2nd edition woes


Prerelease Discussion

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Way back ten years ago, we had an alpha book at our disposal for our home games. We were asked to just let the good folks know about how our home games performed, if we could. They set a record with this test, and Paizo turned a limited edition alpha test book turn into a hardcover core rulebook.

The changes to our game were not that severe. The big thing that I remember was, the prestige classes seemed to take a hit from the 3.5/3.0. I remember asking players to just roll with it for one campaign, and for the other campaign, to revert to the 3.5 numerical gymnastics. We will figure it out, we're gamers.

We had a lot of concerns from my tables. A lot of the players at the FLGS seemed to have this "I'm just gonna play 2nd edition of the world's greatest RPG...". I didn't think that was a good solution, no matter how great the past games looked in rose-colored glasses. I wanted to believe that maybe someone had some ideas which could reel in some of the power creep which clearly eclipsed what I wanted the players to fear for their characters.

Power creep, I've found out, it easier to deal with when you set limits for what you want at your table. It's why when I run home games, I don't really allow every book in current edition at the table. Plus it gives a reason to find a third party, "Cough- Raging Swan Press, Louis Porter Designs, Frog God Games, Owen KC Stevens," suitable to fill a special slot at your table.

Gary and Dave both wrote extensively, "You control the table." That means anything from a few words rewritten for your game, to working on ten level rewrite so a class could fit in to your home game. It also meant, "You have the power to say no, and to run with what you're comfortable with."

That right there is a radical thought. It invites you denying something how a player wants to see his character progress from a retail book, to how you want to see him develop a similar character in your private campaign world. When you think of the restrictions in PFS, it might make better sense to some of you.

As a game master, you have to be the one to take some time, review rules, and evaluate how they will impact your home game. You can figure out usually, that most of the things between the hardcovers that you are buying, are exactly worded how you want them to be, on first read through.

Paizo trusted you enough to help you design classes with the help of the last chapter of the ACG. With the information within, your own common sense, and the contract you have with your players at your table, that should be able to help direct you in your study for how you want to run your table.

It doesn't matter if you have to redo a prestige class, does it? What is more important? Making a person at your table upset by being an iron fisted tyrant behind the GM shield, or finding a way to have fun together?

I am seeing things on the blog of Paizo's that I'm excited about (Cleric looks AWESOME!), and the thing about goblins being a core race...meh, they provide experience points. But that's what to expect. We should expect to have an alpha document that we probably aren't going to be 100% happy with, which is why it is indeed called an 'Alpha.'


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Yeah I'm excited about the playtest too! Change is scary, especially when we know only 5% of the details, if that! But so far, I think it's going to be great.


Brock Landers wrote:
Beercifer wrote:
I remember asking players to just roll with it for one campaign, and for the other campaign, to revert to the 3.5 numerical gymnastics.
That's the problem, I am fine thinking in that crunching, build way, for a game like Magic: The Gathering (because it is vs.), but for D&D, not so much.

So I'm not really worried about 'builds' so much, I don't think I'm doing a RAW game anymore, at all. I've been using a 3.0 critical style (improved critical plus keen gets you more percentage to your critical chance) since 2009. It is just something I ran with, along with the critical hit and fumble cards. I'm not going to have Paizo, or WotC, or the ghost of Frank Frazetta (this is sad) barge in my den and tell me how cinematic gaming should be painted in our minds.

I applaud the 2.0 stuff, as it clears things like Kitsune and Slayers from the 2.0 games (until a third party guy decides in a drunken rage to pound out ten thousand words and tell us his version of high fantasy and adventure). But my games at my place have those things so rarely in them, that there is no danger to the bigoted, narrow-minded NPC's of my realm that still stumble over a sorcerer. "I can't believe that the arcane order cleared you for public service! You are so amazing, with all of that charisma, and no dedication to the craft of making new spells!"

