Stat bumps are too far apart


Classes


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I am not a fan of Stat increases waiting every five levels. In my opinion that is too long to wait and 4 bumps at once is too much a of a jump in power. I love Starfinder, but this is one of the things about Starfinder I really do not like.

16 total stat increases can be divided up in a way that provides a more steady increase in power as well as allowing leveling up to feel valuable more often. The two proposed systems below also allow the final stat bumps to be enjoyed for more levels, rather than coming at the final level.

2 bumps at levels 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18.
This does however allow one to eventually increase a primary stat by 8 instead of 4. While I do not have an issue with that myself, I can understand it being a concern, since you are trying to keep the top end a bit lower than in the past. I like how this spread allows for more reactive character building, responding to events in the game more frequently with an always impactful build choice.

3 bumps at levels 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16 limits the increase of a single stat to 5 times, and still gives us a cleaner spread of stat bumps. I know one bump is lost (15 vs 16), but the spread over the levels works better, in my opinion.


I like the suggestion of 2 increse per 2 levels.

You can make hard cap of 20 or 22 in natural ability if you want to reduce numbers bloat.


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I'd agree... it takes forever to see an improvement in stats and seeing that you get that last boost at level 20 is rather disheartening since most people never get there and even if they do, it's brief as so many games end there.

Are there exceptions, yes - always.

Still, I like the idea of the two bumps every two levels. It matches the rest of the feats and skill increases better than one set every five.


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I prefer stat increases the way they currently are in the Playtest. This helps differentiate different levels of play.

Other threads seem to indicate that there is a wide range of play styles that people want from Pathfinder. Everything from gritty realism to super heroes and beyond. Having clustered ability score increases adds clarity to where those lines are.


I like it as is. I can see value in the argument that the level 20 bonus is rarely going to ever see play, meaning the +7 cap is, for all intents and purposes, really a +6, but if that were to change, I'd rather see it as stat bumps at levels 3/8/13/18, though that might necessitate a shift in other features, as, for instance, most martials get weapon proficiency bumps at levels 3 and 13, and level 8 feats seem to be a bit more of a step up into a higher tier, but shift those things around, and I'd have no problem with just having 4 stat bumps.

If it had to change, I'd vastly prefer the 3 stats, 5 times version, over the 2x8, but 4x4 is where I like it best.


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StratoNexus wrote:
I am not a fan of Stat increases waiting every five levels. In my opinion that is too long to wait and 4 bumps at once is too much a of a jump in power.

I agree that 4 stat boosts during one level up is way too much. That is a vast increase in character power, which will unbalance encounters. If a level 5 creature has an equaivalent boost to match a 5th level party, then it will be overpowered as a challenge against a 4th level party. If a level 5 creature lacks an equivalent boost, then it will be underpowered as a challenge against a 5th level party.

The smoothest rate of ability score boosts would be one per level, skipping an occasional level. The problem with this is that the same score could be boosted repeatedly to min-max a character. That much min-maxing would also unbalance the game.

We can prevent the min-maxing with a simple rule: the player records all the ability scores that were boosted and cannot boost the same one twice until a criterion is met. The criterion that matches the current method is no repeats are allowed until after 5th level, and then no repeats until after 10th level, etc.

The ability score boost rule would be:
1) The character gains an ability score boost at every level except 1st, 6th, 11th, and 16th. At 1st level, the character generates ability scores, but that does not count as a regular ability score boost.
2) The player records all the ability scores that had a boost and is not allowed to boost that score again until after 1st, 6th, 11th, and 16th levels.

Some boosts would come a few levels early, but 2nd and 3rd level could use a little extra power anyway. The character growth would be much smoother, and in the long run, all the scores would have the same boosts as the current method.

Snickersnax wrote:

I prefer stat increases the way they currently are in the Playtest. This helps differentiate different levels of play.

