Deadmanwalking's Main Problem With PF2


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Castiliano: If the group has a person in heavy armor, then the Goblins should react, no? 'Longshanks coming; only one entrance that's possible... let's ambush 'em!' I mean, that's... not too hard for even Goblins to figure out, no?

Otherwise, your argument is that Goblins should not be run optimally, or even very well. At which point... I'm not sure what to say? You run them 'not very well', and they're not a challenge at all. You run them 'realistically', and you run the risk of a TPK... I don't really get this idea?


Wowie wrote:

Chiming in here, and agreeing with OP. I've since swapped places with my GM since he doesn't like running prewritten, but when I was playing as a player, one thing I noticed a lot was that challenges vs "not completely optimized" characters seemed completely FeelBad all around. Our first attempt at Lost Star crashed and burned, and when we tried it again we replaced half the party roster with optimized Big Stupid Beatsticks to ensure maximum odds of success. Deciding to make roleplaying-focused character-building decisions can actually endanger your character if it interferes with any of the stats that the game assumes you've maxed out (usually your corresponding offense and defense stats). On the larger meta-level, it also feels like the game expects you have a specific party composition as well, reducing flexibility even further.

It's almost like we need two versions of the game - one where the players are assumed to have optimized to the greatest extremes the system allows, and another where "reasonably good" is the baseline. As the system stands currently, tuning the system for one of those two groups breaks the system for the other group, because every +1 matters a lot more in PF2 than it did in PF1. Two versions of the game obviously isn't feasible, however, so I'm at a loss. Given that loss, I'd rather have a system tuned closer to "characters are reasonably good" standards than "characters are 100% optimized" standards.

Publishing a normal mode, w/ a default, straightforward hard mode adjustment available might be the best of both worlds. Then casual & beginner players don't feel lame and those craving challenge get it.


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Castiliano: That makes sense. Reduce everything on monsters by 2, and then tell people, 'for a greater challenge, make all monsters elite'?

Or something like that?


FWIW, my group is going to test unoptimised PCs with "Raiders of Shrieking Pass". Mind you, it's very hard to make numerically bad PCs on purpose. Ancestries and Backgrounds always allow you to put one Ability Boost anywhere, presumably for your Main Ability. Even something like a Wizard with Fighter Multi-class is doable: with Pathfinder Hopeful background and Human or Elf ancestry, you can start with INT 18 and STR 16 and qualify at level 2.

But if you want to deliberately make your main ability lower, the one that governs how well your main class abilities work? Well, then you're worst, I guess.


NemisCassander wrote:

Castiliano: If the group has a person in heavy armor, then the Goblins should react, no? 'Longshanks coming; only one entrance that's possible... let's ambush 'em!' I mean, that's... not too hard for even Goblins to figure out, no?

Otherwise, your argument is that Goblins should not be run optimally, or even very well. At which point... I'm not sure what to say? You run them 'not very well', and they're not a challenge at all. You run them 'realistically', and you run the risk of a TPK... I don't really get this idea?

The Goblins being distracted aside, the encounter flat out says the Goblins race forward to attack, and even gives a 'realistic' reason for their hubris. These tactics (as with the other DD1 level 0 mobs) are factored into the danger level. Your ambush is on you, not Paizo.

And yes, my Goblins have different tactics than my Hobgoblins who have different tactics than my Bugbears.

ETA: My Goblins did use their bows a bit, partly to make it harder for my veterans. I accept that they did more damage because of it.

Liberty's Edge

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EberronHoward wrote:

FWIW, my group is going to test unoptimised PCs with "Raiders of Shrieking Pass". Mind you, it's very hard to make numerically bad PCs on purpose. Ancestries and Backgrounds always allow you to put one Ability Boost anywhere, presumably for your Main Ability. Even something like a Wizard with Fighter Multi-class is doable: with Pathfinder Hopeful background and Human or Elf ancestry, you can start with INT 18 and STR 16 and qualify at level 2.

But if you want to deliberately make your main ability lower, the one that governs how well your main class abilities work? Well, then you're worst, I guess.

16s are easy. Just play a Gnome Barbarian, Goblin Cleric, Dwarf Bard, or indeed anyone who wants several 14s in other stats.

14s in your main stat are where it starts getting unlikely for most PCs and should definitely fall behind.


NemisCassander wrote:

Castiliano: That makes sense. Reduce everything on monsters by 2, and then tell people, 'for a greater challenge, make all monsters elite'?

Or something like that?

Yes, something like that. Or a sidebar w/ additions, DC changes, etc.

Even tactical improvements as our other exchange addresses.

Not only is it more fulfilling to play up and awkward to encourage others to play down, but GMs w/ advanced players can likely make adjustments more readily than newer GMs can. Also, optimized players would better accept struggling because of course, it's hard mode.
Cheers

ETA: Hard mode would need playtesting more though! Hmm...


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Castilliano wrote:
NemisCassander wrote:

Castiliano: If the group has a person in heavy armor, then the Goblins should react, no? 'Longshanks coming; only one entrance that's possible... let's ambush 'em!' I mean, that's... not too hard for even Goblins to figure out, no?

Otherwise, your argument is that Goblins should not be run optimally, or even very well. At which point... I'm not sure what to say? You run them 'not very well', and they're not a challenge at all. You run them 'realistically', and you run the risk of a TPK... I don't really get this idea?

The Goblins being distracted aside, the encounter flat out says the Goblins race forward to attack, and even gives a 'realistic' reason for their hubris. These tactics (as with the other DD1 level 0 mobs) are factored into the danger level. Your ambush is on you, not Paizo.

And yes, my Goblins have different tactics than my Hobgoblins who have different tactics than my Bugbears.

I question why the goblins kept their ranged weapons if they were never meant to use them. They made a section "Additional Items" for the goblin commando so they could have easily have added 'removed items: shortbow'.

Secondly, it NEVER says they melee: it says they "race forward o attack, howling and hooting." So quickly moving into position to make a clear shot fits with the description. If the intent was actually meant to be melee, the adventure failed to convey that fact in any meaningful way. If the adventure is built on the assumption that they melee, it WOULD be nice if it actually said so.

So IMO, it IS 100% a Paizo problem and not a DM one.

Third, the encounter threat is based 100% on the monster level. I see no adjustments based on tactics or environment. The experience for the encounter is the same.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

16s are easy. Just play a Gnome Barbarian, Goblin Cleric, Dwarf Bard, or indeed anyone who wants several 14s in other stats.

14s in your main stat are where it starts getting unlikely for most PCs and should definitely fall behind.

