Is it too late to go back to the drawing board?


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Noodlemancer wrote:

I'm not sure why do you consider New Coke to be some sort of a spectacular blunder.

Here's some facts:
1. According to literally all blind taste tests where they weren't told what is what, people preferred the taste of New Coke to Old Coke. The main reason New Coke was rejected by the public was that people subjectively felt "betrayed" by the company, not any objective lack of quality.
2. After New Coke was discontinued and Coca-Cola company returned Old Coke on the shelves, sales skyrocketed to significantly higher levels than before New Coke was introduced, meaning New Coke was a commercially beneficial project even though it never took off on its own.

The taste tests were inherently flawed. A single sip of something is quite different than drinking a whole bottle or can. Something might be great in one sip, but people don't consume beverages in a single sip. Drinking it is fairly different. What's good with a single sip can be very cloying when you have more. So the testing wasn't enough to claim it was a good product. Plus it tasted more like Pepsi, but people who liked Pepsi could still just drink Pepsi.

So I think there are several lessons from New Coke that can apply to PF2.


  • Sense of betrayal by existing customers is toxic.
  • You need to be careful that your testing is actually relevant to real world usage scenarios. If a test is flawed you'll get flawed data and can make incorrect conclusions from it.
  • Being a copy of something else isn't enough to get people to leave it for your version.

I don't think the third point is a major issue here, PF2 is pretty distinct from D&D 5 even if it might take some inspiration. But the first two are pitfalls that need to be kept in mind. The radical changes at the start might have amplified the sense of betrayal. In particular, yeah the caster nerfs, realty upset people who like playing casters. And they just need to be very careful that the testing is representative. I by no means think PF2 is doomed, I just think it's something to keep in mind. And thankfully, I do get the impression that Paizo is keeping this in mind. And with changes based on feedback, PF2 does have a lot of promise.


Zecrin wrote:

I do wish that instead of supporting severe casters nerfs, we could see significant buffs to martial classes. I think that maneuvers like those seen in path of war and tomb of battle offer melee characters significantly more battlefield options than the baseline PF1 or 3.5 combat feat systems.

I also feel as if, in high fantasy settings, fighter shouldn't have to equal mundane. If for example, a fighter wants to teleport 60 ft. into the air to slam a flying enemy into the ground with a hammer the size of a grand piano, more power to them.

Even if you don't like the idea of a super magical fighter, you can refluff many existing spells as fighter abilities. For example, fireball becomes hail of dragonfire arrows. Haste becomes rally allies. Time stop becomes battlefield acceleration.

I'm not saying we should give martials all a casters toys, just something to bring them past: 5ft. step, full attack over and over again.

I understand that their are people out their who enjoy playing mundane characters. But its unreasonable to expect other characters to be balanced (mechanically) around such an obvious limitation in a fantasy setting.

Finally, Casters are not perfect in either 3.5 or PF1. However, I find their main issue to be certain specific spells that consistently cause problems at a table when in the hands of power-gamers. Power gamers will always find a way to break the game, especially when it is a game that offers lots of player choice (I still remember a player with a tier 0 paladin build that made my 3.5 game especially unpleasant). In the end, its just up to the DM to tell a player no.

Defualt fighter being magical is probably a no no but there is no reason why you can't have an arcane using warrior or a fighter archetype that can use magic. or pick feats.

I think you need an in game explanation though for why a character can do that (supernatural being, blessed by the gods, magic, psionics etc).


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Zardnaar wrote:
Zecrin wrote:

I do wish that instead of supporting severe casters nerfs, we could see significant buffs to martial classes. I think that maneuvers like those seen in path of war and tomb of battle offer melee characters significantly more battlefield options than the baseline PF1 or 3.5 combat feat systems.

I also feel as if, in high fantasy settings, fighter shouldn't have to equal mundane. If for example, a fighter wants to teleport 60 ft. into the air to slam a flying enemy into the ground with a hammer the size of a grand piano, more power to them.

Even if you don't like the idea of a super magical fighter, you can refluff many existing spells as fighter abilities. For example, fireball becomes hail of dragonfire arrows. Haste becomes rally allies. Time stop becomes battlefield acceleration.

I'm not saying we should give martials all a casters toys, just something to bring them past: 5ft. step, full attack over and over again.

I understand that their are people out their who enjoy playing mundane characters. But its unreasonable to expect other characters to be balanced (mechanically) around such an obvious limitation in a fantasy setting.

Finally, Casters are not perfect in either 3.5 or PF1. However, I find their main issue to be certain specific spells that consistently cause problems at a table when in the hands of power-gamers. Power gamers will always find a way to break the game, especially when it is a game that offers lots of player choice (I still remember a player with a tier 0 paladin build that made my 3.5 game especially unpleasant). In the end, its just up to the DM to tell a player no.

Defualt fighter being magical is probably a no no but there is no reason why you can't have an arcane using warrior or a fighter archetype that can use magic. or pick feats.

I think you need an in game explanation though for why a character can do that (supernatural being, blessed by the gods, magic, psionics etc).

Let's say you want to make fighter and wizard equally viable. Sure you can balance based on game impact, but let's hypothetically say you want to balance based on power. You want a 20th level fighter vs. a 20th level wizard to be about a 50-50.

In 3.5 the wizard casts fly and wins, in PF1 the wizard casts fly and wins, in PF2 wizard casts fly and wins. If, by chance the fighter is an archer, you cast fly then invisibility, then you win.