I think I'm going to crack open the Cyclopedia and add weapon masteries (all five levels) to my game if the 2.0 stuff doesn't impress me as much as I think it should. "Dude, and this totally awesome axe, also has a spike on the opposite business end, so you can impale your foes once you get them pressed to the ground under your foot. Yeah, you're totally ready to take their toe tag and add it to your experience total! This battle axe expertise is gonna up your damage for a non-magical weapon, medium creature, to 2d8, plus your single arm strength modifier, and open the potential for you to knock them prone if you give the Armsmen ten thousand gold for the next month of you training with us. Totally worth it, right?"


Jason S wrote:

Yeah I'm excited about the playtest too! Change is scary, especially when we know only 5% of the details, if that! But so far, I think it's going to be great.

The Bard information has me scratching my head. Are they going to have spell melodies like the old Monte Cook stuff, it will be like the Deep Magic/Ultimate Magic (the only time I've ever schmooshed those two together) added on things for bards? Will it harken back to the Eldritch Wizardry and allow the mid-level druid stuff to be high-level bard spells?


Beercifer wrote:
Will it harken back to the Eldritch Wizardry and allow the mid-level druid stuff to be high-level bard spells?

This would be weird. Very different spell lists.


Elleth wrote:
Beercifer wrote:
Will it harken back to the Eldritch Wizardry and allow the mid-level druid stuff to be high-level bard spells?
This would be weird. Very different spell lists.

I'm very okay with this. Cook wrote about how bards have notes, chords, and melodies, they sing, they should have totally different focus from the sorcerer and wizards, unless the wizards are like, muwhahahaaha, I'm gonna metamagic feat all your spells, and craft an arcane masterpiece even the spirit of Beethoven has to manifest and applaud my efforts.


Beercifer wrote:
Elleth wrote:
Beercifer wrote:
Will it harken back to the Eldritch Wizardry and allow the mid-level druid stuff to be high-level bard spells?
This would be weird. Very different spell lists.
I'm very okay with this. Cook wrote about how bards have notes, chords, and melodies, they sing, they should have totally different focus from the sorcerer and wizards, unless the wizards are like, muwhahahaaha, I'm gonna metamagic feat all your spells, and craft an arcane masterpiece even the spirit of Beethoven has to manifest and applaud my efforts.

As of right now, Bards, Druids, Clerics, and Wizards are all very different. Bards in particular now not only have one of the four main spell lists in this edition (emphasis on mental and spiritual associated effects) but they also make little distinction between music and magic -they can play an instrument in place of spell components and their bardic performances are special cantrips. So they should have a pretty distinctive feel.

Sorcerers have overlap with all four, and can have the same spell list as a bard (minus the magic music and with some additional, presumably physical, spells).


Oh, I understand this. I'm alright with the bard actually having the run of the diverse low-level stuff in their repertoire, and having their high-level abilities totally spooling off their talents. I understand the bard VERY well, from 3.0 on, it appears to be a low catch-all with more emphasis on musical talents in a few supplements over the years. I talk about the Cook version, as the Elditch Magic version was especially fun. The old days of even becoming a bard was a nightmare, but you were one of the most impressive characters in 1st edition. The PF1E is a good character, and depending what content you allow off from CRB, it might be the MVP of every session.


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I'll be blunt: This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dark Midian wrote:
I'll be blunt: This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.

What makes you think so?


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Dark Midian wrote:
I'll be blunt: This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.

Jason has explicitly said they are still open to making significant changes.

Jason wrote:
NO decision in this game is final. We have ordered art, its true, but that does not mean that anything is set in stone. We playtest because we want your feedback, we want your ideas, and yes, we want your criticism. Anyone who played through the Alpha and Beta of the first version knows that the comments made significant changes to the game... the fighter got reworked from the ground up, the skill system got replaced. We take playtesting very seriously and we will be incorporating the feedback the surveys and these boards when making our final decisions.

Owen also reported that they made major changes to Starfinder at the last minute

Owen wrote:
So, even though the book was in layout, and we were supposed to be doing things like making sure the text flowed properly and the pictures, and even though this touched on nearly every part of the game, we took the time and effort to hack out the entire whole system (not a drop of which remains in the game), and replace it.

