Can Someone Explain What's Going On?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Bryon, that's one of the first things you've said that I agree with completely and unreservedly. Have my upvote.


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BryonD wrote:
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.

I'd be ALL for this statement if you weren't still off in other threads acting like you know absolutely everything about the market, how Paizo's decisions will effect them in the market, and what the majority of people supposedly want, all of which somehow matches up with what you personally like and dislike in the game (i.e. I have never once heard you say "I don't like x but I think it is good for the game in a broader sense. It's always been that things you dislike will ruin Paizo in the market and they have to change things you dislike to stand a chance, etc.)

But that said, I do still quite agree with the quoted statement by you. Pretty much entirely. As with MaxAstro, pretty much for the first time.


The Second Issue:

Lets say Paizo fixes Issue 1: PF 2.

A big issue (Issue 2) I am hearing from quite a few people (50+) is how during the play test their (or their friends or posts that they agree with) have gone missing or the threads have been deemed non-viable, not-important or non-productive.
Thus even if the game is perfect (Issue 1) they are going to stay with PF 1 (and shift where they spend their $ to non Piazo companies) or just go with another company for PF 1 material.

MDC


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The common theme in all of the PF1 build complaints has nothing to do with choice and everything to do with the fact you can make super specialized characters that break the game (while other less knowledgable people have a hard time doing the same). You don't fix that problem by limiting choice. You do it by fixing the abilities. Take charge builds, for instance, which rely on multiple feats that multiply damage exponentially. You CAN take all the abilities that double damage and lock each behind a class gate, so no class can ever get access to more than one of them (which appears to be the PF2 direction). Or you put in a rule that says anything that multiplies damage can't stack (or has diminishing returns), and let people build however they want to build. Fix the broken ability, not the diversity. If the hyper specialized super knowledgeable builds are only doing ~30% more damage than the rest of the party rather than 500%, the problem is solved.

Some of my favorite PF1 builds are mishmashes of a number of classes. And my intent was never to be gamebreaking. It was to do something interesting. Like when I recreating Kain from Final Fantasy with a charge/jump build. Or my spear Fighter AO expert than I dipped into 3 levels of Aberrant Sorcerer to gain Enlarge Person + Long Limbs. Or the Lich cold immune evoker that could drop cold-eschewed fireballs at it's feet. If I wanted to go "truly broken", I could just look up any number of "maximize your DC" wizard builds, or "power attack/weapon spec/etc/maximize-your-damage" fighter builds or pretty much any Summoner/Eidolon build, pre-nerf. But that was never my desire or intent. Maybe some people play with people whose only concern is finding the most optimal builds. I just want a competitive build that is interesting/unusual and plays fun. If you're going to back me into a corner of having to play the same cookie-cutter sword-and-board fighter every other Joe Sixpack is playing, picking from one of maybe 9 variants of build, I'm not gonna have a good time. For me, it's just that simple. Half the fun is the research and imagination that goes into the design/build process.


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I don't really see how PF2 is limiting choice, though, beyond just not being complete yet and not yet having a wealth of feats for specializing in grappling.

Like, it has more feats every time you level up, more combat relevant feats, more opportunities to pick feats for utility rather than raw killing power, and much reduced great taxes. Presumably it's not hard to make grappling feats for PF2 - but when you take them, they don't then hamstring your ability to sometimes not grapple. In PF1, if you took all the feats necessary to grapple, you had no feats left over to do much of anything else.

And that's why I love PF2's approach, it no longer mechanically rewards you for making the game unfun for yourself by over-specializing. Originally untrained getting +1/level meant that even if you try to really pump a skill up high, it didn't come at the expense of your basic motor functions. If the situation doesn't call for your sordid l specialization, you have tools still to participate.

And even the nature of specialization is more interesting in PF2. There's no more flat numerical bonuses, no removal of penalties, so to become specialized you instead gain more versatility in your specialization. You can invest as much or as little into that aspect of your character and they'll still function and be relevant (beyond the specific examples that brought up for tweaking, like Sneak Attacker being a bit s#++).

Hell, you could even have a universal Grappler archetype to specialize in. Turn any class into a luchador, spending your muscle wizard's class feats on new moves that combo into one another and enable you to magically pin people. It's so easy to just use Archetypes, or just reprinting the same feat in any class where it makes thematic sense.

And it does this without requiring you to knowingly gimp yourself. There's no systemically enforced Stormwind Fallacy where anyone trying to optimize and be effective is a Bad Roleplayer with boring character concepts. It's so easy to make a character that's actually good at what they do (barring the obvious balance issues with the Alchemist), so long you're not picking a 14 in STR and complaining you miss too much with melee weapons or otherwise actively avoid training in skills you know your character will need to do their job, you'll be fine. You're not going to do amazing if you don't actually use the feats you picked, and there's still some feat chains that should not exist, but it's liberating to be able to do more than one thing and still have all my numbers be where they should. It means we can have fun building what we want without having to fell guilty that we might be over-optimized for the group we're playing with.

PF1 just can't do the same thing, since everything has to be numerical somehow. If you split you focus, you diminish your ability to meet DC's. If you multiclass, it better be in service of some serious cheese because you're going to be a level behind forever in your main class. If you commit a little to something, anything less than devoting ask your resources to it is suboptimal.

So it's like, where are these builds in PF1 that could never exist in PF2? Ia that based purely on the current absence of your favorite third party psionics supplement? I'm sure there's plenty of people who could quickly b!%$+@+~ some feats into existence to make the concept work. If its a specific missing class, I bet a lot of those can work as archetypes or class feats, and if not then it's just a task of making a new homebrew class. The underlying system makes it very easy to create content without necessarily disrupting the balance of the entire system.


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Go4TheEyesBoo wrote:
The common theme in all of the PF1 build complaints has nothing to do with choice and everything to do with the fact you can make super specialized characters that break the game (while other less knowledgable people have a hard time doing the same).

