Arcane Spellcasters in PF2E – quo vadis?


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dnoisette wrote:
That Fighter/Barbarian with heightened Invisibility ... takes less damage

My playtest experience: the invisible wizard cast heightened Invisibility on the melee fighter, and the fighter took NO damage, because the monsters promptly

spoiler:
grappled
the archer and the cleric instead. To be fair, we were outdoors - there was a fight in a doorway later where it could have worked well.

magnuskn wrote:

Freagarthach wrote:

Have to agree here - Holy Word, Flesh to Stone, Prismatic Spray, Baleful Polymorph, all are spells that we designed around maximizing in PF1.

If PF2 does not turn out the same way, I have no problem with that. It would be a significant shift though, and an opportunity to adjust how they work that retains a satisfactory feeling for the successful caster.

Almost all of those spells you mentioned , though, either are not exactly "save or die" or have significant drawbacks. Holy Word only works on weak enemies (so not really a threat), Flesh to Stone petrifies your loot, Prismatic Spray has a 50% chance to only inflict damage and Baleful Polymorph also transforms your loot into fuzzy animals. Though Baleful Polymorph definitely is the best of the bunch, since you can safely kill said fuzzy animal and the opponent transforms back, IIRC.

Holy Word is used at considerably above character level using feats and items. In a recent PF1 game, a single equal to party level 13 NPC Cleric assassin paralyzed all but one of the party members successfully using Dictum. As a group they overcame and forced his retreat, but not before a character death (Raised immediately after, but costly).

As to loot loss, I have traditionally been the only member of my group not to particularly care about loot, as well as usually the caster. In playtest anecdote, they are each starting with 330 gold for the level 9 module splitting my share, enabling the purchase of things like Necklace of Fireballs Type III.

On the one hand, my group knows they will get more loot with higher quality by getting to split my share. On the other hand, they know I might blast a foe with glowing plate armor and gold plated greataxe straight into a random plane, frustrating their desire for fat loots.

They have let me stay around to this point, so it must not be too rough a tradeoff.


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Freagarthach wrote:

... I might blast a foe with glowing plate armor and gold plated greataxe straight into a random plane, frustrating their desire for fat loots.

They have let me stay around to this point, so it must not be too rough a tradeoff.

How are you going to do this at lvl 9? Plane shift is a lvl 7 spells now and only affects willing targets? Prismatic Spray is also lvl 7, needs a 7 rolled for a purple beam and a critically failed save...


pad300 wrote:
Freagarthach wrote:

... I might blast a foe with glowing plate armor and gold plated greataxe straight into a random plane, frustrating their desire for fat loots.

They have let me stay around to this point, so it must not be too rough a tradeoff.

How are you going to do this at lvl 9? Plane shift is a lvl 7 spells now and only affects willing targets? Prismatic Spray is also lvl 7, needs a 7 rolled for a purple beam and a critically failed save...

The discussion, as I understood it, was about the differences between "save or lose" spells in PF1 as compared to the playtest.

I have not looked extensively at higher level playtest spells outside wanting to maximize Flesh to Stone casts for the level 14 module (Empowering Focus and Quickened Dread Aura are what I have as starting points, using a Staff of Transmutation for an additional cast).

What I suspect is that I wont be doing the sorts of things I did in PF1 (maybe Flesh to Stone?), which will be a significant change for me. Not a bad change necessarily, in my view, but significant.


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Freagarthach wrote:
pad300 wrote:
Freagarthach wrote:

... I might blast a foe with glowing plate armor and gold plated greataxe straight into a random plane, frustrating their desire for fat loots.

They have let me stay around to this point, so it must not be too rough a tradeoff.

How are you going to do this at lvl 9? Plane shift is a lvl 7 spells now and only affects willing targets? Prismatic Spray is also lvl 7, needs a 7 rolled for a purple beam and a critically failed save...

The discussion, as I understood it, was about the differences between "save or lose" spells in PF1 as compared to the playtest.

I have not looked extensively at higher level playtest spells outside wanting to maximize Flesh to Stone casts for the level 14 module (Empowering Focus and Quickened Dread Aura are what I have as starting points, using a Staff of Transmutation for an additional cast).

What I suspect is that I wont be doing the sorts of things I did in PF1 (maybe Flesh to Stone?), which will be a significant change for me. Not a bad change necessarily, in my view, but significant.

As an in play spell, Flesh to Stone is now basically a Slow spell... With the target getting extra saves. Actually putting someone down require a consecutive fail and critical fail or 3 fails on the saving throws... Good luck, I suspect you'd have more impact focusing on casting Slow.


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Freagarthach wrote:
Holy Word is used at considerably above character level using feats and items. In a recent PF1 game, a single equal to party level 13 NPC Cleric assassin paralyzed all but one of the party members successfully using Dictum. As a group they overcame and forced his retreat, but not before a character death (Raised immediately after, but costly).

It's funny how I somehow get accused of having a group of hyper-optimizers (which empirically is wrong, anyway), but that is the first time I've ever heard of someone weaponizing the Holy Word series of spells in this way (raising caster level and such). Shows what I know. ^^

Freagarthach wrote:

As to loot loss, I have traditionally been the only member of my group not to particularly care about loot, as well as usually the caster. In playtest anecdote, they are each starting with 330 gold for the level 9 module splitting my share, enabling the purchase of things like Necklace of Fireballs Type III.

On the one hand, my group knows they will get more loot with higher quality by getting to split my share. On the other hand, they know I might blast a foe with glowing plate armor and gold plated greataxe straight into a random plane, frustrating their desire for fat loots.

They have let me stay around to this point, so it must not be too rough a tradeoff.

