This is a rough part of the design of PF2... a general rule (you can't just grab a smaller creature and carry it off) is only made apparent by the existence of specific rules that create exceptions to it.
There "should" be a drag action that functions similarly to the shove action so that normal creatures can handle actions like hauling an unwilling but still conscious creature to the door of a tavern without that being just a serious of Strides and Shoves linked together that hopefully all happen before the creature in question gets to take a turn and undo all progress without any kind of a check.
That said, I don't understand how you can argue spell retraining isn't "a class feature that required a choice". You choose spell A. Now you want to change that choice to spell B.
The only examples provided are a druid order or a wizard school, and both of those are listed on their respective class advancement tables.
The equivalent level of feature that deals with spells is things like "primal spellcasting" and "spell repertoire", not "magic missile"
And you aren't just dealing with "you chose spell A" when you look at a feature like Spell Repertoire, you're looking at multiple 1st-level spells and cantrips at minimum. If the spell repertoire feature qualifies as "a class feature that required a choice" are you certain that you only change 1 spell if you take the "at least a month" rather than being able to change your entire repertoire in that time frame? It is just 1 class feature that required a choice, after all.
Again, what caused the transition...
Transition from Exploration Mode to Encounter mode happens "When every individual action counts." Full stop. See page 468, first sentence, for reference.
The idea that the players need to have some indication why every individual action counts in a particular instance is a "because that's how it works in other editions/games" idea, not a "because that's how PF2 lays out it's own workings" idea.
And your lil dialogue is presuming that all these actions and checks fail... which is not necessarily going to be the case, but would certainly be the same outcome as entirely skipping the encounter.
Unless, of course, you were to do differently than the established rules suggest and not consider the encounter as having started until/unless one of the characters has done something to invalidate the stealth roll made by the creature in hiding, like walk over to a spot that has clean line of sight without the creature being able to even potentially do anything about that because initiative order isn't being followed despite every individual action having a potential impact.
No, the status would not change automatically. You do not need to realize there is another creature involved to be in Encounter Mode (and some encounters don't even involve creatures).
Encounter Mode would apply, and the creature would remain unnoticed and undetected until something actually caused for it to be otherwise - such as succeeding at a Seek action against it, or physical positioning relative the creature making not noticing it impossible.
If something doing negative damage meant that it healed undead automatically, the harm spell would not need to say "If the target is a willing undead creature, you restore that amount of hit points." because "deal 1d8 negative damage to it" from the prior sentence in the spell's description would cover that already.
Technically speaking, the class feature involved with spells is [blank] Spellcasting or Spell Reportoire (and it isn't selectable for any class thus far).
Which is why explicit mention of being able to change spells in your repertoire via retraining is there in the first place.
There is no indication which time frame should be applied to spells though, because they do not fit the description provided or mirror the examples given under any of the three retraining paragraphs (Feats, Skills, and Class Features).
I would say, however, that if changing from one wizard school to another is an example of a thing which takes 1 month, a single spell taking just as long doesn't make logical sense.
In PF2, out-of-combat and out of Encounter Mode are not necessarily the same thing.
The scenario you describe switches from Exploration Mode to Encounter mode. The stealth check is the creature's initiative as well as being compared to the PCs' Perception DC to determine if the creature remains unnoticed/undetected.
The PCs and this creature would then take their turns in initiative order, likely with the creature seeking to avoid the party delaying and the PCs using Stride and possibly some Seek actions to move through or explore the area, potentially having further chance at noticing the other creature but also potentially moving on with no idea there was a creature present.
Telekinetic projectile, as written, would be targeting the golem when cast since the spell description reads "Targets 1 creature."
That's not how I'd have written it, though, and as a GM I'm of the mind to treat the spell as written differently - like mage-hand but with an attack built in rather than slow movement and sustainability.
And in asking your question you have done the same thing you were doing earlier and assuming prior training or experience that are not necessarily shared by all people.
Storyteller (world of darkness) RPGs have a lot of evil characters. Why doesn’t it work in Pathfinder?
To me that kinda sounds like the difference between a Neutral Evil and a Chaotic Evil alignment, but then that's more based on decades of different descriptions of the classic alignments than it is on the current deliberately thread-bare descriptions in the rules.
