Can we get blogs from the designers about design intent?


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There's been a lot of discussion within the community about every element of the playtest rules, and there are a few issues that keep being mentioned. Examples are the Alchemist in general, the Rangers lack of synergy in its class features, and the Paladin's glut of reactions. Others include the micromanagement of actions in combat with things like removing and replacing your hand on your weapon.

One thing I'm hoping we see that could help with a lot of the confusion is if the playtest designers published blogs that discussed the design intent of the different elements of the playtest rules.

To use the alchemist as an example, since it's the only class I've played, it would be really good to know why they chose to tie the alchemist into resonance the way they have, and if they have a different view of the alchemical items, which seem to be basically always worse than spells. Perhaps the alchemist is intended to be a melee or ranged class that compliments its attacks with alchemical items, rather than relying on them, and that's been lost in translation.

That's just one example, but there are many topics of discussion where the playtest community lacks the context to evaluate seemingly confusing design choices.

So far, all of the blog posts have to a greater or lesser extent been written as marketing pieces designed to build hype and preview content. That's fine before the release of the rules, but now that they're out, what we really need is open and honest communication from the designers.

Senior Designer

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EJDean wrote:
So far, all of the blog posts have to a greater or lesser extent been written as marketing pieces designed to build hype and preview content. That's fine before the release of the rules, but now that they're out, what we really need is open and honest communication from the designers.

I would start by going back and reading those initial blogs with fresh eyes. Between the blogs and various interviews done by members of the design team since January (I've done half a dozen), I think we have been very open and honest about the design intent of the Playtest's design. The pieces are there and in abundance.


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Some of the design principles are faily obvious

1) Make classes matter. They're not just things you dip into to get the particular feature you want. They are the core of your character and gate the things you can and can't do.

2) Spread the love. Stop frontloading everything so that level progression is smoother, and going from 14th to 15th level is as big a deal as going from 4th to 5th.

3) Fewer subsystems. Everything works the same way.

4) Make skills matter, as you've said. I think there is a lot of subtlety in the skill system that those complaining that "the legendary guy is only +5 better than untrained" have missed - particularly the way it interacts with the critical success and critical failure rules.

5) Stop being That Guy. Specifically, That Guy who makes Characters Who Are Really Really Good At Only One Thing. Because yes PF1 may let you make the 1st level character with a +15 diplomacy, or a guy who can wield three halberds, but frankly that makes the game all about you, skews the principles of encounter design, and leads to encounters that are either too easy or impossible, depending on the makeup of That's Guys party.

Scarab Sages

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Why can't the whole party be "that guy"? The guy that talks, the guy that kills, the guy that casts and the guy that sneaks. That sounds more interesting than "a couple nobodies with no skills picked up a sword"


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Angel Hunter D wrote:
Why can't the whole party be "that guy"? The guy that talks, the guy that kills, the guy that casts and the guy that sneaks. That sounds more interesting than "a couple nobodies with no skills picked up a sword"

Whoa there. That would make too much sense.


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Were we reading the same blogs and listening to the same Know Direction podcasts, and more recently watching Paizo's own videos?

The design intent was the first thing we were told about, and then continually reminded of. I'd say that its about the least controversial thing about the new version :)

That design intent has succeeded imho, for this reason: the majority of the big debates here have been about things like adding level to proficiency or 1/2 level, or whether weapon proficiency can add damage dice. Than and whether barbarians should get power attack, or that the gap at higher levels between untrained and legendary in a skill is a bit to small.

These types of question are about tuning the variables within the framework, not the framework itself. Hope that makes sense, it's a rather abstract point.


I don't understand why people is mad at "no fighters with light armor anymore".
If you want to fight and use light armor, go Rogue with Multiclass Feat Fighter.
This is class based game, classes SHOULD matter. It should be important what I chose as my main class.

Why overspecialize? Why do you want a system that allows that? If the system allows it, it means half the game base might be "playing wrong", not having a 20 in INT as a Wizard (huge fail in PF1).
I like this holistic approach where it's harder to make something that is not good enough.

Overall it was interesting read. Havent finished it, but it seems great. I'm worried about needing a feat to do ordinary things, but I hope more things are not gated behind a feat, need more reading though


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Letric wrote:

I don't understand why people is mad at "no fighters with light armor anymore".

If you want to fight and use light armor, go Rogue with Multiclass Feat Fighter.
This is class based game, classes SHOULD matter. It should be important what I chose as my main class.

Why overspecialize? Why do you want a system that allows that? If the system allows it, it means half the game base might be "playing wrong", not having a 20 in INT as a Wizard (huge fail in PF1).
I like this holistic approach where it's harder to make something that is not good enough.

Overall it was interesting read. Havent finished it, but it seems great. I'm worried about needing a feat to do ordinary things, but I hope more things are not gated behind a feat, need more reading though

Probably because pigeonholing fighters into heavy armor describes only a few fighters. Lets use GOT as an example. Red Viper? Not heavy armor and not a rogue since he uses a spear. Members of the Nights Watch? I dont see much heavy armor. The Unsullied rock leather.

Dark Archive

Gallyck wrote:
Letric wrote:

I don't understand why people is mad at "no fighters with light armor anymore".

If you want to fight and use light armor, go Rogue with Multiclass Feat Fighter.
This is class based game, classes SHOULD matter. It should be important what I chose as my main class.

