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Yeah looks like it went pretty great! Awesome :D

My group is also the kind of group that would take a 4 hour adventure and turn it into a 4 month campaign. We all dig into the details so much and role play everything out so the plot moves at a pretty slow pace, but it's the experience we want. So if that works for you then I wouldn't sweat the pacing.

As for the stand still attacking problem, I definitely can relate to that. It's tough to remember and utilize all of the other options when going for damage is always the most alluring choice. Monsters can always step then move to escape, or shove away a foe before trying to escape. Some enemies have cool reactions that allow them to move after being attacked which spices things up. Flanking is really really important in this game so it's expected that your PCs will always be going for it. Enemies should be going for it too.

As for switching from 1e to 2e, my 1e group is also slowly making the change. We all really want to play with the 2e rules, but our characters aren't supported properly yet and we don't want to homebrew everything. We're hoping that the October playtest of the new classes will give us what we need to make the jump.

I used to think that healing was too easy and strong but honestly it's just what players want to do so the game shouldn't fight them on it. Having it be a skill that can actually heal hit points in a way that matters is great. Unless the PCs are pressed for time they can heal back up to full fighting strength. If you want to navigate around this I would consider using conditions like drained or fatigued instead of changing how a core skill works.

Ravingdork wrote:

Not even game day and I think I've lost one of my players.

"A lot of skill feats are garbage until expert proficiency."

He made a dwarven fighter with Power Attack, Exacting Strike, and Lunge. He intended to open up with Power Attack (at a -5 penalty), then attack with Exacting Strike at no penalty, while attacking from 15 feet away with Lunge.

I had to explain to him about the traits and how they impacted his desired build.

"Are you f&@+ing serious? They put rules within rules!? That's garbage! What happened to streamlining!?"

I then calmly explained what he could and could not do with his chosen feats; said that they worked great independently, but didn't combo particularly well.

"I can tell you I've spent about 8 hours reading [the Core Rulebook] today and I'm not impressed. I like the skill system and how they reworked the spells. However I believe even low level magic is overpowered."

I explained how high-end magic was brought WAY down, and how low-end at-will magic was raised up so as to narrow the gap between martials and casters, and to eliminate the 5-minute adventurer workday when the casters ran out of spells. Now everyone has at-will abilities and more staying power.

"Okay, I'll be over Saturday morning. I'm already over this s%#%. I don't like it! I like Starfinder!* I'm only coming to see my friends and maybe punch a hole in your wall."

Maybe I'm doing too much explaining. Or he made up his mind long before he ever started and P2E never had a chance for him.

** spoiler omitted **

That's gonna be a yikes for me, dog.

I don't think you should put any blame on yourself for what clearly is an attitude problem. Sounds toxic af.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Er, it was never a bonus to attack, even in P1E.
Flanking, however, was (but is not in PF2, since it just inflicts flat footed). Which is, I suspect what kpulv was thinking of.

yeah that's the one!

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If you have access to the GM screen it is pretty amazing for how much info it covers.

If you coming from 1e I would watch out for:
* Flat footed is a penalty on the enemy's AC, not a bonus to attack
* Attack of opportunity is rare on creatures and often appears on "boss" type enemies
* Things with the "Attack" trait take the multiple attack penalty
* Maneuvers are a lot easier to pull off than 1e with athletics checks vs. enemy's reflex or fortitude DCs (10 + their save)
* Initiative is rolled when there is an intent to start a conflict. No surprise round. If you want to shoot a bandit with an arrow from hiding, you need to roll initiative before you do. You can grant circumstance bonuses to initiative for well executed ambushes.
* Get familiar with how Hide, Sneak, and the different levels of awareness play out.
* readying an action costs two actions. you use the readied action as a reaction when the trigger occurs.
* at the start of your turn you can delay and be put back into the initiative at the end of another creature's turn.
* you can't go below 0 hp. get familiar with how the dying condition and recovery rolls play out.
* Remember all the basic actions available to you and your players. It's very easy to get into the mindset of "attack attack attack" but you have things like aid, demoralize, take cover, raise shield, seek, feint, tumble through, etc. sometimes that -10 or -8 attack just ain't worth it.
* Establish a party order for exploration mode and scenes where time matters, but you're not in an encounter. In an IRL game, going around the table should work fine.
* Remember the exploration tactics available to the players. some are pretty important like defend, or scout. what you're doing in exploration mode determines what you roll for initiative if an encounter starts.
* Remember that certain skill actions are gated behind being trained in the skill.
* Get familiar with how persistent damage and flat checks work. Characters can help douse flames, or patch up bleeding, or clean the burning acid off which reduces the DC of the flat check, and can even grant the character additional checks to end the damage.
* 10 minute activities like treat wounds and refocus will probably come up a lot. you should probably expect PCs to walk into every encounter with full hp and focus unless they're really pushed on time.
* a lot of monsters have "grab" or "knockdown" and other maneuver type things included with their melee attacks (usually they have to spend an action after a successful hit to auto succeed on the maneuver)
* the four degrees of success matter with almost everything. critically failing a save against a spell can mean double damage. make sure you check for the +10 and -10 on results. (this might feel annoying at first, but you should get a feel for when you should check for plus or minus 10)
* there are no critical confirms.
* critical hits double all the damage except from sources that are triggered from crits, like deadly.

so far one of the most fun aspects I've noticed from the GM side is that it's a lot easier to move the difficulty slider without risking breaking the entire game and killing all the PCs. player characters can't be instakilled (for the most part) so you can push them quite hard and really ramp up the action and drama, but they still have a chance to push back, or make it out of really bad situations alive.

good luck have fun!

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Going from exploration mode to encounter mode by rolling perception or a skill as initiative is an idea that seems really cool, but in practice I feel like my group and I are still struggling to make it come together smoothly. I've been watching and listening to as much 2e content as I can to get a better grip on the rules, but I still feel like I'm missing something.

The idea of using different skills for initiative is mentioned a lot by the team and in the rules, however in play initiative is perception 99 out of 100 times, and stealth is the other 1. Even when it's not perception, characters are still given the option to use perception, and it feels like they always just opt to use perception instead of whatever they were doing. I want the idea of using all sorts of skills as initiative to come into play, but even through the entire playtest it's never clicked for me.

Characters in my games so far end up with perception or stealth as their highest checks. As far as I can tell, what characters do in exploration mode determines what they will roll for initiative if an encounter begins such as a trap triggering, or hostile creatures appearing, or some other opposing threat. Exploration mode has all sorts of cool suggestions for things to do, but the system makes using everything but sneaking or perceiving a suboptimal choice. Scouting gives a +1 circumstance bonus to initiative which pushes even further into "only use perception." The book gives examples of using athletics, or nature, deception, diplomacy and more as initiative, but there is no reason to ever attempt to do so when your perception modifier is the highest. The result is that characters won't do anything interesting in exploration mode because they don't want to be caught with their guard down if they were using any other skill. When I ask my players what they want to do in situations, it's always back to using perception, and then they often feel pigeonholed into it because they aren't aware of how any other skill would help them.

I wish there were more things like the scouting option in exploration mode that gave explicit mechanical benefits to the start of encounters, or it would make more sense if characters didn't end up with perception as their highest modifier. I'm not sure if it's just my particular player characters that are maxing out perception and stealth intentionally due to their historic precedent of being the most important things to have, or if I'm not understanding the system well enough. The idea of backflipping off of a balcony into a tavern brawl using acrobatics as initiative sounds really awesome, but mechanically there's no reason why I would ever do that if my perception is 4 higher and gives me a +1 circumstance bonus.

