The Customization Bottleneck


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One of the frequent refrains I've seen on this forum is that the Playtest doesn't let you customize your characters all that much compared to PF1. Which I definitely have felt a bit of that building characters, but it's been hard to formulate just where the problem is. But, the last few weeks, I've found myself with a better idea of the issue.

As much as I hate the hand-wavyness of "there'll be more options in the final product", lack of options is not the problem. Nor is the strength of options compared to PF1, though that can certainly be a frustration. Instead, I find that the problem is that the Playtest and PF1 have a fundamental divergence in where you can make trade-offs.

Playtest characters have a huge bottleneck. Virtually all customization you can do with a Playtest character is made from the same pool: class feats. Archetype? Class feats. Multiclass? Class feats. Class features other than the small number of default features? Class feats. Combat style determining/boosting options? Class feats. Scaling class features? Class feat trees.

Basically every major aspect of customization has to be done with class feats.

Compared to PF1...
Archetypes? Trade out class features for class features. Multiclass? Trade out class levels for class levels or take an archetype that emulates that class. Other class features? Take a feat or a Rogue Talent/Rage Power/etc if your class has that option. Combat style determining/boosting options? Obtainable through archetypes or feats. Scaling class features? Inherent to classes.

PF1 in comparison has many more places where you can make your trade-offs. This isn't to say PF1 doesn't have some issues, like combat-oriented feats crowding out other options since they're all in the same pool. But, while the Playtest has made more space for non-combat feat options through have Skill Feats and Ancestry feats, it has instead shoved the problem elsewhere and made it worse, honestly.

Most major facets of a character are all competing for the same 8 to 11 class feat slots and very little scales without further and constant investment that uses yet more of those slots. This is the bottleneck.


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Couldn't agree more! This is a problem I would Greatly like to be addressed.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Yup.. this is a problem...


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Ah so If I'm understanding as an example: its like how once you take a class feat you should pretty well just keep taking the ones that go with it which means really there isn't as many builds as it would seem. pretty much once you take a two handed weapon route just keep picking up the two handed weapons ones. no reason to break into any others.


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And that was intentional, so that since everything that affect the combat comes from the same pool, you cant "game" the tight balance by moving more or less pieces to the same basket. Basically, your combat strenght is locket to what amounts to 10 class feats. Your skill strenghr is locked to ehat amounts to 10 skill feats. Ecc. Classes like rogue gives you more skill in exchange for... actually nothing, the rogue is as strong in combat as other classes.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Yup.. this is a problem...

If it is a problem, what are some solutions? Much as I wouldn't want to say "moar feats!", given the feat-centric nature of the playtest, are more feat slots given through leveling a way to go? Or is the inherent feat-centrism problematic, and a distinct option-suite/system being examined?

As someone who is not a fan of the playtests archetypes or "multiclassing" (dedication feats) and having seen the rumor that PF1 style archetypes might also be seen (i.e. archetypes not via feats) I'm hoping something shakes out.


I think the simple solution is best really, more feats. Currently you get a class feat every other level, and a general, ancestry, or skill feat every level. So you get a combat affecting choice every other level and a flavor choice every level. It is really good they added a flavor choice every level, so you can select those options without affecting your combat strength.

But a pf1 character had a lot more combat affecting choices for their build. Most classes had a talent every other level in addition to the feat the got every other level, for a choice every level.

Going from a meaningful choice every level to a meaningful choice every other level is a lot less fun for making a character, and playing the resulting character. A class feat every level would fix this.


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Aashua wrote:
Honestly can't tell but I really feel like that remark was sarcastic guys...

I doubt it. Cryptic sarcastic quipping isn't really Jason's style.


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Snowblind wrote:
Aashua wrote:
Honestly can't tell but I really feel like that remark was sarcastic guys...
I doubt it. Cryptic sarcastic quipping isn't really Jason's style.

Ok fair enough I'm not particularly familiar with the man it just seemed so based on the post structure, and the fact that the game seemed very much designed that way intentionally based on the blog posts from the pre release talking alot about not wanting general or skill feats to end up just being used to get more class feats.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah he even tends to seem upset when people think that is what he is doing.

AH apologies then I didn't realize I'll go ahead and delete the comment on it.


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OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Yup.. this is a problem...

If it is a problem, what are some solutions? Much as I wouldn't want to say "moar feats!", given the feat-centric nature of the playtest, are more feat slots given through leveling a way to go? Or is the inherent feat-centrism problematic, and a distinct option-suite/system being examined?

