Speed up combat with less HP?


Running the Game


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I'm running a home campaign with some friends using the playtest rules. I've been playing PFS for about a year now, but this is my first time GMing. My players are all new to ttrpgs. We're playing via Roll20, with usually 4 players.

One issue keeps coming up: combats are running too long for us. We're about to do session #10 ( roughly 3 hours a session for us) so everyone is pretty familiar with their character's abilities and how to play at this point. I've been following advice from this post - https://theangrygm.com/manage-combat-like-a-dolphin/ - for the last few sessions, which has sped things up and made combat more engaging for everyone. But, I think we're still at a point where we are mentally running out of steam by the end of combats. As an example, our last session ended with a high/severe threat, 100 XP, combat. With 4 players and 3 monsters, this combat ran for about 1.5 hours.

I thought maybe things just felt different 'behind the screen', but I played a PF1 game for the first time in a few months the other day, and we got through 2 minor and 2 major combats in about 2.5 hours (and it was a lot of fun).

Considering I've heard others mention slow combats here, I think it might just be the PF2 system itself that is making things slower. So, here's my thought: lower all PC and monster HP to 75% of it's current value. Is this a reasonable house rule? Any other suggestions? (For that matter, is the dpr to hp ratio in PF2 different from PF1?)

TL;DR
As a house rule, would it significantly unbalance PF2 to reduce HP for PCs and monsters, for example, by reducing HP to 75% of the original value?


It depends on what problem you're seeing. Are combats going on too long because:

1) Attacks are not landing reliably/Saves are being made too often?
2) Healers are making things too hard to kill?
3) You're hitting reliably but it takes several rounds of hits to bring the target down?
4) Something else

If the problem is #3, lowering HP will speed things up. If it's #1, it will also speed things up, but in more of a "someone actually gets a couple times in a row due to lucky dice rolls and gets blasted" way.

It won't really help #2 at all.

The main unbalancing point will be that it helps big damage attacks like high level blasting spells, but that might not be a dealbreaker for you. It would certainly be worth trying out if you find things slow.

My experience is that we're not landing things reliably enough and so I'd rather go after the miss/save rates than HP, but I'm up for reasonably fast combat to keep the story moving.


Not #2, my players are more the "stand and whack 'em" type even when a PC is on the ground dying, lol.

The miss rate does seem higher, especially with second attacks, which do get thrown out pretty often. But, I'm kind of afraid to mess with to hit bonuses since crits might start piling up on players and monsters alike. As you said, with lower HP, an unlucky round could be deadly. I guess that's also true with increased hit bonus/deceased AC.

Hmm, perhaps reducing MAP would land more second attacks without causing more crits. Of course, that boosts weapons only...

I will give the HP thing a try for a session and see how it goes.


Cool. Let us know how it goes. :)


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

PF1 always felt like most combats were over, or at least in "mop-up" territory after round 2-4. This felt way too fast for me. Pf2 has been typically 4-6 rounds which feels right. When players know what they want their chracters to do the rounds have gone reaonably fast, however when they don't know what to do, it feels slower than pf1. (Not sure if the three actions is introducing more analysis/paralysis when people don't have a basic idea/plan).

The fights that have felt too long are typically against ~2-3 level above boss monsters that have interesting, but not directly damaging abilities. the PCs can't hit them reliably, and the boss doesn't have the raw damage output to speed things along.


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Miss chance is too high.

1st attack for level equivalent monster should be 70-80% hit chance, depending on character optimization.

Right now 3rd attack is just time wasting in search of a 20.

having 80/55/30% hit chance would be more streamlined and more reliable
than 50/25/0*
*- crit that is not

Also there should be mooks/henchman/red-shirt more involved in battles.
Same damage, 1/5 of HP, 1/5 of XP and treasure award.
Easy to deal with but will deal wagonload of damage if left unchecked for couple of rounds.


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Igor Horvat wrote:

Miss chance is too high.

1st attack for level equivalent monster should be 70-80% hit chance, depending on character optimization.

Right now 3rd attack is just time wasting in search of a 20.

having 80/55/30% hit chance would be more streamlined and more reliable
than 50/25/0*
*- crit that is not

Wholeheartedly agree with this one. Saves/AC's are just too high in general resulting in feeling like your playing an incompetent person. It was already stated that likely monsters should have everything lowered by around 2, so if you double that... you'll have about the right number.