There’d be no point going to all this effort if it were just some marketing exercise or if it were only trivialities they are looking to tweak. They’ve run plenty of playtests - they know how to do it efficiently (and they have a whole bunch of new hires raring to go).


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Beercifer wrote:
Paizo trusted you enough to help you design classes with the help of the last chapter of the ACG.

That section was the least helpful part of the entire book, and I was both attempting homebrew classes at the time and have the poorly edited first printing (so the rest of the book isn't as helpful as it looks. When I wanted help on designing classes, I wanted help and not a page and a half of the vague and obvious.


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Dark Midian wrote:
I'll be blunt: This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.

This 100% the case. I think anyone expecting major revisions to the system is in for a disappointment. Paizo has earned a reputation for going forward with releases despite clear feedback and even clearer problems with their products, take a look at the last few hardback releases especially occult and wilderness adventures.


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Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
... Paizo has earned a reputation for going forward with releases despite clear feedback and even clearer problems with their products, take a look at the last few hardback releases especially occult and wilderness adventures.

Wilderness adventures had a (half?) year of playtest?


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Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
Dark Midian wrote:
I'll be blunt: This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.
This 100% the case. I think anyone expecting major revisions to the system is in for a disappointment. Paizo has earned a reputation for going forward with releases despite clear feedback and even clearer problems with their products, take a look at the last few hardback releases especially occult and wilderness adventures.

The only equivalent playtest was PF1 - the others have been of bits and pieces of an already existent system. The playtest of PF1 made huge differences to the final product and Paizo are clear that this one will also be considered carefully and that nothing is set-in-stone.

If this playtest is essentially a sham, they're not only being explicitly dishonest but also expending an enormous amount of energy for nothing. They'd have to be liars and foolish with money.

I don't believe either of those things about Paizo.


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Steve Geddes wrote:


The only equivalent playtest was PF1 - the others have been of bits and pieces of an already existent system. The playtest of PF1 made huge differences to the final product and Paizo are clear that this one will also be considered carefully and that nothing is set-in-stone.

If this playtest is essentially a sham, they're not only being explicitly dishonest but also expending an enormous amount of energy for nothing. I don't believe either of those things about Paizo. (In my opinion, people often confuse their dislike for an end-product with some kind of insight into the process used to produce it - I suspect Paizo's "reputation" you mention is an expression of some people's dislike for various products).

There's nothing to confuse here, playtest of thing was bad, people pointed that out, nothing satisfactory was done about it, and the end product was bad. It would be different if they just released an unsatisfactory product without asking for feedback, but Paizo has repeatedly released prouducts that have had public playtests that revealed that the material broke down at a certain level or had problems in play, yet these issues made it to print. This has been Paizo's recent MO, and this is what I assume will happen come the playtest.


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Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:


The only equivalent playtest was PF1 - the others have been of bits and pieces of an already existent system. The playtest of PF1 made huge differences to the final product and Paizo are clear that this one will also be considered carefully and that nothing is set-in-stone.

If this playtest is essentially a sham, they're not only being explicitly dishonest but also expending an enormous amount of energy for nothing. I don't believe either of those things about Paizo. (In my opinion, people often confuse their dislike for an end-product with some kind of insight into the process used to produce it - I suspect Paizo's "reputation" you mention is an expression of some people's dislike for various products).

There's nothing to confuse here, playtest of thing was bad, people pointed that out, nothing satisfactory was done about it, and the end product was bad. It would be different if they just released an unsatisfactory product without asking for feedback, but Paizo has repeatedly released prouducts that have had public playtests that revealed that the material broke down at a certain level or had problems in play, yet these issues made it to print. This has been Paizo's recent MO, and this is what I assume will happen come the playtest.

Your example of this “recent trend” being Wilderness adventures which wasn’t playtested and Occult adventures which came out more than three years ago?

Irrespective, what you declared to be “100% the case” relies on Paizo being both dishonest and foolish with money:

“This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.”