Other threads seem to indicate that there is a wide range of play styles that people want from Pathfinder. Everything from gritty realism to super heroes and beyond. Having clustered ability score increases adds clarity to where those lines are.

Instead of the current Pathfinder E6 we would have Pathfinder E4, stopping the level-up before the 5th-level stat boosts?

I was never interested in E6, so I don't see the appeal. I like realism in my campaigns, but it is happy realism where the PCs learn to work with the local villagers rather than gritty realism.

Silver Crusade

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Mathmuse wrote:
I agree that 4 stat boosts during one level up is way too much. That is a vast increase in character power, which will unbalance encounters.

How so? Yes I saw the part after that, but I don't see how a possible +1 at level 10 and 20 completely unbalances an encounter.


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Rysky wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
I agree that 4 stat boosts during one level up is way too much. That is a vast increase in character power, which will unbalance encounters.
How so? Yes I saw the part after that, but I don't see how a possible +1 at level 10 and 20 completely unbalances an encounter.

At 5th level, in addition to gaining the +1/level to proficiency, a character also gains +1 to ability modifier for his or her four most important abilities. So +2 to several proficiencies instead of +1. And the boost isn't just to proficiencies. A boost to Intelligence gives an additional trained skill, a boost to Strength gives +1 to damage, a boost to Constitution gives 1 hit point per level retroactively, etc. I think the characters will feel like they went up 1.75 levels instead of just one level at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels.

A big jump in strength would mean that suddenly the encounters feel easy. My players don't want cakewalks, they want challenges. I didn't say completely unbalanced. It would be ordinarily unbalanced, as if I messed up planning the encounter or if my players started powergaming. It would not derail the game, it would not lead to TPKs, but I would be embarrassed that I did not give my players an encounter that properly challenged them.

I have not playtested 5th level characters, so I have not seen how this effect works out in practice. And Doomsday Dawn tests 1st, 4th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 14th, and 17th levels, so it doesn't test 5th, 10th, or 15th levels for me to see the effect, either. And we are three weeks behind the Doomsday Dawn schedule, due to work-related absences and illnesses.


Rysky wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
I agree that 4 stat boosts during one level up is way too much. That is a vast increase in character power, which will unbalance encounters.
How so? Yes I saw the part after that, but I don't see how a possible +1 at level 10 and 20 completely unbalances an encounter.

Ditto. Especially considering that encounter math assumes you get that +1 at those points anyway.

I had a tongue in cheek way of calculating difficulty DCs over in the GM board.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I really do not think the math is that tightly wound around stat generation and increases seeing how there’s so much variance to how they can be spread out and increased.


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

If you do provide ability score boosts more often, you would need some sort of rule to limit how often (or perhaps how high) any single ability score can be boosted -- although that might be good if it can be combined with a way to handle boosts to ability scores beyond 18 without requiring allocation of points that do nothing to the higher ability scores.


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Or you could just artificially limit the max score like in 5e. Right now PF2 gives out 16 ability score boosts over 20 levels. With an artificial cap at 22 for ability scores, you could assign an ability boost at each level save for 10-15-20, so you end up getting boosts at about the same rate (but earlier by 1 level).

This has several pros and cons.

Pros:
- Character growth feels more gradual, rather than all at once
- Ancestries with a flaw in their class’ key stat can actually reach the stat cap (a Halfling Barbarian can end up having 24 Str with these rules)
- Higher main stats achieveable earlier can help players feel more heroic early on as they will hit more often
- Players can maximize non-key stats, leading to more build options (e.g. Max STR Sorcerer builds)

Cons:
- May create overspecialization as players pour their stat boosts into a few stats instead of being forced to diversify
- May unbalance early gameplay if players choose to focus on their key stat (may need testing to see whether this is true)
- Levels 10, 15 and 20 suddenly lose out on a growth option, may require a replacement.
- Characters spike earlier, which can lead to feel bad moments when the monsters catch up at higher level

I actually like this idea overall, if it’s combined with some tweaks to high level combat math. If PCs suddenly hit less often than before through no fault of their own, then it’s not a very fulfilling experience. Overspecialization may also be an issue, as players with 18 16 14 12 10 8 starting scores may end up with 24 22 22 14 10 8 scores. However, I believe the benefits outweigh the costs. In 5e, players can get to max score as early as level 6, so it could definitely work for PF2.


