Great suggestions, everyone! Thank you. I'll definitely check out House on Hook Street & Dreams of the Yellow King.
(In particular, I like the idea from Hook Street of visiting the same location in reality and then in dream: I might have Tarsellis' sleeping place be a temple of his that must be adventured in twice in this way.)
I'd forgotten about the Dreamlands supplement back in the day but I might look into that, as I don't mind converting stuff at all.
If anyone remembers the name of the PFS scenario, I'd love to check that out too.
Since Tarsellis is specifically an elven deity of mountains, winter, rivers, and the snow elf people, I want to make those elements overwhelming in the dreamscape--if anyone has specific ideas along those lines, I'd love to hear it. In Greyhawk lore, he departed from the elven pantheon (the Seldarine) after being seduced away from his wife Ehlonna by the goddess Megwandir, who later became Lolth. When he realized her betrayal, he tore out his own heart and buried it in the mountains before departing into the Shadow Plane/Feywild (same plane IMC) to become the Master of the Wild Hunt.
The characters have recovered his heart and have journeyed into the Shadowlands to replace the god's heart in his body while his spirit, as Master of the Wild Hunt, hunts down their retired characters from the previous campaign (who are acting as a distraction for the god to give the new characters a chance to succeed).
The characters are merely 9-10 lvl (so little in the Shadowlands as almost not noticed) but I convert everything anyway, so a 20th lvl module is as useful to me as a 1st lvl one. I've pulled in a lot of the Shadow stuff from Kobold Press for this campaign: Wrath of the River King, Courts of the Shadow Fey, and Paizo stuff like Realm of the Fellnight Queen.
For the finale of my campaign (set in Greyhawk), the adventurers are going to explore the dreamscape of the sleeping snow elf god of mountains and rivers, Tarsellis Meunniduin.
I'd be interested to hear any suggestions as I design this area . . . What would an adventure in a god's mind be like?
Are there any Pathfinder modules involving dreamscapes? What about dreamscape modules for other systems?
Any suggestions are welcome!
In defense of the three-action economy in PF1, there's a lot of folks on these boards who had a crack at it and seemed to be pleased with the results. I'm going to run a playtest soon of my own before implementing it in a new campaign.
The best thing about the 3 action economy, IMO, is that it actually limits what PCs can do in a round--swift actions in PF1 and bonus actions in 5e both are most guilty for bogging down the game. Having to spend an action for a 5' step or a knowledge check is a good thing in just keeping everything going.
I'd be interested in hearing your issues/war-stories/complaints about it, Skerek.
Usually there's a link at the bottom of the Paizo forums to Archive, where all of the old posts for Dungeon magazine live. I reference the wonderful Age of Worms forum there a LOT, so I hope this isn't a permanent deletion or preview of deletion to come.
It looks like I can still access the Age of Worms, Savage Tide, Maure Castle forums by doing searches for those topics and wading through pages of posts until I see something posted in the subforum. So it's all still there, but without an Archive link really hard to find.
Please bring back the Archive link!
I'm in the process of adapting the wacky 5e adventure Mortzengersturm: The Mad Manticore of the Prismatic Peak to PF1 and am looking for some help converting the many hybrid-freak monsters the titular manticore wizard has created.
My suspicion is I can get away with using sort-of kind-of similar stat blocks that already exist in the six Bestiaries. I don't want to have to create all new stat blocks for any of these--I just want to reskin what already exists.
I'm betting there are a lot of folks on this board who are more familiar with existing monsters than me.
The party will be 6th lvl, but don't worry about monster power, as I can easily scale up or down anything as needed. I'm more concerned just finding existing stats that I could reskin for these:
Ant-Lion: large magical beast, lion-size ant with lion’s head
Thanks in advance for any help!
Yes, this exactly. So a no-homework or beginner player can choose something meaningful but passive instead.
I guess what I hated about the similar ability as a hunter, and what I definitely hated about it as a 2e fighter, is that, once I have an ability, I feel the need to make the best use of it--even though in this case it's not an ability I ever wanted.
As a hunter, I felt like I had to bring this stupid spreadsheet of tactical options with me every time I played.
As a fighter, there aren't that many options YET but no one doubts there will be.
These kind-of pick-any-feat you want for the day just feel like they shouldn't be baked-in to any class. They feel like advanced options for players who really want to do homework.
I would have traded this ability out in a hot second if I'd been given the option to do so.
As I said, I think it's really important to have some classes in the game where a new player can take mostly passive bonuses.