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice on how to smooth this out? As a GM are there more ways I can think of to begin encounters that will encourage non-perception approaches?

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My group has been using roll20, and we end up making a lot of macros for stuff, so I made a tool that makes writing macros faster for things like attacks, spells, and whatever else. it's available here for anyone to use if they want: there's an example to load that hopefully covers the general idea of how to use it.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
And if they have a silence spell, what fail forward result will you have occur on a failed climb check?
Somebody dropped something, it might not be valuable but anyone who comes by might spot it and figure out that there are intruders about, so "should someone go back down and retrieve it" is a question the party now faces.

And that's why I said fail forward removes player agency and why fail forward teaches players to go with the most obvious solution. Taking precautions is pointless, the GM will make the players face a different consequence. The GM ultimately controls the world and he can always pull out another "consequence" no matter how many precautions you take.

If I caught a DM doing the above (and granted it would take a while for me to catch on) I would stop enjoying the game just as I would if I caught them fudging dice rolls. If you enjoy fail forward as possible cabbage implements it then we simply enjoy playing Pathfinder for very different reasons.

I'm curious as to why that is a removal of agency -- is it because the player character isn't given some sort of opportunity to specifically correct the situation in the moment? Like some sort of reflex save or dexterity check to prevent the object from falling from their possession? (Sorry if this has been hammered on previously in the thread)

I think I get what you are saying for the most part and this thread has a lot of interesting discussion. It seems that "fail forward" is something that is said a lot by the designers, but mechanically does not seem to be supported by the system. How is PF2 is fail forward while having checks for 10 minute tasks like treating wounds or repairing objects? I think every prerelease game I've listened to so far has hand waved these checks once the GM realizes that everyone is sitting there rolling d20s for every increment of 10 minutes against no real threat or consequence. (Do you still damage someone when you critically fail treating wounds? That felt like the opposite of failing forward for me.)

As a player, I don't mind the hydra hunting example. Reaching a dead end can stink, and I think failed checks should mostly mean "you still make progress toward your goal, but it comes at a cost." The easiest cost to choose is time, but other than that it's tough to express a cost mechanically. It feels like the only thing that actually matters is hit points, so you end up succeeding but taking some damage, but then everything just ends up dealing damage, or comes up with a long winded way to ultimately deal damage, just so you can be healed in the next moment, so it starts to feel rather flat over time. Like you can always come up with a billion narrative driven costs, but if its not a thing on the character sheet that is being changed, then it's not really part of the system.

But anyway, sometimes it's about mitigating the real time spent in a session and fast forwarding to the next meaningful decision. If the PCs are pursuing the hydra, and you have to be done with the session in 45 minutes, then they're gonna find that dang hydra.

Thanks for the responses.

For my players that use shields, then they usually end up raising their shield as their third action. Take cover seems like an interesting option, but again it is a defensive action that I don't think my players see much value in. You don't win fights against monsters by being more defensive. Disarm is only relevant against enemies that are using weapons, but again anything with "Attack" is going to suffer the -10, so why not just go for damage?

I think the big gap I'm seeing is the lack of interesting offensive options. Seeing that people use Assist on enemies is hilarious to me and I never considered that, because yes with a -10 you're more likely to crit fail than succeed.

I'm not sure where the issue lies exactly, or if there even is one, but it seems that a lot of encounters my players are looking for interesting offensive options that feel as important as dealing damage, and more specifically options that involve multiple PCs. Flanking is something along these lines -- players can cooperate to put themselves into advantageous positions and it's an aggressive strategy that is going to take down the monsters faster. Defensive options feel like you're not contributing toward winning the encounter -- they're "lose less" options when my players and I are looking for "win more" options.

As for the other actions mentioned, I will be on the look out for the things you all have noted as useful things and will keep an eye out for opportunities to use them when my players are at a loss for what to do.

Have your players ever used the following actions in your game?

* Assist
* Take Cover
* Point Out
* Tumble Through
* High Jump
* Long Jump
* Shove
* Trip
* Disarm
* Create a Diversion
* Feint
* Demoralize

I'm curious because I feel like the book is just full of actions that feel totally worthless in the face of danger. Looking at Assist, I can't imagine why anyone would ever choose this option instead of just swinging for damage?

Every action I listed there has either been used 0 or 1 times in my playtest sessions so far, and we've been playing since the start. Maybe they become more relevant at high levels, but it seems like the opposite would actually be true once PCs have the choice between pumping out 50+ damage on a swing, vs... creating a diversion.

I'm witnessing my players end up in situations in Doomsday Dawn where they feel like they have no options other than stride and strike, and the occasional spells. Have other GMs encountered this? Especially at times where a Recall Knowledge returns nothing of value. If a monster doesn't have a weakness to exploit, Recall Knowledge gives you nothing to work with in combat. It seems that the best option agreed upon by my players is to just swing out and fish for the natural 20 on their -8 or -10 attacks, and I can't say that I disagree with them.

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So hard to choose just one thing but... I think I have to go with removing vancian casting. It feels so needlessly convoluted compared to the arcanist style, or 5e casting style.

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I like this change, it makes wizards less daunting to play because of the whole analysis-paralysis of trying to prep all your spells at the start of the day. It also invokes a little bit of the "ritual casting" style spells in 5e that I think are a great innovation.

The sorcerer can then be updated to reflect a new or different advantage of being a sorcerer than a wizard. Maybe they could cast using spell slots they don't have at some risk, or have way more meta magic options from the start, or something totally wacky I haven't thought of yet.

Personally I'd like to see a path where wizards are "by the book" casters, and sorcerers are the wild, untrained casters that can customize their spells a lot more.

Does Retributive Strike still cancel the damage from an attack if the attacker is downed by the strike? That was one of the coolest things~

Thanks for your continued hard work on the game. Running a playtest at this scale cannot be easy. It's been a blast to be a part of it, and I hope the rest of the development goes well!

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I think it would be cool to see a variant without +1/level, but honestly my group and I don't mind it at all. +1/level already exists in P1 but there it means our characters are trying to make sure they all have the big six magical items to keep up on the expected curve that we should be following in order to have the challenges designed for our level to feel appropriate. With the system in the playtest our characters can stay on curve and we all don't have to be carrying around the same exact magic items to be on par with what the system expects. Now the expectation is built right into our characters, which has a lot of benefits.

* The GM can throw level appropriate humanoid enemies at the PCs without having to deck every enemy out with an economy breaking amount of magical items.
* The PCs don't end up with large discrepancies in their abilities as the levels increase, which means the power levels of the characters can be better judged when designing encounters.
* The skills that I don't invest into (for various reasons) don't become totally stale and unusable. I look at my P1 character who at level 14 still has +0 in a number skills, and still only a +5 in the knowledges she has (which is what she started with.) I'm in both a P1 game, and a Playtest game, and I can feel the contrast pretty hard there.

This seems to be a pretty contentious topic on the forums but Paizo has hardly addressed it with updates, so I'm guessing that its not showing up in the survey data as something people are having problems with. They did adjust untrained to make it a lower value (level-4), which I also liked. The spread of numbers across skills on characters looks very diverse now (at least in my group) and I think in a very good spot for having a P1 feel but with a much simpler system.

