the adventure, or about the rules and monsters?

You could just run the game and make up your own adventures if you want, or heavily modify the adventures to your taste. Your opinion would be less useful with regard to examining the specific goals for the default mission, and there wouldn't be as much of a basis for comparison. But the game also needs to work when people are making up their own stuff.

Besides, it seemed to me that the barricades in sombrefell could go anywhere, so instead of blocking the doors, a party could create chokepoints in other areas. Similarly, they could set up alarms or snares in some of the other entrances. The adventure does seem to assume a style of passive defense that doesn't react until enemies breach, but even within that there still seem to be some different plays.

A lot depends on the character. For example, a melee cleric might want str, con for physical combat stats, wis for their spells, and cha for channels. So yeah, dex can be handy, but it's not necessarily the biggest priority either. And clumsy was just max dex applies to reflex, right? So if you have a bad dex, it doesn't matter.

Onward! Where we last left the pcs, they had defeated the first wave, applied sanctified ground to their chosen holdfast, and built some barricades. Now the second wave of ghasts and vampires busts through the door. I decide to treat the pcs as not having weapons in hand since they had all been involved in making barricades and doing other stuff and not doing the 'on guard' exp!oration . I was hoping the party could drop a fireball or a bunch of ranged attacks before the monsters closed from the entrance to library area.I

Oh yeah, I definitely played the battle wrong because I treated use of climb speed as interchangeable with normal movement, which is not the case. Climb 10 move 10 is two actions even if both speeds are 20+
Initiative: war cleric, paladin, ghasts, druid, elf, vamps. All the melee people went first, and then the ranged after most the enemies. Thanks Murphy.

Cleric draws his sling, shoots with it ( hit for 8), and then drops it to ready his sword. The paladin delays. The ghasts double stride and then bite three times at the cleric and once at the paladin - these in the pcs at the front holding the gap. The best roll is 16, which missed because the cleric had the +1 from the ground buff. The paladin goes now that monsters are in his face, readying blade and making two slices. His normal bonus is 13, so rolls of 14 and 19 result in two crits because of sanctified ground. I think that killed one, but I don't always record when monsters die because I'm great at logging stuff. The druid readies and used his own sling, hitting for 11 despite screening and cover. The snake used its climb speed to come down over the side of the stairs and then move around to flank, but it's two missed regardless. The elf critically fails versus stink ( this time I had each person roll versus each ghast at the beginning of their turn, this is still the first failure),readies bow, and aims perfectly with a 20. There have been a lot of crits this battle. The vampires finally go, and between starting behind the ghasts and having only 25 speed, they can't attack this round. One triple moves up the right side, the other doubles and takes cover using the door off to the left.

The gorumite tried a bold triple attack to start round two, one swing hits and crits. Two ghasts are left; one moves around to the snake's side to escape the flank and class twice futilely. The other used leap to go a top the barricade and swipes twice at the horse - I want these guys to draw out as much healing as possible by hitting the softest targets. It hit once, but the special mount is not paralyzed or infected. The paladin moves up, crits again, and then had the horse attack and move away so the vampire couldn't flank it. I screw up the shared multi attack penalty and have the druid shoot twice and order the snake to bite twice, so ghast who does to these attacks probably should still live. The elf gets in to The stairs over the banister (no check) and shoots twice with a hit. Since the paladin attacked the ghast, there's a flank for vampire, but she misses. Then she moves around, putting the pillar between her and most of the party. The other one double moves with climb to reach the elf on the stairs, but rolls a 1.

Human cleric moves and shoots disrupt undead since it didn't look like he could make a melee attack. The last ghast moves up to the horse, hurts its jaw on the barding, and then leaps over it in a hopeful bid to set up another sneak attack. The paladin regrets speed 20 and triple moves. The druid has The snake climb back in the stairs to peel for the elf (8 more damage to that vamp) and casts electric arc on the ghast and vamp. The ghast fails critically and takes 22. No more flank for that vamp. Elf burns a level 3 as a touch attack, which drops the vamp menacing him. At this point, there is one unfounded vampire left, so I have her run. I don't think just the range people could drop her in a round, and their pursuit ability is constrained by the situation, so there will be an extra vamp in the final wave, probably trying to take another path. With no one to flank with, staying just seemed futile.

Between waves, the elf drops heal 1 on the horse, restoring the party to full hp. Then I bust out snare crafting and set up alarm wires in the upstairs balcony doors. The rear downstairs windows were supposed to be small, and all the mentioned big windows downstairs will lead in front of the chokepoint (which restricted the party more than the enemy this time, since climb speed and special half speed leap made it nearly pointless). So the upstairs is the big vulnerability left. One room is left to go when the first wights smash into the dining room. These alarms will of course be totally pointless, since the zombies are both obvious and a minimal threat, while the incorporate shadows should be able to ignore them. False sense of security, go!
Pcs had good luck with crits. The monsters had bad luck with most of their rolls. And Sanctify ground helped a lot. Otoh, the monsters need pretty good luck to hit the Pcs. By preventing them from ganging up on an ac 20 animal this time, I drastically reduced their ability to do well, anything. The fight was easy even with playing climb speed in a way that mostly favored the enemies. These are level 3 and 4 monsters against level 7 pcs in a system with strong automatic level scaling like 4e or 13A. Without a good set up and available soft targets, it's hard for them to do a lot.