Well, I can understand someone wanting to play a Halfling Fighter or a Dwarf Imperial Sorcerer, even if they get a penalty for it. Those are interesting concepts. But I'm not sure why someone would want to have several 14s, to the determent of attacking and casting spells well. I suppose a Cleric who will only ever cast Heal can get away with 14s in CHA and WIS, but I don't see what would be worth cutting off your class' main feature to get instead.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
You might be right on the natural 1 stuff. And the Sneak action being needed for every 10 feet is pretty unreasonable... If it applies outside of encounter mode. I think by RAW you are correct in your assessment, but it never occurred to me that would be the case, and I'm not sure that is intended by the rules right now. Specifying that you can just use a single stealth roll in exploration mode might suffice as a fix. I generally assume stealth checks carry over until something changes the situation, which can happen quite rapidly in combat but isn't likely when someone is on guard duty.

The stealth skill shouldn't break if I need to switch to encounter mode for some reason. If the PC's are weaving between guard patrols as part of their infiltration, I may very well use encounter mode during a stealth scene. The rules need to work equally well in both modes.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Also, I'm not sure if making nat 1s not auto fail fixes much. Theoretically, any level appropriate challenge will probably be failed on a nat 1, especially for the non-specialist. I guess it can help it so that stealth specialists have 0% chance of failure on extremely underleveled checks, but that's a pretty fringe benefit.

If the distance penalty rule comes back, then it becomes relevant. For any check, there is a sufficient penalty that turns it into a sure thing.


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graystone wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
NemisCassander wrote:

Castiliano: If the group has a person in heavy armor, then the Goblins should react, no? 'Longshanks coming; only one entrance that's possible... let's ambush 'em!' I mean, that's... not too hard for even Goblins to figure out, no?

Otherwise, your argument is that Goblins should not be run optimally, or even very well. At which point... I'm not sure what to say? You run them 'not very well', and they're not a challenge at all. You run them 'realistically', and you run the risk of a TPK... I don't really get this idea?

The Goblins being distracted aside, the encounter flat out says the Goblins race forward to attack, and even gives a 'realistic' reason for their hubris. These tactics (as with the other DD1 level 0 mobs) are factored into the danger level. Your ambush is on you, not Paizo.

And yes, my Goblins have different tactics than my Hobgoblins who have different tactics than my Bugbears.

I question why the goblins kept their ranged weapons if they were never meant to use them. They made a section "Additional Items" for the goblin commando so they could have easily have added 'removed items: shortbow'.

Secondly, it NEVER says they melee: it says they "race forward o attack, howling and hooting." So quickly moving into position to make a clear shot fits with the description. If the intent was actually meant to be melee, the adventure failed to convey that fact in any meaningful way. If the adventure is built on the assumption that they melee, it WOULD be nice if it actually said so.

ETA: Apologies for the derail, DMW, Mark, etc.

So IMO, it IS 100% a Paizo problem and not a DM one.

Third, the encounter threat is based 100% on the monster level. I see no adjustments based on tactics or environment. The experience for the encounter is the same.

Yes, subtracting the short bows would've been an excellent choice for Paizo!

But race forward to use their ranged weapons? An awkward interpretation at best, so I can see Paizo thinking melee was normal. Their communication was meaningful enough for many, despite your hyperbole. Even so, rushing still limits them to one shot after drawing their weapons, and yelling nixes any ambush. Moving forward also puts them in range of a melee PC closing and striking.
It was not a tough encounter! You know the playtest survey doesn't jibe with your TPK experience, so why force the point? We get it, but you're an anomaly. Objectively, the data weighs against your assertions.


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I agree that the math is as tight as it is because of the Degrees of Success rule. It makes even small difference betwen characters, such as a +1, have too much of an impact, which resulted in the game being conservative about them while increasing the gap betwen optimized and not-optimized characters.
With just +2 attack over most characters, the fighter already has like triple their crit rate, so the sweetspot for things working becomes very very narrow. The differenc ebetwen a total stomp and a TPK can really hinge on a +2 difference on the dice, so there doesn't seem to be a sweetspot betwen optimized character and a weaker, more thematic build.

In previous editions, having a super high attack or skill for the challenge, of course, pretty good, but even with a good mod you wouldn't crit more often and it took a wider gap to be able to trivialize the encounter completely.

A crit from a martial can turn a 4-turn fight into 1-turn. The same can be said for a spellcaster getting the crit-fail effect on a save or die. There is no way with current rules to improve odds of getting basic success without also skyrocketing crit success, which makes the character's effectiveness go through the roof. I believe this is why everyone has such low chances of basic success on average tasks and why this thread needed to be made.

If you boost characters chance to hit, the fighter would likely also be boosted by the same amount (to maintain their "edge") and this could result in a huge power spike for them. (Goes from crit on 19-20 to 17-20). This means you can't let the specialist get too much of a boost over the others. Maybe a page from 5E should be taken and characters given more qualitiative boosts to their combat rather than +1s to prevent numbers form being the end-all be-all. That or the critical system has to be revised to minimize their impact.

On the skills side, it's not so bad to get crits compared to outright killing stuff. Reducing difficulty would not break the balance as much in here. But since the system is unified, hitting and using skills will go hand in hand unless some important modifications are made.


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Castilliano wrote:


Yes, subtracting the short bows would've been an excellent choice for Paizo!

But race forward to use their ranged weapons? An awkward...

It doesn't matter what the adventure says, really. A monster's CR is not based on their tactical ability whatsoever, just their math and potential. 4x lv0 enemies always make the same "balanced" encounter regardless of the situation. It can be easier or harder, yes, but don't think their level should expect them being dumb and not using their weapons/feats.

The truth of the matter is those goblins have the shortbow in their stat block so they are expected to use it to warrant their "Level 0" rating. I could make a copycat adventure of Lost Star and just remove that line and the battle could give the same XP. Maybe I never read Lost Star and came up with a similar scenario on my own, would I be wrong for thinking "Well, encounter buildigns rules says this isn't too bad, playing the monsters smart should just cost a few resources? But somehow this is a TPK.


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Dasrak wrote:
Thorin001 wrote:
Only the active character rolls. So your PF2 character rolls with a +3 to beat a DC of 11 (the passive characters "take 10").
This has been pointed out to me. While it does help, the math is so skewed against stealth that it just moves it from "impossible" to "very unlikely".

I think it should also be pointed out that this is where the exploration tactics would come into play, meaning you make a single roll.

