I finally understand the design goals of PF2


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Gorbacz wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Making GMing easier is necessary for the long-term survival of the hobby. It's the hardest role at the table to fill (everyone wants to play, only a small subset thereof is willing to GM) and far and away the most work.

Gee, I wonder how the hobby survived that long if GMing was that hard for all these decades. Only a handful of geniuses mastered that art and I guess they must have found a way to GM on all tables worldwide at almost the same time.

/s

It certainly explains why pen and paper RPGs are such a tiny hobby compared to board games, miniature games and CCGs.

IMHO, yes and no.

It does take some time and some thought to GM (generally and it depends on the type of game you run as I know of games where it is just a combat sim or the GM spot rotates during the game so every "room" or encounter has a new GM who knows nothing of the adventure and the person gets 10 min to become familiar with their encounter (yes in some pre made adventures it causes problems)) and not everyone wants to do this. Just like not everyone can write a good short story quickly.
MDC

Liberty's Edge

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Nox Aeterna wrote:

Heh yeah, i would totally sit down for a next session of a PF game where the GM just showed a NPC, of my class/race..., with cool power that i can never have, cause he is an NPC, so he gets the cool toys so he can play the boss encounter.

I would totally, 100%, do that /s :P.

I keep seeing this complaint and it continues to confuse me. I mean...we have literally seen zero NPCs that work like this (ie: have an Ancestry and class a PC could have, but special abilities they couldn't) in PF2. Indeed, the existence of Goblin Scuttle is a strong argument that they'll be avoiding such things in future.

Why in the world is everyone upset about something that doesn't seem to be happening?

If this does happen in the way people seem to be worried about, I'd be a bit upset myself...but there's every indication it won't (or not any more than it did in PF1, anyway)...so why all the drama about it?


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

Heh yeah, i would totally sit down for a next session of a PF game where the GM just showed a NPC, of my class/race..., with cool power that i can never have, cause he is an NPC, so he gets the cool toys so he can play the boss encounter.

I would totally, 100%, do that /s :P.

I mean, that's how its been since time immemorial. Did we all forget about those boss NPCs where the entire bottom half of their stat block are a bunch of special abilities granted by author whimsy and distinctly not stuff PCs are going to get ever?

"Hey, why can that rogue shoot lasers out of his eyes but I can't? My verisimilitude is shattered!"

"It's okay player, he's a "chosen of Nethys" that grants him a laser eye attack, it's right here at the bottom of his sheet,"

"Oh, okay, all is right in the world now!"

I remember during the era of Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 a common homebrew was players wanting to play monster races because those monsters had the cool abilities.

I can imagine players asking during Pathfinder 2nd Edition, "I know that I am already playing a goblin, but I want the kind of goblin like the level 0 Goblin Warrior, that has Strength 10 but a +6 to hit. Is there some kind of goblin ancestry feat I can take that makes my character a Goblin Warrior?"


Please let me know when players have access to the Heart's Harvest ritual used in Hell's Rebels.

Oh wait, they don't.

This is true of tons of other NPC abilities in 1E.

Liberty's Edge

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Mathmuse wrote:

I remember during the era of Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 a common homebrew was players wanting to play monster races because those monsters had the cool abilities.

I can imagine players asking during Pathfinder 2nd Edition, "I know that I am already playing a goblin, but I want the kind of goblin like the level 0 Goblin Warrior, that has Strength 10 but a +6 to hit. Is there some kind of goblin ancestry feat I can take that makes my character a Goblin Warrior?"

See, I don't consider this 'an ability a PC can't have'. It's a pure math bonus (and a +3 rather than a +6...they're using finesse weapons and have Dex +3), and one the creature in question pays for in several ways.

Or to put it another way, and in PF1 terminology:

"No, that's part of the Warrior NPC Class. Which comes with NPC stat distribution and no Feats ever to go with it's +3 to hit. I guess you could play an NPC class...but you're probably better off going Fighter."

And indeed, that's exactly what's going on with high to-hit among low level humanoid monsters. They're creatures that would've been Warriors last edition...and thus use the monster creation rules rather than the PC ones.


Mathmuse wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

Heh yeah, i would totally sit down for a next session of a PF game where the GM just showed a NPC, of my class/race..., with cool power that i can never have, cause he is an NPC, so he gets the cool toys so he can play the boss encounter.

I would totally, 100%, do that /s :P.

I mean, that's how its been since time immemorial. Did we all forget about those boss NPCs where the entire bottom half of their stat block are a bunch of special abilities granted by author whimsy and distinctly not stuff PCs are going to get ever?

"Hey, why can that rogue shoot lasers out of his eyes but I can't? My verisimilitude is shattered!"

"It's okay player, he's a "chosen of Nethys" that grants him a laser eye attack, it's right here at the bottom of his sheet,"

"Oh, okay, all is right in the world now!"

I remember during the era of Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 a common homebrew was players wanting to play monster races because those monsters had the cool abilities.

I can imagine players asking during Pathfinder 2nd Edition, "I know that I am already playing a goblin, but I want the kind of goblin like the level 0 Goblin Warrior, that has Strength 10 but a +6 to hit. Is there some kind of goblin ancestry feat I can take that makes my character a Goblin Warrior?"

I can't. Mostly because my normal groups don't lose their minds about the PCs and NPCs not lining up 100% mechanics wise. The hassle of playing by the same rules is just a hassle as you go up the levels and even then it doesn't matter since so many monsters and npcs just end up cheating or adding abilities to make it work.


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I think it's funny that people claim the OP is wrong when there is a quote from Jason Bulmahn himself that essentially agrees with his conclusion. GMs having better tools to work with helps them tell better stories, which was one of the goals of the playtest, I might add.

I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong here, but the factor that most everyone whom posted being in disagreement of the OP (and by relation, Jason Bulmahn himself) simply because the players aren't expressly mentioned as having an impact on how the story is told or unfolded, is baffling, and also disingenuous.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
GMs having better tools to work with helps them tell better stories, which was one of the goals of the playtest, I might add.

I can't speak for anyone else, but my disagreement isn't with the premise. I maintain that tools that enabled high-fantasy have been removed, and the tools that always existed for low-level games have been stretched out through 20 levels. The goal is clear, but the devil is in the details as there are fewer tools to tell the stories I want to tell. So just to be clear, I'm personally not disagreeing with the OP, Jason, or anyone else (except - specifically and momentarily - you).

Interestingly enough, it occurred to me earlier in this thread that Paizo might actually have a clever plan in mind...

Ask yourself what a PF2 Mythic Adventures book might look like.

Pause to let that sink in...

Right. It might look like PF1.

Which might be the plan. Which would actually be kind of neat.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I think it's funny that people claim the OP is wrong when there is a quote from Jason Bulmahn himself that essentially agrees with his conclusion. GMs having better tools to work with helps them tell better stories, which was one of the goals of the playtest, I might add.

I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong here, but the factor that most everyone whom posted being in disagreement of the OP (and by relation, Jason Bulmahn himself) simply because the players aren't expressly mentioned as having an impact on how the story is told or unfolded, is baffling, and also disingenuous.

I don't think people are claiming they I'm wrong. There are claims that they don't like it.

And there are claims that it's fine. Both of which are completely legitimate.

But assessing the system against its design goals requires understanding the design goals.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

Heh yeah, i would totally sit down for a next session of a PF game where the GM just showed a NPC, of my class/race..., with cool power that i can never have, cause he is an NPC, so he gets the cool toys so he can play the boss encounter.

I would totally, 100%, do that /s :P.

I keep seeing this complaint and it continues to confuse me. I mean...we have literally seen zero NPCs that work like this (ie: have an Ancestry and class a PC could have, but special abilities they couldn't) in PF2. Indeed, the existence of Goblin Scuttle is a strong argument that they'll be avoiding such things in future.

Why in the world is everyone upset about something that doesn't seem to be happening?

If this does happen in the way people seem to be worried about, I'd be a bit upset myself...but there's every indication it won't (or not any more than it did in PF1, anyway)...so why all the drama about it?

Goblin Scuttle as an ancestry feat is not in the Playtest Rulebook. It was introduced as an ancestry feat in Update 1.5 — Release Date: 10/22/2018. Thus, we playtesters went through August, September, and most of October seeing Goblin Scuttle as an ability that wild goblins had but civilized goblins lacked. It was introduced as a 9th-level feat, which means that the wild goblins still had a special ability to take a particular 9th-level feat at 0th level.

