Lessons for 2nd Edition: 5th Edition D&D and Pathfinder's Complexity


Homebrew and House Rules

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Shadow Lodge

Yep, which is good.


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With a few minor changes, to the spells, it's surprising how less broken magic feel. Take Knock for example; A wizard can still use it to automatically bypass a lock, but it makes a loud knock that will alert everyone in the proximity. You might be able to crack a lock, but only to the equivalent of a brawler knocking it lose himself. The rogue is the one who can get you in silently.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
With a few minor changes, to the spells, it's surprising how less broken magic feel. Take Knock for example; A wizard can still use it to automatically bypass a lock, but it makes a loud knock that will alert everyone in the proximity. You might be able to crack a lock, but only to the equivalent of a brawler knocking it lose himself. The rogue is the one who can get you in silently.

There's also the fact that many traditional buff spells require the wizard to concentrate to maintain the effect, meaning that wizards can't multitask in combat as well as they could in previous editions.

It's still not perfect obviously. Sleep is still hilariously potent, and saves don't scale like they should, especially considering that there are now six different ones.


Sleep got more powerful than compared to PF's version. There is no save. As long as you roll enough HD then it works. But, since it starts with the closest creature, you can easily get some friendly fire in there.


Buri wrote:
Sleep got more powerful than compared to PF's version. There is no save. As long as you roll enough HD then it works. But, since it starts with the closest creature, you can easily get some friendly fire in there.

And only sorcerers get the metamagic ability to shape their spells or unselect possible targets.


Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
With a few minor changes, to the spells, it's surprising how less broken magic feel. Take Knock for example; A wizard can still use it to automatically bypass a lock, but it makes a loud knock that will alert everyone in the proximity. You might be able to crack a lock, but only to the equivalent of a brawler knocking it lose himself. The rogue is the one who can get you in silently.

There's also the fact that many traditional buff spells require the wizard to concentrate to maintain the effect, meaning that wizards can't multitask in combat as well as they could in previous editions.

It's still not perfect obviously. Sleep is still hilariously potent, and saves don't scale like they should, especially considering that there are now six different ones.

Yeah. Sleep itself is a weird gamble of a spell. Since it goes off of hitpoints not hitdice and you can get anywhere between 5 and 40 hitpoints worth to knock out (may not even work at all to working too well). It's also got fiddly bits, counting out hitpoints turns into accounting. Clearly an example of a spell that's gone in the wrong direction.

Shadow Lodge

I was mixed on the changes to sleep at first, too.

But it's actually simpler/quicker to run now. I remember in PF when someone cast sleep in a bandit camp with 4 different "bandits" (with 4 different Will saves), how the game slowed down for a bit as I looked at how many HD each had, and then each enemy's Will save modifier.

Sleep now works just like an attack. Like swinging a really big greatsword.

Imagine a barbarian1/cleric1 uses his growth domain to enlarge, rages, and power attacks in PF:

Barbarian Attack: 2d8 + 16 ⇒ (5, 8) + 16 = 29

BAM! 29hp of enemies (only 1) are removed from the combat by a single action, barring a Cleave.

Now imagine the wizard2 or sorcerer2 casts sleep:

Sleep: 5d8 ⇒ (4, 5, 7, 3, 5) = 24

BAM! That's a good roll, but not that different from the HP damage inflicted by the crazy barbarian. Enemies at this low level should have ~15hp each... let's figure out how quickly we can resolve the sleep.

What has the lowest HP near the caster? That thug the fighter is beating on that only has 9HP left? He's asleep. Next up is that unhurt guy with 16HP. Only 4HP left? We're done determining what the spell does. You can use "imprecise math", which makes it quicker to run. If the GM knows every enemy is unhurt, and each of them has 15hp, seeing a sleep spell cast for 24hp immediately means only one person has fallen asleep. It's resolved in a split second and the game continues.

Because it's essentially "finishing off" hurt guys first, all it's really doing is accelerating the combat by a couple actions since it needs to "eat the HP" of each person it puts to sleep. It's like a mini-fireball except you take the damage off the pool instead of applying it equally to all foes.

I'm interested in seeing it in play more, but at first read, I thought "this is bad", but then at second read, I thought "hmm, maybe it's actually good".


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Nathanael Love wrote:

All that sort of stuff wasn't enough for people to consider martials balanced to casters when they ALSO got much higher base bonuses to hit?

Aren't martials just even further behind now that Wizards also get the same attack bonuses?

You sound like you need to read the Basic PDF. You have badly conceived notions about the system and are judging based on them.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Nathanael Love wrote:

Did they change the "everyone has the same BaB" from the playtest?

Cause sorry, Wizard and Fighter both having +6 to attacks before special abilities at 20th level made me stop reading right then and there.

It shouldn't have. The game is vastly different than the prior editions, and things like to-hit bonuses just don't play the same role they did previously. Classes are differentiated by function, and have a wider array of functions available. The core fighter has access either to limited spells, big static boosts, or a system that's basically a generic version of the maneuver system from Tome of Battle in 3.5. The Wizard's ability to buff has been curtailed, auto-scaling of spells is largely removed, and the nature of the spells has been adjusted drastically.

Basically, just because an adventuring Wizard has roughly the same chance to shoot an enemy in the face with a crossbow, does not mean he'll do so as effectively as a Fighter. And really, I like that Wizards are actually built to be adventurers in 5e, instead of omnipotent librarians. I always found it a little odd that a guy who's expected to be clashing with gnoll tribes and demons has the same chance to hit an enemy as a guy who spends his time mucking out stables. Gandalf, Merlin, Harry Dresden, and any number of other iconic Wizard characters could all swing a sword or staff, they just might not have the ability to maximize their swings that the martially trained types do, Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy would be a great example; Harry is just as likely to land a punch as Karrin, but Karrin can hit faster and knows how to quickly turn it into a grab, sweep, or lock. When Harry hits something, he adds oomph with a spell, whereas Karrin adds oomph with a technique. This is actually modeled fairly well in 5e.


