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Prerelease Discussion

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I joined this forum sometime late in 2012 when I first transitioned over to Pathfinder from 3.5. I loved the 3.5 system and Pathfinder allowed us to play with a similar set of rules, with updates that mostly reflected what our house rules were already. It was an amazing and enlightening experience.

Since then, you guys know I have toyed with optional subsystems, and buried myself deep into the rabbit hole of optimization to better my understanding of the game and hopefully to improve the experience of the game for myself and (I pray) you guys.

Now I have been coming into the PF2 Playtest with an open mind that once again, I can see improvements to the rules of the game I love, mostly with updates that may or may not reflect my own house rules.

Feel free to enjoy the linkception I have laid out here, but if you do not wish to I shall reiterate my findings with the action system as I have been using what will become PF2's action system literally since Unchained came out:

  • Removing BAB infused iterative attacks wasn't enough, since the game was still confusing and annoying. My solution was to graft the Primary/Secondary attack rules into all creatures, including PCs. This made understanding feats like Furious Focus and spells like Haste/Blessing of Fervor easier to convert and got rid of the very wordy blocks of 'when you make an attack at your full Base Attack Bonus' and 'the first attack you make in a turn' and created parallelism between monsters and PCs. (For context, all secondary attacks in my system are at a -5, so a full round of attacks would be something like +X/-5/-5 or +x+1/+x+1/-4/-4 under haste.) This made martial characters more reliable, while also making them easier to play at the table.
  • We needed to bring back the 5ft step. In no way did anyone at my table (including me) understand how the 5ft step was an equal action to the move action. Additionally, by introducing a new action to the round we were able to streamline abilities that were considered swift actions, but weren't necessarily worth the action trade-off with the new system. It became the passive act, which could also include swift actions that were meant to be in conjunction with full round attacks, or swift actions coming from an item that otherwise made no sense to spend an actual action on (such as the Quick Runner's Shirt).
  • Spellcasters became less reliable and more limited in scope of how much they could affect combat in a single turn. This did not nerf them in turns of capability but rather in terms of efficiency and when combined with the added efficiency for martial characters the game became more fun for everyone at the table. This required no rewriting of the classes outright, which astounded us 3.x players.
  • We soon discovered that once we were free to do all full attack action abilities whenever we wanted, any attack action (meaning the ones specifically requiring a standard action on their own to use) all immediately became nigh useless, save for corner cases. Vital Strike lost its umph because the player was no longer worried about losing out on being able to attack multiple times, and it disappeared from the game on its own. Two Weapon Fighting became not only viable, but the feat chain in its entirety lost half of its taxes to be useful and it became a viable tactic, the trade-off being that you could make multiple rolls for more chances to hit, but you took the -2. We loved this.

Now, given the fighter blog and the information I seem to have discovered that I am not liking the direction the game is going compared to what I was expecting given my excitement with the new action system. I have completely 180'd on my excitement because the one thing I wanted from the new edition (striking a gameplay balance for martial characters) seems to be not the focus of the game but rather to force more and more reliance on the variety of dice rolls.

This mostly stems from how Power Attack is now functionally parallel to how Vital Strike used to work in 2014 under the Unchained System, which after four years of practice we have written out of the game entirely. Where martial characters were once being given the promise of being able to do their jobs more reliably, they have had their reliability taken away in what they can expect to put out every turn. Even +X to weapons now according to what I read tells me I am going to roll more dice which means less reliability. It's fun to roll dice, sure, but it's not fun when it means my fighter is no longer good at fighting. Now we rely on the dice gods giving us fortune rather than our wit and reading comprehension rewarding us for understanding and learning the game.

This does not feel like Pathfinder.


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I'm not sure where you're getting that PF2 forces people to be more dependent on randomness like 5E did. It's been hammered in over and over, especially in Mark's posts, that characters who become experts or masters in a thing will often just automatically succeed at the trivial stuff and will have very wide margins of success and critical success.

Is this specifically about damage rolls? Adding +[Weapon] damage for a +1 weapon sure seems more reliable in damage output than just adding +1.

Is this specifically about the Power Attack feat? The math thread and examples have shown it works out equal or better than PF1 Power Attack a lot of the time. And if it's sometimes worse, that's okay. There's a reason PF1 Power Attack is considered a feat tax. Something that players are regularly berated if they don't take it is a problem.

Is this just a concern about feeling bad about a night of rolling 1s because you pissed off the dice gods? I mean, you already have that in PF1 if you keep failing your attack rolls. At least it seems like you might be more likely to hit more often in PF2, which means you're more likely to roll more damage dice over time, which means your dice luck should start normalizing over time. Bad luck does happen, though. But we still haven't seen 99% of the system. They may have already accounted for this. Maybe Master in a weapon starts letting you reroll low damage dice, or at least opens a feat which does just that for you. Maybe (hopefully) crits aren't just "roll the dice again" but something more like 4E's crits, where you roll normally and just add a huge bonus equal to your normal max damage. We don't know enough to say.

I think it's way too early to say "this does not feel like Pathfinder" based on fragmentary information from a few blog posts.


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Your math is based on PF1's AC, and PF1's CR expectations and doesn't include variety as it's calculated off static averages.

You have proven nothing.