I think one of the greatest strengths is the ability to super specialize and take an awful/sub-optimal tactic and make it viable. For every game breaking character I've seen I've seen many more of this type.

Helmic wrote:
I don't really see how PF2 is limiting choice, though, beyond just not being complete yet and not yet having a wealth of feats for specializing in grappling.

For me it is a combination of things. You focus on the amount of feats you get as you level but each one has such a limited effect it's like PF1 handing out traits every level and not the feats we're used to. Secondly, you find yourself with only one feat at the level you get a choice that seems worth it... Or is you branch out to an archetype, you find yourself locking yourself into 3 of those feats before you can shag another of that type.

If you disagree, please tell me how a feat like improvised snares fits it's level or provides a viable option... I'd be thrilled if the final game rebalances feats and ups their power along with making each choice a meaningful one but I only have the playtest to base things on.

Helmic wrote:
And that's why I love PF2's approach, it no longer mechanically rewards you for making the game unfun for yourself by over-specializing.

LOL For me that's what I hate as it penalizes you for trying to do something suboptimal because you can no longer use "over-specializing" to make yourself viable: it punishes you for trying something fun.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
For me it is a combination of things. You focus on the amount of feats you get as you level but each one has such a limited effect it's like PF1 handing out traits every level and not the feats we're used to.

Looks at PF1 feat that gives +1 to something. Looks at PF2 feat that lets you super charge your weapon when casting a spell/move so fast you get concealment/ gain a swim speed/turn into an elemental. Hrm which were more like traits again?


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Malk_Content wrote:
graystone wrote:
For me it is a combination of things. You focus on the amount of feats you get as you level but each one has such a limited effect it's like PF1 handing out traits every level and not the feats we're used to.
Looks at PF1 feat that gives +1 to something. Looks at PF2 feat that lets you super charge your weapon when casting a spell/move so fast you get concealment/ gain a swim speed/turn into an elemental. Hrm which were more like traits again?

So you found some feats in PF2 that can do some of the things you can do in PF1... Good for you? And are these things ANYONE can do or just one class? If not, it's a multiclass feat first before those feats. Or are they abilities you got just from your class but now have to buy back? For instance, the spell power abilities are worth less than a trait because they are thing you could do before at no cost and not you have to buy them again... :P

PS: You also have to look at what class abilities got you in the old game to compare to the new feats? Do the new feats allow for resurrection? Eternal life? Cha to ac AND ref? Int to str checks? that's how high the 'feat' bar goes.

As to traits, some like assurance, ride, sign languages, multilingual and other are are things you just got or were only PART of a trait... the bar is a lot lower here too.

Let me ask... Are you happy with the general power of feats? Do you find yourself having a difficult time picking your feats for whatever class you take because there is always good and meaningful ones to take? I can't say that.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
graystone wrote:
For me it is a combination of things. You focus on the amount of feats you get as you level but each one has such a limited effect it's like PF1 handing out traits every level and not the feats we're used to.
Looks at PF1 feat that gives +1 to something. Looks at PF2 feat that lets you super charge your weapon when casting a spell/move so fast you get concealment/ gain a swim speed/turn into an elemental. Hrm which were more like traits again?
So you found some feats in PF2 that can do some of the things you can do in PF1... Good for you? And are these things ANYONE can do or just one class? If not, it's a multiclass feat first before those feats. Or are they abilities you got just from your class but now have to buy back? For instance, the spell power abilities are worth less than a trait because they are thing you could do before at no cost and not you have to buy them again... :P

None of the above. Unless I forgot all the Class Features Fighters had in PF1. Oh no I didn't, you aren't buying back class features. And yeah some stuff you'll have to multiclass for, still better to pay two feats to get something actually new to do over, say, actually be able to Bull Rush without getting cut down first. So much of PF1 is just numbers that build onto other numbers with prequisites of numbers.

I mean lets look at the joy of Fighter in PF1. What fun feat choices like "+1 to Attack" and then "+1 to Attack again!" So exciting. Of course you sadly have to buy back your previous class features of being able to move further than anyone else and still attacl. Oh wait that wasn't a class feature.


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Malk_Content wrote:
None of the above. Unless I forgot all the Class Features Fighters had in PF1. Oh no I didn't, you aren't buying back class features.

You must not have looked at a PF1 fighter lately I guess. Bravery, Armor Training, Weapon Training, Armor Master, Weapon Mastery, Adv. Armor Training, Adv. Weapon Training. There are plenty of cool things to do IN CLASS. Weapon damage as per favored weapon, max skills, free attacks, giving weapon bonuses to others, make a weapon magical, item mastery feats like casting invisibility, dispel magic, fly, lightning bolt, mirror image, telekinesis and a bunch of others. ALL in class

As to 'but you can multiclass'... That goes both ways. : Arcane strike, wildshape and other things can be gotten with multiclassing too.


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I mean, are we talking Fighter feats? Sure. Playtest Fighter feats are generally pretty cool. Lots of them do interesting things. I found more than one I might want to have at some levels. They're an improvement over a lot of feats from PF1 for Fighters.

But that isn't true for all classes. Cleric feats are... not that. So much so that it often makes sense to dump them into getting Paladin feats instead. Because yes, you can make the case that Channel Life is better than all the Cleric feats it costs to get.

Skill feats were all over the map, general feats were largely uninteresting even if they are good (the "add +1 to a thing" feat did exist, it just bumped your proficiency in a save, and Fleet with it's +5 movement was certainly useful but not what I'd call inspired).

I kind of feel like you two are talking past each other simply because you're talking about something so broad that you can both be right at the same time depending on what specific subset you're looking at. :)


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I think the hyperspecialized builds, while interesting, were ultimately not good the game. I'd rather move away from the "builds" of PF1 and have more broadly skilled characters.