As someone who is not a fan of the playtests archetypes or "multiclassing" (dedication feats) and having seen the rumor that PF1 style archetypes might also be seen (i.e. archetypes not via feats) I'm hoping something shakes out.

Really, I'd say that the problem isn't with the feat-centrism of the system. It's just that class feats are really hot real estate and a lot of stuff's fighting for those slots. Which means that it all has to compete against one another, and thus be comparable to each other (to some degree at least).

I don't really know what the solution would be myself. More class feats? More feats and features from class paths? I don't know what the best solution would be.

Archetypes ala PF1 may help, though I feel with the addition of class paths to many classes with 1.6 take at least part of their place. Honestly, I don't know how well you could build a PF1-style archetype as is; there's not a whole lot to replace in classes. Though, I suppose it could just also take up some class feats, but that just leads to another competitor.


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Some thoughts on this.
1) roll ancestry feats into general feats.
2) archetype feats can be gained by spending general feats instead of class feats. (maybe also allow certain archetype feats to cost skill feats where appropriate.)
3) reduce class features down to a bare minimum of 2 or 3, convert the remaining class features into feats, gain a feat at each level that previously had a feature that was converted, and add some additional feats at each new level you gain a feat at.
4) many more features and feats should scale in some way instead of having feat trees.
5) capstone feats should not rely on any specific builds or have feat prerequisites.


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If Paths are made universal, and they're getting close to it, that basically replaces Archtypes outright. Class feats & the anemic remaining 'core' features seem good enough to replace old Class Features.

Frankly, I think we're close to what we need. And I think the remaining puzzle piece is combat styles.

Tangent about why investment is required: Let's take the bold assumption that, with PF2 math, any trained character that maxes the relevant attack stat and keeps up with weapon enchantments is competant in combat. They are effective enough to feel that they are meaningfully contributing. Feats like Double Slice are entirely 'extra' little bonuses that don't upset balance.

I do not think that assumption is correct, but if it is: Are combat styles in a good place? People can access various styles easily! - My answer is that no, I don't think that would mean they're in a good place. People don't want to 'happen to be mathmatically competant at Archery', they want to be invested in Archery. Yes, PF1 Precise Shot was a horrible feat tax for every Archer, but it also let you feel like an 'Archer' instead of 'Giuy using bow'. There should be an option to invest in a combat style, for anyone, because that basic level of investment feels good, even if it doesn't mathmatically change what you can accomplish. /Tangent

I propose to do this by making a basic Combat Style option for every Combat Style - they'd be things like Double Slice - and each character gets 1 at character creation. 2 for the Fighter because Fighter. It's a bit of power creep, sure. It locks people into a style a bit, sure. But people changing from sword & shield, to two-handed, to dual-wielding, to bow, to unarmed, to sword & free-hand for spellcasting? That's very rare. 2 styles is the most I can imagine most characters using, and I'd include a general feat to get another.

Combat Style Ideas (that have not been detailed or balanced):

Spoiler:

* Double Slice,
* That thing that's basically double slice at range that rangers got in an update.
* Simple & improvised weapons up a damage dice.
* Step as part of a cantrip.
* Strike as part of Raise Shield
* Look these are basically all a specific way to gain an action each turn.
* Maybe put the Ride feat here for people interested in basic mounted combat?


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Well... Separating all Proficiency out into it's own progression (as already down with Skill Increases) would be a good step towards opening up this bottleneck.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It always struck me as a bit sad that archetypes and multiclasses were fighting for the same slots.

Some of the archetypes (e.g. pirate) already seem pretty skill based - if you paid for them with skill feats instead it would open up a lot more possible combinations.


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I had some ideas on helping to fix this a while back. My basic idea was to give everyone a free archetype or dedication as a part of their character progression.

In simpler form, it would look like this.

You'd chose a class at level one and an archetype at level 2. Archetypes would look exactly like they do now, but instead of costing class feats, they'd have their own feat pool. Probably one every 5 levels after the first one at level 2.

A free archetype would open up a lot of extra leeway in designing your character.

A few things would have to be reworked. For example, since you could now have things like Fighter class with Fighter Archetype (if you wanted to just be the most Fighter Fighter to ever Fighter), the way certain base class abilities leveled up would have to be reduced. In this system, Fighter would naturally only get to Master in all weapon Proficiencies, and the Fighter Archetype would increase Weapon Proficiencies by one stage by having it. So only a Fighter/Fighter would get Legendary in everything.