There's no way of determining if and how the numbers you add to damage become more reliable off what's been presented, so my opinion is based off what's been presented and my views here are based on years of testing the action system with the PF1 style of static numbers being the primary factor in damage calculations.

Power Attack being changed certainly is a factor. It's probably safe to assume that Double Slice is the analogue to TWF, which in the Unchained System is actually just as viable numerically as a two-handed weapon.

Vital Strike, functioning in the Unchained system almost exactly as P2's Power Attack has proven to be less effective than simply making 2 attacks.

If at the table a player saw that average number exactly as often as a P1 player got to put ut their consistent damage, then sure you might be on to something, but your math comes not from testing, but rather a baseline assumption about the new system, where I am pointing out that without anything else being added to the new iteration of Power Attack we're going to see less reliable numbers which will push more players away from the game if they are less likely to succeed where in PF1 they would not have this issue.

It makes martials worse, not better, which is the absolute most complained about problem of PF1.

I MISS KOBOLD CLEAVER!!!!!

EDIT: "this doesn't feel like Pathfinder" specifically refers to the reliance on variable dice for the meat of the damage numbers, not the entire system as a whole.

Grammar is hard.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Expectation of system mastery drives away more players than handfuls of dice ever could.


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I'm not expecting system mastery on behalf of the players, I'm expecting it on behalf of the designers.

I expect the designers to know what product they are putting out.

But go ahead, keep not talking about the actual problem I have and taking cheap personal shots at me for favorites, I'm sure that will never get old while you sit there and smirk at your keyboard.


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We're not taking potshots at you. I at least am just wondering why Power Attack is your breaking point - a feat that is demonstrably still good even if it is no longer the best most powerful mandatory feat in the universe after Leadership.

You say this is making martials worse. Almost everything they have revealed so far makes martials better. You get multiple attacks from level 1, you can shield bash without losing your shield bonus, your skills let you do stuff like Achilles and Heracles and other legendary martials at high levels. They've acknowledged the M/C/D of PF1 and have made bringing martials to parity a goal of this whole edition.

I'm really not seeing why you're so enraged right now. If you are not wrapping your head around the math, wait for more specific information like later blog posts or the Playtest rules (which will be a free download if you don't want to buy the dead tree edition).


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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I'm not quite sure what you're looking for here.

It may be that PF2 is not going to be a system you would enjoy playing.

Speaking for myself, I'm interested in the changes I've read / heard about, but I'm trying not to get too excited until the play test rules are released in August. Until then there isn't really enough information for me to make a totally informed decision.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:

We're not taking potshots at you. I at least am just wondering why Power Attack is your breaking point - a feat that is demonstrably still good even if it is no longer the best most powerful mandatory feat in the universe after Leadership.

You say this is making martials worse. Almost everything they have revealed so far makes martials better. You get multiple attacks from level 1, you can shield bash without losing your shield bonus, your skills let you do stuff like Achilles and Heracles and other legendary martials at high levels. They've acknowledged the M/C/D of PF1 and have made bringing martials to parity a goal of this whole edition.

I'm really not seeing why you're so enraged right now. If you are not wrapping your head around the math, wait for more specific information like later blog posts or the Playtest rules (which will be a free download if you don't want to buy the dead tree edition).

The math matters, because as a DM I want to have more reliable numbers to base my encounter design around rather than knowing a fighter with power attack could land anywhere from 8-32 damage without even considering a critical threat first.

The swingy math makes it difficult to design around, and as a player difficult to build around.


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Are we sure that maybe "making power attack less good in PF2 than it was in PF1" isn't the correct decision? Like in Pathfinder to date, Power Attack was among the best feats in the game- a complete no brainer if you are anybody with 13 strength and good accuracy. Are we sure the game isn't better off if "do I want power attack" is a thing worth considering, and that sometimes the answer is even "no"?

Like I'd definitely like to see an end to most "obligatory" feats. Either get rid of them or make them more situational. I don't think "feats anybody can take" should be what makes the fighter awesome, I think class feat(ures) should be what makes the fighter awesome.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Are we sure that maybe "making power attack less good in PF2 than it was in PF1" isn't the correct decision? Like in Pathfinder to date, Power Attack was among the best feats in the game- a complete no brainer if you are anybody with 13 strength and good accuracy. Are we sure the game isn't better off if "do I want power attack" is a thing worth considering, and that sometimes the answer is even "no"?

Like I'd definitely like to see an end to most "obligatory" feats. Either get rid of them or make them more situational.

It's not about 'optimization'

It's about design. Do you really want to DM a game where you can't reliably know how much damage the fighter can do so you give the enemy 60 HP so he lasts more than one turn only for the fighter to do something like 12 damage overall?


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master_marshmallow wrote:
In no way did anyone at my table (including me) understand how the 5ft step was an equal action to the move action.

I think it's because you get to avoid an AoO?


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master_marshmallow wrote:
Do you really want to DM a game where you can't reliably know how much damage the fighter can do so you give the enemy 60 HP so he lasts more than one turn only for the fighter to do something like 12 damage overall?

I can state with full confidence that as a GM I have never cared how much damage the fighter does. I only care if that number ends up within a range that the player is happy with, because really all I care about is "are my players having fun".