Sure you could take away fly from the wizard, but then you have to take fly away from monsters, and combat just lost a whole dimension.

As it stands martial classes are ridiculously magic item dependent because quite simply: magic > mundane.

It feels horribly unfair to the martials that people turn a blind eye to casters being able to do the impossible, the fantastical, and the awesome just because "magic," but when a barbarian tries to do something like jump 30 ft. into the air to smack the puny wizard out of the sky people say "Well that's unrealistic and breaks my immersion."

If you approach gameplay from this perspective then you will be forced to choose between fun and balance. A poor choice in my opinion.

Also, on the topic of psionics, In 3.5 psionic characters were able to bend reality with sheer willpower. There was never any psionics comes from a god, or from a weave that comes from a god, or from a shadow-weave that comes from a god. It was just excepted that your character, simply by focusing, could, for example, rip out someones brainstem.


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I hope there is a serious Caster-Martial Disparity survey.

All sides seem pretty adamant their stance is the majority view. I'd be very curious to see where the results actually fell.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I hope there is a serious Caster-Martial disparity survey.

All sides seem pretty adamant their stance is the majority view. I'd be very curious to see where the results actually fell.

It's a pretty safe bet, I think, that whatever the answer is, it will be different from the local majority here on the Paizo boards. Communities like this tend to eventually create a consensus of some kind. The player base at large probably has much more nuance because of this.

It would be really nice to know how people felt in the wider gaming community, in any case. I don't see a lot of people representing my stance (I'm softer on casters) but if I were wrong, that would be really cool. Likewise it would be interesting to get slapped in the face by contrary data. At this point I would just want to know.


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Yeah, me too. (I'm not particularly stressed since I know I'm in the minority!)

I do sometimes wish I could be a fly on the wall of the Paizo offices though (or at least have access to their spreadsheets) - I love data. :)


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Yeah, honestly. The way some people talk about casters, I want to hand them a doll and ask "show me where the bad caster touched you".

Luckily all the people I play with, in both groups, seem to have fun playing their characters no matter what they choose to play and appreciate the way that martials pulverize their opponents and casters add tons of useful stuff for the party.

Hell, the biggest complaints I've had at my table over the last decade have been that Paladins just outclass everyone else when we have one and, if not, that archers are OP vs melee classes. I honestly can't remember anyone saying for many years that they thought that someone with a caster class was running away with the campaign.


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Zecrin wrote:

I do wish that instead of supporting severe casters nerfs, we could see significant buffs to martial classes. I think that maneuvers like those seen in path of war and tomb of battle offer melee characters significantly more battlefield options than the baseline PF1 or 3.5 combat feat systems.

I also feel as if, in high fantasy settings, fighter shouldn't have to equal mundane. If for example, a fighter wants to teleport 60 ft. into the air to slam a flying enemy into the ground with a hammer the size of a grand piano, more power to them.

Even if you don't like the idea of a super magical fighter, you can refluff many existing spells as fighter abilities. For example, fireball becomes hail of dragonfire arrows. Haste becomes rally allies. Time stop becomes battlefield acceleration.

I'm not saying we should give martials all a casters toys, just something to bring them past: 5ft. step, full attack over and over again.

I understand that their are people out their who enjoy playing mundane characters. But its unreasonable to expect other characters to be balanced (mechanically) around such an obvious limitation in a fantasy setting.

Finally, Casters are not perfect in either 3.5 or PF1. However, I find their main issue to be certain specific spells that consistently cause problems at a table when in the hands of power-gamers. Power gamers will always find a way to break the game, especially when it is a game that offers lots of player choice (I still remember a player with a tier 0 paladin build that made my 3.5 game especially unpleasant). In the end, its just up to the DM to tell a player no.

It's always heartwarming to see someone of a very similar mind to me in the vast, dark depths of the Internet...


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@Lucas Yew and Zecrin: I'm of a similar camp of wanting to balance martials UP to casters (getting properly heroic stuff to do to their enemies and to the world at large), rather than knocking casters down any pegs.

all these legendary figures to try and emulate, like beowulf (dismembering monsters with his bare hands), cu chulainn (rhiastrahd transformation, feats of acrobatics, slaying armies singlehandedly, fighting while dead), siegfried (nigh-invulnerability, other feats of heroism), fionn mac cumhaill (tossing huge boulders/small islands at people), fergus mac roich (cutting/blasting the tops from hills, slaying armies singlehandedly), and so many more--not even touching the greeks or the japanese, and the only real mythical fantasy you get to actually live out is merlin.

now don't get me wrong: merlin's great, i love merlin, people should totally still get to play merlin, but man he must get lonely being the only hero around to choose from.


Zardnaar wrote:
4E evolved out of late 3.5, however if you only has the PHB and maybe a splat or 2 and did not have the late 3.5 material 4E came out of the blue.

It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

Sovereign Court

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

As a lover of all those things, I was really excited for 4e. It ended up being less awesome than I'd hoped, but still (to me) quite enjoyable.

I liked it far better than the PF2 playtest rules, though.


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Kalindlara wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

As a lover of all those things, I was really excited for 4e. It ended up being less awesome than I'd hoped, but still (to me) quite enjoyable.

I liked it far better than the PF2 playtest rules, though.

I was super excited (though I wanted it to lean in a more SWSE direction at the time), but somewhere around early 2010 I became disillusioned. I have converted some monsters to 3rd and 5th Ed, like the Prince of Frost, some monster actions and reactions are really cool, used a bit more sparingly.

