Deadmanwalking's Main Problem With PF2


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I’m still stuck on the idea that failing on offense (an attack) means you fail to progress. Failing on defense (saves) means bad things happen. But in skills failing on offense is bad, and they are all offense in my current mental paradigm.


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Oh boy, you guys are right on the money.

I just GM'd the second half of Lost Star for my party yesterday. Our party agreed that the hardest challenge in the second half was the fifteen foot ledge with the secret door on top of it. This part of the dungeon turned into an absolute circus when it took the PCs what felt like a couple dozen rolls, a measly five feet at a time, to get up the ledge. Not only that, a couple crit fails also sent people back down to the bottom (they succeeded their "grab edges" to remove the damage at least). And then once they were on the ledge nobody actually succeeded the check to reveal the secret door's keyhole, preventing them from even trying to open the door and ending in a huge anticlimax! Then it got even better when in the process of climbing back down, one of the PCs crit failed and fell off the ledge from the top (also failing their Acrobatics to save damage), taking more damage from the wall then anyone had taken from the (spoiler) trap! One could say that injury was added to insult. ;)

I know some of this is just down to bad luck, but it also is down to one of the party members having a 15%/45%//35%/5% chance for Cfail/fail//pass/Cpass, with +2 Athletics vs DC 15 (other PCs were marginally higher). Given that the DC for almost everything in the dungeon is 14-16, only a fully optimized character should even bother trying! One character didn't even try at all, because his crit fail chance for the wall was an amazing 40% thanks to Armor Check Penalties. In PF1, the party's armor-less monk could have made it up the same wall in seconds just by taking ten, but wait, taking ten doesn't exist anymore! Am I supposed to believe that no PC can ever climb higher than ten feet unless they've studied their entire life climbing? I've struggled up a 60 foot high (DC 12 surface in PF2 terms, as a Level 0 High DC?) climbing tower personally (it was a one time thing), and if I had a random 5% chance to fall off every literal 2 seconds I'd have never made it to the top. I wouldn't even consider myself Trained in Athletics (on second thought, maybe I was at the time... but IRL skills fade without use), and I don't think I have a feat in Athletics Assurance either. Nevermind that Assurance will cause you to autofail vs anything "trivial" anyway. I'm just a level 0 commoner with 10 strength at best, yet I was somehow a better climber than most level 1 PF2 adventurers! I must be an NPC! (Oh wait...)

Wasn't the idea of giving the players +level to everything so that they'd be reasonably able to succeed at basic tasks outside their field, even if they weren't trained in them?

/endrant


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.

I'm hopeful that Paizo will fix this. But at the same time, I don't think fixing the success rate is entirely possible without breaking the game, given the current Crit rules.

You just cannot increase the success rate without increasing the crit rate, in the current state of the game. Base 70% hit rate means an base 20% chance to crit. If we use this as a base number for success rate, and then we factor that there's circunstancial bonuses, conditional bonuses and etc., the numbers go even higher.


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Wowie wrote:

Oh boy, you guys are right on the money.

I just GM'd the second half of Lost Star for my party yesterday. Our party agreed that the hardest challenge in the second half was the fifteen foot ledge with the secret door on top of it. This part of the dungeon turned into an absolute circus when it took the PCs what felt like a couple dozen rolls, a measly five feet at a time, to get up the ledge. Not only that, a couple crit fails also sent people back down to the bottom (they succeeded their "grab edges" to remove the damage at least). And then once they were on the ledge nobody actually succeeded the check to reveal the secret door's keyhole, preventing them from even trying to open the door and ending in a huge anticlimax! Then it got even better when in the process of climbing back down, one of the PCs crit failed and fell off the ledge from the top (also failing their Acrobatics to save damage), taking more damage from the wall then anyone had taken from the (spoiler) trap! One could say that injury was added to insult. ;)

I know some of this is just down to bad luck, but it also is down to one of the party members having a 15%/45%//35%/5% chance for Cfail/fail//pass/Cpass, with +2 Athletics vs DC 15 (other PCs were marginally higher). Given that the DC for almost everything in the dungeon is 14-16, only a fully optimized character should even bother trying! One character didn't even try at all, because his crit fail chance for the wall was an amazing 40% thanks to Armor Check Penalties. In PF1, the party's armor-less monk could have made it up the same wall in seconds just by taking ten, but wait, taking ten doesn't exist anymore! Am I supposed to believe that no PC can ever climb higher than ten feet unless they've studied their entire life climbing? I've struggled up a 60 foot high (DC 12 surface in PF2 terms, as a Level 0 High DC?) climbing tower personally (it was a one time thing), and if I had a random 5% chance to fall off every literal 2 seconds I'd have never made it to the top. I...

Yeah, this +Level thing, not sure, has not worked out well in the past (+Heroic level, +1/2), the best part of the Star Wars Saga Edition game is if you ignore the + Heroic level thing, and adjust the armour bonuses for Ref, accordingly, the game falls right into place.

Dark Archive

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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 .....

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.

...

I think my head just exploded. From my experience, successful completion of a graduate degree means you are literate in your field and can then begin engaging “experts” with some level of competency, but have hardly become one yourself before substantial work and publication.


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With three actions a turn, I don't know that every action needs a 70+% chance of success, but I do recognize that players are used to the idea that every die roll is either a success or a failure, and I think that the developers have not done enough to change that yet with the PF2 system. This leads to the bigger issue which is when it feels like characters are failing 50% of their checks or more, (which happens quickly when a player makes three attacks, for example), and then taking three actions a turn, that adds up to a lot of failures.

If the argument is that a first level fighter should hit 70% of the time to be an average fighter, does that mean 70% of turns they get at least one hit? or 70% of all attacks hit? Because that second goal is not really obtainable.

With skills, having a 70% chance of success over 3 checks (that don't suffer an iterative attack penalty) is probably where the game is at now, but it doesn't feel great to a lot of folks, because a lot of us are used to the idea that you make 1 skill check and that determines the success of the next event in the game. Some skills work that way, but even in the examples people are listing here, it usually seems like success is only delayed for a while as climbing a 10ft ledge is something that is easy to do, because you can keep trying until you get it right and the question is whether or not it costs you any resources in terms of spells, equipment or healing.

I will reiterate that the biggest issue PF2 has is that it actually works (to allow a party to have an adventure and tell a story), but works so differently than people with PF1 experience expect, that the feel is off for this being an extension of the pathfinder universe...

but remember, it is a playtest. The developers should be pushing us as players to try out different systems and give them a fair shake. If the end result is that we try it and don't like it, they are going to change those systems.

The fact that enemies seem fully capable of TPK'ing parties with 50% success rates or less on individual die rolls means that individual failures are probably not as significant as they feel like they are, as far as successfully completing missions. It just probably means that players want to feel like they are facing challenging enemies and combats, but conquering them easily.