Da'ath wrote:
Simon Legrande wrote:


I agree, I have a feeling it will show up a bit more when the DMG gets released. Based on the way the PHB reads though, I don't think it's going to get out of control. As it stands it can be a deadly mechanic to mess around with, Greater Restoration only reduces the level by 1.

Two key things I saw no mention of we're somewhat reassuring: no mention of damage threshold and no mention of non-lethal or subdual damage as affecting Exhaustion. These were key concepts in the Condition Track mechanic and essentially built into SWSE's framework, which is what made it very difficult to remove from the game to make these issues "go away".

I admit, I do find the thought that GREATER restoration only moves you up 1 a little surprising; I'd have expected restoration at 1 and greater at 2; with luck, it's a sign they don't intend for it to show up frequently.

There's no separate non-lethal damage in 5e. Instead, when you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points with a melee attack you can decide whether they're unconscious and dying or just unconscious.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
On feats and combat maneuvers: It absolutely matters that feats aren't core as it reduces those options to house rules and we are discussing the game not your house rules. Even if you do allow feats then you will waste a feat to trip someone once a fight. Whoop-de-doooooo (this is dumb)

You don't need a feat to trip somebody. Any character can do that as one of your attacks, as often as you want. What you can do with the feat (or Fighter Archetype maneuver) is make a special attack that does extra damage AND trips your opponent.


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Ssalarn wrote:
PhelanArcetus wrote:

It doesn't entirely come down to system mastery here; I feel my system mastery level is similar to that of some other players... who continually outshine me.

Why? Because they're playing high-mastery full casters (the concept they tend to prefer), and I'm playing martial / part casters, also at a high mastery. And since most of the campaigns I'm in have only one encounter per day, the full caster is just more powerful. With no need to conserve resources for the second, third, and fourth encounter of the day, they can solve most situations with spells, they can throw their biggest spells at any fight, and that balancing factor of me having mostly unlimited actions, while they have limited but more powerful actions is gone.

***

That's less a problem of the system itself, and more a problem of your group literally not playing the game the designers intended. Pathfinder is built under the assumption of 3-5 combat encounters, with an easy encounter (CR = APL) consuming roughly 20% of the group's daily resources. If you're playing a game that deviates from that expectation, you should adjust classes that are balanced against it accordingly. If you're only doing 1 encounter a session, you should be cutting expendable resources like spell slots, rage and bardic performance rounds, channel energy uses, etc. by 40-60%. That alone will likely substantially change the gaming dynamic you're experiencing.

5e does balance the classes more on single instance performance though, so your group might be one that benefits from such a system, which works under different assumptions.

There is also a system mastery disparity in your group; you, and presumably the rest of your group, know that there will only be 1 encounter per session. By choosing a class rewarded for longevity in a campaign where longevity will never be a factor, you have already made a sub-par choice. Unfortunately, unless your GM applies the appropriate modifications to make up for this, you've started in a...

This is a fair point. The campaign's been going on for quite a long time, so I can't recall if we knew in advance that there would be very few situations where we had multiple encounters per day. (Some of those encounters are quite long, of course, and early on, we were much more likely to have multiple encounters.) I'm pretty sure it wasn't explicitly stated, but that doesn't mean we didn't know it going in.

Of course, this is one reason why I dislike that method of class balance. (And, since we're in the midst of some revisions to the house rules due to frustration with the game, I'm proposing reducing spell slots. I suspect it will not be done.)

I am, I think, willing to accept fewer but more meaningful choices over many, comparatively small, choices. It can be frustrating on both sides. I recall in playing World of Warcraft in the old days, sure, every level up got you a talent point (after 10th level). But most of them were tiny, incremental improvements you could discern when looking at the character sheet, but not in gameplay. A few were big deals, typically the one-point talents. But you got to do something every level up. Later on, talents were reduced to... I think 6 choices, evenly spaced. You picked a specialization at 10, and a single talent at 15, 30, 45, etc. (if I'm remembering Pandas correctly). So you had entire level-ups where nothing that mattered happened (sometimes you got a new ability, sometimes you got a higher rank of an existing ability, sometimes straight up nothing happened except stats), but there were only a very small number of choices to make.

On the one hand, making a lot of choices that feel meaningless is frustrating. On the other hand, not getting to make a choice at all is frustrating.

I do want it to be that every time I make a choice, I can discern the difference in my character. That's something that feat trees don't always give. The last character I built is a paladin using Eldritch Heritage (Orc); he started at level 16. And of the 7 feats I took, 3 (skill focus (survival), toughness, and eldritch heritage itself), feel meaningless in of themselves. Two of those facilitated Improved Eldritch Heritage and Quicken SLA (touch of rage), but were otherwise near worthless. Toughness is there because all stat items were banned and I felt compelled to compensate for the lack of a Con increase for my hp. Even Power Attack is so much a given for someone wielding a two-handed weapon that it barely feels like a choice. In essence, most of the choices were made by the concept rather than leveling up. I suspect that leveling that way would have been frustrating, making essentially pre-defined choices. (Much as I did find leveling in World of Warcraft was frustrating when I already knew the one and only "proper" set of talent points to select.) Likewise, several of those choices would have had no immediate impact on the character, because their purpose was to unlock a later choice.