I didn't say anything about "optimization", I simply observed that "power attack" was a ubiquitous feat. Making it less ubiquitous (since it's not as good for all forms of melee combat now) is a positive change from where I sit.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are we sure that maybe "making power attack less good in PF2 than it was in PF1" isn't the correct decision? Like in Pathfinder to date, Power Attack was among the best feats in the game-

For the classes that are the weakest in the long term.

.Power Attack might be in the top few of the bottom few levels (alongside Improved Initiative)


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master_marshmallow wrote:
Do you really want to DM a game where you can't reliably know how much damage the fighter can do

I do this all the time.


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I mean, how is "not knowing how much damage the fighter does" more of an issue than "not knowing how much damage the wizard, who rolls like 10d6 on his fireballs, does"? Or "not knowing how much damage the rogue does, because you do not know in advance if they are going to get sneak attacks lined up".

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Look I'm not trying to pick on you, but your original argument was that players who toiled over the books wouldn't feel rewarded enough.

Now the goal posts have moved to be about precision game mastering. Which, okay, if your argument has changed because you've found a new issue that's fine. I'm happy to talk about that.

I don't measure player strength by their specific damage numbers, I use their level. There's too many variables for specific damage numbers to matter from encounter to encounter (who knows when someone is going to lay that clutch haste down, or when the fighter is going to do something crazy like swing off the chandelier instead of full attack). So I use CR to balance encounters, it's not 100% perfect, but it does the job well enough that I've not accidentally TPK'd because I threw something too powerful at the PC's (at least not since 3.0).

Now if your GMing style requires perfect, precise knowledge of how much damage the fighter can deal, are you worried about sneak attack? What about crit-fishing builds? What of flaming, frost, shock? What about fireball, disintegrate and cone of cold?

If you have tools to deal with those things, then I'll bet you have tools to deal with new power attack.


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If the randomness of damage makes the game less fun for you as a DM, you could easily just house rule that all damage dice inflict half damage, and then you will have your static numbers again.


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I think the difficulty is, from what I see in the post, that the martial/magic-user gulf is not really being addressed.

While martials have gotten one penny too make them better comparatively (the spellcasting system)...

Magic-users have gotten multiple pennys that appear to make them more powerful comparatively to martials than before (same BAB, all skill advancements...etc...etc...etc).

One of the things the Topic Creator did was to do away with iterative penalties on multiple attacks. This made it so second, third, or even later attacks were made with the same penalty. They would like this type of idea (not as heavy penalties as the deeper they go the more they subtract from the martials main focus of hitting something) to be carried over to PF2e.

This gives martials the ability to be dependable on all their attacks rather than making it more swingy later on. This is NOT about optimization, it is about the way martials are being designed in regards to iterative attacks and the relative power it gives them relative to spellcasters and others.

I think that's what the thought was, rather than game mastery or other items from what I've read in the Topic Creator's posts.


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I don't think a GM should design their encounters based on how much damage the fighter does, because that negates the whole point of the fighter player's choosing to specialize on damage.

If I knew that no matter how much damage I dealt, encounters would still last "X rounds where X is what the GM likes" I would never choose any damage options for my fighter


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D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

I don't think a GM should design their encounters based on how much damage the fighter does, because that negates the whole point of the fighter player's choosing to specialize on damage.

If I knew that no matter how much damage I dealt, encounters would still last "X rounds where X is what the GM likes" I would never choose any damage options for my fighter

Solid point. if the encounters are going to be tailor made to you then it kind of counters out every feat and option you take.

Kind of like If I played a ranger would I always fight my favored enemy or never kind of thing.


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If your encounter design is so tailored to the group that it needs to account for the variance in the Fighter's damage dice, how are you going to cope if the Fighter rolls a series of misses, or fails a Will save?


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master_marshmallow wrote:
It's about design. Do you really want to DM a game where you can't reliably know how much damage the fighter can do so you give the enemy 60 HP so he lasts more than one turn only for the fighter to do something like 12 damage overall?

Personally I'm happy to roll with the variability. I have to, anyway, because the way the encounter goes is usually a lot more dependent on who's making their saves and who's not, than the martial guy's damage output per attack. And I'm also happy when the encounter doesn't go the way I expected, these are always the more memorable.

But, OK, let me accept your premise. You don't want swingy dice for the fighter's damage. Then, I'll counter that PF2's fighter damage using Power Attack is in fact less swingy than PF1's. This is because of the change in the way crits work.

Assume you have a level 10 fighter with reasonable Str, magic weapon and feats. With PA, his one-handed longsword hits on a roll of, let's say 6, 75% of the time, doing something like 1d8+15 damage (4 of which from PA). On 10% of his hits, he'll crit, doing 2d8+30. The damage range is 16-46 with a very low chance of being in the higher half of the range.

Now, in PF2 assuming the same base stats in a comparable encounter (although we can't be sure of this, with the data at hand), he'll hit on a roll of 4 (because he won't take a -2 to hit from PF2 PA) for 2d8+11 damage, and crit on 14, which is ~40% of his hits, for 3d8+11. The range is 13-35, with a 60-40 repartition between the lower and higher halves of this range.

Looks like the PF2 fighter is quite a bit more predictable than his PF1 twin brother, don't you think?

(You might argue that a base 1d12 will skew this calculation to make PF2 more swingy, but in that case we're talking about a greataxe or other sort of axe... a x3 crit multiplier in PF1.)


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gwynfrid wrote:

...for 3d8+11. The range is 13-35, with a 60-40 repartition between the lower and higher halves of this range.