Sorcerers: can spells learned at a heightened level be selected as a Signature Spell for that level?
Storyteller (world of darkness) RPGs have a lot of evil characters. Why doesn’t it work in Pathfinder?
A large part of why these different games result in different results when "evil characters" are involved, in my experience, is the way in which the game traits are thought of by the players.
Vampire doesn't have you write down "neutral evil" or the like on your sheet like D&D-esque games do, and what traits you do write down aren't explained in the paradigm of "good vs. evil" or worded in terms of how your character generally behaves or what your character believes/cares about. That leaves players ready to see the characters in shades of grey - he's not "evil" he's just a person, albeit one with flaws like anyone else.
D&D-esque games having you write down "neutral evil" or the like enables players to judge the book by the cover, so to speak, and get confused into the thinking things like that to be an evil character you have to constantly do evil things even when doing so is detrimental to your own character and illogical.
The key is not the amount of time spent, but the content at hand, and even then it's not an objective thing - it's all about whether the people participating in the game care about what is going on in-game without their character being directly involved.
Some folks just don't care no matter what in that situation, so if you've got those in your group then zero splitting the party and the absolute minimum of time that's it isn't "their turn" is going to produce the best results.
Other folks can enjoy taking on an "audience" role while entertaining story plays out in front of them.
Personally, I don't like people sitting quietly at a game when they could be participating because I think participation is more fun and figure they might too, so I make sure to give each player or group of player an opportunity to do something at least every 10 minutes - whether that's "meanwhile with the other half of the party..." or "Hey Jim, what's your character up to while this is going down?"
Every time that a source "bright light" is mentioned in the core book matches to the general rule that whatever the radius of bright light is, dim light radius is double that (i.e. 20 feet of bright light and 20 more feet of dim light) - most by redundantly mentioning the specific amount of dim light in parenthesis, but at least one just lists the radius of bright light and that's it.
The only place in which there is a discrepancy is in one of the two mentions of the sunrod.
That means there are two possibilities: 1) sunrod is meant to be the one and only exception to the general rule for light sources so it's description on page 292 is in error, or 2) there are no exceptions (yet) to the general rule for light sources so the sunrod description on page 554 is in error.
I suggest application of Occam's razor.
60 feet total light, because that's what "the next" is there for in the description.
Yes, that makes a sunrod not fit that general text you got from wherever you got it.
Edit to add: went looking through the book for light sources to see about consistency... p. 292 has a sunrod listed as 20 foot bright light and dim light for the next 20 feet, so if somewhere else says 40 feet, that's a typo.
By RAW, you need a critical success to learn "something subtler", and most GMs will consider a numerical value such as its Fort save very subtle indeed.
It entirely depends on the creature in question, but for more than a few, a detail like "is very dim-witted and lacking in willpower" isn't "something subtler" it's the "one of it's best known attributes" part.
Also, you seem to be saying that a GM will want to make the Recall Knowledge action not useful when they have the choice to interpret the rules for it favorably or not... and that's not a rule text problem, that's a GM problem. If you're a GM, choose differently. If you're a player, choose a less antagonistic GM.
The rule book doesn't say "hey GM, don't say the total of monster's attack rolls." so it's not "playing the default way" for the GM to elect to keep track of their players' characters' AC values and just say if an attack missed/hit/critically hit.
In fact, in the example of play included in the book when it covers the GM rolling an attack against a PC it says this:
"Erik: Does a 20 hit you?"
PF2 creature level is not an equivalent to PF1 challenge rating.
They are similar because of their purpose - to rate creatures danger toward player characters - but the important details are significantly different. PF1 mimicked the way that D&D 3.X tried to set up an "equal" encounter as a resource-drain of about 25% so you'll definitely be able to get through a few without needing to rest, where PF2 sets up an "equal" encounter as one in which "Characters usually need to use sound tactics and manage their resources wisely to come out of a moderate-threat encounter ready to continue on and face a harder challenge without resting."
That's why when you look at a level 1 creature compared to a level 1 character, you're not looking at a situation of "well, I guess we might be in trouble if the dice are really against us"
You could say "Nah, that's not how we're doing this." if they ask.