I've felt for quite some time that if a choice is such that not making it is just flat out stupid, then it should be built in. I also hate choices that have to be made to facilitate a playstyle, like Dex builds needing to expend resources on applying Dex to hit & damage. Or how World of Warcraft retribution paladins had a few talent points that were necessary to make the build function... and were not available immediately. If everybody using a two-handed weapon is going to take Power Attack, build it into the mechanics. If everybody who wants to play a dextrous melee combatant is going to take Weapon Finesse, build it into the mechanics. I like when I see that done, because it removes false choices, freeing up cognitive and character resources for choices that are actually open.

Definitely reserving final judgment until I've had a chance to actually play, rather than just read part of the rulebook.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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PhelanArcetus wrote:
I've felt for quite some time that if a choice is such that not making it is just flat out stupid, then it should be built in. I also hate choices that have to be made to facilitate a playstyle, like Dex builds needing to expend resources on applying Dex to hit & damage. Or how World of Warcraft retribution paladins had a few talent points that were necessary to make the build function... and were not available immediately. If everybody using a two-handed weapon is going to take Power Attack, build it into the mechanics. If everybody who wants to play a dextrous melee combatant is going to take Weapon Finesse, build it into the mechanics. I like when I see that done, because it removes false choices, freeing up cognitive and character resources for choices that are actually open.

Definitely agreed here. I am a big fan of the Finesse weapon property in 5e facilitating the swashbuckler/dexterous fighter concept right out the gate.

I think Power Attack is a little bit different, but its value in the game and its incredibly common usage do mean that I wouldn't bat an eye if it was changed from a feat to a common game function.


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Ssalarn wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:

Did they change the "everyone has the same BaB" from the playtest?

Cause sorry, Wizard and Fighter both having +6 to attacks before special abilities at 20th level made me stop reading right then and there.

It shouldn't have. The game is vastly different than the prior editions, and things like to-hit bonuses just don't play the same role they did previously. Classes are differentiated by function, and have a wider array of functions available. The core fighter has access either to limited spells, big static boosts, or a system that's basically a generic version of the maneuver system from Tome of Battle in 3.5. The Wizard's ability to buff has been curtailed, auto-scaling of spells is largely removed, and the nature of the spells has been adjusted drastically.

Basically, just because an adventuring Wizard has roughly the same chance to shoot an enemy in the face with a crossbow, does not mean he'll do so as effectively as a Fighter. And really, I like that Wizards are actually built to be adventurers in 5e, instead of omnipotent librarians. I always found it a little odd that a guy who's expected to be clashing with gnoll tribes and demons has the same chance to hit an enemy as a guy who spends his time mucking out stables. Gandalf, Merlin, Harry Dresden, and any number of other iconic Wizard characters could all swing a sword or staff, they just might not have the ability to maximize their swings that the martially trained types do, Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy would be a great example; Harry is just as likely to land a punch as Karrin, but Karrin can hit faster and knows how to quickly turn it into a grab, sweep, or lock. When Harry hits something, he adds oomph with a spell, whereas Karrin adds oomph with a technique. This is actually modeled fairly well in 5e.

I actually like this about 5e as well. Though I don't know that I like that the wizard ends up being exactly as accurate as the fighter, I think it is smart and even thematically appropriate that those numbers remain quite close.

I like the design philosophy that "martial progression" should equal "martial options" of which most if not all strictly dominate a basic attack in at least one given situation. I think there is room for raw damage and accuracy differentiation as well but accuracy differential--at least--should remain small and well bounded. Though I will also recognize that the balance math is easier when you can assume that all characters are going to be making checks with the same sorts of bonuses.

Going towards the title of the thread: This is a lesson that may be learned from D&D 5th Edition.


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For better or worse, attack rolls, skill checks, and saves all follow the same track. The proficiency bonus. This means replacing a save with a skill or an attack is quite easy. DCs are universal and having contests between the three is easier.


I have the book and am reading it. I will be getting the CORE books and the first two modules and perhaps any Dragonlance related materials, but I am happy with my Pathfinder.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
With a few minor changes, to the spells, it's surprising how less broken magic feel. Take Knock for example; A wizard can still use it to automatically bypass a lock, but it makes a loud knock that will alert everyone in the proximity. You might be able to crack a lock, but only to the equivalent of a brawler knocking it lose himself. The rogue is the one who can get you in silently.

There's also the fact that many traditional buff spells require the wizard to concentrate to maintain the effect, meaning that wizards can't multitask in combat as well as they could in previous editions.

It's still not perfect obviously. Sleep is still hilariously potent, and saves don't scale like they should, especially considering that there are now six different ones.

Yeah. Sleep itself is a weird gamble of a spell. Since it goes off of hitpoints not hitdice and you can get anywhere between 5 and 40 hitpoints worth to knock out (may not even work at all to working too well). It's also got fiddly bits, counting out hitpoints turns into accounting. Clearly an example of a spell that's gone in the wrong direction.

I am with wake on this one. I think the hp angle is easier to run and it adds and interesting angle to the game. Namely: it adds the concept of "weakening up" an enemy for a spell-based knock out. It also keeps those low level spells potentially useful over all 20 levels (because even Asmodeus might have under 40 hit points or whatever late in the fight).


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
With a few minor changes, to the spells, it's surprising how less broken magic feel. Take Knock for example; A wizard can still use it to automatically bypass a lock, but it makes a loud knock that will alert everyone in the proximity. You might be able to crack a lock, but only to the equivalent of a brawler knocking it lose himself. The rogue is the one who can get you in silently.

There's also the fact that many traditional buff spells require the wizard to concentrate to maintain the effect, meaning that wizards can't multitask in combat as well as they could in previous editions.

It's still not perfect obviously. Sleep is still hilariously potent, and saves don't scale like they should, especially considering that there are now six different ones.