Parsing a lot of the posts and thoughts about it, I really just don't understand the problems with it, especially when the designers have said that there will most likely be a variant mode with +1/level removed. As both a GM and a player +1/level is a simplification that is just a huge relief for me, and I can focus on more interesting things other than "how am I gonna get my +2 cloak turned into a +3 cloak so my saves are close enough to the expected curve for the level my character is at." The big six are +1 to level just expressed differently, and I am ready to leave behind a system where there are items that are so important for every single character to have that they have earned a household nickname.

I want number/vertical progression to be simple and straight forward, so that horizontal progression can actually be explored in this system without making huge compromises to my character's core competence.

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* Three action system
* Changing AoO to a specialty
* +1/Level progression

* Horizontal progression is too slow (Feats, abilities, etc)
* Vancian casting
* Damage being +X magic weapon reliant

* Make knife weapons better. (Double strike? Don't increase MAP when used?)
* Make maneuvers way more enticing to use. (make them at no MAP after a successful strike? remove their crit fail effects?)
* Way more uses for hero points (and make hero points only obtainable through in character actions)


runners up:
monster and npc simplifications
monster reactions and other cool abilities
resistances and weaknesses
flat checks
persistent damage
variable-action spells

diagonal movement
conditions (they feel very samey)
exploration to encounter mode transition
heightening spell rules

allow way more feats earlier on in levels
make wizard like 5e
make a whole new sorcerer class
all spells auto heighten to the slot level
two action spells have one action versions
some sort of short rest system (resolve points?)
1 hero point -> reroll
2 hero points -> heroic recovery
a lot more stuff I cant think of right now

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I think a lot of the reactions for the cooler monsters are a good step in this direction, but it still feels like its not really enough for the 1v4 (or 5... or 6...) scenarios that big monsters can find themselves in. I'd like to see more free actions that are triggered by certain things instead of reactions since once players know the monster used their reaction they just go ham on it and destroy it when they take their 4 turns in a row. (Which is a totally valid strategy, but one that just doesn't feel very interesting to me as both a GM and a player.)

Charon Onozuka wrote:

Alrighty, making a note of this for the next time I update (probably when I try to incorporate Companion Creatures as well).

Out of curiosity, did your players share their sheets directly with you? Or did they give you a link set to "anyone can view?" Since I didn't notice this come up during my quick test, but I know everyone in my group gave me a shared link set to "anyone can edit/view." Either way I'll be sure to improve it next update, but I'm curious to know where the difference happened to be.

So I think what I experienced was maybe only sharing with my account, and not a link that anyone can view. Two of my players sheets had an error, and I had to remove the IFERROR to get the prompt to come up, but then my other two players sheets actually imported fine, so it might be the case that the latter two made their sheet viewable to anyone with the link.

Whooaa awesome :O

Will it work if each character sheet belongs to a different google user? Basically all of my players are sharing their sheet with me, but I know that getting the data from another google sheet can be really weird if its coming from a different user.

I've tried putting in the sharing link they've given me, and also tried the publish to the web url as well, but neither seem to be doing anything when I enter it into the url fields.

Edit: Okay I figured it out. You might want to actually remove at least one of the IFERRORs you have in the columns in the player stuff. When trying to get data from a sheet from another user, the error actually generates a prompt that you have to click a confirmation button on to allow the data to be imported, so if you suppress the error, that prompt never appears and it fails silently.

Yeah I mean... that just sounds like part of the process of learning a new system, Grave Knight. You now know what a flat check is. You know that you can reduce it with an action to DC 15. Again, one thing that is easy to miss, is that characters can be assisted by others to gain more flat check attempts, and every time a character is healed they can again flat check against the damage. I dunno, honestly for my group this has been one of the easier systems to digest in the playtest.

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Would it possible to put links to characters that have used your character sheet into this one and have it fill out the character data directly from their sheets? (I actually thought on the cover that Player 1, Player 2, etc, actually wanted links to their character sheets for this purpose)

Thanks for both this and your character sheet! My group is using it on Part 3 and it's gonna make things a lot smoother.

I'm all for spicing up the options in combat other than "how can I do the most damage" and this sounds like a cool way to do that. I wonder if it could be reined in a little bit maybe by requiring a previous attack to successfully hit (like how monster abilities work.) So you could attack, then next action use a maneuver with no MAP if your previous attack hit, or full MAP if it missed. I'm not sure if an armor check penalty type thing is even necessary without testing first how busted it would be to enable this.

And related, I think that all of these actions should have their critical failure reversals totally removed. Like it's already unappealing to go for something other than a straight attack without damage, so it feels maneuvers are treated like these godlike actions that need to be balanced by having a brutal critical failure outcome, but yet swinging a weapon at someone with the intent to murder them has no critical failure effect.

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Yeah, the quicksand encounter is rough. Did not go very well for my group, hah.

I can just answer how I ran it.

1) I put the quicksand just in the center of the map and had the ankhrav waiting in a mound of sand a few tiles from the edge of it.

2) The PC in my game was also on a camel in the sand. I ruled that the camel would panic and lose its mind (as they would when combat starts) and threw the rider off, resulting in them both being in the quicksand. (The PCs actually managed to save the camel as well.)

3) My PCs also used a rope, so I had them use the Aid action to give the sinking character a bonus if they made the DC 15 check. A character holding the rope from solid ground would ready the Aid reaction for when it was the sinking character's turn.

4) I totally forgot about the ankhrav's burrow speed in the encounter, so I had it fight the other PCs that were on the surface and try to stop them from helping the sinking character. I'm not sure if the ankhrav having a burrow speed gives it immunity to the effects of the quicksand though?

I think there are cooler hazards for sure... the quicksand is just super rough for a lot of reasons.

In regards to the last line... I feel like that's a little bit of an overreaction for the results of a single hazard/encounter. The playtest is testing *a lot* of things, some of them will work, some of them wont, it's a necessary part of testing.

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I think it is a little odd, but after running the playtest for more than ten sessions, I like the flat check concept applied to persistent damage.

I think the main advantage is that you always know (both the players and the gm) what the check is. It's always DC 20, or DC 15 if you spend an action.

One thing that I missed early on (and I might be still misinterpreting this) was that any attempt to extinguish the persistent damage source (like fire, or acid) will prompt another flat check.

page 323 wrote:

You or an ally can spend actions to help you recover

from persistent damage, such as casting healing spells or
using Medicine to Administer First Aid against bleeding,
dousing a flame, or washing off acid; successfully doing
so reduces the DC of that condition’s flat check to 15
and usually lets you immediately attempt an extra flat
check to end that persistent damage.

So if you're on fire, or covered in acid, and you spend an action, you reduce the DC to 15, then immediately get a flat check to see if you end the damage. I've been treating this as every time you get magically healed as well. So if you have the time, you can spend all 3 of your actions trying the flat check, and on top of that, an ally can help and give you even more flat checks. You should be able to hit a DC 15 flat check in an average of 4 or 5 rolls, right?

Administer first aid also lets you use the medicine skill vs DC 15 to stop bleed damage, so the better you are at medicine, the better your chances are there.

I can see there being room for maybe something in the full game along the lines of feats or abilities that reduce the DCs of flat checks for certain types of damage. Some class feat like "Add your Reflex Save bonus to any flat check to end persistent damage" or whatever, but for now I think the system is fine as is and I appreciate the simplicity of it. I don't think it warrants a specific DC and save type for each source of damage.