If only 6 percent of players are reporting character death (what was reported in the survey data), that probably means that 90%+ are successfully completing the adventures. This is what we are saying feels like hard mode right now.


Ikos wrote:
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 .....

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.

...

I think my head just exploded. From my experience, successful completion of a graduate degree means you are literate in your field and can then begin engaging “experts” with some level of competency, but have hardly become one yourself before substantial work and publication.

Yes, this also brings up the arbitrary nomenclature of "Expert, Master, and Legendary", I can see Legendary, but Expert and Master seem much like synonyms:

"He's an expert in his field."

"He's a master in his field."

The whole UTEML thingy has come completely out of the blue, with no legacy, whatsoever, so, anyway, I guess I should not be questioning this.


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Unicore wrote:
With three actions a turn, I don't know that every action needs a 70+% chance of success,

The 3-action deal is nothing new (Unchained), and another problem is they are still clinging to descending iterative attacks (as if non-casters need another leg down), I really thought I would never see that return.

Is all of this (+Level and what-have-you) all to due with the 4-Tiers of Success new & shiny?


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I think one part of the "feels-bad-problem" is that the same math is used for attack rolls and skills. Even though that's a good thing for ease of play, attacks and skills are different.

An optimized 60% attack success rate might feel good. Because a) you specialised in "attacks" (like the fighter) which you then always use. And b) you use attacks very very often so the randomness evens out. You can feel the difference between 40% and 60% success rate after 3 encounters.

But with skills you a) have to decide in which to specialize and invest. There is no guarantee that a skill will be used so often as attack rolls. And b) many time a skill use is of critical importance. Want to lie to the king? Better succeed on the first try! In this case an optimized 60% success rate is just too low.

How to solve this? Maybe let some skill feats also give a numerical bonus in their special use case of a skill. Some already lessen penalties but I can only think of Speciality Crafting / Performance giving a bonus. Make more skill feats give a bonus like those two feats in adition to their current effects.

I'm also on board with rolling maximum damage on a critical hit instead of doubling damage if this means making higher attack suuccess rates more viable.

Liberty's Edge

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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.

This is absolutely true. I'm bringing this up not because Paizo can't fix it, but because I want to do everything I possibly can to ensure they do so.

Pedro Sampaio wrote:

I'm hopeful that Paizo will fix this. But at the same time, I don't think fixing the success rate is entirely possible without breaking the game, given the current Crit rules.

You just cannot increase the success rate without increasing the crit rate, in the current state of the game. Base 70% hit rate means an base 20% chance to crit. If we use this as a base number for success rate, and then we factor that there's circunstancial bonuses, conditional bonuses and etc., the numbers go even higher.

This is actually not as big a problem as it looks like. Direct physical combat mostly works fine as is (dropping enemy to-hit by a point is probably a good idea to help out the less optimized, but that decreases their crits, not increases PC ones). Saves could use some more improvement (or, perhaps more accurately, monster Save DCs could go down a point or so), but again only by a slight amount.

So what do PCs wind up with needing 70% success rates on? Skills. And I see no reason why critical successes being common on Skill Checks is remotely a problem. I mean, you have to balance around it in terms of critical success effects, but that's hardly impossible. Indeed, many critical success effects on skills already seem predicated on being decently common.

Unicore wrote:
With three actions a turn, I don't know that every action needs a 70+% chance of success, but I do recognize that players are used to the idea that every die roll is either a success or a failure, and I think that the developers have not done enough to change that yet with the PF2 system.

The issue with this is that, outside of combat, you really don't get more chances to try skill checks than you did before, so failing more of them makes you flatly less effective and feel that way. I'm not actually suggesting changing PC to-hit numbers. The more I look at the math of those the more I think they work fine (which makes sense, since they're probably the single most playtested part of the system). It's mostly Skills, and to a somewhat lesser degree monster Attack Bonus and Save DC that seem to need some adjustment.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
The issue with this is that, outside of combat, you really don't get more chances to try skill checks than you did before, so failing more of them makes you flatly less effective and feel that way. I'm not actually suggesting changing PC to-hit numbers. The more I look at the math of those the more I think they work fine (which makes sense, since they're probably the single most playtested part of the system). It's mostly Skills, and to a somewhat lesser degree monster Attack Bonus and Save DC that seem to need some adjustment.

That is interesting because I feel like most skills, outside of combat, can usually be attempted again very easily. Does a trivial task need to be one that is completed in 6 seconds?

having a 50% success rate on searching a room is a big problem if it is a one time roll and has a massive impact on the future of the adventure. But if it is just a question of time, can the party find this item quickly, as enemies start flooding into the room, then the 50% check isn't success or failure, but how much of a challenge is this encounter going to be.

In the past, we had the take 10/take 20 system for handling these kind of numbers when the length of time was not critical (so that player time is not wasted by character time), and PF2 is definitely missing this, especially since assurance only really starts to work that way with skills that are master or legendary.

I think the solution for skill checks is to change the system where a player says "i want to do x" and then determine whether or not the succeed on doing that thing by rolling the die one time. I am not suggesting getting rid of that system for everything, but for everything where success probably shouldn't rest on an arbitrary "yes/no" dichotomy.

A lot of the examples that get brought up as "proof the system is broken" are questionable things to have be determined by one roll of the dice.

For example:
Does my untrained level 15 Barbarian compose a song on the spot that impresses the room better than the level 2 Bard, is probably not a good situation for a comparative die roll, but it is how we are accustom to resolving situations like this in role playing games.

The barbarian very well might be able to draw on experiences to tell a story in song that is narratively compelling despite its raw edges and lack of interesting melody, and the bard might be able to play a couple of specific songs really well, but their content might be boring to the audience in question. Or the Barbarian might not even be capable of doing more than making the audience feel awkwardly amused by her strange and terrible song, while the bard might be capable of fully entertaining and enthralling the audience, it really depends upon what purpose that skill challenge can serve to the story being told, as to whether any kind of comparative check should be made and what the its probability of success should be.


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Here is a thought to reduce the impact of four degrees of success. What if we remove the bonus damage on crits and replace it with the critical specialization effects. That way we could have a wider range of bonuses without breaking the damage math.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
So what do PCs wind up with needing 70% success rates on? Skills.

For some reason, I would prefer Skills to outstrip To Hit, as even more reliable, for stuff you really know. I do not want constant forgone conclusions and revolting things such as the Diplomancer, but I would like the person who really is an expert in their field, to be very reliable in that field, not 100%, but, you know, good.


Knight Magenta wrote:
Here is a thought to reduce the impact of four degrees of success. What if we remove the bonus damage on crits and replace it with the critical specialization effects. That way we could have a wider range of bonuses without breaking the damage math.