Why overspecialize? Why do you want a system that allows that? If the system allows it, it means half the game base might be "playing wrong", not having a 20 in INT as a Wizard (huge fail in PF1).
I like this holistic approach where it's harder to make something that is not good enough.

Overall it was interesting read. Havent finished it, but it seems great. I'm worried about needing a feat to do ordinary things, but I hope more things are not gated behind a feat, need more reading though

Probably because pigeonholing fighters into heavy armor describes only a few fighters. Lets use GOT as an example. Red Viper? Not heavy armor and not a rogue since he uses a spear. Members of the Nights Watch? I dont see much heavy armor. The Unsullied rock leather.

Do they need to be fighters in this incarnation of the game? In PF1, I would often make 'rogue' characters without ever touching the rogue class. In PF2, you can make a 'fighter' in a similar fashion. No one wears a nametag with their class on it. I hope.


Gallyck wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Why can't the whole party be "that guy"? The guy that talks, the guy that kills, the guy that casts and the guy that sneaks. That sounds more interesting than "a couple nobodies with no skills picked up a sword"
Whoa there. That would make too much sense.

Each of waynemarkstubbs's points is worth discussing, and I have an entire mathematical article written up on smooth level progression, but let's start with overspecialization.

The main problem with overspecialization of a single character is that it makes challenges that fit the specialization too easy. A common fight is against a monster with good AC and lots of hit points. A super-optimized damage-dealing character can make mincemeat of a level-appropriate monster of that type. Increasing the challenge with better AC and more hit points leaves the other player characters almost useless in defeating the monster.

If the GM switches to a monster that does not fit the specialization, such as giving it flying and flyby attacks, then the overspecialized character crumbles. He cannot defeat the monster because he has only one trick and that trick now works poorly.

Angel Hunter D's suggestion of spreading all necessary specializations across the party works. It fits the original four niche model: fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard. However, it requires good coordination among several players, so it is a method that requires experience. It also leads to a lot of adventures where each PC has his moment of glory while everyone else plays support. If the players are okay with taking turns being the most valuable player, then it works fine.


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Mergy wrote:
Gallyck wrote:
Letric wrote:

I don't understand why people is mad at "no fighters with light armor anymore".

If you want to fight and use light armor, go Rogue with Multiclass Feat Fighter.
This is class based game, classes SHOULD matter. It should be important what I chose as my main class.

Why overspecialize? Why do you want a system that allows that? If the system allows it, it means half the game base might be "playing wrong", not having a 20 in INT as a Wizard (huge fail in PF1).
I like this holistic approach where it's harder to make something that is not good enough.

Overall it was interesting read. Havent finished it, but it seems great. I'm worried about needing a feat to do ordinary things, but I hope more things are not gated behind a feat, need more reading though

Probably because pigeonholing fighters into heavy armor describes only a few fighters. Lets use GOT as an example. Red Viper? Not heavy armor and not a rogue since he uses a spear. Members of the Nights Watch? I dont see much heavy armor. The Unsullied rock leather.

Do they need to be fighters in this incarnation of the game? In PF1, I would often make 'rogue' characters without ever touching the rogue class. In PF2, you can make a 'fighter' in a similar fashion. No one wears a nametag with their class on it. I hope.

This is exactly what I have been thinking lately.

What is the first thing we think about when creating a character? The class (or classes) we are going to use to build it, or the concept?

Example: if we want 'a spear-wielding Fighter with light armor' we are starting with the class; with 'a lightly-armored combatant, very skilled with a spear' we start with the concept, that we are THEN going to represent with classes - and we may find that Fighter is not necessarily the best one for that.

Now, I'm not saying that one way is always better than the other: maybe I have read about some cool class features and I want to try them, so I make a concept around those. In other cases, instead, starting with a class already locked in mind brings us to a halting point because we lack the options we need.
In PF1e we had a few ways to circumvent the problem: feats were universal, and that made it easier, but in other cases we had to dip into other classes to take the features we were missing.
In PF2e we have dedications, with their pros (more freedom in picking the other class feats, not losing advancement in the main class) and cons (being locked into a single dedication for 3 steps at least).
I think this system gives us the chance to build a lot of concepts, if we just can ditch the idea that a character is only defined by its class.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Angel Hunter D's suggestion of spreading all necessary specializations across the party works. It fits the original four niche model: fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard. However, it requires good coordination among several players, so it is a method that requires experience.

It also requires that players are willing to play the character the party needs, rather than the character they most want to play.

And it requires that we avoid things like PFS games where coordination is largely impossible.


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The "point" of overspecialization IS to "trivialize" their thing, that's what they've invested everything into. They go and say, the game has 10 types of challenges, and the player says, I want there to only be 9 and then spends everything to do that. As the GM you shouldn't scale up the world and make that challenge a challenge again. You should allow them to shine at their thing and have the challenge be in the remaining 9 things.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
EJDean wrote:
So far, all of the blog posts have to a greater or lesser extent been written as marketing pieces designed to build hype and preview content. That's fine before the release of the rules, but now that they're out, what we really need is open and honest communication from the designers.
I would start by going back and reading those initial blogs with fresh eyes. Between the blogs and various interviews done by members of the design team since January (I've done half a dozen), I think we have been very open and honest about the design intent of the Playtest's design. The pieces are there and in abundance.

Hi Stephen, thanks for replying so quickly! Thinking about your suggestion, going back and re-reading and listening to the prerelease info now that I've read and played the game is something I should do.

