Deadmanwalking's Reaction Thread


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Liberty's Edge

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So, I've been pretty involved in a lot of discussion leading up to this playtest, and will be actively participating throughout it. I sincerely believe the folks at Paizo are listening to feedback and that many of the problems with the game both can and will be fixed by the time the playtest is over.

That said, I'm actually pretty unhappy with quite a few things in the playtest rulebook. To be honest, I'm have a strong reaction of 'This is notably worse than PF1' about several of them. I'll endeavor to talk about the things I feel each area did right, but I suspect my issues will eat up a lot of at least the first several subjects.

Sadly, I don't think this is gonna be a very positive thread, at least for a while. I will follow with my in depth reactions/analysis on various things. Mostly the ones I have issues with (if I don't feel the need to complain about something, I probably liked it).

Liberty's Edge

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Ancestries:

Let's start with the good stuff. I was very pleased to see Halflings as a 25 foot speed Ancestry, and with a Wisdom bonus. Both are excellent choices. Most Ancestry Feats are pretty solid as well (some exceptions will be noted below). All that is good, though I'm still convinced people should get two Ancestry Feats at 1st level.

Now, on to problems: The chassis for different Ancestries are wildly unequal. I'll go into some contributing factors in a moment, but some are easily two feats or more worth of abilities ahead of others, and they aren't the ones with the worst Ancestry Feats, either.

As the Orc Sight Ancestry Feat seems to demonstrate Low Light Vision is worth one Feat, and Darkvision is worth two. Fleet indicates that then same is true of +5 feet of movement, and Multilingual indicates that two languages are worth one Feat as well. We'll leave aside whether these are reasonable definitions (though they seem to be, possibly excepting languages). But those are the definitions the game is using. So, going by those and ignoring HP (we'll talk about HP later), let's examine each Ancestry as compared to Humans:

Dwarf: -5 Speed, Darkvision, and never having Speed reduced by armor (which sounds Feat-worthy). That's a net of +2 Feats.

Elf: +5 Speed, Low Light Vision. That's just +2 Feats flat.

Gnome: -5 Speed, Low Light Vision, +1 Language. Call that +1/2 Feat. Being Small provides only penalties in this system, so maybe call that breaking even.

Goblin: Darkvision. +2 Feats right there. Maybe +1.5 if you buy Small as a disadvantage.

Halfling: Nothing. They get nothing. If small is a meaningful disadvantage, that's -1/2 of a Feat below Humans.

So...that's a pretty awful distribution. It's not at all equal, and the Halfling Feats are in no way twice as good as the Elven ones (indeed, Elves probably have better Feats, all things considered).

Now let's talk HP. The Toughness Feat establishes that +1 HP per level remains worth about a Feat in PF2 (it's a minimum of +4 at 1st, but scales up over time and has other benefits). In the Ancestry balance, evidence seems to suggest that Paizo is balancing +2 HP at the same as +5 speed (just look at the otherwise similar Half Orc and Half Elf Ancestry Feats). This is a terrible mistake. That's worth only 1/2 a Feat even at 1st level, by their own system, and more relevantly worth more like 1/5 to 1/10 of a Feat over the long haul. It's maybe worth as much as a language (since those are likewise obviated somewhat at high levels) but as much as a Feat? No.

But even if you include HP as a full Feat and ignore Size as a downside, the inequalities of the chart don't go away (Dwarves skyrocket to +3, Elves stick at +1, Gnomes stick at +1/2, Goblins go down to +1, Halflings nosedive to -1). Treating HP as a half-Feat and Size likewise remains wildly unequal as well (Dwarf +2.5, Elf +1.5, Gnome +0, Goblin +1, Halfling -1).

Anyway you look at it there's between a 2 and 4 Feat swing just on basic chassis. And that's pretty terrible, game balance-wise. You could argue that Humans get some sort of bonus for having 'flexible stats' but that really doesn't help the Gnome or, especially, the Halfling. Not at all.

On to Ancestry Feats:

Ancestral Hatred looks terrible. +1 damage vs. very specific foes is not a good bonus compared to most other options, IMO. I guess it might be better in play, but given we're talking damage rather than to-hit I'm dubious.

Ancient's Blood is painful. This is not to say it's bad, exactly. It's ridiculously powerful in fact. That +2 to Saves verges on brokenly good. The Resonance hit, however, makes it very difficult and painful and unfun to take. I would strongly prefer a +1 bonus but no Resonance penalty. That'd hurt vastly less while still being something that competed with Hardy pretty well.

If only Dwarfs were up over other Ancestries and only by a bit, I might say these justified it, except that nobody has to take them. Luckily, the other Ancestry Feats for everyone else all look pretty good. I mean Titan Slinger is a bit niche and weak, but it's at least vs. everything Large or larger..

An exception is Half Elf and Half Orc, which still look non-fun to be forced to acquire and make me unhappy by their existence. Heck, I'm not even sure they're better than other Human Ancestry Feats (which are admittedly mostly pretty solid).


What penalties does small provide? I've been reading through and havent noticed any that are specifically that, unless you're counting hp and speed.

Liberty's Edge

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Garfaulk Sharpstone wrote:
What penalties does small provide? I've been reading through and havent noticed any that are specifically that, unless you're counting hp and speed.

