The jankiness of exploration (and social) tactics revisited


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As I mentioned, the Investigation tactic I have yet to imagine coming up. Characters do Recall Knowledge when they find interesting things. They do not Recall Knowledge while wandering through a cave or ride through a forest. What would be the Knowledge gleaned here? And what would be the difference to a normal recall Knowledge roll, as Exploration mode is about doing one roll for a Long time instead of doing all of them. Nobody thinks that you roll for each stealth Action, so you also don't roll hundreds of recall Knowledge.
After rereading it, social tactics are not at all about direct conversation, they seem to be a replacement for Gathering Knowledge or something comparable. In the vacuum they are right now, I still fail to see their use.


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DerNils wrote:

As I mentioned, the Investigation tactic I have yet to imagine coming up. Characters do Recall Knowledge when they find interesting things. They do not Recall Knowledge while wandering through a cave or ride through a forest. What would be the Knowledge gleaned here? And what would be the difference to a normal recall Knowledge roll, as Exploration mode is about doing one roll for a Long time instead of doing all of them. Nobody thinks that you roll for each stealth Action, so you also don't roll hundreds of recall Knowledge.

After rereading it, social tactics are not at all about direct conversation, they seem to be a replacement for Gathering Knowledge or something comparable. In the vacuum they are right now, I still fail to see their use.

Exploration mode isn't only going from a to B.

A quick exanple:

Players are in an abandoned mansion, wizard starts rummaging through the scattered papers, someone is searching the mansion, someone keeps guard outside the door, etc

The above has searching, investigation, guard, etc


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shroudb wrote:

It works for anyone putting a bit of resources on it.

Everyone who wants to tail can pick up Quick sneak at 8 (rogues at 7) and effortlessly keep up.

An elf/goblin can have a sneak speed of 20 by level 3, a half by 5

A monk doesn't even need Quick sneak to be way faster than an average person walking, and etc.

Yes, you have to be level 8 and use one of your 5 skill "feats" to do something any grown-up adult can do. I guess by level 20 your character is a fully-functional grown-up adult. Path 2 is by far the best system to play Rugrats: the RPG, but it's a bit clunky to play epic adventurers exploring dangerous places under this system.


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Gaterie wrote:
shroudb wrote:

It works for anyone putting a bit of resources on it.

Everyone who wants to tail can pick up Quick sneak at 8 (rogues at 7) and effortlessly keep up.

An elf/goblin can have a sneak speed of 20 by level 3, a half by 5

A monk doesn't even need Quick sneak to be way faster than an average person walking, and etc.

Yes, you have to be level 8 and use one of your 5 skill "feats" to do something any grown-up adult can do. I guess by level 20 your character is a fully-functional grown-up adult. Path 2 is by far the best system to play Rugrats: the RPG, but it's a bit clunky to play epic adventurers exploring dangerous places under this system.

If you think that the average adult can hide and still move as fast as he walks then yes, you live in a different universe than me.


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Are you sincerely arguing that shadowing someone is impossible for normal people and requires super-heroic powers? I can't see if you're trolling or you're just...


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@shroudb - I admire your stamina in coming up with examples for this. It's just that we can't seem to agree on how this makes a useful addition to playing the game. In your Scenario, why does someone need to choose a tactic? For what purpose? These are 2 skill uses, an arbitrary amount of time, and that's it. The System has not in any way made description, measuring time or transferring from this mode into encounter easier. It actually has made moving into an Encounter weirder, because RAW this means everybody gets to roll initiative with perception, even the guy who stood guard explicitly. And yes, the guy going through the books can have his weapon and shield out, sure, Recall Knowledge doesn't need a free Hand and drawing a sword is no action.
Everything the Player and the GM needed to arbitrate this scene was the description of the skills. The Investigation tactic adds exactly nothing on top, except a movement modifier (which you don't need) and "you can only do this quietly for 9 minutes 59 seconds, then you're fatigued"

Oh, and Merisiel better wait in the chandelier while we're at it so she can roll Acrobatics for initiative when we're attacked...


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DerNils wrote:

@shroudb - I admire your stamina in coming up with examples for this. It's just that we can't seem to agree on how this makes a useful addition to playing the game. In your Scenario, why does someone need to choose a tactic? For what purpose? These are 2 skill uses, an arbitrary amount of time, and that's it. The System has not in any way made description, measuring time or transferring from this mode into encounter easier. It actually has made moving into an Encounter weirder, because RAW this means everybody gets to roll initiative with perception, even the guy who stood guard explicitly. And yes, the guy going through the books can have his weapon and shield out, sure, Recall Knowledge doesn't need a free Hand and drawing a sword is no action.

Everything the Player and the GM needed to arbitrate this scene was the description of the skills. The Investigation tactic adds exactly nothing on top, except a movement modifier (which you don't need) and "you can only do this quietly for 9 minutes 59 seconds, then you're fatigued"

Oh, and Merisiel better wait in the chandelier while we're at it so she can roll Acrobatics for initiative when we're attacked...

i think it's mostly an issue of perspective.

i don't see, and don't ask, for players to "choose a tactic"

my players tell me that i'll search the old library for clues, or search if there's something that can be a hint somewhere in the house, and etc.

then, i tell them the checks. The "tactics" are guidelines FOR ME to help me come up with the mechanics of their actions.

I never really go "ok guys, you're in exploration mode now" that's why the system doesn't bother me.

the opposite in fact. I use the system as a quick index to instantly tell them their checks and their bonuses or their maluses.

for the players, there's not a transition back and forth between modes.*

Most of the complaining i see is from people trying to use the system as a sort of "extended encounter mode" when it clearly can't function as one.