In relation to a few of the hot-button issues that have arisen, such as the Ranger's strange seeming lack of synergy to give one example: do you think posts talking about how those element are intended to fit into a party and the game system would be helpful? Not so much fire fighting, but addressing the big topics that have only come up post release.


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waynemarkstubbs wrote:
1) Make classes matter. They're not just things you dip into to get the particular feature you want. They are the core of your character and gate the things you can and can't do.
Letric wrote:

I don't understand why people is mad at "no fighters with light armor anymore".

If you want to fight and use light armor, go Rogue with Multiclass Feat Fighter.
This is class based game, classes SHOULD matter. It should be important what I chose as my main class.
Gallyck wrote:
Probably because pigeonholing fighters into heavy armor describes only a few fighters. Lets use GOT as an example. Red Viper? Not heavy armor and not a rogue since he uses a spear. Members of the Nights Watch? I dont see much heavy armor. The Unsullied rock leather.
Megistone wrote:

What is the first thing we think about when creating a character? The class (or classes) we are going to use to build it, or the concept?

Example: if we want 'a spear-wielding Fighter with light armor' we are starting with the class; with 'a lightly-armored combatant, very skilled with a spear' we start with the concept, that we are THEN going to represent with classes - and we may find that Fighter is not necessarily the best one for that.

I see conflicting priorities between waynemarkstubbs and Letric's class-matters design goal and Gallyck and Megistone's character-concept design goal.

In Class Matters, a character class is a finished work of art. It is designed to be played, like a video game, and enjoyed in the playing. The more the story is build into the class design, the deeper the play experience.

In Character Concept, a character class is raw material. It is intended to be shaped into a playable character. The artistry is borrowed from somewhere else, such as a historic figure or a Game of Thrones character. Inflexibility is seen as a deficiency in the raw material.

The archetypes in Pathfinder 1st Edition were an excellent compromise between the two views.


Chess Pwn wrote:
The "point" of overspecialization IS to "trivialize" their thing, that's what they've invested everything into. They go and say, the game has 10 types of challenges, and the player says, I want there to only be 9 and then spends everything to do that. As the GM you shouldn't scale up the world and make that challenge a challenge again. You should allow them to shine at their thing and have the challenge be in the remaining 9 things.

Do you believe CM/D exist? If yes, why would you want something to be trivialized? The whole idea behing the Disparity is Caster trivializing every bit of content with a single spell.


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Mathmuse wrote:


The archetypes in Pathfinder 1st Edition were an excellent compromise between the two views.

Not using features was something that always happened in PF1, eventually we had Archetypes, but you needed individual for each class. Instead now you can chose Pirate despite your class, in my eyes this is an improvent.

Who says you can't be a Light Armored fighter? You just do it. Ohh, you have features that aren't being used? Then you want concept+mechanics.

Now I only need to know the archetypes, because I can chose it no matter my class, and I find this really interesting.

Liberty's Edge

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Starfinder Superscriber

I posted a similar thread.

Could we get links to the salient blog posts that indicate the design intent? A concise list of what the game is trying to accomplish would be much more helpful, but at the very least a link to the relevant blog posts would allow us to go back and look.

Yossarian says:

Quote:
The design intent was the first thing we were told about, and then continually reminded of. I'd say that its about the least controversial thing about the new version :)

...so what is it/are they? I don't know what they are, even though nominally we all know. Can you summarize them? I have this vague idea that the game is supposed to be more streamlined (and, in my opinion, if anything it's just the opposite), but otherwise I don't know what PF2 is trying to accomplish.


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They did talk about design intent, but it was really kind of scattered around multiple locations. Having a single place laying them all out would be helpful.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
They did talk about design intent, but it was really kind of scattered around multiple locations. Having a single place laying them all out would be helpful.

Let me provide some good quotes from the early Paizo Blog previews.

From Paizo Blog: First Look at the Pathfinder Playtest, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Jason Bulmahn in First Look at the Pathfinder Playtest wrote:

Welcome to the next evolution of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Just shy of 10 years ago, on March 18th, 2008, we asked you to take a bold step with us and download the Alpha Playtest PDF for Pathfinder First Edition. Over the past decade, we've learned a lot about the game and the people who play it. We've talked with you on forums, we've gamed with you at conventions, and we've watched you play online and in person at countless venues. We went from updating mechanics to inventing new ones, adding a breadth of options to the game and making the system truly our own. We've made mistakes, and we've had huge triumphs. Now it is time to take all of that knowledge and make the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game even better.
...

New, but the Same
Our first goal was to make Pathfinder Second Edition feel just like the game you know and love. That means that as a player, you need to be able to make the choices that allow you to build the character you want to play. Similarly, as a Game Master, you need to have the tools and the support to tell the story you want to tell. The rules that make up the game have to fundamentally still fill the same role they did before, even if some of the mechanics behind them are different.

Building a Character
It's worth taking a moment to talk about how characters are built, because we spent a lot of time making this process smoother and more intuitive. ...

Playing the Game
We've made a number of changes to the way the game is played, to clean up the overall flow of play and to add some interesting choices in every part of the story. First up, we have broken play up into three distinct components.

From Paizo Blog: All About Actions, Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Jason Bulmahn in All About Actions wrote:

In Pathfinder First Edition, combat could become rather bogged down just by the weight of options available. Time and time again, we heard new players talk about the complexity of the action system, how it made the game slow down as players looked to eke the most out of their turns.