ChibiNyan wrote:

It doesn't matter what the adventure says, really. A monster's CR is not based on their tactical ability whatsoever, just their math and potential. 4x lv0 enemies always make the same "balanced" encounter regardless of the situation. It can be easier or harder, yes, but don't think their level should expect them being dumb and not using their weapons/feats.

The truth of the matter is those goblins have the shortbow in their stat block so they are expected to use it to warrant their "Level 0" rating. I could make a copycat adventure of Lost Star and just remove that line and the battle could give the same XP. Maybe I never read Lost Star and came up with a similar scenario on my own, would I be wrong for thinking "Well, encounter buildigns rules says this isn't too bad, playing the monsters smart should just cost a few resources? But somehow this is a TPK.

I think there's a bit of a difference between "doesn't matter what the adventure says" and "I'm going to have Tucker's Goblins play against their nature and what's written so that I can prove this is wrong".

Basically, if you're giving them a permanent unseen advantage, and set up constant hidden shortbow ambushes, that's giving them an advantage the adventure isn't expecting.


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Cyouni wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Thorin001 wrote:
Only the active character rolls. So your PF2 character rolls with a +3 to beat a DC of 11 (the passive characters "take 10").
This has been pointed out to me. While it does help, the math is so skewed against stealth that it just moves it from "impossible" to "very unlikely".

I think it should also be pointed out that this is where the exploration tactics would come into play, meaning you make a single roll.

ChibiNyan wrote:

It doesn't matter what the adventure says, really. A monster's CR is not based on their tactical ability whatsoever, just their math and potential. 4x lv0 enemies always make the same "balanced" encounter regardless of the situation. It can be easier or harder, yes, but don't think their level should expect them being dumb and not using their weapons/feats.

The truth of the matter is those goblins have the shortbow in their stat block so they are expected to use it to warrant their "Level 0" rating. I could make a copycat adventure of Lost Star and just remove that line and the battle could give the same XP. Maybe I never read Lost Star and came up with a similar scenario on my own, would I be wrong for thinking "Well, encounter buildigns rules says this isn't too bad, playing the monsters smart should just cost a few resources? But somehow this is a TPK.

I think there's a bit of a difference between "doesn't matter what the adventure says" and "I'm going to have Tucker's Goblins play against their nature and what's written so that I can prove this is wrong".

Basically, if you're giving them a permanent unseen advantage, and set up constant hidden shortbow ambushes, that's giving them an advantage the adventure isn't expecting.

Well, it's just using what's on their statblock. In this case it is shortbows + darkvision. No super beneficial gimmick terrain or traps or anything, these goblins surprisingly have bad perception too! It's a pretty average scenario imo.

Kind of a longshot to compare them to Tucker's Kobolds where the whole point is not even using the statblock info.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
EberronHoward wrote:

FWIW, my group is going to test unoptimised PCs with "Raiders of Shrieking Pass". Mind you, it's very hard to make numerically bad PCs on purpose. Ancestries and Backgrounds always allow you to put one Ability Boost anywhere, presumably for your Main Ability. Even something like a Wizard with Fighter Multi-class is doable: with Pathfinder Hopeful background and Human or Elf ancestry, you can start with INT 18 and STR 16 and qualify at level 2.

But if you want to deliberately make your main ability lower, the one that governs how well your main class abilities work? Well, then you're worst, I guess.

16s are easy. Just play a Gnome Barbarian, Goblin Cleric, Dwarf Bard, or indeed anyone who wants several 14s in other stats.

14s in your main stat are where it starts getting unlikely for most PCs and should definitely fall behind.

Another reason for reduced main stats is when those main stats are non-saves and people are defensive, or when they plan on dual classing. For instance, my main character in the playtest is a frontline bard (dual classing fighter based on STR). That's two non-save stats to focus on. As a result, I started with a 14 in my main stat, a 16 in my other main stat, and prayed for the best. This would have applied to, essentially, all casters but Cleric and Druid.

We had a second character with a similar problem - a halfling druid. You might think that halfling, being a +wis race, is a good fit, but this was a shapeshifter, so needed STR, which was a penalised score.


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Pedro Sampaio wrote:
In PF2, however, a +10 result above the target DC is not very difficult to achieve, specially against a weaker opponent or with a few bonuses stacked together. The fact of the matter is that it makes the math EXTREMELY tight, and without extreme controle the crit chances just escalates too quickly. This leads to a whole lot of problems, but most notably is the problem of To Hit bonuses vs. AC. In the current state of the game, we have an optimized fighter with 55% hit chance (5% crit chance) against a similar leveled monster. Add flanking and Inspire Courage and suddenly he hits 70% and crits 20%, which is huge!

Maybe crits just need to be less powerful than they currently are. That would reduce the random swinginess some people are reporting.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Pedro Sampaio wrote:
In PF2, however, a +10 result above the target DC is not very difficult to achieve, specially against a weaker opponent or with a few bonuses stacked together. The fact of the matter is that it makes the math EXTREMELY tight, and without extreme controle the crit chances just escalates too quickly. This leads to a whole lot of problems, but most notably is the problem of To Hit bonuses vs. AC. In the current state of the game, we have an optimized fighter with 55% hit chance (5% crit chance) against a similar leveled monster. Add flanking and Inspire Courage and suddenly he hits 70% and crits 20%, which is huge!
Maybe crits just need to be less powerful than they currently are. That would reduce the random swinginess some people are reporting.

Maybe instead of doubling damage, crits just maximize the dice rolled? This would curb the damage difference between higher damage die weapons and lower damage die ones. Fatal and Deadly could function the same as they are now and be more valuable.

This will affect player damage, so monster hp would need to be adjusted downward a bit, but fights won't be as swingy any more.


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ChibiNyan wrote:

I agree that the math is as tight as it is because of the Degrees of Success rule. It makes even small difference betwen characters, such as a +1, have too much of an impact, which resulted in the game being conservative about them while increasing the gap betwen optimized and not-optimized characters.

With just +2 attack over most characters, the fighter already has like triple their crit rate, so the sweetspot for things working becomes very very narrow. The differenc ebetwen a total stomp and a TPK can really hinge on a +2 difference on the dice, so there doesn't seem to be a sweetspot betwen optimized character and a weaker, more thematic build.

In previous editions, having a super high attack or skill for the challenge, of course, pretty good, but even with a good mod you wouldn't crit more often and it took a wider gap to be able to trivialize the encounter completely.

A crit from a martial can turn a 4-turn fight into 1-turn. The same can be said for a spellcaster getting the crit-fail effect on a save or die. There is no way with current rules to improve odds of getting basic success without also skyrocketing crit success, which makes the character's effectiveness go through the roof. I believe this is why everyone has such low chances of basic success on average tasks and why this thread needed to be made.