Condition tracking and out of turn actions can get unwieldy in later Paragon levels.


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Zecrin wrote:

I do wish that instead of supporting severe casters nerfs, we could see significant buffs to martial classes. I think that maneuvers like those seen in path of war and tomb of battle offer melee characters significantly more battlefield options than the baseline PF1 or 3.5 combat feat systems.

I also feel as if, in high fantasy settings, fighter shouldn't have to equal mundane. If for example, a fighter wants to teleport 60 ft. into the air to slam a flying enemy into the ground with a hammer the size of a grand piano, more power to them.

Even if you don't like the idea of a super magical fighter, you can refluff many existing spells as fighter abilities. For example, fireball becomes hail of dragonfire arrows. Haste becomes rally allies. Time stop becomes battlefield acceleration.

I'm not saying we should give martials all a casters toys, just something to bring them past: 5ft. step, full attack over and over again.

I understand that their are people out their who enjoy playing mundane characters. But its unreasonable to expect other characters to be balanced (mechanically) around such an obvious limitation in a fantasy setting.

Finally, Casters are not perfect in either 3.5 or PF1. However, I find their main issue to be certain specific spells that consistently cause problems at a table when in the hands of power-gamers. Power gamers will always find a way to break the game, especially when it is a game that offers lots of player choice (I still remember a player with a tier 0 paladin build that made my 3.5 game especially unpleasant). In the end, its just up to the DM to tell a player no.

You love the idea of magically powerful martials, I hate it. This is one of the several irreconcilable differences I have with Pathfinder 2E, at least from what I read in one of the 2E blog posts. Maybe you can chalk it up to my distaste for "high fantasy settings".

I feel like 1E struck a reasonable balance: If you want to do absurd things and altar the fabric of reality you're going to have to be a caster. You'll be frail and have to struggle to survive but by level 5/6/7 the payoff will be awesome.

Otherwise you'll have to be ba "regular guy" by comparison (aka the equivalent of a US army ranger or elite UFC fighter), and eventually a bit beyond that if you survive to level 5.

Bilbo Bagins, Sam, Frodo, Aragorn, Jon Snow, Gregor Clegane- THESE strike me as strong fantasy characters. When I read about their incredible feats of bravery, cunning, strength or perseverence I couldn't help but think "woah, look how powerful this guy is!" It's totally different from when I glance at a Superman comic and think to myself "look how powerful the writers decided to say this guy is."

I'm all for a class like the monk or magus which is inherently magical anf can do slightly zainier things at the cost of raw power, but generally speaking I've always opposed any attempt to turn martials into anything other than really strong, fairly realistic people.


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Zolanoteph wrote:

You love the idea of magically powerful martials, I hate it. This is one of the several irreconcilable differences I have with Pathfinder 2E, at least from what I read in one of the 2E blog posts. Maybe you can chalk it up to my distaste for "high fantasy settings".

I feel like 1E struck a reasonable balance: If you want to do absurd things and altar the fabric of...

Thing is, the zero to hero style of D&D and PF means that the two are not mutually exclusive. Just play at the level appropriate for the style of gameplay you desire. High Level should be high level for all characters and low level should be low level for all characters.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
4E evolved out of late 3.5, however if you only has the PHB and maybe a splat or 2 and did not have the late 3.5 material 4E came out of the blue.
It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

I own D&DM's which was fun at the time. I had 80 odd 3E books but missed a few at the time such as Book of 9 Swords, Races of the Dragon, Tome of Magic, Magic of Incarnum and the last Complete book (Complete Champion?).

Silver Crusade

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Zolanoteph wrote:
I'm all for a class like the monk or magus which is inherently magical anf can do slightly zainier things at the cost of raw power, but generally speaking I've always opposed any attempt to turn martials into anything other than really strong, fairly realistic people.

*looks at the Barbarian*


Zardnaar wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
4E evolved out of late 3.5, however if you only has the PHB and maybe a splat or 2 and did not have the late 3.5 material 4E came out of the blue.
It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

I own D&DM's which was fun at the time. I had 80 odd 3E books but missed a few at the time such as Book of 9 Swords, Races of the Dragon, Tome of Magic, Magic of Incarnum and the last Complete book (Complete Champion?).

Bo9S has some great ideas (highly recommend for Manga and Wuxia-style action), but poor implementation in some areas (refreshing of Manoeuvres).

I like Magic of Incarnum (cool way to utilise magic item slots), trippy idea/concept, but not enough oomph, seems to very much not liked.

Tome of Magic has 3 ideas, 2 of them really cool concepts (Pact magic/Binders, and Truename magic/Truenamers), but only 1 is implemented well (Pact magic/Binders).

I lost touch by Complete Scoundrel and Races of the Dragon.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
4E evolved out of late 3.5, however if you only has the PHB and maybe a splat or 2 and did not have the late 3.5 material 4E came out of the blue.
It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

I own D&DM's which was fun at the time. I had 80 odd 3E books but missed a few at the time such as Book of 9 Swords, Races of the Dragon, Tome of Magic, Magic of Incarnum and the last Complete book (Complete Champion?).

Bo9S has some great ideas (highly recommend for Manga and Wuxia-style action), but poor implementation in some areas (refreshing of Manoeuvres).

I like Magic of Incarnum (cool way to utilise magic item slots), trippy idea/concept, but not enough oomph, seems to very much not liked.

Tome of Magic has 3 ideas, 2 of them really cool concepts (Pact magic/Binders, and Truename magic/Truenamers), but only 1 is implemented well (Pact magic/Binders).

