GM Laments: Char list is hard to interact, Actions\activities are complicated to remember, entry barrier for new players is high... (And some thoughts about solving)

Running the Game

Silver Crusade

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My name is Tony, and I've GMed some PF games in a town near Moscow, Russia.
PF2.0 was met with joy in our local community, and a party of 6 players was built. The ill omen that led me into starting this thread is that 3 of them refused to play after "The lost Star" was completed - so I asked myself "what's wrong with the new system?"

Here I'll try to explain some general troubles I've noticed.

First is the realisation of new complicated system of actions/activities. Nowdays, every player should always know how exactly does he use his skill, feat or other action source, and know exactly what this action/activity achieves in up to 4 results (from crit fail to crit success). It's rather hard for players, and somewhat exhausting for me as GM - I'm focused on building the atmosphere of Golarion and make the game fun.

To solve this problem, I asked my remaining players to make some preparations before "Pale Mountain" - to print separately each action and activity the're going to use. It worked somewhat good, but the amount of rules they needed to study was too much for a short time we had, so our party's rogue didn't prepare "feint" and didn't remember how it works (and ofc I didn't allow to use it - "Your PC just have forgotten how to feint, sorry.").

Now I think the best solution is card-based actions/activities (one action/activity - one card with rules). Today I'll start to make a printable summary of basic universal actions/activities (like untrained skills or smth). Hope it'll work.

In case of our game designers reading this text - I ask you to make each section of rulebook card-based-friendly, so we could just print (or copy from a paper book) actions, activities and conditions, cut with scissors, and group into card decks like "attack actions", "socialise", "knowledge", "spells" or whatever needed. (If someone tries it now - he'll find many of them on two different pages, and positioned by alphabet. That's not very useful.)

Second trouble we met is character sheet. At first we all thought we should just play and get used to it - it's always hard to use a new design anyway, isnt't it? 3 sessions after we started I felt uncomfortable with the sheet, and tried to explain myself what's wrong.
First trouble is: I cannot validate the sheet with ease. From the very begining - I see the basic abilities and have no idea how exactly they were obtained (EVEN ON THE 1 LVL!).
Second trouble is connected to the actions/activities, mostly skill-based. Taking a look on the skill part of 1st page, one needs to see basically what bonus does he have for the roll of his action|activity, but has bonus for the skill instead (and needs to remember what skill grants access to the action/activity).
17 skills, >50 uses - a big amount to remember!
Third trouble - char sheet could use some additional mechanics info, like hardness or dents of items, +1 bulk for carried armor etc., as much as some lovely details that help players imagine their characters - a few words about clothes, skin/eye/hair color, what side the sword is etc.

That all led me to scratchbuild my own char list, which is crude-looking, but has more fields for more info.
get it from googledrive!
It is designed to be printed 2 on 1 on A4, still lacks a proper inventory and spell list, and might be better with a field to draw/print the character, but is more detailed than the one from PFP RB. (If you try it - I'd like some feedback ^_^ )

Some thoughts about entry barrier - might seem insignificant for US part of the community, but in our country potential players that say "OMG too complicated!" and flee in terror from your table are a problem, 'cause there are not many of players around. If a player is not fluent english speaker (which is 95%, me as well) - xe will meet double trouble trying to play the game with the rules hard to understand even in english, and, probably, refuse to play.
I don't exactly know how to solve, but do hope that simplifying the interaction with the rules by action cards or new char list or other ways will matter.

To balance the negatives I described above... I'm excited to be a part of playtest, the new rules' basis is much more beatyful and balanced than PF1 for me, and I greatly thank Paizo for this great oportunity of being creative and having fun with friends.

Silver Crusade

Made a printer-friendly skills adapted to update 1.4.
It's meant to be printed 4 pages per 1 A4 sheet - it makes 1 (or, less usual, 2) skills per sheet, without deviding any skill between sheets.

Also, it is easyly navigated using contents in PDF version. "Not to print" is a good choice for some green-mind folks avoiding unnecessary usage of paper (just like me ^_^).

Going to test it with my players this weekend, expecting more rapid game than ever.

UPLOADED HERE. Click to see or download.

Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Basic abilities: what I did is make a simple spreadsheet. 7 columns, one for each ability, and one for labelling the rows. Then 11 rows: Starting value (always 10), Ancestry boosts, Background boosts, class boost, free boosts (4 of these, and repeat lines for level 5, 10, 15 and 20 free boosts). Then a line to total each column, and under that a line to compute the modifier (Round((total-10)/2)) and you're done. The player (or the character sheet) tells you what choices were made for ancestry, etc, you plug in the numbers, and there you go. Nothing fancy, but so far it's worked well.

Could probably come up with something similar for die-rolled abilities, but I haven't bothered. Not yet, anyway. :-)

If you play in an area where you have access to the Internet and a smartphone or laptop, you might find this Pathfinder 2 Actions Library helpful. It lets you search for spells, general actions such as Feint and Long Jump, and items such as the Owlbear Claw.

If the classes were normalized so that each gets feats at the same rate, a character sheet could be made that has spaces for each of these feats. That would make it easier for GMs to check if the players took the right feats at the right time. PF2 is almost there, but not quite.

Me, I can't be bothered and simply trust my players. But then, my players are all veterans by now. When we take in a new player, its mainly the job of the other players (not the GM) to help them make characters.

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