If you boost characters chance to hit, the fighter would likely also be boosted by the same amount (to maintain their "edge") and this could result in a huge power spike for them. (Goes from crit on 19-20 to 17-20). This means you can't let the specialist get too much of a boost over the others. Maybe a page from 5E should be taken and characters given more qualitiative boosts to their combat rather than +1s to prevent numbers form being the end-all be-all. That or the critical system has to be revised to minimize their impact.

On the skills side, it's not so bad to get crits compared to outright killing stuff. Reducing difficulty would not break the balance as much in here. But since...

I think you expressed my concerns much more clearly. While it's very likely that monsters may need fine tuning, it won't solve the core issue - the mechanics of crits.

Off the top of my head, I was thinking that a possible alternative to the current +10/-10 crit system, there could be a system of improved critical range tied to proficiency. It could be something like this:

- Untrained, trained and Expert characters Crit on a 20 (and enemies crit fail spells on a 1).
- Masters Crit on a 19-20 range (and enemies crit fail spells on 1-2).
- Legendary crit on 18-20 range (enemies crit fail spells on 1-3).

I'll have to think more thoughrouly on the matter, and try to post something tomorrow.


Pramxnim wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Pedro Sampaio wrote:
In PF2, however, a +10 result above the target DC is not very difficult to achieve, specially against a weaker opponent or with a few bonuses stacked together. The fact of the matter is that it makes the math EXTREMELY tight, and without extreme controle the crit chances just escalates too quickly. This leads to a whole lot of problems, but most notably is the problem of To Hit bonuses vs. AC. In the current state of the game, we have an optimized fighter with 55% hit chance (5% crit chance) against a similar leveled monster. Add flanking and Inspire Courage and suddenly he hits 70% and crits 20%, which is huge!
Maybe crits just need to be less powerful than they currently are. That would reduce the random swinginess some people are reporting.

Maybe instead of doubling damage, crits just maximize the dice rolled? This would curb the damage difference between higher damage die weapons and lower damage die ones. Fatal and Deadly could function the same as they are now and be more valuable.

This will affect player damage, so monster hp would need to be adjusted downward a bit, but fights won't be as swingy any more.

TBH, it would only make crits bland instead of exciting, and IMO wouldn't solve the issue at hand. But still, it's a better alternative to what we have right now.


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Shinigami02 wrote:

Just to add some anecdote to this. In my DD game so far... I'll be honest, most of what we've done has been combat and Secret checks, so this is definitely coming at it from that angle. But I still have something to note. Our party has a Monk (me) and a Barbarian, both of us at 18 Strength, so we're at +5 attack bonus, the absolute maximum you can get without being a Fighter I believe. Not too long ago we were in a fight, I think it was the Quasits, where we (through keeping track of our rolls) found the enemy's AC was a 16. Fortunately we have a Bard in the party, and their Inspiration is the only reason we, the second-most optimized attackers we can get, could hit 50/50 odds on hitting on our first attack. Crits are almost a non-entity, and our third attacks are almost guaranteed to miss. Even with Bard Song up and using my Fist instead of my preferred Dragon Style for the Agile, I was still looking at only a 15% chance to generally make 2 of my 3 actions actually worth while. And since MAP applies to combat maneuvers too and we're only level 1, it's not like I actually have any viable alternatives, heck I'm less likely to succeed at a maneuver (since I can't apply Agile to them and I'm not sure if Bard Song applies or not.)

But hey, so far that attack has been one of the harder to hit so far. Unfortunately, I know the rest isn't much better. We had a discussion with the GM recently, where he revealed some of the average stats for the contents of the dungeon. The average AC according to him is 13-15, so we're looking at 50-60 hit chance with our best attack against the average foe, and for the Barbarian his third attack still is probably only hitting 5 to maybe 15% of the time (with my third and fourth only being better because Agile is, like, the best weapon quality in the game right now). Meanwhile, we also learned the average attack bonus is +5 (on par with us) to +6 (on par with an optimized fighter). Again, average attack. I'll admit my actual play experiences with that are skewed because both of us...

See, my players nearly steamrolled the Quasits. Part of that might have been using benefits like flanking.

The other thing that sprang to mind for me reading this was the idea that "you should be doing something else with your third action." And for me, the big issue is that not every character always has something better to do with it. If you've already moved into optimal positioning before this turn, a level 1 character without a shield might not have anything else to do. (On a somewhat related note, I also wish level 1 reactions were a little more ubiquitous for PCs.)

I personally feel like those changes would make the game for me than altering the "player to hit vs monster AC" ratios. I think "monster to hit vs player AC" ratios might stand to be lowered a smidge, though. People got hit a lot at level 1.

Edit: Also, thanks Mark and Nemesis! Glad y'all like the idea.


Tamago wrote:
The Rot Grub wrote:

I am beginning to wonder whether "hit on a miss" -- yes, a controversial topic! -- should be more of a thing.

I don't know who else on these boards is into board games, but the #1 game on Board Game Geek right now is Gloomhaven. It is an RPG campaign in a box of sorts, and the unit of play is a mission that usually consists of 3 to 5 combat encounters. In that game, you can impose status effects on enemies, even when you miss -- effects such as persistent damage, disadvantage, being stunned etc.

Well anyway, it makes you feel like you didn't waste your turn because you had some impact on the battlefield, even when you miss. It seems like, with the 4 degrees of success, that this can be explored more in PF2 without overly breaking verisimilitude.

EDIT: I see that DMW's experience has been that this has more been a problem when it comes to skills. Still, maybe this could make combat more interesting? And perhaps be a good way to make skills more meaningful?

Hmm, interesting. So, for example, Fighters could have an Feat like this:

Sure Thing Fighter 1
Make a Strike against an opponent.
Critical success: You deal double damage, as normal
Success: You deal damage as normal
Failure: You deal damage equal to your key ability modifier
Critical Failure: no effect

I really like that as a concept! :-D

Damage on a Miss (DoaM) has proved divisive in the past; in the very first 5th Ed Playtest Packet, the Fighter had a class feature: Reaver, where on a miss, you still dealt your ability modifier in damage, it was gone by the second packet. One of the problems with this ability we had at the table, probably just getting used to it, is the player would say "Aw, I missed...", DM narrates the miss, then someone remembers that they still dealt their Str modifier on a miss, to the kobold, so it's in fact dead.

With the 4-Tiers of Success system, I could see this working well.