That’s what you said was “100% the case” and they’ve been very clear that this impression is false. It would also be a colossal waste of resources to spend so much time and energy pretending to listen.


I think one thing that will not change, no matter the feedback, will be the general math of Pathfinder 2.
d20+level+proficiency+item+magic is pretty baked in and from the previews so far looks really strong.

(I don't think it will be contested very much though. It does support the progression of the game to higher levels and the superhero style of highlevel PC's smacking around lowlevel monsters effortlessly.)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:


The only equivalent playtest was PF1 - the others have been of bits and pieces of an already existent system. The playtest of PF1 made huge differences to the final product and Paizo are clear that this one will also be considered carefully and that nothing is set-in-stone.

If this playtest is essentially a sham, they're not only being explicitly dishonest but also expending an enormous amount of energy for nothing. I don't believe either of those things about Paizo. (In my opinion, people often confuse their dislike for an end-product with some kind of insight into the process used to produce it - I suspect Paizo's "reputation" you mention is an expression of some people's dislike for various products).

There's nothing to confuse here, playtest of thing was bad, people pointed that out, nothing satisfactory was done about it, and the end product was bad. It would be different if they just released an unsatisfactory product without asking for feedback, but Paizo has repeatedly released prouducts that have had public playtests that revealed that the material broke down at a certain level or had problems in play, yet these issues made it to print. This has been Paizo's recent MO, and this is what I assume will happen come the playtest.

I read this stuff, and look at the playtests we've actually been able to participate in, with the classes that got major changes. It just makes me think "I saw all the playtests and I had super strong opinions on the subject and wanted it my way, but paizo didn't go that way".

There was a lot of this during the OA playtesting, and 2 of the classes that recieved from that playtest came out as two of the most balanced and fun(fun is subjective I'm aware) classes in all of pathfinder. I wouldn't give them a 100% approval rating, sure, but this narrative of "Paizo doesn't listen to playtest feedback" is ABSURDLY wrong.

A lot of the reason behind this narrative push comes from people who didn't get the kinds of changes they want. They wanted kineticist damage gutted or needed huge damage buffs to keep up with the best archer fighters, they wanted burn to be completely removed from the class because they felt it was the worst design decision ever. They felt that throwing out OA altogether would have been better simply because they didn't like psionics and didn't want it in their pathfinder.

Not everyone who has concerns about the viability of playtesting is like this, but I know a number of the ones who are crying "bad track record" are operating in poor faith over reasons like above.


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Franz Lunzer wrote:

I think one thing that will not change, no matter the feedback, will be the general math of Pathfinder 2.

d20+level+proficiency+item+magic is pretty baked in and from the previews so far looks really strong.

(I don't think it will be contested very much though. It does support the progression of the game to higher levels and the superhero style of highlevel PC's smacking around lowlevel monsters effortlessly.)

Owen’s comment above is salient. They had a central mechanic in Starfinder that touched nearly every element of the game. When feedback was strongly negative (to their surprise) they changed it - even though it was widespread throughout the system and very late in the piece.

I suspect you’re right that it won’t change but I suspect that’s because there won’t be such strong, visceral objection to it (which is what happened with the late-stage Starfinder playtesting). If that were going to happen I think we’d know by now.

My claim here is simply that we should take Paizo at their word. They didn’t have to hold an open playtest with nothing set in stone - they could have just released the rules (or held limited playtests of subsystems). Why should we assume they’re just pretending to do so?


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Steve Geddes wrote:

If this playtest is essentially a sham, they're not only being explicitly dishonest but also expending an enormous amount of energy for nothing. They'd have to be liars and foolish with money.

I don't believe either of those things about Paizo.

If this was a 'sham' it was a genius one. I'll have 'paid' for parts of PF2's development on no less than three occasions (Pathfinder Unchained, Starfinder, Pathfinder Playtest), before I ever even see the final product. And I'm not even that unhappy about it. Most of those books cost me less than they would have to print at home, plus I didn't have to spend time developing them myself!

