How important is balance?


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tivadar27 wrote:

Speaking to balance: PF2e has attempted to maintain strict balance at the cost of character diversity, I think a lot of us agree with that, but at the same time, they've introduced enough *imbalance* into their game that new players *will* still fall into traps. Some examples:

* See Brute Rogue discussion, strength-based rogues are bad.
* Barbarians are strictly worse than fighters. We *know* how much every +1 matters in this game, and +2 (weapon master) at level 3 for fighter (barbarians get no proficiency increases in weapons) *far* outweighs the +3 to damage Barbarians get.
* *ANY* combat-focused caster is bad. Fighters, Rangers, Rogues, and Paladins are the only classes to get weapon proficiency increases and are basically *required* to participate in melee (see "Chance to hit by class" spreadsheet that was posted).

So... you want to argue that balance is needed to avoid traps. Traps still exist. What's the point of balance, particularly when it limits character diversity?

Yeah sure when you compare the +3 damage to the +2 to attack it's obviously not worth but have you read past the rage section of the barbarian? They get a ton of stuff that modifies their rage. Also you forgot the Temp HP. I agree that Barbs are a bit weak right now but your reasoning isn't why. And it's really easy for Paizo to buff the Barb numbers a bit to bring them in line with the fighter. Remember it's a playtest.

But even the examples you gave are still playable in the playtest and you can still have your moments.

Try making an archer rogue in the core rulebook but then don't spend every single one of your feats on bow stuff just to make bows even slightly viable, and then tell me that's playable... You would literally never hit unless you roll a 20. That's a type of build that someone would absolutely make when trying PF1 for the first time.

"Oooh a rogue with a shortbow that's cool. I wanna be sneaky so I'll take the Stealthy feat"

You literally need an experienced player to tell you "no you HAVE to start human and take point blank shot and then precise shot so you can actually hit something. Then you're locked down in the bow feat line so you have to spend every single feat just to keep up in damage. Also you shouldn't be a rogue, you will never be able to sneak attack them and your BAB is crappy. Just go fighter."

I have not run into an issue like this in the playtest so far.


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tivadar27 wrote:
Speaking to balance: PF2e has attempted to maintain strict balance at the cost of character diversity, I think a lot of us agree with that

I'm not sure the "character diversity" question is well-defined. Since a lot of the complaints seem to be about how certain concepts or combat styles are restricted to classes- twfers are rangers or fighters, paladins and fighters in light armor need not apply, area control is only available to those classes with easy AoO access, Clerics of Erastil cannot get archery feats, etc.

So I don't know if the lack of "Archer Paladins" is *more* diversity (since it underlines how the Paladin is different from the ranger and fighter) or *less* because there's one kind of Paladin people played a lot in PF1 that is not currently available.

Like if PF2 were completely classless, and people could select feats from any class's list, would that be more character diversity or less?


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Dire Ursus wrote:
I have not run into an issue like this in the playtest so far.

The thing is we don't have "experienced players" for PF2 yet. So you CAN do whatever you want. For the most part.

Everyone's still learning and messing around. Sure there's attempts to optimize but it's still playtest, for all we know those numbers will get shifted. Or an FAQ/Errata changes how we look at things(AC is a DC check and is effect as such, wat).

Really the only thing right now that is close to it is Cleric. You want to be a healer? Well you'd need to pick up X, Y and Z. Focus on This and That. Or roll Cleric, yeah just roll up a cleric.

But this brings up my problem with balance. Doesn't matter how balanced it is; tier list gets rolled out, guides go up, the best math is found. And then everyone builds around it because why don't you want to have fun?

I have a Rogue playing in one of my games in PF1. Community says I should just sit him down and tell him to reroll. Doesn't matter what he's doing or if he's having fun; he's a rogue. Reroll.

I don't want to see that happen again in PF2, where class X is just kicked to the side because it's "Not good enough". But part of that is the game itself and part of that is the community. Paizo can fix half of that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
I have not run into an issue like this in the playtest so far.

The thing is we don't have "experienced players" for PF2 yet. So you CAN do whatever you want. For the most part.

Everyone's still learning and messing around. Sure there's attempts to optimize but it's still playtest, for all we know those numbers will get shifted. Or an FAQ/Errata changes how we look at things(AC is a DC check and is effect as such, wat).

Really the only thing right now that is close to it is Cleric. You want to be a healer? Well you'd need to pick up X, Y and Z. Focus on This and That. Or roll Cleric, yeah just roll up a cleric.

But this brings up my problem with balance. Doesn't matter how balanced it is; tier list gets rolled out, guides go up, the best math is found. And then everyone builds around it because why don't you want to have fun?

I have a Rogue playing in one of my games in PF1. Community says I should just sit him down and tell him to reroll. Doesn't matter what he's doing or if he's having fun; he's a rogue. Reroll.

I don't want to see that happen again in PF2, where class X is just kicked to the side because it's "Not good enough". But part of that is the game itself and part of that is the community. Paizo can fix half of that.

It's not just about being the best effective character. It's about actually being able to contribute at all. New players can come into the playtest and make pretty effective builds with no prior experience. I really don't think that's true for PF1.

Let's use an example that's been brought up before. Wizard Fighter. A new player could easily make the mistake of trying to multiclass into or out of a spell casting class. Hell I did myself when I first started playing 3.5. You literally feel so damn useless. I had to retire that character because he actually didn't do anything in combat. It was pretty sad too because I had a lot of story and character moments planned for him but alas, it was an actual struggle to fail in combat over and over.


Dire Ursus wrote:
Let's use an example that's been brought up before. Wizard Fighter. A new player could easily make the mistake of trying to multiclass into or out of a spell casting class. Hell I did myself when I first started playing 3.5. You literally feel so damn useless. I had to retire that character because he actually didn't do anything in combat.

Yes, that is a problem with the BAB (and saving throw) maths, and multiclassing highlights it, should have gone with +1/2 Hit Dice (plus class bonuses, +2 to Ref for Rogues, etc), and maybe lower some of those natural armour bonuses. As I have said, 3rd Ed/PF1 does not need that many adjustments to bring it in line (I add repeat saving throws, ala hold person, to more save or suck spells).


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Dire Ursus wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
I have not run into an issue like this in the playtest so far.

The thing is we don't have "experienced players" for PF2 yet. So you CAN do whatever you want. For the most part.

Everyone's still learning and messing around. Sure there's attempts to optimize but it's still playtest, for all we know those numbers will get shifted. Or an FAQ/Errata changes how we look at things(AC is a DC check and is effect as such, wat).

