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Organized Play Member. 103 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 Organized Play character.

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Yossarian wrote:

Wow, I must say I find that an incomprehensibly bizzare answer! I expect every GM to strongly flavour the game - that's what role playing is all about - self expression. Expecting the GM to be some kind of unflavoured neutral non-entity is... both impossible and not what rpg's are about for me.

For example: Matt Mercer is considered the best GM by popular opinion (yes 5e). Would you say he is not imprinting his style on the game? No of course not, his style is strongly shaping the game.

So odd! :)

I don't think N N 959 is saying that as a GM he has no input on the setting and style of the game. I think he's saying he has little to no impact on the game *rules*.

Mercer is kind of a strange example on that, as he definitely fudges rules in order to get the kind of story that he *wants*. Personally, I see that as kind of a negative; while there are situations where the story of a game can benefit from GM shepherding, that can also take some of the power to influence the game away from the players, and remove some of the amazing potential that the randomness of the dice can provide.

But aside from that, what GMs (including Mercer) can flavor the game with, without affecting the rules themselves, is story, setting, and non-player characters (specifically their behavior and personality, not their stats). And that's more typically what you'll see Mercer expressing himself with.

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I'm very much with N N 959 on this.

I run transparent GMing where possible. It means I can't fudge when things start going wrong, but even in PF1, the players have plenty of options for salvaging a failing situation.

My experience has been that GMs (even experienced ones) are more likely to fudge in favor of keeping a high-potential NPC around or making a fight more 'interesting'. And quite frankly that's a trap. It cheapens both the hard work the players put into their characters / the fight, and the feelings of victory the players have that encounter (or every encounter, if they feel like their GM is doing this a lot). Worse, it ruins GM - Player trust, and can make the players feel like they're not actually participating in the story, but instead just being dragged along for the ride.

And as with what Quintessentially Me says, having RAW sources can help protect against that. They also give the GM a starting basis, so if the GM has to make a call on something in a hurry (especially something that could mess with overall mechanics), they have a basis to work from. As a GM, there's nothing worse than making a judgement call at the start of the game that ends up breaking the game later.

Rule 0 is a very powerful tool, and can be very dangerous as a result. The more there is codified, the less risk of making a bad call, and the easier it is for the players to ensure their voices are heard and their decisions have impact.

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Do they still have the problem where a wild version of X animal will outrun X animal companion 100% of the time, without including equipment?

And the problem where an animal companion that is not currently being ordered is effectively "off", and can by RAW take no actions?

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Raylyeh wrote:

Sure BD, I’ll take the bait! I am ONE of those persons as are a number of people I know. Observational learning is real and for many tasks it takes only a couple minutes to see large improvements. As it is one of the things that you HAD to use caps to ask. I hunted a fair bit with family in my early teens. Hunting requires you to be quiet among other things (stealth). Now my stepdad and grandfather never thought to tell me about how to quietly move through a forest in the middle of autumn. I tromped on in and almost immediately realized I was being too loud. So with no prompting I watched how my elders moved and within a minute I was walking as quietly as they were. Is that enough PROOF for you BD?

Now go crawl back under your bridge.

I'd argue that's really more a case of training. Your stepdad and grandfather were helping you learn how to move stealthily through the forest by providing physical, living examples for you to compare to and compete with. I'd argue you probably earned Trained levels of proficiency from this, whereas if you had a smarmy cousin who didn't want to hunt tagging along, and he/she refused to try to learn from your stepdad or grandfather, he/she would probably still count as untrained.

And maybe that terminology is part of the argument here.

I'm not a big fan of +lvl for untrained... but I've noticed that most of the arguments in its favor suggest that it makes sense for a character who has spent so much time hanging around sneaky rogues would have learned how to be stealthier, or lie better, or swim better or whathaveyou from all of their adventuring time. But isn't that training?

Likewise, the arguments against it are that it doesn't make sense for a wizard *without training* to dance around orcs without getting hit. And that makes sense -- if you've learned how to dance around orcs without getting hit, you're *trained*.

This isn't a TES game, and PF2's XP system doesn't have or support a "learn by doing" system, but the argument has so far come down to the two sides of "it doesn't make sense for someone to be so skilled without training" vs "it doesn't make sense for someone to not be trained". So why not qualify that accurately.

If you want +lvl for all skills, don't make the base level "untrained", make it "practiced". You can then provide an "untrained" disadvantage.

If you don't want +lvl for all skills base (which I generally prefer), then untrained means literally untrained. Maybe throw in a feat that allows you to get to "practiced" level with a few skills, or add a free "practiced"-level training to each character every 5 levels, where the actual skill to be upgraded has to be assigned by the GM, who's told to pick from the skills other PCs are trained in and have been using a lot in game.

I apologize if this is a pedantic solution, but it kind of seemed like that's where most of these arguments are stemming from.

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Gorbacz wrote:
Pathfinder is, by design of its authors, an offshot of D&D, a highly conservative and restrained game which, for better and worse, feels like if it was 1980s all over again. And this is what Pathfinder audience, largely consisting of a conservative (in terms of preference for game design, not political views) is after. They play D&D and its offshots because they like conservative games.

I disagree. What I find appeals to me about Pathfinder is its complicated and "crunchy" rules that provide a lot of different potential tactics, decisions, and results, leading to complex and divergent combat encounters.

"Conservative" as you're describing it fits much more with OSR-style games -- either games like Traveler, Pendragon, or the various near-AD&D games that have come out in the last five years, that focus heavily on tables, and in most cases expect you to burn through characters regularly.

I like Pathfinder for some of the same reasons I like Shadowrun -- or in a non-tabletop example, XCOM. The large amount of options and ideas on both sides of the table provides combat (the meat of most D&D-like tabletop RPGs) with a very wide variety of things that can happen. I don't really feel like I see that in a lot of modern RPGs.

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Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
You do realize that a gaming system comes out its out forever. My old DM still plays 1st edition D&D. It only drys up when you let it.

Sure, but no one makes APs for 1st edition D&D, or splatbooks/setting books. The desire to play in a supported system is legitimate.

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Tridus wrote:
If 10% market value for selling was a thing, I would respond in game by hiring some NPCs to run my own store and selling everything I find there. Then the DM can try to justify why the store down the street can sell the exact same item at 10x the price my store can. That should be super fun for our group of roleplayers to try and justify.

