hsnsy56's page

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Sanityfaerie wrote:

The set-piece issue is not that the set-piece itself is railroady... it's that they take a significant amount of time to put together, and the more dramatic ones can require that certain previous events go in very specific ways... which means that once the GM has put in the effort to design the thing, there's a strong incentive to do what it takes to get the players to actually use what they've set up... and getting there can get kind of railroady.

Dungeons can, I suppose, be the same way, in that if you set up a dungeon, then you're motivated to ensure that the players actually go into the thing, but they're often a lot less finicky, and you can usually lure the players in by making them think that there's something they want inside (accurately or otherwise). If your set-piece involves something like chasing the foe on griffon-back as they attempt to fly off with the princess, though, then there are a lot more things that have to go just so.

These are fair points, but my orginal OP was in context of APs where I feel like you are going to get these "set points" regardless and you've bought into the railroad. Homebrew where PCs are free to set whatever goals they want are a whole different thing.

I would prefer that more of these "set points" in APs were not 8-10 encounter dungeons and rather 1-3 enounter somethings between plot movement. Requiring very specific methods is risky, but location based set pieces are a bit easier. I just find it tiring that almost every time you go to a big plot movement location you end up with this 8-10 encounter 'dungeon'.

"Set piece" is maybe overstating it but if you have 1-3 enounters in a location instead of 8-10 you can put a lot more effort into making those enounters interesting with terrain, goals other than kill everything, unique monsters, etc. And if it turns out not to be interesting, well you've got your plot coupon with less real time and get to go to another cool location and goal. If you are signing up for an AP where you go to dungeon A then dungeon B you can just as easily arrange the hooks to 1-3 enounter location A and then B. The moving set pieces can be a bit of the exception rather than the rule to location based set pieces. But even those can be "arranged" especially in an AP format where you are expected to ride the rails to some extent.

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Raze Le'Roof wrote:

It's just what I think will work best at my table, but perhaps some ideas will help at yours.

Great stuff! I will steal the insect threat increasing in 2 and Koride going to the Door.

It also works with my Angazhan subplot. Just have Koride take the egg to Plaza of the Door after Book 2. Then run the Charau-ka raids in Book 3.

Some other changes that I'm doing for Book 1
* 1st Andi student in 100 years joins the PCs in their cohort. Andi student goes missing -- is the one that steals the egg and holes up in the caverns morphing into some spider monster as the big bad instead of Stone Ghost which I find pretty disconnected. Teachers do a divination on the student which says she is "home" -- a twisted reading by the Egg.
* Gremlins are actually in conflict with the insects in the caverns which is why they are on the surface more. Gremlins can be allied with against the insects if the PCs choose.
*At least a few tasks (revised mail task etc) will take students into the city so they can witness Froglegs goons shaking someone down and briefly meet the Mayor to set up book 2

Has anyone played this? Given the huge amount of high level spellcaster enemies seems like a tough one to GM. How's it go?

SuperBidi wrote:

So Amp Guidance is among the best reactions in the game with a strong measurable impact. But it's also the cheapest one to grab and the easiest to use for the characters who don't have good reactions (casters, Alchemist, Inventor, Investigator, ranged martials, etc...).

Considering how optimizing reactions is paramount to PF2 optimization, I expect most optimized parties to have 1 or 2 characters with Amp Guidance.

I don't think I'm opposed to this as a mechanic to buff reactions of mostly considered weaker classes. But I won't love all these 'wild talent' psychics running around everyway now. Yes, in home games we can reflavor and such so not that big a deal but still...

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IMO PF2e is best at these levels. Amoung other things, spellcasters are bit too weak for me at low levels and there are not enough/willingness to create Level -2, -1, 0 monsters to create varied enounters at the lowest levels.

I'd love for Pazio to have some three part APs that start at level 6 and go to 15.

Would others like this? I figure there would be at least as much interest as the 10-20 paths?

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Cellion wrote:

I've noticed a trend toward set pieces instead of dungeons, especially in organized play scenarios where you have a limited number of encounters to play with and need to get the most out of them.

I think prewritten set piece encounters have their place, but I'd prefer fewer rather than more. In my experience, adventures written with set pieces offer painfully linear, restrictive experiences, as set pieces are harder to rework if the party takes a different approach than the adventure expects. For example, a set piece where you and the bad guys are sledding down a mountain on magical icebergs while you fight each other is a super cool encounter, but the PC group that casts fly or melts the icebergs beforehand or decides they're going to take a slower route down the mountain are all going to make it hard to reuse/adapt the set piece. More often than not, I've seen GMs put their cards on the table and say "Hey, I know you want to do X, but there's a sweet set piece if you do Y." and player agency gets set aside for the fun and flashy movie scene.