I would like less fears building directly on top of each other to encourage some more diverse characters. I think PF2 with fewer feat chains is actually a really good move for the system as a whole.


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Tridus wrote:
I kind of feel like you two are talking past each other simply because you're talking about something so broad that you can both be right at the same time depending on what specific subset you're looking at. :)

Maybe a bit: I wholeheartedly think that the overall level of feats is far, far lower in PF2 but I will agree with you that there are some outliers that actually do do some cool things.

Albatoonoe wrote:

I think the hyperspecialized builds, while interesting, were ultimately not good the game. I'd rather move away from the "builds" of PF1 and have more broadly skilled characters.

I would like less fears building directly on top of each other to encourage some more diverse characters. I think PF2 with fewer feat chains is actually a really good move for the system as a whole.

If they keep with needing magic/skill items for each and every skill you're still going to have hyper specialized builds, it's just that you'll have to do that if you want a better than a coin flip chance to make rolls.


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It's very easy to move away from "builds" in Pathfinder. Just move away from them.

The system won't break down if you don't follow what someone has told you to do on the internet.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
None of the above. Unless I forgot all the Class Features Fighters had in PF1. Oh no I didn't, you aren't buying back class features.
You must not have looked at a PF1 fighter lately I guess. Bravery, Armor Training, Weapon Training, Armor Master, Weapon Mastery, Adv. Armor Training, Adv. Weapon Training.

Most of those things are in the PF2 base Fighter chasis though. Or their equivalents. They get better with armour (Armor Expertuse and Mastery), weapons ( at 3rd, 13th and 19th), they even have a feature called Bravery and extra stuff that Fighter never got like an adaptable bonus feat you can change per day. Have you actually read the Class Entry, they still get all this stuff.


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Richard Crawford wrote:

It's very easy to move away from "builds" in Pathfinder. Just move away from them.

The system won't break down if you don't follow what someone has told you to do on the internet.

You say that, but that leads to "I really don't know why I'm in this party because [Cyouni's moderately optimized kineticist] can take things out without me needing to contribute". Now, while that wasn't strictly true, it was close enough. Anything that was enough of a problem to threaten me through my safeguards would have a passable chance at threatening a TPK as a result, simply because the other players wouldn't spend as much time preparing in advance.


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graystone wrote:
If they keep with needing magic/skill items for each and every skill you're still going to have hyper specialized builds, it's just that you'll have to do that if you want a better than a coin flip chance to make rolls.

Hopefully this coin-flip math is fixed. The math is changing, but to what, we don't really know. But ultimately, it was possibly the biggest problem of the playtest, and behind many of the other problems. Like needing optimization, including skill items to be barely competent, or many feats being bad, inability to actually be good at anything and instead just having to spend all your effort to not being terrible and even the alchemist, many of it's problems come down to not being able to succeed at anything with any regularity, it can't hit, can't deliver injury poisons, monsters don't fail the poison DCs, mutagen bonuses too minor etc (although it has many more besides. Hrm, I talk about the alchemist so much, maybe it's time for a Big Thread of Everything Wrong with the Alchemist and How to Fix it. It's kind of odd that there really isn't one as far as I've seen). Fixing the math and chance of success would go a good way to solving, or at least reducing, many of the other problems with the game. And if it's not fixed, then most everything else that can be done is pretty futile.


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Richard Crawford wrote:

It's very easy to move away from "builds" in Pathfinder. Just move away from them.

The system won't break down if you don't follow what someone has told you to do on the internet.

And to tackle this from a different perspective than Cyouni, it's deeply unsatisfying for someone that enjoys optimization to have to knowingly gimp yourself to keep the system from breaking or to play anything interesting.

If optimization is no longer disruptive, I can then optimize freely and have fun, guilt-free. There might be very specific forms of cheese, but it's easier to ban a select few cheese builds that go too far outside the norm for optimization than it is to have to tell yourself you can't actually be as strong and effective as you know you can be because the system is inherently broken and you have to build around that.

Which goes back to PF1 style builds being extremely narrowly focused things, where they either do nothing or do too much depending on the situation. It's not very fun to actually play despite being effective, and for someone like me that's extremely frustrating.

"Optimal" means something very different in PF2, it's not a dirty word anymore and players should by default make characters that wound be considered "minmaxed" at first glance for those used to PF1. Everyone can and should get an 18 in their most important stat, if not then at least 16. In PF1, getting those high stats with point buy meant all your other stats were 8 or lower, you could do your one thing really well but nothing else, optimization made you boring. In PF2, you will generally have two high stats, two middling stats, two weak stats - optimal means varied now.

A lot of what before required a feat chain and thus intense specialization to pull off now is just part of most characters. Optimization does not improve your to-hit, so optimization does not mean breaking the game. The GM will still know your odds to land a hit; instead, optimization means finding synergies between abilities, often active abilities, so that you're doing things like taking Fighter Dedication as a Rogue to pick up Combat Grab and Opportunist to grant yourself sneak attacks and AoO sneak attacks. You're not breaking the math, you're increasing your damage in more situations or gaining new abilities to handle different scenarios. Optimization means making your character more tactically interesting in play, not reducing them to a one trick pony.

At least in the Playtest itself, skills enforce a broad skillset. It is not possible to sacrifice your skill in everything but Diplomacy to make Diplomacy OP. Optimization no longer means sitting on your hands doing nothing when faced with scenarios outside your specialization, you can now participate in what the group is doing or even try new things altogether. For the final version, I suspect untrained +0 isn't going to revert to the hot mess that was PF1's skill system, I think there's going to be something to prevent over-specialization.

That fundamental difference in the attitude towards optimization is what makes it a system truly built to be crunchy in my eyes. It does not give you a bunch of toys only to make your friends hate you if you try to play with them. You can play as much as you want and your toys aren't going to turn into a Tier 1 Druid casting all the fun out of the game for your friend who picked a Tier 5 fighter and used a cool exotic weapon they liked even though it's not even better than a greatsword.

