Jason on Know Direction (Jan 16th)


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
It would make sense for it to work that way, if Focus Spells were an optional feature for all the classes that have it. But that is not the case. It's a baseline feature for clerics and non-universalist wizards. So, it this was tied to Cha, it would be an undue burden on these classes (less so on clerics since they already have Channel Energy tied to Cha).
Well, as written clerics already have that burden. What if all characters had it? Like, what if focus spells were all as potent as channel?

Exactly this, except maybe not quite as game-defining as channel. And also there needs to be more support for NOT focusing on it. I would really like "Charisma-dumped Cleric who never really gets any use out of channel energy" to be a viable and effective (and most importantly feat-supported) build in the final version.


MaxAstro wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
It would make sense for it to work that way, if Focus Spells were an optional feature for all the classes that have it. But that is not the case. It's a baseline feature for clerics and non-universalist wizards. So, it this was tied to Cha, it would be an undue burden on these classes (less so on clerics since they already have Channel Energy tied to Cha).
Well, as written clerics already have that burden. What if all characters had it? Like, what if focus spells were all as potent as channel?
Exactly this, except maybe not quite as game-defining as channel. And also there needs to be more support for NOT focusing on it. I would really like "Charisma-dumped Cleric who never really gets any use out of channel energy" to be a viable and effective (and most importantly feat-supported) build in the final version.

No, at least as game-defining as channel. I want those class features to be defining if focused on, really being a focal point of the character, not exclusively window dressing or utterly ineffective choices during combat.

I agree that builds that ignore them should be supported though.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
It would make sense for it to work that way, if Focus Spells were an optional feature for all the classes that have it. But that is not the case. It's a baseline feature for clerics and non-universalist wizards. So, it this was tied to Cha, it would be an undue burden on these classes (less so on clerics since they already have Channel Energy tied to Cha).
Well, as written clerics already have that burden. What if all characters had it? Like, what if focus spells were all as potent as channel?
Exactly this, except maybe not quite as game-defining as channel. And also there needs to be more support for NOT focusing on it. I would really like "Charisma-dumped Cleric who never really gets any use out of channel energy" to be a viable and effective (and most importantly feat-supported) build in the final version.

Exactly this. Fully agreed. Lest we forget the bad touch cleric of the Madness domain, one of the most feared debuffers if not the most in the entire game.


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Atalius wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
It would make sense for it to work that way, if Focus Spells were an optional feature for all the classes that have it. But that is not the case. It's a baseline feature for clerics and non-universalist wizards. So, it this was tied to Cha, it would be an undue burden on these classes (less so on clerics since they already have Channel Energy tied to Cha).
Well, as written clerics already have that burden. What if all characters had it? Like, what if focus spells were all as potent as channel?
Exactly this, except maybe not quite as game-defining as channel. And also there needs to be more support for NOT focusing on it. I would really like "Charisma-dumped Cleric who never really gets any use out of channel energy" to be a viable and effective (and most importantly feat-supported) build in the final version.
Exactly this. Fully agreed. Lest we forget the bad touch cleric of the Madness domain, one of the most feared debuffers if not the most in the entire game.

Oh gosh, that ability was so BS. All because of lacking the likely intended restriction of it being meant for WILLING targets, or at LEAST allowing a save for unwilling.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

As long as we don't bring back "you can voluntarily lower your stats in order to increase other ones" I'm not concerned about "dumping stats in PF2".

I know people are going to say "but I want to play flawed characters" but there isn't a "take a flaw to gain an advantage" system in roleplaying games which hasn't been run roughshod on by minmaxers. Plus, there's no reason you can't be a "phenomenally foolish person" with a 10 wis, or a "catastrophically clumsy person" with a 10 dex, etc.

No. Because as soon as dice rolls come up you are not actually those things.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

As long as we don't bring back "you can voluntarily lower your stats in order to increase other ones" I'm not concerned about "dumping stats in PF2".

I know people are going to say "but I want to play flawed characters" but there isn't a "take a flaw to gain an advantage" system in roleplaying games which hasn't been run roughshod on by minmaxers. Plus, there's no reason you can't be a "phenomenally foolish person" with a 10 wis, or a "catastrophically clumsy person" with a 10 dex, etc.

No. Because as soon as dice rolls come up you are not actually those things.

My view, which I stated elsewhere, is that being bad at something to be good at something else is a delusion unless a mechanic, such as a flavorful archetype, justifies the trade-off.

Nevertheless, Paizo and third-party publishers do create those flavorful archetypes with the trade-offs, because they serve a significant purpose in roleplaying games. We want to play the characters that we imagine. This is not entirely possible, because we have to restrict ourselves to the characters whose backgrounds fit the setting and whose powers fit their level. We don't get to play Indiana Jones, professor at Marshall College in Connecticut who stops Nazis. Instead, we get to play an archeologist-archetype Bard in Varisia, who is a 1st-level amateur who cannot manage a bullwhip properly. Fortunately, that is close enough to keep most players happy (the others go off to play a WWII roleplaying game where they can play a professor of archeology from Connecticut).

And our Archeologist Bard in PF1 cannot sing Inspire Courage. The archeologist archetype trades away bardic performance. And that is not so that the player can play being bad at singing. That is because the archetype is modeled after the Indiana Jones character, and bardic performance does not fit that image.

As a GM, I have had to play a "phenomenally foolish person" with Wisdom 18, because I have had to play cleric villains with unwise plans that are thwarted by ordinary heroics from the party. Getting into character was hard, because I had to refrain from the villain fixing the obvious flaws in his plan that let the heroes operate freely. I never tried a "catastrophically clumsy person," because random catastrophes would cause a villain to defeat himself in a Deux Ex Machina, which would be no fun for the players.

I have also played GMPC party members who were deliberately lackluster. The key to playing a GMPC that the players like is to make sure that the GMPC enhances the player characters, like a Dr. John Watson whose faithfulness makes Sherlock Holmes truly stand out as the great detective, so that the players have an easier time playing their characters as they like. My Amaya of Westcrown NPC was the lost heir to the throne, a difficult role to keep out of party leadership, but I found that she worked as a healer, den mother, and executive manager of the caravan. My Val Baine NPC was designed as a full-BAB martial character to support a party of 3/4 BAB characters (the gunslinger was full BAB but took the rogue role), but she also had high Charisma and the Unpredictable trait (made Bluff a class skill) to handle the deceptive cover story for the party, because no-one else wanted that task. Roleplaying the NPCs as extremely bad at something would have claimed too much attention away from the party. Instead, I needed the NPC to play second fiddle, i.e., 2nd violin position in the orchestra, so that a PC could successfully play first fiddle.

And as Arssanguinus pointed out, to be believeable the second-fiddle role had to fit the dice rolls. She could not be better than the PC.

The customization of PF1 fits the game my players want. We will see whether PF2 can manage it.


Edge93 wrote:
Atalius wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
It would make sense for it to work that way, if Focus Spells were an optional feature for all the classes that have it. But that is not the case. It's a baseline feature for clerics and non-universalist wizards. So, it this was tied to Cha, it would be an undue burden on these classes (less so on clerics since they already have Channel Energy tied to Cha).
Well, as written clerics already have that burden. What if all characters had it? Like, what if focus spells were all as potent as channel?
Exactly this, except maybe not quite as game-defining as channel. And also there needs to be more support for NOT focusing on it. I would really like "Charisma-dumped Cleric who never really gets any use out of channel energy" to be a viable and effective (and most importantly feat-supported) build in the final version.
Exactly this. Fully agreed. Lest we forget the bad touch cleric of the Madness domain, one of the most feared debuffers if not the most in the entire game.
Oh gosh, that ability was so BS. All because of lacking the likely intended restriction of it being meant for WILLING targets, or at LEAST allowing a save for unwilling.

Hehe I loved that ability. I hope one day they bring in a weaker version of that power (fingers crossed). He was a great charisma dumping Cleric option a ton of fun.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
No. Because as soon as dice rolls come up you are not actually those things.