Or drop critical hits/fumbles, completely. From RPG history, not the most solid of bedrock to build a game on.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:
Here is a thought to reduce the impact of four degrees of success. What if we remove the bonus damage on crits and replace it with the critical specialization effects. That way we could have a wider range of bonuses without breaking the damage math.
Or drop critical hits/fumbles, completely. From RPG history, not the most solid of bedrock to build a game on.

Actually, I feel like the current system really discourages fumble house rules for attack rolls, which is where they tend to matter most. Having it explicitly spelled out that a critical failure the same as a failure in strikes, and having critical failures be so much more common, really makes me feel like fumble decks are dead this edition. Using them would rapidly destroy your game.


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


Actually, I feel like the current system really discourages fumble house rules for attack rolls, which is where they tend to matter most. Having it explicitly spelled out that a critical failure the same as a failure in strikes, and having critical failures be so much more common, really makes me feel like fumble decks are dead this edition. Using them would rapidly destroy your game.

Having played a demo game where we mistakenly thought fumbles did happen on attacks, it certainly felt way off - in the very first round of the very first combat, 4 people (2 PCs and 2 kobolds) dropped their weapons and it just felt farcical.

You really don't want fumbles on attacks with the current maths unless your desired theme is something like "Drunken Clowns vs Wilie Coyote"


Do think combat crits need to be tone down to allow for accuracy boosts across the board for PCs. They are both stronger, more frequent and don't require a confirmation roll compared to before. As some have figured out, the high "swinginess" of combat crits is likely the reason that % rate and access to +1s are so conservative.

As also others have pointed out, crititng on skills is not nearly as game changing as criting on attacks. Hell, criting on spells is sometimes expected to get the advertised result of the spell in the first place.

So we're down to Crits on "Strike" actions. These are too dramatic and game-changing, specially with how rapidly weapons scale. Nerfing them in some way would not completely fix the +10/-10 system, but it would widen the "sweetspot" of PC success rates in an unified system and open up doing some other changes that have been proposed in this thread.


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Here are some ways to not break the game even when the baseline success rate for an optimized PC is 70%+:

- Change rolling 1d20 for everything into 2d10. You get the same-ish average (11 instead of 10.5), but a smaller distribution, and MUCH smaller chance for extremes (1% for extremes instead of 5%). You can check the probability distribution here. Under this new system, if you hit on a 7 (70% accuracy using a d20) you have an 85% accuracy but only a 10% chance to crit.

An additional advantage to this change is you can buff accuracy without tweaking the numbers already printed too much. Here are some accuracy and crit chances when using a 2d10 (compared to using a d20):

+ Hit on an 8: 79% accuracy, 6% crit vs. 65% accuracy, 15% crit
+ Hit on a 9: 72% accuracy, 3% crit vs. 60% accuracy, 10% crit
+ Hit on a 10: 64% accuracy, 1% crit vs. 55% accuracy, 5% crit
+ Hit on a 11: 55% accuracy, 1% crit vs. 50% accuracy, 5% crit
+ Hit on a 12: 45% accuracy, 1% crit vs. 45% accuracy, 5% crit
+ Hit on a 13: 36% accuracy, 1% crit vs. 40% accuracy, 5% crit

As you can see, accuracy is much higher when the DC of a check is 8-10 higher than your bonus, but the crit numbers remain low. This means we can give Fighters up to 79% accuracy against same-level enemies and still have other classes be in the 64-72% accuracy range. An optimized character will hit most of the time, not crit as much, but other characters can still feel good about their accuracy.

Another implication of this system is the big accuracy drop-off from making multiple attacks, making TWF the go-to for characters who want to make multiple attacks, and making 2H weapons rely more on big, accurate hits. This will incidentally buff Power Attack and other maneuvers that let you bypass MAP. This makes sense flavour-wise, because swinging your sword wildly and hoping for a crit should be less effective than using a fancy technique.

But you might say that monsters will hit just as often, if not more under a 2d10 system. That's true, but they won't crit you as often either. There will be less feel bad moments from dying to a random low level monster critting you. Instead of a 5% chance to take 2d6+1d10 from that goblin's shortbow, you only have a 1% chance to die from a lucky crit, and there's much less incentive for the goblin to spam arrows at you, because his 2nd and 3rd attacks are probably not gonna hit.

- 'Fail Forward' rules. Instead of having a skill check be binary between success and failure, make it so a failure can still get you somewhere, albeit at a cost. Only a crit fail will be an abject failure. Maybe you didn't quite manage to disarm the guy, but your attempt gives you a bonus for the next time you try.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:
Here is a thought to reduce the impact of four degrees of success. What if we remove the bonus damage on crits and replace it with the critical specialization effects. That way we could have a wider range of bonuses without breaking the damage math.
Or drop critical hits/fumbles, completely. From RPG history, not the most solid of bedrock to build a game on.
Actually, I feel like the current system really discourages fumble house rules for attack rolls

Right on, but not talking about fumble houserules and how PF2 encourages them or not.

The best critical/fumble rules-tables are in Arduin Grimoire: "Buttocks torn off. Fall. Shock".

Liberty's Edge

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Unicore wrote:
That is interesting because I feel like most skills, outside of combat, can usually be attempted again very easily. Does a trivial task need to be one that is completed in 6 seconds?

Most Skill Checks you actually roll for are not readily repeatable until you succeed.

All Social Skills tend to be pass/fail without any attempt at retrying (or only at harsh penalties). Stealth tends to be impossible to retry. Swimming and Climbing can theoretically be retried, but that's not always workable (we had a serious issue with the Fighter escaping Quicksand in Doomsday Dawn, for example). In-combat skill uses often have consequences for failure, and are competing with actual combat actions (like attacking a creature). Survival checks tend to take hours to make per check making them not readily repeatable. Recall Knowledge checks can theoretically be repeated, but that's often about it in practice (along with low risk swimming and climbing).

Unicore wrote:
having a 50% success rate on searching a room is a big problem if it is a one time roll and has a massive impact on the future of the adventure. But if it is just a question of time, can the party find this item quickly, as enemies start flooding into the room, then the 50% check isn't success or failure, but how much of a challenge is this encounter going to be.

They've explicitly made it so you can't search a room multiple times. Not within a short span of time, anyway. Also, it's a Perception check rather than a Skill Check, though how much that distinction means is debatable.

Unicore wrote:
In the past, we had the take 10/take 20 system for handling these kind of numbers when the length of time was not critical (so that player time is not wasted by character time), and PF2 is definitely missing this, especially since assurance only really starts to work that way with skills that are master or legendary.

Such things would be useful, but are no substitute for actually having decent odds on a Diplomacy, Deception, or Stealth check.

