A GM's plea to the dev team: Don't add too many "If you pass / fail by X or more" effects


Prerelease Discussion


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One concern I have, partially about the new >10< crit/fail system, and heightened by Mark Seifter's post regarding parrying, is that so far PF2e seem to have many more "If you pass/fail by X or more" types of effects.

Every time one of these shows up, I'm worried about it slowing down the game. Because many times I don't want to take the time doing the math to calculate the exact result of a check, and then ask the player how that compares to their AC, or whatever. E.g., I roll a goblin's attack, see it's a nat 18, and so I know it's a hit. Or I roll a nat 3, so I know it's a miss. I don't want to spend my time adding up attack bonuses and flanking bonuses and penalties from Bane and etc. to figure out "a nat 18 +5 +2 -1 is a 24 to hit", and then have to ask the player "Does a 24 beat your AC by 10?" I'd much rather say "nat 18 is a hit" and move on.

And the problem just gets worse when you are adding monsters on-the-fly and modifying stat blocks - "The goblin listed has a shield bonus +2, but this one is actually holding a bow, so I have to subtract 2 from their AC..."

And then there's skill check DCs. Probably ~50% of skill check DCs are made up on the fly, and it's just so much quicker to ask the player "OK, roll me a Knowledge (local) check" and if they roll a nat 2 then you know it will fail, and if they roll a nat 16 then you know it will succeed. I may know in advance "The DC on this is going to be in the 12-15 range" but I might not pick an exact DC before the check is rolled. But if there are different consequences based off whether they fail by 10 or fail by 5 or pass by 5 or pass by 10, then getting the exact DC and exact bonuses correct becomes a lot more important... which takes more time.

One example from PF1e is Mirror Image. Someone rolls their attack and says "I miss", and then you have to take extra time to ask them, "Well what was your exact total? If you failed by less than 5 you pop an image." That takes time away from the action.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Or do other people also worry that having too many "degrees of success" will slow the game?


RumpinRufus wrote:

One concern I have, partially about the new >10< crit/fail system, and heightened by Mark Seifter's post regarding parrying, is that so far PF2e seem to have many more "If you pass/fail by X or more" types of effects.

Every time one of these shows up, I'm worried about it slowing down the game. Because many times I don't want to take the time doing the math to calculate the exact result of a check, and then ask the player how that compares to their AC, or whatever. E.g., I roll a goblin's attack, see it's a nat 18, and so I know it's a hit. Or I roll a nat 3, so I know it's a miss. I don't want to spend my time adding up attack bonuses and flanking bonuses and penalties from Bane and etc. to figure out "a nat 18 +5 +2 -1 is a 24 to hit", and then have to ask the player "Does a 24 beat your AC by 10?" I'd much rather say "nat 18 is a hit" and move on.

And the problem just gets worse when you are adding monsters on-the-fly and modifying stat blocks - "The goblin listed has a shield bonus +2, but this one is actually holding a bow, so I have to subtract 2 from their AC..."

And then there's skill check DCs. Probably ~50% of skill check DCs are made up on the fly, and it's just so much quicker to ask the player "OK, roll me a Knowledge (local) check" and if they roll a nat 2 then you know it will fail, and if they roll a nat 16 then you know it will succeed. I may know in advance "The DC on this is going to be in the 12-15 range" but I might not pick an exact DC before the check is rolled. But if there are different consequences based off whether they fail by 10 or fail by 5 or pass by 5 or pass by 10, then getting the exact DC and exact bonuses correct becomes a lot more important... which takes more time.

One example from PF1e is Mirror Image. Someone rolls their attack and says "I miss", and then you have to take extra time to ask them, "Well what was your exact total? If you failed by less than 5 you pop an...

Hadn't considered this since I usually play on Roll20 (where this is moot), but you've got a good point. This can really hurt the speed of the game when they meant to speed it up.


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As long as the numbers are kept to +/-10 (or even +/-5) I'm okay with it. At my table we spend far more time trying to keep track of bonuses stacking than the dice rolling. For us, it wouldn't take much longer to say "Goblin rolls a 19 to hit, what's your AC? A 9? Sweet, prepare your backup character as the goblin inflicts x damage". I don't really see it slowing things down a whole lot (of course YMMV).


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Most people have all of their modifiers pre-calculated, so getting an actual total shouldn't be hard. I would assume that part of the streamlining effort going into PF2 would be cutting down on the minute modifier details.

