I would like to chime in here to counter those who say combat maneuvers aren't viable.
If you play high level games primarilly against creatures from the monster manual that's true, but who the hell wants to do that?!
High levels don't really work, avoid em.
Humanoid NPCs are cool enemies, if the GM is designing a campaign around driders and centipedes and dragons and magical horses as the main combat encounters they've already lost me.
I really feel passionately about this subject: Players should not directly control their animals.
Watch game of thrones. Look how hard it is for Jon Snow to control Ghost the Dire Wolf. The guy is rolling handle animal checks all the time and teaching his animal"tricks" like stay, attack, etc. There's a Certain realism to this approach that makes things a little more complex and tactical: Teaching tricks and handling checks is a sort of minigame that makes one animal trainer different from another. The player controlled method practically makes handle animal a useless skill and dumbs down the game IMHO.
Yeesh, I feel kinda bad for any Paizo employees reading this thread/checking that poll.
Eh, it's probably a tough spot to be in right now. If this was just an edition I didn't like I would feel bad too. But for me it's more than that. It's about the perpetual locking of threads on the 2E messageboard. It's about the sensitivity training manual in the playtest document. In my opinion Paizo has taken on an eerily authoritarian aspect.
I'll never switch and I voted accordingly.
Pathfinder was a game for 3.5 lovers. This is a radical change that was implemented without polling or meaningful input from the community. Yes, I realize there's a playtest and they're reading feedback, but that feedback pertains to your responses Paizo's ideas, which is grossly different from asking us "what should 2E be like?" in a more open ended way.
I agree with the OP.
His post and your reaction to it also gets at the heart of a key philosophical disagreement I've seen play out over and over on these messageboards. In effect he's saying "We have very little influence over the development of the game" and you're saying "There's a playtest and an active discussion: Of course we have a say in how this game turns out!"
While we'll be allowed to talk about how to tweak the fine details of the system that was designed behind closed doors we won't be able to effect the overall concept. BaB gone, +level to everything, narrow gaps between experts and novices, reduced number of bonus types, standardized/balanced damage output, no reverse compatibility with 1E, resonance, siloing of options behind class feats... These were designed from the top and a majority of these are here to stay. If you see promise in the 2E chasis your voice matters because you'll have some say in what happens and exactly how these sweeping changes are implemented. If you have concerns with the system that are more than skin deep it's a different story.
Regarding the locked threads issue... I think it's getting really out of hand. What's happening is that you have a lot of vague rules of conduct that are being enforced selectively at the discretion of the moderators. For example we're not supposed to engage in "edition warring", which basically boils down to comparing and contrasting editions in a way someone decides they don't like. You can't even talk about a new edition without some comparing and contrasting so If you're a mod you're going to see "edition warring" everywhere among people who vehemently disagree with you. There's also the cases of threads getting derailed from the original subject and switching gears or getting mired in discussion of some bland technical detail. This routinely happens in threads of all kinds but doesn't seem to be a problem unless the thread happens to be negative towards 2nd edition. It's not that the moderators are conspiring against the nay sayers, it's just a basic cognitive bias and it's part of human nature. So the nature of forum rules and a not fully intentional censorship of vocal doubters will probably lead to a bit of an echo chamber phenomenon and a confirmation bias.
Rather than seeing Lird Trevaine and others like him as contemptuous trolls I think it's important to recognize that they care enough about Pathfinder 1st Edition to be angry about second edition and they're still offering reasonable and valid points. He's posting his disapproval here, not on the D&D or Dark Souls or vampire: The Masquerade boards which shows that he's invested a lot in this game emotionally, and I'll bet financially as well.
I think for Pathfinder 2E it's probably too late for a radical change of direction as well, but there's a contingent of 1E loyalists that's holding out until the bitter end and voicing their grievances. It's so easy to write them off as haters or edition warriors or 3.5 fanboys or butt-hurt crybabies, but I think they're some of the most sincere fans Paizo has.
I agree with you more than you may suspect. I do think there is a degree of build uniformity with the prevalence of feats like rapid shot and power attack, and I do think that feat taxes are a bit obnoxious. I just don't think it's a *huge* deal.