Really the only thing right now that is close to it is Cleric. You want to be a healer? Well you'd need to pick up X, Y and Z. Focus on This and That. Or roll Cleric, yeah just roll up a cleric.

But this brings up my problem with balance. Doesn't matter how balanced it is; tier list gets rolled out, guides go up, the best math is found. And then everyone builds around it because why don't you want to have fun?

I have a Rogue playing in one of my games in PF1. Community says I should just sit him down and tell him to reroll. Doesn't matter what he's doing or if he's having fun; he's a rogue. Reroll.

I don't want to see that happen again in PF2, where class X is just kicked to the side because it's "Not good enough". But part of that is the game itself and part of that is the community. Paizo can fix half of that.

It's not just about being the best effective character. It's about actually being able to contribute at all. New players can come into the playtest and make pretty effective builds with no prior experience. I really don't think that's true for PF1.

Let's use an example that's been brought up before. Wizard Fighter. A new player could easily make the mistake of trying to multiclass into or out of a spell casting class. Hell I did myself when I first started playing 3.5. You literally feel so damn useless. I had to retire that character because he actually didn't do anything in combat. It was pretty sad too because I had a lot of story and character moments planned for him but alas, it was an actual...

*Looks at guides people keep making*

*Looks at everyone talking about making the best character*
*Looks at people bringing up Tier lists all day*
*People quoting god wizard handbook all day*

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

I'm not going to say everything worked in PF1. Your example of Wizard/Fighter is a good example. And Paizo attempted to build a class for that, Magus. I see "Pick Magus over Wizard/Fighter" as something different than "Rogue Archer is unplayable, go Fighter". That's mainly due to how magic works(COUGH, Magic is so broken in PF1 everyone complains so why do we want everyone to have magic scale with multiclass, break the game more COUGH)

But back to the point I was trying to make. Paizo can make it as balanced as they want. Doesn't matter.

If a new player sits down, plays, and is left behind because the other players Min Maxed, I'll blame the community first and rules second. Especially if the community has collectively accepted "We can Min max, why shouldn't we?". I saw this in some video games, where if you didn't play "Correctly" you were bad.

No rule change is going to fix this.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
I have not run into an issue like this in the playtest so far.

The thing is we don't have "experienced players" for PF2 yet. So you CAN do whatever you want. For the most part.

Everyone's still learning and messing around. Sure there's attempts to optimize but it's still playtest, for all we know those numbers will get shifted. Or an FAQ/Errata changes how we look at things(AC is a DC check and is effect as such, wat).

Really the only thing right now that is close to it is Cleric. You want to be a healer? Well you'd need to pick up X, Y and Z. Focus on This and That. Or roll Cleric, yeah just roll up a cleric.

But this brings up my problem with balance. Doesn't matter how balanced it is; tier list gets rolled out, guides go up, the best math is found. And then everyone builds around it because why don't you want to have fun?

I have a Rogue playing in one of my games in PF1. Community says I should just sit him down and tell him to reroll. Doesn't matter what he's doing or if he's having fun; he's a rogue. Reroll.

I don't want to see that happen again in PF2, where class X is just kicked to the side because it's "Not good enough". But part of that is the game itself and part of that is the community. Paizo can fix half of that.

It's not just about being the best effective character. It's about actually being able to contribute at all. New players can come into the playtest and make pretty effective builds with no prior experience. I really don't think that's true for PF1.

Let's use an example that's been brought up before. Wizard Fighter. A new player could easily make the mistake of trying to multiclass into or out of a spell casting class. Hell I did myself when I first started playing 3.5. You literally feel so damn useless. I had to retire that character because he actually didn't do anything in combat. It was pretty sad too because I had a lot of story and character moments planned for him

...

I disagree. The difference between a min maxed character in 1e and a new player making a character is drastically larger than in the playtest. I can say this 100%. And it is because of rules. Getting rid of "required" feats like power attack and precise shot. No more BAB. Multiclassing doesn't make you actively worse at what you started with. These all help with this problem.

Silver Crusade

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Oh, but the PF1 problem isn't limited to active min-maxing (Somebody purposefully twinks his PC and leaves others behind).

It's also the problem of Jim rolling a straight Wizard (is that minmaxing?) and Jane going for a Dwarven Rogue/Monk.

Jim isn't being a jerk. He's doing nothing ethically wrong. Neither is Jane. She has an interesting concept of a failed novice from a dwarven monastery who went on to "liberate" sacred items held by monks and sell them on black market. Sounds good!

And nobody is telling her to go away or that her character sucks, it's just something that she discovers in few levels is that Jim is having a blast color spraying encounters away whe she struggles to hit anything with any remote chance of reliable success. That's not a people issue, it's rules issue, it was egregious in PF1 and led to many bad experiences of people who have had this cool concept of a character which simply did not work.

Also, before the "yeah but the GM should be there to explain Jane that her PC sucks!" - a game that requires at least one person in the group to be a system master enough to help everybody balance things out is not a good game for attracting new players to.

Shadow Lodge

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I started 3.5 with a spiked chain wielding monk, fresh off of Final Fantasy Tactics where the monk class is a great unarmed fighter with some nifty abilities as they gain levels.

The 3.5 monk...wasn't.

So basically, what Gorb said.


Dire Ursus wrote:
I disagree. The difference between a min maxed character in 1e and a new player making a character is drastically larger than in the playtest. I can say this 100%. And it is because of rules. Getting rid of "required" feats like power attack and precise shot. No more BAB. Multiclassing doesn't make you actively worse at what you started with. These all help with this problem.

-Yes it's large than in the playtest. Now. At writting. Because people don't have the full math now. It is my worry in a year when everything is finalized that it isn't. Especially with how few the numbered boosts are, those are worth more. And again, Cleric. Why play healer when Cleric out performs you, just roll Cleric.

-I'll agree. Get ride of basic feats like that. I've done so in PF1(OH that's not core then). But then we get into what Class feats you need. Oh you don't need them. Least until the math comes out. How forced is someone wanting to play Archer into picking Fighter? Because of Fighter Class Abilities. Sure Dedication helps but you still need Fighter on your sheet.

-Proficiency says Hi.

-Multiclassing is worse, until it's not. Hello Dips everyone hates because it's such a spike in power.

I don't think we're against each other here. We both want a game where we can play basically anything we want and have decent chance at not only success but also not overshadowed by other players.

You just take it from the stance of rules first. And I agree, the rules of PF1 did make it very easy to build yourself into a corner if you didn't have help or a GM that could roll with it. So making the rules and mechanics balanced better is a good thing.