Unicore wrote:
I think the solution for skill checks is to change the system where a player says "i want to do x" and then determine whether or not the succeed on doing that thing by rolling the die one time. I am not suggesting getting rid of that system for everything, but for everything where success probably shouldn't rest on an arbitrary "yes/no" dichotomy.

This is doable, but a rather large undertaking that shifts the focus of the system quite a bit away from combat and onto the checks you make non-binary. That's not a bad thing, but it might not be what the folks at Paizo are aiming for either.

Unicore wrote:

A lot of the examples that get brought up as "proof the system is broken" are questionable things to have be determined by one roll of the dice.

For example:

I'm fine with various explanations for this phenomenon. My issues have to do with the likelihood of the Bard succeeding in the first place, not the degree to which the Barbarian might do better.


And if the critics gave no more dice but canceled the penalties of the following strikes? If all three strikes touch, then criticize. I succeed in a critical way my first strike and I try a second shot without penalty. I miss it and my third will be at -5 (or-10). Could it be the advantage of giving more latitude in the allocation of bonuses? We could see bonuses to the criticism instead of some bonus to the touch, what do I know?

For example: my warrior (+5 to the touch + 1 bonus conditional to the criticism that brings him a spell) fights against a goblin CA: 15. He touches and does 19. Critical and he raises his second die without penalty.

(sorry if google translation is not perfect :)


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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'm going to disagree with you here. While I don't think NPCs and monsters necessarily should be made the same way as PCs in terms of how many feats and skills they have, I think making their bonuses arbitrary like this creates three very serious problems.

1. One of the changes in PF2E that I really like is that everything is scaling at the same rate of +1/level instead of the wacky mishmash of +1, +3/4, +1/2, +1/3, etc. in PF1E. It keeps things balanced. But these arbitrary bonuses are breaking the scaling system and upsetting the balance. An extra +1 is valuable in this system, so much so that they cut down on ways to get them substantially. Getting Feats doesn't really outweigh those higher bonuses, especially when some of those Feats are "get +1 on a single attack roll if you critically succeed on a Knowledge check" or "get +1 on a single attack roll if you spend a Spell Point."

2. You pointed out before that "feels bad" is a valid concern for game design, and these arbitrarily-high bonuses are demoralizing for the players. A player goes to the trouble of maxing out their Strength or Dexterity and being a fighter for the expert proficiency and is the best warrior a 1st level character can possibly be... and the 1st level orc warrior is better than him with his sword. And at Athletics. And ignoring the armor check penalty of that breastplate somehow. Is the orc stronger than him? No, the orc only has a Strength mod of +2. Is the orc more skilled? No, they're the same level and the orc has no expert proficiencies. At this point, the player wonders why they even bothered. Martials are going to get one-upped at attacks and skills by equal-level creatures, so why even bother being one? You're not actually good at the thing you specialized in. How can you be if you're not even on par with generic goblin mooks?

3. It's immersion-breaking. That orc or that goblin has a low Wisdom? That means that they're easy to fool, right? Nope, their Perception has nothing to do with their Wisdom, and is probably higher than your fighter's. That ogre is clumsy and slow with his low Dexterity? Doesn't affect his Acrobatics or ranged attacks or Reflex saves. You might as well take ability modifiers out of the game, because they don't actually do anything. And every monster of the same level starts to look identical. That ogre is huge and strong, so it's much more of a melee threat than a hobgoblin, right? Nope, same attack bonus for both, and the hobgoblin actually has a bigger damage bonus for no reason! Players know the rules of the game and they know when the monsters are breaking them.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:
Here is a thought to reduce the impact of four degrees of success. What if we remove the bonus damage on crits and replace it with the critical specialization effects. That way we could have a wider range of bonuses without breaking the damage math.
Or drop critical hits/fumbles, completely. From RPG history, not the most solid of bedrock to build a game on.
Actually, I feel like the current system really discourages fumble house rules for attack rolls

Right on, but not talking about fumble houserules and how PF2 encourages them or not.

The best critical/fumble rules-tables are in Arduin Grimoire: "Buttocks torn off. Fall. Shock".

I miss the days of Arduin and Rolemaster Classic. Sure, rules were generally needlessly complicated, but at least you knew to laugh about stuff, and keep trucking.


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The Narration wrote:
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'm going to disagree with you here. While I don't think NPCs and monsters necessarily should be made the same way as PCs in terms of how many feats and skills they have, I think making their bonuses arbitrary like this creates three very serious problems.

1. One of the changes in PF2E that I really like is that everything is scaling at the same rate of +1/level instead of the wacky mishmash of +1, +3/4, +1/2, +1/3, etc. in PF1E. It keeps things balanced. But these arbitrary bonuses are breaking the scaling system and upsetting the balance. An extra +1 is valuable in this system, so much so that they cut down on ways to get them substantially. Getting Feats doesn't really outweigh those higher bonuses, especially when some of those Feats are "get +1 on a single attack roll if you critically succeed on a Knowledge check" or "get +1 on a single attack roll if you spend a Spell Point."

2. You pointed out before that "feels bad" is a valid concern for game design, and these arbitrarily-high bonuses are demoralizing for the players. A player goes to the trouble of maxing out their Strength or Dexterity and being a fighter for the expert proficiency and is the best warrior a 1st level character can...

That about sums it up; nice.

Also, for some, the old immersion/verisimilitude action can be damaged by things like this.
Not the same thing, but something that has always bothered me with AD&D (for about 30 years), is only some monsters (giants, some demons, devils) have an ability score, aside from an Int-range. As I said, I do not want monsters to be built like PCs, but the ends justifies the means numbers style, is a bit lazy and sloppy, to me, at this point.

Liberty's Edge

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The Narration wrote:
I'm going to disagree with you here. While I don't think NPCs and monsters necessarily should be made the same way as PCs in terms of how many feats and skills they have, I think making their bonuses arbitrary like this creates three very serious problems.

I don't think most of these are inherent in how NPC stats are determined. Some are legitimate issues in some sense, but not necessarily caused by what you seem to argue they're caused by.

The Narration wrote:
1. One of the changes in PF2E that I really like is that everything is scaling at the same rate of +1/level instead of the wacky mishmash of +1, +3/4, +1/2, +1/3, etc. in PF1E. It keeps things balanced. But these arbitrary bonuses are breaking the scaling system and upsetting the balance. An extra +1 is valuable in this system, so much so that they cut down on ways to get them substantially. Getting Feats doesn't really outweigh those higher bonuses, especially when some of those Feats are "get +1 on a single attack roll if you critically succeed on a Knowledge check" or "get +1 on a single attack roll if you spend a Spell Point."

