My personal, belated thoughts on 2nd edition playtest


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I mean, 10-2 is great for on the spot stuff too if you don't take it ridiculously seriously. If they are doing something unexpected just try to figure out how challenging it should be relative to their abilities and find the according DC that way. When you have to hash DCs on the spot it's kinda the wrong time to try and figure out what the exact precise logical DC for the thing would be, but table 10-2 gives you an actual guideline to do the process in reverse. Instead of "This obstacle is x, y, and z so it's difficulty a and level b." it's "This obstacle should be x challenge to this character of y ability, so it's difficulty a of their level." OR, if they should outclass the task so much that the lowest DC for their level is still too high THEN you drop further, but by that point it's very likely that the task should be called Trivial and not require a roll anyway.

I favor the 5 DCs per level for the exact reason laid out in their descriptions. They represent different levels of challenge to a creature of x level, representing different chances for different levels of specialization and talent within that level. They're there more for the process of when you are planning level-appropriate challenges so you can get an appropriate DC and then make the challenge into something fitting flavor-wise.

When you are making challenges above and below level you don't really have a lot of need for the higher and lower DCs within that level, that's just making things unnecessarily hard on yourself.

Lantern Lodge

Helmic is right in that PF2 skill DCs only make sense for tasks where there is a monster influencing a DC (such as persuading or bluffing your way past guards, etc). But it totally falls flat when used for static DC. For this it has the same legacy problems as PF where if you set static DCs they become trivial at higher level and / or untrained skills become useless... But PF2 has it even worse.

How? Those who defend the terms legendary, master, etc talk about how it lets GMs gate uses of a skill. For instance someone who is legendary at a skill can attempt things that someone who is a master or expert can’t even flat out try. This despite the potential of equal level PCs only having an +2-6 difference in their skill modifier. So on top of deciding a DC (which is a treadmill in the game’s current state) you also have to remember what a legendary/master/expert/trained are capable of attempting. Coming up with tasks only someone with legendary proficiency is easy but it gets more muddled down the line. Also, it varies between skills how easy it is to gate.


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kaisc006 wrote:

Helmic is right in that PF2 skill DCs only make sense for tasks where there is a monster influencing a DC (such as persuading or bluffing your way past guards, etc). But it totally falls flat when used for static DC. For this it has the same legacy problems as PF where if you set static DCs they become trivial at higher level and / or untrained skills become useless... But PF2 has it even worse.

How? Those who defend the terms legendary, master, etc talk about how it lets GMs gate uses of a skill. For instance someone who is legendary at a skill can attempt things that someone who is a master or expert can’t even flat out try. This despite the potential of equal level PCs only having an +2-6 difference in their skill modifier. So on top of deciding a DC (which is a treadmill in the game’s current state) you also have to remember what a legendary/master/expert/trained are capable of attempting. Coming up with tasks only someone with legendary proficiency is easy but it gets more muddled down the line. Also, it varies between skills how easy it is to gate.

See, I"m fine with +1/level for untrained. A wizard eventually learning how to jump gaps through sheer experience adventuring makes fine sense. The party as a whole doing what they can with their experience adventuring to at least be decent at a broad category of skills is OK, with some specific exceptions (Performance isn't really an adventuring skill unless you're a Bard, for example, and so it doesn't make sense for a character to get better at it automatically). For those exceptions, I'd argue that HP is more of a mindf&!&.

I'm not entirely married to that concept, mind, but it depends on what Paizo offers up as an alternative. I'm OK with higher level adventurers maybe not caring so much about a pit trap pat some point just automatically because they all have decent enough reflexes to grab onto a ledge.

What gets f+++y is the entire concept of a "level appropriate challenge" being applied to things that clearly do not have levels. Levels, conceptually, apply to creatures, not random objects or abstract concepts. Is remembering the name of something possibly plot relevant a level 6 challenge or a level 8?

It makes sense that at a certain level characters will be challenged by climbing a brick wall unassisted, sure, but it's not useful to the GM in the moment. Knowing a DC 18 will be extremely hard for level 1 characters but very easy for level 11 characters is useful information, but it's not something you should be using to figure out what the DC of something is in the moment.

The table is ambiguous and it only really serves a purpose in the planning stages of an adventure, where you're trying to think of somethign that would be a DC 18 challenge rather than trying to find an appropriate DC for a task that just came up. Things mysteriously being level-appropriate will frustrate players who expect their +1's to make them better at stuff, but if the things they're attempting are becoming more and more impressive it doesn't break down quite so much.

Or, to put it another way, 10-2 is useful if you need to know a couple days ahead of the session whether the front door to the baddies' hideout should be made of wood or stone, or whether they should also barricade it, on the assumption that coming in the front door should require a bit of luck and a cool moment for the barbarian. It is useless when the players then instead decide to scale the building and come down the chimney, and you need to quickly come up with a DC for the climb up or sliding down that chimney without getting stuck.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Please stop punctuating you posts with swearwords, even if they are caught in the swearfilter. It brings an aggressiveness into the tone of threads that does not foster discussion.


