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This comment isn't directed at this specific product, but it's a suggestion for all of the adventures:

The adventures list what level the characters will start at, but don't give any direct information about what level the characters are expected to be when the adventure ends. Would it be possible to include that information?

I understand it's not always cut and dry. Many/most PFS adventures aren't even a whole level. Depending on how the party calculates XP, how many encounters are played vs skipped, etc... all of those are variables. But certainly the adventure is designed with an idea of whether it is a 1-level adventure, 2, 3, 4 levels... All of the APs have a guide that indicates "you should be about this level by the end of the book," for example.

It would be very useful information, for me at least, to know how many levels (or fraction thereof) I should expect a product to serve me for. I typically GM with a mix of published and homebrew content, and it helps me plan ahead to know (or guess, at this point) about how long an adventure will be.

If this information is available somewhere, then my suggestion changes to "can this information be made more accessable? I can't find it.."


Is it known what levels this adventure spans? Starting at 16, going to...?

I have my players declare they they are recalling knowledge. I then ask "Ok what is your _______ skill?" So if it's undead and that's religion, I of course ask for religion. If it's an animal, I'm asking for their Nature skill.

Then I roll the skill and add their modifier, determine the result, and give them information accordingly. If I don't feel like rolling myself I just have them roll, see the last paragraph for more on that... I do like secret checks but I also have a zillion things to keep track of on my side of the screen, so I like to keep as much of the math on the player side as I can.

I'm also fairly lax with failure results. I do feel as though an action spent is a high enough cost, and like Luke Styer above, I find my off-the-cuff false information to be pretty bland and awful, so it's a portion of the game that I just gloss over in favor of other things that I do better.

That also allows me to freely allow my players to roll, since they either get no information, or they get information they know is correct, so they never have to do the whole "well Bob the human knows not to use an edged weapon against a skeleton, but Bobilius the Great the PC rolled beans on his Recall Knowledge check, so... I guess I'll stow my warhammer, draw my dagger and give it a good go anyways..."

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@ OP:

My parties typically recall knowledge once or twice when the fight includes creatures that they haven't fought before.

My personal house rule is somewhat permissive.

I basically break the monster's stat block into "defensive stuff" and "offensive stuff" categories. A successful Recall Knowledge check gets then the name of the monster and their choice of offensive or defensive knowledge. A critical success gives them the name and both offensive and defensive knowledge.

So, I'm not parsing it out into little bits. If a monster has a good Will save and a poor Reflex save, also has Weakness to Cold Iron and Resistance to Bludgeoning (I dunno... these are just random examples...) they get ALL of that if they choose "defensive knoweldge."

Likewise if it has multiple special attacks or whatever, I'll give them all of the goods should they choose (so, that dragon has a breath attack that deals acid, it has a reaction that does such and such, and watch out for the longer reach on the bite attack!).

If a monster has nothing of note in a category that a player selects, I let them know there's nothing interesting (such as a creature with just one or two basic attacks) and then I give them the info in the other category.

My intent behind all of this is to get my players to actually Recall Knowledge. As a gameplay cycle, it feels GOOD to learn something and then act accordingly. That feels like smart gameplay, and it's rewarding to make smart choices based on what you know. However, it feels awful to flail away at an enemy without realizing important information and just wondering why it's beating you senseless. That is not a rewarding gameplay cycle.

These are my opinions and methods :)

This is pretty interesting. Haven't actually hit this situation in play. Loads of cases of "target with persistent fire now gains persistent bleed or electricity or whatever." But I don't think we've had a case of X persistent being added to X persistent when it wasn't clear which took precedence.

I think I would simply handle it as higher average. I would not take resistance into account at all as I see no rules support for that decision.

I can't tell from Filthy Lucre's example whether those decisions are being made at the point when the new source of persistent damage is coming into play, or at the end of the turn. But I believe the rules mean that if a target that already has fire persistent damage on it gains another source, you decide then and there which one carries forward, then you roll for damage at the end of the target's turn.

Very specifically, Here is a link to Archive of Nethys where the rule on learning a new spell is listed:

As the others have noted, any Uncommon, Rare or Unique item is gated behind the GM's approval, so you aren't using the above rule to bypass that. But once it's approved, that is how you go about acquiring it.

This is most useful for Wizards, who will use it to add spells of any rarity to their book (aside from the few they gain naturally via leveling up). It is also useful to other spellcasters who wish to learn uncommon, rare and unique spells.

Yeah I basically agree... pretty high cost for a mostly cosmetic/narrative item.

The in-game economy in any of these RPGs (PF2 really isn't different) tends to work pretty well for combat-related stuff, but tends to fall apart for out-of-combat stuff.

How much does it cost to stay a night at an inn? Or a fancy inn? Or to sleep outside under the stars? Most games supply a value to that. But what does it GET you?

How much does it cost to walk across the countryside? To Teleport? To ride a horse, fly a griffon, or sail along the coast? There's typically a price associated with these things (or at least some of them), but the narrative impact is all very far up in the air.

Sure you can say "you slept outside last night, your face is thus dirty and you smell like grass, so you get a -2 when interacting with the Duke who is dressed in fine silks and is freshly bathed." And maybe the story has some sense of urgency, so cheaping out and walking vs paying for passage on a ship that can get you there a month ahead of time means the enemy has some advantages.

But ultimately, the choice needs to be one that comes from the narrative. And GM and players need to decide together what the impact of these choices are. If they are small, or meaningless... why are you charging?

I don't make my players pay for every night at the inn, nor do I count coppers for drinks. I even let them narrate "I buy a round for this NPC and start talking" without making them mark off a coin. Some of my players do, some don't, and I'm fine with that too - the players who don't mark it off are into it in their own way, the ones who do are into it in THEIR own way.