I lost touch by Complete Scoundrel and Races of the Dragon.

I had complete scoundrel but thought it was crap along with the Psin and Mage? THe 1st 4 books were the best ones except for a few broken bits mostly in Complete Divine.

Stopped buying splat type books as I thought the 1st 4 Complete and the PHB were about the peak of 3.5. I got Bo9S after 4E and would not allow it- to wuxia, silly etc.


Zardnaar wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
4E evolved out of late 3.5, however if you only has the PHB and maybe a splat or 2 and did not have the late 3.5 material 4E came out of the blue.
It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

I own D&DM's which was fun at the time. I had 80 odd 3E books but missed a few at the time such as Book of 9 Swords, Races of the Dragon, Tome of Magic, Magic of Incarnum and the last Complete book (Complete Champion?).

Bo9S has some great ideas (highly recommend for Manga and Wuxia-style action), but poor implementation in some areas (refreshing of Manoeuvres).

I like Magic of Incarnum (cool way to utilise magic item slots), trippy idea/concept, but not enough oomph, seems to very much not liked.

Tome of Magic has 3 ideas, 2 of them really cool concepts (Pact magic/Binders, and Truename magic/Truenamers), but only 1 is implemented well (Pact magic/Binders).

I lost touch by Complete Scoundrel and Races of the Dragon.

I had complete scoundrel but thought it was crap along with the Psin and Mage? THe 1st 4 books were the best ones except for a few broken bits mostly in Complete Divine.

Stopped buying splat type books as I thought the 1st 4 Complete and the PHB were about the peak of 3.5. I got Bo9S after 4E and would not allow it- to wuxia, silly etc.

Yeah, I do like the Spirit Shaman from Complete Divine, and interesting, that is where 5th Ed's spellcasting (psuedo-Vancian) system debuted.

As I said, Bo9S is not for all campaigns, but if you want to draw rings of fire around you with your sword, or leap 30 feet into the air while throwing a dozen knives or something, it works.

I remember getting a feeling, though, when I first picked up the Complete Warrior back in the day, of "...here we go again..."

Just flashbacks to the some 2nd Ed accessories like The Complete Gnome Cobblers Handbook or what-have-you.


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Complete Gnome Cobblers Book was great.

Ironically 4E stripped out crafting and its now a major component of a lot of RPGs these days and similar adventure games such as Tomb Raider.

We did that in 2E with The Complete Fighters bookosome fo the fighters wouod craft basically +1 non magical weapons. If they were lucky the spellcasters would enchant it.

They didn't do it often but it was special when they did. A few wands a couple of swords and maybe a bow its been a while.


Lucas Yew wrote:
Zecrin wrote:

I do wish that instead of supporting severe casters nerfs, we could see significant buffs to martial classes. I think that maneuvers like those seen in path of war and tomb of battle offer melee characters significantly more battlefield options than the baseline PF1 or 3.5 combat feat systems.

I also feel as if, in high fantasy settings, fighter shouldn't have to equal mundane. If for example, a fighter wants to teleport 60 ft. into the air to slam a flying enemy into the ground with a hammer the size of a grand piano, more power to them.

Even if you don't like the idea of a super magical fighter, you can refluff many existing spells as fighter abilities. For example, fireball becomes hail of dragonfire arrows. Haste becomes rally allies. Time stop becomes battlefield acceleration.

I'm not saying we should give martials all a casters toys, just something to bring them past: 5ft. step, full attack over and over again.

I understand that their are people out their who enjoy playing mundane characters. But its unreasonable to expect other characters to be balanced (mechanically) around such an obvious limitation in a fantasy setting.

Finally, Casters are not perfect in either 3.5 or PF1. However, I find their main issue to be certain specific spells that consistently cause problems at a table when in the hands of power-gamers. Power gamers will always find a way to break the game, especially when it is a game that offers lots of player choice (I still remember a player with a tier 0 paladin build that made my 3.5 game especially unpleasant). In the end, its just up to the DM to tell a player no.

It's always heartwarming to see someone of a very similar mind to me in the vast, dark depths of the Internet...

Indeed, maybe there is still hope for casters


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AndIMustMask wrote:

all these legendary figures to try and emulate, like beowulf (dismembering monsters with his bare hands), cu chulainn (rhiastrahd transformation, feats of acrobatics, slaying armies singlehandedly, fighting while dead), siegfried (nigh-invulnerability, other feats of heroism), fionn mac cumhaill (tossing huge boulders/small islands at people), fergus mac roich (cutting/blasting the tops from hills, slaying armies singlehandedly), and so many more--not even touching the greeks or the japanese, and the only real mythical fantasy you get to actually live out is merlin.

This. When they talked about "legendary" feats for martials, I was expecting to be able to do, if not the sort of mythic stuff described above, then at least anime/wuxia-type stuff.

Kalindlara wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
It also evolved out of DDM, which was very popular at the time, 4th Ed is sort of like an advanced version, and SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time.

As a lover of all those things, I was really excited for 4e. It ended up being less awesome than I'd hoped, but still (to me) quite enjoyable.

I liked it far better than the PF2 playtest rules, though.

Mark me down as another one who loved SWSE and looked forward to 4E because I thought it would be in the same mold, only to be disappointed.

Never got a chance to play with ToB/Bo9S, but I have used the third-party Pathfinder version, Path of War, and it's been working great. When the previews started talking about fighters having stances and combos, I was hoping for something like PoW.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I hope there is a serious Caster-Martial Disparity survey.

