Can Someone Explain What's Going On?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Before the PF2E announcement, I was generally in the camp of folks who wanted a 1.5 style minor revision. Since the playtest I have come to see the merits of a greater revision.

Why?

Well, say prior to the playtest, if you polled a ton of folks who were actively playing PF at the time (or only recently went away from the game), some of those folks would say no to ANY revision, but I think most of them would see the merit of a 1.5. However, if you were to ask them WHAT A 1.5 REVISION actually entails, I don't think you would get absolutely any agreement.

Just look at the topics endlessly debated in PF 1E

Caster-Martial Discrepancy
Alignment
Setting versus Setting neutral
Vancian vs other systems
Role of GM
Paladins
High Level Play
Magic

etc

some people may only see revisions to a couple or even none of those things as necessary. Some people may agree there are problems with these specific areas, but then have WIDELY different ideas of how to fix them or what degree of change is needed. Caster-Martial discrepancy is a great one to point out. I think most folks acknowledge an issue here, but some don't find it significant, and some consider it a plus. Other folks find it a major problem and want to nerf spell casters, while other folks find it a problem and think it requires a major buff to martials. Any decision you make on how to address these changes is going to alienate some core group of the existing audience, while at the same time losing the folks who want NO CHANGES IN ANYTHING.

So really, any revision at all is going to cause problems with your existing customer base. You might as well go for broke and do a more substantial edition change, and hope that any loss of existing consumers is made up by bringing back former players and attracting new players, either from 5E or folks who are completely new to the game.


Souphin wrote:
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
The proof will be in if it sells. My money's on it wont.
Of all of the varied, thoughtful, and intelligent viewpoints I've seen from every side of the debates on this forum, wishing ill on Paizo like this is the one position that I truly cannot comprehend.

When I say something like this I mean the opposite, I hope that Piazo hears what I am hearing from people in the USA and around the world and how they are saying they are going to spend their money.

Why? In general, even if we do not play any version of PF most of us agree that a strong Paizo and an excellent game from them will make the hobby better in the long run.

MDC

I hear you and I like paizo.

But I feel too much that the playtest/pf2nd is riding too much on the coattails of pathfinder 1st and paizo is making a product that the fans have voiced disappointment of hoping the fans will buy it anyway.

I think you are saying that PF 1 fans are not as happy as you would like to see and thus many of them IYO will not buy the product?

Is that correct? Or am I misinterpreting your POV?

If so I tend to agree as 35+ groups now I know of did not have the experience that quite a few positive posters here on the test forums have had. And thus have made pans for the future. But a few will look at the product and make a decision instead of just buying it because it is a Paizo product. Then again this trend has been forming more and more since about 2014 in many groups.
MDC


Ryan Freire wrote:
Souphin wrote:
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
The proof will be in if it sells. My money's on it wont.
Of all of the varied, thoughtful, and intelligent viewpoints I've seen from every side of the debates on this forum, wishing ill on Paizo like this is the one position that I truly cannot comprehend.

When I say something like this I mean the opposite, I hope that Piazo hears what I am hearing from people in the USA and around the world and how they are saying they are going to spend their money.

Why? In general, even if we do not play any version of PF most of us agree that a strong Paizo and an excellent game from them will make the hobby better in the long run.

MDC

I hear you and I like paizo.

But I feel too much that the playtest/pf2nd is riding too much on the coattails of pathfinder 1st and paizo is making a product that the fans have voiced disappointment of hoping the fans will buy it anyway.
Making a prediction of failure isn't wishing ill. I was set to give it a go, but frankly the erosion of alignment and goblins as a core race are a step too far for my tastes and the game itself doesn't seem more fun than 1e. On top of this its going head first into a version of d+d that is doing quite well, not one that flopped on its face.

Thanks for explaining a bit more.

I agree quite a few major pieces of the play-test PF2 B1 was not received as I think the dev's thought they would be.
It took some groups I know a shot time to make a decision and some longer but in the end they all generally agreed on their thoughts on the rules.

MDC


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gwynfrid wrote:
Go4TheEyesBoo wrote:
Why do you assume "PF1.5" would have those things you don't want to deal with? The people clamoring for PF1.5 want exactly that: the removal of fiddly bits and broken things. It would be a system change, not PF1 with bandaids/mods. The only difference is that they want minimal addition of "new mechanics for the sake of new mechanics" or "needlessly limiting character options/flexibility". For instance, there's little reason to minimize character choices by locking people into "role boxes" of feats behind class gates. Or Resonance. Or "level bonus to everything". PF1.5, as people desire it, would have none (or less) of the things you complain about. It'd probably strap on most of the Unchained changes, simplify the grapple mechanic, fix the move/Full-Attack static combat issues by going to 3-action system, rework/rebalance some spells, fix multiclass progression issues, etc, etc. I don't know why you feel a "PF1.5" would be as fiddly as PF1. I know for a fact PF1 wasn't as fiddly as D&D 3.5. PF2, as currently proposed, feels the same as what happened when D&D went from 3.5 to 4E. Namely, in...

I don't think a simple cleanup, as you describe it, would be good enough to fix the problems with PF1. While PF1 is and remains a great game, its age shows, and things that were OK-ish 10 years ago are due for a fix. Namely:

- The game must be made much simpler, in order to be more attractive to prospective new players and would-be GMs. In particular, building a character must be a lot easier.
- The game must become much better balanced at high levels, in order to offer a full experience. It must also become much easier to play and to design adventures for at high levels.

The need for a simpler game is evidenced by 5e's success. It doesn't mean 5e is the only solution, but PF1 evolved too far on the side of complexity.

The need for a fix to high-level play can be shown very easily by checking...

IMHO and from past experience most of the reasons I and we have not just run high level adventures is do to the fact that they do not fit into the story we have going with out PC's.

For example:
High level adventure vs an AP: in the past we have adjusted the AP going forward and had am easy time where are just buying an adventure we might have to suddenly jump locations, introduce whole new plot lines, NPC's etc.