Yeah. Sleep itself is a weird gamble of a spell. Since it goes off of hitpoints not hitdice and you can get anywhere between 5 and 40 hitpoints worth to knock out (may not even work at all to working too well). It's also got fiddly bits, counting out hitpoints turns into accounting. Clearly an example of a spell that's gone in the wrong direction.
I am with wake on this one. I think the hp angle is easier to run and it adds and interesting angle to the game. Namely: it adds the concept of "weakening up" an enemy for a spell-based knock out. It also keeps those low level spells potentially useful over all 20 levels (because even Asmodeus might have under 40 hit points or whatever late in the fight).

It felt like it's more of a lateral move in practice. I actually like the concept of weakening enemies to affect them better. However from actual play, I guess it just feels more fiddly because I'm not used to it. As the GM, I know the HD and Will saves (or at least have a quick sheet). Normally 5 quick rolls (those closest who failed sleep until 4HD Sleeps. That time, I had to check who was in the range, who of the 5 had the lowest hp (one was shot and the other was attacked with swords) subtract the 3 and 5 from the 21 and decide that the one in the back (nearest to the spell origin) would be the third one affected.

YMMV; In that particular case, it actually would have been more in the player's favor if we had gone with the pathfinder version of the spell, if only because two of the buggers who actually fell asleep were going down next turn anyway.

Silver Crusade

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Although I can make a starting wizard with 16s in both Dex and Int (so her attack mod equals the fighter's at 1st), as the fighter levels he'll increase his attack stat but the wizard will increase her casting stat instead, so the martial will pull ahead later in the game on pure attack mod. Then there's all the extra stuff martials get for melee; I wouldn't worry about martials being redundant just because the proficiency bonus is identical.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
With a few minor changes, to the spells, it's surprising how less broken magic feel. Take Knock for example; A wizard can still use it to automatically bypass a lock, but it makes a loud knock that will alert everyone in the proximity. You might be able to crack a lock, but only to the equivalent of a brawler knocking it lose himself. The rogue is the one who can get you in silently.

The changes to spells are generally pretty good, but I do find myself going 'WTF' at some of the things they decided needed to be concentration spells. For example, Stoneskin. Or Web. Maybe it's just years and years of a 3.X framework talking, but saying I have to concentrate to maintain that kind of defensive spells or prevent the sticky strands from disappearing into thin air IS a bit weird.


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I like the liberal use of concentration mostly because it takes away that wizards and other full casters are near gods. If you can just rifle off spells one after another without consequence then you might as well be a demigod, start a religion, and start granting spells. The concentration bit makes magic important (potentially even critical) in your spell selection, makes the caster pay attention to make sure they got off the right spells when the situation calls for it, and is a crticial reminder that, yes, in fact, they are very mortal and limited even though they can cast wishes. Some of the individual spells are debateable, sure, but I wouldn't change the precept at all.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Although I can make a starting wizard with 16s in both Dex and Int (so her attack mod equals the fighter's at 1st), as the fighter levels he'll increase his attack stat but the wizard will increase her casting stat instead, so the martial will pull ahead later in the game on pure attack mod. Then there's all the extra stuff martials get for melee; I wouldn't worry about martials being redundant just because the proficiency bonus is identical.

If you focus on self buffs and other things without saves or attack rolls then the elf wizard can just go ahead and buff dex. That isn't going to be the usual build, though.

What is actually propping up the fighter are the additional attacks he gets. That works just fine, though.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Although I can make a starting wizard with 16s in both Dex and Int (so her attack mod equals the fighter's at 1st), as the fighter levels he'll increase his attack stat but the wizard will increase her casting stat instead, so the martial will pull ahead later in the game on pure attack mod. Then there's all the extra stuff martials get for melee; I wouldn't worry about martials being redundant just because the proficiency bonus is identical.

If you focus on self buffs and other things without saves or attack rolls then the elf wizard can just go ahead and buff dex. That isn't going to be the usual build, though.

What is actually propping up the fighter are the additional attacks he gets. That works just fine, though.

Except with most buffs being concentration, that's not going to work well.


The dex boosted elf wizard can get pretty good AC. Mage armor is not concentration and lasts 8 hours. That can put you up there with fighters. Given that or generally trying to simply stay out of the way, you can devote your attention to others pretty effectively. Draconic sorcerers get a constant mage armor like effect plus 1 HP per level so they don't have that worry either.

My 5e draconic sorcerer can get an AC 20 at level 1 with shield and a 14 dex. It's pretty nice. But, instead of shield I took sleep. At low levels it's almost a sure thing. I might give him shield later.


I definitely have a few problems with 5e. The class escalator type design where there is very little customization at each level is definitely a negative. I also think this bounded accuracy with rare and small modifiers would have worked much better as a 3d6 system instead of a d20. The other mechanic I have issue with is Disadvantage/Advantage. At it's core I think it is great, but it requires some better stacking rules since everything seems to use it. Finally, I'd really like some specific rules on what I can spend all my money on.

On the other hand, I think 5e has a lot of strengths. Spells are handled much better in 5e than in Pathfinder. Concentration is a great mechanic, spell scaling by using higher slots, and memorization is much more useful.

In addition, while there are a lot fewer tidbits to play with and customize in 5e, I think I can realize and effectively play a lot more types of characters in 5e core than I can in Pathfinder core.