Nonetheless, I can decide "not to roll" to reflect my vision of the character. I once took a character through an AP who never even attempted a perception check, as she was nearsighted, constantly sleepy, absentminded, and generally lost in thought. I can do the same thing in PF2 even though I can't take wisdom below 10 (8 for goblins) and every class is trained in perception.


(Not that it is going to happen but...)
I always thought that the 6 attributes can be better balanced and explained by killing "charisma" and replacing it with "willpower" or something of the sort. Willpower gets the Will save and other rolls for asserting dominance (such as wrestling control of a dominated enemy, inspiring compitance and the like). Spell/focus points can be much more easily explained as activated by shear will instead of the ability which makes you a charming person.

We are then left with Wisdom governing all 3 of the "people skills" like sense motive, deception and diplomacy (intimidation too, but willpower can also work here). Basically wisdom makes you good at the passive as well as the active intuative skills. And of course wisdom can keep the all powerful Perception (non) skill.

Lantern Lodge

Was there ever a dev comment on why to start stats at 10 and not allow “dumping”? I know PF1 started at 10, but of course everyone lowered to 8 or 7. Seems to me they should’ve started stats at 8. Not only do you get more than enough boosts, but it’s odd to me that RAW every PC (and I would think other rangers fighters wizards etc in the world) are at least average at everything... although I’m not sure if an average stat is represented by 10-12 in PF2 did they raise the bar to match how easy it is for PC to attain 18 in four stats?


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kaisc006 wrote:
Was there ever a dev comment on why to start stats at 10 and not allow “dumping”? I know PF1 started at 10, but of course everyone lowered to 8 or 7. Seems to me they should’ve started stats at 8. Not only do you get more than enough boosts, but it’s odd to me that RAW every PC (and I would think other rangers fighters wizards etc in the world) are at least average at everything... although I’m not sure if an average stat is 10-12 in PF2 did they raise the bar to match how easy it is for PC to attain 18 in four stats?

This contributes to the general goal of tight math, ie. making the gap between the absolute best and the worst character's bonus on a given roll no more than 18 or so (as far as I can remember). There are many other ways the playtest rules achieve this goal, notably by removing a lot of bonus stacking.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Lyee wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Exactly this, except maybe not quite as game-defining as channel. And also there needs to be more support for NOT focusing on it. I would really like "Charisma-dumped Cleric who never really gets any use out of channel energy" to be a viable and effective (and most importantly feat-supported) build in the final version.

No, at least as game-defining as channel. I want those class features to be defining if focused on, really being a focal point of the character, not exclusively window dressing or utterly ineffective choices during combat.

I agree that builds that ignore them should be supported though.

Sorry, I meant game-defining, not character-defining; I have a problem with channel energy in general (although post nerf it's probably much closer to fine) because of the whole "parties with access to channel have fundamentally more power than parties without access to channel" thing.

Unless Paizo wants to give EVERY class an ability of that nature, which is stupidly hard to balance imo, I'd prefer to avoid class features that single-handedly change the dynamic of the entire party.

I absolutely agree that Focus Spells should be character-defining for characters that choose to focus (pun intended) on them.

Lantern Lodge

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Ugh am I the only one who finds the excuse “tight math” for almost all of PF2’s problems annoying? This is the first roleplaying game I’ve seen where the math comes before the narrative / world building...


I'm still not completely convinced Channel is as must have as many people claim it to be-- the only time I've hard it in my parties is part 3 where there wasn't a choice in the matter.

The cleric could use some love outside of it though-- duration buffs would be a good start, but a little more diverse feat support would also be good. There are a lot of channel feats.


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kaisc006 wrote:
Ugh am I the only one who finds the excuse “tight math” for almost all of PF2’s problems annoying? This is the first roleplaying game I’ve seen where the math comes before the narrative / world building...

Normally, I prefer tight math, especially from a world building narrative perspective. However, with <10> crit system and +1/level it feels really wonky in PF2. Not saying its bad mechanically, it just feels weird. Unfortunately, a number of design decisions have been made from it that makes it hard for me to get on board with PF2. Im sure that will vary greatly player to player.


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kaisc006 wrote:
Ugh am I the only one who finds the excuse “tight math” for almost all of PF2’s problems annoying? This is the first roleplaying game I’ve seen where the math comes before the narrative / world building...

The thing for me is, it's WAY easier to add/make narrative for a system with great math than it is to make great math for a system with great narrative.

Or to put it another way I have, it's easier to fix narrative issues than it is to fix broken math by FAR. Something making narrative sense isn't excuse for breaking things IMO, but YMMV and that's understandable. Lots of people like PF1 despite its brokenness, myself included (Though it is proving RIDICULOUSLY hard to get my heart and head back into it to finish out the two campaigns I was running after having a taste of PF2. Doesn't help that I'm having to jump back into the mythic rules for one of them.).

But PF2 has great narrative and world to me on top of great math, so it's kind of all good to me.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
kaisc006 wrote:
Ugh am I the only one who finds the excuse “tight math” for almost all of PF2’s problems annoying? This is the first roleplaying game I’ve seen where the math comes before the narrative / world building...

Really, I've seen it in every DnD style game since 3.0. Now some had different mathematical assumptions, but the maths has always defined the narrative to some degree. Even the least mathsy edition of 5th ed has certain narrative enforcement precisely because they did away with big modifiers. Now you might not like the narratives that PF2 maths tends itself toward but thats a different kettle of fish.

Liberty's Edge

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kaisc006 wrote:
Ugh am I the only one who finds the excuse “tight math” for almost all of PF2’s problems annoying?

Probably not, but I disagree. I think that the tight math is wonderful, and am not alone in thinking so, either.

kaisc006 wrote:
This is the first roleplaying game I’ve seen where the math comes before the narrative / world building...

This particular issue has more to do with the fact that this is a playtest than any problem with PF2. Any exercise in game design as such is inevitably more math focused than actual game stuff.

I've been tangentially involved with cleaning up mechanics issues on games before, and I assure you that the discussion of the Dresden Files RPG (a FATE game and more narrative than any edition of Pathfinder or D&D has ever been), after an official early release PDF where things could still be changed, was every bit as mechanics and math focused (if on a smaller scale and in a somewhat different way) as this playtest.

And that's because that's what game design is. Game design is about the math, the system. It can be about how you use the system to encourage particular story goals, or otherwise tied to the narrative (though it rarely is too strongly in D&D or Pathfinder), but it's still all about the system and the math.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
I'm still not completely convinced Channel is as must have as many people claim it to be-- the only time I've hard it in my parties is part 3 where there wasn't a choice in the matter.

I think the thing about channel is:

- It's a lot stronger than class features other classes get.
- A significant portion of the cleric's feats depend on it.

So it gets outsized attention.

Lantern Lodge

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Of course game design involves math. But you use math to emulate the narrative not the other way around. Especially in a roleplaying game. Right now there are things like no legendary light armor users, monsters / bandit NPCs dealing increase damage for increased damage sake, no concrete method for calculating static skill DC, every PC is a superhero which means golarion is full of super heroes (since PFS is a thing making it not so the PCs are the only god characters... and even if they are they would rapidly exceed the NPCs around them), and the excuse for all of this is tight math. Well honestly it’s the +10/-10 crits that is the prime culprit.

And I get it’s a playtest and supposedly what is coming out is going to be vastly different than what occurred... but I find this a weak defense of PF2. The point of a playtest is to test the actual system. If that was the case then I feel it extremely disingenuous to fans to call something a playtest and you’re building a game based on feedback, then say oh what you played was not the game we are doing that behind closed doors.

Liberty's Edge

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
Ugh am I the only one who finds the excuse “tight math” for almost all of PF2’s problems annoying?
Probably not, but I disagree. I think that the tight math is wonderful, and am not alone in thinking so, either.

You sure aren't, the loosey-goosey -/+ 5-75 math involved in PF1 after 2013 started to make my head spin so hard that I LITERALLY had to comb over every Players Character Sheet EVERY TIME they leveled up or went shopping to make sure that 1 or two new selections didn't just strait-up destroy the game balance.

