Deadmanwalking's Remaining Pathfinder Playtest Problems After Update 1.6


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Liberty's Edge

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So, with update 1.6, and the promise to fix some of the math issues/challenge calibration and upgrade spell power level, most of my original problems with PF2 seem to be gone. Certainly most of the big ones. However, there is always room for improvement and several issues I have I've also seen others complaining about, so I'm gonna list the stuff that I still find really worrisome or problematic here, in the firm hope that the folks at Paizo notice them here if they haven't elsewhere.

So, here they are:

1. Skill Feats:

Skill Feats are, taken as a whole, just not that great. I love them conceptually and a few are really good, but most are underwhelming.

I particularly think that having more that automatically upgrade with Proficiency ala Catfall would be an excellent idea. A Feat to get two bonus languages is mediocre at best, but one that gives that as a base and then escalating language proficiency as your society upgrades (with perhaps the effects of Legendary Linguist at Legendary) would be much better.

Non spellcasters should probably also have some advantage over spellcasters in terms of Skill Feats. Not as much as the Rogue, and a particularly skill-focused caster like the Bard might approximate it, but on average this should be a thing.

2. Bulk Numbers:

I have no issues with Bulk conceptually, but the actual numbers make basically no sense.

Bulk 8 for an unconscious person but a general rule of 10 lbs per Bulk at most results in the nonsensical fact that a 200 lb weight is at least 20 Bulk...unless you make it dead weight in which case it drops to 8, which is the opposite of how dead weight works.

Or Bulk 2 for a longbow (while a bo staff is only Bulk 1...as is a 10 foot pole). Or a dozen other examples. Really, the way it works just makes no sense, and needs fixing if Bulk is gonna be useful in the least.

Bulk as a measure of difficulty carrying things would be fine if it actually was that, but it isn't, with many things that are clearly easier to carry having higher Bulk than some that are more difficult.

The maximal amount people can carry should also probably be based on twice what encumbers them, not a +5, since that devalues Str (which is already a bit devalued, see #5 below).

3. Identifying Monsters:

There is currently next to no guidance for what skill to use to identify monsters. This is terrible. It makes every GM have to decide on the fly, and every player have to read their GM's mind to pick the right skills for their concept. It's particularly bad in PFS or other settings with varying GMs.

Creature types still exist so this is easy to fix, but it needs fixing rather desperately.

4. Skill Items and Benchmarks:

To some degree this is part of the math problem that they've said they're aware of and will fix, but only to some degree.

Right now, magical skill items utterly dominate the game at high levels and you need them for any skill you want to be good at. Decreasing DCs alone doesn't really change that, and so either the addition of generic mundane skill items ala PF1's 'masterwork tool' or the reduction of Skill Item bonuses are necessary.

Also, we need more Skill Benchmarks with the listed difficulty of various tasks so that GMs can properly judge how difficult doing X is. The current table is rather woefully inadequate. This should likely be accompanied by even more explicit directions regarding the fact that the DCs table is based on the level of the task, not the level of those attempting it. Because that needs to be stated even more clearly than it already is.

5. Ability Inequalities:

Some Ability scores are flatly better than others (Dex, Con, and Wis at the moment, with Cha maybe fourth depending on how Resonance/Focus turns out). This is an issue and steps should be taken to improve Int and Str.

I'm a little at a loss on improving Intelligence, I admit, with the mediocre best I can come up with being having it give a bonus language per +1 Mod. With languages rarer that would be better in PF2 than it was in PF1. That particular one has issues, but something should certainly be done.

Strength I have a much better idea for. The Armor Check Penalty of most armors should be increased. I'd suggest it go up by 1 on Medium Armor and 2 on Heavy, with Light staying as-is, and then everyone gets to subtract Str from all Armor Check Penalties. I didn't come up with this one, but it's a great solution.

6. Ranged Weapons:

Ranged Weapons seem...pretty bad this edition. Having to raise a separate stat for bonus damage and only getting d8 damage dice at most (unless you have to spend half your actions reloading, in which case you can get to d10) are both already big limitations, but probably reasonable given the advantages of ranged combat.

But that's not actually how PF2's ranged combat works. You only add 1/2 Str to damage (so...+1 or +2 to the +4 to +7 a melee person gets), and are stuck with d6 weapon dice unless you spend half your time reloading or go Fighter (or Fighter Multiclass), because Volley on Longbows is horribly restrictive to most actual game scenarios.

Making Propulsive add full Str and decreasing the Volley penalty to only within 20 feet are both pretty casually easy to do, and would fix this problem to a large degree...but they do sorta need doing. Or something does, anyway.

7. Cantrips:

Particularly the damaging ones. They're just...not great. I'd strongly argue they should get 1dX + Stat damage at 1st level (made up for by costing 2 Actions), and then increase a die when they get +Stat by the current rules. That brings them much closer to on par with weapons.

Range on damaging cantrips is also really low and weirdly restrictive. Telekinetic Projectile throws objects at full force out to 30 feet, but then stops abruptly (what happens to the momentum?). They should probably work like other ranged weapons in this regard, with range increment penalties.

