Accidentally Withholding Feedback Due To House Rules


General Discussion


It has come to my attention that throughout the entirety of the playtest, I have unconsciously ignored giving feedback on the things I have house-ruled. In other words, if I saw something I thought could be improved, I never discussed it if I was able to come up with satisfactory house rules to make it work better at my table. I wanted to put that feed back out here, but more importantly, I figured that others may have made the same mistake.

I thought this thread may be helpful to not only get that feedback out there, but to get a sense for what rules are most commonly changed.

Changes to Classes

Druid And Ranger
One of my players wanted to be an animal companion focused Ranger but felt like they would have few feats left to themselves. I agreed and we are currently trying out removing the Full Grown Companion and Specialized Companion feats, and having the Animal Companion and Incredible Companion feats instead scale with level, giving the benefits of the removed feats at the appropriate level. I opted to do the same with the druid, though that hasn't been tested. So far, it hasn't seemed to have upset the balance, but my table is happy with it so far. If turns out that is too strong, I may ever so slightly reduce the strength of the animal companion, or just fold the first two feats together.

Paladin
I am very happy with the 1.6 paladin changes. I previously brought up things I thought needed changing in ways that could have been worded... in a less emotionally charged manner. I feel it would be unfair to complain about a thing, have it be fixed to my liking, then say nothing before having more criticisms.

1.6 fixed everything I had mentioned, but there were a few significant changes I omitted because of the reasons mentioned at the beginning of the post. The biggest change is allowing deity-less paladins, both because I like the flavor better and to allow re-creation of some of my players favorite 1st edition characters. Also, to help re-create an old character, I added an improved version of divine health at level 8 that allows failures against disease to be treated as successes. It seems that the design decision was to move away from full immunities for PCs in most cases, so this seemed like an appropriate way to allow the character to be made without defying the design direction of 2e. With how infrequent diseases have been, it still seems weak to me compared to the other feats at that level, but the paladin player was still quite thrilled.

It has mostly been tweaking class stuff here and there that I feel most comfortable houseruleing, but I am interested to see what the rest of you have changed.


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I have long had Pathfinder 1st Edition houserules about quick Diplomacy checks and informative Knowledge checks. My players and I like campaigns where the PCs can negotiate and plan rather than simply fight. We continued these houserules into the playtest. I was ambivalent about it at first, since it does alter the impact of the PF2 changes, but I did not want to taint the survey data by having my players report that diplomacy and knowledge checks no longer worked properly.

Then my wife, a beloved cunning vixen, made demands for better roleplaying. She wanted to play a paladin of Alseta rather than any of the gods included in the playtest, because that fit her goblin mind-quake-survivor paladin's backstory better, so I created proper anathema for Alseta (paladins of Alseta are not going to fit into kick-down-the-door dungeon delves, because they respect doors too much). And she roleplayed it well. Her human mountain-nomad barbarian wanted better climbing rules, so she got them, too. I had told her that her job was to stress-test the system, and she not only is doing so, but she sees the stress points in advance and starts fixing them before breaking them.

Seriously, she is doing a wonderful job displaying how the PF2 background system that fix a lot of customization bottleneck complaints discussed in the playtest forum. This is good data.


Mathmuse wrote:

I have long had Pathfinder 1st Edition houserules about quick Diplomacy checks and informative Knowledge checks. My players and I like campaigns where the PCs can negotiate and plan rather than simply fight. We continued these houserules into the playtest. I was ambivalent about it at first, since it does alter the impact of the PF2 changes, but I did not want to taint the survey data by having my players report that diplomacy and knowledge checks no longer worked properly.

Then my wife, a beloved cunning vixen, made demands for better roleplaying. She wanted to play a paladin of Alseta rather than any of the gods included in the playtest, because that fit her goblin mind-quake-survivor paladin's backstory better, so I created proper anathema for Alseta (paladins of Alseta are not going to fit into kick-down-the-door dungeon delves, because they respect doors too much). And she roleplayed it well. Her human mountain-nomad barbarian wanted better climbing rules, so she got them, too. I had told her that her job was to stress-test the system, and she not only is doing so, but she sees the stress points in advance and starts fixing them before breaking them.

Seriously, she is doing a wonderful job displaying how the PF2 background system that fix a lot of customization bottleneck complaints discussed in the playtest forum. This is good data.