No, for the most part the bonuses keep them precisely at the point PCs can get to if absolutely optimized. They very rarely rise above that, and when they do it's weird and exceptional (or an artifact of very low levels, see below).

I have issues of my own with this fact, but it's the 'absolutely optimized' part rather than the fact that the modifiers are set.

The Narration wrote:
2. You pointed out before that "feels bad" is a valid concern for game design, and these arbitrarily-high bonuses are demoralizing for the players. A player goes to the trouble of maxing out their Strength or Dexterity and being a fighter for the expert proficiency and is the best warrior a 1st level character can possibly be... and the 1st level orc warrior is better than him with his sword. And at Athletics. And ignoring the armor check penalty of that breastplate somehow. Is the orc stronger than him? No, the orc only has a Strength mod of +2. Is the orc more skilled? No, they're the same level and the orc has no expert proficiencies. At this point, the player wonders why they even bothered. Martials are going to get one-upped at attacks and skills by equal-level creatures, so why even bother being one? You're not actually good at the thing you specialized in. How can you be if you're not even on par with generic goblin mooks?

Firstly, a Fighter only gets one-upped by 1st level and lower monsters, who sacrifice damage and versatility to do so (to-hit stabilizes around what a Fighter has by 3rd level at the latest for the most part). The Skills thing on an Orc warrior is an error (all should be a point lower).

Secondly, a 1st level Orc is supposed to be precisely equal to a 1st level PC in power. A 1st level PC has several Feats, a net of +9 in stat mods (with an 18 max), and as a Fighter about 20-22 HP, while the Orc has no Feats, +1 in stat-mods (and a max stat of 14), and 13 HP. In exchange for the +8 in stats, and assuming being a 'Warrior NPC Class' gives you Expert in your attacks (just like Fighter), he gets a flat +4 bonus on attacks, and with the skill adjustments, a +2 to Athletics, a +1 on Perception, as well as Orc Ferocity.

That's a terrible trade. Just terrible. Yes, it nets them higher to-hit, but the price is higher than PCs can or should be willing to pay. A PC Fighter can, due to stat-mod differences, easily have more damage than the Orc, better HP, better skills

The ignoring armor check penalties is legitimately stupid and annoying and should be fixed, but that's a highly specific problem.

I'll also note that at the moment I'm arguing that all monsters should maybe have about -1 to hit as compared to where they are now (as part of PCs not needing to be optimized) which would make this even less of an issue.

The Narration wrote:
3. It's immersion-breaking. That orc or that goblin has a low Wisdom? That means that they're easy to fool, right? Nope, their Perception has nothing to do with their Wisdom, and is probably higher than your fighter's. That ogre is clumsy and slow with his low Dexterity? Doesn't affect his Acrobatics or ranged attacks or Reflex saves. You might as well take ability modifiers out of the game, because they don't actually do anything. And every monster of the same level starts to look identical. That ogre is huge and strong, so it's much more of a melee threat than a hobgoblin, right? Nope, same attack bonus for both, and the hobgoblin actually has a bigger damage bonus for no reason! Players know the rules of the game and they know when the monsters are breaking them.

Well, for one thing, most creatures only have listed modifiers for a handful of skills. Ability mods are used for all skills not listed. Also, there does tend to be a fair amount of correlation between low stats and low skills in most cases (this is much less true of Perception...which is one of several problems with Perception). I mean, let's look at the Ogre. With the skill adjustments to work as intended, it has a +3 Acrobatics. That's a little higher than a Dex 8 PC could have at 3rd level...but only by a single point. It is not a great score. The same is true of the Ogre's Reflex Save (which is also a +3). His ranged attack is legitimately better than that, but that's one exception, and it's still a whole lot worse than his melee attack. Heck, you could assume he has a special ability to make thrown weapon attacks with Str instead of Dex, but as Untrained if you like and the numbers come out almost right (and that ability sounds perfectly on-theme for an Ogre).

That said, this can certainly be an issue in some cases. It's not inherent in monsters being built differently than PCs, though. It's inherent in all monsters being optimized to the greatest degree possible. And that's actually what I'm trying to argue against here. If monsters are no longer mostly perfectly optimized there's more room for variation, such as the Ogre having higher to-hit than the Hobgoblin (because the Ogre is maxed at that while the Hobgoblin is not).

Though it's actually worth noting that this usually already isn't an issue for damage. I mean, examining the Hobgoblin, Ogres flatly do more damage than Hobgoblins one level higher...2d6+2 averages 9 and 2d8+1 averages 10, while 1d8+7 averages 11.5. This is because Str still gets added to damage for monsters and NPCs, making it the most relevant stat for NPCs in many ways.

Liberty's Edge

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A worthwhile point that came up recently in my actual playtest game:

At the moment, there is no way for a 7th level character to be 'maxed out' in most Skills in the game. There are +2 Skill items for some skills at that level...but only some. Diplomacy, for example, is completely unavailable. This is not a unique problem for 7th level characters, either. At many levels only some items are available to max you out, making many skills impossible to max.

This makes all NPCs being maxed out even more problematic, since in many cases it's literally impossible for a PC to be maxed out in that Skill.

This is ameliorated somewhat if there are mundane skill items available at reasonable prices, but even that doesn't help with +4 or higher items, and is also not the case at all at the moment, with literally no Expert or higher mundane items for the vast majority of Skills.


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I am playing a mobile game where the top players who spent tons of money on the game can't beat the content easily. They aren't happy.

RPGers are the same - they want a challenge, but they want to win. Most GMs want the same thing.

So a game based on optimized characters failing a good portion of the time does not cater to the basic nature of gamers - the desire to win. This one fact, could kill the entire game.

My other observation about gamers is that they prefer cool, powerful, neat stuff more than balance. They may say everything should be equally balanced, but if this ends up a game where every option is mediocre, no one will care to play the game.


nicholas storm wrote:

I am playing a mobile game where the top players who spent tons of money on the game can't beat the content easily. They aren't happy.

RPGers are the same - they want a challenge, but they want to win. Most GMs want the same thing.

So a game based on optimized characters failing a good portion of the time does not cater to the basic nature of gamers - the desire to win. This one fact, could kill the entire game.

My other observation about gamers is that they prefer cool, powerful, neat stuff more than balance. They may say everything should be equally balanced, but if this ends up a game where every option is mediocre, no one will care to play the game.

Yes, look at how much easier modern video games are, better success rates, some of the old ones were punishing (no convenient save points, hours lost with one wrong move, almost impossible to beat the last level, or bad guy, etc).


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Definitely seems like we need a more robust item list if optimal items are going to be assumed for DCs, and perhaps lower item costs.

Assuming that is actually the case, of course. Lets look at the 7th level playtest.

