What we expected vs what we got

General Discussion

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If you've been on the Playtest forums since 2E was announced, I'm sure you have heard the developers talking about why some of the design choices were made. The original Pathfinder RPG was not a perfect game by any means, even if it is still a great game. It has some glaring issues that the developers correctly identified and then set off to try and fix for 2E. This sounds like a pretty good way to begin designing a new game, but I think some of that fell down the wayside at some point.

I will be looking at the "Promises" of PF2 and how the current playtest seems to be addressing the issues from Pathfinder 1st edition. I will be going 1 by 1, using the same format for all of my analysis. I'll go through them roughly in the order they appear in the playtest rulebook.


**Ancestry Ability Scores**

Problem: The races in Pathfinder were quite distinct, but they shoehorned their members into certain classes because of how unforgiving the point Buy system was. Trying to raise the stat you got a -2 penalty on was a losing proposition and getting 18s without a boost was very expensive.

Promise: We would get floating Ancestry bonuses to allow characters to shore up their penalty or boost an ability they otherwise wouldn't be that great at, thus opening up a lot more build options while keeping the choice of ancestry more relevant than it is in Starfinder.

Solution Rating: Good

Opinion: While Ancestries are still limited by their attribute penalty, the new ability score generation system makes them a lot more flexible in what builds they can be good at. It's not too hard to get a 18 even on something your ancestry doesn't automatically boost. I'm fine with still being a bit restricted since it makes the choice of Ancestry meaningful, but not prohibitive.


**Ancestry Feats**

Problem: Races were only ever important a level 1. Many of them offered some very interesting general feats unique to them, but most of the time they couldn't compete with other combat options you could take with that same feat. As a result, it was rare that characters would develop their ancestry past character creation. Additionally, the alternate racial feature system was rather inelegant and tacked in as a patch, even if it was pretty succesful.

Promise: Characters would get special feat slots that could only be used on those Ancestry feats, allowing developers to create powerful and flavorful abilities that were race-locked. Selecting your racial features at level 1 would be part of the universal feat system and more flexible at both launch and with future splats.

Solution Rating: Extremely BAD

Opinion: While maybe they fixed the second issue a bit, it just caused more Problems. They did not fix the first issue at all, and in fact, made it worse than it already was by a lot. Ancestries were gutted and recieve no abilities except senses and movement speed, everything else is a feat.
Characters indeed learn new Ancestry abilities as they level up, but instead of being those interesting feats from before, the majority will be spent just re-buying the ones you used to get automatically. some of those higher level abilities indeed exist, but most of the time you have to get the base versions of these instead with the super limited slots.
Letting you pick which abilities you get, combined with the very limited ancestry feat slots, leads to cherry picking and ignoring some abilities that were very flavorful before, such as Stonecunning or Elven immunity to sleep. Half-Breeds are also hurt in that they use up the 1 feat to even exist at all and can't benefit from their half-breed status until level 5.
I would propose rethinking this entire system and reverting Ancestries to having a lot of base abilities and using the Ancestry Feats to compliment them, not replace them.



Problem: Traits could make it extremely time consuming to build a PF1 character since there were a lot of them and you had to pick 2. Unfortunately some traits were better than others and most people used them for optimization and then ignored the background information they gave, thus defeating the purpose of their creation. Besides these, there was really no aid in developing character's backstories and previous occupation unless you used Unchained Background Skills.

Promise: You would pick a background that summarizes some aspect of the character's backstory during character creation (like in 5E) and it would give you some weak but flavorful skills and feats to flesh out your character. The limited size of the list would make it easy for an unexperienced player to just pick one and get something to work with. They would give ability score boosts to further push some classes into certain typical backgrounds.

Solution Rating: Decent

Opinion: Backgrounds do indeed work as advertised and I don't think it takes more than 5 minutes to pick one during character creation. They all follow a specific format with no variation, which ensures that they are mostly balanced with each other unlike traits. For an experienced player they seem kind of pointless, however, seeing as they amount to a Skill Feat + a Lore skill trained. There really isn't a lot to playtest about them and it would be nice to be able to make your own following the guidelines. They're just there.


**Class Feats**

Problem: There really wasn't much of a Problem to fix, but instead just a need to formalize the class structure that was developed by Pathfinder for use in most of the classes. However, not all classes benefited from this design and were left really bare, such as Fighter, Wizard and Cleric. Fighter eventually go out of this with so many fighter-only options being created that they could use their bonus feats on.