Adding/subtracting 10 is just moving the 10's place digit up or down by one. Not really enough to consider actual "math".


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I whole-heartedly agree with the OP. The succeed/fail by x or more thing is a big turn-off for me for the exact reasons stated above, and I say that as someone who can do mental math fairly quickly and accurately.


I feel like "having to do this over and over again slowed down the game" is the sort of useful feedback that one can get in a playtest. So if having to do more math on the fly is a problem, you would find out when you played it, or you might figure out a way to do it that works for you so it's not a problem.

So it might be best to leave them in the playtest and then take some of them out for the game.

Like maybe the "miss by 10, get a riposte" power is an ability that you can choose, which is fun, but is not far and away the most powerful choice for that slot, and there's a competitive option that doesn't rely on thresholds.

But since "critical hits" are now supposedly on a "you crit if you exceed the threshold by more than 10" it might just be best to pre-calculate all your modifiers.


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TwoWolves wrote:


Most people have all of their modifiers pre-calculated, so getting an actual total shouldn't be hard. I would assume that part of the streamlining effort going into PF2 would be cutting down on the minute modifier details.

Adding/subtracting 10 is just moving the 10's place digit up or down by one. Not really enough to consider actual "math".

Circumstantial modifiers can't be pre-calculated, tho. The OP has a valid point. Normally if you roll a 3, or roll a 18, you don't even need to add the modifiers. You know your 3 missed, and your 18 hit. But know you have to check if 3 missed by 10, and if 18 hit by 10. Regardless of how fast you can add or substract numbers, making a calculation is always slower than not making it, so having to make more calculation certainly will slow the game. How much, we will see on August, probably.


Its really going to come down to how much simpler PF2 gets. If they are using some type of bounded accuracy its going to be easy to track this. If they are going number gonzo again like PF1, then its going to be a PITA.


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TwoWolves wrote:


Most people have all of their modifiers pre-calculated, so getting an actual total shouldn't be hard. I would assume that part of the streamlining effort going into PF2 would be cutting down on the minute modifier details.

Adding/subtracting 10 is just moving the 10's place digit up or down by one. Not really enough to consider actual "math".

The math I'm worried about isn't adding or subtracting 10... it's all the +2s and -1s that I need to account for when the check total is in the ballpark of DC-10 or DC+10.

For example, I know the mook's listed attack bonus is +4, and he's flanking and receiving a +1 from Bardic Performance. I know the PC's AC is in the 15-18 range. So ordinarily, if I roll a nat 11 or better, I just say "it's a hit" and move on. It's only if I roll a 8, 9, or 10 that I actually have to ask the player "What is your AC?" BUT, now with >10< rules, if I roll a nat 1 I need to check against AC-10, and if I roll a nat 18-20, I need to check against AC+10. So the range of rolls for which I need to ask AC has gone from {8, 9, 10} to {1, 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 20}. The "active shield" rules are only going to make this worse, since AC will often be varying round-to-round in PF2e, so you can't just memorize everyone's AC.


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Is it an issue if we leave "calculating all of the bonuses" to the player with the understanding that if you forget to add whatever modifier you are entitled to, you don't get that bonus? It works like this with the escalation die in 13th Age- if you forget about it, you don't get the bonus.

But I'm really going to need to see all the rules in context to know if this is a problem.


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The die roll of 1 or 20 is so much easier. How many folks complain about players that cant figure out their mods for the life of them on the boards? What do they call the game? Mathfinder. Now of course, PF2 could make those piling modifiers a rare occurrence, but after reading about shields im thinking outlook not so good.


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Or, the Player handles the (potentially fewer) modifiers they can control and the DM handles the situational modifiers in the form of changing the target's AC?

Dark Archive

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RumpinRufus wrote:
TwoWolves wrote:


Most people have all of their modifiers pre-calculated, so getting an actual total shouldn't be hard. I would assume that part of the streamlining effort going into PF2 would be cutting down on the minute modifier details.

Adding/subtracting 10 is just moving the 10's place digit up or down by one. Not really enough to consider actual "math".

The math I'm worried about isn't adding or subtracting 10... it's all the +2s and -1s that I need to account for when the check total is in the ballpark of DC-10 or DC+10.

