What about having "remove +1 / level" as an optional rule, at least?


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I've recently GM'd my first playtest sessions with a group of friends (the group is pretty diverse, we have 3.5 players, PF1 players, 5e players and one person that is kind of new to tabletop RPGs in general). We have played some at low levels and some at highers levels to know how the system works in both tiers. Everyone liked the system in general, but when we started to do high level stuff, almost everyone complained about how adding your level to everything is pretty odd, and I didn't like it as a GM either.

Then I started reading about it here in the forums and from what I've seen it's a VERY contorversial topic, but Paizo doesn't seem very inclined to remove it from the core system.

I am here to suggest that they at least create an optional rule explaining how to do it properly, it could be called Realistic Progression or something like that (I'm not very good with names). The point is, of course just not increasing the players' AC, to hit, skills, etc is pretty easy, but when it comes to check DCs and monsters it becomes kind of tricky, if there was a guideline on how to do it it would be a lot less of a hassle for those who don't like it.

Of course the exact opposite could be done, having no +1/level in the core rules and the optional rule be called something like Heroic Progression, and I would personally prefer this way. However, this post is assuming that they really are going to keep it in the core rules as it is.


I doubt this can even be done with the current system. Everything is based around high bonuses and skill checks based on level be it yours or the opposition. Removing the +level would mean remaking the whole chart of dcs, remaking every enemy in the game... Maybe even the items so the dcs scale differently.
If they do make it i think it will be done in place of the current rules and no optional rule. But those are just my two cents.


oholoko wrote:

I doubt this can even be done with the current system. Everything is based around high bonuses and skill checks based on level be it yours or the opposition. Removing the +level would mean remaking the whole chart of dcs, remaking every enemy in the game... Maybe even the items so the dcs scale differently.

If they do make it i think it will be done in place of the current rules and no optional rule. But those are just my two cents.

Well, this depends on one thing basically. If there is some fixed math behind the level scaling on monsters, DCs and items and it isn't ridiculously complex, I think it wouldn't be that hard to reverse it. If there is no strict math and they adjust it as they see fit, or it is really, really complex, then yes, you are probably right.


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They said this would probably be a side rule for a Gamemastery Guide.


Yeah, they mentioned the final rules should make things like that easy to houserule out. I mean, even as it stands now I don't see why just reducing the numbers of everything by the level of the thing doesn't do the job.


Yeah all you need to do to really implement it is reduce all DC's by the characters current level, or the reduce it by its CR.


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oholoko wrote:

I doubt this can even be done with the current system. Everything is based around high bonuses and skill checks based on level be it yours or the opposition. Removing the +level would mean remaking the whole chart of dcs, remaking every enemy in the game... Maybe even the items so the dcs scale differently.

then for the love of whatever is holy, do this. remake it. start over.

if a huge percentage of the game depends on an idea as bad as +1/level, chances are the game turns out to be not very good either. getting rid of it while also reworking the monster building 'rules' (whatever they are, because most monsters don't make much sense anyway as it is now) is the best thing that could happen for PF2


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So "removing +Level" is like the easiest thing to do, just subtract the level (and everything has one now) from all the numbers except movement and HP. It's so easy to house rule that there's no need to explicitly make it optional.


What's the percentage Hythlodeus? Can you link the data?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The problem with that, Hythlodeus, is that statement is only true if everyone agrees that +1/level is a bad idea. Which is far from true. In fact, if you pop over to the "top three positives/top three negatives" thread, you will see that more than one person has listed +1/level in their top three positives of PF2e.

And that's just on the forum; I imagine out in the wider world there are all varying degrees of viewpoints.

Personally I'm somewhere in the middle - I like the way it simplifies and tightens the math, but there are a few places where it breaks my verisimilitude.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
What's the percentage Hythlodeus? Can you link the data?

I don't know. Obviously "everything", since I replied to a post that suggested that "everything" is based around +1/level. "Everything" seems like a very high percentage to me, opinions on that may vary, of course.


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MaxAstro wrote:

In fact, if you pop over to the "top three positives/top three negatives" thread, you will see that more than one person has listed +1/level in their top three positives of PF2e.

how reliable is that thread to mirror the larger group of gamers? does it include people too frustrated with the PF2 playtest to post on a regular basis anymore? or those so frustrated that they dropped out completely? what about those that would love to post in the thread, but can't find three positive things to post? because I know I love maybe three for ideas of PF2 as iodeas, but find the implementations of those ideas lacking enough that I wouldn't exactly describe my current feeling towards them as 'positive' but as 'meh' at best.