Promise: Classes would get an ability unique to them every even level to let you customize them and increase build variety. The system would be universal and the "talents" would be divided into a lot more tiers than "basic" and "advanced" so they could be better balanced for the time they become available. Every class would have features to trade out for archetypes now. Analysis paralysis during level up would be mitigated by having the list start out small and then expand.

Solution Rating: Decent.

Opinion: This system does indeed meet many of the goals it was advertised to. All classes have a bunch of Class Feat slots to build the character they envisioned (Some classes are missing class feats randomly here and there, though). The list does start out small at first but it becomes pretty expansive later, which makes creating a character and leveling up quite fast.
I think there are 2 issues, however:
1- While most classes have great selections of Class Feats that reflect their old talents, the lists for martial ones like Fighter, Ranger and Barbarian seem to have some of what used to be General/Combat feats. This means that feats that anyone could take before are now limited only to some classes and this is glaringly obvious. For example, you can't make a TWF Barbarian (A build which is how many envision this class). Some of their feats should move to be general feats and replaced with truly unique stuff.
2- Splitting the list into 9 or 10 tiers (compared to 2 before) really limits what you can pick at low levels. A lot of the abilities that were available early before seem to be moved into higher levels just to pad out those tiers and not because of it's power, which results in not being able to build the character you want until medium levels for what feels like arbitrary reasons. I would suggest consolidating the lists into wider groups like 1-4, 5-8, and so on.


**Skill Feats**

Problem: There used to be a lot of feats that improved skills in interesting ways, but much like any other feat, they were always ignored because combat feats were just too important to not take every time. No sub-system was developed to make taking these feats more attractive although some builds could use them to get insane modifiers if they knew what they were doing.

Promise: Skill Feats would no longer compete with feats that improve combat or class abilities so every character would be able to take some without fear of opportunity cost.

Solution Rating: Big Success

Opinion: Class feats set out to fix a pretty simple but annoying issue and they deliver exactly what you expected. The skill feat options we got aren't exactly mind-blowing until you get to the Legendary ones, but just having the system in place will eventually make all skills feel worth investing into. Every character can and has to take at least some of these.


**New Action Economy**

Problem: The action system in PF1 started out pretty simple, but quite limiting. Then it developed into something very complicated and still quite limiting. On the positive side, actions had some sort of "tiers" of power, with standard actions being superior to move actions, for example. This let abilities be balanced based on the action they used, but it also made some clases start requiring flowcharts to figure out how to best optimize their use. And while characters could move and attack, many of them could do much more than this. At level 6+, Full Attacks discouraged characters from moving around too much if they wanted to maximize their damage.

Promise: The action system would be simplified so all actions would be of the same value and characters would get THREE of them, expanding what they could do before. Now you could Move -> Attack -> Move and other cool things like that. Also iterative attacks were available right from Level 1! Tactical choice would be expanded while keeping things simple.

Solution Rating: Good

Opinion: Indeed characters now have 3 actions and they can move or attack or whatever with each of them. Characters could try iterative attacks even from level 1 and the mysterious 5-foot-step was made a lot more clear.
Free actions were weakened, but still usable almost whenever you need them. It's really easy to figure out your actions in a given turn now. However, not all is perfect. A lot of things that use to be free or swift actions now suddenly have an action cost. In fact, many things have arbitrary action taxes that ultimately make you unable to do more than you could in the previous edition: Move + do 1 thing. The increased freedom is mostly limited to moving around and performing basic strikes, but that is probably good enough. The action required to reg-rip a weapon or use a shield might need to be looked at, however...



Problem: Multiclassing was very simple in 3E/PF and anyone could figure it out. However, in practice, it was quite tricky to use it to achieve the concepts you wanted. Multiclassing abandoned your original class for a while to get the low level abilities of others. Some classing had very strict scaling which would make their abilities extremely weak if they multiclassed (Mostly spellcasters), while others had amazing level 1-3 abilities that made it very powerful to dip in them. In the end, it was rarely used to achieve complicated character concepts and more for crazy optimization. Archetypes and the new classes were the primary way to achieve the concepts that multiclassing once promised.

Promise: A more robust VMC style system that would allow characters to get the abilities of other classes, even the higher level ones, while not compromising the scaling of their current class. No longer would there be dips that lead to amazing power or ideas that lead to pathetic characters.

Solution Rating: Okay

Opinion: The new multiclassing achieves what it promised! Characters can mix any 2 classes (Well, not all 12 yet) and be pretty decent at using the powers of both without needing Hybrid Classes. Unfortunately the new multiclassing also came with consequences that compromise some of the good things that old multiclassing could achieve. Characters can no longer change their primary class once chosen (not even with retraining). This limits a lot of organic character development concepts. So even though we have a lot of new builds, it also removed others. I still think we gained more than we lost, however.