Carrying things. You have some limitations on Bulk. It's pretty minor, but it's combined with absolutely no bonuses of any kind (or none I've found yet, anyway).

Liberty's Edge

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Bulk:

I am deeply disappointed that we're still left with the ambiguous-to-the-point-of-uselessness statement that 1 Bulk is 'between 5 and 10 lbs'. And that we likewise appear to have no guidance on how much Bulk an unconscious party member is to carry. I mean, if we're carrying or dragging Bob the 200 lb Fighter...is that 20 Bulk or 40? It makes a hell of a difference. Very possibly a 'Does Bob die?' difference.

I was a lot less disappointed in this in Starfinder (though still not super pleased). But Starfinder's been out a while and this issue has come up. It really should've been addressed in a clearer manner.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Carrying things. You have some limitations on Bulk. It's pretty minor, but it's combined with absolutely no bonuses of any kind (or none I've found yet, anyway).

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You can move through the spaces of creatures Large and higher, rather than Huge or higher.

Then again you're easier to grapple by more creatures.

Small characters wouldn't block the line of sight of medium players who have been enlarged (I think)

Liberty's Edge

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Skills:

So, let's start with the good. I like the reduced skill list quite a bit and think the skills are mostly well balanced against each other. The Skill Feat mechanics seem good for the most part in and of themselves.

There's a shortage of Skill Feats at the moment, and I think some should upgrade with degree of Proficiency that don't (Multilingual should give extra languages at Master or Legendary Society, for example), but those both seem more like playtest issues more than 'this is a long term problem' issues.

Now, on to the thing I hate with a fiery passion and want to destroy with fire: Signature Skills. One of the really great things about PF1 was the ability to invest a Trait, or one of a number of readily available Feats (Cosmopolitan leaps to mind) and get new Skills as Class Skills that reflected your character. In my experience, the skills so picked often became the character's primary focus, and much fun was had by all.

You cannot do this in PF2. There are, with only a very few exceptions (almost all the ones I spotted in Alchemist, though Paladin and Ranger got one very specific one each), no ways to get new Signature Skills outside your Class and maybe an Archetype (if you choose to take one). This is terrible. It disallows many concept entirely and does so for no valid mechanical reason I can see. I mean...what even is the point of Signature Skills, mechanically speaking? Forcing people to adhere to the stereotype of their Class? Going sky high Cha on a Barbarian and being a Legendary Diplomacy character (and seducer of beautiful men and women) should be easy enough to do, shouldn't it? Or being a Legendary boogieman via Intimidate as an Alchemist?

On a somewhat related complaint: The most limited Classes in terms of magic also mostly have the least Skills. And often Signature Skills that have huge and lamentable gaps (if we're gonna have those at all). Take a Fighter Blacksmith, for example. He can never have Crafting above Expert, because Crafting isn't a signature Skill. He has the same problem with Intimidate (though admittedly, mention has been made of fixing this). The same is true of a Barbarian and Survival.

Wait, I'm off topic and going on more about how bad Signature Skills are, aren't I?

Back on topic, Fighters, Barbarians, and Monks have only 3+Int starting Skills. Clerics and Sorcerers, meanwhile, have 5. I don't really begrudge the Cleric and Sorcerer having 5 Skills (though the fact that they're only one below the Ranger is a tad odd), but if they have that, why shouldn't the martial Classes with nothing to do outside of combat except use their Skills? This is just punitive and unpleasant for those martial Classes mentioned.

Going back to Signature Skills again for a minute, I suppose I can see how you could use them to enforce martial characters having more narrative options by giving out more of them to such characters, but even then there should be some way to get new ones other than an Archetype, and this is a theoretical use since right now most casters (everyone but Wizards, actually) do better at such skills (and have more Signature Skills) than any martial character except Rogues and Rangers (Druids and Paladins are on par, but Sorcerers and Clerics are better than both, as are Bards).

Liberty's Edge

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Organization:

The Classes are great. I just want to start by gushing that the Class layouts are wonderful and extraordinarily clear. I love them. The Ancestry layouts are also very solid, as is the character creation section prior to all that.

In contrast, the General Feats chapter hurts me. I mean, we're back to long alphabetical lists you have to search through for your options, and to make it worse the Skill Feats are just mixed in with the rest of the General Feats. I get that they're technically a subcategory, but you pick more of them, so having them separated is verging on absolutely necessary.

Magic Items and Spells being alphabetical seems fine given the listings by level to start things off and the fact that organizing them otherwise would be logistically unworkable.

Alchemical Items are similar, but much worse because there isn't even a table (or not one I can find) that lists them by level at all. Which makes the logistics of picking new ones for an Alchemist something of a nightmare. The same is true of Snares, there are just fewer of them, lessening the logistical hurdle.

Liberty's Edge

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WatersLethe wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Carrying things. You have some limitations on Bulk. It's pretty minor, but it's combined with absolutely no bonuses of any kind (or none I've found yet, anyway).

.

You can move through the spaces of creatures Large and higher, rather than Huge or higher.

Then again you're easier to grapple by more creatures.

Small characters wouldn't block the line of sight of medium players who have been enlarged (I think)

Perhaps it's a wash after all, and being Small or Medium are equally good mechanically. That was a very secondary point to the main thrust of that post, however.


