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The Lost Star, Part 1
- Elf wizard
- Goblin alchemist
- Goblin rogue
- Halfling druid
- Human fighter
The two goblins PCs escaped from Drakus the Taker along with Talga, so they had a full rundown of the area. The goblin rogue claimed Talga as his sister "in a House Lannister way," for what that's worth.
The initial encounter with the ooze ran smoothly after we resolved a simple question about whether its wave of filth imposed a multiple attack penalty on its subsequent attacks.
The rogue sneaked up on the goblins building the statue of Drakus out of filth. The initiative system seemed fairly intuitive. The party easily killed the mind-fogged goblins, with the rogue taking one captive briefly before the fighter killed the prisoner.
The party avoided the centipedes altogether. The alchemist, deducing the mind fog fungus as the source of the dumbing-down of his fellow goblins, threw fire at it, even knowing it would explode. Luckily, he won initiative and ran out of the room before the explosion of spores filled the chamber.
In the room of the defiled fountain, the druid recognized the visage of Pharasma and the fighter found the idol in the pool. She immediately pulled the idol out, causing it to crack open and unleash the quasits. An interesting fight ensued, as the combination of fear, invisibility, and abyssal healing make these formidable foes. We tested the sensing and concealment rules and found them more detailed but not substantially different in terms of odds than earlier editions. Invisibility remains a powerful tactic if used cleverly. In the end, one of the quasits could have escaped, but I ruled they were summoned for a single purpose -- to cause pain and suffering to the PCs in the moment -- and had no fear of dying on this plane. So it attacked the rogue, the only one who could reliably find it, and the party finished it.
The locked door in that room showed a major step back from previous game rules. The "three successful DC 20 rolls" idea is rendered irrelevant by the odds of breaking lockpicks before succeeding. Rather, the mechanic needed here is probably "recognize you can't pick this lock." This was easy to handle in 3.5/Pathfinder thanks to rules for taking 20 and no penalty for failure on picking locks.
The party went through the other door, opening it slowly to avoid alerting the goblins in the nearby chamber. They were going to sneak by the entrance to that cavern, but the players had a prolonged discussion about tactics as their characters moved down the corridor, so I had the goblins roll Perception, and they heard the party. Calling out taunts to the goblin PCs, they lured the party into the room.
The wizard had a good day with grim tendrils, killing a warrior and wounding the commando, but it placed her in front of the party. Unfortunately, she got critical hit by an arrow, started dying 2, got hit by the rockfall to dying 3, and then got collateral from a burning hands aimed at the fighter for dying 4. Saved by a Hero Point, the character returned to 1 hp (unconscious) and lost the dying condition. The party made quick work of the goblins, thanks largely to a critical failure of the commando when he tried to trip the human fighter.
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Added party member:
- half-elf ranger
The goblin alchemist didn't make it for session 2.
The party proceeded into the skeleton chamber. The battle might have been uneventful, but the halfling druid who had been providing the light source via dancing lights forgot to spend an action concentrating, thus plunging the area into darkness. The horrid skeletons had better success than the party, cutting down the new ranger. The druid made up for his mistake by using positive energy to destroy the undead. The ranger was subsequently healed and everyone was ready to go.
The goblin rogue spotted and disarmed the hourglass of sands in the hand of the statue of Pharasma. He kept the hourglass for future use, later learning exactly what its effects would be. This is not contemplated in the adventure text. It gives the party an item of treasure of unspecified potency, though likely somewhat weak (level 2 at best).
Moving to the chamber of Drakus the Taker, the human fighter knocked on the door, announcing the party's presence. The "hobgoblin" hid behind the altar while the party forced the door open. Two party members spotted Drakus before he could react and moved to stop him from bottlenecking the party in the corridor. His first round pattern involved moving, transforming to his true form, and making one attack, so he wasn't too devastating the first round of combat. The party fought him for two rounds, achieving victory.
The party cleaned the room and investigated the nearby shrine. They did not discern the magic of the item found there. They used the prayer to help the souls of the ashen ossuary fulfill their pilgrimage to the afterlife. This scene could have been written out for the GM. As it was, I made it poignant and dramatic, emphasizing how the souls had been thwarted from achieving final rest by the desecration of their burial site.
Finally, they explored and looted Drakus's treasure. Here again some text would have been useful to describe the Star of Desna. I described it at first as a blue gemstone in the shape of a butterfly, but the party didn't put this together with Desna, and I hadn't said "star," so they began to worry they had missed something. Then, as they looked more closely at their loot, I mentioned the sparkling white "stars" on the butterfly's wings, and that satisfied them.
