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Doktor Weasel wrote:
When I first started playing D&D with the Red Box, it took me quite a while to wrap my brain around, because it's just so nonsensical. "I can do this, but I forget how every time I do it. Because... reasons.

Would be easier to accept if in place of using memory, wizards used speelbook pages? For example, after reading the only page containing a fireball spell and casting it, this specific page loses its magical power and cannot be used again. And, what about bullets in a revolver's chamber, ignoring order, loaded with three armor piercing, 2 incendiary and one regular type? My point is that the way the method is described resembles the influences that shaped early versions of the game and can be easily be replaced for new ones, while preserving the mechanic.

Speaking of which, what other mechanic can result in such close relationship between resource tracking and planning? Arcanists, 5ed wizard, etc, do not provide the same degree of challenge for the player as the vancian method does. A good wizard player is expected to know which spells, and what quantity of those, are most likely to be used in a given situation and learning this skill is part of the experience of playing wizards. And lets not forget the myriad of options like scrolls, wands, staffs and quick preparations, available to provide on the spot diversity.

Another advantage of preserving this method, as others mentioned, is that it allows the existence of spontaneous casting as an whole different mechanic. This time the compromise happens much earlier than for prep casters, as the choices must be made while leveling up your character, and the consequences last indefinitely. A new set of skills must be employed to make the right, or less wrong, choices this time. Again more opportunities for players to experience the game in a different way.

One could argue that players should be the ones making the choice of which method they want to employ for their characters, as this would represent the ultimate player driven characters making process. For this to be true, classes should not be defined by the way the cast spells or whatever, but for other attributes, specially narrative ones, and casting mechanics should be available in a different manner (feats, class features, etc).

To clarify, I am not arguing against the semi prep method, but in favor of preserving whatever diversity is present in the game at moment. For me there are other methods like cool down based classes, point based exclusively, etc, that should have been present in the core classes.

I believe the vancian method should be kept in the book as one of the possibles options available for clerics, druids and wizards. I say that because I actually enjoy playing this way and would miss the added layer of complexity, as I miss in the 5ed, if were not present. Removing it entirely would reduce the pool of options available for designers and players to work and play with. Negative consequences for sorcerers, or any other spontaneous caster for that matter, should be tackled case by case, giving strengths or edges in specific portions of the archetype to balance things.

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I understand the pros of using +1 for everything but certainly changes the feel of game and this is quite important for me. Perhaps I grow attached with the concept of overspecialization and a environment that doesn't allows improvised choices, one that put optimization before fun, not sure. What seems to be clear is that I may have to re-conceptualize what I like about RPGs like PF and DnD if I plan to play the new edition.

In my last session my players banished, in the first turn, two main threats in two different encounters. Later on, the infamous demi lich send the group fighter to a maze. Quite amusing.

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I think the difference in scaling is warranted due the heavy emphases put on magic and its effects by the setting of Pathfinder world. To be coherent with it, casters ought be able to do god-like things if they are experienced enough. Would be odd if players could only hear about the runelords deeds and never be even close to be able to emulate such feats. PFPT Martial classes (fighters, rogues and rangers) on the other hand are more related to real world expectations due their in general lack of super natural features. Again, to be coherent with its setting, martials would be only able to attain god-like power if infused with exterior forces like magic itens, buffs, etc.

What is not clear to me is that the difference in gameplay experience provide by playing with an unbalanced array of options is guaranteed. New players are prone to play and enjoy easy classes, less moving parts and risks/rewards trade-offs involved, therefore the need for such options. Veteran players on the other hand contend with optimization and curiosity drives when deciding what to play with. For only they, I would guess, the difference in scaling is relevant.

In sum, keeping classes equally balanced may have adverse consequences due the cohesion of the setting and on the way the game presents itself to new and veteran players.

I can see at least one use for the scores that could warrant their permanency in the game. Minimum rolls. Some options on 5ed allows you to use your score if your dice roll was low enough. These options can be used as assurance feats or things like that.

However, keeping an extra layer of information just for the sole reason to preserve the legacy of another versions seems to be undeserved space for me.

I believe the numbers of HP are inflated in this edition. Taking for example the chapter 5, even creatures that where supposed to not hit the players, except for natural 20, had enough hp to last for two, almost three rounds.