As for the main topic, I agree with DMW (for hitting monsters too, though):

20th-level Fighter (+20) with 22 Str (+6), Legendary proficiency (+3), and a +5 magic weapon, has +34 to hit.
A Pit Fiend has an AC of 44.

So the fighter needs a 10 to hit, but those that are not as fully loaded, could be whiffing their butts off.

I have a bit of a chicken & the egg question for PF2, did the +Level deal come first, or the 4-Tiers of Success system?


Pramxnim wrote:
Maybe instead of doubling damage, crits just maximize the dice rolled?

That is one of the best 4th Ed rules.

Doubling dice has 2 problems, you can roll less damage than a normal hit (how anticlimactic), or way too much spike damage, as in 5th Ed (smite, sneak attack, radiant damage from celestials/devas, etc).


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ChibiNyan wrote:

Well, it's just using what's on their statblock. In this case it is shortbows + darkvision. No super beneficial gimmick terrain or traps or anything, these goblins surprisingly have bad perception too! It's a pretty average scenario imo.

Kind of a longshot to compare them to Tucker's Kobolds where the whole point is not even using the statblock info.

Well, generally I keep hearing things like "the goblins described as rushing towards the PCs are going to hide in the darkness, and keep using hit-and-run tactics to stay constantly hidden from the players. They'll also have their shortbows already in hand and all have clearly set lines of sight to fire their spray of 12 arrows when they were in the middle of building a statue. This encounter is impossible".

I'm really not sure I'd describe quite a few of the scenarios that people have mentioned as "using the statblock info".


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I brought up the tactics thing not to accuse anyone of playing the game wrongly, but to point out that the new action economy makes tactics factor into the danger level of encounters in ways that are old systems for analyzing appropriate challenge level might be difficult. I wonder how many of the playtesters who experienced TPK ran into situations where they received 2-3 attacks per round per monster they were fighting versus 1-2.

Individually those 3rd attacks don't feel that likely to hit, but when they do become miss or hit critically with weapons like bows, that are deadly, making a party of 4 face 12 bow shots in one round has a pretty high probability of a party member eating at least one critical and quite possibly hitting 0 HP. If that happens in the first round, before that character acts, and another character is forced to spend actions attending them, it seems like a TPK becomes an inevitability.

Maybe the issue is that level 0 enemies need to be given slings instead of bows, maybe bows are too powerful when grouped together. Maybe there needs to be a penalty for critically failing an attack roll so that mobs of monsters with deadly ranged weapons are not able to sit still and rain death? Maybe CR needs to be reexamined and multiple monsters are more of a challenge than they were in games previously.

There are a lot of different mechanics in play and that means there is also a lot of possible ways to restore balance.


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Dasrak wrote:
Now let's look at PF2 stealth. 1st level character, trained in stealth, and 14 dexterity. You have +3 to stealth in total. The 1st level mooks have +1 to perception, and each of them rolls separately (take 10 isn't a thing anymore). There are no distance penalties, either. So you need to beat all three of their rolls. The chance of doing that is... 37.5%

Actually, most level 1 monsters have Per +5. +1 is for some level 0 monsters only. Note: the three monster don't roll (their passive Per is the DC of your Stealth check, as per the Sneak rules) (they roll for Per when the use the Seek action - and the DC is your passive Stealth. It seems there's no opposed Stealth vs Per check).

+5 is also equal to the absolute max Stealth you can have at level 1. And this absolute max Stealth requires an armor with no ACP; hence if you have +5 Stealth, your AC is 15 (at best) and any level 1 monster hits you on 8 and crits on 18. So by maximizing Stealth, you have 45% chance of being seen each time you move and in that case the monster quickly vaporize you.

Anyway, why do you need to Sneak/Deceive/whatever? Because your opponent is too strong. If the mook guarding the entrance is Level-2, why don't you just quickly dispatch him? Or Intimidate/Charm/whatever? Skills become really useful when you meet a Level+2 opponent and try to find a way to avoid a fight - or gain an extra advantage. And that's how the Face/Sneaky guy/whatever is awesome: by deceiving an opponent too strong for the party. Obviously, since Sneaking an appropriate-level opponent is pure suicide, Sneaking and Deceiving Smaug is even worse.

In Path 2, just ignore skills - and dump Int.


Unicore wrote:
Maybe there needs to be a penalty for critically failing an attack roll so that mobs of monsters with deadly ranged weapons are not able to sit still and rain death?

What kind of penalty? It seems like that could lead to weird results.

Sergeant: "OK, men, everyone take aim at that dragon! I know its AC is far beyond you, but some of you ought to get natural 20s! Let your arrows fly!"
(There is a loud twang as a hundred archers fire at the dragon. Five of them hit. The other ninety-five all miss by at least ten, so their bowstrings break.)

We could just give level 0 enemies a lower attack bonus...


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Critical: 2x damage, apply MAP
Success: damage, apply MAP
Failure: No damage, no MAP is applied
Critical Failure: No damage, MAP is applied


D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:

Critical: 2x damage, apply MAP

Success: damage, apply MAP
Failure: No damage, no MAP is applied
Critical Failure: No damage, MAP is applied

So in theory I like this, but think of the situation where a monster is only likely to hit on its first attack. Say, it needs a 16, so a nat 20 on iterative attacks is only a normal success.

This basically makes it go from having 1 meaningful attack per round, to 3, until one hits. Let's say its average hit damage is 10. It goes from doing 4 damage in an average round, to 7.28125 damage in an average round. Definitely changes balance a bit.

Liberty's Edge

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EberronHoward wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

16s are easy. Just play a Gnome Barbarian, Goblin Cleric, Dwarf Bard, or indeed anyone who wants several 14s in other stats.

14s in your main stat are where it starts getting unlikely for most PCs and should definitely fall behind.

Well, I can understand someone wanting to play a Halfling Fighter or a Dwarf Imperial Sorcerer, even if they get a penalty for it. Those are interesting concepts. But I'm not sure why someone would want to have several 14s, to the determent of attacking and casting spells well. I suppose a Cleric who will only ever cast Heal can get away with 14s in CHA and WIS, but I don't see what would be worth cutting off your class' main feature to get instead.

They probably aren't worth it in an objective mechanical sense, no. But many people build characters with a primary focus on something other than the purely objective gains their choices result in. Someone's vision of their character might easily be such that they feel their Fighter needs Con 14, Int 14 and Cha 14, resulting in something like Str 16, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 14. This is particularly likely for new players who have no idea how the system works, a group we all definitely want to have a fun game experience.

