Can we not have trap options, please?


Prerelease Discussion

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:


B. Things that were viciously beat with a nerf bat out of misguided concerns that they would be too powerful
Rest In Pieces Crane Wing

Don't forget to put on your Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier when you crane wing... :P

Some things don't just get the nerf bat but a nuclear nerf hammer orbital strike...


I think some options aren't necessarily meant as traps but just far to nuanced and good for very specific circumstances. I look at these as options I wouldn't take as a player but an NPC who happens to be fighting the party on that specific tuesday in that jungle with the right weapon. Is it perfect? by no means but it can be an interesting surprise for players sometimes. "how'd he do that?" its in the books!

I will also say that the term trap options has way to many connotations and is very polarizing. Probably would be less argumentative to say you want all the options within the same power level. If the core book has good options then a book comes out later with better doesn't the old good options become "trap options?"

Oh and over nerfing feats is bad.


Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?

Whirlwind attack


See I don't agree with the term trap option. Option so bad that I wouldn't take it except under a very rare circumstance those are for sure out their. Was it meant as a trap? no I really don't think so.

Their is some strange cases however. I've played games where I took blind fighting and probably only used it twice. It felt like a waste.


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BigDTBone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?

Whirlwind attack

Well now hold on. with the new mechanics whirlwind attack could be legit. say 2 actions to get an attack on every adjacent enemy at your Full BAB sounds good when comapred to 2 attacks one at -5. Depending on how often you fight multiples.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?

Whirlwind attack

Well not hold on. with the new mechanics whirlwind attack could be legit. say 2 actions to get an attack on every adjacent enemy at your Full BAB sounds good when comapred to 2 attacks one at -5. Depending on how often you fight multiples.

Yes, with no prerequisites


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?

Whirlwind attack

Well not hold on. with the new mechanics whirlwind attack could be legit. say 2 actions to get an attack on every adjacent enemy at your Full BAB sounds good when comapred to 2 attacks one at -5. Depending on how often you fight multiples.
Yes, with no prerequisites

Right. which I never had to big of an issue with taking dodge I don't know that mobility helped me out to much but spring attack was generally ok. Combat expertise however :P :P :P


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Spring Attack without prerequisites was OK, but it had nothing to do with Whirlwind Attack and got worse when Paizo houseruled... I mean faqratta'd it to not work with vital strike.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Spring Attack without prerequisites was OK, but it had nothing to do with Whirlwind Attack and got worse when Paizo houseruled... I mean faqratta'd it to not work with vital strike.

I can agree with that. I personally let it work with vital in my games. Making it its incompatible with about everything seemed dumb to me


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Trigger Loaded wrote:

Are you assuming that there are developers and writers that deliberately make an option crappy?

Yes. It is called Ivory Tower design, and it is a staple in DnD since 3.0 edition. I thought everybody knew that.

It is close to the design paradigm that makes Magic the Gathering to produce white creatures that are 2/2 for 2 colorless and one white mana, like the pearl unicorn, and white creatures that are 2/2 flying for 2 colorless and one white mana, like the wild griffin.

However, MtG is a competitive game. It makes sense there that some options or combinations are better, to reward system mastery with more chances to win. In a RPG, that is maybe less ideal.


BigDTBone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?

Whirlwind attack

So it's pretty clear that the issue with whirlwind attack is less what it does (which might or might not be useful, depending on whether you're fighting giants or redcaps) but what it costs to get there. Given that we've been told feats in PF2 will not have other feats as prerequisites unless the second feat builds directly on the first (and whirlwind attack really has nothing to do with any of its prereqs), then whirlwind attack as like a monk/fighter feat that requires 6th level and maybe some dex but has no other prereqs is fine right?

Are there any "trap" options in PF1 that cannot be solved by eliminating feat taxes and feat chains that are not a clear and logical progression?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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Personally, I hope we get lots of trap options.

I hope we get spike pits, and bear traps, and giant rolling boulders, and those poison needles that pop out of treasure chests when you try to open them, and all the other great trap options.


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Personally, I hope we get lots of trap options.

I hope we get spike pits, and bear traps, and giant rolling boulders, and those poison needles that pop out of treasure chests when you try to open them, and all the other great trap options.

DOOM likes the way you think.


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Personally, I hope we get lots of trap options.