I'm not saying you can't have fun as an optimizer making characters for actual play in PF1, I know I did, but it's a very different and less exciting feeling when you have to constantly hound yourself to remember you're playing with a group that won't be able to keep up.

I'm also not saying every single feat in PF2 is worth taking. Improvised Snare seems awful on paper even as a level 1 class feat, that it's a level 18 ranger feat that gives you snares with worse DC's when by that point it should be trivial to always have supplies. I would argue that PF1 has way more trap options, like every single trait that isn't Reactionary because having a loose relation with a mildly important NPC in Rise of the Runelords is nothing in the face of +1 init. But I think the Playtest feedback and the inevitable expansion of content will address that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Richard Crawford wrote:

It's very easy to move away from "builds" in Pathfinder. Just move away from them.

The system won't break down if you don't follow what someone has told you to do on the internet.

This will never be a satisfying way to solve the problem for anyone. Believe me, I got a lot of blow back from telling people that wanted CLW wands back in the game to just house rule that you gain full hp after every encounter. People don't like being told to change the rules if they don't like how something works. And honestly I agree, Not making "builds" in PF1 isn't as easy as just telling your players "Hey guys let's not make builds! Let's just play and see how your characters develop" some will flat out drop out of the game, and others will just make builds anyways because that's a huge part of pathfinder 1e.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Helmic, as someone who has had to drop out of a campaign because my optimized character was hugely derailing it, I can't upvote your comment enough.

I desperately want PF2e to be a system where the mastery gap is narrow enough that I can play hyper-optimized characters and people playing with me that don't have enough experience to do that can still have fun.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I never fail to be amazed by people who say that optimization is baaad, this isn't a video game, balance is an artificial concept conjured up by ADHD GameBoy-addicted anime kids these days and one should just rule 0 all problems away AND at the same time play the most gamist-ey, twink-ready, number-heavy, system mastery-dependent iteration of D&D. I mean, you can do it, but it makes about as much sense as trying to run grimdark Warhammer setting using rules of Toon or Big Eyes Small Mouth.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

...I totally want to run Warhammer using BESM now. Big Ears Small Mouse, specifically, to get my Hello Kitty Warhammer fix. :P


Wouldn't be the first time someone's done that trick. There's definitely a Hello Kitty dreadnought lurking around and may have expanded to a full army if my memory hasn't failed me yet.


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I don't think the game has the issue with optimization. Whatever game system you take there are better and worse ways to make up characters. What needs to happen is everyone has to be on the same page. If you're playing a casual game, you know you're a jerk if you hyperspecilize. If you know you're playing a tooth and nail epic fight for the universe, you as much a jerk for bringing in a casual character. If you build a character to actually fit your group, it's not an issue. I don't really understand the desire for the game itself to force the issue: it just requires a meeting of the minds at the start of the game.

PS: that said, I guess there might need to be guidelines for games line PFS that accept players without the normal startup but that's not really an issue with the game itself.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, that was definitely what I was referencing. :)


MaxAstro wrote:
...I totally want to run Warhammer using BESM now. Big Ears Small Mouse, specifically, to get my Hello Kitty Warhammer fix. :P

Didn't Guardians of Order publish their Game of Thrones RPG using the same system as they had with BESM 2e? Or am I misremembering something? I suspect if the system manages GoT 'grimdark' it should also cope with W40K. Though that's a big "if".


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graystone wrote:

I don't think the game has the issue with optimization. Whatever game system you take there are better and worse ways to make up characters. What needs to happen is everyone has to be on the same page. If you're playing a casual game, you know you're a jerk if you hyperspecilize. If you know you're playing a tooth and nail epic fight for the universe, you as much a jerk for bringing in a casual character. If you build a character to actually fit your group, it's not an issue. I don't really understand the desire for the game itself to force the issue: it just requires a meeting of the minds at the start of the game.

PS: that said, I guess there might need to be guidelines for games line PFS that accept players without the normal startup but that's not really an issue with the game itself.

Different games make different levels of optimization possible though. D&D 3.x/PF was designed from the ground up to reward system mastery and emphasize the character build game in a way that AD&D, by comparison, was not. (Though 2E moved in that direction with later splatbooks and options.)

Whether it's an issue for the game itself depends on what you're looking for in a game, I suppose.


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graystone wrote:
What needs to happen is everyone has to be on the same page. If you're playing a casual game, you know you're a jerk if you hyperspecilize. If you know you're playing a tooth and nail epic fight for the universe, you as much a jerk for bringing in a casual character. If you build a character to actually fit your group, it's not an issue.

So what do you do if, in a party of 4, you have 2 people are only experienced enough for the casual game and 2 are highly experienced and want to do the tooth-and-nail epic? If the GM sides with the casuals, the experienced pair are going to be having distinctly less fun being forced to gimp themselves, where if he sides with the experienced players the casuals are going to get steam-rolled (which is only very rarely fun.)

Grand Lodge

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Dire Ursus wrote:
Richard Crawford wrote:

It's very easy to move away from "builds" in Pathfinder. Just move away from them.

The system won't break down if you don't follow what someone has told you to do on the internet.

This will never be a satisfying way to solve the problem for anyone. Believe me, I got a lot of blow back from telling people that wanted CLW wands back in the game to just house rule that you gain full hp after every encounter. People don't like being told to change the rules if they don't like how something works. And honestly I agree, Not making "builds" in PF1 isn't as easy as just telling your players "Hey guys let's not make builds! Let's just play and see how your characters develop" some will flat out drop out of the game, and others will just make builds anyways because that's a huge part of pathfinder 1e.

Yeah, it's just not an option for most of us who aren't power gamers. We'll create a character that we like, but the power levels vary considerably. You don't have to bend the rules much PF1 to have this happen. Well meaning players can unknowingly walk into OP builds almost as easily as they walk into trap builds.