In a perfect world I think rapid shot should've been a feat without prereqs, and more optimal easilly accessible options should've been made to represent a different and more methodical style of archery so that not every Archer had to be another rapid shot clone.
But I still don't see the taxes being all that horrible. I'm playing a level one elven Archer archaeplogist Bard, and running around with nothing but point blank shot its still pretty fun. And while I see how great things like rapid shot and power attack are, I refuse to accept the premise that they're "mandatory" as stated earlier. Maybe they are for winning the DPR olympics, but there are some really cool things you can do with the right feats and class features that prohibit you from full attacking.
I do agree that if you're a class/race with zero bonus feats having to wait until level five to use a ubiquitous archery feat chain is irritating. But there are always alternative paths that are decent, like the elven wizard with weapon focus (longbow) and arcane strike by level 3. Or the archer who doesn't want to stack too many minuses to hit and takes deadly aim instead of rapid shot (from level one). Or the guy who only secondarily uses a bow and takes opening volley, using ranged attacks to soften the enemy up for a charge.
The problems you see in the system are real, but there are fun solutions.
Not gonna lie, you lost me at "class feat". The existence of class feats as replacements for generally accessible combat feats is one of my deep foundational problems with 2E.
I don't know what's worse, the streamlining and siloing of options or the assurances that one day, after the official release or with some splat book, X class will finally be given permission to use Y righting atyle. I don't want special permission to access basic fighting styles.
I mean it's probably clear from what I've said that I have a libertarian approach to gaming. But beyond that, I think there's a general appeal to discovering a feat/class ability interactions that the designers may not have intended.
Everything I read about 2E makes character building sound scripted: At level 3 you can choose A,B,C or D. For me it's just too damn sterile and formulaic.
Dire Ursus wrote:
It's true that point blank shot/rapid shot/precise shot are often near mandatory (except arguably for rangers/slayers who can bypass PBS), but for me that doesn't mean it's all doom and gloom, or that every Archer is the same.
First, there are exceptions. There are feats like (what's it called again?) which lets you take a single shot as a standard action and add your intelligence modifier to the damage, which is an interesting alternative to rapid shot, especially if you have an interesting feat or class ability that eats your move action (quick channel, combat advice, hunter's bond with allies, etc). Similarly, shot on the run precludes you from standing still and using rapid shot.
If however you accept the premise that PBS/RS/PC are In fact requirements for any archer, the feat tax will be completed by level 5 at WORST, sooner for humans or anyone with access to more feats. And then there's the fact that a fighter, magus, ranger, slayer, warpriest, cleric, monk and paladin all have really different class based avenues for customization.
I'm not sure if there's an exact technical definition for "edition war", but somehow I feel like it's this vague tabboo that only gets brought up as a prejorative when it suits a poster's agenda. This is not a knock on any individual person, or a knock on either side (Pro or anti 2E).
I mean I've yet to see anyone here who says "I like X edition, you like Y and are therefore stupid". And intelligent comparisons between editions are somewhat inevitable, if not vital to a discussion about, you know, a new edition.
An experienced and opinionated GM/player knows what they're looking for. There comes a point where the developers' alpha/beta test release is so far off the mark that it's not even a realistic idea to try to reform it in a direction that would please you. And this isn't necessarily a negative statement because it's more apples and oranges.
There are at the very least three absolute core values for me in RPGs, hills I'm willing to die on, that run contrary to the direction of 2E:
1) generally available feats, especially for combat. For me persobally a ranger, fighter and rogue must all be able to take Dodge, mobility and shot on the run. The ranger will have one more class related feat, nature related abilities and an animal, the fighter will have extra class feats, the rogue will have talents and sneak. The intersection of class abilities and general feat selection will give them all unique synergies and flavor but not totally determine their role or choicec of fighting styles and general feats. For me this is how a class system must work.
2) I'm not into the Big Dumb Heroes design philosophy espoused in an older blog post, whereby martials should be able to do absurdly superhuman things. To be fair I'm not sure if Paizo is sticking with this one, and I don't think it's an objectively bad idea, just not my type of game.