One of the main reasons we stopped buying adventures in the 80's was the fact they did not seem to fit how our PC's lived in our own game worlds but were suddenly thrust into someone else's idea of a game world.
So (generally) we just designed our own adventures and when a great adventure came along we highly adapted it to our game.
Or we decided to run a mini-campaign, in that the adventure was 3 parts and ran from levels 5-13 so we would just start at level 5 and end at level 13+ when the adventure stopped.

MDC


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Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

But a few will look at the product and make a decision instead of just buying it because it is a Paizo product. Then again this trend has been forming more and more since about 2014 in many groups.

MDC

I suspect this change you’ve noticed is a real thing (I wouldn’t know about Paizo sales specifically, but the 3PPs I know well enough to talk about this stuff have noticed a definite softening in the PF market over the last few years). I think a further clue is Paizo reduction in PF output and diversification into other product lines.

If I had to guess, I’d think that this change in the market was a big factor in the “make a new PF vs revise PF1” decision.


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MMCJawa wrote:

Before the PF2E announcement, I was generally in the camp of folks who wanted a 1.5 style minor revision. Since the playtest I have come to see the merits of a greater revision.

Why?

Well, say prior to the playtest, if you polled a ton of folks who were actively playing PF at the time (or only recently went away from the game), some of those folks would say no to ANY revision, but I think most of them would see the merit of a 1.5. However, if you were to ask them WHAT A 1.5 REVISION actually entails, I don't think you would get absolutely any agreement.

Just look at the topics endlessly debated in PF 1E

Caster-Martial Discrepancy
Alignment
Setting versus Setting neutral
Vancian vs other systems
Role of GM
Paladins
High Level Play
Magic

etc

some people may only see revisions to a couple or even none of those things as necessary. Some people may agree there are problems with these specific areas, but then have WIDELY different ideas of how to fix them or what degree of change is needed. Caster-Martial discrepancy is a great one to point out. I think most folks acknowledge an issue here, but some don't find it significant, and some consider it a plus. Other folks find it a major problem and want to nerf spell casters, while other folks find it a problem and think it requires a major buff to martials. Any decision you make on how to address these changes is going to alienate some core group of the existing audience, while at the same time losing the folks who want NO CHANGES IN ANYTHING.

So really, any revision at all is going to cause problems with your existing customer base. You might as well go for broke and do a more substantial edition change, and hope that any loss of existing consumers is made up by bringing back former players and attracting new players, either from 5E or folks who are completely new to the game.

Exactly this. Fundamentally, if you put ten people from ten different gaming groups in a room and ask what a hypothetical PF 1.5 should look like and what the top things to change/leave alone are, you will get ten different answers. Take one of them and use it, you have at least one other one that will say "you changed something that didn't need changing and broke the system!", and just lost a sale.

The obvious example is magic and caster/martial disparity. You hear that complaint a lot about how unfairly disadvantaged martials are. Yet, when the playtest dropped a nuclear nerfbomb on the casters... no martial players in my group went "yay!"

That's because no casters in my group are breaking the game or totally hoarding the spotlight. We're actually both playing largely support casters, favoring buffs, debuffs, heals, walls, and things like that. Most of that stuff has the effect of "make the martials better able to do their job", and nerfing my ability to buff the Fighter didn't make the Fighter happier. (Fighters themselves being really cool in the playtest did, though!)

So if you go ahead and listen to a group that feels overpowered casters are a problem needing fixing, you're also alienating my group where the "overpowered casters" are not a problem in the first place. Do you think that's going to make us buy the new edition, especially since if it's "1.5" we can likely adapt any APs we want to play back to 1.0?

If you keep backward compatability, you are shackled to some things that simply can't be changed. If you ditch it, people complain that you have a mostly similar revision that doesn't work with the old stuff "so you can sell us the same books again".

If someone can figure out how to make a 1.5 that doesn't alienate half the target market, that would be great. I suspect that's much harder than it initially sounds though, because while PF1 isn't perfect, it's quite good. Improving it without breaking what some people like won't be that easy.

It also doesn't give you the same option to draw in new people, or draw back people that got sick of it to go play 5e because it's got a more modern design instead. I think it's kind of a non-starter. If it turns out that's not the case, some 3pp could make it.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

But a few will look at the product and make a decision instead of just buying it because it is a Paizo product. Then again this trend has been forming more and more since about 2014 in many groups.

MDC

I suspect this change you’ve noticed is a real thing (I wouldn’t know about Paizo sales specifically, but the 3PPs I know well enough to talk about this stuff have noticed a definite softening in the PF market over the last few years). I think a further clue is Paizo reduction in PF output and diversification into other product lines.

If I had to guess, I’d think that this change in the market was a big factor in the “make a new PF vs revise PF1” decision.

In talking to people it was generally not do to the core system but generally; how much the material applied to their game, a seeming shift in play style focus as well as a few other factors more specific to their games.

In general a shift to a new system has not resulted in a change in their attitudes but again (very very important) the final game is not out yet.

MDC


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Tridus wrote:
If someone can figure out how to make a 1.5 that doesn't alienate half the target market, that would be great

It would be preferable to a 2E that alienates even more percent of the target market, I agree


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gwynfrid wrote:
- The game must be made much simpler, in order to be more attractive to prospective new players and would-be GMs. In particular, building a character must be a lot easier.

I honestly don't get this in the least. If someone wants an d&d type game with easier character creation, it already exists and anyone that desperately wanted that most likely is already playing that game. People, from my perspective, gravitated to pathfinder for the crunch and options: it took longer because you could cobble enough variable parts to make the character you imagined and that was better that a quick but cookie cutter character. IMO, far more customers will be lost than gained for each loss in character depth and option at the altar of simplicity.

Grand Lodge

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graystone wrote:
I honestly don't get this in the least. If someone wants an d&d type game with easier character creation, it already exists and anyone that desperately wanted that most likely is already playing that game.