I've been doing something like Loreguard suggests in my PF1 game and it works well in PF2 also. I call it shepherding. The point is for an entire party to overcome a skill-based obstacle if they all agree to follow the direction and tips of the most skilled party member. It can never be used in encounter situations--this is only possible in the more leisurely timeframe of exploration mode.
Shepherding can be used for climbing, balancing, social encounters, research, and (most importantly) stealth.
First, everyone in the party must agree to strictly obey the point character for the duration of that task. (This means that a chaotic, lonewolf sort of character, who never acts like a team-player, can't benefit from this at all.) The point man is assumed to be giving detailed, verbal guidance to the team to manage the task, and they are assumed to be following direction exactly.
Second, everyone must attempt to Aid Another at their normal skill bonus. Every failure incurs a -2 on the point character's check, but a success gives no bonus at all.
Last, the point character rolls the skill normally, including all of the penalties incurred in step 2. If failure occurs, blame/consequences first fall on a random team member who failed to Aid Another, and only after that on the Team Leader.
For skill tasks out of Encounter mode, I allow the entire task to operate on a larger timescale. Thus, no Stealth checks for every MV action; no Climb checks for every MV action (these only occur in Encounter mode).
This allows me to run a team climbing up a cliff face, for instance, with a single skill check--the failure of which means somebody falls from a random height.
Or a single Stealth check for a team attempting to sneak through a half-mile of forest past an orcish encampment, failure meaning one of the armored characters is heard or seen.
Or a knowledgeable character sends all of his friends into certain sections of the library to scan books for a particular reference in order to benefit her research: again, one check.
Or a diplomatic character instructs everyone ahead of time how they can contribute when she presents their petition to the Queen.
The advantage of this is that difficult skill challenges can still challenge the entire party, with everyone participating, without everyone in the group having to have level-appropriate skills in everything. It allows the specialists to shine without stopping the adventure for everyone else.
My group has had a lot of fun with it.
I love dmerceless' distinctions. I hope flavor text to that effect will appear in the final rules, and mechanical effects to support them.
I think the majority of skill feats, as they stand, should be folded into the proficiency levels as automatic bonuses for achieving them. For instance, maybe anybody with Mastery in climbing gains One-handed Climber.
The notion of levels of mastery automatically opening up new abilities is much more evocative and engaging than the current situation, where achieving a level of mastery merely allows me the OPTION to spend my feat resources on some lackluster new ability.
Every new increase in proficiency level should open a lot of new toys for that skill. And the skill feats that right now seem too limited and lame would seem really cool if they were bonuses for achieving a particular proficiency level.
I’m not saying every class needs to avoid this rules mastery trap, but I do think the Fighter shouldn’t require this for every build.
Spontaneous casters are Core alternatives to the rules-intense prepared casters, and great for casual players.
The Core build of the Fighter shouldn’t require this mastery for the player to feel she's playing her character well. The Fighter has traditionally been the first class a new player plays.
First, I don't think it's over- or under-powered. This is a cool ability, worded well.
I have two distinct issues:
1) This ability breaks immersion. I don't understand what's happening IN THE GAME WORLD. Why could my fighter do something yesterday and today I can't do that anymore but have suddenly learned a different trick that I won't be able to do tomorrow?
This is my same objection to the PF1 Hunter's ability to change their teamwork feat as a standard action, or the Brawler's martial flexibility. What is happening?
Fixing this would be pretty easy. We simply need some flavor text to justify the ability so the GM can narrate this plausibly.
2) This ability requires rules-mastery to use well. If there's any class that shouldn't require a player to know every single feat, it's the fighter. Because this is a required ability baked into every single fighter, a player's going to feel like he isn't playing his character up to potential unless he knows every single fighter feat in the game. That might be easy enough to do when the only source is Core, but in a couple years, every fighter player will be like the hunter & brawler players of PF1 where you need to bring a spreadsheet of all possible feats to every game to feel like you're playing your character well.
This is also the kind of ability that tempts every optimizer at the table to start suggesting possible feats for your character to take that day, a helpful but slippery slope that often ends with other people making your character's decisions.
I don't think this ability or any feat-swapping ability like it should be a baked-in ability of any class.
As long as there's some game world explanation for what's actually happening here, I think it would be a fine ability for, say, a class-specific archetype (if such things ever return). I really think abilities like this should be reserved for players who enjoy that flexibility. There are players who prefer to take passive bonuses only, so not to have to toggle and brainstorm during play.
Don't force every single fighter player into rules mastery!
