While +1 / level is a problem, removing it alone is not a solution.


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+1/level is a symptom, not the underlying problem

The have been countless threads on this forum about issues with the +1/level system. And every time it comes up, well-meaning people suggest replacing it with +1/2 levels, or removing it entirely. I don't believe that this will achieve anything meaningful.

The underlying problems will still be there. What +1/level has done is replace advancement with inflation. Removing it doesn't solve the lack of meaningful advancement, it simply removes inflationary advancement.

Back in March, I outlined that clear and meaningful advancement is one of the most important things I'm looking for in PF2. Unfortunately, meaningful advancement is only achieved when a character comparatively improves when compared to the challenges they're expected to face.

The concept of "level-appropriate challenges" breaks immersion pretty hard. The inclusion of table 10-02 is the kind of thing that already raised red flags. A good fighter should be able to hit most of the time. A good diplomat should be able to convince an adversary most of the time. A conman should be able to pull off a scam more times than not.

A second, equally concerning factor is the tight equivalency between all the relevant rolls. Your attack bonus, skill bonus, armour class, saving throws, and perception modifier are so tightly coupled that it is believed that the system will break down if a character ends up Really Good at one thing. This is at odds with many of the published literature, where we do see characters Really Good at such a thing.

Pathfinder has solved this problem by making it possible for a character to be Very Good at certain aspects without causing the system to break down. Admittedly, maybe it's too easy to get too good at too many things (especially with more non-core options being printed), but by and large it succeeds.

There needs to be a method to allow advancement in some aspects to exceed increased DCs. Adding +x to both is nothing but inflation.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Verily, where has Vic Ferrari gone?


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I do not believe +Level is a problem.

Skills, and BAB went up with +Level in PF1.
Saves, and DCs went up with +Level/2 in PF1.
In order to keep pace with the opposition, you were expected to keep your armor class above like 17+Level by relentlessly upgrading your magic gear in PF1.

So what has changed?
- People get +Level at stuff they aren't choosing to focus on (e.g. everybody is full BAB now), but focusing on something gets you even more.
-Nobody has any "bad saves" but "bad saves" were never fun to begin with.
- In lieu of 3 separate magic items to contribute to AC, we're down to 1, because the other two are subsumed by a +Level progression.

So if Wizards being full BAB is not a problem (it's not!) then people not being wholly incompetent at untrained skills is not a problem. All that's really changed is that we are obfuscating this less now.


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On the idea of "a good Fighter should be able to hit most of the time", I would say, shouldn't a good defender be able to dodge most of the time?

Theoretically a strongly offensive unit vs. a strongly defensive unit should have about a 50% chance to hit at equal level. If you are fighting an enemy of equal level and you are hitting them on a 4, they're failing their saves against your spells on a 15, etc., then I'm sorry but that's not a foe of equal level. That's a foe of lower level that has a higher level painted on it so you feel more accomplished fighting it (You here is used as a general term, this is by no means intended as a personal snipe).

"A good diplomat should be able to convince an adversary most of the time". Sure, if you are fighting the same adversaries at 16th level as you were at 12, you should be able to convince them most of the time. And in fact +/level is a primary facilitator of the fact that you can do just that. But as you grow you should be facing greater challenges, and naturally those challenges will be stronger just as you are stronger.

A 10th level character should be about an equivalent match to a level 10 Young Red Dragon. And at level 14 that character should be able to walk all over that young red dragon but they should be equivalent to a 14th level adult red dragon. Otherwise frankly either the creature's or the player's levels are mislabeled.

Now yeah, Fighters should be above 50% to-hit on most foes because few foes should have defense to match the Fighter's offense. But I fully expect that to be the case once the monster math is polished.

Beyond a certain point, I think the idea that the chance of succeeding at a challenge equal to you growing as you level makes little sense. Some exception is given of course to fields you particularly specialize in. And Table 10-2 actually provides this. If you look at the numbers, for a fully specialized skill you start at about 55% success for a Hard task of your level. Come 20th level you're looking at 85-95%, depending on if that skill has a +2 feat. Also, consequently, as you become more assured in handling tasks of your level, you also gain the ability to attempt to tackle challenges of a more arduous grade at a reasonable risk.

Of course that's regarding skill challenges, essentially a player-vs-world conflict.

Things are a bit different in creature vs. creature. Having even a specialized fighter pull 80+% hit chance makes no sense, because that implies that the monster's defense is horrible for its level. Gaps are narrower here, but specialists can still see reward. A Fighter eventually comes out to +4 accuracy, or 20% higher, compared to a non-martial that invests fully in Str or Dex, even to the point of taking a potent item in that stat instead of their key stat. But by and large success/failure chances shouldn't stray too widely against foes of the same level, by definition of them being the SAME level. Exceptions of course to things like oozes that are completely crap at dodging (But can't be crit), for example.

And again, there is variance, I've seen pretty big gaps between low and high saves for example, but not to the tune of being almost guaranteed to fail a save against an equal-level foe.

Gaining levels to me doesn't mean that you get better at killing stuff that's supposed to be as strong as you, or at least not by too much. It means you go on to successfully kill and defeat grander foes. Your party may have had a gritty fight against a Necromancer and his small band of Skeletons at 3rd level, but at 12th level they're trading spells with the Lich lord of Undeadaron and his inner guard of elite skeleton mages and just coming out on top. The battle wasn't a piece of cake compared to the first one, but it was a much grander foe. And the fight itself has grown, involving stronger powers, spells, and abilities being used.