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I agree signature skills needs to be removed or there needs to be a general or skill feat that adds a new one. Preferably the former. If they want to have some remnant of class skills they could just have a few static skill proficiencies at level one. Ex: Clerics begin trained in religion, one skill determined by their deity, and two other skills of their choice.


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The point of Signature Skills is clearly to maintain some semblance of class vs. cross-class skills. You had to invest resources (e.g. a trait) to make a PF1 character proficient in a cross-class skill. The idea is that a typical Rogue has an easier time learning how to sneak or pickpocket than a typical Cleric, which I think most people would agree this is iconic to D&D as a system, even if we also celebrate having tools to break out of that mold. So maybe part of the problem is just not having those tools.

Now whether Signature Skills is the right way to implement this, I'm not sure. I can see the concerns.

Maybe one idea: you can spend a skill upgrade to make a non-Signature skill into a Signature skill.

I do agree with the complaint about imbalance of skill picks. As a frequent Cleric player, I'm ecstatic about finally having 5 skills and finally knowing more about my deity than the average man on the street, but I don't see why the Fighter can't have just as many.

Liberty's Edge

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Bardarok wrote:
I agree signature skills needs to be removed or there needs to be a general or skill feat that adds a new one. Preferably the former. If they want to have some remnant of class skills they could just have a few static skill proficiencies at level one. Ex: Clerics begin trained in religion, one skill determined by their deity, and two other skills of their choice.

Yeah. I'd vastly prefer starting with X Skills (plus around one option, then the ones from Int), and then getting to raise whatever you like than having the trap of 'Oh, you can get whatever skills you want, but past 7th level you won't be really good at any of them unless it's one of these very specific ones.'

Of course, you could also just let people take whatever skills they want.

Slurmalyst wrote:
The point of Signature Skills is clearly to maintain some semblance of class vs. cross-class skills. You had to invest resources (e.g. a trait) to make a PF1 character proficient in a cross-class skill. The idea is that a typical Rogue has an easier time learning how to sneak or pickpocket than a typical Cleric, which I think most people would agree is iconic to D&D as a system, even if we also celebrate having tools to break out of that mold. So maybe part of the problem is just not having those tools.

My issue is that there are no tools whatsoever to break out of this box in regards to many Skills, and many others the tools are so restrictive as to not make sense (the only way to get society as a Signature Skill on your Noble Wizard is to grab the Rogue Multiclass Archetype...which necessitates Thievery).

Slurmalyst wrote:
Now whether Signature Skills is the right way to implement this, I'm not sure. I can see the concerns.

I'm not against some sort of restriction, I just want it to be flexible enough that you can have at least one 'bonus' Signature Skill without major investment, and more if you invest in it.

Slurmalyst wrote:
Maybe one idea: you can spend a skill upgrade to make a non-Signature skill into a Signature skill.

This is really limiting given how few skill upgrades you get. If we're gonna have Signature Skills at all, why not just let everyone pick one of their choice (on top of their Class ones) and then make a Skill Feat to add more?

Slurmalyst wrote:
I do agree with the complaint about imbalance of skill picks. As a frequent Cleric player, I'm ecstatic about finally having 5 skills and finally knowing more about my deity than the average man on the street, but I don't see why the Fighter can't have just as many.

Yeah, 5 Skills is great. I'm not advocating for it to drop, just for Fighters, Barbarians, and Monks to equal it (and maybe for Rangers to go up to 7 along with Bards).

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm wondering if this lack of ways to break out of the standard tropes is on purpose, to narrow the focus of the playtest, it makes it easier to test narrow rules. The problem is tho, pathfinder has so long been about options (millions of them when you add in third party) that players will focus on what they've lost rather than trialling the chassis. If this is the case Paizo would do well to explicitly state this, in HUGE letters, somewhere.

They mentioned that about multi classing, only core four given, but I think it applies throughout the rules


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mach1.9pants wrote:

I'm wondering if this lack of ways to break out of the standard tropes is on purpose, to narrow the focus of the playtest, it makes it easier to test narrow rules. The problem is tho, pathfinder has so long been about options (millions of them when you add in third party) that players will focus on what they've lost rather than trialling the chassis. If this is the case Paizo would do well to explicitly state this, in HUGE letters, somewhere.

They mentioned that about multi classing, only core four given, but I think it applies throughout the rules

I'm still not sure that would make this a successful playtest. After all, we're not actually playtesting the large amount of options that would be the make-or-break, we're playtesting the base ruleset.

Liberty's Edge

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mach1.9pants wrote:

I'm wondering if this lack of ways to break out of the standard tropes is on purpose, to narrow the focus of the playtest, it makes it easier to test narrow rules. The problem is tho, pathfinder has so long been about options (millions of them when you add in third party) that players will focus on what they've lost rather than trialling the chassis. If this is the case Paizo would do well to explicitly state this, in HUGE letters, somewhere.

They mentioned that about multi classing, only core four given, but I think it applies throughout the rules

I'd be very relieved if this were true. I sincerely hope it is. I'm not at all positive that's the case, however. They said that pretty explicitly on the Multiclass Archetypes. Nothing remotely similar has been mentioned in regards to Signature Skills.

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Side note: I screwed up an example above Fighters do have Crafting as a Signature Skill. Dunno how I missed that. The general point still applies, however.

