While I was speaking in the normative sense (as opposed to the positive), I'm not clear on whether you're addressing current mechanics or if -- like me -- you're describing how things could theoretically be (and, in my case, how things should be). As such, I'll speak to both.
As it stands, martial characters cannot "spend money and then the next day change from being awesome at battlefield control to being awesome at single-target damage". As it stands, nor can spellcasters. If you were implying that spellcasters currently do have that ability, I'll suggest it's far more accurate to say spellcasters can be somewhat effective at battlefield control and then, the next day, change to being somewhat effective at single-target damage -- and for only a few rounds a day, at that.
If, instead, you're responding to the ideal I'd painted, then no, I don't think martials should be able to "spend money and then the next day change from being awesome at battlefield control to being awesome at single-target damage". And no, nor should spellcasters. I'll point to an earlier model for guidance (being careful to not advocate direct imitation); specifically, in first edition a PC had to commit feats and class options to be "awesome" at, say, battlefield control or single-target damage. Spell focus feats had to be taken, for instance, for a spellcaster to be "awesome" at a chosen role. That chosen focus did not change daily. That focus doesn't even exist in 2E.
Having merely prepared "slow" wasn't enough to make a wizard "awesome" at battlefield control in first edition, and it sure as hell isn't enough to make a wizard "awesome" at battlefield control in second edition, despite the rhetoric you encounter on these here forums.
Though I do admit to being very interested in what you propose the martials should be doing that's as useful as Wall of Stone, to give one example.
Once again, are you asking in terms of current material, or are you responding to the description of my ideal? I'll address both.
Ideally, martials would have their own means of effectively controlling the battlefield (they actually had options therefor in first edition). Off the top of my head, I picture a first-edition-esque focus enabling something like Reinhardt's Earthshatter ability a la Overwatch -- tripping enemies in a cone, perhaps, or immobilizing them. To be clear, when I suggest that martials and spellcasters alike should be able to fill the various combat roles, I'm not suggesting there should be a martial analog to, say, every control spell and vice versa. I'm suggesting each should be able to fill those roles in its own way(s).
If, instead, you're addressing current material, then Wall of Stone is situational -- powerful, yes, but ultimately situational. Damage is not situational. Damage is the meta. Martials have something to do that's far more useful than Wall of Stone.
I strongly (and respectfully) disagree, sir. If you insist on cleaving to a martial/spellcaster line, then I'll phrase my argument in those terms:
There should be means for creating any combination of focus(?) and role. That is, there should be martial single-target damage dealers, martial AoE damage dealers, martial (de)buffers, martial controllers, etc, spellcaster single-target damage dealers, spellcaster AoE damage dealers, spellcaster (de)buffers, spellcaster controllers, etc.
True parity would allow for all of those things -- and that's what we're after, right? Parity?
It's the casters are finally bought in line edition.
I'll amend that slightly. It's the "casters were once too easy to make extremely powerful, and so we've created a system wherein they're now sub-par, and we absolutely love that, because after the entirety of first edition we're okay with seeing them weak, and anybody who isn't okay with it is merely upset that they're not as strong as they were in first edition" edition.
Perhaps I'm misrepresenting what I want, which is not to simply have an easy time in combat. Rather, what I'm looking for is a greater sense that the choices made in character creation and character building matter. Those PF1 fights weren't easy because the baddies were, well, bad, but because the group made awesome choices in character creation that translated into being able to effectively and efficiently deal with those baddies. PF2 lacks that in a big way, comparatively speaking.
As DMW said at some point, one of the benefits of this new system is that no one is able to simply end encounters before other PCs have a chance to contribute. I agree that that's huge. I still think that the potential "power" of the individual character can and should be bumped up, and that such an increase doesn't necessarily have to terminate that benefit.
DMW et al wrote:
As everyone is saying, we look now to in-combat decisions to increase character efficacy. I assure you all, this has not been lost on me or my group; positioning and debuffs existed in PF1 also, and we use them to our full advantage in PF2 as well. While this does indeed increase the odds that our attacks will succeed (or that our spells will stick), it does not sufficiently allay PF2's overreliance on the dice for determining what happens. You can stack all the debuffs your party has to offer in PF2, and there will still be very significant chance that the rolls work against you.
