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I don't think a weapon doubles in size the way you are thinking it does.

A greatsword, historically is somewhere in the 5 to 7 foot range (with some outliers).

As I understand it, a medium sized character roughly fits in a 5 foot cube, a large roughly fits in a 10 foot cube, a huge roughly fits in a 15 foot cube, and a gargantuan roughly fits in a 20 foot cube.

So a greatsword isn't likely doubling in length every time you change a size category.

A greatsword for a gargantuan character is probably around 20 to 28 feet long, not 48.

Now, greatswords, if Paizo wanted to be realistic about it, should probably have reach, and larger weapons should probably deal extra damage, but my guess is that the game wouldn't be balanced in that case, so instead of modifying the rules to make it balanced, we just have weird instances like this that break immersion.


swoosh wrote:
thflame wrote:
I ended up having to draw a graph of each step

A graph? To keep track of the three whole choices you have to make?

I'm sorry, I think PF2's stat gen is a little bit clunky too but this is such an absurd hyperbole it's hard to really take seriously.

I'm dead serious.

Each "step" has a mixture of fixed, optional, and/or free boosts and you aren't allowed to mix these between "steps".

When your final stats don't look the way you wanted them to look, you can't just move points around to get exactly what you want, because each boost comes from a specific step, some of them are fixed, and some of them are restricted in where they can end up.

I made a graph where the columns were the attributes and the rows were the steps. I marked each cell that had a fixed boost, then I marked the restricted optional boost, then I had a number of "free" boosts per row to move around.

I wrote the approximate stats I wanted at the bottom (in the number of boosts I needed to get there) and I had to move around my optional boosts until I got what I wanted.

It literally doesn't work as 3 easy steps unless you don't care what your final stats look like. You have to do all of the steps simultaneously if you want a given stat array, or constantly back up a step and fiddle with the numbers to get what you want.


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Fobok wrote:
It also ties stats into the character background, which for me I really like.

That's another pet peeve of mine.

Making "Background" a "crunch" mechanic doesn't make people role play.

"Roll Players" are just going to select the background that gives them the benefits they want then ignore that it even exists.

"Role Players" now have to fiddle and fight around Paizo's/WotC's interpretation of your character's background, if they even made one that fits your character, or beg the GM to tweak an existing background, or house rule a new one. (I basically just let my 5e players have 2 skills of their choice if they can justify it with their backstory.)

On top of that, it adds another layer to chargen that confuses some people (me and my group, for one).


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Captain Morgan wrote:

By comparison? The rules for PF2 ability scores are way easier. You really only need to know 4 rules.

1) A boost is +2.
2) A flaw is -2.
3) You can't add more than one boost to the same stat during any given step.
4) You can never wind up with a score below 8.

Past that it is just going through the ABCs and doing what your specific ancestry, background, and class say.

I don't agree that it is easier.

In PF1, I buy the scores I think I want, then I apply my racial modifiers. If something doesn't look right when I am done, I can back up and fiddle with my point buy to get the stats I want.

The most I do is make tally marks next to the attribute scores on the character sheet to denote how many attribute points I have placed there, and I track how many Point Buy points I have left in the top corner.

In PF2, if I don't immediately luck into a stat array I like on the first try, I have to find out where I put my boosts, what step of chargen they came from, what places I can put what boosts, etc.

I remember trying to build a gishy sorcerer for the playtest. I ended up having to draw a graph of each step and each attribute score, putting check marks in boxes where points HAD to be and Xs in boxes where my optional boosts were placed, then remembering that backgrounds have one flaw that is optional, and one that was optional between 2 choices.

(It didn't help that, in order to qualify for my fighter "multiclass", I had to have stats that I didn't think my starting character needed to have, so I had to start over from scratch, yet again.)

Heck, none of the backgrounds really clicked with my character concept, so I had to essentially skip the "background" step and do it last so I could get the stats I wanted.

After seeing all that trouble I went through, nobody else wanted to play.

Needless to say, I shouldn't have to draw a graph to make a character with stats I want.


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Point buy is REALLY easy.

Each Score costs a number of points equal to the modifier the score gives you(minimum 1).

9 through 13 all cost 1 point each.

14 and 15 cost 2 points each.

16 and 17 cost 3 points each.

18 costs 4 points.

I'll agree on Scores vs Modifiers. Ability scores are almost never used, and when they are, the rule can usually be tweaked to not need them.


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First World Bard wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Then again I've heard people complain about 'dump stats' in 5e and you can't even dump a stat in that game.
The standard array in 5E before racial mods is 15,14,13,12,10,8; if you do point buy you are allowed one 8. Calling the 8 your "dump stat" seems fair.

Is that a Adventurer's League Rule? 5e's PHB says (15, 15, 15, 8, 8, 8) is a valid array with Point Buy.


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At this point, why not just make 3 or 4 stat arrays and let people assign them however they deem fit if we're just going to put a boat load of arbitrary limitations on what you can do with stats at chargen?

It would be a heck of a lot more simple.

BTW, what was so bad about Point Buy in PF1? An 18 was expensive unless you had a racial boost.

I wish more work had gone into making all attributes important to all characters such that dumping stats was a real cost.

Then again, I guess Paizo tried this with Resonance, and people complained.


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Edge93 wrote:
thflame wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
thflame wrote:
As far as that goes, 5e is proof that analysis paralysis isn't a good argument. (Especially since wizards didn't seem to suffer from it when preparing their spells during playtesting.)
Again, this simply isn't true because 5E casters have fewer spells per day than PF2 ones by a fair bit,

Again, then why isn't it "analysis paralysis" for prepared casters when they prepare their spells?

When it comes down to it, 99% of the time, prepared casters are going to prepare the exact same list and sorcerers will likely cast the same go-to spells at the same go-to levels.

It's different for prepared casters because they choose from their breadth of options at the start of the day. Once per day. Sorcerers with free full spontaneous Heightening have that massive expansions of the options that are available to them at any moment.

Prepared casters make their wide-pool decision at the start of the day.
Spontaneous casters would be making their wide-pool choices much more frequently.

Except that the sorcerer is picking ONE spell whenever they cast, as opposed to ALL of their spells at once. By all logic, if sorcerers are going to slow down the game significantly with analysis paralysis when it comes to casting their spells, then wizards should need to prepare their lists between sessions, for fear that the entire session will be spent waiting for the wizard to pick all of his spells.

Again, 99% of the time, casters have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen. A sorcerer isn't going to be choosing between ALL of his spells at ALL possible spell levels, because MOST of his spells are not going to be applicable to the given situation. Most of his spell LEVELS won't even be appropriate. At most, they will likely have 2-3 spells that are currently viable at 2-3 spell levels, with the optimal choice likely being entirely irrelevant.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
thflame wrote:
As far as that goes, 5e is proof that analysis paralysis isn't a good argument. (Especially since wizards didn't seem to suffer from it when preparing their spells during playtesting.)
Again, this simply isn't true because 5E casters have fewer spells per day than PF2 ones by a fair bit,

Again, then why isn't it "analysis paralysis" for prepared casters when they prepare their spells?

When it comes down to it, 99% of the time, prepared casters are going to prepare the exact same list and sorcerers will likely cast the same go-to spells at the same go-to levels.

Quote:
and Heightening is less common and less good in 5E than in PF2.

Numerous people in this thread have said just the opposite, and my personal experience shows just the opposite as well.

Most spells ARE approximately balanced at all spell levels with all other spells of other levels in 5e. This situation where a 3rd level spell up-cast to a 6th level is weaker than a 6th level spell just doesn't come up 99% of the time.

Sure, you'd rather cast Meteor Swarm than Fireball at level 9, but Meteor Swarm is one of a handful of spells that "breaks the rules" as far as spell design goes. (Not to mention that is is competing with Wish and still rarely sees play.)

Most of the utility/buff/debuff spells are cast at the particular level that targets the optimal number of creatures/has the optimal duration/etc. for the given situation.

Damaging spells are usually cast at the highest level slot that the caster is okay with burning.


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The wizard still "knows" those higher level spells. He just didn't prepare them. This has been how Spontaneous vs Prepared has ALWAYS worked (except 5e).

It's not really a boost for the sorcerer to have access to ALL of his spells when that has ALWAYS been the case.

This is even LESS useful compared to the wizard since they can swap out spell with 10 minutes of downtime, effectively making them spontaneous. Wizards will just prepare spells they expect to need on short notice and swap them out for utility spells when circumstances call for it.

Then there is the issue that learning Fireball in PF1 means you have a decent damaging spell throughout your career. Learning Fireball as a Sorcerer in PF2 means you are going to be okay for a couple levels, then you are going to have a subpar spell.

Yes, the sorcerer can swap out this spell for (or just learn) the higher level spell, but you only get so many swaps and new spells known.

The addition of signature spells helps a bit, but still not nearly as much as the wizard just flat knowing all the spells at all the levels.

The wizard never forgets his old spells and never has to "relearn" a new spell at later levels.

There is also the whole bit where the devs have stated the explicit reason for this design choice, and that was "analysis paralysis", therefore, arguing whether or not it is too strong or weak is irrelevant, as the devs didn't seem to think that was the issue.

As far as that goes, 5e is proof that analysis paralysis isn't a good argument. (Especially since wizards didn't seem to suffer from it when preparing their spells during playtesting.)


