My opinion as a 15 years gamer, after around 20 hours of PF2.


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Okay, so my group and I tested Pathfinder around 20 hours since the Playtest was realeased, and I would like to share my opinion on it on theses boards.

So, a little backstory first. I am 27 years old, French (so pleasae forgive my possibly familar English), an History teacher/PhD student, who started to play RPGs when I was 12 years old. We tested PF2 with the same group I play with since 15 years.

I started playing with 3.0, and then 3.5. We also did a lots of Warhammer 2.0, Cadwallon, Star Wars D20 and FFG, L5R, Cyper System, Shadow of the Demon Lord, 5E and homebrew RPGs. But from all of these, Pathfinder 1E is by far the main dishe. We played through Rise of the Runelords, Kingmaker, Iron Gods and Reign of Winter through the end. We started almost each other APs. We followed the rules for many years, and then started to houseruled of lots of things to finish with our "perfect" Pathfinder.

We tested PF2 on an homebrew adventure loosely inspired by the sysnopsis of the Doomsday Dawn, from level 1 to levels 7, with a lots of story XP and sometimes gaining a few levels very quickly to test at different levels range. The group is one Druid, one Barbarian, one Figther and one Bard.

We got ROLEplayers and ROLLplayers in our group. And we succeed during many years having the best of both worlds in PF1. So, here I am. This is what we think of the game so far.

The PROs:
- The 4 tiers of failures/sucess is the best thing idea so far. It allows more flexibility for the DM.

- Expert and Master items that are not magical. Best loots ever for low level adventurers and to present perfect craftmanship.

- Less skills is good. And we like the mastery system that increase with levels. Yes, we do believe that a Wizard level 7 should be able to take down a few commoners with a stick. Or that a Barbarian who defeated a Troll or a Antipaladin of Norgorber can sometimes have insight on what a mysterious monster can do.

- Items with levels are easier to use for the DM.

- Best multiclassing ever, from our perspective at least. We do'nt like dipping. So it was an elegant design. But far from being balanced. Who does not want to take the Fighter dedication?

- The Bestiary is a awesome, as the monsters...

The CONs:
... and it is a problem as the monsters appear as doing more cool things than the players.

- Resonnance is immersion breaking and gamey like I have never seen before.

- Healing is a huge problem, and the players feels like sick and crazy blooded people chasing cooler monsters than they are.

- Skills are still too weak, and still not able to emulate magic in the medium levels.

- The three actions economy feels like a scam when you are a spellcaster, and casting two spells in the same round is still very rare and difficult to do.

- Our Barbarian and Figther felt like they were doing less cool things that they can do in Pathfinder, with Rage Powers and Archetypes like Mutagenic Mauler and the like.

- Reading and navigating the book felt like a chore from an organization standpoint.

- Goblins as a playable Core Race got eyes rolling all over the place. As Paladin LG only. Yes, this is not trolling.

- They are still way too many complicated or specific rules in the skill sections. About the time for a Diplomacy check, or the malus/bonuses for a Stealth check, or for gathering informations. Damn, thse things should be for the DM to decided, based on the situation. And the Skill Feats felt like they allowed the players to do things that they should not need a feat to be able to do.

- Ancestries Feats are unbalanced, weak, and you feel like you are discovering your origins and things you should be able to do from the get go as you level up.

- Attacks of Opportunity are a core part of D20, and removing them from the core combat make errors way more affordable. You should not be able to cast when an angry Barbarian with a giant two handed sword is in close combat with you like it is Chistmas.

- Wealth by levels, items by levels, and level/class locked abilities often felt like a MMO game.

But the elephant in the room is that the PCs felt weak. Like weak, slow, not able to do amazing things. What is that feat that remove Manipulate traits for Lay of Hands? It is the opposite of sexyness and coolness. Less spells, lses Rage powers, less Archetypes, less build variety... less fun. Really, and it pains me to write that.

In PF1 you can do almost every fantasy character concept. Often, in 2 or 3 viable ways. You can break the rules, adapt, and houserule with ease. You can have a gamey feeling that is probably the best in the market. You can become very quickly strong, and if you learn the rules you can bend them in your way.

In 5e you have an immersion game, easy to grasp, where a caster can cast three spells in one round with his bonus action, his action and his reaction. You have a gritty feeling of the fight, and you are able to do amazing things action econymy wise from the get go.

In PF2, you can do a little bit of both, and in a less fun way than with the two other games. Where is the coolness of selecting between 30+ classes? To play as Avatar Ang, or Mr Hyde, or Batman? Where is the satisfaction from 5e to do three cool things that matter in the SAME round?

The Bard was the best example. I played Bard and Skald in PF1 since the release of the game. Same for 5E. Damn I felt weak in PF2. Almost useless. No fun mechanics with Reactions, no true Lingerings Buffs, but just a few sad cantrips that I have to repeat, messing with this famous three action economy. What is the point to have three actions if I can only cast a buff cantrip that will works for two rounds?

The good ideas of Pathinfder 2 can be used in PF1 or 5E. So what is the goal here? The class locked abilities felt like a MMO, same as Resonnance, that the DM was trying as hard as he could to justify roleplay wise. It was sad, really. After 10 hours, we were just getting bored.

I really don't understand what is the point of PF2? It does less things than the two main d20 games. It feels like a video game. And it lacks of cool stuff to do while keeping the main, in our opinion, boring part of PF1 that we removed with houserules. So you d'ont have the variety and action feeling of PF1, and you also don't have the immersion and the coolness of 5E. Basically, you have really not much.