Brand names and discount days.

That's how most retail stores (especially high-end luxury-oriented stores) operate. Industrial equipment suppliers are similar, but tend to balance that with contracts, guarantees, and support.

That said... I'm totally digging the potential for "advertised adventurers" here, showing of the latest products in armor plastered with slogans and glamered illusory mascots.

More seriously, I think the 10% thing starts to make sense if you factor in how long most items sit in the shop before being sold, the costs of advertising and maintaining the shop, and any taxes the local government is throwing at you. I bet you could probably balance a system where the PCs *can* operate a magic item shop and come out with 15-20% value per item sold, in return for extra bookkeeping (and of course the plot and story elements).

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Ah, so, nothing is truly unique, at some point a PC can grab it?

If they build around it, there are other examples of it in play, and the GM allows it, sure.

You seem to be trying to imply that I'm saying "PCs have to be able to do everything, nothing can be unique, etc" (if that wasn't your intent I apologize), but you already said what I meant in an earlier post:

Vic Ferrari wrote:
So, common representatives of a race must match up to PCs, but NPCs (which are all unique), have free reign to have whatever unique abilities?

Your statement "NPCs (which are all unique)" is inaccurate, because most NPCs aren't unique; town guard warrior #5 is probably going to be statted the same way town guard warrior #1-4 are, because there's only so many pages in the Bestiary and DMs only have so much time. My argument is that town guard #5 should only have abilities the PCs can have, so that:

A. A PC's backstory can be that she is (or was training to be) town guard #6
B. PCs aren't left wondering why this NPC town guard they rescued/recruited last week has abilities much stronger than what they've got
C. If town guard #5 is copied from the most readily available source of town guard stats DMs have, and thus most town guards are copied from that, they probably should have abilities that anyone of that species could have (such as if they spent the feats for it)

Unique NPCs have free reign to do what they want, but they're more interesting if they stick to a theme, and more balanced if whatever they're getting is about equal to what a PC could have and/or has a cost associated with it. Unique groups of NPCs are likely to have abilities (or style) the PCs like, and thus its very likely the PCs will want to play one at some point, so they should probably be built with that in mind (sacrifice X feats, get Y ability).

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Shisumo wrote:
wizzardman, I don't mean to call you out directly, but you do seem to be taking a lot of assumptions about how the game might turn out and treating them more like facts. The arrival of Goblin Scuttle as a heritage feat in 1.5 demonstrates that Paizo is indeed aware of the issue you're concerned with. Moreover, none of those concerns are at all inherent to the idea of NPCs being built differently than PCs. Is it fair to ask you to take a more wait-and-see approach, now that you've put your concerns out there?

Wait and see approaches aren't what Paizo is asking for -- they want feedback, and I'm doing my best to give it.

I don't mean to come off as hating on the whole playtest here, and if I do, I apologize. There's a lot I like, and a lot to like.

But I see a lot of potential problems stemming from separating PC and NPC rules, and I know the devs glance at these forums from all the posts I've seen from them. So I'll make my arguments while there's still time.

That said, this discussion has covered most of my concerns. I still count myself in the 25%, but I'm optimistic that the end result will at least provide something I can work with.

Vic Ferrari wrote:
So, only if the DM dictates that a particular member of a species is unique, can it get away with unique features that are not available to PCs?

Yep, pretty much.

I'd say "or a member of a unique group", but there are Hellknight prestige classes for a reason; if you provide a group with a unique ability or abilities, you can bet players will want to play it at some point.

The rarity system serves as a good example for this. If an ability is rare or unique, I can easily justify why this guy has it but the players do not... with the caveat that eventually they'll want to play in a game where they *can* have it.

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Right, so, what's the problem?

Well, like I said in the posts above, if there are traits that every member of species X in the Bestiary has, and those are the versions most likely to be encountered in any DM's game (which they are, because this is the base Bestiary), and PCs can't get access to that trait, then the game is either providing common representatives of that species that have abilities the PCs can't have, or uncommon representatives of that species that aren't marked as uncommon and will be the most common versions used.

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Vic Ferrari wrote:

So, common representatives of a race must match up to PCs, but NPCs (which are all unique), have free reign to have whatever unique abilities?

Common representatives of a species (or class) must have abilities that PCs can also have, while uncommon or unique representatives of a species or class can have abilities befitting whatever makes them special compared to most others (but probably shouldn't have abilities that don't have thematic justification, or it gets weird).

All Drow can have Darkvision, but Drizzt can have "% murderchance", though I'd prefer if he had a source of it, or was particularly known for having the "% murderchance" ability and had to pay for it at some in-system or in-universe cost.

Essentially, PCs should have access to anything about their species that's not particularly special, but NPCs can have special things if they have a special reason for having them, and are themselves special.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

I feel like this is a pretty likely outcome, actually. Or something very much like it anyway.

If that remains consistent, I'll be fairly satisfied. I'd still rather have them running on the same rules system, but as long as the two can generally "match", I can wallpaper over most of the other differences (in my own games or in Society play).

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Here I disagree. I think the balance point on most 'monster' abilities that are on PC-appropriate species is pretty reasonable. Orc Ferocity would definitely be too powerful...but frankly Orc Ferocity is too powerful for a monster ability, too (it makes them invulnerable as long as they don't get hit twice in a round...that's a bit much, y'know?). And the Hobgoblin's Formation ability, while quite good for certain groups, seems perfectly reasonable as an Ancestry Feat to me.

...Yeah, honestly, Ferocity was exactly the one I was thinking of when I said some of these will probably not be PC-appropriate, and if that's nerfed to being once-per-day as well (or maybe half-nerfed to 3/day, and then the PC ability is buffed to match or turns into a 'spend a resonance mk2 point' or something), then I think that's a fair compromise.

And I'd really like to see Formation as a racial feat (or Pack Attack from Gnolls). I don't think most of these abilities are unfairly balanced. I just... don't really expect to get them, and won't until I actually see them on paper. I've seen too many examples from all the other systems out there that don't keep PCs and NPCs sync'd, where NPCs just get whatever is convenient, even if it means PCs feel like chopped-up, half-boiled versions of NPC concepts.

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
3rd Ed/PF is the only edition to design monsters as PCs, so, it is an outlier. Monsters and NPCs (often monsters) also sometimes have unique features in AD&D (like Drizzt and his % chance to instantly kill).