For example, I know the mook's listed attack bonus is +4, and he's flanking and receiving a +1 from Bardic Performance. I know the PC's AC is in the 15-18 range. So ordinarily, if I roll a nat 11 or better, I just say "it's a hit" and move on. It's only if I roll a 8, 9, or 10 that I actually have to ask the player "What is your AC?" BUT, now with >10< rules, if I roll a nat 1 I need to check against AC-10, and if I roll a nat 18-20, I need to check against AC+10. So the range of rolls for which I need to ask AC has gone from {8, 9, 10} to {1, 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 20}. The "active shield" rules are only going to make this worse, since AC will often be varying round-to-round in PF2e, so you can't just memorize everyone's AC.

Umm, you are over thinking it and making it sound more complicated than it is. You just need to tell total result of the roll and player can remember their own AC. That doesn't really take long, even if ACs change.


Im a little worried that reactions are too restrictive. There is going to be a lot of hoping the dice fall just right to make it happen. Even then, you only get to do your cool move once a round. I'd almost rather add a bunch of cool things you can do instead/in addition to attacking and bring back AoO.

This is something ill be looking hard at during playtetsing.


RumpinRufus wrote:

The math I'm worried about isn't adding or subtracting 10... it's all the +2s and -1s that I need to account for when the check total is in the ballpark of DC-10 or DC+10.

I'd prefer a system where there aren't lots of +2s and -1s to account for. That would make it easy to calculate the exact total.

So I'd roll a 16 and add the bonus, 8.
Then I'd say to my player, "He attacks. 24."
Then the player would say, "That's a hit."
Then I'd say, "Does it crit?"
Then the player would say, "Oh, yes. I forgot about that."

Hm. Maybe this will be a problem after all.

Silver Crusade

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Matthew Downie wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:

The math I'm worried about isn't adding or subtracting 10... it's all the +2s and -1s that I need to account for when the check total is in the ballpark of DC-10 or DC+10.

I'd prefer a system where there aren't lots of +2s and -1s to account for. That would make it easy to calculate the exact total.

So I'd roll a 16 and add the bonus, 8.
Then I'd say to my player, "He attacks. 24."
Then the player would say, "That's a hit."
Then I'd say, "Does it crit?"
Then the player would say, "Oh, yes. I forgot about that."

Hm. Maybe this will be a problem after all.

"Does 24 beat your AC by 10?"

"Does 12 miss your AC by 10?"


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Rysky wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:

The math I'm worried about isn't adding or subtracting 10... it's all the +2s and -1s that I need to account for when the check total is in the ballpark of DC-10 or DC+10.

I'd prefer a system where there aren't lots of +2s and -1s to account for. That would make it easy to calculate the exact total.

So I'd roll a 16 and add the bonus, 8.
Then I'd say to my player, "He attacks. 24."
Then the player would say, "That's a hit."
Then I'd say, "Does it crit?"
Then the player would say, "Oh, yes. I forgot about that."

Hm. Maybe this will be a problem after all.

"Does 24 beat your AC by 10?"

"Does 12 miss your AC by 10?"

By <10>? Let me think...

Do I have divine favor still?
It looks like i'm being flanked...am I being flanked?
Oh I forgot to add my natural armor amulet bonus...


Players are more likely going to want to point out when you fumble against them. It's the whole "player vs GM" mentality.

So, you'll really only need to whether you crit against them.


Orville Redenbacher wrote:


By <10>? Let me think...
Do I have divine favor still?
It looks like i'm being flanked...am I being flanked?
Oh I forgot to add my natural armor amulet bonus...

Divine Favor only adds bonuses to attacking and damage. So, they don't need it for AC.

Being flanked doesn't change the player's AC. It changes the attacker's to-hit. So, that's not a worry for AC.

If they don't have their Amulet of Natural Armor figured into their sheet already that's their issue. It's not like an "I'm only going to wear my amulet for this fight and not the next one" type item. So very likely not an issue except for the fight after they've first acquired it.


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While I dig the 4 degrees of success for spells like flesh to stone, I have a trepidatious feeling about it.

If it applies to pretty much everything a character does, I could see it slowing things to a crawl, I have witnessed (bright) people taking forever to calculate d20 + 3 in a combat.

I am also not a fan on +level to everything; just bloat, I wish they had gone with +1/2 level, and then the critical action could be: +5/-5.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Fumbling attack rolls is only relevant for specific PC (and PC-built NPCs) abilities, so if a player takes that ability, it’s on them to call out fumbles to take advantage of them.