I however, see it as a people issue as well. As balanced as the game can be, people are always going to look for a way to put them ahead. Some feat, or combo, or something to get ahead. This isn't a bad thing to me, and depending on how balanced a game is the easier it is to set up boosts or the harder people will look for them. The problem to me is when this is accepted as the norm. Everyone should take boost X, everyone should take Y, make sure to spend your first haul on Z or you'll be behind people.

So yeah, I don't think we're arguing against each other. You want a system that lets you play what you want. I would like that too. But I would also like a community that doesn't force me into playing what is best because of math.

And Paizo can only fix part of that.


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MerlinCross wrote:

I however, see it as a people issue as well. As balanced as the game can be, people are always going to look for a way to put them ahead. Some feat, or combo, or something to get ahead. This isn't a bad thing to me, and depending on how balanced a game is the easier it is to set up boosts or the harder people will look for them. The problem to me is when this is accepted as the norm. Everyone should take boost X, everyone should take Y, make sure to spend your first haul on Z or you'll be behind people.

So yeah, I don't think we're arguing against each other. You want a system that lets you play what you want. I would like that too. But I would also like a community that doesn't force me into playing what is best because of math.

And Paizo can only fix part of that.

Part of it is that the rules issue is the catalyst for the people issue. There will always be people looking for the best option, and that's not a bad thing.

But the need for guides, the need to know what's playable/not in PF1 is heavily driven by the fact that there are so many traps in PF1. It's so easy to build a character incorrectly and be completely useless as a result that people want to make sure to avoid that.

Remove the traps that create the yawning pit in the floor and the need for everyone to optimize will follow.


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Balance is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The devs do not agree with that statement, apparently, if you go by their design goals.

As someone who loved 4E when it was out, I can get behind a very balanced game system. As long as it's fun to play. I doubt that most of the player base of PF would agree with that--I understand that reaction against 4E made the PF playerbase what it is--but the Playtest so far seems to have some of the balance but none of the fun of 4E.

I would like to bring up three points regarding balance, two of them gaming and one not, for the devs' perusal.

The first is how to achieve ongoing balance in a constantly-evolving game, and my example is Magic: the Gathering. As the oldest, and most successful, CCG on the market, MTG has had to learn how to deal with balance changes over time. One of the most important lessons is almost 2nd Law levels of 'cannot be overcome', and it is

As the number of interactions increases, the overall power level in a ruleset increases.

Now, how does MTG handle this? Well, it has different formats, and in the one where balance is most important to them (Standard), the interactions (i.e., the cards allowed in the format) reset over time. That means that every design decision has a lifetime, and bad decisions can 'go away' by simple time.

I am not suggesting that Paizo adopt this approach to PF2E. I am simply pointing out that balance, as desirable as it may be, will fall apart over time. Given that Paizo generally has an aggressive printing schedule, balance will deteriorate faster and faster.

There are ways to combat the power creep besides using a rotating-rule format. One is to codify roles, and MTG does this (i.e., the color pie). PF2E, with few exceptions, does not. There is a clear healer role, and the Cleric fills it. (IMO, only the Cleric does, but that is another discussion.)

Regardless, I think everyone needs to realize that however good a balance the devs accomplish, it's going to deteriorate over time.

Now, my second example is with competing design theories, and their effects on the game they are creating. This example will be the design philosophies of Diablo III and Path of Exile.

Both of these games are 'action adventure' hack'n'slash games that compete in the same market. Their approach to balance between characters really could not be more different.

Diablo III has a highly-curated (through Item Sets) design philosophy where the goal is to have relatively few options so that the options can be better balanced. At least, that is the apparent goal. The downside of the design philosophy is that there are few options, and this is in a genre where 'getting better loot' as a primary means of 'powering up your character' was enshrined by Diablo III's own predecessor, Diablo II.

Path of Exile (PoE), by contrast, has a very open-ended system that has a much lower floor for character design but a much higher ceiling. It is very possible, even probable, to make an outright terrible/infeasible character in PoE. However, the tradeoff for having that possibility is that there are so many more _viable_ options that it isn't really a question if there IS a viable build for a specific concept, but how much it's going to 'cost you'.

In my mind, PF1E worked very much like Path of Exile (PoE) in many ways, with PF2E much more like D3. Whether or not this is preferred or makes sense for their market, it is hard to tell. Undeniably, though, it will be jarring.

This comparison is a bit marred because PF, like almost all TTRPGs, is group-based rather than individual-based. However, the difference in design philosophies is quite noted.

The third example I wanted to point out was something of a philosophical one. Generally speaking, in the US, almost everyone agrees with the statement that everyone deserves equal opportunity to succeed in life. (Part of that whole 'pursuit of happiness' thing.) However, something that commonly leads to sharp differences is whether everyone deserves equal outcomes.

This issue of 'equality of opportunity' vs. 'equality of outcome' is starting to come into sharp focus with PF2E. It does seem with how bounded everything is in PF2E, that the developers want to ensure a certain equality of outcome in character endeavors. This is done apparently in a desire for balance, with a notably similar refrain from the philosophical point above.

This is subject to the same criticism as the philosophical point, though. If there is a very tight equality of outcome at work here, what is the incentive to specialize and 'make a niche' for themselves?

These are all questions that I would hope the devs have ready answers for--not that I am asking for those answers--because if the devs do not have answers, no matter the short-term prospects of PF2E, the long-term prospects are not very sanguine.


TOZ wrote:

I started 3.5 with a spiked chain wielding monk, fresh off of Final Fantasy Tactics where the monk class is a great unarmed fighter with some nifty abilities as they gain levels.

The 3.5 monk...wasn't.

So basically, what Gorb said.

Flip side, I'd like to play Cavalier in PF2. With the Teamwork, and the Orders and the feeling like some sort of Sargent/Captain.

Now this doesn't exist in PF2. So I could maybe get that off with... Paladin? I'm sure you can find a way to play "Heavily armored Sargent like character that does buffs and martial control".

But give an example of my worry;

"Yeah they just printed the Cavalier class in PF2 I'm gonna roll one up!"

Community: Why would you? Paladin, with Steed Ally is far better. Especially if you take this, that and these. Far easier to play and you're going to be far more effective.

"...but I wanted to play Cavalier."

Community: And you can. If you want to be subpar. Roll up Paladin and let's go.

----------------------

An extreme example? Maybe. But my own experience hasn't helped convince me that this can't happen. Cavalier might be perfectly viable if it sees print in PF2. But will you play it when everyone says "Oh Paladin is so much better"? Why play X when all your google searches come back with Y and topics about "Y is better than X".

Now we can discuss how bad PF1 Rogue is; but how many players simply googled "Rogue PF", saw the results and went "Yup, not playing this".