I don't know what can be done to switch that feeling. Or what we missed. And Damn! We love Paizo, we love APs, we love Reynolds, and we so want to love PF2 but come on, what is the design goal here? We really, genuily think that this game needs a loooooots of work to be able to have the spot it deserves. They are good ideas all over the places, but you have to search for it all the time. This opinion is rough. And it makes me sad. But we felt like we had to deliver this warning to the team. Because we don't see ourselves playing PF2 in the naer future. Or at all. RPGs are getting better, smarter, and funnier each day. PF2 need to spet up to be able to compete. Even more against his main adversary, and his spiritual father.

This this the longest post I ever write in English, and I got dyslexia so please forgive my mistakes or my lack of vocabulary please. But damn this has to be said. We love thios company. We want to love this game. Help us.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Great post, sir. Well thought and well said.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

For the record - your post was easy to read and well structure. So no stress on the language! :)

SteelGuts wrote:
In 5e you have an immersion game, easy to grasp, where acaster can cast three spells in one round with his bonus action, his action and his reaction.

I'm afraid I don't have my playtest book yet, so I can't comment on the rest. I did want to single this out (not really to pick on details, but I think it illustrates an issue some people are experiencing in evaluating the PF2 playtest).

The quote is expressly ruled out in the 5E rules. You can never do that. The most you can do is a cantrip with your action and a bonus-action spell (which is a very limited selection).

The overarching point is that sometimes when people post comparisons with other games they are either comparing the PF2-Playtest with a houseruled game (almost by definition, a houseruled game will likely be closer to your tastes than any published game).

Similarly, I feel there's a tendency to compare a complete game with "a set of subsystems we'd like you to test" - I think this is at the heart of the experience for those who feel there aren't a lot of options.

We're not really going to be able to evaluate whether PF2 has fewer, the same or more options than other games (including PF1) until it is released since there's no way the playtest includes every option that will be in the PF2 corebook.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

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Much better stated in English than anything I could write in French, I assure you. Thanks for your feedback!


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Well, consider these things:

-PF2 is still in its playtest stages. There aren't going to be anywhere near as many options as PF1's current load out; I'd honestly be surprised if PF2's CRB matches PF1's CRB in terms of options, choices, and abilities. As of right now, a lot of characters are going to seem weak or uninspiring, because they don't have the breadth of options we are used to having in PF1. I'd honestly give until its first or second rulebook release before we can even start comparing what options PF2 has in relation to PF1.

-The monsters in PF1 could always do more things than the players in PF1, PF2 not being much different in this regard. This is largely because Monsters have GM FIAT behind their backs. If you want a monster that can eat PCs? No problem, they now have an ability and a rule that lets them eat PCs. But if a PC wants to eat small goblins? He needs a feat or ability that lets him do that, which requires rules resources, publishing and creating said abilities, and so on. You could say that the gap between what Monsters and what Players can do has widened, but it most certainly hasn't been anything new.

-Cantrips have been spammable things you could do when you didn't want to burn spells. This philosophy hasn't changed from PF1, where players would have cantrips (most of which became useless after 3rd or 4th level) that they used in turns where they didn't want to utilize spell effects. Druids and Clerics were less reliant on these things since they had options outside of spellcasting to solve, but Arcane spellcasters did not. The point here is that Cantrips, priority-wise, haven't really changed. I wouldn't expect them to replace full-blown spells, but they are nice to have spell effects without actually burning spell slots (which are reduced in this edition) to do so.

-Spells aren't meant to be as strong in PF2. One of the biggest complaints of PF1 was the Caster/Martial Disparity, where the Caster could do just about anything, and the Martial was simply just along for the ride, absorbing EXP, WBL, magic items, and so on, because he could do virtually nothing that the Caster could. Here, the Martial has more power, but they aren't anywhere near as powerful as what a full spellcaster could do with their main feature. In short, it was intended for there to be less spell effects that let you cast 2 or 3 spells in a given turn, because spells need less overall power. Even then, there are some crazy things you can do with those 3 actions, you're practically the nova king. Consider a Cleric who can Channel Energy. He can fully heal himself easily with his Positive Channeling, or outright decimate an enemy with his Negative Channeling. Or a Wizard who wants to Shocking Grasp 3 times.

-PF2 Skills still had GM FIAT arbitration just like PF1. Unless an AP specifically calls for a DC, or a specific bonus/penalty, other things can be added or subtracted based on GM FIAT. Maybe you want to remove that penalty or bonus the book calls for. Maybe you want a more varied save DC. Rule 0 hasn't really changed from PF1 to PF2, so it's not necessarily an issue for actual gameplay. (It is an issue for playtest data, though.)


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Erik Mona wrote:
Much better stated in English than anything I could write in French, I assure you. Thanks for your feedback!

hell, that's better than something i could write in english!


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Steve Geddes wrote:

For the record - your post was easy to read and well structure. So no stress on the language! :)

SteelGuts wrote:
In 5e you have an immersion game, easy to grasp, where acaster can cast three spells in one round with his bonus action, his action and his reaction.

I'm afraid I don't have my playtest book yet, so I can't comment on the rest. I did want to single this out (not really to pick on details, but I think it illustrates an issue some people are experiencing in evaluating the PF2 playtest).

The quote is expressly ruled out in the 5E rules. You can never do that. The most you can do is a cantrip with your action and a bonus-action spell (which is a very limited selection).

The overarching point is that sometimes when people post comparisons with other games they are either comparing the PF2-Playtest with a houseruled game (almost by definition, a houseruled game will likely be closer to your tastes than any published game).

Similarly, I feel there's a tendency to compare a complete game with "a set of subsystems we'd like you to test" - I think this is at the heart of the experience for those who feel there aren't a lot of options.

We're not really going to be able to evaluate whether PF2 has fewer, the same or more options than other games (including PF1) until it is released since there's no way the playtest includes every option that will be in the PF2 corebook.