All sides seem pretty adamant their stance is the majority view. I'd be very curious to see where the results actually fell.

My own poll on the subject led me to conclude that:

(a) People who post on these boards generally think that martial-caster disparity exists (especially out of combat, and at high levels). This isn't very surprising, because casters are classes that reward system mastery, and anyone who spends their spare time reading Pathfinder message boards is probably at the upper end of system mastery. I have no idea what the situation is like among more casual players.

(b) Most players aren't actually that bothered by the potential for disparity. If they were, they wouldn't have stuck with PF1.

The prospect of a new edition is inevitably going to bring back the conflict between the "I hate the way my Fighter/Rogue was made to look obsolete by a Wizard/Druid/Magus" crowd and the "I like playing an awesome caster who can do anything" crowd.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
The prospect of a new edition is inevitably going to bring back the conflict between the "I hate the way my Fighter/Rogue was made to look obsolete by a Wizard/Druid/Magus" crowd and the "I like playing an awesome caster who can do anything" crowd.

Is just me or seems like both issues could have been solved by giving martials more toys? High level martials would play like mythological heroes and casters would still be awesome.

Silver Crusade

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Not really. A large chunk of PF playerbase is perfectly fine with mundane materials and would balk at a ToB/Exalted style of play.


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The Narration wrote:
Never got a chance to play with ToB/Bo9S, but I have used the third-party Pathfinder version, Path of War, and it's been working great. When the previews started talking about fighters having stances and combos, I was hoping for something like PoW.

Yeah, Stances debuted in ToB (very cool stuff), and came back in 4th Ed Essentials (again, some very cool stances).

I have said many times, I want Legendary proficiency to gate truly mythic features and feats (swim for days, rip a dragon's head off with your bare hands, etc).


The Caster/Martial disparity certainly influences casual players but a savvy Game Master can counterbalance that up until high levels. I had three players who were entirely new to tabletop roleplaying in my last Pathfinder 1e campaign and had to do a lot of work behind the scenes to keep the martial characters relevant as levels progressed.

But it's not just a matter of Caster/Martial balance - Pathfinder 1e is poorly balanced in general and I like the Playtest's multifaceted approach to addressing that. Again, a savvy Game Master can balance the system, but wouldn't it be nice if they didn't have to?


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edduardco wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
The prospect of a new edition is inevitably going to bring back the conflict between the "I hate the way my Fighter/Rogue was made to look obsolete by a Wizard/Druid/Magus" crowd and the "I like playing an awesome caster who can do anything" crowd.
Is just me or seems like both issues could have been solved by giving martials more toys? High level martials would play like mythological heroes and casters would still be awesome.

Yes, but that brings out another group: "This isn't realistic! I wanted Tolkienesque fantasy, not this anime nonsense!"


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Vic Ferrari wrote:


Yeah, Stances debuted in ToB (very cool stuff), and came back in 4th Ed Essentials (again, some very cool stances).

My experience with 4E begins and ends with the PHB. My group tried playing it when it first came out and had such a miserable time that we dropped it like a hot rock and went back to playing Star Wars.

But yeah, considering that Legendary kicks in at the same level as 8th level spells, it really needs to be way more powerful than it is.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
(b) Most players aren't actually that bothered by the potential for disparity.

It's strange how few of them are around in the threads complaining about the nerfing of casters explaining how unimportant the reduced disparity is, isn't it.

Gorbacz wrote:
Not really. A large chunk of PF playerbase is perfectly fine with mundane materials and would balk at a ToB/Exalted style of play.

Exalted characters would look at a Warblade or Swordsage from ToB and wonder whether they were really supposed to be fighting people so obviously below their weight-class. Though I suspect you'd need a moderately optimised Solar or Infernal before you could say the same about their approach to high-level casters.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
The prospect of a new edition is inevitably going to bring back the conflict between the "I hate the way my Fighter/Rogue was made to look obsolete by a Wizard/Druid/Magus" crowd and the "I like playing an awesome caster who can do anything" crowd.
Is just me or seems like both issues could have been solved by giving martials more toys? High level martials would play like mythological heroes and casters would still be awesome.
Yes, but that brings out another group: "This isn't realistic! I wanted Tolkienesque fantasy, not this anime nonsense!"

Agreed, but could this be addressed by being explicit about the different level ranges? Perhaps 17th-20th level could explicitly be "Epic" and include such elements? Perhaps "typical" adventure paths might end at level 16 so as to avoid "crossing" from one genre to another?

I'm just thinking out loud about how "epic/mythic" might be built in from the start (rather than being bolted on later).

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Removed some posts and replies.


magnuskn wrote:

Yeah, honestly. The way some people talk about casters, I want to hand them a doll and ask "show me where the bad caster touched you".

Luckily all the people I play with, in both groups, seem to have fun playing their characters no matter what they choose to play and appreciate the way that martials pulverize their opponents and casters add tons of useful stuff for the party.

Hell, the biggest complaints I've had at my table over the last decade have been that Paladins just outclass everyone else when we have one and, if not, that archers are OP vs melee classes. I honestly can't remember anyone saying for many years that they thought that someone with a caster class was running away with the campaign.

Have you seen an archer paladin? We had one in our Wrath of the Righteous game. He was freaking devastating. Of course that game also has Mythic which gives some big power boosts. Although he often was a bit out-damaged by the other archer in the group, a Kasatha Bow Nomad Ranger. Dual-wielding longbows. He was a machine-gun.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
I do sometimes wish I could be a fly on the wall of the Paizo offices

Not directly in the train of conversation that arrived at this quote but you've inspired me to share something I've been thinking for a while now.

