Regarding the "Coin Flip Problem"

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So I've seen quite a few people complain about the same level coin flip problem. That you generally only have a 50% chance to succeed against same level enemies or hazards. For the life of me I just didn't see how this was a bad thing. Being able to hit 5/10 times against something that is a threat (even a trivial one) to a party of 4 isn't a bad thing. Yet people still say it's a major problem that needs fixing. Well I decided to take a look at the Doomsday Dawn Adventures and see just how many times you'd actually be at a coin flip or less. The results may shock you lol.

I put the results in spoilers in case people don't want to see what type of threats they are facing.

A Lost Star (Level 1 Party):

Lvl 0 - 20
Lvl 1 - 7
Lvl 2 - 1
Lvl 3 - 1

20 Below level and 9 at or above level

In Pale Mountain's Shadow (Level 4 Party):

Lvl 1 - 2
Lvl 2 - 7
Lvl 3 - 12
Lvl 4 - 2
Lvl 5 - 3
Lvl 6 - 1
21 below level and 6 at or above level

Affair at Somberfell Hall (Level 7 Party):

Lvl 0 - 6
Lvl 3 - 9
Lvl 4 - 8
Lvl 5 - 1
Lvl 7 - 2
Lvl 9 - 1
24 below level and 3 at or above level

The Mirrored Moon (Level 9 Party):

Lvl 4 - 1
Lvl 5 - 6
Lvl 6 - 11
Lvl 7 - 1
Lvl 8 - 9
Lvl 9 - 3
Lvl 10 - 3
Lvl 12 - 1
Lvl 21 - 1
28 below level and 8 at or above level

So what do these findings prove? Well I think it shows that your chances of the Coin Flip are VERY unlikely if your GM designs his game world around what's happening and not simply what level you are. The amount of times you face threats that are lower level than you is overwhelming. Which means in running the game the way its SUPPOSED to be run the coin flip (or less) will only come up in the dire circumstances where you're facing hard odds. Which makes getting in that 50% range all that more satisfying I think.

I also believe that this comes from a problem that encounters seem to be designed a little differently than the previous edition and nobody was told so. Before a solo monster of your level was a joke. A single well made character had pretty good chances of taking it down solo, so that means even though it said CL 14 and your parties APL was 14 that doesn't actually mean it was a threat to your party. Now a CL 14 monster or Hazard is actually a problem for a GROUP of adventures but still something that can be overcome. That's a very different mentality on how the party tackles encounters and I think the data from the Doomsday Dawn Adventures support that.

The "coin-flip" thing isn't even accurate in the first place.

Unassisted accuracy vs. equal level enemies:

A well-optimized Fighter has 60-65% chance to hit an equal level enemy (60% at higher levels, given a +35 to hit maximum), so let's look at what that means for other classes:

Rangers and Paladins get Master proficiency with weapons, putting them at 55% to hit equal level enemies. They have a max +34 to hit.

Rogues and Barbarians have a 50% chance to hit equal level enemies. They have a max +33 to hit.

Casters are a weird case. Their to hit bonus with weapons is obviously much worse than martial classes, but their to hit with spells is +32 max (23 proficiency + 5 stat mod + 4 item) vs. TAC, which is normally lower than AC. This means they have a variable hit chance, depending on how high the enemy TAC is. This can vary between 50-65%, putting them on average at the level of Rangers and Paladins.

Where casters suffer is from their spell save DCs. Not only are there few ways to bump save DCs (no item bonus to this, and other bonuses only go up to +2), there is an inherent advantage given to the enemy when it rolls to save vs. your spells. This means their accuracy with spells that require saves are actually lower (30-50% depending on the save). This creates a feeling of frustration for players who enjoy spellcasters, and I imagine a lot of the complaints come from those players.

Remedies to the problem in actual play:

However, these chances, even for spells that require saves, can be improved.

Flat-footed is a common condition that gives a -2 penalty to enemy AC. For someone who used to hit 50% of the time, this ups their accuracy to 60%, or a 20% increase in accuracy.

There are also buff spells like Bluff and Heroism that increase your chance to hit, making even fights against equal level enemies much easier.

For Spells that require saves, a common condition in Frightened lowers the enemy's save, and can be applied judiciously by many classes. Barbs, Rogues, Bards all get easy access to Demoralize, and the Bard can auto-frighten people with Dirge of Doom.

Game design factor:

The game is not designed around parties facing equal level threats being the norm.

As the OP pointed out, PCs will regularly face lower level enemies, and equal or higher level foes are reserved for boss fights. This factor contributes toward the PCs' accuracy in actual gameplay being better than one might expect from just comparing to equal level opponents.

Caveats:

One disclaimer I must state now is that these stats assume a well-optimized PC, aka one that starts with the best score possible in their key stat (18), increases it every time with ability boosts, invests in a potent item at the appropriate level (level 14), and possesses appropriate gear for their level.

A PC who completely dumped their attack stat would of course have a minuscule chance to hit, but even a decently optimized PC (raises their key stat to 20 and stops there) would be able to contribute in battles, seeing as they will be facing lower level foes most of the time, and they can benefit from buffs on themselves and conditions on the enemy.