And of course you will often face challenges below your grade. Lower level enemies, tasks that fall well below your prowess, etc. That's another way your growth shows, walking over things that were once a challenge.

That's my take on things anyway. To me, growing and leveling means you exceed things that were once a challenge and go on to find new challenges. Not that you find everything less and less of a challenge. Honestly finding things less and less of a challenge and not going on to find new challenges, instead staying where there's little or no chance of failure, usually defines a LACK of growth.

(Apologies if my thoughts seem unsorted at all. I have a LOT of thoughts and feelings swirling around about all the discussions I've seen about +/level stuff and assertions that you should just plain fail less and less at higher levels, and this is the first thread that's actually prodded me to try to put these thoughts in a cohesive manner.)


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PossibleCabbage wrote:


Skills, and BAB went up with +Level in PF1.

Skills only if you had a minmax playstyle focussing on a handful of skills. the other skills, really did not. your character could totally suck at a skill even at high levels if you chose to create him that way. a choice, now taken away from the player. Likewise BAB was +Level only for selected classes, while other classes had fractals of that. That brought variety to the table, variety is a thing that doesn't exist in PF2 where every character feels more or less the same, because the numbers on the sheet don't allow for mechanical differences

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Saves, and DCs went up with +Level/2 in PF1.

Again, depending on the class and with variety that isn't there in PF2

PossibleCabbage wrote:
In order to keep pace with the opposition, you were expected to keep your armor class above like 17+Level by relentlessly upgrading your magic gear in PF1.

idk. Over the course of 18 levels I changed armor maybe twice and added Bracers of Armor once, IIRC. Mostly because my character found the loot, not because I actively needed it. I might have been behind a little of what's expected AC wise, but then I chose not to update my armor every given chance and again, that's a choice taken away from me.

Not that it matters anyway. +Level to both BAB AND AC cancel each other out and all that is left is unnecessary number bloat just for the sake of a fake feeling of progression.


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Mekkis wrote:
Unfortunately, meaningful advancement is only achieved when a character comparatively improves when compared to the challenges they're expected to face.

That goal is pretty easy to achieve within the PF2 rules; just continue to present the players with (mostly) low-level challenges as they level up.

"These orcs sure are easy to kill now! Their +Level to AC is in no way cancelling out my much bigger +Level to BAB!"
"And these slippery walls I keep having to climb haven't got any more slippery!"

Though I doubt most adventures will be made that way.


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So, if there were no +1/level, what is the alternative? Have the same to-hit at level 15 as you have at level 2? I'm not really sure what the point of this entire post is, honestly.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
So, if there were no +1/level, what is the alternative? Have the same to-hit at level 15 as you have at level 2? I'm not really sure what the point of this entire post is, honestly.

Thank you, I've wondered that as well. I mean, I'm sure there is more meant to it, but I rarely see viable solutions presented with these arguments.


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Alternative option 1:

PF1 approach: Some things go up by 1 per level, like BAB for martial characters. Other things go up at different rates, like saving throws.


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Alternative option 2:

+1/2 per level, to reduce the disparity between high level and low level creatures. (Or some other fractional number.)


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Alternative option 3:

No bonuses from level, bonuses come from feats and other character building options, so you don't rise up in a smooth and predictable manner. You are good at some things and bad at others. Less balance, more diversity.


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Alternative option 4:

Keep +1 per level, get rid of Table 10-2. Everything has flat DCs, calculated according to a simulalationist system.


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Hythlodeus wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


Skills, and BAB went up with +Level in PF1.

Skills only if you had a minmax playstyle focussing on a handful of skills. the other skills, really did not. your character could totally suck at a skill even at high levels if you chose to create him that way. a choice, now taken away from the player. Likewise BAB was +Level only for selected classes, while other classes had fractals of that. That brought variety to the table, variety is a thing that doesn't exist in PF2 where every character feels more or less the same, because the numbers on the sheet don't allow for mechanical differences

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Saves, and DCs went up with +Level/2 in PF1.

Again, depending on the class and with variety that isn't there in PF2

PossibleCabbage wrote:
In order to keep pace with the opposition, you were expected to keep your armor class above like 17+Level by relentlessly upgrading your magic gear in PF1.

idk. Over the course of 18 levels I changed armor maybe twice and added Bracers of Armor once, IIRC. Mostly because my character found the loot, not because I actively needed it. I might have been behind a little of what's expected AC wise, but then I chose not to update my armor every given chance and again, that's a choice taken away from me.

Not that it matters anyway. +Level to both BAB AND AC cancel each other out and all that is left is unnecessary number bloat just for the sake of a fake feeling of progression.

Point 1: Most of my players don't particularly minmax and I've had maybe one or two players who DIDN'T mostly put their skill ranks into keeping as many of their favorite skills as possible maxed.

PF2 doesn't take away the choice to make your character bad at something. In fact, it explicitly provides you with the choice. The only thing it doesn't do is give you a minmaxing benefit for what should be a roleplaying decision.

PF1, on the other hand, doesn't give the choice to become competent or even powerful in a large variety of things as you ascend past the levels of realistic humans, a choice PF2 happily provides.

As for variety with attack, AC, saves, etc., what PF1 did in practice was lock certain classes out of certain concepts. You want to play a Wizard who can competently mix it up in melee? Not as well as the Fighter, but well enough to give a few licks? Tough crap, early levels maybe, at 4th level you only have a 10% lower chance to hit if you umped Str/Dex as hard as he did, but come 12th level your hit rate is down 30% even before we get into the +2 from weapon training (Soon to be +3) and any Fighter-only stuff like Greater Weapon Focus. Don't even try it at 20th, all things considered you're likely at least 80% hit rate below the Fighter.