However, there would also be Archetypes that gave you proficiency bonus in specific weapons. So a Fighter/Dervisher would have Master in most weapons, but Legendary specifically in agile weapons.

Barbarian would only go up to Expert proficiency, but Barbarian/Fighter would then have Master and Barbarian with an Archetype that focuses on Great Weapons would have Master specifically in two-handed weapons.

You could add a BUNCH of things to open up more design space, and give people more capacity to build as they want, while keeping it much easier to balance things, since rather than having to account for every possible permutation of feats, you're really only looking at how specific bunches of feats interact with each other.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think the problem here isn't the number of feats you get, it's the fact that so many game aspects are competing for the same bottleneck. Do you want to follow a combat style, take an archetype, multiclass, prestige class, gain an animal companion, or a class-specific feat (like a monk stance)? All of them are in the same pot. That means players need to pick one item from a very long list - long enough that they can overlook one of them.

It also means the relative strength of all these different things need to be balanced against each other. For example, since so many fights are won by the action economy, an animal companion is a fairly powerful feature; other feats may feel weak in comparison.

Pathfinder 1e had a similar problem of feat choice, particularly once the books started piling up.

Quote:

Inexperienced player: "I need a feat. Where can I find feats?"

More experienced players: "Somewhere in this cubic foot of paper."

It's worth remembering that the same thing is going to happen to Pathfinder 2e some day - it's going to get a number of expansions over the next 5 to 10 years - and planning for how we keep the explosion of options under control. I think the solution has to be taking some things out of the class feats pot right now, and putting them in their own smaller pots. Exactly which things to take out isn't obvious, though.


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Stuff that used to be covered by feats are now class features, combat stuff being the most contentious.

Given that most classes only progress one weapon group anyway, I'd recommend going back to WEAPONFINDER and giving the combat oriented feats as mere upgrades to proficiency with the weapon group. Fighters inherently get them all, and their feats can be dedicated to stances and tactical maneuvers. Et all


sadie wrote:
I think the solution has to be taking some things out of the class feats pot right now, and putting them in their own smaller pots. Exactly which things to take out isn't obvious, though.

Well... I think a good starting point would be a certain Owlbear's suggestion of choosing your proficiencies. That seems like the most intuitive thing to break out of class feats.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A proficiency increase should never be a feat. It's simply too large and important a change to fit into the scale of feats.

As people pointed out in that thread, balancing free choice of proficiency is going to be really hard, so it's probably not a viable choice. However, I made a more realistic suggestion, that class paths / specialisations should determine some or all of your proficiency increases.


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One huge thing that would help here is that if the "path" you chose at level 1 for each class leveled up with you and didn't consume feat slots to hit the key points.

For example, say you're a Ranger who picks animal companion as your "path." Well, now you get all the necessary upgrades to stay competitive as you level up. The feats you would spend on animal companion in the playtest can now go to other options, like snares or two weapon or whatever. Likewise, a two weapon Ranger would get upgrades to that at the same levels the animal Ranger gets upgrades to their path, but could spend feats on the animal if they want.

This can be done by tagging each class feat with its associated path, like the druid currently does. Then at the relevant levels, you get a bonus class feat which has to be a feat from your path. That way, even characters with the same path can branch out and be different from each other by choosing different options for customization and specialization, once splats start being published later and there are more options to pick from. You just need to make sure each class and each path gets robust options at the same levels.

An archetype can replace your path. Archetypes are more focused than base classes, and it's okay if all characters of a given archetype get the same options at the same levels, and I'm also fine with a character only having one archetype because archetype combos were a recipe for cheese in PF1. But because the path is just giving bonus feats, well, those feats are still there. Our Ranger who takes an archetype can still have an animal, because the animal feats are still there, and can be taken with class feats.

In this setup, assuming multi class remains feat based, multi class would still consume class feats rather than replacing your path. Here you really are splitting your focus, that is the nature of dipping another class. Our Ranger could take the animal path and multiclass druid but wouldn't have an archetype, or she could take an archetype and multiclass but probably wouldn't have an animal. That's acceptable to me.


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sadie wrote:
A proficiency increase should never be a feat. It's simply too large and important a change to fit into the scale of feats.

Agreed. I hate having proficiency increases buried in feats. It adds unnecessary complication to the system and locks players into progressions that aren't very interesting.

sadie wrote:
As people pointed out in that thread, balancing free choice of proficiency is going to be really hard, so it's probably not a viable choice.

Disagreed. It wouldn't have been viable in Pathfinder First Edition but Paizo tightened up the math to such an extent that I think it's viable here.