*that's why it's difficult for me to say exact numbers and such on questions like "when do you use it". I use it all the times when *I* feel it will save time.

Using the house example, although fictional:

If there are encounters, combat and etc, the players will go on as normal, but if I know that this is a done deal, and the players just have to search a place, I'll instantly transition to a more freeform exploration mode instead of the rigid encounter mode that has them going through the rooms one by one.

The players don't have access th that information ofc, so, if it does happen to have a sneaky thief hidding somewhere upstairs, and the rogue (as an example) is searching the house (because he assumed it to be empty) while the other party members do differnt things, may as well encounter the thief on his own. And then we roll initiative and switch to encounter mode, and etc.

now that i'm thinking it a bit more seriously. I use "encounter" mode only from the second we roll initiative, to the second the last combatant falls. All the rest, is "exploration". Obviously, I can't have the players "choosing a tactic" for whatever little thing they do in between battles. That's my job to give them the necessary checks and downtimes, the rules just offer ME guidelines for that.


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shroudb wrote:
for the players, there's not a transition back and forth between modes.*

There is.

If the wizard says "I cast knock", and you answer "after 5 minutes, a lone sickly goblin comes", the spell is automatically disrupted. Not because the goblin attacks the wizard, nor because the wizard turns his attention to the goblin, but because combat music automatically disrupts casting (as per the cast a spell action p 195).

Entering combat mode has several effect the players will perceive - Merisiel shouting "I jump on the chandelier" to use acrobatics for init is just one of those effects, it's maybe the most ludicrous, but it's not the most annoying. The moment you decide the combat mode starts has a big impact - it's the difference between a spell being cast or a spell being disrupted.


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Gaterie wrote:
shroudb wrote:
for the players, there's not a transition back and forth between modes.*

There is.

If the wizard says "I cast knock", and you answer "after 5 minutes, a lone sickly goblin comes", the spell is automatically disrupted. Not because the goblin attacks the wizard, nor because the wizard turns his attention to the goblin, but because combat music automatically disrupts casting (as per the cast a spell action p 195).

Entering combat mode has several effect the players will perceive - Merisiel shouting "I jump on the chandelier" to use acrobatics for init is just one of those effects, it's maybe the most ludicrous, but it's not the most annoying. The moment you decide the combat mode starts has a big impact - it's the difference between a spell being cast or a spell being disrupted.

well, that's obvious that there IS a transition, they are two different modes. But taking my quote 100% out of context doesn't mean much. Stuff happens players react. There isn't a "loading screen please wait while we switch modes".

same way that in every rpg in existance you do some thing per round and other in time increments of minutes/hours/days. Same thing as in all rpgs having someone say that "i search the house" and the GM going "ok, you find this, this and that" all those are "exploration mode"

but doing it like:
"combat ends guys, you're in exploration mode, state your tactic" is wrong, immension breaking, terrible, and leads to most of the problems.

hence, the CRB clearly states that the players never choose "a tactic", they simply say what they are doing (as you would do in all and every RPG) and the GM tells them what happens (same as all and every RPG as well)

"the transition" is the rolling of the initiative.

edit:
p.s.
the knock is only disrupted IF combat starts, not simply because the goblim appears.
you can't cast an exploration mode while in encoutner mode, but it is only disrupted when and if combat starts.
as per the same rules you quoted.

p.p.s.
a goblin appearing doesn't even means that you shift to encounter mode immediately, the same way that talking to patrons in a bar can be easily achieved while in exploration mode and not having each and every person you see starting an encounter mode with said person.


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I am GMing the playtest and have 8 years of experience GMing Pathfinder.

I think a discussion on how to evaluate these rules needs to begin with their intent. There doesn't seem to be an explicit statement from Paizo so I will guess what that is. I think there are multiple intents here:

1. Give players meaningful choices outside of encounters that have mechanical consequences.
2. Encourage teamwork by asking people to take on different roles.
3. To simplify things for GMs by unifying the myriad of situations parties face outside of combat into a single system that can be applied to all situations.

I'll say what I think about whether they achieve these goals in a second. But my first problem with the design goals is that the designers in this draft have stepped away from verisimilitude and simulation. We have a case here of dissociated mechanics: mechanics which are designed to achieve a game purpose, but which are not associated with any decision that the characters will be thinking in their mind. An occult investigator accompanying a party into an Osirion tomb is not asking herself, "Do I search for strange features in this burial tomb, OR do I draw from my knowledge of the Occult?"

While the text encourages the players to state what they do in natural language, the rules pigeonhole them to make choice about ONE thing they focus on. This causes a feedback loop where the players substitute their previous thinking with the tactics themselves. And, because there is a mechanical consequence for their choices, they will start to make tactics choices based on those mechanical consequences. My players, who are very combat focused, have started thinking this way. The one player whose character has a Stealth bonus higher than his Perception bonus now says he is Sneaking by default, even when traveling overland in the Pale Mountain adventure. This doesn't make much sense, as he is riding on the back of a camel. Everyone else defaulted to Searching. (By the way, I did not know how to adjudicate their speed slowing down since they were on camels: I had them traveling at their camels' full speed. I suppose I already ran it "wrong" because I forgot that, by the logic of these rules, they should've been using the Handle Animal and Command an Animal actions, so should already have been fatigued doing that. But the idea that they are slowing down their camels so THEY (the characters) can be wary of danger did not sit right with me.)