Where was the choice there again, besides play a different class, or prestige or multiclass at the cost of magic, at which point you were probably just better off being a Magus? But hey, at least there's a lot of difference between the characters.

Saves and DCs similarly, if you were anything less than a full caster you might as well forget about using spells with a DC. If you had poor progression in a save, especially one you couldn't afford to pump the ability score for, you just had to pray a full caster never targeted it past 10th level or so.

Or we could go the PF2 route, have numbers on different classes and builds have variance in places (Proficiency difference between classes and ability score choices being main players), but have everything close enough that there is a semblance of balance and you can actually allow more variety by not barring certain classes wholesale from basic competency in certain fields regardless of how they choose to build. Then you can start making characters varied, better and worse at things by their actual abilities in a more nuanced manner than just numbers on a sheet.

A Fighter doesn't have to have 80% better hit chance than a Wizard to be the best Fighter. The about 20% you end up with, combined with abilities that make you king of the action economy as well as several useful actions you can take in battle that no one else can without multiclassing. That's how you make a Fighter the best Fighter, not by blowing the math about so much that anything that can try to challenge a Fighter is untouchable by a d6 class that wants to be able to melee a bit.

Again, I see a lot more interesting choice here than "How high/different can the numbers be?"

Point 2, the nonsense about number bloat and meaningless choices.
First, the comment about your choice to fall behind in armor in PF1 being taken away in PF2. Bull. You can fail to upgrade your armor in PF2 all you want. Just like in PF1 it reduces your survivability by making you an easy target. The difference? Defense in PF2 is actually worth a crap, you can make it to where you can avoid attacks reasonably often. In PF1 only a select few builds could hope for more than a 10% dodge rate against an optimized-for-accuracy character.

Then the idea of number bloat. If a PF1 Fighter with +44 to hit (Off the top of my head, +20 BAB, +10 Str, +5 weapon, +6 weapon training with those gloves that boost it, +2 Weapon Focus and Greater, +1 with a Pale Green Prism) isn't bloated then how is a PF2 Fighter with +35 (+20 level, +3 Legendary, +7 Str, +5 weapon)? The only answer I can get is that in PF1 most classes would hit AC 34-37 for their max depending on Light/med/heavy and mithral or not, or 41-44 with a +5 heavy shield added on. An extra point or two if you grabbed Dodge and/or Shield Focus. And unless your class gave you extra bonuses or lowered armor Max Dex or something crazy like Monk Wis to AC or perhaps crazy Dex and Bracers of Armor, that was it. And that's against a +44 to hit (Using adittedly the top accuracy class, but there are others scarcely behind such as Swashbuckler. A raging Barbarian hits +41 at 20th easy as well). Versus PF2 where any class can hit at least AC 42 without a shield, up to 44 with, against that +35 to hit.

The former, where a Fighter ends up with 95% hit rates and overflow, isn't unbloated numbers and meaningful advancement and such, as you propose. It's the math behind AC being fundamentally broken. Just like a lot of the earlier examples here that you say created "variance", but in reality it was busted math that made minmaxing king by far and made so many potential character concepts essentially unviable. When your 15th level Fighter has a 90% hit rate against a CR 15 dragon, that isn't progression. That's the level on either you or the dragon being grossly mislabeled.

And I've noticed you often try to say that +/level gives no actual progress, kind of the "When everyone's super, no one is" mentality, while constantly ignoring the fact that off-level challenges are a thing. One glance at Doomsday Dawn or most PF games will tell you that you often face foes weaker than you. Of course as you grow so should your foes. That's not fake progress, that's moving on to bigger and better things instead of staying around challenges you can easily beat and stagnating.

And if you're talking skills and table 10-2, progression in that sense is undeniably a thing. For a high difficulty challenge of your level, specializing in a skill fully you go from 55% chance at level 1 to 85-95% at level 20, thus also being able to handle even higher intensity challenges, bigger and better things.

(And 90% success against a task is entirely different than against a creature, it's player vs. world as opposed to creature vs. creature.)

Again, I see PF2 providing actual interesting variations, abilities, and nuance to characters ON TOP of a solid math base that isn't overrun with broken math, minmaxing, and unuseable concepts at its base.

Despite how it may sound, I love PF1. Wouldn't have played it for the past 4+ years if I didn't. But FRICK if PF2 isn't an improvement in so many ways for me. And the universalized level scaling of attack, AC, save, DC, and skills alike is an absolute cornerstone of that innovation. Allows for a lot of interesting interactions too. I wouldn't want to see an ability that allowed rolling Intimidate against Will in PF1, for example, but here...


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Matthew Downie wrote:

Alternative option 4:

Keep +1 per level, get rid of Table 10-2. Everything has flat DCs, calculated according to a simulalationist system.

My problem here, you can in no way come up with DCs for EVERYTHING. Table 10-2 is a valuable "Figure out a reasonable DC for this thing out of left field" tool for people like me.


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Mekkis wrote:
+1/level is a symptom, not the underlying problem .....

I don't think that this is going to changed in this version of the game.


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I like +1/level.