Which circles back to my previous point: there isn't enough in the way of character creation to increase the odds in your favor. Honestly, you guys are somewhat selling me on the charm of in-combat tactics being more important in PF2 than they were in PF1. At the same time, those very same tactics still did exist in PF1; we just lost -- relatively speaking -- the influence and importance of character creation/building in the conversion to PF2, and we have surrendered IMO too much to RNG.
If that all sits well with you, great. And I mean that sincerely. As I've said before in this thread, it's all subjective. That I'm in the minority here is not lost on me; I'm happy to simply agree to disagree.
I play a wizard now, yes, and one of my favorite first-edition Society characters was a wizard, but my absolute favorite was a fox-form kitsune who would grapple things extremely effectively, combining a high grapple modifier, a high sneak score, and the bushwhack feat. My wife played a second grappler in the same group and, with a splash of the constable archetype of cavalier, was also extremely effective, albeit in a different way. I could pin creatures before they even knew I was there (they typically did not know I was there), and she would often leave baddies tied up -- not a single point of damage done to them, in either case.
One of my wife's other characters was a fox-form kitsune that took levels in four or five different classes, all martial. It had a high grapple modifier, but also a high damage output with its array of unarmed strike feats/abilities. It was also remarkably durable -- extremely high AC, extremely high saves, higher-than-average hp. That character, like my own kitsune, was made even more amazing when equipped with a ring of seven lovely colors. (As a side note, for a few levels its unarmed strike damage was 1d1+13 or something like that, which I still find amusing.)
Those are three martial characters that were more than just "relevant"; they were overpowered. (Others, I'm sure, have been able to make "relevant" martial characters in first edition.)
They also didn't rely on damage (though they were very capable of dealing it out when their primary shticks were rendered unavailable -- by, say, freedom of movement). The sleep hex was a common means of ending combats. Again, no need to deal damage to those target(s). I suspect there are other non-damage means of winning combats that I'd not considered. (Wasn't there a polymorph spell that turned the target into a harmless creature?)
No, martials were not irrelevant; it just took a little more imagination to build them powerfully (with the exception of the zen archer, which was "relevant" all on its own, and right out of the box). But the greater point I'm trying to make is that it's not wizards (and magic in general) being nerfed into the ground that I'm lamenting here (though I appreciate that you've assumed as much). Nor is it the loss of overpowered-ness. What I'm grieving is the flatness of character builds -- and, by necessary extension, the flatness of combat. There is no reward for imagination or for system mastery. There aren't even any other means of winning combats apart from damage. Sure, that can change as second edition moves forward, but I'm not holding my breath, given the continually demonstrated animosity toward PF1's min-maxing potential.
In closing, I'm a little confused by what appears to be a contradiction, but I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding on my part. I can't reconcile the following:
Perception Check wrote:
...our martials will hit things, I the wizard will cast my boring, static-DC spells (and will likely resort to hitting things), and the baddies will hit us back. In terms of combat, grappling into submission as an alternate win condition is suboptimal at best. Control spells as an alternate win condition are nonexistent. It's all about damage now. We hit things, the enemies hit us back, and when the dice allow for it, one side wins. Long live my d20.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Anyone have a response to this?
I agree it is subjective, but if you find a game boring it is more likely an issue with who you are playing with than whatever particular rule set you happened to choose.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I'll still have fun -- specifically because my group makes it fun. PF2's rule set, however, does nothing to help that entertainment value along; it just happens to be present for it.
Tripping and demoralizing certainly add a tiny amount of variety to combat (I'd even go so far as to say demoralizing is a highly recommended skill for every party), but they're both just optional steps on the way to the slugfest that every combat is.