Now, as to achieving the assumed design goals:

#1. Give players meaningful choices outside of encounters that have mechanical consequences.

I support this goal, but the Playtest I'm afraid is erring too far in divorcing it from simulation and the "reality" in the game world as players understand it.

I think the designers have a winner with the 3 Action System -- the general feedback has been positive and it gives players some more interesting choices in combat. I think the designers hope to extend the same success to exploration: the logic is that 10 minutes of exploring now consists of 100 consecutive combat rounds.

I think this is a mistake because, in practice, it is leading to some strange choices. In combat, it makes sense that you have to take precious attention away from your enemies to Seek for an invisible foe, or to Recall Knowledge about that the potential abilities of that great wyrm that is bearing down on the party. We pay a price for these things in the Action Economy, not because they are exhausting, but because they draw our attention and time away from attacking the enemy.

But in Exploration Mode, the characters are not in immediate danger, and Seeking the environment is not at the cost of hiding from a monster. We can assume that the characters are doing a number of things simultaneously. The default mode in a dungeon, going back all the way to OD&D days, is that the characters are slowly, quietly sneaking through corridors and rooms, looking for hazards and listening carefully for monsters. (I recall my old Red Box rules where an unencumbered party moved 120 feet in one "turn," which back then was ten minutes.) Experienced adventurers know to do these things automatically.

#2. Encourage teamwork by asking people to take on different roles.

The comment above that they are comparable to Starfinder's starship rules is apt: I think the designers saw that as a success (I think it was) and want to apply that experience more broadly. However, the characters are not on a starship -- you don't have someone running the looking out from the bridge (Search) while another runs the Scanning system (Detect Magic) while another operates the Signal Jamming system (Stealth), and another is in the Weapons Room (Defending). Every character is a one-person starship.

But, related to the previous goal of giving characters meaningful choices, this does NOT mean that the characters must all do and be good at the same things. We just need to abandon the idea that all these tasks are mutually exclusive in fantasy adventuring: yes, you can sneak AND look for traps (looking at the Rogue).

#3. To simplify things for GMs by unifying the myriad of situations parties face outside of combat into a single system that can be applied to all situations.

The ultimate consistent thing that simplifies things for a GM is the GM's sense that the logic of the game world is similar to that in reality. So, while the design goal is well-intentioned, but by the mechanic being dissociated it makes it harder to run in some situations. To take an example, not all Seeking is the same, and the consequences . In a dungeon corridor, or in a mummy's tomb, hell yes you are slowing down the party to Seek for traps. I would even argue that 100 feet per minute is too generous in that situation. But if you are riding on camels through the plains on your way to the tomb in Pale Mountain's Shadow? Not so much -- you will notice that formation of stones resembling a skull from half a mile away.

So do we abandon the above goals? Not at all -- we can still ask the players to say what they're focusing on, but let's give them some choices. Here's a proposal of how I would do things:

First of all, I think some choices should, for the sake of the GM's sanity, be party-wide decisions, such as the choice to slow down and be stealthy, or to slow down to carefully search a particular corridor. If the party is using Stealth, then the party gets a bonus to the its Stealth DC (which is determined by the Stealth bonus of the slowest player in the group). (This is better and more realistic than everyone rolling Stealth vs. the monsters' Perception DC, as I think it's more appropriate for the group of monsters who is unaware of the party to be subjected to the swinginess of the d20, than a group of 4 characters who are focused on the task. If they are searching for the party, they get a bonus.) If the party is in a quiet dungeon, the party may need to travel more slowly than in much of the wilderness.

If the party is Following one of its trackers or Covering its own tracks, then the party's speed is slowed. These can be combined with using Stealth which can lead to a further speed penalty.

Each character can then choose what to focus on. These are the main tactics I'd propose. (I'm afraid I have to intrude upon some other subsystems, as the current Encounter Mode is designed to integrate with them.)
1. Search for traps or unusual features: +2 to that character's Perception DC for the hazard's or feature's Stealth check, and +2 on Initiative checks against hazards. (Using Recall Knowledge would not be its own Tactic. It is a passive ability that is triggered when something is noticed.)
2. Guard against danger: +2 to initiative rolls and against monsters and hazards. Also, I'd generally assume that a character is flat-footed if they haven't acted yet in battle, but if one is Guarding (and fails a Perception check to notice an ambush) then they are not flat-footed. (By the way, I have no idea how I should adjudicate surprise and awareness in the Playtest, which I want to write another post about sometime.)
3. Following Tracks - this would slow down the party's speed, as above.
4. Detect Magic - If a character is trying to detect magic, then if they have a Verbal Casting component then the party pays the price of the caster loudly declaring their presence to enemies. If not, then the party will have to travel considerably more slowly to give the caster a chance to rest due to the concentration needed to cast spells.
(Note: Concentrating on a spell is fatiguing. Casting a spell over and over would not slow down the party if the caster can have a gap of 1 minute or more between castings.)

Finally, if one of the characters is engaged in a fatiguing action, then the party's speed is slowed in order to allow for periodic rests.

I wanted to say more about transitioning from exploration to encounters, but I'm short on time so that's it for now.

P.S. These proposals are for discussion purposes only, and I am still (trying to) run the Playtest rules as written.


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shroudb wrote:
well, that's obvious that there IS a transition, they are two different modes. But taking my quote 100% out of context doesn't mean much. Stuff happens players react. There isn't a "loading screen please wait while we switch modes".