Then its seems from our 2 points of data (Plenty to draw conclusions! Plenty!) that many of our house rules seem to originate from the rules constraining roleplay in some way. Have most of your changes been adjusting or adding class feats? or more systematic. Out of curiosity, what were some of the changes to the climbing rules you implemented?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So far the only thing I've house ruled (I actually didn't realize it was a house rule) was that the Assist action doesn't suffer from multi-attack penalty.

I guess I also made an interpretation of the rules that is questionable, since I allowed my players to ready a spell by spending their first action on the first action of the spell, and then their last two actions to ready the final action of the spell.


Kazk wrote:
Then its seems from our 2 points of data (Plenty to draw conclusions! Plenty!) that many of our house rules seem to originate from the rules constraining roleplay in some way. Have most of your changes been adjusting or adding class feats? or more systematic. Out of curiosity, what were some of the changes to the climbing rules you implemented?

I created a thread about my climbing changes, Expert Climber Aiding Trained Climbers. Reading over that thread again, I see I also discussed the issue of houserules during a playtest there. The thread does have trivial spoilers for In Pale Mountain's Shadow.

Later, I generalized Belaying a Climber to Save Other.

While digging up that thread, I found a more recent one on another houserule, Method of Use on Oil of Potency. I had forgotten that one because we haven't used it yet. We were supposed to have an Affair at Sombrefell Hall game session today, where it might have been applied, but I canceled it due to icy road conditions. Two of my playtest players have to drive half an hour to reach my house.

And I recalled two other changes. In Session Zero for Affair at Sombrefell Hall, I allowed my characters a slight alteration on magic item selection. I mentioned it elsewhere, but let me cut and paste the paragraph.

Mathmuse wrote:
And my wife read through every 5th-level magic item to find anything that suited her elven noble bard who also dabbles as an occult detective. She settled on a Phylactery of the Occult and was looking up 3rd-level occult spells for a scroll as her second free 5th-level item, when she had an idea. She wondered whether she could upgrade her 4th-level +1 rapier to 5th level by making it out of cold iron. The character creation rules did not cover that case, but I looked up the prices (cold iron expert-quality rapier with +1 potency rune) and it was in the same price range as the 5th-level items, so I allowed the substitution. Technically, the +1 cold iron rapier is still a 4th-level item, i.e., it could be made by a 4th-level magical weaponsmith, but it is expensive for one.

And I am in a discussion today about the Aid action, and a possible change to group rolls at Would it be bad if Aid Another just took highest roll?. In the 4th comment behind the In Pale Mountain's Shadow spoiler tag, I describe where my players asked to use that system.

In my former job as mathematical support to data science, I used to write the reports and documentation. That work gave me a habit of reporting on changes, so I routinely wrote my houserules in this playtest forum.

I have not adjusted nor created class feats. A player can easily skip a bad feat. I have created custom feats and archetypes during my Pathfinder 1st Edition campaigns, so that the PCs could have the reasonable abilities that their players wanted. I viewed the custom feats as borrowing from a Pathfinder Player Companion or Pathfinder Campaign Setting book that had not been written yet.


I've avoided actual rules changes in the playtest, but I do apply some methodology changes.

The most important one is likely this: Anything that can possibly succeed in one timeframe, is automatically successful in the next timeframe. This means that anything possible in encounter mode is automatic in exploration mode, and anything possible in exploration mode is automatic in downtime mode. This saves a lot of die rolls.

I apply the automatic 20 on Stealth effect (p 158) a lot, particularly on initiative checks but also in general. The end of the finalé in Mirrored Moon AND Red Flags became very odd this way, because most of the participants were invisible.

The Deceit: Lie and Diplomacy: request rules have been problematic as they don't have any noted action times. Since they are said to be 1-round activities, I said they take 2 actions to perform. Diplomacy: Request is tricky in that it only works on friendly or helpful creatures. Asking for a parley using Diplomacy: Request makes sense, but the attitude rule makes that impossible. I've been quite liberal in interpreting this.

I also have a "creative" reading of darkvision and light. The only different light makes to a creature with darkvision is that they see color, and I've judged this to mean that they don't automatically discern light. This makes it possible to sneak on a creature with darkvision without having darkvision yourself. My players don't seem to have bought this argument, as they are now (post 1.5?) either dwarves or cave elves. :o By RAW you gain concealment from creatures in the dark when you are in a lit area. It would thus be possible to Sneak in the blind spot created by the torch you are carrying. :D Things never went that far in my games.