IMO, a set piece should naturally evolve out of the players deciding to do crazy stuff, not come out of a contrived alignment of assumed events in the written AP. This necessitates more adaptation and on-the-fly creativity from both GM and players, but the joy of player driven set pieces is just way higher. To facilitate this, scene and dungeon design that incorporates a lot of interesting "toys" for players to interact can naturally lead to events that feel like set pieces without being written as one.

With regard to dungeons, I think the comments upthread are looking at paizo's recent designs and taking a narrow view. I'd like to point to Iron Gods, book 5. This book features one massive, four story palace that is designed a lot like an old school dungeon. Some rooms have fixed occupants, potential encounters, while others are intentionally empty, to be flexibly filled with palace denizens depending on the circumstances. Many of the palace's residents...

I think sandboxy dungeons have their place as well. But most of the AP dungeons I've seen lately are 8-10 room dungeons that are mostly filled with combat encounters meant to be handled 1 room at a time with only limited flexibility in meeting goals.

Set pieces do need to consider level appropriate resources and should avoid relying on too many decisions that have to go right to set up the circumstances. That said, APs by default are pretty linear. You have to buy into the concept and following the rails to some degree. I can see how a well done dungeon can perhaps leave more room for flexibility in execution of the goal. But the goal is likely still fixed within the AP. Because something like X needs to lead to Y etc.

For me the advantage of an AP that favores set pieces is that there is generally more plot movement per real time session of playing. I would like the ocassional larger dungeon, random enounter, etc. as well. The goal of going to many of these dungeons, regardless of how good they are, is often the same though -- get information, kill someone, retrieve the object, etc. You can have these goals met in 1-2 encounters instead and move on to another location and goal.

SuperBidi wrote:

I don't think it's what people want, it's just that a dungeon takes a limited amount of space and work. It's very easy to put in a book an 8 room dungeon that will fill both the characters XP bar and the timeframe of an AP. Removing dungeons would ask for more work and book space.

If you want to avoid 8-10 rooms dungeon and focus on 1-3 encounters day, I encourage you to play PFS. That's the format. And if you look at a PFS adventure, it takes roughly twenty pages for the equivalent in XP and play time of a tenth of an AP. So it's twice more expensive in page count and work (for the author and the GM).

Yeah, that's what I would guess as well. It's somewhat a function of work to create is higher, still clinging to XP guidlines (although SoT has more non combat XP handed out), and perhaps some consumers would feel cheated if there was only 10 big combat encounters in 100 pages of material.

I certainly wouldn't feel cheated if those 10 encounters were designed well-- important to the plot, cool locations on large maps, terrain features, custom monsters, and frequent dual "win conditions" (meaning defeating in combat AND wanting to accomplish something else which may or may not go your way). Also if the "in between" exploration, social, investigaiton, etc. was done well that is huge value.

I would want XP to be adjusted so that real play time was not too slow, but that is easy to do with milestone XP.

Can you get PFS adventures without doing organized play? Are they self contained or do they link to form a campaign? Quality good?

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PF2e does well with challenging a party at full strength and the 1-3 big encounters a day paradigmn (vs. say 5e), but haven't seen too many published adventures go there. Strength of Thousands has some of this, but it's more in the vein of a bunch of one off flavor enounters over a longer period of time (semester) rather than the key story encounters. SoT still puts in at least one per adventure, sometimes two 8-10 room "dungeon" of some sort usually as the key plot movers. The four APs I have all do so.

Is this what people want? Is it because people would feel cheated without a lot of combat enounters mapped out? Or at least one multi room 'dungeon'?

Granted, this has never really been the style of most published adventures, even in 4e where this also would have been a really good fit.

In fact, the only published adventures I know that do this is En World's Zeitgeist AP. There is almost always a ton of exploration, social, travel, clue following, etc. that leads to no more than 1 or 2 big set piece combat encounters per in game day that often have better win conditions than "kill everyone". Fight through a large gallon to prevent a sabatour, protect a mystic that is recieving a vision through a haunt filled night on top of a ancient hill, confront somone at their residence and face that person and all their staff at once instead of room by room, etc. There are some exceptions where you get a multi room conflict or actually dungeon but not the norm. In general that is a lot more moving and story in between each encounter, and these big encounters are plot moving.

Personally I'd love to see more of this for P2e which is a system that could handle everyone at "full strength" for every fight better than most.

Sandal Fury wrote:

it's not in the sense of "tactics and strategy will improve your odds of success," but more "if you don't employ in-depth strategy with your team, you will fail."

I think this is more a failure of adventure design. As is common with new systems, early adventures are often written before the game has been fully written or understood. Early PF2e adventures used too may encounters on the high end of the difficulty spectrum for sure.