Basically, the previous system was a barrier, and so it should come as no surprise that we are looking at ways that we can simplify it to make the game run more smoothly and intuitively. The hard part was making sure that the versatility of the old system was still present, while cleaning up the overall experience. We want your turn in combat to be exciting and full of interesting choices. We want you to be elated by coming up with just the right combination of actions to win the day. We just don't want those choices to be hedged in by a number of complex categories.

I am quite impressed with the versatility of the three-action system and my main qualm is that the designers should take advantage of the versatility more.

From Paizo Blog: Leveling Up!, Monday, March 12, 2018

Logan Bonner in Leveling Up! wrote:
One of our goals with feats was to make them easier to choose and to use. Most feats require very few prerequisites, so you won't need to worry about picking a feat you really don't want in order to eventually get one you do. Any prerequisites build off your level, your proficiency, and any previous feats the new feat builds onto.

From Paizo Blog: Are You Proficient?, Friday, March 16, 2018

Mark Seifter in Are You Proficient? wrote:

Making the Nonmagical Extraordinary

The best part about proficiencies is the way they push the boundaries for nonmagical characters, particularly those with a legendary rank. If you're legendary in something, you're like a character out of real-world myth and legend, swimming across an entire sea while beating up sea monsters like Beowulf, performing unbelievable tasks like Heracles, or hunting and racing at astounding speeds like Atalanta. While we did perform a bit of research on things like real world Olympic records and average expectations when it came to the lower ranks, masters and especially legends break all those rules.

The above is more hype than a goal, but I see a goal in there to make the mundane abilities as amazing and awesome as the magical spells.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Folks, I just want to note that throughout the playtest we will be giving quite a bit more insight into our design process for this game. It's a lot easier for us to do now that it all out there to be examined. Most of this will come from blogs and through our twitch streams.

Stay tuned...


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Did Paizo ever make a post regarding the class balance design principles? I.e., something explaining what goals the classes were expected to be able to achieve at different levels or throughout the game. What areas and how many gameplay areas each class was expected to be able to participate and make a level appropriate contribution.

For example to help explain what I'm looking for

"Game designers have identified 5 main categories of things that characters do in a story. Classes are expected to be able to make level appropriate contributions to 2-3 of each of these areas. Areas are

1. Gnarly stuff
2. Floofy stuff
3. Tubular stuff
4. Chill stuff
5. Wicked stuff

Feel free to insert your own gameplay categories of stuff into these 5, I just don't want to get bogged down in arguments about if the 5 categories I identify are the ones most players expect.

I'm just trying to get a feel for how and why the game was put together the way it was. I've read through the blog posts I can find, but most of them seem to be more about what is presented in the previews and less about the why and how it fits into the other stuff to achieve a core design goal. I figure I'm just missing a blog post or developer post, or maybe a podcast discussion on this.

Thanks.


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Caedwyr wrote:
Did Paizo ever make a post regarding the class balance design principles? I.e., something explaining what goals the classes were expected to be able to achieve at different levels or throughout the game. What areas and how many gameplay areas each class was expected to be able to participate and make a level appropriate contribution.

I never saw such a post. I have been reading the Paizo blogs and the playtest forum regularly. The Paizo developers could have mentioned those goals in a video interview, but many people have been good about mentioning the topics of the interviews in the forums.

The playtests have been largely designed to test how the subsystems of the game worked, such as combat, travel, and healing. No chapter of Doomsday Dawn tests a specific class, though In Pale Mountain's Shadow tested outdoorsy characters and Affair at Sombrefell Hall asked for clerics to test the healing.

The playtest class designs looked like they adapted the core Pathfinder 1st Edition classes (and the alchemist) to the general design principles of Pathfinder 2nd Edition without a goal beyond trying to catch the flavor of the class using the new universal systems in PF2. Class features were moved to class feats, numerical features were moved to proficiency, etc. The limited-rounds-per-day features, such as barbarian's rage and bardic performance, were replaced by a short-duration feature that took an action to activate. The 6-level spell progression of the bard was promoted to 9-level spell progression, the 6-level formula progression of the alchemist was changed to crafting, the 4-level spell progression of the paladin was changed to powers that used spell points, and the 4-level spell progression of the ranger was dropped, so the only spell progression left was 9 levels of spells (with chance at 10 levels) for the bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard.

I would be interested in seeing each playtest class broken down according to what its most common roles toward victory ought to be. The first chapter of Doomsday Dawn did not reveal much about the character classes, because 1st-level characters are amateurs. In the second chapter, I saw more differentiation: the athletic barbarian, the ranger archer, the overwhelmed alchemist, and the martial wizard (took the fighter archetype). In the third chapter I watched my wife try to make a jack-of-all-trades bard and fail, so she made an occult detective bard instead. I did not gain a sense of planned contributions beyond the tradition for the class in PF1.


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The game is designed to make written adventures go as planned no matter what the players build.

That's it.


D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

The game is designed to make written adventures go as planned no matter what the players build.

That's it.

Couldn't agree more, i mean every game should go like that i mean just because a player can't swim well does not mean he shouldn't be able to finish the adventure, just because the party can't teleport does not mean they will arrive after the bad guy dominated the world.

Just one thing about ACL or archetypes it seems like they will be in the final version, they weren't on the playtest and might not be in the core rule book. But a post from (Mark i think) did say that they are something easy to implement just switch x for y in character creation.