I'm circling around to the idea that for non-combat expenses, it's probably best to just hand wave it. Unless the players really want to be immersed into the fiscal aspects of the mundane side of being a big old hero. For me? Let's skip Excel-Finder and get to Pathfinder. I want to play the heroic side of the game, not the financial side. Money is fun when I can afford awesome gear, it's lame when I spend time fidgeting with it.

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Mostly, I agree with the other posters here. Out-of-game stresses this year are through the roof, that's certainly a contributing factor.

Here's what I can add:

I GM 2 games using VTT, and I play in one game. It is a vastly different experience GMing online than it is playing online.

As a GM, in person or online, you have a ton of things to keep tabs on and you can't help but be engaged 100% of the time. I haven't found that to be different when playing online. I do lack the direct feedback of an in-person game (we use video to see each other, which is something like being in the same room, but it's not the same).

As a player, I find it far, far easier to stay engaged when playing in person. Online, my attention starts fracturing around the 2 hour mark, tends to suffer greatly around the 3 hour mark, after which I usually rally, and I can hold it together for another 45 minutes or so, before finally it all crumbles around the 4 hour mark. I don't consider myself to be a "bad player," and I do try to maintain focus. But it's not easy.

On a completely different side, here, I can stay focused for hours on end in an MMORPG. But those are different experiences, they are designed from the ground up to be played virtually. The pacing is customized for that sort of thing, etc. Maybe some people have always approached Pathfinder virtually, but me? It's not what I signed up for. I want to play in person, I enjoy playing in person.

VTT is, to me, better than not playing at all. But it's hardly what I want to be doing. Hey, it's a pandemic, you don't get what you want all the time.

Bottom line, my advice is:
Give your players, whom you say are good friends in person, the benefit of the doubt. Talk with them, explain how things impact you, ask them how things impact them. Ask whether they are having fun. Tell them what makes you NOT have fun. Come up with solutions together. Realistically, we are at, or maybe a little beyond, the midpoint in this pandemic. It will go away, but not overnight. It's still a long haul, so we all need to be creative and empathetic in arriving at solutions for social problems caused by the pandemic.

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If the players really want them, give your players permission to ask for them. Remembering them is a 2 way street.

I use a physical object. I mean, I used to before the pandemic. But passing them out and taking them back when spent engages my brain more and helps me remember.

But mainly, I state to my players that my brain is full of things to keep track of and they won’t offend me by reminding me to hand out hero points.

Wait, it sounds like some of you are making the players guess which skill to use, and if they're wrong they just fail the check because it's wrong?

I hope I'm misunderstanding...

In my groups, during session 0 part of the discussion is "who is going to cover what bases for Recall Knowledge. And typically you have a high(ish) Wisdom character because you want somebody to be treating wounds anyways, so you have two covered there. Intelligence isn't always a guarantee as there are many options when it comes to the "do stuff the Wizard is expected to do" role. Sorcerer may not have great Int, for example. But between 4 players, which is your standard group, it shouldn't be too hard to get 5 skills trained alongside decent or good stats.

During play, players can make an educated guess based on the descriptions. If it's a humanoid they ought to pretty much know that's Society. If it's rotting or lacks flesh, they ought to have a good idea that's Religion. But they don't declare "I want to recall knowledge using Occultism," they simply say "I want to recall knowledge."

I do have my players roll. I'm a big fan of the Secret trait, but I have enough going on. My players can do the math themselves, and they are game for playing out a failure reasonably so it doesn't mess with things too much.

Anyways I tell them "roll Occultism (or whatever it is). Mostly they've guessed correctly and aren't asking to Recall on a creature they aren't trained about, but if they do, they invariably fail, but they are good about saying "Hey Vush, I don't know anything about that, what can you tell us?" So at most it's a 1 action loss across the whole party.

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I don't see any of this as a PF2-specific problem.

Typically it's better than the computerized cousins, the MMOs, where enemies are literally within line of sight, 20 yards away, doing nothing at all while you slaughter their comrades. Compared to that, a closed door is perfect justification for not engaging!

Regarding the OP's specific case, I justified things by having a monsoon on. So much rain makes a ton of noise.

And, incidentally, my players managed a good clean fight against the enemies outside of the location. Then as they entered, they had a sloppy fight and had to rest for an extended time. They chose to do so in the very room they fought in, taking no defensive precautions. This really surprised me as it's a group of veteran - roleplayers. So I gave them their 1st 10 minutes worth of recovery for free as it's a game after all, and I gave them another 10 minutes out of pity, and then I rammed the next room's encounter down their throat, because come on people, you're better than that! They got roughed up, so they spend ANOTHER extended period of time recovering, so I threw the NEXT room at them. Finally they re-learned what they had forgotten - if you want to recover in peace, take some precautions. They withdrew from the area to rest without (as much) danger.

Upon returning, the remainder of the enemies had responded to the prior incursion by redistributing themselves and lying in wait for the party's next attempt.

Reactive and dynamic.

As a side note, I never bother writing up wandering monster tables for when a party abuses the resting mechanics. I just pull in the next encounter when they get too lax with it. Easy peasy!

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This would probably be better categorized into the homebrew subforum.

In my mind, this alteration of the rules is right in line with the Automatic Progression. I don't think that's tied to any particular choices any character makes, you just get all of the right +1s and +dices when they would come online through equipment upgrades. So I'd decouple it from proficiency and pop it in there at the item levels of the various Sturdy Shields.

If you must keep it tied to proficiency, armor proficiency seems to make more sense to me, but it's not the way I'd go.

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My solution to the "big swarm in a narrow space" issue is the same as any "big creature in a narrow space."

I simply consider tighter terrain to be difficult terrain.