Not all Drow are Drizzt. A lot of my concerns are focused around situations where the default, generic, straight from the Bestiary NPC versions of PC-capable species all have abilities that PCs of the same species can't mach.

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Meraki wrote:
I'm not wizzardman

You're better off, trust me. That jerk has to work on occasion.

Shisumo wrote:
This does not appear to be the case in the current mode of the game.

Goblin Scuttle (the reaction ability that allows a goblin to step when an ally ends a move action adjacent to them) is listed on all goblins listed in the Bestiary, but is not available to PC goblins as a feat or racial ability. While this does not necessarily declare that Goblin Scuttle is a racial ability, but when every non-custom (and probably the majority of custom) goblins feature this ability, its hard to say that "all Goblins can Goblin Scuttle" is not strongly implied.

And honestly, this is going to become more of an issue later, as more "PC" races make it into the Bestiary, and more "NPC" races with strong unique abilities (such as Hobgoblin's Formation or the Orc's 100%-superior-to-halforcs-because-we-can-do-this-all-day Ferocity) get playable "versions" of themselves.

And yes, sure, PCs are unique and special, yadda yadda. But players typically don't like being told that they're special because they're actively worse than most members of their species, even if its only in one way.

Shisumo wrote:
Looking over the NPCs in the Bestiary, none of them seem to have any skill ratings more than a point or two higher than a PC of the same level could have, at worst - since the players don't know exactly what level their opponents are, I'm not sure how they would know that's off. (Also, the NPCs numbers are going to be adjusted in the final game anyway...)

We'll see what the numbers look like after the Playtest. If they're fair, then I won't worry about it. But my previous experiences with NPC-segregated statting systems have shown that designers tend to... stop paying as much attention to the numbers after a while. Monsters get special upgrades so they can do X; NPCs get extra skills so they always win this skill check, no matter how hard the PCs try to catch up. It can leave players feeling rather cheated.

Shisumo wrote:
Abilities from an NPC's educational or experience background that cannot be replicated by any PC build

See above, re: Goblin Scuttle. See the Bugbear Fighter with Bushwhacking Flail, or the Drow Fighter with Skewer. I'm not trying to harp on these too much, but with this and the adventures we've gotten so far, its not too hard to find NPC rules that PCs simply don't get access to

Shisumo wrote:
Every listed "classed" NPC caster in the Bestiary has exactly the right number of spells for their equivalent level.

I'll grant you that one as of right now. I don't necessarily trust that this will stay consistent.

And honestly that's one of the biggest reasons I'm arguing for NPC and PC creation rules to be the same. *Especially* for non-monsters. I'm not trying to argue that "the designers will cheat and do weird things", but mistakes happen, exceptions slip by, rules get approved that shouldn't have, etc. I don't trust separated systems to remain balanced against each other. I don't really trust a continuous system to remain balanced either, but flaws are much more obvious in a continuous system than in separated systems. I won't have to run the numbers twice to know if something is broken.

Edit: As Rysky pointed out, Skitter is actually now available to PCs (it wasn't available as of Playtest version 1, which is what I was referencing as I worked on this post).

If the plan is to provide all NPC abilities that every member of that species gets as feats available to the PCs, then I can accept the current situation. Hell, if that applies to abilities provided to "Species X Fighter" as well (or "Species X Class" in general), then I'm extra-okay with it. But I don't expect that'll be viable; rather, I suspect many of those abilities aren't balanced for PCs, and won't be available outside of houserules.

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Shisumo wrote:
In what ways do you consider the difference to be "reasonably obvious" from the player-at-the-table perspective?

I'm not Snowblind, obviously, but I think a lot of other people in this thread have provided some examples of "reasonably obvious", such as martial attackers with multiple damage dice (as if they were using a magical weapon) inherently, without actually having a magical weapon (or sneak attack, etc).

Other examples probably include:

All NPCs of Species X being able to do something inherently that a PC of Species X is not able to

NPCs at around the same power level as the PCs (or less) having unusually high skill bonuses

Abilities from an NPC's educational or experience background that cannot be replicated by any PC build

NPC spellcasters with a bunch of high level spells, but no mid or low level spells that could have saved their butts, despite PCs of an equivalent level having the slots available

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Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Aenigma wrote:
75%? I'm so surprised at seeing so many people like the new way of building monsters. I have always thought monsters should have statistics more like PCs as they used to. But to my surprise people don't seem to prefer this nice old way.

They're too restrictive. All fey have d6 hit dice, good R and W saves and 6+ skill ranks per level. All of them. All animals have the same base - mammals, reptiles, fish. All aberrations. You should not be able to look at an aberration of all things, decide it's got roughly so many hit points, d8, so x number of levels and then know it's BAB, saves and number of skill ranks.

They don't offer any diversity for statistics within the creature types

And this was the perfect opportunity to fix that by building a more flexible version of those same rules, rather than declaring "NPCs and PCs are no longer made from the same components".

And I understand why they went with the latter, as its easier to write in a balanced format, but I still dislike it. Especially for NPCs.

Even if the previous version wasn't perfect, it still implied that any generic opposing wizard NPC was still an actual wizard, and not just a styrofoam prop with some automated spell capabilities once per day.

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The change to Barbarian actually sounds really cool. I'll have to see how that plays out.

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Leafar Cathal wrote:
Some will prefer 1e the same way people prefer and play 3.5. And that's fine. Both versions can co-exist.

Except they don't and never have. Whenever a version change happens, one version continues to get support via new materials, new content, new adventures, and errata, while the other is left to die. This is true inside and outside of tabletop games -- whether we're talking miniatures, movies, or software development, the old version is inevitably deprived of resources and interest until the new version is the only one available and visible to the culture at large.

People are going to get freaked out by this, the same way they have with every edition change. And its pretty much inevitable, because there are always people whom the change leaves behind. They'll form their own tiny communities for a while, but in the end its always a choice between embracing changes you don't like, or 'dying out' with the rest of the abandoned fandoms out there.

I'm not saying "oh woah, doom and gloom, abandon all hope" just yet. But no one should be surprised that some people are getting a little vitriolic about the differences between the way 1E and playtest-2E play. If this change doesn't work, its not a choice between "play old" or "play new"; its a choice between "play new" or "try to find another system that gives you what the old one did, but is still supported". And brother, I've played APs from both PF1 and 5E, and 5E just can't keep up.