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That darkvision matter reminded me that I made some rulings about torches and lanterns. A torch (page 187) A torch sheds bright light in a 20-foot radius. No mention is made of dim light, but I ruled that it provides dim light out to 40 feet. A bull’s-eye lantern (page 186) emits bright light in a 60-foot cone. I ruled the double distance of dim light, plus that the lantern's wielder can shorten the cone of light by Interacting with the lantern. A halfling rogue was trying to sneak in an unlit chamber, so she needed light from her bullseye lantern but wanted as little as possible.

Backpacks might be my biggest change in an item, because I had to rule on them before the first game session and I did not understand bulk.

Playtest Rulebook, Equipment, page 184 wrote:

Backpack

A backpack can hold up to 4 Bulk worth of items. If you
are carrying or stowing a backpack rather than wearing it
on your back, it has light Bulk instead of negligible.

What does a backpack do for a character, aside from making the items in it harder to reach? As far as I can tell, any item can be attached to a character without a container. Page 184 says, "Bulk: This measures how heavy and cumbersome the item is to carry. Containers can hold the listed amount of bulk, but some items might not fit due to their dimensions. See page 174 for more information regarding Bulk." Page 174 says, "The Bulk value of an item reflects how difficult an item is to handle, representing both weight and the size of the item." I jumped to the conclusion that the 4 bulk inside a backpack did not apply to the character's encumbrance. At 10 pounds per bulk, that means a backpack lets a character carry an extra 40 pounds. Yes, that is pretty much what backpacks do in real life. I still don't know whether that is right, but I don't have the heart to render backbacks useless and burden the player characters by ruling otherwise.

Later my wife wanted an expert-quality backpack, because her mountain-climbing barbarian in In Pale Mountain's Shadow is the kind of person who would have an expert backpack along with his expert climbing kit. (My wife once had a job as a sales clerk at REI, so she understands hiking equipment.) I ruled that an expert backpack can hold 5 bulk, thereby negating the encumberance of another 10 pounds.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

So far the only thing I've house ruled (I actually didn't realize it was a house rule) was that the Assist action doesn't suffer from multi-attack penalty.

I guess I also made an interpretation of the rules that is questionable, since I allowed my players to ready a spell by spending their first action on the first action of the spell, and then their last two actions to ready the final action of the spell.

You can ready 2-action activities by spending an additional action when you ready, so it basically works the way you interpreted it.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thewastedwalrus wrote:
You can ready 2-action activities by spending an additional action when you ready, so it basically works the way you interpreted it.

Do you have a source for that? I don't see it in the Ready action.


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Yeah, pretty sure that isn't RAW. The bit about readying a 2-action activity as 3 actions. It's on my planned houresule list though, for when I run outside of the Playtest.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm on the fence there; I definitely feel that there should be a way to ready spells. However, I worry about other activities; I'm not sure how I feel about readying a charge or a double slice, for example. Plus it's likely to lead to players asking "why can't I ready two actions?"

EDIT: OTOH, a Fighter or Monk feat that explicitly allows them to ready any two sequential actions or a two-action activity could be pretty cool. I'm just not sure about making that available to everyone for free, because then every two-action activity has to be balanced around "is this broken if you ready it?"


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MaxAstro wrote:

I'm on the fence there; I definitely feel that there should be a way to ready spells. However, I worry about other activities; I'm not sure how I feel about readying a charge or a double slice, for example. Plus it's likely to lead to players asking "why can't I ready two actions?"

EDIT: OTOH, a Fighter or Monk feat that explicitly allows them to ready any two sequential actions or a two-action activity could be pretty cool. I'm just not sure about making that available to everyone for free, because then every two-action activity has to be balanced around "is this broken if you ready it?"

We already have a reason why a player cannot ready two actions: using a readied action is a reaction.

Playtest Rulebook, Playing the Game, Basic Actions, page 308 wrote:

[[AA]] READY

You prepare to use an action that will occur outside your turn. Choose a single action you can use and designate a trigger. Your turn then ends. If the trigger you choose occurs before the start of your next turn, you can use the chosen action as a reaction (provided you still meet the requirements to use it).