Lowering all AC's/Save's by about ~4 (assuming equal level or higher encounters) and removing the skill DC table entirely and utilising some degree of your own perceptions and logic for how hard something would be to do would likely fix a whole lot for a homebrew game.

Such changes at least made the system enjoyable to play compared to the current version of the system; at least for me personally.

Considering the concern was the critical system... I'll propose an alternative then; Have you considered just lowering the penalties of your first itterative attack along the lines of maybe basing around the quality of potency rune so each +1 lowers it by an additional 1? You could have the spellstrike wand/alchemist goggles and the like come up a few levels earlier to avoid it being just a weapon thing. Even making lesser versions for those would help out those classes aswell.


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A level equivalent monster is meant to be roughly equivalent to a PC. Do you think that a monster should also be hitting you 70-80% of the time?

Also, if you are fighting a level equivalent monster, than by the rules of encounter building you almost certainly outnumber it 2 to 1. Applying even minimal tactics shifts the numbers pretty substantially.

I mean, let's use an actual example. A non-fighter martial with expert proficiency and a +2 weapon at level 8 has a +15 to hit. The average level 8 monster has 25 AC, so you have a 55% chance to hit. For a high difficulty encounter, you are fighting at most 2 of those, so you are taking it on 2 on 1. It is trivially easy to apply Frightened 1 and Flat footed for a -3 to AC-- flanking and demoralize does it, many spells do similar effects even on a succsessful save, etc. That already takes you to a 70% hit rate, 75% if you're a fighter. Add a bard to the mix and you have 80%.

You aren't meant to be able to stand toe to toe with a level equivalent monster and take victory for granted anymore. The assumption is that thing is as dangerous as you are and you need your the help of your friends to reliably beat it.

If you look at an encounter equivalent set of opponents that you might actually expect to treat as a 1v1 threat, you want level-2. A High difficulty encounter for four level 8 PCs is four level 6 monsters. Our level 8 martial still has a +15 to hit, but the monsters only have 21 AC now. Which means you have a 75% chance to hit, 80% with a fighter, and it only goes up from there based on bonuses and penalties you can utilize.

In other words, the system supports your desired outcomes just fine. You just need to account for how encounters are actually designed based on the bestiary guidelines. Which are, for reference:

TABLE 4: CREATURE XP AND ROLE
Creature’s Level XP Suggested Role

Party’s level – 4 10 Low-threat minion
Party’s level – 3 15 Low- or high-threat minion
Party’s level – 2 20 Any minion or standard
Party’s level – 1 30 Any standard
Party level 40 Any standard or low-threat boss
Party’s level + 1 60 Low- or high-threat boss
Party’s level + 2 80 High- or severe-threat boss
Party’s level + 3 120 Severe- or extreme-threat boss
Party’s level + 4 160 Extreme-threat solo boss

TABLE 5: ENCOUNTER BUDGET
Difficulty XP Budget

Trivial 40 or less
Low 60
High 80
Severe 120
Extreme 160


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So, I gave the 75% hp thing a try and I'm pretty happy with the results. Four level 5 PCs versus two Bearded Devils with the elite adjustment (making this a 120XP encounter). Combat lasted for exactly 3 full rounds, with the tank Barbarian down and the Wizard saving the day with his second fireball. Other 2 PCs expended some resources but didn't take any hits. Probably lasted around 45 minutes.

That seems about right for our group for both pace and challenge. If the devils had done better on their fireball saves, the fight would have probably gone 4 rounds with the possiblity of another PC down or the barbarian up and down again at a decent risk of dying.

Tridus, you are right that blasting spells could one shot someone at this point. The devils had 60 hp after adjustment, so a critical fail against fireball could do it.

Besides reducing the number of rounds, my take away is that one crit fail/success can make a much bigger difference with less hp.

To those of you talking about player vs monster hit chance, I feel you. Creatures with CR higher than the party get a lot of crits on the PCs with little effort. But, I'm with Captain M - I think that's just how balance works here. As in his flat footed/demoralized example, tactics can make a big difference. My current goal as GM is not to out-tactics my new players - yet.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
A level equivalent monster is meant to be roughly equivalent to a PC. Do you think that a monster should also be hitting you 70-80% of the time?

Yes. (Though much of the time PCs should not be fighting level-equivalent monsters.)