Conclusion:

Given all the facts outlined above, I believe the "coin flip problem" to be hyperbole, though I do acknowledge that fighting enemies that are 2-3 levels above the party does not feel good due to the lower accuracy.

Rameth wrote:
I also believe that this comes from a problem that encounters seem to be designed a little differently than the previous edition and nobody was told so.

The Bestiary clearly states that encounter design is different and that players fighting a single monster of APL is a standard to low level boss challenge.

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Pramxnim wrote:

Remedies to the problem in actual play:

However, these chances, even for spells that require saves, can be improved.

Flat-footed is a common condition that gives a -2 penalty to enemy AC. For someone who used to hit 50% of the time, this ups their accuracy to 60%, or a 20% increase in accuracy.

There are also buff spells like Bluff and Heroism that increase your chance to hit, making even fights against equal level enemies much easier.

For Spells that require saves, a common condition in Frightened lowers the enemy's save, and can be applied judiciously...

The fact that situational buffs exist does not imply that a base 50% chance is good. Flat footed requires another person in the right position, which is not possible on all battlefields or with all parties. Buff spells require someone to be playing someone who hands out buff spells as well as them spending a limited resource to do it. And frightened only applies to enemies that can be frightened.

On top of that, all those "remedies" require the spending of actions in combat to use.

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neaven wrote:

The fact that situational buffs exist does not imply that a base 50% chance is good. Flat footed requires another person in the right position, which is not possible on all battlefields or with all parties. Buff spells require someone to be playing someone who hands out buff spells as well as them spending a limited resource to do it. And frightened only applies to enemies that can be frightened.

On top of that, all those "remedies" require the spending of actions in combat to use.

Like I said, the "base 50%" thing is inaccurate because you're mostly going to be fighting lower level monsters instead of multiple monsters of equal level.

Fighting a single monster of equal level is considered a boss fight, and in those, it's fairly trivial to get flanking. Flat-footed is also one of the most common conditions out there, and PCs can hand them out like candy. If you're ganging up on a boss, then it's almost guaranteed that it will be flat-footed.

Most monsters are susceptible to Frightened. Even Zombies are not immune to fear. Even super high level monsters like the Devastator are not immune to fear. Frightened is one of the most reliable conditions out there.

Yes, these conditions require actions to use. That's what actions are for. Would you rather spend an action to get in position and flank, apply a frightened condition and help out your Wizard buddy, or swing a 3rd time and pray for a 5% crit?

EDIT: I scoured the bestiary and was able to find 1 creature that's immune to fear: the Wendigo, an uncommon level 17 monster. There may be 1 or 2 more, but the majority are susceptible to being frightened.

I more meant enemies that are successfully frightened - outside of Dirge of Doom it's not like it's a guarantee to work. On rereading though, I definitely think it comes across more as you read it, so that's totally fair. Sorry for being unclear!

As for flanking, it requires two melee characters in a party - something that is not guaranteed to happen at all. If you're a paladin, and there's a bow fighter, a wizard and a cleric, you're out of luck for flanking unless you want the squishies to wade in.

In my opinion, if a buff is situational it shouldn't be mandatory to get decent accuracy, and if it's mandatory to get decent accuracy it shouldn't be situational. Same reason that a cleric shouldn't be the only viable source of healing, as not every party will have someone who wants to play a cleric.

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Flanking is not the only way to apply Flat-footed though, and applying the condition is not as situational as you think it is.

My point is that it's not mandatory to apply buffs to get decent accuracy for most of your encounters, since they will be against lower level foes, and you'll automatically have good accuracy there because of level scaling.

For the one or two big boss fights against an equal or higher level opponent, it makes sense that you need to work a bit harder to get good accuracy. If you can auto-hit the big black dragon, there's no challenge there.

I'll also amend my claim that most things are not immune to fear. Tucked away in the appendices is the statement that fear effects are also mental and emotion effects, meaning all mindless monsters (such as Golems and Oozes) are immune to fear by virtue of being immune to mental effects.

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Looks like they want combat to last for more rounds, more HP too.

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Zombies, being mindless, are immune to fear the same way golems and oozes are. I expect most enemies in most games won't be mindless though. Frightened is a useful debuff though it's almost never more than a -2 conditional penalty, and flat-footed for the -2 circumstance penalty (to AC only) and dazzled/concealed for a 20% miss chance cover about all the debuffs you can apply.

I'm not too bothered by a ~50% hit chance on its own though it makes that 3rd attack fairly pointless. The problem comes when you've got spells which only really work on a critical failure on saves. When the enemy has a 50% chance of making the save, the chance of a critical failure is just 5%. This is more a problem with over-nerfed spells though.

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Pramxnim wrote:

The "coin-flip" thing isn't even accurate in the first place.

A well-optimized Fighter has 60-65% chance to hit an equal level enemy (60% at higher levels, given a +35 to hit maximum), so let's look at what that means for other classes:

Rangers and Paladins get Master proficiency with weapons, putting them at 55% to hit equal level enemies. They have a max +34 to hit.

Rogues and Barbarians have a 50% chance to hit equal level enemies. They have a max +33 to hit.