I've been at tables with no power gamers but because PF1 balance is so wonky we end up with a completely unbalanced team by happenstance. Now we have to artificially limit ourselves because we accidentally stumbled upon an overpowered build. That's no fun for someone who wants to play a balanced character.


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graystone wrote:

I don't think the game has the issue with optimization. Whatever game system you take there are better and worse ways to make up characters. What needs to happen is everyone has to be on the same page. If you're playing a casual game, you know you're a jerk if you hyperspecilize. If you know you're playing a tooth and nail epic fight for the universe, you as much a jerk for bringing in a casual character. If you build a character to actually fit your group, it's not an issue. I don't really understand the desire for the game itself to force the issue: it just requires a meeting of the minds at the start of the game.

PS: that said, I guess there might need to be guidelines for games line PFS that accept players without the normal startup but that's not really an issue with the game itself.

That's only really true if you're playing a system where the disparity between optimized and non-optimized characters is problematic, though. There's so many other RPG's where this has never been an issue.

PF2 is fundamentally different, you don't have to have a social contract necessarily. If everyone makes a reasonable effort to not gimp their character deliberately, if you're not being obtuse about your attributes, none of that is necessary.

That entire truism evolved out of a need to cope with the inherent brokenness of many crunchy systems. It might be optimistic to say that that could never become necessary for PF2, Paizo is fully capable of putting out a stinker of a class, some third party is going to have a very dumb feat, but structurally the issues that have misled you to believe that sort of arrangement is necessary in eveitself have been largely addressed.

There's still combat itself, there's still lots of room for an experienced player to set up combos and position themselves way better than someone pissing away actions using ghost sound and failing to actually distract anyone. But as that's not a locked in thing it's much easier for a newer player to learn by watching and figuring out for themselves that spending all three actions attacking over and over is a bad idea.

Like if you don't feel the same thing, it's hard to get across why PF1 was so frustrating and why PF2 and other more modern RPG's feel so damn good. It's not something you can just throw PF1 logic at and expect it to still hold true. It's such a fundamental goal of the new edition that I really don't think anyone who sees that as problematic can ever really enjoy the system, no matter what gets changed. It's just not going to go away.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Wouldn't be the first time someone's done that trick. There's definitely a Hello Kitty dreadnought lurking around and may have expanded to a full army if my memory hasn't failed me yet.

There’s a few out there. I saw an entire 2k+ point Hello Kitty space marine army the last time I was in Reno. Though that was almost 15 years ago now.

The owner was a pretty good painter as well.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hell its not even all that fun in the Kingmaker CRPG where you've got control of a whole parties advancement there are still so many ways you can just be totally useless. Hell the game even provides Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down icons to character choices and that would still lead to terrible characters if you were new and thought just picking Thumbs Up would yeild something reasonable.


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graystone wrote:
What needs to happen is everyone has to be on the same page. If you're playing a casual game, you know you're a jerk if you hyperspecilize. If you know you're playing a tooth and nail epic fight for the universe, you as much a jerk for bringing in a casual character. If you build a character to actually fit your group, it's not an issue.

In order to know that you're going into a tooth and nail epic fight for the universe and that you shouldn't bring in a "casual character", you need to know that much about the game, and also need enough system mastery to know what a "casual character" is, and how to avoid it.

Anyone relatively new to the game or with low system mastery is incapable of doing that. And that's where the whole mess gets going and the DM has a bunch of extra work to do.

The system mastery power gap in PF1 is massive. It's so huge that it necessitates groups figuring out this stuff in advance, sometimes with players who have no understanding of what the problem even is or what they're supposed to do about it.

It seems to me that a better solution is to reduce the size of the system mastery power gap so that groups don't have to do this, because there's no lack of systems where it isn't necessary but there are still differences between character power. They simply don't allow one person to build Superman while another builds "Varkon the mall cop" and expect them to be in the same group battling the same foes.

The playtest did go a long way to alleviating that.


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thejeff wrote:
Different games make different levels of optimization possible though.

True, but every game will allow optimization if it offers the least bit of customization so it's an inevitable part of games themselves.

Shinigami02 wrote:
So what do you do if, in a party of 4, you have 2 people are only experienced enough for the casual game and 2 are highly experienced and want to do the tooth-and-nail epic?

From my experience, the DM and/or the experienced players help the casual players make characters that can compete. I've personaly done it more times than I can count.

Tridus wrote:
The system mastery power gap in PF1 is massive.

And? Any game with actual options and meaningful choices is going to have a learning curve. When you "reduce the size of the system mastery power gap", you also directly reduce the options and customization of said game. If you have various ways to build something, there are ALWAYS going to be better or worse ways to do so. For a lot of people, most of the fun is in the construction and seeing how various parts fit together and when you remove that to reduce the "power gap", the also reduce their fun.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Different games make different levels of optimization possible though.

True, but every game will allow optimization if it offers the least bit of customization so it's an inevitable part of games themselves.

Shinigami02 wrote:
So what do you do if, in a party of 4, you have 2 people are only experienced enough for the casual game and 2 are highly experienced and want to do the tooth-and-nail epic?

From my experience, the DM and/or the experienced players help the casual players make characters than can compete. I've personaly done it more times than I can count.

Tridus wrote:
When you "reduce the size of the system mastery power gap", you also directly reduce the options and customization of said game.

Actually you increase it. By raising the floor you create more viable options (read as actual options) and thus increase the options and customization.

PF1 has thousands of possible combinations. But only a small % of them actually worth bringing to the table (not even looking for strong ones, just ones capable of doing any job well enough to contribute.) PF2 has many less options (of course it has less than one book out) but a much larger percent are actually usable.

I'd rather have 200 choices and have a 180 of them work over a 1000 choices in which only 300 work.