3) Life should be hard and unfair. No more small damage dice? A floating plus two to any stat in character creation so your halfling can be hella strong? Game balance as a core design value? Fixing the caster/martial disparity? This seems less simulationist and more (is gameist a word?). To be blunt I feel coddled. Now a more tabletop boardgamey player might like this because it makes things run smoother.
I'll say it one more time, these aren't the right views or the wrong views but they're mine and they're unshakable. So when you say it's my loss for trying to get involved with the playtest I think you fail to recognize massive chasm between the game as is and what myself and others on this board are looking for.
I think most of the low fantasy guys like myself agree that the fantasy can't be super,super low.
Okay, so the fighter surviving a direct hit with a fireball spell or shrugging off multiple axe wounds and an arrow that critically hit him is a hair zainy, because mundaine characters have to be a wee bit over the top compared to real life. Otherwise this game would be unplayable mechanically. No one wants to have their character get shot once, spend three months recovering and retire the character as a peadant farmer with a limp. I'm the first guy to laugh at the idea of perfect "realism" in this kind of game.
But a moderate degree of realism is very important to me. If a guy is teleporting or flying ot leaping over buildings he'd better be a caster.
You love the idea of magically powerful martials, I hate it. This is one of the several irreconcilable differences I have with Pathfinder 2E, at least from what I read in one of the 2E blog posts. Maybe you can chalk it up to my distaste for "high fantasy settings".
I feel like 1E struck a reasonable balance: If you want to do absurd things and altar the fabric of reality you're going to have to be a caster. You'll be frail and have to struggle to survive but by level 5/6/7 the payoff will be awesome.
Otherwise you'll have to be ba "regular guy" by comparison (aka the equivalent of a US army ranger or elite UFC fighter), and eventually a bit beyond that if you survive to level 5.
Bilbo Bagins, Sam, Frodo, Aragorn, Jon Snow, Gregor Clegane- THESE strike me as strong fantasy characters. When I read about their incredible feats of bravery, cunning, strength or perseverence I couldn't help but think "woah, look how powerful this guy is!" It's totally different from when I glance at a Superman comic and think to myself "look how powerful the writers decided to say this guy is."
I'm all for a class like the monk or magus which is inherently magical anf can do slightly zainier things at the cost of raw power, but generally speaking I've always opposed any attempt to turn martials into anything other than really strong, fairly realistic people.
As an atheist myself I just don't get where you're coming from.
You're not standing up against the KKK in the American south 60 years ago. You're dealing with a friendly company that's trying to make a game for you to enjoy. A company that bends over backwards to please pretty much every group of people. A company that will use the word "inclusive" fifty times in a five paragraph forum or blog post.
You may have positive feedback about 2nd edition and you may have negative feedback. But please, let's not waste their time combing through every sentence they write looking for something that may be considered remotely offensive. Maybe together we can try to defy the steriotype of the sensitive millennial.
If anyone here honestly thinks Paizo is anti-secular, anti LGBTQ, racist or anything like that, I think they should just say it. Otherwise I feel like we should leave well enough alone. Even if this edition is a smashing success, the company has to read through thousands of suggestions and bits of substantive feedback. I think pushing our perceived microagressions on them will only divert valuable attention away from the actual task of game design.
I agree with the OP entirely.
If Paizo only listens to people who played the playtest their results will be hugely biased. I'm starting another game in a week or two and with all our adult responsibilities my BFF and I see no point in wasting precious free time on a game we see as fundamentally flawed.
I think I should share the initial post I wrote. It's quite lengthy, so i apologize for that. I initially deleted it but it's as thoughtful as I've ever been on these forums and feel I must share.
I read some discussion on the messageboard where people were talking about the possibility of scrapping 2E in its' current form and starting from scratch if the changes aren't well recieved. Was this just wishful thinking on the part of those posters?
First and foremost, given the critical nature of this post I would like to be as respectful as possible. Despite my negative opinions of 2nd edition I do think there are a few *very* good ideas involved and I will heap praise on those salvageable ideas towards the end of the post.