So they would never jump to a different game for something new, and there are no new players coming in that could be attracted to a simpler Pathfinder rather than the other standby? So Pathfinder is supposed to continue on catering to a base that wants a more complicated game that is more difficult to get into?


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
graystone wrote:
I honestly don't get this in the least. If someone wants an d&d type game with easier character creation, it already exists and anyone that desperately wanted that most likely is already playing that game.
So they would never jump to a different game for something new, and there are no new players coming in that could be attracted to a simpler Pathfinder rather than the other standby?

Enough to make up for the loss of people that enjoyed options over simplicity? Not IMO. It's not enough for them to make a good game: they need to pull away more people from that other simpler game to make up for the losses and I don't see it. It's got to be hands down better than the other game because you've already invested in the other game and you have to overcome inertia: the last thing someone that wants a simple game is to learn another game system on the off chance it might be better.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
So Pathfinder is supposed to continue on catering to a base that wants a more complicated game that is more difficult to get into?

You mean the base that's paid the bills until now? Yes... Who do you see buying the game if not the old players? Why call it pathfinder is not for brand recognition? If they don't care about current players, then any old name will do as any that DOES know it will most likely think of an in depth character creation system. Anyone grabbing it and reading it and NOT finding that is likely to be disappointed.

Grand Lodge

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graystone wrote:

Enough to make up for the loss of people that enjoyed options over simplicity? Not IMO.

...

You mean the base that's paid the bills until now? Yes... Who do you see buying the game if not the old players?

What if those players are not paying the bills anymore? If Starfinder is outselling Pathfinder, what else can they do to turn that around? If your base is stagnant or shrinking, do you stick with it despite the bills no longer being paid? How do you combat the problem of complex, difficult to learn rules being a barrier to growing your base?

Maybe none of this is actually a problem. I'd love to think that the same people that have supported Paizo all this time can actually continue to viably pay the bills Paizo has to pay to keep things coming. But it doesn't seem like Paizo believes that is true.


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graystone wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
- The game must be made much simpler, in order to be more attractive to prospective new players and would-be GMs. In particular, building a character must be a lot easier.
I honestly don't get this in the least. If someone wants an d&d type game with easier character creation, it already exists and anyone that desperately wanted that most likely is already playing that game. People, from my perspective, gravitated to pathfinder for the crunch and options: it took longer because you could cobble enough variable parts to make the character you imagined and that was better that a quick but cookie cutter character. IMO, far more customers will be lost than gained for each loss in character depth and option at the altar of simplicity.

It looks like (and I think a dev has stated outright), they're trying to thread the needle between these two options and have both. The niche they're trying to go for is something simpler and easier to play than PF1, but still has the depth and options of PF1, which are lacking in D&D5. Whether they've succeeded on that is a different issue, and depends on the individual. I personally don't think so, at least with the playtest version. The final release? Who knows, it doesn't exist yet. I do think there is the base of a great game here, but it still needs a lot of work to perfect it. My broken record suggestion is for another round of testing before going to the final product.

There's the point that if they only appeal to their existing base and don't grow, then nothing has changed. They just sunk money and time into something that will keep the status quo. But alienating that base is problematic too, especially if they're not able to get enough new people to replace them (see WotC with D&D4). It's also a nasty way to treat their existing customer-base who have been so loyal. So really the only real option is to try to get the best of both worlds and both keep most of their players and get more new ones. It'll be tough, possibly impossible. But it's either that, or fade away. I have noticed a number of people who really like the playtest talking about how they don't play PF1, or at least don't anymore. So maybe they can draw some more people with the new edtion. But I don't think the expense of existing players is worth it. This is just anecdotes though.

D&D is a tough thing to take on, it's got name recognition (Stranger Things probably helped bring them back into the spotlight a bit). It's got celebrities like Vin Diesel supporting it. And it's got the highly popular Critical Role (which actually started from a Pathfinder Campaign that they converted over because they thought PF was too complicated for the format). Maybe the Kingmaker computer game might help with some recognition. Getting more streamers to use it would possibly help too, but it will be tough to get something as big as Critical Role. Also, I say we recruit the Rock to counter Vin Diesel. As it is, we have an action star gap!


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
graystone wrote:

Enough to make up for the loss of people that enjoyed options over simplicity? Not IMO.

...

You mean the base that's paid the bills until now? Yes... Who do you see buying the game if not the old players?

What if those players are not paying the bills anymore? If Starfinder is outselling Pathfinder, what else can they do to turn that around? If your base is stagnant or shrinking, do you stick with it despite the bills no longer being paid? How do you combat the problem of complex, difficult to learn rules being a barrier to growing your base?

Maybe none of this is actually a problem. I'd love to think that the same people that have supported Paizo all this time can actually continue to viably pay the bills Paizo has to pay to keep things coming. But it doesn't seem like Paizo believes that is true.

I think this is right.

I would much, much rather Paizo had stuck with PF1, but it’s pointless pretending there weren’t economic reasons making it nonviable, going forward (or so it seems, anyhow). I don’t have any insight into Paizo sales but have heard from 3PPs that sales in PF releases are declining - furthermore, as 5E booms, it becomes harder and harder for them to stick with PF support over switching to 5E.

It very much seems to me that something had to change. Granted, I’m reading between the lines, like anyone.


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Honestly... It seems like this is a fight Paizo just can't win. Sadly, PF's decline in sales and popularity is probably irreversible at this point. The 800 lb gorilla is back in town, and this time it didn't shoot itself in the foot. The Golem is no match.

It's quite possible that Paizo simply won't be able regain the ground they lost to WotC. In fact, it's quite possible that they will continue to lose ground. Unfortunately, downsizing seems inevitable to Paizo. It's just a question of "when" and "how much".