One of those is a coin flip, one of those is virtually a coin flip, and all three of them require being well-optimized, which is a flat out wrong assumption to make across the entire playerbase.

As soon as someone isn't optimized, two of those three will quickly go below a coin flip. And that's assuming enemies never use buffs or debuffs themselves to further tilt the odds.

Quote:

Casters are a weird case. Their to hit bonus with weapons is obviously much worse than martial classes, but their to hit with spells is +32 max (23 proficiency + 5 stat mod + 4 item) vs. TAC, which is normally lower than AC. This means they have a variable hit chance, depending on how high the enemy TAC is. This can vary between 50-65%, putting them on average at the level of Rangers and Paladins.

Where casters suffer is from their spell save DCs. Not only are there few ways to bump save DCs (no item bonus to this, and other bonuses only go up to +2), there is an inherent advantage given to the enemy when it rolls to save vs. your spells. This means their accuracy with spells that require saves are actually lower (30-50% depending on the save). This creates a feeling of frustration for players who enjoy spellcasters, and I imagine a lot of the complaints come from those players.

Yes. Casters also can only do this stuff a limited number of times a day. When half of them miss and more than half are making saves, it gets pretty frustrating because you find half of your very limited spell selection just winds up not doing much of anything, and now you're down to cantrips, which feel about as strong as throwing dice at the enemies.

And god forbid you aren't optimized, because at that point critical successes on saves become far more likely than they should be.

Compare that to buffs or healing, which always work, help improve people who are already likely better off hitting things, and generally make you pretty popular at the table. Part of why Clerics feel so good right now is that Heal actually works reliably (unlike most of my offensive spells).

There's a real problem here. Even if the math says that when you fully optimize you can get up to 60% or whatever, that's requring something that many players either won't or don't know how to do. For those people, the odds are worse. Enemies using buffs and debuffs make the odds worse. Players not having the gear they need at a certain level make the odds worse. The odds are titled far enough that making them worse just contributes more to the feeling that the PCs are weak bumbling oafs instead of heroic adventurers.

Even if the math said everything is fine (which it doesn't), the amount of people saying it feels bad is something that can't be ignored. If it doesn't feel fun and good when you play it, nothing else really matters.

Based off the XP, for a 4-person party an extreme-threat encounter (160XP) would be 4 same level monsters (40XP each).

PF2 playtest bestiary wrote:

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 endof-campaign encounter, or for a group of veteran players with powerful character teamwork.

If each player has approx 50% odds against a monster, and there are four monsters and four players, then you'd expect the encounter to be roughly 50% odds. In practice of course it's going to be a little different as each side uses teamwork, the action economy, or whatever.

Personally I think that, for attack rolls at least, 50% on the first hit, 25% on the second, and 5% on the third for a same level challenge sounds like the right number -two attacks gives you a (1-0.5*0.75)*100% % chance of hitting, which sounds pretty good to me. I'll admit that it is potentially more of a problem with 2 action attack roll spells that miss on a fail.

I have less strong opinions on skill DCs etc. here, but I think attack rolls seem good.

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Elleth wrote:
Personally I think that, for attack rolls at least, 50% on the first hit, 25% on the second, and 5% on the third for a same level challenge sounds like the right number -two attacks gives you a (1-0.5*0.75)*100% % chance of hitting, which sounds pretty good to me. I'll admit that it is potentially more of a problem with 2 action attack roll spells that miss on a fail.

With three attacks at 50%/25%/5% hit chance, your odds of missing all three are 35.625%. That sounds good to you? It sounds awful to me. More than one third of the time, you will fail with all three attacks. And this is a well optimized character. Someone not as good at it might as well not bother.

If you apply these odds to something that can critically fail, you would never take that third attempt at all and might not take the second one either.

I don't think critical fail is a thing on attack rolls.

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Tridus wrote:
Elleth wrote:
Personally I think that, for attack rolls at least, 50% on the first hit, 25% on the second, and 5% on the third for a same level challenge sounds like the right number -two attacks gives you a (1-0.5*0.75)*100% % chance of hitting, which sounds pretty good to me. I'll admit that it is potentially more of a problem with 2 action attack roll spells that miss on a fail.

With three attacks at 50%/25%/5% hit chance, your odds of missing all three are 35.625%. That sounds good to you? It sounds awful to me. More than one third of the time, you will fail with all three attacks. And this is a well optimized character. Someone not as good at it might as well not bother.

If you apply these odds to something that can critically fail, you would never take that third attempt at all and might not take the second one either.

Frankly if you're fighting an on par creature in a highly dangerous fight that could go either way, that final hit should probably be used on trying to hit a minion, do something else like ready a shield or, if you think you can get away with it, move to lure the monster to a new position. This is for a do or die fight so yeah, I'm probably fine with it. If it isn't a do or die fight, you've probably got a large portion of the party trying to bully the big monster anyway after mopping up the weaklings. So yeah, I'd probably be fine with it -lower ac and more hp to make the challenge the same would probably sit worse with me as a regular thing.

Edit: As specified, I care less about how the skill roll etc fulcrum gets shifted.