Overall I think the adventure ran fairly smoothly using what are a rough set of rules. The group of players and myself are willing to give the rules a chance, but we don't know yet whether they "solve" more problems than they create. Mostly I think the challenge for Second Edition is that we don't have problems using Pathfinder. I like some of the ideas like the new action mechanics, archetypes built into character classes, items by class levels, and fast character creation. It remains to be seen how these play out.
Also I should point out that my take on playtesting is to test whether the rules and adventure make it possible for me to run a fun game. I am not really much concerned about running things according to the letter of the law, as my games will always treat rules and published material as pleasant and mostly helpful suggestions for adventuring, not injunctions from the Almighty as to how things must be done.
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In Pale Mountain's Shadow, Part 1
Human warrior fighter
Human (half-orc) scout fighter
Dwarf warrior barbarian
Human (half-elf) street rat rogue
Human (half-orc) nomad druid
Human (half-elf) entertainer bard
For items, everyone took some kind of magic or improved armor. Most took a magic weapon or wand. The human warrior fighter decided to go all-in for shields, wielding two of them at the same time. He also overloaded himself with bulk by wearing armor and carrying equipment to the max possible. I told the player this was an interesting test of a lot of rules.
The party received their mission and set out on Rova 9. I determined that the Night Heralds would arrive on or about Rova 16.
We made some initial rolls for mounting the camels, but I played this for comedy only, as it was a trivial scene. The initial part of the journey went fast, as I basically asked the players what they wanted to do while traveling and they mostly responded "keep a wary eye out for danger." The bard wanted to use his cantrip to give everyone an extra move, but I pointed out this would only have limited applicability, as it would fatigue him every ten minutes. He decided to just keep watch.
Figuring camels moved pretty quickly, they reached the base of the mountain in two days and on the morning of Rova 11 encountered the hyenas and hyaenodon.I drew the map quickly, but, as the encounter began, based on Perception rolls I realized that the party had spotted at least a couple of their enemies before moving into the terrain features. As it turned out, the terrain posed little trouble for the party, though I did have the hyena and hyaenodon take cover behind the trees as best they could. The fight ensued and the party quickly vanquished their enemies. The party members basically dismounted to fight, as only the druid had sufficient skill and interest to handle the animals.
The use of Perception and Stealth for initiative seems pretty intuitive to me. I play it the way that makes sense, that higher Perception rolls for PCs indicate those party members saw their enemies approaching while higher Stealth rolls for enemies mean those foes sneaked up on the party. My players all understand the new system simply combines the element of surprise with initiative, and they seem to like the streamlining.
Next, still on Rova 12, the party approached the gnoll encampment and decided to swim the river. This was cool as the river really posed some challenges for those who had cold dice and was easily bypassed by those who made a couple lucky rolls. The druid was nearly washed downstream and, as I told him, almost to the waterfall (which I put in for color). Everyone kept urging him to turn into a fish, while he kept saying, "I can't!"
The gnolls gave some decent damage to the party, but the three action economy also kept them occupied as they had to draw weapons, move, and so forth. They got at least one good use of sweep with a scimitar to hit two different characters, and I started to understand the tactics of using weapons traits.
The scorpion came out and I had one gnoll call it Betsy, as in, "Get 'em Betsy!" I should have had him use an action for that, but I forgot. Worse, the scorpion hit the dwarf warrior barbarian, he failed his save, and I blanked on the poison rules. I should have inflicted the poison effect then and there, but I gave him a round and a second save, which he critically succeeded. So I let him escape the poison effect unscathed.
In the end, the party killed the scorpion and the gnolls without much trouble. The two-shield fighter was very happy with his build to this point, as he avoided taking any damage or dents. Part of this was because he spent so long swimming in the river, getting out his shields, and so forth, and part was because the opposition was not adjusted for party size. Despite what I've read on the message boards, as I read Doomsday Dawn it was pretty clear that only one of the adventures is meant to be adjusted for party size. Besides, I think for a new edition it's really a good thing for players to feel powerful when they have a large party.
The party left the camels on the other side of the river and began the difficult climb and found the perfect path up, but it was slow going. The two-shield fighter had to bury some of his equipment and plan to come back for it later, just to get a 15 foot move. In the afternoon of Rova 14, they found the quill-riddled body but didn't figure out what it portends. They had just reached the encounter area on the evening of Rova 14 when we stopped.