So, say I've got a big and beefy Ogre, large sized, so 2x2 squares on the grid. The players back off down a 1 square wide corridor. The Ogre can pursue, but since it's shoulders are brushing against the walls and it doesn't have the space to use its normal gait, it considers the corridor to be difficult terrain.

Let's say we have a Huge Bulette, 3x3, that's trying to pursue down that same 1 square wide corridor. That's a VERY tight fit. The Bulette not only has the walls pressing in, but it has to contort its body to fit down the narrow passage. This becomes Greater Difficult terrain for the Huge creature.

A Gargantuan creature is just plain out of luck in a 1 square wide corridor. It'll have to go around, or start smashing the place to widen the corridor (assuming that's possible).

I don't see why swarms would act any different. I know that real-life examples are perilous in a discussion about game rules, but I do know that my bees move about far quicker on open comb than they do through a narrow hive entrance, and I know they move about faster if they're flying in open air than they do when crawling on open comb. So... It seems reasonable enough to me that a swarm of any sort would suffer from more individuals bumping into each other if it enters a more narrow space, and all that jostling ought to slow it down. To the same degree as an Ogre moving through a narrow space? I dunno... but it feels close enough to me that I'm got going to stress about finding a different solution.

"Sometimes spell effects prevent a target from using hostile actions, or the spell ends if a creature uses any hostile actions. A hostile action is one that can harm or damage another creature, whether directly or indirectly, but not one that a creature is unaware could cause harm. For instance, lobbing a fireball into a crowd would be a hostile action, but opening a door and accidentally freeing a horrible monster would not be. The GM is the final arbitrator of what constitutes a hostile action."

Another reading of that is, fireball can cause harm or damage, so it's always a hostile action.

How about if you cast Ray of Frost but miss? It didn't cause damage, so does it break invisibility?

I would rule that any damaging spell counts as a hostile spell. Any spell that puts a negative condition on the target is a hostile spell (Bless would not be hostile, Bane would be hostile).

So, you have spells that buff an ally, and spells that have environmental effects (ghost sound, mage hand, etc.) that would count as "non-hostile."

Of course, casting Bless is certainly carrying intent to harm, right? You're casting a spell that you know makes your allies more likely to hit or crit. You're not doing that to be nice, you're doing that to be hostile. Likewise casting Ghost Sound to misdirect an enemy is carrying malign intent. You're hoping the enemy wanders off in the wrong direction so you can steal its stuff, or gank it while it's alone, etc. So there is plenty of grey area within which we can argue the finer points of intent and etc. However, for me and my games, I'd rule that "HP damage or negative conditions" are the types of spells that count as capital H Hostile."


You raise a magical shield of force. This counts as using the Raise a Shield action, giving you a +1 circumstance bonus to AC until the start of your next turn, but it doesn't require a hand to use.

While the spell is in effect, you can use the Shield Block reaction with your magic shield. The shield has Hardness 5. After you use Shield Block, the spell ends and you can't cast it again for 10 minutes. Unlike a normal Shield Block, you can use the spell's reaction against the magic missile spell.

Note: After you use Shield Block, the spell ends and you can't cast it again for 10 minutes.

So if the referent for "it" is "the spell," and the spell is "Shield," then you need to come up with an argument for how Shield is not Shield if it's from a different tradition.

I do not think you can reuse Shield after using it to block until the 10 minute time requirement is satisfied, no matter whether you have multiple traditions to access the spell from. Shield is Shield, it's not Arcane Shield or Divine Shield.

re: Shields and Hands:

Your character must be wielding a shield in one hand to make use of it...

This is the general rule on Shields - it takes up a hand.

Bucklers have this additional text:

It’s typically made of steel and strapped to your forearm. You can Raise a Shield with your buckler as long as you have that hand free or are holding a light object that’s not a weapon in that hand.

And Reload text:

Reloading a ranged weapon and drawing a thrown weapon both require a free hand.

Thus with any non-buckler shield you cannot, under any circumstance, make any use of the Shield-bearing hand until you drop/stow the shield. Hard stop.

With Bucklers, ammunition certainly falls into the "Light Object that is not a weapon" category. Of course you can carry a bulkier object in the Buckler hand, you just can't raise the buckler while doing so - a bit of a side point there, but the point is, yes, you can make use of your Buckler hand while having the Buckler equipped. Hence the "you can use a buckler and a reload 1 (or 2 for that matter) weapon, so long as the weapon is in your other hand.

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Maybe the Harpies focus on crowd controlling the rest of the group, but actually killing the horse? i.e. knock the rider off the horse, grapple the party members... hey maybe even crowd control the horse, too, grab it by the bridle and try to lead it away from the party (I imagine that would require a crit success at Nature to Handle Animal to wrest control of the horse from the controlling player... and it would represent just as much of a "shove" sort of action as "give direction to" sort of action.

Rrriiiight! Thanks :) So since you need an "unblocked path" for a line of effect, and the Sphere specifies that it blocks anything," then you can't draw line of effect into or out of the sphere.

Perfect! Thanks for pointing that out :)

Resilient Sphere:
You create an immobile sphere of force to either trap or protect the target, blocking anything that would pass through the sphere. The sphere has AC 5, Hardness 10, and 40 Hit Points. It's immune to critical hits and precision damage. Disintegrate destroys the sphere instantly. If the target is unwilling, the effects of the sphere depend on the target's Reflex save.

A roaring blast of fire appears at a spot you designate, dealing 6d6 fire damage.

I'm planning on using a Demonologist who has Resilient Sphere, and I'm contemplating its various uses. "Blocking anything that would pass through" seems very clear when it comes to things like weapons, characters, or even spell effects like Telekenetic Projectile or Acid Arrow or Lightening Bolt. Any touch spell, that's out as well.