Doomsday Dawn Part 3 spoilers:
I see a couple of lock DCs for Thievery at 25. Which is technically higher than the "High" rating from Table 10-2 but is actually very reasonably achievable. A master with 18 dex and expert picks (which are pretty affordable this level) has +15 and only critically fails on a nat 1; and a character with slightly less investment still has pretty bad odds of breaking a pick, and should eventually be able to get through it.

There's also a DC 23 Society check to deduce something, but it is a check every member of the party can attempt so it seems like there's decent odds of someone getting it. (Which seems to be exactly what page 336 recommends for High DC-- something everyone can attempt and only one person need succeed on.) Everything else I noticed in this part is perception DCs.

Let's take a look at the in play DCs for the 9th level part.

Doomsday Dawn Part 4:

Most of the checks in here are pretty optional, and the game runs fine if the PCs fail them. Beating these DCs reaps nice benefits, but there are contingencies for the players to get what they need without success. Now that being said, that doesn't mean it FEELS good for the PCs to fail them. So let's see what kind of odds they are facing.

We start with a series of "exploration checks" at a DC 23 survival or DC 26 perception. They may wind up being attempted up to 30 or more times over the course of the adventure, every party member can attempt it and only one need pass on any given day, and the consequences for failure are pretty low. A druid or ranger in the party is likely to be rocking at LEAST a 13 in survival, probably at least a 14. The druid could be as high as 15 sans items or buff in survival. A ranger with 16 wisdom is gonna have a 14 in perception as well. And people with bad skill/perception modifiers can aid the good searchers I think. Seems reasonably fair, even without items.

Then there is this skill challenge for the whole party, where half of the party members are supposed to beat a DC 26 Acrobatics, Performance, or Lore check. Doing so nets them an extra treasure point. Despite the range of skills they can use, this might be pretty tough. There's a good chance a character isn't trained in Acrobatics or Performance and has 10 intelligence, which means they are probably rolling a +9 Lore. It is quite likely a high CHA character will have an 11 Performance even untrained though, and a dex character is probably at least trained in acrobatics and has a minimum of +13 to it. There's a decent chance your players won't hit these marks, and one could argue they should be lower for the feel good factor even if the prize isn't necessary for the game. But I would point out that in the context of the scene there's really no reason why the players need know what the DC is or that they failed to get the prize; the audience can still cheer them on and make them feel like winners. (Also, I think the PCs could at least Aid on Perform checks for each other.)

Finally, there are a couple of DC 26 Diplomacy checks. Now, these mostly let you bypass fights and/or gain more ally points. There are 8 possible ally points and you stop getting additional benefits once you hit 4. So it seems like you don't NEED to succeed any of these, but we are talking about feeling competent, so lets look at numbers. Given how many CHA based classes there are, I find it highly likely a member of any given party (especially one that is supposed to be balanced as the playtest requests) will have a character with 18 CHA by now. I'd be willing to bet they will be trained in diplomacy, and I'd be kind of surprised if they aren't an expert since its one of the best skills. So we are talking a +14. Not great odds yet, only 45%. (Honestly though, by your second skill increase to master I'd be shocked if Diplomacy wasn't bumped again on a CHA based character. Only exception would be certain sorcerer bloodlines, and only because their signature skill list prevents them from doing it.)

But if your GM lets your 3 party members attempt to aid against DC 15 on these checks, I think you will likely get a +2 Circumstance bonus. (There's even a chance of this becoming a +4.) If you have the Glad-Hand feat you effectively get a second attempt at a -5. I think a bard has ways to get as high as 15 by using Performance subbing feats, and an Aided Bard could have +17. (Aid might not be necessary if Virtuosic Performer can be applied to Make an Impression.) If you get a Conditional Bonus from Guidance, Heroism, Fey Fellowship, or what have you we are talking +18. We have hit 65% success without items. Our bard can get it to 75% using one of the Performance items. (Or be boosted via a mutagen; more on that below.)

Good for the Bard! He's surpassed our 70% benchmark, and seems to be as optimized as you can get. Now let's consider, say, an expert sorcerer who is Aided. +16 for 55% odds, but maybe 60% after a conditional buff. Now I haven't seen a permanent diplomacy boosting item by this level, which is a bummer. But! The Silvertongue Mutagen has popped up. The lesser version gives a +2 item bonus, and the normal version gives +3. The onset times and duration seem to coincide pretty precisely with letting you take a sip before or during a conversation that lasts one minute to let you make an impression. And given the parameters of the quest, an alchemist would be a fool not to try to get their hands on this mutagen. So with a little teamwork our aberrant sorcerer can get up to +19. Oh hai 70% success rate.

Now, a true diplomacy master who has a 5th level Heroism buff for +2 conditional, Aid or some other +2 circumstance bonus, and a Silvertongue mutagen for +3 item (you could also ask a GM if they could buy this from an alchemist with starting gold if you don't have one in the party; it isn't unreasonable for Order of the Palatine Eye to have the connections to get an uncommon item or two) we are looking at a whopping +22. +24 with the rare critical success on an Aid check! It was hard to do, but our fully optimized character seems to have 85% odds of success against a High DC on Diplomacy.

I haven't finished reading parts 5 and 6. I'm frankly too lazy to do a deep dive of part 2 right now, but it actually looks pretty OK. If a druid with a compass can be aided they succeed 65% of the time on those navigation checks and those are fairly low consequence and done as a series. (Also the adventure tells you to have a druid, basically.)

Part 1's DCs seem reasonable once you realize a couple of locks aren't meant to be picked; I've discussed this in other posts so I don't feel motivated to reiterate it here. A fully invested level 1 character only crit fails on a 1 for these DC 15s and those can largely be attempted more than once. (Unless needing to roll more than once for a 50% chance of success feels too bad?)

All in all, the actual skill DCs I've seen in the adventure so far don't look bad relative to the skill modifiers players can achieve. Given a tweak to the DC table as Mark mentioned, and some more page space for skill items in the final core rulebook, I'm optimistic we will be a in a good place. Maybe lowering DC a smidgen to allow for less optimal characters, as has been suggested.

The key component seems to be the adventure design. If the DCs get presented in the right context we shouldn't have a big problem, and Doomsday Dawn seems fairly close to that right now. Some folks have gotten tripped up on the Challenge Rating terminology, and it is possible that this needs to be tweaked to make creating your own adventures more intuitive.

One big fat exception right now seems to be how high enemy perception DCs are. This stands out as a problem because as has been discussed stealth and deception don't usually allow for second chances.

Liberty's Edge

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I actually agree that, for the most part, the DCs that aren't based on a monster's stats in Doomsday Dawn aren't as bad as they could be. They are maybe a tad high here and there, but not too onerous. Especially if skill items were actually readily available.