And that's it for my review, I hope you found it useful! I personally like the new chassis for Pathfinder and think they succeeded at many of the goals that were promised, but many came with unintended side effects that ruined them.

I certainly missed some concepts, such as Resonance, but I've not familiarized myself enough with them yet to say much.

If you disagree with any of my entries, feel free to post your own version, same if there's something I missed.

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Well structured and reasoned! Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Ancestry Ability Scores:

I've always had issues with but I understand where they came from and why they are a bit to precious to get rid of them. The solution paizo came up with is a very nice compromise, allowing all ancestries to be more or less playable in any class.

Ancestry Feats:

A big problem for me too, in all honesty while ancestries dont feel unimportant they are very much imbalanced and they have lost a lot of flavour. Elves losing sleep immunity is the big one for me, as their culture is known for finding "Sleep" spells as an insulting way to start a feud (Elves of Golarion).

In addition, Half elves and Half rocs being heritage feats is a really good idea but it was horribly excecuted. I would reccomend giving ancestries two Ancestry Feats at character creation instead of one, to make sure hybrid races are nto at an inherent disadvantage. After all, we can no longer play half elves raised by elves who can use elven weapons and other similar stories.


I believe are a great addition. I was VERY opposed to this before reading them but they are flexible enough to eb usable. HOWEVER I do have an issue with how restrictive they are because we dont have that many yet. This will be fixable in time by adding more of them but in all honestly the number in the actual 2e CRB should be higher.

Class Feats:

These are a mixed bag. I dont think that the design of them is inherently flawed by I do think that more options should be avaliable at low levels in order to prevent characters from finding themselves with nothign good to take in the low levels where these feats are all that they have. Archer Rangers come to mind.

Skill Feats:

I love them. Please remove signature skills from the game (painfulyl if possible) and use the page space to give me more of these.

New Action Economy:

Is pretty good so far. Elegant design and seems very easy to ablance arround. Props to paizo.


I'm iffy on this. Multiclassing archetypes compete with class archetypes and Prestige archetypes for your combat feats. I dont think its too far of a stretch to want my figther to both have a horse AND be a hellknight (You know, Ennead Star cavaliers were a thing) but this seems impossible to do with the amount of combat feats that the base class grants. I would ask that the idea of taking 3 feats from an archetype before getting a new one is removed.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I can agree with all of the points you made, and appreciate the suggestions for solutions to them as well. One solution I'm trying to get seen is to allow us to drop one (only one) of our 4 free boosts at character creation for a non-class feat. This opens up more ancestry, skill, and general options for characters to feel like they have more to do at 1st level without throwing balance out the window. It also means you can be a half-orc with ferocity, which would go a long way to fixing the current half-issue.

Small things like two-weapon fighting need either a better generic option for Barb and rogue in particular (we can house rule it, but better to have it in the core). Maybe a general Two-Weapon Fighting feat that lets you get agile multiple attack penalties when wielding two one-handed weapons? Then fighters and rangers still max out with their class feats, but anybody can potentially benefit to start. Or something like add the other weapon's damage die to a single strike as two actions, and the general feat lets you do it as one action with an agile weapon in each hand.

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What I expected: A 1e with improvements
What I got: A different game system

I expected something like ASL 1st and 2nd Edition Rulebooks. What I got was too many changes to be called "Pathfinder".

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Scott Romanowski wrote:

What I expected: A 1e with improvements

What I got: A different game system

I expected something like ASL 1st and 2nd Edition Rulebooks. What I got was too many changes to be called "Pathfinder".

I have to agree with this statement. Yes, there are things unique to PF2 that make it palatable. Unfortunately I find this to be too much in the direction of a new system. I really wanted to see PF1 improved.

Action economy has become far more complex than I think it needs to be. Swift actions for instance I felt were a good thing, but now they are gone. Action, action, action may seem simple, but in reality it leaves you with a mess of options requiring a chart to figure out; it's especially so for casters.

My group was considering converting our current characters to PF2, but it is impossible to get a direct conversion. I play a cleric right now, and feats have been rearranged in such a way that I can't recreate what my current abilities are until at minimum level 10. I find this quite frustrating.

I'm going to give this a chance; I love Pathfinder. So far though, I find more that disappoints than excites me.

Forthe most part I don't find the Action system that difficult.