Hey, if that works for your group, more power to you. I'm only saying that there are significant drawbacks to most of the specific PF1E spells you were citing. I'm all for bringing spells a bit more in line, but the devs have vastly overdone in in almost all aspects.


magnuskn wrote:
It's funny how I somehow get accused of having a group of hyper-optimizers (which empirically is wrong, anyway), but that is the first time I've ever heard of someone weaponizing the Holy Word series of spells in this way (raising caster level and such). Shows what I know. ^^

I've seen it at my table a couple of times, but it's less common among PCs after the first incident where the cleric, swelling up with righteous caster level boosts (usually from a Bead of Karma), unleashes a mighty word and half the party goes blind and deaf. XD


ErichAD wrote:
shroudb wrote:


Actually, martials have it way worse than casters, since magical weapons being mandatory is much more prominent than spell duelist items (one affects damage and tohit, the other only tohit) AND casters at least only have 3 tiers of spell duelist (+1/+2/+3) as opposed to 5 tiers for martials (+1/+2/+3/+4/+5 weapon)

Martials are welcome to stick with +1/+2/+3 and have their attacks fail as frequently as spells do. I don't think that will make their situation better.

You're right about mage armor being nowhere near as valuable as a spell of its level is meant to be. And caster feats are nowhere near as valuable as picking up better armor and weapon options. This change will just tip the scales a bit more toward casters starting out as fighters and multiclassing to casters rather than the other way around.

If non-proficiency hadn't been bumped up to -4, casters would just do without the proficiency and wear armor with a rune regardless.

wizard are too weak,noone want to play wizard in my party

Liberty's Edge

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angeila avalon wrote:
wizard are too weak,noone want to play wizard in my party

I can't blame 'em. I wouldn't mind playing a martial in 2E, but I'd hate to play a caster.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DrSwordopolis wrote:
angeila avalon wrote:
wizard are too weak,noone want to play wizard in my party
I can't blame 'em. I wouldn't mind playing a martial in 2E, but I'd hate to play a caster.

That's pretty much the impression I came away with as well. I guess we'll see if the developers majorly change things when they do their spell pass.

I have hopes that James Jacobs may influence the PF2E devs a bit, because on the Roll For Combat podcast he was on, he said that in his ideal vision a caster who goes to sleep under PF1E rules and wakes up under PF2E rules could fulfill his role and do what he does just as well as he could in the first edition. Which is... not the case at this moment. Not nearly. Here's a link to the podcast, James says this at the 55 minutes mark. Thanks to Ronnam for making me aware of this:

http://rollforcombat.com/podcast/sp05-interview-with-paizo-pathfinder-creat ive-director-james-jacobs/


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magnuskn wrote:


I have hopes that James Jacobs may influence the PF2E devs a bit, because on the Roll For Combat podcast he was on, he said that in his ideal vision a caster who goes to sleep under PF1E rules and wakes up under PF2E rules could fulfill his role and do what he does just as well as he could in the first edition. Which is... not the case at this moment.

I'm guessing his opinion is quite unpopular at Paizo because the intent was pretty obviously to have Wizards wake up under PF2E rules and realize their magical connection has been severely impaired.

Your link does not seem to be working for me, however?


here you go
The forums automatically insert spaces into long words, which can mess with links.


Thanks!


Here's a spellcaster-helping idea: Refreshing spell slots in 'short rests'

It pushes casters towards a more-frequent, less-flashy position than PF1, but is a very achievable change. How's it feel to people in this thread?


dnoisette wrote:
I'm guessing his opinion is quite unpopular at Paizo because the intent was pretty obviously to have Wizards wake up under PF2E rules and realize their magical connection has been severely impaired.

I suspect that it's more a difference in how "fulfill his role and do what he does just as well as he could in the first edition" is seen. I think a different metric is being used for "just as well" than we're using. That and I'm not sure we're on the same page on "role" either.


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graystone wrote:
dnoisette wrote:
I'm guessing his opinion is quite unpopular at Paizo because the intent was pretty obviously to have Wizards wake up under PF2E rules and realize their magical connection has been severely impaired.
I suspect that it's more a difference in how "fulfill his role and do what he does just as well as he could in the first edition" is seen. I think a different metric is being used for "just as well" than we're using. That and I'm not sure we're on the same page on "role" either.

"Just as well" means just that: with the exact same end results.

I find it hard to justify going with another metric, with that phrasing.

Now, in order to achieve the same end results with a spell than you did in 1st edition, you have to hope the enemy will critically fail, which is 5% of the time...
Phantasmal Killer is a great example of that.

Lyee wrote:


Here's a spellcaster-helping idea: Refreshing spell slots in 'short rests'

It pushes casters towards a more-frequent, less-flashy position than PF1, but is a very achievable change. How's it feel to people in this thread?

This is an interesting proposal.

I'm of the mind that spellcasters should have more spell slots, period, but this is an alternative that Paizo might actually consider because "spellcasters can't have anything for free".

This helps a lot with buff spells having a low duration because you'll be able to use more of them per day.

However, the core issues with spellcasters at the moment is that most spells have very little effect when the enemy saves and they save ALMOST ALL THE TIME.

Giving you more spell slots just gives you the ability to try and fail more times per day. Not great.

Until monsters' saves are fixed and some of the nerfs rolled back so that each spell actually has a significant impact, more spell slots simply won't help much.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sorry for the bad link, I should have done it properly.

While I think "short rests" would be a great thing overall, I also agree with dnoisette that the spells don't do enough at the moment, because the chance for critical failures is too low. Overall the idea of 4 types of success sounds great, but if you tie every type of really good result only to critical success, then you set it up that the "normal" results will be underwhelming.


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Most of the previous analysis assumes a Creature Level = Average Party Level situation, which I don't think is the right balance point to assume, nor do I think it's the point the system has been balanced around in 2e. Paizo has shifted the expected range of level-appropriate challenges from the previous range in PF1e, changing from a range of APL-1 to APL+3 in PF1e, to a range of APL-4 to APL+4 in PF2e. Additionally, the number of encounters against equal-level or higher foes should be less than the number of encounters against lower-level foes due to the way the encounter design math works out.

Bestiary p.21 wrote:
In all but the most unusual circumstances, you’ll select creatures for your encounter that range only from 4 levels lower than the PCs to 4 levels higher. Each creature has a role to play in your encounter, based on its level, from lowly minions to a boss so mighty that it poses an extreme threat to your player group even though it fights alone.

Additionally, the bestiary prescribes the following:

Bestiary p.21 wrote:
Encounters are typically more satisfying if the number of creatures is fairly close to the number of player characters.