Non-PC races having special species abilities is not much of a problem. Winged creatures can fly, gilled creatures can breathe water. We can homebrew rules for playing unusual ancestries that have unusual abilities.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I think it's funny that people claim the OP is wrong when there is a quote from Jason Bulmahn himself that essentially agrees with his conclusion. GMs having better tools to work with helps them tell better stories, which was one of the goals of the playtest, I might add.

I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong here, but the factor that most everyone whom posted being in disagreement of the OP (and by relation, Jason Bulmahn himself) simply because the players aren't expressly mentioned as having an impact on how the story is told or unfolded, is baffling, and also disingenuous.

My problem with having different rules for PCs and NPCs is that I am the GM. The difference is supposed to make NPC creation easier for me, but I treat my NPCs differently than Paizo's developers do. I was discussing this with my wife once. I said, "We treat NPCs as characters and they treat NPCs as ..." and paused to find the right word. "... as cardboard," she finished for me. That metaphor is harsh, but it does convey that in Doomsday Dawn NPCs are flat and disposable and treated a game tokens.

My players like non-combat interaction with NPCs. They don't mind sitting down in a tavern with an NPC and learning about the history of the town. I once sent my PCs to the Pathfinder Society Lodge in Hajoth Hakados to gather information and instead they spent the time trading stories dissing the Technic League in Numeria with Pathfinder Society members who had also butted heads with the Technic League.

And they hired NPCs that they encounter on the adventure. At the beginning of the campaign mentioned above, Iron Gods among Scientists, they recruited a stat-less NPC, Val Baine, into the party as the 4th party member. They befriended Dinvaya Lanalei in the next module and pretty much made her a party member, too, except that they did not drag her out of her workshop. Fortunately, she is fully statted out in that module. An incidental NPC whom I created, Dewey Baros, was hired by them for labor, rescued from the Technic League, dragged along on adventures he barely survived, and finally allowed to retire from adventuring as the new manager of Silverdisk Hall, which the party had purchased to have a place to hold dances and concerts. (When my party staged a performance, they actually held a performance that earned them a reputation and made contacts in society. The PF2 Stage a Performace action does not measure up.)

Thus, all my non-hostile NPCs must be ready for social interaction and easily expanded into a hireling. Oh wait, I remember instances where hostile NPCs faced that, too. They persuaded Unity, the villain from The Divinity Drive, to hire them. My party in Jade Regent made alliances with villains Yugureda Shosaito in Tide of Honor and Renshii Meida in The Empty Throne.

I cannot make my GM job easier by statting out only the combat attributes of an intended combat encounter, because my players could convert it into a diplomatic negotion instead. I must create my NPCs for all sorts of encounters. And seriously, when PF2 lives up to its promise of fast character creation, that won't be difficult.

The disadvantages of a different method of creating NPCs are (1) I will have to learn the 2nd method, and (2) How can I tell when the NPC is balanced against the party? (Okay, the answer to 2 is that I will use lots and lots of mathematics.)


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Complaining that the playtest adventure is designed for playtest results and not for "let's have fun interacting with the background" doesn't really seem helpful.

You can't have the same innate variety in something where you want stable, consistent results, as you would in a normal adventure.


Anguish wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
GMs having better tools to work with helps them tell better stories, which was one of the goals of the playtest, I might add.

I can't speak for anyone else, but my disagreement isn't with the premise. I maintain that tools that enabled high-fantasy have been removed, and the tools that always existed for low-level games have been stretched out through 20 levels. The goal is clear, but the devil is in the details as there are fewer tools to tell the stories I want to tell. So just to be clear, I'm personally not disagreeing with the OP, Jason, or anyone else (except - specifically and momentarily - you).

Interestingly enough, it occurred to me earlier in this thread that Paizo might actually have a clever plan in mind...

Ask yourself what a PF2 Mythic Adventures book might look like.

Pause to let that sink in...

Right. It might look like PF1.

Which might be the plan. Which would actually be kind of neat.

Not really. It would probably be PF1 in terms of complexity and powerscaling, but it's certainly not what I'd want at my table, especially since Mythic in PF1 went well outside our (and most anyone else's) wheelhouse. This is especially true if the intent of PF2 is to cut down on the complexity and minmax shenanigans that can occur. In fact, several existing options in PF2 are already into mythic tier capability, though those options aren't absolutely gamebreaking and are more "Huh, that's pretty neat to have at that level."

The design paradigms and expectations of PF1 aren't congruent to PF2 mechanics, meaning any expectations you have from PF1 should just be outright thrown out the window. 5-foot then Full Attacks with guaranteed hits because of minmaxing? Gone. Pounce hax? Gone. Gamebreaking spellcasters? Also (mostly) gone. Different game, different rules, you get the picture. Even PF1 FAQs and rulings aren't meant to apply, and the developers have expressly mentioned such, which further reinforces that train of thought.


Mathmuse wrote:
Much Stuff

A note on Goblin Scuttle, Mark Seifter has said that the level 9 bit is a typo, it is meant to be level 1. Doesn't change that it took a while to get there but it's there now and available to any Goblin out of the box. Though ironically your statement of "Wild Goblins have it but civilized Goblins don't" is actually a decent reason for only NPC Goblins to have it. According to the ancestry flavor text in the Rulebook Goblin NPCs are the minority, those who have integrated into more civilized life but kept much of their Goblin-y-ness.

On the disliking making NPCs with different rules, that's perfectly fair, but the great thing is that making NPCs with different rules is entirely OPTIONAL. You can totally still build NPCs the exact same way as characters if you really want to, alternate creation guidelines are an alternate simplifying tool to get the stats you want without having to take the time to work out the stat and ability and class combo that gets there, and you don't have to worry as much about the exact layout of feats, just giving them the ones fitting for their role. The players don't know their exact level and stats so as long as the NPC has player-attainable ablities only they should be indistinguishable in-character.

It's something that is a lifesaver for GMs who need a bit of load-lightening but it is optional. I for one fully intend to custom-build major NPCs myself, often using PC creation rules. I actually have several such already for a campaign I want to do, and the only off-PC-rules things I have done is to not bother filling all their feats or to play slightly loose with how many items of a given level they have to make sure they are fittingly outfitted for my purposes.


Richard Crawford wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I think it's funny that people claim the OP is wrong when there is a quote from Jason Bulmahn himself that essentially agrees with his conclusion. GMs having better tools to work with helps them tell better stories, which was one of the goals of the playtest, I might add.

I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong here, but the factor that most everyone whom posted being in disagreement of the OP (and by relation, Jason Bulmahn himself) simply because the players aren't expressly mentioned as having an impact on how the story is told or unfolded, is baffling, and also disingenuous.

I don't think people are claiming they I'm wrong. There are claims that they don't like it.

And there are claims that it's fine. Both of which are completely legitimate.

But assessing the system against its design goals requires understanding the design goals.

Is it about claiming they like or don't like things in the playtest or their expected goals? No, they're claiming badwrongfun on your behalf, which is even worse than agreeing or disagreeing with your post.

The worst part is that people simply did this because you didn't give a shoutout to your homie players at your table for progressing the story, or enjoying whatever story you may have to offer your players. It's just not an honest or fair response in any case.


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Mathmuse wrote:

My problem with having different rules for PCs and NPCs is that I am the GM. The difference is supposed to make NPC creation easier for me, but I treat my NPCs differently than Paizo's developers do. I was discussing this with my wife once. I said, "We treat NPCs as characters and they treat NPCs as ..." and paused to find the right word. "... as cardboard," she finished for me. That metaphor is harsh, but it does convey that in Doomsday Dawn NPCs are flat and disposable and treated a game tokens.

My players like non-combat interaction with NPCs. They don't mind sitting down in a tavern with an NPC and learning about the history of the town. I once sent my PCs to the Pathfinder Society Lodge in Hajoth Hakados to gather information and instead they spent the time trading stories dissing the Technic League in Numeria with Pathfinder Society members who had also butted heads with the Technic League.