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Something that I would like clarified is regarding spells. My understanding is that attacking with a spell (like a touch spell or a ray) requires using Dexterity, not the Caster stat of the item. Is this not true? If it is true, then the likelihood of casters doing stuff offensively just went down.

As for the base '50%' chance to hit, if Paizo were to stay with the coinflip--and I am not necessarily disagreeing with the OP when they say it is better--then they need to simply scrap the Multiple Attack Penalty. 5E works quite well without it, IMO.

If you can flip a coin and reliably reproduce the hit rate of a character rolling a d20... why are you rolling a d20? A d2 works just as well.

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NemisCassander wrote:

Something that I would like clarified is regarding spells. My understanding is that attacking with a spell (like a touch spell or a ray) requires using Dexterity, not the Caster stat of the item. Is this not true? If it is true, then the likelihood of casters doing stuff offensively just went down.

As for the base '50%' chance to hit, if Paizo were to stay with the coinflip--and I am not necessarily disagreeing with the OP when they say it is better--then they need to simply scrap the Multiple Attack Penalty. 5E works quite well without it, IMO.

If you can flip a coin and reliably reproduce the hit rate of a character rolling a d20... why are you rolling a d20? A d2 works just as well.

• They do indeed use Dex.
• I believe melee spell touch attacks are finesse so dex or str.
• While I wouldn't necessarily object to a reduction of MAP, I think I prefer it being in the game in some form. I'm just wary about full attack becoming the optimal combat move tbh, while right now players will attack if desperate, but often try and work out something else to do (e.g. shield raise, a step, or a rogue feinting before one of their attacks to pull off a sneak attack). Hard choices and all that.
• The "coin flip" as mentioned only applies against an even leveled target, and it can still easily vary by 5% either way depending on the exact situation. Lower levelled enemies very much aren't usually a coin flip, and neither are higher levelled -you can pulp a goblin pretty easy, but a dragon is gonna kick you across the room and probably crit.

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Elleth wrote:

Personally I think that, for attack rolls at least, 50% on the first hit, 25% on the second, and 5% on the third for a same level challenge sounds like the right number -two attacks gives you a (1-0.5*0.75)*100% % chance of hitting, which sounds pretty good to me. I'll admit that it is potentially more of a problem with 2 action attack roll spells that miss on a fail.

I have less strong opinions on skill DCs etc. here, but I think attack rolls seem good.

I think 50/25/5 is fine for low levels. But in my opinion, by level 5-7 it should be more like 75/50/25.

Yes, I think that by level 5ish the first attack of an optimized attacker should only miss on a 5 or lower and I think the second attack should only crit fail on a 1 (I know there are no crit fails for attacks, but in principle) against most enemies, only the enemies that are actually higher level should the fail rate be as high as 50/25/5. I am ok with there being no advancement on to-hit rate past that, barring teammate buffs and special circumstances (which does mean that with allies helping and getting favorable buff/debuff the rate could be 95/75/50)..

On Skills, if someone focuses on a skill, I still don't see why, outside of combat, most tasks involving that skill are not just auto-succeed by level 7. Only the extremely hard uses of a skill should be something that requires rolling and even then only if there is a tight time constraint or noticeable penalty for failure.

Conversely, if you have spent no resources on a skill, I believe you should fail all but the most trivial of tasks and in most cases not even bother trying.

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StratoNexus wrote:
Elleth wrote:

Personally I think that, for attack rolls at least, 50% on the first hit, 25% on the second, and 5% on the third for a same level challenge sounds like the right number -two attacks gives you a (1-0.5*0.75)*100% % chance of hitting, which sounds pretty good to me. I'll admit that it is potentially more of a problem with 2 action attack roll spells that miss on a fail.

I have less strong opinions on skill DCs etc. here, but I think attack rolls seem good.

I think 50/25/5 is fine for low levels. But in my opinion, by level 5-7 it should be more like 75/50/25.

Yes, I think that by level 5ish the first attack of an optimized attacker should only miss on a 5 or lower and I think the second attack should only crit fail on a 1 (I know there are no crit fails for attacks, but in principle) against most enemies, only the enemies that are actually higher level should the fail rate be as high as 50/25/5. I am ok with there being no advancement on to-hit rate past that, barring teammate buffs and special circumstances (which does mean that with allies helping and getting favorable buff/debuff the rate could be 95/75/50)..

On Skills, if someone focuses on a skill, I still don't see why, outside of combat, most tasks involving that skill are not just auto-succeed by level 7. Only the extremely hard uses of a skill should be something that requires rolling and even then only if there is a tight time constraint or noticeable penalty for failure.

Conversely, if you have spent no resources on a skill, I believe you should fail all but the most trivial of tasks and in most cases not even bother trying.

This is precisely my issue with the bounded accuracy, which PF2 seems to have across characters of the same level. It makes it very difficult for characters of similar level to be radically different in their capabilites, and I think that's a negative - why should the untrained be so close to the legendary if their stats and level are the same?

This would be ameliorated somewhat if some of the skill feats were folded into the proficiency system, however, as that would mean proficiency will always automatically provide more uses at every point.

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Azih wrote:
I don't think critical fail is a thing on attack rolls.