Silver Crusade

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I'm generally concerned about how class choice locks you into specific play styles. Want a Paladin who *doesn't* go for heavy armor and a shield? Congrats, you're wasting a big chunk of your class features. (This one inspired by my desire to create a spear-wielding fighter and trying to think about how each martial class would handle it.)

Especially since you can't swap out core class features with archetypes, and can't multiclass away from or retrain out of your initial class choice, the spine of your character is completely fixed, and has built in some pretty specific choices. And this is everywhere! Key ability score, signature skills, class features. It feels pretty restrictive coming from PF1.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


I'd be very relieved if this were true. I sincerely hope it is. I'm not at all positive that's the case, however. They said that pretty explicitly on the Multiclass Archetypes. Nothing remotely similar has been mentioned in regards to Signature Skills.

I think they view some skill as more valuable than others, and tying extra signature skills to the dedication feats let them do some gate keeping to keep more valuable combinations apart. It's pretty much impossible to get Arcana, Religion, Nature, and Occult to let yourself be a super ritualist, for example.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Renchard wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


I'd be very relieved if this were true. I sincerely hope it is. I'm not at all positive that's the case, however. They said that pretty explicitly on the Multiclass Archetypes. Nothing remotely similar has been mentioned in regards to Signature Skills.
I think they view some skill as more valuable than others, and tying extra signature skills to the dedication feats let them do some gate keeping to keep more valuable combinations apart. It's pretty much impossible to get Arcana, Religion, Nature, and Occult to let yourself be a super ritualist, for example.

And if you did manage to get all four of those, the great gamebreaking implications would be... what exactly? The ability to identify any spell?


Renchard wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


I'd be very relieved if this were true. I sincerely hope it is. I'm not at all positive that's the case, however. They said that pretty explicitly on the Multiclass Archetypes. Nothing remotely similar has been mentioned in regards to Signature Skills.
I think they view some skill as more valuable than others, and tying extra signature skills to the dedication feats let them do some gate keeping to keep more valuable combinations apart. It's pretty much impossible to get Arcana, Religion, Nature, and Occult to let yourself be a super ritualist, for example.

Isn’t that what uncommon, rare and unique is for?

To be fair, they did say they were intentionally avoiding putting many rare and unique things in the playtest; albeit with one or two exceptions as examples.

Liberty's Edge

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Joe M. wrote:

I'm generally concerned about how class choice locks you into specific play styles. Want a Paladin who *doesn't* go for heavy armor and a shield? Congrats, you're wasting a big chunk of your class features. (This one inspired by my desire to create a spear-wielding fighter and trying to think about how each martial class would handle it.)

Especially since you can't swap out core class features with archetypes, and can't multiclass away from or retrain out of your initial class choice, the spine of your character is completely fixed, and has built in some pretty specific choices. And this is everywhere! Key ability score, signature skills, class features. It feels pretty restrictive coming from PF1.

Yeah. Paladins and Fighters both being basically forced into Heavy Armor is seriously weird and concept damaging. I'm very against it, and will be going into it in my eventual 'Classes' post in this thread. It's one of a few such things.

Renchard wrote:
I think they view some skill as more valuable than others, and tying extra signature skills to the dedication feats let them do some gate keeping to keep more valuable combinations apart. It's pretty much impossible to get Arcana, Religion, Nature, and Occult to let yourself be a super ritualist, for example.

This is pretty easily solved by gatekeeping those specific skills, though. A blanket prohibition that also effects stuff like Society and Diplomacy is unnecessary.

Silver Crusade

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Joe M. wrote:

I'm generally concerned about how class choice locks you into specific play styles. Want a Paladin who *doesn't* go for heavy armor and a shield? Congrats, you're wasting a big chunk of your class features. (This one inspired by my desire to create a spear-wielding fighter and trying to think about how each martial class would handle it.)

Especially since you can't swap out core class features with archetypes, and can't multiclass away from or retrain out of your initial class choice, the spine of your character is completely fixed, and has built in some pretty specific choices. And this is everywhere! Key ability score, signature skills, class features. It feels pretty restrictive coming from PF1.

Yeah. Paladins and Fighters both being basically forced into Heavy Armor is seriously weird and concept damaging. I'm very against it, and will be going into it in my eventual 'Classes' post in this thread. It's one of a few such things.

Yeah, I just noticed that about the Fighter, too. You don't even get medium and light to match the heavy! You're just flat worse off if you want to play a lightly-armored Fighter. :-/


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Skills:

On a somewhat related complaint: The most limited Classes in terms of magic also mostly have the least Skills. And often Signature Skills that have huge and lamentable gaps (if we're gonna have those at all). Take a Fighter Blacksmith, for example. He can never have Crafting above Expert, because Crafting isn't a signature Skill.

Maybe I'm reading something wrong... but the Fighter has Acrobatics, Athletics and Crafting as signature skills in the sidebar.

I agree with your point, I just don't think that example is accurate.

Liberty's Edge

Darkbridger wrote:

Maybe I'm reading something wrong... but the Fighter has Acrobatics, Athletics and Crafting as signature skills in the sidebar.

I agree with your point, I just don't think that example is accurate.

I already noticed this and corrected myself above. Sadly, I did not do so in time to edit the original post.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Darkbridger wrote:

Maybe I'm reading something wrong... but the Fighter has Acrobatics, Athletics and Crafting as signature skills in the sidebar.

I agree with your point, I just don't think that example is accurate.