Wights have just burst through the dining room window! Most of the party is hanging around their baricades, keeping watch while priest pretending to be a ranger improvised a warning system up stairs.
Naturally, said elf reacts first to the noise, and triple moves without reaching a good firing position. Then the battle Humphrey gorumite goes, and has to delay again. The poltergeist would be next but is forming. Wights move up, one opening the door, and the other taking cover (last action still couldn't quite reach). Cleric undelays, stepping forward and firing disrupt undead so as to stay in the blessed area. The druid spends all 3 actions to cast web, hitting the wights. The paladin riding around indoors this time, and just had the horse move because I Didn't give the character a ranged weapon (one, because I was pretty slapdassh about making him, and two because I realized that I didn't fix it because ime someone always forgets various secondary weapons when starting at higher levels.).

Elf starts the round by moving next to the halfling on the stairs, readying the bow, and finally using the bow which hits through cover. The wights go. The first one moves, makes the athletics check to clear a path, moves again because of the difficultterrain, and then attacks the cleric but a roll of 12 misses. The next wight has a clear path I think, but rolled a 19 if needed, and spends two actions moving to flank but does no better on its attack. The surrounded cleric retaliated with Weapon Storm, both enemies fail, one critically. Four weapon dice roll 28 so now both enemies are almost dead. Electric arc from the druid finishes one, and then he slings the other down.

Hmm, just realized I don't think I was handling the multiple attack penalty correctly there. The spell has the attack trait, so the follow up sling attack should be at -5. Otoh, there's no roll for electric arc, so using the sling and then the spell would be fine?

That's the first set of enemies down. The wights break into the study zone on the other side at the end of the round, as the poltergeist appears in the dining room. No one is in sight at the start of next round, so another character delays until after the enemies. The second wights are no faster than the first and move up while opening the door and taking cover. The ghost flies through wall and TK storms (I hadn't seen that it should be slowed, serves me right for assuming I knew how incorporeal works). Rolls of 3-5 miss. I thought the poltergeist would now be visible, so the elf shoots it (pay back for it taking too many actions phasing through the wall). It's a crit for 11 after resistance, and the shield spell goes up. The paladin orders his mount for a stride up to a wight, makes two attacks rolling a one and twenty (22 damage), and bravely advanced to the rear. The cleric also moves and disrupts undead for an amazing 4 damage. The druid closed the round with wall of thorns between the wights and the party. Setting that up was a big reason why the two bruisers stayed back.

Ghost throws another aoe storm, it hits the elf and snake for 4 damage. This is also when I notice that lucvi, hiding in the back hoping she can drop the chandelier on attackers, is in range of these attacks. The adventure cares about her, as opposed to the other students, so she is permitted to reach dying. Then the geist vanishes. The wights double move to set up a flank and avoid The paladin. The wall of thorns is also pretty worthless. They hit The cleric twice, and a two on one of the saved means enervation time! Without restoration, no more level 4 spells and channels. The elf can't see poltergeist, and so drops a triple action channel to save lucvi and hurt it. Haha, the save is a 20. Pally up - command for movement and strikes twice, one and nineteen result in only a normal hit. The human used shield, missed, and moved to break flanking and hug the pally. You can tell the druid doesn't live here - the cleric's movement means an aoe can be placed without friendly fire - so fireball it is! One wight is shielded by the other as the saves are 20 and 1. One down.

At the start of the next round, I notice the poltergeist stays invisible after attacking, so it moves to hit more people and aoe storms again. Everyone but the elf is hit, and the animals are crit.

That's when I had to clear the table. The web and wall of thorns were really disappointing in effect, and take 3 actions. Even trying to push people back into the WoT seemed dubious.

Enervation seems worse than I thought, since the casting time means its impractical to remove during the adventure.

Battlemap pictures by round are here

Not everything was taken at the top of the round.

Human Cleric is the spear using person (3 spears from Gloomhaven)
Elf is silver+purple gun robot from Infinity

The encounter mix is two low 7s, 2 high 7s, and a severe boss fight. Per the encounter building rules, if there's going to be 4 or five enemies in the two difficulty sets I'd consider normal,they will necessarily be of somewhat lower level and will have some difficulty hitting armored targets.

It basically just seems that first level groups get screwed because they are already near the floor, so numerous 'weak' monsters are still close to them in performance.

I really have no idea what the expected endurance of a party should be at this level in pf2. So far, I'd guess that a more normal party could do it if they have anti undead in other ways, like ghost touch, disrupting, lots of magic missiles and a decent amount of healing items.

I should be able to post the write up for the currently played stuff tomorrow.

High level wizards would end up 10+ skills per level despite starting with 2 quite often, so it easy to see why people thought they used to have good skills.

Did not see attack in index.

Not sure, so far I haven't finished yet, and it seems like the expected threat of each encounter ramps up. In the second fight where I had the animals play safer, the pcs barely took any damage. The characters had between 24 and 26 base AC and were mostly standing in sanctified ground, so +9 is pretty unlikely, and even if the vampires flank, an effective 13 was still less than 50/50. Pcs without soft targets like animals or low armor wizards with only okay dex could take several such battles without needing even one full cleric for healing.

Around the start of round 5 in fight 3, pcs have used 5 level heals topping off between fights, a level 3 heal as a nuke, and two of their channels, plus they need about another aoe heal because the poltergeist just had a great round. Only 9 channels, 12 spell points, several prepared spells, and 12 potions to go!