There is also perhaps an issue how they named the encounter building guidlines. Psychologically, perhaps people don't like to fight "Low" and "Moderate" encounters when I think there should be quite a few of them in a adventure because they do create a different dynamic. Yes, all the advice listed helps people beat Severe and Extreme encounters but it is also fun to have some Low and Moderate encounters where monsters are failing saves more often and melee PCs are criting more often.

Seems like later adventure paths are mixing it up a little better.

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What do you think is the best 1st volume of any AP 1e or 2e, regardless of the quality of the rest of the AP?

Just 2e?

What about the best closing adventure, taking into account the entire AP?


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BishopMcQ wrote:
I really like the way a few spells have different effects based on the number of actions spent to cast them. I just wish more spells leaned into that action economy rather than most being a flat 2-actions.

I think this would have been a great idea. Spellcasters could have been a lot more interesting trading off 1 action + 2 action spell vs. 3 action spell vs. move and 2 action spell, etc.

You could have even used this to differentiate the spell lists a little more.

Like Arcane could have the most variety 1-3 action spells, Occult gets mostly 1 and 2 action, Divine and Primal mostly 2 and 3 action.

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Em0crash wrote:

Mzali is portrayed in the books as heavily racist towards non Mwangi people and killing them on a whim. So I will let my players negotiate with literal supremacists that after conclusion of the book stay in power with just a single change that non mwangi people will not be killed on sight inside the city?

Yeah, another reason to change who attacks the golden city. If things play out like in the AP, you have a party of 15th level PCs that are probably itching to take the fight to Mzali at this point. And there is an entire semester delay until the Red Door opens for the PCs to do this.

Maybe have Mzali be a little less overtly genecidal, with more like a secret police spiriting people away vibe. And I think there needs to be more immediate stakes for the diplomacy as well. Perhaps Mzali is planning on declaring it's sphere of influence, and it's racist policies would now apply to any settlement within 50 miles or something.

Also like the idea that even amoung the Mwangi people there is a sub-heiarchy, like only Zenj can hold important city positions. Other Mwangi are relegated to "unclean" jobs, etc.

So you have this impending issue of Mzali extending this caste system to a bunch of new settlements. The PCs can prevent this as well as open things up to some foreign trade with good diplomacy.

Honestly, the whole diplomacy setup needs to be worked on a bit too to make it interesting. The Mazali influential should have some competing goals and the PCs should only have to gain favor with say 3/4 of them, with their choices making enemies with others and changing the flavor / power dynamic of the city a bit. See the old Dark Sun module -- Road to Urik. Also the PCs should have some Nantambu "chip" to cash in as well. Perhaps they have authority to authorize trade or discounts on X commodity from Nantanbu as a bargaining chip as well.

I really like the bones of this AP but think it can be elevated a lot with some tweaks.

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keftiu wrote:
hsnsy56, I don't love the idea of "the student from the Ancestry that everyone stereotypes as evil demon worshippers is secretly a spy for the evil demon worshippers" - it feels like it clashes a little with the more nuanced, hopeful tone the AP strikes. It also shifts this from being a story about becoming heroes of the Magaambya who eventually stop the King of Biting Ants to being a story about becoming heroes of the Magaambya who need to handle the threat of Usaro, which feels pretty drastic and distinct? If your table would be happier with it, go ahead, but that's a pretty significant amount of alteration you're gonna be dealing with.

It's the teacher that's the spy. The student is there so that there is a natural way to get the Usaro back story out there. The student is actually a good/neutral non-demon worshiping Charau-ku. But yes, I would change the teacher to a non-Charau-ku secret worshiper of Anhazhan as to not have that stereotype/cliche, or just figure out some other way for Anhazhan to know about the Golden City. It's not really an important plot point -- just that Anhazhan knows about the Golden City in a semi believable way.

As for the shift of story, I think it can be both.

One of the problems I have with the AP is that the threat of the King Of Biting Ants is not really known until Book 5. The PCs stopping the King of Biting Ants and returning Jatembe is epic, but is in book 5/6. Also, unless Book 6 has some actual consequences to the King of Biting Ants returning, then we are just talking about returning things to status quo.

The PCs don't have as much impact on the world as I would like for a full 1-20 campaign. I don't get to play multiple full APs/Campaigns so I like more punch. There are a lot of cool things in the AP to build on though.

Particularly Book 3 and 4 (without seeing 6 yet) seem particularly weak in the Level vs. world impact spectrum.

Book 3 -- 8-12th level. Explore a ruin but without any big revelations. Defend a small village and take down a generic cult, freeing a small town. I would have rather this had been lower level stuff.