I TRULY hope that even after a bit of loosening up from the PT to PF2 transition things stay "tight" because otherwise we're likely going to right back to square 1 with the PFS and any REASONABLE non muchkin table of PCs will need to judiciously nerf, ban, and prohibit the Synthesist Summoners and Vivisectionists builds that plagued PF1 with number inflation


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Edge93 wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
Ugh am I the only one who finds the excuse “tight math” for almost all of PF2’s problems annoying? This is the first roleplaying game I’ve seen where the math comes before the narrative / world building...

The thing for me is, it's WAY easier to add/make narrative for a system with great math than it is to make great math for a system with great narrative.

Or to put it another way I have, it's easier to fix narrative issues than it is to fix broken math by FAR. Something making narrative sense isn't excuse for breaking things IMO, but YMMV and that's understandable. Lots of people like PF1 despite its brokenness, myself included (Though it is proving RIDICULOUSLY hard to get my heart and head back into it to finish out the two campaigns I was running after having a taste of PF2. Doesn't help that I'm having to jump back into the mythic rules for one of them.).

But PF2 has great narrative and world to me on top of great math, so it's kind of all good to me.

Agreed, this game is shaping up to be something special. Just some changes to the obvious which Paizo has said they are going to adjust (spells, etc), and 2019 is looking to be a very good year.

Lantern Lodge

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I agree about number inflation but PF2 has inflation baked into the system.

Great roleplaying game design occurs when the mechanics and narrative work hand in hand. As a GM you never want to force the narrative on your PCs with no mecihanical explanation. Similarly when homebrewing or designing a game you never want to push math on PCs without it making sense in game.

PF2’s core functions (3-action economy and +10/-10 crits) force many factors that don’t make any narrative sense in order to work.


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kaisc006 wrote:
PF2’s core functions (3-action economy and +10/-10 crits) force many factors that don’t make any narrative sense in order to work.

Can you elaborate more on this? I feel like those specific examples are more narratively sound than what we had before.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
kaisc006 wrote:

I agree about number inflation but PF2 has inflation baked into the system.

Great roleplaying game design occurs when the mechanics and narrative work hand in hand. As a GM you never want to force the narrative on your PCs with no mecihanical explanation. Similarly when homebrewing or designing a game you never want to push math on PCs without it making sense in game.

PF2’s core functions (3-action economy and +10/-10 crits) force many factors that don’t make any narrative sense in order to work.

Pathfinder 2nd edition, as is implied will be set up. There is a track or set of levels for which player characters will range. And it is defined in such a way that if two characters, one at the bottom of the scale and the other at the top of the scale, attempt to do something they both have minimally invested in. (they are at least trained)

In this circumstance, the person at the bottom of the scale would, at best do, as well as the person at the top of the scale could do at their worst. If the higher level individual put more resources than just trained (even as simple as matching attribute advances) the lower level soul would be unable to even achieve the worst the higher level individual could do. This is, be design in the game, and if you ask me is for two reasons.

Number One, it lets them get rid of dealing with fractions. This is positive, but not that important to me personally.

Number Two, it distinguishes play somewhat distinctly from another specific RPG game that it will have to compete with. If the game is going to make a big wave, it probably has to distinguish itself from another game that may have an otherwise historical marketing advantage.

Lets be honest, if you feel +1/level; +2/rank is too fast, and feels too much like inflation. You can easily change it to +1/2 /level; +1/rank and you can probably take your (DC/2)+5 for new DCs on things and you have a game where there abilities between the low level, and high level soul overlap more.

Or, if you prefer the feel of the other game, where the first level character can realistically outshine the higher level soul at reasonably often, halve the level bonus again, and re-adjust the DCs. But honestly, if you like its play style? Why aren't you playing it? [Ok, Pathfinder does seem to include more frequent choices at each level that aren't necessarily predetermined by a prior choice]

Even at the rapid scaled current state, the rules make for a relatively simple way one could house-rule a less rapidly rising difference between 'levels'. I'm not exactly certain what would need to be done to change CR building formula's after such a change, but I imagine someone like Mathmuse might be able to calculate some good recommendations for changes for some house rule such as that which might be a relatively common house rule. Maybe even something they might include in an appendix, or in a subsequent rulebook that might address a 'grittier' genre with optional rules and recommended .

I'm liking the fact it sounds like it is a framework that will be simple enough that I don't think it would be hard to tweak if you decide you prefer a slightly different style, it will still facilitate it with a few simple changes.

The biggest flaw with my view, I will admit, is that if getting to play Pathfinder Society is the most important part of the game, then yes, the out of the box genre/style is going to be really important, since presumably PFS GMs won't be allowed to change that for PFS games.


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kaisc006 wrote:

I agree about number inflation but PF2 has inflation baked into the system.

Great roleplaying game design occurs when the mechanics and narrative work hand in hand. As a GM you never want to force the narrative on your PCs with no mecihanical explanation. Similarly when homebrewing or designing a game you never want to push math on PCs without it making sense in game.

PF2’s core functions (3-action economy and +10/-10 crits) force many factors that don’t make any narrative sense in order to work.

The problem in PF1 isn't about number inflation, it's about inflation of the gaps between characters. That gap becomes so large eventually that it makes the die roll pointless: Given any check of whatever DC, either the specialists can't fail it, or the non-specialists can't pass. The playtest gets the d20 back to the center of the action, where it belongs.

Not sure what you mean about PF2 has inflation baked into the system, but this is incorrect, if we're talking about the differences between same-level characters. Of course it is correct if we are talking absolute numbers, because of the +level mechanism, but that kind of growth is just to reflect differences between characters of different levels - it's a narrative choice that says high-level characters are far above low-level ones. The alternative is 5E's bounded accuracy, a different, equally valid narrative choice.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Albatoonoe wrote:
kaisc006 wrote:
PF2’s core functions (3-action economy and +10/-10 crits) force many factors that don’t make any narrative sense in order to work.
Can you elaborate more on this? I feel like those specific examples are more narratively sound than what we had before.

Agreed. I find it far more believably that someone of significant skill lands more critical hits than someone of lower skill. In PF1 (without specific build choices) the best fighter in the land doesn't crit against a goblin any more often than the guy starting their quest. +/- 10 system improves the narrative in that regard and any other similar comparison.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Agreed. I find it far more believably that someone of significant skill lands more critical hits than someone of lower skill. In PF1 (without specific build choices) the best fighter in the land doesn't crit against a goblin any more often than the guy starting their quest.

Actually, they do. Crits in 3e/PF1 involve a confirmation roll. The effect of that is that the chance to crit remains proportional to the chance to hit - 1 in 20 hits as a default, up to 6 in 20 if you're using a high-crit weapon with Improved Critical.

So a 1st level fighter in PF1 will likely have an attack bonus of about +5 (BAB +1, Str +4), against a goblin's AC of 16, so they have a 50% chance to hit. Assuming a long sword, they will roll a critical threat 10% of the time, 50% of which will be actual crits. So the 1st level fighter will crit 5% of the time, regular hit 45%, and miss 50%.

If we advance to 5th level, let's give the fighter an attack bonus of +13 (BAB +5, Str +5, weapon training +1, Weapon focus +1, magic weapon +1). If they're still fighting goblins, they will now hit 90% of the time. They will still roll critical threats 10% of the time, 90% of which become actual crits. So that's 9% crits, 81% regular hits, and 10% misses.

The difference is certainly not as large as in PF2, but there is a definite difference.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Some good maths

I stand corrected on the PF1 front. The point still stands that I can't find narrative fault with the +/- 10 system.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
No. Because as soon as dice rolls come up you are not actually those things.
Nonetheless, I can decide "not to roll" to reflect my vision of the character. I once took a character through an AP who never even attempted a perception check, as she was nearsighted, constantly sleepy, absentminded, and generally lost in thought. I can do the same thing in PF2 even though I can't take wisdom below 10 (8 for goblins) and every class is trained in perception.

This is such a nonstarter it baffles me that people keep repeating it. If ignoring the rules works for your table, that's great. It doesn't work at many other tables though.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
This is such a nonstarter it baffles me that people keep repeating it. If ignoring the rules works for your table, that's great. It doesn't work at many other tables though.