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Malk_Content wrote:
I'd rather have 200 choices and have a 180 of them work over a 1000 choices in which only 300 work.

That's more a clean-up than fix in the "system mastery power gap". I'm all for axing the vestigial options [or just not making them in the first place]. For me it's really a separate issue from "system mastery". If the people here have been advocating for less options like those, I'd be agreeing with them but I don't think that's what they mean by "system mastery".

Liberty's Edge

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People here who don't like that the difference between the "Worst possible PC" and "Perfectly Optimized PC" are coming closer together need to get this strait: This was a UNIVERSALLY BAD thing that it inherited from the basic underlying principles of the 3.X system.

If you're mad that you feel the ceiling is being lowered, it's probably because you're the type who only wants to play on the bleeding edge and demolish encounters they have no business dealing with. You worry that the ceiling being lowered will make you bump your head, ala. Your playstyle is being attacked, but let me be clear. Your "playstyle" IS under attack, because it's destructive and anti-social.

If you feel that's an unfair... too bad, you might want to get your malignant narcissism checked, Munchkins are only ever good for one thing, One-Shots with a table packed full of players with a high degree of system mastery. As many here have attested personally, "optimizers" more often than not simply wreak havoc in an actual game balanced for a given level by either trivializing combat (Lets be honest, this is all they're interested in), or by forcing the GM to invent nonsense and inject CR +5 encounters in order to simply threaten 1 PC.

Just because the gap is closing in NOW WAY means that customization will be cut back, you just can't "customize" your PC to simply get a million+1 little numerical bonuses that made you feel like you were driving a giant truck. With the number of new ways to customize your Ancestry, Background, Class, Skills, and Feats, there are more than DOUBLE the number of choices a Character makes when leveling up over what options were available for PF1. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that by removing all the numerical bonuses that can be "Chosen" (Though to be fair, most of these were considered Feat Taxes such as Power Attack, Weapon Finesse), they are opening up TRUE customization like a window on the first day of spring. No more stale recycled air, new smells, interesting noises, and maybe even a surprise waiting for you.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Well options are eventually going to mix and match in unexpected ways if they keep printing them. There is an inevitable power creep and as the expected power level rises the broader the scope of "unviable" gets. To combat this you either don't really print very much, or create a system that creates a cap on the upper end of things. PF1 did neither and as we've seen it has a huge amount of crap, and because the expected challenge level has risen (lol CR) even once okayish builds aren't worth playing anymore.

By going for the cap and raising the floor PF2 hopes to reduce this problem whilst still being able to print new material, and it allows players to take flavourful options that don't completely remove their relevance to the game.


Shinigami02 wrote:
graystone wrote:
What needs to happen is everyone has to be on the same page. If you're playing a casual game, you know you're a jerk if you hyperspecilize. If you know you're playing a tooth and nail epic fight for the universe, you as much a jerk for bringing in a casual character. If you build a character to actually fit your group, it's not an issue.
So what do you do if, in a party of 4, you have 2 people are only experienced enough for the casual game and 2 are highly experienced and want to do the tooth-and-nail epic? If the GM sides with the casuals, the experienced pair are going to be having distinctly less fun being forced to gimp themselves, where if he sides with the experienced players the casuals are going to get steam-rolled (which is only very rarely fun.)

In the past what I have done is advance the less optimized PC's in level so the effect in play is the same.

MDC


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graystone wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Different games make different levels of optimization possible though.

True, but every game will allow optimization if it offers the least bit of customization so it's an inevitable part of games themselves.

Shinigami02 wrote:
So what do you do if, in a party of 4, you have 2 people are only experienced enough for the casual game and 2 are highly experienced and want to do the tooth-and-nail epic?

From my experience, the DM and/or the experienced players help the casual players make characters than can compete. I've personaly done it more times than I can count.

Tridus wrote:
The system mastery power gap in PF1 is massive.
And? Any game with actual options and meaningful choices is going to have a learning curve. When you "reduce the size of the system mastery power gap", you also directly reduce the options and customization of said game. If you have various ways to build something, there are ALWAYS going to be better or worse ways to do so. For a lot of people, most of the fun is in the construction and seeing how various parts fit together and when you remove that to reduce the "power gap", the also reduce their fun.

I'm not sure how the removal of feat chains and +1's removes actual customization and depth, though. A massive chunk of feats in PF1 are of the "in for a penny, in for a pound" variety, they collectively were all one choice to anyone who knew the system. Different flavors of +1 are meaningless.

And in their place, an absolute assload more feats. Your class features are feats, your skills are feats, your race is feats. Every class is getting feats every level, often several. We're back at square one here, like we seem to just fundamentally disagree that bundling stuff you had to take together anyways and removing penalties that were themselves removed by feats is less deep than taking 14 feats before you can wipe your own ass without assistance.

Like it's really word to see complaints like "it's just one feat." That's good! It means you can spend your next feat on doing something wider that you would have to dedicate an entire build to in PF1! You can do two, three PF1 builds at once, and then retrain them when you level up RAW! There's more than one feat relevant to your interests if you want to dual wield, for example, but since none of them give you a +1 or remove a penalty necessary for it to be viable, you don't have to take them all. You can swap between dual wielding and bow feats and have a fun switch hitter build. Or you can dedicate as many feats as possible to one style and be more versatile with it, but not necessarily numerically stronger unless you have a plan for a cool combo.

I just don't see your typical PF1 build as really customized. Most of its feats are things that have to be spent to make it viable, won't come online at a basic level until level 8, and it'll involve a lot of feat chains - count all those chains as one choice and the penalty removals as no choice and you might get why folk are bewildered at your assertion that customization was removed. To us, it was added, we just hardly counted what you considered customization as anything more than an illusion.