Book 4 -- 12-15th level. This book is better but still... Negotiate more openness to foreigners for Mzali. This is good stuff, although the stakes here are not that well laid out. Return an old Sun God. Good. Discover the lost city of gold, defend it, then everyone gets mind wiped returning to status quo. Not so great. Maybe the loss of the Mzali General and his troops along with the return of the Sun God is the "big impact", setting up the fall of Mzali later, but that is all offscreen.

So in this reconfiguration you at least have:

Book 3-4: resolution of revival of Anhazhan threat to the Mwangi (regional level threat that is somewhat known from book 1); set up of the fall of Mzali through diplomacy and revival of Sun God

Book 5-6: resolution of world level threat (King of Biting Ants)

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Jhamin wrote:

IMHO The threat in the 3rd act should be disconnected from Walkena entirely. The part where the PCs discovery of the Map leads others to the Golden City should probably be kept. Responsibility of action and the repercussions of knowledge seems like a great subplot

I've read through Red Star now, although not a fine detail read of each of them, and I like the AP but think there are some let downs in execution. Book 3 is weak in terms of connecting with the broader AP IMO. I agree with your take on Walkena attacking even more so now.

I'll reserve full judgement until after Book 6, but as you suggest I'll probably pick a different enemy for the assault on the Golden City so that the diplomacy is a real victory (at least in this AP).

There are a lot of great ideas from just a quick read of the Mwangi Expanse book. I thinking about going with:

Book 1 - there is a Charau-ka student and senior Lore-Speaker/teacher at school. The student is getting shunned because there have been more raids by Charau-ka war bands lately. PCs learn history of Usaro and Gorilla King.

Book 2 - Usaro ambassador comes to Nantambu and asks for something. Player’s have a community task related to this, to at minimum keep Usaro/Charau-ka on their minds. [Also their activity unknowingly allows an Avatar of Anhazhan to materialize and stay in Golorian, see below?]

Book 3 - Charau-ka raids intensify, especially in the Sodden Lands, where traditionally they are not known. Knights are worshipers of Angazhan and have found a totem that lets them reincarnate people into Charau-ka. The more knowledgeable/scholarly the person, the more powerful version of Charau-ka you get. Kiutu was built around an ancient library and known for its scholarly monastery, hence why it is a prime target. Janatimo or another teacher is from Kiutu and is back in the area and gets kidnapped along with others. PCs find out that Charau-ka “Reincarnation” is not really traditional reincarnation, but the person’s soul and personality is trapped in the Charau-ka and in constant torture. Hints that this is not the only totem that has been activated and in use.

Book 4 - When PCs go back to Magaambya to consult with other teachers about the map, the Charau-ka teacher is a spy and reports to Uraso (or Uraso scouts trail PCs or visit the temple after them, etc.). In the background, the Avatar of Anhazban has been building an army of Charau-ka and others to assault the Magaambya which would produce incredibly powerful Charau-ka. However, the Golden City is where the Matanji and Kallijae took the stolen Altar of Anhazhan for safe keeping and the Anhazban army change targets. PCs find out the alter is there when visiting. Charau-ka army attacks Golden City to retrieve the Altar led by an Avatar of Anhazhan (replace Avatar of Walkena), and the Avatar’s power is able to activate the Alter – transforming its Orc guardian into a Gorilla King (replaces Worknesh/King of Spears). The ritual Dimari-Diji wants to complete will restore all the Charau-ka souls to their original, essentially nullifying the threat and creating a huge amount of “scholarly” Charau-ka.

Plenty of other ideas, but this was the first that popped into my head. I also like that it alters the landscape of the Mwangi. I know that the PCs will eventually bring Jatambe back and defeat the King of Ants, but I like a long AP to have more world consequences than TOT seems to right now. Seems like a more suitable world impact for 14th/15th level PCs. You are left with an entirely new “people” that will likely try to take Usaro in a different direction, etc.

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Jhamin wrote:
keftiu wrote:

the two (the diplomatic efforts in Mzali and the battle over Osibu) don't have much of anything to do with one another, so I don't see the latter as any kind of failure or betrayal of the former.

The idea that as written they don't have anything to do with each other is my problem.

What is the point then? (I get the long term idealistic "change takes time at patience" thing, but tell that to the families of the dead in Osibu if anyone asks what the PCs did before they came).

I think we are talking past each other. As I understand it, You are fine with the idea that everything in the first half of the adventure is disconnected with the final battle.

I am *not*.

In my mind the PCs spend weeks getting a meeting with Sauron and acomplish the impossible and actually get him to treat the Elven merchants with a bit of respect.. then they go back to watch him assault the white city and then they personally pitch in to kill some Ring Wraiths. I just don't think anything about that feels good and I strongly feel the two halves of the narrative are at odds.

