Second Edition in its current form seeks to obfuscate important information from both players AND the Game Master


General Discussion


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So my group did a bit of Doomsday Dawn part 1 last night after spending upwards of 3 hours in character generation (unreasonable even for a new system), and I'm going to rant a bit (and I'm going to capitalize game system names for ease of reference):

Including the notes to gain an Ancestry Feat and Background in your class level up chart prompted two players to become confused as to whether they were supposed to pick a second Ancestry Feat and Background.

Switching to Unchained's action economy system is cool (though simply saying how many of my actions are taken by casting a given spell would be better than having a sidebar clumsily explaining that each component takes an action), but:

Adding your character level to absolutely everything serves only to make the wizard replace the fighter. Why make a fighter when I can make a muscle wizard and have him the fighter's equal after 5 levels with a couple weapon and armor proficiencies. At the moment, fighters do not gain additional attacks over time or anything else that makes them a viable threat over a caster class save for attacks of opportunity. And a wise GM mitigates those as much as he can.
Never mind that every skill is now tied intrinsically to your level, making any build a relatively effective face, loremaster, and lockpick all in one. It's trying to be 5e and it's bad at it.

TEML is uncommunicative of its properties.
It does not say -2, +0, +1, +2, or +3, it simply gives us a pip. At first glance this reminded me of WoD, but under analysis it's D&D2e's Weapon Mastery system applied to every skill as well as weapons and armor.
Not only does one not know what value they represent at a glance without reading the rulebook (and it didn't help that the GM miscommunicated their function at first), but the game is actively regressing its systems functions to an age where everyone was expected to memorize a hundred charts. Today's players do not memorize charts.

Action icons are uncommunicative of their properties. I don't want to consult a legend any time two chevrons are connecting in a way I don't quite recognize.

Feat types! There are five g&#$$%n Feat types! FIVE! Not categories, TYPES! Gained at different rates and under different circumstances!

Choosing Class Feats feels more like choosing what you are comfortable with losing. Having a plethora of selections at every Feat level can only exacerbate this, making the player worry about whether they should dip back into a previous level's feat catalogue for a good secondary from that level or to advance ever forward.

Humans are blatantly underpowered compared to literally every other Ancestry. Not only are they at -2 to one ability score, they don't even get their traditional bonus feat. It seems that the only reason to be a human is to spec into something other than human (half-elf/half-orc). And as long as we're making crossbreeding a level 1 feat, I want half-dwarves and three-fourths-lings.

Chelish is no longer considered a viable ethnicity for a character, almost as if we are to automatically assume that anyone from Cheliax is irredeemably evil and not worthy of play. Hmm...

How do I use Combat Maneuvers? Okay, they relocated Grapple to Athletics and breaking it to Acrobatics, but what about the other maneuvers? Where's my CMB and CMD? The simplicity of resolving such maneuvers was, for me, one of three primary draws to Pathfinder over D&D3e/3.5e, the other two being the simplified perception skill and clearly indicated Experience Point gain for each encounter without having to consult a chart. Speaking of which:

The new Experience Point system is TERRIBLE!
Under the PF1 system we had to consult a chart once per level, but now, harkening back to the days of 3e, we must consult a chart every encounter, slowing down the game considerably. Locking it to 1000 XP per level looks like a JRPG (notably the .hack series) and such XP adjustments are best done by a computer.
You could actually put the chart on the character sheet, but that would put the onus on players to figure out how much XP they received. Again, today's players do not memorize charts

And the group couldn't figure out if the goblin fight in Doomsday Dawn A2 was supposed to award 120 XP (30 XP per level 0 creature slain) or just 30 XP for a flat level 0 encounter.

And sideways character sheets are for hipsters! They also make the flap of a binder eat valuable table space. At least PF2 included enough room for spells this time, so there's that.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Chelish is just Taldane with notions.


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chibikami wrote:
It does not say -2, +0, +1, +2, or +3, it simply gives us a pip. At first glance this reminded me of WoD, but under analysis it's D&D2e's Weapon Mastery system applied to every skill as well as weapons and armor.

Now, be fair. I've spent some time looking at D&D2e's weapon mastery system in the past, and the situation there was completely different. That system had several different bonuses from each level of mastery, some of which varied depending on the weapon, so it was totally reasonable to have names for the different levels of skill. Of course, that doesn't mean that having those complicated sets of bonuses was necessarily a good idea, but if you're going to do that then it's very sensible to use named levels of mastery.

On the other hand, if you're just giving a +1 bonus per level...not so much.

Quote:
Humans are blatantly underpowered compared to literally every other Ancestry. Not only are they at -2 to one ability score, they don't even get their traditional bonus feat.