Well, as they are embracing the critical/fumble thing, which I thought was a thing of the past (potential for too much spike damage, or potentially dealing less damage, etc), they might as well go whole-hog, and get all Arduin Grimoire; results like accidental tearing off your own buttocks, and so forth, that game did critical and fumbles, the best.

neaven wrote:
This is precisely my issue with the bounded accuracy, which PF2 seems to have across characters of the same level.

Yes, at the same time you have number inflation (+level, another idea that has been less than successful in the past), the numbers between characters of the same level are tight, a tad homogenous, in some cases, maybe.

neaven wrote:
This is precisely my issue with the bounded accuracy, which PF2 seems to have across characters of the same level. It makes it very difficult for characters of similar level to be radically different in their capabilites, and I think that's a negative - why should the untrained be so close to the legendary if their stats and level are the same?

I honestly do not have an issue with the fact that a wizard with their staff can hit an enemy at a 55/30/5 rate and the fighter with their axe is at 80/55/30. I think that is enough separation, especially when you take into account the fighter will do noticeably more damage and likely be in less danger and has other nifty abilities that make melee range useful (but a wizard who focuses on melee should likely only be 5 to 10 percent lower than the fighter on to-hit and only modestly lower on damage, although should still lack a lot of the cool melee things a fighter can have).

Radically different to-hit outcomes , in my opinion should not be the norm. After all a person who hits 80% of the time is still hitting ~50% more often than the person who hits 55% of the time.

Every point of diffrence in 2e is equivalent to two points in 1e since in 2e it gets you a 5% better chance to succeed AND to critically succeed while in 1e it was only a flat success.

So the spread between Untrained and Legendary is really the equivalent of a +12 in 1e. That's pretty good!

I like number inflation as that is what allows midlevel heroes to plow through lower level monsters and to be terrified of high level monsters and that's a fun time for everyone.

Azih wrote:

Every point of diffrence in 2e is equivalent to two points in 1e since in 2e it gets you a 5% better chance to succeed AND to critically succeed while in 1e it was only a flat success.

So the spread between Untrained and Legendary is really the equivalent of a +12 in 1e. That's pretty good!

That's not necessarily true though. If getting a critical success has a benefit that is double or more that of getting a regular success, then perhaps, but in terms of the difference between succeeding at all or not succeeding at all the spread is the same as it always was.

Well for attack rolls and the most typical spell damage rolls the critical benefit is exactly that. Double damage.

Plus a lot of the more awesome abilities in 2e are gated not behind numbers but feats and gear. So sure a wizard is getting decent at swinging a staff around and actually hitting but the fighter has invested in a magic sword with EXTRA damage die AND critting more often and is getting the benefits of not only double damage but also the critical specialization effect on each crit. I think it starts to feel pretty significant.

Azih wrote:

Well for attack rolls and the most typical spell damage rolls the critical benefit is exactly that. Double damage.

Plus a lot of the more awesome abilities in 2e are gated not behind numbers but feats and gear.

Yeah, that is a problem for me, relying on weapon damage scaling coming from your magic weapon is not something I enjoy, for a variety of reasons. A 20th-level Fighter should not lose an extra 5 dice of weapon damage because he is temporarily without his +5 weapon, that is way too severe.

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Personally, I think you're looking at it the wrong way.

The problem with the design around the "coin flip" problem is that there isn't as much room for improvement at something as there was in PF1. This is me speaking for myself, of course, but being able to reach outrageous numbers for my character's specialty was something I really enjoyed.

When I have the character concept of a rogue who's an expert at sneaking or an occultist who's an expert at activating magic items, 50% as a success rate just won't cut it. These are characters who are supposedly well on their way to mastering their craft - and a random enemy has a good chance at besting them because they're the same or slightly higher level?

Because, sure, I can be, say, an Expert at the skill I'm "optimizing" - I might even have an item to give me a small bonus (+2 at level 7). In the context of a d20 and your level at the time you get there, that's not much.

And, I know the counter-argument could be that you want some chance in your TTRPG - that's the whole point of having dice. And yes, I agree, but sometimes you want the option to beat the odds, to make a character that doesn't fail at what they've dedicated their life to.

A lot of people in this thread are misunderstanding the premise of the OP. The point is you are mostly going to fight enemies of lower level.

Fighting an enemy of equal or higher level is the exception, not the norm. If you still want to have higher accuracy in these fights, you have to work for it.

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neaven wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:

Remedies to the problem in actual play:

However, these chances, even for spells that require saves, can be improved.

Flat-footed is a common condition that gives a -2 penalty to enemy AC. For someone who used to hit 50% of the time, this ups their accuracy to 60%, or a 20% increase in accuracy.

There are also buff spells like Bluff and Heroism that increase your chance to hit, making even fights against equal level enemies much easier.

For Spells that require saves, a common condition in Frightened lowers the enemy's save, and can be applied judiciously...

The fact that situational buffs exist does not imply that a base 50% chance is good. Flat footed requires another person in the right position, which is not possible on all battlefields or with all parties. Buff spells require someone to be playing someone who hands out buff spells as well as them spending a limited resource to do it. And frightened only applies to enemies that can be frightened.