I already noticed this and corrected myself above. Sadly, I did not do so in time to edit the original post.

Yep, and of course I saw it *after* I posted. :( Your point stands though... signature skills actually make things restrictive.

Grand Lodge

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Yeah, I don't think it would throw off the balance of the game if every class got one floating Signature skill.

Dark Archive

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Alchemical Items are similar, but much worse because there isn't even a table (or not one I can find) that lists them by level at all. Which makes the logistics of picking new ones for an Alchemist something of a nightmare. The same is true of Snares, there are just fewer of them, lessening the logistical hurdle.

Not gonna lie, the first thing I did when I started working on my first Alchemist build was type a list up in Google Docs and organize everything by Item Type, Level, then Alphabetical Order. I've even got the Poisons separated by delivery method. It's a beautiful thing.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
mach1.9pants wrote:

I'm wondering if this lack of ways to break out of the standard tropes is on purpose, to narrow the focus of the playtest, it makes it easier to test narrow rules. The problem is tho, pathfinder has so long been about options (millions of them when you add in third party) that players will focus on what they've lost rather than trialling the chassis. If this is the case Paizo would do well to explicitly state this, in HUGE letters, somewhere.

They mentioned that about multi classing, only core four given, but I think it applies throughout the rules

I'd be very relieved if this were true. I sincerely hope it is. I'm not at all positive that's the case, however. They said that pretty explicitly on the Multiclass Archetypes. Nothing remotely similar has been mentioned in regards to Signature Skills.

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Side note: I screwed up an example above Fighters do have Crafting as a Signature Skill. Dunno how I missed that. The general point still applies, however.

I'm going out on a limb a little bit by saying this, but my expectation is that yes they are limiting our options to allow more focused testing.

Why do I expect that? Because they specifically said they are giving us limited options at this time for things like multi classing.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dmw,

Despite some of your initial reaction, I hope you are in it for the long hail. Your approach to analysis has been valuable to the process, and I think it has the potential to make the ruleset better. Thanks.

Liberty's Edge

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Aristophanes wrote:
Yeah, I don't think it would throw off the balance of the game if every class got one floating Signature skill.

I think this plus a Skill Feat that gave you one would probably solve most of my problems with Signature Skills. It's not a super hard thing to fix, just one I think is desperately in need of such fixing.

LuniasM wrote:
Not gonna lie, the first thing I did when I started working on my first Alchemist build was type a list up in Google Docs and organize everything by Item Type, Level, then Alphabetical Order. I've even got the Poisons separated by delivery method. It's a beautiful thing.

Could you post a link? That'd be amazingly useful.

Tribalgeek wrote:

I'm going out on a limb a little bit by saying this, but my expectation is that yes they are limiting our options to allow more focused testing.

Why do I expect that? Because they specifically said they are giving us limited options at this time for things like multi classing.

Sure, but Signature Skills don't actually do that. Or not very well anyway. They circumscribe concepts far more than they do outcomes. No character other than a Rogue is ever gonna be Legendary in more than two Skills in Doomsday Dawn, I'm not sure tying what those two Skills are completely to Class provides much of anything of value.

Elorebaen wrote:

Dmw,

Despite some of your initial reaction, I hope you are in it for the long hail. Your approach to analysis has been valuable to the process, and I think it has the potential to make the ruleset better. Thanks.

Oh, I'm running it. Character Creation is Saturday for my normal gaming group, and the first session a week from then. It's happening.

I'm definitely in this for the long haul, and while I have two more venting posts about the Classes and Weapons/Ranged Combat (and may also post something about monster design once I've looked at them, we'll have to see), after that I think my problems will have been fully enumerated.

Well, until I try running it, anyway. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think Signature skill is mostly a way of doing niche protection for different classes, and letting them have different niches (and most signature skills for a given class are probably set up as the ones you would be focusing on anyway).

That said I would agree that there SHOULD be either a floating signature skill somewhere in character creation, or at least a general feat available early on to let you pick another one. Lack of flexibility here is an issue I see with some other game elements at a glance, so signature skill is not the only concern.

Liberty's Edge

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Classes:

As noted earlier, I love the layout and hate the way Signature Skills work (and the fact that who gets how many Skills and Signature Skills seems to be arbitrary, and arbitrary with a bias against non-Rogue martial characters to boot). With those as a given, let's move on to other stuff:

Most Class structures in and of themselves seem reasonable. I haven't gone through all the spells, so we'll leave those for later. Organizationally, I have discovered a major flaw. Many Powers are listed without a page number, making finding them kind of a nightmare if you're trying to do it in a hardbound book (I have a searchable PDF, which helps, but it's annoying even so).

Alchemists look alright, though some way to get rid of bomb enhancement for something else would be a huge quality of life improvement. I'm not sure yet on how balanced this is, as I've not had time to go through all the alchemical items as of yet.

Barbarian is interesting. The core chassis seems very solid, but I'm pretty sure several Totems have large and unpleasant mechanical problems. Animal Totem forbidding weapons but only granting natural attacks while raging, for example, is a rather huge mechanical problem, and I'm not sure Giant Totem's damage bonus is worth the price of admission. Power Attack is also conspicuously absent from the Feat list, which isn't necessarily bad, but seems worth noting.

Bard looks very good. Versatile Performance is a bit weak, and could stand to either actually replace one skill in its entirety or have some synergy with being actually trained in the skill in question. Other than that, looks solid.