It was my mistake, when I say « spells » I was not referring only to spells but also to racial and class abilities. So sometime you really got the feeling that you are doing three magical things in only one round. Even a cantrip, a bonus action class ability and a reaction spell feel amazing and strong! Just as doing the perfect build for your idea in Pathfinder. And i really don’t find any of these feelings in PF2.

But you make a good point. This is just playtest. But still we expect more of Paizo. They can do really better in terms of what the game make you feel and the possibility it offers, I am sure of it!


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Erik Mona wrote:
Much better stated in English than anything I could write in French, I assure you. Thanks for your feedback!

And thank you for listening! I used a lots of familiar terms because I lack vocabulary but please understand I was not trying to be rude, just to express our general feeling.


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20 hours of testing in a week as a teacher/PhD student?! Legendary Playtester Skill Feat, maybe? :)

For the PROs and CONs, was anything surprising?
Put another way, How did your expectations about how the game would feel compare to how playing it actually felt?


SteelGuts wrote:

Okay, so my group and I tested Pathfinder around 20 hours since the Playtest was realeased, and I would like to share my opinion on it on theses boards.

So, a little backstory first. I am 27 years old, French (so pleasae forgive my possibly familar English), an History teacher/PhD student, who started to play RPGs when I was 12 years old. We tested PF2 with the same group I play with since 15 years.

I started playing with 3.0, and then 3.5. We also did a lots of Warhammer 2.0, Cadwallon, Star Wars D20 and FFG, L5R, Cyper System, Shadow of the Demon Lord, 5E and homebrew RPGs. But from all of these, Pathfinder 1E is by far the main dishe. We played through Rise of the Runelords, Kingmaker, Iron Gods and Reign of Winter through the end. We started almost each other APs. We followed the rules for many years, and then started to houseruled of lots of things to finish with our "perfect" Pathfinder.

We tested PF2 on an homebrew adventure loosely inspired by the sysnopsis of the Doomsday Dawn, from level 1 to levels 7, with a lots of story XP and sometimes gaining a few levels very quickly to test at different levels range. The group is one Druid, one Barbarian, one Figther and one Bard.

We got ROLEplayers and ROLLplayers in our group. And we succeed during many years having the best of both worlds in PF1. So, here I am. This is what we think of the game so far.

The PROs:
- The 4 tiers of failures/sucess is the best thing idea so far. It allows more flexibility for the DM.

- Expert and Master items that are not magical. Best loots ever for low level adventurers and to present perfect craftmanship.

- Less skills is good. And we like the mastery system that increase with levels. Yes, we do believe that a Wizard level 7 should be able to take down a few commoners with a stick. Or that a Barbarian who defeated a Troll or a Antipaladin of Norgorber can sometimes have insight on what a mysterious monster can do.

- Items with levels are easier to use for the DM.

- Best multiclassing...

First, Appreciate the post, actually pointed out a few things I was concerned with myself reading and rereading the book, if I may ask how does the new rage mechanic feel, being more of a cool down ability, especially when coupled with the rage powers?


(flight from dragon totem must be fun with that)


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Thanks for the post SteelGuts! No one would know that English wasn't your first language!

I agree with most of what you say, especially the Attack of Opportunity part. It felt like it was given to the Fighter class to give them a special ability like the other classes have and completely unbalanced the game. The Attack of Opportunity from PF1 and D&D 3 has become in my book one of the most brilliant additions to the game. It forces players to be shrewd action takers. Because no one wants to give someone a free swing.

At this point I haven't finished the book. It is dry and I find so many inconsistencies its annoying. Like alchemical fire damage under the alchemist and under magic items (why is it there?) being completely different. Is it a 1d6 or 1d8?

I like the concept of resonance so that characters aren't as someone put it, Christmas trees. I found Backgrounds to be uninspired and the proliferation of useless Lore skills it gives you to be laughable. Circus Lore, really? That's useful!

And Goblins? Yes, eye roll please. I could live with that if making Half-Orcs and Half-Elfs useless hadn't occurred.

The pigeon-holing of character classes is an atrocity. This book feels like it sits between D&D 4 and 5th Edition. For something that has been in the works for two years, I have a hard time believing that statement.

I truly dislike the level being added to everything. You aren't better at everything because of your level. It is short-sighted and actually unbalancing. I'm a Professor of Art in College, have a Master's Degree and nearly 50 years old but that doesn't mean that I can do everything as well as I do Art. It's so unrealistic that it makes you question why having skills in the first place and just use your level for everything. A first level bard should be able to Diplomacy circles around a 10th level Barbarian but not in this system.

Things I like since I don't want to be a negative nancy.

I love Perception becoming your Initiative multiplier. And taking it out of the skill tree. But I do feel you should be able to train it up. I literally teach Perception for a living so yes it is a skill. So a bit conflicted.

I do like all these Actions being associated with a skill. It's a bit more dynamic and makes skill choices more important, if you were putting ranks in them. Except for Lore. That skill is fundamentally broken in PF2. Here is a direct quote from the title box under Skills. "Each skill is a broad grouping of several different uses..." except for Lore which is actually the opposite. I'm sorry you don't know what gin or whiskey is because you don't have Alcohol Lore. Really? That is the dumbest Lore designation ever. Waste.

I really dig the four tiers of success and failure but I believe that the ten under rule for will basically get rid of critical failures at upper levels in the game and then it becomes boring. The dice never lie is a critical colloquism in role-playing and literally taking that away is dangerous.

I love that the game is set in a silver based economy! It should have been years ago. I had every intention of converting my game to it but it means rewriting the book basically. Awesome job on that.

Giving starting characters hp for their race and their first class level brilliant! Love it!

I could go back and forth. So far I'm unimpressed and underwhelmed! Which is unfortunate because I was really excited for this.