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Hythlodeus wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

In fact, if you pop over to the "top three positives/top three negatives" thread, you will see that more than one person has listed +1/level in their top three positives of PF2e.

how reliable is that thread to mirror the larger group of gamers? does it include people too frustrated with the PF2 playtest to post on a regular basis anymore? or those so frustrated that they dropped out completely? what about those that would love to post in the thread, but can't find three positive things to post? because I know I love maybe three for ideas of PF2 as iodeas, but find the implementations of those ideas lacking enough that I wouldn't exactly describe my current feeling towards them as 'positive' but as 'meh' at best.

Well, it's reliable enough that you get people like me who love the +1/level and think that if you remove it I may as well go and play another game because it's just not the game I want to play. There is a lot I don't like about PF2, but the +1/level is not one of them.


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Hythlodeus wrote:
]I don't know. Obviously "everything", since I replied to a post that suggested that "everything" is based around +1/level. "Everything" seems like a very high percentage to me, opinions on that may vary, of course.

Everything involving a d20, maybe?

+1/level is at least a partially good idea.

In PF1, a Core Rogue got 3/4 BAB. This is a confusing concept, makes any level where it doesn't go up underwhelming, made multiclassing harder since you lose the fractional BAB, and made it possible for a Rogue to fall behind a pure martial, so that a character who started out perfectly functional eventually got to the point where they could hardly hit anything on their iterative attacks. +1 BAB/level for everyone fixes that.

In PF1, that same Rogue got +1/3 Fort Save and Will Save per level. This leads to a character who needs a Cloak of Resistance to live, but still falls further and further behind at higher levels until they get annihilated randomly by a Demilich. +1 Saves/level for everyone fixes that.

In PF1, that same Rogue didn't get better AC as they levelled up. They were massively gear dependent. +1 AC/level for everyone fixes that.

I think it's only +1 to all skills as you level up that I dislike.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
So "removing +Level" is like the easiest thing to do, just subtract the level (and everything has one now) from all the numbers except movement and HP. It's so easy to house rule that there's no need to explicitly make it optional.

It's easy(ish) to do but a good variant rule would also explore the implications:

Pathfinder design teaches us that one CR X enemy is equal in power to two CR X-2 enemies. So a single CR 15 is a match for two CR 13s or four CR 11s or eight CR 9s.

For this to work, the PCs have to increase their power by about 41% every level to keep up.

A high proportion of that comes from the +1/level power increase. Without that, it means that the eight minion guards a normal adventure would throw at you are suddenly a very dangerous threat, while the CR+3 boss is no longer particularly scary.

It's also worth noting that because so much of your allotted 41% power gain in PF2 comes from +1/level, HP increase, and the occasional magic weapon upgrade, the game can't really offer you much in the way of powerful feats and class abilities because that breaks CR. (They probably ought to have changed the CR system instead...)

This means PF2 without +1/level isn't going to feel particularly empowering. "I finally levelled up! I gain a few hit points and an underwhelming feat."


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
]I don't know. Obviously "everything", since I replied to a post that suggested that "everything" is based around +1/level. "Everything" seems like a very high percentage to me, opinions on that may vary, of course.
Everything involving a d20, maybe?

so...everything except damage rolls? still sounds like a high percentage

Matthew Downie wrote:
In PF1, a Core Rogue got 2/3 BAB. This is a confusing concept, makes any level where it doesn't go up underwhelming, made multiclassing harder since you lose the fractional BAB, and made it possible for a Rogue to fall behind a pure martial, so that a character who started out perfectly functional eventually got to the point where they could hardly hit anything. +1 BAB/level for everyone fixes that.

if that were so, there still would be other ways to fix it. like, changing the BAB progression for Rogues. but in my experience even Core Rogues have no problems at high levels. Their BAB was on the lower side, but it was still managable to hit enemies and effectivley deal a ton of damage when sneak attacking. but that's just my experience, VMMV

Matthew Downie wrote:


In PF1, that same Rogue got +1/3 Fort Save and Will Save per level. This leads to a character who needs a Cloak of Resistance to live, but still falls further and further behind at higher levels until they get annihilated randomly by a Demilich. +1 Saves/level for everyone fixes that.

yeah, all classes have one or two weak saves. I fail to see the problem here. especially since gear exists to counter that weknesses

Matthew Downie wrote:


In PF1, that same Rogue didn't get better AC as they levelled up. They were massively gear dependent. +1 AC/level for everyone fixes that.

Is there any class in PF were AC levels up with the character? Why would it? It is ARMOR class, why would the gear I wear be affected by my level, or does the Full Plate get experience points too?

Matthew Downie wrote:


I think it's only +1 to all skills as you level up that I dislike.

It certainly is the biggest offender, but levelling up BAB and AC of opponents at the same time is almost equally as stupid as a concept


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Hythlodeus wrote:
yeah, all classes have one or two weak saves. I fail to see the problem here. especially since gear exists to counter that weknesses

With that gear, a level 14 Rogue has about a 50% chance of surviving a typical save or die effect from a CR-appropriate enemy.

