I Played Pathfinder 2.0 Demo at GaryCon (My Thoughts...)


Prerelease Discussion

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I was lucky enough to play in Jason's final Pathfinder 2.0 demo at GaryCon this Saturday. Here are my thoughts ...

Bottom line - I really enjoyed it!

Obviously, what we experienced was only a small taste of the full update, but what I played for almost 4 hours was fun and still felt like Pathfinder.

The new three action economy rule is, frankly, fantastic! It speeds up combat, gives everyone more to do on their turn, and feels a bit more tactical (in the best way). Can't say enough good things about it!

The new initiative system probably took the most getting used to, but after the first combat, even that made sense and felt fine

The active use of shields (instead of the more passive "I have a shield so I'm just always using it") was very cool.

A few other random things:

Characters had normal AC and a touch AC, but no flat-footed AC (flat-footed in now a condition)

Healing spells are now in the Necromancy school (I approve!)

First level characters start out with more hit points (excellent)

Skills are consolidated somewhat (Spellcraft and Knowledge Arcana seem to be a single skill now, for example)

You can now Crit (or fumble) skill checks etc.

Conditions now have a number which designates the degree - nauseated 1, for example, means you are nauseated and take -1 to whatever checks the nauseated condition specifies. Nauseated 2 is worse and gives you -2 on those checks. Seemed pretty clever!

Overall, the playtest / demo made me feel quite positive about the new edition. The game still felt like Pathfinder, just an improved, slightly more refined version.

One thing that seemed very clear though (and was something Jason confirmed) is that this will NOT be a radical departure from what we are used to. You will easily be able to run a Pathfinder 1.0 adventure using the new edition rules by basically swapping out some stat blocks, making a few other quick changes (on the fly even) and you will be good to go. All our current Pathfinder adventures will not be obsolete, in other words!

I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, but basically, I think this new edition has a lot of good things going for it and I left the table feeling really excited about it!


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You didn't happen to find out anything about how TWF works, did you?


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That's awesome, Marc! Glad you had a good time!

We're you using pregens or did you get a glimpse at character creation?


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Healing spells back to Necromancy school? SWEET!!!

And so another pet peeve of mine was solved...

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rooneg wrote:
You didn't happen to find out anything about how TWF works, did you?

Sorry, no


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All that sounds great.... except the fumbles. Fumbles are never a good mechanic outside of comedy campaigns.

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bookrat wrote:

That's awesome, Marc! Glad you had a good time!

We're you using pregens or did you get a glimpse at character creation?

Strictly pregens (the standard iconics)

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Milo v3 wrote:
All that sounds great.... except the fumbles. Fumbles are never a good mechanic outside of comedy campaigns.

True, I'm not normally a fan of fumbles, but I got the impression that these are not the comic, "you slip and fall into the mud" kind (no one at my table actually fumbled anything, so I didn't see it in actual play)


I believe Mark mentioned something about crit fails in combat just being a straight up miss. Sounds like they are not adding in the crit fail stooges deck to the game. Just leaving space for it to be added if tables like nyuck nycuk.


Is there anything you can actively criticize, something you didn't care for?

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Dark Midian wrote:
Is there anything you can actively criticize, something you didn't care for?

Honestly? No!

About the only thing I wasn't sure about at first was the new way of handling Initiative, but like I said, after the first one or two combats, I was like second nature.


Planpanther wrote:
I believe Mark mentioned something about crit fails in combat just being a straight up miss. Sounds like they are not adding in the crit fail stooges deck to the game. Just leaving space for it to be added if tables like nyuck nycuk.

it is potentially a great place to add special reactions.


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Dead Phoenix wrote:
Planpanther wrote:
I believe Mark mentioned something about crit fails in combat just being a straight up miss. Sounds like they are not adding in the crit fail stooges deck to the game. Just leaving space for it to be added if tables like nyuck nycuk.
it is potentially a great place to add special reactions.

I do believe that's the plan for attacks. A critical fublmble will be an opportunity to some PCs to get a reaction. I'm thinking rogues will get an extra attack when someone fumbles, as an example.

Saves usually mean an added effect on a fumble, like double damage.

Skills I'm not sure about yet.

Hey Marc, did you see any fumbles during play? What happened?

Liberty's Edge

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bookrat wrote:
Hey Marc, did you see any fumbles during play? What happened?

Nope, like I said, no one at my table actually fumbled anything, so I didn't see it in actual play. Remember though, I was specifically referring to now being able to crit or fumble things like skill checks, not attack rolls.