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Claxon wrote:

Necromancy was completely broken in PF1. It gave one player way too much power and versatility.

...Maybe this is just my experience, but I've never seen a Pf1 Necromancer actually have any more power than a normal PF1 cleric, and no more versatility than any minion-summoning divine caster would have. Even if we add in incorporeal undead, or specific strong minions, etc, etc, in my experience they are in no way more dangerous than a good Summoner build or a Monster Tactician Inquisitor.

Undead are kind of fragile; they're an extra mook or two you have running around (plus a pile of skeletons, probably bloody ones, that are better off as butlers than anything else) that you rely on the GM's story and a few feats to support, with the knowledge that said mooks are obvious, vulnerable to positive energy and a lot of spells, smite-able, and probably unrecoverable once destroyed.

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I think you're borrowing a bit from the Kingmaker CRPG for this... and I really like it. Just some nice downtime activities that would make the resting segment more of an event (and less of a thing that's skipped over). Giving it actual substance will discourage people from abusing it for resource return, and potentially provide some roleplaying opportunities as well.

As for the complaints about tracking individual numbers... most of these bonuses are only for 30 minutes, but you can also borrow a bit more from the CRPG, and offer a few options that are more about defending the campsite than about temporary bonuses. Hunting and camouflaging the camp being a couple of obvious ones, but setting up lookout positions for guards or divining the likely best spot would also work.

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Some would argue that Exploration and Encounter mode shouldn't require two different forms of logic in order to work, but that's not really the topic of this thread so I'll stop there.

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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:

I think there's a more fundamental difference of approach under here somewhere, then.

I don't put monsters or NPCs in campaigns primarily as challenges to the PCs. The fictional universe doesn't know they are PCs. I put monsters and NPCs in as entities with their own agendas defined by the world they live in. How that interacts with the PCs is up to them, and me RPing the NPC. in the moment.

(Odysseus was totally making that bit up to impress Nausicaa.)

I think that hits on a big part of this argument, for both sides.

Some DMs prefer to view their campaigns as stories, set in a world, about the PCs. Others view their campaigns as stories, about their PCs, set in a fictional world. The difference is in emphasis -- i.e. are you more comfortable with changing the world in the name of the story, or changing the story in the name of the world?

For story purposes (and also expediency) having completely different, separated rules for monsters and PCs makes it much easier to adjust a monster to do a certain thing the story needs. Maybe you need swamp ape stats in a hurry, because you've decided they live here but they need different stats than most apes. Maybe you want them to hit the PCs with Swamp Gas, but don't want to stat one out as a high-level sorc just so you can give them Stinking Cloud.

But for worldbuilding purposes, separated rules leads to a lot of uncomfortable questions (particularly if your group is the type that wants to know the mechanics of the world around them -- i.e. nitpicking nerds). Why does this one swamp ape get Stinking Cloud? Is that some kind of natural hunting mechanism? Do they all get that, or is he a separate species? Why can't I learn swamp ape martial arts, when they're clearly super cool? This is an especially large problem with humanoids, because its easy to view both random goblins and the PCs as people, and therefore potential party members (even in a purely theoretical sense).

From my point of view, the former option frequently comes at the expense of the latter. My group is the type that is likely to ask "why does this goblin get Burning Hands for free", because they want to know if that's an inherent trait of goblins, or magic he learned via a correspondence course, or what. They want to know how "goblins with free Burning Hands" affects the world. And if it doesn't, they're likely to get drawn right back out of story.

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dragonhunterq wrote:

GMs can already just alter monsters to suit their whim or to provide a more suitable challenge to their players (or attack their weaknesses) without explanation. There is no rule stopping them.

And that works great when you know the GM and the players and can trust them to adjust NPCs to make the story / game / experience better, but is *not* that great in situations were you don't know the GM and/or the other players. This is why we have 'That GM' stories all over the internet.

And sure, cheaters are always going to cheat, but:
A. Most cheaters prefer to cheat within the rules as much as possible
B. By providing a solid rule structure, it is easier for the players to identify *when* the GM is cheating, and whether or not that behavior is actually making the game more or less fun

I know we're talking about a system where cheating *is* in the purview of the DM, ostensibly in the name of keeping the game fair and fun, but we're *also* talking about a rule system Paizo is providing for Society play. You can't rely on the GM to be working for maximum fun in Society play; you have to rely on a combination of the rules, previous players, and organizer oversight, and only one of those is visible to the prospective players beforehand.

Finally, I'll admit, there's a bit of a personal preference thing here. I view "monsters and PCs use the same general rules" as a positive adaptation that came from the move to 3rd, and I don't like throwing it out just because it simplifies on-the-fly monster production. In my opinion, on-the-fly monster production doesn't need the help, and focusing on a simple, easier to fudge system can and will hurt internal consistency. It also, as you mention, makes you jump through hoops to create monster PCs and PC monsters, where a symmetrical system does not.

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I have to agree with james014Aura in regards to separate monster/PC rules provoking ethics violations on the part of the DM, and I think the argument is less about "the rules need to make sure that the bonuses the PC and the monster gets are similar" (though that's important) and more about "the rules need to be very clear as to *why* a monster has the numbers it has, *where* its getting them from, and *how* it matches up to opposing PCs".

I think official "how to build a monster" tables, as James referred to, generally satisfies these requirements (the monster has X stat because it is Y CR and thus has Z stat options), but can feel rather arbitrary to a lot of players and GMs -- particularly if there is any dissonance between what that monster has and what a similarly designed PC has (hence the complaints about goblin puppets earlier).

Here's some anecdotal evidence supporting my position: some years past, I played in a Pathfinder Societies mission at a local convention, along with a few members of my regular play group (because we had fun showing up at convention tables and pretending to have never met each other before, and thus surprising the hell out of the GM with sudden coordination). During one of these events the GM of that particular cornfield-oriented encounter deliberately used an NPC encounter scaled up well above what our piddly level-one butts could handle. Now, the GM was also doing other things wrong (cough cough hide in plain sight), and we *did* actually survive to run away (for the most part), but it was very important in general that we were able to track down *why* the monster in question was performing as effectively as it did. Monster rules are part of the contract between the GM and the players that helps make sure that all parties in question are trying to make the game fun for everyone, rather than any one party maximizing their fun at the expense of others.