Looks like the PF2 fighter is quite a bit more predictable than his PF1 twin brother, don't you think?

Don't you also multiply the static damage on top of that? I don't know, if that was part of anything that was released about crits. Additionally, it looks like magic items add their weapon's dice to the damage output rather than a flat modifier. There also seems to be weapon qualities that add dice to crits, like the shortbow that adds an additional 1d10.

I can see a world where your regular/crit damage with power attack looks like 3d8+5 / 5d8+5+1d10, and a spread of 8-55 for any given hit is kinda scary.


Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:

...for 3d8+11. The range is 13-35, with a 60-40 repartition between the lower and higher halves of this range.

Looks like the PF2 fighter is quite a bit more predictable than his PF1 twin brother, don't you think?

Don't you also multiply the static damage on top of that? I don't know, if that was part of anything that was released about crits. Additionally, it looks like magic items add their weapon's dice to the damage output rather than a flat modifier. There also seems to be weapon qualities that add dice to crits, like the shortbow that adds an additional 1d10.

I can see a world where your regular/crit damage with power attack looks like 3d8+5 / 5d8+5+1d10, and a spread of 8-55 for any given hit is kinda scary.

I understood that in PF2 you only add dice, not double the bonuses. From the podcast... I think. Not 100% certain though. Does anyone know of a place gathering all the rules tidbits as a reference?

Silver Crusade

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master_marshmallow wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Are we sure that maybe "making power attack less good in PF2 than it was in PF1" isn't the correct decision? Like in Pathfinder to date, Power Attack was among the best feats in the game- a complete no brainer if you are anybody with 13 strength and good accuracy. Are we sure the game isn't better off if "do I want power attack" is a thing worth considering, and that sometimes the answer is even "no"?

Like I'd definitely like to see an end to most "obligatory" feats. Either get rid of them or make them more situational.

It's not about 'optimization'

It's about design. Do you really want to DM a game where you can't reliably know how much damage the fighter can do so you give the enemy 60 HP so he lasts more than one turn only for the fighter to do something like 12 damage overall?

Yes, I really want to DM a game where the dice matter more. Why? Because it is a game where you throw dice, always has been. If you want to convert it more and more to a video game, house rule it. When I DM my players actually roll for their stats, and roll for their HP *GASP* the variance there is not difficult for me to handle and my players will tell you they are having a good time.

If the fighter swings and the swing turns out to be mighty, then as a DM describe to the player the fashion in which he slew the enemy with a description that will fill the player's heart with glee.

If the damage isn't much, explain how his sword seemed to glance off of the carapace of the creature, or perhaps he became a little unbalanced as he swung.

This need to control every number, and perfect everything through math isn't necessary. So you spent a half hour on a design and your fighter killed it in two swings? Big deal.


To be honest, My group has had far more fun, and far more roleplying, since the switch to 5e and the need to no longer master a super crunchy system with 47 conditions and 38 modifiers dominated game play.

PF could be less crunchy then PF 1 , but easily more than 5e. But IMO if they stick with complex just to be complex, they miss the lesson of 5e


And I'm fine with a simpler system, but simple also does not mean better.

Consistency makes game design easier, not necessarily simple consistency.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

And I'm fine with a simpler system, but simple also does not mean better.

Consistency makes game design easier, not necessarily simple consistency.

Other side of the coin man, complexity does not mean better either. If it would run as easy and simple as 5e, with pathfinders flare for options, it would be a winner. To many people confuse options with more rules and rules blot and PF they often re one and the same. But they need not be.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

When you design an enemy that's meant to last more than one turn how do you make sure they have enough.....

I will confess I am a lazy GM but... I don't design enemies to any specific combat goals.

I throw together their capabilities according to their theme and target CR and cut them loose to let the dice fall where they may.

I also refuse to spend more than half an hour prepping per session of gameplay.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

When you design an enemy that's meant to last more than one turn how do you make sure they have enough.....

I will confess I am a lazy GM but... I don't design enemies to any specific combat goals.

I throw together their capabilities according to their theme and target CR and cut them loose to let the dice fall where they may.

I also refuse to spend more than half an hour prepping per session of gameplay.

And so far, this edition of the game may cater to your style, exclusively.

Mine is alienated by the design with the information I have currently.


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Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:
To be honest, My group has had far more fun, and far more roleplying, since the switch to 5e and the need to no longer master a super crunchy system with 47 conditions and 38 modifiers dominated game play.

We'd be playing 5e right now if it were covered more by the OGL. We do like thingies to be a bit crunchier than 5e, but it wouldn't take a lot of crunchy to make it acceptable.

The lack of things like cheap PDFs, d20pfsrd / neyths etc are a no-no for 5e for us.

master_marshmallow wrote:
And I'm fine with a simpler system, but simple also does not mean better.

Um, nopers. Simpler is always better, unless it costs something else valuable in the process. We still use THAC0 in PF1, but it's been simplified since 1e. The only thing we lost is those weird adjustments between specific weapons and armors from 1e, and there's nothing stopping us from putting them back into play with BAB/to-hit. If we wanted to.

What's that quote my husband loves so much? Oh yes, here it is (thanks google!):

"In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away"


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Kerrilyn wrote:
Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:
To be honest, My group has had far more fun, and far more roleplying, since the switch to 5e and the need to no longer master a super crunchy system with 47 conditions and 38 modifiers dominated game play.