-Finesse and/or Mobile Warriors. Holy s%+#, I can play a good finesse Fighter, or Rogue, or Paladin, or w/e, right from level 1! Try that in PF Core.
-Sniper Rogues. Rogues with ranged attacks are no longer a dream. Hell, playing a Rogue in general is no longer a dream!
-Gishes of all shapes and sizes. Valor Bards, EK Fighters, Trickster Rogues, Way of the Shadow or Elemental Monks all make for far more effective gishes then their counterparts in core only PF.
-Monks don't suck. And the three different flavors of Monk are definitely unique.
-Healers without magic. The Healer feat means you don't have to play a magic class to actually be able to heal wounds effectively!
-Fighters can do cool Fighty things. Battle Master Fighters can actually learn about and gather information about opponents they are fighting and do awesome things like make Ranged Disarms and the like.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Quote:
What's a mechanical expression you can do in the PF CRB that you can't do with the 5e PHB?

A near-optimal trip (or other combat maneuver) build with martial classes besides the fighter.

A real deal Batman wizard that don't give two damns about fighting.

A bard that actually can improve the combat viability of the party every turn consistently and then picks up feat chains to help his buddies out (feinting and the like).

Barbarians that do cool stuff other than move, hit things with swords, and take damage (admittedly pretty good stuff though).

Animal companion builds where the animal companion does stuff other than attack in combat.

Okay, I personally feel like you can do ALL of these in 5e. Let's take it from the top.

-Non-Fighter trip build. Anyone can use their Attack action to Shove (PF's Bull Rush/Trip) without having to invest anything! And martial characters don't even have to give up their full action to do it (as it only replaces 1 of their attacks). So a 5th level Barbarian can trip an opponent and attack it all in one turn! And actually, Strength based Valor Bards are really effective trippers (in terms of success rate) so long as they take their Expertise in the Athletics skill.

-Batman Wizard that doesn't give a damn about fighting. Uhh don't take fighting spells then, and instead focus on utility? Hell, the spell Enhance Ability is one spell that can give you advantage on any ability check you desire! Talk about out of combat utility. I'm not really seeing where the PF Wizard somehow does this noticeably better. Although I will stress that I believe the Bard is the real Batman of 5e.

-Bards that buff. Magical Secrets is your answer. Bards can cherry pick any spell they want in the game. Want to be a buffer? Take buff spells (like bless). At first level you have options like Faerie Fire to give allies advantage against targets, Heroism for a defensive buff, and using Inspiration in key moments.

-Barbarians that do cool stuff. Totem Warriors can commune with animals and see through their eyes, and choose different animal aspects to help you out in combat. They can also do maneuvers without the need of a Feat investment. Now I agree, I think Barbarians could use some more love, but I don't think core PF Barbarians were all that either. It really took Totems and archetypes to make PF Barbarians really shine.

-Animal Companions that do stuff other than attack. Attack actions can be used to do things like trip, shove, and grapple. They can also take the Help action which can be fluffed to be all kinds of flavorful options.


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This thread is gigantic, and I apologize if my points have been said already.

I think that Wizards would have been foolish to try to "steal" Pathfinder's player base. They were better off making a game that was distinct from 3.x/Pathfinder. Conversely, Paizo should be mindful to maintaining its own niche.

That said, 5th Edition D&D does address some complaints coming from people who are dedicated to playing and sticking with Pathfinder RPG, such as the learning curve, dependence on magic items, and complexity of higher-level play.

I think this might be a reason why Paizo postponed the release of the Strategy Guide to come out this fall -- to see the market's response to 5E. The Strategy Guide seems like a way to address the argument "5E is easier to jump into than Pathfinder RPG!" Also, the timing of Pathfinder Unchained gives Paizo an opportunity to see how all the ideas included in 5E pan out with people.

In the grand arc of time, D&D 5E is an ideas playtest for Pathfinder Unchained and, yes, an eventual 2nd edition.


Merkatz wrote:

Okay, I personally feel like you can do ALL of these in 5e. Let's take it from the top.

-Non-Fighter trip build. Anyone can use their Attack action to Shove (PF's Bull Rush/Trip) without having to invest anything! And martial characters don't even have to give up their full action to do it (as it only replaces 1 of their attacks). So a 5th level Barbarian can trip an opponent and attack it all in one turn! And actually, Strength based Valor Bards are really effective trippers (in terms of success rate) so long as they take their Expertise in the Athletics skill.

-Batman Wizard that doesn't give a damn about fighting. Uhh don't take fighting spells then, and instead focus on utility? Hell, the spell Enhance Ability is one spell that can give you advantage on any ability check you desire! Talk about out of combat utility. I'm not really seeing where the PF Wizard somehow does this noticeably better. Although I will stress that I believe the Bard is the real Batman of 5e.

-Bards that buff. Magical Secrets is your answer. Bards can cherry pick any spell they want in the game. Want to be a buffer? Take buff spells (like bless). At first level you have options like Faerie Fire to give allies advantage against targets, Heroism for a defensive buff, and using Inspiration in key moments.

-Barbarians that do cool stuff. Totem Warriors can commune with animals and see through their eyes, and choose different animal aspects to help you out in combat. They can also do maneuvers without the need of a Feat investment. Now I agree, I think Barbarians could use some more love, but I don't think core PF Barbarians were all that either. It really took Totems and archetypes to make PF Barbarians really shine.

-Animal Companions that do stuff other than attack. Attack actions can be used to do things like trip, shove, and grapple. They can also take the Help action which can be fluffed to be all kinds of flavorful options.

I already heard and responded to the first, second, and fourth responses.

The point about the bard is valid enough. Still, those buff spells should have been built into the class if the Bard is to fit its traditional role of party support.

On animal companions: yeah okay. You still can't really build them to be special or interesting, though. Consider the goal posts moved (but still asserting that the reduction in customization options leads to an overall reduction in possible character themes and functions)


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JoeJ wrote:

I haven't picked up the PHB yet, but based on the Basic Rules and those bits of the playtest material I've been able to look at, it looks like WoTC is deliberately heading in the "rules lite" direction, where most of the options are in the character concept and in the role playing choices rather than in the game mechanics.