And they hired NPCs that they encounter on the adventure. At the beginning of the campaign mentioned above, Iron Gods among Scientists, they recruited a stat-less NPC, Val Baine, into the party as the 4th party member. They befriended Dinvaya Lanalei in the next module and pretty much made her a party member, too, except that they did not drag her out of her workshop. Fortunately, she is fully statted out in that module. An incidental NPC whom I created, Dewey Baros, was hired by them for labor, rescued from the Technic League, dragged along on adventures he barely survived, and finally allowed to retire from adventuring as the new manager of Silverdisk Hall, which the party had purchased to have a place to hold dances and concerts. (When my party staged a performance, they actually held a performance that earned them a reputation and made contacts in society. The PF2 Stage a Performace action does not measure up.)

Thus, all my non-hostile NPCs must be ready for social interaction and easily expanded into a hireling. Oh wait, I remember instances where hostile NPCs faced that, too. They persuaded Unity, the villain from The Divinity Drive, to hire them. My party in Jade Regent made alliances with villains Yugureda Shosaito in Tide of Honor and Renshii Meida in The Empty Throne.

I cannot make my GM job easier by statting out only the combat attributes of an intended combat encounter, because my players could convert it into a diplomatic negotion instead. I must create my NPCs for all sorts of encounters. And seriously, when PF2 lives up to its promise of fast character creation, that won't be difficult.

The disadvantages of a different method of creating NPCs are (1) I will have to learn the 2nd method, and (2) How can I tell when the NPC is balanced against the party? (Okay, the answer to 2 is that I will use lots and lots of mathematics.)

Doomsday Dawn is most certainly not an avid demonstration of good storywriting or immersion. Quite frankly, a plot that revolves around something along the lines of "Prevent Starfinder from happening" is both extremely meta, extremely lame, counterproductive (because it still technically happens anyway, if continuity is a thing), and being written in such a short time where story isn't a primary focus, quite clearly shows based on the numerous negative reactions I've seen in playtest posts across the forums, and myself included. But story is something that doesn't do much to affect the gameplay, which has always been the main focus of the playtest.

I've had several (almost a dozen, in fact) non-combat NPC interactions at our in-house play sessions of PF2 over the course of THREE levels of gameplay. THREE LEVELS. And I still have 3 more levels to go before another GM takes over, plus most of the story and gameplay I'm doing is all made up on-the-spot while using actual Golarion landmarks for approximate reference and lore influence (Iobaria, a resurgence of Cyclops from the mountains attempting to once again take over the land, or so the PCs are aware of).

Granted, there have been a fair share of investigation and combat in these sessions, the fact that I've had to appropriate a dozen or so NPCs and their volitions just from 3 levels of gameplay is more anecdotal of Doomsday Dawn being a bad publication of storyline than it is story in Pathfinder 2 being badly appropriated. This isn't true just with the story, but with other aspects of PF2. For example, cutting out surprise rounds while being the arbiter of when combat/initiative kicks in means that there is a boatload of mess I didn't have to arbitrate between other players.

Of course, combat not being completely dominated by the monsters is largely because I've adhered to actually following the math. Attack bonuses adding strength and level (or more/less based on the enemy) instead of an arbitrary number, HP calculated by base dice plus constitution, etc. Honestly, having that stuff done (which is a little work but not very much) makes the game that much more fun, enjoyable, and fair to the PCs, since to a point, the NPCs/monsters still have to have the numbers and options to back up their statblock just like the PCs do. NPCs 100% following PC rules is lame, but having them follow just close enough seems to be a happy medium for all parties involved.


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

"also giving GMs better tools to tell the stories they want to tell"

Sounds like an admirable goal to me, and one just about every RPG system tries to provide, because GMs have the lion's share of the work when it comes to playing RPGs.

Having "better tools" to create the campaigns that my players play in sounds awesome!

As to the OPs specific comments, they sound a bit uncharitable to me.

But, it is the case that there are all kinds of GMs, just as there are all kinds of players. I STRONGLY suggest every GM and every player carefully consider the group that they play with, and the campaigns they agree to be involved in.


I am about to convert PF1 adventure path War for the Crown into PF2.
The tools to more easily do so seem like a very welcome thing to me, and I will be using them.

A simple example, under spoiler because spoilers, comes from the end of book 1 "Crownfall":

Spoiler:
The rogue/cleric cultists in the underground level of the final dungeon have a Domain power that allows them to teleport around enemies when they get missed by an attack, usable several times a day. They use it to set up sneak attack in narrow spaces.

Normally this isn't available to players because it's an evil-based feature, but someone MIGHT get it of course. At the same time, it's very easy to adapt into a Reaction, and I don't strictly need to turn it into a feat because NPCs don't strictly follow PC rules.
Of course, I could make it an Uncommon feat and allow a PC who gets familiar with it to gain it if I wanted to, but for now? in very early stages, just looking at the work ahead?

This doesn't feel like a burden. It feels like I can do it. And I think this is awesome.

Liberty's Edge

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Mathmuse wrote:
Goblin Scuttle as an ancestry feat is not in the Playtest Rulebook. It was introduced as an ancestry feat in Update 1.5 — Release Date: 10/22/2018. Thus, we playtesters went through August, September, and most of October seeing Goblin Scuttle as an ability that wild goblins had but civilized goblins lacked.

Right...and people complaining before then got a very different response from me. But this fact was clearly seen as a problem by the folks at Paizo and then fixed. Complaining about NPCs based on it is complaining about a solved issue.

Mathmuse wrote:
It was introduced as a 9th-level feat, which means that the wild goblins still had a special ability to take a particular 9th-level feat at 0th level.

This was a typo. It was mentioned in the thread talking about the update in question and someone at Paizo immediately acknowledged that it was supposed to be 1st level.

Mathmuse wrote:
Non-PC races having special species abilities is not much of a problem. Winged creatures can fly, gilled creatures can breathe water. We can homebrew rules for playing unusual ancestries that have unusual abilities.

We could, but I doubt we'll need to in the long term.

Mathmuse wrote:

My problem with having different rules for PCs and NPCs is that I am the GM. The difference is supposed to make NPC creation easier for me, but I treat my NPCs differently than Paizo's developers do. I was discussing this with my wife once. I said, "We treat NPCs as characters and they treat NPCs as ..." and paused to find the right word. "... as cardboard," she finished for me. That metaphor is harsh, but it does convey that in Doomsday Dawn NPCs are flat and disposable and treated a game tokens.

My players like non-combat interaction with NPCs. They don't mind sitting down in a tavern with an NPC and learning about the history of the town. I once sent my PCs to the Pathfinder Society Lodge in Hajoth Hakados to gather information and instead they spent the time trading stories dissing the Technic League in Numeria with Pathfinder Society members who had also butted heads with the Technic League.

Uh...what part of having different rules for NPC creation stops this? The NPCs shown in PF2 have Skills, Ability Modifiers, Alignments, and all the other roleplaying stuff.

Also, making NPCs with the PC rules is entirely legal.

Mathmuse wrote:
I cannot make my GM job easier by statting out only the combat attributes of an intended combat encounter, because my players could convert it into a diplomatic negotion instead. I must create my NPCs for all sorts of encounters. And seriously, when PF2 lives up to its promise of fast character creation, that won't be difficult.

Um...there's not even a provision in any NPCs we've seen for those with only combat stats. They all have the aforementioned Skills, Ability Modifiers, and Alignments.

Mathmuse wrote:
The disadvantages of a different method of creating NPCs are (1) I will have to learn the 2nd method, and (2) How can I tell when the NPC is balanced against the party? (Okay, the answer to 2 is that I will use lots and lots of mathematics.)

I suspect the second method is dead simple and will be balanced based on level in a pretty direct way (as are those built as PCs). That seems reasonable enough to me.


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I'll also throw out that there are soooo many things a GM spend time doing to improve a game other than laboriously building NPCs and trying to balance encounters or compensate for PCs that blow stuff out of the water. Wanting to simplify running the game effectively doesn't make you a bad GM. In that time you can be creating entirely new encounters, thinking about how to make your NPCs feel more alive, re-reading your notes or AP to reduce your time flipping pages trying to remember where stuff is, coming up fun new plot elements, thinking about what your PCs might do and your NPCs will react...