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Here's the thing though- real people have flaws, but real people aren't rewarded for other things for having flaws (Daredevil having super senses that are as good as sight because he's blind is not exactly how it works.) What stat dumping effectively accomplishes in PF1 is less "I want to be bad at this thing" and more "I want to be really good at this other thing, what unimportant things can I sacrifice for it." It might just be me but "flaws make you better at other things" is kind of a gross message.

I mean, I have a PF1 character now who is literally blind. What did I get for "choosing to be blind"? At the cost of a trait (Blind Zeal) I get blind fight. I didn't do this because "oh hey, blind fight is strong for a trait" I did it because I wanted to play Zatoichi. I mean, I did spend the next 5 feat choices towards able to fight like a sighted person...

So if we're going to have "Flaws with mechanical benefits" the benefits should be specific and appropriate to the flaws, not "what can I dump to be good at something unrelated."

The problem here is that you are attributing motive when you actively do not know why every individual person makes these choices.

I have 2 characters that have "dumped" stats for other higher Stats.

Grimm the Unpleasant had a 22 STR at level 1 in exchange for a 6 in INT, WIS, and CHA(he's an Orc). He get's ONE Skill Point per level thanks to his favored class bonus (the first was spent so he could actually speak Common), pretty much auto fails any Will Save, and is an active hindrance to the party in social situations, of which I ACTIVELY seek to roleplay. (Grimm is a very friendly Orc who wants to initiate every conversation with a big, sweaty, stinky bear hug. It doesn't go over well with NPCs often. Imagine a 4 year old that has rolled in "dear god, what's that smell!?!" but this 4 year old is 7 feet tall and casually carries around a sword that you're pretty sure he ripped off of a large statue.)

My other character is Coravellion. He's a Elven swashbuckler with 20 DEX and 6 CON at level 1. I also refuse to grab any feat, magic item, etc. that will increase my Fort Save or my HP. (He get's 4 HP per level, as per average HP rules at my table.) The idea was to play a character that was REALLY hard to hit, but dropped like a sack of potatoes if (when) he was hit.

Both of these characters are well loved by everyone who has had the pleasure of playing with them. Nobody has ever felt like these characters were "too powerful" or game breaking.

Now, CAN someone min-max or power-game the system to create a broken pile of stats that ruins the fun for everyone else? Yes, if you let it happen. Is that a good enough reason to outright prevent anyone from playing such a character? No.


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Quote:
As for voluntarily not making skill rolls or lowering your stats... aren’t you guys tired of playing a system that punishes you for roleplaying? PF1 did this all the time by requiring you give up the static bonuses provided by traits or feats to gain something you considered roleplaying material for your character. Or not being able to perform some interesting maneuver in combat because you didn’t have x,y, z feat that allowed you to perform a highly situational maneuver. And PF2 will get worse with skill feats. I speculate that future splat books will keep adding all sorts of Skill feats that effectively gate you out of using the skill unless you have that feat.

This 1000x.

Real people have flaws. Anyone trying to RP a "realistic" character would have flaws, and for a game that at least claims to focus on RP, you should reward these players for taking mechanical flaws with mechanical benefits.

Granted, these "flaws" should be meaningful. You don't get to dump CHA to 5 for more STR and never participate in social encounters. (Too bad Resonance is gone...)


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@PossibleCabbage

The whole problem with "not rolling something you're bad at" is that it doesn't work in practice.

Imagine the old "I want to suck at swimming argument":

What I want is for my character to be able to have a very low modifier to swim such that only luck can save him if he falls into a river. (I still roll the die.)

What YOU are suggesting is that my character elect to automatically fail his swim check, thus drowning, unless GM fiat, or the party intervenes.

There is a LARGE difference between these solutions.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like we should just call low level staffs "wands."

We don't agree on much, but we do agree on this.

Oddly enough, I DID start with 3.X and I STILL don't like wands as "spell batteries".

My guess is that it mostly stems from a certain wizard PC I played with that absolutely broke the game by having essentially all of his spells prepared via wands and scrolls.

I always liked the idea of wands being a wizard's "weapon" and upgrading the wand made your spells more powerful/harder to resist.


Tectorman wrote:
thflame wrote:
Besides, I have been working on a home system that I'm pretty close to testing. No classes. Customization is king. Everything is a trade-off.
Do you have any plans of showing any of this off online in the near or even distant future?

If my group really likes the system, I'll share it somewhere.


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Unless the final product is very different from the playtest, (more like PF1) then I will likely pass.

I REALLY like customization and having your choices matter. PF2 doesn't have this. And no, I'm not comparing all of PF1's splatbooks with the playtest book. The playtest, even you look at it as a stripped down demo version of the game, has WAY too little customization. To e fair, the issue is actually the things that AREN'T customizable anymore, by design.

As far as choices mattering, 90% of your power growth is from +1/level that everyone gets, regardless of their choices. The new untrained changes help a bit, but it is still an issue. About half of your character's features are predetermined when you pick your class and race, and the other half are "meh".

I get why it's like this: If you could completely customize your character, you may not fill your appropriate roll as dictated by Paizo, and you might make choices that make your character too weak to contribute. But honestly, screw that. I'd rather play an unoptimized character build, where every choice I made was because i thought it fit the character, than play a cookie cutter build thrown at me, with a couple of feat choices that 90% of the players are going to make because they are no-brainers.

I like in 3.P that you can play a class with a stereotypical job and completely build your character for another purpose and still have a useful character that is interesting. PF2 doesn't do this.

I'm also not too keen on some of the design choices. Why are paladins the king of armor? That feels like fighter territory. As mentioned earlier, design choices like this make certain builds non-viable or, at least, extremely wasteful. (light/no armor paladin) Sorcerers don't feel like "sources" of magic. They literally feel like a cheap blank slate mage. So long as you are okay with utilizing the outdated Vancian magic system, the other casters are all better at their jobs than the respective bloodline sorcerer.

While the 3 action economy is easier to understand than 3.P's mixed action economy, I find that a lot of things just don't fit well into the new system. I feel like a lot of turns are going to go by where a player spends all of their actions just setting themselves up to do something cool the next turn, only to have that opportunity pass. Why do I have to burn actions fumbling with handedness of weapons? That's not fun.

+/-10 crit system is really cool, but it basically requires bounded accuracy to function well, and bounded accuracy goes hand in hand with limited choices. (Not to mention that 5e does it better.)

If I could sum up what I think the problem is with PF2 in one phrase, I'd say that it is a prime example of "one size fits all, doesn't". Too many systems and subsystems sound good on paper, but fall flat in general implementation.

Besides, I have been working on a home system that I'm pretty close to testing. No classes. Customization is king. Everything is a trade-off.


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MerlinCross wrote:
thflame wrote:

Let's say your character is trying to listen in on a conversation between 2 NPCs in the local tavern.

He needs to move within earshot of the NPCs' table, without drawing attention to himself, and he also needs to be able to blend in with the crowd once he's there, and make it appear as though he is just another tavern patron.

I'd imagine that would fall under a very basic use of stealth, but I imagine that a character that was good at stalking prey in the woods might not necessarily be well equipped to complete the task.

Side question; how worried about needing a Feat to pick out just 2 voices in a crowded room should we be?

Cause that's something I could totally see needing a Skill feat for.

No offense, but I don't think that would be a terribly good feat. It would be WAY to circumstantial. On average, how many times does a situation where you need to eavesdrop on someone from across a noisy room come up per campaign? Maybe once?

Unless the feat came with other benefits, that is.

Another problem with that feat is that it would most certainly fall under Perception. Does Perception even have skill feats?


Edge93 wrote:
thflame wrote:

This is better addressed via counter example.

It is estimated that we are lied to 10 to 200 times a day, yet not every old person (people with many "days" under their belts) is good at lying.

Therefore, simply becoming good at something because you see it happen all the time is not a given.

I'll also restate that just because you are passably good at walking quietly in a forest, doesn't mean you would be passably good at everything else that would fall under stealth.

I very much think Raylyeh's experience would best be emulated via some feat that allows a Trained or Expert (depending on game balance) grant another character +1/level competence via and Aid Another-esque action (probably something only doable during Exploration) that only lasts for a given use of the skill.

That's an interesting take, and a mechanic I'd like to see in the final game, but I don't entirely agree.

The bit about being passably good at quietly walking in a forest but not necessarily at everything else that falls under stealth just sounds to me like an example of skill gating. Walking quietly being an untrained activity, more complex aspects of stealth or stealthing in harder environments being either trained tasks or too high of a DC to reliably hit with the -4 for untrained.

I think both viewpoints on this are fairly valid, but I am trying to point out that the PPT system still works quite well for this.

I should have been more specific.

When I said "everything that falls under stealth" I meant everything that would fall under a basic use of Stealth. Stuff that any GM would let a character attempt, regardless of their training level in Stealth.

For example, moving silently in other areas would potentially require different technique. Hiding also falls under stealth, and knowing good places to hide is not the same as knowing how to walk quietly.

Let's compare the given hunting scenario vs another scenario: eavesdropping.

Let's say your character is trying to listen in on a conversation between 2 NPCs in the local tavern.

