I want my 15 minutes


Prerelease Discussion

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Kain Dragonhand wrote:
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
...

So I'm playing the game wrong then?

Good to know.


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master_marshmallow wrote:


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?

That happened to me in rolemaster once ( a super swingy system). We got to the BBEG and I open ended twice on the attack roll, then rolled perfectly on a crit, and killed the beasty in 1 round. The GM looked shocked. The players (and characters) rejoiced at the great moment, and the bard in the group wrote a lay aobut the monk taking out the demon with a perfectly placed kick. Fun was had by all.

The next session, the GM who was unhappy about us beating the monster in 1 round (even though all the players had fun) said he would roll all the player rolls behind his screen. We all walked away at that point, because it was obvious his pacing/story was more important than our fun.


Lord Mhoram wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:


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?

That happened to me in rolemaster once ( a super swingy system). We got to the BBEG and I open ended twice on the attack roll, then rolled perfectly on a crit, and killed the beasty in 1 round. The GM looked shocked. The players (and characters) rejoiced at the great moment, and the bard in the group wrote a lay aobut the monk taking out the demon with a perfectly placed kick. Fun was had by all.

The next session, the GM who was unhappy about us beating the monster in 1 round (even though all the players had fun) said he would roll all the player rolls behind his screen. We all walked away at that point, because it was obvious his pacing/story was more important than our fun.

And the DMs fun didn't matter to any of you, clearly. Is the DM is only there to make sure YOU have a good time?


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master_marshmallow wrote:
And the DMs fun didn't matter to any of you, clearly. Is the DM is only there to make sure YOU have a good time?

He was wanting he story to run exactly the way he wanted to, players be danged. It was a railroad, with no player agency. If that is how he wanted GM, he needed to find players that would have fun with that kind of game. As players, we wouldn't have fun where we never rolled any dice, and all results were hidden from us. It was better to part ways than have that kind of conflict.

So we did worry about his fun - it was obvious that he would not have fun based on what we wanted out of the game, and we wouldn't have fun playing in the game he watned to run. No gaming is better than bad gaming.


Lord Mhoram wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
And the DMs fun didn't matter to any of you, clearly. Is the DM is only there to make sure YOU have a good time?

He was wanting he story to run exactly the way he wanted to, players be danged. It was a railroad, with no player agency. If that is how he wanted GM, he needed to find players that would have fun with that kind of game. As players, we wouldn't have fun where we never rolled any dice, and all results were hidden from us. It was better to part ways than have that kind of conflict.

So we did worry about his fun - it was obvious that he would not have fun based on what we wanted out of the game, and we wouldn't have fun playing in the game he watned to run. No gaming is better than bad gaming.

And you walked instead of talking to him about it, at least according to your story.

The player/DM contract matters. Still, it doesn't solve the mathematical problem that the law of averages creates with regards to the currency of combat- damage, of which one third of the game is expected to be.

If my play style is alienated by the new edition, then I have a problem with the new edition.

"You're playing the game wrong" doesn't help me fix that problem.

We have samples of data that prove the law of averages needs to be accounted for mathematically in game design. Other games deal with this in giving out re-roll mechanics.

Even the Power Attack math thread is operating under the assumption of average, consistent damage. Which, might hold true, but unless we can consistently have those numbers show up then the calcs become useless to design a game around.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

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.

We have definitely not seen enough of the system to be able to make sweeping statements like "PF2 does not account for this." Again, you are getting super riled up about incredibly incomplete, fragmentary information. Just wait for more information to come out.

If the rules come out and it turns out they really didn't account for mathematical basics? Then yeah, you'll be totally right to be upset. But I really think they should get the benefit of the doubt.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well, I think he has different standards- I don’t know that they’re likely to account for his goal of static damage substantially outweighing variable damage. I think their goal on reducing variance is on reducing the difference in static skill modifiers, saves, attack bonuses, DCs, etc. between characters.