I think you CAN run a game where you lean into the brokenness, and the GMs relationship to the players would qualify as "playfully adversarial." Where the GM doesn't bother fleshing out how an adventure will look too much because the players are going to do things she can't possibly expect. Maybe the GM throws increasingly higher CR challenges at increasingly broken PCs to see how much they can overcome. PF1 is a good system for that. Colette Brunel ran her games in a similar manner for PF1.

I've played in gonzo games with GMs like that where everyone has had a good time. Path of War characters punching through APL+1, then APL+2, and so on. I've also played with a GM who claimed to be able to compensate for any level of optimization and told us to go wild-- so we did, and he became increasingly frustrated at his inability to challenge us with encounters. I offered to tune down my character multiple times, and he declined. He also kept dumping crazier and crazier magic items at our feet. We had some fun, but he clearly didn't understand the system as well as he thought he did.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:

I remember during the era of Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 a common homebrew was players wanting to play monster races because those monsters had the cool abilities.

I can imagine players asking during Pathfinder 2nd Edition, "I know that I am already playing a goblin, but I want the kind of goblin like the level 0 Goblin Warrior, that has Strength 10 but a +6 to hit. Is there some kind of goblin ancestry feat I can take that makes my character a Goblin Warrior?"

See, I don't consider this 'an ability a PC can't have'. It's a pure math bonus (and a +3 rather than a +6...they're using finesse weapons and have Dex +3), and one the creature in question pays for in several ways.

Or to put it another way, and in PF1 terminology:

"No, that's part of the Warrior NPC Class. Which comes with NPC stat distribution and no Feats ever to go with it's +3 to hit. I guess you could play an NPC class...but you're probably better off going Fighter."

And indeed, that's exactly what's going on with high to-hit among low level humanoid monsters. They're creatures that would've been Warriors last edition...and thus use the monster creation rules rather than the PC ones.

Thank you, Deadmanwalking, for the correction about the +6 being +3 dex and +3 monster rather than +6 monster. (The melee line on the Goblin Warrior mentioned that dogslicer is agile and backstabber, but didn't mention finesse and goblin, probably because those were already incorporated into the numbers.) That makes the case more reasonable and supports your following comment about standard ways of adjusting NPC opponents.

In fact, I love the idea of NPC classes designed not as a weakness like PF1 Commoner and Warrior class but as a extension of the PC creation system that works better for constructing townsfolk and monsters and savages wilder than barbarians. We could have systems such as, "Level 0 usually has ability modifiers that sum to +5. Since a Goblin Warrior has inferior ability scores for its level (Str +0, Dex +3, Con +0, Int +0, Wis –1, Cha +1 sum to +3), it gains a +3 to hit." Unusual species could have their own private feats that appear in their Bestiary descriptions and don't need any other source.

Edge93 wrote:
A note on Goblin Scuttle, Mark Seifter has said that the level 9 bit is a typo, it is meant to be level 1. Doesn't change that it took a while to get there but it's there now and available to any Goblin out of the box. Though ironically your statement of "Wild Goblins have it but civilized Goblins don't" is actually a decent reason for only NPC Goblins to have it. According to the ancestry flavor text in the Rulebook Goblin NPCs are the minority, those who have integrated into more civilized life but kept much of their Goblin-y-ness.

And thank you, Edge93 and Deadmanwalking, for the Goblin Scuttle correction, too.

I have run several adventures in Sandpoint and read the We Be Goblins module, so I would be sad if the colorful, wild, arson-loving, and suicidally crazy goblin culture disappeared to make way for civilized goblins.

Edge93 wrote:

On the disliking making NPCs with different rules, that's perfectly fair, but the great thing is that making NPCs with different rules is entirely OPTIONAL. You can totally still build NPCs the exact same way as characters if you really want to, alternate creation guidelines are an alternate simplifying tool to get the stats you want without having to take the time to work out the stat and ability and class combo that gets there, and you don't have to worry as much about the exact layout of feats, just giving them the ones fitting for their role. The players don't know their exact level and stats so as long as the NPC has player-attainable ablities only they should be indistinguishable in-character.

It's something that is a lifesaver for GMs who need a bit of load-lightening but it is optional. I for one fully intend to custom-build major NPCs myself, often using PC creation rules. I actually have several such already for a campaign I want to do, and the only off-PC-rules things I have done is to not bother filling all their feats or to play slightly loose with how many items of a given level they have to make sure they are fittingly outfitted for my purposes.

If I created my campaign material from scratch, I could ignore the optional system. But I use Paizo adventure paths. If they use the optional character creation rules, then I will use characters created by these rules.

And one of my favorite methods for creating a high-level NPC to add to a campaign is stealing an appropriate NPC from the NPC Codex or the Game Mastery Guide. They are usually a short a few levels, so I level them up to the desired level. This has a few annoying steps, such as deconstructing their skill bonuses back into ability bonuses, class skill bonuses, miscelaneous bonues, and skill ranks so that I don't exceed maximum skill ranks when I assign skill points. Nevertheless, characters I create from scratch end up too much like PCs that I like to play, rather than the villains or clueless townfolk or cowardly allies that the plot calls for, so this yields better NPCs. The optional systems means I will have to deconstruct those NPCs in order to rebuild them at a higher level.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Uh...what part of having different rules for NPC creation stops this? The NPCs shown in PF2 have Skills, Ability Modifiers, Alignments, and all the other roleplaying stuff.

Also, making NPCs with the PC rules is entirely legal.

Actually, if Doomsday Dawn and the Bestiary are good examples, the NPCs don't all have skills, ability modifiers, or alignments. I heard that the missing alignments in the Bestiary were a typo and I can deduce them from context. But in Affair at Sombrefell Hall, the friendly NPCs, Dr. Oscilar and his students, have only skills, sex, race, and alignment. They even lack a movement speed, though I can assume normal human speed. These are the characters that my wife called cardboard. She is playing an elf noble bard, a person whose life involves leading and inspiring other people, and she is trying to lead and inspire these half-constructed characters.

To keep true to the playtest material, I cannot fill in the missing details. PsychicPixel already accused me of making too many changes (spoiler-filled link). But the elf noble bard will have them making Athletics checks and Recall Knowledge actions on her behalf.

Darksol the Painbringer makes a good argument above that the fault is in Doomsday Dawn rather than in Pathfinder 2nd Edition. But the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook has said nothing about NPCs. The Bestiary does not explain the system for constructing NPCs, beyond the Creature Adjustments section on pages 22-23. And the Paizo Blog or some similar source said that GMs will be able to quickly throw together half-constructed NPCs as perfectly playable in their designated role. I must report that I find such NPCs to be a pain. I understand Paizo using unstatted or half-constructed NPCs to save room in a module, since modules never have room to spare, but I prefer that Paizo thinks of this as a sad necessity rather a happy option.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

I'll also throw out that there are soooo many things a GM spend time doing to improve a game other than laboriously building NPCs and trying to balance encounters or compensate for PCs that blow stuff out of the water. Wanting to simplify running the game effectively doesn't make you a bad GM. In that time you can be creating entirely new encounters, thinking about how to make your NPCs feel more alive, re-reading your notes or AP to reduce your time flipping pages trying to remember where stuff is, coming up fun new plot elements, thinking about what your PCs might do and your NPCs will react...

I think you CAN run a game where you lean into the brokenness, and the GMs relationship to the players would qualify as "playfully adversarial." Where the GM doesn't bother fleshing out how an adventure will look too much because the players are going to do things she can't possibly expect. Maybe the GM throws increasingly higher CR challenges at increasingly broken PCs to see how much they can overcome. PF1 is a good system for that. Colette Brunel ran her games in a similar manner for PF1.

I've played in gonzo games with GMs like that where everyone has had a good time. Path of War characters punching through APL+1, then APL+2, and so on. I've also played with a GM who claimed to be able to compensate for any level of optimization and told us to go wild-- so we did, and he became increasingly frustrated at his inability to challenge us with encounters. I offered to tune down my character multiple times, and he declined. He also kept dumping crazier and crazier magic items at our feet. We had some fun, but he clearly didn't understand the system as well as he thought he did.

That really needed saying, the comments about "bad" GM's really get under my skin. It's the same gatekeeping that Paizo has been making efforts to expunge from the community. The best GM is the one who's currently doing all this extra work to run a game for you.