Bingo. As hard as it is for some to comprehend (and I don't mean that disparagingly at all - it does seem a bit illogical at first), more rules can result in fewer options in-game.

When some players see umpteen hundred feats in a game, they see straight jackets - not freedom and options.

Neither is right or wrong: obviously Pathfinder has embraced the player-focused, character-build philosophy. Other games like Castles and Crusades have harkened back to roleplaying choices versus mechanical choices. Who knows what the future holds for 5th, but it is apparent that with the PHB, WotC decided to go with "less is more" over Pathfinder's "Do you want that wrapped in bacon?" approach.

31 flavors and all that.


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A lesson Paizo can take away from 5th/Wizards is there writing style. Some people are annoyed by the fluff mixed with the crunch but, honestly, with my first time DMing D&D it was phenomenal. From just reading the PHB and a little on Forgotten Realms, I've roleplayed the setting and its inhabitants better from just a few days of reading of thought work than I ever did with Golarion and Pathfinder in spite of years of exposure. I could probably go back and do better with Golarion now but Wizard's writing almost narrates a movie while giving you mechanics. It's much easier to digest than the hard separation Paizo currently does.

I thought this was an abberation with 5th but then I looked back to the 2e DMG and 3.0 FR setting. Everything I read was genuinely written better. Though, it could be those resources cover much more mundane topics. It's not all fantasitical events and powerful creatures. There are articles on bartering systems and various economies. I felt like it was trying to improve me as a DM rather than just giving me material to use in games.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Getting further along in reading through 5e... I skimmed the spells chapter today. There's a couple of specific questions I need to go back and review, but on the whole I'm liking a few things:


  • Spells don't inherently scale with the caster's level, only with the spell slot invested. This is great because it means that you don't have spells that aren't that good... until your caster level reaches a certain point. Spells don't increase in power as their relative cost (relative cost of the spell slot) decreases. This should also help get rid of casters (or entire parties) sitting on a dozen or more spells.
  • Spell save DCs are all the same. This reduces the impulse to relegate spells below the top 2-3 levels of your casting capability to support spells, or at least ones without saves. That is, you won't feel like it's a waste to cast fireball because the save DC is too low at 19th level to consider worth the action.
  • Spells having more effect when cast in a higher level slot really helps with limited spells known, as well as reducing duplication in spell lists. It also means that to get a greater effect from a spell, you have to expend a more valuable resource.
  • Offensive cantrips that don't fade into uselessness after a couple of levels extend a caster's endurance.
  • Straight up fewer spell slots overall mean that valuable resources probably won't be squandered. The casting mechanic itself means that you don't have to spend nearly so long poring over every spell slot in an attempt to avoid wasting the slot by preparing something too niche.
  • While not every class has expendable resources, to match how casters have spell slots, many do, at least with specific choices within the class. That helps reduce the disparity between expensive but powerful actions and cheap but less powerful ones. And the spells themselves seem toned down. It seems that we're less likely to just solve everything with a well-placed spell, making other options more viable.
  • A lot of the spells that just ended a fight (or at least a creature's participation in the fight) are much weaker now. While it's satisfying to neutralize a foe with one action, it's also something you live in terror of having done to you. And can far too easily chump solo fights (one more reason why simple solo fights are boring).

I'm not entirely sold on the concentration mechanic for limiting buffs. I like the idea, just not entirely sold on that being the mechanic. It'll work, but it might be a bit stricter than necessary narratively. Still, it's more coherent than saying that a person can only be subject to N spells at a time (and then we'd stack small buffs on someone until they were effectively immune to debuff spells).

Advantage/Disadvantage I think is a decent concept used a bit too much, and benefits a lot from a simple houserule: whichever you have more of on the roll is in effect. If you have advantage once and disadvantage once, they cancel out. If you have advantage twice and disadvantage once, then you have advantage. This prevents a single source of disadvantage from canceling out all effort to get advantage.

I'm hoping to see, as I look into the non-combat aspects, that investment in the combat, social, and exploration aspects does not come from a shared resource pool. That is, I don't want a character to have to sacrifice ability in combat for skill at lockpicking or conversation; that's an aspect of 3rd edition which I think contributed greatly to the relative weakness of the rogue. Likewise the pre-Pathfinder skill tax of Concentration on spellcasters.

One thing I liked the idea of in 4e (and hated the execution of) was skill challenges. Specifically the part where it was designed to get the entire party engaged in the encounter, rather than standing back and letting the bard do everything. The concept encouraged characters to have breadth instead of pure specialization. The execution... I won't discuss.


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Buri wrote:

A lesson Paizo can take away from 5th/Wizards is there writing style. Some people are annoyed by the fluff mixed with the crunch but, honestly, with my first time DMing D&D it was phenomenal. From just reading the PHB and a little on Forgotten Realms, I've roleplayed the setting and its inhabitants better from just a few days of reading of thought work than I ever did with Golarion and Pathfinder in spite of years of exposure. I could probably go back and do better with Golarion now but Wizard's writing almost narrates a movie while giving you mechanics. It's much easier to digest than the hard separation Paizo currently does.

I thought this was an abberation with 5th but then I looked back to the 2e DMG and 3.0 FR setting. Everything I read was genuinely written better. Though, it could be those resources cover much more mundane topics. It's not all fantasitical events and powerful creatures. There are articles on bartering systems and various economies. I felt like it was trying to improve me as a DM rather than just giving me material to use in games.

Personally, I like the separation of church and state (fluff and crunch). The difficulties present in misinterpreting fluff interlaced with crunch - mistakes and confusions for both players and GMs alike - was nightmarish (in my opinion).