At least something happens during the transition. Maybe not a loading screen, but something. Otherwise, I don't know why the spell is disrupted.

Let's look at this situation: Wizard starts casting knock. Goblin hears the incantation, investigates, enters the room and approach the Wizard, weapon in hand. Fighter sees it, and uses his greatsword to intercept the goblin. As per the rules, the spell is disrupted. At no point the wizard has been directly involved (although he probably saw the whole scene), but the mere fact there was an attack roll and an init roll beforehand was enough to disrupt the casting. Something has happened during the initiative roll.

Since this something isn't stated anywhere in the rule, i like to think it's a loading screen. Maybe I'm wrong.

Quote:
same way that in every rpg in existance you do some thing per round and other in time increments of minutes/hours/days. Same thing as in all rpgs having someone say that "i search the house" and the GM going "ok, you find this, this and that" all those are "exploration mode"

DW (and every other AW-hack) doesn't handle fight using rounds or any time increment. Fight simply follow the flow of the conversation between the players and the DM, as any other part of the game. So that's not "every RPG in existence".

Anyway, what is the goal of the "exploration mode" in PF2 and its punitive rules if many games work without such a mode?

Quote:

but doing it like:

"combat ends guys, you're in exploration mode, state your tactic" is wrong, immension breaking, terrible, and leads to most of the problems.

Again, something happen when combat ends. I don't know what, but as you says yourself, the wizard can't start casting knock in combat mode, but he can at the moment the exploration mode starts.

Quote:
a goblin appearing doesn't even means that you shift to encounter mode immediately

True. Let's assume a goblin appears and Merisiel jumps on a chandelier.

Quote:
the same way that talking to patrons in a bar can be easily achieved while in exploration mode

... Err... Actually as a player, I prefer if the encounter mode starts. It allows me to use Diplomacy and Perception (to "sense motives") at the same time. Can Merisiel jump on a chandelier?


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I am not entirely sure what the benefit of slowing down to 100 feet per minute is in the Searching tactic.
I mean, you can move at half speed and apparently are meticulously Seeking for hidden doors, concealed hazards, and so on (hidden enemies, concealed treasure, scared potential allies, curious but stealthy lizards). Seeking gives you a Perception check to find stuff.

Slow down to 100 feet per minute to... "guarantee a chance to detect any hazard or secret before walking into it".

Guarantees a chance? So I get a chance to notice it? Thats sounds like I get a Perception check.

How is that different from moving half speed and getting a Perception check other than being slower?
Do I get a bonus to the check? How much of a bonus do the words "guarantee" and "thoroughness imply?

I miss take 10 and take 20.
It is unfortunate that people feel the need to make these out of combat situations require dice.

Yes, I can use common sense and GM authority to make this easier and more comfortable, but we are trying to test the rules as written and point out where clarity is missing. Additionally, we should be looking at these rules as if five people who have never played an RPG before are picking up the game and one of them has to try GMing. A lot of people defending the system as written are using examples of how an experienced GM could easily handle it.

I like the idea of the rulebook teaching people how to play an RPG. Giving examples of some common out of combat scenarios and how to adjudicate those is very good. But they might have codified some of them a bit too much as well as presented those examples in a way that is actually more confusing than helpful.


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Gaterie wrote:
shroudb wrote:
well, that's obvious that there IS a transition, they are two different modes. But taking my quote 100% out of context doesn't mean much. Stuff happens players react. There isn't a "loading screen please wait while we switch modes".

At least something happens during the transition. Maybe not a loading screen, but something. Otherwise, I don't know why the spell is disrupted.

Let's look at this situation: Wizard starts casting knock. Goblin hears the incantation, investigates, enters the room and approach the Wizard, weapon in hand. Fighter sees it, and uses his greatsword to intercept the goblin. As per the rules, the spell is disrupted. At no point the wizard has been directly involved (although he probably saw the whole scene), but the mere fact there was an attack roll and an init roll beforehand was enough to disrupt the casting. Something has happened during the initiative roll.

Since this something isn't stated anywhere in the rule, i like to think it's a loading screen. Maybe I'm wrong.

Quote:
same way that in every rpg in existance you do some thing per round and other in time increments of minutes/hours/days. Same thing as in all rpgs having someone say that "i search the house" and the GM going "ok, you find this, this and that" all those are "exploration mode"

DW (and every other AW-hack) doesn't handle fight using rounds or any time increment. Fight simply follow the flow of the conversation between the players and the DM, as any other part of the game. So that's not "every RPG in existence".

Anyway, what is the goal of the "exploration mode" in PF2 and its punitive rules if many games work without such a mode?

Quote:

but doing it like:

"combat ends guys, you're in exploration mode, state your tactic" is wrong, immension breaking, terrible, and leads to most of the problems.
Again, something happen when combat ends. I don't know what, but as you says yourself, the wizard can't start casting...

all of this is just falso, since the spell ISN"T disrupted.

it is disrupted ONLY on COMBAT

plus, NOTHING says that the appearence of an NPC starts encounter mode.

when you enter a tavern there are dozens of NPCs and you can STILL be in exploration mode gathering information as an example.

so, just no

at all of this, you're just plainly misreading the rules. Read the rules you quoted in full, and not just part of them.


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The fighter intercepting a goblin with a greatsword is a combat. This disrupts the spell, as per the rules.

Or maybe you use some byzantine houserule where PC may attack NPC while pretending they don't start combat and they are pacifist.