This is especially important in public games like Pathfinder Societies, where the GM and the players may not have played together before. This allows players to know which GMs are, effectively, cheating.

Arbitrary rulesets for monster designs make this both easier and harder. It *can* be easier to track down why a monster has a certain stat if there is a table provided that should show exactly what that stat is (rather than relying on a calculation). However, it can also mean that effectively the GM can stick a monster's stat wherever he wants, without explanation, to wherever happens to hurt the party most (or hurt the party the most within that round), or even use the highest available bonus for every stat without the players really being able to prove otherwise.

Are there other ways to handle ethics violations like this? Yes; you can just leave the table. But leaving the table and/or refusing to continue with a specific GM is much more acceptable and much easier to explain if you can cite specific rules issues that cause you to no longer trust that person, and in my opinion, arbitrary rule sets make that harder.

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I'm not really a fan of this -- if only because I don't think wounds are much of a "threat" in combat, compared to the extent threats we already have of "running out of resources" or "losing". I also don't think wounds will come up that often; in my experience, most combats are either of the type where all or almost all of the party remains standing the whole fight, or where multiple party members drop and are picked back up, but that's the last fight of the day.

That said, it's not a terrible concept, and I'd be okay with it if it was implemented.

Spoilered for conversational irrelevance:

My personal preference is still for "use purchaseable magical resources to recover HP between fights, up to player's preference for how much money is spent on healing vs how much is spent on equipment". That leaves the entire equation to the players, doesn't really require an outside mechanic, and helps to limit the occurrence of "adventurer workday syndrome".

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vestris wrote:

I would argue that a horse does not automatically stop moving. So you need to handle animal every round but you do not need to make it move every round (e.g. you tell the horse to stride for 4 miles or until you say otherwise). Sometimes you need to make a roll to change direction or to deal with an obstacle.

That would come out at roughly 11-12 actions per minute which is fine and not fatiguing.

This ruling makes untrained riders very bad in combat but lets them travel overland on horseback, especially when using roads.

However the wording on command animal is at least problematic which originates from the specific action terms (as stride for a horse is 40 ft and then stop). But there are of course two different possible outcomes maybe being unable to ride is intended, if its not there should be a different wording for the exploration mode or at least a clarification.

Galloping however would always be fatiguing after 10 minutes, for horse and rider.

I agree with this -- and honestly, I'd kind of argue that we need a rule to handle "keep doing this action" orders.

By base, the wording of command animal implies that the animal in question only gets actions *because* you spent a Command action to give it two actions. This might be okay for summons, but it kind of ridiculous for... well, horses you bought at the stables the other day.

I'd just like a rule that says "if you order an animal to do something that it cannot accomplish in one round, it continues to take that action for one minute without prompting." This neatly covers a lot of situations, ranging from ordering your horse to continue hauling your cart in that general direction while you take a few actions to stuff your face with food, to ordering your pet dog to stay for a minute while you visit the outhouse, to ordering your bear animal companion to keep attacking that jerk with the bow until he stops existing.

I really don't think this makes 'minions' too powerful.

By RAW, the activity of riding a galloping horse consists of three actions each round -- a Handle Animal action with the concentrate tag, requiring a check, and two Command Animal actions, which you can then use to trigger the Gallop action on the horse (a two-action ability that moves your average horse 100'). You have to use all three actions on this in order for the horse to move its two actions (with exceptions for animal companions and etc, who get two actions per command rather than one for one).

If you fail a Handle Animal check at any point and you do not have the Ride feat, you are Bucked (a reaction).

However, in order to get a reaction, a horse has to have actions. Animal actions isn't really specified, but p284's statement for animal companions (specifically on the minion trait -- "so they gain 2 actions during your turn if you use the Command an Animal action to command them") implies that animals get their actions *from* the command an animal action.

Does this mean that animals don't have actions when not Commanded, or is this specifically referred to Actions used by the Player?

I know that's a bit pedantic, but really I'm trying to figure out if animals naturally only have two actions, or have 3 actions (one of which is always supposed to be used up by the Command action), or if they're really supposed to not have actions when not In Use.

The first two options can have an impact on how DM's handle Animal AI, which is necessary, because the rules for what a non-commanded animal does is very vague. "Defend itself" or "flee at first opportunity" doesn't really indicate whether a lion stays and fights the Town Guards it was ordered to attack earlier, fights until the guard it was ordered to attack is dead, fights only if attacked back, or immediately flees (which forces the character 'operating' the lion to move it back into position on the next round where he/she/it has actions). If its the last option (i.e. no actions), does the lion then remain in position when not "operated"?

On the same subject, as it requires three actions without the Ride Feat, does that mean that effectively, characters without the Ride feat cannot make attacks on horseback while using Gallop, and a character with Ride can only make a single attack?

And do commands given from Command occur as you provide them (i.e. a block of two actions that can be used on a two-action activity like Gallop), or individually (i.e. one after the other?).

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Vic Wertz wrote:
wizzardman wrote:
...it'll take some math to prove that.
How about playing it? I recommend trying that.

...Because I can't play Pathfinder while I'm at work.

I tried a few times; it didn't go over well.

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Frankly, I just want to know what my animal companion is doing when I'm not mentally commanding it. "so they gain 2 actions during your turn if you use the Command an Animal action to command them" makes it very clear that they only gain two actions *if* I bother to command them in that instance.

Does it immediately flee the battlefield? Do I have to make it move back into the fight the next time there's an encounter? *Can* they immediately flee the battlefield or do they actually have no actions because I haven't commanded them?

So far I'm kind of seeing more bad choices than good choices, but it'll take some math to prove that.

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The problem with this form of multiclassing is that it always restricts the character to receiving specific "key" abilities from the class in question, and side abilities (or skills, hit points, weapon/armor profs, qualifiers for feats, etc) are always ignored or abandoned.

And guaranteeing access to all of those via a feat-based system isn't going to solve the issue, as there is always a limit on the number of feats you can take (effectively "capping" your ability to advance in the second "class"). And in doing so, you've eliminated a large chunk of your ability to apply new archetypes, or build towards a combat build.

Your paladin turned monk will have to retrain in order to really pick up monk status; your fighter/rogue will forever be one or the other.

Upside? You can "multiclass" full progression spellcasters now.

Overall I feel this is a rather large step backward, towards the "boxed in" style of classes that PF2e seems to otherwise be trying to avoid.