However, with flanking, shields, and a cantrip to increase AC against one target, yes, PC AC will be jumping around. I’m guessing it will work best to tell players to never include flanking in their AC answer, and handle that as the GM.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gregg Reece wrote:
Being flanked doesn't change the player's AC. It changes the attacker's to-hit. So, that's not a worry for AC.
Flanking gives a person the Flat Footed condition in 2e (-2 to AC), rather than being a separate AC like Touch I'm pretty sure.
Gregg Reece wrote:
If they don't have their Amulet of Natural Armor figured into their sheet already that's their issue. It's not like an "I'm only going to wear my amulet for this fight and not the next one" type item. So very likely not an issue except for the fight after they've first acquired it.

Agreed, this is the same situation as it is in 1st Edition, the person needs to keep in mind their modifiers, the >10< rule doesn't change that.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Weather Report wrote:
I am also not a fan on +level to everything; just bloat, I wish they had gone with +1/2 level, and then the critical action could be: +5/-5.

No, a critical would still need to be +10/-10. It’s based on the d20, not the static modifiers. If you get +level to attack, enemies get almost +CR to AC; if you get +1/2 level to attack, enemies get almost +1/2 CR to AC. Either way, the amount you need to roll to hit is similar, so the crit boundaries wouldn’t be influenced.


Orville Redenbacher wrote:


By <10>? Let me think...
Do I have divine favor still?
It looks like i'm being flanked...am I being flanked?
Oh I forgot to add my natural armor amulet bonus...

Gees, people. Do you seriously not write down your stats as they change on a blank piece of paper? And what is the deal with forgetting your amulet natural armor bonus? That's going to be there 99% of the time, write it onto your character sheet. Sheesh.

The language my group uses is possibly going to work with this. How we handle it is as follows:
Player: I rolled a 24.
GM: You hit.
Player: I do 32 damage.
GM: The hobgoblin attacks Amos. What's Amos's AC?
Player: 34
GM: I hit two times and do 45 points of damage.

All that needs to be changed is the GM says "you hit with a critical success" or "I hit you twice but miss once with a critical failure".


Rysky wrote:
"Does 24 beat your AC by 10?"

Seems a bit clunky to say that for every attack ever.

Maybe the most efficient/reliable way to do it is:
GM: 24 to hit. AC?
Player: 13.
GM: You're critted.

Rysky wrote:
"Does 12 miss your AC by 10?"

Unless a PC ability or houserule makes attack fumbles possible, this isn't going to be an issue.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This discussion is pretty much pointless until we see what is the PF2 math and whether it's still Fiddly Tiny Bonuslandia as PF1 is. Until August it is, then :)


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Orville Redenbacher wrote:

Do I have divine favor still?

Oh I forgot to add my natural armor amulet bonus...

Better (PF1) examples would be Shield of Faith and Barkskin.


Even if PF2 remains the land of fiddly modifiers (dear god I hope not), I'm really questioning what the problem is.

I mean, did people in PF1 just go "Well, my modifier auto succeeds everything barring a 1, I don't actually need to calc anything!"?

You still need to add up all your pile of fiddly modifiers and if you can add a mountain of fiddly modifiers you can certainly see if the modified fiddly number is plus/minus 10 of the target number. Adding and subtracting by 10 isn't hard...

The Exchange

I agree with the OP’s point.

Miss by/succeed by effects also lead to a lot more metagaming. It helps the players zero in on what the “real target number” is a lot faster.


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QuidEst wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
I am also not a fan on +level to everything; just bloat, I wish they had gone with +1/2 level, and then the critical action could be: +5/-5.
No, a critical would still need to be +10/-10. It’s based on the d20, not the static modifiers. If you get +level to attack, enemies get almost +CR to AC; if you get +1/2 level to attack, enemies get almost +1/2 CR to AC. Either way, the amount you need to roll to hit is similar, so the crit boundaries wouldn’t be influenced.

Right on, I would still like to not be rolling d20 + 37 and that sort of thing (like PF1), so I prefer 1/2 level.

Is there an ability score cap in this edition?


RumpinRufus wrote:

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The math I'm worried about isn't adding or subtracting 10... it's all the +2s and -1s that I need to account for when the check total is in the ballpark of DC-10 or DC+10.