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Helmic wrote:
It is useless when the players then instead decide to scale the building and come down the chimney, and you need to quickly come up with a DC for the climb up or sliding down that chimney without getting stuck.

Useless is a bit strong. I would actually find it quite useful in such a circumstance because it actually gives me a reference point for what different numerical DCs actually MEAN roughly in comparison to a given character's likely abilities.

Like okay, DC 20. Sounds cool. A nice, round number. But who does that number challenge? What character level and/or degree of specialization is that number a challenge or a breeze to?

That's a big reason I like 10-2 and the PPT skill system, it answers that in a way nothing in PF1 can.


Bluenose wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
At Crécy the English longbowmen were, indeed, terribly effective. First off, they had trained for years with their weapons, both to enhance their arms strength and their aim - it was simply the law. Secondarily, when they shot on the French cavalry, they didn't need to then stop, hide behind a pavise, shove a foot into their crossbow stirrup... no, they just picked up another arrow, cocked, aimed, shot again. They were damn fast, they rained a veritable storm of arrows on those knights. Unlike the slow and not necessarily more powerful Genoese crossbowmen mercenaries, whose main advantage was that crossbows... are easier to learn than bows.

Crecy, of course, predates plate armour. And the French did get through the arrow-storm and into contact with the English foot. And incidentally, Genoese law dictated very similar training for their crossbow militia (and other militia) as English law did for the English longbow, so I'm dubious at the idea that the crossbow is especially easy to be good with.

No, no it doesn't. Crécy doesn't predate plate armor. In 1346 plate was new, and some soldiers still wore transitional, but many many knights wore plate.

I didn't say the French didn't manage to get into melee range with the English. I just pointed out that archers are bad for you, even in plate, but not because arrows PIERCE plate (which they usually don't).

I didn't know about Genoese law! Thank you for the info. As for crossbows, as far as I know (and I would encourage anyone to read more about the subject), yes, they're easier than bows, requiring less training and not even as much strength as most bows, and being easier to aim. Bow archery usually required training from a young age, much like horsemanship, but crossbows could be confidently given to a "rookie" unit of soldiers and they would be able to learn the basics quite fast, and could pull the lever much more easily than nocking an arrow, drawing the bow, and firing. At least, this is what I've learned.


Edge93 wrote:
Helmic wrote:
It is useless when the players then instead decide to scale the building and come down the chimney, and you need to quickly come up with a DC for the climb up or sliding down that chimney without getting stuck.

Useless is a bit strong. I would actually find it quite useful in such a circumstance because it actually gives me a reference point for what different numerical DCs actually MEAN roughly in comparison to a given character's likely abilities.

Like okay, DC 20. Sounds cool. A nice, round number. But who does that number challenge? What character level and/or degree of specialization is that number a challenge or a breeze to?

That's a big reason I like 10-2 and the PPT skill system, it answers that in a way nothing in PF1 can.

I think it could be very useful in scenario design, but once you're running, and you need to keep the flow going smoothly, either you know that table real well, or it is, functionally, useless.

Meaning during the playtest I never managed once to use it. Because it was impossible to remember for me, buried somewhere in the pdf that I (foolishly) hadn't bookmarked, and not terribly user-friendly (see above debates about what makes for a level 5 trivial task and what is a level 3 hard one).


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Edge93 wrote:
Helmic wrote:
It is useless when the players then instead decide to scale the building and come down the chimney, and you need to quickly come up with a DC for the climb up or sliding down that chimney without getting stuck.

Useless is a bit strong. I would actually find it quite useful in such a circumstance because it actually gives me a reference point for what different numerical DCs actually MEAN roughly in comparison to a given character's likely abilities.

Like okay, DC 20. Sounds cool. A nice, round number. But who does that number challenge? What character level and/or degree of specialization is that number a challenge or a breeze to?

That's a big reason I like 10-2 and the PPT skill system, it answers that in a way nothing in PF1 can.

Except if you're trying to make numbers that "challenge" your players you're doing that inflating numbers thing. A basic assumption of +1/level is that players should just get better at doing simpler things. That chimney should have the same DC no matter what level your players are at - it just means that sliding down it might literally be an automatic success at level 15 or whatever, and that's fine. At level 15, you should be automatically succeeding at stuff like that a lot.

If you instead use 10-2, your players will notice that suddenly the DC to slide down an ordinary chimney is suddenly extremely high compared to the DC it took to do a similar task three levels ago for no apparent reason other than their own level increased. That causes that treadmill effect that players so very much hate, that ruins the point of even having inflating numbers in the first place. At that point you should be using 5e's system where the DC's never increase, where any obstacles that logically should be challenging are challenging from 1-20.