Hythlodeus wrote:
Is there any class in PF were AC levels up with the character? Why would it? It is ARMOR class

It's called that, but it also represents ability to dodge. Why should my ability to hit enemies get better with level but not my ability to dodge enemies? That's stupid.


Matthew Downie wrote:


Hythlodeus wrote:
Is there any class in PF were AC levels up with the character? Why would it? It is ARMOR class
It's called that, but it also represents ability to dodge. Why should my ability to hit enemies get better with level but not my ability to dodge enemies? That's stupid.

adding higher dodge bonuses to the AC as the characters progress, like every couple of levels or so, is a good idea to reflect that, I agree with that. That would have been a sensible choice, very unlike a general +1/level to everything. that's just needless overkill


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I really don’t see why they are so hard set on plus one per level that it seems the one thing that there is to be no discussion on. It breaks so many things by intruding onto every aspect of the game and breaking the sense of verisimilitude. He’s much better at EVERYTHING. Why? Because level.

That wizard is now a better fighter than the fighter. Why? Level. As a GM, your options for encounter makeup are now limited to an extremely narrow band of ingredients unless you want them to be the equivalent of one hp minions.


I agree that mechanically, removing +1/level is relatively straight forward for making a functional variant game, but story-wise a lot changes, and for me, PF2, exactly as is, - the +level to proficiencies is a pretty lack luster game. I don't really understand why a level bonus to D20 rolls is "unrealistic" but having 300 hit points and being unkillable by a knife (or even a greatsword) in the back passes anyone's smell test.

There are much better and more interestingly nuanced games to play for that gritty feel than PF2. Even with level bonus, PF2 is pretty much a game of "look at this item I found, and how much more powerful than you it makes me." When you take away that weapon and the person likely has at least 1 to 2 defenses that are easily within striking distance of very low level characters, wealth alone is sitting at the top of what makes one character better than another.

Assurance becomes an absolutely amazing feat, especially at higher levels, basically recreating the PF1 problem that DCs at high levels are nothing more than static gates between characters that can automatically do something and characters who should not even attempt it. This was something I very much didn't like about PF1. Assurance basically becomes a feat tax that no skill feat is going to be able to touch, and if you dial the numbers on it back to work for no +level, then it is even more of a garbage feat for PF2 with the +level. There are certainly other feats that will radically change in their value to characters, but I haven't looked that closely at all of them yet.

Rogues become essential party members because they are the only ones who have a prayer of being functional in more than 2 or 3 skills. Proficiency growth in PF2 is already at the bottom of functional as an interesting character growth mechanic, but they are made functional by the fact that level is an incredibly powerful growth mechanic. If you take level away, PF2 is a massively underdeveloped game where monsters and PCs are going to feel mostly the same for most of the game.

My question is how many people love PF2 in every other area than the +level to proficiency, and how many people have latched on to this one aspect of the game as an argument for pushing the Developers to go back to the drawing board, who probably aren't going to play the game anyway, even if the core game only changes by getting rid of the + level bonus?

I think a lot of folks would be better off asking for and experimenting for ways to have some system for separating skills which need to be on the same progression bath as defenses and saves, and character checks that might be better severed working on a different scale. People really like the idea that their character can do something, or not do something trivial as a matter of character flavor, but hate that the game mechanically hardcodes that out of the design space (skills) that it used to occupy. Does painting pictures and singing really need to be skills that work the same way as swinging a sword or making a life or death jump over a chasm in the ground?


Matthew Downie wrote:
It's called that, but it also represents ability to dodge. Why should my ability to hit enemies get better with level but not my ability to dodge enemies? That's stupid.

I think it's a bad idea as long as hit point inflation is so significant. Reduce the increase in the rate hit points increase and you've got a good reason to increase the ability of higher level characters to avoid attacks from lower level enemies. And it would mean less need for magic weapons to get large damage bonuses, it would make damage spells relevant even if they didn't scale automatically, enemies wouldn't have to carry magic weapons to be able to threaten PCs and those magic weapons wouldn't be a major source of wealth. I doubt if it would go down well at all.


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I would like to remind everyone that removing +/lv also removes level difference bonus scaling, which has a strong effect on the 4-degrees of success and anyone who relies on it (spellcasters).


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giving up level + will create a different game. All will need to be changed. For what?


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Unicore wrote:
My question is how many people love PF2 in every other area than the +level to proficiency, and how many people have latched on to this one aspect of the game as an argument for pushing the Developers to go back to the drawing board, who probably aren't going to play the game anyway, even if the core game only changes by getting rid of the + level bonus?

I'll be honest and say that + 1 level is only one of a number of what I see as significant flaws in the process by which PF2e has been created and the game as it currently exists. The "nerfing" of things like spells and druid's wild shape, representing weapon power by rolling more and more dice, the odd multiclass system, etc. are all things that I dislike about PF2e in its current form. I know that I'm probably the very odd person out on these forums as I suspect most of the folks who share my views are no longer paying a lot of attention to the playtest.