When someone tries to do something, they should mostly achieve something. Achieving nothing with your turn is unsatisfactory and makes everyone involved seem clumsy and incompetent.

Player: "My ranger fires an arrow at the ogre!"
GM: "You miss."
Player: "My wizard casts Save Or Suck."
GM: "The ogre passes a saving throw. Your spell is wasted. The ogre then swings its club at you. He misses."

I'd like to see the game built around the presumption of a 75% success rate for actions, with the actual effect of success (in terms of average damage per hit, critical frequency, hit point totals, spell effects, etc) being balanced around that.


Hmm I kind of think they have a soft compromise in there with the minor effects for saves and misses. like the fighter one where you still do minimum on a miss and how a lot of saves have lesser effects even on a save. So maybe more effects like that?


Matthew Downie wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
A level equivalent monster is meant to be roughly equivalent to a PC. Do you think that a monster should also be hitting you 70-80% of the time?

Yes. (Though much of the time PCs should not be fighting level-equivalent monsters.)

When someone tries to do something, they should mostly achieve something. Achieving nothing with your turn is unsatisfactory and makes everyone involved seem clumsy and incompetent.

Player: "My ranger fires an arrow at the ogre!"
GM: "You miss."
Player: "My wizard casts Save Or Suck."
GM: "The ogre passes a saving throw. Your spell is wasted. The ogre then swings its club at you. He misses."

I'd like to see the game built around the presumption of a 75% success rate for actions, with the actual effect of success (in terms of average damage per hit, critical frequency, hit point totals, spell effects, etc) being balanced around that.

So are you cool with only missing on a 1 for your first attack? Because once buffs and debuffs enter the equation, you're looking at a 90-95% hit rate easy. Maybe that's cool by you, but it does certainly take out most of the reason to roll dice. I guess how much that matters is really just an opinion, though.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
A level equivalent monster is meant to be roughly equivalent to a PC. Do you think that a monster should also be hitting you 70-80% of the time?
Yes. (Though... ffects, etc) being balanced around that.
So are you cool with only missing on a 1 for your first attack? Because once buffs and debuffs enter the equation, you're looking at a 90-95% hit rate easy. Maybe that's cool by you, but it does certainly take out most of the reason to roll dice. I guess how much that matters is really just an opinion, though.

? If you hit on an 2, then you crit on a 12, so it's absolutely still worth rolling, and on the second hit you're rolling with a notable 30% miss chance. I've absolutely had buff-stacked players rolling with 90%+ accuracy for first attack in PF1


Ok, for those of you on the 'hit rate is too low' side, do you have suggestions for me to test out? If I lower AC and TAC by 2 for monsters and PCs, that's about a 20% dpr increase on everyone that gets additional critical success chance by this change (which I think should be most martials except against high level threats). But, for damaging spells to keep up, I ought to lower saves by about 2 as well. (I guess that won't raise the dpr quite as much since spells typically do half damage on save, where strikes do 0 on misses.)

With the +10/-10 system, part of me thinks that strikes shouldn't be an exception and should all do maybe half damage or minimum damage on a failure. That way, high level single foes taking on a 4 person party don't feel quite as untouchable when their AC bonus is well above party attack bonuses. My players definitely feel that way. A new player joined us this game with a relatively optimized bow-using ranger. At a 50%/30% chance to hit, she missed both attacks on all 3 of her rounds. That's partly just bad luck, but having contributed essentially nothing, this player did not have fun. Having said that, adding that to the current system would unbalance the power of strikes compared to all other combat options.


You know its kind of funny in a way. People have been saying since regular 3.0 that the sweet spot in D&D is 8-12 because that is when the numbers work out best to you having about a 50/50 chance to succeed. I used to think that was part of the charm of the system that at low levels you had to roll exceptionally high to succeed while at high levels a realtivly low roll succeeds. basically reverse the level and that is the target die roll in a way (obvioulsy there are more factors involved but thats the jest).