From an encounter design perspective, the expectation seems to be that encounters are balanced against enemies of APL-2, if you're expected to hit that "number of creatures is equal to number of PCs" sweet spot. Check the math - 4x APL-2 creatures is a High-threat encounter. Encounters against equal level and above enemies are reserved for "boss fights" and as such, should be even more challenging than the typical encounter.

The intention seems to be more "avoid anticlimatic boss fights where casters trivialize the encounter with a single spell" than "casters do not get to have nice things". This is achieved by making solo bosses (at equal level and above) more resistant to Battlefield Control, Debuff, and Save or Lose effects due to the level scaling and the balance point for the tight math. But against lower level foes, those effects become more and more attractive due to the increased success rate from the level difference.

In situations where debuffs and battlefield control are appropriate, the party should ostensibly have a +5-10% increase in success rate over what all of the current analysis points to. This puts casters in a good place regarding battlefield control roles in encounters against multiple enemies. They will struggle to end encounters against +/= level foes, but almost all of those encounters will be "boss fight"-style encounters, if Table 4: Creature XP and Role is followed.

Boss encounters are more difficult, but the frequency that the party will face equal-level or higher creatures is lower than they will face lower level creatures. A single APL+2 enemy is already a High-threat encounter, APL+3 is Severe, and APL+4 is Extreme. Again, let's read the Bestiary's description of these kinds of encounters:

Bestiary p.21 wrote:

High-threat encounters are a true threat to the characters, though unlikely to overpower them completely. Characters usually need to use sound tactics and manage their resources wisely to come out of a high- threat encounter ready to continue on to face a harder challenge without resting.

Severe-threat encounters are the hardest encounters most groups of characters can consistently defeat, and as such they are most appropriate for major encounters, such as with a final boss. Bad luck, tactics, or a lack of resources due to prior encounters can easily turn a severe- threat encounter against the characters, and a wise group keeps the option to disengage open.

Extreme-threat encounters are so dangerous that they are likely to be an even match for the characters, particularly if the characters are low on resources due to prior encounters. This makes them too challenging for most uses. An extreme-threat encounter might be appropriate for a fully rested group of characters that can go all out, for an end- of-campaign encounter, or for a group of veteran players with powerful character teamwork.

The encounter XP budget is tightly balanced, in Table 5: Encounter Budget. A single APL creature is a Trival encounter, 2x APL creatures is a High-threat encounter, 3x APL creatures is a Severe-threat encounter, and 4x APL creatures is an Extreme-threat encounter. The verbiage in the Bestiary makes it pretty clear that parties should be facing some mix of Low, High, and Severe threat encounters and should rarely ever face an Extreme-threat encounter. The way the math works out - parties should face enemies below APL more often than enemies equal to or above APL, therefore analysis of spell performance against average equivalent-level enemy stats is not looking at the whole picture of intended encounter design.

If the messaging coming from the devs about the overtuning of monster stats can be believed, and monster skills and saves drop by 1-2 points across the board, that should put success rates at the projected 60% success rate proven by the analysis of magnuskn and many others on this board. Add the additional 5-10% boost in success rate due to level difference, and I think casters are already in a place that's much better than has been projected in this thread, with a success rate closer to 65-70% for many fights, only dropping to 60% or below for boss-style encounters.

As an aside, I wish more spells would follow the Color Spray, or Slow model of having a minor effect on a successful save, instead of having no effect. It never feels good to spend 66% of your turn doing nothing. Debuffs should have more effects like this, because that will make them more useful in boss fights.

As a second aside, I also think that the overall tuning of monster stats against optimal PC stats is a little too high. Rather than assuming that each PC has max proficiency bonus, max ability modifier, and max item bonus at every level, I'd like to see a more relaxed balance achieved, where monsters are tuned a point or two below that optimal level, so truly optimal characters can squeeze an extra 5-10% efficiency out of the math.


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Wow, I didn't think anyone would think like that, not after 3.0 anyway.

3.0 has similar structure, though different in the details, that everyone just flat out ignores and has ignored since day 1.

I am surprised anything like this was actually brought up, now we just have to wait and see just how ignored it becomes by the community.

Actually, I'm surprised paizo went for this at all given how 3.x community ignored it then proceeded to complain about the results of them ignoring it.

I should've looked more ag the gm section I guess, but frankly, if a game doesn't pass as something I want to play, gming it doesn't matter.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Of course my entire analysis works on the playtest rules as released. If the base success chance is increased for the entire bestiary, then that helps a bit with casters feeling more consequential. Same with the APL math, which seems to make it out to be that we are going to face much more enemies with a lesser CR than the party than we did before in adventure paths and so on.

It does not, however, address the concerns about effect duration, range, persons affected, spell effects, spells per day, spells known, uncommon spells and so on. Those all need looking at, because most of them were affected negatively and at the same time. The problem is not just "the success chance is too low", but "most spells got four to five nerfs at the same time".


Yes, well the entire concept of slots is to limit how often spells are used, and any time you have two effects doing similar things (such as dealing dmg), the limited use effect can only be balanced against an unlimited use effect by making the limited use version more powerful in some way according to just how limited it is.

For example, with dealing damage, spells (not including cantrips) are heavily limited against melee attacks, this means that it will only really work if spells are spike damage compared to melee, or area damage at similar or lower dmg compared to melee. Another way limited magic can be balanced against melee is by making spells easier to hit with. Of course, this limit of spells per day only works if the gm prevents the players from resting after every fight.

But the same holds true for other effects. If melee can inhibit via stun or trip whenever, then limited spells should have better versions, simply because you are using a limited resource compared to an unlimited one.

Personally, I don't this per day style, but if they use it, they need to understand it.


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Yes, well the entire concept of slots is to limit how often spells are used, and any time you have two effects doing similar things (such as dealing dmg), the limited use effect can only be balanced against an unlimited use effect by making the limited use version more powerful in some way according to just how limited it is.

For example, with dealing damage, spells (not including cantrips) are heavily limited against melee attacks, this means that it will only really work if spells are spike damage compared to melee, or area damage at similar or lower dmg compared to melee. Another way limited magic can be balanced against melee is by making spells easier to hit with. Of course, this limit of spells per day only works if the gm prevents the players from resting after every fight.