But you could probably target through a Sphere with Fireball, yes?
How about Heal vs Divine Lance? Divine Lance specifies "a beam" but Heal 2 action simply gives a range without defining how the magical energy "gets there."

How do you all play this? If the spell doesn't specify any form of a projectile, do you allow it to target something in a Sphere? Or for someone in a Sphere to target outside of the sphere?

I would love to see your take on a 2-headed creature, ala Ettin or 2-headed ogre or whatever, that is intended to be played by two players, one controlling a head/arm each, and the rest of the body being shared by both players :)

I really like Exploration Mode for this reason: Every table has one or two "take charge" people who have a plan and confidently say what they're doing, and then what they'll do next. Every table also has that one or two people who are more passive and who will get lost amidst what the Take Chargers are doing.

Exploration Mode codifies the GM's ability to ask "what one thing are you doing right now?" of each person playing the game. I love the creativity that has come out of some of the quieter players due to this codification. And it really doesn't prevent the Take Chargers from moving things along. it just creates a little space for the others at the table.

I used to over-employ Exploration mode though. After over a year of GMing this edition, I'm much softer on Exploration mode. Sometimes interesting things are happening at a "once a day" sort of pace, or the party is in a town with low/zero danger, etc. I used to be a bit pedantic about making people define exploration activities in such situations. Now I'm far looser about that.

However, I find that Exploration Mode is excellent during a dungeon crawl. The last body drops, and Exploration activities are called for. The Wizard begins repairing the Fighter's shield, the Rogue starts searching, the Cleric treats wounds, and the Fighter is Scouting (keeping an eye on the doors). 10 minutes pass, the Rogue finds a key, the Fighter gets a repaired shield and some more HP, and it's on to the next Exploration round. The Fighter is Defending, the Rogue is Avoiding Notice, the Wizard is Scouting, and the Cleric is Searching, and the party is choosing which door to go through.

Ahhh, great catch Shroudb and Taja, I had missed the line about not getting to roll if you aren’t in cover at the end of the move.

Thank you both!

In short: Are you considered Undetected if you are out of Line of Sight of an enemy?

Practically: You are in a hallway that turns at a right angle. You are 10 feet from the corner. There is an enemy 10 feet past the corner. Neither of you can see each other, but you can hear each other so you know they're there, they know you're there.

It's your turn, and you want to sneak up because you're a Rogue. Can you Sneak to the square that allows you to see and target the enemy? Or must you first Hide, then Sneak?

Action economy is what's on the line. If you can Sneak then Strike, you can Stride away to make it harder for the enemy to retaliate. If you must first Hide, then Sneak, then Strike, you're twisting in the wind at close range at the end of your turn.

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TLDR: Synergize with your party to protect the people who will inevitably be staring down multiple attacks from the monster, and try to play keep-away as best you can.

Level + 3 fights are tough! Fun, but tough.

I've only played them from the GM side of the table. But here are my thoughts on it.

As a GM, I salivate when players end their turn next to a monster that tough. Well, part of me does, and part of me thinks "oh man, that poor player is hosed..." If ever a monster that tough has an opportunity to dump 3 attacks into a party, it's a rough, rough round. As you note above, hitting on a 4 is basically guaranteed. But the next hit (most monsters have an agile option) will be coming at an 8 or better, which is still quite good. Final strike hits on a 12 or better. I have excellent odds of landing 2 hits, and I could very well hit all 3.

So, don't end a turn next to a creature that powerful if you can avoid it. You'll want flanking bonuses. They will feel so very necessary, and to an extent they are. Especially if you have a Rogue. But if you can make the monster have to move to re-engage, that will drop it's damage per round by 1/3. If you can somehow make it move twice to re-engage, that will drop it's damage per round by 2/3. You are drinking from the holy grail if you can somehow make it move 3 times to re-engage, because then it didn't attack that round. Or maybe it has a ranged option, but by and large ranged is less threatening to the party.

My rule of thumb for whether I should end in melee with a really strong foe: Is my party set up to capitalize on the fact that I'm face-tanking this thing? i.e. will 1 or more allies get Flanking, or will somebody be tripping and I have an attack of opportunity, or something like that?

Your party's spellcasters are better at helping the party than they are at hurting the monster. At least, they are against a +3 level monster. Buffs always have their effect, but your miss chance with spells means you may not get a desirable effect from an offensive spell. The Cleric will be Healing like their life depends on it (and it will). A Wizard casting Haste on a Rogue allows for a stride in, 2 stab attempts, and a stride out. Even "minor" buffs like Bless help tremendously. You have a bard so that's not going to be what your cleric focuses on (unless your bard is high enough level for Dirge, then Bless helps again). But you get the idea. Boost up the party reliably rather than debuff down the monster unreliably.

Magic Missile is great. Lower end damage, but automatically hits.
Spells that have interesting effects on failures can be good. Maybe a -5 foot speed penalty doesn't sound that great, but if it means the fighter can Stride away once and the monster has to Stride twice to keep up, even if that's only for 1 round, that is 100% worth any spell slot in a boss fight.

Try to use the terrain to your advantage. This can be highly dependent on your GM or on the published adventure you're running... but most dungeons have corridors and doors right? Do a tactical withdrawal through a doorway and have somebody close the door. If you all moved away from the door after it closed... and you all attacked once before scooting... then you probably did SOME damage, and the monster now has to Stride to the door, Interact to open it, and Stride to get to the party. You've won that round. Likewise an archer, cleric and wizard on an elevated balcony can go full DPS (or heal or whatever it is that needs doing) without much worry of counter attack. Some effects allow a monster to take an action to make a save to get rid of the effect (right now I'm thinking of Prone and the Pinned crit effect from bows). The monster is nasty enough that it will definitely auto-succeed (I mean, there isn't even a roll for getting up from Prone). But it still takes up 1 of its 3 actions. Some spells create difficult terrain or make a barrier that needs to be walked around. Illusory terrain can be tricky depending on your GM, but your argument can and should be that the monster needs a reason to disbelieve, so if you create a gaping chasm, real or imagined, the monster ought to react accordingly. Even if it wants to disbelieve, it needs to take an action to sort it out.