He needs to move within earshot of the NPCs' table, without drawing attention to himself, and he also needs to be able to blend in with the crowd once he's there, and make it appear as though he is just another tavern patron.

I'd imagine that would fall under a very basic use of stealth, but I imagine that a character that was good at stalking prey in the woods might not necessarily be well equipped to complete the task.


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This is better addressed via counter example.

It is estimated that we are lied to 10 to 200 times a day, yet not every old person (people with many "days" under their belts) is good at lying.

Therefore, simply becoming good at something because you see it happen all the time is not a given.

I'll also restate that just because you are passably good at walking quietly in a forest, doesn't mean you would be passably good at everything else that would fall under stealth.

I very much think Raylyeh's experience would best be emulated via some feat that allows a Trained or Expert (depending on game balance) grant another character +1/level competence via and Aid Another-esque action (probably something only doable during Exploration) that only lasts for a given use of the skill.


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I like the idea of letting a Expert offer tips to his untrained allies to give them a temporary "Trained Proficiency".

This would more closely represent this idea of "learning via watching" than +1/level. (It also requires someone with applicable training to be present to "watch".)

Through recent examples, I have also come across another reason why +1/level shouldn't apply to untrained characters.

In short, observing a skilled individual in certain situations, does not grant you their skill in all applicable situations.

For example, watching someone walk through leaves in a forest, does not make you good at blending in with a crowd, or hiding a dagger on your person, or even moving quietly through a house. (All things someone with training in stealth would be good at.)

This applies to all skills in some degree.

Watching someone take a dip in a pool doesn't prepare you for falling out of a kayak in rapids.

Watching a wizard cast Magic Missile doesn't help you notice a Fireball Rune.

Knowing that goblins are bitey pyromaniacs, doesn't help you realize that pixies can cast magic.

Sure, someone with a good photographic memory could probably watch me write a "Hello World" program and be able to do the same thing later, but they aren't then going to be able to write an AI that plays chess.


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At my table, when a character tries to do something like "climb a perfectly smooth wall" I ask for them to describe what they are doing.

If they don't have a reasonable explanation as to how they are climbing a pane of glass, then they don't even get to try.

"Because I'm high level" means nothing to me. You either have tools or a special ability that lets you do this, or you can't.

Also, let me point out that the argument of "my character is X level" means nothing unless we all agree on EXACTLY what "level" means.

To me, level in a measure of how capable your character is ON AVERAGE.

For example, a character that can't swim, but can cleave a giant in half with an axe is STILL a relatively high level.

I think many people are envisioning level as a "floor" for what a character is capable of (at least partially).

For example, if your character can't tread water, then he OBVIOUSLY isn't level X yet.

For people with the latter opinion, could you please give me an example (in fantasy or real life) of a PC-esque character that is so universally capable? I'll wait.


Raylyeh wrote:
How is a system with 10+ years of houserules better than anything? Isn’t that definitive proof that it’s terrible? Honestly to me the definition of a good system is one where you don’t need houserules. The entire point is in the very word SYSTEM. A uniform set of rules that people from different groups can follow so that there is minimal deviation when they meet. That is why the industry for making these games exists and if these companies work it so that the GM has little or nothing to fix the GM is more likely to run/pay for the game. I don’t know about others but one of the worst things for me when I join a new TTRPG group is having to learn a whole new set of houserules that can vary wildly.

No system is perfect for everyone, therefore, there will be houserules. Systems that ARE terrible don't get houserules, because nobody plays them.

Unless you plan on only playing in PFS, you are GOING to run into houserules.

My point is that if PF1 is easier to houserule into an enjoyable game than PF2, then people will continue to play PF1 with houserules.

People who are vocal about the flaws of PF2 are probably in the boat of "I'd rather houserule PF1." What helps PF1, is that we have has over 10 years of experience making and playing with houserules, and most of us don't have trouble dealing with them, because we are used to them.

Generally speaking, most houserules are fairly simple and easy to pick up quickly (because if they weren't, people would just play other games) if not near universal.


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Snowblind wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

A good GM familiar with the rules can fix almost any system enough to be playable...but it's a job of work. Good systems minimize this work to the extent they can manage, and allow GMs who are inexperienced or only mediocre at the rules to run good games. That's sort of what makes them good, well-designed, games.

The attitude that because a GM can theoretically fix something the system should not do so is incorrect, unpleasant, and detrimental to good game design. Which is why I'm very glad the folks at Paizo clearly do not share it.

I cannot favorite this enough. I despise the dismissive argument of "well, the GM can fix it" for this very reason.

Remember kids, any time a GM spends making their game not dysfunctional is time they aren't spending making their game great.

"Dysfunctional" is subjective. I'm sure most of the people complaining about +level to everything find it more "dysfunctional" than 3.Ps issues, that have likely already been solved via houserules 10+ years in the making.


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If we are humoring alternative solutions, 3.5's Unearthed Arcana had a "Defense Bonus" for classes as an alternate rule. You got a bonus to your AC equal to half your level. I believe it only applied while you were aware of enemies and capable of defending yourself. This rule was intended to be used either in a low magic setting where magic armor didn't exist, or to compliment the Armor as DR rule in the game.

As for narrative explanations for +1/level to AC for wizards, none are acceptable in my eyes.

If the +1/level to AC is due to wards, then what happens in an AMF? What about a wizard who thinks defensive spells are a waste of time? Why can't my wizard choose to devote that magical practice into something else? Not to mention that, by going with this explanation, your are telling your players what they are doing, instead of letting them decide what they are doing.

If it is due to combat experience gained over many levels of adventuring, then why don't the more combat heavy classes have a SIGNIFICANTLY better bonus? What happens when the character is caught unable to defend themselves due to being flat footed or disabled? Do they lose their level bonus, because experience doesn't matter a whole lot when you can't put it to use?

Some divine favor grants the AC bonus? What about non-religious characters? What about clerics/paladins who have upset their deities? What about highly favored low level PCs/NPCs? Shouldn't they get more "plot armor"? (That's essentially what it is.)

For any explanation you come up with, you are shoehorning players into a narrative corner whether they like it or not, and you will ultimately have weird edge cases where, by your explanation, they shouldn't have their AC bonus, but they do anyway.


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At the risk of completely derailing this thread, I will mention that C/MD DOES exist(in 3.P), and I find it extremely weird that people actually debate this seriously.

While it is true that martials still see play, that doesn't mean that C/MD does not exist. Casters tend to be harder to play than martials, so people who don't want to deal with memorizing 40 different spells their character knows, playing a martial is less daunting. At my tables, that's generally half the reason why someone opts to not play a caster. The other half of the time, they just REALLY want to play a martial character, only to realize about 10 levels into the campaign why they haven't played a martial in a while.

The litmus test for C/MD is easy. Given any "job" for an adventurer (tank, DPR, healing, crowd control, utility, jack-of-all-trades, etc.) try to build an optimized martial for that job, then try to build an optimized caster for that same job. 9/10 times, the caster will be more efficient that the martial at any given job. The only place martials REALLY stand out is single target DPR, and they really aren't that much better than casters at it.

Then there is the part where a martial has to devote 50% or more of their character building resources to become good at any of the above jobs, and most casters can do that with a few spells, while specializing in another area.

There was a great example I ran across somewhere that illustrated the point perfectly. The scenario was a party trying to sneak in to a castle without alerting the guards:

Martial: "We can all try to sneak in!"

Wizard: "Or I can cast invisibility?"

Martial: "Nah, they probably have True Seeing."

Wizard: "Okay, I can cast Dimension Door and get us in."

Martial: "Nah, they probably have Planar Lock in place."

Wizard: "Okay, how about fly?"

Martial: "Nah, if I were them, I'd have someone watching the skies for us."

Wizard: "I could cast Alter Self and make us look like guards?"

Martial: "They probably have verbal challenges to check for that."

Wizard: "How about I Dominate the garrison so that they let us in?"

Martial: "Fine. You know what? Here's the spotlight. Would it kill you to let someone else solve a problem for once?"


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Ssalarn wrote:
thflame wrote:
Levels are a game mechanic. They are something we, the players, interact with, not the characters.
Alternative viewpoint, they are a gamist abstraction reflecting a real increase in power within the context of the game world. While the character might not go "Oh man, I leveled up", they did in fact experience a real increase in power that affected how they interact with and are affected by the game world.

That doesn't mean they got better at everything. They just got enough better at enough things to be "on a different level". We don't need a +1 to everything every level to adequately represent the power increase of a level.

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thflame wrote:
Better in general? Yes. At everything? Nope. No matter how strong a T-Rex gets, without magic, it won't ever learn to speak, compose a symphony, etc.
Untrue. A t-rex who leveled up sufficiently could increase its intelligence score, take a point in Linguistics, and learn a language. At least in the current edition of the game. Even ignoring that, I don't see that as an argument against +level, I see it as an argument for more gates within skills requiring training to do something like play an instrument.

I would not want to play in that game. A T-Rex has a physical limitation on how smart it can get. Barring magic(or something similar), it will never breach animal intelligence.

Maybe you could train one to do tricks, or roar on command, but not speak.

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After basic training? Nope. Even after being stationed overseas, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between two citizens from different Arabic countries. (Thought the military will probably have you take a class on local customs and basic language.) You would probably know just as much as the average person who watches the news.