But the same holds true for other effects. If melee can inhibit via stun or trip whenever, then limited spells should have better versions, simply because you are using a limited resource compared to an unlimited one.

Personally, I don't this per day style, but if they use it, they need to understand it.

I'm pretty sure they have.

The BIG issue here is that spells only have the effect you describe on a critical success (or require the enemy to critically fail their save).

At the same time, it's virtually impossible for this to happen because of monsters' uber saves and PCs lack of ability to boost their spell DCs.

In the end, Paizo has done a wonderful job at making it look like you can still contribute meaningfully with your limited spells...while ensuring that this can never happen, because, apparently, spellcasters should not be given a chance to do something out of the ordinary with their very limited number of spells per day.


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I wouldn't cast any of my good blasts or debuffs on an APL-2 Fight. If I just pass all my turns, the Fighter will easily solo that fight with no resources spent. Maybe a lower level blast, but that would just do low damage even for them.

I wouldn't cast any of my good spells vs a boss either, since he saves versus all of them, though maybe he'll roll an 1 eventually.

Not a lot of places where casting a strong debuff or single damage blast is actually impactful, if any.

Utility + combat buffs is a lot more attractive since it just works, even if not amazingly.


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dnoisette wrote:


In the end, Paizo has done a wonderful job at making it look like you can still contribute meaningfully with your limited spells...while ensuring that this can never happen, because, apparently, spellcasters should not be given a chance to do something out of the ordinary with their very limited number of spells per day.

d - I have enjoyed our back and forth, and believe I understand your frustration at lowered power levels. That said, magic in playtest is more than damage and debuffs, for every type of spellcaster.

If you feel damage, debuffs, and DCs need work, show where and how as you and others have helpfully done. Saying spellcasters "can never...contribute meaningfully with your limited spells" is to refute the positive aspects of the playtest that others have directly experienced and posted about, which severely undermines your stance.

Things can need improvement without being a binary waste of character or table presence. Respecting that is a part of respecting that other people have enjoyed what they felt was "meaningfully contributing."

Dark Archive

There are poeple who enjoyed playing casters as a pure caster who didnt buffed and deal damage? I might have missed those people.

EDIT:Can you point out those threads Freagarthach. I am tired and dont want to search for it for +30 minutes


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Freagarthach wrote:


Things can need improvement without being a binary waste of character or table presence. Respecting that is a part of respecting that other people have enjoyed what they felt was "meaningfully contributing."

Binary waste of character or table presence is surprisingly how one of my players just described his character in Chapter 3. Guess what class he played?

It seems to me I should be allowed to state things the way I and my players experience them. It's just as much disrespective to dismiss my opinion on account that you feel it's hyperbolic.

It's not hyperbolic for me and my group. It's exactly how we feel and I have no better way to put it.

There are positive aspects with the playtest, a ton of them (we love the new action economy, archetypes for multiclassing, the concept of having skills feats, unique monsters' abilities in the bestiary...), but none have to do with spellcasters, as far as me and my players are concerned.

We have nothing positive to say about spellcasters, except for Clerics, who are so strong right now I might even tag them OP (has a lot to do with Channel Energy effectively tripling their number of spell slots available at level 1).

I would put together a list of every spell that fails at delivering meaningful impact (to me) and explain why, but magnuskn did that way better when (s?)he started this thread.

I had my own surveys up for magic recently because I wanted to have an idea of the proportion of people that had a similar experience than my players and I and the proportion of those who didn't.

That thread was locked after about 60 people took the surveys and I must admit it doesn't exactly makes me want to try and contribute lengthy feedback anymore. :/


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Lausth wrote:

There are poeple who enjoyed playing casters as a pure caster who didnt buffed and deal damage? I might have missed those people.

EDIT:Can you point out those threads Freagarthach. I am tired and dont want to search for it for +30 minutes

Search my posts and my favorites. There are plenty of positive experiences with "pure" casters dealing damage and contributing in other ways that have been expressed on the boards.

My group has a satirical saying in PF1, "Caster superiority!", which gets used any time a non-caster feels overshadowed or outclassed. The last few sessions have found people saying it about my caster in the PF2 playtest.

What is important about that is not that my group (outside myself) feel that non-casters still lag behind casters for the PF2 playtest, in terms of "cool stuff" and what they are allowed to do - the reason I note it is that I understand that my groups experience is not the same, and may differ greatly, from the experiences of others.

What is important is that I can recognize the perspectives of others even when I have reason to have a perspective that differs and disagrees at points. Playtest feedback is about all of our feedback, not one subset or one group.

Dark Archive

It might be just me but i couldnt find anyone. Michael Sayre's cleric friend seems like a fun one.

Liberty's Edge

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magnuskn wrote:
Of course my entire analysis works on the playtest rules as released. If the base success chance is increased for the entire bestiary, then that helps a bit with casters feeling more consequential. Same with the APL math, which seems to make it out to be that we are going to face much more enemies with a lesser CR than the party than we did before in adventure paths and so on.

Well, Doomsday Dawn does appear to bear that theory out.

Doomsday Dawn spoilers:

Enemies with a level equal to or greater than the assumed party APL:

The Lost Star: Sewer ooze**, two quasits*, goblin commando, goblin pyro, Drakus the Taker (boss fight)**

In Pale Mountain's Shadow: Manticore**, Zafkah, lesser water elemental, lesser fire elemental, Henah the antipaladin (boss fight)

Affair at Sombrefell Hall: two greater shadows*, Ilvoresh (boss fight)

The Mirrored Moon: Lake monster** (hidden boss fight), two rocs, Liruthall*, fire giant*, another fire giant (maybe avoided), Hidimbi (boss fight), mu spore** (not actually meant to be fought); almost none of these are required fights but Hidimbi

The Heroes of Undarin: two treachery demons*, slime demon, lich, banshee*, demilich*, two boar demons*, mutilation demon**; note that this mod is actually supposed to kill the PCs

Red Flags: Kasbeel**, Necerion**, kraken** (boss fight?)