I expect the shadows will soak a ton of channels though, since they're resistant against many other forms of damage, and party friendly aoe seems like it could be good against their darkness/hiding stuff as well. 90 hp and resist 8 sounds tough to bring down otherwise. I might have them be evil and hunt down some grad students to create more shadows too!

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Whether it's monsters with a climb speed, or pcs making checks to leap and clamber over obstacles, switching movement types now hurts. A vampire can't walk 5 feet to a wall, walk 10 up, and then move 5/ft along the top with a move in an action, instead it takes three. Why wouldn't you want vampires to smoothly inter weave their climbing and normal walking?

Same thing a character trying to jump over something. It looks like an enemy 20' away with four foot fence halfway there basically means it's a minimum of 3 action to close, and possibly more (a strict read on high jump makes clearing it rather difficult still)

In 3e and pathfinder and 4e and 5e, jumping and climbing are part of movement, not distinct actions, precisely because characters good in those areas should be integrating those skills with running. Characters in cop movies vault over fences as they chase/are being chased. But apparently hurdles are a huge impediment even to characters legendary in athletics.

It seems to me that climbing and jumping ought to be free actions triggered during movement instead of actions incompatible with it.

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Matthew Downie wrote:
sherlock1701 wrote:
I really don't like the lack of AoOs in this edition. It shuts down tactics in a big way when you can just prance around willy-nilly with no punishment.
If everyone stays in one place through the whole battle because they don't want to provoke AoOs, that doesn't create much in the way of tactics either.

Which is a problem that pathfinder exacerbated by weakening tumble. 3e started off making maneuver pretty easy for characters not wearing heavy. And other dndish games had maneuver as well. Even people without explicit shift powers could step+charge in 4e some of the time. 13th age allows a 50/50 to escape, and has a number of abilities that let characters pop free from engagement - or pop enemies free so ranged people aren't pressured. Spycraft 2 doesn't have attacks, but it does have a zone of control hindering movement (unless bypassed with skills) and pretty serious penalties for using most ranged weapons while in melee. So it seems to me that there's a pretty large middle ground you are excluding.

Moreover, the other reason for static fights isn't just punishment for trying to move, but also what opportunity cost is. And while PF 2 does make it easier to more and get extra attacks by default, there are still significant costs to moving since it takes the place of some action, instead of characters having an action just for moving. Now even level 1 characters can stand still and make 3 attacks. It takes an action to ready a shield every turn by default, so two attacks and a shield means not moving. Step is an action, so it's actually much more expensive than before. Stances take an action too, instead of being swift or minor. If characters are supposed to move around a lot, maybe they shouldn't have a lots of options for trading their move in exchange for an extra attack or other bonuses.

Finally, IME, the threat of aoo drives as much movement as it can stop. Non melee types moved so melee monsters couldn't get in their face and mess up their turns. In pf2, it doesn't matter as much. Against most enemies, they can stand their and do their thing regardless - and if they move, the monster will be able to chase them down freely even if most melee characters engage them. Just stand there, spend 2 actions to cast and then 1 to attack or use the shield cantrip.

Slow: single target now.
Confusion: also single target, saved every round.
Web: the first to succeed clears a paths for the others.
Wall of thorns: difficult terrain only, damage only per move action used to enter wall. Low impact, low deterrent, combo unfriendly since knocking someone into the wall doesn't deal damage.

I mean, some of these spells often were too good in prior versions of 3e. But a lot of zone control stuff seems like garbage in pf2, eating a limited resource to momentarily inconvenience enemies.

Come back Icy Rays, all is forgiven? :)

I've used it to look up exact definitions for crits, resonance points, starting items above first levek, and a few other things that I now forget. It wasn't bad.

kaid wrote:

Actually strike that druids basically already have the correct version of magic weapon to buff their pets attacks to be magic.

Casting Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting
Range touch; Targets one willing ally
Duration 1 minute
Choose one of the target’s unarmed attacks that deals 1 die of
damage. You cause that unarmed attack to shine with primal energy.
The unarmed attack counts a +1 magic weapon, gaining a +1 item
bonus to attack rolls and dealing another die of damage on a hit.

So at the start of combat if you find you need magic to hit the target buff up your willing pet and then let him go attack.

This doesn't work if you upgrade animal companion to full grown, because then it has two dice while the spell requires 1. Similarly, animal companions can't get item bonuses except for barding.

I can see why they don't have a favorable exchange rate for consumables, because in 1 shot type adventures going super heavy on one shot items tends to pay out better than having normal items. That's not necessarily something to encourage both overall, and when testing one off scenarios is a goal.

As I said: I haven't actually played it yet, and maybe the math somehow works out and these lists of leveled items somehow balances everyone in the party. Maybe Monks somehow become broken if they got to choose level appropriate items for all of their slots? I'm not sure about that off-hand, but it also seems like such an arcane thing for them to have already tested for internally that I don't think that's very probable. Warmagon's reaction I think spoke to why they did it this way. "It's faster/easier." But, that doesn't mean better.

There's also the idea that a high level character comes from a low level character. A level 9 monk does not just appear with the stuff they'd want at level 9 - they were a level 6 monk who got some items while leveling, and then a level 7 character who won items, and so on. These items are not completely fungible, so they stick around.

And note that the table only does provide you with level appropriate items - that's why level 9 bottoms out with two fifth level items and some gold. They are not 'on level or above' items, but they are stuff in a range around your character level.

Animal companions can't get magic attacks at higher levels, which is still important against some enemies.

Wall of thorns seemed pretty bad.