Then again, I could be completely wrong. Maybe PF2 will experience a surge in popularity and/or Paizo will find a way to expand their sources of revenue... But if I had to bet, I'd put my money on the gorilla.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Or they'll just downsize Pathfinder and expand Starfinder. SF seems to be doing great .


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It's possible... Although I'd question how "great" SF is doing.

Oh, well... Only time will tell.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MaUC wrote:

It's possible... Although I'd question how "great" SF is doing.

Oh, well... Only time will tell.

You don't need time. It's ahead of Pathfinder in sales, as far as Icv2 industry reports go.

The Exchange

Gorbacz wrote:
MaUC wrote:

It's possible... Although I'd question how "great" SF is doing.

Oh, well... Only time will tell.

You don't need time. It's ahead of Pathfinder in sales, as far as Icv2 industry reports go.

Not being a subscriber I don't have access to to the Icv2 data, though a quick google found this league table from Spring this year.

1 Dungeons & Dragons

2 Starfinder

3 Pathfinder

4 Star Wars

5 Genesys

This is old news of course and so limited that it really raises more questions than it answers. Is there better data or even better informed analysis available that sheds light on how well things are performing compared to expectations?

W

Silver Crusade

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Sure, you can go and ask any 3PP publisher why they are winding down their Pathfinder output. Or you can check the numbers of reviews of Paizo products on Amazon compared to WotC products released at similar time. Or you can even look at the number of reviews Paizo products get on Paizo website these days compared to few years ago. Review counts are quite a good metric, because the % of people who bother to review pnp RPG products is consistent. Or talk to any FLGS owner.

You'll never get concrete data out of Paizo because that's not how you run business, but the writing is on the wall. 5E kicked PF1's butt squarely while Starfinder is pretty much unopposed in the "Guardians of the Galaxy RPG" category.


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graystone wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
- The game must be made much simpler, in order to be more attractive to prospective new players and would-be GMs. In particular, building a character must be a lot easier.
I honestly don't get this in the least. If someone wants an d&d type game with easier character creation, it already exists and anyone that desperately wanted that most likely is already playing that game. People, from my perspective, gravitated to pathfinder for the crunch and options: it took longer because you could cobble enough variable parts to make the character you imagined and that was better that a quick but cookie cutter character. IMO, far more customers will be lost than gained for each loss in character depth and option at the altar of simplicity.

This gives me the feeling of a false dichotomy, at 2 different levels:

- The choice isn't between copying 5e's simplicity or sticking with PF1's complexity. There is plenty of design space in between.
- It's not a black-or-white choice between simplicity and depth, either: there are many tradeoffs to be made. The challenge the devs have undertaken is is to simplify while maintaining depth (and even increasing it, if possible). Game design generally, even beyond RPGs, is all about getting the most depth while keeping complexity as low as possible.

PF1 at the time of its CRB was deep, while reasonably complex. The APG made it somewhat more complex, and still deeper. Every book since then has increased complexity and depth, but with diminishing returns every time: Complexity increases linearly with more player options for classes, archetypes, class features, feats, traits, spells and magic items, but depth increases more and more slowly as the new options fill ever-narrower niches. The tradeoff between complexity and depth in the current state of the game is not as good as it used to be. This is one of the ways PF1 has grown a bit long in the tooth.

Now for PF2, the impression of the playtest is one of less depth, because the playtest book contains a more limited set of options than the CRB will. But we can guess, from the potential it shows, how deep the final game might be, and it looks pretty good to me:
- Each class looks like it will come with its own choice of career paths, on the model of the druid order. This covers a lot of the space of the old archetypes.
- The devs have indicated that combat styles will not be restricted to particular classes the way they were in the playtest. How this is to happen isn't clear yet, but there is no reason to doubt it will.
- One may argue that PF1 had a lot more multiclassing options, but this came at far too high a cost in terms of complexity, IMO. Among these countless variations, only a minority where good options, and taking a wrong one could do a lot of long term damage to a character. In contrast, PF2 has less options, but they're all viable, since they don't slow down the main class' progression.
- One area where PF2 has more depth is weapons, thanks to much better diversified and balanced weapon traits.
- Many PF1 classes had a lot of levels with no options on leveling up. This is another area of depth improvement in PF2.
- PF2's biggest depth gain, I think, is in-combat tactics, which can now be a lot more varied, thanks to the new action economy and the reduction in AOOs.
- Of course the CRB will come with less spells, classes and items than PF1 currently has, but this is just a matter of waiting for more books, not a design limitation. Besides, there were arguably too many of these things in PF1, after a decade of content creation.


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I know a lot of people don't think this but I think PF2 really does strike a good balance between PF1 and 5e.

What I love about PF1 over 5e isn't having a ridiculous number of choices, it's what I believe to be the depth of character customization, basically the number of areas you can effect your character's build.

5e just had far too little for me to really get into, especially martials.

PF1 is great, but I'm a little run down on the complexity and how long it takes to actually fully make characters, not just basic shells of necessary stats. Though I have gotten quite quick at it. But that is telling of another issue. For all of its choices, PF1 has SO MANY pre-determined choices. Especially if you choose certain combat styles. Ironically I feel casters have a lot more feat freedom than martials as spells work pretty well out of the box even without metamagic or spell focus.

Then PF2 comes along, and it has simplicity up there with 5e but without the held-back feeling I got from 5e, and PF2 has a great depth of character customization in my eyes, even more than in PF1.

Class feats give everyone something along the lines of Rogue Talents and Rage Powers and make every class feel different from every other class to me, and even allow for variation within the same class with multiple sub-styles or entirely different builds that don't follow any one path.

General feats feel like a WIP (As the Playtest as a whole is), but I like them, it feels like a good design for various perks, and some of what we have like Feather Step and Fast Recovery is a great start. These are the kind of feats that were almost universally overlooked in PF1 because they were competing for the same space as the feats that made you better at your specialties.