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Steelguts: Well said, my friend. I didn't agree with everything you said, but I'm glad you shared it.

One thing I want to point out is that removing AoO from the game can have benefits. Movement in combat can be more dynamic: assassins slipping past the Paladin to stab the Wizard, casters can better maneuver themselves to deliver better cone and burst spells, and Clerics can get to fallen allies easier. Plus, you can always add Fighters & monsters with AoO to encounters to get that PF1 feeling.


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This should straigh up be the template to how everyone does feedback. so good!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's how you present critical feedback without being une douche or committing faux pas.


Gorbacz wrote:

That's how you present critical feedback without being une douche or committing faux pas.

Right? and normally I would of just ignored a post that long too but I'll be darned if I didn't read the whole thing.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just hope SteelGuts and his/her comrades fill out the survey, too :)


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SteelGuts wrote:
- Resonnance is immersion breaking and gamey like I have never seen before.

Completely agree!

Scarab Sages

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SteelGuts wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

For the record - your post was easy to read and well structure. So no stress on the language! :)

SteelGuts wrote:
In 5e you have an immersion game, easy to grasp, where acaster can cast three spells in one round with his bonus action, his action and his reaction.

I'm afraid I don't have my playtest book yet, so I can't comment on the rest. I did want to single this out (not really to pick on details, but I think it illustrates an issue some people are experiencing in evaluating the PF2 playtest).

The quote is expressly ruled out in the 5E rules. You can never do that. The most you can do is a cantrip with your action and a bonus-action spell (which is a very limited selection).

The overarching point is that sometimes when people post comparisons with other games they are either comparing the PF2-Playtest with a houseruled game (almost by definition, a houseruled game will likely be closer to your tastes than any published game).

Similarly, I feel there's a tendency to compare a complete game with "a set of subsystems we'd like you to test" - I think this is at the heart of the experience for those who feel there aren't a lot of options.

We're not really going to be able to evaluate whether PF2 has fewer, the same or more options than other games (including PF1) until it is released since there's no way the playtest includes every option that will be in the PF2 corebook.

It was my mistake, when I say « spells » I was not referring only to spells but also to racial and class abilities. So sometime you really got the feeling that you are doing three magical things in only one round. Even a cantrip, a bonus action class ability and a reaction spell feel amazing and strong! Just as doing the perfect build for your idea in Pathfinder. And i really don’t find any of these feelings in PF2.

But you make a good point. This is just playtest. But still we expect more of Paizo. They can do really better in terms of what the game make you feel and the...

With all due respect, I recently did in PF2, what you just described, I cast a spell,used a class feature, used a reaction, AND moved. all in 1 round. The 3 actions system just seems really well designed in our group, the characters feel free to do many different things, and the tempo of the game flows, once you learn the rules.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just a little comment one one of the paragraphs (and I'm in no way critizising what you're saying, I just want to give a counterpoint to one of your opinions.

SteelGuts wrote:

But the elephant in the room is that the PCs felt weak. Like weak, slow, not able to do amazing things. What is that feat that remove Manipulate traits for Lay of Hands? It is the opposite of sexyness and coolness. Less spells, lses Rage powers, less Archetypes, less build variety... less fun. Really, and it pains me to write that.

In PF1 you can do almost every fantasy character concept. Often, in 2 or 3 viable ways. You can break the rules, adapt, and houserule with ease. You can have a gamey feeling that is probably the best in the market. You can become very quickly strong, and if you learn the rules you can bend them in your way.

What you find lacking here is kinda what I hate about D&D/PF1. In my opinion, you shouldn't be able to do all that with your character with regards to character power. And while I don't mind them getting really strong in the end, I think that shouldn't start before the very end of the level range.

But then, I'm German, and as most Germans,I grew up with our own The Dark Eye, so this is kinda the benchmark of how powerful characters should be. Compared to that, D&D/Pf characters are ridiculously strong, and while that kinda was the case from the very beginning, at least in former times (just as a point of reference, I'm a player since the early 80's) it took you quite some time to reach higher levels, while since 3E, you just storm through low levels way too fast.

I know those comparisons often generate heat, but it's like I feel about the development of WoW. At the beginning of WoW, if you didn't optimize your character, you were constantly in over your head and would probably die quite often (I can't remember how often those stupid Troggs in Loch Modan killed my dwarven Paladin, which was my first character in that game). In the meantime it has become nearly impossible to die during the level phase as long as you pay a minimum of attention to the game, so there's no challenge left at all. And I really want my old WoW back so I can't wait for the Classic Server to open up.

Kinda feel the same way about the development of D&D/PF. I seem to remember James Jacobs (or Erik Mona) once saying that they expect the players to know when to run in their adventures and that used to be true with the Dungeon APs (and maybe the early Pathfinder APs). I'd love to get that feeling back, but it has mostly gone from the game, as long as you don't intentionally create underwhelming PCs to play with. There's just no need for running anymore, and I'm sorry to say that the game suffers for it.

In short: If you feel that the PCs are feeling weak? I'm happy to hear that, because that might mean that the game will be again (more) fun for me.


Kazk wrote:

20 hours of testing in a week as a teacher/PhD student?! Legendary Playtester Skill Feat, maybe? :)

For the PROs and CONs, was anything surprising?
Put another way, How did your expectations about how the game would feel compare to how playing it actually felt?

We got two months of holidays in education in France, July and August. Basically almost everything is shut down when you are in the public service. Same as university so yeah when you don’t have a lots of money, this is the main RPG time of the year.

Almost all the PROs for us are the news ideas of PF2 so yeah a lots of good surprises, but the general pace of the game and feeling about what the characters can do was a huge huge downgrade about what we feel when we play PF1 or 5E. It is hard to define a « feeling » and I don’t know where the blame is to put, but the cool factor and the whoah factor were absent too many times.