Especially traits. God, traits were horrid. Apparently the best way to add flavor and detail to a character is to tour those choices to mechanics so that every single PC is a reactionary. You get two because the system wants you to spend five hours before you confirm that yes, really, nothing listed is going to be more generally helpful than a +1 to initiative so all that time was spent just to realize you never really had a choice. No wonder netbuilds were so popular, you can look at a guide and immediately be told the effect number of choices you should even bitter considering.

Think that last bit is my favorite part of class feats, it filters it to just the feats a sane person would take, that have something to do with your class so you don't waste time reading about sneak attacking people while they're looking straight at you when you're a wizard and can't use that nonsense anyways.


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Themetricsystem wrote:
People here who don't like that the difference between the "Worst possible PC" and "Perfectly Optimized PC" are coming closer together need to get this strait: This was a UNIVERSALLY BAD thing that it inherited from the basic underlying principles of the 3.X system.

I 100% disagree. What you also remove if the ability to take a normally suboptimal build and make it workable: optimization isn't a dirty work used by vile powergamers, isn't a bad thing and WILL be done in the new game... :P

Malk_Content wrote:
By going for the cap and raising the floor PF2 hopes to reduce this problem whilst still being able to print new material, and it allows players to take flavourful options that don't completely remove their relevance to the game.

Oh, I understand what they are going for but if the current playtest feats are a preview of the 'level' of flavor and usefulness we can expect, I'm not seeing a lot of the 'fun' in making a character. Themetricsystem points out there are technically more options but most don't seem like true customization points but digging for the least worst options. :P

PS: Helmic, the formatting of your last post is messed up and it's hard for he to tell where your new post starts.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As someone who loves optimizing, and loves finding weird builds and breaking them, and who has been asked to leave campaigns because my twink build was derailing them, I think narrowing the skill gap can only be a good thing.

If the gap between crazy twink build and "I took both wizard and fighter because I want to do magic and swords!" is narrow enough that both those people can play at the same table without the GM having to do gymnastics or tell people how to build their characters, then I think everyone has a better time.


MaxAstro wrote:

As someone who loves optimizing, and loves finding weird builds and breaking them, and who has been asked to leave campaigns because my twink build was derailing them, I think narrowing the skill gap can only be a good thing.

If the gap between crazy twink build and "I took both wizard and fighter because I want to do magic and swords!" is narrow enough that both those people can play at the same table without the GM having to do gymnastics or tell people how to build their characters, then I think everyone has a better time.

IMO, it has nothing to do with the how wide the gap is: You're ALWAYS going to have one big enough to cause an issue if you try and it'll just get worse as more options come out. If people ignore the social contract and knowingly make characters that don't fit in with the rest of the group, it isn't a game issue...

Maybe you should try 'twinking' out a normally bad/sub-optimal character to make it workable so you can work on na wierd build AND not put out other people as the total power level isn't blown.


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graystone wrote:
Tridus wrote:
The system mastery power gap in PF1 is massive.
And? Any game with actual options and meaningful choices is going to have a learning curve. When you "reduce the size of the system mastery power gap", you also directly reduce the options and customization of said game. If you have various ways to build something, there are ALWAYS going to be better or worse ways to do so. For a lot of people, most of the fun is in the construction and seeing how various parts fit together and when you remove that to reduce the "power gap", the also reduce their fun.

That system mastery power gap can be addressed in a new system without limiting choices or relegating people to known and expected roles. But very few systems took the freedom direction. 4E and 5E certainly did not (hell 4E literally DEFINES roles in the Handbook itself: controller, striker, etc -- they're pretty much telling you what you're gonna do as a character). In all the new systems, there's way fewer character options there compared to 3E/PF1, even with the splat books that have been released to date. The system itself is designed to put people into boxes.

The fix isn't to narrow access substantially so that it's harder to access multiple broken feats. The fix is to not have broken feats. And that's not as hard a task as some think. Frankly, alot of it is as easy as not allowing exponential abilities (such as doublers), limiting anything that automatically bypasses other things, limiting immunities, etc. You could iron out alot of the power gap just by addressing these few things. Build versatility doesn't need to be watered down to achieve that. It's a step too far.

Themetricsystem wrote:
If you're mad that you feel the ceiling is being lowered, it's probably because you're the type who only wants to play on the bleeding edge and demolish encounters they have no business dealing with. You worry that the ceiling being lowered will make you bump your head, ala. Your playstyle is being attacked, but let me be clear. Your "playstyle" IS under attack, because it's destructive and anti-social.

Fully agreed

Themetricsystem wrote:
Just because the gap is closing in NOW WAY means that customization will be cut back,

Since when? Are they or are they not moving away from a huge general feat list and moving towards gated class feats? The entire dedication/archetype system is built towards limiting the dips you can take (first having the Dedication feat as pretty much a "feat tax" to even access anything outside your initial class, and then the additional requirement for minimum number of feats in one class before adding another). How is that NOT cutting customization way back?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I do find the argument that dedications limit customization odd because they are one of the places where valid customization has so obviously increased.

In PF1e, Fighter 6/Wizard 6 is an invalid character concept. Full stop. You are a bad character, you are not going to contribute as meaningfully as other characters.

In the playtest, a 12 level Fighter who takes as many Wizard feats as possible is a completely viable character, and probably gives up less than a fighter in PF1e loses from giving up six levels.

@graystone: Mm...kay. That was some nice... I want to say "mansplaining" but that's not quite the right term. Of course I know/have learned how to fit in with a group.

That doesn't eliminate my desire for a system where I don't have to hold back.

And of course such a system can exist. The playtest is such a system. The open question is whether such a system can be expanded on without breaking; that's Paizo's real challenge IMO.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:


Malk_Content wrote:
By going for the cap and raising the floor PF2 hopes to reduce this problem whilst still being able to print new material, and it allows players to take flavourful options that don't completely remove their relevance to the game.