Also, keep in mind that most PF characters aren't soldiers, being forced to take classes on stuff outside their focus.

I was speaking from personal experience there, so lets just leave it that my real life experience as a soldier contradicts your statement.

Most of the adults in my family are veterans. Everything they learned in the military (aside from stuff like, "that guy is a jerk", or "this place has good food") was taught to them in classes, either as part of basic, or as part of their specializations.

A character that was a soldier in a military in the world of Golarion would likely have their skills determined by the military they belonged to.

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And I didn't because I didn't care to pay any attention to my roommate's guitar playing.
Maybe if you had you'd have leveled up by now.

Let's try to keep this classy.

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The effectiveness of "training" should not be limited to "spice". Training is MUCH more important than "how long you have been doing stuff unrelated to said skill".
Which is why proficiency gates should be used to separate out things that simply aren't possible without training.

No. I literally mean that a mathematician is NOTICEABLY better at basic math than someone who graduated high school. PF2 would literally assume that a PFC would be better at Algebra than a Math Major in college, because the PFC has fought in battles, and thus, has more levels.

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Aside from my entire issue with Vancian Casting, this seems totally legitimate to me. You don't have the tools for the job? You can't do it. Find another way. It's a heck of a lot better than that wizard making the jump on a 15, while the legendary fighter falls to his death on a 5.
False equivalency. If the fighter is truly legendary than he won't fail the check.

No, it's not. The difference between Untrained and Legendary is 7 points in the old rules. That could totally happen. It probably DID happen a few times in the playtest.

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Your barbarian doesn't scare the bookeeper, because he ISN'T scary, but the bookkeeper does what he says anyway, because the bookkeeper knows that your barbarian could easily follow through on the threat.
I mean, yeah, we can make up rules all we want to make the narrative fit our desires, but that's not an argument for or against a rules structure, it's just rule-zeroing away the inconsistency that is inconvenient to your stance.

Fine, I'll offer a counter example: Level 1 disgruntled peasant get's lucky and put's a knife to the king's throat. Does he roll to intimidate the level 20 PCs (who, for argument's sake have left their weapons at the gate and are in an Anti-Magic-Field), or do the PCs just assume that the peasant will kill the king if they don't take him seriously.

By your logic, they won't be, because they are a higher level. But, unless they are jerks who don't care about the king, they will likely try to negotiate with the peasant, who is poised to kill the king.

Ergo, they aren't "intimidated" per se, but they realize that the situation is dangerous enough that they yield to the peasant's demands, at least for now.

Where the intimidate check comes in is when the threat isn't immediately obvious.

Man in a cloak draws a sword and demands your coin purse or your life. Is he bluffing? Can he take your character in a fight? Is it worth the trouble?

It comes back to the "paladin is immune to fear" fiasco in 3.P. Yeah, your paladin is immune to fear, but that doesn't stop him from running away from a Great Wyrm Red when he's level 5.

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Intimidation is about being able to make a believable threat against them (effectively bluffing).
No, it's not. Bluff is part of a completely separate skill. Intimidation is conveying the threat you pose in such a way that you don't have to follow through on the threat, or to force someone into making subpar choices due to your threatening influence.

Perhaps I misspoke. A bluff CAN be an intimidation check, but an Intimidation check isn't always a bluff. Though, usually, when a character makes a threat that they are easily capable of and willing to follow through on, the check is not rolled, because the check is pointless. If the target is intimidated, then the character get's what he wants. If not, then the character follows through on the check and bad stuff happens.

If the character is incapable of following through with the threat (either because they aren't physically capable, or they aren't willing to do so) then a check in needed (and they are essentially bluffing).

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If you want a good counter example, imagine, instead of a barbarian, a paladin or a cleric of a peaceful deity. How the heck is a paladin going to threaten an innocent bookkeeper with violence? He pretty much can't, unless he can sound very convincing that he is willing to fall over this.
Based on your entirely subjective interpretation of Intimidate, that would be true. But a paladin could simply say "Withholding this information from me would have dire consequences for all of us. You don't want to be the cause of suffering for yourself or others do you? Don't force me to take this to a higher authority." Which could easily coerce the bookkeeper to relinquish the information without negatively impacting the paladin's oaths and anathema.

That would fall under Diplomacy more than Intimidation. First of all, it requires the target of the "intimidation" to be in danger if they don't cooperate AND under the jurisdiction of a higher authority that cares to punish them. If neither of those are true, then there is no reason to cooperate with the paladin.

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For your basic training example above, Privates aren't usually physically intimidated by drill sergeants.
Have you been through basic training? Because I have, and my experience contradicts yours. Even were that not the case, you added the clause of "physically" intimidating, which is not a function or even something someone necessarily does. Many people are physically intimidated by someone solely because of their size or raw physicality without the person taking any action to intimidate them or needing to do anything at all.

Both of my parents were in the military. The reason why you are "afraid" of your drill sergeants is because they can make you run extra miles, do extra push ups, clean the latrines with your toothbrush, etc. They have authority over you to make your life hell.

As for the second part of that, as I have already discussed, people who are physically capable of harming you, and willing to do so, don't need to make an intimidate check, because it would be pointless. Either you cave because you fail, or you cave anyway(because you're smart), or you resist because you're and idiot and you get your butt handed to you.

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They just know that they can make their life a living hell if they don't do what they say. An intimidating drill sergeant would be the guy that could threaten to blow your head of with his service pistol and dump your body under the latrine (something he can't legally do) and make you believe that he would actually do it.
That is, again, youir interpretation of Intimidate which is not in any way supported by the rules. The most frightening and effective drill sergeants are typically the ones who don't say anything at all (or the minimal amount necessary) and use their presence and stance to convey significant threat with a simple phrase like "Excuse me, soldier?" loaded with menacing promise.

You were only intimidated because they could make your life a living hell. If this were a TTRPG, they wouldn't even roll the check. They would say, "drop and give me 50" and you would do so, or you would be subject to disciplinary action. (Or they would wake everyone up at "o'dark thirty" and tell everyone that their early morning was thanks to YOU.

Again, they have both the authority to carry out the threat and the willingness to do so. The only way you wouldn't be intimidated is if you didn't care what they did to you.

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If you want a REAL counter example of that. Watch Full Metal Jacket. The drill sergeant in that film was a REAL drill sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant R Lee Ermey. He ad lib'd his scenes with the actors, but the actors were barely holding back laughter the entire time (until Ermey actually hit one of them). Obviously they weren't Intimidated, even though Ermey was trying his best to be intimidating. (I guess Ermey missed your memo on all soldiers being intimidating.)
To put it in game terms, that is someone taking a significant penalty to their Intimidate check because they are in a circumstance where everyone knows they can't follow through on the threat. It's not a "REAL" counter example because it's not a real situation.

Shouldn't matter by your logic. Ermey is obviously a "higher level" than these actors were, and he's likely an Expert at Intimidation (again by your logic.)

Or, Ermey wasn't intimidating, he was just in a position of authority while he was in the Marines and people respected his authority and knew he could give them hell if they didn't.

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In short, it's easy to be intimidating when you can easily follow through on your threat. It's a LOT harder when you have to convince the other guy that you are willing to go there, despite what might happen to you.
Which is meaningless in the context of the conversation. The "reality" of the situation is that a high level character is going to be fundamentally more capable of following through on his threats than most lower level characters, by virtue of acquired power. That's true regardless of class.

Here's another example as to why level shouldn't matter.

Take two identical old geezers. One is a level 20 wizard, and the other is just some old guy. Both say, in the exact same tone of voice, "give me your coin purse, or I'll turn you into a newt" to a level 1 fighter.

The fighter has no idea which one if any is a high level wizard. (Chances are, they're both just old peasants that he could dispatch with a casual swing of his sword.) Why would he be randomly intimidated by the level 20 wizard.

Heck, the fighter has no concept of "level". They ARE just two old guys to him.

Unless the high level wizard has practiced being intimidating, he won't actually sway the fighter, because the fighter will think that he is just some crazy old coot. (It sucks for the fighter if the wizard follows through, though.)

I can literally think of dozens of examples of high level characters being incapable of intimidating low level characters.


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Ssalarn wrote:
thflame wrote:


Probably, but then I'd still be wondering why training only nets you a range of 7 points while just existing is a range of 20 points.

Because you're not just "existing" you are actively leveling up.

Levels are a game mechanic. They are something we, the players, interact with, not the characters.

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And it has pretty much always been a conceit of the game that higher level creatures are better in almost every way than lower level creatures.

Better in general? Yes. At everything? Nope. No matter how strong a T-Rex gets, without magic, it won't ever learn to speak, compose a symphony, etc.

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You don't become level 5 by sitting around waiting to level up, you do it by actively performing tasks until you get there.

Unless you're an NPC that just so happens to need a certain proficiency level to contribute to the plot.

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The successful completion of those tasks makes you an objectively better being than the version of you that sat around existing, and successfully completing new and greater challenges will allow you to become an objectively better being than the person who you were before.

Here's a highly probable, and likely extremely common example as to why this makes zero sense.

Imagine a party of level 1 characters that gets to level 2 by raiding a dungeon filled with goblins. Why do these characters get better at Performance, Arcana, swimming, Lore in any area beyond Goblins and dungeoneering, etc.? Realistically, they don't, but PF2 says they do because "they got a level".