Thank you for the writeup!
You need to adjust the Adventure for Party size - otherwise you significantly reduce the challenges and skew the playtest data in a wrong direction. Also your Players will be pretty underwhelmed by the challenges.
Point of interest - did the gnolls not realize someone was Swimming through the river? I would have expected them to get their weapons out earlier once they see People in the water.
The Scorpion is an interesting conundum - it is not a minion, due to him missing the trait, yet he is described as a guard animal. I guess that would mean a handle animal check to let him loose, but it's a tad unclear.
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In Pale Mountain's Shadow, Part 2
The party picked right up with the manticore fight. The manticore flew over the cliff side, winning initiative. I noticed it has a lower Stealth than Perception, so the instruction in the adventure that it would use Stealth seems to indicate it isn't the smartest combatant. It used spike volley every time it could, trying to keep in 40 ft. range as it flew over the party. The half-orc fighter and dwarf barbarian switched to bows and started pelting it, giving a couple critical hits. The human two-shield fighter got his first chance to use a shield block and it worked out ok for him; the player was just a little nonplussed to realize the shield only stopped 5 hp of damage. The bard realized many of his spells couldn't reach the flying creature as long as it stayed 40 ft. up or so. The rogue had no ranged weapons other than a thrown dagger, so she scampered up the trail and tried futilely to climb the cliff. Once the manticore ran out of spikes, it flew a little lower to use Intimidate on the druid, but the roll failed. Then it closed to melee range with vengeance in its heart for the half-orc druid. That bit of insanity brought the fighters and barbarian rushing it with shields and swords. It ended with a shield smash in the face that crushed its skull.
After this, the party camped, heading out on the morning of Rova 15. It took them only a couple hours to reach the Tomb.
Next came Zakfahr and his gnolls. I threw in an extra gnoll to see if it made a difference. The gnolls began by calling out, "Food! It's food!" and shooting arrows. Zakfah ordered them to focus on the two-shield fighter, as he was clearly the leader (he had a manticore spike sticking out of his shield). The party fighter-types closed ranks beside the rogue, with the druid and bard supporting from the back. The narrow crevice near the door to Tular Seft's tomb channeled the party well, forcing the barbarian and two=shield fighter to use the shove maneuver to open up space. The gnolls switched to axes and Zakfah pulled out his scimitar, but the low hp total of the gnolls meant they fell pretty quickly. Soon it was just Zakfah versus the party. He used his scimitar's forceful and sweep traits but to no avail. At last the rogue stabbed him in the face and he fell.
In looting his body, the party observed that his scimitar was not magical but inflicted two dice of damage. They were also surprised to learn he carried a longspear, which also kind of surprised me since it wasn't listed as a possible attack in his stat block. Others have observed this hiccup in the adventure and commented on it. My observation is it would be valuable for the GM to have an explanation for why the gnoll does so much damage with his scimitar. If anyone reading this knows, please clue me in. Otherwise it is chalked up to "gnoll sergeants hit hard" (gnolls are Large creatures in AD&D 2nd Edition and earlier; perhaps they interbred with flinds and have been getting more and more Medium-sized ever since 3rd Edition, but if so now their leaders should thank Playtest for restoring their former glory).
Turning to the door, the bard detected magic and the rogue found the electric latch trap. She disabled it and the party entered the tomb. They headed left, bypassed the earth and water room, and made their way to the main doors and the circular lock room. With the bard and druid working together with the rogue, they spent no more than two hours figuring out the combination to unlock the concentric rings.
When the doors opened, they entered the chamber with Mabar and the mummies. The party observed the countdown on the wall and began to contemplate whether Lady Vord had mistaken the nature of the countdown clock; perhaps it was not a gem, but this room. I gave them some hints and re-read her instruction so they wouldn't spend too long on this red herring, but it was a nice touch from the module designer. At this point I should note no one spoke Osiriani, so the exact numbers on the wall were indecipherable, although the party could tell they were counting down.
Being disguised among the other bodies, the mummies waited for the party to enter before surging forward. Here I decided to keep the same number of mummies, as the pace of the game with six players felt like it had a good rhythm, but with more creatures, it would have slowed down more than this group prefers. The mummies have the lowest attack rolls of any opponents, and they continually whiffed even though their positioning let them take three attacks almost every turn. They hit the dwarf barbarian a couple times, but hie resisted the rotting curse.