I've only done a quick look through the adventure, but think I agree.

One possible solution: the successful diplomatic mission weakens Walkena , he loses divine favor, and there is a successful coup that puts #2 villian in charge and divinely empowered. Make sure to give #2 screen time during negotiations as working against the diplomacy. #2 foolishly attacks Obisu which leads to #2s death and a very weakened army. Mzali looses #1 and #2 evil guys and there is a full fledged revolt that the PCs can help leading to a much less evil city council or something.

So at least the successful diplomacy set into motion the events that set Mzali free.

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I'm new to adenture path subscriptions, and signed up to get Strenth of Thousands 3 and 4.

It looks like the pdfs are available now to buy, but says pdfs will be in my downloads once the paper version ships. But the paper version ships in 11 to 20 days!

This seems like a pretty bad deal for subscribers. Is this correct or is there a way to get the pdfs now?


Davido1000 wrote:

I agree that wizards need a whole slew of school feats to fill them out a bit. At the moment I've converted over the 5e school feats and sorc metamagic feats and 2e-ified them but i think Paizo really needs to pick up the ball when making cool and interesting feats for spellcasters that arent level 12 and above.

For incap spells i use my own homebrew rule where you double the spell's level as usual but instead the creature gets a bonus to the save determined by how many levels higher it is. It works really well and actually allowed my group's sorcerer to banish a high level demon who rolled incredibly poorly but would of still been unaffected anyway. It was a great moment for the spellcaster and the martials were happy they didn't have to deal with it which is what i feel is missing when making save or suck spells unusable on boss monsters.

I'd be interested in seeing the homebrew feats if you are willing to share.

On the incap rule, the enemies only get the bonus right, not the shift in result, even for crit fails? Is the bonus based on difference in level or level x2?

So, say a 5th level Wizard.

Trying to color spray those three Barbazu (lv5) at DC21 vs. 12 save + 4 = 16 modified save. So 0% of crit fail, 20% of fail, 50% success, 30% crit success.

Trying to use blindness or paralyze on the 7th level boss Medsua at DC21 vs. 15 +1. So 0% crit fail, 20% fail, 50% succes, and 30% crit success. OR DC21 vs. 15+4? So only fail on a 1 and success 50%, crit success 45%.

I guess 50% chance of blinded or stunned for a round is pretty bad for a solo creature so probably difference in level.

Deriven Firelion wrote:

The more important reason I did not remove or modify incapacitation is that it would benefit enemy casters and monsters far more than players. Enemy casters can blow their spell slots in one fight against a PC party. If their low level incap spells can have full effect given they usually have very high spell DCs, that would make them extremely deadly. If monster incap abilities worked at full DC given how high their ability DCs are, the PCs would get hammered.

In the cost-benefit analysis, PC casters would get a minor benefit from the removal or modification of incap with the occasional incapacitating a boss slightly faster than the PCs beating on it while...

This seems fairly easy to solve, by making it a PC Class feature not available to enemy casters (or not many...). PF2e already has PC/NPCs created differently so no problems there.

Maybe give one of the incapacitation modifications to the Wizard as a class feature to throw them a bone. I kind of like that the Wizard should be the master of incapacitation spells -- they become the one class that has a chance to save or suck a boss, occasionally.

If I can ever get my group back together for Strength of Thousands I may try to playtest this.

It still may not be worth using on a level +2 boss, but it would make using say color spray on at level foes potentially worth it. 3 level 9 Dragon Turtles, DC 27 against Color Spray. Using the +4 to saves, only crit fails become fails variety you get -- 0% chance of crit fail, 30% chance of fail, 50% of success, 20% chance of crit success. Hmm. Lower level spells might be too good then...

If people in your group are still not playig Wizards with your house rules, are you contemplating any additional house rules to make Wizards better?

Deriven Firelion wrote:

Casters are very tough to play in PF2 if you want to feel strong fighting the strongest monsters. Killing mooks is ok. But it's not super fun to get to a powerful boss dragon as a caster and have it shrug off your most powerful spells, while the martials are teeing off doing loads of damage with no resistance.

Since it seems like you get a lot of playing time, curious if you've tested some of the Incapacitation fixes proposed such as

* Remove Incapacitation and replace with roll 2d20 and take the best (only crit fail for most higher level creatures is if they roll a double 1)

* Remove Incapacitation and replace with +4 to saves and crit fails become normal fails (normal fails and success are not changed)

* Applying Incapacitation as a Monster trait. (sort of like Magic Resistance). Some tough monsters are especially magic resitant some aren't.

* Require some percentage loss of Monster HPs to "use" the Incapacitation trait

I think some people play around with accuracy buffs to hit as well for attack roll spells.