I don't want that to happen again. Balance from Paizo's side will go a long way to help. But some class is probably going to be kicked to the side because it's not "Good Enough" and become PF2 Rogue. It's not 'bad' but it's not good enough either.

Side note, loved FF Tactics. But outside of more anime/eastern styled games, I haven't seen a game do FF Tactics Monk.


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Cyouni wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

I however, see it as a people issue as well. As balanced as the game can be, people are always going to look for a way to put them ahead. Some feat, or combo, or something to get ahead. This isn't a bad thing to me, and depending on how balanced a game is the easier it is to set up boosts or the harder people will look for them. The problem to me is when this is accepted as the norm. Everyone should take boost X, everyone should take Y, make sure to spend your first haul on Z or you'll be behind people.

So yeah, I don't think we're arguing against each other. You want a system that lets you play what you want. I would like that too. But I would also like a community that doesn't force me into playing what is best because of math.

And Paizo can only fix part of that.

Part of it is that the rules issue is the catalyst for the people issue. There will always be people looking for the best option, and that's not a bad thing.

But the need for guides, the need to know what's playable/not in PF1 is heavily driven by the fact that there are so many traps in PF1. It's so easy to build a character incorrectly and be completely useless as a result that people want to make sure to avoid that.

Remove the traps that create the yawning pit in the floor and the need for everyone to optimize will follow.

I do agree, there's a lot of Traps in PF1. I'm not trying to argue there isn't.

But I don't see PF2's removal of all the traps as going to change people from optimizing. Heck, with the numbers so close to each other, my fear is people will look to optimize more. Gotta stand out, gotta get those numbers up. It becomes an arms race.

I don't care what the game says is viable or not. If I sit down at a table, and get told or shown that my build is trash because I didn't follow the guides, I'm probably not going to sit at that table. I'm also probably not going to want to keep playing the system regardless of how balanced it is if everyone pushes things to the limit anyway.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
TOZ wrote:

I started 3.5 with a spiked chain wielding monk, fresh off of Final Fantasy Tactics where the monk class is a great unarmed fighter with some nifty abilities as they gain levels.

The 3.5 monk...wasn't.

So basically, what Gorb said.

Flip side, I'd like to play Cavalier in PF2.

I expect you'll get that in one of the supplements after the core rules are done.


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There's also the fact that there will _always_ be traps in a ruleset such as this.

MTG again shows this very clearly. Now, the implications are different, but there are always different power levels among things in all but the most balanced systems--which generally are not much fun.

How do you deal with power creep in a rules system? Particularly when you have an economically-centered reason for power creep?

By this let's say that Paizo releases a book for PF2E after the Core book. If the rules/options/feats/whatever in that book are not more powerful, or at least more interesting--keeping in mind that 'more interesting' correlates fairly well with 'more powerful--why would people pick it up?

But let's ignore that for now. Let's assume that it's possible to put out more stuff without unbalancing the current game balance. The devs certainly seem to believe this is true, at any rate.

You're still going to get to the situation where 'if you want to do X, you choose Y'. And, at the end of the day, the _characters_ generated with this approach will get farther and farther apart on the power scale. Even if the feats/rules/whatever themselves are equally balanced.

Again, at the end of the day, the only way to avoid traps is to avoid options. And I don't think PF2E wants to do that. They are attempting to thread a very very specific course, and there are people--like myself--who believe that they have already failed, at least at the core priority of making something that people want to buy.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
TOZ wrote:

I started 3.5 with a spiked chain wielding monk, fresh off of Final Fantasy Tactics where the monk class is a great unarmed fighter with some nifty abilities as they gain levels.

The 3.5 monk...wasn't.

So basically, what Gorb said.

Flip side, I'd like to play Cavalier in PF2.
I expect you'll get that in one of the supplements after the core rules are done.

Good. It's a class I always keep coming back to to tinker with, seeing ideas on how to play it. Issue always was/is dealing with the horse in dungeons. More open Module or AP would help.

Maybe do that for whenever you get Mass combat in PF2. Hmm.

But that's off topic. Still gives me some hope that the Base and hybrid classes aren't axed.


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MerlinCross wrote:


An extreme example? Maybe. But my own experience hasn't helped convince me that this can't happen. Cavalier might be perfectly viable if it sees print in PF2. But will you play it when everyone says "Oh Paladin is so much better"? Why play X when all your google searches come back with Y and topics about "Y is better than X".

Now we can discuss how bad PF1 Rogue is; but how many players simply googled "Rogue PF", saw the results and went "Yup, not playing this".

I don't want that to happen again. Balance from Paizo's side will go a long way to help. But some class is probably going to be kicked to the side because it's not "Good Enough" and become PF2 Rogue. It's not 'bad' but it's not good enough either.

"Everyone" is an overly broad brush. This is in no way a universal thing. There's plenty of tables out there that are open to people playing whatever they want, even if it's subpar. It can be made to work.

There's certainly people out there who do want a party fully optimized, and that's fine. You can't eliminate that without also eliminating the fun those people find in trying to figure out how to do that.

I tend to think one thing the playtest is trying to do that's good is lowering the spread between the two extremes. This is a cooperative game, and not every class has to be equally good so long as they do have something they can shine at in a party setting. What we really don't want is the Cavalier guy sitting down to play and feeling useless because the Paladin guy can do everything he can except better, and also do five other things.

And that's actually on Paizo's end rather than the community. Fewer people will care when the gap between top and bottom is modest and not a gaping chasm.


Tridus wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:


An extreme example? Maybe. But my own experience hasn't helped convince me that this can't happen. Cavalier might be perfectly viable if it sees print in PF2. But will you play it when everyone says "Oh Paladin is so much better"? Why play X when all your google searches come back with Y and topics about "Y is better than X".

Now we can discuss how bad PF1 Rogue is; but how many players simply googled "Rogue PF", saw the results and went "Yup, not playing this".

I don't want that to happen again. Balance from Paizo's side will go a long way to help. But some class is probably going to be kicked to the side because it's not "Good Enough" and become PF2 Rogue. It's not 'bad' but it's not good enough either.

"Everyone" is an overly broad brush. This is in no way a universal thing. There's plenty of tables out there that are open to people playing whatever they want, even if it's subpar. It can be made to work.

There's certainly people out there who do want a party fully optimized, and that's fine. You can't eliminate that without also eliminating the fun those people find in trying to figure out how to do that.

I tend to think one thing the playtest is trying to do that's good is lowering the spread between the two extremes. This is a cooperative game, and not every class has to be equally good so long as they do have something they can shine at in a party setting. What we really don't want is the Cavalier guy sitting down to play and feeling useless because the Paladin guy can do everything he can except better, and also do five other things.