The point of the chimney isn't to "challenge" your players. Your players already solved the challenge by avoiding the high DC of the barricaded door to instead pursue another solution. That's one of the great things of 5e's system, your players can often very accurately gauge what the DC is and get a rough handle on what their odds are in their head, much like how they can look at someone's armor and their general physiology and make a pretty good guess on what their AC is.


Helmic wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
Helmic wrote:
It is useless when the players then instead decide to scale the building and come down the chimney, and you need to quickly come up with a DC for the climb up or sliding down that chimney without getting stuck.

Useless is a bit strong. I would actually find it quite useful in such a circumstance because it actually gives me a reference point for what different numerical DCs actually MEAN roughly in comparison to a given character's likely abilities.

Like okay, DC 20. Sounds cool. A nice, round number. But who does that number challenge? What character level and/or degree of specialization is that number a challenge or a breeze to?

That's a big reason I like 10-2 and the PPT skill system, it answers that in a way nothing in PF1 can.

Except if you're trying to make numbers that "challenge" your players you're doing that inflating numbers thing. A basic assumption of +1/level is that players should just get better at doing simpler things. That chimney should have the same DC no matter what level your players are at - it just means that sliding down it might literally be an automatic success at level 15 or whatever, and that's fine. At level 15, you should be automatically succeeding at stuff like that a lot.

If you instead use 10-2, your players will notice that suddenly the DC to slide down an ordinary chimney is suddenly extremely high compared to the DC it took to do a similar task three levels ago for no apparent reason other than their own level increased. That causes that treadmill effect that players so very much hate, that ruins the point of even having inflating numbers in the first place. At that point you should be using 5e's system where the DC's never increase, where any obstacles that logically should be challenging are challenging from 1-20.

The point of the chimney isn't to "challenge" your players. Your players already solved the challenge by avoiding the high DC of the barricaded door to instead pursue...

I can't be sure but I think Edge is talking about getting the perspective on what it challenges with the 10-2 table. Climbing down a chimney would be DC16 in my head. (Level 2 like climbing a cliff. With the adjustment of it being slick but also that you can brace against a wall thus the standard "hard" level 2 DC).

Now regardless of the players level this should stay the same, however if a player ask if it's reasonable to climb down the chimney for his character before all I could say is: It's a DC16 check (which seems weirdly gamey) unless I applied the knowledge of his specific + to athletics. With the use of 10-2 I can now put it into the context of the players without knowing the specific bonus they all have at athletics, so at level 9 I could say that it's a very easy task, maybe even trivial and it would be trivial for all above level 9, but at level 4 it would be described as a "medium" challenge.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Edge hits the nail on the head.

The biggest question I constantly face when designing adventures is "what range of DCs is appropriate to challenge my party without being impossible?"

A corollary to that question is the one Edge brings up: "What range of levels is this DC appropriate for?"

Table 10-2 answered both of those questions - questions I was used to constantly fighting with in 1e - clearly and succinctly. To quote a certain prince, "Never in my life have a needed something so much and not known until I received it."


As above. I'm not talking about giving simple tasks arbitrarily high DCs, I'm talking about knowing proper DCs for the NOT simple tasks my party will inevitably face. And when simple tasks come along I can also see what constitutes a low DC, though by mid levels it's a moot point because most simple tasks are now trivial.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Cyouni wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:


One of the things that frustrates me so much about PF1e adventure design is that "what DC will be hard but not impossible for a 13th level party?" is a question that is almost impossible to answer, and having that information baked into the system in the playtest was something I saw, much like the standardization of monster levels, as taking a huge amount of guesswork out of my design.
I think this is still doable with the new system, as Mark Seifter noted you can apply adjustments of +- 2, 5 or 10, as appropriate. So I'd assume a moderately hard DC would be level DC+2.

It's not going to give you exactly what MaxAstro wants because the numbers present in the book don't scale as quickly as the PCs do. For example, an "extremely hard" level 1 DC is extremely hard for a level 1 character and pretty likely to end in critical failure no matter the PC, but while an "extremely hard" level 20 DC is by no means a sure thing for a level 20 character, they have a much higher chance to succeed (could even be more likely than not if they're really optimized for that skill).

MaxAstro would like to know what the number would be that would actually be extremely hard for a level 20 PC. Frankly, it's useful to know that; I want to have that information too. But the problem with providing it inthe DC chart in the gamemastering section, as revealed by many of you in the playtest on both the boards and the surveys, is that GMs who don't read all the advice about how to use the chart might just pull DCs from the chart, so the playtest showed that we needed to present DCs that didn't keep up with the PCs so that someone just quickly reading the chart could use them as intended and allow PCs to progress and be awesome. We can always put the information on the side somewhere and not in the chart so that someone who reads everything will have it but someone using the chart alone won't accidentally create a treadmill.

Does that make sense?