Oh, I understand what they are going for but if the current playtest feats are a preview of the 'level' of flavor and usefulness we can expect, I'm not seeing a lot of the 'fun' in making a character. Themetricsystem points out there are technically more options but most don't seem like true customization points but digging for the least worst options. :P

Oh I agree that some of what you can do with your options (General and Skill Feats for a lot of the skills) are lacklustre. That isn't a slight against the framework or underlying systems but against those specific bits of content. I hope they've heard and took on that criticism as it seems to be fairly widely agreed upon. Although a lot of that I feel is due to the DDD scenarios themselves presenting nearly 0 opportunities to use most of the Skill Feats.


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MaxAstro wrote:

I do find the argument that dedications limit customization odd because they are one of the places where valid customization has so obviously increased.

In PF1e, Fighter 6/Wizard 6 is an invalid character concept. Full stop. You are a bad character, you are not going to contribute as meaningfully as other characters.

In the playtest, a 12 level Fighter who takes as many Wizard feats as possible is a completely viable character, and probably gives up less than a fighter in PF1e loses from giving up six levels.

But I'm not talking about multiclassing spellcasters, which was a system flaw that frankly deserved fixing. I'm talking about dipping martials (or even general combat feats), which was viable throughout PF1 and was actually a way to make them interesting. Fighter 1/Rogue 1/Monk 1 was viable as early as level 3. Monk 1 (Scaled Fist), Paladin 2, Gunslinger X (Mysterious Stranger) was viable. Or say something interesting like Fighter 5/Rogue 1/Oracle (Warsighted/Clouded Vision Curse) w/ an interesting play on Blinding Sneak Attack/Racial Heritage(Tiefling). Ooo, Dual-Curse Oracle would work great in that build too...but I digress...

The point is that any of the above builds would not be options in PF2, since anything more than maybe 2 classes is fairly prohibitively not an option (or at least heavily penalized by the system). And even then you're punished for looking outside your class with the Dedication feat tax.

And those restrictions seem needless. If devs had an issue with class dipping to gain powerful low level abilities (say, monk AC bonus), then rebalance the power which should never be a level 1 power. Fix the overpowered ability, don't limit the choices. Hell, look at the way Duelist PrC AC bonus works...people don't dip that as much as they do Monk since the AC bonus is dependent on Duelist levels to get the maximum benefit.


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graystone wrote:
IMO, it has nothing to do with the how wide the gap is: You're ALWAYS going to have one big enough to cause an issue if you try and it'll just get worse as more options come out.

No you won't. You will always have a gap, because if people can make choices some people will make better ones than others. It is in no way set in stone that said gap will be big enough to cause issues. It was just that wain PF1 and it's ancestors because those systems had wild power disparity between options, or even classes.

Hell, we had a guy in the PF1 game I'm in remake a character because his first one was just ineffective in our group. His new, far more effective one? A ranged Slayer with the "standard archery feats everybody has to take to make archery work". Not exactly some broken or OP build. That's how ineffective his first character was. Same guy, no particular attempt to break the game. Wild disparity.

There's all kinds of room to close that up without them being equal. It's not that big a deal if one character is better than another so long as both feel useful and contribute to the group. It is a problem when one character so totally eclipses another that there's a question as to why the second one is even there.

(The d20 system is riddled with those kinds of issues, which is why we need all these social conventions about trying to match power levels to each other in a party.)

quote]If people ignore the social contract and knowingly make characters that don't fit in with the rest of the group, it isn't a game issue...

If the game requires a social contract or it fundamentally breaks because people use the same rules and come up with characters that can't form a functional group due to one being a sword waving guy and the other being a demigod... then that is absolutely a game issue. It's a failure of the game to make such a situation even happen as a standard outcome of following the rules normally.

Quote:
Maybe you should try 'twinking' out a normally bad/sub-optimal character to make it workable so you can work on na wierd build AND not put out other people as the total power level isn't blown.

That still requires knowing what everyone else is doing, because if he does that and the rest of the table shows up with the most OP things they can make, he's now the one on the wrong end of it. Which isn't better.

You know what I never needed to ask in the playtest? "Hey, are you guys using totally broken builds or low power ones, so I can make something to try and line up?"

That I never had to do that is a huge positive.


Go4TheEyesBoo wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

I do find the argument that dedications limit customization odd because they are one of the places where valid customization has so obviously increased.

In PF1e, Fighter 6/Wizard 6 is an invalid character concept. Full stop. You are a bad character, you are not going to contribute as meaningfully as other characters.

In the playtest, a 12 level Fighter who takes as many Wizard feats as possible is a completely viable character, and probably gives up less than a fighter in PF1e loses from giving up six levels.

But I'm not talking about multiclassing spellcasters, which was a system flaw that frankly deserved fixing. I'm talking about dipping martials (or even general combat feats), which was viable throughout PF1 and was actually a way to make them interesting. Fighter 1/Rogue 1/Monk 1 was viable as early as level 3. Monk 1 (Scaled Fist), Paladin 2, Gunslinger X (Mysterious Stranger) was viable. Or say something interesting like Fighter 5/Rogue 1/Oracle (Warsighted/Clouded Vision Curse) w/ an interesting play on Blinding Sneak Attack/Racial Heritage(Tiefling). Ooo, Dual-Curse Oracle would work great in that build too...but I digress...

The point is that any of the above builds would not be options in PF2, since anything more than maybe 2 classes is fairly prohibitively not an option (or at least heavily penalized by the system). And even then you're punished for looking outside your class with the Dedication feat tax.

And those restrictions seem needless. If devs had an issue with class dipping to gain powerful low level abilities (say, monk AC bonus), then rebalance the power which should never be a level 1 power. Fix the overpowered ability, don't limit the choices. Hell, look at the way Duelist PrC AC bonus works...people don't dip that as much as they do Monk since the AC bonus is dependent on Duelist levels to get the maximum benefit.

Yeah and archetypes and prestige classes fight for the same resource as MC...

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