... Huh, sorry. I guess I'm not clear enough. What I mean is: "the FIGHTER intercepting A goblin with a greatsword IS a COMBAT. This DISRUPTS the spell, as per THE rules. Or maybe you USE some BYZANTINE houserule where PC may attack NPC WHILE pretending they don'T start combat AND they are PaCiFiSt."

I guess it's more clear with random words in caps lock. That's probably why you use caps lock.


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shroudb wrote:
If you think that the average adult can hide and still move as fast as he walks then yes, you live in a different universe than me.

This just seems to be one of those things that you haven't met the right kind of people. I've had friends of mine startle me on a decently regular basis. Now while I am far from the most perceptive person I have a decently faster walking speed than the average person. Despite this, I can even think of a time I've been tailed at a full parkour run.

At the end of the day, while tailing someone successfully requires a certain amount of skill, it's far easier than picking a lock or pickpocketing.


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Lyricanna wrote:
shroudb wrote:
If you think that the average adult can hide and still move as fast as he walks then yes, you live in a different universe than me.

This just seems to be one of those things that you haven't met the right kind of people. I've had friends of mine startle me on a decently regular basis. Now while I am far from the most perceptive person I have a decently faster walking speed than the average person. Despite this, I can even think of a time I've been tailed at a full parkour run.

At the end of the day, while tailing someone successfully requires a certain amount of skill, it's far easier than picking a lock or pickpocketing.

You were probably Wandering.

Real talk, it's absolutely bizarre that you can't cast spells that take longer than one round in combat.

Take a classic example. A wizard is casting a 10 minute spell that will summon a powerful demon, and his minions try to block the way to keep you from interrupting him. You be fought your way to the very room the casting is in, and are facing his lieutenants with seconds on the clock.

The instant you or the lieutenants make a move, the spell is disrupted. The wizard can't complete the spell, even though he isn't doing anything else. He straight up gets stopped by a loading screen because an encounter started near him. You didn't foil him by disrupting his circle, relieving him of his head, or any other heroic maneuver. You stopped him by throwing a rock at a dude who was standing nearby.

No more do you have to struggle through or around the lieutenants to halt the wizard as the clock ticks closer to doomsday. You could just punch your friend in the face and have a fistfight. Stops the spell just as well.

I guess, in fairness, the rule could make for a good comedy campaign.


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Gaterie wrote:


Yes, you have to be level 8 and use one of your 5 skill "feats" to do something any grown-up adult can do. I guess by level 20 your character is a fully-functional grown-up adult. Path 2 is by far the best system to play Rugrats: the RPG, but it's a bit clunky to play epic adventurers exploring dangerous places under this system.

Given how ancestry feats work I think you might be on to something.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
The instant you or the lieutenants make a move, the spell is disrupted. The wizard can't complete the spell, even though he isn't doing anything else. He straight up gets stopped by a loading screen because an encounter started near him.

I'd categorise that as 'distraction'. Like the old Take 10 rule, if something life-threatening shows up, that makes it impossible to maintain calm focus.

I mean, it's still a pretty silly rule that most GMs would house-rule as needed: "The wizard is not in combat mode unless he chooses to be or until someone hurts him. He's flat-footed if he chooses not to enter combat mode."

But it's not a loading screen.

Loading screens only happen when you move between two different maps.


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shroudb wrote:

But they failed a bit on other, more mundane, and more realistic stuff that you can probably do on the spot.

I feel that some of it ties to faults not with the exploration mode, but with the encounter mode that it draws upon for action economy.

Recall Knowledge as an example.

It seems obvious that a character knows things. He simply does, by virtue of his Intelligence or his experience.
And simultaneously it seems obvious that he should be able to exert himself to remember even more by taking a pause and thinking about it.

Lets say an Undead Hunter, he sees a skeleton and knows that skeletons do things A, B, and C. That should be a Free action.
If he takes a second to think about it more (taking the action) he...

Hey! In general, I agree with your post, but I just wanted to point out something that I found out while I was having the same problem than you (why can't someone just know some things 'for free'?)

I found the Automatic Knowledge which gives you this. As a free action every turn you can Recall Knowledge about something. The problems are the pre-requisites Assurance with the skill you want to Automatic Recall and being an expert on it... I think it's debatable what an 'expert' means and if someone needs to be an expert to do that, but the ability does exist - but it's a skill feat.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shisui wrote:
shroudb wrote:

But they failed a bit on other, more mundane, and more realistic stuff that you can probably do on the spot.

I feel that some of it ties to faults not with the exploration mode, but with the encounter mode that it draws upon for action economy.

Recall Knowledge as an example.

It seems obvious that a character knows things. He simply does, by virtue of his Intelligence or his experience.
And simultaneously it seems obvious that he should be able to exert himself to remember even more by taking a pause and thinking about it.

Lets say an Undead Hunter, he sees a skeleton and knows that skeletons do things A, B, and C. That should be a Free action.
If he takes a second to think about it more (taking the action) he...

Hey! In general, I agree with your post, but I just wanted to point out something that I found out while I was having the same problem than you (why can't someone just know some things 'for free'?)

I found the Automatic Knowledge which gives you this. As a free action every turn you can Recall Knowledge about something. The problems are the pre-requisites Assurance with the skill you want to Automatic Recall and being an expert on it... I think it's debatable what an 'expert' means and if someone needs to be an expert to do that, but the ability does exist - but it's a skill feat.

Expert is the next level of proficiency after Trained. You can become an expert at 3rd level.