Skill feats are awesome, instead of pumping your main skills into oblivion and having that determine what your skill with that skill looked like (Basically you had the same abilities with your skill as you had at earlier levels but you've absolutely killed fail chances over time, with a few exceptions) you actually customize your skills, gaining new applications and abilities or upgrading things already there. This is one of my favorite choices as it makes a character's skill-based abilities feel a lot more in-depth and nuanced than just "What's your modifier?". These kinds of feats weren't so much overlooked in PF1 as they were practically non-existent I think. Unless I'm missing something big. Hellcat Stealth is the only feat I can think of in PF1 that fundamentally alters what you can do with a given skill.

Ancestry feats I love, being able to customize your ancestral abilities AND develop more powerful abilities/upgrade existing ones as you grow in power is something I really wanted. And unlike a lot of people I just wasn't bothered by the fact that PF2 ancestries don't start with all of the same abilities that their PF1 equivalents do. For the most part in PF1 I found racial traits to rarely be relevant past early levels, with some notable exceptions. In PF2, for the most part when I pick an ancestry feat I feel like it's going to actually matter.

So yeah, in the end PF2 has to me an even more in-depth character customization to me, especially as what I'm looking for is more the number of facets of your character you can customize rather than sheer number of choices, while also shedding a great deal of complexity and being VERY smooth to run. With a couple weeks of experience I found PF2 running smoother than PF1 almost ever did with 3-4 years of experience.

And of course the Playtest is pretty content-lite, which hampers the character customization slightly (Though even that isn't really felt until you try to make a bunch of characters of one class and realize there's only so many options), but that's a Playtest problem, not a PF2 problem.

Though one thing I REALLY want to see in the CRB is certain feats condensed to all but eliminate feat chains (Like making Brutish Shove automatically grant the effects of Improved Brutish Shove at a later level, or Counterspell granting Reflect Spell eventually, and similar examples to that). I think that will really help with character customization and is a much more elegant option than characters getting more feats than they do now, and will work nicely with the increased content of the CRB.

If there are a lot of people with similar opinion on the various games and similar experiences to me, I think PF2 will do quite swimmingly.


gwynfrid wrote:
graystone wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
- The game must be made much simpler, in order to be more attractive to prospective new players and would-be GMs. In particular, building a character must be a lot easier.
I honestly don't get this in the least. If someone wants an d&d type game with easier character creation, it already exists and anyone that desperately wanted that most likely is already playing that game. People, from my perspective, gravitated to pathfinder for the crunch and options: it took longer because you could cobble enough variable parts to make the character you imagined and that was better that a quick but cookie cutter character. IMO, far more customers will be lost than gained for each loss in character depth and option at the altar of simplicity.

This gives me the feeling of a false dichotomy, at 2 different levels:

- The choice isn't between copying 5e's simplicity or sticking with PF1's complexity. There is plenty of design space in between.
- It's not a black-or-white choice between simplicity and depth, either: there are many tradeoffs to be made. The challenge the devs have undertaken is is to simplify while maintaining depth (and even increasing it, if possible). Game design generally, even beyond RPGs, is all about getting the most depth while keeping complexity as low as possible.

PF1 at the time of its CRB was deep, while reasonably complex. The APG made it somewhat more complex, and still deeper. Every book since then has increased complexity and depth, but with diminishing returns every time: Complexity increases linearly with more player options for classes, archetypes, class features, feats, traits, spells and magic items, but depth increases more and more slowly as the new options fill ever-narrower niches. The tradeoff between complexity and depth in the current state of the game is not as good as it used to be. This is one of the ways PF1 has grown a bit long in the tooth.

Now for PF2, the impression of the playtest is one of less depth, because...

Yeah, basically all of this. Shorter than my own post, it is. XD


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Reasonable argument. Problem for at least me personally and I reckon good bit of the folks who loathe PF2 is that the pendulum swung way too far towards less depth to the point that we are stretching for it to qualify for the word. If you are casually familiar with videogames look at the diablo immortal fiasco as a comparison.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Fumbles_suck wrote:
Reasonable argument. Problem for at least me personally and I reckon good bit of the folks who loathe PF2 is that the pendulum swung way too far towards less depth to the point that we are stretching for it to qualify for the word. If you are casually familiar with videogames look at the diablo immortal fiasco as a comparison.

I'd say that is facetious. PF2 is has more depth at the table than PF1 does from level 1. It does have less depth before the table (character gen) but not because of its framework, but due to a lack of content.

At its core the levelling system of PF2 offers consistent character choices while some classes you would make hardly any in PF1. PF1 gives you way more to do with those current choices, because it has about 100 times more books out.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Fumbles_suck wrote:
Reasonable argument. Problem for at least me personally and I reckon good bit of the folks who loathe PF2 is that the pendulum swung way too far towards less depth to the point that we are stretching for it to qualify for the word. If you are casually familiar with videogames look at the diablo immortal fiasco as a comparison.

I'd say that is facetious. PF2 is has more depth at the table than PF1 does from level 1. It does have less depth before the table (character gen) but not because of its framework, but due to a lack of content.

At its core the levelling system of PF2 offers consistent character choices while some classes you would make hardly any in PF1. PF1 gives you way more to do with those current choices, because it has about 100 times more books out.

Yeah, that's about my take and touches on another thing I like, which is that your character's effectiveness is determined a lot more by the work you put in at the table than the work you put in before the session. May not be everyone's style but it sure as heck is mine.


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at level 1 yeah sure, it is well known issue that the low levels suck mechanically in the d20 system. The problem is that PF2 never gains any depth comparing level 20 and level 1 to any significant extent.

And I just disagree on the statement that PF2 has more depth at the table. Perhaps if you compare to some cookie cutter fighter build that's only purpose is to full attack and nothing else.

For the record PF1 is not a particularly deep game. It is on deep side of systems, but there are lot deeper systems than it and some achieve it with lot less complexity. PF2 just happens to be at the very low end of depth, I would say any storyteller system has more depth to it and that is just about as bare bones as a system can get while still being called a system reasonably.