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Do people complain that wizards get more hit points every time they level up? What if the wizard never got injured a single time during that entire level? My experience is that someone who has never been in a fight before is way more likely to go down at the first punch, regardless of their starting physicality.

Final Fantasy 2 actually did this. HP only increased if you got hit. It was bad because, at a certain point, you couldn't avoid damage and characters with low HP would get one shot.

From a gameplay standpoint HP NEEDS to increase, as the alternative makes characters too frail to take a hit, which is GOING to happen.

This doesn't apply to Skills, in general, because there are ALWAYS alternate solutions, and you can reasonably make the choice to get training in these skills if you think it is necessary.

From a verisimilitude standpoint, the wizard sees his allies get hit, probably helps treat their wounds and learns, second hand, what it is like to get hit. Even so, they still get LESS HP than other classes, BECAUSE they aren't generally getting hit.

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It's harder for me to believe that someone could essentially make it all the way through basic training in the Army (lets say for the sake of argument that that's the difference between level 1 and level 2, or maybe the difference between a human without a class and a human with their first class level) and not have picked up a bunch of things they weren't specifically trained in.

"A bunch" =/= "all". I guarantee you that I am a better programmer than 95% of military personnel, because basic training does not usually teach programming.

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You'll be better at intimidation, because you've seen other people doing it a lot,

Maybe. But I know some pretty timid people who were in the military. Turns out, most grunts are pretty tame emotionally, or else they ted to get dishonorably discharged early.

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you'll be better at picking up accents and have accumulated a significant amount of knowledge through your interactions with a new and diverse group of people,

After basic training? Nope. Even after being stationed overseas, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between two citizens from different Arabic countries. (Thought the military will probably have you take a class on local customs and basic language.) You would probably know just as much as the average person who watches the news.

Also, keep in mind that most PF characters aren't soldiers, being forced to take classes on stuff outside their focus.

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and you'll likely be significantly better at all physical tasks (even the ones that don't involve push-ups, sit-ups, or running).

Well yeah. At some point, I'd assume that soldier types would put points in Athletics. But not all martial characters are soldier types.

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Heck, I even picked up a few chords and learned to play the guitar a bit (Perform) by watching one of my roommates play.

And I didn't because I didn't care to pay any attention to my roommate's guitar playing.

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The sum totality of experience is represented by a level.

True.

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A proficiency rank just represents the extra spice of proper training or specialization.

The effectiveness of "training" should not be limited to "spice". Training is MUCH more important than "how long you have been doing stuff unrelated to said skill".

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I'm less fond of, and believe that there is less thematic consistency in, a world where a wizard can battle their way through goblins, orcs, ogres, trolls, dragons, and demons only to be tripped up by a 20-foot escarpment at the end of it because they're out of fly spells.

Aside from my entire issue with Vancian Casting, this seems totally legitimate to me. You don't have the tools for the job? You can't do it. Find another way. It's a heck of a lot better than that wizard making the jump on a 15, while the legendary fighter falls to his death on a 5.

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Or where a 26 Strength giant-sized barbarian can't Intimidate a CR 1 bookkeeper because no one taught him how to be scary.

Your barbarian doesn't scare the bookeeper, because he ISN'T scary, but the bookkeeper does what he says anyway, because the bookkeeper knows that your barbarian could easily follow through on the threat.

Heck, he may not do what he says, because you both know that if your barbarian tries anything like that, the whole city will come down on him like a ton of bricks.

Intimidation is about being able to make a believable threat against them (effectively bluffing).

By having no proficiency in Intimidate, this shows me that your barbarian prefers to go straight to violence, or avoid confrontation in favor of Diplomacy or something else.

If you want a good counter example, imagine, instead of a barbarian, a paladin or a cleric of a peaceful deity. How the heck is a paladin going to threaten an innocent bookkeeper with violence? He pretty much can't, unless he can sound very convincing that he is willing to fall over this.

For your basic training example above, Privates aren't usually physically intimidated by drill sergeants. They just know that they can make their life a living hell if they don't do what they say. An intimidating drill sergeant would be the guy that could threaten to blow your head of with his service pistol and dump your body under the latrine (something he can't legally do) and make you believe that he would actually do it.

If you want a REAL counter example of that. Watch Full Metal Jacket. The drill sergeant in that film was a REAL drill sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant R Lee Ermey. He ad lib'd his scenes with the actors, but the actors were barely holding back laughter the entire time (until Ermey actually hit one of them). Obviously they weren't Intimidated, even though Ermey was trying his best to be intimidating. (I guess Ermey missed your memo on all soldiers being intimidating.)

In short, it's easy to be intimidating when you can easily follow through on your threat. It's a LOT harder when you have to convince the other guy that you are willing to go there, despite what might happen to you.


thejeff wrote:
thflame wrote:

To be fair, I also have personal expectations of what each proficiency tier means:

Untrained: You have never sought out training or devoted time to practice this skill. If ever forced to use this skill, you are limited to common sense, educated guesses, and luck as to how to complete your task.

Trained: You have either sought out training or practiced this skill enough that you know what your doing. For most common applications of the skill, your are good enough to get the job done with a bit of luck. People aren't generally willing to pay you for use of this skill, unless they are really desperate.

Expert: You are so good at this skill that, when a problem arises, and you are around, people ask for your help. You could make a profitable business out of using this skill.

Master: You are the best at this skill as people could reasonably imagine. You could make good money teaching this skill at a trade school or college. Your skills are in such high demand that only nobles could reasonably afford your work.

Legendary: You are better than plausibly possible. People don't readily believe your exploits with this skill, because such exploits are considered impossible. You are a household name. Only the wealthiest of patrons could possibly buy your work, if it is even for sale.

I suspect a large part of the problem is that those personal expectations don't match the game's use of the terms. Which is at least partly a problem with the game's naming convention, since they aren't unreasonable expectations, but the game combines level and tier in way you don't seem to be.

Wonder if just thinking about them as "tiers 1 to 5" with no names attached would alter your expectations.

Probably, but then I'd still be wondering why training only nets you a range of 7 points while just existing is a range of 20 points.


Unicore wrote:
1. What is the value of having a +\- 35 point spread in bonuses between characters of the same level, doing the same task? I understand people want to be able to be bad at something but at this level of differential, the actual difference been being good at something, extremely good at something and bad at something begin to disappear into 5% probabilities if rolling a 1 or a 20. With +level removed from untrained and the spread of bonuses from proficiency increasing dramatically, it is difficult to argue that PF2 is going to have a better handle on “number bloat” than PF1. A position I used to advocate on this message board.

I can agree that a +/-35 difference is too much, but my solution would be to add 1/2 level instead of full level, while still withholding 1/2 level from untrained. (I'd probably also increase the difference between proficiency tiers to 3.) As it stands, +level still dwarfs your proficiency bonus, which is my main issue with it. Your training should matter just as much as your experience.

The other side to it is that it just isn't acceptable from a common sense standpoint that the difference between someone who has never sought out any training or practiced at all is only 35% worse than someone who is so good at a given task, that their exploits are considered "legendary".

In my opinion, if "legendary" is used to describe your level of skill in a particular area, and there is a chance you could fail a given check, an untrained guy should stand absolutely no chance.

Likewise, if the given skill check is something that an untrained person could accomplish without insane amounts of luck (nat 20), then the legendary individual shouldn't even need to roll.

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2. There is just as much weird stuff happening in terms of believable story telling as when untrained characters got +level, only now it effects characters in a life or death manner. Why should an untrained wizards AC drop by 20+ points when they put on armor at level 20 vs when they put that armor on at level 1?

Yeah, I don't like +level to AC. Given how the system works, I don't really have a good solution, but the idea that a sleeping level 20 wizard in his long johns is harder to hit than a sleeping level 1 wizard in his long johns breaks my immersion. At least the wizard isn't forced to wear armor, reducing his AC by his level.

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The same with picking up a sword or other weapon. Desperately grabbing for a weapon that you might not be trained with should not make you bumblingly incompetent at combat. By level 10, forcing a monk to wear a suit of padded armor into combat is essentially a death sentence. Should it be a little inconveniencing? Sure, should that level of inconveniencing grow exponentially by level? No. It is much easier for GMs to arbitrate what a character could not do with an untrained skill check that is numerically balanced to other proficiencies than to have to try to balance that on the fly when a character finds themself in a life or death situation, trying to understand why their bonus to attack while using a magical long sword is 15-20 points worse than using a broken dagger, or other weapon they are trained in.

While I agree with you that a sudden -20 is jarring, there is also the problem that someone who has never touched a sword in their life is only 35% worse than a guy that is considered a "legendary swordsman". If these two were to get into a fight, the untrained guy should stand no chance.

At this point, it sounds like removing a level bonus of any kind makes more sense.

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3. This reinforces “untrained” as a check to never be tried. This makes character aspects that have to begin at trained have less room for diversity than profiencies that can start at untrained, and replaces letting characters become competent at everything, with massively punishing players who don’t know what aspects of the game to make sure they are competent at. This is why perception had to be removed from the skill list and seems like acrobatics and athletics now should be too, or else skill use in combat is in a wonkier place than it was in PF1.