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Paul Watson wrote:

The crossover between Primal and Arcane is primarily Elemental, Evocation spells, so the blasting options.

The crossover between Occult and Arcane is primarily Enchantment or extradimensional based. So basically the powers of mind and non-euclidean spaces.

The crossover between Primal and Divine is mostly the healing spells.

The crossover between Occult and Divine are Chaotic, Evil, Sonic spells and, for some reason, Disease. Apparently Occult spells are not bastions of Law and Good.

The crossover between Arcane and Divine are the Demon, Devil and Daemon form spells (but not Angel form which is Divine specific), and a couple of others that fit each tradition iaccomplished in different ways such as Admonishment or Drop Dead.

The crossover between Primal and Occult are fey...

Awesome work! It would be tricky to do, but it would be really useful to understand the overlap in "function" or "roles" between the lists.

Once you have a single "great" or even "very good" spell that fulfils a particular function you don't benefit that much from having 5 other spells that do basically the same thing with slightly different parameters or ways.

Categories could be:

AOE blasting
Hard control (e.g., walls)
Will save debuff
Fort save debuff
Ref save debuff
Other utility

If the list was tagged with something like this, then you could look at the "best" and "good enough" spells on each list in each category.

One hypothesis is that while the Arcane spell list is a great list in a vaccum and the has the most spells, it doesn't "functionally" or "role wise" have much unique and even if other spell lists don't have as many spells they have spells that are "good enough" to be functionally equal (or 90% equal) in many of these catagories.

Squiggit wrote:
hsnsy56 wrote:

Primal is too broad. It contains healing, blasting, buffs and some utility (fly). Editions past have given Druids some offense and utility but usually worse than Wizards --- no fly, haste, fireball, lightning bolt, etc. -- but weaker versions like call lightning. Primal should never have been this broad to leave room for Arcane to have more unique spells on its list.

Completely disagree, it was always silly that Druids were so bad at elemental blasting even though it fits their thematic wheelhouse in PF2.

Primal is an excellent spell list right now. It's varied and interesting but still the second smallest spell list in the game too.

It is an excellent spell list. Being small is not a huge negative as long as you can cover your bases, and the primal list does this well. A lot of spells are just variation of the same purpose.

"Having a lot of spells" in a list is a plus but is overvalued in the design I think. Having at least 1 good spell on a list that serves X purpose is much more valuable. And the primal list does this well.

I'm fine with the primal list in a vaccuum. What I'm not thrilled about is that there seems to be high value associated with "big list" (Arcane) that is underminded with every spell on a big list that is worse for the same purpose or has a super specific purpose.

Example: Primal doesn't seem to have a good Will save debuff so that would be a gap. But if it gets 1 good Will debuff spell then it's perhaps not as good as a list with 5 good Will debuff spells with different ranges, conditions, etc. but it gets you much, much closer than 20% of the way there in terms of "purpose equivalence".

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

My personal favorite caster list is primal. I think it offers the most combat options, while also providing that occasionally needed heal. The classes you can take the primal list have some great build options. Druid is amazing. I like the elemental sorcerer as well.

Primal is too broad. It contains healing, blasting, buffs and some utility (fly). Editions past have given Druids some offense and utility but usually worse than Wizards --- no fly, haste, fireball, lightning bolt, etc. -- but weaker versions like call lightning. Primal should never have been this broad to leave room for Arcane to have more unique spells on its list.

roquepo wrote:

I find this healing discussion pretty absurd, honestly. My group and I had virtually no healing except potions from levels 6 to 12 and we are doing just fine.

I think it's overblown a bit but the underlying point does stand -- primal gets healing (which is worth something -- maybe not as much as Deriven says to all tables but something) on top of a comparable damage, and pretty good buff/debuff, utility list. On top of that Druid gets good class features (vs. say wizard).

I just looked at the Secrets of Magic spell list on AON. There are 2 new spells that are unique to Arcane (summons) and most of the damage spells seem to be shared with Primal.

The 4 spell lists instead of class lists and their huge overlap have hurt Arcane. Arcane gets the most spells but not much unique. IMO Arcane class features should be much stronger in this case, so that Arcane casters can use certain traditionally arcane spells better than other classes.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

In PF1 and previous editions of D&D, we always had the equivalent of an arcane caster for the reasons stated on this thread and we always had a dedicated healer because of how deadly we like to play.

But in PF2 the arcane caster isn't really necessary. You can get by with a hybrid caster. Any group can get by with a single hybrid caster that has some form of combat healing. This isn't an opinion. It is the way the new system plays which I am personally happy with. The group did not like having to play a dedicated healer.

There seems to be this confusion that I'm saying the Arcane list is unplayable. I'm not saying that. I'm saying it's the least desirable spell list due to its lack of healing or a singularly good spell like synesthesia.