Well, they don't have a -2 penalty to one of their other ability scores, for what that's worth. Also, they can turn their ancestry feats into class/general feats, albeit only 1st level ones. Since a lot of ancestry feat choices are, shall we say, particularly disappointing even for PF2e, this may be quite a good option. The only trouble is that there aren't that many good general or class feats either.

Other than that, I agree with most of your assessments.


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pi4t wrote:


Well, they don't have a -2 penalty to one of their other ability scores, for what that's worth.

The rest of the group and I had actually missed that there were the traditional minuses to racial stats. Not a single one of us realized that there were subtractions to make. We also didn't realize that the Key Ability for each class was a further +2

Fixing the system can start with going back to stating things in terms of math instead of abstract concepts


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In the Character creation section it tells you that you have minuses.


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Gamerskum wrote:

In the Character creation section it tells you that you have minuses.

Yeah, I felt that the stat system was really well laid out. It was one of the clearer parts of the playtest book.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So.... you didn't read the step by step guide on how to create a character and are mad that your character came out wrong?


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Tumorseal wrote:

So.... you didn't read the step by step guide on how to create a character and are mad that your character came out wrong?

I'm glad I'm not the only one that read what he was saying that way. I thought the step by step instructions with examples of what happens at each step of stat generation were very straightforward.


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Tumorseal wrote:

So.... you didn't read the step by step guide on how to create a character and are mad that your character came out wrong?

What "Flaw" means is kicked down to page 18, not actually brought up in the step by step guide.

Now to you and me, we can probably quickly understand what Flaw is. To someone else and someone maybe new, I can see Flaw being thought of a few different things.

Personally should maybe change the term?


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So there are many reasons why I might read something and not fully understand it, among them are-

1) It was written in a way which was unclear.
2) I glossed over or misinterpreted something important
3) Whoever wrote it maliciously set out to mislead or confuse me.

Going straight to #3 is a bad look.


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I read it through and it made plenty of sense. It wasn't intentionally set up to obfuscate. It was set up to tease concepts and then specify them for the he first few pages.

Granted I am currently brain dumping the entire pf1 and 3.5 ruleset I have ingrained into my brain, as it seems it's getting in the way of a lot of folks learning this system.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Tumorseal wrote:

So.... you didn't read the step by step guide on how to create a character and are mad that your character came out wrong?

What "Flaw" means is kicked down to page 18, not actually brought up in the step by step guide.

Now to you and me, we can probably quickly understand what Flaw is. To someone else and someone maybe new, I can see Flaw being thought of a few different things.

Personally should maybe change the term?

I'm not opposed to changing the term itself, but it does say to note your races flaw and boosts in step 2, and then in step 5 tells you to go to page 19 to calculate your ability scores (which does tell you that a flaw is a -2 to that score).


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nah, the step by step guide tells you to choose ancestry, background and class without information what that means for the abilty scores and then the next step is 'finalizing the ability scores' when you haven't even started with them, because the step by step guide gave no indication to do so.

the way character creation is laid out is extremly unfortunate and counter intuitive


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Hythlodeus wrote:

nah, the step by step guide tells you to choose ancestry, background and class without information what that means for the abilty scores and then the next step is 'finalizing the ability scores' when you haven't even started with them, because the step by step guide gave no indication to do so.

the way character creation is laid out is extremly unfortunate and counter intuitive

Why'd you start at Step 2 to make this argument, instead of Step 1 where it literally talks about ability scores as part of your Character Concept?


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bookrat wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:

nah, the step by step guide tells you to choose ancestry, background and class without information what that means for the abilty scores and then the next step is 'finalizing the ability scores' when you haven't even started with them, because the step by step guide gave no indication to do so.

the way character creation is laid out is extremly unfortunate and counter intuitive

Why'd you start at Step 2 to make this argument, instead of Step 1 where it literally talks about ability scores as part of your Character Concept?

because part 1 tells you to create a character concept and the bright orange dot with the '1' in it refers to the place on the char sheet where your character name should be. that's the moment you automatically jump forward to step 2 and do not read any further


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I tend to agree that it's poorly laid out. If I had my way, I'd put the Playing the Game chapter before character creation, since I had to read that before I really understood most of what I was doing in character creation.

In fact, my reading order for this (and the way I always read systems) was:

-Equipment Rules
-How to Play
-Game Mastering
-Skills
-Classes and Advancement
-Feats
-Spells

This is the most intuitive and logical way to read as far as I'm concerned; each segment builds on the ones before it and isn't readily understood without first grasping the prior things. I realize they'll never move character creation from the front of the book (kind of an industry standard), but it's just so much easier to read and comprehend in this order.