You could also stick to the RAW and let them choose: explore at a normalized pace, or insist on taking tons of Swim actions and accepting the consequences (not doing other exploration activities, such as Searching, and ending up fatigued long before the dungeon is fully explored)
With most monsters they have one save that will have one save that targeting puts you at actually bad odds of your spell taking effect, one save which has similar odds as those that an attack roll usually has of landing without multi-attack penalty, and one save which has significantly better odds for you than that.
So even if you are guessing fully blind (which you won't be because of basic things like big monster = high fortitude and the like), the odds are in your favor more often than not.
There's some "sticker shock" involved for players that are used to being able to crank up their DC to the point that almost nothing has a chance of actually passing a save, even though saves are rarely as all-or-nothing as they used to be, but things being different isn't (in this case at least) things being bad.
The stumps of each head can be cauterized with area damage because that's what the rules say happens, not sure how that's "in question" to start with.
And no, you don't need to target the head to cauterize it - the text says single-target acid or fire effects need to be targeted at a specific stump. The sentence about area effects doesn't have that clause and even starts with "but" to show that it's not the same.
That is the heart of the question i had about hydra, if they are immune to area damage, why is there a section about area damage cauterizing the heads?
Because the hydra isn't immune to area damage - it's heads are.
Meaning that an area damage spell does damage only to the body's HP total, not to any of the heads, and will cauterize the neck of any severed head if it's the right type of damage.
I think that the "(up to half your speed)" bit is a leftover from a prior version of how exploration speed was figured, or an accidentally misleading attempt at a reminder of what the normal speed you can search an area while ensuring you check everything before you walk into it.
Because the exploration activity speeds are written without interacting with a character's Speed - they say '300 feet per minute' rather than 'at your full speed'.
However, I suppose it could be intended that Searching while on the move not be sped up in general, but that the feat cut down all the times listed in APs that say "If the party conducts a thorough search, taking 30 minutes" to smaller numbers.
Just because it's not a build-option doesn't mean it's not player-facing.
That said, 5e had been out for like 5 years and has had only two player-facing books come out in all that time (Core Rulebook and Xanathar's). So, I actually wasn't far off.
5e doesn't really do "GMs only" books, and you've left out Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, Acquisitions Incorporated, and Eberron: Rising from the Last War that are each more player-facing than not.
I would completely skip trying to do a math-based conversion because even where it does look like there's a clear conversion rate, that's misleading at best.
What I would do is think "how would this normally be transported?" and then assign a Bulk value that makes that method of transport make sense.
For example, a silver bar might only be 1 bulk when carried because a dense brick of metal is awkward, but the full load of 600 of them would likely be stacked onto a wagon and easily pulled by a single beast of burden so calling it 10 bulk in that context wouldn't be out of line.
Yes, for each PC. Yes, even the ones performing other activities.
Hazards are built with a balance between their noticeability, disable difficulty, and harshness of consequences should neither of those things happen - and that means some really nasty or hard to disable traps are, intentionally, almost assured to be noticed.
Pretty sure that the answer to the first question is "no."
Not gonna go check to be sure, but I recall there being a new book every year even if you don't count the published adventures.
As for them trying to kill D&D, it clearly doesn't matter that they do it but... kinda, yeah, they keep doing stuff like having their adventure products have random bad mechanics that ignore already established mechanics (like an adventure which has a party roll stealth and every 2 failures results in a random encounter, instead of using the random encounter rules from the DMG), or just have really inflexible or outright shoddily written plot lines (one of their newer adventures reads like a cranky kid that wants their friend to play their story their way with it's 'this NPC could legally kill the characters for not doing what he wants, but he's being nice right now' nonsense).
But none of that matters because they keep the attention focused on "D&D is a fun thing to do with friends, and all these celebrities love it" instead of on the details of the game materials themselves.
I'm pretty sure where the rules say "You can choose a Tiny animal you want as your familiar, such as a bat, cat, raven, or snake." they are meaning that you use the traits of that animal except as the rules following that state them as being different.
Presuming a choice of familiar with the appendages necessary to manipulate a bottle, open it, and pour it into a character's mouth, I'm sure some stats can be agreed on between player and GM (to make up for that only a viper seems to be an already existing stat block that lines up to the animals stated in the familiar text).