How does "not rolling for something I believe my character should not succeed at" involve "ignoring the rules"? It seems like a basic principle of "you are in control of your character" that you will only be attempting things you choose to do. Like this is a pillar of the entire roleplaying hobby- a game where my character is regularly forced to attempt things I don't want them to attempt is a game I would not play.

I mean sure, there are situations like "you fell off the boat, try not to drown" where choosing to fail would involve character death, but I guarantee every "I am from the desert and have never seen more than a puddle so I can't swim" character would have tried their best to not drown if it comes up.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
This is such a nonstarter it baffles me that people keep repeating it. If ignoring the rules works for your table, that's great. It doesn't work at many other tables though.

How does "not rolling for something I believe my character should not succeed at" involve "ignoring the rules"? It seems like a basic principle of "you are in control of your character" that you will only be attempting things you choose to do. Like this is a pillar of the entire roleplaying hobby- a game where my character is regularly forced to attempt things I don't want them to attempt is a game I would not play.

I mean sure, there are situations like "you fell off the boat, try not to drown" where choosing to fail would involve character death, but I guarantee every "I am from the desert and have never seen more than a puddle so I can't swim" character would have tried their best to not drown if it comes up.

Well, you can either look at it as the rules say your character is good at it and you are ignoring the rules. Or you can look at it as the rules are just completely wrong about your character.

I'm a huge proponent of the idea that any system that tries to solve every problem is going to suck. So far I've never seen a strong system that didn't concede a lot to assuming the people at the table are reasonably intelligent and are working together to have a good time. So I'm completely onboard with the mindset you are proposing.

But in the case the problem is that the mechanics have gone out of their way to make the math work and proactively say the high bonuses exist. So you are not supplementing the mechanics so much as willfully thwarting them. That is a big signal that they system has a serious problem.


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gwynfrid wrote:
The problem in PF1 isn't about number inflation, it's about inflation of the gaps between characters. That gap becomes so large eventually that it makes the die roll pointless: Given any check of whatever DC, either the specialists can't fail it, or the non-specialists can't pass. The playtest gets the d20 back to the center of the action, where it belongs.

Obviously a lot of people have this complaint. So I won't suggest it isn't real.

But I will offer an alternative view. In 1E the rolls only matter when they SHOULD matter.

I have literally had a recent game where the monk didn't have to roll to climb a tower while other characters ended up needing help to get to the top and some climbed with decent rolls and then later the monk was rolling to climb a tall stone wall that nobody else could even consider.

In both cases the system worked right because the monk was able to be awesome and skip rolling on the moderate wall, while the people who were typical were rolling. The monk not rolling was right. The others rolling was right.

At the "epic" wall the monk rolling was right and the other knowing better than to roll was right.

The game allowed this giant space for the story to happen within, and the mechanics work when they are supposed to and step out of the way when the story doesn't need them.

I really like that.


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BryonD wrote:
Well, you can either look at it as the rules say your character is good at it and you are ignoring the rules.

What I am saying is that I can have a +75 modifier to something and nonetheless my character cannot be seen as "good at it" if they never actually do it.

It's like when a skill has two separate unrelated uses, say bluff is for lying and feinting. I can have a character who is great at lying but never feints, or a character who is great at feinting but who never lies. No one would say my incredibly honest feinter is "a good liar." I had a character with max ranks in "sleight of hand" since they were a juggler, who never picked a pocket because they were a lawful person who believed that was wrong, no one would call that character "a talented pickpocket."

I mean my halfling fighter who happens to have a whole bunch of archery feats (point blank, precise, clustered, rapid shots; deadly aim, etc.) to use with a slingstaff is not "a good archer" just because they have those feats, a high dex, and proficiency with longbows. In order to be a "good archer" I would need that character to own or at least sometimes use a bow.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
BryonD wrote:
Well, you can either look at it as the rules say your character is good at it and you are ignoring the rules.

What I am saying is that I can have a +75 modifier to something and nonetheless my character cannot be seen as "good at it" if they never actually do it.

It's like when a skill has two separate unrelated uses, say bluff is for lying and feinting. I can have a character who is great at lying but never feints, or a character who is great at feinting but who never lies. No one would say my incredibly honest feinter is "a good liar." I had a character with max ranks in "sleight of hand" since they were a juggler, who never picked a pocket because they were a lawful person who believed that was wrong, no one would call that character "a talented pickpocket."

I mean my halfling fighter who happens to have a whole bunch of archery feats (point blank, precise, clustered, rapid shots; deadly aim, etc.)to use with a slingstaff is not "a good archer" just because they have those feats, a high dex, and proficiency with longbows. In order to be a "good archer" I would need that character to own or at least sometimes use a bow.

Bryond in the very next sentence wrote:
Or you can look at it as the rules are just completely wrong about your character.

That is what you are doing. That is fine if it works for you.

The rules absolutely say that your character is a freaking awesome liar. The gameplay experience may not reveal that. And you as player may actively reject that. But the RULES, the MECHANICS, make an absolute non-subjective statement. The statement the rule is making is simply wrong.

If you slingstaff character DID decide to pick up a bow the mechanics state he would be awesome with THAT.

And, yes, your examples demonstrate that flaw in 1E. That is totally true.

I'm open to improvements. I'm opposed to blatantly embracing this flaw and making it bigger.


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BryonD wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
The problem in PF1 isn't about number inflation, it's about inflation of the gaps between characters. That gap becomes so large eventually that it makes the die roll pointless: Given any check of whatever DC, either the specialists can't fail it, or the non-specialists can't pass. The playtest gets the d20 back to the center of the action, where it belongs.

Obviously a lot of people have this complaint. So I won't suggest it isn't real.

But I will offer an alternative view. In 1E the rolls only matter when they SHOULD matter.

I have literally had a recent game where the monk didn't have to roll to climb a tower while other characters ended up needing help to get to the top and some climbed with decent rolls and then later the monk was rolling to climb a tall stone wall that nobody else could even consider.

In both cases the system worked right because the monk was able to be awesome and skip rolling on the moderate wall, while the people who were typical were rolling. The monk not rolling was right. The others rolling was right.

At the "epic" wall the monk rolling was right and the other knowing better than to roll was right.

The game allowed this giant space for the story to happen within, and the mechanics work when they are supposed to and step out of the way when the story doesn't need them.

I really like that.

This is a compelling point. However:

1) Your example narrative equally works in PF2, where the gap between the monk and the rest of the group would be something like 10. The group needs help and good rolls to get on top of the tower, while, with the same rolls, the monk critically succeeds and climbs much faster (this is narratively superior to what the PF1 rule allows for, by the way). For the much more difficult wall later, the monk goes for it, while the rest of the group wisely stays behind, because a critical fail would mean a nasty fall.

2) Your narrative works well with out of combat skill checks. Because there are many times more combat rolls than out of combat rolls, such a large gap doesn't work at all in combat situations, and in particular it doesn't work for attacks or for saves. If somebody can't succeed on attacks, things get tiresome very fast. If somebody can't fail saves, then the GM must either put up with that or increase DCs. If they increase DCs, then the rest of the group can't succeed and this results in unavoidable TPKs. Either way, this is not satisfying.

Lantern Lodge

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Malk_Content wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Some good maths
I stand corrected on the PF1 front. The point still stands that I can't find narrative fault with the +/- 10 system.

The problem revolves mainly around skills / spell saves. If you have players interact with a king at low level, the king will critically succeed against them because he is a super hero. Why must this happen? Because when those players level up after clearing a few dungeons and come back in two weeks they would crit the king otherwise.

Now you could say well the king went to dungeons too or war so he gained levels as well. But that’s exactly the point. The mechanics are forcing a narrative. Same with those talking about how if you make a tree at level 1 difficult to climb, then every tree players encounter at level 5 must be brittle or in a sleet storm so you can justify the jump in DC.

A level 10 rogue could rob an entire small town pretty Willy nilly. Unless of course you start putting in other superheroes which poses its own problems.