Someone who does that should be less effective at Str stuff, sure. But they should not be quite as ineffective-feeling as they are at the moment, IMO.

Grand Lodge

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Some random thoughts after reading this thread:

1: I also agree with DWM. 16 should be the base stat for DC's
and trained be the proficiency level. After 5th level, 18 & expert.

2: I wonder which edition of this games antecedents did they start balancing things based on Point Buy, as opposed to rolling for stats.

3: Re: Hit on a miss. Why not use TAC. Miss the AC but hit TAC, do Str. mod damage.


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Castilliano wrote:
You know the playtest survey doesn't jibe with your TPK experience, so why force the point?

From my perspective, I just noted it wasn't my experience and some made it a point to try to tell me how I played the game wrong and it should have been super easy. Someone is trying to force a point and it isn't me.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Maybe there needs to be a penalty for critically failing an attack roll so that mobs of monsters with deadly ranged weapons are not able to sit still and rain death?

What kind of penalty? It seems like that could lead to weird results.

Sergeant: "OK, men, everyone take aim at that dragon! I know its AC is far beyond you, but some of you ought to get natural 20s! Let your arrows fly!"
(There is a loud twang as a hundred archers fire at the dragon. Five of them hit. The other ninety-five all miss by at least ten, so their bowstrings break.)

We could just give level 0 enemies a lower attack bonus...

Which is what they should have, a Human 0-level Militiaman should probably have a +0 or maybe +1 to hit (for a 12 Str or Dex), Trained +0 (definitely not Experts), Item bonus +0, I do not think a militia-type would have Expert quality or better weapons, so the only bonus they would have is from an ability score.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Maybe there needs to be a penalty for critically failing an attack roll so that mobs of monsters with deadly ranged weapons are not able to sit still and rain death?

What kind of penalty? It seems like that could lead to weird results.

Sergeant: "OK, men, everyone take aim at that dragon! I know its AC is far beyond you, but some of you ought to get natural 20s! Let your arrows fly!"
(There is a loud twang as a hundred archers fire at the dragon. Five of them hit. The other ninety-five all miss by at least ten, so their bowstrings break.)

We could just give level 0 enemies a lower attack bonus...

Which is what they should have, a Human 0-level Militiaman should probably have a +0 or maybe +1 to hit (for a 12 Str or Dex), Trained +0 (definitely not Experts), Item bonus +0, I do not think a militia-type would have Expert quality or better weapons, so the only bonus they would have is from an ability score.

By NPC/Monster rules, those guys probbaly have +5 at worst, comparable to the mook goblin but with less DEX. Now they can be challenging for lv1 PCs with roughly the same competence as them.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Maybe there needs to be a penalty for critically failing an attack roll so that mobs of monsters with deadly ranged weapons are not able to sit still and rain death?

What kind of penalty? It seems like that could lead to weird results.

Sergeant: "OK, men, everyone take aim at that dragon! I know its AC is far beyond you, but some of you ought to get natural 20s! Let your arrows fly!"
(There is a loud twang as a hundred archers fire at the dragon. Five of them hit. The other ninety-five all miss by at least ten, so their bowstrings break.)

We could just give level 0 enemies a lower attack bonus...

Which is what they should have, a Human 0-level Militiaman should probably have a +0 or maybe +1 to hit (for a 12 Str or Dex), Trained +0 (definitely not Experts), Item bonus +0, I do not think a militia-type would have Expert quality or better weapons, so the only bonus they would have is from an ability score.
By NPC/Monster rules, those guys probbaly have +5 at worst, comparable to the mook goblin but with less DEX.

Yeah, which is a current problem, where are they getting these bonuses? Monsters don't have to be built like PCs, but some sort of sense of where these bonuses are coming from would be nice.

Liberty's Edge

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Yeah, which is a current problem, where are they getting these bonuses? Monsters don't have to be built like PCs, but some sort of sense of where these bonuses are coming from would be nice.

I think this is legitimately the wrong way to look at things. NPCs give up a huge amount of the flexibility that PCs enjoy in exchange for certain numbers (and only certain numbers) being higher than their stats would indicate.

An NPC 'Warrior' class that traded most stat-bumps, Feats, and other options a PC gets away for a flat bonus to-hit and to certain skills is not hard to imagine, and in many cases basically what's happening. I'm fine with that.

My concern is with the final numbers. The method of getting there is not a huge deal, IMO.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Yeah, which is a current problem, where are they getting these bonuses? Monsters don't have to be built like PCs, but some sort of sense of where these bonuses are coming from would be nice.

I think this is legitimately the wrong way to look at things. NPCs give up a huge amount of the flexibility that PCs enjoy in exchange for certain numbers (and only certain numbers) being higher than their stats would indicate.

An NPC 'Warrior' class that traded most stat-bumps, Feats, and other options a PC gets away for a flat bonus to-hit and to certain skills is not hard to imagine, and in many cases basically what's happening. I'm fine with that.

My concern is with the final numbers. The method of getting there is not a huge deal, IMO.

Right on; I totally disagree, blackbox design only goes so far, for me.


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Personally I would like to see the chance of success for a skill, attack, or spell versus an equal level opponent be in the 70 to 80 percent range. I find it really discouraging to have spells or attacks do nothing, especially if you are having one of those nights where the dice are against you.

..with a 55% chance to succeed with a Paralyze spell (versus same level).

Opponent (-3): 50% chance to slow, 20% chance to paralyze, 30% to do nothing
Same Level Opponent: 50% chance to slow, 5% chance to paralyze, 45% to do nothing
Opponent (+3): 35% chance to slow, 5% chance to paralyze, 60% to do nothing

..with an 80% chance to succeed with a Paralyze spell.

Same Level Opponent: 40% chance to slow, 40% chance to paralyze, 20% to do nothing
Opponent (+3): 40% chance to slow, 25% chance to paralyze, 35% to do nothing

Chances against the same level opponent hit the target, but against the +3 opponent, the 25% chance to paralyze is way too high, at least if you’re trying to represent a challenge -- like a boss. Except, the 65% to do something (with your limited spell slots), once again, is on target. The problem isn’t the chance to do something -- it’s the chance to almost end the battle with a nasty (save-or-suck) critical effect. To address this we add the creature ability of Enhanced. Enhanced reduces the critical chance against the opponent, look at a Level + 3 Boss, with Enhanced +5.

Boss (+3): 60% chance to slow, 5% chance to paralyze, 35% to do nothing

You have a good chance that your spell did something against the boss, but a very slim chance of a save-or-suck critical effect. Enhanced (+5) increases the amount over hit roll needed to critical from +10 to +15. How do we deal with a variable critical chance at the gaming table? On the creature stats in the bestiary or adventure, we specifically state the critical targets.