And, sorry, "static DC" is a little cryptic. What I mean is that there's little to no way to increase DCs -- meaning, among other things, that the dice will dictate what actually happens. There's little I can do to pump up my Slow DC, and there's little our barbarian can do to pump up his grapple chance. There are no feats to make trip a reliable, go-to move; there's no such thing as a trip build. The math points to a base, rules-sanctioned success chance for these things, and that's that. While I agree that this helps against one of PF1's most notorious problems (I'd often made characters that can end fights on round one, and I respected and appreciated when other people did the same), it also means everyone's relatively average at everything.
Again, there's a lot of value in that, but I think we end up with a net loss when we take into account what's given up.
My recommendation is contingent on what you like about first edition. If, for instance, you're one of the folks who like to play with character builds -- one of the folks who have spent countless hours happily min-maxing awesome, if often overpowered character creations -- then don't make the switch. The developers have made too focused an effort on curtailing all that, and so PF2 doesn't support it.
If you like your games to sometimes go easily careening off the rails because PC choices combined with an enabling rule set allow for it, then don't make the switch. GMs more readily control the narrative in PF2, and the dice account for what agency remains after that.
PCs, on the other hand, cannot build skills/to-hit/AC/DCs/anything beyond a seemingly carefully-monitored set of bland numbers; again, they live and die by the dice. An easy example is how a PC cannot build a starting stat to 18 unless his/her class very specifically allows it. A wizard, for instance, will most likely have an 18 to INT, and most certainly a maximum of 16 to anything else, regardless of character concept/vision (barring house rules, of course). That "high power caps" PF2 descriptor I saw in a post further up is debatable, at best; if you're coming in from PF1 it's downright ludicrous.
If those features, which I've painted as negatives, seem more like positives to you, then I recommend making the switch. (Indeed, it's all subjective.) I don't like PF2, but I admit that it is in a lot of ways cleaner than first edition. There are definitely features I like (the three-action system is excellent).
I don't like PF2, but I play it. I play it because my group plays it, and because support will end (or has ended?) for PF1, and I don't want to step away from Golarion.
I could go on, but I need to prepare for today's PF2 session, wherein our martials will hit things, I the wizard will cast my boring, static-DC spells (and will likely resort to hitting things), and the baddies will hit us back. In terms of combat, grappling into submission as an alternate win condition is suboptimal at best. Control spells as an alternate win condition are nonexistent. It's all about damage now. We hit things, the enemies hit us back, and when the dice allow for it, one side wins. Long live my d20.
I agree, for the most part, with your pros/cons assessment, but I respectfully disagree with your conclusion; there is too much value lost in the cons list, and it considerably outweighs the value gained in the pros list. (Further, I'd put some items in your pros list into the cons list.)
I'd go into detail, but that isn't the point of this thread. I only wanted to voice a dissenting opinion -- a reminder, perhaps, that there are a number of us who believe second edition has oversimplified Pathfinder into something akin to 4e/5e.
But again, I dissent respectfully. It's awesome that y'all enjoy this iteration of Pathfinder as much as you do, and I hope the dice roll more often in your favor than not.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Please don't straw-man my comment. Nowhere did I say -- or even intimate -- that I want the "ROFLstomp" potential of first edition.
And, since you asked, if anything is going to make me leave the playtest, it's this exact type of "so you're saying" behavior from the community. You folks are providing it in spades.
Never. My characters never felt particularly powerful; nor did they ever feel underwhelming. They were thoroughly mediocre -- just like the rest of the group's characters. Woo.
All the excitement generated was through role-playing and artificially playing up the importance of actions. I got that in first edition, which had the additional benefit of supporting powerful-feeling characters.
I think that when people complain about the lack of options, they're speaking to an issue more significant than a lack of choices for, say, a given feat slot. The underlying problem is that the PF2 character-building-and-progression system does not support a high level of customization. Essentially, there aren't enough points at which a character can be meaningfully defined. The best discussion I've seen so far with regards hereto is a thread called "The Customization Bottleneck". The original post in that thread identifies arguably the most heinous of personalization barriers: currently, too many character-building choices come at the expense of a class feat slot. It's too much competition for a scarce resource. And there are others barriers; for instance, a character cannot start with an 18 in a stat unless its class specifically allows it.