We'd be playing 5e right now if it were covered more by the OGL. We do like thingies to be a bit crunchier than 5e, but it wouldn't take a lot of crunchy to make it acceptable.

The lack of things like cheap PDFs, d20pfsrd / neyths etc are a no-no for 5e for us.

master_marshmallow wrote:
And I'm fine with a simpler system, but simple also does not mean better.

Um, nopers. Simpler is always better, unless it costs something else valuable in the process. We still use THAC0 in PF1, but it's been simplified since 1e. The only thing we lost is those weird adjustments between specific weapons and armors from 1e, and there's nothing stopping us from putting them back into play with BAB/to-hit. If we wanted to.

What's that quote my husband loves so much? Oh yes, here it is (thanks google!):

"In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away"

You have taken away consistency in favor of simplicity.

This does not by virtue accommodate good design.

Without some greater level of consistency, I'm having a hard time understanding the design paradigm of a third of the game space.


Kerrilyn wrote:


We'd be playing 5e right now if it were covered more by the OGL. We do like thingies to be a bit crunchier than 5e, but it wouldn't take a lot of crunchy to make it acceptable.

The lack of things like cheap PDFs, d20pfsrd / neyths etc are a no-no for 5e for us.

master_marshmallow wrote:
And I'm fine with a simpler system, but simple also does not mean better.

Um, nopers. Simpler is always better, unless it costs something else valuable in the process. We still use THAC0 in PF1, but it's been simplified since 1e. The only thing we lost is those weird adjustments between specific weapons and armors from 1e, and there's nothing stopping us from putting them back into play with BAB/to-hit. If we wanted to.

What's that quote my husband loves so much? Oh yes, here it is (thanks google!):

"In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away"

Your husband is spot on here. 5e does have an SRD by the way, but WOTC only made one of each 3rd level option open. Which is bummer, but does not make it unplayable.


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As mentioned previously, if you are having trouble grokking the math, maybe just wait for future more specific blog posts or for the free download playtest to see it all laid out? Moreover, we've barely seen any of the options. There may very well be options to do exactly the kind of thing you want that just aren't named Power Attack, but we wouldn't know yet because we've seen a couple feats out of literally hundreds.


master_marshmallow wrote:


Without some greater level of consistency, I'm having a hard time understanding the design paradigm of a third of the game space.

Then there is a good chance you are going to be unhappy with this new eddition marshmallow, because it seems like static bonuses as a whole are getting dulled down/dropped and the math is deliberately being skewed towards feats and abilities giving unlocks rather than straight bonuses.

Personally I am looking forward to the new system because I want character design and choice to focus more on the kinds of things my character can do rather than how statically proficient they are at doing them, and that seems like the exact direction that the new edition is headed in.

Maybe you would be more interested in a game that got rid of dice all together, or used lower variable dice than a D20 to make your fantasy games more chess like and less chutes and ladders like. Or maybe you are really happy with the first edition of pathfinder, and you make up your own adventures as a Game Master anyway, and already have a dedicated gaming group, so you can continue to use the massive amount of PF1 material out there to keep playing the game that you feel like gives you the right balance between chance and predicable outcomes?

Personally, I am finding the bloat of options (and wildly unequal options) to be getting in the way of bringing in new players and some specific issues like buff stacking and bonus types to make high level play in a live table game to be such a sluggish drag that I have been looking into other roleplaying games entirely. I am glad to see the developers seem to be tackling these specific issues and putting out a new product that will keep me with Piazo, because their adventure writing is what brought me over from WotC in the first place, and making up all of my own encounters is unappealing to me in the first place. That is a different style of game play than yours, obviously, and I am sorry you feel like the new system is going to cut you out, but it seems like, if you are designing your own adventures anyway and have developed your own house rules to counter the game play issues that you were having with the game to the satisfaction of yourself and your players, there is no reason to consider a switch in the first place.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Law of averages. You can use average damage pretty effectively, especially once you get to two or three dice. That minimum result on 3d8 happens less than one percent of the time. You also don’t have to worry about things like x4 crit multipliers, and save-or-suck is supposed to be less swingy. Which introduces more statistical uncertainty to combat length- having 3d8+4 instead of 1d8+13, or whether the opponent makes their save vs. Hold Person?


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Unicore wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:


Without some greater level of consistency, I'm having a hard time understanding the design paradigm of a third of the game space.
Then there is a good chance you are going to be unhappy with this new eddition marshmallow, because it seems like static bonuses as a whole are getting dulled down/dropped and the math is deliberately being skewed towards feats and abilities giving unlocks rather than straight bonuses.

Yes, and that's my problem, but also I'm having a hard time understanding this point. If my choices matter more, then why do I have to rely on more dice to determine if I succeed? Do you see where I'm getting confused?

Quote:
Personally I am looking forward to the new system because I want character design and choice to focus more on the kinds of things my character can do rather than how statically proficient they are at doing them, and that seems like the exact direction that the new edition is headed in.

Outside of combat, sure. That's why I was all for this edition with the skill blog because the numbers are all more consistent and my choices matter more. If I rely on dice to determine a whole third of the game space then my choices matter less. That's the problem, not the solution.