With Pf2 it looks like the goal is to extend the 8-12 sweet spot much like 4E and 5E did as well. so that the die roll continues to matter and be competitive on similar leveled enemies and challenges. The other goal seems to be removing the high level side effect of some classes saves being next to unsaveable while others are almost auto succeed. (compare level 20 figthers will save vrs wizards and vice versa for fort)

The other complaint is the lack of a huge discrepancy between those numbers. So some people would like a 20th level fighter to hit on a 2 and the wizard to miss on a 18. I get it but I think i'm ok with it being more like fighter missing on a 5-6 and wizard missing on a 12-14 is acceptable enough of a difference.

last point which is more on topic I swear.
The plus side to haveing higher hp and less instant kills and huge damage hits is it makes other actions in combat more viable and makes your individual actions somewhat less crucial. for example you could disarm an enemy and expect an advantage from it work losing out on one attack while in PF1 If you attack is just as likely to kill the enemy flat out then you might as well just go for the attack.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I want to reply to your suggestion, but my first take in this just jumped off the map when reading:

You dropped HPs so that combat lasts 3 rounds for you.. and that took 45 minutes. And you consider that fast?

I understand when we are talking about stumbling through new rules, having to look things up, etc., but if the rules are fairly well known and the players understand their characters, and you are dealing with a 4 character party... then 45 minutes seems like a long time for 3 rounds of combat to me.

I would suggest really examining how pacing is going in your games. I love being narrative and descriptive in combat, but I also play with pace and urgency to reflect the chaos and tension of combat. Blood is splattering, bones are crunching, hearts are racing - these life and death encounters are generally frantic and noisy, filling the senses and racing the mind. When each player's turn takes 3 minutes, that really breaks that sense of mayhem that these conflicts should be for me.

On to the subject at hand!

I don't mind a little give and take in combat, and I don't mind combat lasting a little longer than 3 rounds. There are powers, actions, spells, etc., that have momentum to them, so conflicts that are decided in 1 round and end in 3 or less don't generate much tension. It's why I am in love with things like the Shield Block reaction - it adds a little extra tactical action for the players to consider.

I also don't mind setting a scene where foes are measuring each other for weakness. Setting the other up for that series of attacks that hopefully decide the outcome. When combat is hit-hit-dead, there's no sense of drama to that.

In fact, when combat becomes hit-hit-dead, the real deciding factor becomes initiative. In a game that already has the big swings of d20 rolls, putting everything in the hands of initiative rolls feels like a bad idea to me.

"Oh crap, I rolled a 5 initiative. With the big changes to lower AC and HPs, I'm probably dead before my turn."

I am not saying what you are attempting is wrong at all - in fact, if it's working for you, that's terrific! However, I don't think specifically setting hit rates to be highly successful and damage output to be 2 or 3 hit killers should be the default for the game.

Bottom line: I would encourage trying to examine pace of play first, so that combat doesn't seem so taxing, before taking shortcuts to end it by simply making each attack much more lethal.

Dark Archive

Its being a while since the last time i looked at pf2 but cant you increase the pc's attacks and save dc by 2 or 3 and make critical success at +12/-10?


Captain Morgan wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
A level equivalent monster is meant to be roughly equivalent to a PC. Do you think that a monster should also be hitting you 70-80% of the time?

Yes. (Though much of the time PCs should not be fighting level-equivalent monsters.)

When someone tries to do something, they should mostly achieve something. Achieving nothing with your turn is unsatisfactory and makes everyone involved seem clumsy and incompetent.

Player: "My ranger fires an arrow at the ogre!"
GM: "You miss."
Player: "My wizard casts Save Or Suck."
GM: "The ogre passes a saving throw. Your spell is wasted. The ogre then swings its club at you. He misses."

I'd like to see the game built around the presumption of a 75% success rate for actions, with the actual effect of success (in terms of average damage per hit, critical frequency, hit point totals, spell effects, etc) being balanced around that.

So are you cool with only missing on a 1 for your first attack? Because once buffs and debuffs enter the equation, you're looking at a 90-95% hit rate easy. Maybe that's cool by you, but it does certainly take out most of the reason to roll dice. I guess how much that matters is really just an opinion, though.

I know I absolutely am. A specialist should succeed 90-100% of the time in their area of specialty. I want certainty in my rolls.

I've said this before, if I succeeded only 50-75% of the time at my job, at a task reasonable for my tenure, I'd be fired.

I'd like my characters to be at least as competent at their jobs as I am at mine.


sherlock1701 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
A level equivalent monster is meant to be roughly equivalent to a PC. Do you think that a monster should also be hitting you 70-80% of the time?

Yes. (Though much of the time PCs should not be fighting level-equivalent monsters.)

