Anyone else frustrated with how the rule information is laid-out in the playtest book?


General Discussion


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I have spent a day with the PDF reading the 'rules' and coming up with a ton of questions and finding very little in the ways of easy and clear answers. At first I thought it because I am reading a PDF on my tablet because I am one of those who pre-ordered the book from Paizo (no delivery yet). So today I went out to my FLGS and bought the softcover version of the rules, because I really want to get into this game this weekend. Spent the last few hour reading the book trying to figure out what should be some basic answers and I am just frustrated with this book.

So in no particular order, here are some questions I was trying to resolve (Oh and I am not really seeking answers just highlighting that it has been gruelling trying to find anything to answer these):

What is with the uncommon weapon tables? What does uncommon martial weapons mean in the game? Final found the glossary listing of 'Uncommon'. Then was wondering why was this included anyway.

Looking at feats and spells, I noticed that some of them their 'Level' is shaded differently, what does the mean? Again, you need to look at 'Uncommon', which by the way is crazy because it an effect on Level and the listing of Level does not mention this.

Selecting skills, how do you do that? Can you select any skill? Wish I could find something that would say that is the case of course there is nothing that say you cannot either.

Feats that tell you to select another feat, really?

Multi-classing, the Basic feats say a level 1 or 2 of that class' feats. Where are the level 2 feats? I see Level 1 and I see Level 4.

Whats is the point of increasing a skill beyond 'Trained'? Does it provide a better bonus? Under character creation section it provides the full labels and then sends you off to the skills section for explanation only there isn't any. I get that it allows you to craft an item of that quality level but there seems too few skills that actual benefit from this skill increase.

Anyway, I just wanted to let Paizo know that as some one who has read way too many rule books over the decades, beginning with the Red Basic Box in the early 80's, that they really need to take a second look, and then a third look, and probably a fourth look at how the rules are presented, because this just left me hunting for answers that were not easily found and just raising the frustration level higher and higher. I want to play this game, not give up from frustration!


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I'm in the same boat. Waiting for my hard copy to shown up and spending the last two days bleeding from the eyes staring at my tablet.
I haven't been able to decide if the layout of the rulebook is bad or if I'm just not used to consuming Pathfinder this way. I suspect a little bit of both. I spent way too long scrolling around just get a solid grasp on how many spell-points a character should have.


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Yes I agree. The layout is definitely something I would like to see changed for the final rulebook.

I would like to see in the skill section a single page per skill that explains its uses, what each rank gives you and all the related skill feats you can take including assurance.

Then the feat section becomes General feats only and it be be written there “you may also take a skill feat, see page 1xx” and refer to table in the skills section.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes, I find the constant "refer to section X" entries terribly unintuitive, especially since I'm waiting for my hard copy. It's much less annoying to do stuff like that with a real book.

Overall the layout of the class entries also looks quite ugly and somewhat confusing, a far cry from the "get all your basic info from that one table" style we had in PF1E and prior 3.X versions.


I want feats, spells, ect listed by LEVEL and to clearly state things like rarity, class/feature that can access it and CLEAR non-symbol action types.

Between the feat and spell sections, having to page back and forth for EACH and EVERY option on a list to even figure out basic function/info is beyond frustrating.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm still not sure what you use to make Melee and Ranged Spell Touch Attacks. I've ctrl-f "spell roll" "touch" and "Melee touch" and just get pinged between rules that tell you to look at each other. I've gone with using Str for melee touch and Dex for ranged touch combined with Spell proficiency.


I wish there were more tables for sure. And the Feat and Spell sections feel very very messy.

I really don;t get the hatred of the Icons, but I agree that having the word Action next to the icon wouldn't hurt.


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First, yes, you can select any skill with any class. But only signature skills for that class can be advanced to master or legendary using your skill increases.

Feats that give you a feat? So you can take a feat you normally do not have access to. Why is that a bad thing?

Advancing skills? First, read about proficiency levels on page 8. Being master or legendary in a skill is used as prereqs for some high level feats.

That was most of the questions. Now, there are a hundred threads on the layout of the book.

I've read a lot of them. This is consensus "Best practice" I have come to think they should employ:
-------------
All ancestor, class, and skill feats should be listed with the ancestor, class, or skill. No flipping around. In ancestories, heritage feats should be listed separately from other ancestor feats.

All class powers, that aren't spells, should be in a section called powers. Or listed with the class.

Spells (and powers) should be listed by level, then name alphabetically. Uncommon and rare should be text (and Paizo already said they would not use color again). All the traits for an object should just be line of text in the listing, not the running list of text in a weird sidebar box. And among the traits should be the spell lists the spell can be found within.

Spell name -> level 3
Traits: Arcane, Divine, Enchantment, Mental, Primal
casting: A> somatic A> verbal
etc.


Joe Mucchiello wrote:

First, yes, you can select any skill with any class. But only signature skills for that class can be advanced to master or legendary using your skill increases.

Feats that give you a feat? So you can take a feat you normally do not have access to. Why is that a bad thing?

Advancing skills? First, read about proficiency levels on page 8. Being master or legendary in a skill is used as prereqs for some high level feats.

That was most of the questions. Now, there are a hundred threads on the layout of the book.

I've read a lot of them. This is consensus "Best practice" I have come to think they should employ:
-------------
All ancestor, class, and skill feats should be listed with the ancestor, class, or skill. No flipping around. In ancestories, heritage feats should be listed separately from other ancestor feats.

All class powers, that aren't spells, should be in a section called powers. Or listed with the class.