If one’s goal is fixed damage output range (rather than a probability distribution), then having a dim view of their approach follows pretty naturally.


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Not really sure what the OP's concerns are, but from my perspective the new rules for Power Attack would seem easier to calculate average damage from since:
A. The additional die turns the distribution into a bell curve which is more predictable than the linear distribution from a single die.
B. Since the attack roll is no longer penalized, one no longer has to factor in the decreased odds of actually striking an opponent.


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master_marshmallow wrote:
And you walked instead of talking to him about it, at least according to your story.

We asked him why, he said "That is the way I want it, I'm the DM" and we asked if we could change his mind he said "no". One player said "I don't like to game if I can't make my own die rolls" Gm said "Tough". So then we walked.

I understand where you come from taht you may not like PF2 because of the mathmatical underpinnings may be changing, and allow for more vairiability in results than you feel comfortable with. That is fine.

However that does not make it a bad option, nor make it feel "not like pathfinder". The tight combat balance you say you use sounda lot more like what I felt D&D 4E was trying for.


QuidEst wrote:

Well, I think he has different standards- I don’t know that they’re likely to account for his goal of static damage substantially outweighing variable damage. I think their goal on reducing variance is on reducing the difference in static skill modifiers, saves, attack bonuses, DCs, etc. between characters.

If one’s goal is fixed damage output range (rather than a probability distribution), then having a dim view of their approach follows pretty naturally.

Consistency does not mean flat modifiers.

Re-roll mechanics that give you a better chance at landing at those average numbers works fine.

The math is inconsistent, which inevitably makes encounter design both inconsistent and difficult to gauge.

Insulting my play style does not fix this problem.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

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.

We have definitely not seen enough of the system to be able to make sweeping statements like "PF2 does not account for this." Again, you are getting super riled up about incredibly incomplete, fragmentary information. Just wait for more information to come out.

If the rules come out and it turns out they really didn't account for mathematical basics? Then yeah, you'll be totally right to be upset. But I really think they should get the benefit of the doubt.

Which is why I included the words "as presented."

I'm still here, which means they have the benefit of the doubt from me.

I'd hope something like proficiency level grants a number of re-rolls on the damage die happens, then a weapon that is legendary on a legendarily proficient character could theoretically re-roll their dice up to 6 times which both removes the need for flat bonuses and deals with the swingyness of the law of averages.

Or maybe that's what Hero Points do.

If some or any of these solutions pop up then I'm back in.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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What if, instead of adding damage, Power Attack let you reroll your damage die?

And then, what if they let you add your lower roll into the result anyway, as an extra bonus?


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

What if, instead of adding damage, Power Attack let you reroll your damage die?

And then, what if they let you add your lower roll into the result anyway, as an extra bonus?

What if you got snake eyes?

What if scenarios don't help.

Especially when you're trolling.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

master_marshmallow wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

What if, instead of adding damage, Power Attack let you reroll your damage die?

And then, what if they let you add your lower roll into the result anyway, as an extra bonus?

What if you got snake eyes?

What if scenarios don't help.

Especially when you're trolling.

Hey, I'm just saying, if you want a reroll mechanic to help you hit average numbers, bigger dice pools are that mechanic.

I may be using a flip tone, but I'm certainly not trolling :D

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
master_marshmallow wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

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.

So you completely dodge my point yet again to milk more favorites for yourself.

Yes, as a DM I like to have a general idea of how much damage the primary damage dealer in the group can put on the board. How do you not want that information? When you design an enemy that's meant to last more than one turn how do you make sure they have enough HP? How do you make sure their AC is high enough?

I'm not nitpicking every number, I'm not trying to control every number, I just want a lower expected range than seeing anyone swinging an axe going from 8-32 damage on the same attack.

Unless enemies are all designed to have low HP and die instantly anyway?

I'm genuinely trying to figure out how this is a good system to design a game around....

If you could stop accusing me of trying to “milk favorites” and engage with the content of my posts that’d be great. I don’t post on these boards to win a nerd popularity contest, what would be the point?