The result of this system, combined with the game-wide nerf of everything, is cookie-cutter character production -- a system wherein "every character feels the same," to use Thalin's phrasing. Martials hit things, spell-casters sling their profoundly inconsequential magic around (and are honestly better off just hitting things, gish-style), and healers heal the folks who are hitting the things. Class features (sneak attack, rage, etc) amount to mere gimmicks -- neither powerful enough to make their parent classes play distinctly differently from other classes, nor customizable enough to at least support fun, useful twists.
Yes, some of that sameness can be alleviated by adding, say, more class feats to fighters. I'm very comfortable assuming there will be more options per feat slot, come the final version of the game. But again, because I can't stress this enough (and because it addresses the go-to retort thrown at folks who lament the low level of customization), giving more options per feat slot is not enough to consequentially augment the low level of character customization, as the greater character creation system inherently limits customization far too much in other, more serious ways.
Thalin actually made these points in the original post, even if only in a summary way. I'll paste the relevant quote here -- to support my claim, yes, but also because it concludes my own thoughts here remarkably well:
In the end, the best you can do with this fundamental system is add a few more interesting options and fix the bad abilities to be slightly better or scale better. But this isn't going to change having a system based too much on everyone being average at everything.
Pathfinder used to be a game whose systems and subsystems allowed me to create fun, interesting, and effective characters (and to marvel at the character creations of others). There was almost always a means of creating multiple capacities for efficacy and utility, given even the most bizarre or whimsical of character backgrounds/stories -- a system-supported capability that was affected only minimally by race and primary-class choices. (Indeed, making seemingly inoperable class and/or race choices work was a lot of fun in and of itself.)
Barring a slew of moderate-to-extreme revisions between now and the release of second edition, that capability is gone. Pathfinder 2e is, for me, just a marginally superior alternative to D&D 5e.
Not to take away from the current discussion, but one of the larger issues with the upcoming change (at least, given what we know about it) is that enemy saves are too high, such that any reasonable increase to damage won't really matter as enemies will save for half anyway.
Again, this doesn't really matter if the increases to damage are unreasonably high, but I don't think anybody wants that. Enemy saves need to go down across the board, or there needs to be ways for casters to increase their save DCs.
Question because I don't read every post of every thread: has there been any developer input on the state of magic in 2e? Casting is just blatantly bad right now (and has been since the playtest began), and it's frustrating that it hasn't been addressed even a little in the updates.
It's beginning to feel like a lost cause, and I'll be treating it as such.
In the meantime, I'll keep hoping for the option to place the class-given ability boost in something other than a class's primary stat. Allowing a wizard to put that boost in strength or dexterity, say, can allow him to at least participate more effectively in the martial meta.
In much the same way that signature skills imposed cliched play styles on classes, there is a limiting force in the inability to choose where the starting class-given ability boost goes. Some classes already have two choices, but it'd be better yet if all classes could apply their single ability boosts to any ability score they choose.
Alternatively, the same effect can be achieved by allowing archetype dedication feats to reallocate that ability boost. Either way, this opens up a little more customization without unbalancing anything.
Part of the problem is that the magic items in question don't make you better; they simply keep you from falling behind -- that is, because of the so-called treadmill, they merely help you in not becoming worse.
Thank you. Folks tend to omit this part of the argument. Strange.
Your post eviscerates the straw man, spilling its bowels in a room-temperature pile at your feet and flinging its head twenty feet in a random direction! Roll a d8.
This isn't about feeling good about oneself; nor is it about domination fantasies. The ideal is that a character build to perform a certain activity really well should be able to succeed at that activity more often than not.
The target percentage is up for debate, but I personally think a 70% to 80% success rate for an optimized character is superb.
My thing is how are class feats any different from what we already got in P1E? The only difference is more choice and them being called feats. That's it.
The problem a lot of us have is that second edition's class feats are bound to those classes. While a tiny percentage of first edition's feats had class features as prerequisites, the overwhelming majority of feats weren't so exclusive. It's really not the same thing.