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Mark Seifter wrote:

MaxAstro would like to know what the number would be that would actually be extremely hard for a level 20 PC. Frankly, it's useful to know that; I want to have that information too. But the problem with providing it inthe DC chart in the gamemastering section, as revealed by many of you in the playtest on both the boards and the surveys, is that GMs who don't read all the advice about how to use the chart might just pull DCs from the chart, so the playtest showed that we needed to present DCs that didn't keep up with the PCs so that someone just quickly reading the chart could use them as intended and allow PCs to progress and be awesome. We can always put the information on the side somewhere and not in the chart so that someone who reads everything will have it but someone using the chart alone won't accidentally create a treadmill.

Does that make sense?

It does. Suggestion: A good place for "on the side somewhere" would be the bestiary, with the hazards section. It would still need to be written carefully to avoid the GMs reading it as a guide to treadmill creation.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, I figured that was the logic. As I said in another post, it's unfortunate that the information was getting misused that way because it's really useful information.

It's nice to know that you guys are aware that it is useful information, though. That makes me feel like the system won't make it quite as hard to figure those things out as PF1e did. :)

Paizo Employee Designer

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gwynfrid wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

MaxAstro would like to know what the number would be that would actually be extremely hard for a level 20 PC. Frankly, it's useful to know that; I want to have that information too. But the problem with providing it inthe DC chart in the gamemastering section, as revealed by many of you in the playtest on both the boards and the surveys, is that GMs who don't read all the advice about how to use the chart might just pull DCs from the chart, so the playtest showed that we needed to present DCs that didn't keep up with the PCs so that someone just quickly reading the chart could use them as intended and allow PCs to progress and be awesome. We can always put the information on the side somewhere and not in the chart so that someone who reads everything will have it but someone using the chart alone won't accidentally create a treadmill.

Does that make sense?

It does. Suggestion: A good place for "on the side somewhere" would be the bestiary, with the hazards section. It would still need to be written carefully to avoid the GMs reading it as a guide to treadmill creation.

My guess is that it could be as simple as a rule of thumb like Level X and above the "hard" +2 DC is about as hard as standard used to be (thus very hard is kind of about as hard as hard was), and Level Y and above the "yery hard" +5 DC is about as hard as standard used to be at the beginning (thus extremely hard is as hard as very hard was, and I guess +15 would be as hard as extremely hard once was).


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Roswynn wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
At Crécy the English longbowmen were, indeed, terribly effective. First off, they had trained for years with their weapons, both to enhance their arms strength and their aim - it was simply the law. Secondarily, when they shot on the French cavalry, they didn't need to then stop, hide behind a pavise, shove a foot into their crossbow stirrup... no, they just picked up another arrow, cocked, aimed, shot again. They were damn fast, they rained a veritable storm of arrows on those knights. Unlike the slow and not necessarily more powerful Genoese crossbowmen mercenaries, whose main advantage was that crossbows... are easier to learn than bows.

Crecy, of course, predates plate armour. And the French did get through the arrow-storm and into contact with the English foot. And incidentally, Genoese law dictated very similar training for their crossbow militia (and other militia) as English law did for the English longbow, so I'm dubious at the idea that the crossbow is especially easy to be good with.

No, no it doesn't. Crécy doesn't predate plate armor. In 1346 plate was new, and some soldiers still wore transitional, but many many knights wore plate.

I didn't say the French didn't manage to get into melee range with the English. I just pointed out that archers are bad for you, even in plate, but not because arrows PIERCE plate (which they usually don't).

I didn't know about Genoese law! Thank you for the info. As for crossbows, as far as I know (and I would encourage anyone to read more about the subject), yes, they're easier than bows, requiring less training and not even as much strength as most bows, and being easier to aim. Bow archery usually required training from a young age, much like horsemanship, but crossbows could be confidently given to a "rookie" unit of soldiers and they would be able to learn the basics quite fast, and could pull the lever much more easily than nocking an arrow, drawing the bow, and firing. At least, this is...

war crossbows got up to 1200lb draw weight, and were operated using a windlass or cranequin, that is a late period anti plate armour weapon mind you, and the short power stroke of crossbows reduces comparative power to a long bow, but it is still equivalent to a 250lb longbow, and drawen using a complicated winching system, so training with that monster would have been necessary, as well as training volley fire, the use of Pavise, formations etc.


Rob Godfrey wrote:
war crossbows got up to 1200lb draw weight, and were operated using a windlass or cranequin, that is a late period anti plate armour weapon mind you, and the short power stroke of crossbows reduces comparative power to a long bow, but it is still equivalent to a 250lb longbow, and drawen using a complicated winching system, so training with that monster would have been necessary, as well as training volley fire, the use of Pavise, formations etc.