And even if someone is new to GMing... that's good! We need more people to GM, and tabletop gaming culture in general needs to become more accepting of people who are new to this stuff, without utterly s*~@ting on them because they couldn't come up with a way to have a fun murder mystery session while letting you take Zone of Truth.

Sure, we should encourage GM's to say yes to stuff as they gain experience and confidence, but it does take time to realize that you can't have likeable and helpful NPC's that show up just in time to help the party because Detect Alignment is a level 1 spell that will immediately let the party know that they're actually evil and should not be trusted. Or you can, but you can't put too much stock in that NPC being particularly important and just use their effortless unmasking to have a one-off moment for the party to feel clever.

My only real complaint is that the book doesn't do enough to really explain rarity, leaving it up to the GM to realize that the uncommon spells and items just so happen to have certain implications that might make certain kinds of stories unfeasible. If a GM is inexperienced, they're not going to know what they should be thinking about before answering yes or no to a player. If it is indeed supposed to highlight potentially iffy stuff, why is that same rarity system then used to differentiate powers and spells exclusive to certain classes, feats, or class options? How is a new GM supposed to be able to tell those two groups apart if they don't already have the rulebook memorized by heart?


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Biggest issue people have with bestiary monsters in PF2, I glean, is stuff like "the monster does an extra die of damage with their weapon, but when I kill them and take their weapon they do not."

Which, I wonder, if we employed the PF1 model of "give the monster a special ability which lets them do an extra die of damage when they use a specific weapon" would appease anybody.

If we're talking about monsters of races that AREN'T player-character-races, that could work (even if it were assumed to be a feat operating in the background). But if we're talking about Joe High-Level-But-Otherwise-Average Commoner being able to pick up any random sword and, never mind quality, never mind potency, doing more damage than an equivalent-level same-ancestry PC could with that same weapon, then I'd have to say "no". At least, not without that being not only a feat that a PC could take as well, but also being a completely given-for-free bonus feat.


Mathmuse wrote:

If I created my campaign material from scratch, I could ignore the optional system. But I use Paizo adventure paths. If they use the optional character creation rules, then I will use characters created by these rules.

And one of my favorite methods for creating a high-level NPC to add to a campaign is stealing an appropriate NPC from the NPC Codex or the Game Mastery Guide. They are usually a short a few levels, so I level them up to the desired level. This has a few annoying steps, such as deconstructing their skill bonuses back into ability bonuses, class skill bonuses, miscelaneous bonues, and skill ranks so that I don't exceed maximum skill ranks when I assign skill points. Nevertheless, characters I create from scratch end up too much like PCs that I like to play, rather than the villains or clueless townfolk or cowardly allies that the plot calls for, so this yields better NPCs. The optional systems means I will have to deconstruct those NPCs in order to rebuild them at a higher level.

FWIW I think it'd be possible to level up prebuilt NPCs pretty accurately without deconstructing them. You just take their statblock as it stands and add the appropriate bonuses for levels gained. +1 to everything per level, if you can construe or just decide their proficiency rank in each skill (Every skill mentioned in their stat block is at least trained, anything else is untrained for starters) then you can aply skill increases for every level hit. You can apply feats and class features at the appropriate levels, though prerequisites may mean a bit of judgement calling on your part. And since their ability modifiers are listed you can even apply ability score boosts at appropriate levels.

So I mean, it isn't perfect but if you aren't intent on exact numerical accuracy (Says this, then remembers your username) then it should be darn well close enough.

"Mathmuse wrote:
But the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook has said nothing about NPCs. The Bestiary does not explain the system for constructing NPCs, beyond the Creature Adjustments section on pages 22-23. And the Paizo Blog or some similar source said that GMs will be able to quickly throw together half-constructed NPCs as perfectly playable in their designated role.

FWIW, I believe I saw somewhere that they left NPC creation and other "Make your own campaign" stuff out of the Playtest because they were limited on time, had to prioritize, and the stuff absolutely needed for the actual Playtest modules had to come first, or something of that sort. It was given the impression that such guidelines will very much be properly present in the final CRB. I don't mind this, as I don't have to learn one such system now and then a whole new one after the fll CRB comes ot with tweaked math and different options. XD


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

Heh yeah, i would totally sit down for a next session of a PF game where the GM just showed a NPC, of my class/race..., with cool power that i can never have, cause he is an NPC, so he gets the cool toys so he can play the boss encounter.

I would totally, 100%, do that /s :P.

I keep seeing this complaint and it continues to confuse me. I mean...we have literally seen zero NPCs that work like this (ie: have an Ancestry and class a PC could have, but special abilities they couldn't) in PF2. Indeed, the existence of Goblin Scuttle is a strong argument that they'll be avoiding such things in future.

Why in the world is everyone upset about something that doesn't seem to be happening?

If this does happen in the way people seem to be worried about, I'd be a bit upset myself...but there's every indication it won't (or not any more than it did in PF1, anyway)...so why all the drama about it?

because as far as we can tell the monster creation rules are 'just make something up within these arbitrary level gated bounds' which shatters consistency and verisimilitude into a million pieces while gleefully defecating on the heritage of DnD either PCs and NPCs follow the same rules... Or why have rules at all?

Liberty's Edge

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Mathmuse wrote:
Thank you, Deadmanwalking, for the correction about the +6 being +3 dex and +3 monster rather than +6 monster. (The melee line on the Goblin Warrior mentioned that dogslicer is agile and backstabber, but didn't mention finesse and goblin, probably because those were already incorporated into the numbers.) That makes the case more reasonable and supports your following comment about standard ways of adjusting NPC opponents.

Yeah, it's actually been stated as a blanket thing they do with level 0 opponents (and maybe a bit with Level 1 opponents), specifically to make them useful as minions for a little longer (ie: vs. level 2 or 3 characters). It's actually pretty

Mathmuse wrote:
In fact, I love the idea of NPC classes designed not as a weakness like PF1 Commoner and Warrior class but as a extension of the PC creation system that works better for constructing townsfolk and monsters and savages wilder than barbarians. We could have systems such as, "Level 0 usually has ability modifiers that sum to +5. Since a Goblin Warrior has inferior ability scores for its level (Str +0, Dex +3, Con +0, Int +0, Wis –1, Cha +1 sum to +3), it gains a +3 to hit." Unusual species could have their own private feats that appear in their Bestiary descriptions and don't need any other source.

I suspect they're more roles ala Starfinder's monster/NPC creation stuff than classes, but yeah, I'm betting we get guidelines like that.

Mathmuse wrote:

And thank you, Edge93 and Deadmanwalking, for the Goblin Scuttle correction, too.

I have run several adventures in Sandpoint and read the We Be Goblins module, so I would be sad if the colorful, wild, arson-loving, and suicidally crazy goblin culture disappeared to make way for civilized goblins.

Happy to be of assistance. And I think we'll have some of both. :)

Mathmuse wrote:

If I created my campaign material from scratch, I could ignore the optional system. But I use Paizo adventure paths. If they use the optional character creation rules, then I will use characters created by these rules.

And one of my favorite methods for creating a high-level NPC to add to a campaign is stealing an appropriate NPC from the NPC Codex or the Game Mastery Guide. They are usually a short a few levels, so I level them up to the desired level. This has a few annoying steps, such as deconstructing their skill bonuses back into ability bonuses, class skill bonuses, miscelaneous bonues, and skill ranks so that I don't exceed maximum skill ranks when I assign skill points. Nevertheless, characters I create from scratch end up too much like PCs that I like to play, rather than the villains or clueless townfolk or cowardly allies that the plot calls for, so this yields better NPCs. The optional systems means I will have to deconstruct those NPCs in order to rebuild them at a higher level.

I very much doubt that. I'm guessing that leveling them is at least as easy as leveling PCs once you have the guidelines to do so. Which they've explicitly mentioned as coming.

Such guidelines were left out of the playtest specifically to avoid custom monsters and NPCs throwing off the testing of other stuff (everyone fighting the same stuff gives better data). The folks at Paizo have said this very explicitly.

Mathmuse wrote:

Actually, if Doomsday Dawn and the Bestiary are good examples, the NPCs don't all have skills, ability modifiers, or alignments. I heard that the missing alignments in the Bestiary were a typo and I can deduce them from context. But in Affair at Sombrefell Hall, the friendly NPCs, Dr. Oscilar and his students, have only skills, sex, race, and alignment. They even lack a movement speed, though I can assume normal human speed. These are the characters that my wife called cardboard. She is playing an elf noble bard, a person whose life involves leading and inspiring other people, and she is trying to lead and inspire these half-constructed characters.