What we see in the PF2 Playtest is being a fly on the wall at Paizo. I'd very much expect that the playtest is:

a} the game Paizo wants to make and,
b} the game Paizo believes they need to make.

Some of the directions chosen don't make me personally happy, but almost every time I summon the energy to post and explain why, I (usually) pause, and remember those two things.

When/if we ask for change, it's like asking a sous chef to skip the seasoning and just bring us a bottle of ketchup, at least from their perspective. They believe they've created a meal we should want to eat, and due to nutritional wisdom, we need to eat. This is the designer's careers, and their passions.

I feel guilty just saying I don't like something. Every time.

Then there's the financial side. My groups purchased several/many Starfinder products, because we have disposable income, and we gave it a try. We directly provided Paizo the message "we like this". Sadly, that's not the reality. We tried it, we disliked it, we abandoned it, we moved on. So poor Paizo has statistics saying "we sold umpty-billion copies of the core, and the AP, and some pawns", only it's a dead-end at our table. Poor Paizo has to predict the long-term sustainability of a new edition. Sure, next August there'll be a massive surge in sales as the curious invest in the system. Maybe even me. Maybe I'll sustain my AP subscription. Dunno. But is this the system we'll be running 24 months from now? Who knows. I don't envy Paizo.


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AndIMustMask wrote:

@Lucas Yew and Zecrin: I'm of a similar camp of wanting to balance martials UP to casters (getting properly heroic stuff to do to their enemies and to the world at large), rather than knocking casters down any pegs.

The only resistance I have to buffing UP martials instead of reigning in casters a bit is that playing an escalation game eventually gets you to a game that resembles something entirely different; eventually you’re playing a game that more resembles Exalted or Feng Shui than D&D. I’m OK with casters being extremely effective but still having to sing for their supper (proverbially speaking) a bit more than they have in previous editions. I do think some spells need to be toned up a bit, particularly more RP-related spells like Prestidigiation and Unseen Servant, because I feel like we’ve gone a little TOO non-magical in some aspects in a desire to tone it down.


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Anguish wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I do sometimes wish I could be a fly on the wall of the Paizo offices

Not directly in the train of conversation that arrived at this quote but you've inspired me to share something I've been thinking for a while now.

What we see in the PF2 Playtest is being a fly on the wall at Paizo. I'd very much expect that the playtest is:

a} the game Paizo wants to make and,
b} the game Paizo believes they need to make.

Some of the directions chosen don't make me personally happy, but almost every time I summon the energy to post and explain why, I (usually) pause, and remember those two things.

When/if we ask for change, it's like asking a sous chef to skip the seasoning and just bring us a bottle of ketchup, at least from their perspective. They believe they've created a meal we should want to eat, and due to nutritional wisdom, we need to eat. This is the designer's careers, and their passions.

I feel guilty just saying I don't like something. Every time.

Then there's the financial side. My groups purchased several/many Starfinder products, because we have disposable income, and we gave it a try. We directly provided Paizo the message "we like this". Sadly, that's not the reality. We tried it, we disliked it, we abandoned it, we moved on. So poor Paizo has statistics saying "we sold umpty-billion copies of the core, and the AP, and some pawns", only it's a dead-end at our table. Poor Paizo has to predict the long-term sustainability of a new edition. Sure, next August there'll be a massive surge in sales as the curious invest in the system. Maybe even me. Maybe I'll sustain my AP subscription. Dunno. But is this the system we'll be running 24 months from now? Who knows. I don't envy Paizo.

Everyone involved in the game development and playtesting process is better off being brutally honest. From our side we get a better chance at receiving the product we want, from their side they (hopefully) get to sell more of this product thanks to our honest feedback.

I have no reason to believe anyone from Paizo has been less than truthful with me, why would I want to do them the disservice of being less than truthful in return? Because I don't want feelings to be hurt?

I'm certain they would rather I hurt their feelings than chance costing them their livelihoods. They can massage the emotional bruises with paychecks.


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Low fantasy, in its current meaning, is for low-level characters. If you don't want your game to leave that feeling behind, cap your PCs at level 6. Maybe PF2 can even devote a little sidebar to the E6 variant rules (essentially capping character level at 6 and making additional XP go towards feats). I think such tiers of play (e.g. Gritty < Heroic < Mythic) are a good idea, unfortunately 4th edition did it and even its good ideas are considered bad by association.

Casters don't have to get their spells nerfed to the ground, or be saddled with unfun chores to be reined in. They just need to have their spell lists tightly restricted along thematic lines: Specialist Wizards don't get extra spells of their chosen school, they get only spells of their chosen school (with perhaps a limited ability to learn spells from one other school), and there are no Universalists. Sorcerers can only choose from Bloodline spells, Clerics can only choose from Domain spells, and so on.


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Anguish wrote:

Not directly in the train of conversation that arrived at this quote but you've inspired me to share something I've been thinking for a while now.

What we see in the PF2 Playtest is being a fly on the wall at Paizo. I'd very much expect that the playtest is:

a} the game Paizo wants to make and,
b} the game Paizo believes they need to make.

Some of the directions chosen don't make me personally happy, but almost every time I summon the energy to post and explain why, I (usually) pause, and remember those two things.