Hahaaaaaa I was searching for "bleed damage" and missed that. Thanks!

Just wanting to double check -- it looks like bleed damage works on all undead creatures. Even Skeletons aren't immune to bleed. I have no opinion if it should or should not be the case, but I just wanted to make sure I'm not missing something. I scanned the book for mentions of bleed damage to see if it calls out that it only works on living creatures or something, but couldn't find anything.

Bleed works on all creatures unless that creature specifically lists bleed as an immunity, correct? (So far all I can find is that it looks like constructs have bleed immunity across the board)

I should note in relation to my post, I also do not give hero points out by the book. I don't like rewarding points for out of game actions. I give them out when the PCs pull off amazing things, or have great role play moments. I then award hero points to the entire group at once. So if one character does something amazing, or has a really awesome rp moment, the entire group benefits. I'm not a fan of systems that reward only one player, because I don't like how it effects the table dynamics. When everyone benefits from a player going above and beyond, then I think it reinforces the cooperative nature of the game.

I've been allowing hero points to roll over from session to session since my group has a pretty slow pace.

It feels like escaping death should cost at least 2 hero points, and rerolls should cost one. The extra action thing, I'm not sure about. So far only one of my players has used it and their turn wasn't really effected by it.

Overall I wish there were a boatload of uses for single hero points. My players are reluctant to use any of them because they want to save them for when they get knocked out.

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thflame wrote:
In PF2, you drop the flint, then the steel, then draw one weapon...and that's your turn.

Minor nitpick: I think dropping the flint and steel from your hands would be a free action Drop. Then drawing a weapon, stepping, then attacking would be your turn.

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A lot of interesting thoughts here. This is something I'm definitely going to be paying close attention to as my playtest group digs deeper into the higher levels.

It seems like in every tactical combat rpg I've played, players always want to do more than they can on their turn. They want to be able to draw a weapon and attack with it, and pull out a potion and drink it, cast two spells in a turn, etc, and it always feels like the design of the games I play is pushing against that idea, and I'm not sure I understand why. I mean, what would happen if retrieving and activating an item was just one action? (Pull out and drink a potion for 1 action) Or if quickdraw was just something everyone had? I'm guessing there's some game breaking strategies that I'm not seeing.

As for the crits, I am noticing now that every roll that is high or low has to be double checked (Does that crit you? Is that a critical failure?) and I don't really see another way other than asking every time when a high or low number is rolled, especially with players that have a lot of baggage from other systems and just totally forget to look for the +/- 10 thing.

The idea of having the crit range on the die increase for proficiency is really interesting, and I can see that speeding things up there, but I wonder if we run into the same issue where the question changes to "Okay you got a 28? what did you roll on the die?"

The four degrees of success I think will become smoother as familiarity with the most common spells/effects/etc increases over time, and also when the new edition gets to the point where there is a comprehensive online SRD for it. Even after 3 years of playing PF1, everyone in my group still has to google search every spell to see what happens on a failure or success to double check, which isn't really a big deal since we all play online anyhow. (Side note: I wish more than anything that RPG publishers began focusing more on online rules documents with searching and formatting and all that good stuff rather than books and PDFs. I can dream...)

Just wondering for the GMs out there running Doomsday Dawn, what is your pace looking like? are you currently finishing up Mirrored Moon?

My group and I are still on Pale Mountain! Which is fine, we're having fun, but at this rate we're probably not going to be able to be involved with all of the feedback process as we'll probably be on part 5 or 6 by the time it's all wrapped up. We play once a week for about 4 hours of actual game time in a 5-ish hour meet up.

A section of the playtest, if I recall correctly, mentioned that we should play as we normally play Pathfinder -- which is we get super into our characters and the world, and really dig into the role playing portion of the game. I leaned into this pretty heavily during Part 1, and we ended up taking five sessions to complete it. The PCs wanted to do other things that just explore the dungeon, so I let them go for it. I knew it would be a slower pace because that's our style. (The dungeon was located in Magnimar, which is a huge city, so of course my players end up exploring the city half the time instead of doing the dungeon, haha.)

But for Pale Mountain, I feel like I'm really pushing the group onto the rails of the adventure as much as I can, and keeping role play moments at a bare minimum, and it we're still on pace to complete the adventure in five sessions. ... or maybe more than five sessions depending on how long they take in the Tomb? Boy howdy.

Even in Paizo's official streams, and other streams like the Glass Cannon Podcast, it seems like sizable portions of the adventure path are hand waved and skipped in order to keep on pace, so at times it seems like it's impossible to actually keep up with the Playtest pace without doing the same, but in order to provide feedback in the best way possible I probably shouldn't?

I have found one group on Youtube running the playtest that is on pace without skipping anything, but they're pretty much speed running the entire thing, so it seems like the only way to keep on pace without cutting stuff is to just roll dice as fast as possible and just see what the book says next instead of doing any sort of role playing or character interactions at all.

Overall I guess my questions for you are:

Where is your group currently in the Playtest?

For those of you that are on pace with the Playtest schedule, what have your sessions been like? Are they super fast with a huge focus on getting through the content, or are you playing more or less as you typically do?

Has anyone skipped or cut content to keep on pace?

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1of1 wrote:
kpulv wrote:
I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

Oddly enough, my group just gave up back on Sunday. The stated reason was that they only get one day a week to do much of anything, so they would rather play a finished game on their day off. Most of them weren't keeping up with the errata, and they weren't really interested in doomsday dawn's episodic nature.

We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though, so maybe that's not the difference. There are just too many unpolished rough edges that kept snagging us after so many years playing PF1, so we're just going to go back to that. Oddly enough, our first burnout was the noob, who had just joined us a few months before the playtest, rather than the stoggy old guard.

Oh well, back to our diesel punk necropocalypse game. Here's to hoping I can convince them to try again when PF2 gets a little older, eh?

Sure, makes sense. In that case it sounds like the playtest environment definitely doesn't align with the interests of your group. One thing I didn't consider is that my entire playgroup works in the game industry so we're likely more used to playtesting games where the rules can change week to week. Adjusting our mindset to accompany that doesn't cause a lot of friction for us.

If you have limited time then it's understandable that a playtest would be too much to handle vs a system you're very familiar with.

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I'm kinda surprised at how many posts I see talking about how their entire group gave up on the playtest for one reason or another. So far my group has been really digging it and we're excited to transition over to the new system once it becomes fully realized. We're not ultra power gamers or whatever though so maybe that's the difference? I guess I'm just not seeing what the major hang ups are other than the fact that we only have a single playtest rule book so far and not 10+ books of expansions. If people are looking for maximum customization of the most esoteric character concepts possible, the core system that exists in the playtest so far looks ripe to enable that with time.

masda_gib wrote:

I don't find 1 extra sqare per square moved for difficult terrain difficult (heh!). Also the diagonal rules of 1, 2, 1, 2 cost are simple.

Double cost for diff. terrain may be hefty but not hard to calculate.
And if some players take minutes to calculate how to best come into meelee range... well it's a fight so decide quickly or your turn is over. If difficult environment makes it hard to find the optimal tactic, that's the reason it's there.

I believe it is simple in complete isolation of other systems, but I have failed to ever see anyone comprehend it without multiple explanations, or even worse a complete fresh explanation every single time they have to move.