8. Shapeshifting Spells:

Shapeshifting spells only last one minute, which is pretty terrible for anything but combat. Druids can make it an hour, but honestly, that's still not long enough for utility (as opposed to combat) uses. This can be fixed in several ways, such as making non-combat shapeshifting spells or allowing Heighten on lower level shapeshifting spells to vastly extend duration. Pest Form in the recent update is an excellent proof of concept for this idea, but it needs to go quite a bit further to be good enough.

The stats of several forms also have abiding issues (the AC of Dragon Form is abominable, making it verge on unusable, for example), and many levels you only have one or two, often deeply counter-thematic, choices. Not everyone who wants a 7th level shapeshifting spell for combat should have to be a dinosaur. I mean, I like dinosaurs as much as the next guy...but everyone? And then all abandoning dinosaur forms at higher levels?

It's also quite unclear whether the bonus dice from Handwraps of Mighty Fists apply to the damage of animal forms, which is pretty relevant, and would be nice to clear up.

9. Heritages:

Again, no problem conceptually, but the specific ones could use quite a bit of work. Dwarves in particular are getting the short end of the stick by having such low movement (lower than anyone else) and not getting Unburdened for free any more. Darkvision is also given out a bit too freely, IMO, resulting in repetitive and overly similar Heritages.

Having more than one Heritage would also be reasonable, but doesn't seem entirely necessary.

The names of many Heritages are also terrible and in desperate need of changing.

10. Class Issues:

I actually don't have many of these, but they're important.

Paladins are looking better, but Retributive Strike for the LG still almost requires a Reach weapon, which is unfortunate. Something probably needs to be done about that.

Most importantly, Ranger is still pretty weak as compared to things like Fighter or Barbarian. Losing Double Strike for Twin Takedown was a straight power down in terms of direct combat (at least pre-17th level), and nothing has really made up for it.

Sorcerer is also...uneven. Some Spell Lists are better than others taken in a vacuum, and the Sorcerer takes them in a vacuum (more or less), meaning all Sorcerers should go Arcane to be optimal, which is a tad unfortunate.

11. Quicksand:

This is my single most petty complaint, because it's about a very specific and minor thing. It is very specifically about the Quicksand Hazard, which is terrible because if the victim fails to beat it on initiative they suddenly need to succeed in four rolls out of 6 in two rounds to get out. That can take a while, especially if their odds are, say, 50% or less. And the game just grinds to a mind-numbing slog as you try and make the same roll again and again.

And that's entirely aside from other people not being able to pull them out in any mechanical way.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Thanks, many of these are on our list (or rarely, maybe already fixed; I swear I thought I increased dragon form's AC in 1.6?) and for those that aren't, I'm adding them to look at. Throughout this process, you and your group have consistently provided solid feedback of what worked and what didn't, with careful analysis. Thank you!


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You know how we couldn't trust GMs in 1e to not force paladins to fall by putting them in lose-lose situations and deciding that isn't a mitigating factor? The first tenet of the liberator oath is, quite possibly, even more abuseable. I can guarantee there will be GMs interpreting that as liberators not being able to give orders.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alchemical Items are still not nearly interesting or powerful enough, especially since DCs are based on Item Levels.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

2. Bulk Numbers:

I have no issues with Bulk conceptually, but the actual numbers make basically no sense.

Bulk 8 for an unconscious person but a general rule of 10 lbs per Bulk at most results in the nonsensical fact that a 200 lb weight is at least 20 Bulk...unless you make it dead weight in which case it drops to 8, which is the opposite of how dead weight works.

Or Bulk 2 for a longbow (while a bo staff is only Bulk 1...as is a 10 foot pole). Or a dozen other examples. Really, the way it works just makes no sense, and needs fixing if Bulk is gonna be useful in the least.

Bulk as a measure of difficulty carrying things would be fine if it actually was that, but it isn't, with many things that are clearly easier to carry having higher Bulk than some that are more difficult.

The maximal amount people can carry should also probably be based on twice what encumbers them, not a +5, since that devalues Str (which is already a bit devalued, see #5 below).

The problem with Bulk is that it only really has meaning as a game mechanic. For example, 2 Bulk includes everything from any 2-handed weapon to a 70-pound keg of ale. (And yes, I looked up how heavy kegs are in real life) I have no clue what 2000 coins is supposed to look like. Meanwhile, if you say 50 silver pieces is 1 pound, I know that silver pieces are about the size and weight of 4 dimes stuck together.

Is weight a perfect measure of encumbrance? Of course not. But it's at least predictive. I know how much that 500-pound statue should encumber someone, because I know how much it weighs. Meanwhile, there's so much variance in each Bulk value that I have no mental image of what 1 Bulk "should" look like, and therefore can't predict the Bulk of some random object.

It's not a bad system... I just think it only works in something like a video game, where you have the ability to exhaustively list the Bulk of any object the players could ever wind up carrying.


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I believe dragon form's AC bonus had been given a fix by update 1.6. Righteous might still has poor AC, however.