To keep true to the playtest material, I cannot fill in the missing details. PsychicPixel already accused me of making too many changes (spoiler-filled link). But the elf noble bard will have them making Athletics checks and Recall Knowledge actions on her behalf.

Only Doomsday Dawn does that, and as you note I don't think that's indicative of the actual rules.

Mathmuse wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer makes a good argument above that the fault is in Doomsday Dawn rather than in Pathfinder 2nd Edition. But the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook has said nothing about NPCs. The Bestiary does not explain the system for constructing NPCs, beyond the Creature Adjustments section on pages 22-23. And the Paizo Blog or some similar source said that GMs will be able to quickly throw together half-constructed NPCs as perfectly playable in their designated role. I must report that I find such NPCs to be a pain. I understand Paizo using unstatted or half-constructed NPCs to save room in a module, since modules never have room to spare, but I prefer that Paizo thinks of this as a sad necessity rather a happy option.

As I note above, they absolutely intend to have monster/NPC creation stuff in the final Bestiary. It was left out of the playtest very intentionally, but for specific testing purposes rather than because they're not gonna have such rules available.

Rob Godfrey wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

Heh yeah, i would totally sit down for a next session of a PF game where the GM just showed a NPC, of my class/race..., with cool power that i can never have, cause he is an NPC, so he gets the cool toys so he can play the boss encounter.

I would totally, 100%, do that /s :P.

I keep seeing this complaint and it continues to confuse me. I mean...we have literally seen zero NPCs that work like this (ie: have an Ancestry and class a PC could have, but special abilities they couldn't) in PF2. Indeed, the existence of Goblin Scuttle is a strong argument that they'll be avoiding such things in future.

Why in the world is everyone upset about something that doesn't seem to be happening?

If this does happen in the way people seem to be worried about, I'd be a bit upset myself...but there's every indication it won't (or not any more than it did in PF1, anyway)...so why all the drama about it?

because as far as we can tell the monster creation rules are 'just make something up within these arbitrary level gated bounds' which shatters consistency and verisimilitude into a million pieces while gleefully defecating on the heritage of DnD either PCs and NPCs follow the same rules... Or why have rules at all?

Uh...firstly, you have just exactly described the PF1 monster creation rules (ie: fill in whatever stats you need to meet CR guidelines). Secondly, as I note above, they've made it pretty clear that there will be an actual monster creation system in PF2, they just left it out of the playtest so as not to have testing different things contaminate each other.


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Edge93 wrote:
Okay, so I know you are putting this description forth as something that shouldn't happen, but... this actually sounds really cool. Like, using a combination of social abilities, knowledge, and experience to make a grand and influential entrance into a room while specifically watching the crowd with the purpose of figuring out who the major players in a crowd might be, that is to say anyone who isn't quite so impressed with your flashy entrance. That actually sounds like a really cool use of roleplaying abilities and something an actual spy or agent or con artist or other socially-experienced operator might do.

I honestly like it as an ability as well. My concern with it is that, due to the tight range of save values, its giving you an indication of their level more than any other trait. You aren't finding easy marks, you're finding people by their level. It's also the sort of thing I don't believe is intended and may not survive the playtest.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
because as far as we can tell the monster creation rules are 'just make something up within these arbitrary level gated bounds' which shatters consistency and verisimilitude into a million pieces while gleefully defecating on the heritage of DnD either PCs and NPCs follow the same rules... Or why have rules at all?

Defecating on the heritage of DnD the same way that the 2nd edition human bandits, knights, berserker, etc. did?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Nightwhisper wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
because as far as we can tell the monster creation rules are 'just make something up within these arbitrary level gated bounds' which shatters consistency and verisimilitude into a million pieces while gleefully defecating on the heritage of DnD either PCs and NPCs follow the same rules... Or why have rules at all?
Defecating on the heritage of DnD the same way that the 2nd edition human bandits, knights, berserker, etc. did?

No, because those came out as fixed stat blocks, if you wanted something else you stated out a PC of the appropriate level. It may be slightly hypocritical, but at least it was consistent, this isn't.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
because as far as we can tell the monster creation rules are 'just make something up within these arbitrary level gated bounds' which shatters consistency and verisimilitude into a million pieces while gleefully defecating on the heritage of DnD either PCs and NPCs follow the same rules... Or why have rules at all?

No, those are the PF1 monster creation rules.

I’m not kidding, pick them up.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

Heh yeah, i would totally sit down for a next session of a PF game where the GM just showed a NPC, of my class/race..., with cool power that i can never have, cause he is an NPC, so he gets the cool toys so he can play the boss encounter.

I would totally, 100%, do that /s :P.

I keep seeing this complaint and it continues to confuse me. I mean...we have literally seen zero NPCs that work like this (ie: have an Ancestry and class a PC could have, but special abilities they couldn't) in PF2. Indeed, the existence of Goblin Scuttle is a strong argument that they'll be avoiding such things in future.

Why in the world is everyone upset about something that doesn't seem to be happening?

If this does happen in the way people seem to be worried about, I'd be a bit upset myself...but there's every indication it won't (or not any more than it did in PF1, anyway)...so why all the drama about it?

Because it happens a lot in Starfinder.

Silver Crusade

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Ediwir wrote:

No, those are the PF1 monster creation rules.

I’m not kidding, pick them up.

Comparing Pathfinder's to Starfinder's the Patherfinder ones feel like they have an actual framework and advancement. Starfinder's felt too arbitrary and "just randomly point somewhere on the page". PC and NPC/Monster creation and advancement felt close enough that they synced well, the rules for them being "different" was as different as a one player taking levels of Sorcerer and another taking levels of Barbarian and advancing as such.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, what's the advantage of the "actual framework and advancement" beyond that warm fuzzy feeling that all ducks are in their rows?


Rob Godfrey wrote:
Nightwhisper wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
because as far as we can tell the monster creation rules are 'just make something up within these arbitrary level gated bounds' which shatters consistency and verisimilitude into a million pieces while gleefully defecating on the heritage of DnD either PCs and NPCs follow the same rules... Or why have rules at all?
Defecating on the heritage of DnD the same way that the 2nd edition human bandits, knights, berserker, etc. did?
No, because those came out as fixed stat blocks, if you wanted something else you stated out a PC of the appropriate level. It may be slightly hypocritical, but at least it was consistent, this isn't.

Yeah, I'm not seeing the difference. PF2 is also going to have fixed stat blocks for different kinds of NPCs, and the devs have said -even before the playtest bestiary was out- that you can make NPCs by following the PC rules.

Silver Crusade

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Gorbacz wrote:
So, what's the advantage of the "actual framework and advancement" beyond that warm fuzzy feeling that all ducks are in their rows?

That's it. "I like the way this feels" is why I like this, it plays better with everything in my head when it does.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
So, what's the advantage of the "actual framework and advancement" beyond that warm fuzzy feeling that all ducks are in their rows?

a consistent world with rules reflecting the in world reality, in a way that makes sense, with minimal ass pulls to make things work, and not having players asking to make characters using npc rules.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Uh...firstly, you have just exactly described the PF1 monster creation rules (ie: fill in whatever stats you need to meet CR guidelines).
Monster Creation wrote:

Once you have a creature’s type and CR determined, use Table: Monster Statistics by CR to determine its approximate statistics by CR. These values are a rough guideline only. You will notice that many of the existing monsters do not follow these guidelines exactly. Most monsters excel in one of these areas, usually in the amount of damage dealt, but lag in one or two other areas to help balance them out...

...determine how many skill ranks your creature has based on its type and Hit Dice..

PF1 monsters always follow a mixture of "made up numbers to keep things balanced" (eg, Too easy to hit? Give it some Natural Armor!) and numbers that follow a fixed pattern (eg, Touch AC of a Huge creature is going to be low unless you give it unusually high Dexterity, which will also modify regular AC and Stealth and Reflex save and so on).