For example, I know the mook's listed attack bonus is +4, and he's flanking and receiving a +1 from Bardic Performance. I know the PC's AC is in the 15-18 range. So ordinarily, if I roll a nat 11 or better, I just say "it's a hit" and move on. It's only if I roll a 8, 9, or 10 that I actually have to ask the player "What is your AC?" BUT, now with >10< rules, if I roll a nat 1 I need to check against AC-10, and if I roll a nat 18-20, I need to check against AC+10. So the range of rolls for which I need to ask AC has gone from {8, 9, 10} to {1, 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 20}. The "active shield" rules are only going to make this worse, since AC will often be varying round-to-round in PF2e, so you can't just memorize everyone's AC.

I think it's largely a question of how many other modifiers there are. Shield bonuses can come on and off, yes, but the main issue I always had wasn't totally 3-4 things onto my normal bonuses, it's when I got up to totalling 7-8 things or more... things get difficult.

I'm not sure if this is everyone's experience, but it's mine. Shield and Flanking are two things, but it at least sounds like spells will provide at most one bonus, though status effects are a potential other source, as well as other party member's abilities (though perhaps there will be a single "class" bonus, who knows).

As it is, at most of my tables that I run, I commonly run into a "Player: I rolled a 17, no wait, it's an 18. Me: Okay, you hit. Player: Oh wait, that's a 20, no, a 21." In other words, the totalling is still happening (because players do it anyways), and it still slows down their mental process.


For years, I've kept my players AC, CMD, saves, and Perception / Sense Motive marked next to their names on the list I use to track their initiative. That way I almost never have to ask what their numbers are when I am rolling against them. If there's an effect going like Prayer or Enlarge, it's simple for me to just note that on the list.

Maybe something like that would help you if you're concerned.


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Tarik Blackhands wrote:
I'm really questioning what the problem is.

As a GM, say I'm running a combat with three types of enemies. I have goblins, goblin commandos, and an NPC. On a goblin's turn, he attacks and I roll a nat 3.

In PF1 I literally don't even need to look at his statblock at all, I just know it's a miss. I've just resolved an entire turn in about 3 seconds.

In PF2, I need to look at the statblocks, find the goblin's stat block, find the attack bonus, look up at the board to determine flanking, try to remember if there are any other buffs or debuffs active, look back at the die result, add everything together, ask the PC what their AC is, they try to recall whether or not they put their shield up, they respond, and then I can finally resolve it.

It may seem trivial because you do all that so frequently, but this is the stuff that bogs combat down. I love the turns that you can resolve in 3 seconds because it keeps the action moving so quickly, and now it looks like those 3-second turns are dead and gone (at least when your PCs have fumble-triggered abilities.)


RumpinRufus wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
I'm really questioning what the problem is.

As a GM, say I'm running a combat with three types of enemies. I have goblins, goblin commandos, and an NPC. On a goblin's turn, he attacks and I roll a nat 3.

In PF1 I literally don't even need to look at his statblock at all, I just know it's a miss. I've just resolved an entire turn in about 3 seconds.

In PF2, I need to look at the statblocks, find the goblin's stat block, find the attack bonus, look up at the board to determine flanking, try to remember if there are any other buffs or debuffs active, look back at the die result, add everything together, ask the PC what their AC is, they try to recall whether or not they put their shield up, they respond, and then I can finally resolve it.

It sounds as if this only needs to happen maybe 20% of the time, if the target has a riposte ability. Keep in mind, this *is* a thing in PF1 too, so you still need to go through all those steps, except this time it's attack roll vs AC instead of attack roll vs attack roll.

Yes, there may be other abilities that trigger on fail vs. critical fail for attack rolls, but I think most critical failures revolve around spells, and computing saving throw bonus was never an issue for me at least.

I'd agree things may take longer on the other end, however, with critical hits on attack rolls.


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RumpinRufus wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
I'm really questioning what the problem is.

As a GM, say I'm running a combat with three types of enemies. I have goblins, goblin commandos, and an NPC. On a goblin's turn, he attacks and I roll a nat 3.

In PF1 I literally don't even need to look at his statblock at all, I just know it's a miss. I've just resolved an entire turn in about 3 seconds.

In PF2, I need to look at the statblocks, find the goblin's stat block, find the attack bonus, look up at the board to determine flanking, try to remember if there are any other buffs or debuffs active, look back at the die result, add everything together, ask the PC what their AC is, they respond, and then I can finally resolve it.

It may seem trivial because you do all that so frequently, but this is the stuff that bogs combat down. I love the turns that you can resolve in 3 seconds because it keeps the action moving so quickly, and now it looks like those 3-second turns are dead and gone (at least when your PCs have fumble-triggered abilities.)