When someone tries to do something, they should mostly achieve something. Achieving nothing with your turn is unsatisfactory and makes everyone involved seem clumsy and incompetent.

Player: "My ranger fires an arrow at the ogre!"
GM: "You miss."
Player: "My wizard casts Save Or Suck."
GM: "The ogre passes a saving throw. Your spell is wasted. The ogre then swings its club at you. He misses."

I'd like to see the game built around the presumption of a 75% success rate for actions, with the actual effect of success (in terms of average damage per hit, critical frequency, hit point totals, spell effects, etc) being balanced around that.

So are you cool with only missing on a 1 for your first attack? Because once buffs and debuffs enter the equation, you're looking at a 90-95% hit rate easy. Maybe that's cool by you, but it does certainly take out most of the reason to roll dice. I guess how much that matters is really just an opinion, though.

I know I absolutely am. A specialist should succeed 90-100% of the time in their area of specialty. I want certainty in my rolls.

I've said this before, if I succeeded only 50-75% of the time at my job, at a task reasonable for my tenure, I'd be fired.

I'd like my characters to be at least as competent at their jobs as I am at mine.

A fight is not like a job. Your opponent may be as competent as you at fighting, so what? You both win?

Some skills also work like that, in a direct or inderect opposition between two characters; others don't, but the logic behind the DC is the same.

Since you make a real life example, I'll make another: climbing. How many competent climbers have died trying to climb an hard mountain? How many times they have to quit an attempt and go back, before finally getting to the top? We aren't looking at a 90-100% success rate, for sure.
In your job, you are probably attempting tasks that are lower level than you, and thus you can beat the DC reliably. Some are just harder.

Silver Crusade

D Dog wrote:
One issue keeps coming up: combats are running too long for us.

Apparently you aren't alone in this experience. On Friday's Twitch stream Jason said it's one of the big trends emerging from playtest survey data. So they're looking at it.

(I was a little surprised to hear this. Not my group's experience. But apparently we're in the minority.)


Joe M. wrote:
D Dog wrote:
One issue keeps coming up: combats are running too long for us.

Apparently you aren't alone in this experience. On Friday's Twitch stream Jason said it's one of the big trends emerging from playtest survey data. So they're looking at it.

(I was a little surprised to hear this. Not my group's experience. But apparently we're in the minority.)

Our group's fights have been slightly on the long side (in terms of rounds), but that depends on the encounter.

- We had an outlier combat that ran for 13 rounds because the monster went invisible and we kept failing Perception checks to sense it, then we did find it, we missed our flat checks to hit it, and it immediately re-positioned, breaking line of sight and starting the tango again.

- We had straightforward fights where the monsters went down in an expected amount of time (3-4 rounds).

- We had tough fights where the monsters were close to our level (sometimes slightly higher) that went on for longer (6-8 rounds) because we did not hit them often enough, and they had more hp.

- We had super tough fights where our main damage dealer was disabled thanks to a key spell (Confusion or Dominate). The rest of the team had to make do, leading to the fight lasting several rounds longer and consuming more resources.

The long fights were more prominent at higher levels (9 and 12 respectively), but we also had a few long fights at level 7 (the aforementioned invisible enemy).


Here's the thing; there is correct math and there is fun math.

Succeeding 60% or 50% of the time is fine initially, i can see that working for low level play and have no issues with it however as you increase in levels and experience, you should feel like your progressing and becoming better at the things your ment to excell at based upon your choices of where you want to improve so if those odds don't increase by about 10-20% respectively, your not really feeling like you've progressed between level 1 and level 10(+) which will make players feel like their choices had no impact while at the same time the system punishes players who opt not to choose the mechanically best options when they pick up such things for fluff reasons or because they appeared like fun to them.

People want to be competent at their roles as having repeated rounds of whiffs and therefor not having contributed at all does not add drama; it just creates frustration. I'd say let them be competent at their specialties as there are many forms of challenges in roleplaying games and not everything challenging should be combat per se... so why challenge them at EVERYTHING instead of the 60-70% they'll be bad at?

I played through the first 5 chapters of doomsday dawn and ran it as a game master, besides chapter 4 which actually felt rather enjoyable because it was more freeform and as such is what i enjoy in roleplay personally... i can't say i've had all too much fun despite the system having some interesting new ideas and things that are quite fun to utilise. Initially; my characters were massively flavorful and took thematic options but these days to avoid being dead weight to the players i'm playing with, i've been optimizing a lot more... not because i want to but because i feel forced to do so.