Being unable to contribute because you never devoted a single skill boost to a given skill is MUCH better than the resident expert being outdone by a handful of idiots because one of them will likely roll better than him. I absolutely HATE this in DnD 5e.

This is, however, contingent on the possibility of becoming trained in all of these problem skills. If that isn't possible for all characters, then this is a problem for the system.

Based on the old PF2 system, the probability of 3 untrained characters beating a Legendary character on a given skill check is near 50%. That isn't acceptable to me.

To be fair, I also have personal expectations of what each proficiency tier means:

Untrained: You have never sought out training or devoted time to practice this skill. If ever forced to use this skill, you are limited to common sense, educated guesses, and luck as to how to complete your task.

Trained: You have either sought out training or practiced this skill enough that you know what your doing. For most common applications of the skill, your are good enough to get the job done with a bit of luck. People aren't generally willing to pay you for use of this skill, unless they are really desperate.

Expert: You are so good at this skill that, when a problem arises, and you are around, people ask for your help. You could make a profitable business out of using this skill.

Master: You are the best at this skill as people could reasonably imagine. You could make good money teaching this skill at a trade school or college. Your skills are in such high demand that only nobles could reasonably afford your work.

Legendary: You are better than plausibly possible. People don't readily believe your exploits with this skill, because such exploits are considered impossible. You are a household name. Only the wealthiest of patrons could possibly buy your work, if it is even for sale.

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Overall, this is just a change that doesn’t make sense to me, but I know it has made a lot of folks happy. I would love to hear why. I am left personally thinking I will remove +level across the board from my PF2 games to avoid these issues, which is ironic because I previously saw that system as an elegant way to make level meaningful and I find leveling up to be rather bland and insignificant at many levels and for many classes without it.

Honestly, that is probably the best solution. While +level is an elegant solution, it causes WAY too many issues in practice.

I think using 1/2 level may solve some of these issues, or at least mitigate them to the point that they aren't as noticeable.


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Edge93 wrote:

Sure, in that best-case scenario and other such, it works quite fine. In fact, even with +level to untrained you would probably do that because that is the best and most likely to succeed method for each player in that case and as you mention, it's quick.

But not every scenario is so accommodating.

If you think my scenario is too generous, give me an example of a scenario where the PCs would be forced to split up if one of them were untrained.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
thflame wrote:

Let's say you are trying to infiltrate a party to get information. Some characters might sneak in. Others may bluff their way in. Others may need a distraction to climb the fence. Perhaps the caster has a spell for this situation? Maybe a character could use Diplomacy before the party to get an invitation? Someone could lure a guard out, knock him out, and steal his uniform.

Regardless, everyone doesn't have to follow the same plan.

The problem with different people using different methods is simple: It splits the party, which tends to get people killed. It's why I stopped taking Stealth after a while in PF1e, after I came within an inch of losing my Rogue because one person cannot handle stumbling into a level-appropriate encounter during a solo mission.
Moderate nitpick. Different methods and party splitting works fine. In some games. Play a game of Shadowrun and no one bats an eye when the Decker sits in the security booth, the face schmoozes with some guards, and the two weapon guys infiltrate the facility. However for the reasons you mentioned that stuff doesn't fly in D20. Different paradigms for different games, and d20's paradigm is distinctly summed up with the Never Split the Party song.

Fundamentally, though a scene in which some players cannot participate because their characters are not physically present, is simply less fun than a scene in which all players can participate.

So I assiduously avoid splitting the party for that reason.

Why does "using different skill checks" mean "splitting the party"?

Imagine the above scenario:

The Paladin uses Diplomacy to convince a noble to vouch for him. he walks through the main gate.

The Bard uses Bluff to convince the guard that he left his invitation at home and the guard let's him walk through the front gate.

The Rogue uses Stealth to sneak through the front gate while the Bard is distracting the guard.

The Wizard casts Dimension Door and teleports through the front gate, past the guard.

The party doesn't split, yet each member used a different method to enter.

Each of these will take, at most, a minute or two. If someone can't sit for 5 minutes while other PCs roleplay their way into a party, then God help them when combat starts.


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Cyouni wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Cyouni wrote:


Right now, I anticipate it being as PF1 in "oh, no one went completely out of their bailiwick to learn Nature? Okay, we have no idea about anything that's going on, so let's go back to plan A: break down the front door".

Your opinion is perfectly valid, but I want to stress that this exact scenario is not only acceptable to me, but is *crucial*.

I strongly believe groups with different compositions and skillsets should solve problems differently. It is antithetical to my enjoyment of the game if every group is assumed to, for example, be adept in wilderness lore and every scenario assumes not only that competence but success at the relevent roll.

That's great...up until a large portion of options are gated off by the entire party needing to be able to make a particular skill. Stealth is out, Bluff may or may not be out depending on the situation, and Acrobatics/Athletics is generally out.

It's basically either everyone accepts the skill tax, or you're left with very few options (or use magic to solve everything, as in PF1).

Skills don't lose their usefulness just because everyone hasn't invested in them.

Let's say you are trying to infiltrate a party to get information. Some characters might sneak in. Others may bluff their way in. Others may need a distraction to climb the fence. Perhaps the caster has a spell for this situation? Maybe a character could use Diplomacy before the party to get an invitation? Someone could lure a guard out, knock him out, and steal his uniform.

Regardless, everyone doesn't have to follow the same plan.

I find it much more interesting to ask each party member how they plan to solve a given problem rather than have the whole group try the same thing.

As for climbing a cliff, the DC for climbing a knotted rope is pretty low, so all you really need is one guy who can climb a cliff and set a rope for everyone else to climb. Anyone who is THAT bad a climbing can tie themselves into a makeshift harness and have everyone else pull them up.

The only time a skill check is completely nonviable is when NOBODY has that skill. At that point, that solution just isn't an option for the party. Hopefully, APs won't include situations where you have to use X skill to succeed, and will let players use their imagination to find alternate solutions.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
thflame wrote:
I see a lot of people wanting Untrained to get 1/2 level at least, but why not just reduce all other tiers by 1/2 level instead?

Because I very much want to maintain numerical continuity with PF1, in which a fighter adds their level to all their attack rolls in the form of BAB and someone who has max ranks in a skill adds their level to those skill checks in the form of "your skill rank investment is capped by your level."

Having a 10th level fighter add a +5 instead of a +10 or having a 12th level craft specialist add +6 instead of +12 is just going to feel wrong to me. Sure, you will be adding a proficiency bonus in PF2 but that, to me, just replaces things like Skill Focus, Weapon Training, Weapon Focus, Trapfinding, etc. which are no longer available.

No offense, but there are a LOT of things that no longer maintain "numerical continuity".

I mean, the whole world switching to the new silver standard is, IMO, a much more difficult thing to rationalize than the numerical representation of how good a specialist is. (Not saying that switching to the silver standard is bad.)

I mean, if you don't like the idea of a fighter's BAB going from 1 x level to 0.5 x level, then why are you okay with wizards going from 0.5 x level to 1 x level, or rogues going from 0.75 x level to 1 x level? That sounds odd to me.

Not to mention that with a +2 or a +3 per proficiency level, (with 1/2 level) the fighter would end up at approximately the same bonus.


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I think the new skill system is a step in the right direction.

I see a lot of people wanting Untrained to get 1/2 level at least, but why not just reduce all other tiers by 1/2 level instead?

The issue I have/had with +level to everything is that level eclipses all choices your character makes.

While I think the new system is an improvement, I think I would prefer this:

Untrained: +0
Trained: 1/2 level + 3
Expert: 1/2 level + 6
Master: 1/2 level + 9
Legendary: 1/2 level + 12

This would make the difference between Untrained and Legendary +22, which is just beyond a d20 roll. To be fair, I fully expect a Legendary character (someone who does stuff worthy of Legends) to be on a completely different level than the untrained guy.

As for the issues with untrained characters being totally incompetent, I like the suggested mechanic of letting Experts, Masters, and Legendary specialists "give" a proficiency Tier to someone who is lesser trained than themselves as part of an "Aid Another" action.

Someone earlier brought up an issue of Untrained PCs not knowing stuff about the world like a deity's domains, or the nature of a lich's phylactery. You don't roll Lore checks for stuff your character knows and stuff they can't possibly know. If at any time information has been revealed to a character, they shouldn't need to roll a Lore check for that information.

For example, knowing the domains for the party cleric's deity sound pretty reasonable for the party to know after their first adventure together. Knowing how a phylactery works should be learned after facing your first lich, or after asking the local expert about liches before you go face your first lich.


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Shisumo wrote:
BryonD wrote:
People, by and large, have looked, shrugged, and moved on.
[Citation needed]

Find some Youtube videos/Reddit posts (that don't link here) talking about PF2 in the last week.

Compare to the DnD Next/Pathfinder 1 buzz around the same time in their developments.

BryonD is right. Virtually nobody outside of these forums is talking about PF2, and that's a REALLY bad sign.

I'm pretty sure Paizo knows this, but it is too late to fix the system without delaying it significantly(especially since the main point of contention is the core of the system), and Paizo needs a return on investment.

My prediction is that PF2 will have a burst of book sales when it releases, and then will pretty much die off afterwards, just like 4e.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
thflame wrote:

Except that the "gates" in PF1 were, "put a point in it" and "do you have a high enough bonus to succeed".