As I noted in the thread, I'd just take your proposal one step further and split proficiency increases into three categories (Defense Increases for Saving Throws/AC, Offense Increases for Weapon Groups/Spellcasting, and Skill Increases for...Skills). Classes that are traditionally 'weapon masters' would get more Offense Increases, Classes that are traditionally 'defensive walls' would get more Defense Increases, and the Rogue would continue to get an absurd amount of Skill Increases. Each "pot" balanced internally and for the class in question.

sadie wrote:
However, I made a more realistic suggestion, that class paths / specialisations should determine some or all of your proficiency increases.

This is a good proposal but I still prefer your original one. It's a lot more transparent, cuts down on tracking complexity, and enables a wealth of character options.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Huh. That's an interesting and unexpected response from Jason.

I wonder what direction Paizo has in mind for addressing this? I know they've hinted several times at the return of "trade out base class features" archetypes at some point, but the directness of Jason's answer leads me to believe we will be seeing something to alleviate this issue in core.


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sadie wrote:
I think the problem here isn't the number of feats you get, it's the fact that so many game aspects are competing for the same bottleneck. Do you want to follow a combat style, take an archetype, multiclass, prestige class, gain an animal companion, or a class-specific feat (like a monk stance)? All of them are in the same pot.

This is precisely the issue. While I like the a-la-carte application of multiclassing and archetypes, they're competing a lot differently for class features than they did in PF1. In PF1, you could choose an archetype that replaced class features that you didn't want or didn't think were important. It was a fair trade in that you knew exactly what you're giving up and exactly what you're getting in return.

In PF2, the archetypes are competing against the opportunity cost of every class feat in your main class. Presumably, a player would only pick class feats that they think are interesting or powerful. Meaning that they would have to think the archetype is more valuable than the best class feat they could choose. Now, the evaluation of value could be on a lot of different parameters (for instance, building a specific flavor of a character as opposed to min-maxing), but the overall bottleneck is problematic.

Interesting to see Jason acknowledge this thread. I wonder what the solution will be.


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It'd be potentially possible to tackle this and the "boring feats" issue in one go: provide more of a scaling chassis.

I know the idea of a stacking Lego-like class structure is appealing, and this sounds like a step back, but. Some compromise (paths?) could solve both issues. Balanced, it may be possible to have cake and eat it, too.

That said...the game just feels off, to me. Watching and hoping, here.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've been saying this thing for a long time, but not nearly as clearly and concisely. Actually makes me incredibly happy that this thread is cutting to the heart of the main problem I've had with the playtest for so long.

Also Jason chiming in makes me feel like things might turn out okay.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I agree with the initial statement in this forum. This is the problem I have been discussing with my group. I, and speaking for everyone else, do not like the bottle necked feeling. I love the mechanics of PF2 so far. However, there has to be a more efficient method of feat selection. I liked having combat feats, teamwork feats, and metamagic feats readily available in order to customize your character. Forcing selection into multiclass feats as the only way to customize your character seems a little too restrictive. It has been a common issue among my group. I am happy you all have brought this up and our concerns were not unique.


It seems like the most straightforward answer is to allow General feats to be used for archetypes as well, and give you a couple more of those at the expense of Skill feats (since they can also be used on Skills).

That opens up a second pool you can use.

I'm sure there are better options, but that wouldn't feel as punitive as the current system, where class feats are so important.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Hey there folks,

There are some ways that we can look at this, but generally speaking "moar feats" is not always the right answer. We are currently looking at ways that the archetypes might become a bit more broad, speaking to more than just your class feats. This might not change much for some archetypes that want to pull from that resource, but for others it could make a world of difference.

We are still investigating.


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If not "moar feats" (a rather dismissive way of putting it, tbh) then classes should get more actual class abilities back.

And I still firmly advocate each class being able to do its "one big thing," ie its path, without having to eat into class feats save to specialize or otherwise improve that thing.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Some days you can't even make a joke...

(moderated out a few posts after this one... no need to start sniping with each other)


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MuddyVolcano wrote:
It'd be potentially possible to tackle this and the "boring feats" issue in one go: provide more of a scaling chassis.

Yes, like Cat Fall. I would like to see more macro, less micro, in general. Also, so many things having the Feat tag doesn't help: Ancestry feats, Heritage feats, Class feats, General feats, Skill feats, just too many types of Feats for me. How about class feats renamed Talents, Ancestry feats could be Traits.