D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

The game is designed to make written adventures go as planned no matter what the players build.

That's it.

That is a design goal. I am more curious about the design principles. Design goals measure whether the design succeeded. Design principles are tools that help achieve the design goals.

One principle related to the goal of predictable written adventures is tight math. I define tight math as though a character could get a large bonus, such as +20, to a roll, the other characters would have similar bonuses, such as +16 or +22, rather than a widely diverging bonus, such as +30. Thus, the adventure writer would know that DC 35 is difficult, DC 30 is average, and DC 25 is easy.

Caedwyr asked about class balance design principles, which also relate to this goal. What principles keep the individual classes able to predictably handle hazards, regardless of which class the player choses? Both bard and cleric are full casters, but the bard has composition cantrip and the cleric has channeled healing. Could a party swap out a cleric for a bard and still succeed? How does a party of barbarian, fighter, paladin, and ranger balance against a party of bard, cleric, druid, and wizard?

oholoko wrote:
Couldn't agree more, i mean every game should go like that i mean just because a player can't swim well does not mean he shouldn't be able to finish the adventure, just because the party can't teleport does not mean they will arrive after the bad guy dominated the world.

I remember one D&D 3.0 game where the 2-foot-tall halfling rogue (we jokingly called her a thirdling) could not swim, so the 7-foot-tall human barbarian waded across the 6-foot-deep stream with her on his shoulders. The PF2 playtest skills system does not mention wading. Would that be Acrobatics (good footing on the muddy river bottom) or Athletics (a form of swimming)?

All the adventure paths I have seen provide time for the players to reach the bad guy by traveling by horse or ship. Therefore, I think of arriving on time as an adventure design principle rather than a class design principle.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mathmuse wrote:

The PF2 playtest skills system does not mention wading. Would that be Acrobatics (good footing on the muddy river bottom) or Athletics (a form of swimming)?

Probably just difficult terrain.


After Caedwyr's question Saturday, I have been wondering about the class balance design principles of Pathfinder 2nd Edition. I realize that one general design principle in PF2 helps with class balance.

One design principle I noticed before is universal mechanics. The developers created several techniques that they applied to all classes and many distinct abilities. The biggest universal mechanic is proficiency, which unites the mechanics of BAB, saving throws, and skill checks, which are separate mechanics in PF1. Likewise, powers use the same layout and casting components as slot-based spells.

Unique abilities have trouble adapting to universal mechanics. I used Lingering Composition as a bad example of the one-size-fits-all approach of universal mechanics. The other 1st-level bard feats fit the universal mechanics better. Bad examples illustrate the difficulties of using universal mechanics, but they can individually be repaired by clever design.

I suspect that Paizo adopted universal mechanics to make Pathfinder 2nd Edition easier to learn. But they are also good for class balancing. They cause classes to be built on the same core rules with each class having their individual variants. Thus, the balance of the classes does not have to be measured from the ground up. Instead, the balance needs to compare only how the classes differ.

For example, in PF1 bard is a 6-spell-level high-skill arcane caster with a major bardic performance ability that overshadows its spellcasting and some limited martial abilities to support 3/4 BAB, and wizard is a 9-spell-level high-intelligence arcane caster with school abilities to customize the spellcaster and almost no martial abilites and a pitiful 1/2 BAB. 6-level spellcasting and 9-level spellcasting are hard to balance against each other. Pulling from the same arcane list just makes the balancing harder.

In contrast, PF2 universalism makes both bard and wizard 9-spell-level spellcasters. And their spell lists are more separated, though many spells overlap. Both classes also receive ancestry, background, training is spell rolls, and 1st-level feat. At 1st level, bards also get a boost to Charisma, 8+Con hit points, expertise in perception and will, training in Occultism and Performance and 6+Int skills, simple weapons plus a few martial weapons, light armor, inspire courage cantrip, counter performance power, and a muse that grants an extra spell known. At 1st level, wizards also get a boost to Intelligence, 6+Con hit points, expertise in will, training in Arcana and 4+Int skills, a few simple weapons, no armor, a spellbook, an arcane focus, and an arcane school that grants an extra prepared cantrip, spell known, and a school power.

Thus, the 1st-level bard has an advantage of 2 more hit points, expertise in perception, 3 more trained skills, weapon and armor options one step more martial, and wizards have an advantage of an arcane focus which allows one more 1st-level spellcasting a day. The wizard's spellbook represents the presumably balanced difference between prepared and spontaneous casting, but it also emphasizes that the wizard has fewer spells known than the cleric and druid, the other two prepared casters. The wizard comes out short. Then Paizo breaks the universalism to give the wizard better 1st-level class feats to rebalance the class, ouch.

The bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard are all 9-spell-level casters, and the universalism of the spellcasting makes them easy to compare to each other. The barbarian, fighter, paladin, and ranger form another easy-to-compare group, because they are all trained in martial weapons and expected to contribute to combat with those weapons. That is the universalism of proficiency and class feats. The alchemist, monk, and rogue are the oddities, though the monk and rogue can be compared to the martials moderately easily.

Dark Archive

Speaking of bards, has it been common criticism that it feels frustrating to HAVE to use one action each round to keep bardic performances up?(especially since it makes some specific performances and abilities less useful... I remember lingering performance and something else being mentioned, but I can't remember context anymore... Though since lingering composition was mentioned in above post, I assume others know and remember what the issue with it was) Like that was one of things that sticked out to me from players' comments in my playtest of Doomsday Dawn. Like, I think it would be much more enjoyable to play if upkeeping it was free action since otherwise bard is class that essentially only has 2 actions per round if they want to use their main feature.