I use challenge rating to determine if a challenge is roughly the right level for my players not damage output. Because damage output dosn’t measure the dozen odd ways spelllcasters can end a fight without hp attrition or the fighter can lock down a fight with clever use of combat manoeuvers.

On the rare occasion I use damage numbers: If a fighter does between 8-32 damage a turn, then they average around 16 damage, and if I need that number for some reason that’s what I use. In original Pathfinder I already maximize monster HD whenever I want a longer fight, I don’t need specific damage numbers for that, I know that more hp = linger monster fight.

I mean Pathfinder 1e has x3 and x4 weapons, your scythe wielding fighter could easily have a damage range of 8-56 at level 1 in the game that exists. So again you have the tools to handle damage ranges and not just static damage.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

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.

So you completely dodge my point yet again to milk more favorites for yourself.

Yes, as a DM I like to have a general idea of how much damage the primary damage dealer in the group can put on the board. How do you not want that information? When you design an enemy that's meant to last more than one turn how do you make sure they have enough HP? How do you make sure their AC is high enough?

I'm not nitpicking every number, I'm not trying to control every number, I just want a lower expected range than seeing anyone swinging an axe going from 8-32 damage on the same attack.

Unless enemies are all designed to have low HP and die instantly anyway?

I'm genuinely trying to figure out how this is a good system

...

Ok, flip the coin, you're designing an NPC combatant and need to know whether or not you are going to one-shot the PC but cannot reliably calculate this?

Dark Archive

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Honestly I have never had a problem with my players one shotting a boss, or struggling for hours fighting mooks. Its all part of the game, you roll with it. I have had problems when I one shot them with a large crit weapon like a scythe from a low level monster that was a throw away creature who has now just killed a PC. And looking at that problem, I am much happier with what we have seen in PF2 than PF1, because it is less swingy that way.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I’ll use the NPC building rules included in the game which will give me expected damage ranges because NPCs don’t necessarily use the same rules heroes do?

Or if I am using PC rules to build a powerful NPCs I’ll use average damage as my
measuring tool to make sure the NPC still hits similar targets to a creature of that CR.

Also I measure my damage against the medium HD character rather than the fighter, because if I’m trying to challenge a party a monster that can take out the fighter quickly can outright murder the wizard it the PCs get unlucky. But if it takes a few shots to kill the cleric or rogue then the fighter is rewarded for successfully tanking.

Again though, average damage is fine for this.


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But CR, by definition, does take into account average damage, particularly from monsters. Higher level monsters reliably deal more damage to deal with higher HP pools of heroes.

And they way they achieve this higher damage is always with bigger static numbers, a larger number of attacks, or both. Because it's much easier to get reliable numbers that way.

A guy that rolls 1d6+7 and a guy that rolls 2d6+3 have the same "average" damage (10. Yes I know technically the first guy is 10.5, but we don' get half damage points so) but the first dude's spread us 8-13 and the second dude's 5-15. This gets bigger the more dice you add. It makes the game a lot more swingy unless you add some way of overcoming that (like rerolling 1s).

PF1E understands this, which is why the Rogue (one of the classes that most relies in buckets of dice for damage) has not one, but two Rogue Talents to make Sneak Attack more reliable. It's also why there's bloodlines or abilities that add "+1 to damage per dice rolled". Because rolling badly on your 10d6 fireball feels horrible.

If PF2E has those systems, great. If it doesn't, trust me when I tell ya you'll feel it. As anyone that has played a rogue has felt it when his 4d6 sneak attack ends up adding 6 damage because of bad rolls.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
master_marshmallow wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

What if, instead of adding damage, Power Attack let you reroll your damage die?

And then, what if they let you add your lower roll into the result anyway, as an extra bonus?

What if you got snake eyes?

What if scenarios don't help.

Especially when you're trolling.