I hope we get spike pits, and bear traps, and giant rolling boulders, and those poison needles that pop out of treasure chests when you try to open them, and all the other great trap options.

WHEN I MAKE A BEAR TRAP YOU OPEN A TREASURE CHEST AND A BEAR COMES OUT AND BITES YOU AND THEN YOU FALL INTO A PIT FULL OF BEARS AND THEN MORE BEARS FALL DOWN FROM THE CEILING ONTO YOUR HEAD.


Athaleon wrote:
Zaister wrote:
I disapprove of the term "trap option" because it implies malevolence on the part of the designers, which is highly disrespectful.
When it was coined in the 3.0 days it was actually accurate. Look up Ivory Tower Game Design and Timmy Cards.

Accurate in that the implication of malevolence was warranted? I think that would be a very extreme and uncharitable reading of what Cook actually wrote, and Magic is a competitive game which means choices are offered and made in a fundamentally different context.


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That that Is a Grizzly trap. It is (and I both love and hate to say it) truly unBEARable.


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Un-Bear-able Puns wrote:
That that Is a Grizzly trap. It is (and I both love and hate to say it) truly unBEARable.

Alright guys, enough of the punishment. Let's keep this conversation simple and stick to the bear necessities.


jasin wrote:
Magic is a competitive game which means choices are offered and made in a fundamentally different context.

I was under the impression Magic is mostly a gambling game where you buy booster packs and hope to get good cards. If all the cards were good, you wouldn't need to buy so many packs.


Matthew Downie wrote:
jasin wrote:
Magic is a competitive game which means choices are offered and made in a fundamentally different context.
I was under the impression Magic is mostly a gambling game where you buy booster packs and hope to get good cards. If all the cards were good, you wouldn't need to buy so many packs.

Well you can actually also just buy the cards you need it just can cost more. less gamble that way however.


Matthew Downie wrote:
jasin wrote:
Magic is a competitive game which means choices are offered and made in a fundamentally different context.
I was under the impression Magic is mostly a gambling game where you buy booster packs and hope to get good cards. If all the cards were good, you wouldn't need to buy so many packs.

There are even entire tournament formats built around the random cards from packs opened to create a deck at the event.

Booster Draft


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swoosh wrote:
There are archetypes built with NPCs in mind that appear to intentionally be limiting to discourage PCs from using it themselves.

Some form of [NPC] tag on such archetypes would be a good move - not preventing PCs from taking them, but to make them aware that they're designed for NPCs, and may well not be as strong as the base class.


dysartes wrote:
swoosh wrote:
There are archetypes built with NPCs in mind that appear to intentionally be limiting to discourage PCs from using it themselves.
Some form of [NPC] tag on such archetypes would be a good move - not preventing PCs from taking them, but to make them aware that they're designed for NPCs, and may well not be as strong as the base class.

Sounds reasonable.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?

Prone shooter.


Tim Statler wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?
Prone shooter.

I had to look it up. So it reduces ac penalty from being prone and increases ac bonus from being prone. It is rather specific on circumstances. Their might be a rogue crossbow build out their or gunslinger that might be able to benefit from it. Not great but not the worst feat I've seen. Probably one I would be more likely to use for a npc then a pc unless I had some weird vision going on in my head.

I kind of imagine it in like a situation where your maybe on a wall and firing or sniping from a hillside.


That's the errata'd version. The original Prone Shooter feat was: You can ignore the penalty for firing a crossbow or firearm while prone.

There were no such penalties.


Oh well that is dumb lol. I assume maybe some person they hired on must not of known that eh? It does stand to reason someone would of caught it. At least they fixed it.


dysartes wrote:
swoosh wrote:
There are archetypes built with NPCs in mind that appear to intentionally be limiting to discourage PCs from using it themselves.
Some form of [NPC] tag on such archetypes would be a good move - not preventing PCs from taking them, but to make them aware that they're designed for NPCs, and may well not be as strong as the base class.

Not bad. It's almost exactly like what I'd thought up once, handling balance and verisimilitude at the same time.

It should be even better if you deliberately move them to the Bestiary, just like PF1's monster feats.


