Oof. I have a headache after helping four players level up for Mirrored Moon.


Creating a Character


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I feel my head just got hit by a truck. Might just be a long week at work but it might also be the last 2.5 hours of helping my players level up. Then again, it may be karma punishing me for saying that diverse abilities are good earlier today.

Up until now, I found character creation much easier in the playtest than in Pathfinder First Edition. But that was only creating Level 1 and Level 4 characters. Both of my Doomsday Dawn groups skipped Affair at Sombrefell Hall and my two other groups are still low level, so The Mirrored Moon is the highest level character creation done to date. It was rough. Primarily because of the overwhelming breadth of abilities - which is something I'm surprised to find myself listing as a negative.

I noticed a few core problems.
--| Almost everything tries to do something interesting...which means almost everything adds conditional rules.*
--| Clear incremental increases were limited to the proficiency system. After HP, Skill Increases were the most straightforward part of leveling up! So why does everything take the complicated route?
--| The character sheet was ill equipped for it. Is the plan just that players will just write the name of an ability and then reference it using a book/website? That's how it feels.
--| Ability Scores need to go away. We only need Ability Modifiers. It would save room on a cluttered character sheet and eliminate a point of confusion for new players.
--| Still no section for Armor or Shields? This is confusing.
--| General Feats were generally boring afterthoughts.
--| Skill Feats were quickly overwhelming and just selected them based on name.
--| One player was very engaged and basically did most of it independently but the other three were very much frozen. Lots of prompting.
--| The most experienced player (I call him the novice due to having three years of TTRPG playing under his belt) had the hardest time creating a character. He eventually used a pregen and just leveled it up. He said Pathfinder First Edition character creation was easier.

*But there's no room to write those rules and if there were it would be overwhelming.

Suggestions to remedy some of this.
--| Characters gain fewer feats but those feats scale. Particularly Skill Feats.
--| Get rid of General Feats...donate that space to fleshing out some details.
--| Can all proficiency use a system like Skill Increase?
--| Fewer Conditional Bonuses, more universal bonuses or easily remembered boosts.
--| Equipment and Treasure should be in the same chapter. Very time consuming to flip back and forth.

Whew. How about you? What kind of experience have you had with character creation? At what level? Any suggestions?


Quote:
The character sheet was ill equipped for it. Is the plan just that players will just write the name of an ability and then reference it using a book/website? That's how it feels.

For my Starfinder players I have been creating I wrote their abilities and rules for them on a character supplement sheet. I also do the same for spells. It reduces the amount of time we have to spend looking up rules in the book.

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I would not want to get rid of general feats. That would make it much more difficult to get character builds that are not based directly on the class. A spellcasting class would have to use multiclassing in order to get additional weapon proficiency or armor proficiency. Pretty much all characters would be stuck without any saving throw proficiency increasing. Things like that.


breithauptclan wrote:
For my Starfinder players I have been creating I wrote their abilities and rules for them on a character supplement sheet. I also do the same for spells. It reduces the amount of time we have to spend looking up rules in the book.

Good advice. That's what I'm planning to do for this group. Three of Four were completely overwhelmed by the options.

breithauptclan wrote:
I would not want to get rid of general feats. That would make it much more difficult to get character builds that are not based directly on the class. A spellcasting class would have to use multiclassing in order to get additional weapon proficiency or armor proficiency. Pretty much all characters would be stuck without any saving throw proficiency increasing. Things like that.

That's fair. I'd get rid of them as a category and fold them into Skill Feats. Well, really, I'd just use a completely separate proficiency system.


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Quote:
Ability Scores need to go away. We only need Ability Modifiers. It would save room on a cluttered character sheet and eliminate a point of confusion for new

I agree. Scores are pointless. Modifiers is all we need.

Quote:
Skill Feats were quickly overwhelming and just selected them based on name.

I also dislike how much you have to game the system to get the feats you want at the levels you want. Like Stealth has some solid master level feats (foil senses is neat) but the trained and expert level ones dont appeal to me. So, I have to make sure I take the right skill to expert first, to nab trained and expert skill feats for that as I boost stealth to master to get foil senses. Very gamey. Do not like.

Another thing is how the tight math affects chargen. I feel I need to advise new players to min/max. If they build their character "naturally" they won't necessary clue in to the fact that they should pick skills that align to high scores or that they want a primary attack stat at 18 and a secondary such stat at 16.


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I'm with you. I think building all-new PCs might have been easier, since I'd be putting in a new foundation instead of 'remodelling' a pre-existing structure. I like your idea of class feats scaling. That already happens with some skill feats.

I'd gladly pay Paizo for a "fashion advice" book for which kind of treasures to give a certain class: what to equip your Sword-and-Board Fighter from level 2 to 20, what to equip your reach weapon Fighter, etc.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Well, really, I'd just use a completely separate proficiency system.

I've said before that I have a fondness for the Harnmaster system where everything is a skill, you have a "skill base" (SB) derived from attributes (HM has more attributes than PF) and skill mastery ranges from an "opening level" which is a multiple of SB to a maximum of 100+SB. At low skill levels, it's easy to increase ML. The higher you go the harder it gets. Using a skill is a simple d100 roll, perhaps with situational modifiers. Swinging a sword? Skill. Swinging an axe? Different skill, but it works the same way. Casting a spell? Skill. Doing stuff makes you tired. Getting hit in combat makes you hurt. These things modify your ML for whatever skill you're using. No spell slots, no "points", no classes, no character levels. The most significant downside, I think, is that anything more than a minor wound is going to take a while to heal. Still, it's a pretty good system. I doubt Paizo wants to go in that direction, though. Oh, I forgot to mention: armor is basically damage reduction. No hit points. Graphic injuries, with "injury points" that are used to determine how long it takes to heal.