Rushing or skipping turns because it's combat feels unnecessary for the groups I've been a part of, and the tables I've run. Adding a timer to someone's turn from what I've observed adds sort of a meta-tension in a bad way. The characters don't feel any more in peril, the players do, and it feels bad when your character is punished for something a player didn't fully comprehend.

Finding and executing the optimized turn is a big part of the fun for my groups, so it feels like difficult terrain and diagonal movement could add an interesting layer to consider tactically, but instead it's more like a layer of obfuscation to simply disrupt optimal play by overwhelming the player during their turn. I'm all for interesting limitations to work around, especially in combat, but diagonals and difficult terrain does not satisfy that for me.

Right. You're asking for a player to track a lot suddenly just for movement. How much movement they have per-action. What square they've started on. How much they've spent so far. If the diagonal move they just took counts for 5 or 10. If the square they're stepping into costs more than 5. If they have any abilities that mitigate that.

What ends up happening in my games is a player will just put their token somewhere and say "can I get to here?" and then everyone starts putting together the sequence of moves that is required to get them to that spot, and it just seems so complicated for such a simple thing such as moving your token to a different square.

I wonder what it would look like in this version if it were something along the lines of "You can only move diagonally once per Stride"

Yeah, diagonal rules are convoluted with no payoff. I think having diagonals cost 5ft would probably alleviate some of the difficult terrain issues my group has.

My group is always talking about how we want physical stuff related to Golarion, but as far as I can tell nothing like that exists (or has ever existed?!)

It'd be super cool if we could get t-shirts of our deities, or like holy symbol accessories, or maps of different cities and nations as posters. My group and I love dressing as our characters for some sessions, and having trinkets and accessories from in world stuff would be so dang cool.

Maybe there's a reason I don't know/understand why such things don't exist but if they did my group and I would be all over them! (And I imagine lots of others would as well!)

Basically turns slow down when a character has to pass through some squares of difficult terrain, and some squares of not difficult terrain, and a player can easily spend minutes trying to figure out how to get within melee distance of their target.

A character was using sudden charge and spent some time trying to figure out the movement, and between the rest of us we worked out a path that would get her to her enemy that was a little round about, but made the least use of diagonals and difficult terrain squares.

A player will often try to figure out a path, and then realize its not quite enough to get to their target, and then try again from a different approach, and we end up spending time looking at every possible approach because with some combination of where a character spends their diagonals and where they enter difficult terrain, the movement will work out.

My group uses roll20 so we even have an advantage there with the ruler. Diagonals are automatically calculated for us, and without that I'm sure my group would have given up on the diagonal rules by now.

In complete isolation, the rules of navigating difficult terrain seems easy enough, but mixed in with the intensity of a combat scenario with everything else you need to remember about your character and your plan for that turn, it just feels like a system that completely bogs down the game for no payoff. Keep in mind your movement speed maximum... okay 25, now start spending movement to move but... wait, what tile did I start from again? Okay wait actually this wont get me to where I want to go so I'll start again okay so... 5 feet and then this is the ... first diagonal so this one is 5? or 10? So then the second diagonal in difficult terrain will be... 10? no, 15? wait, how m uch total did I spend already? Okay wait I'm not going to get there with this path either, what tile did I start on again? Okay maybe I'll just stay where I am for now and then and figure out something else... wait I forgot I have the ability to ignore the first five feet of difficult terrain but... with this path I'm using my first entry into difficult terrain is a second diagonal for 10 feet so I think that's just 10 feet? And then I get to here and... is my next diagonal 5 or 10 or wait now its 10 or 15 because of difficult terrain?

The core of this issue I think is that with difficult terrain rules you cannot infer where your movement speed will get you, and because of that you always end up feeling like you're barely missing the solution on how to move to where you want, so you will spend attempt after attempt trying to figure it out. When you have just an open terrain map, and to make it even simpler, 5 ft diagonals, you can just look at the map and understand where your character can go.

(An example of bogging down the game with a good payoff is a complex spell. When a prismatic spray goes off onto 6 targets, it does take awhile to resolve everything that is going on, but there is very little to figure out. You just make a list of everything in the cone, and then start rolling a bunch of dice. You have the complete program in front of you and you just have to execute it, and at the end of all of it usually there's a big payoff of some crazy awesome swing in the battle, with creatures being poisoned and electrified and sent to another plane and turned to stone. It slows down the game, but with a bunch of excitement toward the end.)

Maybe my group will get used to this but even in years of pathfinder 1 we essentially have never used difficult terrain because it never adds anything to an encounter. Maybe I've just never seen it utilized in a good way, but usually when you see the map it appears as if its going to make for some interesting tactics, but actually what it does is just slows everyone down so much that the best thing to do is just stand there and swing out with all of your attacks because you can barely move around. (not to mention AoOs in PF1)

Part 2 does seem strange so far. The first encounter involves monsters that have the ability to pack attack, but only just enough of them where they'd have to all target one player for it to work, and then their drag ability is (as far as I know) affected by difficult terrain as well, so you don't even get to use that to its full potential against the PCs. I'm curious to see how the rest of the encounters go, but the first one seems like it needed another pass.

My group is starting on Part 2 and difficult terrain is everywhere. It seems like it would possibly make combat a little bit more interesting, but so far I think all it does is bog down everything.

The three action system without everything having attacks of opportunity feels so freeing, and combat feels like it can be more mobile than ever before, but the difficult terrain rules feel like a relic when added into the mix. Mixing the diagonal movement rules is even worse. Turns slowed down to a crawl as people are trying to figure out how much movement they're spending, especially coupled with abilities that allow ignoring the first step of difficult terrain. From a higher level view, difficult terrain itself seems to be fundamentally against what the new combat system is trying to highlight.

I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on how difficult terrain could be implemented in a different way that is more aligned with the paradigms of the playtest.

My current thoughts are something along the lines of "If you enter a square of difficult terrain during a Stride, the maximum amount you can move during that Stride is decreased by 10ft." then an ability or feat could allow that reduction to be only 5ft. Then a type of super difficult terrain would only allow a single 5ft of movement through it per stride -- terrain that basically ends your movement when you enter a square of it. Certainly this idea has issues, but as of right now the difficult terrain rules in the playtest (and in Pathfinder 1) are poised to be totally ignored by my group since it doesn't add anything interesting to combat, it just slows down turns, and makes combat more close quarters and immobile like Pf1.

This just came up in my group. It looks like RAW, you can use double slice to throw weapons that qualify as melee... but I feel like the intent of double slice is to only work for melee strikes. If the type of Strike was defined like "Make one melee Strike" then that would fix it (assuming it's meant to not work with thrown weapons.)

It worked! Thanks :D

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Dear Paizo, I hope this message finds you well.

The following is a bunch of my thoughts, impressions, and a wishlist from my time so far running the Pathfinder Playtest as a game master. Remember that all of this is my humble opinion so don't come at me like you're at a debate club world championship because I probably won't respond.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I've been playing in a PF1 campaign for three years and played a handful of other tabletop rpgs with campaigns that lasted either a few weeks or a few months. Outside of playing a lot of tabletop rpgs, I work on video games and card games.

Before proceeding, gain one grain of salt.

Three Action System
The three action system is obviously the next step for tactical tabletop rpg combat systems. My group has been loving every moment of the combat mostly because of the three action system. The simplicity and flexibility for each turn of an encounter is interesting already at level one, and having every ability in the game be linked to a number of actions is great.