If you’re using the max weapon size of d12, snake eyes happen less than 1% of the time. If you’re just using a d8, it’s still rarer than 2%. If we consider our threshold for caring to be 5%, the same odds as rolling a nat 1 on attack and the chance of old Power Attack causing a miss at low levels, then you need to go all the way down to d4s.

Edit: Eh, I’ll stop posting in here. My view is too different on this. I’ll still read if you post something in response, though.


master_marshmallow wrote:
Ok, flip the coin, you're designing an NPC combatant and need to know whether or not you are going to one-shot the PC but cannot reliably calculate this?

I know the parties max HP. I am able build the encounter so that the max damage output and enemy can do in a round does not exceed the max HP of the lowest Hp party member. That is not how I prep but it can be done that way.

I am curious, do you calculate for critical hits in your planning? Any enemies using Greataxes or Scythes, those x3 and x4 crits, and do you make sure that their damage potential is low enough that if you happen to roll double 20s that the max crit is still not enough that one-shot a PC? The extreme corner cases you appear to be concerned with exist in base pathfinder already.


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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?

Yes?

But if you don't, you can make the chars do average damage always. That makes their damsge pretty predictable


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.

All of which takes a lot less time than being clear on all their plot potential; you never know which ones your party are going to adopt.

Quote:


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

I can see how simplicity might be more of a virtue in that situation than I favour it being, all right. I rarely spend less than an hour a day on game prep, whether I am actively running a game at the moment or no; there's no such thing as too much preparation, plus it is fun.

Silver Crusade

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master_marshmallow wrote:

So I'm playing the game wrong then?

Good to know.

Me saying there are other ways to deal with variance, and with situations you presented is not the same thing as you playing the game wrong. No need to get all chippy.

Also, take a look in the mirror. You're telling the company "you're building the game wrong"

As with any system there are going to be things that are good, and things that are not good. Show me a perfect system, give me a few minutes and I can likely point out several flaws in it.

Honestly it sounds like you want an iron grip on the narrative and do not allow your players much agency at all. So you spent some time on a BBEG and the dice resulted in him being dispatched in a matter that didn't please you. How did the one responsible for killing him react? I imagine they were fairly excited, I know I would be if I got the jump on someone in the game and landed a crit and ended the danger right then and there.

You don't need to math the game down to x hours for this fight, x hours for that fight. X rounds for this bad guy, x rounds for that bad guy. Well, maybe you do, and it's not like you won't be able to do that. 1E Pathfinder has quite the volume of material, enough to play a campaign or several for the rest of our lives most likely and not see all the material in play.

You wanted your 15 minutes, you got it, you pouted. Expecting people not to react to that is a little silly.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh 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.

All of which takes a lot less time than being clear on all their plot potential; you never know which ones your party are going to adopt.

Quote:


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

I can see how simplicity might be more of a virtue in that situation than I favour it being, all right. I rarely spend less than an hour a day on game prep, whether I am actively running a game at the moment or no; there's no such thing as too much preparation, plus it is fun.

For me the fun is getting into character as The World! (insert JoJo references here) and role-playing what it does, both of its own accord and in response to the choices of my players.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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This thread is getting rather hostile, please tone it down if you'd like it to stay open.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

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.

Master_Marshmallow,

I am going to take back my previous comment about how I don't think Pathfinder's new edition is for you. If you spent 4 years creating house rules to make the first edition work for you, and you seem excited about every other aspect of the new system but you are concerned that the way they are handling damage is going to have too wide a margin of error for you to be happy with, it seems like multiple people have proposed house rules, from turning some of those bonus die into static modifiers that don't multiply, to hero points or damage rerolls, that the new eddition is going to be much closer to your ideal vision than any previous system out there. If that is true, would you say you will happy with the new system? Or is there some underlying issue hidden in the approach to damage that you feel like is going to derail the entire game?


Unicore wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

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.