Shields. The inverse of how easy the monster is hitting you is happening for your party. Your 1st attacks will not be easy to land, much less the 2nd or 3rd. So raise a shield. If the monster is hitting on a 4 and critting on a 14, having it hit on a 6 instead hardly feels like a win, but having it crit on a 16 feels much better. Crit chance went down by nearly 1/3 just by raising a shield. That is not insignificant. Doesn't have to be a shield, either. Any sort of action that is defensively oriented helps. Take cover behind a pillar that's in the middle of the room. Drink a Mistform Elixer to give a small miss chance. Cast Blur. Consider the difference between a Fighter being hit on a 4 who strides in and strikes twice, hitting once, to a Fighter who strides in, Strikes, and raises a shield, and who has a Cleric cast Forbidding Ward an a Wizard cast Blur on them. Still only hit once, but now they are hit on a 7+ and crit on a 17+, and then only if the monster passes the DC 5 concealment check. If your Bard is high enough level to cast Dirge of Doom, it's hit on an 8 and crit on an 18 now, which is pretty good.

TLDR: Synergize with your party to protect the people who will inevitably be staring down multiple attacks from the monster, and try to play keep-away as best you can.

I had a player build a “tank ranger” using outwit. Tried to talk him out of it. Told him any other Edge with a shield would be miles better. He still did it. Hated it. Changed out to an archer with precision. Likes it better. Who knows, maybe next arc he'll go all the way and get a crossbow, or else swap to Flurry for Better use with his bow.

We will see.

I applaud the effort to try to theorize a good outwit Edge, and it is rare of me to not be supportive of the rules, but... I don’t see the value. Way too limited/lackluster benefit from outwit.

I have a cloistered cleric of Iomedae in one party I run for who enjoys her Spiritual Weapon. She likes to heighten it for the added damage, finding the level 2 damage to be not enough to bother with. She is level 8 now and hasn’t used it yet this level, not sure if it’s out of her rotation or she just hasn’t felt the need to use it yet.

Just as an aside on the whole attack spell thing, would it feel better to cast that attack spell if the enemy was debuffed hard by the rest of the party? I’ve had a party put frightened, sickened, flat footed etc on a target. They don’t always do that but they do it frequently enough. If the target is not a high AC target to begin with, all those debuffs make for a pretty easy AC to hit.

My only experience with it is GMing for a level 1 Mountain Monk. Her build was Human with Mountain and Tiger.

It made for a pretty flexible character. Against really nasty stuff she was a tank, but with an action she could flip over to Tiger to be a mobile Striker. She had 14 DEX I think so her AC wasn’t too awful in Tiger.

AnywYs dealing with Flying... I think any tanks character will struggle. What does a fighter or Champion do? Pull out a backup bow? That drops their AC due to not having a shield, and their damage goes way down due to not being their optimized melee weapon.

Or they get the spellcaster to cast Fly on them.

It’s not always about having your own solution to every problem. Sometimes it is about leaning on your team. Or buying the right potions/elixirs/etc.

You could also dip into Ki spells for a limited ranged capability.

As for multi class I can’t say from my own experience, but I have been noodling on a monk multiclassing into aberrant sorcerer to get the extendable arms........ sort of a Dalsim thing if you know old school Street Fighter 2!

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Zapp wrote:
ExOichoThrow wrote:
Imagine playing a buffing character and all your spells that would be a net positive for the party are refused by other players. Sure you cant force them but anyone who's not a complete jerk would make somevoncessions for things that would help the other player have fun. Especially if it helps keep them alive, too.

Imagine respecting the wishes of other people.

Imagine asking people first.

Imagine bringing along a self-sufficient character for those times nobody wants you in their character actualization.


But the point here is that the OP learned a valuable lesson, which is: you need to ask first, instead of just assume your contributions will be appreciated or even accepted.

The thing to watch out for is player entitlement...

Again I'm sortof in agreement and sortof not.

Asking first, that's great! But it's not always possible to completely pivot your character right before the session. Some classes will do that better than others (imagine asking a Sorcerer to have completely different spells.. I imagine a Divine Sorcerer would be leaning into buffing, you know? They can hardly pivot into Fireballs just because the others in the party are somehow uncomfortable with being buffed).

But again, I really don't agree with the notion that people don't want buffs. I mostly play home games, but I've got a couple conventions worth of PFS under my belt, and I've never ever seen somebody refuse a buff, never seen somebody feel as though a buff messed with "their character actualization." The universal response I've seen is "awesome, I would love to do more damage/be harder to hit/etc." Which leaves me feeling as though these are arguments brought up to help push back against poisons in particular, as other buffs aren't problematic at all.

And player entitlement - that sword does cut both ways, right? Yes, I suppose you can call it player entitlement to assume that when you bring a buffer, others will accept your buffs. But that's also a core part of RPG combat. And it must also be agreed that a player deciding to refuse help for any reason is also player entitlement, right? And wouldn't refusing help be considered the more problematic aspect of player entitlement?

I really like the argument above by SuperBidi about the goblin player who doesn't get healed. That's a player choice (playing a goblin) that is sanctioned and supported by the rules that is often contentious (there is a subset of the players of this game who don't like that goblins are a player option now). So, it's fine to hold that belief, but at the point where you cut off a fellow player because they made that choice... both players are entitled to their view - the one that goblins are bad, the one that goblins are good - but one player's entitlement is ruining the fun of the other. Perhaps both would say it's the OTHER player who is doing the ruining.. but one player is supported by the rules and the other isn't.