In a big encounter (will try to not spoil anything for those not yet digging into Doomsday Dawn) the sorceress of the party was able move up to the boss, strike with her shillelagh and score a critical hit, and then back away all in one turn. She knew that the boss had already burned his attack of opportunity, and this was just a great moment for the players that would not have been possible in Pathfinder 1 without a large chain of feats.

Character Building
I feel like I've seen a lot of gripes about the character building process, but so far my group dove right into it and had almost zero issues. The issues that did come up for the first part of Doomsday Dawn were mostly caused by typos and mistakes that would later be corrected by the errata.

My one hesitation here though is that it seems like it's very difficult for a character to ever end up with a negative modifier in any stat. This is all my own personal opinion of course, but I always liked it when characters had some sort of drawback and the easiest way to express that was through a negative stat. Of course in other systems with a six attribute core, most of the time a common stat (charisma) ends up being the "dump" stat that everyone ends up putting to 8 or 7 in order to boost their more important stats. I'm not sure if that would be the case in the playtest, but I think it'd be neat if amazing stats weren't the norm starting out. In the same vein, it also feels like easily obtaining an 18 in a stat at level one feels a little too strong, and I wish an 18 was reserved for the first ability boost you get during character progression.

This is my perspective as a player and a game master, but I like feeling at early levels like I'm a wanna be adventure going up against impossible odds, and growing into a compitent character, and I understand a lot of folk don't play that way.

Monster and NPC Building
I love that monsters and NPCs are totally free of the same building rules as the characters. I began to run my games of Pathfinder 1 this way because holy crap I do not want to spend a million years trying to get the stats and feats correct for the monster I want to make just for the players to run it over in three turns anyway and never really care about the underlying math. I feel like this supports more of a "make it up as you go along" style of play which I'm a big fan of.

Hero Points
I love, love, love hero points. I really like how they are integrated with the system from the get go in this playtest so far, but I'd like to see more concrete ways that they can be earned, and also remove all of the "out of game" ways that they can be earned.

I also would like to see more of a way that the entire party could earn them, instead of just handing them out to specific players. This is my perspective as a GM, but I think systems like hero points being handed out to specific players only, without concrete rules on how to earn them, ends up being a positive feedback loop that negatively effects the more shy or introverted players. If Player A does something amazing and flavorful, and really digs into their character as part of a scene, they earn a hero point, and maybe that will inspire Player B to put themselves out there more to also try to earn a hero point, but I don't ever think that is the case. Ultimately it feels like putting on a song and dance to try to appease the GM enough to earn one, especially if the rules are not well defined. The more shy players will fall behind as the more socially forceful ones will shine and earn way more points.

What I would like to see more of is some sort of system that encourages players to engage with the world more, and their characters more, and also a way for them to earn their hero points together as a party.

One idea for Hero Points may be storing them all as a group. If Player A earns a Hero Point, it can be usable for anyone in the party. Alternatively, maybe every player gets one hero point only after the party has secured an amount equal to the number of players in the group. So in a case of a four player game, when the amount of earned Hero Points reaches four, that reserve empties and each player gains one that they can use as they wish.

Also my group plays very, very slowly. We really dig deep into every scene. We flesh out every single NPC, and it's not unusual for our sessions to be mostly in-character conversations and not a single combat happens. Hero Points vanishing at the end of every session does not match our play style at all, so for the playtest I've been having them persist between sessions.

For earning hero points, what if well defined character actions could be used to earn them? Having players engage with the world more. Maybe getting to know an NPC's name and some aspect of their personality would earn a point. If character's had defined flaws, when a character plays into their flaw that would earn them a point. If a character put themselves in danger to help an ally or the greater good, earn a point. (Of course these are all "good" things, but hence the name Hero Point. Maybe Villain Points are needed for an evil campaign!) I think narrative based games have a lot of great systems for this and I would love to see it in Pathfinder.

Lastly as a GM, I love Hero Points for the reason that I can run encounters with high lethality, and know that my players have at least one, or maybe more chances to escape the absolute end of their characters. A chance for characters to spend their points and escape death and gain a chance to escape an encounter with their lives is great for my group's style of play. Enemies can go all out and play smart, and the players have a chance to realize that they are clearly outmatched, and make a sound retreat, instead of realizing too late that the monster they poked is going to kill everyone and is resistant to all of their abilities.

I really like the reactions that characters, and monsters, have access to so far from what I've seen. It really helps to have players remain engaged when its not their turn, and I would love to see more systems like this expanded upon. I would dare say that having one reaction per turn does not feel like enough, and it would be amazing if there were more chances here to expand on this system. I know this would blow the complexity up a lot, and would compromise a lot of the balance of reactions so far, but if reactions played on a similar system as actions I wonder where that could go. What if you had three reactions per turn, and certain reactions cost different amounts of reaction? This is probably way too complex, and would be a lot to track, but maybe there's something there! Spend a Hero Point for an extra reaction?!

I like the aspect of players being able to think about, and do things when its not their turn, and especially the reactions that involve defense. Getting attacked now can present interesting opportunities for a number of classes. Reactive shield, nimble dodge, shield block, all great examples of interesting decisions that come up during combat when it's not a player's turn.

I will touch upon Nimble Dodge here for a moment. I don't think it's cool enough. For the rogue in my group it unfortunately has not been relevant a single time. It demands that an enemy roll a very narrow range of numbers for their attack roll, and I would much rather see something like evasion be the baseline reaction for the Rogue and give them an ability to mitigate physical damage when getting hit. That, or the +2 from nimble dodge just isn't enough to matter.

Attacks of Opportunity
I could not be happier with the change of making attacks of opportunity being almost non existent. I'm playing in a game of Pathfinder 1, and running the Pathfinder Playtest, and the combat so far in the Playtest has been so, so freeing. Enemies and player characters being able to (mostly) freely move about the battlefield feels great compared to the, I hate to say it, slog of Pathfinder 1.

Big Ole Wishlist
The following is a bunch of text of things I wish to see, or directions I wish the game to go in!

I would love to see spells really dig deep into the three action system more. Magic missile, heal, and harm, are great. Every spell should be like them!

Make heightening just a global thing for all spells always for every caster.

Please just kill off vancian casting already. The arcanist style from Pathfinder 1 is the future. Give me some spell slots and let me choose spells, and then use any level slot for that spell, and auto heighten it to the slot level. Preparing 3 fireballs to have to cast 3 fireballs is an ancient relic that needs to go.

Remove touch AC and replace it with reflex DC checks. You already have this going on with grapple athletics checks. You have to hit their fortitude DC. Touch AC just feels very out of place with the rest of the system, especially now that armor also increases it. You have this skill to DC system so use the heck out of it!

I wish that all flavor text was decoupled from mechanical text. When an entry reads "This glowing circle sits on your head and looks very shiny in the sun and everyone thinks it looks really cool. It has a bunch of gemstones and ancient celestial glyphs etched into it that read 'he who smelt it, dealt it.' It grants a +2 circumstance bonus to diplomacy skill checks." I just wish it said the part about the diplomacy bonus. When my players and I are trying to skim through rules, especially in the heat of an encounter, we don't care about what the item looks or smells like. Put that in a different part of the entry, with an italiziced font, or something. In fact, my players and I would love a version of the rule book that is just that. Rules. No fluff. Just all the mechanics and the rules. Zero flavor. My players and I love to create our own flavor for everything anyway, so we often ignore what is given to us by the book.

