Paladin actual play feedback


Classes

Grand Lodge

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Character Creation

I set out to create a Gnome Fey bloodline Sorcerer … and a few hours in, realize I need to make something simpler than a caster for my first time in a new system.

My second attempt is a gnome paladin of Shelyn, inspired by a PFS core campaign character that never quite got off the ground.

The character sheet. The layout of the official character sheet is not very intuitive. I take a few hours out to make a playtest character sheet that looks more like the portrait-layout sheets PF1 players are used to.

Gnome gives +Con and Cha, the floating ability boost cancels out the -Str. Entertainer background seems most appropriate for a Shelynite, and adds +Str and +Cha. Free boosts go Str, Dex, Con, Cha, and to top it off class boost bumps Str up to 16. Starting with Str 16 on a gnome’s not bad, but the lack of an option to boost Cha instead limits ancestry and background choice somewhat. (A moment to pity the poor Dwarf paladins.)

Starting class features. Not having to wait for level 2 for lay on hands is nice. Retributive strike seems very situational and doesn't excite me, but let's see how it works in play.

d4s are tiny, hospice knight it is for class feat. In retrospect, this felt like a trap at level 1. You need to buy a 50sp healers kit to use medicine, and the die increase doesn't matter as much till you're rolling more dice.

Paladins get no ability to reduce crossbow reload time. Glad I don’t worship Abadar.

Initial equipment

Why are one-handed and two-handed weapons jumbled together in a single table? What was wrong with separate tables as in PF1 and SF? Still not clear if I can ever use lay on hands with a glaive. (Clarification hit the site midway through game).

Starting gear ended up:

Scale mail
Heavy wooden shield w/ shield boss
Shortbow
20 arrows
Ordinary clothing
Grappling Hook
Silk Rope
Wooden Holy Symbol
Healer's Tools
4 SP to spare

Main bit of feedback here: basic tool kits (Healer's, Thieves', Snare, Repair) necessary to just use skills are grossly overpriced compared to starting character wealth.

This, plus unclearness on LoH needing a free hand leaves me with sheild boss as my only melee weapon, which would prove to be a major mistake.

Gameplay
HWalsh on Discord rounds up players for an demo game, and I jump in with my freshly minted paladin and her familiar. Other party members are a ranger and his companion, a bard, and a monk.

After introducing characters, we go into exploration mode, gathering information to locate our employer. With a bard and a paladin trained in diplomacy, it's not hard to make the gather information checks.

It's late in the day, so we rest and start the next day fresh.

We start the day with open stage performance. We earn some silver between the bard and myself being trained in performance.

The bard and ranger take some time to help a herbalist with her studies, while I and the monk arrange a bounty contract.

We meet back up to collect a bounty on some "rats", and go into combat mode.

I open the door to the "rat"-infested property, lose initiative and take two bites from a goblin dog before I have a chance to raise my shield. At least I make my fort saves. The monk crits and kills it when his action comes around.

It seems NPCs in the playtest suffer the same inflated to-hit numbers as Starfinder NPCs. Is this really necessary?

I lay on hands and chug a healing potion provided by our employer to get back from 3 HP. Tracking spell points and resonance as I do so.

Even with hospitalier knight, 1d6+3, 3 times a day doesn't feel like much with increases in HP.

We press forward, finding more goblin dogs and more combat. I head up to one, whiff with the shield boss attack, and raise shield as my final action. This saves me from a couple hits as it attacks back twice.

Things go bad on the second round however, as the goblin dog rolls a nat 20, I block the crit with my shield, leaving me conscious, but with no shield or melee weapon due to gear choices.

The goblin dog turns to attack the monk next to me with its actions. I get in some unarmed retributive strikes, but I'm not impressed with the mechanic. Yes, it encourages enemies to attack the paladin instead of their allies... or just step out of the paladin's reach. And It'll do little good for bow paladins. As a signature class ability and especially a replacement for smite evil, it feels lackluster.