When the Stars Go Dark: Star-spawn of Cthulhu**, shoggoth**, Aeteperax, Ramlock** (boss fight)

*more than one enemy at or above APL in this encounter
**encountered solo


Lausth wrote:
It might be just me but i couldnt find anyone. Michael Sayre's cleric friend seems like a fun one.

Beyond my own experiences, which you have read, a one per person sampling just from things I have favorited:

"I've had a couple of players field non-offensive casters* with 16s in their primary stats and they've been fine in low level playtest sessions."

"Summoning spells are really good and interesting at the mid levels. Specifically, when the druid in my Pale Mountain game dropped a fire mephit between the enemy's front and back lines and it set half of them on fire before soaking up a bunch of attacks and then exploding for even more damage. It was pretty awesome."

"The classes that have magic are still more powerful than the classes that don't."

"Spellcasters can cast two spells in a round pretty regularly. I've already seen it plenty of times in my play test sessions.
Usually, it's combining an attack spell and Shield, or casting a spell and using a power (which is basically a spell in every way except name, and is even cast by using "spell" points), and I expect I'll see plenty of true strike added to spells that require attack rolls. All without any added metamagic or magic item expense."

"So 1st and 2nd level blast slots are better than they were in PF1 because of how weaknesses work. Odds are you don't have enough cantrips to cover every elemental base, so your low level blasts can help with your coverage like you're playing Pokemon. And that is on top of their other advantages-- AoE, range, persistence, reliability."

"And to echo something I said on another thread there are a lot of spells that are very good in lower level slots, just not damage spells. True Strike is an amazing buff and Ray of Enfeeblement is a solid debufff, both level 1 spells that don't heighten. Level 2 invisibility and mirror image are both great defensives, and Haste and level 3 Fear are an amazing buff and excellent group debuff respectively (Especially now that Frightened penalizes AC and DCs!)."

"From my play experience, it seems increasingly clear that, whatever it says on paper, casters only feel a bit weaker at lower levels (first couple parts of Doomsday Dawn). Sure, they may not be gods from level 7+ like in PF1, but they still feel competent and impactful once they get some additional spell slots and higher level spells...Whatever it says on paper, *actual play* does not suggest casters uniformly suck."

"When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them."


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dnoisette wrote:
magnuskn wrote:


I have hopes that James Jacobs may influence the PF2E devs a bit, because on the Roll For Combat podcast he was on, he said that in his ideal vision a caster who goes to sleep under PF1E rules and wakes up under PF2E rules could fulfill his role and do what he does just as well as he could in the first edition. Which is... not the case at this moment.
I'm guessing his opinion is quite unpopular at Paizo because the intent was pretty obviously to have Wizards wake up under PF2E rules and realize their magical connection has been severely impaired.

I dunno if it's an unpopular viewpoint, or I wonder if there's a disconnect between the story writers and the rules writers. Anyhow, here is what James Jacobs said around the 55:30 mark:

James Jacobs: My goal is for when the edition changes it should be pretty much invisible to anything in-world so like a wizard who is inside of his house doing wizardly stuff and the day before Second Edition lands and the day after he won't notice any difference in how things work. The rules for how his magic works will change but his role in the world won't change.

Stephen Glicker: So he goes to sleep and its First Edition and he wakes up the next day its like oh its Second Edition, my stuff works a little differently but it's pretty much the same.

James Jacobs: Not even that he just wakes up and keeps doing what he's doing. Every story we told in First Edition needs to be something we can tell in Second Edition, and vice versa.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Ronnam wrote:
I wonder if there's a disconnect between the story writers and the rules writers.

I don't think that at all.

I don't think there's anything in any of the APs or modules that's been published that doesn't work with the new rules paradigm.

For instance, just because PC casters have roughly a 50% of wasting their slot and turn by casting a spell doesn't negate published events. Karzoug and friends for instance were clearly the statistical outliers whose dice were always hot, and their foes' were always cold. By definition, the winners are the ones who won.

The only AP that really makes no sense is Wrath of the Righteous, and given the vocal outcry against the mythic rules, and the repeated rubbing salt in wounds over it, I kind of suspect PF2 Playtest is partially in response to that. "Don't want powerful, kinda-broken, epic do-stuff rules? Fine. Have a new edition."


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Ronnam wrote:
dnoisette wrote:
magnuskn wrote:


I have hopes that James Jacobs may influence the PF2E devs a bit, because on the Roll For Combat podcast he was on, he said that in his ideal vision a caster who goes to sleep under PF1E rules and wakes up under PF2E rules could fulfill his role and do what he does just as well as he could in the first edition. Which is... not the case at this moment.
I'm guessing his opinion is quite unpopular at Paizo because the intent was pretty obviously to have Wizards wake up under PF2E rules and realize their magical connection has been severely impaired.

I dunno if it's an unpopular viewpoint, or I wonder if there's a disconnect between the story writers and the rules writers. Anyhow, here is what James Jacobs said around the 55:30 mark:

James Jacobs: My goal is for when the edition changes it should be pretty much invisible to anything in-world so like a wizard who is inside of his house doing wizardly stuff and the day before Second Edition lands and the day after he won't notice any difference in how things work. The rules for how his magic works will change but his role in the world won't change.

Stephen Glicker: So he goes to sleep and its First Edition and he wakes up the next day its like oh its Second Edition, my stuff works a little differently but it's pretty much the same.

James Jacobs: Not even that he just wakes up and keeps doing what he's doing. Every story we told in First Edition needs to be something we can tell in Second Edition, and vice versa.

I question that heavily, but only the end result will tell.

Not only the very races works diferently, feats are locked into certain classes, certain key class features like smite evil are not there at all, some key feats like leadership, which is one of the few ways to get an actual NPC to follow you at all, are completely gone...

Honestly, Paizo must be holding back a ton of things to add to the final version that were core before if they expect any actual PF1 player to "just wakes up and keeps doing what he's doing."


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And what about all the multiclass characters? The new multiclass nonsense just doesn't cut it at all, and most often doesn't even allow the things from a second class that are actually wanted. I hated VMC from the beginning, and this has not gotten better at all. Thus all my multiclass characters certainly would have trouble carrying on as normal switching editions.