So not foolish at all. But if this playtest is a 'sham', it wouln't be the first time they've been dishonest about their long-term goals. Pathfinder Unchained and Starfinder really were test-beds for PF2 for example. One of the biggest problems with releasing a new edition of your flagship is that people stop buying the old books, and anything produced for the old system in the interim. Once you announce the next edition is coming your income drops, yet you still needed that money coming in to meet your development goals and keep the lights on...

On a less pessimestic note; even if the Playtest Rulebook and the PF2 CRB are 95% identical (which they will be for various reasons):

Spoiler:
It won't be completely the same. Devs have commented that they already have errata and revision lists based on their playtests. I imagine they've also been using the community as a kind of 'rendering-farm'; Their previews have generated volumious discussions regarding some of the more obscure implications of the rules they've previewed thus far.

Some people will want to keep some element or another which was removed in the CRB. "But I actually like the playtest version of Resonance!" or "My Pirate-Wizard was way better in the playtest because they got [blank]"

Some people just wanted it as a collectors item.

If they are 95% or more identical, one could just collect the changes into an errata document to slip into the back-cover of the playtest rulebook, and keep on playing 'legit' PF2 until you can afford to replace it with an actual CRB.

Personally, I've decided to go all-digital with Starfinder on (including Pathfinder 2). Mostly because I don't see a point in owning physical books if Paizo is gonna keep obviating them with blatent revisions (I own lots of first-printings...). I preordered the playtest materials as an exception because they are 'never being reprinted' (yeah... right); but mostly because they are a condensed exemplar of game design, and I am an amateur designer. Even if I don't adopt Pathfinder 2 (which I am almost sure I will), I'll have an excellent compliment to Pathfinder Unchained and Unearthed Arcana (3rd) to homebrew with.


If I adopt, I'll be doing the reverse and cannibalizing as much old material as possible for PF2. I am already rereading my older supplements with a critical eye for how their game elements would interact with the new rules, or what I might need to do to convert. I suspect because of their similarities in bounded value ranges (about 6 to 8 points numerically), I can even make headway converting 5E D&D material over.
But in either case it is hard to do more than analyze the special effects ('fluff') of the old content without a more complete version of the new rules to reference.

Liberty's Edge

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Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
Dark Midian wrote:
I'll be blunt: This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.
This 100% the case. I think anyone expecting major revisions to the system is in for a disappointment. Paizo has earned a reputation for going forward with releases despite clear feedback and even clearer problems with their products, take a look at the last few hardback releases especially occult and wilderness adventures.

Uh...no. This is pretty flatly untrue. Wilderness Adventures (and thus the Shifter) had no public playtest at all. All previous books I can think of that actually had public playtests changed a bunch of stuff due to them. There were some lamentable things that weren't changed (I'm looking at you, Swashbuckler), but things definitely changed.

Random Occult Adventures example:

In the playtest Occultists lost Resonant Powers when they spent Focus below the threshold of needed investment, resulting in nobody actually using their powers. They changed it so it only went away when you spent your last point.

That's a huge change for the better directly from playtest data.

Cantriped wrote:
But if this playtest is a 'sham', it wouln't be the first time they've been dishonest about their long-term goals. Pathfinder Unchained and Starfinder really were test-beds for PF2 for example.

Actually...evidence is that this is not true.

Starfinder was developed concurrently so there are similarities, but there are more differences and it was specifically designed to play more nicely with PF1's math than PF2 is, so it's a pretty bad test-bed in many ways.

And, according to the folks at Paizo, they started work on PF2 right about 2 years ago (something they have no reason to lie about). Looking at release dates clearly indicates that Unchained predates that. It was a rules change and thus clearly a 'test bed' for any new edition, but they never hid that, and the new edition was not yet in development when it came out.

So...no, this too is pretty clearly not especially true.


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Dark Midian wrote:
I'll be blunt: This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.

I used to work in development of data mining software. After I got the statistics rigorously proven and the programmers have the implementation debugged and there is no theoretical way that anything could go wrong, then we test it with real data. Because Murphy's Law is mostly right and something can always go wrong with untested ideas.