Personally I feel like that seals the issue, but I can also see how we're spinning our wheels and not really seeing eye to eye on this, so I'll probably bow out of the thread at this point to avoid going in further circles. There have been a lot of great points on both sides, I think, and an issue like this has lots and lots of legacy issues that are driving player thought.

I hope the next time any of us get to a PFS table where some other player has brought what we personally consider an oddball, badwrongfun, ineffective, or whatever sort of character, we will remember this thread, remember that the point is to cooperate, and then we'll see if we can find a way to incorporate their strange character into the fun everybody is having.

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I get the argument about not "foisting" your character's thing onto others. But I flatly reject the argument that "if your build requires other characters" it's somehow bad.

How about the [insert just about any spellcaster] who has a buff that helps out a combat character? Are they a bad character because they require a target for that buff that is not them self? i.e. we all go on and on about how Magic Weapon is such an incredible level 1 spell pick, and I'm sure pretty much every Cleric and Wizard in PFS has it prepared. But also, most of those Clerics and Wizards aren't the best character to receive that spell - the martial weapon user is.

Does that count as "foisting" your character's thing onto somebody else?
How about a Bard who Inspires Courage? Don't we all agree that a Bard is a top tier buffer? Would we look askance at a player who is displeased with receiving the Inspire Courage buff? Sure we would, and we'd say "dude it's a cooperative game, that buff is really helping to boost your power, just accept it."

Yet SuperBidi is dealing with a rejection of what his character does (buff the attacks of other players) on account of an archaic mode of thought.

So... yeah, I still agree that it's against the grain of what PFS is all about to "force" a fellow player to do something they don't want to do, and I'm not advocating for SuperBidi or anybody else to have license to inflict any particular behavior or action or whatever on a fellow player, but I do feel like a spotlight needs to be shone on how incredibly similar what SuperBidi's character is doing to what just about every other spellcaster is doing, and what martials are doing when they flank or knock down or disarm or grapple or.... etc.

Shout out to the first adventure from the Playtest! Doomsday Dawn overall is very much a playtest and is designed to push the envelope. And of course some things have changed significantly so it would require work on your part to re-write it as a PF2 adventure. But if you are willing to do that, then adjusting for lower level ought to also work fine. PF2 is pretty easy to scale.

My thoughts on the adventures within:


The Lost Star is a great, generic dungeon delve. We all had a blast with it.

In Pale Mountain’s Shadow is also fun. You would need to level up the characters, or level down the adventure. Same goes for the rest of the adventures.

The Affair at Sombrefell Hall is thematically awesome. It was a grind play testing. Too many shadows. So I would suggest converting and reducing the number of shadows.

The Mirrored Moon was a fantastic adventure. One of the most fun I’ve run. It is a very well written and paced area exploration adventure with some really great fights. I particularly liked the red dragon and the final fight.

The Heroes of Undarin is an intentional TPK adventure. My group took so long to find time for the playtest that we never got this far. If people are game for a last stand, this might be fun.

Red Flags and When the Stars Go Dark... honestly I never read them thoroughly as I knew we weren’t going to get there. Red Flags is an intrigue adventure. Stars Go Dark is a dungeon crawl at high level.

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TwilightKnight, you are right, of course, it is far worse to force something on another player. Then everybody is upset.

But the ideal of PFS is cooperation... if my character worships Saranrae and specializes in fire magic, should I withhold from doing my thing because there is a character whose player decided they were afraid of fire, or maybe they worship the elemental lord of water?

I view poison like that. It’s just a tool in the box.

I guess, the deeper issue here is whether or not folks care to play ball with the nifty things other PFS players bring to the table. PF1 was a game where you did your own thing while others did their own thing, together. PF2 is a game where working together really leverages power, so I hope the culture shifts to “neat, let's share our strengths!”

And to SuperBidi... ultimately it may just depend on the folks in the circles you travel in.

Frame challenge: why not build this character using the monster creation rules? The. You don’t need to be constrained by how PCs do it..?

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So in a world where it's OK to kick down the door, kill all the goblins, and take their stuff... it’s not OK to use poison alongside your swords?

In a world where it’s OK to enchant your sword with the Flame or Wounding rune it’s not OK to use poison?

In a world where it’s great if the cleric casts Bless to make you a more effective killer it's not OK to use poisons?

I think the other players are being pedantic.

There is an official stance from Paizo on this issue, by the way. The Evil trait exists. Any feat, item, spell, etc. that does not have the Evil trait? It’s not Evil. Plain as day.

and to put that another way...

Combat Assessment *adds to* a Strike.
Combat Assessment does not specifically *take away from* a Strike.

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So I just skimmed through the Animal Companions, and the Horse is the only one that seems like it would be problematic.

Horse seems to be implying that it's a weapon attack that it provides a benefit to. Though to be fair it doesn't specify that. The 2nd sentence about "if the weapon..." is the implication. And aside from that, most of those "add +1 damage per die" effects are tied to weapon damage dice, which of course caps out at the max Striking rune - and a level 3 Fireball outstrips that already. Finally, and this is always veeeery thin ice, but "common sense" would indicate that the horse's charge ability is all about lending momentum to the attack, which implies a physical weapon not a spell effect.

Aside from that... I don't see any issue with those support benefits which do not specify Strike being applied to spells.

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So what is it you have in mind as far as “out of combat utility?”

I think of a wizard being the one who knows tons of stuff, so having training in Nature, Arcana, Occultism and Religion would be good.