When/if we ask for change, it's like asking a sous chef to skip the seasoning and just bring us a bottle of ketchup, at least from their perspective. They believe they've created a meal we should want to eat, and due to nutritional wisdom, we need to eat. This is the designer's careers, and their passions.

I feel guilty just saying I don't like something. Every time.

Then there's the financial side. My groups purchased several/many Starfinder products, because we have disposable income, and we gave it a try. We directly provided Paizo the message "we like this". Sadly, that's not the reality. We tried it, we disliked it, we abandoned it, we moved on. So poor Paizo has statistics saying "we sold umpty-billion copies of the core, and the AP, and some pawns", only it's a dead-end at our table. Poor Paizo has to predict the long-term sustainability of a new edition. Sure, next August there'll be a massive surge in sales as the curious invest in the system. Maybe even me. Maybe I'll sustain my AP subscription. Dunno. But is this the system we'll be running 24 months from now? Who knows. I don't envy Paizo.

I don't think that Paizo is totally satisfied with the current state of the game. If Paizo was sure that this was exactly what they wanted and needed to publish, they wouldn't be playtesting and instead would have just released a final corebook. But they didn't, they're explicitly calling for feedback. They want your criticism. They've said that when in doubt they tended to go with the more extreme change on the grounds that it can be dialed back easier than putting in more extreme forms of the rules later. The current version is experimental. So don't be afraid to call out what you don't like. Don't feel guilty. The whole point of the playtest is to see what we all think, and that includes you. Sure, don't be rude about it, but saying what you like and don't like in the current version isn't rude, it's providing useful feedback. It'd be more of a disservice to them to stay quiet and get a final product that isn't what you want and toss it after a few sessions like apparently happened with Starfinder in your group.

Also remember Paizo isn't monolithic. They have a diversity of opinions about how to handle things. It's entirely possible that any criticism that you have has been made by someone in-house too, but they instead went with what they thought would be more popular. They're making this game for the players. It's in everyone's best interest that it's the best game for the most players, so they'll sell more copies, get more new players and everyone is happy. Feedback is vital for that.

If you haven't already, I'd suggest watiching last week's live stream. It gives some good looks into their current thinking and what's currently being looked at to change.


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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
Anguish wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I do sometimes wish I could be a fly on the wall of the Paizo offices

Not directly in the train of conversation that arrived at this quote but you've inspired me to share something I've been thinking for a while now.

What we see in the PF2 Playtest is being a fly on the wall at Paizo. I'd very much expect that the playtest is:

a} the game Paizo wants to make and,
b} the game Paizo believes they need to make.

I have a different perspective. I think they have a few tweaks and shifts they plan for PF2 but haven't included - what they put in the playtest were the "out there" ideas that they really want to see if the Playerbase likes or dislikes. I also suspect that dialling back or mildly boosting something is easy to model in-house but switching to things like +1/level-and-proficiency-tiers, resonance, 3-action economy, everything-is-a-feat are so different it's better to see how it actually plays. The fact all of them are being tested at once is more a result of the limited time available to them than evidence that they believe all of these elements "should" be in the final game.

I don't think the Playtest book is their view of an ideal game. I think this is a bunch of subsystems cobbled together into a cohesive (if unpolished) whole that they think need examination by many (both for the mass accumulation of data in some cases and to "read the room" in others).

I think if you asked any designer back in February to predict PF2, the only thing they'd be confident of is "it won't be what's in the playtest".

Quote:
Then there's the financial side. My groups purchased several/many Starfinder products, because we have disposable income, and we gave it a try. We directly provided Paizo the message "we like this". Sadly, that's not the reality. We tried it, we disliked it, we abandoned it, we moved on. So poor Paizo has statistics saying "we sold umpty-billion copies of the core, and the AP, and some pawns", only it's a dead-end at our table. Poor Paizo has to predict the long-term sustainability of a new edition. Sure, next August there'll be a massive surge in sales as the curious invest in the system. Maybe even me. Maybe I'll sustain my AP subscription. Dunno. But is this the system we'll be running 24 months from now? Who knows. I don't envy Paizo.

This is a perennial problem for them. Like you, I am in the position of financially supporting products (or even entire product lines) that don't actually line up with my tastes.

Furthermore, what people say they'll spend money on often doesn't line up with what they actually do shell out for (quite apart from RPG specific examples, green-friendly packaging often shows up in surveys as something consumers say they'd be prepared to pay for but it doesn't pan out that way when the option is given to them).

What I was specifically referring to though was to actually see the answers to the survey. There's a lot of good criticism happening, but there's also a lot of ill-conceived complaining and a lot of 'Paizo can do no wrong' praising. I'd love to see how it panned out when other avenues of feedback are included beyond those of us who feel the need to post on the forums.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Athaleon wrote:
Low fantasy, in its current meaning, is for low-level characters. If you don't want your game to leave that feeling behind, cap your PCs at level 6. Maybe PF2 can even devote a little sidebar to the E6 variant rules (essentially capping character level at 6 and making additional XP go towards feats). I think such tiers of play (e.g. Gritty < Heroic < Mythic) are a good idea, unfortunately 4th edition did it and even its good ideas are considered bad by association.

I generally agree with you, only that I dislike the thought of having to cap my PCs at level 6. Ideally, if we could go back to the BECMI leveling experience, because then I could play year-long campaigns with the B, the E and maybe a little bit of the Companion level range.

And yeah that would be one case where I wished Paizo to take a page out of the 4E book because I actually liked the three Tiers (ok, I liked the first two, but it enabled me to simply ignore all that extraplanar nonsense that started in Epic Tier.