Paizo could be at the stage of having analyzed and in-house tested everything carefully. There could be no theoretical way that their new system could go wrong. And they still need to playtest it, because rigorous in-house playtesting is not as real as open playtesting.

And frankly, if they tested Pathfinder Second Edition that thoroughly before the public playtest, then the chance of needing major changes is small. And that would be a good thing, because major changes would have to be implemented without all the playtesting behind them. Minor improvements are better than major changes.

Okay, Paizo is not convinced that theoretically nothing can go wrong. They have a few ideas that they are still tentative about and want the real data to finetune them. Because the finetuning will be in response to our reports, our playtesting will definitely have an effect on the Pathfinder Second Edition rules. Just don't expect major changes. In fact, no major changes will be a good sign.


I have to say that the work from the Alpha and Beta of PF1 to the hardcover was pretty weighty. The Unchained and ACG didn't really seem to change a whole lot, it seemed to be a preview of what they were going to print. Most DM's will not implement things they don't agree with, most groups I know play a game they want to play, and will change rules to suit the butts in their seats.

I'm interested in knowing more about their knowledge, craft, and profession skills being brought into the game. Which version of Unchained skill rule foundations will lay the groundwork for the next five years until UAPF2/UnchainedPF changes how the game is played?

Liberty's Edge

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Beercifer wrote:
The Unchained and ACG didn't really seem to change a whole lot, it seemed to be a preview of what they were going to print.

Unchained never got an open playtest, and the ACG changed quite a bit in some ways. Investigator started out with Sneak Attack rather than Studied Combat, for example, and went through a phase of having only Studied Strike (which was widely agreed as terrible) before the final version (which is great).

Beercifer wrote:
I'm interested in knowing more about their knowledge, craft, and profession skills being brought into the game. Which version of Unchained skill rule foundations will lay the groundwork for the next five years until UAPF2/UnchainedPF changes how the game is played?

We actually know the full skill list for PF2 (it can be found here).

The short version is that Profession has been rolled into Lore, which is equally freeform but Int based and also works for very specific/specialty knowledges (like Alcohol or Warfare), while Performance and Crafting are single skills rather than specific to one type of performing or crafting.

The Knowledges seem to have been cut down to Arcana (Covering Arcana and Spellcraft + UMD for Arcane stuff), Nature (Covering Nature, Handle Animal, and Spellcraft + UMD for Primal stuff), Occultism (Covering Dungeoneering, and Spellcraft + UMD for Occult stuff), Religion (Covering Religion, Planes, and Spellcraft + UMD for Divine stuff), and Society (Covering Local, History, Nobility, and likely Linguistics). Engineering is probably niche enough to be a Lore, while Geography might fall under Nature or Survival.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
Dark Midian wrote:
I'll be blunt: This playtest is not an alpha, not by a longshot. It's barely even a beta. This is more like an interactive sneak peek of their new system, with the chance for us to help tweak a few minor numbers. I would estimate that unless there is some very, very strong universal feedback on certain mechanics like say resonance, nearly all of the major mechanics are set in stone.
This 100% the case. I think anyone expecting major revisions to the system is in for a disappointment. Paizo has earned a reputation for going forward with releases despite clear feedback and even clearer problems with their products, take a look at the last few hardback releases especially occult and wilderness adventures.
The only equivalent playtest was PF1 - the others have been of bits and pieces of an already existent system. The playtest of PF1 made huge differences to the final product and Paizo are clear that this one will also be considered carefully and that nothing is set-in-stone.

Pathfinder Alpha was released in March 2008. Pathfinder Beta was released in August 2008. Pathfinder Core was released in August 2009, with the Bestiary released in September 2009.

When Pathfinder Alpha was released, it had five years of D&D3.5 background to build on. It had another two years of D&D3.0.

With PF2, they don't have the solid mathematical basis that is underlying D&D 3.x. They're using a system, if not completely new, at least totally alien to that used by the previous system.