I was reading a thread yesterday where some people were debating weather or not it's too late at this point to scrap the proposed 2nd edition changes almost entirely and go back to the drawing board. I'd argue that if this is at all possible it would be a great idea. Again, this post may come off as negative to some but I'm speaking from a place of sincerity and love of paizo.
First I'll explain why second edition is a point of no return for me:
-Some of the first blog posts I read reflected a radical change in tone. More specifically I'm referring to the high fantasy vs low fantasy attitude that flavors a game. On one end you have a hardcore medieval survival torture session where combat and advrnturing is non magical, you have to roll for heat exhaustion and hunger. Of course everyone is human and the mood is almost realistic. On the other end you have a world where magic is like electricity, there are fantastical magic elevators everywhere, your best friend is likely a goblin bard.
On this spectrum I think most peope would agree that D&D 3.5 was near the middle of this spectrum, dialed down slightly towards the gritty side. Level one was damn hard, and while magic did exist it was pretty tame early in the game. Martial characters felt almost realistic in a sense, usually not able to do anything too far from reality. A little later in the game magic could do truly fantastic things, but generally the tone was really not extreme in either direction. Pathfinder comes around and I think the grit vs. whimsy level is now dead center. We have gnomes who are charismatic magical fairy spawn, smart charming half orcs and other subtle changes that made the game feel a hair more like a comic book. There are hero points (optional rule admittedly) which give the protagonists extra help in avoiding danger. Subtly Pathfinder felt more cartoonish or comic booky than 3.5, although the changes were subtle. The game didn't go overboard on either direction.
Fast forward to the previews of second edition and this formerly moderate tone feels like World of Warcraft or Marvel. You have blog posts from developers explaining that they're going to make a game where martial characters can leap tens of feet into the air and smack down dragons and swim across entire oceans, you have a vermin race entering core with +2 charisma (gotta love me!!). These two moves represented such a radical shift in the mood of pathfinder that I felt irreconcilably alienated with the current design direction. This used to be a game system that was so flexible that you could play it as Game of Thrones or you could play Harry Potter/warcraft. However 2nd edition feels HEAVILLY biased towards the latter. This isn't just a matter of one rule here or one race there, but an issue of general design philosophy.
Secondly, there are the mechanics:
-Feats locked behind classee and the death of general combat feats. Why? If I want to make a wizard with power attack, i want that freedom. Even if it's the freedom to fail. The ways general combat feats interact with different classes is an enormous part of what makes this game great. Anything else feels like World of Warcraft.
-The attack of opportunity locked behind the fighter. I feel like there was no reason to alter such a fundamental part of the game, the battlefield is a dangerous place and people who aren't careful get attacked for moving or doing something risky.
-There was no need to fundamentally alter the skill system. It's one part of the game that seems to actually work for the most part.
-Removal of class specific spell list had a mediocratizing effect on the game, making classes feel similar.
Now for the positives. Even though second edition as it is has already lost me, there are some ideas Paizo has expressed which would be fun to see return if Paizo went back to the drawing board and redid this attempt to make a 2nd edition.
-Alchemist as core: This class has become a legend. It's the spirit of Paizo chucking bombs at the establishment, love it.
-Resonance: Execution aside, this wins me over on principle. Magic feels more real if it's limited or comes at a price. And finally a mechanical reward for all those people who kept their charisma higher than ten.
-Archetypes as core, and multiclass archetypes. Brilliant.
-Sorcerer getting to pick his spell list, further differentiating him from the wizard.
To conclude, I feel like this new direction is a big mistake but there are salvageable elements. I really thought Pathfinder unchained would be the template for any new edition, a further tweaked 3.85 edition. If there it's still possible to change course at this point i feel like that would be amazing.
Unless this is a total flavor character at the expense of any combat ability I wouldn't do it.
The truth is that other classes do this way better.
Druid- For the nature theme and ability to cast in forms that shouldn't be able to cast
Alchemist-for mutagens and discoveries making your forms stupid powerful in melee. An awesome bruiser.
Magus: access to humanoid forms that can still cast combined with the action economy of spell combat makes for a tremendously versatile humanoid caster/combatant
I actually tried making a melee focused transformer wizard in a level 5 battle arena with my brother. The experimental build ran into huge problems:
-My HP sucked
-My AC sucked
-My BaB sucked
-I had to spend valuable turns casting my transformation spells. If I dared waste another turn casting a buff I was already close to death.