Speaking of bow paladins, I draw my shortbow and start plinking away the next round, having no melee weapons left. Low dex and low damage means I don't contribute much with in the 2 rounds I'm double- and triple-attacking with it.

Takeaways

Ancestries need to be more front-loaded. The familiar I took with my one ancestry feat never did much, gnome movement is a pure drawback, and the only remaining concession to gnomishness was having low-light vision.

Backgrounds are forgettable. Any chance of making them work more like Starfinder themes?

Lack of a general feat at 1st level is likely to make a lot of 1st-level characters samey.

Paladins need work. Retributive strike is underwhelming, smite evil is missing, as is any support for using a ranged weapon. (Abadarans and Erastilites take note of that last one.) Of the 3 class feats available at 1st level, 2 of them feel like taxes needed to make lay on hands work properly and effectively.

Shields break too easily if you try to actually block attacks with them.

With the clarification on Warded Touch which hit in the middle of gameplay, I will probably switch this build to warded touch + glaive for future test runs. Retributive strike seems to demand reach and shield are made of paper if you try to use them for their historical purpose.


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Hello all!

It is me, HWalsh, the guy who ran this train wreck.

I converted my Home PF2 AP into a series of PF2 play test games because I am bored and have been running around the clock. Heh.

So, to comment a little and make some additions.

1. I didn't actually round up players, heh a Discord player named Ronin rounded up players, he just asked me to run it.

-----

I admit I was rather... Shocked... By what happened. For one, I am not sure as the GM that I would say the enemies are inflated. I will say that I was rolling stupidly well. The RNG was strong with me. I was dropping 14's and 17's like they were going out of style.

Having run this one about 5 times I have never seen them ever roll that well. I was hitting on 1st, 2nd, and even 3rd attacks. I dropped 4 natural 20's and I was rolling open. So that is going to really set things apart from a normal situation.

-----

Issues I saw:

I think our Paladin above ran into a couple problems... Some of them are system... Some of them are not. Let me try to explain.

The above Paladin went for a Healer's Kit at level 1, and sadly, the cost really reamed him hard. He didn't have a proper melee weapon. Instead he went all in on a Shield Boss on a Light Wooden Shield.

This was... Unfortunate... I didn't realize that he had no actual melee weapon, so when the Goblin Dog (the person that sent them on the mission mistook a Goblin Dog for a Dire Rat heh) nailed the Palain with a crit, and he tried to block it, it tore his shield asunder.

It was a 12 damage hit. 3 went to hardness. 9 went into the character. However 9 was also 3 dents. Shield go bye-bye. Which also took out the Paladin's only melee weapon.

Admission:
Had I looked over the character sheet I would have noticed this and pointed out that I would never in Pathfinder 2 take a Wooden Shield of any kind if I planned to use it to actually shield block. I also would have recommended to the player to drop the Healer's Kit and replace it with an actual melee weapon. I do feel that those 2 things would have changed the situation up considerably. That was on me, as a GM I should have caught it. The Roll20 sheets are so bad though it is easy to miss things.

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The biggest system problem I saw was the previously mentioned Wooden Shield. Those things are just bad. If you are going to shield block... Do not take one. You need a steel shield. The difference between a Steel Shield and a Wooden Shield is actually night and day.

The previously mentioned 12 damage against a 5 hardness Steel Shield would be 2 dents. 12-5=7 that is 5 above hardness in damage for dent 1, and 2 more for dent 2, the shield would still be usable.

A 3 damage shield... It is going to break, and it is going to break super quickly, and it isn't going to mitigate half as much damage.

It didn't help that I was rolling like RNGesus himself had blessed my dice bag.

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My Recommendation(s):

Change the shield break rules. Shields should only take 1 dent at a time. Let them work at least 3 times. They already, especially wooden ones, don't block much damage, and the fact that they can break in 1-2 attacks, even non-crits, is pretty sad and it feels like a trap option for new players who may not fully understand the mechanic.