Oh speaking of crits, you now can crit on a natural 20, or if you beat the DC by 10 or more.

And, now that I think about it, the couple of time someone rolled 20 (both in combat or on a skill check) we were NOT asked to confirm ... so it looks like you no longer need to confirm crits (which I really like - much more like earlier editions of D&D)


Glad you had fun, but it isn't sounding like my Pathfinder. Thanks for the info/feedback.


Did you happen to notice any domains, bloodlines, or school abilities? Any info on familiars?

Thank you very much for the information! I’m liking the sound of this!


Marc Radle wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Hey Marc, did you see any fumbles during play? What happened?

Nope, like I said, no one at my table actually fumbled anything, so I didn't see it in actual play. Remember though, I was specifically referring to now being able to crit or fumble things like skill checks, not attack rolls.

Oh speaking of crits, you now can crit on a natural 20, or if you beat the DC by 10 or more.

And, now that I think about it, the couple of time someone rolled 20 (both in combat or on a skill check) we were NOT asked to confirm ... so it looks like you no longer need to confirm crits (which I really like - much more like earlier editions of D&D)

Rock on!

Yeah, we knew about the +10 rule, but what happened on a Nat 20 was still a secret. Good to know!

I do believe there was a fumble on a skill check in the live play podcast. I'm going to listen to it again and see if I can find it.


bookrat wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Hey Marc, did you see any fumbles during play? What happened?

Nope, like I said, no one at my table actually fumbled anything, so I didn't see it in actual play. Remember though, I was specifically referring to now being able to crit or fumble things like skill checks, not attack rolls.

Oh speaking of crits, you now can crit on a natural 20, or if you beat the DC by 10 or more.

And, now that I think about it, the couple of time someone rolled 20 (both in combat or on a skill check) we were NOT asked to confirm ... so it looks like you no longer need to confirm crits (which I really like - much more like earlier editions of D&D)

Rock on!

Yeah, we knew about the +10 rule, but what happened on a Nat 20 was still a secret. Good to know!

I do believe there was a fumble on a skill check in the live play podcast. I'm going to listen to it again and see if I can find it.

I think there was the muddy slope (really just a demo skill check in the first module) and a fumbled knowledge check (false info).


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If you listen to the playtest on glasscannon one of the characters crit fumbles a skill on society. He gets incorrect information, but the other characters are able to correct his mistake. Taken in that context I really like the crit fumble of skills idea.


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I didn't even have to listen to the podcast! It was in the blog!

"(31:40) The first skill check in the game is a Society check. This skill covers knowledge about towns, people, their customs, and their history. The information they are looking for here is relatively common knowledge, and the number they needed to roll (the Difficulty Class) is only a 10. Keith (Troy) fumbled the check and got false information, which was quickly debunked by the others."

So here we have a knowledge check where success means you know the information, failure means you don't know, and fumble means you get false information.

So bad things can happen when you fumble a skill check. Which is kind of cool; I've always wanted to implement a system of false knowledge for badly failing a knowledge check.

Dark Archive

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I have one question that’s more selfish, but I would like answered none the less...do clerics have any mechanical use for charisma in-class/beyond social skills, such as uses/day for Channeling? If not, have changes been made to Cha to actually make it worth investing in for a character who does not use it in-class?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Marc Radle wrote:
Healing spells are now in the Necromancy school (I approve!)

OH SWEET GODS AND GODDESSES ABOVE AND BELOW F+!! YEAH!


I kind of liked 5e's counter-argument for standard healing being evocation and the raise dead line of spells being necromancy, but I admit this is more intuitive.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marc Radle wrote:
Characters had normal AC and a touch AC, but no flat-footed AC (flat-footed in now a condition)

Good to know they've kept touch AC!

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You say starting hit points are higher. Is the average damage dished out still lower or raised to compensate for more HP?

Liberty's Edge

Grumpus wrote:
You say starting hit points are higher. Is the average damage dished out still lower or raised to compensate for more HP?

Damage did not seem to change - first level characters just have more hit points so they are a bit more resilient :)

If I remember correctly, I think Jason said you now derive your total hit points from your class, your race (sorry, ancestry - gonna take some time to get used to that!) and your background.

Dark Archive

Are monsters also more resilient or does their hp remain relatively the same? I would also appreciate an answer to my Cleric and charisma questions if you have them. If not I totally understand because if you didn’t play a Cleric yourself your not likely to know the details of the class...