Just saying, you're going to still need all their stat blocks open to have their AC, hp, special abilities of note, feats, and whatever pile of junk is needed to actually run the combat. That and how do I know a nat 3 misses with a goblin? Between flanking, the target being sickened, one of the commandoes using intimidate, and that entangle spell being annoying, maybe that 3 does hit the barbarian. Cue consulting several sections of the rulebook and 2ish stat blocks along with a PC interrogation. Needing to math out all that stuff doesn't go away barring incredibly hapless NPCs.

But really the root of the problem isn't the DoS/DoF thing, it's the legion of fiddly modifiers. Kill those and the system works fine on paper.


RumpinRufus wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
I'm really questioning what the problem is.

As a GM, say I'm running a combat with three types of enemies. I have goblins, goblin commandos, and an NPC. On a goblin's turn, he attacks and I roll a nat 3.

In PF1 I literally don't even need to look at his statblock at all, I just know it's a miss. I've just resolved an entire turn in about 3 seconds.

In PF2, I need to look at the statblocks, find the goblin's stat block, find the attack bonus, look up at the board to determine flanking, try to remember if there are any other buffs or debuffs active, look back at the die result, add everything together, ask the PC what their AC is, they try to recall whether or not they put their shield up, they respond, and then I can finally resolve it.

It may seem trivial because you do all that so frequently, but this is the stuff that bogs combat down. I love the turns that you can resolve in 3 seconds because it keeps the action moving so quickly, and now it looks like those 3-second turns are dead and gone (at least when your PCs have fumble-triggered abilities.)

Your comparison is skewed. The reason you don't need to look at the statblock is that you already have a pretty good estimate of the required to-hit number (based on the goblin's attack bonus and the PC's AC). Modifiers such as flanking, buffs and debuffs should already be accounted for in that estimate (otherwise, it won't be that good). There's no reason for this to change in PF2, even if the result is more nuanced than in PF1.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
TwoWolves wrote:


Most people have all of their modifiers pre-calculated, so getting an actual total shouldn't be hard. I would assume that part of the streamlining effort going into PF2 would be cutting down on the minute modifier details.

Adding/subtracting 10 is just moving the 10's place digit up or down by one. Not really enough to consider actual "math".

Circumstantial modifiers can't be pre-calculated, tho. The OP has a valid point. Normally if you roll a 3, or roll a 18, you don't even need to add the modifiers. You know your 3 missed, and your 18 hit. But know you have to check if 3 missed by 10, and if 18 hit by 10. Regardless of how fast you can add or substract numbers, making a calculation is always slower than not making it, so having to make more calculation certainly will slow the game. How much, we will see on August, probably.

This is the thing. Not that you have to calculate, but that you have to calculate for all rolls.

When we play it usually goes like this:
Me (the GM)- "You really want to know the mating habits of the Chuul? All right, give me a Knowledge Dungoneering check."
The player rolls the die, without looking up their skill bonus for the skill
Me - "What did you get?"
Player - Dunno, but I rolled an 18, and I have a good skill bonus, so a lot.
Me - "OK, feast you ears on this..."

If the player had rolled a say a 10 or 11, then they would have checked their skill bonus and added it to the roll , but for high (or really low) rolls we often don't, since it's binary. Instead - by having four different outcomes - having to pick up the character sheet, find the value, and add it to the roll every time will likely slow things down. At least for skill checks we will probably house rule this out.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think we're just seeing the natural tension between a game that is really fast to run but a bit simplistic and a game that is slower to run but accounts for nuance and sophistication. Trying to find the sweet spot is the hard task ahead of the designers of PF2 (PF1 tended to fall closer to the "slow but sophisticated" end of the spectrum but is now facing enormous competition from more rules-light games). There's no "right answer" that will satisfy everyone.


I really don't understand the OP's problem, I can understand mechanics based margin of success causing problems if the scale used is very small or is used inconsistently (GURPS), but PF2's crit mechanic always actives on 10 and since we use a base ten system of numbers anyway it seems trivial to me to add or subtract a numeral from the ten's place

Enemy AC = 16 Crit on 26
Misses 15 Crit miss 5

Am I missing something?


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Rysky wrote:
Gregg Reece wrote:
If they don't have their Amulet of Natural Armor figured into their sheet already that's their issue. It's not like an "I'm only going to wear my amulet for this fight and not the next one" type item. So very likely not an issue except for the fight after they've first acquired it.
Agreed, this is the same situation as it is in 1st Edition, the person needs to keep in mind their modifiers, the >10< rule doesn't change that.