I do a thing = an Action

For casters Casting a spell involves me doing 1 to 3 things at the same time.

there are a few specific Class feats that get a little annoying (and honestly I think the whole class section needs to be reworked) but other than that the Action system seems really easy to me

Scarab Sages

Excellent review!
I feel that the armor has been nerfed and also the weapon damage.

Especially for some simple weapons. Why is the light mace a 1d4 and finesse and the heavy mace a 1d6? Really the light mace (1d6 and agile) should be similar to the light hammer and the heavy mace or mace (1d8) similar to the warhammer. Laws of physic similar (mostly) weighted end of a shaft mostly equal same amount of force. Also the light flail should have stayed a 1d8.

I like some of the weapon traits like the Versatile for the sword, however the others give too much clutter to remember. With deadly and fatal adding another number die, why not just X3 or X4 the weapon damage on critical hits. Make it simple.

Plus I feel that there are to many 1d4 damage on simple weapons and most of the knives group. Truthfully the blades on a katar are larger than most daggers and uses a punching motion to strike a target.
The images I see of the star knife also looks much bigger than a regular knife of some daggers. I think that the katar and star knife should be a 1d6.

Scarab Sages

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I think the resonance points should use the same method as in Starfinder's Resolve points by class type or use the Constitution.

Using a lot of magical items affecting the health of the character's body, plus a good constitution mean resistance of the physical stress on the body.

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I've just got one major point to touch on personally.

Non-Magical Healing

What I expected: Awesome healing skill feats, maybe some cool healing elixirs that were different but on par with the magical healing potions, or maybe slightly worse but not using Resonance because they're Alchemical and it was stressed many times that Alchemical items are not magical and Resonance is for magical items.

What I got: Two skill feats for two separate skills that heal for minor amounts and can each only be used once per day per target, and alchemical elixirs that for the same gold as a potion is just a weaker healing potion and costs Resonance for... some reason.

As a solid non-magical healer has been something I've wanted for a long time (and was sort of able to approximate in PF1e, depending on how "magical" you consider Alchemist) this bites and I'm quite salty about it.

Aku-Arkaine wrote:

Action economy has become far more complex than I think it needs to be. Swift actions for instance I felt were a good thing, but now they are gone. Action, action, action may seem simple, but in reality it leaves you with a mess of options requiring a chart to figure out; it's especially so for casters.

It's not really hard to understand what happened. In essence:

2 actions = standard

1 action = move

reaction = swift/immediate (which are actually the same action cost anyways)

And martial is just target buffed by getting access to more attacks after moving without feat taxes/getting more attacks at lower levels.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber


I agree with everyone's very thoughtful and logical critique of the new 2nd ed. rule set. However, I really like how they have tried to tackle the power creep issue with the game. In fact, the power creep in 1st ed. has become such issue with me that I'm no longer motivated to play anymore. Therefore, I find the general philosophy in 2nd edition, which seems to try to address this issue, a very welcomed change.

Have a fun everyone.

Cyrus007 wrote:


I agree with everyone's very thoughtful and logical critique of the new 2nd ed. rule set. However, I really like how they have tried to tackle the power creep issue with the game. In fact, the power creep in 1st ed. has become such issue with me that I'm no longer motivated to play anymore. Therefore, I find the general philosophy in 2nd edition, which seems to try to address this issue, a very welcomed change.

Have a fun everyone.

The only reason there is no Power Creep in PF2 is because there are no books for PF2 beyond the playtest document. It's a Reset plain and simple

Whatever form PF2 takes in the future you will see Power creep begin within a year of the first official books.

You want to control Power Creep, that's your job as GM.

One option is lable things Common, Uncommon and Rare. I think that's a fairly good decision for PF2, and something I've been using in PF1 already, to a degree. Although in my case it was Core Book = Common, any other Paizo book = Uncommon. 3PP = Rare.

If something is Uncommon, Player has to go out of his way to get it.
If something is Rare getting it is an adventure in and off itself.

If a new option is significantly more powerful than everything next to it, there is nothing wrong with a player having it, just make it something the player should put some effort into earning.

Hell I've used the "Book of Ridiculously overpowered Feats" as a Quest reward in a campaign and it worked out great.

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Witch of Miracles wrote:
Aku-Arkaine wrote:

Action economy has become far more complex than I think it needs to be. Swift actions for instance I felt were a good thing, but now they are gone. Action, action, action may seem simple, but in reality it leaves you with a mess of options requiring a chart to figure out; it's especially so for casters.