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I like the +1 per level for combat (even if monster stats are a little broken right now). It's like base attack bonus and the like. But I dislike it for skills because it causes artificial skill DC bloat where things get more difficult for no reason except because you are higher level.

Dark Archive

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The problem our table encountered with +1/level was that the math necessary for a GM to run a game past 10th level becomes increasingly cumbersome. From a group that has been extremely pro PF2, but now is seriously having trouble finding anyone willing to referee high level play, I can reasonably say that the upper half of the game will be inaccessible to many casual gamers. The upper tier of play may be more stable now, but it is just as unpleasant to manage as it has always been. Lowering the progression would help open up more of the game.


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Ikos wrote:
The problem our table encountered with +1/level was that the math necessary for a GM to run a game past 10th level becomes increasingly cumbersome. From a group that has been extremely pro PF2, but now is seriously having trouble finding anyone willing to referee high level play, I can reasonably say that the upper half of the game will be inaccessible to many casual gamers. The upper tier of play may be more stable now, but it is just as unpleasant to manage as it has always been. Lowering the progression would help open up more of the game.

I would love to see PF 2 walk away from needing to support 20 levels of play. I'd much rather see the whole game condensed into 10 levels of play with characters getting more boosts each level. They could keep the +level bonus to proficiencies without having such large numbers and the HP could be dialed down significantly. I think that the game does need some system for representing every day type tasks that don't need the same progression charts as the extraordinary things that characters do (i.e. pull character flavor style of skills out of the skills that need to be balanced with attacks and saving throws), probably by bringing back the idea that most low-key stuff like performance or lore or profession type checks key off of raw ability checks + feat bonuses rather than the full proficiency bonuses, so that folks can be bad at things without turning those into fatal weaknesses.

But that doesn't fix the fact that some players really want to be able to play wizards with a strength of 8 that are untrained in athletics and are thus certain to be killed quickly by any kind of grappling, grabbing or tentacled monster. (Which is what happens if these things key off of skill checks and untrained proficiency for skills falls too far behind trained).


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pjrogers wrote:
the odd multiclass system

The multiclass system I really find 'odd' is the PF1 one, because it doesn't work at what it's supposed to do (want to make a fighter/wizard? Good luck with that!), while it does with specific, complicated builds.

A system which is different from what we are used to isn't 'odd', it's just different.

Ikos wrote:
The problem our table encountered with +1/level was that the math necessary for a GM to run a game past 10th level becomes increasingly cumbersome. From a group that has been extremely pro PF2, but now is seriously having trouble finding anyone willing to referee high level play, I can reasonably say that the upper half of the game will be inaccessible to many casual gamers. The upper tier of play may be more stable now, but it is just as unpleasant to manage as it has always been. Lowering the progression would help open up more of the game.

Is rolling 1d20+15 much harder than rolling 1d20+5? Cumbersome? Inaccessible?

The unpleasantness of high-level PF1 play weren't the higher numbers, it was the fact that you had a myriad things adding to those numbers, and tracking each of them while they shifted depending on the situation, the multiple buffs, the occasional anti-magic zone or dispel magic. In this respect I find PF2 way easier to run.

Hythlodeus wrote:

an idea as bad as +1/level

Is there any class in PF were AC levels up with the character? Why would it? It is ARMOR class, why would the gear I wear be affected by my level, or does the Full Plate get experience points too?

It [level added to skills] certainly is the biggest offender, but levelling up BAB and AC of opponents at the same time is almost equally as stupid as a concept

adding higher dodge bonuses to the AC as the characters progress, like every couple of levels or so, is a good idea to reflect that, I agree with that. That would have been a sensible choice, very unlike a general +1/level to everything. that's just needless overkill

PF1 does have +1/level, for BaB and for your skills of choice - skills are more freeform, but usually you choose some you want to be good at, and add full ranks to them.

Then you also have cases of 3/4 or 1/2 BaB, while saves are 2/3 or 1/3.
AC doesn't scale automatically, and needs gear to do so.
Monsters do scale with their BaB and AC: their hit dice add to BaB depending on the type, and there's a table expressing exactly that a CR X monster should have an AC around Y (which is often obtained by inflating their natural armor).
Do you like PF1? I assume you do.

But you say that opponents scaling is a stupid concept. And that it would be ok to you adding 1/2 level to AC.
Why is 1/2 level ok but not full level? Why should two level 20 fighters duel and hit each other everytime, instead of dodging half the blows like they did when they were both level 1?

It seems to me that besides wanting to burn the whole PF2 system to the ground, the real problem you have is with skills. And you are not alone, for example:

Uchuujin wrote:
I like the +1 per level for combat (even if monster stats are a little broken right now). It's like base attack bonus and the like. But I dislike it for skills because it causes artificial skill DC bloat where things get more difficult for no reason except because you are higher level.