Cleric looks fine to me. Not really much to say beyond that.

Druid is alright as well, though I think there need to be more Polymorph options so every Wild Shape melee Druid isn't forced to assume Dinosaur form for several levels in there.

Fighter is alright, though they have only about five combat styles they can reasonably practice (Archery, TWF, Duelist, Two-handed, and Weapon + Shield). That's probably a playtest artifact, though. They are also, however, basically locked in to using the heaviest armor possible, which is super annoying and inappropriate.

Monks look alright aside from the aforementioned Skills issue. I'm still not happy to see them with no Weapon Proficiencies. I feel like they should be Trained in Simple Weapons and just not receive their cool benefits in any weapons sans Feat. Monk's Evasion is a little weird, as are the high level Styles not really synergizing with the low level ones (they're separate Styles rather than style-enhancements or something like that), but it works.

Paladin is interesting, but a bit low on offensive options. Their Blade of Justice ability is pretty lacklustre as a Smite Evil replacement, mostly due to duration. If it lasted longer it would be cool. Like Fighters they are weirdly and inappropriately locked into Heavy Armor, and are also not allowed to pick Dex as a main stat. What about an archer Paladin of Erastil? Are those just not allowed any more?

Ranger seems very locked into either TWF or a very specific crossbow build. I'm feeling the Harsk love, but some archery options seem like a must for the final version (and thus seem very likely as well). Aside from that what I can see looks more or less fine.

Rogue is very locked into being a finesse fighter. Like, more locked in than they should be. They theoretically have the Bludgeoner option, but there's a complete lack of Feat support for it past the initial one. They also have a bunch of Ranged Feats but very few ways to do Sneak Attack at range. I mean, there's a hyper-specific Intimidate build that might manage something, but it's odd and specific.

Sorcerer looks fine. I'll need to go through things with a fine-toothed comb and I don't see a whole lot of damage enhancers to aid a blaster sorcerer, but it's probably alright.

Wizard likewise looks fine, though it has even fewer aids to being an effective blaster. I suppose we'll see how well the spells make up for this (my previous analysis indicated they did okay, but that didn't include Fighter Feats or the like, which might change the analysis).

Scarab Sages

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I agree that Ranger seems to be missing any bow support and their abilities don’t seems that synergistic. There is a lot of emphasis on buffing your allies and your animal companion, but the strongest part of ranger in 1E was combat styles and archery’s few feats look bad. Like favoured aim is a worse version of a similar fighter feat, made even worse because it take two actions. Hunt target wants you to make as many attack as possible, but you make 1 less and lose your biggest bonus if you use favoured aim, which already requires you to spend an action to hunt target.


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My first impression is to wonder why Additional Heightening isn't also an 8th level Sorcerer Feat... also sorcerers and bards seem to have significantly fewer total spells than the prepared casters do. Clerics (followed by Druids) seem to have the most high level spells. While generalist wizards can have the most spells in total (Due to the Generalist Arcane Focus synergizing with certain Wizard Feats.

I feel like a lot of the duplicate "Class Feats" (like Widen Spell) would benefit from being seperated into a "Cross-Class Feats" section at the end of the class section instead (with tags for which classes can take them). It would be annoying, but fairly easy to update as new classes are released.


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Speaking of signature skills, the wizard multiclass feat Expert Wizard Spellcasting requires master in Arcana. How can you get that if you can't make Arcana a signature skill?


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Dilvias wrote:
Speaking of signature skills, the wizard multiclass feat Expert Wizard Spellcasting requires master in Arcana. How can you get that if you can't make Arcana a signature skill?

Wizard Dedication makes Arcana a signature skill for you.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Carrying things. You have some limitations on Bulk. It's pretty minor, but it's combined with absolutely no bonuses of any kind (or none I've found yet, anyway).

I'd agree that's on par with a bonus language. They both seem pretty minor.


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Joe M. wrote:

I'm generally concerned about how class choice locks you into specific play styles. Want a Paladin who *doesn't* go for heavy armor and a shield? Congrats, you're wasting a big chunk of your class features. (This one inspired by my desire to create a spear-wielding fighter and trying to think about how each martial class would handle it.)

Especially since you can't swap out core class features with archetypes, and can't multiclass away from or retrain out of your initial class choice, the spine of your character is completely fixed, and has built in some pretty specific choices. And this is everywhere! Key ability score, signature skills, class features. It feels pretty restrictive coming from PF1.

Joe M. you said better than I could! I agree absolutely.


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I'm actually trying out a 4th-level goblin paladin/rogue (14 Str, 16 Dex) to see how that does. I actually did a decent amount to make it mediocre (but amusing), so we'll see if it turns out as badly as I think it might.

From building my 12th-level fighter/wizard (spent every single class feat available on wizard multiclass), I really think the biggest issue is how hard new signature skills are to get. I was planning on increasing Medicine or Intimidation, but neither are signature skills, and it's insanely hard to get those anywhere else. (I did hear that Intimidation was supposed to be on the fighter signature list, but putting that aside.) Possibly could be solved by allowing that one general feat that gives skill training to also make it a signature skill as well?


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Bardarok wrote:
I agree signature skills needs to be removed or there needs to be a general or skill feat that adds a new one.