It's not really hard to understand what happened. In essence:

2 actions = standard

1 action = move

reaction = swift/immediate (which are actually the same action cost anyways)

And martial is just target buffed by getting access to more attacks after moving without feat taxes/getting more attacks at lower levels.

Except it doesn't quite work out that way.

Some "standard actions" cost 2 actions, but most cost 1 (and some cost all three).

Most move equivalent actions cost 1 action, but there are exceptions.

Most "swift" actions and some "free" actions now cost an action.

Where I have a problem with the new system is that, under certain circumstances, one player might be able to accomplish in one turn what was effectively 3 standard actions worth of stuff in PF1, while another character might be stuck with doing 3 things that were swift or free actions in PF1.

It's cool when you get the former, but it sucks when you get the latter.

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Here's another



Problem: Archetypes in PF1 were awesome and the reason that game is so great! If there was any complaint, it would be that a bunch of classes seem to have the same archetype but with a different name. (You get a gun! You're a pirate! You use much lighter armor than usual!)

Promise: There would be generic archetypes that any class can take to reduce Archetype bloat. They would replace your Class Feats instead of the few fixed class features out there. In the future, there might be more class-specific archetypes similar to the PF1 ones.

Solution Rating: Decent...Ish.

Opinion: Well, they sure removed archetype bloat and made archetypes more flexible int hat you can choose how much to invest on them and when exactly. The archetypes we got aren't that amazing, but the Pirate and Cavalier are good examples of how you can trim some of the bloat.
What is a bit annoying is that many the features I want to trade out are the fixed ones, most notably Hunt Target and Sneak Attack. Class feats already let me avoid getting the ones I don't want by virtue of coming in lists.
Then there is also the issue of them conflicting with Multi-classing. Only some rare concepts would need both Multiclassing and other archetypes, but still there's no harm in allowing it.
Overall, I don't believe archetypes needed to change. Adding these extra mechanic to trade out class feats would have been cool IN ADDITION to the old archetype system intead.

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**Pets and Summons**

Problem: Having extra bodies was awesome and really fun, but the huge increase to action economy could lead to "pet builds" being overpowered if built correctly (mostly summoner and conjurers). Having more bodies on the field also slowed down fights, made it easy to outnumber enemies and allowed 1 player to have more fun than the rest.

Promise: The Minion system would greatly reduce the action economy advantages of using summons and animal companions. Characters would need to spend 1 action every turn to command their pets, who would get 2 actions only each.

Solution Rating: Horrible

Opinion: I never thought pets were overpowered in PF1, but they could indeed slow down the game in the hands of an inexperienced player, specially if there was more than 1 pet in the party (Which was banned in my games).
I think they went EXTREMELY overboard in nerfing them in PF2 to where they seem like a liability in most cases. The scaling on animal companions and summons is very slow (Large companion takes til like level 12 compared to 7~ before) and you only gain up to 1 extra action total from having them, but mostly the 2 actions the summon gets are lucky if they are worth 1 of the main character.
There's also the immersion-breaking fact that these creatures just don't behave like every other thing in the game (with 3 actions + reaction) and how they automatically flee if you don't command them every turn.
Also have you seen how difficult it is to command animals if they are not companion? Might as well be spending your entire turn to make them do 1 thing...
I think nerfing the power level of the creatures + requiring 1 action to command would be enough of a nerf (And they would continue doing the original order until changed or invalid).

I will be paying a lot of attention to this system during my GMing of Doomsday dawn, but I dislike it already. Also there's no Animate Dead on the rulebook so one of my players is very sad.

EDIT: I was just reminded of the universally reviled original D&D5E Ranger. He had garbage situational ways to boost damage and the optional animal companion was total trash. They were forced to release their "Unchained Ranger" who is very cool after people started boycotting the class.
The 2E animal companion feels a lot like the reject 5E one. It just didnt work. The new animal companion is free of "minion" rules and is just amazing and fun to have. Let's not have history repeat.

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This is my first post on the Paizo forums, which I'm making specifically to point out that this is the best post I've seen about the Playtest so far. That's not me saying I agree or disagree with everything said, but that the post was well-reasoned, well-laid out, and thoughtfully made. Good job, Chibi!

Now, onto my take.

Ancestry Feats: I always disliked how, both in D&D and Pathfinder, the races were, well, racially stereotyped. Dwarves hating giants and halflings loving slings always seemed like something your racist uncle would say. When I first heard about Ancestry Feats I was hoping that, rather than being baked in stereotypes they would instead become optional cultural choices.