Master_Marshmallow,

I am going to take back my previous comment about how I don't think Pathfinder's new edition is for you. If you spent 4 years creating house rules to make the first edition work for you, and you seem excited about every other aspect of the new system but you are concerned that the way they are handling damage is going to have too wide a margin of error for you to be happy with, it seems like multiple people have proposed house rules, from turning some of those bonus die into static modifiers that don't multiply, to hero points or damage rerolls, that the new eddition is going to be much closer to your ideal vision than any previous system out there. If that is true, would you say you will happy with the new system? Or is there some underlying issue hidden in the approach to damage that you feel like is going to derail the entire game?

hammer meet nail


Carter Lockhart wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
Ok, flip the coin, you're designing an NPC combatant and need to know whether or not you are going to one-shot the PC but cannot reliably calculate this?

I know the parties max HP. I am able build the encounter so that the max damage output and enemy can do in a round does not exceed the max HP of the lowest Hp party member. That is not how I prep but it can be done that way.

I am curious, do you calculate for critical hits in your planning? Any enemies using Greataxes or Scythes, those x3 and x4 crits, and do you make sure that their damage potential is low enough that if you happen to roll double 20s that the max crit is still not enough that one-shot a PC? The extreme corner cases you appear to be concerned with exist in base pathfinder already.

Yes, I do.

I purposely choose builds with damage ranges that are lower on higher crit range weapons, and for those with higher crit multipliers. Often this means for those enemies, they don't even have power attack.

An enemy that can only crit on a 20? Or that only does x2? They can have larger numbers because I am less fearful of the math creating problems. These enemies can have power attack.

Still, the problem with critical multipliers that you seem to have from PF1 is not the same thing as not having reliable consistent damage to calculate averages off in encounter design.

A metaphor:
I'm telling you that the new batch of apples (damage economics in PF2) are rotten (has demonstrably inconsistent math behind its design). You are telling me that I should accept this because the oranges (crit multipliers and mechanics from PF1) were a problem for you previously?

Kain Dragonhand wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

So I'm playing the game wrong then?

Good to know.

Me saying there are other ways to deal with variance, and with situations you presented is not the same thing as you playing the game wrong. No need to get all chippy.
Quote:

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.

This is your quote. You didn't tell me how to deal with variance, sir. You told me to suck it up and stop my players mid way through the game so I can design more game for them on the fly because the system can't account for its own inconsistent numbers.

You tell me not to plan how long a particular section of the game is going to take, as if time management was not part of the game at all and I should just have all the content in the world already done for everyone to just keep having fun. But then again, what is the metric for "Just plan the encounters according to how much of a challenge you want" if not by the amount of time and effort I expect them to put into it?

Players that have to sit there doing nothing because I didn't or couldn't prepare enough are going to lose faith in me as a DM. This system as currently presented makes that problem worse, not better. I guess I can just have them kill random monsters from the book for a few hours? What's your actual advice here? "learning to evolve the narrative and move the story on the fly is something that every gm should learn to do" doesn't give me anything useful, and I suspect improvisation isn't your strong suit? I'm genuinely asking you to elaborate on this. Seems like a personal shot calling me bad at evolving my narrative, apologies if it isn't.

I guess this edition of the game isn't meant for people like me who like to write their own encounters and I should just play the pre-written stuff and assume that the same problems won't pop up?

What happens when a PFS scenario ends ~hours earlier than planned and due to the age of the game there is no more material for them to play? Everyone goes home? What about the businesses that expect to collect revenue for sales of snacks/food during this time?

Bad design is a much larger problem than just my home games.


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For one thing, improv is a basic GMing skill. Unless you're railroading your players so they have no choice but to follow the dotted line through your adventure (and if you are, stop), then planning for every contingency gets way out of hand in terms of prep time. It generally creates a much more flowing game to plan an outline of an adventure, do prep on the important bits, do prep on a few of the most likely outcomes based on likely possible player choices, and then just roll with it. Fill in the blanks as they play.