I got so sick of the ALTER SELF-BULL'S STRENGTH- DIE formula that I eventually decided to open a combat by casting fireball, a spell I was in no way geared towards (good strength meant lower int and a modest DC). Guess what? Fireball wrecked face. Despite the transmutation school STR increase and all these feats (arcane strike, weapon focus, toughness and something else) I just couldn't turn a squishy caster into a bruiser.
A character I designed as a transformation wizard melee beatstick did incredibly poorly. He was more competent chucking evocation spells than he was fighting in melee, despite hefty feat investment and melee friendly class features. DON'T DO IT.
EDIT: if transformation is a secondary feature, go for it. Some of the forms buff your constitution or AC and are therefore good buffs if you cast them before combat. Transforming into a spider Man help you not get bit in a room full of spiders. Just don't expect melee competence.
Dave Justus wrote:
Yeah, when you reach level 4 bladed dash becomes an option. Because you can use it with spell combat and the spell contains an attack, you effectively have two attacks and the movement doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. It's an insane spell.
Shocking grasp and crit fishing are extremely formulaic approaches to the Magus. Purely on principle I can't recommend going this route, it's just painfully overdone and strikes me as the way internet people use the class.
If you want to do something effective but actually interesting there are a surprising amount of options. I'm a bit of a broken record with this strategy but you can get magical lineage, a trait which allows you to lower metamagic spell level adjustments by one, take it for magic missile and constantly use toppling spell up make your missiles trip people. Combined with spell recall, you can absolutely spam this. It's a strategy that works well for INT focused magi.
Taking the maneuver Mastery Magus arcana is another strategy is talk about here a lot. If you focus on a maneuver that uses a weapon, you can combine this arcana with your arcane pool and be brutally effective with maneuvers.
Eldritch Archer changes the class up a lot and is quite effective.
You can also go hexcrafter. Boosting INT for high DCs or using buffing hexes with no saves are both good options.
Also remember that a Magus has access to excellent transformation spells, but has better BaB and melee/magic synergy than a wizard. This is one of the coolest transformer classes in the game, especially for humanoid forms that can still utilize casting and spell combat.
Variant multiclassing to wizard or barbarian is also an interesting thought. With the former you have to make vital tactical decisions about when to rage and when to cast and effectively have two very different modes of play. With the latter you can teleport around, smash things and cast in the same round.
Read through feats, Archetypes, arcana and hexes (if you go hexcrafter). You can spend a lifetime playing this class without resorting to crit fishing BS.
Another good niche for the Magus is having a high number of attacks. Certain spells allow for an attack roll and therefore give you another attack with spell combat (the infamous shocking grasp, bladed dash, etc). You also have access to transformation spells that confer natural attacks. Remember that natural attacks can't be used with spell combat without the proper arcana (forgot what it's called) but if you do get that arcana you can do the following
-all iterative attacks
Magi can attack many times per turn.
Dark Midian wrote:
I get a little nervous around orthodoxy and faith in established experts. As someone with a somewhat different opinion of all things Magus I'd like to think there's room for a million different opinions.
That said, I had some problems with my brief glance through this guide. For one, the strength based Magus seems to be undervalued, which is a bit unfortunate. True, having lower AC, initiative and reflex saves and needing to survive until level 7 for medium armor on a melee character with 8 sided hit die seems suicidal and reckless but at the same time if you survive that climb the view from the mountaintop is glorious.
The real mechanical advantage of the STR Magus (aside from the aesthetic advantage not being the same dancing scimitar wielding clown as every other Magus) is the fact that you save yourself from taking dervish dance and weapon finesse, affording yourself two extra feats which is critical because you're basically a magical fighter with far fewer feats. This allows you to specialize in things like tripping (the Magus is one of the best classes in the game for this) which already involve feat taxes and ongoing investment.
Not to mention, if you actually care about carrying capacity it's good to have a strength score. It often happens that these clever and "optimized" builds would literally struggle to walk with loot.