I do think the spell lists could have been designed better.

For instance, Arcane coud have had more exclusive utility. Put the comprehend languages, fly, invisibility, etc. into Arcane only and now you have a niche for Arcane that is meaty.

There are ways to poach from other lists though, so Class features are also important.

Wizards could get:

1) bonuses to damage (best caster damage dealer)
2) or pluses to save DCs for lower level spells (1-4) (best caster for control through save or suck)

IMO, part of the problem is too much overlap in spell lists, part of the problem is arcane class design (Wizard especially).

For those that feel the Wizard is a bit underpowered/lackluster, particularly at lower levels, does the book give Wizards any love spell, feat wise, etc.?

Claxon wrote:
I think Paizo didn't set up skills to allow for all these kinds of actions with penalties that get removed by taking a feat because it feels super lame to take a feat that only removes a penalty. It feels much better when that feat lets you do stuff no one else can do.

Bonuses could have effectively done that without the hard gate keeping though. That’s why I am leaning toward bonuses in my games.

It may be roughly the same math, but it feels better to have a +5 to impersonating a noble and feel above the curve. As long as it lets you do much harder things with more reliability than without the feat you get a sort of soft gate keeping that is more satisfying to me.

That way,

Sure, someone with proficiency and stat could probably impersonate a noble to cow a inn keeper but only someone with the feat could reliably impersonate a noble at the king’s gala where 30 noble families are attending. (Perhaps an above level very hard check at mid levels)

FowlJ wrote:

That's not exactly true. Nothing adds a general +5 to something, nor should it, but Pickpocket removes a -5 penalty to a particular type of task. If the base DC for these tasks was higher than normal, as OP suggests, the net effect effect is pretty similar.

That said, OP could stick closer to the design aesthetic of PF2 by just copying the format of pickpocket entirely, and saying that these tasks have a regular DC but you take a -5 penalty to attempting them without the feat.

Now that I look at this closer this is a weird example of inconsistency. The only reason the Feat is like this, is that "protected object is -5" is defined in the base skill.

I like this, but more consistent with other Feats (Group Impression, etc.) would have been to gate stealing "protected objects" with a Feat.

I would have much preffered if they had done the Thievery way for other "mundane" things. Make an Impression on 2 people at once at -2, 10 at -5, 25 at -10. Feat takes away penalty at each proficiency tier.

-5 penalty to Make an Impression immediately instead of 1 minute.

Guntermench wrote:

Because that's how other skill feats work. Like the pickpocket example from the poster above.

Claxon wrote:
The simple answer is, it's easier to tell your players "Since you don't have the feat, I'll allow you to attempt this but at a penalty". That way your working well within the existing rules frame work. The only "homebrew" you're doing is allowing access to feats that players wouldn't normally have by applying a penalty.

I definitely see this point of view, and maybe it is easier in the end given how things have been designed.

I don’t care for the design though. The GM basically needs to memorize every skill feat to understand the limits of normal skill use to assign those penalties. It's not too bad now, but I assume the skill feats will just keep growing as more books come out. Every time a skill feat “allows” you to do something, it takes that away from the base skill.

I’m fine with that gating for more mythical things, but as mentioned they could have just gated that stuff around proficiency and then still had feats that made it easier to do specific hard stuff.

Gating around proficiency would have made the game a ton more flexible. You could have just redefined the baseline expectations of what you can do with say Legendary proficiency and the feats would not have to be adjusted.

You could have a setting where Legendary proficiency in Acrobatics means you can literally try to jump from cloud to cloud or Legendary in Thievery means a very hard DC check you can steal someone’s shadow and put it into a bottle. If feat is +5 bonus to stealing then that helps you regardless of how you define the baseline per tier. But that is going a little far off topic…

Another benefit if feats are bonuses to specific situations, then the cognitive load is on the exception that an individual player has rather than the GM matching a situation to the entire cataloge of feats and applying the penalty.

Anyway, sounds like some people think -/+ 4 or 5 is not too crazy so I will probably try that out either as a penalty to use a feat action you don’t have (gated by proficiency for more mythic things) as suggested, or I will just use the feats as guidelines to set DCs and give the feats a +5 bonus.

Claxon wrote:
Guntermench wrote:
I think instead of a bigger penalty it's reasonable to gate some of them by proficiency level, just like the feats themselves.
Probably both a penalty and gating you to require to have the proficiency level required for the skill feat.

I think Guntermench was just arguing no bigger penalty than the usual -5 (or whatever).

So anyone who is Legendary can Scare to Death or Cloud Jump at -5 , the feat takes the penalty away.