I don't think your players are going to "lose faith in you" if they happen to get a few lucky crits and end a boss battle early. Frankly, they'll probably be celebrating. If that was supposed to be the end of the session, you can start dealing with the aftermath. Or throw in a new complication. Maybe that was retroactively a load-bearing boss and now they need to escape the lair, maybe they find some exciting clue on the boss's body or in the boss's dying words that gives them something to investigate for a bit. Even in a PFS game, it really doesn't just have to end there.


Fuzzypaws wrote:

For one thing, improv is a basic GMing skill. Unless you're railroading your players so they have no choice but to follow the dotted line through your adventure (and if you are, stop), then planning for every contingency gets way out of hand in terms of prep time. It generally creates a much more flowing game to plan an outline of an adventure, do prep on the important bits, do prep on a few of the most likely outcomes based on likely possible player choices, and then just roll with it. Fill in the blanks as they play.

I don't think your players are going to "lose faith in you" if they happen to get a few lucky crits and end a boss battle early. Frankly, they'll probably be celebrating. If that was supposed to be the end of the session, you can start dealing with the aftermath. Or throw in a new complication. Maybe that was retroactively a load-bearing boss and now they need to escape the lair, maybe they find some exciting clue on the boss's body or in the boss's dying words that gives them something to investigate for a bit. Even in a PFS game, it really doesn't just have to end there.

But the math is swingy before crits are even calculated in.

That's the point.

If you don't think players are going to stop playing the game because they don't have anything to play then I don't think we're playing the same game.

Improv will only get you so far. I don't want to have to plan to improv, since improvising is by definition not meant to be planned for.

If anything, you're pointing out how inconsistent the design is.


master_marshmallow wrote:
You are telling me that I should accept this because the oranges (crit multipliers and mechanics from PF1) were a problem for you previously?

Hey now, I never said any mechanics from PF1 were a problem for me, I'm just trying to understand the extend of you're planning.

If your concern is avoiding enemies one shotting PCs, it should still be possible to calculate enemy damage such that the maximum with a crit is not sufficient to damage your PCs. As has been mentioned, enemy builds will use different methods than PCs. I imagine the quick build instructions will provide a damage range or average for CRs for different roles. and you can determine whether to come at the average from a higher static or variable component.


In a comment earlier, I tried to show that PF2 PA is actually less swingy than PF1 PA, but it sounds like you don't want swingy in the absolute. I don't get how you're comfortable with PF1's crits given what you write on variability in general, but maybe that shouldn't factor in the argument.

So... I'm afraid the only thing I can suggest is you houserule that all additional damage dice, whether from PA, magic, crit or other factor, do half of max damage. So, replace 3d8 with 1d8+8. This is very simple to implement, and won't change the balance of PF2's math.


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If I gave everyone 15 minutes, I would never make it to the Playtest on time. Also... who are you?


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master_marshmallow wrote:
Kain Dragonhand wrote:
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
...

Not wrong. Just different.

Doing optimal calculated damage is great but have you tried diving in front of an ally with your shield to block a killing blow.

Or walking unarmed into an enemy lair anf soam diplomacy until the mind controled barbarian comes to their senses.

There are many valid ways to play pathfinder, but the developers (and some posters) are going to preference some over others.


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Pathfinder 2.0 wrote:
If I gave everyone 15 minutes, I would never make it to the Playtest on time. Also... who are you?

Are we making smores? I think I smell roasted marshmallow...

P.S. don't let it get to you Marsh


Ummm, smores


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Lord Mhoram wrote:
That happened to me in rolemaster once ( a super swingy system). We got to the BBEG and I open ended twice on the attack roll, then rolled perfectly on a crit, and killed the beasty in 1 round. The GM looked shocked.

Speaking of Rolemaster, randomness, and shocking results... my very first game of Rolemaster was back in high school with some of my more adult friends, and I was playing some kind of lizardman fighter-type.

Everyone told me that combat was nasty, so I followed their lead in trying to avoid it until, one time, it was just absolutely necessary. Played a couple of hours before needing to roll an attack.