Marc Radle wrote:
You can now Crit (or fumble) skill checks etc.

I would see that as a negative, but its easily replaced with a house rule.

Marc Radle wrote:
First level characters start out with more hit points (excellent)

Roughly how many more?

The rest of the notes look either positive or inconsequential. It sounds like you didn't observe the magic/spell system...?


Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
You can now Crit (or fumble) skill checks etc.

I would see that as a negative, but its easily replaced with a house rule.

Marc Radle wrote:
First level characters start out with more hit points (excellent)

Roughly how many more?

The rest of the notes look either positive or inconsequential. It sounds like you didn't observe the magic/spell system...?

From what I understand, about the same in Starfinder. Basically, HP is the same as PF1, except at level 1 you also get some extra HP based on your Race/Ancestry.


Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
You can now Crit (or fumble) skill checks etc.

I would see that as a negative, but its easily replaced with a house rule.

Marc Radle wrote:
First level characters start out with more hit points (excellent)

Roughly how many more?

The rest of the notes look either positive or inconsequential. It sounds like you didn't observe the magic/spell system...?

Hitpoints sounded from other things like they fell in the 15-20 range (the former being a 20 Con goblin Alchemist).


wait, crits still have consequences (you make more dmg) but fumbles not? (you just miss).okay, that's nothing that a houserule can't change, but c'mon

the rest of the notes I'm pretty okay or indefferent about. even skill crits (rolling 20s on skills was houesruled as auomatic success in a couple of or games 15 years ago already)

Liberty's Edge

Dead Phoenix wrote:
Planpanther wrote:
I believe Mark mentioned something about crit fails in combat just being a straight up miss. Sounds like they are not adding in the crit fail stooges deck to the game. Just leaving space for it to be added if tables like nyuck nycuk.
it is potentially a great place to add special reactions.

One of the Devs said a crit fail could trigger a Riposte reaction, I believe.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Are opposed skill checks still a thing? Eg Perception vs stealth?

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Kevin Mack wrote:
Are opposed skill checks still a thing? Eg Perception vs stealth?

In the podcast you roll stealth against passive perception. Or if a PC is looking for an NPC they roll perception against passive stealth.

I think that's what I heard. Passive skill is the skill modifier plus 10.


Can you elaborate on the new initiative system? I hadn’t seen any explanation on how it is different yet.

Also, any new weapon properties that you saw worth noting?


Cuttlefist wrote:
Can you elaborate on the new initiative system? I hadn’t seen any explanation on how it is different yet.

There is no separate initiative score. What you're doing at the start of the encounter (when you're in exploration mode, probably) determines what skill you roll for initiative.

So if a rogue is keeping to the shadows, he may roll a Stealth check for initiative. If a fighter is walking with her sword drawn, staying alert and looking for danger, she may roll a Perception check.

It's detailed a bit in the Glass Cannon podcast (part 1 - https://glasscannonpodcast.com/the-pathfinder-playtest-parts-1-and-2/)

35:04 (Exploration mode detailed a bit)
41:40 (Combat starts - explanation of new Initiative system)

It also describes Perception in PF2 a bit.

Hopefully, Marc Radle can elaborate or give some more insight from his play experience.


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Awesome report, Marc. Thanks much!

Liberty's Edge

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Cuttlefist wrote:
Can you elaborate on the new initiative system? I hadn’t seen any explanation on how it is different yet.

I think others have covered this pretty well.

Basically, there is no longer an actual Initiative score - you still roll for initiative, but *what* you roll is based on what you were doing right before you roll (Stealth if you were hiding in shadows, Perception if you were staying alert for danger etc.) I got the feeling that Perception is more or less the default.

It was actually pretty elegant ...

Cuttlefist wrote:
Also, any new weapon properties that you saw worth noting?

There were!!!

We were not permitted to keep our character sheets, so I can't remember many details, alas.

Ooh, I do remember that weapons can be Expert quality or Masterwork quality. Also, I believe each of those also had a numerical value, such as Expert 1 or Expert 2, which translates to an attack bonus.