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CorvusMask wrote:
Speaking of bards, has it been common criticism that it feels frustrating to HAVE to use one action each round to keep bardic performances up?(especially since it makes some specific performances and abilities less useful... I remember lingering performance and something else being mentioned, but I can't remember context anymore... Though since lingering composition was mentioned in above post, I assume others know and remember what the issue with it was) Like that was one of things that sticked out to me from players' comments in my playtest of Doomsday Dawn. Like, I think it would be much more enjoyable to play if upkeeping it was free action since otherwise bard is class that essentially only has 2 actions per round if they want to use their main feature.

No, I don't think I've heard that complaint before. Honestly, the new performance rules make way more sense than the old ones and make it feel like you are actually performing, as opposed to something that takes an action to start and is a free action to maintain. And not having to track rounds of Performance is great.

2 actions a round is still enough to cast another spell or move and attack, so I think the bard's doing fine. And. You can always snag lingering composition which makes it work closer to the old version. Bards are really strong now.

Dark Archive

It wasn't about how good or bad class it, it was about how fun it feels to do that <_<


CorvusMask wrote:
It wasn't about how good or bad class it, it was about how fun it feels to do that <_<

Yes, and I'm saying it is more fun because

A) it feels more immersive. I can now picture how performing mid combat actually works in fiction, where I really couldn't before when it was a free action.

B) it means I don't have to track rounds per day anymore.

It now feels like I'm performing instead of just doing some vague magical mechanics. I think that is fun.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In PF1, I always pictured non-singing bards (singing bards were disproportionately represented) as strumming the instrument and then the instrument playing itself magically for the following rounds. I'm quite happy to abandon that fiction.

Spending an action each round to play music feels so much more bard-like. It also makes it easier to balance the ability and make it impactful.

Did the performance ever get changed to stack with rage?


WatersLethe wrote:

In PF1, I always pictured non-singing bards (singing bards were disproportionately represented) as strumming the instrument and then the instrument playing itself magically for the following rounds. I'm quite happy to abandon that fiction.

Spending an action each round to play music feels so much more bard-like. It also makes it easier to balance the ability and make it impactful.

Did the performance ever get changed to stack with rage?

Good question on Rage stacking, anyone know? If it still doesn't lets hope they get that changed for the final version, besides that it seems like the Bard is doing ok overall. I think the comment earlier about Bard being compared to the wizard is not quite accurate, wizards will end up with at least equal skill points at level 1 but likely more than the Bard AND the Arcane spell list is much better than the Occult list hands down.

Dark Archive

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Captain Morgan wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
It wasn't about how good or bad class it, it was about how fun it feels to do that <_<

Yes, and I'm saying it is more fun because

A) it feels more immersive. I can now picture how performing mid combat actually works in fiction, where I really couldn't before when it was a free action.

B) it means I don't have to track rounds per day anymore.

It now feels like I'm performing instead of just doing some vague magical mechanics. I think that is fun.

You are saying that as if rules should be that you can't use instruments to do performances if you also want to use weapons as bard and that its more fun than if every bard had to be singer instead so it would more logical :p

I don't really get the logic of "Its more fun to spend every turn an action to upkeep a buff instead of doing something else with the said third action". I mean, unless you want to argue "Well its not like any other class has any uses for the third action anyway" which I guess is fair point since monsters definitely got more use out of three action economy than players did :P

(I mean it comes across as similar as saying "I love the change that you need to spend one action to remove your hand from grip of the weapon and third action to put my hand back on grip in order to open a door with my second action")

Also on sidenote, so wait, a character performing a 18 second long musical in middle of combat can even be immersive? :D I mean, bards are silly as a concept, I think they are okay as they are

Btw I checked playtest rulebook and remembered what the issue was: inspire heroics and lingering composition are both have the same triggering action and you can only do one per round for a specific trigger, so you can't ever do both at same time. Hence the option of using lingering composition to free third action for something else was never an option because third action was kept used for inspire heroics


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For me the three action system is great because you can perform and move+attack at level one, something you couldn't do in PF1 as a bard. That seems to be the idea behind it. I enjoy having to decide if keeping my performance up is the best use of my third action or should/must I do something else.

As a fighter, using an action to ready a shield, and being able to move+attack is pretty slick. I like that I have to decide if an extra attack is worth trying to down an enemy or should if I should stick to defense.

This always seemed to be the intent to me with the three action system. Though, i'm seeing a lot of folks assume that the extra action is intended to give you more DPR, and if you cant attack more than its less fun. Something I dont agree with.

Though, I do think the hand grip action requirement is unnecessary and not fun.


CorvusMask wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
It wasn't about how good or bad class it, it was about how fun it feels to do that <_<

Yes, and I'm saying it is more fun because

A) it feels more immersive. I can now picture how performing mid combat actually works in fiction, where I really couldn't before when it was a free action.

B) it means I don't have to track rounds per day anymore.

It now feels like I'm performing instead of just doing some vague magical mechanics. I think that is fun.