As to the work before/during session. Imo it is supposed to be multiplication, your efforts beforehand, be that making a build or much more importantly understanding the underlying mechanics and how they interact is the base you work with and how good you are using what you have, be it with tactical choices, risk assesment or creativity multiplies that.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

In terms of "how many different near-optimal choices are there at any given time", it's pretty hard to argue PF1e is deeper than the playtest. That number hovered very near to "one" at all times past character creation in PF1e.


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MaxAstro wrote:
In terms of "how many different near-optimal choices are there at any given time", it's pretty hard to argue PF1e is deeper than the playtest. That number hovered very near to "one" at all times past character creation in PF1e.

One of the strengths of the Pathfinder system is that it's flexible enough that it's not required for players to make "near-optimal" choices at every turn.

The wriggle room that exists means that concepts that are definitely "suboptimal" (like most multiclassing choices), or are obviously "non-optimal" (I have a PFS character who, even at 6th level, hasn't rolled a die) are still viable.

Especially in a group of mature players who don't try to squeeze every last bit of optimisation out of a system.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Even if you are being creative PF1 heavily encourages being stupid good at one thing and then only doing that if you can. This is part of the levelling framework (hunting for more +1s to specific things) and the encounter framework (limited ability to mix and match actions during a turn.)

In PF1 my players never tried anything particularily interesting. Because hitting people was best 95% of the time. Meanwhile in PF2 my players are always looking for something interesting to do with their second or third actions (except the Monk I guess) and because of that they feel more liberated in making character choices that don't just improve the one thing their character is good at.


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The real measuremeant isn't near-optimal choices. It is how many meaningful choices you have and more so how meaningful they are. The potential differences between the two editions is colossal, if someone either chooses or is incapable of using that potential, that ain't on the system.


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Malk_Content wrote:

Even if you are being creative PF1 heavily encourages being stupid good at one thing and then only doing that if you can. This is part of the levelling framework (hunting for more +1s to specific things) and the encounter framework (limited ability to mix and match actions during a turn.)

In PF1 my players never tried anything particularily interesting. Because hitting people was best 95% of the time. Meanwhile in PF2 my players are always looking for something interesting to do with their second or third actions (except the Monk I guess) and because of that they feel more liberated in making character choices that don't just improve the one thing their character is good at.

Why not hunt for +s to improve your weak areas? Why not use all the bonuses to do something different or shore up an idea? WHY do you need to min max in PF1 and not PF2 with Crits having a bigger impact?

But then again, people have already said "If you aren't using your 2nd or 3rd actions optionally, you're doing it wrong" so what the heck do I know?

I'll let people get back to mathing out their spreadsheets.


MerlinCross wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

Even if you are being creative PF1 heavily encourages being stupid good at one thing and then only doing that if you can. This is part of the levelling framework (hunting for more +1s to specific things) and the encounter framework (limited ability to mix and match actions during a turn.)

In PF1 my players never tried anything particularily interesting. Because hitting people was best 95% of the time. Meanwhile in PF2 my players are always looking for something interesting to do with their second or third actions (except the Monk I guess) and because of that they feel more liberated in making character choices that don't just improve the one thing their character is good at.

Why not hunt for +s to improve your weak areas? Why not use all the bonuses to do something different or shore up an idea? WHY do you need to min max in PF1 and not PF2 with Crits having a bigger impact?

But then again, people have already said "If you aren't using your 2nd or 3rd actions optionally, you're doing it wrong" so what the heck do I know?

I'll let people get back to mathing out their spreadsheets.

Having a ton of +10s versus DC 30 is generally not going to be that helpful versus having a single +30 versus the same DC.


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Fumbles_suck wrote:
The real measuremeant isn't near-optimal choices. It is how many meaningful choices you have and more so how meaningful they are. The potential differences between the two editions is colossal, if someone either chooses or is incapable of using that potential, that ain't on the system.

Yeah, meaningful choices is the thing for me. And the Playtest is lacking in that regard. Quite often, there either is one feat at a given level that you absolutely must have to be functional in what you're trying to do, or they're all equally situational or useless. Neither are real choices. Skill feats are a big offender here. They're a great idea. But most are just so situational that I rarely used any of them during my time with the playtest. The rogue feels awesome with all of those skill feats (and in fact is a pretty good class in the Playtest, one of the biggest successes I think), but I spent a whole lot of time picking them, and in the end I don't think I used any of them. Maybe I used one, once, I can't recall exactly. (This was part 6, so level 14 and 14 skill feats). I think classes should probably get back some more core features, moving those 'must have' class feats to being something everyone of the class gets, and then use class feats for customization, with useful options, not things that will very rarely come up. One example off the top of my head is Barbarian Totem powers. At the level those come in, there really isn't a choice, you just take the power for your totem. In which case, those should be automatic and you can pick something to customize instead.

And as far as near-optimal. The tight math of the playtest required you to be optimized just to be minimally competent. Any sub-optimal choice is punished harshly with an inability to succeed much at all, unless you're facing off against a bunch of below-level creatures. They are apparently changing this, but the details are unknown. Before I got the book I was planning on making some deliberately sub-optimal characters to see how they went. That plan went out the window due to the harsh math (well my Alchemist was well below optimal simply due to being an alchemist. That class needs a lot of work).

The combat style restrictions also felt like a massive loss of depth. The paladin is one of the worst offenders with being pushed into heavy armor. The barbarian is pushed towards two-handed weapons. Want to use two weapons? Well you can't effectively do it without multiclassing, and even then you're punished with reduced rage damage for using agile weapons. Rouges lacking a dual wielding option was a glaring omission, and apparently being fixed. But the way things are now, each option needs to be deliberately added to each class, while in PF1 you can take a general feat and have it regardless of class (although some were better than others).


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
What if those players are not paying the bills anymore?