There certainly was a lot of training involved in being a good crossbowman. Mercenary crossbowmen were paid quite well, reflecting their high level of training. But compared to a heavy warbow, it's got a much lower barrier for entry. With a warbow, you need some pretty major strength training just to be able to draw the thing. With a crossbow, even a complicated windlass or cranequin bow, it's just a matter of learning how to operate it and then practice with shooting. So you can have a functional crossbowman much faster than a warbow archer. Functional in the sense of being able to span and shoot, not necessarily any good at being about to hit anything. But that's a lot more than you can get from a warbow archer with a comparable amount of training. The ease of training crossbowmen is often overstated, but it is faster than with English warbow archers.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Doktor Weasel wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
war crossbows got up to 1200lb draw weight, and were operated using a windlass or cranequin, that is a late period anti plate armour weapon mind you, and the short power stroke of crossbows reduces comparative power to a long bow, but it is still equivalent to a 250lb longbow, and drawen using a complicated winching system, so training with that monster would have been necessary, as well as training volley fire, the use of Pavise, formations etc.
There certainly was a lot of training involved in being a good crossbowman. Mercenary crossbowmen were paid quite well, reflecting their high level of training. But compared to a heavy warbow, it's got a much lower barrier for entry. With a warbow, you need some pretty major strength training just to be able to draw the thing. With a crossbow, even a complicated windlass or cranequin bow, it's just a matter of learning how to operate it and then practice with shooting. So you can have a functional crossbowman much faster than a warbow archer. Functional in the sense of being able to span and shoot, not necessarily any good at being about to hit anything. But that's a lot more than you can get from a warbow archer with a comparable amount of training. The ease of training crossbowmen is often overstated, but it is faster than with English warbow archers.

agreed that a warbow is harder, but conflating war worthy crossbows with hunting crossbows (which are very simple) is an error, a crossbow vs a warbow is about equivalent to a pike vs a sword, in level of complexity, at least imho.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Edge93 wrote:

Huh, kinda like how PF1 monster design ignored PC rules when it was needed to get their stats right and PF2 is just up front about it. ;P

The only real difference IMO is PF1 is such a mess numerically now that you really CAN'T set something to the party's "level" with any sort of reliability. With the PF2 chassis that actually works.

where as for me that 'fudge factor' was a flaw to be fixed, rather than a good point.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The problem with that, Rob, is that for monsters to use no fudge at all and still be an appropriate challenge for a given level, you need tighter math than most people seem to want.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:
The problem with that, Rob, is that for monsters to use no fudge at all and still be an appropriate challenge for a given level, you need tighter math than most people seem to want.

. Or a codified list of what the fudges are, so that they can be added and removed as needed.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm pretty sure the nature of a fudge prevents codification. :P Or at the very least, without significantly increasing Paizo's workload.

I find the solution of "there's no fudging, monsters just use different rules" much cleaner.

Liberty's Edge

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I've loved and played Pathfinder 1 since it came out; and have spent hundreds of dollars at my local game store on Pathfinder.Sadly, Pathfinder 2 is NOT an improvement. I'll continue playing until the end of season 10, at which point I will use the old system for my home group gaming.


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Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Sadly, Pathfinder 2 is NOT an improvement.

Pathfinder 2 has not been released, printed, or even finished. What actually comes out promises to be quite a bit different from the playtest, which you apparently did not enjoy. Perhaps give it a look when it's actually done.


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MaxAstro wrote:

I'm pretty sure the nature of a fudge prevents codification. :P Or at the very least, without significantly increasing Paizo's workload.

I find the solution of "there's no fudging, monsters just use different rules" much cleaner.

Except the rules for monsters is fudging. And there's nothing about the "tight math" here because there is no math to be had. Want an enemy to have +13 to hit? Who cares if they have a 5 Dexterity and Strength and are only 6th level, you're the GM, so it has +13 to hit. Same with damage dice. Don't have +X in potency? Who cares, now they do because they can, because you, the GM, willed it so.

The ends justify the means when it comes to PF2 monster creation, and people (myself included) don't like it because the math doesn't reflect that at all when it's supposed to for the PCs, which is where the real upset lies.

Liberty's Edge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Except the rules for monsters is fudging. And there's nothing about the "tight math" here because there is no math to be had. Want an enemy to have +13 to hit? Who cares if they have a 5 Dexterity and Strength and are only 6th level, you're the GM, so it has +13 to hit. Same with damage dice. Don't have +X in potency? Who cares, now they do because they can, because you, the GM, willed it so.

The ends justify the means when it comes to PF2 monster creation, and people (myself included) don't like it because the math doesn't reflect that at all when it's supposed to for the PCs, which is where the real upset lies.

This is, quite frankly, flatly false. We don't have the monster creation guidelines yet, but looking at the monster stat blocks, their damage dice and to-hit seem pretty strictly tied to level.

That's not the same as being tied to Ability Scores, certainly, and is different from how PCs do it, but it's also not 'fudging' or 'arbitrary' at all. It's a hard and fast rule that can be examined in detail if you wish.