The casters are often less squishy, and, since the monsters usually don't have an attacks of opportunity either, don't care as much as before because nothing stops them from casting or shooting while monsters are in their face.

So it kind of works both ways. I'm not sure that it's a positive change, but it does kind of work.

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One thing to note about the damage from magic weapons is that it really cuts into the room for different material weapons to beat dr. A regular plus 1 longsword loses about the same damage from low level vampire dr as the step down to a silver normal weapon.

I played a bit more today, doing the vampire+ghast battle, and a bit more than half of the next of the next before I had to stop. The first encounter was pretty one sided, even with initiative rolls not having the PCs I wanted to go first. The ghasts could not hit easily, and the vampires couldn't really get into range in the first round. I ended up having the last vampire run away once everyone else died; it didn't seem like staying would do anything.

The PCs dispatched both of the initial wights in 2 rounds before the others showed up, but the next wave hit the cleric and enervated him before I had to clear the table.

On closer inspection, some of the movement rules seemed pretty awkward more than I thought, with transitioning between modes or skill actions basically requiring different actions.

The numerical impact of a small bonus on rolls is often doubled in a sense, because it both affects base chance of success and also the chance to crit. There are two ways for that 5% nudge to matter.

Most of the time it seems like anything remotely decent is gated behind a feat even with legendary proficiency. In some cases, it seems like they made stuff worse, to 'sell' feats for improving it.

And it's not like Legendary Impersonator lets you pick a minor character in a scene you're not in and go "actually, I'm that dude in disguise" or something (spirit of the century). And I kind of think 15th level DnD characters should feel more amazing than SotC characters.

This is a solo battle test. I want to see how higher level characters perform, no one in my group has expressed interest in trying PF2, and there is a fairly straightforward siege adventure in the playtest. So I'm going to play through the battle in the level 7 adventure and see how things work. Btw, I'm sorry if some stuff makes zero sense. I'm writing most of this on a kindle, and the autocorrect is the most aggressive version I've seen and it hates both gaming terms and acronyms.

Our heroes are a Halfling storm druid, elf healing domain cleric, human might cleric, and human paladin. Everyone has plus one weapons and armor, although the war cleric has the plus 2. As directed for the adventure, the party is two positive channeling clerics, and everyone else can heal. Via feats, the party also has two animal companions. Some of the other items may be useful, others are not likely to be so. It's not like everyone has disrupting or ghost touch stuff or whatever to especially beat undead.

Halfling Druid:

Str 8, dex 16, con 16, int 14, wis 19, cha 12. Hp 83, ac 24, f 12, r 11, w13. Sling 11, 2d6+2
Keen eyes, lucky halfling. Stormborn, call of the wild, animal companion plus full grown. Alertness, assurance nature. Hobnobber, group impress, automatic knowledge, recognize spell.
Storm 6 spell points.
Master nature, trained diplomacy survival acrobatics athletics stealth thievery
Cantrips tanglefoot, electric arc, know direction. One heal heal magic fang. Two, web entangle shape wood. Three, fireball wall of thorns heal. Four, stoneskin heal.
Staff sling was two handed only instead of one plus, so I thought it wouldn't mix with casting as well.

Snake. Hp 55, ac 20, f 9, r 11, w 10. Jaws 11, 2d8+4
I went with snake to potentially get out of melee if pressed.

3*3d8+4 healing pots. Skeleton key, travelers anytool, ring of the ram, plus one sling and hide, 2* feather token bush.

=Human Cleric:

Human cleric, soldier, gorum
Str 18, dex 10, con 16, int 10, wis 18, cha 14, hp 92, spd 20, per 11, ac 25\21, f 13, r 9, w 14
A, class feat, general feat. C, communal healing, emblazon, advanced domain for might, expanded domain for zeal. G, toughness, fleet, heavy armor. Quick repair, assurance religion, powerful leap, battlefield medic
Greatsword 12, 2d12+4, sling 2d6+2
Spell points 7, channel 5
Cantrips, shield, guidance, light, disrupt undead. One, bless heal disrupting weapon. Two, heal, restoration, see invis. 3, heroism, dispel magic, sanctify ground. Four, weapon stormx2
+1 wounding greatsword, +1 sling, 10 cold iron bullets, +1 plate, minor staff of healing, brooch of shielding, 3x moderate healing pot, 2x darkvision elixer
Going for a more classic war cleric with a greatsword and some buffs. Fighter multi was a possibility too, I suppose. Enlarge didn't seem worth it without being able to exploit reach. People have said true strike is good, probably missing a trick by not taking it. But I didn't feel like changing them.

Elf Cleric:

Elf cleric saranae. I was not actually all that enthused about the cleric spells after the first cleric, so for second, I decided to double down on heal botting with both the healing domain and a spell load of mostly heals. Archery would deal damage.