I've already covered this: Unless you get more new players than lost old players you aren't gaining any ground but digging a bigger hole.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
It looks like (and I think a dev has stated outright), they're trying to thread the needle between these two options and have both. The niche they're trying to go for is something simpler and easier to play than PF1, but still has the depth and options of PF1, which are lacking in D&D5.

IMO this isn't what I was replying to... I replied to 'add simplicity [full stop].

As to "thread the needle", if they had taken the current game and simplified that I'd be all for it as that's got the best chance to keep the current players on board. When you make up a whole new game... you have to bet heavily on new players and, IMO, the game has to be that much better to grab those new players: they are walking a tightrope without a net.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Yeah, meaningful choices is the thing for me.

This has been the stumbling point. Options haven't seemed meaningful or interesting. Add to that that it even MORE important to min/max so you want that 18 in your main stat, you want your magic weapon as SOON as you can, you want a maxed tool for every skill...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
graystone wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
What if those players are not paying the bills anymore?
I've already covered this: Unless you get more new players than lost old players you aren't gaining any ground but digging a bigger hole.

So either way you're still in the hole? That's not a solution.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
graystone wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
What if those players are not paying the bills anymore?
I've already covered this: Unless you get more new players than lost old players you aren't gaining any ground but digging a bigger hole.
So either way you're still in the hole? That's not a solution.

The solution is to keep the most current players you can while attracting new players where possible. Removing the most popular draw of the game [rich, in depth character creation] just alienates current players AND sews confusion when you use the old name for a more simplified game.

Or are you suggesting that hemorrhaging more current players than new players you manage to woo away from other games is a winning strategy? I'm not seeing a reason for a mass exodus from other currently produced 'simplified' games. If you can see it, maybe you know something I don't. Pathfinder fits a particular niche and moving away from that to overlap other niches just blurs the lines IMO.

PS: It distil it down and circle back to that 'hole', if you find yourself in a hole, it's rarely a good solution to try to get out of it by digging further down to try to strike oil.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I fully expect Paizo knows a LOT more that we don’t. They could still be wrong, but none of us can say either way until it happens.


MerlinCross wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

Even if you are being creative PF1 heavily encourages being stupid good at one thing and then only doing that if you can. This is part of the levelling framework (hunting for more +1s to specific things) and the encounter framework (limited ability to mix and match actions during a turn.)

In PF1 my players never tried anything particularily interesting. Because hitting people was best 95% of the time. Meanwhile in PF2 my players are always looking for something interesting to do with their second or third actions (except the Monk I guess) and because of that they feel more liberated in making character choices that don't just improve the one thing their character is good at.

Why not hunt for +s to improve your weak areas? Why not use all the bonuses to do something different or shore up an idea? WHY do you need to min max in PF1 and not PF2 with Crits having a bigger impact?

But then again, people have already said "If you aren't using your 2nd or 3rd actions optionally, you're doing it wrong" so what the heck do I know?

I'll let people get back to mathing out their spreadsheets.

Are you simultaneously telling people that they should search out every little bonus they can find to expand the range of things their non-casters can do in PF1 and complaining about people analysing the statistics in the PF2 playtest material? Doesn't that seem just a little hypocritical even to you?

graystone wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
graystone wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
What if those players are not paying the bills anymore?
I've already covered this: Unless you get more new players than lost old players you aren't gaining any ground but digging a bigger hole.
So either way you're still in the hole? That's not a solution.
The solution is to keep the most current players you can while attracting new players where possible.

I'm sure there's a rich vein of people who would start PF1 any day now who haven't in the last decade. You just need to tell everyone where it is.


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graystone wrote:
Removing the most popular draw of the game [rich, in depth character creation] just alienates current players AND sews confusion when you use the old name for a more simplified game.

I agree with most of your post, just want to single out the second bit here. I'm not sure confusion of the same name for a dramatically different system is too big of a problem. It's pretty common for RPGs to get rather different systems over the years. D&D has had like 3 major system changes at least on par with the PF1 to PF2 changes. Third edition was very dramatically different than what came before, and was incredibly popular (in large part because a lot of the pre 3rd ed D&D design was absolutely horrible, and I say this as someone who played and liked it. It just wasn't a coherent, logical or well made system). 4th edition was also different, but unpopular. 5 is once again a whole new system and very popular again. So D&D was able to survive and even thrive with a dramatically changed system, so I suspect Pathfinder could too. Other games I know of with dramatic system changes include Shadowrun where 4th edition was quite a bit different than the first 3 and 5th was again another major change, and the World of Darkness games had a pretty dramatic change with the Revised Editions (they apparently were afraid to call them 3rd) and again with the New WoD (which wasn't as popular, but was also a new setting).

The real trick is to keep the essence of the game and expand the appeal. And it's a very dificult trick.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fumbles_suck wrote:


And I just disagree on the statement that PF2 has more depth at the table. Perhaps if you compare to some cookie cutter fighter build that's only purpose is to full attack and nothing else.

Oh you mean almost every single character that wants to swing a weapon in the game? Yeah that's where the depth is gone in PF1. Everyone just makes glass cannon alpha strike builds since it's the most effective way at fighting creatures above your level. So far in PF2 my group has had to actually think and plan out their turns when they aren't playing casters which has almost never happened in PF1. Isn't that the definition of depth? You have way more choices to make in combat as every class except for maybe wizard. Even then, with the new action system it feels like you can do more in a turn: like attack and cast a spell without having to take feats.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Lets be clear, PF1 punishes you for trying to do anything tactical in combat. Want to Combat Manouvre an enemy? Get attacked, be unlikely to succeed and not do very much anyway unless you have a several feats. Oh it also takes your turn. Everything but "stand and hit" is disincentivised.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
Lets be clear, PF1 punishes you for trying to do anything tactical in combat. Want to Combat Manouvre an enemy? Get attacked, be unlikely to succeed and not do very much anyway unless you have a several feats. Oh it also takes your turn. Everything but "stand and hit" is disincentivised.