I really feel like they should just bake the skill feats into proficiency increases. Give a series of new uses and bonuses that show up at each proficiency level and shave off most of the work.

General feats do seem like a waste of effort. Proficiencies that never increase above trained, or bumping your bad save up to the next level could all just be granted to all classes at certain levels. The only reason to retain them is to convert them to race feats then the race feats to level 1 class feats so a caster can grab the rest of the metamagic. And I don't think that's an intended use of general feats.

There's also quite a few mutually exclusive niche feats that could be combined so that they come up a bit more frequently.


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I've found the same thing. As you level, character creation stretches on and quickly becomes slower than 1e.

All the feats and selectable things are a big reason why. Once I start looking for skill feats at higher level, I need to take into account which ones I can take for my given proficiencies, what they do with given proficiencies, which ones I think I'll increase later (thus getting more out of the feat if it scales), etc, etc. This applies to virtually everything.

Automatic class abilities are easier to work with because there's no thought. At level X, you get Y. Done. In that sense, 1e archetypes were also easier after picking one because there's no thought. You get Z instead of Y. It was harder to pick one initially, which made more of the effort front loaded. But levelling didn't give you the barrage of options we're faced with now, and that is where the analysis paralysis is coming from.

I thought I'd go faster in creation when I played Sombrefell Hill since I had done it before and was playing the same class as the previous time... It did not work out that way.

Item shopping also contributed to this. Instead of "here's Xgp, go buy stuff", I got to play item tetris trying to figure out how to slot things into the item levels I was given in a way that made sense. It's probably helpful to control what people get, but I found it more difficult, slower, and less fun than spending gold.

(As for ability points vs modifiers. Unless they also get rid of the gaining points goes slower once you have an 18 thing, that's not going to help much, because I'll find myself gaining 0.5 WIS and that isn't simpler. If they ditched that, then it would make more sense.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My players have said that creating characters has gotten easier and quicker each time. We're on Part 3 now.

I don't understand the idea of giving out item levels rather than a gold piece total. I think that part does currently slow things down.

I also agree with removing ability scores at this point. As for the slower ability progression either:
a) who cares. I think players would like slightly higher ability scores.
b) charge 2 of the 4 increases to raise a high stat


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

With regards to general feats, I feel the problem is more that there's a very limited selection right now. When fleet is one of the best feats available, you know you have slim pickings. If we had better options, I think they'd be fine.


Dasrak wrote:
With regards to general feats, I feel the problem is more that there's a very limited selection right now. When fleet is one of the best feats available, you know you have slim pickings. If we had better options, I think they'd be fine.

This is why my ch4 character took me about an hour and why my ch3 character took 5.

By ch4 I stopped giving a s$*# about general and skill feats (my skill feat lines are filled in with "I stopped caring" whereas my general feats are Fleet and Remarkable Resonance--yes, as a 19 charisma sorcerer I took Remarkable Resonance).

My permanent items is what took so long, and even that was a breeze through the item list going "ok I get a level 8 item and...there's only one I want. Level 7s, I get two...there's one. Level 6...nothing. Level 5...one...eeh, two, Hat of the Magi isn't awful. Uh...necklace of fireball for the rest?"


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

By coincidence, or not, at least two of my PCs in Pt 3 took fleet.


I think it can be tricky to compare creating high level characters to pathfinder 1. A newbie in pathfinder 2 wouldn't be likely to make a high level character right of the bat and would instead go one level at a time, making the process a lot easier. Maybe paizo should have made the progress of leveling for the playtest a bit slower (might be a time constraint).

I think making a high-level pathfinder 1 character for someone new to the system would also be a nightmare of unoptimal choices or hours upon hours to figure it out to make a good character (even if you are allowed just the CRB, which is still "easier" to use since it's an actual finished product than the playtest document obviously making the comparison unjust)

However I do agree that there is a lot to be improved in the layout and making more feats (especially general and skill feats) more attractive so most just go fleet and then the rest doesn't really matter for much actual play.


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Whew. How about you? What kind of experience have you had with character creation? At what level? Any suggestions?

Similar. As the playtest group makes characters of higher and higher level, the group in which I play takes more and more time.

We spend hours making characters and we're using Hero Lab. Analysis paralysis chews threw the time. Also, folks misread and misunderstand the abilities they pick, and then end up rebuilding their characters.

Personally, I've come to some of the same conclusions as you did. General and Skill Feats aren't worth agonizing over. My last character just took Skill Training until I had all of the skills. I was disappointed when I ran out of skills to take.

Honestly, I hate PF2e right now because I hate character generation. I wish my playtest group would just go back to PF1e or try D&D 5e.


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Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
Honestly, I hate PF2e right now because I hate character generation. I wish my playtest group would just go back to PF1e or try D&D 5e.

I have a seething hatred for the whole system. Character creation, advancement, balance, the adventure...

But I'm still going to participate in the entire thing because the fact that I hate it is feedback that needs to be given.

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