Dealing with Mabar's suspended form proved challenging, as the party surmised he was probably the dark creature that would be released at the time indicated by the countdown clock. After some experimentation with attacking him (which I presumed would not work due to a temporal stasis cocoon), they decided to pull him down. Here I ruled he was held in place by magic that made him as difficult to move as a stone, so the party would need to climb up to him. The half-orc fighter did, and found the mask on his face could be pulled off despite the force field protecting him. Doing so, he fell, along with the half-orc fighter.
Since no one spoke Auran, the ensuing pantomime and language sharing routine substituted for a more conversational roleplay. Probably the party should have been pushed harder to take Auran and Osiriani, as they had no magical means to do either. The PCs observed that Mabar was confused and upset by his condition. Eventually he conveyed that he had some kind of grudge against Tular Seft. Mabar indicated the secret door to the tomb itself.
The party entered the tomb, saw their objective in the hands of the body of Tular Seft, discovered the scrolls and staff hidden by the books, and everyone turned away from the black mirror. Everyone, that is, except Mr. Two-Shield Fighter. He boldly stared into the mirror and felt his brain touched by a tentacle as he heard the clopping of hooves and saw the shanks of a shaggy-legged goat creature stepping through the Black Tapestry. He was confused, but only for one round, and managed an "Act Normally" result on his d4. Still, the player is a fan of Cthulhu-based mangas and animes, so he appreciated the experience.
Taking the gem, books, and magic, the party retreated. They were a full day ahead of the Night Heralds -- just barely -- and by sharing out bulk they were able to avoid the final, dangerous encounter. They made their may back down the mountain and, after several days travel, found their camels and rode back to Lady Vord. Again I let exploration mode play as felt natural, with riding treated as a single roll to mount the animal, with no real consequence for failure (camel spit on a critical failure, though).
Everyone enjoyed the game. The two-shield build actually looked pretty good, if the character had a magical shield and could keep the shields in good order. Skills feel like they don't work right some of the time. For the concentric ring puzzle, they worked great. The shoving and intimidate uses were interesting. But for climbing, the rogue had more trouble than I think was intended. This may be more on the lack of standards for DCs, as it's hard to justify "this cliff is a low level 4 challenge" (which I said) as opposed to "this cliff is a low level 1 challenge." I felt like gaining more system mastery through actual play has helped me understand the feels and ins and outs of Playtest. A couple players won't make it back due to scheduling, even though they liked the Playtest. I look forward to running Sombrefell Hall in a couple weeks.
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Affair at Sombrefell Hall, Part 1
human acolyte of Nethys monk
elf acrobat bard
halfling merchant sorcerer
Having followed the guidelines as closely as shown above, three players confidently presented themselves for the fifth playtest session. They received the letter from the Eye, met, and headed off to Sombrefell Hall. Having discovered the anagram of the Sincomakti School, dreams of Lovecraftian horrors danced through their heads.
The party met Lucvi Yasterna, then Professor Verid Oscilar, and were shown to their room. As suggested elsewhere in this forum, the adventure was adjusted so that Lucvi mentioned her fears about the Professor, encouraging the party to snoop about. The empty bedrooms occupied them for quite a while as they were determined to find secret passages where none existed. They found the balconies and the monk began leaping from one to another to show off his mastery of Athletics. Then they found the padlocked staircase leading up and the sorcerer used a couple high-level slots of acid arrow to burn away the lock.
To this point it is worth noting that common objects like this should have stats easily available to the GM. It was easy enough to figure out the hardness and use the dent/broken rules on the fly, but the lack of explicit, easily found information made this more nebulous than it might have been.
They found the zombie and letter opener in the attic, but missed the idea of presenting this to Lucvi or confronting the Professor. Instead, they threw the broken lock into the lake hoping to stir up the inevitable tentacled monster which, like their imaginary secret doors, did not exist. They explored downstairs, running into the salon.
Here we had a bit of roleplaying fun as the Professor loudly exclaimed, "My equations! These interruptions are making them sift through my grasp!" Lucvi scolded the party but then took them aside and listened to their report. Encouraging them to bring the zombie remains to her so she could see for herself what they had discovered, she left them to finish exploring while she returned to the salon to calm the Professor.