You are saying that as if rules should be that you can't use instruments to do performances if you also want to use weapons as bard and that its more fun than if every bard had to be singer instead so it would more logical :p

I don't really get the logic of "Its more fun to spend every turn an action to upkeep a buff instead of doing something else with the said third action". I mean, unless you want to argue "Well its not like any other class has any uses for the third action anyway" which I guess is fair point since monsters definitely got more use out of three action economy than players did :P

(I mean it comes across as similar as saying "I love the change that you need to spend one action to remove your hand from grip of the weapon and third action to put my hand back on grip in order to open a door with my second action")

Also on sidenote, so wait, a character performing a 18 second long musical in middle of combat can even be immersive? :D I mean, bards are silly as a concept, I think they are okay as they are

Btw I checked playtest rulebook and remembered what the issue was: inspire heroics and lingering composition are both have the same triggering action and you can only do one per round for a specific trigger, so you can't ever do both at same time. Hence the option of using lingering composition to free third action for something else was never an option because third action was kept used for inspire heroics

I don't really know what to tell you bud. Multiple people have weighed in on why they think spending the action is fun, and I don't think we are going to make it clearer if you don't understand it. Fun is a pretty hard concept to nail down logically at the best of times.

Your original question was "is this a common criticism" and signs point to no. I'm pretty sure there was a survey question about this for bards as well. If the change survives to PF2 we can probably conclusively say that you're in the minority here.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

The game is designed to make written adventures go as planned no matter what the players build.

That's it.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

I want my games to go off-rails because of my player's choices, not their builds.


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MaxAstro wrote:
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

The game is designed to make written adventures go as planned no matter what the players build.

That's it.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

I want my games to go off-rails because of my player's choices, not their builds.

Character power gives them choices. I get that people don't like to get their games derailed, but it's not a choice if you told me what I can do. It's an illusion of one.


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necromental wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

The game is designed to make written adventures go as planned no matter what the players build.

That's it.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

I want my games to go off-rails because of my player's choices, not their builds.

Character power gives them choices. I get that people don't like to get their games derailed, but it's not a choice if you told me what I can do. It's an illusion of one.

I'm with MaxAstro on this, and let me add a clarification: I want my games to go off the rails because of player's creative choices, ie choices made around the table with little or no forethought.

Of course it's possible to be creative with a build, too. But you can do that only once, after that it's no longer an invention. Even less so, if it derails the game enough that it becomes part of a class guide for others to copy-paste.


gwynfrid wrote:
necromental wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

The game is designed to make written adventures go as planned no matter what the players build.

That's it.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

I want my games to go off-rails because of my player's choices, not their builds.

Character power gives them choices. I get that people don't like to get their games derailed, but it's not a choice if you told me what I can do. It's an illusion of one.
I'm with MaxAstro on this, and let me add a clarification: I want my games to go off the rails because of player's creative choices, ie choices made around the table with little or no forethought.

I agree with MaxAstro and gwynfrid, and I have the campaigns to prove it.

My players derailed the Iron Gods adventure path (leaving out a few spoilers) by:
1. (1st module) Telling local government in Torch about the suspicious warehouse instead of handling it personally via combat.
2. Recruiting NPC Val Baine into the party.
3. (2nd module) Entering Scrapwall by pretending to be refuges rather than revealing themselves as adventurers.
4. Acting like capable refugees trying to make a place for themselves in Scrapwall rather than fighting other Scrapwall gangs like adventurers would.
5. (3rd module) Going to Iadenveigh in their true identities as water-cleaning experts trained by Khonnir Baine.
6. Establishing businesses in Torch and maintaining their inconspicuous non-adventuring identities there while adventuring under their Scrapwall identities.
7. (4th module) Ignoring half the caves in Scar of the Spider in order to deal with the main threat immediately.
8. Rescuing Mad Paeytr.
9. (5th module) Entering Starfall in their low-level Torch identities rather than their high-level adventurer identities to avoid the attention of the Technic League.
10. One player character joining the Technic League to infiltrate it (his low-level identity was 7th-level).
11. (6th module) Being hired by the villain of Silver Mount instead of fighting their way in.

For derailments 4, 10, and 11, the PCs had to prove their worth so character power was involved, but for the most part these derailments were from character decisions rather than overpowered character builds. I have similar examples in my Rise of the Runelords and Jade Regent adventure paths. And I loved the derailments, because they told a more character-driven story than the default story in the adventure paths.

gwynfrid wrote:
Of course it's possible to be creative with a build, too. But you can do that only once, after that it's no longer an invention. Even less so, if it derails the game enough that it becomes part of a class guide for others to copy-paste.

The Iron God builds were creative. Boffin was a gadgeteer gunslinger who succeeded at nonmagical battlefield control. Kirii was a strix skald who held concerts. Kheld was a fighter/investigator who invented new weapons (Lemmy's Custom Weapon Generation System). Elric was a fairly normal magus, but a high Intelligence build rather than high Strength or high Dexterity build. Val Baine was a bloodrager who thought she was an apprentice wizard and put half her feats toward mundane and technological crafting. But the only way the builds derailed the campaign is that I gave them opportunities to play those builds to the max, such as letting Boffin recover and renovate a half-buried shuttle spaceship at the end of the 3rd module.

And a build can be an ongoing creative process of making level-up choices that support the character concept. Nevertheless, I find that the narrative element of a character concept has more effect on the campaign than the mechanical element of the character power.