Now, if we look at the mathematical basis (+5 difference between fully proficient and nonproficient, adding level to everything, etc), it does seem very reminiscent of D&D4. Which several of the designers are intimately familiar with.
As far as making the math "work", this is a good thing.

Whether it's sufficient to compensate from the unfamiliarity of the system is still up in the air.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm pretty sure the spine of the new system is pretty much fixed: the basic math, the idea of proficiencies across the board, the action economy, the idea of different feats and their progression, etc. Changing any of these things would require a major change to the rest of the system, and after they've worked on this for a couple of years I really doubt that's going to happen.

Things that I think may very well change are aspects that they've flagged as real tests (like resonance or the dying rules) or particular feats or spells that can be easily adjusted up, down, or sideways without drastically affecting the core of the game. Changing the ability score modifiers for halflings isn't a big deal, but deciding that characters no longer add their level to checks would be a huge deal that would require a revamping of the new system at its core.

Only time will tell, however, and no one will remember (or care) about predictions like this a year later--even me! :)


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Cantriped wrote:
...I don't see a point in owning physical books if Paizo is gonna keep obviating them with blatent revisions (I own lots of first-printings...

Agreed, and I've written about this before: the game needs to evolve into an engine.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

3.x did not have a solid mathematical basis. Evidenced by the fact that almost every system (and subsystem, different skills operate on very different benchmarks) had to use a slighlty different set of formulas to make it work.

I'm glad they've decided to revist the base assumptions to try and get the core maths to work throughout rather than have a book in which every chapter contains a large amount of "and here is how these rules are different from the previous rules."


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Franz Lunzer wrote:

I think one thing that will not change, no matter the feedback, will be the general math of Pathfinder 2.

d20+level+proficiency+item+magic is pretty baked in and from the previews so far looks really strong.

(I don't think it will be contested very much though. It does support the progression of the game to higher levels and the superhero style of highlevel PC's smacking around lowlevel monsters effortlessly.)

Maybe. It might still be tossed if it had a huge negative reaction. Any company would be foolish in the extreme to continue on a path with something that's horribly received. If you're customers are saying that don't like the product, then it's probably not going to sell well. But that negative reaction really doesn't seem to be coming for the base math, it really does seem pretty solid, so it might as well be set in stone even if they are open to gutting it. Details obviously can change. Replacing the core math would be an absurdly massive undertaking that would likely not be possible in the time-frame required for a 2019 release.

I'd add the new action economy as one of the things that are very highly unlikely to be jettisoned. But again, this is mostly because it seems to solid and well received so far rather than Paizo being intent on shoving it down everyone's throats. The details we haven't seen would have to be pretty terrible to turn into a near unanimous hatred of it.


MusicAddict wrote:

I read this stuff, and look at the playtests we've actually been able to participate in, with the classes that got major changes. It just makes me think "I saw all the playtests and I had super strong opinions on the subject and wanted it my way, but paizo didn't go that way".

There was a lot of this during the OA playtesting, and 2 of the classes that recieved from that playtest came out as two of the most balanced and fun(fun is subjective I'm aware) classes in all of pathfinder. I wouldn't give them a 100% approval rating, sure, but this narrative of "Paizo doesn't listen to playtest feedback" is ABSURDLY wrong.

A lot of the reason behind this narrative push comes from people who didn't get the kinds of changes they want. They wanted kineticist damage gutted or needed huge damage buffs to keep up with the best archer fighters, they wanted burn to be completely removed from the class because they felt it was the worst design decision ever. They felt that throwing out OA altogether would have been better simply because they didn't like psionics and didn't want it in their pathfinder.

Not everyone who has concerns about the viability of playtesting is like this, but I know a number of the ones who are crying "bad track record" are operating in poor faith over reasons like above.

Oh yeah, there's a big difference between listening to the playtest, and accepting every proposal. Something that is impossible because you're going to have a lot of people saying contradictory things.