Liberty's Edge

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I am confident you guys can see your way to fixing the bottleneck here. You've already shown remarkable ability to fix issues like the Alchemist and Paladin have, and that you're looking at this (Esp in regard to Archetypes being more Feat Agnostic) is heartening to say the least.

Besides, this inches the needle a bit close to Dinosaur Fort making it in the CRB. Seriously, I'll have to buy you all a drink, coffee or otherwise next Aug in Indy if it happens.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
MuddyVolcano wrote:
It'd be potentially possible to tackle this and the "boring feats" issue in one go: provide more of a scaling chassis.
Yes, like Cat Fall. I would like to see more macro, less micro, in general. Also, so many things having the Feat tag doesn't help: Ancestry feats, Heritage feats, Class feats, General feats, Skill feats, just too many types of Feats for me. How about class feats renamed Talents, Ancestry feats could be Traits.

Yes, the way Catfall works would be a great baseline for almost all or even all of the Class Feats, scaling based on your Proficiency level, with really cool stuff at Master and Legendary. This actually solves a lot of problems, the two biggest ones being bland Skill Feats and lack of differentiation between Proficiency levels.


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dmerceless wrote:
Yes, the way Catfall works would be a great baseline for almost all or even all of the Class Feats, scaling based on your Proficiency level, with really cool stuff at Master and Legendary. This actually solves a lot of problems, the two biggest ones being bland Skill Feats and lack of differentiation between Proficiency levels.

Indeed. "Master and Legendary not feeling 'special'" was a significant concern among the 58 posters I polled in the most recent 3 Thing You Love 3 Things You Hate Thread. I think revising all Skill Feats to work like Catfall would go a long way towards rectifying that (at least for Skills).


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:
dmerceless wrote:
Yes, the way Catfall works would be a great baseline for almost all or even all of the Class Feats, scaling based on your Proficiency level, with really cool stuff at Master and Legendary. This actually solves a lot of problems, the two biggest ones being bland Skill Feats and lack of differentiation between Proficiency levels.
Indeed. "Master and Legendary not feeling 'special'" was a significant concern among the 58 posters I polled in the most recent 3 Thing You Love 3 Things You Hate Thread. I think revising all Skill Feats to work like Catfall would go a long way towards rectifying that (at least for Skills).

Yes, and Legendary opening up for some, well, Legendary stuff. I would like to see some gnarly moves for martial.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there folks,

There are some ways that we can look at this, but generally speaking "moar feats" is not always the right answer. We are currently looking at ways that the archetypes might become a bit more broad, speaking to more than just your class feats. This might not change much for some archetypes that want to pull from that resource, but for others it could make a world of difference.

We are still investigating.

But sometimes more feats is the answer right?

The current setup of things important for competency like casting or proficiency come from class features, while all the options to make an interesting or specialized character come from class feats is a nice framework. Keeping combat power in class feats and more narrative flavorful options in general/skill feats is also a nice distinction. The problem is with general feats being lower powered more flavorful choice there is not a significant choice every level.

The advantage Pathfinder has over D&D 5e is the wealth of customization. You could take a talent every even level, and a feat that could be used for a talent every odd level. This led to a meaningful choice every level.

Giving a class feat every level would provide a meaningful customization option every level, general/ancestry feats could be weaker/more flavorful options.


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Cross-thread quoting, the absoloute madness:

N N 959 wrote:
Animal companion way too feat intensive You talked about "telling the same stories" in PF2. My PF1 Ranger used ONE feat on his companion and it was integral part of what he does. In PF2, I've got to dedicate my entire build to the Companion and I'm not even an Animal Druid. The companion takes like 7 feats out of 11. That's just ridiculous.

I think this style of thing is a major issue. Feat chains are very problematic when we have a bottleneck like that one described in this thread. Not only does it eat one of your customization slots that are competing for multiclassing and most interesting things you can do, but it competes for 7 out of 11 of those slots. Animal Companion rangers are going to feel pretty similar if they're all taking 7 of the same feats.

Death to feat chains. Oracle revelations in 1E had it right: Some revelations are restricted by level, others are stronger at high levels, but if you select that revelation at a low level it automatically upgrades. You don't usually need to spend another revelation to have it keep up.


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Lyee wrote:
Death to feat chains. Oracle revelations in 1E had it right: Some revelations are restricted by level, others are stronger at high levels, but if you select that revelation at a low level it automatically upgrades. You don't usually need to spend another revelation to have it keep up.