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While I like that they have toned down summoning, it would be nice if you could summon several lower level creatures in place of a higher level critter. I also think the damage threshold for Concentration is too low, getting smacked for 20 points of damage at high levels is nothing. Not even a saving throw.


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Anguish wrote:
Ronnam wrote:
I wonder if there's a disconnect between the story writers and the rules writers.

I don't think that at all.

I don't think there's anything in any of the APs or modules that's been published that doesn't work with the new rules paradigm.

For instance, just because PC casters have roughly a 50% of wasting their slot and turn by casting a spell doesn't negate published events. Karzoug and friends for instance were clearly the statistical outliers whose dice were always hot, and their foes' were always cold. By definition, the winners are the ones who won.

The only AP that really makes no sense is Wrath of the Righteous, and given the vocal outcry against the mythic rules, and the repeated rubbing salt in wounds over it, I kind of suspect PF2 Playtest is partially in response to that. "Don't want powerful, kinda-broken, epic do-stuff rules? Fine. Have a new edition."

Funny you mention WotR, actually. That campaign, following PF2 RAW, can't even get off the ground, let alone to mythic content. The Feather Fall nerf TPKs the PCs in the opening act.


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Ronnam wrote:
dnoisette wrote:
magnuskn wrote:


I have hopes that James Jacobs may influence the PF2E devs a bit, because on the Roll For Combat podcast he was on, he said that in his ideal vision a caster who goes to sleep under PF1E rules and wakes up under PF2E rules could fulfill his role and do what he does just as well as he could in the first edition. Which is... not the case at this moment.
I'm guessing his opinion is quite unpopular at Paizo because the intent was pretty obviously to have Wizards wake up under PF2E rules and realize their magical connection has been severely impaired.

I dunno if it's an unpopular viewpoint, or I wonder if there's a disconnect between the story writers and the rules writers. Anyhow, here is what James Jacobs said around the 55:30 mark:

James Jacobs: My goal is for when the edition changes it should be pretty much invisible to anything in-world so like a wizard who is inside of his house doing wizardly stuff and the day before Second Edition lands and the day after he won't notice any difference in how things work. The rules for how his magic works will change but his role in the world won't change.

Stephen Glicker: So he goes to sleep and its First Edition and he wakes up the next day its like oh its Second Edition, my stuff works a little differently but it's pretty much the same.

James Jacobs: Not even that he just wakes up and keeps doing what he's doing. Every story we told in First Edition needs to be something we can tell in Second Edition, and vice versa.

So they say this and give us the PT?

The amount of self-delusion necessary to think this is what they've done is astounding. Maybe it works that way at low levels but certainly not at high levels.


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Freagarthach wrote:


"I've had a couple of players field non-offensive casters* with 16s in their primary stats and they've been fine in low level playtest sessions."

I would question what it means that the players "have been fine" here.

Was it that they were MVP for their party?
Was it that they felt on par with other characters?
Was is not that, but they still felt it was OK regardless because it didn't feel like a big difference between them?
Were they fine because it just means that they were able to survive the low level playtest?

People have different expectations.
One of my players is always happy so long as his character survives, even if he didn't do much in a fight, because he is so much into roleplay that he acts exactly the way he would if he were in his character's shoes and if he were, he would only be concerned with survival.

Me, I would find it unbearable to merely be able to "survive" in a fight. Once again, different expectations.
That's why I'm being cautious with the above statement.

If we assume the player above is in the right then somehow it means my expectations are necessarily wrong and I don't see what makes them less valid than anything else.

Freagarthach wrote:
"Summoning spells are really good and interesting at the mid levels. Specifically, when the druid in my Pale Mountain game dropped a fire mephit between the enemy's front and back lines and it set half of them on fire before soaking up a bunch of attacks and then exploding for even more damage. It was pretty awesome."

This situation worked for the Druid because the DM obviously went after the Fire Mephit. It would not have soaked up any damage otherwise.

I will never go after a summon when there is a bigger threat out there, especially with most of the encounters in DD2. It seems to me that most of them would back off from something that just set them on fire...
Had I been DMing, that Druid player would probably not have felt so epic.

Freagarthach wrote:
"The classes that have magic are still more powerful than the classes that don't."

That doesn't mean much by itself. I assume there is a context for this sentence but right now, I'm left wondering:

How are they more powerful?
Because they have raw power that manifests in HP damage?
Because they inflict better conditions with their spells?
Because their buff spells are necessary?
Because they have more utility outside of combat or more skills?

For me, it's a flat out NO to all of the above so I'm not sure exactly what makes spellcasting classes more powerful.
I don't know what that person meant or what they were referring to with that statement.

Freagarthach wrote:

"Spellcasters can cast two spells in a round pretty regularly. I've already seen it plenty of times in my play test sessions.

Usually, it's combining an attack spell and Shield, or casting a spell and using a power (which is basically a spell in every way except name, and is even cast by using "spell" points), and I expect I'll see plenty of true strike added to spells that require attack rolls. All without any added metamagic or magic item expense."

This one I agree with. Spellcasters can have the ability to cast more than one spell in a round.

It is, however, a very limited selection of spells that can combo in such fashion so I'm not sure it really is a big argument for the flexibility of the action economy of spellcasting classes.

Freagarthach wrote:
"So 1st and 2nd level blast slots are better than they were in PF1 because of how weaknesses work. Odds are you don't have enough cantrips to cover every elemental base, so your low level blasts can help with your coverage like you're playing Pokemon. And that is on top of their other advantages-- AoE, range, persistence, reliability."

I was nodding in partial agreement until I read the word "reliability".

Yeah, just take a look at monsters' saves and tell me about reliability... :/

Freagarthach wrote:
"And to echo something I said on another thread there are a lot of spells that are very good in lower level slots, just not damage spells. True Strike is an amazing buff and Ray of Enfeeblement is a solid debufff, both level 1 spells that don't heighten. Level 2 invisibility and mirror image are both great defensives, and Haste and level 3 Fear are an amazing buff and excellent group debuff respectively (Especially now that Frightened penalizes AC and DCs!)."