Now in PF1 you could do that with skills, but it was generally at huge costs. People referencing +75 skill are 9 times out of 10 are doing something incorrect with the rules. Plus they never reference what else the character is good at. Let’s say you did get there but you are probably sacrificing item slots, spell slots, multiple feats, class abilities, and taking a specific build path where you could’ve excelled elsewhere. In PF2 you can achieve huge numbers simply by being trained in a skill / weapon / save.

For combat it makes the CR gap much tighter to where fighting just a single CR+4 creature can be daunting. Your players will hit 20% less, fumble 20% more, get hit 20% more, get crit 20% more, against saves fail 20% more, crit fail 20% more, 20% less success for spells
Cast, 20% less crit chance for spells, and likely suffer extra attacks since higher to hit means more extra attack opportunity. That’s just a four level difference.

And again you can argue these were still problems in PF1 and I would agree... because number inflation. In PF1 the deviation between 1-20 characters was generally 40-50 points with maybe something you were crazy at going higher. PF2 lowers that to about 30-40 points with crazy being 50. But the +10/-10 drastically inceases that power creep to where I would argue surpass PF1 nonsense.


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@PossibleCabbage

The whole problem with "not rolling something you're bad at" is that it doesn't work in practice.

Imagine the old "I want to suck at swimming argument":

What I want is for my character to be able to have a very low modifier to swim such that only luck can save him if he falls into a river. (I still roll the die.)

What YOU are suggesting is that my character elect to automatically fail his swim check, thus drowning, unless GM fiat, or the party intervenes.

There is a LARGE difference between these solutions.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
BryonD wrote:
Well, you can either look at it as the rules say your character is good at it and you are ignoring the rules.

What I am saying is that I can have a +75 modifier to something and nonetheless my character cannot be seen as "good at it" if they never actually do it.

It's like when a skill has two separate unrelated uses, say bluff is for lying and feinting. I can have a character who is great at lying but never feints, or a character who is great at feinting but who never lies. No one would say my incredibly honest feinter is "a good liar." I had a character with max ranks in "sleight of hand" since they were a juggler, who never picked a pocket because they were a lawful person who believed that was wrong, no one would call that character "a talented pickpocket."

I mean my halfling fighter who happens to have a whole bunch of archery feats (point blank, precise, clustered, rapid shots; deadly aim, etc.) to use with a slingstaff is not "a good archer" just because they have those feats, a high dex, and proficiency with longbows. In order to be a "good archer" I would need that character to own or at least sometimes use a bow.

I did that with my NPC Val Baine. As I mentioned above, I made her a high-Charisma expert at Bluff. She also started with +4 to Diplomacy at 1st level. But she was not the party diplomat. The strix skald wanted to handle the diplomacy, and NPCs should not diminish a PC's role. Therefore, Val did not do diplomacy. Even on a day when the skald's player was out sick, Val did not take over the diplomacy. She let the remaining PCs handle it badly.

A lot of skill use is purely voluntary. The rules to not force a player to use Acrobatics, Deception, Diplomacy, etc. In fact, high-Charisma paladins would have a natural advantage at Deception, but they don't use it because of their code. Passive checks can't necessarily be avoided, so a high-Dexterity unarmored character roleplayed as too clumsy for Acrobatics would still have a good Dexterity bonus to AC. However, the good dodging could be roleplayed as dodging by stumbling unpredictably.

That is playing a game inside the game, adding volutary restrictions beyond the restrictions of Pathfinder rules. But roleplaying a personality is also a voluntary set of restrictions, to not let the character act out of character.


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BryonD wrote:
And, yes, your examples demonstrate that flaw in 1E. That is totally true.

Here's the thing though, I don't think this is a flaw in PF1. I think that this phenomenon was present in PF1 (and all editions of this family of games honestly) shows that viewing a character as a series of statistics on a character sheet is a mistake. Otherwise you end up with things like "I increase my wisdom, making me better at every profession in the universe" or "as my fighter levels she is now better at every weapon ever designed"

For me, the character sheet is not the character- what my character does, sees, says, and experiences through the course of the story is the character. A character sheet is there to inform what happens, but it does not define what happens ergo it does not define the character. At most all those numbers define what potential my character has if they do end up doing something, but the character is not the quantum superposition of all possible futures, the character is an accounting of what they have done, what they are like, and what they wish to do.

I mean, mechanically character building is a series of choices, and I care about the choices I make making my character better at the things I feel define that character. I do not care what things I am disinterested in doing that my choices incidentally make me better at, since my character isn't going to do those things so it doesn't matter how good or bad they are at it. So I care that precise shot and deadly aim make my halfling fighter better at the slingstaff, I don't care that they make me better at throwing javelins and shooting crossbows. My preference for "this character uses a slingstaff" is expressed by taking things like "weapon focus (slingstaff)" and weapon training in "thrown" and not "bows" or something.


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kaisc006 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Some good maths
I stand corrected on the PF1 front. The point still stands that I can't find narrative fault with the +/- 10 system.

The problem revolves mainly around skills / spell saves. If you have players interact with a king at low level, the king will critically succeed against them because he is a super hero. Why must this happen? Because when those players level up after clearing a few dungeons and come back in two weeks they would crit the king otherwise.

Now you could say well the king went to dungeons too or war so he gained levels as well. But that’s exactly the point. The mechanics are forcing a narrative. Same with those talking about how if you make a tree at level 1 difficult to climb, then every tree players encounter at level 5 must be brittle or in a sleet storm so you can justify the jump in DC.

A level 10 rogue could rob an entire small town pretty Willy nilly. Unless of course you start putting in other superheroes which poses its own problems.

Now in PF1 you could do that with skills, but it was generally at huge costs. People referencing +75 skill are 9 times out of 10 are doing something incorrect with the rules. Plus they never reference what else the character is good at. Let’s say you did get there but you are probably sacrificing item slots, spell slots, multiple feats, class abilities, and taking a specific build path where you could’ve excelled elsewhere. In PF2 you can achieve huge numbers simply by being trained in a skill / weapon / save.

For combat it makes the CR gap much tighter to where fighting just a single CR+4 creature can be daunting. Your players will hit 20% less, fumble 20% more, get hit 20% more, get crit 20% more, against saves fail 20% more, crit fail 20% more, 20% less success for spells
Cast, 20% less crit chance for spells, and likely suffer extra attacks since higher to hit means more extra attack opportunity. That’s just a four level difference.

And again you can...

Yeah, +75 might be exaggerating a bit, but let's take a look at a potential investment and see what kind of numbers we do get, just cause I'm curious:

Obviously if we are talking about something being insanely pumped it should be a main skill. So I'm going to assume class skill (Even if it isn't initially there are plenty of ways to get it) and top stat.

Obviously we have 20 ranks and 3 for class skill. Stat, a +10 is far from far-fetched for your top stat even in 15 point buy, unless you were pretty MAD (16 from points, 2 from racial (18), 6 from belt/headband (24), 5 from leveling up (29), and 25,000 for a Wish to bump it one more to 30 or +10 is chump change by now.)

+33 so far.

Next, obviously you have an item granting +5 to that skill. 2,500 GP, the chumpiest of chump change. Any minmaxer worth their salt will also have a Pale Green Prism Ioun Stone for a +1 to attacks, skills, and saves. I'm only kind of counting this towards the investment into the skill because it's useful for other vital stuff (It's also an example of what I don't like about how a lot of things are in PF1. If you happen to know this exists, you get it once you are high enough level that 30,000 is cheap because the effect is excellent and doesn't cost so much as an item slot. If you don't know about it, well, you're a point behind that other guy in almost any d20 roll you make. And there are many things like this. Sorry for the tangent, back to the exercise.)

Now +39.

If you are seriously investing in a skill then Skill Focus is a natural choice, a +6 for one feat. This is a fair investment depending on your build, I only ever see it used for crucial skills because of this, but it's relevant because that is what we are talking about here, skills you want to pump. And you can also take another feat to give another +4 to this skill and one other.

So for the cost of 1 of your skill ranks per level, possibly a Trait to get this as a class skill, 2,500 GP (plus 25,000 on a stat boost you use for other stuff and 30,000 on a stone that you use for other stuff), and a feat or two you now have a total of +45 or +49. IF you don't have a +1 from a trait, a racial bonus, a bonus from your class, or something else I am forgetting. Minimum is of course bubkus or less by having no ranks, a 10 or less in the score, and nothing else.