I may be in the minority but I really like the flat checks for maintaining barbarian rage:
1) A feature named "Barbarian Rage" shouldn't be predictable
I was in the process of trying to house rule something like this, but this is better than what I was thinking about.
I would not be opposed to there being some kind of feat called "Consistently Tetchy" that allowed, for instance, lawful barbarians to rage on a rigid schedule.
But I like this as the barbarian default.
What I most strongly object to in the +1/level system isn't encounter-building as such, it's that it irrevocably dissociates the game from any sense of the game world.
In PF1, when the goblin can't hit the 20th lvl fighter, as a GM I always know exactly why: that fighter was fast or well-armored or decked out in some magic stuff. Also, the goblin's atk bonus reflects how much martial training he's had. I can describe that.
In PF2, the +1/level atk bonus can't reflect martial training because wizards and fighters are identical. The +1/level AC bonus can't reflect dodging, because that's dexterity, and you get the same bonus even if your dexterity is 3. It can't reflect character skill, because it still applies when you're unconscious or unaware. So what the heck is happening?
I can't see it, I can't imagine it, how can I describe it to my players?
It feels like a board game mechanic, not something for a role-playing game.
1. Yes, but I'd be okay if it were always Society, I think, rather than a separate thing.
2. On the fence. I like the idea of the new initiative system (except for the crap of how ties work), but I'm uneasy about some of the implications (like where your initiative is better if you don't ambush someone?) It is nice to divorce initiative from the way-too-powerful-stat Dexterity.
I’d be okay with proficiency level setting a hard cap on +1/lvl, like this:
Untrained: add nothing
If lvl is going to be added to AC, the designers really need to be very specific as to what it means.
If it means better at dodging, then you should lose it when paralyzed or unconscious.
As a GM, I honestly don’t know how to describe what’s going on in the game world in a lot of these +1/lvl situations. The mechanics of this game feel divorced from the world.
Let's talk about the Basic Conditions. All of them from Accelerated to Unseen. The good, the bad, the ugly.
Because conditions don't stack with themselves, wights have gone from a terrifying monster that drains your levels to a annoyance that hits you with the drained 1 condition and then very very slowly slaps you to death. Unless they get lucky and crit, and then you get drained 2 instead. But they still have to slowly slap you to death.
Not scary at all and pretty lame.
Wights should kill opponents with the energy drain attack, not their puny smack damage.
I agree that the mechanics of Drained could use some streamlining. But mainly I want energy-draining undead to actually be scary, and I want energy-draining to actually be a frightening threat to characters.
Because if not, what's even the point of the monster?
I played a hunter a long time in PF1.
I was frequently disappointed by—
1) no way to use wild empathy to defuse hostile animal encounters (see other thread, this looks like it may change)
2) relentless rules focus on animal companion as fighter, not scout, hunter, etc.
3) no way outside of spells to keep my companion from being hurt (I was seriously jealous of the mounted combat feat’s negate hit ability and would have given up a lot for something similar for my lynx)
Yes to Roswynn's comments, yes to everyone else.
There are two huge underlying problems to this game that, if something doesn't change, will preclude me from playing it. Which sucks, because I really want to love this game.
1) +1/level to everything with NO IN-GAME-WORLD EXPLANATION OF WHAT IS HAPPENING i.e. Why is the 15th lvl guy harder to wound? Why is the 18th lvl wizard so boss with a sword? How does Ostog the Untenured know so much about Everything?
How am I supposed to describe this stuff as a GM with no idea of what exactly is happening?
Note: I'm not in any way opposed to the big numbers. I'm not asking for flat math. If something like the same numbers were solely derived from levels of proficiency, I'd be fine with this--because I'd understand what those numbers mean IN-GAME-WORLD.
2) "The GM sets the DC". These words should be banned from the final rulebook. Like Roswynn, I do not want to have to decide all of this on the fly, or consult that damned table every time a character decides to do something unexpected (which is always, by the way), or, worse yet, have to remember all of my judgment calls for the next time this circumstance arises.
If I wanted to have to pull everything out of my @#$ all game long, I'd be playing 5e.
I love Pathfinder-1 because when PCs try strange stuff I can just look up the DC in the Skills section and there it is--because that's how the world is.
The world of PF1 is stable and solid.
The world of PF2 is a moving sidewalk.
I'm not sure about the mechanics the OP mentions, but I'd really like this to be a part of the game.
By which I mean, not gated off behind a feat, but like anyone can attempt to climb along a dragon's back, if it's bigger enough than you. Of course it should be horribly dangerous--but quite epic if you succeed.