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...Doesn't dex to damage already have the disadvantage that the base damage die for most Agile weapons is already smaller than the base damage die for most non-Agile weapons?

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worldhopper wrote:

WRT the whole 1 action to get 2 thing, it seems like an understandable balance thing? Because the whole problem with ACs/eidolons/etc before was essentially doubling your action economy.

That always seemed like a weak argument when it came to animal companions (less so eidolons). Animal companions are very limited in terms of what they can actually do (fight, run, carry, etc, but not cast spells, use items, or most other things that allow for action economy abuse).

I can see why they did it, and as a balancing action its a particular effective debuff, but it does end up looking kind of silly, and I think animal companions in general will have to be pretty impressive for this to be worth it for most druids. Or animal companions will just end up being glorified baggage trains, but that's not particularly unusual anyway.

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David Silver - Ponyfinder wrote:
wizzardman wrote:

So does that mean that a druid can just leave their companion on autopilot once their companion engages an enemy (because that can be labeled under "protect themselves"), and only really need to spend an action to change their orders or do something complicated? When an animal companion is not under "direct control', does it have three actions?
If you want your animal companion to flee, sure. At least, that's what it sounds like.

I mean, the alternative is that you're literally spending a few seconds every turn coaxing your animal companion into moving, like a confused puppy you're trying to convince to chase a stick. Not exactly an impressive sight.

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Mark Seifter wrote:

There's a default, but basically in most situations they try to use actions to get out of danger and protect themselves. Also, animal order druids can eventually always get at least one chosen action out of their companion even when they aren't using an action to Command it.

So does that mean that a druid can just leave their companion on autopilot once their companion engages an enemy (because that can be labeled under "protect themselves"), and only really need to spend an action to change their orders or do something complicated? When an animal companion is not under "direct control', does it have three actions?

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Let me be frank: I really like spreading dex to damage around, because it encourages a lot of alternative build ideas, and I think forcing dex builds to require strength (rather than just causing dex builds to benefit from strength) will rather strongly decrease the popularity of dex builds and thus strongly discourage people from going dex-based.

That said, for the most part I agree with you regarding 5E's dex vs str problems (where dex often kind of ends up as a winner over str), and I agree that strength needs more utility.

I kind of think that previous editions managed this a bit better by emphasizing "Bend Bars / Lift Gates", but thanks to improved object damage rules and, well, magic, this isn't really a good solution, and a lot of parties can get by with everyone at Strength 10 or lower (at least in PF1 and 5E). It might be worth considering making stength-check-oriented 'hazards' more common.

I really like the idea of adding Str into shield effectiveness. Maybe adding 1/2 your strength mod to the hardness of a heavy shield would be fairly balanced -- after all, that can add up quite a bit, but isn't so huge a boost to discourage dex-based shield users. And let's be honest, strength is generally pretty important when it comes to using a shield in prolonged melee -- for the 'push' (in line combat) and for your ability to smack blows out of the way. Benefits from high strength fit well with the active shield system we're getting now.

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So, regardless of the eventual results, I think my very first BBEG is going to be a lich that steals Resonance.

Strange monsters that seem to steal the magic right out of their targets. Magic items inexplicably failing in mass. Bards and wandering minstrels disappearing from nearby inns.

What is the greatest limiter to a lich's power? It is no longer levels, or research time, or do-gooders, or even the difficulty of finding an affordable dungeon in today's underground economy.

Resonance *is* power. By its very definition, it is the power that triggers almost all forms of magical device. Control resonance, and you control your enemies. Gather resonance to yourself, and you can do anything (that you happen to have the actions and magic items to do).

Thus begins the great plot of the Lich Overlord of Shez B'hzad, Most Blinged of Wizards, Wearer of the Thirty Rings and Quaffer of All Potions.

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Its very difficult to analyze the whole without being able to see the whole. Paizo wants speculation and discussion; that's why they're releasing chunks one at a time, and why they're having a playtest at all. They want to see what we think, and to encourage us to do so, even if we aren't working from a position with full context yet.

That said, it is hard to face changes to something you have emotional, knowledge, and financial investment in, and a lot of people have all three in PF1 (some of which stemmed from their investments in D&D 3.5). That's going to make it hard *not* to look at PF2 from a PF1 perspective.

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Cyouni wrote:

Why are you running off to do side quest things in a dungeon, is the question?

Dungeons can be big places, with more than one plot to solve. And I included "obvious side rooms" in that.

The snake example MerlinCross provided is pretty relevant for this, actually. What if the snake led the PCs to a series of combat encounters? The players are effectively being encouraged to *avoid* those in order to make sure they can efficiently beat the boss (or prevent their escape).

The problem is present outside of dungeons as well. Take for example WotR.

With as few spoilers as possible, a book of WotR relies heavily on an enforced "time limit" where the players are given X number of days to complete a thing or bad stuff happens. Because that X includes travel time, it pretty much set a limit on what the PCs actually had time to do before completing X -- they didn't have time to finish the crafting they were working on, they couldn't go back and handle other situations (because they wouldn't have time to travel back and forth, etc), and RP moments pretty much closed off because they were too busy moving to chat with NPCs.

While that works great for some areas, my players were actually pretty annoyed by the whole thing; the deadline enforced by the story was set up to prevent them from repeatedly recovering resources, but because they didn't *need* to recover resources, all it did was make it difficult for them to complete the other activities they wanted to do. If they'd had to expend extra resources on healing, and thus had to rest more often, that *could* have upped the tension... but wouldn't have changed the fact that the deadline already prevented them from doing what they wanted, and in fact would have encouraged them to skip the "less necessary but still plot relevant" aspects of that mission and head directly to the top.

...The guy who was crafting all those magic items is still a little pissed about that, because the time limit also kind of invalidated all the work with the Downtime Rules he'd been doing.

Cyouni wrote:

The big problem with healing to full without any real cost is that any encounter that doesn't kill at least one character or cause more permanent damage becomes irrelevant, resource-wise. Thus, in order to pose any challenge, every encounter has to be capable of that. It's literally gotten to the point where players at my table refuse to use higher level spells because the encounter isn't going to affect resources in any way.

Unless your players are *also* running into the adventurer workday (the "1-2 encounters per day then rest" variant) then you're neglecting to account for resource utilization aside from HP.