More rules for making our own spells! How many gosh dang mages walk around casting fireball. I want to shoot out lightning balls. Boulder balls. Everything balls! Frameworks for creating various kinds of spells flavored to a specific character idea would be so cool and play into the whole "in pathfinder you can make whatever dang character you want" idea.

A slight rebalance of how Hero Points can be spent. It feels like spending two should be the amount to escape death, and spending one should be the d20 reroll.

I'm starting to understand why skills getting a simple +1 per level of training is important, due to the critical rules, but it does not feel significant or satisfying. I would like to see the +1 system changed to a dice pool type system, where each increase in your level of training becomes an additional d20 that you can roll when performing the skill check, and you take the highest result. I would even consider making untrained in a skill be two d20s, take the lowest.

I wish characters could be bad at things. It feels impossible to be bad at anything in this system. Maybe if untrained skills didn't get the +level bonus this would help here. I agree with the criticisms I see that it makes no sense why a high level character would just be automatically really good at every skill. A frail wizard of 20th level is a god of athletics? Why?

I wish all of the +1, -1, -2, +2, +4 math would just go away forever. What about instead of a +2, you just get a +d4? What if instead of +4 you get a +d8? +d10? I'm not sure what the solution is here, but I know that once you get to about level seven or eight in Pathfinder 1, the game slows to a crawl as everyone every turn is calculating out some stupid amount of math, and everyone knows its harder to do math when you're in a panic because you and your allies are fighting for your lives against the embodiment of evil for the fate of the universe. Abandon modifier math, and dig into dice more!

Kill the critical failure result of stabilizing someone with a medicine check. Good lord. It already takes so much to even be compitent enough with the expensive tools to even attempt this skill, so why is there a risk that you'll kill your friend with it? When you critically fail an attack roll you dont stab yourself with your own scimitar.

Lean into Hero Points even more. More uses for them. What if a single Hero Point could save your shield from a dent? What if you could resist a monster grabbing you with a Hero Point? What if you could use a Hero Point to do a single action without provoking reactions? What if you could half the damage you just took by spending a Hero Point? Hero Points!!

Destroy alignment already. It's so weird and more and more I just see it as an excuse for characters to act stupid. It's a relic. Kill it! Some sort of karma or corruption system might be more fun. Do bad stuff? Gain corruption. Do good stuff? Gain karma. Each can do something for you. I don't know. I feel like the nine alignments are limiting in a bad way.

Give player characters a way to rest that doesn't involve ending the adventuring day. The short rest mechanic is one of the things I love from 5e, and I think something similar to it would work great here. Some sort of pool of healing that any player character can use, and it costs time to use it.

Consider moving toward the Stamina, Health, and Resolve system from Starfinder. Okay so I haven't played Starfinder at all, but that system seems really cool. Stamina is something you can get back easily, but taking damage on your Health is scary as heck. Sounds great! Why not use it again here? It seems like an amazing system the more I read about it! Kill the past! Move forward!

Fully embrace Resonance, or replace it. Resonance seems like a great concept and I like the idea of it, but it feels like only like half of the book cares about it. Items still retain X uses a day in some cases and everything always costs one point. Items still have slots? I don't know. It seems really weird. Why even make items? Just give us everything an item can be made with and let us make our own. What if we don't want a cloak that can make us invisible and instead we want gloves that can. It seems like theres a big opportunity to make magic items incredibly streamlined and simplified in a way that lets players really express whatever flavor they want.

Consider leaning more into a system that removes the feeling of wasting your turn. What if there was a type of strike that anyone could do where it was something like: you cannot critically succeed, on a failure you deal your damage modifier in damage. Sort of like a reserved strike that always hits for minimum damage. Or give characters more minor things to do that auotmatically succeed. What if the ranger could point out a target for everyone and give all their allies a bonus to hit it? Some more "cannot fail at this" options that would make players feel like they dont waste a turn where they don't change the game state at all. I think things like the four degree success system help a lot here. I play a caster in my Pathfinder 1 game, and it casting an offensive spell is just the worst. Having to hit the thing, overcome its SR, then it still getts a save. Why bother when I can cast a buff or a heal that I know will always work? I think honestly the amount of successful offensive spells I have cast in my multi-year career as a caster in Pathfinder 1 is under 10%, and the other 90% feels like I did absolutely nothing except waste a turn and a spell.

Simplify the conditions. I don't have a proposed solution here but it feels like there are a lot of conditions that could just be rolled into common ones.

Make getting knocked out have a greater impact, but after the battle. Maybe after a character is knocked out, after they rest, something happens to them, or something about them changes. Something that they then have to deal with. Is it mechanical or just flavor? I don't know, but I like the idea of death not being the worst thing that can happen to a character.

Embrace crazier combat abilities and options. What if a fighter could grab an enemy and throw them into a different tile? What if they could themselves vault over an enemy and end up on the other side of them? What if as a reaction a character could throw themselves in front of another? I'm talking about making stuff like this accessible at earlier levels. I feel like I just want more interesting options available to more classes during combat as the baseline, and have more crazy powerful stuff show up later. I want more things that will make battles less likely to devolve into "everyone stand in their tile and attack 3 times for the next 10 rounds."

Make options outside of "deal as much damage as possible per round" more enticing. This goes along with the previous one. Right now there are different things that characters can do, but are any of them ever going to be more effective than just "kill the thing before it kills us" which translates to "run up and attack as many times as you can." Everything in the game boils down to one, single thing: damage. A thing that does damage will always, 100%, be better than a thing that does not. Dealing with a threat by removing its ability to threaten you will always be the most effective strategy. Is there anything that can be done to make alternate strategies work? The playtest book and Pathfinder 1 more so are full of various things you can do on your turn, but everyone is always just going to use the few things that deal the most damage per round. I think a good example of this working already is raising your shield as an action. Do you take the -10 to hit, or do you raise your shield? It's an interesting question! But so far I've only seen this at low levels. Will it matter to get a small boost in AC when you're starring down the barrel of an enemy that has a +30 to hit? Not sure!

Remove immunity to critical hits. One of the core facets of this new system is critical hits. Critical hits are fun, and they are scary. They are great. Immunity to critical hits is never, ever met with the response of "wow interesting, let's change our strategy against this fascinating enemy!" it's always "wow this sucks." I would be all for giving things a resistance to critical hits much like how resistances to damage work. For example, you critically hit the ooze? You still get the crit, but it takes 5 less damage from a crit, or something like that. (Again these proposed changes are not 100% thought out so please don't latch onto the fact that what if you deal less than 5 damage with a crit so you deal no damage so you would have been better off not critting it.)

Consider multiple health pools for big monsters. Instead of a big baddie having just 40 health points, what if it had two pools of 20? The first pool of 20 must be at 0 for the second pool to take any damage, and once all the pools are at 0, the creature is down. What I'm looking for here is to strike a balance between letting players do massive amounts of damage with their crazy builds, especially on a critical hit, but not let a big boss fight end in one round anti-climatically when the barbarian does 50 damage at level 1 with a critical hit with a pick. My players scored a big critical hit against a boss in Doomsday Dawn, and it was great, but then the next player in the turn order hit the boss and he went down. The players were relieved, but there was also this disappointment in the room as well. That's it? Of course the critical hit did well over half the boss's health in damage, but now the boss just seemed like a push over and there wasn't much satisfaction with his defeat.