They definitely delivered on that front, though I feel that they swung too far in the opposite direction. Opting into culturally determined qualities is great, opting into genetically determined qualities is frankly kind of weird to me. I understand that the Ancestry Feats marked Heritage have to be taken at first level or not at all, but I think it would be better if the races just came with the hereditary feats out the gate. Elves having good hearing and gnomes having good sniffers isn't game-breaking, but it does help differentiate the Ancestries.

Feats and Character Customization: I love the core idea behind PF2's character creation. Even if you never buy a splatbook, you'll still never run out of different characters to make. I really like how no class has a dead level. Every single level of every single class, you've got choices to make, helping you further make a unique character. Skill feats or general feats or class feats or spells, you get to decide something every level. That's great.

What's not so great is that some of the class feats are kind of... fiddly. They don't seem to add much system-wise to a character. I know part of that is that you're getting so many feats that you should expect the small things to add up to a bigger thing. I don't know how much of that is the 3.5/PF1 mindset of, "My precious feats are too valuable for anything less than pure gold!" that I'm probably still stuck in.

Action Economy: I like that multi-attacking is a thing right out the gate. You probably won't hit much with the last two attacks at first level, but still, you get to try. Having the clear definition of what casting components are and how those effect actions is also great. But...

ChibiNyan wrote:
A lot of things that use to be free or swift actions now suddenly have an action cost. In fact, many things have arbitrary action taxes that ultimately make you unable to do more than you could in the previous edition: Move + do 1 thing. The increased freedom is mostly limited to moving around and performing basic strikes, but that is probably good enough. The action required to reg-rip a weapon or use a shield might need to be looked at, however...

That. Exactly that.

Skill Leveling: I understand the idea behind the 20th-level barbarian knowing about dragons through experience vs. the 1st-level wizard knowing the theoretical, but I don't think it's enough to carry the idea. Skills are where character personality really had the chance to shine through in 3/3.5/PF1. The skill feats, which I like quite a lot, help in that regard. But those only help define what you're good at, and a character, as with a real person, is defined by their flaws as much as their strengths. Maybe adding a few more ranks would help. I think untrained should just be a flat -2 + ability, though. It should be possible to be bad at something at higher levels.

Skill Feats: More than anything else, I want skill feats to make it through the Playtest. Love it, think they're cool, many seem useful, and even if some of them aren't you get so many skill feats that you can just take one that fits your character concept. I would, no lie, buy a t-shirt that says "Team Skill Feat" and wear it around just so I could talk about the skill feats to strangers that ask about the shirt.

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I really appreciate the structure of your feedback - namely pointing out what you saw the problem was they were trying to address and then measuring the solution against that.

It's impossible to be objective in this kind of stuff, but spelling out your thinking like that makes it so much easier to get where you're coming from (even if one has diametrically opposed preferences).

This is a good model for providing "overall" feedback, I think.

This is a treat thread. Lot of well thought out opinions here. Great job friends. :)

Scarab Sages

I gotta say very well thought put and written. I am only going to make a few points on things I disagree with. I really love the Ancestry Feat idea but it does need a few tweaks, firstly Half-breeds should be its own race which would I feel make them make a bit more sense because currently they are nerfed to all hack. If it was me I would say Half-Elf is Int, Free & Free with a minus to Con and Half-Orc is Str, Free, Free with a minus to Int. Then give them a bunch of feats. I know alot of people are mad that elves can now be put to sleep or dwarves dont naturally hate giants but I like that because it does create diversity among the races but in hopes of finding a balance maybe give them trance or something. On the whole action economy I think its fun and easy to explain to new players. You have 3 moves and maybe a reaction you can spend your actions anyway you see fit which gives the players a lot of indepenence which I am a huge fan of. I personally think resonance is really wonky and it muddles the alchemist class really badly, I'm still trying to understand it. I can make a bulk of Alchemist fire for 1 resonance and a bulk is 4 but only half can have infusion. Its alot of extra and I am not a fan. But keep,up,the good work y'all

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I just tried Rose revenge today. There were a couple of things that I walked into character creation expecting and kinda just fell flat.

Magic items.
Expecting: the Christmas Tree to go away and making each magic item more meaningful to your character.

What I got: Consumables need too many points to validate low Charisma characters. I just made a plain dwarf monk and had to decide whether to have poor Str/Dex or Wis just so I can make enough resonance points to heal twice. There isnt enough options of non magical healing or make resonance point work off of your key stat points.

Expecting: Skills will mean something. Specialized Skill will make you different from others.