My argument is mostly that HP is a poor resource to focus the resource management aspect of the game on because it is the resource players are inclined to be most risk-averse towards. Pathfinder has plenty of room for other forms of resource management, and in fact already makes use of them, ranging from magic items and abilities that rely on a limited operation time [like Rage], to spells and spell slots, to... well, the new Resonance mechanic is honestly a good example. Forcing the players towards limited healing capacity, with health being the one resource most likely to result in overall losses, is not conducive to solving the problem.

Then again, it sounds like we're arguing from different situations. I haven't had an issues with players not using upper-tier resources in a long time; leaving aside my expectations of my players teamwork and character building skills, my group in general (regardless of who is DMing) tends to run either several moderate to hard encounters per in-game day (sometimes ten or more, depending on level and buffing strat), or a small number of moderate encounters in a situation where the players do not have time to buff or prep. As a result, I view healing between encounters as an asset, as it encourages players to keep going as long as they generally have combat resources available. Basing after-combat healing on a less-renewable resource like resonance will only discourage that.

It sounds like the issue you're running into is that your players view any scenario where they aren't risking death *as* trivial, and aren't using enough of their lower-tier resources to be forced to use higher-tier ones. And as such, I can see where you're coming from. However, I think the general idea in 2E has already been to increase resource consumption; as such, I think you're already going to see more of your players using their high level spells on "trivial" encounters, regardless of whether or not they're spamming CLW.

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Dire Ursus wrote:

As a GM it's pretty easy to not let your players just go to sleep every 15 minutes. Either give them deadlines on what's going on. (most adventures have this anyways). Or stop having static monsters that sit around in their room waiting to be defeated.

It's really easy, and most adventure paths give you plenty of wiggle room here. I really wonder what GMs you guys are playing with that let you just sleep off every encounter.

That's always the stock solution -- and comes with its own problems. Deadline-heavy story arcs prevent sidequests, any downtime activities that take more than a few minutes, and any story events that rely on long timescales. I make plenty of use of them, but I wouldn't want to be forced into giving every quest a deadline.

"Within dungeon" deadlines such as monsters refilling or bosses escaping are the same -- with the exception that, since bosses tend to be tough encounters, deadlines encourage players to "boss rush" and ignore the trivial side encounters so that they can focus their resources on the boss, before returning to the rest of the dungeon afterward (and possibly after resting). Sure, this in theory could limit their total XP and GP gained from the whole dungeon, but _dying_ limits that even more, and there are always more encounters.

But if that *is* an easy solution, then what is preventing "CLW spam" actually helping? If its "the players aren't having their HP sufficiently ground down before the boss fight", then this isn't solving the issue. They either start the fight with lower HP or lower offensive resources (i.e. spells and resonance, which are both), which is the more risky option, or they try to maximize success by avoiding as many encounters as possible before they hit the boss. And their reward for following option one is more character deaths, more turns spent lying on the ground, and more work for the DM.

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I'm going to be super-weird and make the argument that healing up fully after a fight is a good thing.

Pathfinder is a game of resource utilization. Fully healing up after an encounter removes the resource utilization aspect of HP. However, in my experience, I've found that "low HP totals without any ability to recover them" are more likely to cause adventurer workdays than running low on rest-based abilities, because most people consider "being low on rest-based abilities" less of a risk of character death (which can mean character loss, or at least the loss of X loot, where X is the cost of your favorite death recovery spell).

And more to the point, allowing the players to fully heal after a fight (by using resources to do so) lowers the risk of unintentional party wipe and puts less stress on the GM to fully monitor player hp totals to avoid unintentional death/permadeath.

I know 2E is transitioning towards a more "death-safe" system, similar to 5e, and I'm guessing that's a big part of why "HP as a resource" is suddenly super important again. I'm betting the idea is that risk-averse players who are more likely to call for a long/daily/whatever rest period when low on hp will be less likely to if the risk of permanent death (or at least death recovery prices) is generally lower. But I don't think that's going to be the end result.

In my opinion, the end result of this shift will not be that players are forced to enter more encounters while low on hp (i.e. have to manage HP as an in-encounter resource). Instead, post-encounter healing will be just as requisite as ever, but more expensive in terms of money and resources (especially since, with a death-safe system, players are encouraged to save healing spells until someone has actively dropped and needs to be picked back up, so single-use and charged healing systems will probably see heavy usage). And because these are now dependent on a daily resource that offensive and defensive abilities are also dependent on, players will be encouraged to Adventurer Workday after a tough encounter just to manage the resources they lost recovering hp from that encounter.

I realize my results may not match the results of others, but if the problem stems from risk-averse play, this does not appear to be a solution.

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glass wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
100 rounds in a minute? 1 round is 0.6 seconds in D&D 4e? Wow!

Oops. Well, fights are not going to get to 50 round either.


I don't know about that. I've had a lot of fights go to 50 rounds.

Then again, that mostly only happened in WotR, and only because my group has taken up a strategy of "swatting", where they cast as many buffs as possible and then try to clear the entire dungeon before they wear off, saving looting and slower actions for after the dungeon is clear (it works surprisingly well).

And that's honestly part of why I'm not super-fond of "encounter" powers -- they pretty much guarantee a specific resource runs out at the end of an encounter, so there's no reward for a party that spends resources in order to clear a room as swiftly as possible before proceeding to the next (and therefore no reason not to take the most cautious approach possible, and rest after every encounter). This can really bog the game down.

That said, I'd be pretty cool with a short rest mechanic. Especially a 5-10 minute one, for pretty much the same reason as you argued earlier. Plus, while a ten-minute rest can be excusable in a situation where you're in a hurry, an hour can be a huge chunk of time. I'd rather give the PCs the option to rest between encounters but still give them a full day's worth of marching, if that's what they're willing to put in.

Themetricsystem wrote:
For example; During a Short Rest (30 Minutes) a player may regain 1+1 HP/Con Modifier if they refrain from strenuous activity such as combat or making any Skill Checks. The PC may consume food and drink during this time to Heal an additional HP = Character Level. A character may rest in this fashion 3 times each day.

...Not gonna lie, I'm really tempted to steal this. My players might riot, but making people actually want to track food might be nice.

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Nightwhisper wrote:
You mean they can survive a fall from any distance like PF1 characters that have more than 120hp? Or a monk within an arm's reach of a wall?