I think the best path to balance this is reducing these bloated numbers first, then, if still necessary, increase damage of any sort or reduce defense capability. Through my knowledge, last edition (3.5 also) favored increasing damage numbers (multiple and cumulative mods), while keeping the hp tied to the number of HDs and AC, via arbitrary natural armor, as balancing factor. These variables led to reduced combat time due, dare I say, the reduced HP of creatures and PCs.

To give things even more meaning and mass, consider some negative consequences also. Enemies could get negative bonuses if you critically successes or you, the player, get increased penalties if you fumble.

This can be done in variety of ways, some connected to the skill (-2 to perceive the player theft attempt), some not directed connected to the skill that is being explored. For instance, nature focused character may have difficult to grasp the divinity of things, this leading him to disbelieve anything that his mind can't explain as a nature related cause.

As an end note, I think critically failing ought to be a option always. Failing critically is a opportunity for story branching, unconventional plans B, etc.

Btw, on a related topic, flaws are something I wish wore more prominently in the game as it is. Trade-offs increase the weight of every choice.

If I got things right, the reason fighters need to keep buying top gear for fear to become useless is because these equipment are directly connected to the class archetype.

Having this in mind, I believe an argument could be done in favor of removing such bonuses. If magic itens could only be indirectly connected to these outcomes, fighters would be reliant on then. Chance to hit and damage per round wouldn't be derived from equipment, but from conditional, circunstancial, proficiency bonus or class features.

Another argument could be made in favor of reducing the difficult fighters have to be good at what they are set to do. This could be done by reducing the AC and HP of creatures or items in general (for NPCs purposes).

Both arguments focus on the fighter class or archetype, but I believe the idea could be used for others classes or archetypes. They are not mutually exclusive and could work together to improve gameplay and immersion.

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I believe some effects that now grant mathematical bonuses should be turned into more mechanical gains, so to speak. Let the inspired target act one more time, have two reactions, get a surge on his proficiency with a specific skill or check, step away from danger one more time for free, redo a whole turn that was poorly conceptualized, etc.

I mean, there is several other axis a character can be changed beyond simples pluses or minuses. For me this specially true for class features that make the backbone of the archetype.

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I think this debate would be improved if people separated their views in at least two axes, gameplay and immersion.

From a gameplay perspective I believe the diversity provided by piecemeal armors, cover/material system, setting specific itens (from Egyptian bronze khopesh to goblin dogslicer, etc), could do great for the game as it is, if done right.

From a immersion point of view I really enjoy picturing medieval weaponry and armory side by side with fantasy or sci fi equipment, all bringing cultural bases to the world-creation process.

I have just recently started playing PF and for me the system brought back the feeling of having a multitude of options to choose from, from which only a handful will be viable in a specific setting (this a positive, not the best, thing in my view).

I think paizo is shaping the next step in the realm of complex TTRPGs with this second edition that other companies will reflect upon, rather than just improve and expand another system.

I think devs goal with that table is to provide a easy to find number in case you already settled for the difficult of a given test, in a GIVEN set of circumstances ("her stats, her skills, her bonuses, and how hard of a roll do I want this to be? How often should it fail?"). There is nothing in the book, that I aware of, preventing you from acknowledging the variables affecting a roll (brought by the players or otherwise), rather, seems to me this is even encouraged. In sum, to decide what kind of roll is more appropriate, be hard, easy, insane (made this on up) and so on, is central for a DM and this has not changed with the infamous table 10-2.

And what about a complete or partial departure from the standard dnd initiative? Something like a specific variable for who goes first when creatures engage, separated from a more group focused initiative perhaps. Let me expand a little to make myself clear.

Initiative as it is measure a lot o different things. How aware a given creature are, how sneaky it moves around; in general how good at something a given dice roller perform at a given and favorable situation. However, what it has in depth, lacks on impact. I think PF2ed could improve this concept a step further.

Assuming a two variables system as good starting point: one skill-based system that describes what rules to follow as exploration approach engagement, preferable one that could encompass all the situations was described here and more, and other system based on action types, for instance, to govern encounter turn order.