I agree whole-heartedly with your second paragraph, however. Anytime I decide I need a mechanic to cover something, I look back at my AD&D 1 and 2e books and usually find it (horse quality and traits from the 2e DMG, for example). Anytime I try to fix a problem we find in iterations of 3.x (especially regarding spellcasters), I look to AD&D 2e to see what Cook & his merry band removed that caused the problem (and I ALWAYS find something, again, especially with spellcasters).


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Tranquilis wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

I haven't picked up the PHB yet, but based on the Basic Rules and those bits of the playtest material I've been able to look at, it looks like WoTC is deliberately heading in the "rules lite" direction, where most of the options are in the character concept and in the role playing choices rather than in the game mechanics.

Bingo. As hard as it is for some to comprehend (and I don't mean that disparagingly at all - it does seem a bit illogical at first), more rules can result in fewer options in-game.

When some players see umpteen hundred feats in a game, they see straight jackets - not freedom and options.

Neither is right or wrong: obviously Pathfinder has embraced the player-focused, character-build philosophy. Other games like Castles and Crusades have harkened back to roleplaying choices versus mechanical choices. Who knows what the future holds for 5th, but it is apparent that with the PHB, WotC decided to go with "less is more" over Pathfinder's "Do you want that wrapped in bacon?" approach.

31 flavors and all that.

This is true. With a personality like mine that tends to study the rules... if the rules tell me I need feat X to do something, then I don't ask the DM if I can try. I either have the feat and do it, or I don't have the feat and immediately write it off as impossible (due to lack of feat). Likewise I often don't think about non-standard uses of spells. I'm working on getting better at that, but a lot of the time I see a spell as doing exactly and only what the spell description says, nothing more, ever. That said, as a DM, I try to encourage the opposite thinking and am quite happy to make quick & dirty rulings; I also sometimes suggest ways to ad-hoc a situation to the DM when I'm playing. (So far I haven't done it for an action I was taking, but for others).

Lots of rules are good for consistency across a campaign and across multiple tables. That's really helpful for something like organized play; since you might have a different DM each time, you don't want to rely on something that's a DM judgment call; your character might be excellent with one DM and near-worthless with another.

The way Pathfinder is written, if it can be done, there are rules for it. That's not strictly true, of course, there's nothing stopping a DM from making a ruling. But the basic assumption is that if the game rules don't model it, then it's not supposed to happen. Or you should construct it from the existing rules. I've watched games derail while a DM decided to survey half a dozen books and build a composite ruling on an unexpected action, because that was the "correct" way to go.

A more rules-light system has a tone of giving you the tools to make rulings on matters not covered in the rules.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Just remember all these good things you are saying about 5th edition in 2016 when 6th edition is about to come out. I don't want to go back to WoTC/ D&D because of the way their business model works.

You like the lack of bloat? Be prepared when PHII, PHIII, PH IV, and 15 splat books take that away in the next year-two.

Also-- has Wizards released any compatibility license?

If they don't that's just another reason for me to stay away, I like the OGL and open gaming, so learning a system I will never be able to write for seems pretty pointless to me. We can't all have Necromancer games legion of lawyers to be able to publish things without a free license.


Their stated goal is they won't release like that. Their license release is slated for next year.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Buri wrote:
Their stated goal is they won't release like that. Their license release is slated for next year.

So we have their stated goal, versus their established business model with MTG, 3.0, 3.5 and 4th ed-- all of which they have essentially released like that.

Unless they have completely determined that D&D the table top will not make money at the level they need and see it merely as a way to introduce people to the 4 Drizzt novels published a year or use it as a loss leader they have to have some plan to make it marketable-- and WotC has never been a company that thrived on selling adventures.

If the license release is for next year, then I will look at whether 5th ed is worth my time when it comes out next year. As more than a completionist's need to buy the PH and set it on the shelf that is, which I will do when I have extra cash.


Excaliburproxy wrote:

I want to ask people how important is that lack of customization and complexity?

I have a weird argument. I kind of like pathfinder in part due to its complex gamey-ness. Other people still don't like that the reduction in complexity in 5e necessarily results in a decrease in player options.

As I noted in my first post, this decrease in complexity has bought 5e some pretty positive qualities, but it may not be the game for me or YOU for that matter.

I feel like most people want a really simple game, though (most people aren't me as it turns out). How much customization should be given up in the name of tractability? More importantly: how much customization should be given up to capture the majority of the market?

I am perhaps selfishly putting forth that Pathfinder should stay complex in future editions to differentiate itself from 5e and the world of retro-clones that multiply every day.

I don't accept the premise of your argument here, that less complexity necessarily equates to less customization. In Pathfinder, a rules-driven game, that is true enough, but other, simpler systems still allow for at least as much customization. The difference is just that the customization must originate in the player's imagination, rather than in the rulebooks. Rules are then created and fitted to the players needs. This is how the developers create new "customizations" that get introduced into any game, after all. It used to be that D&D stressed the player and DM involvement in this process. Maybe 5e is returning to that -- or maybe it's just hooking people in with simplicity before splatbooking that simplicity to death.

By the way, I totally get the fun of deriving customizations from tons and tons of rules. The feel of uncovering a previously undiscovered secret combination amongst stacks of arcane librams is definitely rewarding in its own right. Still, there are other routes to customization that work quite well also.

Disclaimer: I only skimmed the myriad posts arguing back and forth about which system is more complex and why. If I missed anyone addressing the point of complexity vs customization along the way, my apologies. Edit: I see Tranquilis, JoeJ, and PhelanArcetus touched on this subject


I don't think wizards was specifically going for the Pathfinder crowd. From what I can tell, they really nailed down on issues that mattered most to those who play E6. The scaled down numbers, a lot more checks and balances, only warrior types get bonus attacks, way less emphasis on the reliance of magical gear, quicker rolls, etc.