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The problem with the original poster's proposal of more frequent smaller boosts is that players will naturally focus those frequent two boosts on the same two abilities, which is too much and will undermine the current diversification. I don't think the proposal is a helpful or necessary change.


I think Rysky is saying that I am missing something. I do know one gap in my awareness of stat boosts that could be giving me a blind spot. What is the point of the ability score boosts anyway?

I see the purpose in boosting the stat during character creation. The 1st-level characters need an edge over the commoners; otherwise, the ordinary guards and laborers at 2nd level would perform much better than them. Good stats are necessary for playing beginning characters with potential.

Second, for rolled stats in D&D 3rd Edition and Pathfinder 1st Editions, leveling up the stats converts odd numbers into better even numbers. It makes me less disappointed to roll an odd number.

Third, those editions also had feats with ability score requirements. For example, Two-Weapon Fighting requires Dex 15, and Improved Two=Weapon Fighting and Manyshot require Dex 17. Dex 15 should be readily rolled, but Dex 17 is harder to obtain naturally. The stat increase was a way of turning a character-creation requirement into a level-based requirement for greater flexibility. Pathfinder Playtest has a few feats like that, such as Intimidating Prowess that requires Strength 16 and Wizard Dedication that requires Intelligence 16. But 16 is the second highest stat after most character creation, so it will seldom be necessary both build for that stat and boost it to reach the requirement. Besides, most characters taking Intimidating Prowess or Wizard Dedication will want the feat before 5th level.

Fourth, boosting a stat caused related feats to go up together. Increasing Intelligence improved both Knowledge(history) and Knowledge(nobility), representing the hours spent reading about the history of the nobility. The muscular development from Swimming helps with Climbing, right? In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, the +1/level causes all skills to go up together already.

The second, third, and fourth reasons don't apply well to Pathfinder 2nd Edition. And ability score boosts mess with the tight math that the developers want for Pathfinder 2nd Edition. Why did the developers build so many ability score boosts into the system?


Hugolinus wrote:
The problem with the original poster's proposal of more frequent smaller boosts is that players will naturally focus those frequent two boosts on the same two abilities, which is too much and will undermine the current diversification.

I agree that could be an issue. I'd expect a fair number of people to do that with one stat, their primary. However, +2 to an tertiary or possibly even quaternary could look better than a +1 to a secondary stat to a lot of people.

However, your concern is why I also suggested 3 bumps at levels 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16. The 2 bumps every 2 levels starting at 4 does have the problems you mention.

Mathmuse wrote:

I think Rysky is saying that I am missing something. I do know one gap in my awareness of stat boosts that could be giving me a blind spot. What is the point of the ability score boosts anyway?

...

And ability score boosts mess with the tight math that the developers want for...

I would guess they want PF2 heroes to be more well-rounded individuals, which is not a bad idea, in my opinion.

Grand Lodge

What if you gained a +2(+1 if 18+) in every level but 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th. You cannot raise a stat if it's been raised in the last 4 raises?


Pramxnim wrote:

Or you could just artificially limit the max score like in 5e. Right now PF2 gives out 16 ability score boosts over 20 levels. With an artificial cap at 22 for ability scores, you could assign an ability boost at each level save for 10-15-20, so you end up getting boosts at about the same rate (but earlier by 1 level).

This has several pros and cons.