It can have certain realism issues in terms of how someone with Dex 5 and Str 5 can hit things (though even in PF1, fudging that is as easy as saying it uses another stat for attacks), and in the playtest had the weird issue of 'Why can't PCs get extra damage dice independent of weapon?' (though the hints about the final version seem to indicate they fixed that by giving PCs extra damage dice independent of weapon)...but saying it's fudging or not objective when all Level 5 monsters have within a point or two of the same to-hit is just not true.

It is asymmetric with PCs, but asymmetry and fudging are, in fact, not the same thing. You can certainly dislike it based on the asymmetry, but the asymmetry is not really new (it's less obvious in PF1 but still definitively there...PCs can't take levels of 'Dragon'), and that doesn't make it 'fudging' by any normal definition of the word.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

I'm pretty sure the nature of a fudge prevents codification. :P Or at the very least, without significantly increasing Paizo's workload.

I find the solution of "there's no fudging, monsters just use different rules" much cleaner.

Except the rules for monsters is fudging. And there's nothing about the "tight math" here because there is no math to be had. Want an enemy to have +13 to hit? Who cares if they have a 5 Dexterity and Strength and are only 6th level, you're the GM, so it has +13 to hit. Same with damage dice. Don't have +X in potency? Who cares, now they do because they can, because you, the GM, willed it so.

The ends justify the means when it comes to PF2 monster creation, and people (myself included) don't like it because the math doesn't reflect that at all when it's supposed to for the PCs, which is where the real upset lies.

At least that's less upsetting than having a CR 13 shark with dragon's head have more STR than a CR 25 Tarrasque because that's the only way you can build a Colossal monster at this CR while offsetting the -8 STR penalty for size AND keeping the damage output consistent with what CR 13 should be. And of course it can only have one attack with that STR, so you're down to fish, worms and other creatures that can do just one attack.

Or the Wild Hunt Monarch with his "I have a effective +5 bane against everything thundering glaive because welp, fey BAB sucks and I need something to be a credible melee threat at my CR while Mr. Balor right there has full BAB so he can get away with having a +1 toothbrush."

Totally natural, matching, reflecting PCs, we're talking Marie Kondo level of ducks in boxes here.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Except the rules for monsters is fudging. And there's nothing about the "tight math" here because there is no math to be had. Want an enemy to have +13 to hit? Who cares if they have a 5 Dexterity and Strength and are only 6th level, you're the GM, so it has +13 to hit. Same with damage dice. Don't have +X in potency? Who cares, now they do because they can, because you, the GM, willed it so.

The ends justify the means when it comes to PF2 monster creation, and people (myself included) don't like it because the math doesn't reflect that at all when it's supposed to for the PCs, which is where the real upset lies.

This is, quite frankly, flatly false. We don't have the monster creation guidelines yet, but looking at the monster stat blocks, their damage dice and to-hit seem pretty strictly tied to level.

That's not the same as being tied to Ability Scores, certainly, and is different from how PCs do it, but it's also not 'fudging' or 'arbitrary' at all. It's a hard and fast rule that can be examined in detail if you wish.

It can have certain realism issues in terms of how someone with Dex 5 and Str 5 can hit things (though even in PF1, fudging that is as easy as saying it uses another stat for attacks), and in the playtest had the weird issue of 'Why can't PCs get extra damage dice independent of weapon?' (though the hints about the final version seem to indicate they fixed that by giving PCs extra damage dice independent of weapon)...but saying it's fudging or not objective when all Level 5 monsters have within a point or two of the same to-hit is just not true.

It is asymmetric with PCs, but asymmetry and fudging are, in fact, not the same thing. You can certainly dislike it based on the asymmetry, but the asymmetry is not really new (it's less obvious in PF1 but still definitively there...PCs can't take levels of 'Dragon'), and that doesn't make it 'fudging' by any normal definition of the word.

Just because they follow an arbitrary level treadmill overly much doesn't mean they aren't fudged. I've examined numerous statblocks of playtest creatures that I used for my home group, and almost none of them stack up to what the actual statistics would amount to. More often than not, creatures were tougher than what their math reflects, and as you state, some creatures deal extra damage dice with no magical explanation or special ability. If that's not fudging, then nothing is, and people are really just hungry for a special chocolate pastry at random.

Dragon isn't a class, it's a creature type. You can't take class levels in a creature type, most definitely if you don't actually have that creature type.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

You are missing Deadmanwalking's point.

If every monster follows the same rules as every other monster - which does seem to be the case based on the numbers - that's not fudging, even if those rules are completely different than the rules PCs use. It's just a different rule set.

Clearly, PF2e monsters don't use Str mod + level + proficiency to calculate their melee attack bonus; instead the calculation is level + something else. As long as that something else is consistent - even if it's ridiculous like "monsters with an 'S' in their name get level + 5 and monsters with a double consonant get level + 6" - that's still following a consistent rule set, which is not fudging.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Except the rules for monsters is fudging. And there's nothing about the "tight math" here because there is no math to be had. Want an enemy to have +13 to hit? Who cares if they have a 5 Dexterity and Strength and are only 6th level, you're the GM, so it has +13 to hit. Same with damage dice. Don't have +X in potency? Who cares, now they do because they can, because you, the GM, willed it so.