Str 10 dex 18 con 12 int 12 wis 18 cha 16. Per 13, hp 69, as 24\22, f 10, r 12, w 13
Shortbow 12, 2d6+4 r60 deadly
A, weapon familiarity, weapon elegance. C emblazon, advanced domain, communal healing. G alertness, recognize spell. S, forager, battlefield medic, snare crafting
Healing domain 6, channel 6
magic bow, scimitar, studded. Brackets of missile deflection, goggles of night, divine prayer beads. 3x moderate healing, 1 swiftness potion.
C, stabilize, shield, read aura, detect magic. 1, 3x heal. 2, restoration, 2xheal. 3, fireball, 2x heal. 4, restoration, heal


Human paladin acolyte iomadae
Str 18, dex 12, con 14, int 10 wis 14, cha 18, speed 20, per 9, hp 92, as 26, f 12, r 9, w 11
Longsword 2d8+4
A natural ambition awarded touch. C hospice knight, divine grace, channel life, loyal warhorse. Student of cannon, powerful pediatricians medic. Ride, fleet
Powers 6. Fort save mastery effect, retributive strike, steed blessing
Horse hp 74, as 22, f 11 r 11, w 11 hoof 11, 2d6+4
Ring of lesser fire resist,magic plate, magic heavy barding, magic longsword, expert sturdy light wooden shield.

I wanted a classic human knight type, although coming from a more humble religious backgroun than a noble one. It looks like I hadn't picked everything when I set the character down, and didn't notice some slots were empty until after I started. Oh well. The shield is not up to date because magic barding took that slot IIRC, which may prove to be a problem.

I started the event with the scholar near the door, the paladin in the hallway somewhat behind - as if to say "no wait, don't open it"- and the other pcs in the dining room standing but without weapons drawn. I let the npc move back roughly even to the dining room door. Order is druid, human cleric, ghasts, elf cleric, and finally the paladin, who went on 11. The druid commands snake to double move, putting it next to sage man, then readies a sling and moves. Hc draws his greatsword and double moves. The ghasts double stride up and take some swings. Most the attacks are terrible, but the snake is hit for 12 and becomes infected. People are exposed to the auras, and the paladin fails. Everyone else succeeds and becomes bolstered. However, I may have run that wrong if the bolster is per ghoul, and not for the aura in general. The elf cleric readies a shortbow, enters the hall, and hits on 7 courtesy of 18 Dec and low level enemies. The paladin readies an s-word, crits a ghast for 16 (terrible roll for damage), and spends an action to save against the sicken. It looks like drawing a weapon would provoke, if the enemies could take aoo.

Round 2 starts off with the druid's electric arc and commanding the snake to crit and move. Hc does a miss and hit, then casts shield. The normal greatsword hit outshines th longsword crit, dropping the leftmost ghast. Noticing that the snake is soft target, the ghasts set up a flank and aim most of their attacks there. The snake is knocked to within 10 of death, and paralyzed, but one of the enemies takes retributive smite which crits and thus diverts its second attack to the paladin to clear enfeeble. And that attack crits back on a twenty. I don't want the animal to die this early, so elf channels for a three action heal to save snake, and mostly top off other scuffed people. And also mess up the ghasts, but one rolls a twenty - most of them are around half now. The paladin is evidently off balance, rolling a two and three. He shields with his last action.

Round three starts. Snake is paralyzed, so druid does electric arc and fired a critical slingshot while adjacent to a pair of enemies. Mr Slithers recovers. They didn't have aoo, so I guess it's okay? Human cleric gets one hit out of two and casts shield to deter the enemies who weren't attacking him from attacking him. But going for a triple seemed pretty marginal. He also killed one adjacent foe. Ghasts now avoid the Palin's reach if possible, and set up a flank chain that goes ghast, elf, ghast, snake, ghast. The snake takes some more hits, but less than it was healed. The elf stands and fires, killing another enemy. Now there are two of them. Paladin steps up, crits and kills another one. The survivor is out of reach. The druid starts and finished the next round by ordering Mr Slithers to finish off the last super ghoul.

So basically three rounds to clear the wave. After the battle, four level 1 heals top off the snake, the center area is sanctified versus the undead, a holly bush is planted, and three barricades are thrown up between the stairs and library column to create a narrow chokepoint. The paladin also brings his horse inside so it could fight in the next battle. So only one high level limited ability was needed, plus some level 1 spells. Could have been better imo, could have been worse. Using the barricades on the door seemed poor imo. The large windows provide extra entrances, and it seems like shooting enemies would be a problem. It seems better to use them to control access to the stairs and the library, and then ranged pcs can shoot over them from the stairs or upper hall. In theory.
I had wanted to start the battle off with web, but was not in position for it. No one in the battle had opp attacks, which was really weird. People could just move wherever - especially with the ghasts ' leap - or just shoot and cast right in monster faces. Kind of a double edge sword there - characters and monsters could move without threat, but at the same time, there was less need for ranged people to move and most of the pcs could take three decent actions against these enemies. Normally ranged guys benefit from looking at enemies movement paths and trying to get out of dodge in advance, or find ways to escape engagement. The ghasts could have dodged back to make melee potentially spend actions moving, but as monsters without a ranged attack, it seemed like the pcs would benefit more. If I made the characters roll for each ghoul aura, I don't think the outcome would have changed much. Although if it comes down to the last low level spell... Not a lot of limited abilities were used, and not much variety of actions taken. But then it is a pretty easy fight. The animals looked more vulnerable than I thought, and there are a number of enemies coming up with spawn type powers to really take advantage of that. I'll probably attempt to have them to hang back initially in the future, instead of having the battle line kind of form around them. Otoh, without aoo, won't enemies without a strong three action turn be able to swarm them anyway? Maybe I should just make sure the paladin can cover one of them.

Questions regarding the adventure:
How does the boss guy get intel? He sends the ghasts in to scout, but there are no tactics to try and have one escape to report back. Does that mean he's pulling in info in real time remotely? That's what I'll assume.