Secondary Observation(s):

I also hate Retributive Strike. The only reason the player got to use it was because I felt that he was too close to death and the Goblin Dog no longer saw the unarmed Paladin as a threat. I don't like that it is that reactive, I don't feel it is Iconic for a Paladin.

Paladin's have Lay on Hands - That is iconic.
Pathfinder Paladins have Smite Evil - That has been iconic since 3.X.

Pathfinder 2 Paladins are forced into a defensive position that, depending on the Paladin, they can't really take advantage of (especially if their deity is a ranged weapon user) easily.

I strongly recommend giving Pathfinder 2 Paladins back a legitimate Smite Evil. They really need something better than Retributive Strike.

Sovereign Court

Quick reaction, in Raw I don't think your shield would break:

item damage p175 wrote:
If an item takes damage equal to or exceeding the item’s Hardness, the item takes a Dent. If the item takes damage equal to or greater than twice its Hardness in one hit, it takes 2 Dents. For instance, a wooden shield (Hardness 3) that takes 10 damage would take 2 Dents. A typical item can take only 1 Dent without becoming broken. A second Dent causes it to become broken, though it can still be repaired. An item that would take a Dent or become broken while already broken is destroyed beyond salvage. Some magical or especially sturdy items can take more than 1 Dent before becoming broken, as noted in their descriptions.

It doesn't say that if it takes triple damage it gets destroyed. Two times the hardness or more gives it the broken condition, but as I read it, it seems to me that it requires another attack to destroy it.

That simple fact would have changed the session quite a lot since your Paladin would not have been left without any melee weapon.

HWalsh wrote:
I also hate Retributive Strike. The only reason the player got to use it was because I felt that he was too close to death and the Goblin Dog no longer saw the unarmed Paladin as a threat.

So what you are saying is that a goblin dog is intelligent enough to recognize highest threat and understand that the Paladin will try to protect his ally if it attacks them? The Paladin had a scale male, I'm pretty sure there must have been someone with more flesh available to take a bite off...

Your goblin dog seems really too intelligent, that is what prevented the Paladin from using retributive strike, and it seems like a DM error to me more than anything else.

Edit: À goblin dog has a -4 Int modifier


Darkorin wrote:

Quick reaction, in Raw I don't think your shield would break:

item damage p175 wrote:
If an item takes damage equal to or exceeding the item’s Hardness, the item takes a Dent. If the item takes damage equal to or greater than twice its Hardness in one hit, it takes 2 Dents. For instance, a wooden shield (Hardness 3) that takes 10 damage would take 2 Dents. A typical item can take only 1 Dent without becoming broken. A second Dent causes it to become broken, though it can still be repaired. An item that would take a Dent or become broken while already broken is destroyed beyond salvage. Some magical or especially sturdy items can take more than 1 Dent before becoming broken, as noted in their descriptions.

It doesn't say that if it takes triple damage it gets destroyed. Two times the hardness or more gives it the broken condition, but as I read it, it seems to me that it requires another attack to destroy it.

That simple fact would have changed the session quite a lot since your Paladin would not have been left without any melee weapon.

You're only half correct here. It's true that the attack would only have caused 2 dents. But even that is enough to give the shield the broken condition which makes it unusable. For all items except armor, broken basically means useless. The only difference to destroyed is that a broken item can be repaired while a destroyed item is lost forever.


Darkorin wrote:

Quick reaction, in Raw I don't think your shield would break:

item damage p175 wrote:
If an item takes damage equal to or exceeding the item’s Hardness, the item takes a Dent. If the item takes damage equal to or greater than twice its Hardness in one hit, it takes 2 Dents. For instance, a wooden shield (Hardness 3) that takes 10 damage would take 2 Dents. A typical item can take only 1 Dent without becoming broken. A second Dent causes it to become broken, though it can still be repaired. An item that would take a Dent or become broken while already broken is destroyed beyond salvage. Some magical or especially sturdy items can take more than 1 Dent before becoming broken, as noted in their descriptions.

It doesn't say that if it takes triple damage it gets destroyed. Two times the hardness or more gives it the broken condition, but as I read it, it seems to me that it requires another attack to destroy it.