I also chuckled a bit when you said 5 proficiency tiers are more granular than 20 Skill Ranks.

It's more granular with like 10-30 DCs, we now have 100 different potential options instead of 20.

Requiring a "high bonus" for everything that is obscure, tricky, or confusing (even though "doing it" isn't hard) is far worse than how PF2 can do it.

If 5 proficiency tiers and 20 levels grant you a range of -3 to +23. That's nowhere near 100 different potential options.

If you still want to count that, then there are probably thousands of possible options in PF1.

For any given level, you can have a rank from zero to your level in a given skill. And this varies from skill to skill. Then there is the possibility of feats that grant extra bonuses, and class/cross class skills (which I'm actually not a fan of, TBH).

Not to mention that, past Trained, ranking up does nothing aside from a +1 bonus. You have to grab feats to utilize your increase in skill.

Saying that PF2 is more granular than PF1 is laughable. It is the exact opposite. It's a "one size fits all" solution with a handful of choices that do almost nothing.

Heck, at least in PF1, you can actually FEEL like you are good at something skill without having to comb the multiverse for a special artifact while min-maxing your stats. You also get a nice sense of accomplishment when your 20 ranks in a skill pay off, as opposed to your piddly +3 getting swamped by your 3 untrained party members rolling because, "why not".

So long as the Skill check in question does not require a special Skill Feat or Training, it's MORE likely for 3 on level stooges to pass a skill check, than the specialist in the party in PF2.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

Gating proves how dumb +1/level is.

it says your +9 is worse than my +6 because if 9 would be better than 6 it would not make any sense.

I think proficiency gating is great. PF1 had proficiency gates in "can't attempt this untrained" so we're now just making that system more granular and useful.

Except that the "gates" in PF1 were, "put a point in it" and "do you have a high enough bonus to succeed".

I also chuckled a bit when you said 5 proficiency tiers are more granular than 20 Skill Ranks.


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MaxAstro wrote:

Just dropping in my standard reminder that if the main thing bothering you about +1/level is untrained skills, the devs have already said they are looking at addressing that issue...

First of all, just because Paizo has said they are going to address something, doesn't mean that they are going to have an acceptable solution.

Secondly, they already "addressed" that issue. They changed the Untrained modifier from -2 to -4. A level 20 untrained character is STILL better than a level 14 Expert, regardless of what that character has experienced.

Not to mention that this issue applies at ALL levels of Proficiency.

I expect an "Expert" to be significantly better than someone who is merely "Trained", even at tasks the trained individual could reasonably attempt. The problem is that the Expert is only 5% better than the Trained individual, all other variables being the same.

This same issue applies between Expert and Master, and Master and Legendary, and to a lesser extent, between all of the proficiency tiers.

Then there is the issue of characters with zero reason to have any skill in a particular area, being significantly better than people who have specialized in the same area, because they have killed more monsters.

For example, a grizzled old level 10 barbarian in a superstitious desert tribe that has been separated from civilization for generations knows more about the basic tenants of a religion he's never heard of than a lowly priest of that religion, knows how to swim better than a sailor, and knows more about basic magic than a wizard's apprentice.

Apparently killing giant scorpions teaches you more about religion, swimming, and magic than being a priest, sailor, or wizard does.

You want an example of a high level trained character vs a low level expert?

A fighter, who was taught as part of his training in the military about recognizing mages and spells, but has never actually seen a caster in action over the course of 5 levels, as a better basic understanding of magic than a level 1 wizard who spent 5 years of his life, casting spells and being around other spellcasters casting spells during his time at the Arcane University.

A rogue, who survived on being a pickpocket all his life, and received formal training from the local Thieves Guild, is worse at picking pockets than a level 10 cleric who hasn't stolen anything since before he became a cleric.


If I could make a last minute change to the proficiency system, I'd do this:

1) You get 1/2 level to skills, with an option to, at level 1, forgo this bonus on a given untrained skill for a bonus skill feat. (This let's player play the "I can't swim" character and gives them a small benefit in return.)

2) Proficiency modifiers are -3, 0, 3, 6, 9.

3) Gut the +/- 10 system, as it will proc too often in this new system.

This makes experience matter, while not trivializing the difference between a trained individual and a legendary individual.


Edge93 wrote:
The problem there is that 1/2 BAB in PF1 sucked. It made making a weapon-focused Wizard completely unviable, just as this system would do, just so the Fighter can feel better by having so much bigger numbers instead of being better in combat in ways that don't require making other classes useless at combat.

ahem.... ELDRITCH KNIGHT!!!!

Yeah, you've got to burn 2 caster levels, but it literally does what you want.

Although, to be fair, Arcane Strike from DnD 3.5 was a good feat for this.

Dump a spell slot for a +1 to hit and +1d4 damage per spell level dumped.


Helmic wrote:
Unfortunately for our dwarf barbarian, he is liable to be upstaged by the legendary sea serpent, who as a CR 12 creature with a +0 CHA modifier gets a +12 to Performance. And if that's not enough for those snobbish nobles who think level 5 bards are just pure trash, they better look out for the motherf&#~ing Kraken with a massive +22 to Performance, whose raw talent is tempered only by its instinct to immediately murder everyone in the room.

Good thing the Marvel Universe doesn't operate on PF2 logic. Starlord's dance off at the end of GotG 1 would have been tragic...


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I'm personally okay with a player being so good at one or two things, that they steamroll appropriately leveled challenges in those areas. The GM can always throw something higher level for them if he REALLY wants to challenge that character in those areas. Or, better yet, he can throw an NPC at that PC that has the appropriate attributes to check that PC's focus.

The thing is that such a character should have meaningful flaws to make up for that exceptional skill.

Finally, the game should incentivize diversifying your character's skill set, such that PCs tend to fall around an "average" capability.

It isn't fun when everyone hovers around average, with no flaws, and a couple skills that are slightly better than average. That character should be allowed to exist, but not everyone should have to be that character.


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Cyouni wrote:

Very certain people keep repeating "lack of variety" but it's manifestly not true. In all my Doomsday Dawn sessions, no character was remotely similar to one another, even when we had 4 clerics. Not the same feats, not the same stats, not the same skills - nothing.

If your definition of "lack of variety" is "I can't have +50 to one skill while having +0 to another, in a party where everyone hovers around +20", then honestly, lack of variety is a good thing.

That's a false dichotomy.

Just because we want our choices to matter more than our level, doesn't mean we want +0/+50.

I'll be the first to admit that Skill modifiers got insane in PF1. Many of the feats/class abilities that lead to this needed to be taken out behind the barn and shot. (Though +50 was usually overkill and only really seen in theory crafting.)

What I want is a more realistic Skill spread for characters. Stuff you don't practice and use is very low and stuff you try to specialize in is very high.

I think it should be entirely possible, and highly likely, for a level 1 wizard to know something about general magical knowledge that a level 20 fighter never learned, because the fighter never decided to waste time reading the Magic 101 text book.

If a high level fighter DOES know something about magic that the wizard doesn't, it should be because the PLAYER saw it happen in a session, it's part of their backstory, or the fighter decided to invest in learning about magic.


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Shinigami02 wrote:


To be totally honest though, this is the crux of my issue: The game, IMO, shouldn't expect you to have these items (and otherwise be absolutely min-maxed to the extreme for that matter) to be able to reliably use a class feature/feat. Especially not a level 1 class feature/feat.

I agree with you here. All it takes is a GM that wants magic items to have to be found in dungeons/given as rewards as opposed to purchased at "Ye Olde Magic Mart" to forget that you need a +X item to use your class ability reasonably effectively and your character just has to suck until the GM finds an excuse to give you your item.

Sometimes, the GM doesn't even notice.

There is also the issue that Bards tend to be a bit Gishy, and thus they likely won't have a 24 CHA at level 20.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So help me understand something. Every single edition of this game leading up to Pathfinder since thac0 was no longer a thing has had the fighter add 1 to his rolls to hit every single level. With the same equipment a level 20 fighter will hit things on a 2 that a level 1 fighter will only hit on a 20 in 3rd edition, 3.5, and PF1.

Why are we suddenly wanting to do away with this?

That's a strawman, and you know it.

It makes perfect sense for a class that's main shtick is fighting to get better at fighting. Especially given that the main method of gaining XP is by killing stuff.

In every edition leading up to Pathfinder, Skills have NOT increased this way. (BTW, most people here jumped ship on 4e, and the way skills were handled was a contributing reason as to why for many.) Why start now?

Sure, tweak the system in PF1. Heck, I even LIKE the idea of proficiency tiers. Just don't make a skill automatically progress regardless of how much it is used or how important it is to a character.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Emn1ty wrote:
Snip
I feel at that point you really don't want a level system at all. Afterall gaining HP is arbitrary, gaining BAB is arbitrary and so is saves. You should just get xp points that you spend on improving what you want. Which to be fair plenty of games do.

If we assume level represents overall effectiveness, which I believe it does, then it can be said that we can represent this level of effectiveness in more ways than just "+1 to everything". It's honestly quite a lazy design approach to making characters stronger. It is essentially saying, "I don't know how to make characters stronger except by increasing their chance to succeed at everything they do by 5%".

Furthermore, certain things ARE reasonably increased with an increase in level, while others aren't.