One of the very few 5e rules I've wanted to see in PF.
• I think the spirit of the new death & dying rules has been good from the start, fixing the problems with PF1 dying
The dying rules remain exactly as stated in the latest update (including Wounded condition, Treat Wounds, etc.) with two tweaks.
TWEAK #1: No one cares who or what delivered the death blow. No one wants to look at Table 10-2 in the middle of the battle.
Recovery Saving Throws
Natural 20: Your dying value is reduced by 2
TWEAK #2: It would actually be epic and fun if no one went unconscious at Dying 1.
DYING 1: You remain conscious. You have the Slowed 2 condition and can only take 1 action on your turn.
(Note: This doesn't impinge on Orc Ferocity, because with that you still retain all of your actions and 1 hp and don't gain the dying condition.)
Those are rules I could run by the seat-of-my-pants as a GM and I could easily apply them to a whole horde of goblins mobbing the PCs. It would be fun watching the good guys and bad guys at Dying 1 hobbling toward safety; or (round 1) getting out a healing potion, hoping they'll still be around Round 2 to drink it.
Or, better yet, taking one last swing as they drop.
I may be crazy but I distinctly remember an interview with Jason Bulmahn in the last few years where he made the observation that Wild Empathy never works the way it's supposed to because of the dumb rule, going all the way back to 3.0, that you have to have a whole minute to change an animal's attitude.
So now, for some reason, in PF2 Playtest Wild Empathy still takes one whole minute to attempt to change an animal's reaction. This is presumably because this is how diplomacy works.
Here's the fantasy of most people who want to play druids: The party meets a dangerous animal in the wilderness. The animal snarls and threatens, defending its young or its territory. The party druid cautiously approaches, offering food and soothing words, and slowly, slowly, the animal calms down and allows the party to pass on to their destination.
Everyone wants this to happen. It never ever happens because every encounter like this goes immediately into initiative and even if somehow the druid wins initiative, using Wild Empathy takes 10 whole rounds.
I propose Wild Empathy become its own thing, divorced from Diplomacy, so it can have the effect that druid players really want. The check is made IMMEDIATELY, as soon as the druid initiates it, and the druid must commit to at least a minute more, if it is successful, to truly soothe the animal. Make it a hard check, and if it fails, the animal's attitude drops one level, usually meaning it attacks at once. So all or nothing.
That would be a dramatic, fun thing that could happen at the table as part of Exploration mode instead of the immediate jump into initiative and combat that is basically every dangerous animal encounter ever.
Your example rings true to my experience.
What I dislike most is the cheapness of Hero Points.
Just for showing up for the game, everyone receives a "Get Out of Dying Free" Card . . . ?
Hero Points are a precious resource in my PF1 game.
But their new iteration cheapens both Hero Points and the Dying condition.
Whatever the dying rules end up being, they shouldn't depend upon the Hero-Point-bounce-back for balance.
The use of a Hero Point should be something rare, epic, ballad-worthy. It should be a moment people remember.
When I played a druid of Gozreh in the playtest, I was really annoyed that the only way I could learn to use a trident (the holy weapon of my god) was to multi class into fighter.
Yes, this wasn't the best feat choice for my character, but I kind of resented the way the game nannied me into not taking what wasn't good for me.
I have a lot of issues with this game as it stands, and the +1/level thing will probably keep me from playing in the end; but I love Pathfinder and, despite our differences, I want the game to succeed and Paizo to prosper. With a lot of other long time fans either sticking with PF1 or going elsewhere, PF2 is going to have to attract a lot of new players to be successful.
In its current form, I don't think any new player could really just pick up this book and start playing, without someone experienced helping them or watching a ton of youtube to figure out what to do. (You'd never know the same folks who wrote this awkward rulebook wrote the amazing Pathfinder Beginner Box.)
So I was trying to think what I would do to make this game attractive and accessible to a brand new player.
1) Write prose that actually makes the game seem an exciting narrative. The book does this in a few places, for instance at the beginning of each class chapter, with the bulleted lists of "if you're a fighter" & "how others view you". These sorts of things really help develop concepts. But everything needs that same dedication to flavor. Spell descriptions, feats, class abilities, all need an evocative phrase, perhaps in italics, that demonstrates what this cool ability really looks like, sounds like, when it gets used. I'm thinking of the little spell descriptions in the 3.5 Spell Compendium, or the italics monster descriptions in all the Bestiaries. These are tremendously helpful for GMs too, in describing the world.