By contrast PF2 has a max of +35 or 37 (20 level, 3 legendary, 7 stat, 5 item, and maybe 2 for a feat) and minimum of +15 (20 level, -4 untrained, -1 stat), which is incidentally nearly equal to the entire span of a d20.

But of course this is just the basics of what you could do with any skill. This isn't what someone is looking at when talking about crazy PF1 numbers.

So let's take that +49 and go even further beyond.

I'm going to latch on to Stealth because that is the one that I know can be pumped to holy crap levels, but I think there are others that can get close.

You can easily add a trait for a +1.

A lot of races can get +2 to some skill, but for Stealth it's handed over easy by the fact that small race get a +4 for free. And Goblins get a +4 RACIAL.

And then another big key factor is that Stealth has armor enchants that cost more than the aforementioned skill item by far but provide up to a PLUS FIFTEEN to Stealth. Some other skills have this too and even more have at least a +10 variant.

So depending on the skill and the racial or item boosts available, without being able to make custom magic items using others as templates you can still land all over the above-50 spectrum, but Stealth in particular can go to an absurd +68 assuming the aforementioned (20 level, 3 class skill, 10 Dex, 1 trait, 1 stone, 4 size, 4 racial, 15 item, 10 feats). (Also it is feasible to get Dex even higher but that pushes into higher investments. A dedicated Dex character might well do this.)

Not quite +75 but pretty dang close.

Monk Jumps are another odd case that could potentially go even higher because of their class boost and their speed boost.

20 ranks, 3 class skill, 10 Dex, 5 item, 10 feats, 1 trait, 1 stone, 24 speed (+70 speed from Monk, and every 10 feet over the base 30 grants a +4 to jump), 20 level (Monk jumping class feature).

Literally a +94 to jump. Heck, you could drop both feat investments and the trait investment and have only a +2 to Dex and you would have that +75.

Now yes, I know the jumps are a corner case that pulls off of various random things and the Stealth scenario is nearly a greatest-possible-stacking exercise. There are skills you can't do this to. But there are others you can. There are various classes and prestige classes that add level or half level to some skill or skills or some specific use thereof. It's completely willy-nilly. (Oh, and Intimidating Prowess and that one feat that lets you break a thing and add its hardness to your check means Intimidate gets crazy too)

And that's part of the point too.

Not only does all of this create the absurd gaps between characters of the same level, often even due to system mastery over any conscious choice, but it's nowhere near even. Some skills can never be pumped even NEARLY as high as others. Without custom items and probably other shenanigans you can, for example, never have a character who can climb as well as another character who can stealth if we are looking at the max possible for each skill. The cap of what anyone could ever do with a given skill differs from skill to skill due to this and that's something I'm not a fan of.

To speak back to your assertions of stuff like level 10 Rogues robbing low level folks willy nilly, I would argue that it doesn't take nearly so much meaningful investment to do things like that as you may think. Say we have 10 ranks, 3 class skill, 5 from a dirt cheap item, +6 Dex (16 point, 2 racial, 2 level, 2 belt. Fairly casual focus), and Skill focus for +6. For 1 rank per level, casual focus on your main stat, chump change, and one feat we have a +30 at LEVEL TEN. Far from what I could call huge costs, and this is MORE than enough to beat the crap out of the DCs of an everage joe.
IIRC stealing DC would be something like 10+Wis mod+BAB or ranks in opposed skill or something roughly along those lines. Some circumstance penalty to your attempt for hard to steal stuff. Level 1 character is almost never going to even reach DC 15. You could drop the Skill Focus from the previous rundown of skill investment and a Nat 1 would STILL beat that DC by a whopping 10. Obviously there would be a little more involved in robbing a whole town than just rolling a bunch of Sleight of Hand checks, but that's the case in PF2 as well. And with how little investment it takes to unfailingly beat these commonfolk with these skills, it wouldn't take too much to get a character able to unfailingly bluff, sneak by, and steal from an entire town at level 10. Unless you, as you put it, added other superheroes in town to prevent this. (This reminds me of another little issue in PF1, the fact that you could sometimes do things to others in ways they couldn't defend against because the modifiers and DCs were calculated differently. Like how Demoralizing someone had a DC based on specific stats that could not be pumped anywhere NEAR as high as an Intimidate modifier. So barring fear immunity not even the most stalwart warrior in the world could avoid being Shaken by someone who had surpassed a certain threshold for intimidation.) I'd argue that getting Trained in these skills and getting item boosts in PF2 to the degree needed to unfailingly beat level 1 character DCs is as much of a meaningful investment as what you would need to do this in PF1, if not a little more.

Do pardon the rather rambly thought exercise, I was legitimately curious what the numbers might actually look like in PF1 skills.

As to another point you made here, about how "even just a CR+4 monster is a severe threat", to be blunt that's the point. CR is NOTORIOUSLY unreliable as an actual measure of power with how PF1 works. In theory a character of level x and a monster of CR x should be roughly equals. That is how CR is SUPPOSED to work but due to all the ridiculous number pumping you can do in PF1 over what the design of monsters and NPCs expects from you makes this absolutely not so. The fact that level works so much better as an accurate measure is one of my VERY favorite things about PF2. I am a staunch believer that if your level 10 character can take down a level 15 monster with anything but the most insane luck, or if your level 10 party can down a level 18+ monster without the same, then either your characters aren't really level to or the monsters aren't really level whatever, regardless of what your character sheets say. Maybe not a popular opinion but it is my stance. But in PF1 this is just the kind of thing that happens.

In PF1 a Level+4 monster is SUPPOSED to be an extreme threat like in PF2, an "even footing fight" as I call it. Looking at a few things on encounter design guidelines reveals this. In the encounter difficulty options in the GM guide IIRC the highes bracket suggested is level+3, which is labeled as "Epic" difficulty (This is a single monster 3 above the average party level or a number of smaller foes equaling the same, not one monster per character, each 3 levels higher than the party. Same principle as a level+3 encounter in PF2). This implies that anything above this would be a severe and risky threat rather than something the players have a really solid shot at winning.

On top of that, the EXP equivalencies support this. First, to put this in context, in PF1 a character built with a PC class, PC stat arrays (Or Heroic NPC stats) and PC wealth has a CR equal to its level. Essentially an NPC built with the same guidelines and resources as a PC has CR=level, indicating the two are meant to be equivalent.

Obviously a fight of a player party of 4 x level characters against an enemy party of 4 x level characters built with the same level of resources should be a severe threat, an equal match, and even footing fight. This holds true in PF2 encounter design and should hold in PF1 if you build with similar system mastery to your players, but falls apart if you use premade NPCs or monsters because of PF1 stuff. But the point here is they are theoretically equal, these two parties of 4 equal level characters. And in encounter design you compare parties by the EXP worth of every member's CR combined. 4 creatures of level x have an equal EXP value to 4 creatures of level x obviously, so they should be evenly matched.

Now if you take the EXP total of a party of 4 and compare it to the EXP value of a single foe 4 levels higher, you will ALWAYS find them to be equivalent. This, with all the reasoning beforehand, makes it clear that a level x+4 foe should be evenly matched with a level x party of 4.

I think it's pretty reasonable to say this dynamic is INTENDED in PF1. It is also clear that this does not work once you get past a certain point of system mastery or stumbling across some jank setup. Also action economy is King and all that.

This dynamic of 4 level x being equal to 4 level x being equal to 1 level x+4 or any other permutation of equal EXP is also intended in PF2. The difference is it WORKS. The tight math means that the numerical bonuses of the level +4 monster actually can make up for its action economy deficit, but they are also vulnerable to buffs, debuffs, flanking, etc. taking their numerical advantage down to where their advantage no longer makes up for the action economy. And +/-10 is a large player in making this work as well.

So really a level+4 monster being a severe threat is intended in both PF1 and PF2. It just mostly only works in one of those games.