That simple fact would have changed the session quite a lot since your Paladin would not have been left without any melee weapon.

HWalsh wrote:
I also hate Retributive Strike. The only reason the player got to use it was because I felt that he was too close to death and the Goblin Dog no longer saw the unarmed Paladin as a threat.

So what you are saying is that a goblin dog is intelligent enough to recognize highest threat and understand that the Paladin will try to protect his ally if it attacks them? The Paladin had a scale male, I'm pretty sure there must have been someone with more flesh available to take a bite off...

Your goblin dog seems really too intelligent, that is what prevented the Paladin from using retributive strike, and it seems like a DM error to me more than anything else.

Edit: À goblin dog has a -4 Int modifier

You misunderstand.

No, the Goblin dog broke off the attack on the Paladin when the shield broke because of 2 reasons:

1. The Paladin was not seen as a threat anymore.
2. The monk WAS a threat and was attacking it.

Because of this the Goblin Dog turned from the (nearly dead) Paladin which allowed the Paladin to use Retributive Strike when the Goblin Dog attacked the Monk.

Sovereign Court

Blave wrote:

You're only half correct here. It's true that the attack would only have caused 2 dents. But even that is enough to give the shield the broken condition which makes it unusable. For all items except armor, broken basically means useless. The only difference to destroyed is that a broken item can be repaired while a destroyed item is lost forever.

Except that shield spikes and boss can even be salvaged from a destroyed shield. This means to me that you might not be able to defend yourself with a broken shield, nor shield bash, but you could attack with a shield boss or spike since they have their own hp.

Grand Lodge

Darkorin wrote:
Blave wrote:

You're only half correct here. It's true that the attack would only have caused 2 dents. But even that is enough to give the shield the broken condition which makes it unusable. For all items except armor, broken basically means useless. The only difference to destroyed is that a broken item can be repaired while a destroyed item is lost forever.

Except that shield spikes and boss can even be salvaged from a destroyed shield. This means to me that you might not be able to defend yourself with a broken shield, nor shield bash, but you could attack with a shield boss or spike since they have their own hp.

I don't see how that would work with no spare shield to attach them to.


HWalsh wrote:
The previously mentioned 12 damage against a 5 hardness Steel Shield would be 2 dents. 12-5=7 that is 5 above hardness in damage for dent 1, and 2 more for dent 2, the shield would still be usable.

I don't believe that's correct.

In order to take a dent, the damage has to fully exceed a multiple of the hardness. 12 damage to a 5 hardness shield is one dent, not 2. Fractional points don't cause a dent. If they did, then any Shield Block would case a dent.

Sovereign Court

Arutema wrote:
Darkorin wrote:
Blave wrote:

You're only half correct here. It's true that the attack would only have caused 2 dents. But even that is enough to give the shield the broken condition which makes it unusable. For all items except armor, broken basically means useless. The only difference to destroyed is that a broken item can be repaired while a destroyed item is lost forever.

Except that shield spikes and boss can even be salvaged from a destroyed shield. This means to me that you might not be able to defend yourself with a broken shield, nor shield bash, but you could attack with a shield boss or spike since they have their own hp.
I don't see how that would work with no spare shield to attach them to.

My point was that your shield was not destroyed but broken.

Blave replied that even if your shield was broken you could not use it normally.

My answer is that the "attached" trait (p182) seem to treat the attached weapon and the shield as two separate entity, and you can still wield your shield!

You cannot use a broken shield as a shield, take shield action with it or attack with it. But since you had a shield boss and that it was not broken, you should have been able to attack with it since you are not using the shield to attack (shield bash), but you were using the shield boss, an attachment, to attack.

Sovereign Court

HWalsh wrote:
Darkorin wrote:


So what you are saying is that a goblin dog is intelligent enough to recognize highest threat and understand that the Paladin will try to protect his ally if it attacks them? The Paladin had a scale mail, I'm pretty sure there must have been someone with more flesh available to take a bite off...