2) If we're going to use all these traits, every page needs a sidebar listing the traits mentioned on that page, with, at the minimum a pg. # of where to go to understand what each means. Or perhaps each trait mentioned always has a pg# attached to it in parantheses.
3) But the best idea I had tries to deal with what a new player is certain to view as an overwhelming menu of options, with no particular way to choose among them, to build toward a final concept. This is most difficult in the class chapter, but also an issue in the race chapter, and elsewhere.
I suggest that each class chapter contains the exact build of the corresponding iconic. For instance, the fighter chapter, after the initial flavor of what a fighter is, lays out a statblock for Valeros himself. It shows the new player exactly which feats, which skills, what equipment was chosen to create the exact same Valeros pictured in the illustration.
The choices (of which there are many!) all have a footnote or asterisk or something next to them, referencing, say, the first level fighter feats or the skill feat chart or whatever. So the player sees, by making these choices from this menu, this is how Valeros was created. And if the player just wants to be playing, they can play Valeros, right out of the box; or rename him Valerie, swap out three feats, trade the sword for an axe, and go.
Each build should show what feats, ability boosts, skills, etc. Valeros would take as he levels. This is the very useful sort of the thing the old 3.5D&D Players Handbook II did in its appendix, quickly listing the typical feats for a shield fighter or a blaster wizard or a healbot cleric. For classes with spells, a standard prepared selection is listed out.
The Valeros section would feature a statblock of Valeros at several levels, say 1, 4, 7, 10 or such.
Even better, from a GM standpoint, you've got a basic, no-nonsense NPC statblock that can be used whenever an NPC of that level is required, because what's being represented is your typical adventuring fighter of lvl 7, for instance. A mini NPC Codex right there in the Corebook. Plug and play.
More experienced or hardcore players would ignore this, of course, but it still might save them some time if their build idea was a variation on something standard.
That's an approach to menu-driven character-building that I think would be really helpful to new players; and having a mini NPC Codex right in the class description would be super-helpful to DMs.
Did you say four things?
1) Proficiency Levels (great design but woefully underused right now)
I am no fan of the +1/level, except, possibly, for saving throws. The worst ramifications are for skills and armor class, IMO.
There's been a lot of talk about the game mechanics and balance and blah blah blah, but none of that is what worries me.
What I've never heard a coherent explanation for yet is what exactly this represents in the game world.
What does the +1/level to attack represent? It can't be skill at fighting, because that's covered by your level of proficiency. So what is it about the 10th level wizard that makes her so very much better at fighting than the 1st level fighter?
What does the +1/level to AC represent, really? It can't be dodging ability, because that's covered by dexterity. There's no condition in the game that removes it, which means it still applies when you're paralyzed, unconscious, hell, even DEAD, so that means your +1/level to AC can't be something you're actually doing.
I'm thinking of Bob the 4th level Rogue who has tied up, restrained, and immobilized both Richard the 1st level Wizard and David the 18th level Wizard. Bob the Evil goes to kill them with his dagger, and in a few rounds of bloody work, Richard the 1st Level is dying dying dying dead.
But no matter what Bob the Rogue strikes at David the 18th level Wizard, he just, keeps, missing, because of David's +18 AC which applies always.
Is it luck?
The only explanation I can think of to make sense of this is that it's some kind of supernatural intervention of the divine. Which, okay, sure, it's a magical world.
But think about that a little deeper: If this +1/level is a god-given ability, it's being given not on the basis of dogma, alignment, faithfulness, it's just being given on the basis of raw power (i.e. level advancement).
In other words, the metaphysics of this new Golarion seem to be dictated by a being who rewards mortals through a predictable hierarchy that only respects raw power.
I don't know about you, but that being sounds to me like Asmodeus.
Asmodeus now controls the physics of Golarion. Only power is rewarded. The weak shall perish.
I am only sort of kind of kidding.
I agree. Except I think it's more than a bit underused.
I would remove a lot of feats contingent on having a certain rank in a proficiency, and just make them something you get for free when you achieve that proficiency.
Every skill, every kind of armor or class of weapon, every type of saving throw, should get cool unlocks when a new proficiency level is achieved. Not that you can use a feat to take this—you just get it because of your level of proficiency.
Proficiencies have the opportunity to be something COOLER than levels that a character is striving to achieve.
But a slightly bigger number? Yawn.
The proficiency system is ingenious, but not doing much of anything right now.