It's the table that gets unpleasant sometimes, and the monster stats that make for really absurdly difficult DCs pretty often.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

I actually agree that, for the most part, the DCs that aren't based on a monster's stats in Doomsday Dawn aren't as bad as they could be. They are maybe a tad high here and there, but not too onerous. Especially if skill items were actually readily available.

It's the table that gets unpleasant sometimes, and the monster stats that make for really absurdly difficult DCs pretty often.

Well, in a few cases the skill items ARE readily available. The Compass and Climber's Kit springs to mind for part 2. Unfortunately these cheap mundane tools don't exist for every skill, and some skills require you to use an item which provides no numerical bonus until it becomes expert. Huh, and there are some real odd ducks like there being an "Expert Crowbar" as a level 2 item that adds +1 to Break Open checks, but no normal crowbar. What the heck does a normal crowbar even do if it doesn't add +1?

It might help if mundane items felt a little more standardized and more of them added a +1 item bonus without the big price to expert. They can really specialized items like a crowbar, or they can be too bulky to carry one for every skill like the Climber's Kit, but it would give players a way to invest early on to be more competent.

But I'm not sure what a mundane diplomacy buff looks like exactly. Box of chocolates you give to strangers? And I'm not sure how stuff like Expert Thieve's tools fits into this equation, either. It seems like it breaks the universal proficiency standard if not all items follow it.


Eberron (3.X version) had impressive clothes for mundane diplomacy bonuses. Or for mundane intimidate bonuses if you went that way.


avr wrote:
Eberron (3.X version) had impressive clothes for mundane diplomacy bonuses. Or for mundane intimidate bonuses if you went that way.

PF1 had them too, but they were based on local fashions and only worked in a certain area for a certain amount of time. That could work again I suppose.


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The benchmark for 70% shouldn't include spending all your limited resources to achieve it (spell slot + alch item + consumable item) + aid another. If I'm using up all of my party's abilities to go ALL OUT on a skill, 90%+ is where you want to be. You can only pull these off once or twice a day and it's going to feel way worse to fail this one (still quite likely!)

In the example, even these maxed chars have at best 55-60% for most of the checks before they start expending important resources. The 70% benchmark should really be base rate for attempting fair difficulty tasks of your specialty without having to scrape every +1 in the game.


Just to chime in with a radical idea. Why not make monsters much lower (stat wise) giving players at even levels a better chance to hit/be missed/etc - and just make a wider 'always a hit' range on the d20?

17-20 = a hit (not a crit) - then lower level monsters/players always have a chance against higher level threats without needing outrageous bonuses that make them deadly to even level parties.

This rule has even had pretty extensive playtesting - but it would be a radical change to the d20 system (that said - it's less radical than resonance).


ChibiNyan wrote:

The benchmark for 70% shouldn't include spending all your limited resources to achieve it (spell slot + alch item + consumable item) + aid another. If I'm using up all of my party's abilities to go ALL OUT on a skill, 90%+ is where you want to be. You can only pull these off once or twice a day and it's going to feel way worse to fail this one (still quite likely!)

In the example, even these maxed chars have at best 55-60% for most of the checks before they start expending important resources. The 70% benchmark should really be base rate for attempting fair difficulty tasks of your specialty without having to scrape every +1 in the game.

I don't generally disagree that you shouldn't need to spend spell slots and one time use items to hit 70%, but I don't think you do for a lot of them. Part 4 specifically testing having one encounter per day that is really hard though. You're absolutely meant to nova resources. (And doing so on a maxed out character can get you to 85‰ success rate, not 70% which seems rather close to what you want.)

The DC 23 survival checks are also repeatable and low consequence for failing, just costing you time. Which is a common trend it seems in Doomsday Dawn when a DC is high. But DC 23 for level 9 isn't actually that bad. A maxed our character with a 5th level item can have a +17 bonus for a 75% chance of success without being Aided (which can be done for free) or having additional resources spent. And remember, this is an adventure where you are supposed to nova resources like that.

The DC 26 checks are tougher, but they are kind of supposed to be. These are checks which let you turn those once a day high to severe difficulty encounters and instead make those enemies your allies. I've had instances like this occur in my own PF1 games. There was a DC 25 diplomacy check and a cost of a gift worth at least 250 gp to meet with the leader of this enemy tribe at 3rd level. Beating that check at level 3rd level required extensive resources and planning, but the players knew it was important and spent those resources. And that included the equivalent of 2 hero points for a reroll. When they pulled it off they were exceptionally happy, and it let them skip an entire dungeon, hit 4th level, and add allies to their cause.

In general, the Doomsday Dawn DCs seem pretty good for their specific context. The character creation guidelines for part 5 heavily pushes towards having at least one character with +21 to bluff and diplomacy before feats. The DC for these social checks start out as low as 24 and largely stay at 30 or below. They all seem to have room for a +2 or +3 circumstance bonus for Aid or bribes, as well. That seems to be well within the margins advocated for here.


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One thing I feel makes the playtest feel weird is the fact that same level monsters are challenging.

When it comes to things like MMOs and lots of single player RPGs, same level monsters are meant to be easy challenges. You quest in a zone and see a monster that's level 10 when you're level 10 - you know you can kill it fairly easily. It doesn't have a 50/50 chance of killing you, as PF2 makes it feel like. In other RPGs like Skyrim, Fallout, Witcher, if monsters are your level or lower, they're easy. It's only a challenge when they're 3+ levels higher.

I feel like there's a disconnect there. As gamers, we're so used to stomping at level challenges that suddenly PF2 comes in and even level 0 goblins are deadly. That makes it feel wrong somehow. At least it does to me.

I wonder if the developers designed the monster level system to assume equal level monsters are tough 1:1 per PC, instead of designing them to be easy kills. I feel like if things were pushed back a couple levels, so that only monsters 2-3 levels higher than PC level were deadly 1:1 per PC, the whole feel of the game would be different.

That means equal level monsters would have a blanket -2/-3 to their attack rolls, saves, skills, etc. across the board compared to now.

How would that feel, I wonder?


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Vart the Fire Man wrote:

That means equal level monsters would have a blanket -2/-3 to their attack rolls, saves, skills, etc. across the board compared to now.

How would that feel, I wonder?

Yeah, I mean, the Orc Brute should be at +2 to hit with the knuckle-dagger and +1 with the javelin, how and why they have that other +3, I have no idea.

Liberty's Edge

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Vart the Fire Man wrote:
I wonder if the developers designed the monster level system to assume equal level monsters are tough 1:1 per PC, instead of designing them to be easy kills.

They did. This was true in PF1 as well, at least in theory, and often in practice as well (depending on the monster). My issue is not with this practice, however.