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Hythlodeus wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:

nah, the step by step guide tells you to choose ancestry, background and class without information what that means for the abilty scores and then the next step is 'finalizing the ability scores' when you haven't even started with them, because the step by step guide gave no indication to do so.

the way character creation is laid out is extremly unfortunate and counter intuitive

Why'd you start at Step 2 to make this argument, instead of Step 1 where it literally talks about ability scores as part of your Character Concept?
because part 1 tells you to create a character concept and the bright orange dot with the '1' in it refers to the place on the char sheet where your character name should be. that's the moment you automatically jump forward to step 2 and do not read any further

"I refused to read the section, therefore the section is flawed" is not a good argument for changing the section.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hythlodeus wrote:

nah, the step by step guide tells you to choose ancestry, background and class without information what that means for the abilty scores and then the next step is 'finalizing the ability scores' when you haven't even started with them, because the step by step guide gave no indication to do so.

the way character creation is laid out is extremly unfortunate and counter intuitive

I would say that it is counterintuitive to us experienced players who are always looking for ways to "game the system", ie find out what choices we must make at character creation (and later on) to get the results most closely aligned to our objectives. We go at it with a mechanical concept in mind and the layout of the playtest CRB is even somewhat hostile to this way of creating PCs

But for a completely new player who only has a story concept for their character, it is plain and efficient to create the character they envision

I think the devs aim for the system to allow someone to create a character this way and have it be good at what it is supposed to do. Whether they succeeded in it or not will be an important finding of the playtest


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We used to use pictograms and icons millennia ago. We came up with something much better: words and numbers.

Use them in PF2. Get rid of icons.

Don't use color to encode important information. They are useless in dim light, like when playing in a corner of a crowded game store, or if the reader is visually impaired.

Both icons and colors require normal vision and bright light. Unless you want to make things difficult, ditch them.

Also, most of your players can do simple arithmetic (*). You don't need to waste space with tables when a one-line equation will do. Don't underestimate the intelligence and ability of your players!

(*) And forcing those who can't to learn is a bonus. You can't go through your life innumerate any more than you can go through life illiterate.


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bookrat wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:

nah, the step by step guide tells you to choose ancestry, background and class without information what that means for the abilty scores and then the next step is 'finalizing the ability scores' when you haven't even started with them, because the step by step guide gave no indication to do so.

the way character creation is laid out is extremly unfortunate and counter intuitive

Why'd you start at Step 2 to make this argument, instead of Step 1 where it literally talks about ability scores as part of your Character Concept?
because part 1 tells you to create a character concept and the bright orange dot with the '1' in it refers to the place on the char sheet where your character name should be. that's the moment you automatically jump forward to step 2 and do not read any further
"I refused to read the section, therefore the section is flawed" is not a good argument for changing the section.

the argument was more along the lines of "the section made it clear through it's presentation that it is unnecessary information, despite it being not the case"


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The Raven Black wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:

nah, the step by step guide tells you to choose ancestry, background and class without information what that means for the abilty scores and then the next step is 'finalizing the ability scores' when you haven't even started with them, because the step by step guide gave no indication to do so.

the way character creation is laid out is extremly unfortunate and counter intuitive

I would say that it is counterintuitive to us experienced players who are always looking for ways to "game the system", ie find out what choices we must make at character creation (and later on) to get the results most closely aligned to our objectives. We go at it with a mechanical concept in mind and the layout of the playtest CRB is even somewhat hostile to this way of creating PCs

But for a completely new player who only has a story concept for their character, it is plain and efficient to create the character they envision

I think the devs aim for the system to allow someone to create a character this way and have it be good at what it is supposed to do. Whether they succeeded in it or not will be an important finding of the playtest

even then, including the attribute score step-by-step into the character creation step-by-step seems more logical than the Choose-your-own-adventure-style approach of 'pleas skip ahead now to pg. 19' the playtest document provides


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I didn't play yet the game with this new version but I agree with the OP : this rulebook is a mess.

The different informations for one thing are dispersed in several chapers, it's gonna be awful to keep things fast during a combat.

The rules about damage are in the Playing the game chapter, pages away from the Encounter chapter, where are the infomations about attacks.

Guess what ? The rule about non-lethal damage (which states the penlty to your attack when you want to spare your enemy) is in the damage section, not the attack section.

A friend of mine looked at the rules for Counterspell, he must go in 4 différent chapters to understand the rules (aand he didn't yet know how it works).


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"seeks"?

That's a pretty big -- not to mention irrational -- jump. What could the motivation to deliberately "obfuscate important information" possibly be?

:rolleyes:


I found the section in the start of the book about terminology to be really helpful with some of those issues.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
Tumorseal wrote:

So.... you didn't read the step by step guide on how to create a character and are mad that your character came out wrong?