Also, the complete and utter radio silence on the janky exploration mode and the nonexistent rules on line of sight and blocking terrain are greatly bothering me. These are important core rules, so why is more not being done to rectify them?

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Thanks, many of these are on our list (or rarely, maybe already fixed; I swear I thought I increased dragon form's AC in 1.6?) and for those that aren't, I'm adding them to look at. Throughout this process, you and your group have consistently provided solid feedback of what worked and what didn't, with careful analysis. Thank you!

You're quite welcome! It's excellent to have confirmation that you've seen these. :)

And the Dragon Form AC has certainly improved...but it's still an AC debuff for most Druids (and even some Wizards). As a level 6 spell, it's competing with normal ACs of 30 or so (11 Level +2 Magic Item +3 Hide Armor +4 Dex), and that goes to AC 32 at 12th before they can get a higher level spell. In contrast, Aerial and Elemental Form of the same level grant AC 31.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Thanks, many of these are on our list (or rarely, maybe already fixed; I swear I thought I increased dragon form's AC in 1.6?) and for those that aren't, I'm adding them to look at. Throughout this process, you and your group have consistently provided solid feedback of what worked and what didn't, with careful analysis. Thank you!

Dragon Form AC has been increased in 1.6. It's still slightly below the average AC of the corresponding levels, however.

Lvl 6 Dragon Form gives: +20 Attack, 29 AC (26 TAC), 2dX +11 damage, Breath Weapon DC 24

Average lvl 11 monster has: +22 Attack 30 AC (28 TAC), avg 25 damage

So Dragon Form is still lagging behind on attack, and very slightly on AC. That's not to mention the poor DC of the Dragon Breath, which wasn't addressed. It should at least be DC 26 to correspond with other lvl 11 monsters (like the Adult Black Dragon).

Lvl 8 Dragon Form gives: +26 Attack, 35 AC (31 TAC), 2dX + 17, Breath Weapon DC 30.

The Heightened version does not increase the damage dice of your attacks (unarmed strikes or breath weapon dice), and the attack bonus and DC are still 2 behind a level 15 monster (like the Ancient White Dragon). The tweaks do help, but the spells are still weaker than a monster of equivalent level.

For the most part, though, I love the changes in 1.6. Nothing that can't be changed by minor tweaks. I'll write a more comprehensive feedback post later.

Silver Crusade

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Some Ability scores are flatly better than others (Dex, Con, and Wis at the moment, with Cha maybe fourth depending on how Resonance/Focus turns out). This is an issue and steps should be taken to improve Int and Str.

I notice that the number of trained skills is now X+Intelligence modifier, so 16 int now gives 3 extra skills, instead of just 1.

EDIT: Don't know why I was thinking this wasn't the case before.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Thanks, many of these are on our list (or rarely, maybe already fixed; I swear I thought I increased dragon form's AC in 1.6?) and for those that aren't, I'm adding them to look at. Throughout this process, you and your group have consistently provided solid feedback of what worked and what didn't, with careful analysis. Thank you!

You're quite welcome! It's excellent to have confirmation that you've seen these. :)

And the Dragon Form AC has certainly improved...but it's still an AC debuff for most Druids (and even some Wizards). As a level 6 spell, it's competing with normal ACs of 30 or so (11 Level +2 Magic Item +3 Hide Armor +4 Dex), and that goes to AC 32 at 12th before they can get a higher level spell. In contrast, Aerial and Elemental Form of the same level grant AC 31.

Honestly Im far more concerned with monstrosity form which has the same new AC as Dragon form cast at level 6, as a heightened level 9 spell...

huh? was that was supposed to be 39? Considering heightened Dragon Form has 35 ac (which is level 8 iirc).

EDIT - Looking back at monstrosity form in the book at level 8 it has ac 35 the same as new heightened dragon form meaning that your be casting at 9th level for a lower ac, gonna go ahead and guess that yeah, thats a typo.


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I think Bulk as a capacity catch-all is a good concept, but agree it could use a different approach.

My shower musings on how it could work differently:

Bundle in "inventory space" to the formula. This could be as simple as making a 10ft long pole, which may not weigh a lot, have a higher bulk due to its space requirements.

Eg (at a simmered down level)

A lighter, smaller object - 1 bulk
A lighter, larger object - 2 bulk
A heavier, smaller object - 2 bulk
A heavier, larger object - 4 bulk.

The more complex version of this is stretching it out over light + bulk items, to alleviate the "I carry 300 daggers" absurdity. So while light objects may be light, they still occupy space. Removing the 10 light = 1 bulk system and just have everything scale on a "capacity" so light objects still occupy a space. I realise this is approaching the old system, but you could keep it abstracted and the numbers simpler than realistic weights. Think inventory space in games like Diablo (but without the tetris).

Another approach would be to split the light objects and bulk objects into 2 scales. Light objects operate on a quantity scale realistic to how many things you could feasibly hold and store. Instead of 10=1, you can hold up to X light objects, which is easy to track with rows and numbers on a sheet. This doesn't necessarily even need to be tied to STR, but could be a function of armor/backpacks/bandoliers (the fighter's plate armor doesn't have pockets, but the rogues leather armor does). Bulk objects have the same grounding in weight as they do at the moment, but don't need to equate to numerous light objects to be realistic, and can have a closer tie to STR.