Pros:
- Character growth feels more gradual, rather than all at once
- Ancestries with a flaw in their class’ key stat can actually reach the stat cap (a Halfling Barbarian can end up having 24 Str with these rules)
- Higher main stats achieveable earlier can help players feel more heroic early on as they will hit more often
- Players can maximize non-key stats, leading to more build options (e.g. Max STR Sorcerer builds)

Cons:
- May create overspecialization as players pour their stat boosts into a few stats instead of being forced to diversify
- May unbalance early gameplay if players choose to focus on their key stat (may need testing to see whether this is true)
- Levels 10, 15 and 20 suddenly lose out on a growth option, may require a replacement.
- Characters spike earlier, which can lead to feel bad moments when the monsters catch up at higher level

I actually like this idea overall, if it’s combined with some tweaks to high level combat math. If PCs suddenly hit less often than before through no fault of their own, then it’s not a very fulfilling experience. Overspecialization may also be an issue, as players with 18 16 14 12 10 8 starting scores may end up with 24 22 22 14 10 8 scores. However, I believe the benefits outweigh the costs. In 5e, players can get to max score as early as level 6, so it could definitely work for PF2.

I like this idea a lot. What about instituting multiple ability caps throughout the levels (max of 20, which becomes a max cap of 22, and eventually a max cap of 24)? In fact, we already have this for skill proficiencies. Increase your proficiency in any skill you like, but you can't go to master until a certain level. After that, continue increasing as you like, just no legendary until a later certain level. And for simplicity's sake, maybe have the skill training cap increases be the ability score cap increases.


I'm ok with any proposal that would lead to something other than having 16-18 in every stat without any sort of magic item. It's pretty absurd. More specialization please.


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I think a system that spreads the ability increases out would also have the advantage of filling dead space, especially in the cases of classes that seem to have lame feat choices in their silo's. You still have the feat choice but now you have an ability bump that combines to make it feel better.

Spreading them out is fairly simple, just make the limit to break the 20 threshold level 10, and add a "natural" ability cap of 22-24.

It would allow slightly more specialization while keeping the diversified ability arrays that the new skill system seems to be build upon.

Edit: I do want to point out that I am 100% against an ability cap that is in the double digits modifier wise (so mods greater than +9) as that seems to make the spread between non-optimized and optimized characters pretty much insurmountable.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
I'm ok with any proposal that would lead to something other than having 16-18 in every stat without any sort of magic item. It's pretty absurd. More specialization please.

I don't mind every stat 16-18 if that's what the person wants: I just don't want that to be forced to be everyone's stats. I'd like to see removal of the 'pay double' part for stats over a certain number. Just have max stat numbers on a sliding scale based on your level and they aren't needed.


Tectorman wrote:
What about instituting multiple ability caps throughout the levels (max of 20, which becomes a max cap of 22, and eventually a max cap of 24)? In fact, we already have this for skill proficiencies. Increase your proficiency in any skill you like, but you...

I was trying to keep it simpler, which is why I avoided extra rules.

While there is a part of me that would love something on our character sheets that recorded which stats we increased as we leveled (I generally keep track of this for my characters currently), I definitely think we should NOT implement a system that limits stat bumping based on keeping track of previous stat bumps. Just too much tracking for the more casual player.

However, a simpler system that limits raising any stat above 20 until level 12 could work well if increasing 2 stats every other level was an option that could be considered, and it limits the top end to 24 instead of 26. I like the simplicity of 3 bumps 5 times, but the more reactive and frequent option of 2 bumps every 2 levels starting at 4, but cannot raise above 20 until level 12 is interesting.