Consider a system where all numbers dont increase with level, especially hit points. What kind of world would it be if a high level character could still be stabbed at a tavern and be in real danger? I kinda think it'd be pretty fun but maybe a vast majority of pathfinder players would not agree. A character walking around with 200 hitpoints is kinda baffling to me and really really hard for me to reason out narratively. (For example the other night in my Pathfinder 1 game, our characters were hit by grenades that dealt 30-ish damage, while we're all sitting at around 100-150 max hp. The discovery of these grenades was supposed to feel like this very significant thing, but ultimately our characters didn't care because they barely cause a scratch on us. Of course there's also cleric's feather fall. Jump off a sky scraper, take your 20d6 damage, and heal yourself back up good as new!)

Embrace board game, card game, and yes, even video game influence. The last letter of rpg stands for game. We are playing a game. I like how the Playtest so far feels, and the complaints about it feeling like a video game that I see just baffle me. So far I'm able to have the same narrative, character driven story experience that I've had in almost every other rpg that I've played, so really not sure why making the system more clearly defined and having crisper rules and restricitons could possibly make the experience worse. What is one of the most successful recent board games? Gloomhaven. Pretty much a condensed, distilled tactical combat experience that you'd find in an rpg. Give me a cool system, and me and my players will add the story and flavor ourselves.

More examples in the book, please! There's a lot of things in the book to digest and it's an entirely new system. Experience with other rpgs is a bonus, but it's still pretty tough. Some sections of the book have brief examples of how to use the rules with little example scenarios, and these are the best!! After the rules about shield dents and shield block, a little example block of "So and so is hit by an attack, and decides to use their heavy wooden shield to block some of the incoming damage. The damage is 5, and they reduce it by the shield's hardness" etc etc. More examples would clear up a lot of the confusion I think!

Make playing a buffer a little bit more interesting. I like buffing my allies in combat, but it still feels like I'm totally disconnected from the outcome. Sure I'm giving them a bonus, but they're still the ones getting to do the cool rolls. What if there was a buff system where I got to roll my buff along with their attack roll? They roll their d20 to hit, and I roll my d4 boost along with them. Would also do a lot to keep players engaged outside of their turn! (Note that this would probably involve replacing a lot of modifier math with additional dice rolling.)

Embrace the gosh dang internet. I wish the playtest was available as an official srd from the start. I'm not sure what goes into putting the books together, and how the data for the books is laid out behind the scenes, but if the playtest was in some sort of explorable wiki format on the paizo website, or even a download of just a bunch of static html, it would be so much easier to digest. I dare say it would be 10 million times easier to digest. Books are awful for rule systems. PDFs are slightly better with the ability to control F. The community is translating the books to an SRD, but why? You have all of the source material to just do it yourselves! Updates would also be a breeze. The update docs are a nightmare, and I don't know how I can put it more gently than that. The whole "add the following to sentence 3 in paragraph 2 just before the word 'and'" is absolute insanity in the year of 2018.

That's all for now! Again I want to reinforce that my players and I are having a blast and I am loving the Playtest for a lot of reasons. I'm glad to see so many adjustments and updates rolling out in response to player feedback, and I'm excited to see where it goes in the coming months.

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I actually haven't even seen Resonance Points come into play yet at my playtest table, so I don't have an opinion of them yet! But I just wanted to chime in and say I very, very much appreciate the style and tone of this blog post. Just a totally open and honest discussion of the current thoughts behind a system in the playtest. More posts like this please! :D

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I like the conservation of space, but I think a lot of people are not going to recognize the significance of the word "basic." I think a different choice of word like "standard" could make a difference. Again though it might be fine if at the beginning of the spells list what a basic or standard saving throw means is clearly defined.

Also I really really really implore you to remove flavor text from mechanical text. Put flavor at the end after all of the mechanical text. Fireball is short on flavor text thankfully, but my players and I pretty much have to train ourselves to ignore the first one or two sentences of every description in the book because it's not useful information.

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It does feel like spells are not utilizing the 3 action system nearly enough. So far in my sessions the martial characters feel like they have a lot to do even at level 1, and decisions to make during combat, but the caster is still just "I cast and move" every turn. I would love to see all spells in the game really explore all the design space that the 3 action system allows.

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The first session of Lost Star I had some trouble wrangling this, but for the second session I tried being more strict about each player calling our their intentions and/or tactics in an order that they decided. Essentially it turned into a slightly looser encounter mode.

I asked the players to give me the order in which they want to act in exploration mode since a lot can happen in a dungeon, and I need to make sure I'm keeping up with everyone's actions. So I went around the table (also on roll20 here) and asked each of them what they wanted to do, and told them they could move their token where they wanted to go after they stated their goal or intent. If they were searching or investigating, I would ask them to point out where they were looking, and did the perception roll. If they were sneaking, I would just consider them to be in sneak mode until an encounter broke out, and then they would roll stealth for their initiative.

The tighter approach of having each player act on a 'turn' and resolving their exploration tactic worked out much much better for my group. Everyone had a blast with it and they all seemed to be excited to continue with the whole turn-like structure for it, and once they get more familiar with what tactics are available to them I think it will pick up faster. As a GM, it was so much easier to figure out what was going on when only one player was acting at a time, just like in an encounter.

For the Goblin Commando encounter -- my players have not hit that yet, but they did trigger the noise trap, and are now in a stand off position. If they decide to go into the room with the goblins, their tactic will determine their initiative roll. If they walk down the tunnel with the intent of searching/investigating, then as soon as they spot the goblins, or vice versa, their roll will be perception as init and encounter mode starts. If they attempt to sneak into the room, then it will be stealth for their init.

It does feel a little weird still -- but after the second session I feel like both myself and my players are understanding it a lot better.

Ran another session tonight and decided to only do recall knowledge as secret, and left perception and stealth in the open and it felt far more manageable, and it seemed to go really well. I think dialing back the amount of secret checks ended up working out, and the interactions that came from recall knowledge in secret were great. players just receiving knowledge, but not knowing their number, really dialed up the tension. so much of dungeon crawling involves perception, stealth, etc, and I don't want to be making more rolls than the players.

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I like resonance. I think it could be a cool system to create tension by creating more meaningful difficult choices. The system honestly doesn't feel used to its greatest potential though. Certain items still have uses per day, and nothing ever consumes more than one RP at a time, and some items make no sense with how they spend RP. Also, I don't like how the acronym is "RP" because in my brain RP is already reserved for "role play."

I'm just at the beginning of the playtest with my group though, so my opinion might change.

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I do find it strange that Paizo specifically called out equipment that just boosts numbers (saves, ac, etc) boring and stripped them out, but didn't address weapons in the same way.

I really like the change of +1 magic meaning a large tangible difference by making them roll extra dice, but it'd be great to see magic weapons expand upon the various traits that mundane weapons have in the playtest. (Finesse, trip, disarm, backstabber, etc)

Getting a +1 weapon is exciting, but getting a weapon that can add your charisma modifier to its damage instead of str, and also spend an RP to do a melee attack from 30ft away with a projection of itself would be more like what I want to see from the playtest system.

Might have been just an issue of time constraints and crazier magical weapons didn't make the cut for the playtest release deadline.

The magical weapon requirement for advancing characters is a little bit annoying. It seems to be the result of just having every number increase like crazy over the course of level 1-20. I wonder if HP all around was a more grounded number we wouldn't see magic weapons as a required asset for adventurers as they level up.

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