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Colette Brunel wrote:
Doomsday Dawn, page 26: "Two-thirds of the way up the mountainside to area B5, the manticore notices the PCs unless the entire party is stealthy in their exploration."

Not really arguing with you Colette, just using your quote.

The way I read this is that if the entire party is using the sneak tactic, they start the encounter hidden - before rolls are made. So the manticore in this situation would be patrolling rather than being in an ambush positions. Initiative rolls are then made, the PCs ALL using Stealth (which is likely very bad for armored characters) and the manticore using Perception. Per the rules for Stealth and initiative, those characters who beat the manticore start the encounter hidden.

This is just a detail, but it does give some incentive to use the sneak action even if you have a bad Stealth skill bonus.

The elephant in the room here for me is this; if a player choose the look out tactic, would they then not have a chance to spot the manticore before it goes into ambush mode, and thus alert the party to the upcoming encounter? The way buff spells, raised shields, and stances work now, this is important information. Maybe this is why look out is a social tactic - if used in exploration mode, it complicates the system quite a bit.

At the end I have to argue a bit. I find it reasonable that characters are wearing weapons sheathed, not wielded, unless they choose wielding as a tactic. Two-handed weapons over the shoulder in one hand. Going with a weapon in hand for hours on end is not something you casually do.


StratoNexus wrote:

Slow down to 100 feet per minute to... "guarantee a chance to detect any hazard or secret before walking into it".

Guarantees a chance? So I get a chance to notice it? Thats sounds like I get a Perception check.

The way I read this is that if the players are moving at more than 100 ft a minute, the GM can always say "you didn't check the innermost corner, and thus missed...". It gives a good GM narrative freedom to blindside the PCs with an interesting plot development - and it gives a bad GM the chance to make the PCs feel like fools and have them murdered by something they should have seen.

I feel the rule would have been better if it required the slower speed, or just ignored speed. Either would be good, but the current wording leaves the rule open to exploitation by bad GMs.


While I think you could be right, the interesting part for the Scenario would be that it makes it worse for the Players. The Manticore using Stealth is a serious debuff.
Because with the Manticores +13 Perception that puts him actually in a better Position, as most will still fail (even Stealth experts have maybe +9 at this Point) and he has a mich higher Chance of being first now.


Starfox wrote:
StratoNexus wrote:

Slow down to 100 feet per minute to... "guarantee a chance to detect any hazard or secret before walking into it".

Guarantees a chance? So I get a chance to notice it? Thats sounds like I get a Perception check.

The way I read this is that if the players are moving at more than 100 ft a minute, the GM can always say "you didn't check the innermost corner, and thus missed...". It gives a good GM narrative freedom to blindside the PCs with an interesting plot development - and it gives a bad GM the chance to make the PCs feel like fools and have them murdered by something they should have seen.

I feel the rule would have been better if it required the slower speed, or just ignored speed. Either would be good, but the current wording leaves the rule open to exploitation by bad GMs.

It's an effect of having static timers on stuff.

If it takes X rounds to check a 10x10 area, then you can't move faster than those 10ft regardless of your speed.

It's the same with detect magic, since it checks 30ft regardless of your moving speed, you have a static speed.

On the other hand, someone can search where he's moving, avoiding traps and etc, but as you pointed out, not searching every corner of the 10x10 terrain, and they ruled that to go by one's speed to make him faster.


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Colette Brunel wrote:
they are fatigued until they rest for 8 hours, because walking alongside a cat is so exhausting.

Clearly, you have never owned a cat.


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Coquelicot Dragon wrote:
Colette Brunel wrote:
they are fatigued until they rest for 8 hours, because walking alongside a cat is so exhausting.
Clearly, you have never owned a cat.

My cat has a feat allowing two eight hour rest periods each day.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
DerNils wrote:

While I think you could be right, the interesting part for the Scenario would be that it makes it worse for the Players. The Manticore using Stealth is a serious debuff.

Because with the Manticores +13 Perception that puts him actually in a better Position, as most will still fail (even Stealth experts have maybe +9 at this Point) and he has a mich higher Chance of being first now.

This is another weird thing the exploration tactics can lead to: characters who are Sneaking could very well crash their initiative, especially if they are suffering from armor penalties.


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Laik wrote:

Tactic Problem #6: As per page 331, only one character can be Searching at a time: the character with the highest Perception.

Ouch! I never noticed that rule, and that's after GMing several groups. This thing makes difference, and I am not sure I like it.

I certainly don't. It means there's no difference between one person and fifty people searching a room. It means there's no such thing as a search party in-universe -- just send the town cleric out to look for the lost child; everyone else is useless baggage.

Colette Brunel wrote:
A character with neither the Ride feat nor an animal companion mounts a horse.

This actually makes some degree of sense to me -- riding a horse for any substantial length of time if you don't have experience and training is going to leave you extremely sore and wanting to collapse into bed for eight hours. The problem is that takes riding a horse for quite awhile, not just ten minutes!

Investigate and Search being separate tactics does make my head hurt.

Stealing is another one. If you fail to steal something in ten minutes, you're fatigued? That would sure make the average heist movie boring...