And IMO that's one of the best changes in PF2. Level is supposed to really mean something. CR is supposed to really mean something. In my opinion. If that's not how you like to play, that's your opinion. If you want a level 10 character that can ROFLstomp a CR 15 foe then more power to you, really. but that's NOT what PF2 is going for and I really don't think it should. We have PF1 out the wazoo for that style of play. For the people who love PF but want level to have more impact and be a more reliable measure, PF2 is an absolute Godsend and I'd be SO disappointed if we HADN'T seen this refined.

But again, my mileage and your mileage. Both valid viewpoints. If the tight CR gap isn't your style, that's fair. But it's certainly not an objective flaw in the game either, in fact it is absolutely key to the kind of game myself and plenty of others want to see.

...Well, this was longer than intended. I hope this doesn't come off as argumentative or dismissive of your points at all, it's intended to highlight my view on these things and how they work great for some or a lot of people and to discuss the difference in our viewpoints, how things do and don't work, etc.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
kaisc006 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Some good maths
I stand corrected on the PF1 front. The point still stands that I can't find narrative fault with the +/- 10 system.

The problem revolves mainly around skills / spell saves. If you have players interact with a king at low level, the king will critically succeed against them because he is a super hero. Why must this happen? Because when those players level up after clearing a few dungeons and come back in two weeks they would crit the king otherwise.

Now you could say well the king went to dungeons too or war so he gained levels as well. But that’s exactly the point. The mechanics are forcing a narrative. Same with those talking about how if you make a tree at level 1 difficult to climb, then every tree players encounter at level 5 must be brittle or in a sleet storm so you can justify the jump in DC.

Edge did a great job on the other points. But this one I want to point out suffers almost exactly the same problems as in PF1 mechanarratively. If you want your King to be able to do something to the players reliably enough you can plan a narrative around it then the King will have to be a high enough level that you can bet their roll will beat your PCs roll/dc/save (all of which scale differently and are used by different skills that you have to learn individual rules for because yay non unified system.)

Lets say the King has to lie to get the adventurers to do what he wants. He knows something about the dungeon that would dissuade them from going say. He has to be sure his Bluff + D20 roll is higher than the player's Sense Motive + D20 roll (and probably worse dependidng on the scope of the lie.) Well obviously if he is the same level it is a crap shoot. So he has to be higher level. Now to make it solidly guaranteed he is going to have to be high enough level that his bonus overtakes reasonable d20 randomness, such that his modifier is 10 higher than the highest Sense Motive in the party. How much higher a level would this be then? Maybe not 10 levels higher, but maybe depending on what level you originally compared, what inherent or class bonuses the PCs have, what feats they may or may not have taken (oh god now imagine trying to write this for a published adventure where you have no idea about ANY of these factors.) Thus the King must be a high level, probably high enough that hiring PCs is a bit ridiculous because he could cake walk anything that would remotely challenge them.

Liberty's Edge

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kaisc006 wrote:
Of course game design involves math. But you use math to emulate the narrative not the other way around. Especially in a roleplaying game.

Agreed entirely. I think it does precisely that quite well for the genre it is trying to emulate.

kaisc006 wrote:
Right now there are things like no legendary light armor users,

This is a legitimate complaint. It's relatively minor, easily fixed, and has absolutely nothing to do with the math, however.

kaisc006 wrote:
monsters / bandit NPCs dealing increase damage for increased damage sake,

Per the information they've revealed, PCs are probably getting exactly the same, making it a function of level, and no different from Power Attack in PF1 in that way.

kaisc006 wrote:
no concrete method for calculating static skill DC,

I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but we know that they've revised the skill DCs pretty thoroughly, and there are several concrete ways to determine them...or at least as concrete as in PF1.

kaisc006 wrote:
every PC is a superhero which means golarion is full of super heroes (since PFS is a thing making it not so the PCs are the only god characters... and even if they are they would rapidly exceed the NPCs around them),

This was true in PF1 as well. An 8th level Fighter can outwrestle a rhinoceros and a 15th level one can survive immersion in hot lava. They are superheroes in every meaningful sense.

And PFS is not generally canonical per se. Indeed, the number of characters in it cannot be canonical, since several of them have done exactly the same one off events. Hundreds of people in-universe have not been part of 4-6 man groups that defeated the Runelord Krune. So only 5 or so of those must exist in-universe even if that event happened exactly as envisaged in the adventure. PFs runs in several parallel universes definitionally.

kaisc006 wrote:
and the excuse for all of this is tight math. Well honestly it’s the +10/-10 crits that is the prime culprit.

Almost none of the things you list have anything at all to do with the math. I'm honestly confused in some cases (especially the light armor thing) why you think they do.

kaisc006 wrote:
And I get it’s a playtest and supposedly what is coming out is going to be vastly different than what occurred... but I find this a weak defense of PF2. The point of a playtest is to test the actual system. If that was the case then I feel it extremely disingenuous to fans to call something a playtest and you’re building a game based on feedback, then say oh what you played was not the game we are doing that behind closed doors.

That's not how a playtest works at all. An actual playtest will almost inevitably not resemble the final game too closely, since the whole point of a playtest is to test things and then change them based on the feedback of the playtesters. Only if everyone loves everything about the playtest will it not change significantly. People did not love everything about the playtest, so it's changing significantly.

Complaining that they're changing things based on our feedback and it's thus 'not the same game' makes no sense to me at all.

One could argue that they should be more public about the new changes they're making, but that presents logistical difficulties that are somewhat difficult to surmount, and it's unlikely they can reasonably receive any meaningful additional feedback at this juncture.

kaisc006 wrote:
I agree about number inflation but PF2 has inflation baked into the system.

Uh...not exactly. It has progression built in, but inflation tends to refer to numbers going up exponentially and the like, and that's certainly much less true in PF2 than in PF1.

kaisc006 wrote:
Great roleplaying game design occurs when the mechanics and narrative work hand in hand. As a GM you never want to force the narrative on your PCs with no mecihanical explanation. Similarly when homebrewing or designing a game you never want to push math on PCs without it making sense in game.

Agreed entirely. PF2 does this quite well for the most part within the specific genre it is trying to be (which is, in fact, 'fantasy superheroes').

kaisc006 wrote:
PF2’s core functions (3-action economy and +10/-10 crits) force many factors that don’t make any narrative sense in order to work.

They really don't. They might for some genres, but they make perfect sense for the one PF2 is trying to be.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
This is such a nonstarter it baffles me that people keep repeating it. If ignoring the rules works for your table, that's great. It doesn't work at many other tables though.

If it's such a non-starter for you to forego rolls and it has strong narrative importance that your character is "bad" at certain things, you can always choose another option.

Talk to your DM. Let them know that you want to play a character that can't swim, is frail and can't climb or jump well, or can't read. Ask them if you can give yourself a penalty to some sort of roll that represents your character's disadvantages.

That way you can attempt it all you want and almost never succeed.

Just don't expect the DM to give you anything for it.

Liberty's Edge

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kaisc006 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Some good maths
I stand corrected on the PF1 front. The point still stands that I can't find narrative fault with the +/- 10 system.
The problem revolves mainly around skills / spell saves. If you have players interact with a king at low level, the king will critically succeed against them because he is a super hero. Why must this happen? Because when those players level up after clearing a few dungeons and come back in two weeks they would crit the king otherwise.

Crit successes do very little in social situations, and this exact thing happened, barring crits, in PF1. Indeed, the world of Golarion is in many ways predicated on it. Making this good genre emulation rather than a problem.

High level people become important. Indeed, the few hereditary monarchs in Golarion tend to average much lower levels than those who've earned their positions.

kaisc006 wrote:
Now you could say well the king went to dungeons too or war so he gained levels as well. But that’s exactly the point. The mechanics are forcing a narrative.

No, actually. XP is and always has been a metagame tool, not something NPCs receive. NPCs level when the GM says they do, and usually more slowly than PCs. The King has gained levels in some fashion, certainly, but the exact method is debatable.