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I think the OP raise an interesting point about how people are looking at +level to proficiency. I agree that it is easy to look at character development in the Playtest and feel like players are getting short changed on options. It is true that A PF 1 character does have more total options than a Playtest character, especially when they level up, the question is whether or not those options are meaningful. The playlets model has decided that that skill points every level is less meaningful than overall character growth goals (proficiencies) and that the game benefits from having leveling up involve less minutiae in choice making. Does this over simplify the game? That seems like an active point of contention. Personally, I am ok with a reduction in insignificant character development choices. Another thing that has not changed from PF1, but was doubled down on, is how much of character growth is tied directly to items. I am not personally thrilled by that but I understand the thinking. There was far too much overlap of what items and insignificant choices could be made in PF1. The playlets, for better or worse simplified by clearing a lot of it out of leveling up, and reinforced that Items are a huge part of character growth and development.


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Problem is in the number bloat that serves nothing.

If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

If all the difference is in -4/0/+1/+2/+3, then just work with that and item quality bonuses.


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I understand the pros of using +1 for everything but certainly changes the feel of game and this is quite important for me. Perhaps I grow attached with the concept of overspecialization and a environment that doesn't allows improvised choices, one that put optimization before fun, not sure. What seems to be clear is that I may have to re-conceptualize what I like about RPGs like PF and DnD if I plan to play the new edition.


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Igor Horvat wrote:

Problem is in the number bloat that serves nothing.

If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

If all the difference is in -4/0/+1/+2/+3, then just work with that and item quality bonuses.

Because the characters are not fighting each other. THey fight enemies of many different levels.


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Unicore wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

Problem is in the number bloat that serves nothing.

If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

If all the difference is in -4/0/+1/+2/+3, then just work with that and item quality bonuses.

Because the characters are not fighting each other. THey fight enemies of many different levels.

and monsters are defined by the same +1 per level.


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Igor Horvat wrote:

Problem is in the number bloat that serves nothing.

If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

If all the difference is in -4/0/+1/+2/+3, then just work with that and item quality bonuses.

Because then we get the 5th ed style where low level enemies are a prolonged threat. Now this is a fine style, but there is a popular game that does that already on the market.

On level enemies are a reasonable encounter on their own. The actual span of threats you will see spans something more like lvl-3 to lvl+2, where the difference in numbers matters.


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Igor Horvat wrote:
If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

That +1 provides a simple and balanced basis for getting stronger compared to the same monsters and challenges when you level up. That is the point of the system.

You can say it's bland, or that it's likely to be cancelled out by the adventure providing levelled up monsters and challenges, or that it erodes class distinction, but it's not pointless.


Malk_Content wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

Problem is in the number bloat that serves nothing.

If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

If all the difference is in -4/0/+1/+2/+3, then just work with that and item quality bonuses.

Because then we get the 5th ed style where low level enemies are a prolonged threat. Now this is a fine style, but there is a popular game that does that already on the market.

On level enemies are a reasonable encounter on their own. The actual span of threats you will see spans something more like lvl-3 to lvl+2, where the difference in numbers matters.

Ofc, but good ideas are meant to be stolen :p

but if you remove or flatten the treadmill a little you can get -5/+5 in levels that can be used used in encounters.


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Edge93 wrote:


A 10th level character should be about an equivalent match to a level 10 Young Red Dragon. And at level 14 that character should be able to walk all over that young red dragon but they should be equivalent to a 14th level adult red dragon. Otherwise frankly either the creature's or the player's levels are mislabeled.

Now yeah, Fighters should be above 50% to-hit on most foes because few foes should have defense to match the Fighter's offense. But I fully expect that to be the case once the monster math is polished.

You can have an equivalent match without a 50%. Even taking your example, a Paizo-published level 10 NPC fighter has a +18 to-hit (not including an additional +3 from mounted charge). A Young Red Dragon has AC22.

The fighter hits on a 4 - and this is with NPC wealth.


I guess I'd be okay with like one plus 1/2 per level. It certainly would make the math even tighter, tho.


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Igor Horvat wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

Problem is in the number bloat that serves nothing.

If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

If all the difference is in -4/0/+1/+2/+3, then just work with that and item quality bonuses.

Because the characters are not fighting each other. THey fight enemies of many different levels.
and monsters are defined by the same +1 per level.

Yes but you aren't going to fight something of equal level over and over. At level 4 you might fight a large group of goblins of varying levels. The lowest ones should be easy cannon fodder, the specialists should be fairly easy, but still a slight challenge, the captains should be equal level challenges, and then the big boss should be higher level than you guys. Without + to level then how would these goblins be differentiated?


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Dire Ursus wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

Problem is in the number bloat that serves nothing.

If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

If all the difference is in -4/0/+1/+2/+3, then just work with that and item quality bonuses.

Because the characters are not fighting each other. THey fight enemies of many different levels.
and monsters are defined by the same +1 per level.
Yes but you aren't going to fight something of equal level over and over. At level 4 you might fight a large group of goblins of varying levels. The lowest ones should be easy cannon fodder, the specialists should be fairly easy, but still a slight challenge, the captains should be equal level challenges, and then the big boss should be higher level than you guys. Without + to level then how would these goblins be differentiated?

I would say that damage/HPs/special abilities/manuevars/spells should be enough to make definite difference in an encounter challenge.

If you are both increasing damage and attack roll or HPs and AC, you are double-dipping the same kind of thing and raising lowering difficulty too much over different levels, IMHO.


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Igor Horvat wrote:


I would say that damage/HPs/special abilities/manuevars/spells should be enough to make definite difference in an encounter challenge.

If you are both increasing damage and attack roll or HPs and AC, you are double-dipping the same kind of thing and raising lowering difficulty too much over different levels, IMHO.

Sounds like Quadratic Fighters. Why is this an issue in-principle?