Using that viper as a point of reference, we've got a -3 Strength modifier and Tiny size, we see that the familiar's Bulk thresholds for encumbrance and maximum carrying capacity appear to be 1 and 3.5 (not sure which way it rounds) and while they do treat items with "-" listed for bulk as Light items (10 = 1 bulk) they do not change how they handle light item encumbrance - which means hauling around some potions for a character is within their capabilities (again, assuming the correct appendages to actually facilitate).
I dunno, just going by what the book says. Severe encounters are expected to be consistently defeatable for parties.
The phrase "consistently defeat" is a pretty vague one - it could mean 9 times out of 10, or it could mean 6 times out of 10.
One +3 enemy on its own is a severe level boss, which means you should be seeing one around a chapter or book end in an AP, or at least at particularly important points. Like I said, there are too many in the early books. But in my experience, an even-level enemy can easily, easily be killed in less than a round, which is not much of a boss feel. That might change at higher levels, don't know.
I personally think using that tough of an enemy as often as once per story objective (i.e. putting 1 in each of the 4 dungeons explored during one AP book) is too often.
And while an even-level "boss" can be killed in less than a round, they can also be part of a very memorable and engaging encounter - the difference between the two often coming down to set up (just put the "lackeys" between the "boss" and the party, and it usually handles itself).
Hopefully as the APs roll on, more of the Severe threat encounters published will be made up of even-level "boss" and numerous lower-level lackeys rather than a singular party level +3 creature.
An encounter is one+ creatures, which should come out to Level+X. Each of these creatures may be anywhere from level-4 to level+4, but the overall encounter should be Level+X.
The terminology you are using doesn't line up with what the book uses.
An encounter doesn't have a level of its own (despite that the published adventures thus far stick a level on each), it just has a difficulty rating based on what level the characters are when facing it (which the number in the published adventures serves to indicate).
So an encounter with a level 1 monster and two level -1 monsters isn't a "Level X encounter" - it depends on what level the party is when facing it, so it could be trivial (3), low (2), or moderate (1).
A level +3 is severe, meaning a small boss or extra difficult but not way out of the normal encounter.
The encounter building guidelines start using the description "boss" at equal to the party's level.
Level +3 is not "a small boss" according to the book, it's "severe- or extreme-threat boss."
"A small boss" encounter looks more like a creature of the party's level accompanied by some allied creatures 2 or so levels below the party's level.
Making recovery harder/most costly isn't a way to "bring balance" to casters - it's how to over-value them.
Because yes, if the party can't press on they won't, which means the casters can blow their spell slots as fast as they want and when they are out the party will definitely say "yeah, might as well rest" rather than having incentive and means to push on and for the casters to be more sparing.
I'm a little confused by the motivation to alter the rules.
As-is, the rules work thus:
1) A party trying to travel unnoticed, or deliberately waiting in ambush, rolls Stealth for initiative.
2) The other side rolls Perception for initiative, unless they were doing something that would call for another trait (like trying to set an ambush themselves).
3) These initiative rolls determine the order creatures act in and...
4) If the Stealth rolls for initiative meet or exceed the Perception DCs of creatures on the opposed side, those creatures start the encounter unaware of the sneaking character.
So if you've rolled well enough to establish "surprise", the rules already have you likely going before your enemies and those enemies not realizing you are there - and if your enemies did happen to beat your initiative they are still not able to do anything to you if they aren't aware of you, so at best they can take some seek actions to try and notice you or continue on about whatever they were doing.
Effectively, there is still a "we get to act while the other side doesn't" at the beginning of an encounter, despite that it's not a special extra round with a specific name and specific limitations.
Power attack gives you an extra damage die but it counts as two actions and you get multiple attack penalties.
It's looking like you might think that you take a penalty on the attack roll for Power Attack even if it's your first attack on this turn.
That's not how it works. Despite being two actions and counting as two attacks for multiple attack penalty, it doesn't have a larger penalty to itself than a Strike would have.
so you can Power Attack, then make another Strike at a -10 penalty (or just a -5 penalty if you've got the other feat), or Strike and then Power Attack at a -5 penalty.