What I got: The way paizo set up skills made you stucked with either your signature skill or subpar choice. The whole skill system is one good on paper, but not in practice. Two bards with same chramisa, but one specializied in bluff and other one specializied is diplomatic do not have much difference in numerical value. So unless Paizo overly enforce mastery of a said skill, signature skills will not have that much meaning. If they do makes signature skills important, taking anything outside of them meaninglessness. Also in society settings you never really know what party members classes will be. The effect of that is certain mastered skills would never be available to your party. I have build tons of characters who were skill monkeys just to fill in holes of the party, but with the new system I can not. I do not like having to have 12 intelligence to learn phyiscal stat based skills.

Side Note too many lore options.

Personal feeling of the new trained system feels a little too small of a range. I feel a wizards should not have just -2 for using weapons versus a fighter using that weapon at plus 3. That difference is a 25% hit chance. I can not fathom fighters trading all of that arcane might for little of bit of martial prowless. That logic can apply for any character class that iconic can do something that another class should not be able to do. I understand ability stats will make more of difference, but at the same time if we just compare apples to apples it does not make any sense. I think there needs to be more of a larger range of modifiers to make specialist feel more special.

Expected: Changes to combat actions make it more fluid and less rigid.

What i got:This was probably the best revamp of an old system. My first complain is that leap action seems weird. You stride foward. Stop. Jump. Then move again. It would be more logically to have be athletic ability to do a standing long jump and land perfectly still then a forced move jump move as a double action. Both moves could not be greater than your land speed. My second complain is that my cleric had to burn a action to maintain bless. At what point is making your party better worth the action than helping them do it yourself.

I think starfinder had quirks but a different system that is enjoyable, but pathfinder 2.0 had too many quirks to make my character seem fun

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Just finished playing the beginning of Doomsday Dawn scenario 2, playing a 4th level Elven Ranger with a Bear animal companion.

My experience corroborates OP's concerns.

The bear was a huge liability. I can see the reason whey it would take an action to give an order to an animal companion. When I picked animal companion as a feature, I thought that I'd give it an order, and then if would perform that action until I told it to stop, or until the situation changed so that it wasn't able to do it anymore. You know, like a trained animal in real life.

That is not how the game thinks trained animals work.

The fact that you have to continue giving the animal companion orders every single round is just stupid. The fact that the animal companion will stop attacking and just sit there doing nothing while another creature attacks it, unless I tell it to keep going is insane. Not only is it comically dumb as a mechanic, it also utterly breaks verisimilitude.

Imagine that for some reason you don't want your animal companion to engage the enemy. You just want it to Heel and stick next to you. Apparently that takes an action every round too.

Just imagine if you had a dog that you had to tell to heel every six seconds in order to get it to walk next to you. Would you call that dog well trained?

Now imagine if you had a trained attack dog, that you could tell to go attack someone, and then after 6 seconds it would just stop and sit there until it was told to attack again.

You, for some reason, have trained your attack dog to run up to something, piss it off, and then do nothing until it hears you tell it to keep biting. Over and over again.

This is my understanding of the current rules. Please, please tell me that I'm wrong.

Since someone had the good taste to revive my thread, I'll take this opportunity to add a new entry! I heard rumors that this one would be fixed in Monday's errata, but got conflicting stories about it so it's still worth a shot.

**Stealth and Surprise**

Problem: A well set-up ambush combined with characters focusing too much on boosting their initiative were very smart strategies with powerful rewards, but they were indirect contributors to the "Rocket Tag" phenomena and complaints. If a creature gets a surprise round and then rolls high initiative, it gets 2 turns in a row against flat-footed enemies (If you haven't acted yet, you are flat-footed). This can be enough to pretty much end or guarantee the fight's result right then and there, specially if these ambushers also have sneak attack. While PC parties rarely had a lot of sneak attackers, some enemy formations could have 4+ and things could get very nasty because of a bad roll. This paradigm has been the same since OD&D.

Promise: Characters would now have a chance to turn the tables even when they are surprised from stealth, preventing fights from ending before they begin.. The flat-footed condition would be more balanced with fixed -2 AC so it's always decent. Characters also are not flat-footed on the first round except against Rogues, making them more special at using this tactic.

Solution Rating: Below Average

Opinion: Again I think they went a bit overboard with the "nerfs" to the point where they made the mechanic pointless. Attacking out of Stealth IMMEDIATELY alerts the target before the hit lands so that they are not flat-footed. The only way around this is having the Goblin-only "Very Sneaky" Ancestry Feat and then CRITTING on the Stealth check; even most Rogues were left out of getting the classic turn-1 sneak attack and thus the whole point of Stealthing into combat becomes "I use sneak for initiative rather than perception". Funnily enough, Rogues have HIGHER perception than Stealth for a few levels so they aren't even encouraged to do this... Their main shtick.