I believe this increase in complexity favors tactical thinking and gives players more control of the passing of the game.

cithis wrote:
I had made a point of something like this in another thread but I still feel like giving sorcerers a much more limited list of spells known, but being able to heighten all their spells at will would be more appropriate to the "untrained/instinctual" nature of their magic. They may not know a lot about how their spells work, or know a lot of spells, but they definitely know how much oomph they can put into it. Quite frankly I feel like their bloodline should be their defining class feature.

I agree with you, sir. My take on this is that bloodlines may be the most distinctive attribute that thematically separates sorcerers from other caster (Spontaneous casting is in the same realm of prepared casting - not a class specific thing). Let bloodlines spells be auto heightened, auto stretch, sculpt, etc. These new features could locked behind a skill requisite for balancing. Finally, double down on the blood aspect of the class.

There are 4 free boosts in the character creation that could be used in the background variable. Someone used to work with his arms is expected to have greater strength than someone that spent alll his ealry years reading books. Of course, every branching decision (for a lack of a better word) will somehow limit another decisions and the playtest already has a ton of that.

The problem with this feat is the last sentence that says you must use your assurance on the skill check (or rather not roll). I'm playing chapter five and ruled that recall knwoledge action to identify monsters is a medium dc, 26 for lv 12 characters. A player on my group has this feat so I house ruled that if the player want he can roll or use assurance.

What about just nerf the potency runes in place of removing then completely? I can imagine many ways this could be done by basically changing the progression of the bonus.

Plus 1 to damage for a +1 weapon, plus 1d4 for a +2, plus 1 weapon dice for a +3 and so on - growing in power as the magic power increases style or an opposite trend based on a pattern of diminishing returns. Even a rune based on peak of power (+1, +2, +4, +5, +6) that would shift the gold by damage ratio towards the middle of the distribution could be used.

What you think?

Reading your article makes wonder what are specifically the objetives or standards the devs are looking for. Internal features, like level bonus and proficiency, over external factors, like magic itens and circumstance bonuses; complexity of choices (ten time more feats, etc.) over complexity of usage (different casting pools), etc. I fear discussions could entirely miss the point of the game if players assume things that are not well established or even right about the game. The importance of magic weapons for the DPR, or other meta-game analysis, is completely biased by these assumptions. Hack, are the devs willing to change core tenets based on feedback?

Until we (or myself, I may be unaware) get a clear statement by the devs about their intentios regarding the numerous systems that forms the game, until we players don't clearly state our own biases towards a subject, I don't these playtest will fulfill its objective.

Very nice initiative, Sir!
I would suggest thought that you calculate some dispersion statistic like variance, standard deviation, etc, too. Knowing the dispersion may be useful if one is interested on infer patterns based on data. For instance, there is only one level 23 creature in the printed book, so no point on using average on it.

After a cursory look over all classes one could argue that most of the story telling in PF2 (and others comparable systems) is limited to players decisions, background and the adventure per se, leaving too little of character development, story wise, as mechanics and features for the core classes.
I argue that with some truly creative, and overall narrowing of scope, approach devs could give players a more substantial experience regarding specific cliches. Make players play as something, rather then let players play as something designe principle.
Perhaps the best way to explain myself is giving a example or two. Clerics, for instance, have features and feats, including domains, that reinforce a generic idea of holy warrior. They may help with his spellcasting, combat capability, healing, etc, but provide no appreciation for much else*.

* Much else could mean something like this: cleric players could choose early on what path theirs holy warrior, or to what extent, would fallow. - Church members: focused on pressing forth their religion dogmas into his society, eventually growing so powerful that creating his own creed, summon divine and non divine crusaders to cleanse the world of infidels, and so on, are well within his powers.
- Templar: focused on the fulfillment of his church's leaders through blood and sacrifice, eventually growing so powerful that even the gods would see him or her as his hand in the world.
- The living saints: focused in being whatever his god's will tell him to do it, independent of testaments, divine or otherwise. A creature of pure faith, eventually growing so powerful that godhood is well within his grasp.

Implementing these options could take many forms. Some may even be already present in the rulebook, like Prestige classes. However, to fully explore these new ways of playing, other options, conceptually viable (Job system, heroic path, etc), must be created.