Normal == Armor Class: 11 [critical 21]
Boss (Level +3 over party) (Enhanced +5) == Armor Class: 14 [critical 29]

Obviously the average damage per turn would greatly increase with this system, but you can keep a similar time to kill by increasing hit points. I would leave the opponent’s offensive side of the equation (boss attempting to hit the players), unchanged, so a Boss (+3) casting a paralyze spell would have the roll effects of Opponent (-3) above, 50% to slow, 20% chance to paralyze and 30% chance to do nothing.


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Liir wrote:
Personally I would like to see the chance of success for a skill, attack, or spell versus an equal level opponent be in the 70 to 80 percent range. I find it really discouraging to have spells or attacks do nothing, especially if you are having one of those nights where the dice are against you.

Does this apply in reverse?

Because I think equal level monsters having a 70 to 80 percent chance of hitting you will equal a lot of dead PCs if those monsters can carry short bows.

And if it does not, then I think that the term "equal level" is probably a misnomer.

It almost seems like most people really just want to see the CR table shifted down so that equal level encounters make up the upper extreme end of enemies faced and most encounters fall in the level -3 to level -5 range.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Yeah, which is a current problem, where are they getting these bonuses? Monsters don't have to be built like PCs, but some sort of sense of where these bonuses are coming from would be nice.

I think this is legitimately the wrong way to look at things. NPCs give up a huge amount of the flexibility that PCs enjoy in exchange for certain numbers (and only certain numbers) being higher than their stats would indicate.

An NPC 'Warrior' class that traded most stat-bumps, Feats, and other options a PC gets away for a flat bonus to-hit and to certain skills is not hard to imagine, and in many cases basically what's happening. I'm fine with that.

My concern is with the final numbers. The method of getting there is not a huge deal, IMO.

I'll take the number boosts over the unexciting abilities most PCs get. They are boo important this edition. And Ability scores are msotly irrelevant to them.


Unicore wrote:
Liir wrote:
Personally I would like to see the chance of success for a skill, attack, or spell versus an equal level opponent be in the 70 to 80 percent range. I find it really discouraging to have spells or attacks do nothing, especially if you are having one of those nights where the dice are against you.

Does this apply in reverse?

Because I think equal level monsters having a 70 to 80 percent chance of hitting you will equal a lot of dead PCs if those monsters can carry short bows.

And if it does not, then I think that the term "equal level" is probably a misnomer.

It almost seems like most people really just want to see the CR table shifted down so that equal level encounters make up the upper extreme end of enemies faced and most encounters fall in the level -3 to level -5 range.

Well, part of the change involves shifting the balance down as well. One of the consequences is going to be that encounters get easier because PCs can optimize higher than the monsters, so they'd probably have a -10% reduction on stuff.


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Why 65% feels bad.

Most players have went to school for 12 plus years and you are told somethings about what is good, what is average, and what is bad. We know these marks as grades. What the percentage range of each letter changes from school to school, so I am going to with the simplest and the nice I
have come across.

A 90% plus this is great.
B 80% to 89% this is good.
C 70% to 79% this is alright.
D 60% to 69% this is poor.
F 59% and below this is bad.

For my bachelors program you were required to have at the least a B average in your main field of study. And you had to have at least C in all courses for your main field of study. You are considered an expert
in your field when you get your degree.

So when you say the Fighter is the best when it comes to weapons and thus at landing hits with them 65% feels like a ripe off. That first attack is a D, a barley passing grade and if this is your area of expertise not acceptable. I feel the same for fully invested skills. I have had it drilled into my head for years that 65% is a D and a poor showing, it is passing but not acceptable.

If the fighter is the best class when it comes to using a weapon they should at the very least be able hit 80% of time with their best attack. For other martial classes being average 70% a C is fine.

I would be alright if not happy if the max would be 80% on the first attack for the fighter. That would place a non-optimized fighter at 70%-75%. Which is where I think the ranger, monk, and barbarian should be. This would put your first attack at 80%, second attack at 55% and third attack at 30%.

If you need to increase creature HP and/or increase a critical to be 15 over the AC instead of 10 over. Or you could add a class feat like sure strike that could add a +2 circumstance bonus to the attack.

There is a reason that I rarely used power attack in PF1 and it was the minus to attack.

I hope this explanation explains why I and most likely others feel that 65% success is too low for something you are supposed to be the best at.


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Tursic wrote:

Why 65% feels bad.

Most players have went to school for 12 plus years and you are told somethings about what is good, what is average, and what is bad. We know these marks as grades. What the percentage range of each letter changes from school to school, so I am going to with the simplest and the nice I
have come across.

A 90% plus this is great.
B 80% to 89% this is good.
C 70% to 79% this is alright.
D 60% to 69% this is poor.
F 59% and below this is bad.

For my bachelors program you were required to have at the least a B average in your main field of study. And you had to have at least C in all courses for your main field of study. You are considered an expert
in your field when you get your degree.

So when you say the Fighter is the best when it comes to weapons and thus at landing hits with them 65% feels like a ripe off. That first attack is a D, a barley passing grade and if this is your area of expertise not acceptable. I feel the same for fully invested skills. I have had it drilled into my head for years that 65% is a D and a poor showing, it is passing but not acceptable.

If the fighter is the best class when it comes to using a weapon they should at the very least be able hit 80% of time with their best attack. For other martial classes being average 70% a C is fine.

I would be alright if not happy if the max would be 80% on the first attack for the fighter. That would place a non-optimized fighter at 70%-75%. Which is where I think the ranger, monk, and barbarian should be. This would put your first attack at 80%, second attack at 55% and third attack at 30%.

If you need to increase creature HP and/or increase a critical to be 15 over the AC instead of 10 over. Or you could add a class feat like sure strike that could add a +2 circumstance bonus to the attack.

There is a reason that I rarely used power attack in PF1 and it was the minus to attack.

I hope this explanation explains why I and most likely others feel that 65% success is too low for...

I agree, and 65% hit chance for a fighter is something achievable only with bonuses, normally it would be around 55%. And don't even begin when you factor that other classes maight have <50% hit chance (sometimes as low as 30-35% chance for a Cleric).

Then again, you can't increase too much the fighter's hit rate, because that would automatically increase crit chance, upping the damage considerably. That's why I'm certain that the current crit mechanic (+10/-10) is the CORE of the problem. It's broken by principle. Criticals (as in 3.5, PF1, 5e) are a fun mechanic that adds a layer of swingness and unpredictability, though sometimes can be problematic. That's why increases in critical range are relatively hard to come by in those games.

