Any change of bringing back point buy


Creating a Character

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I'll take the middle ground and say that failing SO often sucks both in and out of combat. :P

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think "failing at a skill check you will eventually succeed at" is a good model for those moments in fiction where our hero suffers a setback to create drama

That might be true if we didn't have crit failures that prevent more checks. Drama's all fine and good but if you break your lockpicks before you open the lock, you lost the drama as the barbarian has to chop down the door...


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Personally I suspect what we are going to see in the final version is monsters rebuilt with bonuses suspiciously similar to the post-errata version of table 10-2.

And I think that's probably going to work pretty well, because my experience is that post errata that table is actually pretty well on-point for giving good challenge levels.


I guess the big question is "how often is it appropriate/dramatically-satisfying to fail at the thing you are best at, a thing you have practiced extensively, a thing you have dabbled in, and a thing you know very little about?"

Since we can only work in 5% increments because of the whole d20 thing, and "succeeding 100% or 95% of the time" (a thing many PF1 characters could accomplish)" isn't ideal.


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Somewhere else semi-quoted a study done with MMOs (iirc) that said that a 70% success rate was ideal.

And my gut feeling is that that is about right.


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Draco18s wrote:

Somewhere else semi-quoted a study done with MMOs (iirc) that said that a 70% success rate was ideal.

And my gut feeling is that that is about right.

I forget the study as well, but 70% has long been a benchmark for an acceptable success.

Think back on school. In my era (70s & 80s, plus college again 2015), a grade of less than 70% was deemed a near failure. Some education systems now require a 70% or higher performance to pass; i.e. anything less than that is a failure.

I sure as hell wouldn't trust my fate to a doctor or lawyer with a less than 70% success rate.


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That lawyer comment is interesting to me - wouldn't one assume lawyers would have a lower success rate then that?

If you assume that a trial is successful in determining the truth of guilt or innocence, and defendants are randomly distributed between the two (in reality you would expect bias towards guilty), one would expect lawyers to have a 50% success rate.

Off topic, though. XD


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MaxAstro wrote:

That lawyer comment is interesting to me - wouldn't one assume lawyers would have a lower success rate then that?

If you assume that a trial is successful in determining the truth of guilt or innocence, and defendants are randomly distributed between the two (in reality you would expect bias towards guilty), one would expect lawyers to have a 50% success rate.

Off topic, though. XD

I agree, off topic and splitting hairs, being argumentative just to argue.

The point still stands that when people are in dire need to avoid trouble, be it death or imprisonment, they seek the best that they can get to champion their cause. The same is true for the groups enlisting the adventurers for the PF APs. They need heroes; some not some randoms with a 50%(ish) success rate.


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For the record, I was not being argumentative nor was I suggesting that 50% is a good rate for PF2e (you will see in my above posts that I suggest 70%). I literally was just expressing a curiosity.


@MaxAstro, your post was probably something I skimmed over and missed. I skimmed a lot once the topic went completely off point buy (though I found much of the discussion interesting). I don't live for the forums (check my profile, my post count is low).

Yet, it is the less than 70% success rate that has completely turned me off to PF2E. I enjoyed the point buy flexibility and challenge when it made you wonder if the 4 (out of 20 or 25) points to go from 17 to 18 was worth it; or, if you could wait until level 4 for the stat boost. Given, IMO, the bloat of required stat increases needed to be curtailed. That strikes me as more of an issue with game balance, character development/growth vs. expectations of challenge and difficulty. PF1 is a good character system, however, the growth curve demands too much to stay effective (notably the Big 6 magic items of stats, saves, attacks, AC, skills and resistances). None-the-less, I could make a N/PC that felt heroic for high fantasy. PF2E does not allow me to make a PC that feels heroic, or (as GM) make a NPC that feels like a dangerous villain.

I cannot even attempt to express my disappointment with how spellcasting magic has been neutered. Example: PF1E has the Runelords (and wizards) that ruled vast empires and shaped the world; PF2E Runelord, Nex, Geb, Whispering Tyrant cannot even rule a quaint village, let alone shape the world.


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MaxAstro wrote:
That lawyer comment is interesting to me - wouldn't one assume lawyers would have a lower success rate then that?

That depends on how you measure success. Naively you'd assume that only ever the defense or the prosecution can win and that the other lawyer loses.

But that's not how it works at all.

A lawyer's job is to make the best case for their client. In the case of defending the guilty guy it isn't to get the guy off scott-free, but to make sure that the punishment is not overly punitive.