1) Use PF1 XP system
2) Use PF1 Hero Points system
3) Use PF1 DCs for stuff like climbing, fog, doors, locks, just so there would actually be an established reality for the world and I don't have to stare at that table on p.337 and think about it everytime somebody tries to do something
4) Keep the math but cap the +1/level by proficiency (i.e. expert proficiency can't get you higher than +10, master +15 etc.) so that high-level wizards don't have the BAB of fighters and the AC of naked monks. The proficiencies are a really good idea, but the +1/level, not so much.
5) Continue to use useful rules like Sunder, Coup-de-grace, +1 for height advantage etc. etc.
6) Do something to ensure that super-nerfed conditions like paralyzed, drained, are still scary instead of a minor inconvenience
7) Resonance, dying rules, I have no idea but something needs to change
8) Move some class feats into general feats. Allow feats so anyone can pick up expert, master and legendary expertise in a weapon, skill, armor, whatever. (In the playtest, I was super annoyed that the only way my druid could even be trained in the use of the trident--the holy weapon of her god!--was to multi class into fighter.)
9) Fold some existing skill feats into rewards for achieving higher levels of proficiency in a skill.
10) In general, proficiencies of all sorts need to be more important and exciting than your character's level. Proficiencies are one of the best thing this game has going, but they hardly matter at all right now. Achieving Master in a weapon should automatically (without having to take a feat) open up all sorts fo fighting possibilities heretofore impossible. Likewise, Religion. Likewise, Nature. Likewise Mastery of chainmail, for instance. Likewise, Master reflex saves.
Being expert, master, legendary, should be an achievement and all sorts of new possibilities should open up when I get there.
You are not alone in this observation.
If conditions are going to be nested inside one another like this, the final format will have to be something like this, to avoid everyone going mad:
• bullet points incorporating every mechanical change for that condition, already INCLUDING modifiers for nested conditions
• this way you never need to flip anywhere else
(Parenthetical at the end noting that this condition includes modifiers for following nested conditions i.e. the modifiers for Restrained include the modifiers for Immobile & Flat-footed)
Bullet points are important so the information is accessible at a glance.
All of the mechanical effects of nested conditions need to be already figured in so no flipping elsewhere, ever.
I really dislike the new XP system, for many of the reasons mentioned.
1) My players don't want XP to reset each level, because they're proud of their ever-accumulating totals. It's a marker of what they've earned.
2) Huge amount of work on the GM. PF1's XP system was the best for any edition of this game. Back in 3.0/3.5 days, nothing was worse than having to consult that stupid chart every time I went to award XP. Let's not go back to any calculations other than dividing by # of party members.
3) I run sandbox campaigns where, I kid you not, 12th level characters run around with 3rd level characters. One of the dangerous temptations of the low-level characters is whether or not to accompany high-level characters on missions. Probably you die, but if you don't, you're crazy rich and you level for sure.
Sometimes lucky new characters survive long enough to catch up their high level friends.
The new system doesn't allow the low-level characters to ever catch up with the high-level ones. It enforces a party that must always level together. I really don't want a game where everyone's the same level. And I really don't want a game of "level-appropriate challenges" YAWN
I feel like maybe this was designed for PFS or something? but PFS has a perfectly workable 3 adventures and you level thing going on. Otherwise, it was maybe enacted to enforce consistency in party level? because no one must ever be better than anyone else? Why?
This edition is so odd. PF1 was really open to so many different styles of play, and I feel like PF2 isn't giving me the tools to run a sandbox/West Marches campaign anymore.
Let me say it again: PF1's system was the best for any edition of the game. What bewilders me about this edition is how many of the wonderful parts of PF1 were jettisoned along with the clunky/time-consuming ones. PF1's XP system was a welcome innovation.
I'm okay with the change.
But I'd like to reiterate the old complaint about Success coming before Critical Success in spell descriptions where this is all listed out. I understand why it's done that way but it remains counterintuitive. Intelligence wants it one way, but Wisdom wants it another. I think a lot of the problems with the rulebook as it stands is that it seems to be written by an 18 Intelligence Wizard who dumpstatted Wisdom.
I think the list could start with Critical Success, and descend accordingly; or the list could start with Critical Failure, and ascend accordingly. I'm fine with either of those options.
thflame says this very well, IMO, and I concur.
I've been in four playtest sessions so far and every one rolls for every single check, because untrained people's competency is so slightly behind the allegedly trained. Not once so far has a cleric rolled highest at a religion check, and we had an amusing but implausible role-play session where the goblin alchemist tutored the cleric of Saranrae on the tenets of her faith.