But the Bestiary is juste top. Like really good. DMing seems like less of a chore and this is a strong selling point in my opinion.


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As for the remarks I am going away in weekend so just a few quick answers:

- Yes we will watch the surveys.
- Barbarian felt in many ways lackluster. Still better than Figther though. But that removal of AoO felt really downgrading for my friend for whom Barbarian is the main class since 3.X. Rage felt less powerful than the PF1 or the Unchained one, and the tree rounds duration with one round to rest felt also really gamey like a small mechanical loop from a WoW talents build.

As for what is cool or strong yeah it is indeed very personal so I understand that people disagree with me. But I have to write it because that how e felt, and we never felt this way in 5E or PF1. So it was a shock for us. The worst being the Barbarian and my Bard. The Druid was probably the one who felt the more like in PF1, with a few critics that is all. He was from the animal order (I like the new companions by the way).

Thanks for the input guys. As soon as they start move things around after first round of feedback we will give it another try.


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And finally I think that people should write a few lines about their experiences in gaming before giving feedback. It can give insight about where the people come from and it is good for comparison. Maybe add it in the advice about doing a good feedback?

Have a nice weekend everyone.


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My personal experience in tabletop games is about 6 years of Pathfinder/D&D 3.5, almost exclusively.
Which is irrelevant, in my opinion, because we're supposed to build a new game system, not try to copy the last one with a few changes thrown in here and there for the sake of saying : it's new, try it, pay for it.

I'm glad that the playtest is coming up with a lot of new gaming mechanics. I LOVE the resonance system because, at last, players are unable to just gulp down 10 potions or use 25 charges of a wand to go into the next fight good as new.

I'm not German, I'm actually French as well but I feel what Wormys is saying : I want the game to be hard.
I want to feel weak, to try hard at a fight, to be proud that I could take down a monster that was more formidable than I.
It feels good to know that you can be low on resources and that sometimes, you have to play smart because you can't pound heals on yourself and others anyway.
Oh and yes, that you can DIE, and not just because of a critical hit.

I love that the game has been made harder and, since I often am the GM as well, I'm glad that the monsters are finally fun to use against your players, giving them a real challenge.
In Pathfinder 1.0, too often are my players looking at the bestiary and seeing loot bags where they should see foes.

Now, this is coming from someone who loves to optimize their characters and I often play with like-minded individuals.
I'm very happy that optimization is now somewhat required and not just something some people scoff at.
In my current gaming group, one player went with a sub-optimized character (melee striker with 12 STR...), on purpose.
I warned him it would not be fine like it used to.
He wouldn't trust me when I did.
Yesterday, as we were playing Doomsday Dawn, he almost died twice and had a lot of trouble contributing to each fight whereas all of the other player characters did pull their weight, and that includes a sorcerer and a wizard who basically did nothing but cast cantrips.

And I'm happy with that.
I've been having a blast with the playtest, mostly because the game is now harder.
And 3 of my 4 players are in agreement. How are you supposed to feel like you're doing something heroic when you just fell your opponent in one swing of your sword? :)

The one player who disagrees with me on this is older and spent more time with the first few editions of D&D than I did.
Maybe that's why he thinks the way you do, I don't know. I'm 26 myself but maybe we just look at things differently and we don't want the same thing out of the game.

The thing is, there already are tabletop games out there with the GrosBill syndrom that let you play overpowered characters.
Let me have this one version of Pathfinder that actually feels like a challenge for once!


Kazk wrote:

20 hours of testing in a week as a teacher/PhD student?! Legendary Playtester Skill Feat, maybe? :)

For the PROs and CONs, was anything surprising?
Put another way, How did your expectations about how the game would feel compare to how playing it actually felt?

Teachers have the summer off, what better thing to do than Playtest PF2!

Nice feedback and I hope you continue playtesting.

Grand Lodge

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Starfinder Superscriber
Erwo the Elder wrote:

I agree with most of what you say, especially the Attack of Opportunity part. It felt like it was given to the Fighter class to give them a special ability like the other classes have and completely unbalanced the game. The Attack of Opportunity from PF1 and D&D 3 has become in my book one of the most brilliant additions to the game. It forces players to be shrewd action takers. Because no one wants to give someone a free swing.

I love Perception becoming your Initiative multiplier. And taking it out of the skill...

As an OG AD&D player, I respectfully disagree re Attacks of Opportunity. It is one of the mechanics I liked least when I made the switch to d20. I feel it slows the game down and doesn’t fit thematically for many characters (is a Wizard really going stop doing cool wizardry things to shank someone as they pass by?). One of the things I love about Starfinder is the downsize of AoO. And I like that the playtest 2E makes it even less prominant. I can see the point that, if it exists at all, maybe other martial characters should have access to it. But I won’t miss it if the current rules stand.

On the other hand, I totally agree re Perception as the Inititative stat. And I also love that the GM could change that based on circumstances (you snuck into battle? Use your Stealth modifier instead).


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SteelGuts wrote:

The PROs:

- The 4 tiers of failures/sucess is the best thing idea so far. It allows more flexibility for the DM.

- Expert and Master items that are not magical. Best loots ever for low level adventurers and to present perfect craftmanship.

- Less skills is good. And we like the mastery system that increase with levels. Yes, we do believe that a Wizard level 7 should be able to take down a few commoners with a stick. Or that a Barbarian who defeated a Troll or a Antipaladin of Norgorber can sometimes have insight on what a mysterious monster can do.

- Items with levels are easier to use for the DM.

- Best multiclassing...

Good post, I agree with a lot of what you said.