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PCScipio wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Some Ability scores are flatly better than others (Dex, Con, and Wis at the moment, with Cha maybe fourth depending on how Resonance/Focus turns out). This is an issue and steps should be taken to improve Int and Str.
I notice that the number of trained skills is now X+Intelligence modifier, so 16 int now gives 3 extra skills, instead of just 1.

That isn't a change. That's how it's been since Day 1 of the playtest.

Paizo Employee Designer

Aashua wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Thanks, many of these are on our list (or rarely, maybe already fixed; I swear I thought I increased dragon form's AC in 1.6?) and for those that aren't, I'm adding them to look at. Throughout this process, you and your group have consistently provided solid feedback of what worked and what didn't, with careful analysis. Thank you!

You're quite welcome! It's excellent to have confirmation that you've seen these. :)

And the Dragon Form AC has certainly improved...but it's still an AC debuff for most Druids (and even some Wizards). As a level 6 spell, it's competing with normal ACs of 30 or so (11 Level +2 Magic Item +3 Hide Armor +4 Dex), and that goes to AC 32 at 12th before they can get a higher level spell. In contrast, Aerial and Elemental Form of the same level grant AC 31.

Honestly Im far more concerned with monstrosity form which has the same new AC as Dragon form cast at level 6, as a heightened level 9 spell...

huh? was that was supposed to be 39? Considering heightened Dragon Form has 35 ac (which is level 8 iirc).

EDIT - Looking back at monstrosity form in the book at level 8 it has ac 35 the same as new heightened dragon form meaning that your be casting at 9th level for a lower ac, gonna go ahead and guess that yeah, thats a typo.

Indeed, typo.

Liberty's Edge

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RazarTuk wrote:
You know how we couldn't trust GMs in 1e to not force paladins to fall by putting them in lose-lose situations and deciding that isn't a mitigating factor? The first tenet of the liberator oath is, quite possibly, even more abuseable. I can guarantee there will be GMs interpreting that as liberators not being able to give orders.

Eh. Any GM can screw over anyone if they feel like it, and most of the time in practice the fact that parts 1 and 2 of the Code supersede the one in question will keep it from getting too restrictive. Well, any more restrictive than the Lawful version, anyway. That one can make you fall for jaywalking, after all.

Silver Crusade

The Archive wrote:
PCScipio wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Some Ability scores are flatly better than others (Dex, Con, and Wis at the moment, with Cha maybe fourth depending on how Resonance/Focus turns out). This is an issue and steps should be taken to improve Int and Str.
I notice that the number of trained skills is now X+Intelligence modifier, so 16 int now gives 3 extra skills, instead of just 1.
That isn't a change. That's how it's been since Day 1 of the playtest.

D'oh! I was certainly confused there! (Not that I've played any high intelligence classes.)

Liberty's Edge

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PCScipio wrote:
The Archive wrote:
PCScipio wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Some Ability scores are flatly better than others (Dex, Con, and Wis at the moment, with Cha maybe fourth depending on how Resonance/Focus turns out). This is an issue and steps should be taken to improve Int and Str.
I notice that the number of trained skills is now X+Intelligence modifier, so 16 int now gives 3 extra skills, instead of just 1.
That isn't a change. That's how it's been since Day 1 of the playtest.
D'oh! I was certainly confused there! (Not that I've played any high intelligence classes.)

Yep. Bonus Skills are good, but just not on par with, say, bonuses to both Perception and Will Saves (which is what you get with Wisdom).


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
You know how we couldn't trust GMs in 1e to not force paladins to fall by putting them in lose-lose situations and deciding that isn't a mitigating factor? The first tenet of the liberator oath is, quite possibly, even more abuseable. I can guarantee there will be GMs interpreting that as liberators not being able to give orders.
Eh. Any GM can screw over anyone if they feel like it, and most of the time in practice the fact that parts 1 and 2 of the Code supersede the one in question will keep it from getting too restrictive. Well, any more restrictive than the Lawful version, anyway. That one can make you fall for jaywalking, after all.

I think the perception that a single violation of the code causes a fall is part of the problem.

That said, without question, the biggest part of the problem is those GMs who think that falling is the only interesting paladin story.

The GMs who hear their player is playing a paladin and immediately think, "Ooh, I wonder how I can work him falling into my story"?

Those are terrible GMs.


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Add barbarian rage to remaining problems. If I did my math correctly, you only get 2.38 rounds on average, including the round you started it in.

Paizo Employee Designer

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RazarTuk wrote:
Add barbarian rage to remaining problems. If I did my math correctly, you only get 2.38 rounds on average, including the round you started it in.

I think you must have lost a 1 somewhere. That number would indicate that you are more likely to have the rage last 2 rounds or fewer than to last 3 rounds or more, which is impossible given there's an 80% chance for at least 3 rounds.