At home, our house rules include means by which the entire party engages in an activity. If people are searching or keeping lookout, the highest perception rolls with up to two aids whose DCs are based on the total skill of the lead character. If the party is attempting to be stealthy, the high stealth rolls and everyone similarly attempts a DC based on their skill; each character who fails deducts from the total stealth roll by a certain amount plus their armor check penalty.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Thus far, I have GMed two iterations of The Lost Star under no updates, one iteration of In Pale Mountain's Shadow under no updates, one iteration of In Pale Mountain's Shadow under update 1.0, two iterations of The Rose Street Revenge under update 1.0, two iterations of Raiders of Shrieking Peak under update 1.1, two iterations of Arclord's Envy under update 1.1, one iteration of Affair at Sombrefell Hall under update 1.2, one iteration of Affair at Sombrefell Hall under update 1.3, two iterations of The Mirrored Moon under update 1.3, and one iteration of The Frozen Oath under update 1.3.

By the end of my second playthrough of Arclord's Envy (my 10th session), I had gotten so sick and tired of the broken, nigh-unplayable rules for exploration mode that I did away with them for the most part. My remaining players and I are already intimately familiar with the many flaws of exploration mode, especially when it comes to social interactions with NPCs, so I see no reason to slow down the playtest sessions by incessantly calling for exploration mode. I did bring exploration mode back occasionally. For example, I thought to trot out exploration mode's social tactics during the first playthrough of The Mirrored Moon, when the characters were speaking to Tulaeth the dryad, and my players quite vocally grumbled about it; given that "exploration" is supposed to be a theme of The Mirrored Moon, a hexcrawl, that is damning. I also brought out exploration mode again in The Frozen Oath, much to the player's chagrin, and I am thinking of doing so once more in Red Flags.

Since I have absolutely, positively no idea how to handle Perception vs. Stealth leading into initiative rolls, I generally do away with pre-combat Hide and Seek (yes, those are what the actions are called) and just call for Perception vs. Stealth for initiative.


Good luck using them in Red Flags ;) My read through of the social Encounters there make it quite clear that they don't interact with the timeframe or rules of social tactics at all, they just make up scenario specific rules.
I would advise not to bother with them, but will read with interest if you come up with a useful way of integrating them.


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Sanmei wrote:


Investigate and Search being separate tactics does make my head hurt.

Stealing is another one. If you fail to steal something in ten minutes, you're fatigued? That would sure make the average heist movie boring...

The whole thing on what is fatiguing and what is not makes my head hurt.

Combining Stride and Seek into Search isn't fatiguing because you are "alternating". Why not combine Sneak and Seek the same way?

When I've played, we've solved fatigue by never exploring for more than nine minutes running, and doing arbitrarily complex actions during that time. Easy when exploration is just a matter of moving into the next room.

When we come to longer stretches, I'll imagine that we will just say that we are "alternating". :)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks for bringing up these issues Colette.

The final playtest should really go into detail under each skill what the Exploration mode uses look like and what their benefits and limits are. Just like encounter and downtime uses are detailed.

Some responses to the points your brought up.

  • #1: I cannot agree more. If Encounter mode is a thing, then modules should adhere to it and provide direct explicit guidance.
  • #2: If skills listed Encounter mode uses, then a lot of this would clear up, but yes it has devolved into just declaring tactics rather than narrating character's actions. At best we have had descriptive RP narratives that are punctuated with naming specific tactics in our playgroup.
  • #3: It really shouldn't need implication. The tactic should explain what it does and does not do, and what is normal if not using the tactic.
  • #4: Investigation is an awesome tactic that was presented poorly. The name didn't help either. I wanted to use my Nature and Lore skills investigate the environment while traveling. This really needs lots of module support to work well, because I wanted to know general and significant things about geography, wildlife, fauna, resources, typical hazards of the area. It seems like a lot to ask the GM to generate on the fly. I think the recall knowledge skills could probably benefit from a simple UTEML give 0 to 4 trivial bits of relevant facts as a free action without a roll in all modes. Recalling trivia is not taxing, in fact it is a popular form of entertainment and equivalent to whistling while you walk.
  • #5: The module should include trivia, gazetteer style snippets about the scenario, while the bestiary should include similar snippets for monsters. This could be labeled as just that, trivia, and provide some interesting moments without forcing people to metagame too much. I also agree that the misinformation aspect of recall knowledge is kinda terrible and should be made an optional rule.
  • #6: I think this tactic is missing the case of ransacking a room with a whole group of people. I understand to dramatic purpose of only the highest perception person actually getting to roll, but it doesn't really explain how everyone else searching could be aiding that very perceptive person who notices a weird sound as everyone keeps stepping onto a loose floorboard.
  • #7: They really need a scouting tactic, and explain how that helps the party avoid ambush. And this should be detailed in modules where ambushes are possible.
  • #8: Yeah the fatiguing thing is terrible, punishing, and unfun. The length should scale with travel speed. Ride should be easier to get or not having it should be less punishing. In a time period where everyone either walks, or rides an animal or wagon pulled by an animal I just cannot image anyone not having mastered riding by they time they reach puberty. Much like most adults I know can drive a car, it is just an aspect of the world that shouldn't be so punishing. Commanding an animal should be a free action because I can talk and do talk to my own pets to get them to do what I want very successfully and it doesn't prevent me to doing my own thing in real life. The excuse of not wanting those turns to take that long is stupid, it should only get taxed when someone starts managing two or more creatures. Again I think investigating is a great tactic, but it shouldn't need to be taxing if used with every other tactic. Like you said it is very reasonable to be thinking of ideas while searching, scouting, even fighting because that just what happens in both real life and in all the greatest fantasies, the fighter is trying to recall a weakness or remember what their mentor told them about fighting ghasts because one day they'd need to know it. For social stuff it does seem neat that one person might be hobnobbing, while another is Looking out for deceptions, but if that is the case the GM needs a lot more help, and that type of party teamwork should be described in the rules.
  • #9: I like your example, it seems like the tactics were written to punish a single PC and divide and conquer a party instead of allowing natural synergies between tactics for both the individual and the party.
  • #10: I don't feel like the exploration to encounter transition works. Everything just ends up as Perception vs Stealth because the core rules are too vague and the modules to provide enough guidance. I've yet to see any other exploration tactic work so far in the first 5 chapters of the playtest.
  • #11: Riding should get a full set of rules for all three modes on various kinds of animals at each level of cooperativeness, training, and minion-ness.