Spells (and powers) should be listed by level, then name alphabetically. Uncommon and rare should be text (and Paizo already said they would not use color again). All the traits for an object should just be line of text in the listing, not the running list of text in a weird sidebar box. And among the traits should be the spell lists the spell can be found within.

Spell name -> level 3
Traits: Arcane, Divine, Enchantment, Mental, Primal
casting: A> somatic A> verbal
etc.

I like that best practice list a lot. There is a lot of unneeded flipping around to figure out classes.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

To add to this, anytime an option requires you to go to a different section of the book (a la Powers) give me the page number. I understand why Powers are seperated from the Classes, as it allows them to easily add new content that references those powers.

E.G New class comes along that uses Domain powers. They know to just flick to the Powers section, not dig around in another Classes rules.


Tithron wrote:
I really don;t get the hatred of the Icons

For myself, they are hard to read/interpret and, IMO, I can't understand how letters and/or numbers wouldn't be infinitely easier to understand and recall for the beginner and the old hand.


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graystone wrote:
Tithron wrote:
I really don;t get the hatred of the Icons
For myself, they are hard to read/interpret and, IMO, I can't understand how letters and/or numbers wouldn't be infinitely easier to understand and recall for the beginner and the old hand.

As someone who plays a lot of video games and also a lot of games like Magic: the Gathering and Hearthstone, I like Icons. I realize there is a learning curve on them, which is why I would be fine with Icons + words. That way for new players it is clearly spelled out, and if I am an experienced player looking through a splat book, I can see the icon and know what it means. I am not saying that design mentality is for everyone, but to me good clear icons are nice.


Yes, mostly the reliance on symbols and the jumping back and forth from page to page just to understand thing. There's other things too, but those are the big ones.


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Overall I like what I'm seeing in PF2, but the layout is my single biggest complaint. I would still prefer text to symbols on abilities - it's not a video game. I think with text, it is far, far easier to infer what something means if you're still working on your system proficiency. I'd rather see "1 action" displayed next to an ability than a little nested diamond. I think that uncommon and rare player options should include a brief entry next to them that tells you what you need to do to get access to them ("x" spell can be granted by "x class feature," or "y" weapon is opened up by "y" ancestry feat.)


Joe Mucchiello wrote:

I've read a lot of them. This is consensus "Best practice" I have come to think they should employ:
-------------
All ancestor, class, and skill feats should be listed with the ancestor, class, or skill. No flipping around. In ancestories, heritage feats should be listed separately from other ancestor feats.

All class powers, that aren't spells, should be in a section called powers. Or listed with the class.

Spells (and powers) should be listed by level, then name alphabetically. Uncommon and rare should be text (and Paizo already said they would not use color again). All the traits for an object should just be line of text in the listing, not the running list of text in a weird sidebar box. And among the traits should be the spell lists the spell can be found within.

Seconded. I also miss the arcane spells being split out by school in spell list; if I'm a specialist, I'd like to know which spells I can use for my bonus(es) or thematic without having to guess from the name or finding the spell description.


magnuskn wrote:
Yes, I find the constant "refer to section X" entries terribly unintuitive, especially since I'm waiting for my hard copy. It's much less annoying to do stuff like that with a real book.

I make a copy of the PDF file. Then I open them both up at the same time, so I can have one set to the list of cleric cantrips (for example) and use the other to look up what they do.

(I'm not saying that the book layout isn't annoying.)


Sadly, this is a bit of what you get with playtests. I agree it's a bit rough. And from my experience, when a playtest is rolled out like a proper book it usually means the designers have already made up their minds.

One thing that really helped me was putting one on my computer and one on xodo on my android. I kept the class information and table on xodo and chased everything on my computer. At that point it was a piece of cake. I made a level 20 in about an hour.

I hope that helps and I hope your playtesting has been as spectacular as mine has.


I was venting... I have played so many other games that were laid out pretty much Step 1 to Step X and when you followed that you were ready to game. With this book (PDF) you don't get all the steps, the steps are not clearly explained, and as soon as you have a question you get lost in page references or there no mention in the Index.

Maybe if I didn't have the baggage of numerous D&D versions, Pathfinder, and Starfinder before this things would be clearer. That I wouldn't be questioning things like are present in older editions but not here.

Anyway, I am still pressing on and most things I like or at least they sound cool and there are a few things I don't like, but that will wait until I get some playing done.


It's a playtest, to manage to get the whole book organised whilst the rules are being changed continually must have been very hard. But yes, it's a pain to read: you end up having to cross-reference continually. Noticeably more than PF1, or at least it feels so.

It's not going to be easy to structure the eventual CRB. The game has been designed to be highly-modular, which is great from a game design perspective. But it means there's no obvious top-down structure to use to organise the book.

For example, the Assurance feat is both a general and skill feat. Which list should it go under? General, or skill?

What would be perfect is a digital version of the CRB, that automatically assembles all the cross-referenced information you need into one page. But that's a totally different publishing model.


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The cross reference part is killing me. There are no Expert weapons or armor on the treasure lists... but a + 1 weapon is a lvl 4 so expert has to be a 2 or 3... logically. But it's not there. You have to hunt it down to find it as a small blurb in the section on different quality items.

So far I like the rules, like the icons... like the layout of the monster stat blocks, but I HATE the character sheet and I don't like having to do a word search on my pdf to find something that should logically be in one place (like what does 'expert' do to armor) since that does matter for the first part of the playtest... only to find it somewhere else.

It's good stuff overall - just a ton of typos and very badly organized.

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