With other feats being really... bland, multiclassing as a feat is just too good, so I don't like multiclassing from that point of view. It won't be a question of whether you are multiclassed, the only question will be what did you multiclass into? And there will always be an optimal one, so PC choices will be fairly cookie cutter.

Yeah, it's weird giving feedback on the game when the core of it feels so off.

The main problem is when I read it, it feels like I'm reading a technical manual. It's not a fun or easy read.

And it's not easy making a character without help from someone. I don't believe most new players will be able to make it through the book.

And it's not organized well. In the bestiary, the stuff about building encounters should be 1st, followed by monster abilities, followed by monster, and then traps and hazards and environment.

In the playtest book, it's hard to make a character before you read "how to play the game". I tried to read from to back and gave up, went to equipment and how to play the game, which helped. I don't even want my new players reading the book, it will just hopelessly confuse them.

So yeah, it feels weird trying to help them fix errors or offer suggestions when there is major refactoring that needs to be done.


Great detailed and well thought out post SteelGuts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a positive and constructive way. Your post echoes my own feelings on PF2. Great post.


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SteelGuts wrote:
- Our Barbarian and Figther felt like they were doing less cool things that they can do in Pathfinder, with Rage Powers and Archetypes like Mutagenic Mauler and the like.

I just wanted to comment on this.

PF2 will not have the options that PF1 has initially. There's no way. If people want all these crazy options, they're better staying with PF1.

My play test experience with fighters and barbarians was not yours. I felt CORE fighters and barbarians had MORE to do. I liked that you could do every combat maneuver without needing a feat. Now you can trip, bull rush / shove, disarm, feint, all without needing feats. That's pretty cool.

And most characters having a chance of doing most things meant even fighters could spend actions trying to recall knowledge about creatures.

I don't know, the game play seemed good to me. But yeah, this is core, there won't be those options. It's OK to compare what we have now to core PF2, but a more fair comparison would be core PF1 to core PF2.


Jason S wrote:
And it's not easy making a character without help from someone. I don't believe most new players will be able to make it through the book.

Two of the people I played with yesterday were total beginners who never got their hands on a tabletop game before and they had no issue creating their characters; they made truly minor mistakes that were just calculation issues in the end.


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Agree that Monsters are better than PCs in every way. A monster with same level as a PC has equal or higher skills than Rogue, the hit-chance of a Fighter (or higher, counting his magic items too) and cool abilities that often synergize with each other and are way stronger than any PC feat. They're a blast!

Meanwhile PCs are trying to figure out how many feats they gotta spend to be able to fire a Longbow or not provoke AOOs (which barely exist).

Even the mages are not safe. They really wanted to make skills more attractive that spells to reduce the CM disparity, and that's how we got the current incarnation of "Mending" that doesn't do anything.


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dnoisette wrote:
Jason S wrote:
And it's not easy making a character without help from someone. I don't believe most new players will be able to make it through the book.
Two of the people I played with yesterday were total beginners who never got their hands on a tabletop game before and they had no issue creating their characters; they made truly minor mistakes that were just calculation issues in the end.

I have a fourteen-year old brother whose table-top gaming experience consisted solely of playing the Pathfinder 1.0 Beginner Box years ago. I just told him to download the PDFs on the front page of the Paizo website, print a character sheet, and build a character. He figured it out fine, the only stuff he needed help with was the cantrip from his ancestry.

We’re going to play through Rose Street Revenge tomorrow.


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Best, post, ever. *as said by Comic-Book-Guy, a.k.a. Jeff Albertson*

French and Autistic (my mother lived in Normandy for many years; love France), well, that was a pleasure to read, summed up a lot of my thought/feelings.

Mainly, I feel, where is the Wow-Factor, at the same time they are being revolutionary, they're not really being exciting about it, I need some juice!


I join the chorus praising the way you posted your critic review of what worked and what did not work in your group. Well done.


Thank you for your insigjts.


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First off, thanks for the great post. Now I'll take my stab at how I'd fix each of your concerns if I were designing it.

SteelGuts wrote:
and it is a problem as the monsters appear as doing more cool things than the players.

Ok admission time. I haven't had a session nor am I looking at the bestiary because I'm going to be a player not GM in the playtest campaign but this has me tremendously worried.

Quote:
- Resonnance is immersion breaking and gamey like I have never seen before.

Because it's unnecesary bookkeeping that gets in the way of the players doing cool things with the stuff they got, doubly so for the alchemist. What needs to be done is to make sure that as many items as possible are "verb" items. Then if their monsters are stat'ed up properly, PC's don't need +numbers items to survive or something like the automatic bonus progression (which was a big win in my book). The final touch is to take a hard look at the economy of items.

In PF1, everyone actually reading this knows about the CLW problem. Looking at the XP table for monsters and, if you're good at math, the player XP table, the game predicts that a guy that is 2 levels higher is twice as strong as you. This generates an exponential power curve. The problem is that items were priced at spell level * caster level which is quadratic. In order for the pricing to not be utterly laughable, there was a region where items were actually a bit over priced relative to their effect. Now the other side was the items that should be underpriced were simply expensive enough anyways to be rare. I could get into why damage scaling in PF1 is roughly cubic in level and that explains why the other cure spells were weak in terms of action economy but that's a post for another day.

Quote:
- Healing is a huge problem, and the players feels like sick and crazy blooded people chasing cooler monsters than they are.

I am actually OK with fairly high lethality monsters due to my preference for story based games over dungeon crawls. In strongly story driven campaigns, it is difficult to shoehorn in the typical 4 encounters a day to make the players drain their resources on a regular basis. Thus fewer, but deadlier, encounters actually fit better for those kinds of campaigns. But what about all the people who just want to get drunk and fight some monsters, whom market research seems to show is a larger segment than these boards would like to admit? Well you can simply throw many lower level monsters at them.