The party explored the rest of the rooms, discovering the pantry which for some reason is not adjacent to the kitchen -- another source of paranoia for this group of Cthulhu-fearing players. They found the cellar door and, using a versatile tool provided by the bard, the monk pried the trapdoor off. The noise again interrupted the activity in the salon, but this time when Lucvi came running, she saw the writing in the basement and discerned its connection to the Dominion of the Black.
At that point, she and the party confronted the Professor and his story came bubbling out. He wanted to spare his two undergraduates the horror, so he begged the party not to say anything in front of them. He urged the group to retire to their room and wait for his research to pay off, proposing that by dawn he could discover the agent that was taking control of his body during his bouts of disassociation.
The party did try to get some rest, assuming that they would have a chance to recover spells before any further adventuring. This was a nice twist in the adventure in that it leads parties to expend resources early on, before the combat events start, and rewards prudent and reserved play.
As soon as night fell, the pounding on the door announced the arrival of the first wave of attackers. The Professor, angry at this third interruption, was about to open the door himself but the monk shot forward to open it. The ghasts swarmed in, winning initiative. In this case, I used all five ghasts even though there were only three PCs, just as when there was a larger party I rarely adjusted the opposition.
The first combat lasted four rounds. The ghasts only managed to paralyze the sorcerer for one round and give him disease, and no one succumbed to their stench. After recovering, the halfling sorcerer used individual healing spells on the monk once and a group heal once. He also used a heightened burning hands very effectively, as two of three ghasts caught in the spell critically failed their saving throws and burned to nothing. The monk was very effective as a front line fighter, but the bard was little more than a distraction in this fight, as he used an elven curve blade and barely managed to scratch a single ghast for 4 hit points.
After this battle, the shocked Professor told the two undergraduates the whole story, and they ran off screaming to their rooms and locked the doors behind them. The Professor went to the basement, imploring the party to close him in, but because the trapdoor had been pried off, it could no longer be locked. The party piled boxes on top of it as a barricade. They also barricaded the front doors with Lucvi's help, and began working on her plan to lash furniture to the doors as well to create a dangerous zone in the entrance hall.
The next wave arrived, and the monk again took the front while Lucvi retreated to the salon to watch through the open door. This time the bard was in a better position to use his arrows to take down the four ghasts, as the volley trait combined with the distance in the hall to good effect. He scored a critical, but once again, even with double dice, he did minuscule damage to the ghast compared to the monk or sorcerer. He began inspiring the others as well, which was a help.
The party finished the ghasts in three rounds. Because we were at the end of our allotted time and we expect a paladin next session (and possibly a fifth PC as well if we're lucky), I decided that the vampire spawn rogues had sneaked around back and entered through the balconies. They will attack first thing when we resume for Part 2 of this exciting adventure.
Sounds like a fun game, thanks for sharing.
...This time the bard was in a better position to use his arrows to take down the four ghasts, as the volley trait combined with the distance in the hall to good effect. He scored a critical, but once again, even with double dice, he did minuscule damage to the ghast compared to the monk or sorcerer.
One minor comment here: The bard had a mundane longbow? If so, he'd roll 2d8+1d10. The deadly trait adds the listed die.If it is a +1 longbow a crit does 4d8+1d10.
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Affair at Sombrefell Hall, Part 2
Joined by a paladin who had tracked the vampire spawn rogues to the estate, the party continued the adventure. The vampire spawn rogues fell quickly. After a short respite, the wights attacked. The two-pronged attack knocked the party off-kilter, as they first moved toward the sound of broken glass and chanting, then backed up and turned toward the salon where two more wights had broken in. The monk almost finished off the wights in the dining room before the poltergeist had been summoned. The adventure doesn't specify how much chanting is required to summon the poltergeist, so I figured it was only one action per round, and the last wight managed to pull it off one round before it was destroyed. The wights inflicted rather painful enervating conditions on the monk and paladin, made more powerful by the fact the party had no clerics (having ignored my instruction to make at least two cleric PCs for this adventure!).
I depicted the poltergeist as a young girl who had drowned in the lake behind the estate years ago and now sought vengeance on the living. Water dripping off her, she giggled and tossed broken furniture at the party. Although the party had talked about dropping the chandelier on intruders, they had taken no steps to do so, so the poltergeist positioned herself in such a way that the paladin had to move directly beneath the chandelier to attack her, whereupon she used her telekinesis to drop it on him. Nonetheless, the party made quick work of her.