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Count me among those who see +1/level to be a solution, not a problem, especially in relationship to combat. I find that it creates a clearly recognizable advancement in power as characters rise in levels.

The test results have proved to be satisfactory in this regard for all my players but one who simply loves the Min-Max, Optimization First style of PF1 - unfortunately, he's found it frustrating in PF2 because he's simply not found a way to make his character significantly better than the challenges he's expected to face at various levels.

Personally, when optimization is the only path to success, I think it becomes more restraining. PF1 has innumerable options but the need to optimize/min-max actually railroads players tremendously. So many fun character concepts became trivialized by their relative inadequacy compared to the hardcore op character, resulting in frustration and abandonment. It's one of the significant factors to why PF1 campaigns have rarely succeeded at our local hobby shop and why 5E all but made PF1 extinct. The Playtest has revived Pathfinder here.

Now a concern of mine with PF2 (as it exists now) is that there isn't enough delineation between the advancement in Skills. There needs to be more meat on the bone between Trained, Expert, Master, and Legendary. Some skills show some structure that makes improved skill obvious, but many (most) don't. I expect that to change with a final release.


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Igor Horvat wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

Problem is in the number bloat that serves nothing.

If every class gets +1 to everything then what is the point?

If all the difference is in -4/0/+1/+2/+3, then just work with that and item quality bonuses.

Because then we get the 5th ed style where low level enemies are a prolonged threat. Now this is a fine style, but there is a popular game that does that already on the market.

On level enemies are a reasonable encounter on their own. The actual span of threats you will see spans something more like lvl-3 to lvl+2, where the difference in numbers matters.

Ofc, but good ideas are meant to be stolen :p

but if you remove or flatten the treadmill a little you can get -5/+5 in levels that can be used used in encounters.

I think the limited viability of monsters is an intentional game design choice. Pathfinder 1 ran into problems of having too many things (feats, spells, class abilities, items, spells) that were viable options at too broad an expanse of play. This created a lot of decision paralysis and opportunities for game braking combinations. This isn't generally thought of as a problem with monsters and adventure design, but I think the idea is to have monsters be easy to design, and thus go for more total monster types than having monsters be deep enough creatures to be viable opponents of the Party without leveling up/gaining new templates, and essentially becoming a new monster.


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Richard Crawford wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:


I would say that damage/HPs/special abilities/manuevars/spells should be enough to make definite difference in an encounter challenge.

If you are both increasing damage and attack roll or HPs and AC, you are double-dipping the same kind of thing and raising lowering difficulty too much over different levels, IMHO.

Sounds like Quadratic Fighters. Why is this an issue in-principle?

My only issue is that it trivializes CRs below your level really fast 2 or 3 levels max, and makes higher level CRs completely out of reach not matter how much preparation, tactics, or numbers you put in the fight.

A 20 str Orc with a huge ax, even if he is CR1 encounter should be a threat somewhat to higher level character, especially if he brings few friends along you you don't have any AoE or you are ambushed by them.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
So, if there were no +1/level, what is the alternative? Have the same to-hit at level 15 as you have at level 2? I'm not really sure what the point of this entire post is, honestly.

The OP has illustrated a problem. He likely hasn't spent three and a half years working on a system to be able to supply a workable solution.

It's a hard problem - and one that will frame Pathfinder 2 for the life of the system.

Math of an RPG is hard. It's also hard to house-rule around.

With Essentials, WotC tried to rework the math of D&D 4e. By that time, the interest in 4e had plummeted. Even with the brand recognition, they didn't have much of a second chance.


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Igor Horvat wrote:
Richard Crawford wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:


I would say that damage/HPs/special abilities/manuevars/spells should be enough to make definite difference in an encounter challenge.

If you are both increasing damage and attack roll or HPs and AC, you are double-dipping the same kind of thing and raising lowering difficulty too much over different levels, IMHO.

Sounds like Quadratic Fighters. Why is this an issue in-principle?

My only issue is that it trivializes CRs below your level really fast 2 or 3 levels max, and makes higher level CRs completely out of reach not matter how much preparation, tactics, or numbers you put in the fight.

A 20 str Orc with a huge ax, even if he is CR1 encounter should be a threat somewhat to higher level character, especially if he brings few friends along you you don't have any AoE or you are ambushed by them.

That's where I disagree completely. High level characters shouldn't have any problem dealing with low level orcs. Like at all. The fighter should laugh at them as he easily deflects all their blows and then slice through them like butter.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:
Richard Crawford wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:


I would say that damage/HPs/special abilities/manuevars/spells should be enough to make definite difference in an encounter challenge.

If you are both increasing damage and attack roll or HPs and AC, you are double-dipping the same kind of thing and raising lowering difficulty too much over different levels, IMHO.

Sounds like Quadratic Fighters. Why is this an issue in-principle?

My only issue is that it trivializes CRs below your level really fast 2 or 3 levels max, and makes higher level CRs completely out of reach not matter how much preparation, tactics, or numbers you put in the fight.

A 20 str Orc with a huge ax, even if he is CR1 encounter should be a threat somewhat to higher level character, especially if he brings few friends along you you don't have any AoE or you are ambushed by them.

That's where I disagree completely. High level characters shouldn't have any problem dealing with low level orcs. Like at all. The fighter should laugh at them as he easily deflects all their blows and then slice through them like butter.

10th level fighter already has 10×HPs or similar over 1st level orc and 2 or 3 times more damage, and without +1/lvl +2 or +3 in attack and AC. Do you really need 10 more attack or AC over them?