Quote:
- Skills are still too weak, and still not able to emulate magic in the medium levels.

In order to do that, they need to be less constrained by the physical at mid to upper levels. In 3.0, you could squeeze through a wall of force with a high enough check (like DC 75 or something). Here they have the foundations to do that with the proficiency system. Legendary in acrobatics? Yes you can roll to get through that wall of force. Legendary in medicine? Yes you can roll to resurrect someone recently dead. Paizo got too cautious. Rule of cool might be the way to go here.

Quote:
- The three actions economy feels like a scam when you are a spellcaster, and casting two spells in the same round is still very rare and difficult to do.

Action economy for casters has moved to concentration spells since concentrating is a single action. Look at spells like Flaming Sphere instead of Lightning Bolt. I think this is a design choice that might turn out fair.

Quote:
- Our Barbarian and Figther felt like they were doing less cool things that they can do in Pathfinder, with Rage Powers and Archetypes like Mutagenic Mauler and the like.

Because they objectively have fewer things to do each round. The fighter can no longer charge and power attack. They pushed too many core mechanics into class feats (I'm looking at you Counterspell and Attack of Opportunity). First they need to return a number of those core mechanics, and then increase the number of class feats each class gets so they have more customizability.

Quote:
- Reading and navigating the book felt like a chore from an organization standpoint.

I felt some of that too, but might be related to only having the PDF personally.

Quote:
- Goblins as a playable Core Race got eyes rolling all over the place. As Paladin LG only. Yes, this is not trolling.

Should've been something like Catfolk or full Orc.

Quote:
- They are still way too many complicated or specific rules in the skill sections. About the time for a Diplomacy check, or the malus/bonuses for a Stealth check, or for gathering informations. Damn, thse things should be for the DM to decided, based on the situation. And the Skill Feats felt like they allowed the players to do things that they should not need a feat to be able to do.

GM's need guidelines and those are skills that are fundamentally complicated. Without extensive guidelines, it gets harder to adjudicate stealth. Not everyone has years of experience GM'ing. They might just need to approach stealth the same way they do AoO. Go and read the attack of opportunity section. It is very detailed and well written with examples. Stealth needs the same sort of thing and likely diplomacy.

Quote:
- Ancestries Feats are unbalanced, weak, and you feel like you are discovering your origins and things you should be able to do from the get go as you level up.

They're essentially the same as any of the race-gated feats from PF1 but they've chosen poorly on the details. Here I feel it is more of a flaw in execution rather than in concept. Look at the Drow feats from PF1, those were a good execution of what I believe they're trying to do with ancestry feats.

Quote:
- Attacks of Opportunity are a core part of D20, and removing them from the core combat make errors way more affordable. You should not be able to cast when an angry Barbarian with a giant two handed sword is in close combat with you like it is Chistmas.

Concur, my proscription is the same as above. Return the old core mechanics to being core mechanics. If you want fighters to be better at AoO then give them feats to improve it in ways other classes can't.

Quote:
- Wealth by levels, items by levels, and level/class locked abilities often felt like a MMO game.

Item levels merely impose a limit on crafting and serves as a guideline for availability. It is an independent requirement to craft the item outside of the required spells. Without that, a very wealthy level 5 guy could make a bracers of armor +6 without respect to the fact that his magic just isn't good enough despite actually having the spell necessary. The structure of the treasure by level is very good for newer GM's who aren't really sure how much loot to give to keep the party up to the expected gear thresholds. Though I'm afraid players will throw this table at the GM and ask why don't we have X?


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erik542 wrote:
Quote:
- Goblins as a playable Core Race got eyes rolling all over the place. As Paladin LG only. Yes, this is not trolling.

Should've been something like Catfolk or full Orc.

It's a Tolkien inspired fantasy setting, which was inspired by European folklore and mythology, not something derived from a Thundercats cartoon or Richard Scarry books. Orcs would be fine, but Catfolk or any other anthropomorphic animals should absolutely never ever be a Core Race.


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Madame Endor wrote:
erik542 wrote:
Quote:
- Goblins as a playable Core Race got eyes rolling all over the place. As Paladin LG only. Yes, this is not trolling.

Should've been something like Catfolk or full Orc.

It's a Tolkien inspired fantasy setting, which was inspired by European folklore and mythology, not something derived from a Thundercats cartoon or Richard Scarry books. Orcs would be fine, but Catfolk or any other anthropomorphic animals should absolutely never ever be a Core Race.

depends on the setting i think. even in golarion for example, in a tian-based game (such as jade regent) it wouldn't be crazy to see a kitsune or tengu in core. for something like serpent's skull i could totally see a snake-person or grippli, or an aquatic race for a skull and shackles campaign.

the notion of always excluding them from core on grounds of it not being a cartoon or book (or just sticking to western fantasy tropes, which are in turn based on mythology and popular fantasy fiction--importantly though, they aren't eternally bound to those conventions, else eberron would never have existed, and it is by far a favorite setting of mine), sounds more like your taste/opinion rather than hard fact.
especially with pathfinder going on about breaking those very conventions in real life and fantasy.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Apart from that, the Tolkien influence is only a small part of all the influences on D&D. And if we're talking Golarion, it's nearly non-existent.


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AndIMustMask wrote:
depends on the setting i think.

That's exactly my point, the main focus for the game is settings based on Tolkieneque characters, not Tom and Jerry cartoons.

AndIMustMask wrote:
the notion of always excluding them from core on grounds of it not being a cartoon or book (or just sticking to western fantasy tropes, which are in turn based on mythology and popular fantasy fiction--importantly though, they aren't eternally bound to those conventions, else eberron would never have existed, and it is by far a favorite setting of mine)

Ebberon and it's deviations from "core" D&D races and classes never became "core" D&D because it was a campaign setting, not "core" D&D. If someone wants to put spaghetti monsters or talking cars in a campaign setting, swell, just keep it out of core. I love mixing sci-fi with fantasy. It's fun. And I think that it would be fun to have android characters in a campaign setting, but androids should never ever be a "core" race.