But as that probably won't happen, I want my sweet spot to widen, not to be narrowed down. Because as much as I like my AP subscription, it's a bit costly to spend money on a whole campaign when you actually only have use for the first two issues (made worse by the fact, that the plots/stories often wouldn't even need the ridiculousness that arises out of PCs becoming way too powerful after that.

Kinda makes me hope that the new Starfinder AP format get's a great reception so that they start to do the same for PF2


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
What is gone forever is the option to keep the status quo. Revolution is coming, be it one way or another, I feel.

That revolution may be a repeat of the one that took place with 4e.

A substantial percentage of the player base leaving for another company.

In case you have not noticed this is what's been going on in the past 2 years with people leaving Pathfinder for 5e. PF2e needed to come out a year ago, but they needed to finish Starfinder first, which is opinionated, but still a success, mainly for the fact that there are no competitors in the sci-fi niche. It's not too late to fight back before 5e gets the whole pie and the only way to do it is to provide feedback so PF2e can become better. It won't change dramatically of course and why should it? It has some excellent ideas. It need work and tuning, sure. We need to help.


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Ghilteras wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
What is gone forever is the option to keep the status quo. Revolution is coming, be it one way or another, I feel.

That revolution may be a repeat of the one that took place with 4e.

A substantial percentage of the player base leaving for another company.

In case you have not noticed this is what's been going on in the past 2 years with people leaving Pathfinder for 5e. PF2e needed to come out a year ago, but they needed to finish Starfinder first, which is opinionated, but still a success, mainly for the fact that there are no competitors in the sci-fi niche. It's not too late to fight back before 5e gets the whole pie and the only way to do it is to provide feedback so PF2e can become better. It won't change dramatically of course and why should it? It has some excellent ideas. It need work and tuning, sure. We need to help.

Starfinder has sci-fi competitors in Shadowrun, 40k, and of course Star Wars.


Athaleon wrote:
Ghilteras wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
What is gone forever is the option to keep the status quo. Revolution is coming, be it one way or another, I feel.

That revolution may be a repeat of the one that took place with 4e.

A substantial percentage of the player base leaving for another company.

In case you have not noticed this is what's been going on in the past 2 years with people leaving Pathfinder for 5e. PF2e needed to come out a year ago, but they needed to finish Starfinder first, which is opinionated, but still a success, mainly for the fact that there are no competitors in the sci-fi niche. It's not too late to fight back before 5e gets the whole pie and the only way to do it is to provide feedback so PF2e can become better. It won't change dramatically of course and why should it? It has some excellent ideas. It need work and tuning, sure. We need to help.
Starfinder has sci-fi competitors in Shadowrun, 40k, and of course Star Wars.

Star Wars is not sci fi as such. Its Space Opera- kind of like fantasy in space as the force is essentially magic.


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Zolanoteph wrote:

You love the idea of magically powerful martials, I hate it. This is one of the several irreconcilable differences I have with Pathfinder 2E, at least from what I read in one of the 2E blog posts. Maybe you can chalk it up to my distaste for "high fantasy settings".

I feel like 1E struck a reasonable balance: If you want to do absurd things and altar the fabric of...

The problem is that what you're describing is level, not class. Fighters start out as ordinary, army ranger people. Wizards start out as magical people.

But there's no such thing as a level 20 army ranger. If you've reached level 20 you can take as much punishment as a small dragon. You ARE superhuman.


THere are other mundane thigns fighters can do that are still useful in the D&D context. %E and AD&D 2E ones for example with great saves (something 5E fails at).

You can give them more attacks for example, one of the 5E ones can actually cast fly at higher levels.

They tried wuxia stuff in 4E, crashed and burned. Supernatural abilities can be put on archetypes, sub classes, or high level feats just make them magical, psionic, blessed by the gods or something else that makes sense in the D&D context. No damage on a miss or come and get it type rubbish. Yes fighters can have nice things, bbut make it work in the D&D context. Even something basic like +10 on all saves is a big FU to casters who can't just save or suck them.

PF2 from the look of it has narrowed the save thing down though.


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Zardnaar wrote:
Athaleon wrote:
Starfinder has sci-fi competitors in Shadowrun, 40k, and of course Star Wars.
Star Wars is not sci fi as such. Its Space Opera- kind of like fantasy in space as the force is essentially magic.

Which, of course, places it in an entirely different category to the hard science-fiction realism of Starfinder, Shadowrun and Warhammer 40K...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:
magnuskn wrote:

Yeah, honestly. The way some people talk about casters, I want to hand them a doll and ask "show me where the bad caster touched you".

Luckily all the people I play with, in both groups, seem to have fun playing their characters no matter what they choose to play and appreciate the way that martials pulverize their opponents and casters add tons of useful stuff for the party.

Hell, the biggest complaints I've had at my table over the last decade have been that Paladins just outclass everyone else when we have one and, if not, that archers are OP vs melee classes. I honestly can't remember anyone saying for many years that they thought that someone with a caster class was running away with the campaign.

Have you seen an archer paladin? We had one in our Wrath of the Righteous game. He was freaking devastating. Of course that game also has Mythic which gives some big power boosts. Although he often was a bit out-damaged by the other archer in the group, a Kasatha Bow Nomad Ranger. Dual-wielding longbows. He was a machine-gun.

Yeah, as I said, Paladins are normally the class where I want to throw up my hands in frustration at how they outclass the others. :) The full casters I've seen in my groups are pretty tame in comparison.

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