Amusing, but not really what I'd like as the norm . . .
What if there were skill feats like this:
As has been mentioned by many, many people on these boards, adding +1/level to everything creates some weirdness and some serious problems.
I looked forward to this playtest for five months, and often defended it against the dubious, but unless it changes substantially on a structural level, I'm not even sure I can house rule it into something I want to play.
But I did think of a houserule I could live with to solve the +1 to everything treadmill, and I'd love to hear critique or suggestions from anyone.
One popular solution seems to be just stripping +1/lvl off everything, monsters and PCs, and just using proficiency bonuses. I think this is too 5e for my tastes, which are closer to PF1/3.5.
So here's my proposal.
The +1/level bonus is granted and capped by your proficiency level, as follows:
The above would apply to skills, armor proficiency (including unarmed defense, but only monks & barbarians would be trained in that), weapons, perception, spell rolls. (I'm tempted to leave saving throws as is, but they might also use the same rules as everything else.)
You would still be granted, for free, all of the skill boosts and proficiencies of your class; but there would be a new type of feat, the Cross-class Feats, which anyone can take but require you to use a class feat on them (not a skill or general).
These feats would include all of the armor and weapon proficiencies (trained, expert, master, legendary, individually, with prerequisites for the higher ones), as well as skill proficiencies, perception, and maybe even saving throws. The price for this is you're using your precious class feats for this stuff so, yeah, your wizard can become legendary in dagger but at the price of all the cool spell feats.
The multi-class feats would have to be adjusted, given that they'd no longer be the sole way to get extra weapon proficiencies, say.
I don't think this would change the game much at low-levels, and probably not much at mid-levels either. By high levels, though, there would be some serious disparities in the abilities between characters. You would not have situations where the wizard outfights the fighter, or the barbarian tutors the cleric on religion. The naked unequipped wizard would not have a monk-like ability to avoid harm.
As written, this would make high-level adventures a lot more difficult--which I like--or the high level monsters would need to toned to accommodate the character specialization. Or the monsters could be rewritten so as to be explicit what exactly they're trained in.
This would be a way I think I could live with the +1/level.
I play a lot of different RPGs at conventions and there's a well-meaning type of GM I often encounter that I think of as the Helicopter Parent.
This GM doesn't view himself as a neutral arbiter of rules. This GM wants, more than anything, to be your friend and for you to like him. This GM mistakenly thinks this makes the game fun.
The Helicopter Parent never lets a character die in his game; no matter what happens, there's always something that prevents the death from occurring, the failed death save is really just you're knocked out. Or a deus ex machina group of allies appears to turn the tide of your losing battle, always.
Should the party not be figuring out the mystery, the GM will remind you of the clues you've forgotten.
If there's a trap, this GM will say, Does anyone want to search for traps?
Games with a Helicopter Parent GM are impossible not to win, because the GM thinks this is the only thing players find fun. I love to play board games with my Grandma, who cannot help but let me win, but that's because I love my Grandma, not because I feel the need to always win.
What the Helicopter Parent GM doesn't understand is that the fun in an RPG can also come from the freedom of exploration and choice, even if the consequences of one's choice are sometimes lethal.
I sometimes get so bored in games run by Helicopter GMs that my new goal becomes to see if, by making the worst possible choices, I can actually have anything bad happen to my character. Often, the answer is no.
Yes, this applies to many PFS GMs. And, as for Adventurer League, which is much much worse, I shall report that in my two years of playing there, off and on, I have never seen a single character die.
Right now Pathinder Second Edition really really reminds me of the Helicopter Parent GM.
• Not even a tiny advantage for dumpstatting anything (no a 10 is not a low score, in my opinion), and in fact we're kind of warned against having any low scores at all--despite the fact that exploring the world with a 4 STR or 7 INT character is actually a fun role-playing challenge
• PCs and NPCs use different dying rules; the revised rules apparently make PC death almost impossible, since a monster can repeatedly stab a dying PC in the face without advancing his dying condition in any meaningful way. What is actually happening in the world? I can't possibly imagine the reality of the situation.
• coup-de-grace has been removed because someone decided that wasn't fun so now it's impossible in the game world
• Sundering has been removed because someone decided that wasn't fun so now it's impossible in the game world. Except shields. No equipment can ever be damaged except those 12 shields you're carrying around. They will last about 12 seconds each.