If you could beat 1 at 1st level, now you can 15 or 20, without any +level bonuses, if you are careful not to be cornered/flanked/grappled.

beating 100 seems dumb.

But to each his own. Everyone of us has different view how fantasy should work.


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Pathfinder is high fantasy. Always has been. Especially at higher levels.


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Igor Horvat wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:
Richard Crawford wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:


I would say that damage/HPs/special abilities/manuevars/spells should be enough to make definite difference in an encounter challenge.

If you are both increasing damage and attack roll or HPs and AC, you are double-dipping the same kind of thing and raising lowering difficulty too much over different levels, IMHO.

Sounds like Quadratic Fighters. Why is this an issue in-principle?

My only issue is that it trivializes CRs below your level really fast 2 or 3 levels max, and makes higher level CRs completely out of reach not matter how much preparation, tactics, or numbers you put in the fight.

A 20 str Orc with a huge ax, even if he is CR1 encounter should be a threat somewhat to higher level character, especially if he brings few friends along you you don't have any AoE or you are ambushed by them.

That's where I disagree completely. High level characters shouldn't have any problem dealing with low level orcs. Like at all. The fighter should laugh at them as he easily deflects all their blows and then slice through them like butter.

10th level fighter already has 10×HPs or similar over 1st level orc and 2 or 3 times more damage, and without +1/lvl +2 or +3 in attack and AC. Do you really need 10 more attack or AC over them?

If you could beat 1 at 1st level, now you can 15 or 20, without any +level bonuses, if you are careful not to be cornered/flanked/grappled.

beating 100 seems dumb.

But to each his own. Everyone of us has different view how fantasy should work.

Of course the level 20 bard could just cast weird and instakill all of them. +level actually helps the Fighter stay relevant.


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Igor Horvat wrote:
Richard Crawford wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:


I would say that damage/HPs/special abilities/manuevars/spells should be enough to make definite difference in an encounter challenge.

If you are both increasing damage and attack roll or HPs and AC, you are double-dipping the same kind of thing and raising lowering difficulty too much over different levels, IMHO.

Sounds like Quadratic Fighters. Why is this an issue in-principle?

My only issue is that it trivializes CRs below your level really fast 2 or 3 levels max, and makes higher level CRs completely out of reach not matter how much preparation, tactics, or numbers you put in the fight.

A 20 str Orc with a huge ax, even if he is CR1 encounter should be a threat somewhat to higher level character, especially if he brings few friends along you you don't have any AoE or you are ambushed by them.

As important as attributes are for comparing creatures of similar levels, I think that the idea that "strong" is a comparable power level to experience is something that Paizo is deliberately walking away from. I agree that it makes for less narratively compelling stories, because in movies/books, physical attributes in particular are the primary metric by which characters and audiences evaluate "toughness" when they first see a character, but as far as a gaming system goes, you are probably looking at something with a much lower power base, something in a much grittier system. If level is going to be something that makes a human character roughly comparable in power to creatures as different as a goblin (CR1) and the eldest of dragons (CR20), then that scale has to move pretty quickly for dragons to be meaningful creatures.

The way to make the orc more of a fitting challenge (if the goal is to have an orc attack feel threatening to the party) is to scale one or two of them up in levels, and have them attack with a couple of lower level orcs as well. Give them new powers so they have one or two new interesting tricks for the party, along side their cannon fodder friends and feel like a different challenge then the same old same old challenge.


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Mekkis wrote:

You can have an equivalent match without a 50%. Even taking your example, a Paizo-published level 10 NPC fighter has a +18 to-hit (not including an additional +3 from mounted charge). A Young Red Dragon has AC22.

The fighter hits on a 4 - and this is with NPC wealth.

Edge's point is that PF1e math is broken, and that a level 10 fighter and a CR 10 red dragon are not an equivalent match.

If anything, you are providing supporting evidence.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Edge93 wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:

Alternative option 4:

Keep +1 per level, get rid of Table 10-2. Everything has flat DCs, calculated according to a simulalationist system.

My problem here, you can in no way come up with DCs for EVERYTHING. Table 10-2 is a valuable "Figure out a reasonable DC for this thing out of left field" tool for people like me.

Table 10-2 requires the GM to assign an arbitrary "level" to each challenge as it comes up. Unless you have a giant listing of levels for various situations, in which case you might as well just list DCs for those situations, most GMs are just going to pick the level of the party for whatever it is they are trying to do. This creates the treadmill effect where no one ever gets better at things because the DC increases along with them.

I know 10-2 "is not supposed to be used that way." But so far, in the playtest, that's the only way it's been used. I expect PFS scenarios with mixed level groups to have different DCs for the same task, depending on the PC's individual level, because that's how people think.

A table with lists of DCs by level was one of the most misinterpreted parts of 4e, and I see no evidence that somehow it's not going to be misused now.

You know what's a better tool for coming up with DCs on the fly? A table like this:

Easy DC10
Hard DC15
Very Hard DC20
.
.
.
Worthy of Myth DC60

Takes up less book space, creates a more consistent world, and makes PCs feel like they actually get better at things as they level.


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You know what that table you propose doesn't do, though?

Answer the question of "what DC will typically be difficult but not impossible for a level 17 character?"


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EDIT: Commentary removed. My own opinion doesn't really help the conversation.

Exo-Guardians

MaxAstro wrote:

You know what that table you propose doesn't do, though?

Answer the question of "what DC will typically be difficult but not impossible for a level 17 character?"