My very first attack, with my very first character, I attempted to bite an orc who was grappling me. I rolled open-ended low, and then I rolled open-ended low again. And again; jaws dropped. And then I borrowed someone else's dice, cajoled them, pleaded with them for good luck... and rolled open-ended low again.

Bit my own f$!$ing head clean off.

I eventually became a very great fan of Rolemaster but it was not that night.


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FaerieGodfather wrote:
Lord Mhoram wrote:
That happened to me in rolemaster once ( a super swingy system). We got to the BBEG and I open ended twice on the attack roll, then rolled perfectly on a crit, and killed the beasty in 1 round. The GM looked shocked.

Speaking of Rolemaster, randomness, and shocking results... my very first game of Rolemaster was back in high school with some of my more adult friends, and I was playing some kind of lizardman fighter-type.

Everyone told me that combat was nasty, so I followed their lead in trying to avoid it until, one time, it was just absolutely necessary. Played a couple of hours before needing to roll an attack.

My very first attack, with my very first character, I attempted to bite an orc who was grappling me. I rolled open-ended low, and then I rolled open-ended low again. And again; jaws dropped. And then I borrowed someone else's dice, cajoled them, pleaded with them for good luck... and rolled open-ended low again.

Bit my own f&#*ing head clean off.

I eventually became a very great fan of Rolemaster but it was not that night.

:)

My first rolemater character was not actually hit until he was level 5. Then it was a 100 E Crush Crit. Dead.


My experience with Rolemaster was in a LotR game where the GM wouldn't let us influence the story in any way because the canon heroes from the novels had to be the ones who accomplished anything of note. That was "fun" :\


Carter Lockhart wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
You are telling me that I should accept this because the oranges (crit multipliers and mechanics from PF1) were a problem for you previously?

Hey now, I never said any mechanics from PF1 were a problem for me, I'm just trying to understand the extend of you're planning.

If your concern is avoiding enemies one shotting PCs, it should still be possible to calculate enemy damage such that the maximum with a crit is not sufficient to damage your PCs. As has been mentioned, enemy builds will use different methods than PCs. I imagine the quick build instructions will provide a damage range or average for CRs for different roles. and you can determine whether to come at the average from a higher static or variable component.

Apologies then, but the answer was still yes, it is something I have to mathematically work around and often do.

Higher level encounters for instance may include an enemy who focuses on landing crits, but build wise forsakes damage in favor of dbuffs that extend the fight.

Ime, anything that extends the fight is better for the game.


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I made two different Chars in consecutive rounds in Rolemaster. I was introduced as a survivor of an orc attack the party was trying to save. Died in first round. The GM said "OK, there were two survivors. Just use the same character with a different name so we keep playing". Character 2 died in round 2


BTW, there is more swingness in PF 1.
With str 18, a great axe at lvl1 with power attack can do from 10 to 63 (1d12+9 & *3 crit. In PF 2 it does from 6 to 42 or 54 (depending on power attack being added to crista or not).


gustavo iglesias wrote:

BTW, there is more swingness in PF 1.

With str 18, a great axe at lvl1 with power attack can do from 10 to 63 (1d12+9 & *3 crit. In PF 2 it does from 6 to 42 or 54 (depending on power attack being added to crista or not).

Yeah, on a crit, but on normal attacks PF2E is the more variable attack:

- 1d12+9 is 10-21
- 2d12+6 is 8-30

Also keep in mind a greataxe in PF1E crits less than 5% of the time (you need a Natural 20 and a confirmation). In PF2E it seems Crits will be more common (but we don't know, really) which swings (hah!) the variance pendulum squarely into PF2E's court.


Not able now, but would be nice to check the real swingness of both (ie, chance they do above or below 50 dmg) and also for 18+ or 15+ crit. Special attention to bell curve


Fuzzypaws wrote:
My experience with Rolemaster was in a LotR game where the GM wouldn't let us influence the story in any way because the canon heroes from the novels had to be the ones who accomplished anything of note. That was "fun" :\

To continue the thread drift...