So, my group has been excitedly prepping for Return of the Runelords, and my wife expressed an interest in playing a Gray Maiden, as she likes the idea of and the lore behind them — an idea shot down immediately by our GM, who cited this blog post as proof-positive that the archetype is overpowered. More specifically, he quoted Mr. Mark Seifter’s comment that Gray Maidens have “the potential to be slightly too powerful”.
Full comment here:My question to you all is, in what way(s) are Gray Maidens overpowered, or even potentially so? The issues Mark mentioned specifically are, in the end, not terribly powerful: master fortitude is something most of the martials get anyway (paladin at L7 as an innate class feature, barbarian at L7 as an innate class feature, fighter at L10 after feating into it, monk at L7 if chosen over master reflex and master will); the legendary armor proficiency Gray Maidens can feat into at L18 is tied to Gray Maiden Plate, which is a remarkably bad choice over half-plate. Paladins, meanwhile, get [untethered] legendary armor proficiency a level earlier as, again, an innate class feature — not to mention, legendary proficiency is, in its quantified form, only a +1 over master proficiency anyway.
Mark Seifter wrote:
I have my eye on it; when I designed the Gray Maiden prestige archetype, I was worried it had potential to be slightly too powerful while being subtly so, since much of its power is in things like proficiencies and endurance numbers rather than in more wahoo or obvious things. But I did want a chance to test a pretty high edge (without being obviously problematic) version of what a prestige archetype could do and see what happens. If it gets to be a must-take for characters across the spectrum of classes that want things like master Fortitude and legendary armor proficiency, we'll take note accordingly, whereas if it wasn't enticing, we might not get good data on how to improve it.
Of the seven archetype feats following the initial Gray Maiden dedication feat, three comprise the Gray Maiden Plate chain and can, again, be safely ignored. “Scars”, which gives slash resistance equal to con mod, and “Unbreakable”, which gives de facto toughness and diehard (and stacks with those feats), are worth pursuing, provided the Gray Maiden’s base class doesn’t offer something better in the class feat slots they would occupy. “Erinyes Blood” is both fun and interesting (Rage-lite with a potentially higher price), if not in the slightest bit overpowering. Similarly, “Scarlet Rose Devotion” is nice, but not at all overpowering.
As far as I can tell, the archetype offers, at best, increased survivability — but not even close to a game-breaking level thereof.
What is/are the angle(s) I’m missing?
Jim Sharples wrote:
This is the one who breaks the game with clever, essentially min maxing, so he loves systems and he said “sounds like too much work for the fun after”.
I also enjoy min-maxing -- or, both alternatively and in conjunction, playing with a system's options to do strange and wonderful things. In PF2's current state, there's no support for that kind of fun; you get more customization out of any generic MMO's skill trees. There's a lot of work learning the new system, I agree (even if only because you have to flip to twelve different pages to read about any one mechanic in its entirety), but there's actually no payoff for your son, for me, or for others who enjoy that aspect of tabletop RPGs. In that sense, we're going from chess to tic-tac-toe.
Tiny and smaller creatures: In the section on Tiny and smaller creatures, it says that entering a creature’s space provokes an attack of opportunity, but typically 5-foot steps don’t provoke an attack of opportunity. If a Tiny or smaller creature took a 5-foot step into a creature’s space, would it provoke an attack of opportunity?
Answer to the FAQ:
Yes. Even with a 5-foot step, a Tiny or smaller creature entering a creature’s space provokes an attack of opportunity (unless it is using a more specific ability to avoid the attack of opportunity such as the Monkey Shine feat). This doesn’t mean that a Tiny or smaller creature entering a creature’s space and moving out of a threatened square with a move action provokes two attacks of opportunity from that creature, for the same reason that moving out of multiple of a creature’s threatened squares in the same move action doesn’t provoke two attacks of opportunity.