What "Flaw" means is kicked down to page 18, not actually brought up in the step by step guide.

Now to you and me, we can probably quickly understand what Flaw is. To someone else and someone maybe new, I can see Flaw being thought of a few different things.

Personally should maybe change the term?

It is right there in the step-by-step instructions:

page 19, step 2 wrote:
Then, apply the ability flaw your character’s ancestry requires, if any. An ability flaw reduces that ability score by 2.


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Fumarole wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Tumorseal wrote:

So.... you didn't read the step by step guide on how to create a character and are mad that your character came out wrong?

What "Flaw" means is kicked down to page 18, not actually brought up in the step by step guide.

Now to you and me, we can probably quickly understand what Flaw is. To someone else and someone maybe new, I can see Flaw being thought of a few different things.

Personally should maybe change the term?

It is right there in the step-by-step instructions:

page 19, step 2 wrote:
Then, apply the ability flaw your character’s ancestry requires, if any. An ability flaw reduces that ability score by 2.

In the ability section. Which the Character Gen section tell you to go read and then come back. Why can't Character Gen just tell you that?

It's a minor thing for me but for new players... hang on might be back after I show this to someone that hasn't played tabletop.

I suppose I would like to see a "Quick Start" chart or something but that's because I kinda know how this should work.


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MerlinCross wrote:

In the ability section. Which the Character Gen section tell you to go read and then come back. Why can't Character Gen just tell you that?

It's a minor thing for me but for new players... hang on might be back after I show this to someone that hasn't played tabletop.

I suppose I would like to see a "Quick Start" chart or something but that's because I kinda know how this should work.

One thing I would like to see is a character who is just "Play and Go." Very few choices to be made, all the math in the background. It would serve as an introductory PC for anyone who likes that sort of thing.

Or perhaps a section for each class that says, "If you just want to play and go, pick these options and have fun!"


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Scott Romanowski wrote:

We used to use pictograms and icons millennia ago. We came up with something much better: words and numbers.

Use them in PF2. Get rid of icons.

Don't use color to encode important information. They are useless in dim light, like when playing in a corner of a crowded game store, or if the reader is visually impaired.

Both icons and colors require normal vision and bright light. Unless you want to make things difficult, ditch them.

Also, most of your players can do simple arithmetic (*). You don't need to waste space with tables when a one-line equation will do. Don't underestimate the intelligence and ability of your players!

(*) And forcing those who can't to learn is a bonus. You can't go through your life innumerate any more than you can go through life illiterate.

Real life says that you're incorrect in your assumptions. That's why lots of school books and even the "... For Dummies" series use icons for often occurring notifications.

They're not going to use colour changes in the text going forward (there will also be a version dropping soon that'll be for vision impaired people, it'll be able to be read by text to speech programs).

As for the OP, so many of those things I can tell stem from an incorrect/insufficient reading of the rules. And I haven't even read the rules yet, but I could tell just from the previews and videos released before the launch.


bookrat wrote:
One thing I would like to see is a character who is just "Play and Go." Very few choices to be made, all the math in the background. It would serve as an introductory PC for anyone who likes that sort of thing.

Yep. There should have at least been a sample character filled out. I ended up going back to the Paizo character creation video.

Liberty's Edge

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GentleGiant wrote:

Real life says that you're incorrect in your assumptions. That's why lots of school books and even the "... For Dummies" series use icons for often occurring notifications.

They're not going to use colour changes in the text going forward (there will also be a version dropping soon that'll be for vision impaired people, it'll be able to be read by text to speech programs).

As for the OP, so many of those things I can tell stem from an incorrect/insufficient reading of the rules. And I haven't even read the rules yet, but I could tell just from the previews and videos released before the launch.

I found the icons a little unclear. I feel like like one and two actions are clear enough, but that when I see three actions, I'll have to stop and count. Maybe I am getting old, but why couldn't they just hollow it out and add a 1, 2, 3, F, R, instead? It would be clearer once you were familiar with the iconography and no less obscure before then.

Both in the iconography and the traits (the somatic spell casting component may or may not have the manipulative trait? Why?), I feel like they are sacrificing comprehension for sake of word count. Increasing the learning curve will probably reduce the player base or slow the growth. You don't get more players by making the game less approachable and PF2e is far less approachable than PF1e or D&D 3.0 - 5e.

I haven't finished my first read through, but this is looking like a poor direction for Pathfinder (at hopefully a superficial level).

At a more fundamental level, I am concerned that the feats upon feats(PF2e should have the subtitle of "Yo, dawg. I heard you liked feats so...") replacing canned classes is going to lead to choice paralysis in some players, but that is harder for me to judge.

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