I ran a LotR game set during the war. The PCs were a group of unusual characters - a Dwarf that saw Durin's Bain, a reformed Black Numbenorian and similar. I ran a plot about a huge threat coming after Aragorn in the form of single nasty creature. The adventures happened on the fringes of the war, but if they didn't stop the BBEG, Aragorn would be killed. They were at the coronation, and in the end of the campaign King Elessar came over and bascially said "you have no fanfare, you are not recognized, but know that I am aware of your valiant deeds.. blah blah, and I owe a debt to you all"

The Players wanted to run a "set in the war" campaign with the core story being unchanged, so I pulled a "Back to the Future 2" on them. It was recieved well. One of my best campaigns.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Pathfinder 2.0 wrote:
If I gave everyone 15 minutes, I would never make it to the Playtest on time. Also... who are you?

Are we making smores? I think I smell roasted marshmallow...

P.S. don't let it get to you Marsh

I'm torn personally on how to respond to this, since I am the OP, and I have genuine things I wish to discuss and have player tested data and experience from years of running RAE. I have mathematical concerns which prohibit me from understanding the directing for the theatre of combat we are getting in the new edition and I want to discuss what I knew from my own games compared to what I'm getting in the future.

But when a moderator steps in and threaten to close down the thread, and the same ~4 users seemingly continue to flame I feel as though I am being punished for the behavior of others. I can only improve my own behavior and adhere to policy on my own accord. This might not be enough if the maturity level of those who continue to flame does not also change to mirror my own. It's certainly not giving me incentive to be more polite when I know I will be reprimanded for their continued misconduct. If I'm going to be the one getting punished anyway, why not earn it myself?

I'm more than capable of crushing strawmen on my own, I've been doing it all thread. But now the toxicity of their behavior is seemingly being rewarded. I feel bad for Sarah, as I've had the job before of moderation on the internet and I understand and respect the power and authority of the verbal warning, but if I were to request the ones continuing to misbehave be punished in my stead it would be a grave departure of policy.

Hopefully you guys can understand to stop making up your own arguments to insult me with and actually discuss some of the topics in the OP, like the action system or get more into the mentality I feel with respect to game design. I want that.

Granted all this said, it is not to say objectively speaking that it wasn't funny.


There's a very strong MERP/RM influence on the simulacrum game I'm designing.

Stripped d20 down to its core, and using Proficiencies and Feats to rebuild Player's Option by way of MERP and Palladium. 1995 is old school now, and I'll cut anyone says otherwise.

On the verge of publishing my alpha document. Probably poor taste to promote it here, but I'll probably drop a note in Gamer Life when it's ready to show.


I'm on the marshmallow's side of not liking the math of PF2. It seems to me that they are making numerical variability between characters much lesser, while keeping the appearance of variance through rolling multiple dice. While I get it makes my life as DM easier (and I have no qualms about using average die rolls when building NPCs), my life as a player took a big hit in what made PF1 fun for me. Of course this is what I get from preview, still looking forward to seeing the big picture.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
master_marshmallow wrote:
I'm torn personally on how to respond to this, since I am the OP, and I have genuine things I wish to discuss and have player tested data and experience from years of running RAE. I have mathematical concerns which prohibit me from understanding the directing for the theatre of combat we are getting in the new edition and I want to discuss what I knew from my own games compared to what I'm getting in the future.

Here is my problem with this thread and your approach (which is not exclusive to you btw): You are already comparing mathematical models and making big statements about what needs to be done or needs to be retained, while only having a tiny fraction of the puzzle in front of you.

Maybe you can wait until August to see the whole picture, then actually play the playtest and after that offer your criticism. I find these hypothetical arguments not very constructive in any way, because at this point in time you need to assume way to many variables and we have no idea what the PF2 playtest is going to look like.

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