What is special in Pathfinder 2e?


General Discussion


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Right now I’m wondering why should I continue with Pathfinder 2e (Playtest). What are people finding interesting about Pathfinder 2e?

The one thing I like is actions. The Pathfinder team did a nice job of cleaning this up.

After that, I am at a loss. Classes/Feats/Spells are largely watered down versions of Pathfinder (version 1). I am struggling to find something that sets 2e apart from the other RPG games that are out there (5e, Starfinder, Pathfinder)


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The action economy is, indeed, the most important revision in Pathfinder 2E and the reason to play it.

Honestly, something that would be amazing is if they would embrace it more fully and give most if not all spells the 1/2/3 action commitment that only a few spells (such as Magic Missile and Heal) get currently. Very similar to how 5E made heightening spells easy and a clear way of gaining power, leveraging the action economy to make spellcasting more flexible (and hopefully not more powerful) would be quite useful.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

In general I feel like choice in-and-out of combat matters more, for both spellcasters and martial classes.

In PF1E and 5e, each combat is roughly the same, and most of the choice you have is in how your build your character. 2E's design ethos seems tk be that of more choice instead of bigger numbers/more power. While it doesn't always succeed at this, the steps they have made are promising.

What I WOULD like to see is more Basic actions, instead of seemingly core actions locked behind feats. Like Double Slice shouldn't require a feat tax, the Assist action should be buffed so that it doesn't have the attack trait, but nerfed so they have tk be adjacent to you. In general I'd like to see more rewards for teamplay OTHER than flanking. Like people are complaining about the utility of shields... maybe Shield Block reaction should also be able to be used for adjacent allies without a feat tax, or alternately allow the use of the Take Cover action with the raised shield (phalanx formation style).


The greatest advantage I see with the Playtest is the ability to customize your character to be what you want. There are more options than before so that you can be unique. I'm sure that when the real edition comes out that it will have even more options (more feats) and more will be in future books. I can design my character the way I want it without extra stuff I don't. The ancestry feats would make it really easy to have different sub-races, different class feats can promote different fighting styles or schools of learning, etc.


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What makes PF2 "special" or at least different than 5e and PF1 in my mind is:

1. Richer character, monster, trap, and tactical combat options than 5e.
2. More clearly defined skill system than 5e.
3. Better supplement and adventure support than 5e.
4. You have to make up fewer rules as a GM than you do with 5e.
5. Allows high-fantasy/gonzo play, unlike 5e.
6. Takes place in Golarion rather than the Forgotten Realms.
7. Encounter mode is a cool innovation and stealth rules are better than 5e or PF1.
8. Has 4 degrees of success rather than a binary approach like 5e and PF1.
9. Much tighter/cleaner rules/math and *significantly* easier to run than PF1.
10. GM prep time is reasonable, unlike PF1.
11. Significantly improved and less-confusing action economy than PF1.
12. Magic item spamming and craziness from PF1 is reigned in via resonance.
13. Doesn't (theoretically) break down in high-level play like PF1.
14. Much better balance between casters and martials than PF1.

I believe the game still needs a lot of work but also has a lot of promise. For me, a PF1.1 wasn't going to bring me back from 5e.


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NemisCassander wrote:

The action economy is, indeed, the most important revision in Pathfinder 2E and the reason to play it.

Honestly, something that would be amazing is if they would embrace it more fully and give most if not all spells the 1/2/3 action commitment that only a few spells (such as Magic Missile and Heal) get currently. Very similar to how 5E made heightening spells easy and a clear way of gaining power, leveraging the action economy to make spellcasting more flexible (and hopefully not more powerful) would be quite useful.

I disagree; in that while of some use in itself; one could simply play PF1 with the unchained action economy rules to get largely the same benefits.


zlefin wrote:
NemisCassander wrote:

The action economy is, indeed, the most important revision in Pathfinder 2E and the reason to play it.