On top of that, all those "remedies" require the spending of actions in combat to use.

Not "remedies" - design. Part of the idea is to encourage you to do stuff other than "hit it, hit it to death". That is one of the reasons for the multi attack penalty - they want that third attack to look unattractive and for you to do something else to impact the battle - even if it's to move into a better position (which the lack of AoO encourages too) - make things a little more dynamic.

Whether it succeeds at that...?

Azih wrote:
Every point of diffrence in 2e is equivalent to two points in 1e since in 2e it gets you a 5% better chance to succeed AND to critically succeed while in 1e it was only a flat success.

This isn't often true. A +1 only gives a crit increase if you'd crit on a 20 naturally without the auto crit rules. This means that it reasonably never applies a crit bonus to your second or third attack. Also it often doesn't apply to your first attack either. A cleric with a + 9 to hit against AC 20 needs +2 before he starts to see a crit increase, a single +1 doesn't.

Axelwarrior: I think they very very deliberately are moving away from the monstrous stacking magnificence that is Pathfinder 1e where the things you describe are possible. It's just a different game.

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As one of the people complaining about this (in some areas anyway), I'd like to clarify a few things about my own position:

#1: I actually agree that combat accuracy for PCs is fine. It's one of the main areas that this is just not a problem in. I'm much more concerned with skills and saves (and AC, to a lesser degree).

#2: Bearing that in mind, you need to consider Skill DCs as well as monsters, though in fairness the Skill DCs are mostly not all that bad in the adventure.

#3: The issue with only having a coin flip (or very slightly better) against equal level creatures does actually also usually apply to creatures one level lower if you aren't completely optimized in the specific thing in question (and you only can be optimized in a very few things, especially in terms of skills). Including those makes for 29/0, 18/9, 3/24 (in a weird anomaly), and 17/19 creatures where you might run into this. Which doesn't look as good as the numbers cited above.

#4: Even if you almost never ran into creatures of your own level or above, there's still an issue with this, since PCs are often actually at worse than 50% odds vs. monsters (due to lacking skill items), but we've been specifically told you can use PC creation rules to create on-level NPCs as adversaries. The game is predicated on a PC being an equal threat to an on-level monster...but they kinda aren't in some ways, so that's an issue.

#5: Finally, and most importantly, it feels bad. Having the objective measure of power in the game (Level) measure monsters as better than PCs of the same level really feels bad for a lot of people, and is thus a good thing to avoid.

Azih wrote:
Axelwarrior: I think they very very deliberately are moving away from the monstrous stacking magnificence that is Pathfinder 1e where the things you describe are possible. It's just a different game.

And thank god they are. What was the point of getting ridiculous numbers if all the end result was that you auto succeed at stuff... That dones't sound very fun.

#5: Finally, and most importantly, it feels bad. Having the objective measure of power in the game (Level) measure monsters as better than PCs of the same level really feels bad for a lot of people, and is thus a good thing to avoid.

As a player though you shouldn't know what a creature's level is... So wouldn't this be a moot point? If you're having trouble hitting a creature you're not going to start thinking "Man this creature is probably exactly my level which is dumb because I can't hit him!". You'll probably be just thinking "Man this creature is tough!".

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Dire Ursus wrote:

#5: Finally, and most importantly, it feels bad. Having the objective measure of power in the game (Level) measure monsters as better than PCs of the same level really feels bad for a lot of people, and is thus a good thing to avoid.

As a player though you shouldn't know what a creature's level is... So wouldn't this be a moot point? If you're having trouble hitting a creature you're not going to start thinking "Man this creature is probably exactly my level which is dumb because I can't hit him!". You'll probably be just thinking "Man this creature is tough!".

This sort of assumes players never read a single Bestiary. Which is pretty clearly untrue in the vast majority of cases IME. It also assumes players can't tell the level of opponents from a story perspective (which they often can).

Really, it assumes a level of ignorance from players that is atypical and unsustainable.

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Azih wrote:
Axelwarrior: I think they very very deliberately are moving away from the monstrous stacking magnificence that is Pathfinder 1e where the things you describe are possible. It's just a different game.

That does seem to be the case, yes - I'm only doing my best to try and persuade them otherwise, as I am doing for other things I dislike in this playtest.

@Dire Ursus - if you do not find it fun to be skillful in PF1, you can still play a fighter with barely any skill ranks. If you don't like auto-succeeding, you can opt not to pick up Skill Focus, or that Cloak of Elvenkind. But the option is there for those that do. Your fun doesn't have to be lessened by my fun. That's what's good about that system.

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Dire Ursus wrote:

#5: Finally, and most importantly, it feels bad. Having the objective measure of power in the game (Level) measure monsters as better than PCs of the same level really feels bad for a lot of people, and is thus a good thing to avoid.

As a player though you shouldn't know what a creature's level is... So wouldn't this be a moot point? If you're having trouble hitting a creature you're not going to start thinking "Man this creature is probably exactly my level which is dumb because I can't hit him!". You'll probably be just thinking "Man this creature is tough!".

And then you optimize for sneaking,the DM continually uses on-level encounters and you are like: "My super sneaky guy must not be very sneaky at all in this setting!"