Pretty sure that suggestion is just a rip from 5th Edition. Not sure though, I'd have to go back and read that book, which I'm not currently in a position to do.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Mekkis wrote:

You can have an equivalent match without a 50%. Even taking your example, a Paizo-published level 10 NPC fighter has a +18 to-hit (not including an additional +3 from mounted charge). A Young Red Dragon has AC22.

The fighter hits on a 4 - and this is with NPC wealth.

Edge's point is that PF1e math is broken, and that a level 10 fighter and a CR 10 red dragon are not an equivalent match.

If anything, you are providing supporting evidence.

Thank you, I was going to say pretty much exactly that. XD

And I do not know at a glance what the dragon's to-hit chance on that Fighter is, but in any case it's a problem.

If the Dragon's hit chance is notably lower, then it's the aforementioned problem of the allegedly same level creatures being notably different in power (Yes I know Dragons have tools besides their natural attacks, that's why I specify NOTABLY lower, but their natural attacks re supposed to be powerful. They're dragons.)

If the dragon's hit chance is up there with the Fighter's, then you have another of PF1's problems, that accuracy is heavily broken compared to AC. With accuracy and AC on totally different tracks and being able to pump accuracy much higher, usually easily (I have had SO many fights of "I hit on a 2", often even without buffs. Don't even talk to me about the PF1 buffing game.), defense is just an unviable or borderline uunviable focus because even if you macx out your AC you're still getting pelted all the time by anything accuracy-focused.

+/level fixes this quite strongly, even if armor still needs a little tweaking and I'd love to see some more classes get better armor proficiency, like Expert in Light armor for Rogues and Rangers (Medium for Brute Rogues and maybe Rangers too).

As an aside, this thread is EASILY the most civil and perhaps even productive I've seen +/level discussion be on these forums. That makes me quite happy. Keep it up, all!


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ShadeRaven wrote:

Count me among those who see +1/level to be a solution, not a problem, especially in relationship to combat. I find that it creates a clearly recognizable advancement in power as characters rise in levels.

The test results have proved to be satisfactory in this regard for all my players but one who simply loves the Min-Max, Optimization First style of PF1 - unfortunately, he's found it frustrating in PF2 because he's simply not found a way to make his character significantly better than the challenges he's expected to face at various levels.

Personally, when optimization is the only path to success, I think it becomes more restraining. PF1 has innumerable options but the need to optimize/min-max actually railroads players tremendously. So many fun character concepts became trivialized by their relative inadequacy compared to the hardcore op character, resulting in frustration and abandonment. It's one of the significant factors to why PF1 campaigns have rarely succeeded at our local hobby shop and why 5E all but made PF1 extinct. The Playtest has revived Pathfinder here.

Now a concern of mine with PF2 (as it exists now) is that there isn't enough delineation between the advancement in Skills. There needs to be more meat on the bone between Trained, Expert, Master, and Legendary. Some skills show some structure that makes improved skill obvious, but many (most) don't. I expect that to change with a final release.

[Operatic Voice=Baritone] THIIIIIIIIIIIISSS. AAALLLLL OF THIIIISSS [/Operatic Voice]

Liberty's Edge

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How about +1/2 level +7?

Oh wait... that's a formula for something else.


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Themetricsystem wrote:

How about +1/2 level +7?

Oh wait... that's a formula for something else.

"My only regret is that I have but one upvote to give for this post." -Oscar Wilde


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Edge93 wrote:


....
Then the idea of number bloat. If a PF1 Fighter with +44 to hit (Off the top of my head, +20 BAB, +10 Str, +5 weapon, +6 weapon training with those gloves that boost it, +2 Weapon Focus and Greater, +1 with a Pale Green Prism) isn't bloated then how is a PF2 Fighter with +35 (+20 level, +3 Legendary, +7 Str, +5 weapon)? The only answer I can get is that in PF1 most classes would hit AC 34-37 for their max depending on Light/med/heavy and mithral or not, or 41-44 with a +5 heavy shield added on. An extra point or two if you grabbed Dodge and/or Shield Focus. And unless your class gave you extra bonuses or lowered armor Max Dex or something crazy like Monk Wis to AC or perhaps crazy Dex and Bracers of Armor, that was it. And that's against a +44 to hit (Using adittedly the top accuracy class, but there are others scarcely behind such as Swashbuckler. A raging Barbarian hits +41 at 20th easy as well). Versus PF2 where any class can hit at least AC 42 without a shield, up to 44 with, against that +35 to hit.
...

For clarity, I'd like to point out that I am fairly certain that your example calculation for the PF2 Fighter is inaccurate. The +3 for legendary and +5 for magic are both item bonuses and thus do not stack. A +5 Legendary quality sword (only kind of +5 sword that can exist) will get a +5 bonus. A Legendary +1 sword would give you a +3 bonus, but give you a +1d to damage.

-----
Although my first reaction to the +1 per level was to be kind of disappointed, in the end, I feel it does a reasonably good job of reflecting a high fantasy, which I consider a perfectly good genre. While I might be inclined personally towards +1/2 per level for a slightly more gritty feel, along with potential differences in healing. But it makes an excellent starting framework in my mind.

I will say that while I understand the idea of fighting a better fighter, one would expect them to be able to defend themselves better, I don't necessarily think that individual die-rolls should NEED to remain equally matched at the higher levels. As an example, high level fighters have a lot more hit points. I would be perfectly fine with the idea that Defense is a harder skill to master than offense. I'd be fine with a pair of 10th level fighters getting more hits on one another than a pair of 1st level fighters. Even if they are doing more damage per hit, they probably will have more lasting power at 10th level than the pair of 1st level fighters.