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    I spent ten minutes reading the Exploration Mode rules and simultaneously trying to figure out those rules. By the end of that time, I was fatigued and needed to rest for 8 hours.

    So, I'm now convinced that the rules are good. Doing two things at the same time for 10 minutes actually is fatiguing.

    They got it right.


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    I am currently reading through Red Flags, and I have no idea how I am supposed to integrate social tactics into this adventure. The module does not even touch upon social tactics.

    Silver Crusade

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    The issue with Exploration rules that I can see is that the playtest wants to codify tactics like the players are still in a tactical wargame rather than codifying to what they are actually in:

    A conversation and negotiation with the GM.


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    Role-playing games! The only limit is your imagination! (Please restrict yourself to one of the eleven permitted options.)


    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    Update 1.6, the final major update before release, is here, and there is still radio silence on exploration mode. Are we expected to simply ignore the existence of these broken rules?


    I guess so? It seems quite clear that Doomsday Dawn was not built with Exploration mode in mind, as it has no support for it and no questions in the Surveys related to it (that I am Aware of)
    The developers are reading the boards, so I would be suprised if they have not seen the concerns brought up, but it does not seem to be a thing they wanted to Focus on in the playtest.
    Which I kind of understand, because it is in such a nebulous state that making it work properly would mean a Major overhaul, but in reality it will be rarely used for what it's described as - the Major part of adventuring.


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

    In the Running the Game section of the Game Master Rules, I described how I deal with exploration mode. Succinctly, I use narration and player action to dictate how to adjudicate Exploration as well as how that transitions into Encounters.

    The narrative is always the core of roleplaying and the most important aspect of GMing to me. But it is also an important agent to player engagement so I took on Exploration Mode from the outside in - in other words, I started with the narrative and then worked towards making the rules work therein.

    We start with my narration and their interaction accordingly, then I apply skill checks, movement speed, etc., as appropriate. As my groups have learned, this allows for seamless transition into encounters, including how things like perception, stealth, and even other skills can influence initiative going forward.

    Hard to explain quickly, and I don't want to repeat another wall of text trying to do so. I'll simply leave it as this: we've had no trouble with the idea of Exploration and Encounter, as long as we remember to let the narration (on both sides) give birth to the game play.


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    Exploration Mode feels out-of-place, like a subsystem they pulled from an entirely different game-design document and just ploped into the PF2 playtest with minimal revision to tie into the Three-Action Economy. That, or it was written hastily (like a paper due the next day), and never properly edited.

    Regardless, I've found I've no use for the Exploration Mode Rules. Despite running an actual sandbox campaign with hexcrawling elements. I've ended up ignoring them almost entirely because in every instance they could have come up it would have slowed down the game, encouraged irrational behaviour (to avoid fatigue), or prevented reasonable activities (because of fatigue).


    Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Colette Brunel wrote:


    • Tactic Problem #6: As per page 331, only one character can be Searching at a time: the character with the highest Perception. This is extremely well-hidden, away from the player version of the exploration mode rules, which means that entire groups can miss this key rule for several sessions straight. None of my players and I had noticed the existence of this rule for six sessions straight! Thus, only one character has a chance at noticing traps, hazard, hidden doors, and other secret points of interest. Furthermore, in order to be entitled to a Perception roll to notice anything inconspicuous, the party must be moving at an overland Speed of no more than 100 feet per minute. Not only is it up to a single character to make Perception checks; that character also has to slow down the group to a snail's pace.

    No arguments that exploration mode is problematic, but you are all mis-reading this particular rule:

    Quote:


    Playtest rulebook, p.331
    To be absolutely certain of having a chance to detect any hazard or secret before walking into it requires an overland Speed no more than 100 feet per minute (1 mile per hour). If the group moves faster than that, a searching character should get a chance to attempt a Perception check to detect any secret that's in a place that stands out (such as near a door or a turn in a corridor), but not one that's in a more inconspicuous place (like a random point in a long hallway). If more than one character is searching, give the group a chance to detect anything that's hidden, using the skill bonus of the character with the highest bonus for whatever is hardest to notice.

    This paragraph discussses rules for parties attempting to discover every hazard or secret. First it explains how parties can guarantee they get checks, then it describes the consequence of not adhering to the movement speed restriction, and finally it explains how even while violating the restriction, a party can get checks for everything by having more than one member searching.

    And what It says about that is that if the group is moving faster than 100 ft/min, but more than one character is searching, they have a chance to detect all things, including those hiddedn outside of prominent positions, using the highest character’s perception bonus specifically for the highest DC.

    It says nothing specifically about only giving the party a single roll, although the wording “give the group a chance” is ambiguous and should be clarified. It could mean they only get one roll (which is what I think is intended), or it could mean that they get as many rolls as characters searching, but only the character with the highest bonus has a chance to detect the highest DC secret.

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