While I like the fact that a level 20 demigod will not face any problems when trying to cross a calm river, I'm wary about the fact that designing skill challenges for high level groups could be a very hard task. What kind of situation you have to imagine to justify a level 14 swim check? What more should you add to make it a level 18 one? How many of those challenges can you design before you run out of ideas?

The problem is that combat and skills are now strictly related, and placed on the same progression. This is the main reason that makes me consider the option of going with a reduced progression, or none at all.

So, going back to the OP and their request: we already have people playing without +level, and their feedback so far is that it was as easy as subtracting level from character proficiencies, monster attacks and saves, and all DCs. I think that, as mentioned above, we would have to adjust XP values (but I like playing with no XP at all), how assurance works, and maybe a few more things.
In general, though, it really shouldn't be hard to do, and I'm sure that even if we don't get an official optional rule, we will have some tested house rules from the people who tried that variant, soon after the CRB is released.


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I dislike the thematics and gut reaction with +1/level, but I think I like the effect it has on the game, especially combat.

1/2 level (more so given that the largest reliable mod without level is something like 15) would definitely be less thematically jarring, esp if it were phrased something like
"You add your proficiency modifier to your rolls and DCs, which is equal to half your level. Your proficiency modifier counts as 4 lower when untrained, 1 higher when expert, 2 higher when master, and 3 higher when legendary."
But I suspect it might have some unwanted effects on the relative smushability of weak monsters and deadliness of boss monsters.


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I’d be okay with proficiency level setting a hard cap on +1/lvl, like this:

Untrained: add nothing
Trained: add up to 5
Expert: add up to 10
Master: add up to 15
Legendary: add up to 20

If lvl is going to be added to AC, the designers really need to be very specific as to what it means.

If it means better at dodging, then you should lose it when paralyzed or unconscious.
If it’s some kind of divine favor, does that mean no AC for atheists? & does that imply that all gods love their high-lvl followers more than their common followers?

As a GM, I honestly don’t know how to describe what’s going on in the game world in a lot of these +1/lvl situations. The mechanics of this game feel divorced from the world.


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Unicore wrote:
My question is how many people love PF2 in every other area than the +level to proficiency, and how many people have latched on to this one aspect of the game as an argument for pushing the Developers to go back to the drawing board, who probably aren't going to play the game anyway, even if the core game only changes by getting rid of the + level bonus?

Well, that's actually a good question. Let me add some info on my group's thought process behind this:

As I've said, my group is pretty diverse in their RPG background, but no one came to table with prejudice against the new system, everyone was very interested. Most of them don't know much about game design and don't use the forums at all, they were just "normal players" giving feedback on a thing they wanted to test.

While the system has a lot of downsides and things that need to improve, me and my players loved it in general. We love the modular character building, we loved the 3 action system, we love that there isn't a huge gap between martials and casters anymore, etc. I'm talking about the +1/level thing specifically because it's a very core thing to the system that basically everyone in the party complained about, and it is one of the few things that the group disliked that Paizo didn't already say that they were going to change.

There were two main reasons for them (and myself) to dislike it. When we played the higher level sessions after the lower level ones, both the 5e player and the new guy were like: "If we add +level to attack, defense, skills, DCs and basically everything from both sides, what is the point? It's the basically the same thing with more number porn". I know that it isn't that simple, but I kind of agree with the core of what they were saying, if that is order to help the feeling of progression, it failed with us, miserably. It felt like forced and "fake" progression.

Then there was the second point that all the four veteran players and myself disliked a lot, and that I've seen a lot of people pointing out here, and that is Skills. It basically boils down to the "how does a level 10 Barbarian have more points in Arcana than a level 1 Wizard" problem. It gave us the feel that characters were getting good at random things that they didn't train for or even practiced at all for no apparent reason.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm also highly in favor of +1/lvl to most things. It's simple, clean and easy to understand for most things and mimics PF1e closer than some people are willing to admit.

If someone wants to remove +1/lvl from the system, I am going to always chime in to oppose that.

The only time I don't think it's necessary is for Untrained skills, where you get better at things you really have no business improving. +1/lvl to untrained is only necessary if all checks nonsensically scale with character level, which we're promised they shouldn't.


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Hythlodeus wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

In fact, if you pop over to the "top three positives/top three negatives" thread, you will see that more than one person has listed +1/level in their top three positives of PF2e.

how reliable is that thread to mirror the larger group of gamers? does it include people too frustrated with the PF2 playtest to post on a regular basis anymore? or those so frustrated that they dropped out completely? what about those that would love to post in the thread, but can't find three positive things to post? because I know I love maybe three for ideas of PF2 as iodeas, but find the implementations of those ideas lacking enough that I wouldn't exactly describe my current feeling towards them as 'positive' but as 'meh' at best.