Absolutely, 5th Ed went this way, much cleaner, more fun (they also have macro feats, so one feat can cover quite a bit). Jumping through feat-chain hoops is a pain in the keister. Concepts that don't come online until 9th-level and what-not.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there folks,

There are some ways that we can look at this, but generally speaking "moar feats" is not always the right answer. We are currently looking at ways that the archetypes might become a bit more broad, speaking to more than just your class feats. This might not change much for some archetypes that want to pull from that resource, but for others it could make a world of difference.

We are still investigating.

is their a chance classes themselves might become more broad (for instance Paladins who are offense based rather than reaction based, or Rangers who use a mechanism other than Hunt Target?)


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there folks,

There are some ways that we can look at this, but generally speaking "moar feats" is not always the right answer. We are currently looking at ways that the archetypes might become a bit more broad, speaking to more than just your class feats. This might not change much for some archetypes that want to pull from that resource, but for others it could make a world of difference.

We are still investigating.

is their a chance classes themselves might become more broad (for instance Paladins who are offense based rather than reaction based, or Rangers who use a mechanism other than Hunt Target?)

Another good point, I do not want roles imposed on my character (or armour type). That is an aspect of 4th Ed I am not so keen on.


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I'm glad this thread got started, it literally gave better reasoning/description for what my findings were about Multiclassing back in my thread. While my findings were specifically related to what I didn't like sure, it came out to be that "Featclassing" provided Far Less Freedom, which is clearly depicted as the Bottleneck of Class Feats. So thank you Archive for this thread, and actually getting the underlying issue I was seeing (even if I didn't know what I was looking at at the time) some recognition.

Again, from the bottom of my heart Archive, Thank you.


Well the problem is about being rigorous about getting rid of the "something for nothing" options you were able to get in Pathfinder 1. If you think about 3.5 Druid, the one and only list of abilities you get are the ones listed into the class advancement table. Pet, nature sense, spells, stride, step, wild shape, thousand faces, etc. All druids follow the same list.

Paizo's archetypes and "swapping bad class features for good ones" was not really sustainable model for future. Weak class features are either meant to be not written, or endured. If your class has an anathema for example, it would be bad design to allow players to freely bypass it with an option. If you write out all the bad class features away, you are once again just trading scarce features away since good class features are not free.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Envall wrote:

Well the problem is about being rigorous about getting rid of the "something for nothing" options you were able to get in Pathfinder 1. If you think about 3.5 Druid, the one and only list of abilities you get are the ones listed into the class advancement table. Pet, nature sense, spells, stride, step, wild shape, thousand faces, etc. All druids follow the same list.

Paizo's archetypes and "swapping bad class features for good ones" was not really sustainable model for future. Weak class features are either meant to be not written, or endured. If your class has an anathema for example, it would be bad design to allow players to freely bypass it with an option. If you write out all the bad class features away, you are once again just trading scarce features away since good class features are not free.

but then you get the 'forced role' problem 4th had.


Envall wrote:
Well the problem is about being rigorous about getting rid of the "something for nothing" options you were able to get in Pathfinder 1.

I definitely do not want a return of that. Approach it so classes have no stock abilities/features that are easily tossed out in favour of something better/more enticing, no free cherrypicking, while still having meaningful choices, and not being stuck in a role, or path.


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I have to admit, I loved the introduction of traits to PF1, they were small boosts to some simple, generally limited situations allowing you to feel a certain extension of focus to reflect the characters personality or background. Even better, the idea that one of them can be used to tie someone into a campaign arc was even better.

I like the idea of backgrounds in 2.0, but they are much larger packages which don't provide the same flexibility that choose 2 traits does.

Take for instance that with Campaign Backgrounds, you have to choose between having a tie into the campaign or a normal background you've been wanting to try, you can't out of the box have both.

I'm wondering if there could be something trait-like in 2.0 although the name trait is already used. Perhaps something like a knack? Might give you a +1 that can be used as a conditional bonus, or could be used to reduce one conditional penalty by 1. (something minor similar to a trait bonus)

Have categories like traits did and only be able to get one from two different categories. They would be weak, but might give some small situational bonuses and flavor. They can be used to tie you into the campaign if you use a campaign knack. Or you could define campaign backgrounds and knacks. Players could choose to use a background if they want, otherwise they could use a knack to tie themselves in.

Another name that could be used for this other than Knack, might be a Flavor. They might be minor enough that you could actually allow someone to gain a new flavor after they finish a campaign arc, and start into a new one. Allow them to pick a new one that will tie them into that arc.

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