What is the reason for using so many waves versus throwing in more consolidated attacks? If you're going to sneak guys in the back, for instance, why not have a frontal attack going as well to cover for them? It kind of seems like there's no in world reason for splitting the forces up in this way. The undead either need more autonomy to create coordination problems, or multiple objectives so guys are being diverted from other areas as sombrefell proved tougher than expected, etc. There should be a reason why his big force is coming for sliced into hopefully manageable chunks.

There are Dcs for climbing up to the lake balcony. Possibly more should be provided for climbing on other parts of the estate like going up to the roof, smashing through interior doors or walls, or climbing up to the second level in the inside without the stairs. Similarly, there is some stuff for pcs to scavenge or abuse in the defense of the mansion. However, someone with snare crafting may want a gp value of stuff they can scrounge to make their traps. Snares seem great for static defense missions like this as opposed to normal dungeon crawling, so the information to support them should be provided imo.

The grounds seem fairly open. What happens if pcs with ranged weapons or spells and night vision start their defense further out than the building itself? It seems like some waves would be quite vulnerable to that kind of thing, since they are not especially fast, lack ranged, and long attack attacks reach to to 500' potentially.

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Vic Ferrari wrote:

Yes, the numbers are strange for me, the meat comes from your level, and number porn does not make things epic, for me.

As it stands now, a 20th-level Fighter (+20) with Legendary Proficiency (+3), a 22 Str (+6), and + 5 weapon has +34 to hit. A Pit Fiend has an AC of 44, so you need to roll a 10 to hit, and 20 for a critical success.

If you delete the +Level treadmill, the Fighter has a +14 to hit, and the Pit Fiend has an AC of 24, so, once agin, you need to roll a 10 to hit, and 20 for a critical success; how is the former more exciting?

Legendary is where I think PF2 could really distinguish itself from 5th Ed, without "bigger numbers are neat"; offer Herculean/Beowulf type stuff.

Would you say that 1e PF has the same treadmill?

I mean, the CR 20 Pit Fiend has +20 natural armor - why not just cancel that out with base attack?

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Those feats seem pretty good IMO, OTOH, the base chassis for human does not seem as good as other races.

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The suggestions are completely in line with the table for starting high level characters in the books. The table also specifically mentions permanent items, which narrows the go values considerably. And those treasure values seemed similar to, but kind of worse, the earned items for a level, which doesn't seem entirely inappropriate.

And personally I think it's way faster to go 'one of these, two of these, etc ' than spend to drop large amounts of free currency.

David Silver - Ponyfinder wrote:
If a creature deals damage to you when you hit it, hitting it becomes less of a complete gain. If it is a significant strike-back, being able to gather your damage in less hits becomes more valuable.

Yeah. Otoh, class feats are supposed to be a major feature. So power attack seems like a quite expensive hedge if it only helps in case of retaliate and significant dr.

Asuet wrote:
The main point here is that spells are a resource. They should be better in the situation they are used in than skills that are available any time. Concluding from that that classes without spells are somehow at a disadvantage is just silly.

That's kind of true. Otoh, there are other forms of cost. There's cost in action, opportunities to do X, risks, and so forth. If we say that characters have some finite amount of combat endurance because enemies get to do stuff too, then the a number of attacks a character can make is also limited in a practical sense. Same thing for number of enemies - if there are twenty dudes in the dungeon, attacks past the point where they're all dead are of vastly reduced importance.

Also, you've no doubt seen an early takedown of a target reduce the threat of that side since they'll get fewer actions. So like money, there is a 'time value of damage\offense.'

If you look only at daily limits and ignore all the others, you aren't painting a very accurate picture of the resources involved. And that's why "unlimited" classes have often struggled ime.


It looks like they also don't benefit from the pc friendly dying rules by default, and just die at zero. The dm is free to grant them the waiver for important npcs of course, but I did not see anything saying they would normally benefit.

They are kind of replaceable, so it's not the worst thing, but having an maxed out companion is a pretty significant feat investment and eats an action to use.

To be honest, it's the multi attack penalty that makes Melee relevant. Think about how terrible it would be to have to spend actions moving next to foes before you attack them if ranged guys were shooting three arrows at full bonus every turn. Same thing for utility actions like shield use, stances, etc. Both the balance between melee and range and the internal balance between actions so there's more to combat than rolling to hit a lot kind of require the penalties.

Casters are only a couple of points behind on attack bonus and have some spells to help them out in combat, so it's not like they couldn't also find ways to advantage of unpenalized triple attacks. Moreover, a number of martial class feats allow them deal with these penalties in one form or another.

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Magic Fang requires that the target's unarmed attack be only one die. I did not see a higher level equivalent or heightening option. Items say they're for humanoids unless otherwise stated; I did not see such an exemption for handwraps.

What is the method of giving an animal companion with its first upgrade (and thus at least two damage dice) a magic attack?

I don't see a rule that says your Gargantuan Great Axe gains any damage other than that mentioned directly by the Giant Totem ability (which increases your conditional bonus while raging).

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
The PF2e dwarf fighter also starts with +10 HP more than the PF1e one. That's got to count for at least one feat.

More like +4 hit points, since everyone gets at least +6 hit points for race.

The OP is comparing a PF2e dwarf fighter top a PF1e dwarf fighter, not to a different PF2e character. In PF1 racial HP didn't exist, hence the entire amount is an advantage for the PF2 dwarf.

That's kind of true. But abilities are abilities - the ability to do something is kind of an independent value.