AndIMustMask wrote:
sounds more like your taste/opinion rather than hard fact.

That's a straw man argument. I never claimed to not be giving my taste or opinion. It is a fact that all of the original "core" Pathfinder races are derived from Tolkien fantasy. That is what they have in common. Even outside of Tolkien, there are fairly common core races and types of characters in fantasy books, movies, and other media, and to keep the feel of classic fantasy, "core" should be true to what is "core" fantasy settings. I do get that there are intellectual property issues and that Paizo has to do things to fill in the gaps created by that, but If "core" becomes random stray whims, then the game won't have the foundation and history that's built on, and that would alienate many of the people who grew up playing D&D and Pathfinder.


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WormysQueue wrote:
Apart from that, the Tolkien influence is only a small part of all the influences on D&D.

The "core" D&D and Pathfinder races are clearly primarily influenced by Tolkien and what is "core" and common to the other classic fantasy settings in books and media that were also influenced by it and the folklore and mythology that they are derived from.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Eh, Pathfinder has been moving away from Tolkien tropes pretty much since the beginning.

Of course, when 75% percent of the original game you're using as a chassis is based on Tolkien tropes more than a few elements will slip through, but really it's a difference of opinion.

Most of my siblings hate Golarion because it isn't Tolkien enough for them.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I personally would love androids and laser guns in the core game. :-)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Excellent feedback. And, funnily enough, much of the same thing most of critical people have been saying for over a week now, but now the people who normally jump on that type of post are falling over themselves praising your criticism. I guess getting the Mona Seal Of Approval so fast kinda blunted their usual modus operandi.

Anyway, all the "yes!" to the overall feeling of feeling disappointed about how less powerful many classes feel. However, that is somewhat blunted by the fact that it only applies to half of the classes (Alchemist, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard), while the others feel like they've improved in many respects.

The second thing which makes me go "erggghhhhh....." in disappointment every time I open it is the spell section, where almost nothing feels as cool as it was before, except cantrips. With the extremely notable exception of Prestidigitation, which is now terrible.

I come off a very positive first playtest session for The Lost Star yesterday, so I'm willing to ride out this playtest and see how enjoyable the game is at higher levels. But I'm already seeing some mathematical calculations on other sites which suggest that rocket tag is still there at high levels, only that is seems to be now gated off to martials. I hope those were miscalculations, because otherwise the entire goal of balancing the game at every level seems to have been missed.

Oh, and btw., since I'm German, too, I want to dispel any notion that we all only enjoy gritty games where you are dragging yourself by the gum of your teeth to the finish line. Then again, I never played Das Schwarze Auge, but went instead directly in AD&D 2nd Ed.


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Madame Endor wrote:
It is a fact that all of the original "core" Pathfinder races are derived from Tolkien fantasy.

Maybe we were reading different Tolkien, but I don't remember Aliens (Golarion's Elves are aliens), Gnomes, or much of any Half-bloods (Orc or Elf) in Middle Earth. Men, Fey-like Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits sure, but none of the others.


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Shinigami02 wrote:
Madame Endor wrote:
It is a fact that all of the original "core" Pathfinder races are derived from Tolkien fantasy.
Maybe we were reading different Tolkien, but I don't remember Aliens (Golarion's Elves are aliens), Gnomes, or much of any Half-bloods (Orc or Elf) in Middle Earth. Men, Fey-like Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits sure, but none of the others.

elrond's name and title is eldrond half-elven (you can guess why) as are his sons, and a few others before him, and the line of numenor also has elf ancestry (and is why aragorn lives a damn long time into his eventual rule). presumably arwen's children (one son and several daughters) would be considered half-elves as well.

as for half-orcs i'm not super sure, since part of them were once elves (and therefore potentially compatible with humans, if they didnt simply eat them first), but i've got no idea on the uruk-hai side.
ah, apparently they're also a briefly mentioned thing in the two towers.


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magnuskn wrote:

Excellent feedback. And, funnily enough, much of the same thing most of critical people have been saying for over a week now, but now the people who normally jump on that type of post are falling over themselves praising your criticism. I guess getting the Mona Seal Of Approval so fast kinda blunted their usual modus operandi.

Not really. It's because there is no melodrama in his post, just stated things that happened, point by point, both good and bad. I still disagree with some of his views, but the way he gives his criticism is welcome, if anything, because it's a chage of pace from all the "longbows having volley is less realistic than fireballs" kind of posts.

The praise is not as much for what IS in his post, but for what he left out. No melodrama, and concise points, makes the criticism much better to read.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:

Not really. It's because there is no melodrama in his post, just stated things that happened, point by point, both good and bad. I still disagree with some of his views, but the way he gives his criticism is welcome, if anything, because it's a chage of pace from all the "longbows having volley is less realistic than fireballs" kind of posts.

The praise is not as much for what IS in his post, but for what he left out. No melodrama, and concise points, makes the criticism much better to read.

And I guess here is where our difference of perception comes in, because I've seen so many thread where people laid out their problems in much the same way, but got dunked on immediately. I guess percepting intent really comes down to whose side you are on.


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I disagree. Deadmanwalking has a few threads with posts similars to the OP, with concise, concrete points expressed in clear way, both good and bad, and nobody dunked on him.

But I'd gladly change my mind if you link me to a thread with a post like the OP, where the poster was dunked on. If I don't see any melodrama on it, I'd concede the point.


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I'd say less dunked on and more met with "have you actually *played* the game?"

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