Hyper specialized using 2 bumps every 2 levels starting at 4, but cannot raise above 20 until level 12.
Level 1- 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 or Level 1- 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8
Level 4- 19, 18, 14, 12, 10, 8 or Level 4- 18, 18, 16, 12, 10, 8
Level 6- 20, 19, 14, 12, 10, 8 or Level 6- 19, 18, 18, 12, 10, 8
Level 8- 20, 20, 16, 12, 10, 8 or Level 8- 19, 19, 18, 14, 10, 8
Leve 10- 20, 20, 18, 14, 10, 8 or Leve 10- 20, 20, 18, 14, 10, 8
Leve 12- 21, 21, 18, 14, 10, 8 or Leve 12- 21, 21, 18, 14, 10, 8
Leve 14- 22, 22, 18, 14, 10, 8 or Leve 14- 22, 22, 18, 14, 10, 8
Leve 16- 23, 23, 18, 14, 10, 8 or Leve 16- 23, 23, 18, 14, 10, 8
Leve 18- 24, 24, 18, 14, 10, 8 or Leve 18- 24, 24, 18, 14, 10, 8

With 3 bumps every 3 levels, starting at 4 (but stopping at 16):
Level 1- 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8
Level 4- 19, 18, 16, 12, 10, 8
Level 7- 20, 19, 18, 12, 10, 8
Leve 10- 21, 20, 19, 12, 10, 8
Leve 13- 22, 21, 20, 12, 10, 8
Leve 16- 22, 22, 20, 14, 12, 8

With 4 bumps every 5 levels (as current rules) the specialist would:
Level 1- 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8
Level 5- 19, 18, 16, 14, 10, 8
Leve 10- 20, 19, 18, 16, 10, 8
Leve 15- 21, 20, 19, 18, 10, 8
Leve 20- 22, 20, 20, 18, 12, 10

Just comparing the three options at level 8, 12, 16, and 20:
Level 8- 20, 20, 16, 12, 10, 8 (every 2)
Level 7- 20, 19, 18, 12, 10, 8 (every 3)
Level 5- 19, 18, 16, 14, 10, 8 (every 5)

Leve 12- 21, 21, 18, 14, 10, 8 (every 2)
Leve 10- 21, 20, 19, 12, 10, 8 (every 3)
Leve 10- 20, 19, 18, 16, 10, 8 (every 5)

Leve 16- 23, 23, 18, 14, 10, 8 (every 2)
Leve 16- 22, 22, 20, 14, 12, 8 (every 3)
Leve 15- 21, 20, 19, 18, 10, 8 (every 5)

Leve 18- 24, 24, 18, 14, 10, 8 (every 2)
Leve 16- 22, 22, 20, 14, 12, 8 (every 3)
Leve 20- 22, 20, 20, 18, 12, 10 (every 5)


Curses, I lost my end analysis and did not realize until after my edit grace period expired.

Just comparing the three options at level 8, 12, 16, and 20:

Level 8- 20, 20, 16, 12, 10, 8 (every 2)
Level 7- 20, 19, 18, 12, 10, 8 (every 3)
Level 5- 19, 18, 16, 14, 10, 8 (every 5)
At level 8 there is not much difference between the systems. The two new ideas do let the primary get a +5 modifier. I do like the spread of stats in the every 3 system best at this point. Every 2 and every 3 has had 6 bumps, while every 5 has had 4.

Leve 12- 21, 21, 18, 14, 10, 8 (every 2)
Leve 10- 21, 20, 19, 12, 10, 8 (every 3)
Leve 10- 20, 19, 18, 16, 10, 8 (every 5)
By level 12 the primary stat and tertiary stat has the same modifier in all 3 systems. The secondary is one higher in both proposed systems. The every 3 system is a bit weak at this level, but it is one level away from two good bumps. The every 2 system has had 10 bumps and 5 reward levels. The every 3 system has had 9 bumps and 3 reward levels. The every 5 system has had 8 bumps and 2 reward levels.

Leve 16- 23, 23, 18, 14, 10, 8 (every 2)
Leve 16- 22, 22, 20, 14, 12, 8 (every 3)
Leve 15- 21, 20, 19, 18, 10, 8 (every 5)
Stat modifiers of the three systems comparison:
6, 6, 4, 2, 0, -1 (every 2)
6, 6, 5, 2, 1, -1 (every 3)
5, 5, 4, 4, 0, -1 (every 5)
The primary and secondary stats in both proposed systems are still equal, +1 modifier compared to the current rule. Focusing on only two stats has slightly hurt the breadth of the every 2 system. I really like the spread of stats on the every 3 system at this point in comparison to the other systems. Every 2 has given out 14 bumps and 7 reward levels. Every 3 is 15 bumps and 6 reward levels. Every 5 is 12 bumps and only 3 reward levels.