Quote:
Maybe you would be more interested in a game that got rid of dice all together, or used lower variable dice than a D20 to make your fantasy games more chess like and less chutes and ladders like. Or maybe you are really happy with the first edition of pathfinder, and you make up your own adventures as a Game Master anyway, and already have a dedicated gaming group, so you can continue to use the massive amount of PF1 material out there to keep playing the game that you feel like gives you the right balance between chance and predicable outcomes?

The d20 is not the problem. Rolling dice is not the problem. Relying on them as a paradigm of game design is my problem. To be certain, your presumption about how I play the game is correct, I do write my own encounters and I do have a dedicated gaming group. Aspects of the second edition align perfectly with my style, especially when it comes to skills. That's the direction I want to go in, where my choices matter, not where the dice matter more than my choices.

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Personally, I am finding the bloat of options (and wildly unequal options) to be getting in the way of bringing in new players and some specific issues like buff stacking and bonus types to make high level play in a live table game to be such a sluggish drag that I have been looking into other roleplaying games entirely. I am glad to see the developers seem to be tackling these specific issues and putting out a new product that will keep me with Piazo, because their adventure writing is what brought me over from WotC in the first place, and making up all of my own encounters is unappealing to me in the first place. That is a different style of game play than yours, obviously, and I am sorry you feel like the new system is...

This is my fear as well, you have extrapolated my thoughts exactly.

QuidEst wrote:
Law of averages. You can use average damage pretty effectively, especially once you get to two or three dice. That minimum result on 3d8 happens less than one percent of the time. You also don’t have to worry about things like x4 crit multipliers, and save-or-suck is supposed to be less swingy. Which introduces more statistical uncertainty to combat length- having 3d8+4 instead of 1d8+13, or whether the opponent makes their save vs. Hold Person?

Even in 5e there are rules in place that allow re-rolls to avoid swingy damage and hits. It's the core of that system in that the variety of results is counterbalanced with the ability to get different and more favorable results using the exact same law of averages you cite.

But it doesn't solve the problem I have in that encounter design (being one of the best parts of PF1 compared to other editions ime) is now less consistent.

Certainly I would want to see more options like the rogue gets in PF1 where I can ignore 1's or 2's on dice to get myself more consistent damage, but then if I am taxed to get those options then we haven't solved the problem from PF1. If we institute a re-roll mechanic to alleviate the swingyness of the range of variables invoking the law of averages then I find this to be poor design, again as I based my decision to continue giving Paizo my money instead of Hasbro specifically for this reason.

As presented I am not seeing consistent design with this dimension of the game. I want something to give me more consistency because that's what made Pathfinder feel like Pathfinder to me and it's what made the books worth my money in my own experience.


master_marshmallow wrote:

If my choices matter more, then why do I have to rely on more dice to determine if I succeed? Do you see where I'm getting confused?

IF it is only the damage aspect that feels like it is giving you this problem, why not just assume average damage for everything except the first initial die roll? This is a house rule, but it seem like it would solve this problem entirely for you as a Game Master.

Silver Crusade

master_marshmallow wrote:

When I DM a game, I want my players decisions and thought process to matter more than whether or not the dice favored them that night, because you know, role playing.

Dice give you a variance, sure, but if the entire game turns into everyone rolling a fistful of dice then where is the design going?

I imagine it's going the route of throwing dice is fun and is at the core of these types of games, which it is. So let's add more dice into the equation and making the math simpler on people where they can total up their dice instead of totaling a group of abstract bonuses/penalties they may or may not forget.

I have no problem with math myself but I see many new players struggling with the concepts of what does and doesn't stack. At the same time when they roll 5d6 they have a much easier time adding the dice together than 1d6+PA mod, divine favor, luck bonus, item bonus, multiple feat bonuses, etc. Yes if a player is prepared all of that is handled beforehand but that's not always the case, especially in organized play.

Also the reliance on dice variance will lead to more tense moments. That aside, getting a doom and gloom feel/approach to the new edition and damning it before you actually see it in action isn't the route to go. There's always the option of staying with 1st edition, it's not like the books are going to evaporate.

master_marshmallow wrote:
The d20 is not the problem. Rolling dice is not the problem. Relying on them as a paradigm of game design is my problem. To be certain, your presumption about how I play the game is correct, I do write my own encounters and I do have a dedicated gaming group. Aspects of the second edition align perfectly with my style, especially when it comes to skills. That's the direction I want to go in, where my choices matter, not where the dice matter more than my choices.

I was in a AD&D campaign that went on for years. When 2nd edition came out, we incorporated aspects of 2nd edition that we liked into our 1st edition game. Chances are you'll be able to take the aspects of 2E that you like and mesh them with the current 1E system in place.


Kain Dragonhand wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

When I DM a game, I want my players decisions and thought process to matter more than whether or not the dice favored them that night, because you know, role playing.

Dice give you a variance, sure, but if the entire game turns into everyone rolling a fistful of dice then where is the design going?

I imagine it's going the route of throwing dice is fun and is at the core of these types of games, which it is.

I never understood this sort of statement. Every time you roll a d20 you have a chance to fail at something.

Far better to force your enemies to roll instead


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Best I can do is two minutes.


Kain Dragonhand wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

When I DM a game, I want my players decisions and thought process to matter more than whether or not the dice favored them that night, because you know, role playing.