Extend this to spells, I'm fine with the concept of powerful magic slowly having greater effect over others, to the point of higher level casters being more likely to have their spells be able to affect other casters or other heroes from a percentage chance than their early apprentices.

You won't want that disparity to grow really quickly, but as a simple example, if we were targeting a slightly less high fantasy (in part because it is what I've contemplated, in part because of the ease of the math) you could say all active action, level bonuses they get +1/2 per level. Any passive defense level bonuses get +1/3 per level.

BAB, Skill checks, etc. would get the higher bonus. Saves and defense checks would get the lower bonus. As level advance, people would tend to be able to over come one another's passive defenses of even similarly leveled foes slowly. (basically getting an edge of approximately 1/6 per level or capping at +4 or +20%) That is a decent boost, as it would encourage critical results too.

I think that would be perfectly viable, but I think I see why they chose to simplify it and make it +1/level. It does however give people the wrong impression that it is just bloat and treadmill. It will create situations where people think that an adventurer walking along a narrow wall should have to make a level appropriate check, rather than a DC appropriate to the description of the challenge. That will absolutely reinforce the 'appearance' of the treadmill/inflation.

Allowing skill in action over defense would create a situation where level would cause a slowly scaling process that might contribute to a bit of feel of advancement, even vs opponents of the same level. Balancing the increased staying power of growing HP, vs the slowly increased danger of your opponents abilities. Sticking with the +1 /level, if you made defenses scale at +3/4 or +4/5 /level you could have a similar scaling where offenses would slowly scale towards an advantage vs equal level opponents.

This would also create a situation where lower level threats are a slightly bigger threat to higher level opponents, but at an even bigger peril to themselves, which seems appropriate.

With the slight widening of the expected numbers, you could even make the bonus for Untrained Active bonus be less (like 1/2 the normal active bonus) to since you wouldn't expect such a skill to be used actively against many 'level appropriate' tasks, mostly vs potentially lower/easy tasks someone might encounter. You could rule however that critical failures on active rolls will only be qualify as critical failures if they would also be a critical failure for a passive/defensive roll as well, if one is concerned the slower advancement for untrained active skill rolls would negatively affect high level characters unduly.

All that said, all of the above seems like it would be much more flavorful, however, I suspect that the added complexity is why something like it wouldn't be implemented.

While I might house rule something, in the end, I will argue that the current rules isn't just bloat, but a 'slightly oversimplified' way of scaling between opponents of different challenge levels.


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Edge93 wrote:
ShadeRaven wrote:

Count me among those who see +1/level to be a solution, not a problem, especially in relationship to combat. I find that it creates a clearly recognizable advancement in power as characters rise in levels.

The test results have proved to be satisfactory in this regard for all my players but one who simply loves the Min-Max, Optimization First style of PF1 - unfortunately, he's found it frustrating in PF2 because he's simply not found a way to make his character significantly better than the challenges he's expected to face at various levels.

Personally, when optimization is the only path to success, I think it becomes more restraining. PF1 has innumerable options but the need to optimize/min-max actually railroads players tremendously. So many fun character concepts became trivialized by their relative inadequacy compared to the hardcore op character, resulting in frustration and abandonment. It's one of the significant factors to why PF1 campaigns have rarely succeeded at our local hobby shop and why 5E all but made PF1 extinct. The Playtest has revived Pathfinder here.

Now a concern of mine with PF2 (as it exists now) is that there isn't enough delineation between the advancement in Skills. There needs to be more meat on the bone between Trained, Expert, Master, and Legendary. Some skills show some structure that makes improved skill obvious, but many (most) don't. I expect that to change with a final release.

[Operatic Voice=Baritone] THIIIIIIIIIIIISSS. AAALLLLL OF THIIIISSS [/Operatic Voice]

I too feel this way.

To me, +1/level isn't the problem. The problem is that proficiency doesn't do anything.

If you properly gate or advance abilities with proficiency, you grant the specialist feeling while maintaining the presence of level having a strong meaning.

This is especially since the change to Untrained to -4, which made the jump from U -> T very impactful.

However, the jump from T -> E (or really any variation after U -> T) is lacking.

Personally, I don't there is enough of this presence in a general perspective for the game. Saves, Attacks, etc. all lack meaningful Proficiency.

I would love for them to implement an over-arching Proficiency integration that is formulaic (Experts don't automatically Critically Fail, Legendary Critically succeeds on a +5 instead of a +10, etc.).

This allows Feats to occupy the "cool" spaces of new abilities, while still giving value to Proficiency increases in general.

The numbers are actually fine as is, the big component is that people don't feel like they have meaningful and flavorful choices.

They've already said that Proficiency is being looked at and is likely to be more impactful, however, it won't make the Playtest.

Would love to have an idea of how they plan to make it more impactful as that is one of the major pieces of the game I currently don't like, but I suppose time will tell.

+1/level is just the lightning rod for problems, but the reality is that it's a multifaceted issue at the moment.

Exo-Guardians

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Midnightoker wrote:


I too feel this way.

To me, +1/level isn't the problem. The problem is that proficiency doesn't do anything.

If you properly gate or advance abilities with proficiency, you grant the specialist feeling while maintaining the presence of level having a strong meaning.

This is especially since the change to Untrained to -4, which made the jump from U -> T very impactful.

However, the jump from T -> E (or really any variation after U -> T)...

In the meantime I've decided to patch proficiency by giving each increase double it's value and gating certain things behind level of proficiency. Haven't done anything about skill feats because I don't want to write that much.

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