Maybe it just requires us rethinking what a creature of “equal level” actually means? When CRs were first introduced in D&D 3.0, it was uncommon that you were supposed to face more than one creature equal to your APL at a time. However, with the power spike in Pathfinder PCs over 3.x PCs, this became. Ugh more common, to the point that our DMs in our Pathifnder games were having to use lost point buys and more restrictions on third party material to give us a challenge, and to keep from modifying the adventures all the time. As long as the guidelines are clear (and I think they could be better detailed) then I don’t care what creature level an “average” is supposed to be.

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Azih wrote:
Every point of diffrence in 2e is equivalent to two points in 1e since in 2e it gets you a 5% better chance to succeed AND to critically succeed while in 1e it was only a flat success.

I've seen this notion bandied about a few times now and it's a gross misrepresentation of the actual math.

First off, a +1 to any d20 is an absolute increase of 5%. In other words, for every +1 you have a on a d20 roll, you'll hit or exceed the target number by 1 chance in 20. If you need to roll a 20 to hit. You're hitting 5% of your attacks. If you get +1, now your hitting on a 19 or 20 and that is 10% of your attacks. This is exactly how it worked in P1 and exactly how it works in P2.

The second part of your statement is based on Paizo's PR campaign on how great is to get a +1 because now its increasing your crit rate and we're giving out fewer stacking bonuses. Guess what that +1 increases your crit rate by on average? a maximum of 5%, and that's ONLY if you can actually hit +10. That's important because at least at low levels, it's often impossible to hit +10 on 2nd and 3rd attacks.

What this means is the +1 in P2 is doing exactly the same as it was in P1 with the exception that less than 5% of your total rolls, you're getting an additional crit. The reason why it's always less than 5% on the crit is because some percentage of your attacks will not be able to crit at all, either you can't hit +10 or the creature is immune.

Someone pointed out in another thread that in P1, your +1 actually helped with Crit confirmation on a natural 20. So in P1 when you roll a 20, that +1 is actually increasing your odds of criting versus someone who does not have a +1. This further reduces the value of a +1 in P2 compared with P1.

The value of a +1 has been oversold by Paizo prior to the playtest and the forum community bought into it prior to actually playing the game. Now, it's being parroted, without people actually evaluating the difference.

Vic Ferrari wrote:
Yeah, that is a problem for me, relying on weapon damage scaling coming from your magic weapon is not something I enjoy, for a variety of reasons. A 20th-level Fighter should not lose an extra 5 dice of weapon damage because he is temporarily without his +5 weapon, that is way too severe.

I have noticed this too. A huge consequence of this is that at higher levels, ranged attackers will find themselves disincentivized to engage in melee and vice versa, once they have a +1 or greater on their primary weapon. This is essentially a donkey punch to the switch-hitters.

I imagine this will impact TWF as well. If I have a +2 weapon in one hand and mundane agile weapon in the other, I'm thinking the expected damage is higher if I just use the +2 weapon twice. A third damage die increases my damage by 200%. A +2 modifier only increases by damage by 10% and that's with a smaller base damage die. Yes, there is some crit add on with lower penalty agile weapon, but both weapons will crit on a 20 and in that case the +2 weapon is far better.

I'll be interested to see some player feedback on TWF on level 15 games and up.

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N N 959 wrote:

I imagine this will impact TWF as well. If I have a +2 weapon in one hand and mundane agile weapon in the other, I'm thinking the expected damage is higher if I just use the +2 weapon twice. A third damage die increases my damage by 200%. A +2 modifier only increases by damage by 10% and that's with a smaller base damage die. Yes, there is some crit add on with lower penalty agile weapon, but both weapons will crit on a 20 and in that case the +2 weapon is far better.

I'll be interested to see some player feedback on TWF on level 15 games and up.

I also dislike the fact that potency runes force you to stick with 1 weapon, and if you lose your shiny magic weapon, you become temporarily ineffective because of the large bonuses it gives.

A silver lining here is, TWF doesn't suffer from this issue as much as Ranged Weapons, thanks to a nifty level 3 item called Doubling Rings. DRings copies the Potency rune (and later property runes) from a weapon in 1 hand to another.

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N N 959 wrote:
I imagine this will impact TWF as well. If I have a +2 weapon in one hand and mundane agile weapon in the other, I'm thinking the expected damage is higher if I just use the +2 weapon twice.

While it doesn't help switch hitters at all (unless they're doing something weird with thrown weapons), the 3rd level Item 'Doubling Rings' solves this entirely for TWF people, since it duplicates your Potency over onto your secondary weapon. You do need to purchase a high enough quality weapon (so you'll eventually need a Legendary mundane weapon for your off hand), but it's pretty affordable.

EDIT: Ninja'd. Ah, well.

Pramxnim wrote:
A silver lining here is, TWF doesn't suffer from this issue as much as Ranged Weapons, thanks to a nifty level 3 item called Doubling Rings. DRings copies the Potency rune (and later property runes) from a weapon in 1 hand to another.

You're right. Doubling rings mean you don't suffer "as much" but it looks like it starts to become cost prohibitive to keep up weapon quality on two weapons when you can just increase one weapon's runes and properties and use it twice.