Dice give you a variance, sure, but if the entire game turns into everyone rolling a fistful of dice then where is the design going?

I imagine it's going the route of throwing dice is fun and is at the core of these types of games, which it is. So let's add more dice into the equation and making the math simpler on people where they can total up their dice instead of totaling a group of abstract bonuses/penalties they may or may not forget.

Dice rolling is fun, but not if my players aren't getting favorable results. Are there going to be re-roll mechanics?

Quote:
I have no problem with math myself but I see many new players struggling with the concepts of what does and doesn't stack. At the same time when they roll 5d6 they have a much easier time adding the dice together than 1d6+PA mod, divine favor, luck bonus, item bonus, multiple feat bonuses, etc. Yes if a player is prepared all of that is handled beforehand but that's not always the case, especially in organized play.

Sure, and that is a separate issue from the consistency in design. I'm all for streamlining the types of bonuses that stack to cut down on math time. But it doesn't solve the consistency problem.

Quote:
Also the reliance on dice variance will lead to more tense moments. That aside, getting a doom and gloom feel/approach to the new edition and damning it before you actually see it in action isn't the route to go. There's always the option of staying with 1st edition, it's not like the books are going to evaporate.

More tense moments doesn't always make the game better, especially in the instance where I'm trying to design an encounter that isn't meant to be a challenge, but the law of averages makes the challenge much harder because the players couldn't do anything about the dice not favoring them and the engine of the game mandates they rely on dice and not on tactics or character building. This is not why I play Pathfinder.

It's not necessarily gloom and doom, but more like "I've seen this before, and it wasn't good."


master_marshmallow wrote:
Do you really want to DM a game where you can't reliably know how much damage the fighter can do so you give the enemy 60 HP so he lasts more than one turn only for the fighter to do something like 12 damage overall?

Absolutely.

I want that kind of wild range of success in the game. Just like real life - an olympian may break a world record one day, and trip the next. The undertainty (as a player, and as a GM) makes the game more enjoyable for me.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

When you design an enemy that's meant to last more than one turn how do you make sure they have enough.....

I will confess I am a lazy GM but... I don't design enemies to any specific combat goals.

I throw together their capabilities according to their theme and target CR and cut them loose to let the dice fall where they may.

I also refuse to spend more than half an hour prepping per session of gameplay.

I used to do this, and the only thing fun about it for players was when the fight went there way, which was not always what you'd expect.

When a "the party is supposed to win" CR target at APL-3 was risking a TPK because of bad dice rolls, things were bad.

When a CR APL+3 boss fight was won in the surprise round off a crit, things were bad, because the party were looking for something guarded by a great unknown monster, and their first response was to go back and check a room they nearly died in.

Now I spend lots of time preping for sessions, not just mechanically, but also world checking, 30min piffle, everyone's favorite game in town to play and simply watch is the mythic game I put 10hrs a week in for prep, when the sessions only meet every other week. (And everyone can tell when I'm slacking). Admittedly, only about 2hrs of that two week span is spent on mechanics.


Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:
Your husband is spot on here. 5e does have an SRD by the way, but WOTC only made one of each 3rd level option open. Which is bummer, but does not make it unplayable.

Yah, I saw it, but it was soooo tiny, covered so little.. like, it doesn't seem to cover any of the newer books, whereas PF1's OGL stuff covers so much. 5e's SRD only covers the Life domain for Cleric, and High Elf subtype for elfies. That's good if I want to play that, but what if I wanted to be a dark elf or wood elf cleric of .. some other domain?

PF1's SRD has fallen behind the last few books, but the new materials (like Ultimate Wilderness) are still OGL. Paizo's just slacking on updating the web page. They'll show up there eventually.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kerrilyn wrote:
Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:
Your husband is spot on here. 5e does have an SRD by the way, but WOTC only made one of each 3rd level option open. Which is bummer, but does not make it unplayable.

Yah, I saw it, but it was soooo tiny, covered so little.. like, it doesn't seem to cover any of the newer books, whereas PF1's OGL stuff covers so much. 5e's SRD only covers the Life domain for Cleric, and High Elf subtype for elfies. That's good if I want to play that, but what if I wanted to be a dark elf or wood elf cleric of .. some other domain?

PF1's SRD has fallen behind the last few books, but the new materials (like Ultimate Wilderness) are still OGL. Paizo's just slacking on updating the web page. They'll show up there eventually.

Have you checked http://www.5esrd.com/ or www.d20pfsrd.com I don't know about their 5e stuff but the John and the team keep the pfsrd pretty complete and up to date.

Silver Crusade

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Notsonoble wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

When you design an enemy that's meant to last more than one turn how do you make sure they have enough.....

I will confess I am a lazy GM but... I don't design enemies to any specific combat goals.

I throw together their capabilities according to their theme and target CR and cut them loose to let the dice fall where they may.

I also refuse to spend more than half an hour prepping per session of gameplay.

I used to do this, and the only thing fun about it for players was when the fight went there way, which was not always what you'd expect.

When a "the party is supposed to win" CR target at APL-3 was risking a TPK because of bad dice rolls, things were bad.

When a CR APL+3 boss fight was won in the surprise round off a crit, things were bad, because the party were looking for something guarded by a great unknown monster, and their first response was to go back and check a room they nearly died in.