(I'm not saying we're set on this barbarian change; it's an experiment we will reverse if warranted, but let's make sure the math we're using is accurate)


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RazarTuk wrote:
Add barbarian rage to remaining problems. If I did my math correctly, you only get 2.38 rounds on average, including the round you started it in.

You didn't, because you always get 2 rounds, then a 80% chance of a third, a 55% chance (conditional on having a third) of getting a fourth, and a 30% chance (conditional on having a fourth) of getting a fifth, and 5% thereafter.


Mark Seifter wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
Add barbarian rage to remaining problems. If I did my math correctly, you only get 2.38 rounds on average, including the round you started it in.
I think you must have lost a 1 somewhere. That number would indicate that you are more likely to have the rage last 2 rounds or fewer than to last 3 rounds or more, which is impossible given there's an 80% chance for at least 3 rounds.

It's possible that I did. I used an old actuarial trick called the Darth Vader Rule to simplify the math. If you have a survival function, here the probability of reaching a certain round, you can take an infinite sum and find the expected value. I have S(1) = 1, S(2) = 0.8, S(3) = 0.44, S(4+x) = 0.132*0.05^x. I know the sum of S(x) from 1 to infinity is 2.38. I'm just uncertain on whether that number should include the round you activate rage in or not.

Paizo Employee Designer

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RazarTuk wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
Add barbarian rage to remaining problems. If I did my math correctly, you only get 2.38 rounds on average, including the round you started it in.
I think you must have lost a 1 somewhere. That number would indicate that you are more likely to have the rage last 2 rounds or fewer than to last 3 rounds or more, which is impossible given there's an 80% chance for at least 3 rounds.
It's possible that I did. I used an old actuarial trick called the Darth Vader Rule to simplify the math. If you have a survival function, here the probability of reaching a certain round, you can take an infinite sum and find the expected value. I have S(1) = 1, S(2) = 0.8, S(3) = 0.44, S(4+x) = 0.132*0.05^x. I know the sum of S(x) from 1 to infinity is 2.38. I'm just uncertain on whether that number should include the round you activate rage in or not.

The S1 you listed is the probability that it lasts past the end of round 1 (aka that it lasts 2 rounds), and so on where each SX is the probability that the rage lasts X+1 rounds.


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You would be missing that both round 1 and round 2 are guaranteed, leaving you with 1+1+0.8+0.44+Σ(0.132*(0.05^x))=3.38

Edit: ninja'd by Mark when looking for a sigma


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For the expected number of rage turns I get:

P(2)=1*.2 = .2
P(3)=1*.80*.45 = .36
P(4)=1*.80*.55*.70= .308
P(5)=1*.80*.55*.30*.95= .1254
P(6)=1*.80*.55*.30*.05 = .0066

So the expected value is .2*2+.36*3+.308*4+.1254*5+.0066*6 = 3.38. So in exchange for a 20% chance that your rage ends after the second turn, you're getting a little more than 1/3 of an extra turn of rage. Plus, the reaction at the table when you hit the 20 for a 6th turn of rage in a big fight is going to make it worth it.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
Add barbarian rage to remaining problems. If I did my math correctly, you only get 2.38 rounds on average, including the round you started it in.

I think you must have lost a 1 somewhere. That number would indicate that you are more likely to have the rage last 2 rounds or fewer than to last 3 rounds or more, which is impossible given there's an 80% chance for at least 3 rounds.

(I'm not saying we're set on this barbarian change; it's an experiment we will reverse if warranted, but let's make sure the math we're using is accurate)

Just throwing out an alternative to see if it has any mechanical or conceptual merit, what about making the Barbarian's rage controllable (since it isn't just getting angry, but deliberately and consciously putting that anger to use) and therefore predictable, but making the recharge variable (since that's when it's less in your control and more subject to adrenaline)?

To codify, a Barbarian may spend up to (pick a number) rounds raging at a single time. After he stops raging, he is fatigued for 1 round and cannot rage for that round unless he succeeds at a flat check. And the flat check would be determined by how long the Barbarian spent raging (longer equals a more difficult check). Success means he's not fatigued but can't immediately re-enter rage, and maybe a crit success (can those happen on flat checks?) or a class feat could let you sustain back-to-back rages.


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Xenocrat wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
Add barbarian rage to remaining problems. If I did my math correctly, you only get 2.38 rounds on average, including the round you started it in.
You didn't, because you always get 2 rounds, then a 80% chance of a third, a 55% chance (conditional on having a third) of getting a fourth, and a 30% chance (conditional on having a fourth) of getting a fifth, and 5% thereafter.

Am I the only one who sees that and just immediately recoils at how needlessly complicated that is? I'm going to need to constantly look up what I have to do every turn.


That all makes sense for correcting my math. I think what happened is that when I looked the formula up in an old textbook, I forgot to account for age starting at 0. It doesn't affect the standard deviation, though, which is still about 0.96.