And that's actually on Paizo's end rather than the community. Fewer people will care when the gap between top and bottom is modest and not a gaping chasm.

It might be a board stroke. But everyone outside of my group has pushed for the best math regardless of circumstances. My favorite was when I was pushed to getting Precise Shot. Instead of Extra Discovery, Precise Bombs. When all combat was in small hallways or rooms. And got mad at me anyway.

Is if fair? No. But my experiences here, online, and PFS basically make me think if not expect people to Min Max until proven otherwise.

I also want to use your gap example for something. Sure the gap is smaller and far easier to reach. But everyone around you has custom built fancy poles to help them make that jump. Why don't you have one?

Paizo can make that gap as small as they want. How the community decides and decrees the only way to jump it is another issue.

Liberty's Edge

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I played a ton of 4e, and while the "50% chance to hit" thing did eventually get grating, I wouldn't rank it as a primary flaw.

What 4e had that was more important than raw balance, though, was a wide variety of interesting options that didn't balance mathematically. In raw-damage rocket tag, there was a Right Way, but there were also other ways you could go that focused on debuffing, buffing, or manipulating the battlefield. There were a bunch of different defender classes, and all of them did their job in very distinct ways that made them feel unique.

I think, much more so than balance, it is important that every character feel effective. That doesn't mean homogeneous DPR or whatever, but it does mean that every character feel like they pulled their own weight in a fight. Right now, the pure casters in the DD scenarios I'm running are struggling with that. Too much of magic is locked up behind a target failing a save, or, even worse, a target critically failing a save. Or the opposite for attacks.


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Min Maxing is already an issue in the playtest.

Pre-rules: It was stated by a Dev that you didn't need a good score in your prime attribute at all if you wanted to play a buffer caster.

Rules are out: Followed above advice - guess what - fail - hardcore - why? Because a buffer caster at level 1 sucks. I suppose it'd work as a concept when you gain levels - but you need 18 in your prime stat to survive the first few levels.

16 in Str as a Str fighter? Why not - it's only +1 ... oh god .. that +1 is so important.

Yeah if you want to play a GISH - better start fighter for that +2 weapon mastery - otherwise good luck hitting anything that is balanced on that +2 being there....

Sorry but I disagree that PF2 was better - Core is fine and you didn't need power attack to survive - fighters were good at fighting (if boring - which is a valid complaint) - rogues could rogue - stuff worked - the only class that really failed miserably was the monk - they couldn't hit as a front liner, and the mobility didn't work if you flurried... that was a mechanic issue.

The new system makes it seem like you have options - when you don't really - all the monsters at level 1 expect you to have the MOST AC and a SHIELD or you die. If you are going to land a spell you better have a MAXED OUT STAT or you fail.

That's min/maxing in a nutshell. Heck I run core with a 20 point buy no stat over 16 rule and it's fun.

I wouldn't dream of that in PF2 (as it is now).


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Ckorik wrote:
I suppose it'd work as a concept when you gain levels - but you need 18 in your prime stat to survive the first few levels.

Please elaborate? 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.

*Fey Sorcerer focused on Utility and Summoning. Bard focused on Utility and Buffs.


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Ckorik wrote:

Pre-rules: It was stated by a Dev that you didn't need a good score in your prime attribute at all if you wanted to play a buffer caster.

Rules are out: Followed above advice - guess what - fail - hardcore - why? Because a buffer caster at level 1 sucks. I suppose it'd work as a concept when you gain levels - but you need 18 in your prime stat to survive the first few levels.

16 in Str as a Str fighter? Why not - it's only +1 ... oh god .. that +1 is so important.

I survived and was quite functional as a goblin paladin with 14 Str and 16 Dex with a shifting dogslicer (even when it shifted to a gauntlet, -3 over a comparable fighter), in the module that people complained was quite a bit harder.

I know the GM (and the monsters) more than well enough to know he wasn't taking it easy.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
I suppose it'd work as a concept when you gain levels - but you need 18 in your prime stat to survive the first few levels.

Please elaborate? 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.

*Fey Sorcerer focused on Utility and Summoning. Bard focused on Utility and Buffs.

We have a goblin cleric of Pharasma in one of my home games who has a 10 WIS and hasn't bothered ever putting any additional points in. He's played the same character (with the occasional tweak or retraining as updates have come out or we've moved to different chapters) since the playtest dropped and he's consistently been one of the most effective characters in that group. He uses buffing and enhancement spells, a poisoned dogslicer, and typically opens combat by dropping forbidding ward on whichever ally he's going to be flanking with in the fight, or bless for a quick boost to attack rolls for the group before moving into position to attack. No 18s in any stat starting out and he's only even gotten close to being dropped once (and that wasn't until 7th level.) Teamwork and tactics undoubtedly contribute to his effectiveness to a significant degree but that's generally going to be true for any character.


The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
I suppose it'd work as a concept when you gain levels - but you need 18 in your prime stat to survive the first few levels.

Please elaborate? 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.

*Fey Sorcerer focused on Utility and Summoning. Bard focused on Utility and Buffs.

The quote was you could do fine with a 12 in your prime stat - I tried it - it was very underwhelming.

For instance - it limits you at level 1 - to one spell point - vs. the 4 you'd have with an 18. As a sorcerer with the divine spell line - buffs all required concentration to apply for any length and generally sucked - a +1 to AC doesn't matter unless you are already maxed out on AC.

Note here - I'm not saying it's impossible - but it doesn't take much to make it feel like crud at the table - and it does require active participation to make up for the differences.

As to the +2 not mattering... well ok if you say so - 10% more miss chance or if buffed 10% less crits matter.


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What if Paizo embraced the whole idea of "imbalance" instead of shunning it?
It seems like there's already the groundwork for it in the "common, uncommon" ranking system. What if, instead of making access to Uncommon weapons/spells a racial thing, they made it a power level thing.
Kind of like MtG does with the Pauper format. That way, when the GM is making the campaign, they can say something like "commons only," or "everything is allowed" to keep the power level a little tighter.


Michael Sayre wrote:


Teamwork and tactics undoubtedly contribute to his effectiveness to a significant degree but that's generally going to be true for any character.

Yes - you see I admit as much - however after our first group failed our new group is a bard, a fighter, a rogue, and a cleric - our fights are tough but we are winning. After the first experience - without talking about it together, without planning, and totally how we all felt - every character spent the entire magic item budget on healing potions.

It was funny - except not really. The cleric has made them un-needed really - due to the vast difference in healing they put out vs our 3 casters all using every spell slot to heal previously - a single cleric is fine.