If you have a multiple attack penalty and your readied action is an attack action, your readied attack takes the multiple attack penalty as if you had spent your readied attack on your turn. This is one of the few times the multiple attack penalty applies when it’s not your turn. For more information about multiple attack penalties, see page 305.

It says that the readied action is used as a reaction, so readying uses two actions and the readied action itself uses a reaction.

I had wondered whether readying an action gave the character an extra reaction for the readied action, so it does not cost their regular reaction, but the rules don't seem to use the idea of action slots and reaction slots to spend. Instead, the rules simply limit the player to using three actions per turn and using one reaction per round, and two-action activities don't "cost" two actions; instead, they "use" two actions. This is explained on pages 296-297 in a section titled, "ACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES."

Thus, a character who readies an action and uses that readied action has no reactions left to spend on an Attack of Opportunity or a Retributive Strike or a Shield Block.

To further complicate matters, a combined action such as a Quick Draw (single action: "You Interact to draw a weapon, then Strike with the weapon you just drew.") is one action despite the character performing two basic actions, Interact and Strike. That rule is on page 296 under Activities, "An activity doesn’t count as any of its dependent actions or other abilities." Later at the top of page 297, the rules add, "As noted under Activities, the ability that allows you to use the dependent action doesn’t require you to spend more actions or reactions to use it; the cost is already figured in." The writer did slip into the "spend" and "cost" language that the rest of the paragraphs are careful to avoid, so maybe the developers are of two minds whether actions are costs or actions are limited.

I spend too much time obsessing over rules.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:
thewastedwalrus wrote:
You can ready 2-action activities by spending an additional action when you ready, so it basically works the way you interpreted it.
Do you have a source for that? I don't see it in the Ready action.

I thought I read that in the section on readying but I just spent quite a while trying to find it and couldn't. I vaguely remember it mentioning using it to ready a 2-action spell, but I could just be imagining all this.


thewastedwalrus wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
thewastedwalrus wrote:
You can ready 2-action activities by spending an additional action when you ready, so it basically works the way you interpreted it.
Do you have a source for that? I don't see it in the Ready action.
I thought I read that in the section on readying but I just spent quite a while trying to find it and couldn't. I vaguely remember it mentioning using it to ready a 2-action spell, but I could just be imagining all this.

While there are activities that do work like that, sadly Readying does not seem to be one.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Ah, I was thinking of the first level barbarian feat, "Moment of Clarity". Sorry for the confusion.

Exo-Guardians

One houserule my party worked out was tying Cantrips to MAP, and cutting their action cost in half, I then just had the player pick an action to cast with and they couldn't change it once they made their choice. Thus preventing the obvious abuse of always using the perfect action for the situation, i.e. verbal in melee combat to never draw AoO, and somatic when stealthing and such.


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

I think the general idea is that (because of the limitations on reactions) if you want to "ready" something that takes more than one action, you should simply delay your turn instead.


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David knott 242 wrote:
I think the general idea is that (because of the limitations on reactions) if you want to "ready" something that takes more than one action, you should simply delay your turn instead.

Delay moves a character's order in initiative; it does not allow actions during another character's turn. Hence, if a wizard want to cast Shocking Grasp on an enemy the moment the enemy comes into reach, Ready cannot help because Shocking Grasp is a two-action activity (except by MaxAstro's interpretation where each casting component is a separate action) and Delay cannot help because the enemy will have finished his turn and moved past before the delayed turn begins.

[[F]] DELAY
Trigger Your turn begins.
You bide your time, waiting for the right moment to act. The rest
of your turn doesn’t happen yet. Instead, you’re removed from
the initiative order. You can return to the initiative order as a
free action triggered by the end of any other creature’s turn. This
permanently changes your initiative to the new position. You can’t
use reactions until you return to the initiative order. If you
Delay an entire round without returning to the initiative order,
the actions from the Delayed turn are lost, your initiative doesn’t
change, and your next turn occurs at your original position in the
initiative order.
When you Delay, any persistent damage or other negative
effects that you would have normally taken at the start or end
of your turn occur immediately when you use the Delay action.
Any beneficial effects that would end at any point during your
turn also end at this point. The GM might determine that other
effects end when you Delay as well. Essentially, you can’t Delay
to avoid negative consequences that would happen on your turn or
to extend beneficial effects that would end on your turn.


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The fact that readying an action does not affect your initiative in future rounds is one of the best changes in PF2, IMO.

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