This is the problem. Most of the people who strongly dislike the way the game is going probably gave up left already. They have better things to do, like play games they like.

The voices you hear the most on the forums are either from people who are in favor of the direction the game is heading, or people who are quite dissatisfied, but haven't quite given up hope yet. I think within the group of those who dislike PF2e, not many are bothering with it anymore, so largely they are underrepresented on the forums, and in the surveys.

Some people here praise almost everything Paizo does, and they are some of the loudest voices, and they carry a lot of weight because they participate. The end result may be a game that largely caters to this bias, and unfortunately, not to the likely even larger group of casual players, who are less likely to participate.


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Having actually played now (RL finally cooperated), my lvl 9 competent but not super optimized char has a difference of 10 between her best (+15 without armor) and her worst skill (+5). That's a whole crit range. Should she regularly use her worst skill? Probably not, but she also probably won't instantly explode if she tries, which I like. I'm fine with that amount of variance, tbh.

So, my opinion on the whole +1 lvl... it doesn't make me scream I LOVE IT at the top of my lungs, but I consider it a perfectly valid way to build the game, and so far it has worked. So yeah.

Edit: To clarify, if someone comes up with a better Skill system I'm down with trying it out. But if the current system is the system that comes out with PF2 I' won't cry either.


WatersLethe wrote:


The only time I don't think it's necessary is for Untrained skills, where you get better at things you really have no business improving. +1/lvl to untrained is only necessary if all checks nonsensically scale with character level, which we're promised they shouldn't.

My concern in that regard is while there may be nothing in the rules about non-sensible scaling, the people doing the adventure design will do such scaling under the idea that skill use should challenge the players.

Like the mayor the characters try to convince at first level is equivalent to a third level character, but the same mayor when dealing with tenth level characters is now equivalent to a 12th level character. Or that the wall of the fortress is now built of smooth adamantine instead of rough-hewn rock to make climbing it more difficult, simply to be difficult.

Dark Archive

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Is rolling 1d20+15 much harder than rolling 1d20+5? Cumbersome? Inaccessible?

[QUOTE/]

I've been quite clear here - yes, yes, and yes. Dealing with ACs of 28 and save DCs of 25 at level 9 is in fact (for some, beleive it or not, deride it or not) all of those things.


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O. N. wrote:

Having actually played now (RL finally cooperated), my lvl 9 competent but not super optimized char has a difference of 10 between her best (+15 without armor) and her worst skill (+5). That's a whole crit range. Should she regularly use her worst skill? Probably not, but she also probably won't instantly explode if she tries, which I like. I'm fine with that amount of variance, tbh.

So, my opinion on the whole +1 lvl... it doesn't make me scream I LOVE IT at the top of my lungs, but I consider it a perfectly valid way to build the game, and so far it has worked. So yeah.

Edit: To clarify, if someone comes up with a better Skill system I'm down with trying it out. But if the current system is the system that comes out with PF2 I' won't cry either.

The variance you mention sounds fine to me too, but my problem with the add level advancement isn't this.

It's partly aesthetic, with +52 perception or whatever just not feeling or looking right (no edition or clone of d&d has had so many modifiers this high). It's just big numbers with no real justifiable reason behind them. Cumbersome. Bloated.

With the way all skills increase it becomes preposterous pretty quickly when a high level barbarian is so diplomatic, and a high level mage is so deadly with a mundane weapon compared to a low level fighter, and so on.

Inflated DCs are a problem. You have this bloated chart, that you basically HAVE to reference or memorize, when it could be so much simpler. For example, 5e DC table: very easy DC 5, easy DC 10, medium DC 15, hard DC 20, very hard DC 25, nearly impossible DC 30. That's it. That's all you need to know from level 1 to level 20. Pretty elegant.

As a DM you need to justify increasingly massive DC numbers just to have a challenge. This then becomes a wash, because as you increase the DCs, everyone's skills also increase, so really it's just similar odds with bigger numbers. Treadmill effect.

This applies basically to every value in the game that adds + level. It's the most treadmilled edition yet (even worse than 4e in this respect). While there needs to be progression obviously, it doesn't need to be so extreme, and not everything needs to automatically increase.


We should get it as an official variant rule at some point. Mark told me doing so was a "no-brainer" in a supplement dealing with grittier realism rules. Doubt we'll see it in the rulebook, but hopefully in one of supplements and gamemaster guides that comes out within a reasonable timeframe. Cross our fingers. The underlying game is a solid bound framework, itd be a shame to not take official advantage of that.

Luckily, it is quite easy to houserule, and I'm already running a homegame without +level and loving it. Only really pain in the ass part is modifying all the relevant values. I've already modified the entire playtest pdf to run without +level, adjust the things it really breaks, and printed it off for the group. I've modified all the monsters int he bestiary I'll need in the foreseeable future, and will wait for that entire project until the official game is released, especially considering monster skills and perception are still a mess due to their poor assumptions and the problematic item bonus.