I'm not quite with you on the kineticist (the only OA class I've played). It's got a lot going for it, but ultimately I think it falls slightly short because it's a bit of a one-trick pony. You blast. All the good utility abilities and versatility of the blast are so back weighted that you often won't get any really useful options until the game is basically over. And I think the scaling of burn at higher levels is a bit problematic, although you do get more options to negate burn at those levels. I cant speak to the quality of the playtest though, I didn't take part. And this is really a matter of mileage varying. I am curious to see what a revised PF2 Kineticst would look like.


I think the kineticst could be improved a lot just by burn restoring after a short rest rather then 24 hours.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think the kineticst could be improved a lot just by burn restoring after a short rest rather then 24 hours.

That might help, but really the lack of utility and versatility until high level was my main issue, burn was secondary and probably only needs subtle tweaks. But I'm getting a bit off topic here.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think the kineticst could be improved a lot just by burn restoring after a short rest rather then 24 hours.
That might help, but really the lack of utility and versatility until high level was my main issue, burn was secondary and probably only needs subtle tweaks. But I'm getting a bit off topic here.

I think Skills are going to be the way to versatility in PF2.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:
MusicAddict wrote:

I read this stuff, and look at the playtests we've actually been able to participate in, with the classes that got major changes. It just makes me think "I saw all the playtests and I had super strong opinions on the subject and wanted it my way, but paizo didn't go that way".

There was a lot of this during the OA playtesting, and 2 of the classes that recieved from that playtest came out as two of the most balanced and fun(fun is subjective I'm aware) classes in all of pathfinder. I wouldn't give them a 100% approval rating, sure, but this narrative of "Paizo doesn't listen to playtest feedback" is ABSURDLY wrong.

A lot of the reason behind this narrative push comes from people who didn't get the kinds of changes they want. They wanted kineticist damage gutted or needed huge damage buffs to keep up with the best archer fighters, they wanted burn to be completely removed from the class because they felt it was the worst design decision ever. They felt that throwing out OA altogether would have been better simply because they didn't like psionics and didn't want it in their pathfinder.

Not everyone who has concerns about the viability of playtesting is like this, but I know a number of the ones who are crying "bad track record" are operating in poor faith over reasons like above.

Oh yeah, there's a big difference between listening to the playtest, and accepting every proposal. Something that is impossible because you're going to have a lot of people saying contradictory things.

I'm not quite with you on the kineticist (the only OA class I've played). It's got a lot going for it, but ultimately I think it falls slightly short because it's a bit of a one-trick pony. You blast. All the good utility abilities and versatility of the blast are so back weighted that you often won't get any really useful options until the game is basically over. And I think the scaling of burn at higher levels is a bit problematic, although you do get more options to negate burn at those...

To veer off topic a bit to talk about kineticist.

Objectively kineticist does fall a bit short, but not by a HUGE amount, and does what the class set out to do without outpacing alternatives in the same/similar roles (which would have been a bad sign, outside of a few circumstances. Even though kineticist did get support after its launch, it does suffer from not being released by the same time as the magus of included in core.

A few of its wild talents are priced too highly considering how health costs work, but the combat and infusion side plays out to be very well balanced for their cost, considering how many raw hit points a kineticist has between natural Con, their defense and EO stat bonus. The class is very much balanced, does what it is supposed to do, but it might be a bit too fair in the wake of a lot of other classes being able to be unfair.

The fair vs unfair thing is actually a concern of mine for the new alchemist. The class seems alright, but with how bomb damage currently appears to work, the effectiveness of the other elixirs, alchemist has a lot of really cool abilities, but the strength of them comes off as too fair compared to "do it all day" martials and "blow the load" casters.


Don't get me wrong, I love Kineticists, and they were fun... but their existance was also only justified on a mechanical level. PF1 needed a warlock-like class with consistent, versatile magical damage output.

Otherwise they really aren't so different from an Elemental-Bloodline Sorcerer by fluff. Considering that cantrips scale now, and features can grant access to uniquely powerful ones; and that the metamagic rules are actually usable now, as well as passingly similar to gathering power for an infusion... we just don't need a whole Class for that (although we do need a better range of Elemental Spells & Powers.

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