And - using spells as offense - well it's helpful - our bard has been great. Given that a level 9 monster will have a 26 AC and the Fighter will have a +16 to hit (roughly) you start at a 50% miss chance. +2 means you miss 60% of the time without other conditions applying. That's on your first attack - that second attack is going to only hit 15% of the time - and the third hit is crit fishing. Now take away another +1 (for the stat) and you are even worse off - again it's possible but comes with a whole host of system mastery that wasn't really needed for a 3/4 BAB class to work especially at low levels.

At least that was my groups experiences with the system. Playing with 'the holy setup' of fighter/rogue/cleric/mage has made the game at least into normal difficulty - but the last time I felt like I had to build a group like this just to survive was D&D 1st.


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Ckorik wrote:
The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
I suppose it'd work as a concept when you gain levels - but you need 18 in your prime stat to survive the first few levels.

Please elaborate? 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.

*Fey Sorcerer focused on Utility and Summoning. Bard focused on Utility and Buffs.

The quote was you could do fine with a 12 in your prime stat - I tried it - it was very underwhelming.

A sorcerer with bless and 16 dex or str is looking at only a +1 to hit behind a fighter, or even with other martial classes. They're also then handing that +1 out to the party. And as you pointed out, a +1 is pretty effective.

Easier for a bard to pull off though with inspire courage. Lower cost, better effect. They can also do that without maxed charisma. Missing the extra spell points is a shame too, but at later levels (as a druid or cleric at least) you can get a pile from feats.


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Ranishe wrote:

A sorcerer with bless and 16 dex or str is looking at only a +1 to hit behind a fighter, or even with other martial classes. They're also then handing that +1 out to the party. And as you pointed out, a +1 is pretty effective.

Easier for a bard to pull off though with inspire courage. Lower cost, better effect. They can also do that without maxed charisma. Missing the extra spell points is a shame too, but at later levels (as a druid or cleric at least) you can get a pile from feats.

Yes - but you start untrained in armor - and need a hand free to cast - so you are 2 points behind in AC - that means you die MUCH faster (as we both agree a +1 is a decent difference - so +2 is huge) and without a shield you aren't blocking attacks from a centipede with no dent (for example).

I'd love bless - but we used all spells to heal and were barely keeping up - because again the monsters are tuned to hit a well armored opponent 50% of the time so non of us *maxing armor* (because we think that's min/maxin g and un-fun) got hit *alot*.

Every time I post my experiences people like to come out of the woodwork and tell me how everything is fine -but that's not how it was for us - our group which took slightly un maxed out characters all around got trounced - and we *always* make misfits like that for characters - it's never been a problem before.


Michael Sayre wrote:
The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
I suppose it'd work as a concept when you gain levels - but you need 18 in your prime stat to survive the first few levels.

Please elaborate? 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.

*Fey Sorcerer focused on Utility and Summoning. Bard focused on Utility and Buffs.

We have a goblin cleric of Pharasma in one of my home games who has a 10 WIS and hasn't bothered ever putting any additional points in. He's played the same character (with the occasional tweak or retraining as updates have come out or we've moved to different chapters) since the playtest dropped and he's consistently been one of the most effective characters in that group. He uses buffing and enhancement spells, a poisoned dogslicer, and typically opens combat by dropping forbidding ward on whichever ally he's going to be flanking with in the fight, or bless for a quick boost to attack rolls for the group before moving into position to attack. No 18s in any stat starting out and he's only even gotten close to being dropped once (and that wasn't until 7th level.) Teamwork and tactics undoubtedly contribute to his effectiveness to a significant degree but that's generally going to be true for any character.

Really a combat cleric is casting bless or forbidding ward? The action every round to maintain it seems quite the cost of these buffs going down.

But also clerics have it pretty easy with their channel pool as it's another pool of top tier spells.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Chess Pwn wrote:


Really a combat cleric is casting bless or forbidding ward? The action every round to maintain it seems quite the cost of these buffs going down.
But also clerics have it pretty easy with their channel pool as it's another pool of top tier spells.

I think generally the idea has been that one really significant hit while boosting a party member (or all party members) is going to be a better contribution from that character than going for a second hit that likely won't be as effective. Bless in particular has frequently been a meaningful factor in flipping misses into hits and hits into crits, particularly when the party has some additional accuracy boosters from flanking or otherwise making the target flat-footed. The group's monk uses grapple very frequently as well, so the party is often able to get in, lock an enemy down, and then quickly tear them apart before moving on to the next one, with the goblin occasionally spending a channel to drop some healing if one of them gets beaten up by other enemies on the field. It's definitely a bit trickier against opponents that they can't get ahold of (whether because they're too big or their Fortitude save is too high for grappling to work), but they've typically found some other combination or tactic that allows them to still boost their numbers or debuff the enemy enough that they can quickly adjust their tactics to the situation.


Dire Ursus wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:

Speaking to balance: PF2e has attempted to maintain strict balance at the cost of character diversity, I think a lot of us agree with that, but at the same time, they've introduced enough *imbalance* into their game that new players *will* still fall into traps. Some examples:

* See Brute Rogue discussion, strength-based rogues are bad.
* Barbarians are strictly worse than fighters. We *know* how much every +1 matters in this game, and +2 (weapon master) at level 3 for fighter (barbarians get no proficiency increases in weapons) *far* outweighs the +3 to damage Barbarians get.
* *ANY* combat-focused caster is bad. Fighters, Rangers, Rogues, and Paladins are the only classes to get weapon proficiency increases and are basically *required* to participate in melee (see "Chance to hit by class" spreadsheet that was posted).

So... you want to argue that balance is needed to avoid traps. Traps still exist. What's the point of balance, particularly when it limits character diversity?

Yeah sure when you compare the +3 damage to the +2 to attack it's obviously not worth but have you read past the rage section of the barbarian? They get a ton of stuff that modifies their rage. Also you forgot the Temp HP. I agree that Barbs are a bit weak right now but your reasoning isn't why. And it's really easy for Paizo to buff the Barb numbers a bit to bring them in line with the fighter. Remember it's a playtest.

But even the examples you gave are still playable in the playtest and you can still have your moments.

Try making an archer rogue in the core rulebook but then don't spend every single one of your feats on bow stuff just to make bows even slightly viable, and then tell me that's playable... You would literally never hit unless you roll a 20. That's a type of build that someone would absolutely make when trying PF1 for the first time

Why would I focus on a combat style and then not invest in that? I get some classes are forced to do that in PF2e, but why would you want to?


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Why would I focus on a combat style and then not invest in that? I get some classes are forced to do that in...

Because when I built my rogue, I didn't want to make a fighter with sneak attack. Even so, by the end of the feats I was practically forced to take to make myself competent, that is what I might as well have been.