After chapter 5; the group i ran the playtest for had enough of the system all together and basicly gave up on it and truth be told i don't blame them considering most characters just feel incapable/incompetent unless dealing with lower level adversity and that chapter was ludacrous as far as playtest goals go for people who aren't getting paid for it.

Another thing i'd like to add is that; when people are talking about 60% or 50% chance to succeed that is for a first action; meaning your odds at succeeding on a 2nd are abysmal and on a 3rd action are practically non existant. The 3 action economy system was ment to add flexibility but the 50% benchmark math seems to interact poorly with it?

I just wonder how a long standing campaign is ment to be played, monsters hit frequently and their damage numbers are exceptionally high as most PC's can't tank a critical+normal hit and still be standing. The monster on the other hand is often still standing after PC's return the favor there. And the domino effect is a factor here as your "balanced" encounter just became heavely favored despite worse action economy because monsters get good/cool stuff this time around.


Just don't put only equal-level challenges in the adventure.


I don't think it's so much the 50% miss chance, but how that translates into a 12.5% for single attackers and 5% for multi-attackers chance of doing nothing over three rounds that gets to people.


Megistone wrote:
sherlock1701 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
A level equivalent monster is meant to be roughly equivalent to a PC. Do you think that a monster should also be hitting you 70-80% of the time?

Yes. (Though much of the time PCs should not be fighting level-equivalent monsters.)

When someone tries to do something, they should mostly achieve something. Achieving nothing with your turn is unsatisfactory and makes everyone involved seem clumsy and incompetent.

Player: "My ranger fires an arrow at the ogre!"
GM: "You miss."
Player: "My wizard casts Save Or Suck."
GM: "The ogre passes a saving throw. Your spell is wasted. The ogre then swings its club at you. He misses."

I'd like to see the game built around the presumption of a 75% success rate for actions, with the actual effect of success (in terms of average damage per hit, critical frequency, hit point totals, spell effects, etc) being balanced around that.

So are you cool with only missing on a 1 for your first attack? Because once buffs and debuffs enter the equation, you're looking at a 90-95% hit rate easy. Maybe that's cool by you, but it does certainly take out most of the reason to roll dice. I guess how much that matters is really just an opinion, though.

I know I absolutely am. A specialist should succeed 90-100% of the time in their area of specialty. I want certainty in my rolls.

I've said this before, if I succeeded only 50-75% of the time at my job, at a task reasonable for my tenure, I'd be fired.

I'd like my characters to be at least as competent at their jobs as I am at mine.

A fight is not like a job. Your opponent may be as competent as you at fighting, so what? You both win?

Some skills also work like that, in a direct or inderect opposition between two characters; others don't, but the logic behind the DC is the same.

Since you make a real life example, I'll make another: climbing. How many competent climbers have died trying...

He is not refering to that. I think...

Point is that if 1st attack is missed half the time then 2nd is really bad and 3rd and possible 4th are in theory only.

Hitting more often and getting hit will not only speed up the fight but put the thrill and danger back in. If you get hit every round by one attack atleast, you will get the feeling that fight is dangerous.

So yeah with buff/debuff/tactical aproach; 1st attack should be in 90-95% hit rate.

Also +1/lvl treadmill does not help this problem across different levels at all, but that is another topic.

So, I would go with more hit rate than reduced HPs

YOu could even increase HPs to adjust to better hit rate.

I.E. now you have lets say 55/30/5% hit rate(and you get 3rd attack only 50% of the time due to actions, and 2nd attack only 75% of the time). and you deal 10 damage per hit.

That comes out at 8 damage per round.

if you boost hit rate to 75/50/25%, that comes out to 12,5 damage per round.

Even if you increase all HPs by 55%, combat would "feel" more fluid as more damage would come in at more reliable and consistent rate.


Megistone wrote:
A fight is not like a job. Your opponent may be as competent as you at fighting, so what? You both win?

You both get in at least one hit, rather than flailing around ineffectually?