The ends justify the means when it comes to PF2 monster creation, and people (myself included) don't like it because the math doesn't reflect that at all when it's supposed to for the PCs, which is where the real upset lies.

This is, quite frankly, flatly false. We don't have the monster creation guidelines yet, but looking at the monster stat blocks, their damage dice and to-hit seem pretty strictly tied to level.

That's not the same as being tied to Ability Scores, certainly, and is different from how PCs do it, but it's also not 'fudging' or 'arbitrary' at all. It's a hard and fast rule that can be examined in detail if you wish.

It can have certain realism issues in terms of how someone with Dex 5 and Str 5 can hit things (though even in PF1, fudging that is as easy as saying it uses another stat for attacks), and in the playtest had the weird issue of 'Why can't PCs get extra damage dice independent of weapon?' (though the hints about the final version seem to indicate they fixed that by giving PCs extra damage dice independent of weapon)...but saying it's fudging or not objective when all Level 5 monsters have within a point or two of the same to-hit is just not true.

It is asymmetric with PCs, but asymmetry and fudging are, in fact, not the same thing. You can certainly dislike it based on the asymmetry, but the asymmetry is not really new (it's less obvious in PF1 but still definitively there...PCs can't take levels of 'Dragon'), and that doesn't make it 'fudging' by any normal definition of the word.

. I didn’t like the random bonuses monsters got in pf1, this is doubling down on a tendency I see as a flaw, dragons having abilities because they need them to fit the myth is fine, random bonuses given without explanation because they need to hit numbers isn’t, build the creature, then assign cr, not target a certain cr then make random adjustments to fit, if it turns out your giant worm critter isn’t that dangerous to PCs....then it isn’t tha5 dangerous, if it turns out a monster like a Dragon needs to study and train, then, well it’s very intelligent it can certainly do that.


MaxAstro wrote:

You are missing Deadmanwalking's point.

If every monster follows the same rules as every other monster - which does seem to be the case based on the numbers - that's not fudging, even if those rules are completely different than the rules PCs use. It's just a different rule set.

Clearly, PF2e monsters don't use Str mod + level + proficiency to calculate their melee attack bonus; instead the calculation is level + something else. As long as that something else is consistent - even if it's ridiculous like "monsters with an 'S' in their name get level + 5 and monsters with a double consonant get level + 6" - that's still following a consistent rule set, which is not fudging.

I'd have to say that it is fudged when the rules for them are inconsistent, and it's especially prevalent in the higher levels.

Also, Stat blocks referencing ability modifiers while then disregarding said modifiers in their overall calculations is beyond stupid.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Rob Godfrey wrote:
. I didn’t like the random bonuses monsters got in pf1, this is doubling down on a tendency I see as a flaw, dragons having abilities because they need them to fit the myth is fine, random bonuses given without explanation because they need to hit numbers isn’t, build the creature, then assign cr, not target a certain cr then make random adjustments to fit, if it turns out your giant worm critter isn’t that dangerous to PCs....then it isn’t tha5 dangerous, if it turns out a monster like a Dragon needs to study and train, then, well it’s very intelligent it can certainly do that.

On the one hand, the principle is sound and I definitely see where you are coming from. If I hadn't designed adventures myself I'd completely agree with you.

The problem is that the situation "I have a monster I want to design in isolation" almost never comes up. The actual situation is either, from a GM's perspective, "my party is 5th level and I need a creature that will fit into this sidequest they've gone off on" or, from Paizo's perspective, "We need enough variety of monsters at each level that GMs can have a variety of creatures they can use against their players".

From both of those perspectives, you need to be able to answer the question "how do I make a level 5 monster?" Making a monster and then realizing, 'oops, it's the wrong level and not actually going to work for what I need it for,' is just wasting time that neither Paizo nor the typical GM has to waste.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
. I didn’t like the random bonuses monsters got in pf1, this is doubling down on a tendency I see as a flaw, dragons having abilities because they need them to fit the myth is fine, random bonuses given without explanation because they need to hit numbers isn’t, build the creature, then assign cr, not target a certain cr then make random adjustments to fit, if it turns out your giant worm critter isn’t that dangerous to PCs....then it isn’t tha5 dangerous, if it turns out a monster like a Dragon needs to study and train, then, well it’s very intelligent it can certainly do that.

On the one hand, the principle is sound and I definitely see where you are coming from. If I hadn't designed adventures myself I'd completely agree with you.

The problem is that the situation "I have a monster I want to design in isolation" almost never comes up. The actual situation is either, from a GM's perspective, "my party is 5th level and I need a creature that will fit into this sidequest they've gone off on" or, from Paizo's perspective, "We need enough variety of monsters at each level that GMs can have a variety of creatures they can use against their players".