The >10< rule does change that. There are a lot of cases where a minor modifier is immaterial to being hit or not. If the enemy's AC is 21 and I rolled a 9 with my BAB, I missed. There's no real need to check and factor in my Bless. But now it's not as simple as that. I have to add in every modifier on pretty much every roll because missing (or hitting) by 10 could be the difference between survival and death.

It will slow the game down, especially for groups where the players get bogged down with math. For many tables it might not be an issue. For others, I expect it will be and they will likely houserule out the >10< rule in favor of the old 1s and 20s...


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Matthew Downie wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:

The math I'm worried about isn't adding or subtracting 10... it's all the +2s and -1s that I need to account for when the check total is in the ballpark of DC-10 or DC+10.

I'd prefer a system where there aren't lots of +2s and -1s to account for. That would make it easy to calculate the exact total.

So I'd roll a 16 and add the bonus, 8.
Then I'd say to my player, "He attacks. 24."
Then the player would say, "That's a hit."
Then I'd say, "Does it crit?"
Then the player would say, "Oh, yes. I forgot about that."

Hm. Maybe this will be a problem after all.

In PF2, your player should quickly learn to reply "That's a crit." The change here would be that the defender in an attack is no longer depending on the attacker to announce critical threats, because they no longer exist.

I think the main thing that would annoy me would be if any hit or miss by 5 effects don't get scrubbed from the game.


Crayon, to answer your question please refer to my two posts upthread:

RumpinRufus wrote:

The math I'm worried about isn't adding or subtracting 10... it's all the +2s and -1s that I need to account for when the check total is in the ballpark of DC-10 or DC+10.

For example, I know the mook's listed attack bonus is +4, and he's flanking and receiving a +1 from Bardic Performance. I know the PC's AC is in the 15-18 range. So ordinarily, if I roll a nat 11 or better, I just say "it's a hit" and move on. It's only if I roll a 8, 9, or 10 that I actually have to ask the player "What is your AC?" BUT, now with >10< rules, if I roll a nat 1 I need to check against AC-10, and if I roll a nat 18-20, I need to check against AC+10. So the range of rolls for which I need to ask AC has gone from {8, 9, 10} to {1, 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 20}. The "active shield" rules are only going to make this worse, since AC will often be varying round-to-round in PF2e, so you can't just memorize everyone's AC.

RumpinRufus wrote:

As a GM, say I'm running a combat with three types of enemies. I have goblins, goblin commandos, and an NPC. On a goblin's turn, he attacks and I roll a nat 3.

In PF1 I literally don't even need to look at his statblock at all, I just know it's a miss. I've just resolved an entire turn in about 3 seconds.

In PF2, I need to look at the statblocks, find the goblin's stat block, find the attack bonus, look up at the board to determine flanking, try to remember if there are any other buffs or debuffs active, look back at the die result, add everything together, ask the PC what their AC is, they try to recall whether or not they put their shield up, they respond, and then I can finally resolve it.

It may seem trivial because you do all that so frequently, but this is the stuff that bogs combat down. I love the turns that you can resolve in 3 seconds because it keeps the action moving so quickly, and now it looks like those 3-second turns are dead and gone (at least when your PCs have fumble-triggered abilities.)


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One thing that will be important to keep in mind is what slows the game down compared to what you're used to because its new, and what slows it down because its intrinsically slower.

The <>10 will definitely slow things down until tables work out their own conventions compared to what they're used to. However I think on average most groups will find approaches that approximate the same amount of time.

If you're a table that has optimized some of the math away (like it sounds like RumpinRufus has described) there are more rolls that need closer examination. However PF2 is also aiming to have fewer modifiers, so each interaction might be faster. Its probably still a slow down, but possibly not as bad as it first looks. Additionally, if you know neither the players nor the monsters have on-crit-fail responses to attacks, you can still skip most of those checks. The crit-success versus regular success should be faster than confirmation roles (especially if people have different modifiers on confirmation versus to hit roles as was semi-common in PF1)

If you're the type of table where the PCs basically use binary search to discover/record every AC/save. You'll be able to rely on them tell you the degree of success they've achieved. (Once they've been trained to distinguish crit-fail from fail which they may not want to :) )


1. Yeah you can ballpark the numbers in PF1. Why don't you think you'll be able to do the same in PF2 once you get a feel for the system? Also, 20 is always a critical success.