I played a chained summoner once and it was totally over the top for a fifth level character. I was casting haste from level four and the dragon mount I was riding really wrecked face (he was still medium sized, but still).
Many of my turns consisted on casting create pit from the top of my dragon and either charging a different target or bull rushing enemies into the pit if they passed their save. Bear in mind that I wasn't deliberately powergaming, it was just stupid powerful.
Slim Jim wrote:
Are you sure this actually works?! Sounds interesting but totally bizarre.
Also I feel like the sanctified Slayer (with or without rogue vmc) is such a good mix of Divine caster and sneaky character that it would Obsolete any sort of cleric rogue multiclass. Maybe I'm wrong.
I should've been more specific. It's not just the issues of number management and clunkiness of the game that would potentially bother me (I'm sure this is surmountable for a competent player) but the change in tone. After a certain point, the flavor of the game falls apart for me.
When you have spells that are altering reality in ways that make haste and slow look like pulling rabbits from a hat, you're not fighting bandits or enemy knights anymore. You become like Neo or Superman and it's hard to keep that gritty feeling. The idea of all powerful Marvel style heroes fighting moon beasts and Godzilla level monsters and casting spells that destroy entire cities doesn't appeal to me, but something akin to Game of Thrones with a few extra fireballs does.
To each his own (but I'm right and you're wrong )
If you're not into archaeologist I have to reinforce whoever suggested herald Caller or Cardinal.
Healing, combat competence and skilliness are all possible with the same character. Also by level 7 he could have quick channel and battle cry for the following turn:
Move action: Heal people with channel
I prefer the studied target over the judgements for simplicity's sake and because most of my play is done at lower levels. The highest level I've played an inquisitor at is 12th, for reference.
I've never gone past 8th and I'd like to, but there's a point where based off everything I read (rules and comments) the game stops working. I look at these players with level 15+ characters and think "why?!"
I really like this archetype. I haven't played one but it looks good on paper. That being said, you should plan around it because I think that generically speaking the judgements are stronger, more versatile and less situational than studied target and a sneak attack that maxes or at 6d6.
I plan on making one. The first step is to variant multiclass rogue, then I'm taking accomplished sneak attacker at level 5. This way sneak attack maxes out at 11d6 plus studied target and greater bane for a potential 15d6+whatever.
So I'm about to DM a game again, but it's a small group (myself and two players). I'm suddenly stricken with the urge to join the party. I know from experience that the DMPC is a bad idea, but that got me wondering: what if we all play characters but two of us take turns DMing?
Yes, this means half the time I'll have a DMPC, but the other half of the time he'll just be a PC. And with some thought and effort we can come up with rules or plot reasons to prevent a DMPC from doing things like spotting traps the DM knows about or generally solving encounters designed for the party.
So what do you think? Is alternating DMs and a character for everyone a good idea?
Sweet. Sounds like it has a Magus feel, but without the complexity that spellcasting entails.
There was one feat mentioned in the blog preview that looked so cool mechanically and so zainy/out there/fascinating in terms of flavor that my friend and I couldn't stop laughing (In a good way).
It's the one that gives you a slam attack but requires five ranks in knowledge (planes).
"The way he slammed me was so bizarre and powerful, I could tell he had learned to fight from beings on another world".
I'm confused, I'm horrified, I'm wetting myself with laughter, and at the same time it's the coolest thing I've ever heard. This is the Paizo I'm going to miss when 2nd edition comes around and I stay behind.
I actually enforce the free hand requirement for casting. I think it's logical in game terms.
I also find that it kind of balances things. The idea of a full caster turtling up behind a shield, nearly as tough as a fighter and casting spells of tremendous power really bothers me.
It looks like you really do want it all.
I think Eldritch Archer Magus is a good compromise. Doesn't actually get 4+int skill tanks per level but int is high so he's effectively skilly.
Like an Inquisitor he makes a pretty killy Archer. Not quite as good with shooting alone but can cast spells and shoot on the same turn.
Full caster he is not but you can't have it all.
When will people realize the glory of trip + power attack? Prone oponents are at -4 vs melee attacks, not to mention that you're not taking spell combat penalties on attacks of opportunity when they try to get up.