Liberty's Edge

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Ah! I remembered an additional issue (albeit a minor one):

12. Armor Proficiency:

Paladins and Fighters only get better than Trained in heavier armors. That's weird, counter-thematic for many builds, and serves no good mechanical purpose I can see. It should probably be changed.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tridus wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
Add barbarian rage to remaining problems. If I did my math correctly, you only get 2.38 rounds on average, including the round you started it in.
You didn't, because you always get 2 rounds, then a 80% chance of a third, a 55% chance (conditional on having a third) of getting a fourth, and a 30% chance (conditional on having a fourth) of getting a fifth, and 5% thereafter.
Am I the only one who sees that and just immediately recoils at how needlessly complicated that is? I'm going to need to constantly look up what I have to do every turn.

Agreed Tridus. Adding another variable DC flat check EVERY ROUND just to rage seems like madness. Imagine that your barbarian is on fire and bleeding. You spend an action to end the bleed (flat check), then your round ends and you get two flat checks (burn, bleed), and now you ALSO have a flat check to keep your rage rolling? This is bogging things down tremendously.


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Why should cantrips be on par with weapons? With the Playtest rules, if a spellcasting class wants to do something equivalent to attacking with a weapon - they can just attack with a weapon.

On the other hand, what does a ranger or a monk or a fighter or a barbarian have at 1st level that is equivalent to a small handful of level 1 spells to cast? How about at 8th level? 12th? 18th? 20th?

I'm just not understanding why the desire for spellcasters to have an at-will weapon equivalent attack, with no cost to buy or upgrade, and then also have spells on top of that.

Currently, in addition to having lower damage than weapons, cantrips also usually take more actions than a weapon attack. So upping the damage alone probably wouldn't unbalance everything. But increasing the damage and shortening the casting time to one action probably would.

Liberty's Edge

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breithauptclan wrote:
Currently, in addition to having lower damage than weapons, cantrips also usually take more actions than a weapon attack. So upping the damage alone probably wouldn't unbalance everything. But increasing the damage and shortening the casting time to one action probably would.

Oh, agreed entirely. I'm not arguing for shortened casting time at all, and do agree that having that for free would be an issue. I just feel that the low damage and terrible range on top of taking two actions are a bit too low.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Ah! I remembered an additional issue (albeit a minor one):

12. Armor Proficiency:

Paladins and Fighters only get better than Trained in heavier armors. That's weird, counter-thematic for many builds, and serves no good mechanical purpose I can see. It should probably be changed.

Giving Fighters and Paladins better proficiency in heavy armor serves as the only reason a character who can swing at least a 16 in Dex would bother with heavy armor. Which is to say, heavy armor needs a redesign. We shouldn't make it usable by pushing it on certain classes.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Giving Fighters and Paladins better proficiency in heavy armor serves as the only reason a character who can swing at least a 16 in Dex would bother with heavy armor. Which is to say, heavy armor needs a redesign. We shouldn't make it usable by pushing it on certain classes.

Note that my above suggested change to Armor Check Penalties does a lot to do this already. That plus reducing Heavy Armor's movement penalty would do a whole lot to make it worthwhile i its own right, given that you can then just not raise Dex as much and be fine.


I don't know how much I feel cantrips need a damage boost, but the range thing is totally spot on. Needing to pull out a crossbow when something is more than 30 feet away feels like it goes against the roll cantrips are trying to have.

I may try some of your suggestions on ranged weapons as house rules in my converted AP. I have noticed damage on arrows has been a little light, though that may be me rolling badly on the d6s. I do like short bows being the default close quarters weapon though.

Liberty's Edge

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Captain Morgan wrote:
I don't know how much I feel cantrips need a damage boost, but the range thing is totally spot on. Needing to pull out a crossbow when something is more than 30 feet away feels like it goes against the roll cantrips are trying to have.

It's a relatively minimal damage boost in many ways, but yeah, I'd say the range issue is worse than the low damage by a fair bit.

Captain Morgan wrote:
I may try some of your suggestions on ranged weapons as house rules in my converted AP. I have noticed damage on arrows has been a little light, though that may be me rolling badly on the d6s. I do like short bows being the default close quarters weapon though.

That's one reason I suggested dropping Volley to 20 feet rather than removing it. That gives shortbows real advantages in close quarters (heck, you can't always get the requisite 25 feet away), but makes it only one action to extend the distance and avoid penalties on the longbow if you've got a bit of space.


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I have an idea about rage.

A barbarian enters rage and stays enraged for as long as there is a perceivable threat up to 1 minute (higher level fights or giant set-piece encounters can last that long).

At the end of 1 minute, the barbarian must make a Constitution save/check to maintain rage. The longer they stay in it, the harder the check.

If they fail, they come out of rage and are fatigued for X amount of time. The barbarian can choose to end rage at any time, at which point they are fatigued for as long as they spent raging.

The barbarian can do this a number of times per day equal to their constitution modifier. So the hardier the barbarian, the more they can endure

Now I do realize that that will mean most of the time barbarians wont see the end of their rage naturally, but that feels more in tune with how I see barbarians. The brutish marauders that pillage endlessly, slay foes tirelessly, etc, etc.

And just for fun, if you want some unpredictability, have them make will saves the longer they stay enraged to see if they can recognize friend from foe.

That'd be fun and scary. haha

Anyway, that's my long-winded two cents.