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Zman0 wrote:

We should get it as an official variant rule at some point. Mark told me doing so was a "no-brainer" in a supplement dealing with grittier realism rules. Doubt we'll see it in the rulebook, but hopefully in one of supplements and gamemaster guides that comes out within a reasonable timeframe. Cross our fingers. The underlying game is a solid bound framework, itd be a shame to not take official advantage of that.

Luckily, it is quite easy to houserule, and I'm already running a homegame without +level and loving it. Only really pain in the ass part is modifying all the relevant values. I've already modified the entire playtest pdf to run without +level, adjust the things it really breaks, and printed it off for the group. I've modified all the monsters int he bestiary I'll need in the foreseeable future, and will wait for that entire project until the official game is released, especially considering monster skills and perception are still a mess due to their poor assumptions and the problematic item bonus.

Why should I play a game where I have to modify nearly all the math? Why not just play PF1, or another current edition of a game then?


if we exchange + level for everything, then we can also kick off critical successes on 10+
this game is not to be a copy of 5.ed.


Dr. Zerom Brandercook wrote:
Zman0 wrote:

We should get it as an official variant rule at some point. Mark told me doing so was a "no-brainer" in a supplement dealing with grittier realism rules. Doubt we'll see it in the rulebook, but hopefully in one of supplements and gamemaster guides that comes out within a reasonable timeframe. Cross our fingers. The underlying game is a solid bound framework, itd be a shame to not take official advantage of that.

Luckily, it is quite easy to houserule, and I'm already running a homegame without +level and loving it. Only really pain in the ass part is modifying all the relevant values. I've already modified the entire playtest pdf to run without +level, adjust the things it really breaks, and printed it off for the group. I've modified all the monsters int he bestiary I'll need in the foreseeable future, and will wait for that entire project until the official game is released, especially considering monster skills and perception are still a mess due to their poor assumptions and the problematic item bonus.

Why should I play a game where I have to modify nearly all the math? Why not just play PF1, or another current edition of a game then?

It's just removing the level scaling revealing a very solid bound system. The modification is very straightforward and easy to accomplish.

Why? Well because P1 is not a bound system and is something I personall loath, nearly as much as 3.5. If you look for a bound alternative, that leave the stripped down overly simplistic 5e that is in need of more modification in the form of depth.


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scoutmaster wrote:

if we exchange + level for everything, then we can also kick off critical successes on 10+

this game is not to be a copy of 5.ed.

I don't want a copy of 5e, I really wanted PF2 to be a better system. That was just an example of an elegant solution to what I perceive as a problem in 2e.

+ level is codified into the system to a degree that I don't think they can easily remove it. I'm unhappy with how obtuse the system is as a whole. I wanted a streamlined PF1, this is far from that.


dmerceless wrote:


There were two main reasons for them (and myself) to dislike it. When we played the higher level sessions after the lower level ones, both the 5e player and the new guy were like: "If we add +level to attack, defense, skills, DCs and basically everything from both sides, what is the point? It's the basically the same thing with more number porn". I know that it isn't that simple, but I kind of agree with the core of what they were saying, if that is order to help the feeling of progression, it failed with us, miserably. It felt like forced and "fake" progression.

I think a bit differently its the same for same level threats. But those are mostly hard encounters, normally you will be fighting lower level skill checks or lower level enemies. And +1/level changes a lot in those. Having 28 AC for being expert in armor level 10 is when a enemy has no effect when you fight a same level enemy with +18 to hit. But when fighting a level 6 enemy it will change a lot


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Dr. Zerom Brandercook wrote:
I don't want a copy of 5e, I really wanted PF2 to be a better system. That was just an example of an elegant solution to what I perceive as a problem in 2e.

I agree with you here. 5e is too simple and not very customizable, 3.5/PF1 have too many unnecessary complexity for today's standards. Since the beggining of the Playtest, PF2 always gave me the feeling of trying to be the inbetween, letting you customize your game and your character a lot, having more depth, but also cutting a lot of needless complexity and streamlining what should be streamlined only, and that's awesome. Adding a bunch of extra numbers to stuff just for the sake of it or to give a forced feeling of progression doesn't help this goal that much, IMO.


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Zman0 wrote:

Why should I play a game where I have to modify nearly all the math? Why not just play PF1, or another current edition of a game then?

It's just removing the level scaling revealing a very solid bound system. The modification is very straightforward and easy to accomplish.

Why? Well because P1 is not a bound system and is something I personall loath, nearly as much as 3.5. If you look for a bound alternative, that leave the stripped down overly simplistic 5e that is in need of more modification in the form of depth.

Well, I quite liked 3.5 actually, at low level it is a great game. Problem comes at high level with feat and magic bloat, which PF actually made worse for some reason.