To be honest: I just assumed such a feat would exist and didn't bother checking. It is just so similar to PF1e's system that I assumed they'd keep the same philosophy. Surprising to see they haven't included such a feat.

MMCJawa wrote:
I think Signature skill is mostly a way of doing niche protection for different classes, and letting them have different niches (and most signature skills for a given class are probably set up as the ones you would be focusing on anyway).

Hitting someone with a sword until they die is awesome. Casting spells at someone until they die is awesome. Being great at athletics is boring as all hell. Being great at <insert knowledge here that isn't tied to spellcasting> is so much better. I'm guessing Wizard's include at least one or two knowledge skills in their list of signature skills. Why do wizards get 2 awesome things to a fighter's 1 awesome thing?

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Alchemists look alright, though some way to get rid of bomb enhancement for something else would be a huge quality of life improvement
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Like Fighters [Paladins] are weirdly and inappropriately locked into Heavy Armor, and are also not allowed to pick Dex as a main stat. What about an archer Paladin of Erastil? Are those just not allowed any more?

Don't worry. Paizo didn't have to include such methods because they already know how those work. PF2e will totally have ways to swap those out. Just don't expect to see them in the playtest because Paizo doesn't need to publicly playtest that mechanic.

(Alright. I won't do that again for this whole thread. I'm just teasing all the people who said that class-specific archetypes weren't important when clearly not including at least one as a proof of concept is severely impacting people's ability to judge the classes).


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
I mean, if we're carrying or dragging Bob the 200 lb Fighter...is that 20 Bulk or 40?

20, since people have handles in the shoulders, on the ankles. Also because "when in doubt, go with what benefits the party".

100% agreed on both "trained in 3 skills" is too few for martial classes and "signature skills are overly limiting."

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Carrying things. You have some limitations on Bulk. It's pretty minor, but it's combined with absolutely no bonuses of any kind (or none I've found yet, anyway).
I'd agree that's on par with a bonus language. They both seem pretty minor.

Actually, looking it over again I appear to have been mistaken. No meaningful difference between sizes seems to exist. Languages do also matter a bit more due to rarity. Not a lot, but probably on par with the 2 HP. Neither are worth a Feat.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
To be honest: I just assumed such a feat would exist and didn't bother checking. It is just so similar to PF1e's system that I assumed they'd keep the same philosophy. Surprising to see they haven't included such a feat.

Yeah, I'm not super happy about it.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Hitting someone with a sword until they die is awesome. Casting spells at someone until they die is awesome. Being great at athletics is boring as all hell. Being great at <insert knowledge here that isn't tied to spellcasting> is so much better. I'm guessing Wizard's include at least one or two knowledge skills in their list of signature skills. Why do wizards get 2 awesome things to a fighter's 1 awesome thing?

Actually, Wizards are even more screwed on Signature Skills than a Fighter, receiving Arcana, Crafting, and nothing else whatsoever. They're the only Class in the whole game with that issue, though, and being an Int-based full caster makes up for a lot.

John Lynch 106 wrote:

Don't worry. Paizo didn't have to include such methods because they already know how those work. PF2e will totally have ways to swap those out. Just don't expect to see them in the playtest because Paizo doesn't need to publicly playtest that mechanic.

(Alright. I won't do that again for this whole thread. I'm just teasing all the people who said that class-specific archetypes weren't important when clearly not including at least one as a proof of concept is severely impacting people's ability to judge the classes).

The bomber thing is in fact easily handled by an Archetype, and I was basically just reiterating that there should be such an Archetype some time.

The archer Paladin thing really shouldn't require anything of the sort. Making Paladins able to choose between Str and Dex and pick what armor their Proficiency applies to is really easy, and should not require leaping through any mechanical hoops.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
I mean, if we're carrying or dragging Bob the 200 lb Fighter...is that 20 Bulk or 40?
20, since people have handles in the shoulders, on the ankles. Also because "when in doubt, go with what benefits the party".

As a GM, sure. Not so much as a player.

As a GM you can always arbitrarily solve problems, but the better the system is the less this sort of thing is subject to table variations and the less such ad hoc rulings are necessary on something like this.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
100% agreed on both "trained in 3 skills" is too few for martial classes and "signature skills are overly limiting."

I am pleased we are in agreement. :)


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Missed a perfectly good chance to call this thread "Deadmanwalking's ❮❯ Thread". -100 points.

Anyway, while I agree with a lot of things you say, PARTICULARLY about Signature Skills, I think I never said to myself "this is worse than in PF1" while reading this.

The systems seem great, and specific tuning is very much required. I find both true.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Classes:They also have a bunch of Ranged Feats but very few ways to do Sneak Attack at range.

Or at all, from the way stealth seems to work.

Sneak wrote:
If you do anything else, you become seen just before you act. For instance, if you attack a creature you’re unseen by, that creature is not flatfooted against that attack.

You can't ever sneak up on someone for sneak attack, unless you act first in initiative or are literally impossible to see. And with only rogues getting surprise attack, no one else can ever...well, surprise attack someone and catch them flat-footed.

Unless there's some way to read it that I'm missing, and if I am, I'd like to hear it.

Liberty's Edge

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Secret Wizard wrote:
Missed a perfectly good chance to call this thread "Deadmanwalking's ❮❯ Thread". -100 points.

I had like three hours of sleep this morning after having been up all night. Give me a break. ;)

That would've been better though.