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Lucas Yew wrote:
dysartes wrote:
swoosh wrote:
There are archetypes built with NPCs in mind that appear to intentionally be limiting to discourage PCs from using it themselves.
Some form of [NPC] tag on such archetypes would be a good move - not preventing PCs from taking them, but to make them aware that they're designed for NPCs, and may well not be as strong as the base class.

Not bad. It's almost exactly like what I'd thought up once, handling balance and verisimilitude at the same time.

It should be even better if you deliberately move them to the Bestiary, just like PF1's monster feats.

Eh, I'd prefer to avoid the confusion/arguments caused by whether PCs can take Monster feats, thank ye kindly ;)


Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

Thinking developers would maliciously include bad stuff just to mess with players is dumb. Even if you believe that the 3.0 design philosophy was like this (which it wasn't, no matter how much you want to slag Monte Cook), PF is not 3.0, and never has been.

But mistakes can be made, and when you release as much material as Paizo has, not everything can be amazing, or even good (although this very thread shows people can't really agree on trap option feats, so....)

I do hope PF2E doesn't have them, but the realist in me knows that if Paizo's business model remains the same, it will have them. Just by virtue of the law of averages.


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Okay so the things we've learned from so-called "trap options" in PF1 are:

1) (Whirlwind Attack) Avoid printing options where the investment far outweighs the benefit.

2) (Prone Shooter) Avoid printing options that do literally nothing because someone misunderstood the rule and no one caught it.

It seems like these are pretty easy to avoid- anything else?


Making useless/weak options on purpose is bad design and a waste of space. I would be more forgiving about this is if 1e wasn't already ending and I got a lot of things I have been waiting for a long time to get.


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ryric wrote:

I think a lot of times "bad" options come about as a sort of slightly disjointed group effort. Here's the scenario I envision: Developer writes a feat/spell/item and submits it. An editor looks at it, decides it's a little too powerful, and tweaks it. Since the editor and developer are, in fact, different people with slightly different feelings about balance, sometimes the editor tweak goes too far and the option becomes inferior. It's not one person being malicious, it's multiple people each making choices they think are best for the game and sometimes turning out to be overly cautious.

From an editor POV, it's better to have an option be too weak rather than too powerful - people just don't take weak options, but everybody takes strong ones and screams bloody murder when the nerf bat descends. And obviously mistakes like Sacred Geometry happen.

Actually, in the case of Sacred Geometry, here's what I think happened: A developer wrote a feat, and then submitted it. An editor looked at it, but didn't notice that it was submitted on April 1st, and thought the developer was actually being serious.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yet it still made print, which was a huge waste of everyone's time.

If the waste of time isn't put in print in the first place, everyone benefits, from writers/editors/developers to GMs/players/fans.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Okay so the things we've learned from so-called "trap options" in PF1 are:

1) (Whirlwind Attack) Avoid printing options where the investment far outweighs the benefit.

For a character with good reach (from Enlarge Person or whatever) surrounded by lots of enemies, this is a pretty powerful feat. The problem for the designers is trying to work out how often this situation will occur.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
2) (Prone Shooter) Avoid printing options that do literally nothing because someone misunderstood the rule and no one caught it.

So, what I believe happened with Prone Shooter was:

The original feat gave a generous bonus to hit while shooting from prone.
The editor decided that was too good and replaced it with something else (that turned out not to make sense).
The person whose job it was to catch it was the person who broke it.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
It seems like these are pretty easy to avoid- anything else?

Here are some feats I don't like: (I'm not sure these are trap options, as a real trap is something that looks like a good idea but isn't, and these don't even look good.)

Threatening Illusion - long requirement list in order to create flanking via an illusion, when there are lots of easier ways to create real flanking.
Elephant Stomp - make a CMB check in order to get an attack (instead of just attacking in the first place?)
Strike Back - need a BAB of 11 and a feat in order to ready an action to attack (once per round) against an opponent attacking you with reach.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?

Monkey Lunge


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Monkey Lunge linkified - requires a Standard Action to boost your Lunge ability, which means you can't actually attack because you already used your Standard Action. Probably just badly phrased.

There are plenty of trap options outside of feats. Flaming Burst, for example. +1d10 damage, on critical hits only, is not as good as +1d6 damage on every hit.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
There are plenty of trap options outside of feats. Flaming Burst, for example. +1d10 damage, on critical hits only, is not as good as +1d6 damage on every hit.