Silver Crusade

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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
So, what's the advantage of the "actual framework and advancement" beyond that warm fuzzy feeling that all ducks are in their rows?
a consistent world with rules reflecting the in world reality, in a way that makes sense, with minimal ass pulls to make things work, and not having players asking to make characters using npc rules.

*consistency* is no value in itself.

Having rules reflect the world reality would be fine if Pathfinder was a fantasy world simulator, but it isn't. It's a ruleset for telling stories, and as such, the less these stories are constrained by some arbitrary limitations, the better. And any and all limitations should serve only one goal, namely making the game more fun.

Poking yourself in the eye while spending 1 hours statting one Antipaladin 13 NPC that will die in 2 rounds and then agonizing over whether you didn't forget about some obscure ability that NPC got at level 11 is not fun. Well, unless you're a jobless masochist.

Ass pulls are virtually what RPGs are about, unless the ability to wing things in order to make the game fun, rules be damned, is lost upon you.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Uh...firstly, you have just exactly described the PF1 monster creation rules (ie: fill in whatever stats you need to meet CR guidelines).
Monster Creation wrote:

Once you have a creature’s type and CR determined, use Table: Monster Statistics by CR to determine its approximate statistics by CR. These values are a rough guideline only. You will notice that many of the existing monsters do not follow these guidelines exactly. Most monsters excel in one of these areas, usually in the amount of damage dealt, but lag in one or two other areas to help balance them out...

...determine how many skill ranks your creature has based on its type and Hit Dice..

PF1 monsters always follow a mixture of "made up numbers to keep things balanced" (eg, Too easy to hit? Give it some Natural Armor!) and numbers that follow a fixed pattern (eg, Touch AC of a Huge creature is going to be low unless you give it unusually high Dexterity, which will also modify regular AC and Stealth and Reflex save and so on).

That still feels pretty true now. It's not as immediately evident, due to stuff like touch AC being closer to regular AC, but generally your bigger, slower, and more heavily armored foes have lower touch ACs, while ghosts and elementals have the same AC and touch AC. Dragons have really good saves across the board, etc.


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Gorbacz wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
So, what's the advantage of the "actual framework and advancement" beyond that warm fuzzy feeling that all ducks are in their rows?
a consistent world with rules reflecting the in world reality, in a way that makes sense, with minimal ass pulls to make things work, and not having players asking to make characters using npc rules.

*consistency* is no value in itself.

Having rules reflect the world reality would be fine if Pathfinder was a fantasy world simulator, but it isn't. It's a ruleset for telling stories, and as such, the less these stories are constrained by some arbitrary limitations, the better. And any and all limitations should serve only one goal, namely making the game more fun.

Poking yourself in the eye while spending 1 hours statting one Antipaladin 13 NPC that will die in 2 rounds and then agonizing over whether you didn't forget about some obscure ability that NPC got at level 11 is not fun. Well, unless you're a jobless masochist.

Ass pulls are virtually what RPGs are about, unless the ability to wing things in order to make the game fun, rules be damned, is lost upon you.

I don't find asspulls fun. This is why I don't like FATE, Numenera, Fudge etc.

Scarab Sages

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Gorbacz wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
So, what's the advantage of the "actual framework and advancement" beyond that warm fuzzy feeling that all ducks are in their rows?
a consistent world with rules reflecting the in world reality, in a way that makes sense, with minimal ass pulls to make things work, and not having players asking to make characters using npc rules.

*consistency* is no value in itself.

Having rules reflect the world reality would be fine if Pathfinder was a fantasy world simulator, but it isn't. It's a ruleset for telling stories, and as such, the less these stories are constrained by some arbitrary limitations, the better. And any and all limitations should serve only one goal, namely making the game more fun.

Poking yourself in the eye while spending 1 hours statting one Antipaladin 13 NPC that will die in 2 rounds and then agonizing over whether you didn't forget about some obscure ability that NPC got at level 11 is not fun. Well, unless you're a jobless masochist.

Ass pulls are virtually what RPGs are about, unless the ability to wing things in order to make the game fun, rules be damned, is lost upon you.

If consistency has no value then we dont need rules at all. That's what rules give us, that's all they give us over straight narrative.

Liberty's Edge

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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
So, what's the advantage of the "actual framework and advancement" beyond that warm fuzzy feeling that all ducks are in their rows?
a consistent world with rules reflecting the in world reality, in a way that makes sense, with minimal ass pulls to make things work, and not having players asking to make characters using npc rules.

I love consistent worlds. Indeed, my obsession with them is probably not entirely healthy, and I have stopped consuming works of fiction entirely when they became inconsistent (I will never forgive the Flash TV show's time travel stuff. Never.).

I see absolutely no way in which there being different creation rules that are used for many (but not all) NPCs is any more damaging to world consistency than there being NPC Classes (Warrior, Expert, and so on) in PF1. The 'NPC Classes' of PF2 are more mechanically robust, but there's no fundamental difference in terms of world consistency.

Really, the idea of NPCs having unduplicatable abilities is something I'm totally against...but we've seen no Human NPCs with abilities a PC of the same Class could not possess, for example. Nor any other similar problems. This is not an issue in the playtest rules as they stand, and indications are that it is something they are striving to avoid.

Add in that you can make NPCs with the PC creation rules and I just don't see the problem here.

Matthew Downie wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Uh...firstly, you have just exactly described the PF1 monster creation rules (ie: fill in whatever stats you need to meet CR guidelines).
Monster Creation wrote:

Once you have a creature’s type and CR determined, use Table: Monster Statistics by CR to determine its approximate statistics by CR. These values are a rough guideline only. You will notice that many of the existing monsters do not follow these guidelines exactly. Most monsters excel in one of these areas, usually in the amount of damage dealt, but lag in one or two other areas to help balance them out...

...determine how many skill ranks your creature has based on its type and Hit Dice..

PF1 monsters always follow a mixture of "made up numbers to keep things balanced" (eg, Too easy to hit? Give it some Natural Armor!) and numbers that follow a fixed pattern (eg, Touch AC of a Huge creature is going to be low unless you give it unusually high Dexterity, which will also modify regular AC and Stealth and Reflex save and so on).

I'm not entirely sure where you're going with this. I mean, yes, there are certain commonalities among creatures in PF1...but that's true in PF2 as well. And not really a result of the monster creation rules, at least in the case of PF1, but more of those designing monsters working to make that true almost in spite of the rules.


Angel Hunter D wrote:
If consistency has no value then we dont need rules at all. That's what rules give us, that's all they give us over straight narrative.

Fundamentally I disagree, to me the purpose of the rules in a cooperative storytelling game like this is to resolve disagreements about what happens when there are conflicting visions. In cases where everybody at the table agrees on a thing, they should go with that thing even if the rules say otherwise. Rules are a tool to guide the story, not the constraints of the experience.


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Helmic wrote:
My only real complaint is that the book doesn't do enough to really explain rarity, leaving it up to the GM to realize that the uncommon spells and items just so happen to have certain implications that might make certain kinds of stories unfeasible. If a GM is inexperienced, they're not going to know what they should be thinking about before answering yes or no to a player. If it is indeed supposed to highlight potentially iffy stuff, why is that same rarity system then used to differentiate powers and spells exclusive to certain classes, feats, or class options? How is a new GM supposed to be able to tell those two groups apart if they don't already have the rulebook memorized by heart?

PossibleCabbage hit upon this already, but that's mostly just a result of it being a playtest. They want less variation, and have more limited space. Paizo has made the intentions much clearer in various blog and forum posts, and Jason has noted the rulebook wasn't as clear on this as they'd like (possibly owing to trying to do too much with rarity) and they are working on clearing it up in the final rulebook.

Quote:

*consistency* is no value in itself.

Having rules reflect the world reality would be fine if Pathfinder was a fantasy world simulator, but it isn't. It's a ruleset for telling stories, and as such, the less these stories are constrained by some arbitrary limitations, the better. And any and all limitations should serve only one goal, namely making the game more fun.

Poking yourself in the eye while spending 1 hours statting one Antipaladin 13 NPC that will die in 2 rounds and then agonizing over whether you didn't forget about some obscure ability that NPC got at level 11 is not fun. Well, unless you're a jobless masochist.

Ass pulls are virtually what RPGs are about, unless the ability to wing things in order to make the game fun, rules be damned, is lost upon you.