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Wow yelp I agree with deadman on just about every point (and yes push the catfall skills Its practically my tag line for this play test. )


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RazarTuk wrote:
You know how we couldn't trust GMs in 1e to not force paladins to fall by putting them in lose-lose situations and deciding that isn't a mitigating factor? The first tenet of the liberator oath is, quite possibly, even more abuseable. I can guarantee there will be GMs interpreting that as liberators not being able to give orders.

The second is basically suicide or fall in more than half the nations of Golarion, given the everyday slavery fetish.

I'd rather see the codes (and a 'chaotic code' is just...) set on fire. But then the class is basically just Bubble Master now, with weird, petty restrictions on when you can bubble your buddies, so I'd rather see a start from scratch version.

Regarding the OP, I can agree with most of those.

Definitely think medium and heavy armor need to be redone. They're horribly punishing in this system.

Liberty's Edge

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Voss wrote:
The second is basically suicide or fall in more than half the nations of Golarion, given the everyday slavery fetish.

It's really not. Running an underground railroad outpost or other subtle stuff is totally fighting against slavery, for example, and nothing prohibits a Liberator from lying like a rug whenever they like.

It does require you to actually oppose slavery in some fashion, but you can be indirect about it.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

6. Ranged Weapons:

Ranged Weapons seem...pretty bad this edition. Having to raise a separate stat for bonus damage and only getting d8 damage dice at most (unless you have to spend half your actions reloading, in which case you can get to d10) are both already big limitations, but probably reasonable given the advantages of ranged combat.

But that's not actually how PF2's ranged combat works. You only add 1/2 Str to damage (so...+1 or +2 to the +4 to +7 a melee person gets), and are stuck with d6 weapon dice unless you spend half your time reloading or go Fighter (or Fighter Multiclass), because Volley on Longbows is horribly restrictive to most actual game scenarios.

Making Propulsive add full Str and decreasing the Volley penalty to only within 20 feet are both pretty casually easy to do, and would fix this problem to a large degree...but they do sorta need doing. Or something does, anyway.

I feel like the current version of volley is fundamentally misunderstanding of how actual volley shooting works.

Volleys are shot in order to add gravity's pull to the penetrating power of the arrows.

Actual longbows in real life are no more difficult to shoot with at close range than any other kind of bow.

Volley should add a small damage bonus to targets that are in your 2nd range increment or farther instead.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Giving Fighters and Paladins better proficiency in heavy armor serves as the only reason a character who can swing at least a 16 in Dex would bother with heavy armor. Which is to say, heavy armor needs a redesign. We shouldn't make it usable by pushing it on certain classes.
Note that my above suggested change to Armor Check Penalties does a lot to do this already. That plus reducing Heavy Armor's movement penalty would do a whole lot to make it worthwhile i its own right, given that you can then just not raise Dex as much and be fine.

Armor check penalties aren't really the problem. It's the horrible movement penalties, max dex (which no longer has any way to improve it), Clumsy trait and the fact that it's just not very good AC despite all the penalties.

Armor check penalties are already reduced by quality and you can reduce it by 1 more with mithral. At Legendary the only armors that have any ACP at all are Breastplate, Half-Plate and Full-Plate.

I continue to think that the fact that AC + max dex is always 7 is a big part of the problem. Let better armor be better armor, and reduce some of the penalties.

I agree that having Fighter and Paladin force you towards heavy armor is terrible. It both arbitrarily restricts the classes and it's the wrong way to encourage heavy armor use. Make heavy armor worth using to begin with.

Liberty's Edge

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LordVanya wrote:
I feel like the current version of volley is fundamentally misunderstanding of how actual volley shooting works.

I think it's more like 'volley' is just a cool word they stuck on the mechanic they wanted to have anyway (ie: something to recommend shotbows over longbows)...but yeah, it's not super realistic.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Armor check penalties aren't really the problem. It's the horrible movement penalties, max dex (which no longer has any way to improve it), Clumsy trait and the fact that it's just not very good AC despite all the penalties.

You'll note that I specified a need for less severe speed penalties for heavy armor to work. I'm not sure max Dex matters all that much, though. the AC winds up the same and you can just invest in other stats.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Armor check penalties are already reduced by quality and you can reduce it by 1 more with mithral. At Legendary the only armors that have any ACP at all are Breastplate, Half-Plate and Full-Plate.

Sure, but Legendary is a ways off, and those penalties matter a lot at low levels.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
I continue to think that the fact that AC + max dex is always 7 is a big part of the problem. Let better armor be better armor, and reduce some of the penalties.

The issue with making it flatly better is that then everyone is basically forced to wind up in Full Plate. The rules already almost force people who are gonna have less than Dex 20 grab Medium Armor, and I don't really want to make that worse. Light Armored characters can be fun conceptually, too.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
I agree that having Fighter and Paladin force you towards heavy armor is terrible. It both arbitrarily restricts the classes and it's the wrong way to encourage heavy armor use. Make heavy armor worth using to begin with.