Cyouni wrote:
by the end of the feats I was practically forced to take to make myself competent, that is what I might as well have been.

Really? You spent all of your rogue talents on combat feats? How'd you manage to achieve that? I quite like doing so with my rogues so I'd love to know the secret. Or were we just being hyperbolic?


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
by the end of the feats I was practically forced to take to make myself competent, that is what I might as well have been.
Really? You spent all of your rogue talents on combat feats? How'd you manage to achieve that? I quite like doing so with my rogues so I'd love to know the secret. Or were we just being hyperbolic?

They took Combat Trick, Weapon Focus, and Ninja Trick (combat trick), when that was still valid, before they dipped into slayer for a combat style feat, before continuing on their merry multiclassing path. Is that not enough for you?


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D@rK-SePHiRoTH- wrote:
balance is not (only) about teammates being balanced with eachother, it's also about characters being balanced against the appropriate level challenges.

I'm beginning to think "appropriate level challenge" is a concept that should be removed from the game.


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Bluenose wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:


...insert the usual "some of us love playing sidekicks and want that option available" rant here..
Is there a problem with playing a lower level character if that's what you want?

I don't think that's any more a solution than suggesting that people who find martials underpowered compared to casters just play higher-level martials than the casters in the party.


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Dire Ursus wrote:


Let's use an example that's been brought up before. Wizard Fighter. A new player could easily make the mistake of trying to multiclass into or out of a spell casting class. Hell I did myself when I first started playing 3.5. You literally feel so damn useless. I had to retire that character because he actually didn't do anything in combat. It was pretty sad too because I had a lot of story and character moments planned for him but alas, it was an actual...

I want the game and the game expectations to allow me to play, for example, a healing-focused character who never does a point of damage to an opponent, across twenty levels of play, as easily as it does a combat monster.

Mark those combinations clearly by all means so that players who care about feeling useful in combat can avoid them, but please do not remove them from the game.


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Cyouni wrote:
They took Combat Trick, Weapon Focus, and Ninja Trick (combat trick), when that was still valid, before they dipped into slayer for a combat style feat, before continuing on their merry multiclassing path. Is that not enough for you?

Sorry. When you said Rogue I was expecting a single classed rogue, not a rogue 5/slayer 1/something else X/etc, etc. I can definitely see why someone who multiclassed out of Rogue and took only combat rogue talents would feel like a fighter with sneak attack.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
They took Combat Trick, Weapon Focus, and Ninja Trick (combat trick), when that was still valid, before they dipped into slayer for a combat style feat, before continuing on their merry multiclassing path. Is that not enough for you?
Sorry. When you said Rogue I was expecting a single classed rogue, not a rogue 5/slayer 1/something else X/etc, etc. I can definitely see why someone who multiclassed out of Rogue and took only combat rogue talents would feel like a fighter with sneak attack.

I think by the end it ended up being rogue 6/slayer 2/wizard 1/arcane archer 4. Took me a while to learn that the base design of the concept was so mediocre that I'd have to do a lot to make it work.

I think my point stands, though, that 6 levels is pretty deep into Rogue, and the sheer number of feats you need to gain basic competence in 1E is quite high, such that I actually needed all those combat talents to remain a functioning party member. That's not something I want to see required in 2E, nor the playtest.
As a side note, that's an example of a character that's actually allowed to thrive in its niche thanks to the playtest.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Floppy Toast wrote:

What if Paizo embraced the whole idea of "imbalance" instead of shunning it?

It seems like there's already the groundwork for it in the "common, uncommon" ranking system. What if, instead of making access to Uncommon weapons/spells a racial thing, they made it a power level thing.
Kind of like MtG does with the Pauper format. That way, when the GM is making the campaign, they can say something like "commons only," or "everything is allowed" to keep the power level a little tighter.

I think that's a good idea (and as you say it fits in well with the rarity scheme for other parts of the game).

I've often wished PF1 had a Green-Amber-Red classification for feats and PC options - where green options are balanced and "the default". Amber are "probably okay, but may be over/under powered based on the specific campaign" and Red options are over or underpowered and presented for flavor reasons (or for monsters/NPCs).

To be frank, I think it's already there in PF1, it just isn't codified (so people consider a Player Companion option to have been put forth as if it's on equal footing with a CRB option when they are actually often quite different in terms of power level).


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

4E tried to get that goal of absolute balance.

Didn't work out that great.

I think it's really a bad idea to attribute "4e did x, therefore x is bad" since if you poll 20 people in this hobby about what went wrong with that edition, you will get 60 different answers.

I, for one, do not consider "balance" to be a problem with that edition; rather I count it as one of its strengths.

Where did I said that.

for me 4E had best out of combat healing(and in-combat) limited and determined by healing surge number and value.

In 4E I didnt like the same number of A/E/D/U for all classes.
didn't like +1/2 per level bonus on everything(mistake that PF2 continues and even doubles it)

and I didn't like damage to HP ratio. damage was too low.

minions were a good idea. Gave that 80's action movies vibe but were still dangerous if not cleared first.


Floppy Toast wrote:

What if Paizo embraced the whole idea of "imbalance" instead of shunning it?

It seems like there's already the groundwork for it in the "common, uncommon" ranking system. What if, instead of making access to Uncommon weapons/spells a racial thing, they made it a power level thing.
Kind of like MtG does with the Pauper format. That way, when the GM is making the campaign, they can say something like "commons only," or "everything is allowed" to keep the power level a little tighter.

MtG doesn't give cards levels.

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:


...insert the usual "some of us love playing sidekicks and want that option available" rant here..
Is there a problem with playing a lower level character if that's what you want?
I don't think that's any more a solution than suggesting that people who find martials underpowered compared to casters just play higher-level martials than the casters in the party.

If people want to play their character concepts, then playing a character who isn't as powerful shouldn't also lock them into playing whatever the 'inferior' class(es) turn out to be in this edition. If the classes are designed so that you can reasonably expect them to be equally useful across a typical adventure, then making a stronger or weaker character involves adding or subtracting levels, and not pigeon-holing them into one class or another. Increasing the options for what people can play doesn't seem like a terrible goal.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
Floppy Toast wrote:

What if Paizo embraced the whole idea of "imbalance" instead of shunning it?

It seems like there's already the groundwork for it in the "common, uncommon" ranking system. What if, instead of making access to Uncommon weapons/spells a racial thing, they made it a power level thing.
Kind of like MtG does with the Pauper format. That way, when the GM is making the campaign, they can say something like "commons only," or "everything is allowed" to keep the power level a little tighter.