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The fact that someone can fumble a DC10 check implies that Nat 1s are fumbles even if the DC isn't failed by 10 - I'm not sure I like that. I'd rather the +-10 rule replace nat 1/nat 20 for fumbles and crits and not be in addition to it - especially with skills. I really don't want Olympic class swimmers failing to stay afloat in calm water 5% of the time or people jumping to the moon 5% of the time. If it's just +-10 for crit you avoid that by setting the DC appropriately.


ryric wrote:
The fact that someone can fumble a DC10 check implies that Nat 1s are fumbles even if the DC isn't failed by 10 - I'm not sure I like that. I'd rather the +-10 rule replace nat 1/nat 20 for fumbles and crits and not be in addition to it - especially with skills. I really don't want Olympic class swimmers failing to stay afloat in calm water 5% of the time or people jumping to the moon 5% of the time. If it's just +-10 for crit you avoid that by setting the DC appropriately.

If I recall correctly, the PC who fumbled the DC 10 had a penality to their roll to start with. But I could be conflating characters.

Plus, if Unchained has any influence, an Olympic class swimmer would have an actual swim speed, so it would be impossible for them to fail in calm waters - they wouldn't even roll!


In your opinion how hard would it be to convert an old Archtype or Feat from PF1 to PF2?

Liberty's Edge

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Something I remembered about Channeling and Healing (we had a cleric in the part, so I saw it done) ...

When the cleric cast Heal, she could control if it was a touch effect, a single person, ranged effect, or an area of effect spell. If I remember correctly, it depended on if she used 1, 2 or all 3 of her actions to cast it. It seemed to work very nicely


Im a little worried about players getting meta-gamey over the new initiative system. They would probably stick to what they are good at opposed to want they may be interested in. For instance, if a player has a crappy perception but good survival, they may never search a place but just look for footprints every exploration.

How did it feel at the table Marc?


One question I had regards skill allocations. Did you use pregen characters, or did you build your own? And if you built your own, how much freedom was there in terms of allocating skill points (or at least choosing which skills your character 'focused' on)?

Liberty's Edge

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Planpanther wrote:
Im a little worried about players getting meta-gamey over the new initiative system. They would probably stick to what they are good at opposed to want they may be interested in. For instance, if a player has a crappy perception but good survival, they may never search a place but just look for footprints every exploration.

I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing, though. You're a group of professional adventurers, generally you should be doing what you're good at.

Also, in the podcast, there were no footprints to be found in the first encounter, so the person who had been using Survival ended up having to roll Perception anyway, because the skill they were using wasn't applicable to the situation. So I don't see this becoming much of a problem anyway.

Liberty's Edge

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Planpanther wrote:

Im a little worried about players getting meta-gamey over the new initiative system. They would probably stick to what they are good at opposed to want they may be interested in. For instance, if a player has a crappy perception but good survival, they may never search a place but just look for footprints every exploration.

How did it feel at the table Marc?

Felt pretty natural and intuitive actually.

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bookrat wrote:
ryric wrote:
The fact that someone can fumble a DC10 check implies that Nat 1s are fumbles even if the DC isn't failed by 10 - I'm not sure I like that. I'd rather the +-10 rule replace nat 1/nat 20 for fumbles and crits and not be in addition to it - especially with skills. I really don't want Olympic class swimmers failing to stay afloat in calm water 5% of the time or people jumping to the moon 5% of the time. If it's just +-10 for crit you avoid that by setting the DC appropriately.

If I recall correctly, the PC who fumbled the DC 10 had a penality to their roll to start with. But I could be conflating characters.

Plus, if Unchained has any influence, an Olympic class swimmer would have an actual swim speed, so it would be impossible for them to fail in calm waters - they wouldn't even roll!

If they rolled an actual 0 I rescind my objection pending more information.

The reason I use an Olympic swimmer is meant to be in the context of a race - so no taking 10, everyone wants to roll to be able to potentially do their best. No one should fail to even move/stay afloat in that situation, especially not 5% of the time.

Liberty's Edge

Cheburn wrote:
One question I had regards skill allocations. Did you use pregen characters, or did you build your own? And if you built your own, how much freedom was there in terms of allocating skill points (or at least choosing which skills your character 'focused' on)?

We used pregens so there was no actual character building.


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I'm definitely looking forward to more information/details on the initiative system. I love the sound of it, but hope there's some degree of trade-offs versus just optimizing to do what your're best at. For instance if you have the party where someone is always "checking for traps (or secret doors)" someone else is "searching for/detecting magic" the paladin's evil-radar is always pinging, etc I'd hope there is a penalty to their fallback perception roll in a mundane encounter.


Sounds like Arcana and spellcraft were one skill, and that Athletics replaced Climb/Swim. Any other different skill checks missing/worth noting? And which iconic did you get to take for a spin, any new things on them?

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