Finally at level 20:
Leve 18- 24, 24, 18, 14, 10, 8 (every 2)
Leve 16- 22, 22, 20, 14, 12, 8 (every 3)
Leve 20- 22, 20, 20, 18, 12, 10 (every 5)
Stat modifiers of the three systems comparison:
7, 7, 4, 2, 0, -1 (every 2)
6, 6, 5, 2, 1, -1 (every 3)
6, 5, 5, 4, 1, 0 (every 5)
At this point, the every 5 system and every 3 system are very much the same, with the every 5 system having slightly more breadth (the quaternary stat has a +2 modifier advantage, just like it has since level 10, at the expense of a -1 in the secondary stat). The drawbacks of the every 5 system of course are that your only getting this max power for 1 level of play and you only had 4 reward levels over the course of play. The every 2 system has obviously lost breadth at the expense of focus, and I am good with the design goal of breadth. I would personally prefer the every 2 system, because I would almost never bother building for the 24, preferring the well-rounded character and more frequent rewards (although keeping the primary as 24 and dropping the secondary to 22 or 20 might occur pretty often as well), but I realize that giving the option to hit that 24 might be problematic.

Every two has given out 16 bumps and 8 reward levels; every 3 has given out 15 bumps and 6 reward levels; every 5 has given out 16 bumps and 4 reward levels. I like that the every 3 system lets me play max power for up to 5 levels, although I can understand some might not like the lack of more stat bumps to look forward to after level 16, although in the past, most campaigns ended before 20 anyway. However, I expect a design goal is for PF2 APs to actually go all the way to 20 and actually let you play at that level.


I want smaller increases (+1) more frequently (every 4 levels) so that we don't have all 18s and 20s when we are level 15.

Having characters without flaws (or even strengths in this case since everyone is almost as strong in every stat) is boring. Every character is going to have almost identical stats at high levels.

Sorry, this feels wrong to me.


Jason S wrote:

I want smaller increases (+1) more frequently (every 4 levels) so that we don't have all 18s and 20s when we are level 15.

Having characters without flaws (or even strengths in this case since everyone is almost as strong in every stat) is boring. Every character is going to have almost identical stats at high levels.

Interesting. i do agree that everyone having the same stats would be a bland. However, I do not think that is the case as designed nor do i think either of my proposed alternates would cause that problem (my alternates actually allow for more variety than the base system).

First, I want to make sure you understand that magic items that buff stats do not really exist in PF2? The stat buffs are replacing what headbands and belts and tomes used to do to increase stats. If you understand that, then your proposal is not going to change the fact that characters will have identical stats, it will simply just be lower identical stats. If simply lowering the end game stats is your goal, then your proposal is fine, although I personally think every four levels is too long to wait between bumps.

Additionally, with the current system and with most proposed systems it is unlikely you will have all 18s. I mean, I guess you could build that way, as outlined below, but I think most people will try get two 20s (and many will also shoot for one 22). Even with always increasing a stat below 18 when possible, the current system doesn't actually get you to all 18s even by level 20 (although it is close).

Level 1- 16, 16, 14, 12, 10, 10
Level 5- 18, 18, 16, 14, 10, 10
Leve 10- 18, 18, 18, 16, 12, 12
Leve 15- 19, 18, 18, 18, 14, 14
Leve 20- 20, 19, 18, 18, 16, 16

I outlined several build possibilities in the posts above which do the exact opposite of generalizing like this, and you can see the specialists actually still end up with 2 lower stats. Additionally, they also allow for a bit higher numbers when focusing, which also can add some differentiation.

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