And by that measure, most lawyers are successful.


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I find it rather interesting that both Draco18s & MaxAstro fixated upon the lawyer aspect for the example, rather than a doctor or surgeon. I'd like to think that most people would prefer to have a surgeon who is better than 50% success rate when going under the knife for life-saving surgery.


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I made no comment about the doctor/surgeon because I felt that the comparison was apt.


Question: let's say you have the best possible guard at a particular level (we'll say 5, hypothetically) try to spot the best possible thief of the same level. What should his success rate be?


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Cyouni wrote:
Question: let's say you have the best possible guard at a particular level (we'll say 5, hypothetically) try to spot the best possible thief of the same level. What should his success rate be?

In this circumstance it would depend on the conditions at the time.. but I would say about 50%.


A skilled surgeon should never fail when doing a routine appendectomy, but a 50% success rate when trying to save patients in very critical situations may be good.


Megistone wrote:
A skilled surgeon should never fail when doing a routine appendectomy, but a 50% success rate when trying to save patients in very critical situations may be good.

What kind of skill ratings and DCs are we talking here?

I'll also point out that at one point in time, an appendectomy was "trying to save a patient in a very critical situation."


Draco18s wrote:
Megistone wrote:
A skilled surgeon should never fail when doing a routine appendectomy, but a 50% success rate when trying to save patients in very critical situations may be good.

What kind of skill ratings and DCs are we talking here?

I'll also point out that at one point in time, an appendectomy was "trying to save a patient in a very critical situation."

This is exacly what I wanted to come to: it depends. Saying that "a specialist always has 50% chances, and that's too low" is wrong.

If the surgeon is level 10 and the routine surgery task he attempts is level 1 (say, patching up a flesh wound), his chances are probably 95%.
What IS a real challenge for him? Maybe a nasty gunshot wound? Maybe that, with the additional problem that the patient that is already very weak and almost bled out?
You reach a point where having a 50% chance is quite good, for that task, even if attempting the surgery in an outfitted operating room (expert tools). The surgeon is not incompetent, it's just that his task is hard!

What is the level of that task? In the playtest it's about 10 (probably 11-12), but what what counts is how often the surgeon is in a situation to attempt something that hard, instead of an easier task (still a gunshot wound, but it didn't pierce any vital organs) where the success rate is higher.


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This is one of the main reasons I avoid forums: look at our discussion vs. the OP. I admit to falling prey to tangentially running down the rabbit-hole as well. And while I understand that the two topics are closely associated, there are several threads with hundreds of posts all over these forums concerning success rates. No need to beat that dead horse here. So back towards the OP topic.

I reiterate what I said above: I enjoyed the point buy flexibility and challenge when it made you wonder if the 4 (out of 20 or 25) points to go from 17 to 18 was worth it; or, if you could wait until level 4 for the stat boost.

I could make a N/PC that felt heroic for high fantasy. PF2E does not allow me to make a PC that feels heroic, or (as GM) make a NPC that feels like a dangerous villain.

Furthermore, (please correct me on this topic as I have not even bothered to make an NPC) from what I have seen here [forums] NPC creation rules do not follow the same rules as PC creation. If this is true, I have to question the reasoning underlying that decision.


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Megistone wrote:
What is the level of that task? In the playtest it's about 10 (probably 11-12), but what what counts is how often the surgeon is in a situation to attempt something that hard, instead of an easier task (still a gunshot wound, but it didn't pierce any vital organs) where the success rate is higher.

Sure. The problem is that the rules break down when you turn to the non-specialist in the room. The Level 10 Doctor has a 50% chance of success. The Level 10 Nurse....has a 40% chance of success.*

And it makes no sense.

It gets even nuttier if you consider that the doctor fresh out of medschool (level 1) has the same chance of success at doing surgery (you know, the thing he's trained at) as the about-to-retire lawyer (because he's level 20)!

*I am quite well aware of the amount of training it requires to be a nurse. It's literally the same as becoming a doctor, minus about a year of school (so you know, only 9 years of training instead of 10) because they don't need to know how to wield a knife. And to make matters worse (and even more nonsensical in game terms), if you want to be a medical illustrator? Same classes. Same amount of training. Except you draw stuff instead of doing surgery. I know this because I used to work with a registered medical illustrator. He was something like one class short of being able to be a doctor. Sure, it didn't include the residency period, but it still gives you an idea of the level of training he had to go through for a craft skill.