The removal of Surprise rounds is less egregious than the above, but also causes some issues. You can ambush your enemies but then everyone just rolls initiative normally and the victims can get the drop on the ambushers instead! Pretty silly in my opinion. The Rogue gets the Surprise Attack feature to get his Sneak Attack if he goes first, "patching" the removal of this universal mechanic but still being unreliable since they can't guarantee going first no matter what.

A middle ground I would propose is to return surprise rounds, again with just 1 action. Creatures that are attacked are flat-footed only for the first attack and become alert imemdiately after taking damage. This would encourage Rogues to sneak up but also not make it insanely powerful. The 1 action on surprise round would be enough to prevent Mages from casting a spell and really messing things up.

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Another one since my players were complaining a lot about this while I was writing the previous post.

**Attacks of Opportunity**

Problem: The universal AOO mechanic in Pathfinder (inherited from D&D3) was very punishing and put a lot of pressure on every creature's tactical decisions. The end consequence of this was that most characters were afraid to move around and this caused combats to many times consist only of Full Attacks + 5-foot-steps. This caused the complaint that PF1 combat felt very "static" and counterproductive to creativity. Not to mention that this mechanic is VERY HARD to learn for many players! Some of my players figured it out fast, others still often ask about how it works after 3 years of regular play. It was a big part of the learning curve for sure.

Promise: AOO just for Fighter (And maybe other Martials with a feat). After all, why would the Wizard have the skill hit someone with their staff just for running around? Plus, combined with the 3 action system this would allow combat to be super chaotic and all over the place. Characters would be free to use all of their abilities without fear of watching their positioning. The tactics would be a lot easier to learn now, and welcoming to new players (Only if Fighters aren't involved). Also, 5E fixed many of these issues and it seems to have paid off.

Solution Rating: BAAAAAAAAAD

Opinion: I'm sure some people like this change since it does actually deliver on the promises and opens up combat. However, I disagree with the entire premise that this was required in the first place. I am of the belief that the Attack of Opportunity mechanic was the glue that held the entire d20 tactical system together.

It prevented enemies form just running away freely (Olden D&D editions also punished this severely). My players felt helpless when faced with enemies just fleeing right through their faces and being unable to do anything to stop them as long as they always triple moved.

AOO combined with the then new Flanking mechanicmaide it both challenging but rewarding to get into the proper position to flank. Circle strafing to flank is now very advantageous and has little downsides since anyone can run circles around their opponents. Without AOO to mitigate this, the Conga Line phenomena reaches it's full power. (Conga line is when all melee combatants join the fight by forming an alternating straight line so everyone is flanking someone).

People can cast spells in front of your face and you can't do anything about it. I guess they wanted mages to be more exciting in melee but this can backfire a lot, specially with healers being able to tank just by virtue of spamming super-strong 1 action heal spells while right next to enemies. They figured this would be mitigated by the new spell interruption mechanics (which are harsh on the caster), but it's very situational to be able to interrupt spells using readied actions since it's very action-inefficent and the spellcaster can simply STEP back and do it anyways, wasting 2 of your actions for 1... Not to mention the metagamey implications of doing this in response to someone announcing their intention. Again, only AOO can reliably pull this off.

Finally, and most importantly, AOO was the core of the entire "Tanking" role in 3E/PF. Locking combat down so people couldn't move around was often a positive result because it meant the melee combatants could tie down enemies to keep them away from critical targets (Mages or BBEG). With proper positioning and closed/complex terrain, martials could control a significant amount of space and protect their allies. The Paladin currently has a "new" way to Tank with Retributive strike, but I don't need to talk about how unpopular this mechanic has turned out.

The Fighter can still do most of the above, making him awesome. (Paladin eventually too). But the party that played did not have a Fighter, nor should any party be expected to. I think those features are too important to make them "optional" like they are.

So now we must evaluate. Which is more important: Open high-mobility combat that encourages flanking and is very easy to learn, or all of the above things I mentioned? I'm positive the developers know all of this already and still decided to go for #1. I still don't agree. 5E AOOs do not cover all those bases, but they are still functional and universal while allowing mobility and being accesible to new players. I'd rather take that compromise.

Sorry for the long rant! I really have learned to love AOOs with the years and was disappointed with how limited they became. I'll try to post a positive one next time since there's actually several things I do like. Feel free to do the same yourselves or even disagree with this.

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