I think you'd have to do the math. If it's too reliable for someone proficient with good stat and other bonuses then the feat is devalued. The difference between these types of actions and say the Connections idea I think is that with Connections the GM has wiggle room to set the DCs such that it makes fictional and math sense whereas the DCs for these actions are set at Will DC.

Guntermench wrote:
If you wanted to homebrew this I'd go in the other direction. Let the skill feats work as is, let players try it without them at a penalty.

Why is this a better method? Does giving bonuses mess with something else?

The altering DC method like the Lore example could be similiar I suppose.

DC is Hard for someone just trained in Society
DC is Easy or Very Easy for someone that has the feat (-2 to -5 adjustment).

This puts the onus on the GM though to make this DC adjustment, rather than the player to apply the bonus.

Here's how I envision it working:

Player: "We need to bring this up with the King. Can I get an audience using my contacts?"
GM thinking: Hmm, getting an audience with the King would be challenging for a level 15 PC (or whatever the fiction dictates) so "Roll Society against DC 34."
Player: "Sure, and I have Connections so +3 on my roll"


GM thinking: Hmm, getting an audience with the King would be challenging for a level 15 PC (or whatever the fiction dictates) BUT this PC has connections so I'll adjust the diffculty down to Easy "Roll Society against DC 32."

Seems like the first reduced the GM load although the 2nd allows the GM to have lattitude on whether the "bonus" is between +2 and +5.

Themetricsystem wrote:
This is homebrew for sure but if you want a rule of thumb, NO BONUSES to d20 checks should ever exceed +3 and that's at max level, the fact that you're looking at +5/+6 tells me you are way off base, there is literally nothing in the whole system that offers that high of numeric bonus, even for extreme niche activities or actions.

Thanks. I think I was going off the suggestion to for Lore skills:

"You might use different DCs for a task based on the particular skill or statistic used for the check. Let’s say your PCs encounter a magical tome about aberrant creatures. The tome is 4th-level and has the occult trait, so you set the DC of an Occultism check to Identify the Magic to 19, based on Table 10–5. As noted in Identify Magic, other magic-related skills can typically be used at a higher DC, so you might decide the check is very hard for a character using Arcana and set the DC at 24 for characters using that skill. If a character in your group had Aberration Lore, you might determine that it would be easy or very easy to use that skill and adjust the DC to 17 or 14. These adjustments aren’t taking the place of characters’ bonuses, modifiers, and penalties—they are due to the applicability of the skills being used."

Here you get a 2-5 point adjustment for having a more applicable Lore.

Perhaps being able to get an audience with an important person is more useful than Abberation Lore so perhaps the +3 is more warranted. (although it is limited to places you have spent time in).

dirtypool wrote:
This should probably be in the Homebrew and House Rules forum

Happy to move it but can't seem to find I way to do it. I flagged my own post as wrong forum.

I'm thinking about using pf2e for a new campaign, but I really don't like "gating feats" for skills.

For instance, Courtly Graces and Connections. I would rather Society be able to do these things, but Courtly Graces and Connections mean you get a big bonus.

The DCs can be set very high when it's a fictional big ask and the feats help you meet those at lower levels.

So I want everyone trained in Society to be able to try to get an audience with an important person, but:

Level 5 -- set DC so it is hard (but not impossible) to get a audience with a local Baron for someone trained and good ability, moderate to easy with the feat
Level 10 -- hard to get an audience with a duke or mayor of the largest city, moderate to easy with feat
Level 15 -- hard to get an audience with king/emporer, moderate to easy with feat
Level 20 -- hard to get an audience with a demon lord or demi god, moderate to east with feat

And perhaps the level 10 character with feat can get lucky and get an audience with the King (although they risk the critical fail which makes things interesting...).

I'm not familar enough with Pf2e average bonuses per level, expected magic items, etc. What would be a good bonus for these types of feats to model this? +5? +6?

So, we'd have feats like this:

You have social connections you can leverage to trade favors or meet important people. When you’re in an area with connections (typically a settlement where you’ve spent downtime building connections, or possibly another area in the same nation), you get a +5 bonus to Society checks to arrange a meeting with an important political figure or ask for a favor in exchange for a later favor of your contact’s choice.

Courtly Graces
You were raised among the nobility or have learned proper etiquette and bearing, allowing you to present yourself as a noble and play games of influence and politics. When you use Society to Make an Impression on a noble, as well as with Impersonate to pretend to be a noble if you aren’t one you get a +5 bonus. If you want to impersonate a specific noble, you still need to use Deception to Impersonate normally, and to Lie when necessary.

These are the easier ones I think. I'd also want to do this for things like Group Impression. Instead of the number of targets based on proficiency, the Will save DC gets bumped based on number you are trying to influence and the Group Impression removes this bump or gives a bonus.