People get smashed up a bunch, so training in Medicine and a kit helps you patch up team mates and treat poisons and diseases.

Equipment can get buggered. A repair kit and training in Craft helps you to keep the fighter's shield in fighting trim.

A thieve's kit and Thievery skill makes you capable of bypassing traps of all sorts... you even have Detect Magic to help locate magical traps.

What I’m driving at is that Skills are super useful. You don’t need spells only. I like a wizard to have good INT and WIS so I can cover the Recall Knowledge skills, and if I have points left over I’ll invest in DEX to round out Thievery. Between a high INT score and background choices you can cover quite a lot of ground and have a wide range of trained skills.

That's how I’d go about it at any rate.

I also feel like the rules are not being applied correctly. 2 characters shouldn’t stand a chance against an opponent 4 levels higher than they are. That should be a tough fight for 4 characters.

A table of 7 players can be rough to handle. One group I play with has 6 players and I feel that stresses the game a bit. In my experience as the number of players goes up over 4, it just gets harder and harder to keep track of everything. There is just so much going on, and the combats get pretty crazy with all of the enemies to keep track of. Very likely that monsters aren’t being used to max capability due to GM overload. Very likely that players are getting rules wrong but the GM can’t catch it due to so much happening all the time.

I don’t blame the OP for any of this. I get having a big group of friends and not wanting to exclude any of them. Friends are more important than the game after all. And for the rule bits, especially in a big group it is each players' responsibility to get their character right.

But if it problematic, and it is based on OP's statement, then a general sit down and figuring out what is being done wrong is in order.

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He's making the point that alongside Bards, any Occult caster also gets synesthesia.

I want to throw an honorable mention to any character with a bird animal companion and an accurate Strike. The bird's Support benefit applies both a bleed and Dazzled.

I don’t think that is on the same level as a caster who can debuff a wide range of ways, but I’m throwing it out there to raise the point that debuffing can be (and I would argue SHOULD be) a team effort. One guy intimidates, another guy Dazzles, someone else trips, and now the enemy is royally hosed and is essentially out of the fight.

A single bard who Dirges and then hits with a relevant debuff is also excellent of course! But in a party without a dedicated debuffer, it is important to talk through how the party will go about screwing with the enemy.

I was thinking about the OP's Barbarian, and perhaps a way to patch accuracy would be to build it as a Fighter and then heavily Multiclass into Barbarian.

Bonus damage will be coming on a little late and will be lower than if the main class was Barbarian, but the extra proficiency will net a +1 accuracy over straight Barbarian with 18 STR, even with 16 STR.

Of course that's only a (potential) solution for martial characters, and casters don't really have that option.

My personal feeling is that an 18 should be considered default, and if you're going to accept a 16, you need to be asking yourself whether the payoff will be worth it. Support casters can get away with it pretty easily as offensive magic isn't their main thing. Characters like Bards or Warpriests that have innate accuracy fixers can boost the party while bringing themselves up to par (but of course miss out on the fun of overclocking their accuracy them self).

Strikers should probably stick to an 18 - your job is to deal damage, and you can't do that unless you hit in the first place. -5% chance to hit and -5% chance to crit is not insignificant, even if it's only across half of the character's career.

Tanks, I would also advise 18. In a game without codified monster aggro rules, you want to be as dangerous as possible to attract the most enemies you can, and that means hitting and critting at least as much a the squishies.

Well that rare occurrence would be the “increased price” right? :)

I could get behind Shoving shields.

Don’t mind that Trip weapons are more rare. Trip is a very powerful effect as it debuffs and soaks an action, and that action could trigger reactions. Very strong! But keep a hand free, or simply drop grip for a moment, and tripping is available. Very strong. Very very strong!

lemeres, I see your point, and it’s a good one. I was getting at the idea that in the rare case where Shove is really useful, all it takes is a good proficiency in Athletics and good STR. As it’s a rare case, it’s probably not worth investing in beyond that (and you probably took Athletics more to Trip or Disarm or Jump anyways), and yes your damage output for the round will suffer, that is a given, but if the enemy now needs to spend 2 rounds climbing back up the cliff, that is more than worth it IMO.

Also recently had a player use a shove on an ally to get them out of harm's way. Far easier to shove the caster than it is to shove the beefcake enemy lol!

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Definitely with the folks who are saying that the OP's character concept would have been executed better as Champion multiclassing into Bard. Seems OP wants to fight in melee more than cast.

It is a strange quirk between PF1 and 2 that sometimes the best way to execute a PF1 concept is to flip the concept... but we can’t expect PF2 to be the same.

In PF1 your stats were king. You could make a decent melee caster by just giving it 18 STR and a few choice feats. Not so in PF2 as proficiency is just as important as stats. bUT I think this is a good thing. My PF1 Oracle fought just as well as a Barbarian, plus was every bit the party healer as a Cleric. That is overpowered, and deep down we all know it. PF2 addresses that problem with proficiency. You need to make sacrifices if you want to do two different things, and choose which one you want to be better at.

So now you have full bard, full champion, and two different ways to blend them (champ with bard, or bard with champ) and all 4 are good, but all 4 are different, and you have to play to the strengths of what you chose to do.

Otherwise... I mean it’s clearly a player mistake to build a straight up wizard and play it like a fighter right? It’s not quite that clear cut with a bard/champion, but still... can’t expect the character you built to play like something other than what you built.

lemeres wrote:

Note that a double slice fighter might not be the best for a shove build in general.

Someone else said it up-thread, but I think it bears repeating - you don't need to make any/many conscious choices to have a "shove build."

Anybody with a hammer-type weapon can shove if they want. Anyone with a free hand, or who is willing to let go of their weapon for a moment, can shove. All they need is a half-way decent STR score and training in Athletics.