It's far from perfect; I've barely run it, and I've got a handful of houserules I want to apply, but that's with every game.

Shadow Lodge

Thelemic_Noun wrote:

Using a grid is considered an "optional rule" in 5e.

I'm not sure whether that's because they wanted to get back to their 2e roots, or trying to distance themselves as much as possible from 4e Miniatures and Movement. Perhaps both.

I'm sorry....are we pretending that 3.x/Pathfinder is NOT a game of Minis & Movement?


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Kthulhu wrote:
Thelemic_Noun wrote:

Using a grid is considered an "optional rule" in 5e.

I'm not sure whether that's because they wanted to get back to their 2e roots, or trying to distance themselves as much as possible from 4e Miniatures and Movement. Perhaps both.

I'm sorry....are we pretending that 3.x/Pathfinder is NOT a game of Minis & Movement?

More like Minis and Stand-Still-So-You-Can-Get-All-Your-Attacks.


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Kthulhu wrote:
Thelemic_Noun wrote:

Using a grid is considered an "optional rule" in 5e.

I'm not sure whether that's because they wanted to get back to their 2e roots, or trying to distance themselves as much as possible from 4e Miniatures and Movement. Perhaps both.

I'm sorry....are we pretending that 3.x/Pathfinder is NOT a game of Minis & Movement?

It isn't a byproduct of a clear attempt to increase demand for miniatures due to a cynical realization of where most of the revenue stream was coming from, nor did it gut noncombat.

Shadow Lodge

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
I'm sorry....are we pretending that 3.x/Pathfinder is NOT a game of Minis & Movement?
It isn't a byproduct of a clear attempt to increase demand for miniatures

I'm sorry, were you asleep from 2000-2009?

3e was more focused on miniatures than ANY prior edition. To include 0e...which was basically just a bunch of really weird house rules for Chainmail.

I mean...for Odin's sake....THIS.

I don't think even 4e had a specific miniatures book.


You know, I've heard that, but I never got that impression. Maybe it was just the way I was introduced, but even in late 2E there were miniatures. We mostly abandoned them around the turn of 3E, so it was just... not relevant. Distances were clear, and you could do anything without movement. Dropping mega game concepts like squares or inches made for a more internally consistent theater of the mind. It's really weird how everyone takes this differently.

Shadow Lodge

A lot of people play with minis for any edition. But 3e was the first one that really seemed to be pushing them so hard, in my less-than-humble opinion. The default assumption changed from "You might find it easier to visual this using minis" to "We assume you will use minis". Again, in my less-than-humble opinion.

Shadow Lodge

JoeJ wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
I'm sorry....are we pretending that 3.x/Pathfinder is NOT a game of Minis & Movement?
More like Minis and Stand-Still-So-You-Can-Get-All-Your-Attacks.

I thought about mentioning that in my original response.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
A lot of people play with minis for any edition. But 3e was the first one that really seemed to be pushing them so hard, in my less-than-humble opinion. The default assumption changed from "You might find it easier to visual this using minis" to "We assume you will use minis". Again, in my less-than-humble opinion.

Right, but that's just your assumption and opinion. Yes, in 3rd ed the same company sold miniatures as the game, and yes they described movement in rules that a grid makes clearer, but its not as though they said "Must have minis" in the PHB.

And the miniatures handbook was created so they had rules for some things they were doing in the miniatures handbook that converted back to the core game.

The minis battles had their own rules which were trying to compete against heroclix and the like on their own right and using those miniatures for D&D was basically a side effect, hence more of the design time of the miniatures being spent on making it a balanced game itself than on making quality sculpts people would want to use for D&D.


So far I'm enjoying 5E, but it's not without its problems. One of the things that was really beginning to bug me and that I had to houserule was their decision to take size out of the factor of AC.

It was nice that some of the penalties for being small were reduced (25 movespeed instead of 20, same weapon damage [although at disadvantage for heavy weapons]) but in other places they are flat out worse (They can carry only half the weight instead of 3/4, larger creatures AUTOMATICALLY escape your grapples). There aren't even bonuses to hit or AC.

There is literally no benefit to playing a smaller creature. It's easier to hit a frog (tiny, AC 11) than a giant spider (large, AC 14).


My guess is that it all has to do with their desire for bounded accuracy. That said, a Halfling's Lucky racial ability is... amazing.


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Nathanael Love wrote:
Yes, in 3rd ed the same company sold miniatures as the game, and yes they described movement in rules that a grid makes clearer, but its not as though they said "Must have minis" in the PHB.

The 4e phb does not say "must have minis". I can verify this since I got it as a PDF from DTRPG. For that matter, it does not contain the string "must have m".

I think there is a reasonable case to be made that 4e emphasized miniatures more than earlier games, but lying about the facts won't get you there;)


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Nathanael Love wrote:

Just remember all these good things you are saying about 5th edition in 2016 when 6th edition is about to come out. I don't want to go back to WoTC/ D&D because of the way their business model works.

You like the lack of bloat? Be prepared when PHII, PHIII, PH IV, and 15 splat books take that away in the next year-two.

I think the general argument is not that 5e's strength stems from it having less books out, but that many find the base rules less "clunky." As all future 5e supplements will be running off the same core rules just like all past and future Pathfinder supplements run off the same core rules, it seems safe to say that the people who like 5e for its streamlined nature will continue to like it and people who find it "dumbed down" will continue to hate it.

Personally, I just want to roll some dice and play Elf Pretend but whatever.

Shadow Lodge

Exactly. The core of the game is simpler, sleeker, and more streamlined. It doesn't matter how many supplements you add, that will remain true.

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