Next came the zombie shamblers. As they descended from the balcony on both sides, it was interesting to watch the party split up to seal them off. Now that the halfling sorcerer had an idea this was a long haul night, he was saving his remaining spells and using cantrips for the first time; the player had to take a moment to realize that cantrips automatically scale to the highest spell level a caster can use. No sooner had the party engaged the shamblers than the greater shadows descended. These guys gave the party a bit more trouble, tossing darkness around and teleporting between regions of darkness, plus the party was confused about whether to beat the zombies first or focus on the shadows. Eventually though they finished off the shadows and the zombies both, and no one had fallen.
We were at the end of our allotted time, so we will need a third session to finish off this adventure. We might be able to jump into Mirrored Moon next time if all the PCs are ready, but most likely that will take us until Thanksgiving to complete.
I like how easy it is to pick up monsters and fling them at the party, but I am uncomfortable with not knowing how balanced the encounters are as we get into higher levels. In Pathfinder, I can tell pretty quickly if an encounter is going to get hairy or if it will be a cakewalk for the PCs. Here, it is all nebulous. Having read some of the other reports, it's clear that monster encounters that I deem about even or even easy can be much more deadly if the party has the wrong composition, makes some bad choices, or if the GM tunes the attacks against the vulnerabilities of the PCs. Since I don't have a feel for the Playtest balance (it is a test of balance, I know) I err on the side of using every little cool ability I can for the monsters, to try them and figure out what works. This makes the creatures less formidable, but I have observed players tend to have a good time when they are stomping over the opposition, much more so than when they are KO'd or TPK'd.
Nonetheless, I look forward to the Heroes of Undarin scenario, since there I intend to use some of the deadlier tactical techniques at my disposal to finish off the party as quickly as possible.
We played the third session of Sombrefell Hall with only three players. The paladin did not show up. They faced Event 5 without modification. This battle lasted 22 rounds and could have resulted in two PC deaths if I was a little more bloodthirsty. As it was, Ilvoresh collected the brains of Verid Oskilar and Lucvi, then fled from the manor with only 6 hp left. Ilvoresh's mirror images and confusion kept the monk out of its way most of the time, and the two vampire spawn rogues whittled the monk down.
The smaller number of players obviously hurt the group and admittedly I could have adjusted the encounters down to make them more fair, but I didn't. Instead, I had Ilvoresh focus more on hunting the Professor, then, to give the PCs a chance at a satisfying conclusion, hunting his assistant (so they could be "lovers" in the mental realm of the brain collector). I judged that Ilvoresh didn't know the difference between PCs and every other type of creature it had encountered, so it figured they would stay down once reduced to 0 hp.
This was one of the more illustrative sessions of the Playtest game. The bard player wryly mocked the sheer number of conditions inflicted on his character, something like enervated 2, enfeebled 1, poisoned (stage) 2, dying 3, wounded, unconscious, slowed 1, etc. That part of the game seemed at odds with our pencil-and-paper old school ways of playing. We couldn't decide if there were really more conditions than in Pathfinder or if it just felt like there were because we're used to Pathfinder.
As a group we decided this pushed us over our capacity for playtesting. We'll be returning to Pathfinder. One of the players said he would rather play 5th Edition. Another said he wouldn't mind Pathfinder 2 once the bugs get worked out. I wish we could have stayed in and played more, but we're exhausted and "winter is coming."
My feeling is Pathfinder 2 will win a place in organized play but it will not make big inroads in home games, at least I doubt it will in mine. When it's ready, I might try it in organized play.
Pathfinder doesn't have any unsolvable problem for me and the group I play with. We don't have a martials vs. casters problem or a Tier 1 vs. Tier 4 problem. We don't have a cure light wounds wand problem or can't explain it to new people problem. Our main problem is finding players. Nowadays it seems most people want to play Pathfinder only in PFS games. I remember when it was easy to find players for a home campaign.
My main objection to the Playtest and Pathfinder 2 is that it walks away from years of accumulated knowledge about D&D 3rd Edition experience. Some of that experience lets a GM balance encounters at the table, which in turn takes advantage of one of the main features of tabletop games of this type, that the GM has tremendous control over what happens. In a way, it seems to me at least, the more the game leans toward an impartial simulation, the more the GM bows to the content designer. I find that can be "dicey."
Pathfinder 2 may find better balance with what seems like tighter control over math. I think the Playtest has an inelegant feel to it, which Paizo will need to sand off, but maybe it does something important for the hobby: keep the organized play folks involved. Hopefully that means in the future (in the retirement home for some of us) the game will have many joyous players.