The +1d10 is in addition to the +1d6, and it goes up to +2d10 for a x3 weapon and +3d10 for a x4 weapon.

Shadow Lodge

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Vidmaster7 wrote:
dysartes wrote:
swoosh wrote:
There are archetypes built with NPCs in mind that appear to intentionally be limiting to discourage PCs from using it themselves.
Some form of [NPC] tag on such archetypes would be a good move - not preventing PCs from taking them, but to make them aware that they're designed for NPCs, and may well not be as strong as the base class.
Sounds reasonable.

Haven't they said that NPCs and Monsters won't be using the same character creation system that PCs will? It makes no sense to make NPC archetypes for the PC system in that case.


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Knight Magenta wrote:
TL;DR Until Paizo starts playtesting FAQ-ratta we will always have trap options.

I have been wanting that kind of playtest for a while now. It even makes sense with the way the do errata(not doing it until all the previous version of the books have been sold).


Dragonborn3 wrote:
Haven't they said that NPCs and Monsters won't be using the same character creation system that PCs will? It makes no sense to make NPC archetypes for the PC system in that case.

NPCs *can* be made using the full PC rules if the GM wants to fully flesh out this person/thing, it's just that they don't have to. So something like the "Bard who is a local celebrity" or "the plucky squire" are things that could be made using PC generation rules and archetypes that probably were not intended for PCs.


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Rysky wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
There are plenty of trap options outside of feats. Flaming Burst, for example. +1d10 damage, on critical hits only, is not as good as +1d6 damage on every hit.
The +1d10 is in addition to the +1d6, and it goes up to +2d10 for a x3 weapon and +3d10 for a x4 weapon.

Let's make the extremely generous assumption that you've got a 19-20 x4 crit weapon and your crits automatically confirm. Compared to a regular Flaming weapon, it does an average of an extra +16.5 damage per crit, on one attack in ten. On average that is +1.65 damage per attack. If you confirm 50% of criticals, and you have an x4 weapon that crits on 20 only, it's an extra 0.4125 damage per attack.

A +1 Flaming Burst weapon compares badly to a +2 Flaming weapon, or a +1 Flaming Corrosive weapon, or just about anything else for the same price.

But it isn't obviously terrible, which makes it an effective trap.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are there any things from PF1 which we can agree up on as "trap options" the sort we want to avoid having in PF2?

Spell Resistance

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
There are plenty of trap options outside of feats. Flaming Burst, for example. +1d10 damage, on critical hits only, is not as good as +1d6 damage on every hit.
The +1d10 is in addition to the +1d6, and it goes up to +2d10 for a x3 weapon and +3d10 for a x4 weapon.

Let's make the extremely generous assumption that you've got a 19-20 x4 crit weapon and your crits automatically confirm. Compared to a regular Flaming weapon, it does an average of an extra +16.5 damage per crit, on one attack in ten. On average that is +1.65 damage per attack. If you confirm 50% of criticals, and you have an x4 weapon that crits on 20 only, it's an extra 0.4125 damage per attack.

A +1 Flaming Burst weapon compares badly to a +2 Flaming weapon, or a +1 Flaming Corrosive weapon, or just about anything else for the same price.

But it isn't obviously terrible, which makes it an effective trap.

*shrugs*

Most of my characters I crit a lot with, so I'm biased for crit effects I suppose.

Scarab Sages

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trap option is a misnomer. One person's trap is another person's gold mine.


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Empty gold mine


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Empty gold mine

That you fall down into.


BigDTBone wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Empty gold mine
That you fall down into.

Nah you just waste years panning for gold that isn't there


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

There are a few options that, due to some rules quirk, don't do anything. There are a few options that are worse than nothing. Those, I think it's generally fair to call traps. (I'm not counting poor archetype trades under "worse than not taking anything"- if all archetypes were better than the base class, that'd be bad too.)

There are some options that there is a reasonable expectation of never getting to use during most full campaigns, and have limited effect even if they do come up. Those, one might call traps.

I don't think it's fair to call something a trap simply because it's less useful than another option, though. Bonus crit damage isn't as good as general bonus damage, but it's better than nothing and it will get used. If Pathfinder's Toughness is getting called a trap, that seems well outside what I'd consider a useful definition.

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