OTOH, HP are only meaningful when looked at in terms of incoming damage. Survivability is a capacity characters possess; HP are just a component of that. So while we might say that said Dwarf Fighter is more resilient against say Color Spray (can't be knocked out) or Alchemist's Fire (better touch AC, damage is similar while HP went up), time to kill may be equal or less instead of greater if goblins with short bows are shooting at him since they have a higher attack bonus in both absolute and relative terms and get more crits and better crits.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like Gorum works as Neutral, since he doesn't fight for any reason except to fight, and he'll fight anyone, any time, for any reason and the only thing that really bothers him is "someone prevents a fight before it happens." It's just not an ethos that Good people can really get behind because it's inherent opposition to diplomacy and general "Might Makes Right" bottom line. If we were going to expand Gorum's cleric pool I think (CN, N, CE) makes more sense than CG anywhere.

OTOH, the anathema only seems to be against preventing fights; not finding ways to limit them. So preventing a fight is bad, but turning a brutal struggle to the death into stupid macho fist fight seems fine.


If you want to protect the weak and have a feast afterwards, go to Kurgess, that's right up his alley.

Not in the playtest document though.

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Well, it kind of seems like you need something good to make up for not having either shield or two hander. The default position of a 1 hand+empty fighting style is generally giving up either defense or defense versus other fighting styles, so its traits need to be stronger to make up for it.

Also, a lot of fighter feats can deal out flat footed even on a failure. Brutish Shove does it next level. Aggressive Shield can flat footed without a roll. Shatter Defenses can flat footed. So can Debilitating Shot, and Reeling Blow.

DoubleGold wrote:

Even though Sorcerers get 9+int in skills, this is only at first level. No mention of trained skills in bloodline becoming expert skills when you get your first skill increase or it increasing every time. So I take it as 9+int in skills, but future skill increases in it is 5+int.

Now look at it. 9+int at first level. 5+int at 3rd level. 5+int at 5th level. Averages out to 6.33+int per increase at 5th level.
Now take it to level 11. Averages out to 5.66+int per increase at 11th level.

I'm hoping the FAQ solution is you are trained in 9+int skills but only at first level, more power to the sorcerers.

There is no trained but only at x level. All the skills increase every level whether or not people are trained or expert, etc.

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In a sense, the new edition of a game often has this problem. Just starting off, it's essentially competing with the best of whatever the previous version had. So it either has to limit its changes to maintain more compatibility and thus ease the transition (you can use your old splats with the new edition!) before the line expands. Or its changes need to offer enough interesting stuff on their own that people are willing to accept the initial loss of content as collateral damage.

However, it seems like PF 2 has often taken the route of not adding new things, but instead subdividing the old content out over more feats and levels. You need several ancestry feats to get the benefits of most races now instead of starting with them. Quickdraw is for rogues, not a general feat. Cleave is a level 6 Barbarian ability instead of something any fighter or any human can start with.

In some cases, that's not really unreasonable. Dwarves did get a lot of stuff before, they can afford to get a little less at the start. Spreading out some of the super hax 9th level spells over 9th and 10th level spells makes sense. But across the board, it does seem kind of unappealing IMO.

FLite wrote:

PF 1: -1 to hit for +2 damage where both the penalty to hit and the bonus to damage scale is so clutch that every martial build takes power attack at the cost of a feat.

PF 2: -1 to hit and +2 damage, where only the bonus to damage scales, and you get it for free is a trap?

Doesn't seem that implausible IMO. In PF and 3e, lots of monsters had really bad ACs, and with extra attacks, a warrior's attack routine was biased towards the high end. And there were a lot of potential buffs to attack bonus, which stacked. So Power Attack could destroy vulnerable targets and still offer a modest improvement against reasonably well armored enemies.

In PF 2, AC is somewhat more consistent with level. Extra attack bonuses are more scarce (less stacking, less duration, smaller bonuses). Extra attacks from haste still have the multi-attack penalty. And margin of success matters for crits, so turning 'extra' to hit into damage is also shrinking the range of double damage.

And it's not free, because each totem has the opportunity cost of all the other totems.

Enervated does this stuff:


You take a conditional penalty equal to your enervated value on checks that include a proficiency modifier. The penalty can’t exceed your level, even if the enervated value is greater. For example, if you become enervated 4 and were level 3, you’d take only a –3 penalty.

In addition, you treat your level as though it were lowered by your enervated value (to a minimum of 1st level) when determining which spells you can cast and which abilities you can use. This applies only to actions, activities, free actions, and reactions you gained from feats and class features, and only those that have a level prerequisite. You don’t lose your prepared spells, but you can’t cast those that are higher level than the enervated condition allows.

Monsters just have net bonuses with no proficiency bonus. Monster abilities have no minimum level. Monster spells require no level, they just cast at whatever spell level they need to.

While I'm fine with monster/PC asymmetry, making it work does seem to require writing up conditions that don't only refer to stuff PCs have.

If I was talking about the positive aspects of 3e/PF, I'd mention stuff like building a character out of lots of different lego bits, pulling a piece from a different kit for your build. And a lot of actions could feel really powerful - you could mow down an enemy with a buffed up full attack in a single round, or cripple a bunch of foes with a multi-target spell.

For 4e, I'd mention balance (I could basically go through playing new classes each time and the characters pretty much all seemed decent at least), that there a lot of tactical combat combos you can set up internally and even more with your group. It also does a lot to establish class identity from level 1.