But the flailing is what makes it suspenseful and drama.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

90-95% hit rate seems pretty outrageous, to me. Basically, people would be rolling only to see if they have an automatic miss (1). Going to look at a typical Fighter build to see how that translates. High Difficulty will be used as the encounter building (so 20 XP for 4v4, 80 xp for 4v1)

At first level: normal longsword, +6 hit, 1d8+4 damage
(vs) Goblin Warrior (CR 0), AC 14, HP 6. Hit chance: 65%/40%/15%. Avg Dam: 8.5
(vs) Skeleton Guard (CR 0), AC 14, HP 6. Same
(vs) Orc Warrior (CR 1), AC 15, HP 13. Hit chance: 60%/35%(40%)/10% (20%). Avg Dam: 8.5

At first level, a typical creature will be hit and killed on 57% of first attacks, and 35% of second. Even a tough creature would be hit for 60% of the time for over half their health with a 10% chance it's a crit, so if it's 4 vs 1, the chances of 1 round of combat is pretty high.

So what we must be looking at is combat lasting longer with Severe or Extreme encounters, which I would think is appropriate.

At fourth level: +1 longsword, +11 hit, 2d8+4 damage
(vs) Bugbear Thug (CR 2), AC 15, HP 35. Hit Chance: 85%/60%/35%/ Avg Dam: 13 (normal), 26 (crit, 35%)
(vs) Warg (CR 2), AC 16, HP 38. (5% less hit chance)
(vs) Ettin (CR 8), AC 20, HP 105. Hit: 60/35/10

At 4th level, those initial attacks are going to be quite deadly, hitting often and even decent chance of hitting very hard. 1 on 1, maybe a 2 round fight? Against a single tough target, things being more about ganging up and team work. Again though, 4 characters against 1 Ettin should result in a fairly quick combat.

So it seems like we are back to what should be relatively sparce Severe and Extreme difficulty encounters.

What has been the biggest problem in my test sessions is just rule familiarity. As we've improved on knowing the rules, combat has become more fluid. If there's a few misses and a couple of dramatic turns based on the whims of the Dice Gods, that's always been part of the fun and excitement of D&D.

I am guessing that Snowlind, Snarkwyrm was being sarcastic about flailing being suspenseful and dramatic, but there's no excitement when there's no uncertainty, in my opinion. I guess the only thing left would be wondering if each attack was a crit or not.

5E has been out a while now (over 4 years) and Pathfinder 1E much longer. Without a doubt, 5E is much easier to play than either version of Pathfinder, but I would say that given time and refinements to the system, PF2 should close that gap some. PF1 is always going to be a beast that only seems easy to those who've invested a lot of time and effort into getting to know large library of rules available to it.


ShadeRaven wrote:
90-95% hit rate seems pretty outrageous, to me.

Even in cases where you're a maximally optimised character with maximum buffs on your first attack of the round against a maximally AC-debuffed enemy who didn't have an especially high AC in the first place?

ShadeRaven wrote:
Basically, people would be rolling only to see if they have an automatic miss (1).

You forgot about critical hits.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So it's not so much hitting, it's just really rolling for Crits that you want?

Curiously, if you played 5E, did you like the fixed damage option? That would seem to lend itself to quick resolution, too.

So an attack would be, roll for crit with your longsword (STR 18). On a failure, you do 9 damage. On a success, you do 18. With a greatpick, it would be 10 damage on a failed crit and 26 damage on a successful crit.

I can't argue how fast combat would go.. you'd do initiative, then just start dealing out damage quickly until targets dropped, barring any caveats that forced things like DC 5 checks for concealment, etc. (unless that kind of process takes away from the fun of successful combat?)

I guess I've just gotten used to how D20s create chaos and unpredictability. Certainly not for everyone, though.


Matthew Downie wrote:
ShadeRaven wrote:
90-95% hit rate seems pretty outrageous, to me.

Even in cases where you're a maximally optimised character with maximum buffs on your first attack of the round against a maximally AC-debuffed enemy who didn't have an especially high AC in the first place?

That's already achievable. 8th level fighter has +16 to hit, inspire courage or bless to make it a +17. (I haven't immediately spotted a higher level appropriate conditional bonus for what it's worth.)

Level 8 Anaconda has 23 AC. Make it flanked and frightened 2 and it's AC drops to 19, the fighter now hits 95% of the time.


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ShadeRaven wrote:
So it's not so much hitting, it's just really rolling for Crits that you want?