This I agree with. First positive comment I'm willing to say "yes, that is right" about it.

See, I can admit that some things work? :P (not meant to be a taunt here, don't take it personally, I'm joking but my tone does not convey past my keyboard)

Freagarthach wrote:
"From my play experience, it seems increasingly clear that, whatever it says on paper, casters only feel a bit weaker at lower levels (first couple parts of Doomsday Dawn). Sure, they may not be gods from level 7+ like in PF1, but they still feel competent and impactful once they get some additional spell slots and higher level spells...Whatever it says on paper, *actual play* does not suggest casters uniformly suck."

So, casters are weaker at low levels and then they just become on par with other classes?

That doesn't seem to support the argument that spellcasting classes are doing fine...
Besides, casters don't uniformly suck, Clerics are borderline OP when built for combat, warpriest-style.

Freagarthach wrote:
"When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them."

Once again, different expectations. My own are not met with the current state of arcane spells and arcane spellcasting and I feel mediocre.

From my own surveys and looking at these boards, I know that I'm clearly not alone in that statement.

The question is, does Paizo even want us for customers?
Maybe they don't, maybe this game was not meant for us and I'm not angry about it.
I'm angry about them not openly stating whether that is a real fact or not.

Time will tell, I guess. Jason Bulmahn said magic surveys would come, latter, after "other things that need to happen first".
I don't find that extremely reassuring but it's not like I can do anything more than I already have about it. :p


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dnoisette wrote:
Freagarthach wrote:


"I've had a couple of players field non-offensive casters* with 16s in their primary stats and they've been fine in low level playtest sessions."
I would question what it means that the players "have been fine" here.

This is a current problem with the playtest, someone says they have a concern/problem with an aspect of the game, and what seems an apologist/defender, drops by and says it's fine. Very illuminating. Like "more tactically interesting", hard to get an answer.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Anguish wrote:
Ronnam wrote:
I wonder if there's a disconnect between the story writers and the rules writers.

I don't think that at all.

I don't think there's anything in any of the APs or modules that's been published that doesn't work with the new rules paradigm.

For instance, just because PC casters have roughly a 50% of wasting their slot and turn by casting a spell doesn't negate published events. Karzoug and friends for instance were clearly the statistical outliers whose dice were always hot, and their foes' were always cold. By definition, the winners are the ones who won.

What you just said is, empirically, wrong. There is no bloody way high level casters from a multitude of modules can work the same way they did before. They just can't.

Without spoiling anything, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of single caster vs. a party fights where the casters start pre-buffed extensively. That just doesn't work anymore, because a party might just as well close the door on said caster for just one minute and they then will have wasted most of their buff spells.

The "one minute to (almost) everything" buff durations just killed that kind of combat, forever. If the nerfs go through in that way. And I don't cope with the idea I've seen other people express in other threads where some enemy casters get super improved versions of some spells, because rare spell list, blablabla. That is just lazy design if that is really an idea (which is complete speculation on some peoples part, to be sure, and I am not accusing the devs of actually contemplating that terrible idea).

The Archive wrote:
Funny you mention WotR, actually. That campaign, following PF2 RAW, can't even get off the ground, let alone to mythic content. The Feather Fall nerf TPKs the PCs in the opening act.

Well, probably the best way to run this campaign, anyway. :p


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
What you just said is, empirically, wrong. There is no bloody way high level casters from a multitude of modules can work the same way they did before. They just can't.

You know I'm one of the disenfranchised. I'm just being fair, instead of trying to twist James' words into something I don't think it is.

Quote:
Without spoiling anything, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of single caster vs. a party fights where the casters start pre-buffed extensively. That just doesn't work anymore, because a party might just as well close the door on said caster for just one minute and they then will have wasted most of their buff spells.

The quotes were about the stories, not about the statblocks. Stories are plots, not mechanics, and I'm pointing out that the plots of the APs can continue.

I don't think the bar for what James is talking about comes down to being mechanically identical how specific combats play out. It's about the idea that the story events of an AP take place.

In this specific case, the encounter in PF2 would involve a caster who doesn't need pre-buffing because a} it's party CR+2 or something, and b} monsters don't follow the rules PCs do. If they want to give a monster a buff that lasts, they can just do that, and it doesn't matter if it makes players feel lame because they can never get that sort of ability, even when they're uber-epic-legendary 20th level.

Quote:
The "one minute to (almost) everything" buff durations just killed that kind of combat, forever. If the nerfs go through in that way. And I don't cope with the idea I've seen other people express in other threads where some enemy casters get super improved versions of some spells, because rare spell list, blablabla. That is just lazy design if that is really an idea (which is complete speculation on some peoples part, to be sure, and I am not accusing the devs of actually contemplating that terrible idea).

I hear and share your pain. I don't like the mechanics involved either. But the specific topic I replied to regards the intent and function of the quotes from James. I don't think he mis-spoke, or that that there's a disconnect between Jason's department and James'. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not assuming James likes or dislikes the new rules... that's out-of-scope.)

I've stopped arguing for rules/style I want because Jason has said that one of their design goals is eliminating what I want. But I'll still post if something like this - unfair analysis of quotes - comes up.

Quote:
Well, probably the best way to run this campaign, anyway. :p

Most fun campaign I ever played. Wouldn't want to do it regularly, but it was a frolic, and has added a bunch of interesting threads to the tapestry of our group campaign canon, that there are these very select heroes out there who casually slapped around some demon lords. But everyone's tastes vary.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Folks, maybe it would be best to ask James Jacobs what he means by his comment? Rather than trying to interpret his remarks as suggesting there is some sort of division or friction within Paizo?

(for what it's worth I think Anguish's interpretation is more correct...not mechanically identical but the same sort of story).


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Anguish wrote:
Stories are plots, not mechanics,

Mechanics can inform story/plot in a game like this. If, suddenly magic (and other things) does not do what it used to do, how does that reconcile with the New World?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Anguish wrote:

The quotes were about the stories, not about the statblocks. Stories are plots, not mechanics, and I'm pointing out that the plots of the APs can continue.