• +1/level (the worst part of this game, IMO) makes it impossible for your character not to be able to do everything. Nope, your character has to know how to swim, how to play the lute, has researched enough arcana that they can identify some monsters. Oh, and that skinny old coughing wizard? Not really any worse at fighting than the barbarian. HELICOPTER GM says YOU WILL SUCCEED IN MY GAME
• Paralysis doesn't really make you all that vulnerable in any way, because apparently somebody decided that wouldn't be fun either
• Energy drain, not that scary anymore
• Wizard grappled by a kraken? more of an inconvenience really
• Hero Points. I loved the first edition system, because they were hard to come by and precious. In my home game, they directly represent slight divine intervention on your character's behalf. They really meant something when they were used.
But the new system? Just one point to remove the dying condition? And everyone gets that point just for showing up as a breathing body at the table?
Oh, and don't forget the GM can award another point for doing favors. At all of the playtest games I've played in, we've had never-ending sycophancy while players race to look up something for the GM first, to get a Hero Point, or share M&Ms with the GM, to get a Hero Point. Order food, to get a Hero Point, tell the GM they like his pants, to get a Hero Point, etc. etc. etc.
Who thought this was a good idea?
The reason I don't trust this game is that I feel like everything I mentioned above was a deliberate choice by the designers to prevent me from failing. It feels like this game has been designed by Helicopter Parent GMs.
And I'm well aware and very sympathetic to the folks upset on the other side--that the new rules make success too difficult and prevent any optimization. This is true as well. It seems that the game we've been given is one in which we can almost certainly never fail, and never die, but will have to try and try and try to actually hit something or succeed at a skill, but thanks to Hero Points, and the new Kindergarten Playground Physics of Golarion, nobody's really going to ever get that hurt in the end. You will succeed! There will be a happy ending! Fun! right?
If you're paralyzed, you can't act, sure, fine, that makes sense.
And you suffer at -2 to AC for being flat-footed.
That's it. You're not helpless. You still get your DEX to AC. You can't be coup-de-graced.
So, for instance, a naked, paralyzed 20th level wizard with no magic items is basically impossible for any normal soldier to even scratch with his, thanks to the +1/level, paralyzed AC of 28. An army strikes at this immobile, naked old man all day long and . . .
just . . .
Words cannot express how much I dislike this.
What in the heck does that +1/level even represent to AC? It certainly can't be anything the wizard is doing, since he can't take any actions. The only way it makes any sort of sense is if the gods really really like high-level people more than low-level people.
And why does your DEX still factor into AC?
This feels like it was just changed because somebody was inconsolable after his character was killed by a ghoul.
What else could paralyzed possibly mean besides, you know, paralyzed?
I also agree. I'm sure they removed them to save space and because, most of the time, it doesn't matter what material components you used.
But those components go all the way back to the AD&D Player's Handbook and are part of the grand history of this game. They represent a magical tradition, in a way.
Also, there are times when, for instance, the party has lost their equipment and you really need to know what, exactly, is required for casting fireball or Tasha's Laughter. These are moments GMs live for: "Where will you go to find a tart?"
I know this is weird, but the omission of components is maybe my biggest disappointment in this edition. I really miss them.
I just ran Rose Street Revenge and, of course, players being players, they did things the module didn't expect and so I had to set DCs for things on the fly and I became very very frustrated by how few of these have any useful guidelines anywhere in the rules.
Everywhere I read "The GM sets the DC" with maybe a nod to the p. 337 table. But how much does a rope help climbing? Why does the pregen Amira have two different Athletics scores, depending on if her Athletics is violent or not? What is the DC to "grab edge"? on and on and on
I deeply dearly miss the tables in the Skill Section and the old GM section that set DCs for common activities.
This is a huge issue. "The GM sets the DC" is a designer cop-out, because the GM always has the right to set the DC. That's a given.
What I want from the rules is a set of typical values, or suggestions, which are EASILY ACCESSIBLE during the game, so I can make my own decision.
I just spent fifteen minutes FIFTEEN MINUTES during the last game trying to figure out what the DC for "grab edge" should be for a simple pit trap. I still don't know. I most certainly do not want to have to derive all of these values myself in the middle of the game. Having typical values for climbing and jumping and fog and wind etc. etc. ready at hand is a reason I really loved PF1, because I cannot manage to keep these value consistent if I'm concocting them myself on the fly.
By the way, does anyone actually know what the DC for Grab Edge is supposed to be? There's a simple pit trap in Rose Street Revenge. Of course, instead of telling me what the Grab Edge DC is, it tells me to see the Acrobatics Skill, which basically says "The GM sets the DC". AAARRGH!