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You are assuming that the nurse didn't put one less point in Wis in favor of Cha, and that she bought the same magical scalpel the doctor did, though. :P


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MaxAstro wrote:
You are assuming that the nurse didn't put one less point in Wis in favor of Cha, and that she bought the same magical scalpel the doctor did, though. :P

In this scenario you're also assuming that the Nurse has the same proficiency in their skill as the Doctor, and that Surgery isn't a skill feat.

Though, in all honesty have you ever really worked with nurses before? A lot of them are damn knowledgeable when it comes to their job often times having more experience than a Doctor does.


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My father would have been better able to address the doctor/nurse thing than I am (he was a cardiologist) but unfortunately I can't ask him. I do remember learning, as a new Ensign, USN, to listen to my Chief Petty Officers — they after all had been doing it a lot longer than I had. I don't recall ever relying on their expertise and having it bite me.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Actually I can see PF2e modelling this quite well: Both the nurse and the doctor are Experts in Medicine with high Wisdom (off topic: It should really be Intelligence).

However, the nurse has Medicine Skill Feats that give her bonuses on Recall Knowledge checks and Aid Another actions.

The doctor, on the other hand, has a Skill Feat that turns critical failures on surgery actions into regular failures, and a magical scalpel that provides a bonus to surgery actions.

So despite having a relatively similar raw Medicine score, the nurse is more knowledgeable overall and a good assistant, but the doctor is better at actually performing surgery.


Wait... what happened to the point buy being discussed here?


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The internet happened. :)

Bringing it back to the original topic, I'm not sad to see point buy go. It was something I felt compelled to optimize, but it wasn't really fun to optimize.


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MaxAstro wrote:

The internet happened. :)

Bringing it back to the original topic, I'm not sad to see point buy go. It was something I felt compelled to optimize, but it wasn't really fun to optimize.

Which is the exact same boat with PF2E: you must optimize to be even remotely close to the 50(ish)% success chance we've discussed. At least with the PF1, you were punished less harshly for being less than optimal.


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But in 2e, even if we accept that premise as true (I've seen plenty of reports on the boards of characters without an 18 doing fine, and that was true in my own games as well), it takes a lot less time and energy to optimize ABCD that it does point buy.


Concerning the ease of attribute stat allocation, I suppose you are correct MaxAstro. I imagine the crux of my issue is that this part of character creation smacks (IMO) of the dumbing-down approach that 5th edition D&D adopted. To me, PF was always something for people with creativity and required more than a passing use of intellect.

Then again the PT has dumbed things down even more: make a martial PC, take a 2-handed weapon, swing 3 times a round.


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5th Edition uses a Point Buy mechanic. In this way 5th Edition D&D is more closely similar to 1st Edition Pathfinder than it is to 2nd Edition Pathfinder.

With that said I would definitely say that I vastly prefer the 2nd Edition Pathfinder character creation.


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Gloom wrote:

One of the bigger issues here is that it is possible to gain other bonuses either through Items/Magic or through circumstances. Circumstance bonuses can go up to +/- 4 and Item/Magic Bonuses can go up to +/- 5.

When you compare all of the bonuses it is possible to get, minus Circumstance bonuses on a character you would have something more akin to this.

Level: 20
Attribute: 7
Proficiency: 3
Item: 5

Total Result: 35

Compared to level 20 skill difficulties:

Easy: 27
Medium: 36
Hard: 39
Incredible: 43
Ultimate: 47

They will succeed on an Easy challenge by rolling a 2. (95%)
They will succeed on a Medium challenge by rolling a 2. (95%)
They will succeed on a Hard challenge by rolling a 4. (85%)
They will succeed on an Incredible challenge by rolling an 8. (65%)
They will succeed on an Ultimate challenge by rolling a 12. (45%)

If the whole party is attempting the check and only one person needs to succeed to pass the encounter, the rules in 1.3 suggest adding a +4 Modifier to the DC. In this case all of the success chances with the exception of the Easy difficulty numbers will shift down by 20% success rate.

As it is right now, those numbers seem pretty solid in super-late game.

I think one of the issues right now at lower levels is the cost in obtaining item bonuses to skills.

Please note that my example of the Monk did not include item, magic, or circumstance bonuses as to prevent people from arguing that obtaining those items at level 6 would not be feasible.

While it is possible I can definitely see how it would be a significant investment for a character of that level.

And this illustrates the problem very well. To be as competent at level 20 as you were at level 1, you have to make very hefty investments. Investments you can do in one skill, perhaps as many as three if you really work at it. At level 1, you had this level of competence in about six skills. Overall, your level of competence has gone down.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I do agree that there needs to be more opportunities to raise skills. I think it wouldn't even hurt to flat double the number of skill increases (or maybe do something like languages, and say that characters with Int 14+ get double skill increases?). Although that might leave Rogues as swimming in too many skill increases.