Now I spend lots of time preping for sessions, not just mechanically, but also world checking, 30min piffle, everyone's favorite game in town to play and simply watch is the mythic game I put 10hrs a week in for prep, when the sessions only meet every other week. (And everyone can tell when I'm slacking). Admittedly, only about 2hrs of that two week span is spent on mechanics.

But there should always be the risk of dying when you're going on life threatening adventures. That being said, if you get the jump on someone and are able to act before they do and you kill them, I don't see the problem. They managed a surprise, ran in and hit with a critical. That is not unrealistic. Similarly if they have a run of bad luck and they're missing their blows, maybe that particular monster was exceptional for his kind, then you could write in on the fly that there was something peculiar about it. Have the knowledge person make the check and add something to the narrative as to why the monster was so difficult.

Maybe the BBEG in the other room was mentally controlling the monster, enhancing it, and that's why they were having trouble hitting, and when they killed the monster it shocked the BBEG, which gave them the jump on him, and the surprise round crit was a natural result of that.


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Kain Dragonhand wrote:
Notsonoble wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

When you design an enemy that's meant to last more than one turn how do you make sure they have enough.....

I will confess I am a lazy GM but... I don't design enemies to any specific combat goals.

I throw together their capabilities according to their theme and target CR and cut them loose to let the dice fall where they may.

I also refuse to spend more than half an hour prepping per session of gameplay.

I used to do this, and the only thing fun about it for players was when the fight went there way, which was not always what you'd expect.

When a "the party is supposed to win" CR target at APL-3 was risking a TPK because of bad dice rolls, things were bad.

When a CR APL+3 boss fight was won in the surprise round off a crit, things were bad, because the party were looking for something guarded by a great unknown monster, and their first response was to go back and check a room they nearly died in.

Now I spend lots of time preping for sessions, not just mechanically, but also world checking, 30min piffle, everyone's favorite game in town to play and simply watch is the mythic game I put 10hrs a week in for prep, when the sessions only meet every other week. (And everyone can tell when I'm slacking). Admittedly, only about 2hrs of that two week span is spent on mechanics.

But there should always be the risk of dying when you're going on life threatening adventures. That being said, if you get the jump on someone and are able to act before they do and you kill them, I don't see the problem. They managed a surprise, ran in and hit with a critical. That is not unrealistic. Similarly if they have a run of bad luck and they're missing their blows, maybe that particular monster was exceptional for his kind, then you could write in on the fly that there was something peculiar about it. Have the knowledge person make the check and add something to the narrative as to why the monster was so...

But does designing the game around that make it better?

If I write and plan an encounter to last a whole night because it's an epic boss fight and the law of averages happens to work against me that night and the fight is over in less than 20 minutes and I have nothing else prepared for that night is the game better?

The law of averages is great and all, but it doesn't care about you, me, or our players.

World of Darkness is a system focused entirely on the law of averages in that you invest into your skills specifically to roll more dice to increase your odds of success. It's literally the system where 'fist fulls' of dice is the norm. But it accounts for the law of averages as part of the core system.

As presented, damage economy in PF2 does not account for this.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
master_marshmallow wrote:
Kain Dragonhand wrote:
Notsonoble wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

When you design an enemy that's meant to last more than one turn how do you make sure they have enough.....

I will confess I am a lazy GM but... I don't design enemies to any specific combat goals.

I throw together their capabilities according to their theme and target CR and cut them loose to let the dice fall where they may.

I also refuse to spend more than half an hour prepping per session of gameplay.

I used to do this, and the only thing fun about it for players was when the fight went there way, which was not always what you'd expect.

When a "the party is supposed to win" CR target at APL-3 was risking a TPK because of bad dice rolls, things were bad.

When a CR APL+3 boss fight was won in the surprise round off a crit, things were bad, because the party were looking for something guarded by a great unknown monster, and their first response was to go back and check a room they nearly died in.

Now I spend lots of time preping for sessions, not just mechanically, but also world checking, 30min piffle, everyone's favorite game in town to play and simply watch is the mythic game I put 10hrs a week in for prep, when the sessions only meet every other week. (And everyone can tell when I'm slacking). Admittedly, only about 2hrs of that two week span is spent on mechanics.

But there should always be the risk of dying when you're going on life threatening adventures. That being said, if you get the jump on someone and are able to act before they do and you kill them, I don't see the problem. They managed a surprise, ran in and hit with a critical. That is not unrealistic. Similarly if they have a run of bad luck and they're missing their blows, maybe that particular monster was exceptional for his kind, then you could write in on the fly that there was something peculiar about it. Have the knowledge person make the check and add something to the narrative
...

Well I don't think you should plan an encounter to be X number of hours long myself. Just plan the encounters according to how much of a challenge you want (and if you know your group you should be able to do this just fine). Then if something happens and the encounter is cut short due to luck of the dice, player ingenuity, or something else, move on to the next thing. Just because players make it past where you're prepped doesn't mean you have to stop playing. In fact, learning to evolve the narrative and move the story on the fly is something that every gm should learn to do.

I've had entire dungeons created with a plot hook to get the characters into it, they 180'd and went the complete opposite direction. Well there goes that prep time, that's fine, let me figure something else out right now. Things might move at a slightly slower pace, but this is also a social game. Tell your players to take a 15-20 minute break, and start plugging in some stuff.

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