I don't think the bar for what James is talking about comes down to being mechanically identical how specific combats play out. It's about the idea that the story events of an AP take place.

In this specific case, the encounter in PF2 would involve a caster who doesn't need pre-buffing because a} it's party CR+2 or something, and b} monsters don't follow the rules PCs do. If they want to give a monster a buff that lasts, they can just do that, and it doesn't matter if it makes players feel lame because they can never get that sort of ability, even when they're uber-epic-legendary 20th level.

To quote James: "Not even that he just wakes up and keeps doing what he's doing. Every story we told in First Edition needs to be something we can tell in Second Edition, and vice versa. "

You make this comment out to be only about the story, but a story informed by Pathfinders mechanics is a story which involves said mechanics. An evil archwizard who rules his empire through force of his incredible magics needs the mechanical oomph to back him up on that. And PF2E arcane casters don't have that anymore, because of the all-encompassing spell nerfs.

Furthermore, I fundamentally disagree with the design decisions to make NPC casters essentially "monsters", who have mechanically different statblocks than PC casters (and who die immediately at 0 HP by the standard assumptions, lets not forget that). I find that terrible design for class level based opponents, let's leave that to actual monsters.

Anguish wrote:

I hear and share your pain. I don't like the mechanics involved either. But the specific topic I replied to regards the intent and function of the quotes from James. I don't think he mis-spoke, or that that there's a disconnect between Jason's department and James'. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not assuming James likes or dislikes the new rules... that's out-of-scope.)

I've stopped arguing for rules/style I want because Jason has said that one of their design goals is eliminating what I want. But I'll still post if something like this - unfair analysis of quotes - comes up.

I hear you. But I still come away with a different interpretation, because IMO there is a disconnect with what he said and what we actually have.

Anguish wrote:
Most fun campaign I ever played. Wouldn't want to do it regularly, but it was a frolic, and has added a bunch of interesting threads to the tapestry of our group campaign canon, that there are these very select heroes out there who casually slapped around some demon lords. But everyone's tastes vary.

As someone who had to GM this mess, I have to disagree. I already put in nerfs to the mythic rules and my players still slapped Baphomet and Deskari around like they were orphan children. It put a substantial crimp in my enjoyment for many months of GM'ing Pathfinder and I'm happy that I've overcome that feeling by now. Still, I'll never touch a Paizo product anymore where players get mythic tiers (or at least over tier 3).

Vic Ferrari wrote:
Anguish wrote:
Stories are plots, not mechanics,
Mechanics can inform story/plot in a game like this. If, suddenly magic (and other things) does not do what it used to do, how does that reconcile with the New World?

Yeah, that exactly. Teleport is suddenly level six? How does this affect story design. Fly vastly nerfed in duration, speed and it has an increased level? Suddenly existing chasms in old AP's become a much bigger problem. Feather Fall nerfed? Wrath of the Righteous ends during the opening narration with four PC's making "splat" hundreds of feets below.


magnuskn wrote:
Yeah, that exactly. Teleport is suddenly level six? How does this affect story design. Fly vastly nerfed in duration, speed and it has an increased level? Suddenly existing chasms in old AP's become a much bigger problem. Feather Fall nerfed? Wrath of the Righteous ends during the opening narration with four PC's making "splat" hundreds of feets below.

Well, some of it can be hand-waived with narrative obfuscation, but some can't.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
dnoisette wrote:
Freagarthach wrote:


"I've had a couple of players field non-offensive casters* with 16s in their primary stats and they've been fine in low level playtest sessions."
I would question what it means that the players "have been fine" here.
This is a current problem with the playtest, someone says they have a concern/problem with an aspect of the game, and what seems an apologist/defender, drops by and says it's fine. Very illuminating. Like "more tactically interesting", hard to get an answer.

I believe that there are real concerns with casters in the playtest, and that it is necessary to address those concerns to have the best final product.

My favorite parts of PF1 are maximizing the potential of spells like Shadow Form, Holy Word, and the various Polymorphs along with prestige classes like Noble Scion that allow picking up a second powerful caster to play. If those elements got added back into PF2 I would be very pleased.

On the other hand, we have other material right now, and both myself and others are enjoying it, which is valid feedback from experience. As much as we need to listen and respond to negative feedback, we need to do the same with positive. My aim is synthesis (and I loved playing a Synthesist, to add to the "powerful caster things I enjoyed about PF1 that I would personally love to see in PF2").


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Freagarthach wrote:
On the other hand, we have other material right now, and both myself and others are enjoying it, which is valid feedback from experience. As much as we need to listen and respond to negative feedback, we need to do the same with positive. My aim is synthesis (and I loved playing a Synthesist, to add to the "powerful caster things I enjoyed about PF1 that I would personally love to see in PF2").

Yes, there are things I like about the new edition, and things I don't, but this blind-bashing and blind-shilling is irritating.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
Freagarthach wrote:
On the other hand, we have other material right now, and both myself and others are enjoying it, which is valid feedback from experience. As much as we need to listen and respond to negative feedback, we need to do the same with positive. My aim is synthesis (and I loved playing a Synthesist, to add to the "powerful caster things I enjoyed about PF1 that I would personally love to see in PF2").
Yes, there are things I like about the new edition, and things I don't, but this blind-bashing and blind-shilling is irritating.

What are you perceiving to be the motive behind "shilling" for an unfinished and unreleased product?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:

To quote James: "Not even that he just wakes up and keeps doing what he's doing. Every story we told in First Edition needs to be something we can tell in Second Edition, and vice versa. "

You make this comment out to be only about the story, but a story informed by Pathfinders mechanics is a story which involves said mechanics.

The comment literally is only about the story. <Grin>

Look, I'm going to bow out again because I've said everything productive I have to say on the topic and I don't want to invoke a thread-lock. Suffice it to say I agree with the sentiment of your position, and the reasons behind it. It's only the specifics of James' statement where we disagree. That's not argument, I'm just trying to define the scope of where I'm coming from, because other than this, you and I are on fundamentally equally-screwed pages.


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i dunno, it's fun watching you guys agree with each other so aggressively.

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