Your goblin dog seems really too intelligent, that is what prevented the Paladin from using retributive strike, and it seems like a DM error to me more than anything else.

Edit: A goblin dog has a -4 Int modifier

You misunderstand.

No, the Goblin dog broke off the attack on the Paladin when the shield broke because of 2 reasons:

1. The Paladin was not seen as a threat anymore.
2. The monk WAS a threat and was...

And my point is that your first reasons to stop attacking the paladin was that now that the paladin was unarmed, the dog no longer considered him as a threat.

That implies that the dog did consider him as the biggest threat before BECAUSE he was wielding a weapon and that sounds like you might have focused on attacking the paladin because he was the biggest threat. It is a bit hard to say anything else without knowing how all of the encounter went (and I was not there to witness it). It's honestly hard to say if that paladin had really really bad luck, or if he was focused on by the dog (which seemed to have attacked him at least 3 consecutive times in 2 turns when the monk was also next to him?)


Darkorin wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Darkorin wrote:


So what you are saying is that a goblin dog is intelligent enough to recognize highest threat and understand that the Paladin will try to protect his ally if it attacks them? The Paladin had a scale mail, I'm pretty sure there must have been someone with more flesh available to take a bite off...

Your goblin dog seems really too intelligent, that is what prevented the Paladin from using retributive strike, and it seems like a DM error to me more than anything else.

Edit: A goblin dog has a -4 Int modifier

You misunderstand.

No, the Goblin dog broke off the attack on the Paladin when the shield broke because of 2 reasons:

1. The Paladin was not seen as a threat anymore.
2. The monk WAS a threat and was...

And my point is that your first reasons to stop attacking the paladin was that now that the paladin was unarmed, the dog no longer considered him as a threat.

That implies that the dog did consider him as the biggest threat before BECAUSE he was wielding a weapon and that sounds like you might have focused on attacking the paladin because he was the biggest threat. It is a bit hard to say anything else without knowing how all of the encounter went (and I was not there to witness it). It's honestly hard to say if that paladin had really really bad luck, or if he was focused on by the dog (which seemed to have attacked him at least 3 consecutive times in 2 turns when the monk was also next to him?)

No - This was over multiple encounters.

Also I'm not defending my actions anyway, after running games for going on 30 years I'm more than aware of how to run enemies.

The Paladin in question was just terribly unlucky.

In the first encounter the Paladin was literally the first enemy to enter the room. It was the first thing the Goblin Dog reached. Literally, Move, Attack, Attack.

It just rolled stupidly high.

In the second encounter the Paladin didnt even get attacked until the second round, and only after he shield bashed (one of) the Goblin dogs. They followed very clear simple behaviors. The Paladin in question just ran afoul of RNG.

To add:
There were no complaints about the behavior of the enemies, nor from the Paladin player who posted this. The players all very much enjoyed the session. It was a comment on how badly the shield itself (failed) to hold up.

To also add:
The main role of the GM is to also ensure (as best as you can) that the players have fun. Had I been doing this at my home table the Goblin Dogs *would* have been missing more often (as I would have fudged that crit away among other things). In a situation where *I* as the GM am aware that a player character just lost their defense, and has no weapon, and has been having a very bad night I am also inclined to follow the Code of the Dungeon Master™ known as, "Don't be a jerk." Meaning, throw the player a bone, or in this case have the enemy turn toward another opponent so that the player (who has been having a bad night) can use one of his abilities (retributive strike) and get some much needed payback on the enemy that made his evening not so fun.

Seriously, only a real jerk GM would have an enemy continue to attack an unarmed, heavily damaged opponent, who hasn't even managed to land a single hit yet, who's weapon and defensive item has just broken.

Sovereign Court

HWalsh wrote:

No - This was over multiple encounters.

In the second encounter the Paladin didnt even get attacked until the second round, and...

Sorry, the following quote inducted me in errors then:

Quote:

We press forward, finding more goblin dogs and more combat. I head up to one, whiff with the shield boss attack, and raise shield as my final action. This saves me from a couple hits as it attacks back twice.