I think that's a good idea (and as you say it fits in well with the rarity scheme for other parts of the game).

I've often wished PF1 had a Green-Amber-Red classification for feats and PC options - where green options are balanced and "the default". Amber are "probably okay, but may be over/under powered based on the specific campaign" and Red options are over or underpowered and presented for flavor reasons (or for monsters/NPCs).

To be frank, I think it's already there in PF1, it just isn't codified (so people consider a Player Companion option to have been put forth as if it's on equal footing with a CRB option when they are actually often quite different in terms of power level).

Sadly, that won't float. Power Attack is a Turbo-Green (as in "if you don't take it, you need a really good explanation why you don't" for martials, but a Code Red for a full caster. And no, that's not "obvious", I've met my share of new players who wanted to take PA with their staff-wielding Sorcerers just so "well, I'll be able to fight better when in melee".

Or a feat might be Red for pretty much everyone except those three builds which combine it with item X and feat Y into an unstoppable combo.

So nope, color coding options works in charop guides, where you can elaborate and explain. No dice in a rulebook that's supposed to be easy to pick up and play.


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I think it has merit, it just doesn’t solve the problem you cite here.

What I mean is an easy way for experienced players to filter options, not a guide for newbies.


I think we could have a 'standard options' list for selectable class abilities, to give newbies something to focus on, and 'unusual options' for abilities that are more niche, make the game more complicated, require a specific build, etc.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
I think we could have a 'standard options' list for selectable class abilities, to give newbies something to focus on, and 'unusual options' for abilities that are more niche, make the game more complicated, require a specific build, etc.

There’s a few options.

It pretty much has to be built in from the get go though. I’m not sure there’s support for the idea within Paizo, unfortunately.


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MerlinCross wrote:

It might be a board stroke. But everyone outside of my group has pushed for the best math regardless of circumstances. My favorite was when I was pushed to getting Precise Shot. Instead of Extra Discovery, Precise Bombs. When all combat was in small hallways or rooms. And got mad at me anyway.

Is if fair? No. But my experiences here, online, and PFS basically make me think if not expect people to Min Max until proven otherwise.

FWIW, I've never seen anyone rejected from a PFS table because they were not Min-Maxed. On the other hand, I have seen situations where very high powered characters did trivialize encounters and limit the opportunities for other characters to contribute.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
I think we could have a 'standard options' list for selectable class abilities, to give newbies something to focus on, and 'unusual options' for abilities that are more niche, make the game more complicated, require a specific build, etc.

There’s a few options.

It pretty much has to be built in from the get go though. I’m not sure there’s support for the idea within Paizo, unfortunately.

This is frustrating to me - in PF1, because monsters were built using player rules, you had a mix of 'low hit, avg hit, med hit' monsters - some with high AC - some with low AC, etc.

Now you have all level 0 monsters have +6 to hit. That increases - lvl 2 +8, lvl 3 +9, lvl 4 +11 (where you get your +2 prof. to armor), lvl 7 +17, lvl 9 +19. So why can't the rules say 'if you are in melee you should aim to have at least a +6 armor at first level, and increase that by +1 every time you level up to keep up with monsters?

PF1 didn't need that - not wanting to spoil ourselves, we certainly were not prepared for that. Our experience with PF1, was that the guy with chain would have very good protection (AC 16 against +2 to hit goblins? Yeah!) - even at higher levels I had level 20 players that survived with lower than optimal AC. My point is the rules are now *hard coded* to want a melee fighter to keep AC up or get *slaughtered* (every point you fall behind at +1 per level *and* expertise is 5% more crit chance on you!) - why isn't this in the rules?

That's not a feat suggestion, that's not a Blue/Green/Orange/Red 'this could be good' - that's a flat out 'the system expects you to have this much Armor' - it's a hidden machine that any player paying attention will eventually pick up on (or cheat and read the bestiary entries to figure it out) that hardcore punishes someone for not knowing. So why keep it hidden? What 'fun' is there in finding out the game expects certain things? I don't get why people who seemed to understand this fact and planned for it - don't also understand that most people aren't going to deep dive the rules to the point they have that info prior to the very first session they play.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Tridus wrote:

"Everyone" is an overly broad brush. This is in no way a universal thing. There's plenty of tables out there that are open to people playing whatever they want, even if it's subpar. It can be made to work.

There's certainly people out there who do want a party fully optimized, and that's fine. You can't eliminate that without also eliminating the fun those people find in trying to figure out how to do that.

I tend to think one thing the playtest is trying to do that's good is lowering the spread between the two extremes. This is a cooperative game, and not every class has to be equally good so long as they do have something they can shine at in a party setting. What we really don't want is the Cavalier guy sitting down to play and feeling useless because the Paladin guy can do everything he can except better, and also do five other things.

And that's actually on Paizo's end rather than the community. Fewer people will care when the gap between top and bottom is modest and not a gaping chasm.

It might be a board stroke. But everyone outside of my group has pushed for the best math regardless of circumstances. My favorite was when I was pushed to getting Precise Shot. Instead of Extra Discovery, Precise Bombs. When all combat was in small hallways or rooms. And got mad at me anyway.

Is if fair? No. But my experiences here, online, and PFS basically make me think if not expect people to Min Max until proven otherwise.

I also want to use your gap example for something. Sure the gap is smaller and far easier to reach. But everyone around you has custom built fancy poles to help them make that jump. Why don't you have one?

Paizo can make that gap as small as they want. How the community decides and decrees the only way to jump it is another issue.

The best math is a sticking point for me. Many people can see that Option A is better than Option B and insist that only a fool would chose Option B. But my mathematical lens sees a little farther. Imagine that Option A actually is better than Option B, but only by 10%. And Option B opens more doors for future development, so in the long run, it is better. Nevertheless, I will still see people writing that only a fool would chose Option B.

People usually can't see how small the gap is.

The sneaky PF1 archer rogue pressured into Point-Blank Shot and Precise Shot? Those feats are not necessary if he is not regularly shooting into melee. The alchemist bombing in crowded hallways? Precise Bombs makes good sense. Good teamwork usually trumps better damage.

I tried writing several examples for this post, even a spoiler-free one taken from this week's Doomsday Dawn game. But I realized that people won't be able to see how the non-obvious choice was better than the obvious choice. Even an explicit example requires a paragraph of detailed explanation.

My wife and I dominate the battlefield with unexpected builds: infusion-donating alchemist, high-mobility time oracle, melee bad-touch aberrant sorceress, battlefield-control gunslinger, and PF2 Raging Athlete barbarian. They work better than the well-known optimized builds, because the greater variety gives us characters that fit the team and create teamwork.

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