Given that, my current understanding is that no application of acrobatics (neither acrobatics vs CMD nor acrobatics vs CMD+5) can circumvent the AoO provoked by a tiny (or smaller) creature entering the space of larger creature. Further, since entering the larger creature's space is decidedly different from moving through the larger creature's threatened area, the Mobility feat (which addresses only the latter) does not apply. In the same vein, the bonuses granted by the Underfoot feat do not apply to an AoO provoked by entering a larger creature's space.
Similarly, the five-foot step granted by the Sidestep feat provokes an AoO if used to enter a larger creature's space, regardless of the feat's text.
Meanwhile, small+ creatures can still move into, through, and out of an opponent's space (the size of the opponent being irrelevant) without provoking any attacks of opportunity by succeeding at an acrobatics check against the opponent's CMD+5.
Is my understanding correct?
There's an alchemist discovery from page 116 of the Advanced Race Guide called "Rocket Bomb". My reading of the Additional Resources page indicates it's society-legal for all alchemists, but I'm hesitant to accept it, as it may be an oversight. I've tried searching to see if it has been addressed, but to no avail; ostensibly, its legality or non-legality is very clear to everyone except me. Is there something I'm missing?
From the Additional Resources Page:
Note: Alternate racial traits, racial archetypes, racial evolutions, racial feats, and racial spells are only available for characters of the associated race. Racial equipment and magic items can be purchased and used by any race as long as the specific item permits it (for example, only halflings can purchase and use solidsmoke pipeweed).
Discoveries are absent from that bit.
Further down on that page:
Goblins: all alternate racial traits, goblin discoveries, favored class options, archetypes, equipment, feats, magic items, and spells except vomit twin are legal for play.
Hello! I recently ran Shades of Ice II: Exiles of Winter and feel that, perhaps, our GM was a little unfair with a ruling. I'm relatively new to organized play, so I'm hoping to find some guidance here.
The incident in question occurred at the end of the scenario, in the white dragon's room.
With the rest of the party waiting in the slaves-chained-up room, hesitant to step into the icy room beyond, our archivist decided to take a closer look at the runed door therein. He stepped into the first square of the room and, when nothing happened, stepped closer yet to the door. When he was ten feet away, the dragon swooped down and one-shot him (ice breath), bringing the archivist down to -10hp or so (whatever the numbers were, he was two rounds away from death). So far, so good.
Our witch, per witch/familiar mechanics, cast cure moderate wounds and designated her centipede as the deliverer. The centipede then stealthed up (a ~60 check, when all was said and done), went over to the archivist, and delivered the spell.
Now here's where it gets, as far as I know, shady. Upon the centipede's delivering the spell, the GM said the dragon noticed the delivery; the dragon then swooped down and grappled the centipede, bringing it back up with her into the frost clouds above.
Some players objected, saying the delivery of the spell should not have broken stealth, and I silently agreed. Our GM argued that any spell going off would be accompanied by a light, which, in this case, broke the centipede's stealth. (He also ceded that without that mechanic, the dragon didn't have high enough of a perception check to meet the centipede's stealth.)
Was our GM right in this? I can't find any rule, official or otherwise, that argues either way -- that the delivery of the touch spell would break the centipede's stealth, or that it wouldn't. Help, please?
And, if our GM was wrong, is there anything we can do now to retroactively fix our scenario, or its consequences? (The session took place this past Saturday, July 12.) If he wasn't wrong, I humbly apologize for wasting any readers' time (but would still like to know where to look for rules clarification!).
In the end, he let our witch bargain for the centipede's return (2000gp was the dragon's price), but I can't help but feel that she was, quite frankly, cheated out of 2000gp. (And that the group as a whole was cheated out of a fight, though I may have been the only one who wanted to continue at that point.)
Thanks for any response!
PS -- Our GM also gave us a copy of the scenario after the session.
Curious, I flipped to the white dragon encounter and read under the "During Combat" portion that "The moment the PCs enter, Aralantryx shrieks in anger, swoops down, and blasts the PCs with her breath weapon." In our session, the dragon waited until our archivist was pretty far into the room -- more calculating than angry. Again, I'm new to organized play, so I won't presume to know; is this okay?