I don't think this is quite right. Consistency only matters in so far as it facilitates fun, but some people find consistency fun. The big problem, IME, is that people expect consistency when looking at things that aren't equivalent. Not just different in their role for the game, but the lives they led.

An obvious example of this is in how monsters and PCs are built. Hopefully, most folks can get why a person of flesh and blood wouldn't have access to the same abilities of a demon forged from the sins of mortals. (Some people still don't get this, which is weird, but to each their own.)

What people seem to get hung up on is an assumption that humanoid NPCs should follow the same build rules as PCs. And that might largely be true, when you are comparing "adventure" oriented NPCs. A mercenary who spent their life doing violent jobs. A fanatic of an evil deity who kills anyone in their way to unlocking ancient secrets. A necromancer who has to keep his guard up in case a creation turns on them.

All of these folks have led lives somewhat comparable to a PC, and their skill sets should reflect it. And with the exception of equipment, humanoid NPCs DO follow these rules in the playtest and bestiary.

What doesn't track is that a blacksmith who has never actually been in a fight needs to follow the same rules. They didn't live the life of an adventurer, so why should their stats reflect this?

PF1 tried to have its cake and eat it too by creating a system which was supposed to be robust enough to represent both adventurers and normal folks. They did by creating NPC classes, feats like skill focus which weren't consideration to (most) PCs, an overly fiddly skill system, and multiclassing that most just made characters worse. In other words, they bloated the system to allow for building characters who lacked proper adventuring skills but could be really good at mundane jobs. They also made it so you can buff your boss cleric's HP by giving them kind of pointless fighter levels, or give your fighter rogue levels to keep them from getting to the good fighter stuff.

And despite that, you STILL ran into problems. BAB, HP, and saves still went up if you wanted skill modifiers beyond a certain point. Which meant if you wove enough baskets you could survive falls from greater heights and became better at fencing. And stories rarely reflected that fact: how often do the mid level NPCs actually participate when monsters show up to menace them?

PF2 seems to be giving up that particular ghost. It says: Hey, this has always been an adventuring game. Player characters are adventurers. Their rules reflect this. If someone isn't an adventurer, give them stats based around what it makes sense for them to have, not around being an adventurer. Give your old master craftsman 10th level crafting and 1st level hit points if that makes sense for who he is.

This actually much more consistent from a narrative and mechanical perspective. It just requires giving up a faulty assumption about how the game world works.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'm not entirely sure where you're going with this. I mean, yes, there are certain commonalities among creatures in PF1...but that's true in PF2 as well. And not really a result of the monster creation rules, at least in the case of PF1, but more of those designing monsters working to make that true almost in spite of the rules.

The PF1 monsters don't just have commonalities, they have formulae. Why does that creature have +14 Stealth? Size bonus + Dex bonus + number of skill ranks - ACP. The number of skill ranks available are derived from the HD and Int bonus of the creature. If they want it to be higher, they'll probably use one the specified number of available feats for Skill Focus.

The base stats and number of HD and natural armor bonus are made-up numbers. Pretty much everything else is derived from there, and this can lead to some very 'unbalanced' creatures.

"Fill in whatever stats you need to meet CR guidelines" is not an adequate description of this process.

Liberty's Edge

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'm not entirely sure where you're going with this. I mean, yes, there are certain commonalities among creatures in PF1...but that's true in PF2 as well. And not really a result of the monster creation rules, at least in the case of PF1, but more of those designing monsters working to make that true almost in spite of the rules.
The PF1 monsters don't just have commonalities, they have formulae. Why does that creature have +14 Stealth? Size bonus + Dex bonus + number of skill ranks - ACP. The number of skill ranks available are derived from the HD and Int bonus of the creature. If they want it to be higher, they'll probably use one the specified number of available feats for Skill Focus.

Only if all that gets them the modifier they want, if not they just add an arbitrary Racial Modifier to put it where they want it to be. It's really pretty common.

Matthew Downie wrote:
The base stats and number of HD and natural armor bonus are made-up numbers. Pretty much everything else is derived from there, and this can lead to some very 'unbalanced' creatures.

It's an illusion. Many, if not most, monsters get arbitrary bonuses to at least something, just listed as Natural Armor, Racial Modifiers, or special and entirely arbitrary bonuses like Nymphs getting Cha to AC. Those that don't have such things only don't because the 'formula' happened to leave them with numbers that matched the CR they were intended for, not because they wouldn't get such bonuses added if the math wasn't right.

And I'm not making this up, nor is this merely my opinion. This is what the people at Paizo say about how the system works and, well, they'd know.

Matthew Downie wrote:
"Fill in whatever stats you need to meet CR guidelines" is not an adequate description of this process.

Technically, it's more like the last step of the process...but the difference gets a bit academic if the process is 'Use these rules, then fudge the numbers you've gotten with arbitrary bonuses and penalties until they fit the chart.' Which is exactly what the PF1 process is on monster combat stats.

I don't think that's meaningfully much different from 'just make something up within arbitrary level gated bounds'.

Also, I don't think that's quite how PF2 NPC/Monster Creation is gonna work, but that's a somewhat separate issue.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

You're right, Matthew, the process is actually many more steps and complications just to arrive at the same point as what you describe, and I cannot possibly overstate how ecstatic I am that PF2e may have a system that can actually be used by an amateur designer in a reasonable amount of time.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
It's an illusion.

Thing is, it's really not.

Disclosure: I have long ago given up on trying to vote/influence the "monster/NPC stats as PC stats" argument on the basis that the overall power/math level eclipses every other concern/complaint/preference I have.

That said, the argument you make - while a decent one - ignores that what you describe is the exception. Yes, most monsters have several bonuses that exist to justify their uniqueness. But most stats on most monsters actually do follow the formula. None of us expect - or even want - zero deviation from PC stats. Adding a natural armor bonus or exception Strength score, or a saving throw doesn't change that the vast majority of the statblock is rational. That most of the monster is consistent, with hit dice influencing so much else, gives the feel of coherence. So while the occasional monster has two or three bonus feats, virtually every other one in the book will have precisely as many as it should, in the order they must, and that... is no illusion.


I read somewhere about how many thousands of times the average professional basketball player has dribbled a ball before he or she played professionally, and that even when you took out the time they dribbled as part of games, they still had thousands of dribbles left.

How does that affect PC's? It takes a lot of time to do that dribbling, and when you are running around dungeons or learning magic or practicing with weapons, you don't have time to do the dribbling.

So how come my goblin wizard can't do that thing that NPC goblins can? Because the time you spent learning how to cast spells was time those NPC goblins spent practicing scuttling. Now your goblin sorcerer has a legit beef, since as far as I can tell, sorcerers have time to kill.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Helmic wrote:
The best GM is the one who's currently doing all this extra work to run a game for you.

Yep.

Liberty's Edge

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Anguish wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
It's an illusion.

Thing is, it's really not.

Disclosure: I have long ago given up on trying to vote/influence the "monster/NPC stats as PC stats" argument on the basis that the overall power/math level eclipses every other concern/complaint/preference I have.

That said, the argument you make - while a decent one - ignores that what you describe is the exception. Yes, most monsters have several bonuses that exist to justify their uniqueness. But most stats on most monsters actually do follow the formula. None of us expect - or even want - zero deviation from PC stats. Adding a natural armor bonus or exception Strength score, or a saving throw doesn't change that the vast majority of the statblock is rational. That most of the monster is consistent, with hit dice influencing so much else, gives the feel of coherence. So while the occasional monster has two or three bonus feats, virtually every other one in the book will have precisely as many as it should, in the order they must, and that... is no illusion.

You seem to misunderstand what I'm saying:

It's not an illusion because the formula is never followed, it's an illusion because the formula is followed only when it results in the correct numbers for the CR. Whenever the formula is not sufficient to result in those numbers tweaks are made. Which means the formula and any reliance on it, is an illusion. It is always and completely subordinate to the CR math. The CR math is what is actually followed when the two come into conflict. Always. Making the HD based stuff an illusion (well, except for Skills...but that's because there are no CR guidelines for Skills, which is terrible).

And it seems clear that there will be at least as much consistency in PF2 as there is in PF1 (indeed, I suspect there will be more). It's tied into level rather than HD (since HD won't exist)...but I remain unconvinced that's a major issue in any way.

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