From both of those perspectives, you need to be able to answer the question "how do I make a level 5 monster?" Making a monster and then realizing, 'oops, it's the wrong level and not actually going to work for what I need it for,' is just wasting time that neither Paizo nor the typical GM has to waste.

. Their is something to that, hav8ng consistent rules fo4 adding templates or class levels to monsters as appropriate should relieve that in a more satisfying way than the current ‘bonus fron nowhere’ model. The Lich wants a sand worm type critter? Fine he has one captured, realises it needs more zing, and starts experimenting on it, feeding it the essence of summoned daemons to add a template...boom, more threatening critter, explanation as to why it is a threat, and internally consistent rules (and a future adventure hook if the PCs find those research papers.)

Liberty's Edge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Just because they follow an arbitrary level treadmill overly much doesn't mean they aren't fudged. I've examined numerous statblocks of playtest creatures that I used for my home group, and almost none of them stack up to what the actual statistics would amount to. More often than not, creatures were tougher than what their math reflects, and as you state, some creatures deal extra damage dice with no magical explanation or special ability. If that's not fudging, then nothing is, and people are really just hungry for a special chocolate pastry at random.

You have, as MaxAstro notes, utterly missed my point.

If the monster creation rules say 'All monsters of level 7+ get a bonus die of damage on attacks (this does not stack with magic weapons).' then doing that is not fudging since it follows the printed rules precisely. The fact that PCs do not have such a rule makes it an asymmetrical rule between PCs and Monsters...but such asymmetries have always existed to some degree, and more importantly it simply isn't 'fudging'. And the monster stats indicate that this is exactly what is going on.

You are quite literally complaining about the wrong thing, in the same way someone complaining about rain when it's snowing is complaining about the wrong thing. What's going on may not be to your taste, but is a factually and objectively different issue from fudging things.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Dragon isn't a class, it's a creature type. You can't take class levels in a creature type, most definitely if you don't actually have that creature type.

Indeed. And that's a form of asymmetry with the actual rules for PCs, who cannot have levels in their creature type. Which was my whole point.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I'd have to say that it is fudged when the rules for them are inconsistent, and it's especially prevalent in the higher levels.

Having different rules for PCs and (at least most) NPCs is actually far more common in RPGs than an absolute consistency between PCs and NPCs. Indeed, if you count XP and how it works, it's almost universal.

This is not 'fudging' if both sets of rules are internally consistent, it's just having divergent rules between PCs and NPCs.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Also, Stat blocks referencing ability modifiers while then disregarding said modifiers in their overall calculations is beyond stupid.

They're used for untrained Skill Checks, Ability checks, and Strength is still added to damage when appropriate. There are very real reasons to include them.

Rob Godfrey wrote:
I didn’t like the random bonuses monsters got in pf1, this is doubling down on a tendency I see as a flaw, dragons having abilities because they need them to fit the myth is fine, random bonuses given without explanation because they need to hit numbers isn’t, build the creature, then assign cr, not target a certain cr then make random adjustments to fit, if it turns out your giant worm critter isn’t that dangerous to PCs....then it isn’t tha5 dangerous, if it turns out a monster like a Dragon needs to study and train, then, well it’s very intelligent it can certainly do that.

This isn't actually 'doubling down', it's just making the same exact tendency more explicit. And you can dislike it all you like (I actually have some of my own issues with PC/NPC asymmetry, though PF2 seems to be avoiding the worst of them, for me)...my argument is not with that. I am specifically and explicitly arguing with the terminology used by Darksol, as it is incorrect and confusing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That does make total sense from the GM perspective, yes, but don't forget the Paizo perspective.

It's pretty obvious to me that a big design principle of 2e was to make the rules easier for Paizo to develop for - that kind of goes hand-in-hand with improving the GM experience in some ways. Less turnaround filling out bestiaries means more content out the door faster, which means more stuff for GMs to use.


Gorbacz wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

I'm pretty sure the nature of a fudge prevents codification. :P Or at the very least, without significantly increasing Paizo's workload.

I find the solution of "there's no fudging, monsters just use different rules" much cleaner.

Except the rules for monsters is fudging. And there's nothing about the "tight math" here because there is no math to be had. Want an enemy to have +13 to hit? Who cares if they have a 5 Dexterity and Strength and are only 6th level, you're the GM, so it has +13 to hit. Same with damage dice. Don't have +X in potency? Who cares, now they do because they can, because you, the GM, willed it so.

The ends justify the means when it comes to PF2 monster creation, and people (myself included) don't like it because the math doesn't reflect that at all when it's supposed to for the PCs, which is where the real upset lies.

Or the Wild Hunt Monarch with his "I have a effective +5 bane against everything thundering glaive because welp, fey BAB sucks and I need something to be a credible melee threat at my CR while Mr. Balor right there has full BAB so he can get away with having a +1 toothbrush."

Don't forget the Monarch being 26hd to the Balor's 20 to further compensate for the BAB and the weedy d6 HD.

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