I feel like there's a happy medium here where both are equally valid for different types of characters. Right now the balance is off, with everyone encouraged to get teh lightest armor they can with their Dex, but Dex hard to get high enough for Light Armor, making the vast majority of optimal characters in Medium Armor rather than either Heavy or Light. I think we need something to make Heavy Armor better, but actual better AC Bonus + Max Dex just reverses the problem.


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LordVanya wrote:

I feel like the current version of volley is fundamentally misunderstanding of how actual volley shooting works.

Volleys are shot in order to add gravity's pull to the penetrating power of the arrows.

Actual longbows in real life are no more difficult to shoot with at close range than any other kind of bow.

Volley should add a small damage bonus to targets that are in your 2nd range increment or farther instead.

There's also the point that the use of volley shooting has been overstated. For example, the battle of Agencourt is what really cemented the legend of the longbow. But the actual evidence points to the archers doing flat shooting at close range, not long range volleys. Eyewitnesses talked about the French knights being worried about penetration through the sights and sides of the visors. Those wouldn't be issues with volley shots, only flat shooting. With volleys they'd have hits on the top of the helmet, which was really rather strong, it was only really the openings of the sights (vision slots), breaths (ventilation holes) and the gaps at the side of the visor that were weak points, and those needed flatter arcs to hit.

Volley is really just a way to weaken the longbow so it's not the king of combat anymore, and to give the shortbow a reason to exist. And uses a misunderstanding of history to justify it. That'd better be accomplished by giving the shortbow something positive instead. Like Agile. The way damage die is now more important than strength bonuses to damage, already helps keep the longbow from being the ultimate weapon it was in PF1. Propulsive is just doubling down on that. Making propulsive full strength wouldn't really be unbalancing.


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Am I missing some technical archery term? "Volley" as I've understood it is roughly what they use it for: firing a bunch of shots at once. Admittedly normally from a rank of troops, not one person firing really fast.
Nothing to do with a high, arcing shot vs a flat shot, other than it being commonly used that way with bows to get more distance. But it was the term for massed fire with any weapon: a musket volley, for example.


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thejeff wrote:

Am I missing some technical archery term? "Volley" as I've understood it is roughly what they use it for: firing a bunch of shots at once. Admittedly normally from a rank of troops, not one person firing really fast.

Nothing to do with a high, arcing shot vs a flat shot, other than it being commonly used that way with bows to get more distance. But it was the term for massed fire with any weapon: a musket volley, for example.

It's not uncommon for Paizo to use terms in their rules a way that are wrong or even directly contradictory to their real world meanings.


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I think the speed penalty for armour should be lessened or negated if you have a minimum Str score. I think Volley should be changed or dropped, Propulsion grant full Str damage, and the shortbow gain the Agile property.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

Am I missing some technical archery term? "Volley" as I've understood it is roughly what they use it for: firing a bunch of shots at once. Admittedly normally from a rank of troops, not one person firing really fast.

Nothing to do with a high, arcing shot vs a flat shot, other than it being commonly used that way with bows to get more distance. But it was the term for massed fire with any weapon: a musket volley, for example.

Yes, this! It was the simultaneous firing of weapons by a body of troops to gain the maximum morale impact. The Swedes were major innovators here during the 30 Years War. And the shorter the range, the more effective the volley, which is more-or-less the opposite of how the term in used in PF2e.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
...and the shortbow gain the Agile property.

This would be the ideal solution.


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just don't turn the ranged weapons to be as powerful as they were in pf1 where they dominated the melee options.

as an example, i'm fine with volley dissapearing and shortbow being made agile instead, but i don't think that making propulsion scale fully on top of that is a good thing.

Liberty's Edge

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shroudb wrote:

just don't turn the ranged weapons to be as powerful as they were in pf1 where they dominated the melee options.

as an example, i'm fine with volley dissapearing and shortbow being made agile instead, but i don't think that making propulsion scale fully on top of that is a good thing.

I strongly disagree.

A large portion of the reason ranged weapons dominated combat in PF1 was that they let you Full Attack every round. This is sort of still true in PF2, but vastly less valuable, since that third attack at -10 is pretty terrible, and melee people rarely need more than one move to enter combat (and even if they do, they almost always keep their most valuable, -0, attack).

Another large portion of the reason was that Rapid Shot and Manyshot combined to make for more attacks than most people could make in melee, and large numbers of attacks to add static damage to were great in PF1. There are no such advantages available in PF2, or at least not any commonly available.

Remove those, and we're left with ranged combat having the following advantages:

-Don't have to move to attack as often.
-Don't always have to risk being attacked in melee to attack.

And...that's sort of all there is.

The disadvantages, meanwhile, even if you get rid of Volley, make Shortbows Agile, and add full Str on Propulsive, are as follows:

-You get a crappy damage die (d8 or d6) without the advantages (like using a shield) that a free hand gives you.
-You're using an off-stat that does basically nothing else for you for damage (since it remains Str-based).

Those very situational advantages seem to me to be more than made up for by the disadvantages (which are not situational at all). With those changes, it's probably worth doing, but it's by no means optimal damage wise (which is what it was in PF1, and sort of the problem).

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