Honestly, something that would be amazing is if they would embrace it more fully and give most if not all spells the 1/2/3 action commitment that only a few spells (such as Magic Missile and Heal) get currently. Very similar to how 5E made heightening spells easy and a clear way of gaining power, leveraging the action economy to make spellcasting more flexible (and hopefully not more powerful) would be quite useful.

I disagree; in that while of some use in itself; one could simply play PF1 with the unchained action economy rules to get largely the same benefits.

I'm right there with you. I can't say I'm a fan of the action economy as it is. Most of the other options besides attacking feel like they are there to give you a reason not to have the monsters massacre the PCs. Since the monsters all have better attack modifiers than the PCs, they also seem to get a better advantage on the action economy than the PCs.

Casters in particular feel like they've lost out on this. 'Look, you can cast a spell and move'. Yep. Could do that before. Exactly as I'm doing it in 2e. But hey, the fighter just got a double move and an attack....then attacked again. That's cool. I'm just going to stand here though, cause moving my feet and my fingers at the same time isn't possible.


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For my group
-Action system; This is working really well and is probably the best refinement of the game
- 4 degrees of success/failure; This is something we like overall and feel it adds a fair bit to how we interact with both skills and spells.

These are the two things we think are the best parts of the system.

Overall the core system is actually pretty good and fun.

We just hate the characters


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zlefin wrote:
NemisCassander wrote:

The action economy is, indeed, the most important revision in Pathfinder 2E and the reason to play it.

Honestly, something that would be amazing is if they would embrace it more fully and give most if not all spells the 1/2/3 action commitment that only a few spells (such as Magic Missile and Heal) get currently. Very similar to how 5E made heightening spells easy and a clear way of gaining power, leveraging the action economy to make spellcasting more flexible (and hopefully not more powerful) would be quite useful.

I disagree; in that while of some use in itself; one could simply play PF1 with the unchained action economy rules to get largely the same benefits.

Well, given that I've not played with the Unchained action economy, I cannot really comment on that. I would point out, though, that the action economy in 2E is part of the base game and not a later addition.

I do agree, though, that if I wanted to, RAW I can more or less TPK any group with the monsters in the Bestiary. Note that I did not say that I think that the action economy as currently given is balanced, necessarily; only that (to me) it seems a nice step forward from 1E.

I might also point out here that my alternative to PF2E right now is 5E, not PF1E.


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They've updated a 20-years old system :P

No seriously, the D20 rules are almost 20-years old... and Paizo has been using these rules since Pathfinder Day 1.

I will say this:
- The rules are far more streamlined and "simplified", as every action is clearly summarized in a few words. They will save a lot of pages with that new format.

- They kept all the iconic characters.

- Everything has been nerfed... but to a reasonable level.

- The new rules are similar to Starfinder.

Basically, it's like a video game sequel, being an actual continuation of the first game's story, but with better gameplay as the developpers learned from their first game. Pathfinder 2.0 isn't a reboot like D&D 4e and 5E were.

Paizo doesn't "try something new to appeal to a new crowd"; they are "updating something old to make it better".


OP: I'd say being watered-down is a bonus for me, as some of those are incredibly overpowered.

What I like about PF2 is that there are a lot of builds ingrained right into the classes: druid totems, many Barbarian totems, Sorcerer bloodlines, etc. I also like the streamlining of bonuses: no-one is too high, but people can get better at things. All of the limitations on low-level PCs can be removed with Feats and class features. PCs get better without becoming superheroes.

On a larger scale, it looks like there will be a greater support of sandbox play. The Diplomacy, Performance, and Craft Skill Feats look like they'd be cool to ensure being a person in a world. Also, the rules with critical successes and failures make me want to use level-inappropriate encounters more often than I would in other systems.


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The best special things for me are:
- 3-actions per round system. Easy to use and flexible
- 4-degrees of success
- no more masses of skill points every level up. The change to skill points was long overdue

And I know that may not be a common opinion but I also like the removal of the micro/finetuning-options like the favored class bonus (and yes those many skill points). This makes it easier to get into the game for newbies and easier to level up for everyone.

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