In the former case, the character in question was at least theoretically injured in the fall. In the latter, monks are supernatural creatures with blatantly supernatural class traits.

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Benchak/Fuzzy-Wuzzy: I guess? Both of those are valid explanations, but they strike a bit too close to "you were a spellcaster all along" for comfort.

It might just be easier to stick that (Su) next to the blatantly weird abilities, and then declare that if a player is going to take them, they need to explain where they came from. That way a Tengu player can still take it and claim he figured out how to right himself on the way down, while the human that *doesn't* take it can claim to be the adventurer equivalent of Batman (i.e. an especially experienced normal dude -- only clearly without the preptime needed for a potion of Feather Fall) without clashing.

At least that saves me from having to describe it.

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BPorter wrote:

In game explanations of the fantastic I can get behind. It's one of the appealing facets of fantasy games. However, saying "I can now break the realities of the game solely on the basis of 'I leveled high enough'" is way past the line of internal consistency. I'd hate it in a video game and I sure as hell hate it in my tabletop RPGs.

I'm with BPorter on this one. The idea of providing abilities that violate internal consistency without a magical explanation (cue arguments that the fact that the world contains magic at all solves the inconsistency) isn't particularly appealing within my group. It looks like my restriction list for PF2E may end up being a lot higher than it was for PF1.

Concept-wise, this has some potential, and gives a much-needed boost to skills and skill-oriented characters.

However, I suspect regular pants-stealing opportunities for Rogues will make public games really annoying.

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I don't see that having much of an effect unless most other popular systems that use Vancian spellcasting follow suit. As ENHenry said, level is the standard vernacular; changing it in-system will do little to discourage players from using the term they're more familiar with. For example, 5E kind of did the same with Hit Dice -- technically its supposed to now refer only to the amount of dice you can heal on a short rest, but the reality is that people still refer to HD when talking about monster stats or the number of HP they gain at a new class level.

Then again, I don't see "spell level" being that much of a problem, but that might just be me.

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magnuskn wrote:

That was scorpion_mjd who wrote those improved stat blocks. I just used them as well and don't want to take his glory. :) I was just the guy who wrote a review about Mythic Adventures/Wrath of the Righteous which probably gave James an ulcer, given the way he still reacts every time I open my mouth in topics which mention the possibility of mythic player characters in new AP's. ;)

Ah, gotcha. I went through a lot of the WotR review threads before the campaign started, and that's probably why I got the two of you confused.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

But more importantly, adventurers aren't the sort of people who retire as soon as they can. They never have been in any edition, and probably never will be. If they were the kind of people who gave up as soon as they could retire with a business (or to being a landlord) most adventures would end pretty quickly.

They're the kind of people who retire when they have an island, or maybe a kingdom. And that requires quite a bit more money. Or the sort who aren't motivated by money in the first place.

Honestly, this is a good point. Sure, my character can retire and buy a farm at 2000gp (and I bet there are more than a few one-shot characters that do)... but then they'd be one of "the poors", and that simply won't do.

Compare to Shadowrun for a sec. 5E Shadowrun has a trait that you can get at character creation ("Day Job") that pretty much by itself can sustain a low lifestyle (i.e. crappy apartment) for eternity. Why doesn't every would-be character purchase that and retire? Because while you're (in theory) set for life, in practice... that's a lifetime of burger-flipping, beholden to the whims of those above you just because they control your access to cash. And that's just not something I see adventurers putting up with.

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I don't see a lot of benefit to banning crafting feats, anyway. If the players want to do a lot of paperwork in the name of the game, that isn't always a bad thing -- and in fact usually means they're having fun and are getting invested.

If you're concerned they'll make OP, over-leveled characters that can eat any encounter for breakfast... monitor how much downtime they get. If they're actually coordinating with the other players (and supplying them) its even less of an issue, because they're maintaining party balance *and* given the other players the items they want.

If they start stomping on monster heads, up the difficulty a bit.

As a somewhat related aside -- magnuskn, you were the one who supplied that WotRStatBlocks google document for improving the monsters in WotR, right? Thank you very much for that! We just finished a 52-session playthrough of it, and your updated monster stats were exceptionally helpful. Especially since my PCs *did* make use of crafting feats in order to maximize their return. I figured it was a pretty fair trade, given they'd also rebuilt Drezen into an industrial powerhouse.

Back on topic -- I would actually like to see a lot more information about P2E's economy, if only because so many of P1E's side project rules (downtime, kingdom building, etc) both relied on the old economy and were intensely finicky because of the old economy. Part of the reason my group likes Pathfinder is because of how much we can do with it, whether its building fighters or castles, monks or monasteries. Economy is a core trait of a lot of P1E, and its one thats sorely lacking in many other systems. Getting it right is super-important.

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Honestly, I think the larger weakness here is that there is too much of a differentiation between the physical defenses and the magical defenses. I don't think splitting AC into various components is the best way of providing weaknesses; I think the system would work better if we provided more methods for physical attacks to go against Fort, Reflex, and Will (and maybe the first two more than the last).

Let me take an example from ye old d20 Modern, which by itself really wasn't a great system, but provided neat concepts for Reflex Save attacks (autofire and grenades being the principle examples). By providing these, the game made it possible for attackers to "handle" high-AC characters by ignoring their AC in exchange for a larger ammunition and action cost. Now, this didn't work out great in d20 Modern for mechanics reasons (all DCs were 15, 90% of PCs ended up with Evasion), but I think this *could* work in PF2.

By default in most d20 systems, Reflex saves are reserved for area of effect attacks. This isn't *necessarily* always the case, nor does it have to be, but I could see this being used to allow for some neat options:
More "grenade" effects (such as via alchemist tools being more prevalent)
Special archer attacks, possibly including "arrow drop" (something traditional in actual volley fire with bows, but not really represented in d20 systems)
"Sweeps" with two-handed or large-sized weapons

Likewise, Fort saves could also use some support -- maybe in the form of (common and easy to reach) combat maneuvers that knock the wind out of your opponent, or flurries of attacks that allow you to wear the opponent out (inducing fatigue).

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I'm going to make the argument that going with equalized sex appeal across genders would be more effective and interesting, and that I have no problem with the occasional adventurer stylized after Fabio or Jareth staring out at the reader from a Pathfinder rulebook. Some people want to play characters with sex appeal (male or female); others do not. Providing equal appeal seems like a better solution.

That might just be my opinion however.

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