As it stands right now, it's only possible for non-rogues to get Legendary in three skills, and only if you don't increase any other skills. That seems a little limited to me, but more importantly it seems odd that Int doesn't affect that in any way.

EDIT: It's disingenuous to say that every character in PF1e had competence in six skills, though. Only high Int or high skill characters did; other characters could have as few as two, and I would guess the average is closer to four.

EDIT2: I just realized you are talking about PF2e, where the average probably is closer to six. My bad.


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Megistone wrote:

I think we have to understand what 'level appropriate' means in this new system, or at least in the playtest.

In PF1 a CR=APL enemy is easily slaughtered most of the time; some groups have to routinely face APL+3 or APL+4 opponents in order to be challenged. Skill checks don't have a 'level' attached, but we know that there are so many ways to pump up your bonus in a desired skill that you can build a character to pass any plausible check with 2+.

Now, it seems that things have changed. Level appropriate monsters are tough. Level appropriate skill checks have a notable chance of failure even when attempted by specialists.
Maybe we just have to change the point of view. As MaxAstro said too, nothing is forcing groups to always face level appropriate challenges; it could well be that the most common enemies or checks are 1-2 levels lower, while on-level challenges are the harder ones, really dangerous and daring.

I don't know how official adventures will be designed, but at least for home games, the GMs will find the 'sweet spot' for their groups.

Indeed. Level is now a useful metric for creating encounters. People seem to have this thing in their head that your character is going to needing to one on one beat equal leveled monsters. That is not the case. If you are fighting an equal leveled monster worth 40 XP, then you almost certainly outnumber it-- 2 of them is considered a "high" difficulty encounter. And the only way that is high is if the monsters can actually hang for a bit while still being outnumbered two to one.

The bestiary and XP award system can actually be used to infer a lot about how adventures should/will be designed. An encounter only awards XP if it isn't trivial. The baseline for "low" difficulty encounters is 60 XP. If you are using an equal quantity of monsters to PCs, then that is 4 enemies at party level -3. I actually ran one of these on Sunday-- the level 8 monk flanked a redcap, rolled a 13 and crit. The redcaps had already been softened up by a 3rd level fireball and he was thus one shotting them. He felt pretty badass, I gotta say.

Now, bump the 4 v 4 scenario into a high encounter, and you are using 4 monsters of party level -2. (Please note high is as tough as you should really make encounters. Severe is for final boss fights and extreme is designed to be a coin flip and not for normal use.) Let's use Manticores, since they have killed so many of us during Doomsday Dawn. They still only have 20 AC, which means our level 8 monk with +8 to hit crits on a 15 without flanking or buffs-- if there's terrain to wall run from and the manticores can't get out of his reach and still lob spikes. Meanwhile they only have a +7 will save, so they need a 15 to save on your Calm Emotions spell, for example. You can probably catch two in it, and for 1st level spell and a concentration each round you've probably removed half the enemies.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Awesome analysis of the new CR system

So much this.

I definitely made this same mistake myself, until I looked at the numbers more carefully.

Encounters can't be balanced the same way they were in PF1e, and coming at it with that idea that adventurers will be casually massacring equal-level opponents is just wrong. PF2e seems to be set up such that an equal-level opponent is actually roughly equal to you, which makes sense to me.

That all said, this is also a problem of perception because Doomsday Dawn is fairly brutal, and closer to PF1e in terms of what kinds of encounters it throws.

So this does depend on the devs correctly using their encounter system, as well.

But I think I've heard that DD is supposed to be brutal.


MaxAstro wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Awesome analysis of the new CR system

So much this.

I definitely made this same mistake myself, until I looked at the numbers more carefully.

Encounters can't be balanced the same way they were in PF1e, and coming at it with that idea that adventurers will be casually massacring equal-level opponents is just wrong. PF2e seems to be set up such that an equal-level opponent is actually roughly equal to you, which makes sense to me.

That all said, this is also a problem of perception because Doomsday Dawn is fairly brutal, and closer to PF1e in terms of what kinds of encounters it throws.

So this does depend on the devs correctly using their encounter system, as well.

But I think I've heard that DD is supposed to be brutal.

Hey thanks! You are also correct about Doomsday Dawn. It is designed to push the game to the breaking point, no to be as fun as possible.

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