Things go bad on the second round however, as the goblin dog rolls a nat 20

HWalsh wrote:
It was a comment on how badly the shield itself (failed) to hold up.

Then it seemed like most of the issue was with bad luck with high rolls on the monster part, and a table ruling error (which will happen a lot in a new system) since the shield shouldn't have been destroyed by that attack.


Darkorin wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

No - This was over multiple encounters.

In the second encounter the Paladin didnt even get attacked until the second round, and...

Sorry, the following quote inducted me in errors then:

Quote:

We press forward, finding more goblin dogs and more combat. I head up to one, whiff with the shield boss attack, and raise shield as my final action. This saves me from a couple hits as it attacks back twice.

Things go bad on the second round however, as the goblin dog rolls a nat 20

HWalsh wrote:
It was a comment on how badly the shield itself (failed) to hold up.

Then it seemed like most of the issue was with bad luck with high rolls on the monster part, and a table ruling error (which will happen a lot in a new system) since the shield shouldn't have been destroyed by that attack.

I disagree on the shield should have been destroyed.

The shield took 3 dents.

A 12 damage hit, on a hardness 3 shield.
12-3=9

That exceeds the hardness of the shield three times.

Now, assuming it didn't become "destroyed" as seems to be the argument (which I agree with because again, that sucked: Though note, we have had reports come out of GenCon where games run by Paizo Devs had this *exact* same thing happen so it seems that the Devs even ruled taking a hit like this breaks a shield) it at the very least did *break* the shield at minimum

As per the rulebook: 175

"Broken is a condition that affects objects. A broken object can’t be used for its normal function, nor does it grant bonuses."

Meaning that, the end result for the one shot would have been the same (as the players completed their mission 1 encounter and a couple of rounds later to end the session) - Meaning that the player lost access to their AC enhancing item as well as their primary weapon.

Again - Part of that was on me, I should have noted that the Paladin in question was attempting to adventure with only a wooden shield and no actual weapon. That is just an error in judgement.

Sovereign Court

HWalsh wrote:

I disagree on the shield should have been destroyed.

The shield took 3 dents.

A 12 damage hit, on a hardness 3 shield.
12-3=9

That exceeds the hardness of the shield three times.

If you look at the rule:

ITEM DAMAGE p175:
An item can be destroyed if it takes damage enough times. An item reduces any damage dealt to it by its Hardness. The Hardness of various materials is explained in the Materials section on page 354. If an item takes damage equal to or exceeding the item’s Hardness, the item takes a Dent. If the item takes damage equal to or greater than twice its hardness in one hit, it takes 2 Dents. For instance, a wooden shield (Hardness 3) that takes 10 damage would take 2 Dents. A typical item can take only 1 Dent without becoming broken. A second Dent causes it to become broken, though it can still be repaired. An item that would take a Dent or become broken while already broken is destroyed beyond salvage. Some magical or especially sturdy items can take more than 1 Dent before becoming broken, as noted in their descriptions.

It never says that exceeding the hardness of the shield three times inflicts 3 dents. It says "If the item takes damage equal to or greater than twice its hardness in one hit, it takes 2 Dents" and 3 times the hardness is greater than 2.

You interpreted the rule as saying that an item takes an amount of dent equals to the number of times the hardness of the item is exceeded, which is not the rule as written.

The rule as written stipulates that the maximum amount of dent an item can take in a single action is 2 dents.

Edit: As explained in a previous post, a Shield boss is a weapon independent of the shield that needs to be attached to it. You make an attack with the shield boss and not the shield, and I do agree with you that you cannot use the shield to protect yourself while it is broken, but I do not agree with the fact that you cannot use the shield boss when the shield is broken. The shield boss needs to be broken in order to be not usable, not the shield. In fact, I do think that this deserve a thread of its own in order to clarify it.

Grand Lodge

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Started a new thread in the equipment forum to request clarification on boss or spikes on a broken shield.

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