I'm totally fine with a level 5 monster being on par with a level 5 PC in a straight fight or other competition. My issue comes when they are flatly better than most PCs of that level at various things, which currently happens to be the case even for optimized PCs (since the monsters assume Items that in many cases don't even exist), and is so to an overwhelming degree with any that are no perfectly optimized.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vart the Fire Man wrote:
When it comes to things like MMOs and lots of single player RPGs, same level monsters are meant to be easy challenges. You quest in a zone and see a monster that's level 10 when you're level 10 - you know you can kill it fairly easily. It doesn't have a 50/50 chance of killing you, as PF2 makes it feel like. In other RPGs like Skyrim, Fallout, Witcher, if monsters are your level or lower, they're easy. It's only a challenge when they're 3+ levels higher.

I find this interesting, because in many ways "level" is just a terminology change for "CR". If you take four CR 10 monsters that's a CR 14 encounter, which would be an epic difficulty encounter for a 10th level party. PF2 really hasn't changed anything except the terminology in this respect.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I heard somewhere around here that the devs were incorrectly using an old version of proficiency for the monster skills? Can someone link me to this post and tell me if they are planning on putting this in the next errata? Seems like a pretty massive mistake to just leave in the playtest.


Tamago wrote:

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

Why hello there Reaping Strike! How long has it been - what, a decade? Really? Not since 2008? How have you been?


Staffan Johansson wrote:
Tamago wrote:

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

Why hello there Reaping Strike! How long has it been - what, a decade? Really? Not since 2008? How have you been?

The reaper Fighter feature in the first 5th Ed playtest packet, 2012!


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Vart the Fire Man wrote:
I wonder if the developers designed the monster level system to assume equal level monsters are tough 1:1 per PC, instead of designing them to be easy kills.

They did. This was true in PF1 as well, at least in theory, and often in practice as well (depending on the monster). My issue is not with this practice, however.

I'm totally fine with a level 5 monster being on par with a level 5 PC in a straight fight or other competition. My issue comes when they are flatly better than most PCs of that level at various things, which currently happens to be the case even for optimized PCs (since the monsters assume Items that in many cases don't even exist), and is so to an overwhelming degree with any that are no perfectly optimized.

This is not correct. APL+4 is equal to the player level - an equal level CR was always weaker than the PC in Pathfinder.

That's just how the math was designed - and works in practice.

Quote:


Debunking Myths

A CR 4 encounter is a reasonably hard challenge for an APL 4 party.

No, it is not. If you read the Core Rulebook, a CR 4 encounter should only drain roughly 25% of the an APL 4 party’s depletable resources; that is not a difficult encounter. When CR equals APL, it is an average encounter.

Quote:


2. APL +4 represents a CR where the players and their opponents are evenly matched. As you increase the encounter’s CR beyond this point, the odds slide more and more towards the opponent’s favor.

This is proven using the XP math - a party of 4th level PC's (class level + player wealth = 4 CR 4 monsters) is the same as a single CR 8 encounter. Some monsters are 'good hitters' or 'good defense' and so break the mold a bit but they are always designed to be weaker than a player character that is equal level.

This isn't controversial - I appreciate many of your posts but this statement is flat out wrong - and using it as a basis to compare PF2 monsters is wildly off track.


An even match is a 50/50 chance of victory for either side assuming they both have full resources. In practice, it was slanted way towards the PC side in PF1.


Ckorik wrote:

This is not correct. APL+4 is equal to the player level - an equal level CR was always weaker than the PC in Pathfinder.

That's just how the math was designed - and works in practice.

CR=APL+4 was equal to a party of four PCs. CR=APL was equal to a single PC. That's how the math was designed.

Or are you claiming that a CR5 cyclops was designed to be equal to a level 1 PC fighter?


Matthew Downie wrote:
Ckorik wrote:

This is not correct. APL+4 is equal to the player level - an equal level CR was always weaker than the PC in Pathfinder.

That's just how the math was designed - and works in practice.

CR=APL+4 was equal to a party of four PCs. CR=APL was equal to a single PC. That's how the math was designed.

Or are you claiming that a CR5 cyclops was designed to be equal to a level 1 PC fighter?

Well, as that would be an encounter for four 5th-level PCs, one PC should be 3 or 4 x the CR (15th-20th level) of the monster, to take it solo, as an average encounter, kind of like in 5th Ed.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
Well, as that would be an encounter for four 5th-level PCs, one PC should be 3 or 4 x the CR (15th-20th level) of the monster, to take it solo, as an average encounter, kind of like in 5th Ed.

Multiplying CR values doesn't work since they're already exponential.

One PC should be level 5 to be able to take a cyclops solo with a 50% chance of surviving. That's the danger level equivalent of an CR=APL+4 encounter for a regular group. A level 9 PC taking on a cyclops solo is the danger equivalent of four level 5 PCs taking on a cyclops together; an 'average' encounter.

(This is purely the PF1 theoretical design; actual danger will vary wildly with optimization and teamwork, and the cyclops is a particularly nasty challenge for low level melee characters, with its ability to get a natural 20 once a day.)


Matthew Downie wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Well, as that would be an encounter for four 5th-level PCs, one PC should be 3 or 4 x the CR (15th-20th level) of the monster, to take it solo, as an average encounter, kind of like in 5th Ed.
Multiplying CR values doesn't work since they're already exponential.

Just a rough guide, often matches up with Hit Dice in 5th Ed (CR 2 centaur with 6 HD, etc), of course, ye olde eyeballing it, is the best encounter building tool.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Ckorik wrote:

This is not correct. APL+4 is equal to the player level - an equal level CR was always weaker than the PC in Pathfinder.

That's just how the math was designed - and works in practice.

CR=APL+4 was equal to a party of four PCs. CR=APL was equal to a single PC. That's how the math was designed.

Or are you claiming that a CR5 cyclops was designed to be equal to a level 1 PC fighter?

No - but a brand new player character is only CR 0 - until they get player wealth they don't even rate - that's why low level monsters are all designed to be pushovers.

Compare the first encounter of Rise of the Rulelords and Doomsday Dawn:

Spoiler:

3 goblins: 6 hp each, +3 (1d4-1 19-20) attack AC 16
1 ooze 40 hp , +7 1d6+1 plus 1d4 acid, AC 5

The RotRL encounter has a max damage of 9 hit points (or 18 if all three crit) and generally the threat drops by 1/3 every 6 hit points of damage done - which means even 3/4 classes should kill a goblin within 2 rounds solo.

The Doomsday dawn encounter has a max damage of 33 (or 54 if all three crit) - and had 40 hit points. It's immune to crits so the odds of it dying in the first round are small - giving it a huge damage output.

Both of these fights are considered 'level 1'.

I could put a first level fighter solo against the goblins - and they'd have a reasonable chance to live. I don't think there is a single 1st level build in PF2 that could solo that ooze.

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