2. That's just b!&!%+@%. There are tons of spells, feats, and situational modifiers in PF1 that alter AC on a round to round basis. Critical failure on an attack roll is no different from a regular failure unless the target explicitly has a reaction and chooses to punish it.


RumpinRufus wrote:

One concern I have, partially about the new >10< crit/fail system, and heightened by Mark Seifter's post regarding parrying, is that so far PF2e seem to have many more "If you pass/fail by X or more" types of effects.

Every time one of these shows up, I'm worried about it slowing down the game. Because many times I don't want to take the time doing the math to calculate the exact result of a check, and then ask the player how that compares to their AC, or whatever. E.g., I roll a goblin's attack, see it's a nat 18, and so I know it's a hit. Or I roll a nat 3, so I know it's a miss. I don't want to spend my time adding up attack bonuses and flanking bonuses and penalties from Bane and etc. to figure out "a nat 18 +5 +2 -1 is a 24 to hit", and then have to ask the player "Does a 24 beat your AC by 10?" I'd much rather say "nat 18 is a hit" and move on.

And the problem just gets worse when you are adding monsters on-the-fly and modifying stat blocks - "The goblin listed has a shield bonus +2, but this one is actually holding a bow, so I have to subtract 2 from their AC..."

And then there's skill check DCs. Probably ~50% of skill check DCs are made up on the fly, and it's just so much quicker to ask the player "OK, roll me a Knowledge (local) check" and if they roll a nat 2 then you know it will fail, and if they roll a nat 16 then you know it will succeed. I may know in advance "The DC on this is going to be in the 12-15 range" but I might not pick an exact DC before the check is rolled. But if there are different consequences based off whether they fail by 10 or fail by 5 or pass by 5 or pass by 10, then getting the exact DC and exact bonuses correct becomes a lot more important... which takes more time.

One example from PF1e is Mirror Image. Someone rolls their attack and says "I miss", and then you have to take extra time to ask them, "Well what was your exact total? If you failed by less than 5 you pop an...

Is it more prevalent in PF2? Yes. But as you pointed out, those mechanics existed in PF1 as well in numerous abilities and features, and being good at math meant that factoring in those mechanics took very little time and still had critical impact on the gameplay.

The hardest part with this is actually remembering those mechanics existed for XYZ abilities and effects; if they make it apply on more abilities and mechanics, it will be easier to remember what happens on certain results, and apply those consequences promptly.

Silver Crusade

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Rysky wrote:
"Does 12 miss your AC by 10?"
Unless a PC ability or houserule makes attack fumbles possible, this isn't going to be an issue.

They have stated that there are Reactions that key off Critical Failures on Attacks (C'mon Riposte...).

Silver Crusade

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Ultrace wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Gregg Reece wrote:
If they don't have their Amulet of Natural Armor figured into their sheet already that's their issue. It's not like an "I'm only going to wear my amulet for this fight and not the next one" type item. So very likely not an issue except for the fight after they've first acquired it.
Agreed, this is the same situation as it is in 1st Edition, the person needs to keep in mind their modifiers, the >10< rule doesn't change that.

The >10< rule does change that. There are a lot of cases where a minor modifier is immaterial to being hit or not. If the enemy's AC is 21 and I rolled a 9 with my BAB, I missed. There's no real need to check and factor in my Bless. But now it's not as simple as that. I have to add in every modifier on pretty much every roll because missing (or hitting) by 10 could be the difference between survival and death.

It will slow the game down, especially for groups where the players get bogged down with math. For many tables it might not be an issue. For others, I expect it will be and they will likely houserule out the >10< rule in favor of the old 1s and 20s...

You may play like that but I'd say it's a good habit to keep track of your modifiers, no matter how immaterial, otherwise there's a good chance you'll forget them when you would need them.

Interrupting later turns/rounds with "Oh wait my bonus/penalty was actually" bogs things down more than adding up your modifiers the first time.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Orville Redenbacher wrote:

Do I have divine favor still?

Oh I forgot to add my natural armor amulet bonus...
Better (PF1) examples would be Shield of Faith and Barkskin.

No sh@#. I fired form the hip and suffered a pedantic pile-driver. Though ironically, the responses also attest to the point that the game is complex and folks often make mistakes (no matter how easy hard core gamers think it all is.). Gorby is right though, we gotta see the playtest to find out how complex PF2 <10> is going to be.

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