I figure if you have a strong STR score, you'll keep Athletics at the highest proficiency you can since it does so many great things. So it's not too hard to have the ability to shove when you want.

Others have listed many great ways to use Shove, I won't beat the dead horse.

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I don't have the answer to the OP's question, but from an ease of play/speed of play standpoint, one roll is important to me. My fighter only has to roll once. But my Magus needs to roll twice? Bummer, twice as much math, twice as much time.

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PF2 is a game where it is pretty easy to design an encounter that a party will stomp all over, or an encounter where they will be hanging on by their finger tips the whole time.

If you want gritty combat... party level or party level + monsters, and trend towards Severe encounters. Moderate would be your lower level, and maybe throw in a few more Extreme encounters than you otherwise would.

My only point of caution - continuous damage can be a real PC killer. Use caution there. Likewise, monsters with lots of AOE damage can be killer. So when using monsters with those abilities, consider whether "gritty" means "knock 'em around and make them work for their victories" or "any of you could die tonight, the gloves are off."

I don't mind Vancian casting. Yes I've been there when you prepare for one thing and fight another thing... not the best day as a caster. Teaches you to prepare SOME specific spells, not ALL specific spells. Having Fireball AND Lightening Bolt is better than 2 Fireballs. Fireball and Cloud Kill is even better.

My favorite casting rules are from the Iron Kingdoms RPG. There were two traditions, for the sake of brevity I'll call out the simpler of the two.

Warcasters had a very short list of spells, and they had a pretty small pool of Focus. Typically 3, but up to 7 if I recall.. it's been a while! Anyways, spells cost a certain amount of focus. Casting a spell cost you that number of focus. Assuming you had the actions, you could cast until you were out of focus. At the start of each of your turns, your Focus pool was filled back up. There was also a set of other things your focus was useful for (making attacks more powerful or more accurate, increasing your armor). So it was always a balancing act. Warcasters are mostly all "gish" type characters, so that push and pull worked very well.

Here's why I think a system like that would be a disaster in Pathfinder: In Pathfinder we have this long heritage of a HUGE spell list. Spells can do all sorts of things. And while that is *sortof* true in Iron Kingdoms, it is true to a far, far lesser extent. I remember many conversations about "where are all my utility spells???" when Iron Kingdoms was a going concern. And here's the other thing... a Warcaster really only ever had 3-7 spells, tops. So even if utility spells existed in the same volume as in Pathfinder, you'd never know many of them. You want to have an AOE and a direct damage spell and a combat buff spell... well for some casters, that's it, you're done. Forget about things like Light or Detect Magic or whatever.

I think PF2 has struck a pretty good balance with cantrips. They're worth casting, they don't run out, so they scratch the itch for "I want to be a caster who CASTS every turn!" while not neutering "but I also want to be able to Fireball an entire encounter now and again!"

I always have enemies flee using their own actions. I will have an enemy flee if the adventure calls out a morale aspect to the battle, otherwise I’ll have the enemy stand and fight. My experience is that players like to finish off enemies and view an escaping enemy as a huge loose end, even though typically a fleeing enemy is written off completely and flees just to avoid the tedium of having to make a variable number of additional attack and damage rolls to close out a battle whose conclusion is guaranteed.

I also feel like if you are planning on having a whole fight end, Encounter rules aren’t the way to do it. Fleeing is for when most enemies are still fighting and THAT one enemy is running. If the whole fight ends, stop encounter mode and go back to exploration mode. Narrate that the enemies who are left are overcome by panic and route. Ask the players what their response is, and as normal for exploration mode go around the table and let each player decide. Some will chase to secure kills, others will stop to attend to the wounded, etc. then your chase rules apply. The bloodthirsty player will have to roll to see if they catch an enemy, let them simply finish off anybody they catch. If they continue to pursue, the adventure changes to be about how to handle having the party running all wildly nilly. The environment changes how that works too. Chasing in wilderness can go on a long time. Chasing in confined dungeon with another troupe of enemies 50 feet away will likely trigger another combat.

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I just want to clarify, cover only applies if a creature is in the way. Whether or not your target is in melee range of any other creature is irrelevant.

That said, yes, most of the time you will have to deal with cover. Moving out to the side so you have clear line of sight is good. I know it feels bad not to attack as much as possible as a flurry ranger, but sometimes one turn of setup pays dividends throughout the rest of the battle.

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As far as Alchemist healing vs Cleric healing (and I'll put "any Heal healer" in there with Cleric, Clerics get more Heals but in a given moment Heal is Heal. And you know what, I'll throw Soothe in there too, why not):

There are three "legs" to the chair that is healing in PF2:

1) Skill-based Healing
2) Item-based Healing
3) Spell-based Healing

Each has their best-case use.

1) Skill-based healing is free and unlimited, but often time-locked, and unless you're using Assurance, you could fail the check and fail to heal (or worse). This is best for when you have plenty of time.

2) Item-based healing isn't free (though Alchemist comes pretty darned near to free), is always limited by quantity of available potions or elixers, and typically is not as potent as the other two sources - but so long as you have items, you can go bananas and take as many as you need. This is best for when you have a brief lull in battle or when you have only a short amount of time.

3) Spell-based healing is often very limited in availability, though wands and Divine Font can up this number somewhat. Still.. very few. Typically very high amount healed. This is best used during combat to make the difference between a fighting fighter and a dying fighter.

You can't take an Alchemist and play it like a cleric. You need to play it like an Alchemist. You're going to use a Mistform Elixer to make it less likely that you'll need a huge Heal in the first place. If you expect to simply pass out Elixers of Life like a pez dispenser and call yourself a budget cleric, your party's gonna fold, and fold hard. You need to leverage the strengths of the class.