And I have a silly story about one Iron Gods build. At 9th level, the fighter Kheld gained a samsuran wizard cohort named Juran via Leadership. And I would swear that Juran's build came from the Internet as an optimized magic-item crafter. And the first thing Kheld asked Juran was to make himself a Belt of Giant Strength so that the pair could fight side by side in melee. Kheld's player soon learned that Juran fought better with spells, but still dragged him along on adventures rather than leaving him behind to craft magic items.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I meant exactly what gwynfrid and Mathmuse eloquently clarified - I love having my campaigns derailed, but I want it to be because of player creativity, not because someone found a build that does 200+ DPR at level 10 or whatever.

At the end of the day, I see it the opposite of how you do, necromental: Character build options are the developers telling my players what they can do. True creativity comes when they come up with awesome stuff outside of that.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm very much in agreement in regards to player choices at the table being what derails games (and should do so). Because player build choices don't actually, usually, derail games, they just make the GM have to work to compensate for them. Or take the game so far away from the intent that published adventures are pointless (since they apply consistently at every decision point).

Though, really, most of the 'build decisions' removed in PF2 don't even do that. They mostly make the character better at combat, which just makes the game easier (again, unless the GM works to compensate) without actually changing the plot line at all.

I'm fine with one character being less able to change the game's difficulty setting all on their own. That seems to me to be the sort of thing the group as a whole should agree on outside of the game, rather than something one player should simply be able to dictate via character creation choices.


MaxAstro wrote:
D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

The game is designed to make written adventures go as planned no matter what the players build.

That's it.

You say that like it's a bad thing

I don't think it's either good or bad, it's just a feature that one may or may not want


@Mathmuse: Thank you for the comments as to where I might find the information I was looking for.

Since it appears that Paizo hasn't shared this information as part of the playtest, might I suggest it would make for a good blog post to show off the new system. They can help set the expectations for what a character can be expected to do and then show off how a class or classes meets those expectations.

One of the things touched on by Jason in the recent podcast is that PF1E was not an easy system to teach to new players and part of that was due to the difficulty in building a character and how easy it could be to build a thematic character with a very low to non-existent chance to succeed in a range of level appropriate challenges. I think it would be very helpful to show off how the skill floor has been raised to make the game more approachable for new players or people not interested in powergaming and character building.


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MaxAstro wrote:

I meant exactly what gwynfrid and Mathmuse eloquently clarified - I love having my campaigns derailed, but I want it to be because of player creativity, not because someone found a build that does 200+ DPR at level 10 or whatever.

At the end of the day, I see it the opposite of how you do, necromental: Character build options are the developers telling my players what they can do. True creativity comes when they come up with awesome stuff outside of that.

If we're talking about creativity, it's still you letting me do something. If I say I don't wanna do this combat let's just teleport away, then it's my power that lets me go away, or my diplomacy modifier that lets me persuade attackers to go away. If I just talk through my PC and have no mechanical justification for anything that happens later, then you are letting me do something, I am not doing something because I can.

I really don't care about "empowering the GM" aspects of PF2 (secret rolls as default, rarity as it's been written, extra nerfed utility magic, the vague skill DCs and uses). I get why they're doing it but it's not what I liked about PF (or 3.5 before that).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The thing about empowering the GM is that in PF1e GMing is by far the hardest job and has such high skill and time requirements that almost no one wants to do it. Being a player is easy.

Saying you want to derail campaigns is all well and good, but you could at least have some sympathy for the person who is going to have to double their volunteer work to continue to provide you with free entertainment.

GMing is a job as much as it's a hobby, and I'm all for Paizo making it an easier job. Especially since maybe then someone else will be willing to do it in my group and I'll be able to actually play this game occasionally. :P


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MaxAstro wrote:

The thing about empowering the GM is that in PF1e GMing is by far the hardest job and has such high skill and time requirements that almost no one wants to do it. Being a player is easy.

Saying you want to derail campaigns is all well and good, but you could at least have some sympathy for the person who is going to have to double their volunteer work to continue to provide you with free entertainment.

GMing is a job as much as it's a hobby, and I'm all for Paizo making it an easier job. Especially since maybe then someone else will be willing to do it in my group and I'll be able to actually play this game occasionally. :P

I found that people who want to GM will GM, people who don't want, will not. Across a lot of easier systems. I'm all for reducing the workload (which is why I don't complain about monster creation, even though I do find some things jarring), but empowering to reduce player agency really irks me.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Three of my friends have wanted to GM, started campaigns, and then quit because the workload was too much.

Liberty's Edge

necromental wrote:
If we're talking about creativity, it's still you letting me do something. If I say I don't wanna do this combat let's just teleport away, then it's my power that lets me go away, or my diplomacy modifier that lets me persuade attackers to go away. If I just talk through my PC and have no mechanical justification for anything that happens later, then you are letting me do something, I am not doing something because I can.

Yes, you need mechanical options in order to achieve things in games. But frankly, most of those things are achievable in PF2, and those that aren't in the playtest almost certainly will be in the final game, since most are spells and they're explicitly gonna be powering up utility spells.

necromental wrote:
I really don't care about "empowering the GM" aspects of PF2 (secret rolls as default, rarity as it's been written, extra nerfed utility magic, the vague skill DCs and uses). I get why they're doing it but it's not what I liked about PF (or 3.5 before that).

Almost every single thing you list is being changed for the final version of the game. Secret rolls are becoming optional, as mentioned utility magic is being powered up, and Skill DCs are changing radically.

So...most of this seems to be going away. Leaving, in terms of restrictions, mostly the math stuff other people have been talking about.

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