Having a chart of DCs is a step backward. Everyone during the 3x era liked to complain about ad&d 1e attack matrices, or having 5 saves, or 2e thaco, or weapon vs armor charts, or whatever, yet this big bloated DC chart is the same thing basically. You should not have to reference the book to set a DC like this, it undoes a lot of what has been done to streamline the game.

And I agree 5e is oversimplified, but honestly that leaves a lot of room for the GM to apply his style to the game, and also for PCs to use their damn imaginations! Depth comes in the form of storytelling and roleplay. I do wish they had a more in depth skill system, but when it comes down to actually playing the game, it just doesn't matter that much. It's also noob friendly, and that's part of the reason is spread like wildfire. playability is really important.

Bounded accuracy wasn't just about using the same proficiency bonus across the board, it was about having LESS scaling in the game, so that the power gap is more narrow and you can use lower level threats longer, or even use higher level threats than normal if you want to. Of course, the gap between different level players is also lessened. In this sense, PF is NOT bounded.


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oholoko wrote:
I think a bit differently its the same for same level threats. But those are mostly hard encounters, normally you will be fighting lower level skill checks or lower level enemies. And +1/level changes a lot in those. Having 28 AC for being expert in armor level 10 is when a enemy has no effect when you fight a same level enemy with +18 to hit. But when fighting a level 6 enemy it will change a lot

I understand what you are saying here, and you are right. That's why I've said that it isn't that simple. However, I am trying really hard to see the point of doing this. I get that maybe fighting a whole army and leaving unscaved might give a feeling of power, but is it really a compelling encounter when you can have five, ten or one billion of a monster and none of them are going to even touch you? From what I have seen and tested so far, the only practical effect of that is limiting what creatures you can effectively use in encounters to a very narrow interval.


dmerceless wrote:
I understand what you are saying here, and you are right. That's why I've said that it isn't that simple. However, I am trying really hard to see the point of doing this. I get that maybe fighting a whole army and leaving unscaved might give a feeling of power, but is it really a compelling encounter when you can have five, ten or one billion of a monster and none of them are going to even touch you? From what I have seen and tested so far, the only practical effect of that is limiting what creatures you can effectively use in encounters to a very narrow interval.

It leaves the GM with a narrow band of relevant threats to use when writing adventures. Having less scaling opens up the playing field greatly. It's the same with skills.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Pathfinder design teaches us that one CR X enemy is equal in power to two CR X-2 enemies. So a single CR 15 is a match for two CR 13s or four CR 11s or eight CR 9s.

I don't think this is true anymore and is irreconcilable with the competing camps of "+Level" and "Flat" since the ultimate effect of "players don't add their level to things" means that low level antagonists pose a threat much deeper into the careers of the PCs than they would otherwise (and correspondingly the appeal of +Level is that PCs will eventually reach a level of prowess at which meager monsters are literally no threat.)

I mean, with the current system an 11th level fighter with 20 strength and heavy armor has an AC of 10+7+3+1+11=+32, and a to-hit of +2+2+5+11=+20. Without +Level their AC would be 21 and their to-hit would be +9.

So with +Level, a level 1 Goblin Commando can only hit you on a 20 (which is not a crit) and you will critically hit said commando on a 5 (miss on a 1, but not critically). Said Goblin Commando is literally no threat to a mighty warrior. If you fought 20 of them they would likely hit you 6-8 times, never critically.

Without +Level, the Goblin Commando has a +6 to hit and an AC of 14, so will hit you on a 15 (crit on a 20), and will get hit by you on a 5 (crit on a 15+). A significant number of these pose a major threat to even a seasoned warrior. If you fought 20 of them, you would likely get hit 5 times on the first round alone and it would take much longer to take them out since your secondary and tertiary attacks no longer reliably hit.

Aesthetically these are just two different paradigms- a fundamental question in your fantasy RPG is: "Does a horde of villagers armed with torches and farm implements actually pose a meaningful threat to the monster in the castle or the PCs?" Neither answer to this question is wrong, unless it clashes with the rest of the aesthetic (like in Exalted 2e where a pack of 20 villagers with mauls can reliably take down the most powerful beings in existence.)


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scoutmaster wrote:
giving up level + will create a different game. All will need to be changed. For what?

for a game that looks like it might be fun to play?


Megistone wrote:

But you say [...] that it would be ok to you adding 1/2 level to AC.

Why is 1/2 level ok but not full level?

where did you get that from? if you get, let's say, a +2 or +1 dodge bonus to AC in level 4 and a +5 or +3 in level 7, and so forth, depending on class, which is what I suggested, how do you come to the conclusion that this means 1/2 level to AC? preferably, I wouldn't have a +anything at all, but if people want something that acknowledges their dodging got better, seemingly random numbers in strategic levels is a better option than the dull +level to AC (or fractals of those)

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