Indeed, given that overcoming obstacles in general gets you XP, even using the XP rules just being a King probably gets you XP at a reasonable rate. No need for the system to warp the narrative here.

kaisc006 wrote:
Same with those talking about how if you make a tree at level 1 difficult to climb, then every tree players encounter at level 5 must be brittle or in a sleet storm so you can justify the jump in DC.

This assumes you make everything level with the players, which is very much not the intent of the system.

kaisc006 wrote:
A level 10 rogue could rob an entire small town pretty Willy nilly. Unless of course you start putting in other superheroes which poses its own problems.

Level 10 characters usually have better things to do than rob small towns. Also, per the established population demographics of small towns in Golarion, somewhere like Sandpoint has several 7th-8th level characters...which isn't 10th level, but is enough to catch a 10th level thief on a good roll.

And 10th level characters being superhuman by reasonable standards is exactly what the setting has established as true and supported from day one.

kaisc006 wrote:
Now in PF1 you could do that with skills, but it was generally at huge costs. People referencing +75 skill are 9 times out of 10 are doing something incorrect with the rules. Plus they never reference what else the character is good at. Let’s say you did get there but you are probably sacrificing item slots, spell slots, multiple feats, class abilities, and taking a specific build path where you could’ve excelled elsewhere. In PF2 you can achieve huge numbers simply by being trained in a skill / weapon / save.

A +75 is indeed excessive and probably resource intensive. A +25 or +30 or so at 10th level is standard for someone focused and, frankly, every bit as likely to beat 95% or more of characters in a 'small town' as the difference between low and high level characters in PF2.

kaisc006 wrote:
For combat it makes the CR gap much tighter to where fighting just a single CR+4 creature can be daunting. Your players will hit 20% less, fumble 20% more, get hit 20% more, get crit 20% more, against saves fail 20% more, crit fail 20% more, 20% less success for spells Cast, 20% less crit chance for spells, and likely suffer extra attacks since higher to hit means more extra attack opportunity. That’s just a four level difference.

A CR +4 creature was always supposed to be daunting. The fact that it wasn't was a flaw in PF1 and a divergence between the adventure and world and the rules. Witness the number of final bosses in adventures who fight solo at about that CR and see that this always how the world worked, and how the system was supposed to.

kaisc006 wrote:
And again you can argue these were still problems in PF1 and I would agree... because number inflation. In PF1 the deviation between 1-20 characters was generally 40-50 points with maybe something you were crazy at going higher. PF2 lowers that to about 30-40 points with crazy being 50. But the +10/-10 drastically inceases that power creep to where I would argue surpass PF1 nonsense.

Not exactly. Outside direct combat, critical success effects tend not to make a huge difference (at least not to PCs). In combat, since everyone is Trained at AC and all Saves, the practical difference is actually much lower (it's technically almost the same going from 1st to 20th, but a lot of it is only relevant if fighting people not within 5 levels of you...within 5 levels the difference is much smaller).

Add in somewhat weaker spells, and I strongly disagree that the total power difference between, say, a 1st and 20th level character is vastly different. It's slightly greater certainly, but not to a degree that doesn't make sense in the world. Indeed, if anything, it makes the math fit Golarion better.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
kaisc006 wrote:
Was there ever a dev comment on why to start stats at 10 and not allow “dumping”? I know PF1 started at 10, but of course everyone lowered to 8 or 7. Seems to me they should’ve started stats at 8. Not only do you get more than enough boosts, but it’s odd to me that RAW every PC (and I would think other rangers fighters wizards etc in the world) are at least average at everything... although I’m not sure if an average stat is represented by 10-12 in PF2 did they raise the bar to match how easy it is for PC to attain 18 in four stats?

The rules will very likely allow you to voluntarily reduce your attributes below 10, if you want that for your character for narrative reasons, similar to the way Starfinder does. You'll just not get any mechanical benefit from that. And if that is not good enough for what you are looking for, then you probably have other motivations than the narrative reasons you claim.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
BryonD wrote:
And, yes, your examples demonstrate that flaw in 1E. That is totally true.

Here's the thing though, I don't think this is a flaw in PF1. I think that this phenomenon was present in PF1 (and all editions of this family of games honestly) shows that viewing a character as a series of statistics on a character sheet is a mistake. Otherwise you end up with things like "I increase my wisdom, making me better at every profession in the universe" or "as my fighter levels she is now better at every weapon ever designed"

For me, the character sheet is not the character- what my character does, sees, says, and experiences through the course of the story is the character. A character sheet is there to inform what happens, but it does not define what happens ergo it does not define the character. At most all those numbers define what potential my character has if they do end up doing something, but the character is not the quantum superposition of all possible futures, the character is an accounting of what they have done, what they are like, and what they wish to do.

I mean, mechanically character building is a series of choices, and I care about the choices I make making my character better at the things I feel define that character. I do not care what things I am disinterested in doing that my choices incidentally make me better at, since my character isn't going to do those things so it doesn't matter how good or bad they are at it. So I care that precise shot and deadly aim make my halfling fighter better at the slingstaff, I don't care that they make me better at throwing javelins and shooting crossbows. My preference for "this character uses a slingstaff" is expressed by taking things like "weapon focus (slingstaff)" and weapon training in "thrown" and not "bows" or something.

You are still changing the subject and ignoring the point.

I have never met anybody who was confused between the concept of their character and the character sheet. That is simply a red herring you keep throwing up.

But we are still talking about a game. And the mechanics are important. If I have a choice between two games and one draws attention to the disconnect three times as often as then other, then the one that doesn't rub your face in the character sheet failing to capture the actual character is going to have a leg up. If the trade-off brings some other value to the play experience, then ok, let's discuss that. But your entire point is "I can ignore it". You keep repeating that one note song. So that is an admission that it doesn't add anything.

There are better ways to do this. "I can ignore it" is not a decent defense for making an issue more prevalent and more mechanically significant.


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Gloom wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
This is such a nonstarter it baffles me that people keep repeating it. If ignoring the rules works for your table, that's great. It doesn't work at many other tables though.

If it's such a non-starter for you to forego rolls and it has strong narrative importance that your character is "bad" at certain things, you can always choose another option.

Talk to your DM. Let them know that you want to play a character that can't swim, is frail and can't climb or jump well, or can't read. Ask them if you can give yourself a penalty to some sort of roll that represents your character's disadvantages.

That way you can attempt it all you want and almost never succeed.

Just don't expect the DM to give you anything for it.

That is all fair. But tell me this. Why isn't "So play another game that works better" a superior choice to the options you have given here?


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BryonD wrote:
Gloom wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
This is such a nonstarter it baffles me that people keep repeating it. If ignoring the rules works for your table, that's great. It doesn't work at many other tables though.

If it's such a non-starter for you to forego rolls and it has strong narrative importance that your character is "bad" at certain things, you can always choose another option.

Talk to your DM. Let them know that you want to play a character that can't swim, is frail and can't climb or jump well, or can't read. Ask them if you can give yourself a penalty to some sort of roll that represents your character's disadvantages.

That way you can attempt it all you want and almost never succeed.

Just don't expect the DM to give you anything for it.

That is all fair. But tell me this. Why isn't "So play another game that works better" a superior choice to the options you have given here?

If you strongly dislike a world where character level represents an objective power level of the character than choosing another game probably does make sense, because that was clearly one of the primary design goals of PF2.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
BryonD wrote:
Gloom wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
This is such a nonstarter it baffles me that people keep repeating it. If ignoring the rules works for your table, that's great. It doesn't work at many other tables though.

If it's such a non-starter for you to forego rolls and it has strong narrative importance that your character is "bad" at certain things, you can always choose another option.

Talk to your DM. Let them know that you want to play a character that can't swim, is frail and can't climb or jump well, or can't read. Ask them if you can give yourself a penalty to some sort of roll that represents your character's disadvantages.

That way you can attempt it all you want and almost never succeed.

Just don't expect the DM to give you anything for it.

That is all fair. But tell me this. Why isn't "So play another game that works better" a superior choice to the options you have given here?

Given that works better is subjective, as evidenced by the debate on whether or not we like the game. The real question is, given that option why hang around and be repeatedly upset about a game you won't play even if 50% of its core changes.

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