In FFG Star Wars, the two axis of success and way dice faces are set up means that success is often spawning some additional complication or problem, while failure is often creating some opportunity or other benefit. That usually helps things be Star Warsy IMO.

Obviously, people's experience with PF 2 so far is going to be limited. But what seems like the good part, the hook or pitch for the rules? I'm trying to be positive, but PF2 does not seem to have high impact attack rounds and spells of the 3e based systems while being more structured as well. And any combos of different actions aren't leaping off the page at me either the way 4e stuff did. What's the cool thing that PF 2 is good at, other than being Feat Tax: the RPG?

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The New Action Economy: I really like the new 3 action economy rule. One thing that really disappointed me and turned me off from playing PF1 was that they still had clerics and other healers having their healing powers be their standard action so the clerics couldn't cast and attack,etc. I frequently play druids focused on "leader" like abilities to use 4E vernacular and clerics. One of the main problems with D&D 1st and 2nd that people complained about was that clerics felt like healbots. They healed while everyone else did something else on their turn. I have been playing since 1st edition and was very happy with the direction 4E took on healing being a minor action so a priest could heal her buddies, then wage into combat swinging a mace for a little damage the way they have always been described as doing. With PF1 our group voted against and I was one of the against votes because healing steal took an action. Well, with the new action economy (if we have been playing it right) my priest can use a touch heal spell (only one action) to heal a friend, then move forward, and then attack. Even 5E went with healing being somethat that for MOST healing spell is not the only thing done that round so Kudos to Paizo on the new direction.

Actually, I think a lot of the PF 2 changes with the action economy and casting actions feel harsher than in 3e or PF. Hands feel somewhat more limited since switching grips is no longer free and light shields don't have a hand free.

And then it takes an action each round (without a high level fighter feat) to keep a shield raised. You don't get free weapon readies while moving with base attack. Most classes can't get Quickdraw to facilitate changing weapons without losing an action. 5 ft step is an action. There aren't spells like Close Wounds to heal folks on a reaction. Etc.

So the action economy actually seems more punitive IMO.

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kaid wrote:

The big reason nations switched was ease of use. You could train peasent rabble to be combat effective with them in a minimal time and it did not require any large amounts of strength to use. A long bow was a skill that took years to master and large amounts of upper body strength. Crossbows you could give joe schmoe a 2 week training period of how to march and line up and basic commands and expect them to be able to fire at an acceptable rate while pointed at the enemy. The flatter trajectory also made learning to aim them.

Weren't crossbowmen often a part of noted mercenary units?

From wikipedia
Crossbowmen occupied a high status as professional soldiers and often earned higher pay than other foot soldiers.[82] The rank of the commanding officer of crossbowmen corps was one of the highest positions in many medieval armies, including those of Spain, France, and Italy. Crossbowmen were held in such high regard in Spain that they were granted status on par with the knightly class.

So while the crossbow was a lot more usable than bows without extensive training and muscle development, its use by professional forces and fairly high status would suggest that people saw virtues in its use beyond being for "peasant rabble."

Bill Dinger wrote:
Zaister wrote:

I had fun with the goblin shuffle (er... scuttle), that was a cool addition.

I had one PC go down with a shortbow crit (2d6+1d10 is ouch!) from one of the goblins, but he spent a hero point to not get the dying condition.

So this is confusing because there is also a rule that says if you ever take more than double your HP in damage you are dead. Not dying. Dead. So we presumed you had to keep track of it else you could abuse the system.

You can use something like a Druid's stabilize which would bring you back to 1 and depending on how that mucked up you in the initiative order would likely let you get your dying condition reduced by 1 which means the next time you could just take N-1 damage (where N is your HP) , die again, then wait for the druid to stabilize you.

It's just extremely confusing!

Going back to 1 HP does not make the character conscious again; they still have to make their dying save to start acting even if they have positive HP.

The dying rules don't seem that complicated; however they are very different from most forms of DnD.

1e PF also has paladins heavily use CHA (smite attack bonus, Divine Grace, Spells, lay on hands uses, and channels). While not everything corresponds to previous editions of the game, it hardly seems like a shocker that a class that started off requiring high CHA, and then used it extensively would continue to want good CHA to power its abilities instead of merely slightly above average CHA.

CraziFuzzy wrote:

Something to also remember regarding the proficiency mechanic - it is not just about the modifier, but it also plays into the feat prerequisites. A Legendary swordsman can hit a target a bit more often than an Expert swordsman, but that Legendary swordsman can potentially do quite a bit MORE with that hit.

Example: Brutal Finish

Is that quite a bit more? Yeah, it's an extra thing that requires master or better, but it's an extra die of damage on one attack in a round if you want to attack as your last action. That doesn't exactly seem like a huge damage increase. And it's essentially competing with all the other level 12 or lower class feats. A two hander fighter could take Reeling Blow instead, and also get something that seems pretty useful, for instance, and that has no higher level proficiency requirement.


as an example, if a bard crits on a 19-20, and a fighter crits on a 16-20, that's 150% more critical chance. One crits every 10 strikes, the other every 4

Not strictly true, since penalties change with extra attacks and those essentially cut directly into critical chance. If you crit 16-20 on your primary attack, then the second attack at -5 is only critting on a 20. So it's more like fighter gets .25+.05 (+.05) crits while bard gets .1+.05 (+.05) which is "only" double crits.

And the chance that this critical advantage doesn't matter in a fight due to die rolls is pretty significant.