On the other hand, if you add a mechanic that dinamically shifts the range of criticals (+10/-10 crit mechanic) look what you get: you now completely lost control over the mechanic. Add in conditional bonuses to that equation. What you get is e level of uncertainty that is virtually impossible to balance.

Think about it. Right now, almost every single decidion on the system must be tuned to acomodate the current state of criticals. To hit bonuses and monster statistics must be extremely tight in order to prevent damage escalation. Conditional bonuses must be tightly controlled in order to prevent damage escalation. AC must increase linearly to prevent damage escalation. Tables with sugested DCs must be used, otherwise is critical success after critical success in skills. Spells must be balanced considering that crit failures are a thing, leading to several spells being extremely underwhelming even after a failed save. The list goes on and on.

There is a mantra in game design that states that if a mechanic only works if you acomodate the entire of your game around it, it probably isn't a good mechanic and needs to be changed or scrapped altogether.


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One thing I don't think the totals should factor in the +1, 2, and 3 from the proficiency. I think that should be a legit advantage and not be needed to keep things at 50/50.

Liberty's Edge

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A new argument/explanation of why monsters having the same skills as optimized PCs feels bad:

At most levels absolutely optimized PCs will have two maxed out skills at most. That means that, in a 4 person group, 8 of the 17 skills will be covered to this degree at most levels (at 13th-14th and 19th-20th it's three, but it's only one significantly more often than that).

If you assume that monster skills are distributed relatively evenly (they aren't, but I don't think their unevenness is in PCs favor), then in direct skill challenges, a bit less than half the time the PCs will have a 50% chance or so against the monsters, and a bit more than half the time, their chances will be notably worse than that. They are also worse vs. those special monsters that get better than PC level skills (which are not actually especially uncommon).

That nets the PCs a significantly less than 50% success rate at opposing monsters of equal level in skills. Which feels terrible, and like the PCs are complete incompetents outside of combat.

And that's an absolutely optimized group. In a group that isn't optimized those odds go down sharply.


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Pedro Sampaio wrote:
There is a mantra in game design that states that if a mechanic only works if you acomodate the entire of your game around it, it probably isn't a good mechanic and needs to be changed or scrapped altogether.

I'm going to have to point out that by that logic, we shouldn't use d20s anymore, as they only work if you design your entire game around the fact that you can get a bonus of 1-20, any number on the die. Arguing that a core design principle is bad simply because it's a core design principle is questionable, at best.


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Tursic wrote:

Why 65% feels bad.

Most players have went to school for 12 plus years and you are told somethings about what is good, what is average, and what is bad. We know these marks as grades. What the percentage range of each letter changes from school to school, so I am going to with the simplest and the nice I
have come across.

A 90% plus this is great.
B 80% to 89% this is good.
C 70% to 79% this is alright.
D 60% to 69% this is poor.
F 59% and below this is bad.

For my bachelors program you were required to have at the least a B average in your main field of study. And you had to have at least C in all courses for your main field of study. You are considered an expert
in your field when you get your degree.

So when you say the Fighter is the best when it comes to weapons and thus at landing hits with them 65% feels like a ripe off. That first attack is a D, a barley passing grade and if this is your area of expertise not acceptable. I feel the same for fully invested skills. I have had it drilled into my head for years that 65% is a D and a poor showing, it is passing but not acceptable.

If the fighter is the best class when it comes to using a weapon they should at the very least be able hit 80% of time with their best attack. For other martial classes being average 70% a C is fine.

I would be alright if not happy if the max would be 80% on the first attack for the fighter. That would place a non-optimized fighter at 70%-75%. Which is where I think the ranger, monk, and barbarian should be. This would put your first attack at 80%, second attack at 55% and third attack at 30%.

If you need to increase creature HP and/or increase a critical to be 15 over the AC instead of 10 over. Or you could add a class feat like sure strike that could add a +2 circumstance bonus to the attack.

There is a reason that I rarely used power attack in PF1 and it was the minus to attack.

I hope this explanation explains why I and most likely others feel that 65% success is too low for...

Yes, this reminds me of discussions, 10-years ago, and I remember reading and people mentioning something about a study, and that humans inherently enjoy at least a 70% success rate in games.

I wil try to find the article/piece (it really went into it, humans like a challenge in games/diversions, but not a general failure chance of 40% or something).


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:


That nets the PCs a significantly less than 50% success rate at opposing monsters of equal level in skills. Which feels terrible, and like the PCs are complete incompetents outside of combat.

It feels like the numbers were designed for combat and then extended to non-combat skills.

Regardless of if 50% chance to hit is right or wrong in combat, its terrible in more skill based non-combat situations.

In combat if it fails you can keep making more attacks / casting more spells in later actions or next turn if you haven't been knocked out.

Out of combat 1 or 2 failures quite often mean whatever your plan was has failed. The rogue's been spotted by the sentry who raises the alarm, the gate guards don't fall for the bard's story and turn the party away.

We saw the effects of this when playing game in a different system - Robin Laws' Heroquest. The mechanics there worked out to about 50% chance of succeeding even on the few things you were good at.

Its already quite depressing but worse, a lot of the time PCs need to succeed at a couple of skill rolls to succeed. E.g. spot the trap then disarm it. Sense the NPC has more to say and persuade them to do so. Then you only have a 25% chance of succeeding at two in a row.

If you have anything looking like a plan it gets worse still. E.g. 'OK so I try to climb over the wall, sneak past the patrolling guard then pick the lock on the back door' - that's three checks - we're down to a 1 in 8 chance of success.

In the end we decided we'd misread the label on the game and it must have been called Robin Flaws' Crippledpeasantquest.

We abandoned playing after a few sessions because it felt so frustrating - you couldn't plan on doing anything, just stumbled along at the mercy of the dice.

I fear for anything non-combat in PF2 will skills at these levels even for optimised specialists.


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Thankfully, success rates can be tweaked. It's not a matter of the core design, but just the numbers being a bit out of whack. With a little bit of change, I'm sure Paizo can get the numbers to where players feel powerful but still keep the game challenging.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Pramxnim wrote:
Thankfully, success rates can be tweaked. It's not a matter of the core design, but just the numbers being a bit out of whack. With a little bit of change, I'm sure Paizo can get the numbers to where players feel powerful but still keep the game challenging.

Hopefully so.

My guess is that this is a by-product opposed skill checks being driven off the same proficiency mechanic as trying to hit someone.

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