I didn't say all attacks would be at 95%. I'm saying baseline first attacks could be 75%, and you can get that up to a 95% / 70% / 45% attack routine if you bring along a bard and cast a couple of spells and get into flanking.

Sometimes you won't have a bard. Sometimes you won't be an optimised martial. Sometimes you'll be the one getting debuffed. Sometimes the enemy won't let you flank them. In which case you might reduced to a comically incompetent 50% / 25% / 5% attack routine.

ShadeRaven wrote:
With a greatpick, it would be 10 damage on a failed crit and 26 damage on a successful crit.

Only if we change nothing else about the system. I was suggesting 75% success rate as the starting point for everything, and then balancing things out for desired combat duration from there.


ShadeRaven wrote:

You dropped HPs so that combat lasts 3 rounds for you.. and that took 45 minutes. And you consider that fast?

Honestly, it might have been closer to 35 minutes, but I know for sure that it was less than 45. But, yea, my players are like molasses sometimes. They're figuring out tactics still, like flanking and monster identification. Following the advice from the blog that I posted has helped. Also, we're on Roll20 and the playtest character sheet causes constant lag.

ShadeRaven wrote:

"Oh crap, I rolled a 5 initiative. With the big changes to lower AC and HPs, I'm probably dead before my turn."

Point taken, along with others mentioning how things like disarm / debuffs matter less with fewer rounds to effect. This is the sort of thing that I wasn't thinking about. Might be worth dialing back to something like 85% hp.

Joe M. wrote:
D Dog wrote:
One issue keeps coming up: combats are running too long for us.
Apparently you aren't alone in this experience. On Friday's Twitch stream Jason said it's one of the big trends emerging from playtest survey data. So they're looking at it.

Cool, good to know it's not just us. I wish I had time to catch more of the streams, so the recaps from you and others are much appreciated.


While I still support higher accuracy, I also support lower HP (possibly lower damage-per-hit if things become too deadly). Now that hit dice are maximized, and you have extra racial hit points at first level, the effect of con on HP is almost halved. I was considering dropping all class hit points by 2. Barbarian to 10, Fighter to 8, etc. Same applied to monsters of course.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I am curious about how optimization campaigns go in PF1. Are combat's generally 3 round affairs?

The PF1 campaign I run is with a bunch of theater of the mind types who just play with concepts in mind that are often woefully short of optimized.

If people hate the idea of 4 or 5 round combats, you should see some of our game nights. lol.

75% baseline would be okay by me. I tend to trend towards 65% so that clever play, situational advantages, and teamwork have more impact while not degenerating into prescribed outcomes.

Similarly, when encountering a particularly difficult foe who they struggle to hit with (I don't think of 50% as comically bad, though), they know they are in a dog fight.

Again, though, there's a lot of visualization and drama in our games. There's not much room for that in 1-hit matches. Kind of like watching those 30 second Mike Tyson fights in the mid-80s.

It also augments the WOW! factor when someone does land that big critical hit. It feels memorable and defining.


ShadeRaven wrote:

I am curious about how optimization campaigns go in PF1. Are combat's generally 3 round affairs?

Generally speaking most fights were "decided" within a turn or 2 at best. The fight may not have been finished per se, but it generally means the enemy was stuck in a morass of black tentacles, blinded, paralyzed, or otherwise rendered a complete non threat and the rest of initiative (if any) was regulated to cutting throats or curb stomping the hapless target.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Well, I would be a bit disappointed if they tried to recreate that in PF2, to be honest. Even the gunfight at the Ok Corral lasted longer than that, with plenty of rounds fired, etc.

If that is the goal, I'd probably have to tweak the system to make it work for the style of play we generally employ.

Granted, we just played a couple of encounters two nights ago and they went like this:

Encounter 1 - Trivial: Lasted 2 rounds, but probably could have been decided in 1 round with better rolls. It was a 4v1 encounter of equal levels.

Encounter 2 - High: A more level appropriate challenge with quite a bit of ebb-and-flow involved, including 2 PCs being dropped and use of both channeling heal spells to overcome it. It lasted 4 rounds and was quite intense. Without the crits, I could see that being a 3 round combat encounter or even quicker if the Power of the Crit had been strong with the players. It was a 4v4 against creatures of lower level (-2) making it a High encounter.

That felt satisfactory to me, although a couple of crits certainly made it a tense affair.

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