A character at level 10, for example, would have a REALLY bad time if they had the same HP they had at level 1. Therefore, HP is a reasonable thing to increase on a level up basis.

Adventurers fight a lot, therefore bonuses to their fighting abilities are a reasonable thing to increase when they level. What that increase is and where it applies should be different for different classes, but it should increase, nevertheless.

On the other side, I don't think that a fighter, who devotes all of his time and practice towards navigating dungeons and killing monsters, should be any better at identifying spells that he hasn't seen before.

A wizard who spends all of his time learning new spells and blasting monsters probably doesn't know how to temper a blade in a forge AT ALL, let along any better than he did a level ago (unless he is researching a spell to do that, of course).

A barbarian who loves to rush in blindly and murder everything to death, and thinks stealth is for wussies, probably isn't going to get any better at sneaking. I mean, he DEFINITELY isn't going to waste any of his time learning from the rogue how to walk more quietly. It's also quite likely that once the situation DOES come up where the barbarian meets an enemy that makes him wet his pants, he probably isn't going to be very good at sneaking around it. (Though, if he survives, he will probably book some lessons with the rogue afterward.)

A paladin who absolutely refuses to lie isn't going to get any better at lying, because he isn't going to practice. While he might deal with liars a lot, that doesn't make him better at lying. If that were true, EVERY old person would be an expert liar.

Then there is the obvious situation where a character NEVER got a chance to use a skill or even witness someone else using a particular skill in a given level. Why does something that you haven't used, let alone witnessed anyone using, improve when you level.

For example, in a desert campaign, where the only bodies of water are small oasis, unless you specifically ask to go swim in the oasis (in other words, put ranks in Swim) you aren't going to be better at swimming. When the PCs finally get that quest that sends then across the sea at level 15, they aren't going to be magically good at swimming in stormy seas.

What a good level up system does is increase the things that absolutely need to be increased, while granting some optional increases for things that the player wants.

Most systems that let you spend XP to purchase upgrades for your character are also classless systems and usually EXTREMELY complicated. (Like 3.5 is EASY comparatively.) And while I have not played many such systems, if they have a concept of Hit Points similar to PF, I doubt that that is something that is solely determined based on how many times you have purchased the "extra HP" upgrade.


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Emn1ty wrote:
+1/level is, in my opinion, a lazy version of trying to make your characters feel as if they are improving when there are such alternatives such as proficiency, items, quality, rarity and potentially (if added) class bonuses and features.

This is my sentiment as well.

Although, I also don't like the idea of magic items determining how good you are at stuff. I would like magic items to give you cool abilities or special qualities more than a flat bump to a skill or attribute.


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Charlie Brooks wrote:
Based on my playtest experience so far, +1/level has neither made everybody good at everything nor prevented people from being able to specialize. The wizard is still tops at Arcana, the rogue can sneak through areas the paladin can only dream about, and so on.

What do you mean by "tops"? He has a SLIGHTLY better bonus? That doesn't matter a whole lot when someone a whole proficiency rank lower than you can roll 2 better on the d20 and beat you.

Quote:
It has made it so an untrained adventurer has a small chance of success on tasks that are challenging for specialists, which seems to be a love it or hate it thing. Personally, I'm happy that I can have a challenge designed to be tough for the skill specialist but not so hard that it becomes a metaphorical broken bridge if the specialist fails.

Nat 20s on a d20 offer all the "chance to succeed" I want for people who aren't trained in a skill. If you don't invest in a skill, you should be bad at it.

As it stands now, unless the particular check you are attempting is gated behind a proficiency tier, everyone and their dog just attempts the check. If your specialist rolls sub par, but the complete novice rolls decent, he beats your character.

43% of the time, a Trained individual will beat an Expert, an Expert will beat a Master, and a Master will beat a Legendary, assuming their relevant attribute scores are the same.

24% of the time, an Untrained character will beat a Legendary character, assuming their attribute scores are the same.

This is a HUGE problem.

Quote:
It's also made it so somebody who wants a broad base of skills doesn't wind up unable to complete on-level challenges at high levels due to not optimally using their skill ranks.

First of all, this could have been solved by giving out more skill points.

Secondly, most players don't realize that you don't need max ranks in a skill to be competitive at high levels.

Characters with a broad range of lower tier skills are passable at more things. They get to contribute more often, even if they aren't as good as the specialist. There is a trade off.

Quote:
The rulebook can benefit from more clarity in terms of what challenges are which level, but my overall experience in play so far is that the current skill system solves more issues than it presents.

I disagree. If I wanted to play a character that couldn't swim in PF1, I just neglected to put ranks in Swim. I can't do that at all now. That's a perfectly reasonable trope to play, and it doesn't exist anymore.

I admit that, in PF1, often times, you could not contribute to a given skill check that you wished you could. This was almost always to blame on the fact that most classes didn't get enough skill points. While PF2 does fix that problem, it does so by going WAY too far in the other direction.

Interesting characters have flaws. You can't have flaws in PF2. Therefore, you can't make interesting characters in PF2.

All PF1 needed was a few tweaks to the system, or even a happy medium between the two systems.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
But the thing I want to underline about adventure design is that sometimes "someone in the party hasn't invested in the relevant skill" makes a particular approach impossible or undesirable. Stealth is a good example of this, the -2 stealth character is going to make a stealthy approach for the party impossible. So I think the "you're not so bad about the stuff you aren't good at" is an improvement.

The problem here is that this has been a thing since skills have been a thing. If one party member can't sneak, sneaking isn't an option for that character. Good GMs work around this by letting the players come up with alternate solutions. Maybe that player bluffs his way past threats instead of sneaking? Maybe he offers a distraction to help the rest of the party? Maybe the party has to create a diversion to help him sneak by? There are a lot of potential solutions that aren't "let's make everyone good at everything".

Quote:
Fundamentally the change from PF1 is "your numbers regarding the stuff you're best at increase slower, and your numbers regarding the stuff that you're not good at are generally higher." I can see wanting to fix the first part of that, but the second one I see as exclusively positive.

The latter is positive if you want to play a character that is hyper competent or border line Mary Sue-ish. Many of us DO NOT want to play such characters.

I will also note that most of the issues in PF1 with skill discrepancies were easily linked to certain classes not getting enough skill points.

It's pretty hard to have enough skill points to play along when you get 2 per level and there are over 30 skills, about a third of which are fairly useful for every day adventurers.

I guess all I'm really saying is that, while PF1's system had flaws, I think that it would have been better to try to tweak that system that to adopt the new system.


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As has been said on multiple occasions, if you are going to have casters in a setting with mundane martial characters, and the goal is for both to be similarly effective, magic must be one of three things:

1) Trivial - Magic does things that can be done by mundane means.

The main advantage of magic is that it can be convenient, but nobody is afraid of a caster. The problem with this solution is that trivial magic isn't fun for most people.

To be fair, this can be accomplished by making martials exceptional, instead of making magic weak, but many people don't like the idea of martials accomplishing things outside the realm of realistic possibility.

2) Rare - Magic is awesome, but very few have access to it.

This doesn't really solve C/MD because you either have magic be so rare that the PCs can't have it (thus no casters), the PCs are some of the few casters in the world (thus no martials), or some mix of the two where the PCs lucky enough to be casters are just plain better than the martial PCs.

3) Costly - Magic exists and it is awesome, but not many use it, either because it is dangerous/harmful/expensive to/for the user, or it takes so much effort to learn magic that you probably have to give up on being good at anything else.

This would be my preferred solution. Magic either takes a toll on the user (physically or economically) or requires a HUGE investment to pull off.

Unfortunately, players want to be able to spam spells all day long and not ever have to deal with gimping their character to do so.

What's funny, is that, in the D&D books(and I believe the Pathfinder lore as well), this IS the narrative solution to why magic isn't dominant in the world. It is implied that it takes YEARS of practice by gifted individuals to learn how to use magic safely, and that many of them don't survive the journey.

If only this was reflected in the spellcasting mechanics and caster progression....

Level 1 - You know ONE cantrip, and it works 95% of the time. You can attempt to cast other cantrips from your spell book, but they only have a 75% success rate and a 5% chance of causing some sort of backlash if you really screw them up. You can muster one Magic Missile per day, but it fails half the time, and when it fails, half the time is hits YOU.

Level 5 - You can finally cast cantrips risk free. Level 1 spells are pretty reliable and level 2 spells are reliable enough in a pinch. Level 3 spells are a risky endeavor that you only attempt when you are in dire straights.

Level 10 - You are a formidable foe on the battlefield. Your level 3 spells rarely fail and level 4s are practically reliable. Level 5 spells are risky, but manageable. Level 6 spells are a last resort.

Level 15 - You have ascended beyond what most casters could ever hope to achieve. Via heavy doses of luck or patience, you have made it this far. Level 5 spells are easily usable, save for extenuating circumstances, and you have been know to throw out a level 8 or two when stuff goes wrong, but everyone ducks when you start chanting. You have a nasty scar from that one time a level 8 failed, rendering you bed-ridden for a few months.

Level 20 - You are practically a god. Level 9s require effort and concentration to cast, but they work about 75% of the time and rarely result in self harm. You can cast the coveted level 10 spell, but doing so will likely permanently disfigure you and you will never be able to accomplish such a feat again, without the aid of a REAL god.

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