Secret Wizard wrote:
Anyway, while I agree with a lot of things you say, PARTICULARLY about Signature Skills, I think I never said to myself "this is worse than in PF1" while reading this.

In fairness, that reaction was strictly to two things:

#1: Balance between Ancestries as compared to between Races in PF1. Including the ability to play a Half Elf or Half Orc without feeling punished.
#2: The ability to get the Class/Signature Skills that you want.

And those are both legitimately better in PF1.

Secret Wizard wrote:
The systems seem great, and specific tuning is very much required. I find both true.

I actually agree entirely. As I said in my first post, if I haven't complained about it then I probably like it. I like the core system quite a bit.

Runnetib wrote:
Or at all, from the way stealth seems to work.

Well, on a purely mechanical level, you can always flank people. That works fine. Sneaking not working so well is a potential issue, I agree.


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Runnetib wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Classes:They also have a bunch of Ranged Feats but very few ways to do Sneak Attack at range.

Or at all, from the way stealth seems to work.

Sneak wrote:
If you do anything else, you become seen just before you act. For instance, if you attack a creature you’re unseen by, that creature is not flatfooted against that attack.

You can't ever sneak up on someone for sneak attack, unless you act first in initiative or are literally impossible to see. And with only rogues getting surprise attack, no one else can ever...well, surprise attack someone and catch them flat-footed.

Unless there's some way to read it that I'm missing, and if I am, I'd like to hear it.

Goblins can do that with Very Sneaky, but I'm not sure why it's so exclusive to them.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


#1: Balance between Ancestries as compared to between Races in PF1. Including the ability to play a Half Elf or Half Orc without feeling punished.

I feel it starts feeling a little easier when you get to a higher level, especially if you spend a general feat on Ancestral Paragon, but it still feels a little bad early on. The diversity has been feeling a lot nicer at higher levels, but it still likely feels pretty punishing before level 3 (especially if you don't take Ancestral Paragon then). Anecdotally, my level 12 Half-Orc did enjoy picking from both lists much more than he would have liked being stuck on pure Human.


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Slurmalyst wrote:
Now whether Signature Skills is the right way to implement this, I'm not sure. I can see the concerns.

I'm not against some sort of restriction, I just want it to be flexible enough that you can have at least one 'bonus' Signature Skill without major investment, and more if you invest in it.

Slurmalyst wrote:
Maybe one idea: you can spend a skill
...

I think that maybe your background should be a signature skill for you your class gives you 1 more from a list of 3 and you get one more that you can choose with no restriction.

With this setup you have much more freedom but still will feel like a blacksmith that grew up to be a fighter.

Aside : can we please allow the characters to increase our weapon and armour proficiency's as easily as we increase our skills. a simple system that allows you to upgrade one weapon type or armour type at level x would be nice. (arcane casters gain a increase in weapon or armour type at every 6 levels would allow them to increase their unarmoured defence as they level or maybe they really want to hit something with their staff). Then you just allow only certain types of classes to advance above expert just like skills... also why can a fighter who has used a dagger all his life suddenly pick up a great axe and be just as good with it? would it not be cool/more realistic to have classes give training levels for armour and weapons just like they give out skills? then you can pick large blades, small blades and bows for your level one fighter to be trained in and just those.
- just my two coppers.


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Harrythefish wrote:


Aside : can we please allow the characters to increase our weapon and armour proficiency's as easily as we increase our skills. a simple system that allows you to upgrade one weapon type or armour type at level x would be nice. (arcane casters gain a increase in weapon or armour type at every 6 levels would allow them to increase their unarmoured defence as they level or maybe they really want to hit something with their staff). Then you just allow only certain types of classes to advance above expert just like skills... also why can a fighter who has used a dagger all his life suddenly pick up a great axe and be just as good with it? would it not be cool/more realistic to have classes give training levels for armour and weapons just like they give out skills? then you can pick large blades, small blades and bows for your level one fighter to be trained in and just those.
- just my two coppers.

Fully against this.

Weapon profs is how martials do combat better than spellcasters, similarly to how spellcasters do spells better due to DC proficiencies.


Secret Wizard wrote:
Harrythefish wrote:


Aside : can we please allow the characters to increase our weapon and armour proficiency's as easily as we increase our skills. a simple system that allows you to upgrade one weapon type or armour type at level x would be nice. (arcane casters gain a increase in weapon or armour type at every 6 levels would allow them to increase their unarmoured defence as they level or maybe they really want to hit something with their staff). Then you just allow only certain types of classes to advance above expert just like skills... also why can a fighter who has used a dagger all his life suddenly pick up a great axe and be just as good with it? would it not be cool/more realistic to have classes give training levels for armour and weapons just like they give out skills? then you can pick large blades, small blades and bows for your level one fighter to be trained in and just those.
- just my two coppers.

Fully against this.

Weapon profs is how martials do combat better than spellcasters, similarly to how spellcasters do spells better due to DC proficiencies.

Fair Enough. This is a playtest so I felt I should give my first impressions on it. I still feel that as a martial class increases in level they should be limited to one or two weapon groups (like 1e weapon focus) but on the flip side casters don't have to focus only on one school of magic so fair is fair.


Hey, don't worry, I don't hold it against you :P

I'm open to being 100% wrong on everything I say too.

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