This description bears no resemblence to any PF1 that I’ve ever witnessed where high-powered CMB builds (trip, disarm, overrun, grapple, etc) can totally wreck encounters.


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That's an example of PF1's interesting character-building decisions ("I'll make a Trip Specialist by taking these cool feats!") that don't necessarily lead to interesting combat decisions ("I'll trip the monster, like I always do for monsters that can be tripped, because I built my character to have a 85%+ success rate, and a single trip gives me more damage output than anything else I could do.")


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Dire Ursus wrote:
Fumbles_suck wrote:


And I just disagree on the statement that PF2 has more depth at the table. Perhaps if you compare to some cookie cutter fighter build that's only purpose is to full attack and nothing else.

Oh you mean almost every single character that wants to swing a weapon in the game? Yeah that's where the depth is gone in PF1. Everyone just makes glass cannon alpha strike builds since it's the most effective way at fighting creatures above your level. So far in PF2 my group has had to actually think and plan out their turns when they aren't playing casters which has almost never happened in PF1. Isn't that the definition of depth? You have way more choices to make in combat as every class except for maybe wizard. Even then, with the new action system it feels like you can do more in a turn: like attack and cast a spell without having to take feats.

Just because you play with people who aren't aware of possibilities or unwilling to put effort in isn't issue with the system.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
pjrogers wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Lets be clear, PF1 punishes you for trying to do anything tactical in combat. Want to Combat Manouvre an enemy? Get attacked, be unlikely to succeed and not do very much anyway unless you have a several feats. Oh it also takes your turn. Everything but "stand and hit" is disincentivised.
This description bears no resemblence to any PF1 that I’ve ever witnessed where high-powered CMB builds (trip, disarm, overrun, grapple, etc) can totally wreck encounters.

Yes if you invest in them. At which point you should probably always do them so it isn't really a tactical or deep choice. The point is that unless you invest in them (character side) they might as well not exist as options in PF1 because they are so punishing to even attempt. PF2 on the other hand doesn't actively punish you for thinking about the tactical options before you have invested the 2 feats to make them an option that doesn't actively hurt you.

Thus we get back to my point. PF1 has more depth of builds (because it has more content) but not much depth at the actual table. PF2 has less depth of builds (because it has 2/3rds of a books worth of options) but baseline more depth at the table, and those few builds it does have often expand with new tactical options altogether vs making previously terrible ones viable.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
Fumbles_suck wrote:


And I just disagree on the statement that PF2 has more depth at the table. Perhaps if you compare to some cookie cutter fighter build that's only purpose is to full attack and nothing else.

Oh you mean almost every single character that wants to swing a weapon in the game? Yeah that's where the depth is gone in PF1. Everyone just makes glass cannon alpha strike builds since it's the most effective way at fighting creatures above your level. So far in PF2 my group has had to actually think and plan out their turns when they aren't playing casters which has almost never happened in PF1. Isn't that the definition of depth? You have way more choices to make in combat as every class except for maybe wizard. Even then, with the new action system it feels like you can do more in a turn: like attack and cast a spell without having to take feats.

Pretty much this.

I had players in a non-Doomsday Dawn campaign actually use tactics such as try to pull enemies out of an area due to its well-seated position. The sad thing about the rules is that the player couldn't technically do this, but I call it a failure in the Grappling rules of PF2, since in PF1, you could move enemies with you while you had them grappled, but apparently can't do so anymore in PF2 due to lack of rules mentions.

That being said, I just think PC/GM creativity in PF1 is very lackluster, as we've had encounters in PF1 where players had to think outside the box to face certain enemies as well. A GM that realizes players just want to full attack because they apparently have nothing better to do should create encounters where doing so is either punishing or (initially) futile, and force players to not engage encounters the same way every damn time. I'm not saying players can't bash stuff in, I'm saying that it becomes repetitive and boring very quick unless the GM spices it up a little.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
That's an example of PF1's interesting character-building decisions ("I'll make a Trip Specialist by taking these cool feats!") that don't necessarily lead to interesting combat decisions ("I'll trip the monster, like I always do for monsters that can be tripped, because I built my character to have a 85%+ success rate, and a single trip gives me more damage output than anything else I could do.")

Please don't get me wrong, I think high-powered, hyper-optimized CMB builds are one of PF1e's biggest problems. I was just disagreeing with the post that seemed to indicate that Combat Maneuvers are not a viable option in PF1e. I think they're actually too viable.


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pjrogers wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
That's an example of PF1's interesting character-building decisions ("I'll make a Trip Specialist by taking these cool feats!") that don't necessarily lead to interesting combat decisions ("I'll trip the monster, like I always do for monsters that can be tripped, because I built my character to have a 85%+ success rate, and a single trip gives me more damage output than anything else I could do.")
Please don't get me wrong, I think high-powered, hyper-optimized CMB builds are one of PF1e's biggest problems. I was just disagreeing with the post that seemed to indicate that Combat Maneuvers are not a viable option in PF1e. I think they're actually too viable.

Correction: They're too viable if you explicitely choose to make it your character's gimmick. If you want to try and trip someone for kicks and didn't burn most of your feats on it the game waps with the rolled up newspaper for your hubris.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
I fully expect Paizo knows a LOT more that we don’t. They could still be wrong, but none of us can say either way until it happens.

heh YES

We know they made a huge change and we know they had repeatedly said that they would not be making that change.
We know that change has major implications throughout the system.

We have no idea what caused the tipping point for this change. We have good basis for guessing. But we don't know.

WE have zero information regarding how they are planning to reconcile the implications of this change. We don't even know that they have that all worked out. They probably don't have it all worked out as of today.

They know a lot more than we do. But I think one of the keys things that the collective "we" don't appreciate right now is just truly how much we don't know. Recently, we knew a lot. And it is easy to be comfortable thinking we know a lot. We don't.

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