Also, what happens to Fighters using a shield as a second weapon? Doubling rings work on shields?

EDIT: I find it funny that Paizo simply invented a magic item to support a mechanic.

N N 959 wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:
A silver lining here is, TWF doesn't suffer from this issue as much as Ranged Weapons, thanks to a nifty level 3 item called Doubling Rings. DRings copies the Potency rune (and later property runes) from a weapon in 1 hand to another.

You're right. Doubling rings mean you don't suffer "as much" but it looks like it starts to become cost prohibitive to keep up weapon quality on two weapons when you can just increase one weapon's runes and properties and use it twice.

Also, what happens to Fighters using a shield as a second weapon? Doubling rings work on shields?

EDIT: I find it funny that Paizo simply invented a magic item to support a mechanic.

If you use a shield as a weapon, you're actually using either Shield Spikes or Shield Boss, and those are martial weapons that can be enchanted.

An Expert Weapon is 35gp, about equal to a level 3 item.
A Master Weapon is 360gp, about equal to a level 7 item.
A Legendary Weapon is 6500gp, about equal to a level 15 item.

You need a Master weapon by level 12 when you get +3 Potency runes.
You need a Legendary weapon by level 20 when you ge +5 Potency runes.

They're much lower level items, meaning they won't even make a dent in your wealth at those levels.

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N N 959 wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:
A silver lining here is, TWF doesn't suffer from this issue as much as Ranged Weapons, thanks to a nifty level 3 item called Doubling Rings. DRings copies the Potency rune (and later property runes) from a weapon in 1 hand to another.

You're right. Doubling rings mean you don't suffer "as much" but it looks like it starts to become cost prohibitive to keep up weapon quality on two weapons when you can just increase one weapon's runes and properties and use it twice.

Also, what happens to Fighters using a shield as a second weapon? Doubling rings work on shields?

EDIT: I find it funny that Paizo simply invented a magic item to support a mechanic.

I believe it imparts the potency runes to the boss or spikes.

I actually like using doubling ring with an enchanted gauntlet. That way I can switch between weapons in my main hand as needed (between a long sword and hammer for instance) and still have a free hand to caste spells and/or drink a potion. I think you can also get a ranged option out of the deal in the form of a hand crossbow or sling. It should be noted that I don't think you can technically "wield" your gauntlet while holding something in that hand so you better drop that potion vial before you make an attack with your main hand.

Also, keeping up weapon quality for one or two extra weapons is really not that onerous at most wealth levels/potency levels.

Edit: Partially Ninja'd!

Pramxnim wrote:

An Expert Weapon is 35gp, about equal to a level 3 item.
A Master Weapon is 360gp, about equal to a level 7 item.
A Legendary Weapon is 6500gp, about equal to a level 15 item.

You need a Master weapon by level 12 when you get +3 Potency runes.
You need a Legendary weapon by level 20 when you ge +5 Potency runes.

They're much lower level items, meaning they won't even make a dent in your wealth at those levels.

I think you're ignoring property runes which can be put on an a level 3 Expert item but required a level 13 rings to transfer. In addition, the rings don't transfer special material qualities like adamantine, but that isn't new to P2.

EDIT: You're also assuming that the GM/Scenario won't award things earlier than the table. Having to use a contrived magic item like DRs puts constraint on treasure to keep something like TWF from becoming pointless.

A character gets potency runes whenever s/he gets them. I guess I'm not seeing where it can't happen until it its trivial to upgrade a second weapon.

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The problem with all the assumptions about what constitutes a typical encounter is that the encounters we've seen so far are in no way typical. Few are lower than High, severe seems to be the norm, and extreme are not uncommon. Its very hard to make judgements on how PCs would work against a "typical" encounters when we never see one.

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N N 959 wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:
A silver lining here is, TWF doesn't suffer from this issue as much as Ranged Weapons, thanks to a nifty level 3 item called Doubling Rings. DRings copies the Potency rune (and later property runes) from a weapon in 1 hand to another.

You're right. Doubling rings mean you don't suffer "as much" but it looks like it starts to become cost prohibitive to keep up weapon quality on two weapons when you can just increase one weapon's runes and properties and use it twice.

Also, what happens to Fighters using a shield as a second weapon? Doubling rings work on shields?

EDIT: I find it funny that Paizo simply invented a magic item to support a mechanic.

Yeah, I mean, Doubling Rings, really, a tad transparent, lazy, and trite, somehow, makes me feel almost embarrassed.

Did Paizo reveal why they went the route they did with magic weapons? Why make so much of the damage at high levels dependent on the actual weapon? What does that facilitate? Was it necessary because they wanted to reduce the stacking damage bonuses and make damage out put more random?

They have revealed nothing other than the fact that the average damage was used as a constant for calculating their engine.

The ranges you'll see are huge, and they mandate swords that do large dice to be competent in combat.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
I actually like using doubling ring with an enchanted gauntlet. That way I can switch between weapons in my main hand as needed (between a long sword and hammer for instance) and still have a free hand to caste spells and/or drink a potion.

I was thinking the same thing. It's too bad it doesn't work with thrown weapons.

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