Jason on Know Direction (Jan 16th)


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Silver Crusade

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Notes on Jason Bulmahn’s Know Direction interview just now (might be up on the twitch channel?). Quote marks aren’t necessarily precise quotations but my best attempt at paraphrase/capturing the main point (the perils of typing while watching live!).

I thought this was a very informative interview for hearing “where we’re coming from” from the lead designer. (And I’ve followed a lot of the PF2 news very closely. But this is the first substantive chat since the playtest closed—and definitely the first since PF2 was mostly final!, see below—so there’s a certain freedom to talk that wasn’t there while stuff was still being tested.)

**********

First meeting about PF2 started around 2014. Very preliminary starting to think about it. But really some ideas go all the way back to 2009, 2010—as soon as you send a game to the printer you start saying, “oh we should’ve done.” Interviewer notes that some ideas in the playtest seem to hark back to the original Pathfinder playtest. JB confirms that he wanted to try some of them out again, in more revised form, and see if it was a better time for it.

What was the main “oh dang” regret in PF1? Fractional math. Couldn’t get rid of it at the time—couldn’t change too much, and PF1 was rushed out with very few resources (Paizo was tiny and Jason had very little backup)! But from the beginning JB knew it would be a struggle to build around that 3.x fractional +level math. And it was a struggle! “Over time the game became more and more crunchy and more and more crusted with things that were really just trying to fix what was fundamentally a flaw with the math.” This is why high-level play has some fundamental problems in PF1.

Surveys for resonance. They weren’t terrible, they weren’t great. They were in the middle. “The last thing I want is the lukewarm response. I’m okay with people hating the thing I do as long as there’s people who love the thing.” Surveys were “meh” on resonance. “Even the second implementation was just too techy for people to grok.”

Ultimately what helped us decide that was the survey question, “Do you care if wands work this way as opposed to another way?” “We looked at that and were like, Wow, people really don’t care! I must have spent a good half hour looking at this and trying to figure it out.” The solution–cross-tabbing by age! Young people didn’t care at all, older people did care. Young crowd (1) played less 3.X, which is where the spells-in-a-stick concept came from; (2) grew up on Harry Potter, with wands as implements that help you cast spells. JB says he’s not sure that’s what they’ll do with wands, but it’s important that the audience wasn’t insisting on spells-in-a-stick so they’re experimenting.

Resonance survey results “were not as overwhelmingly negative as the message boards would have you believe.” JB: “this might even be the story of the playtest itself.” Because only a very small portion of the broader audience participate on the messageboards—the surveys captured a much broader, “much cleaner picture of what was actually happening.” The boards had people who were very upset, who didn’t want to see change. We always knew we were going to encounter that (after all, PF started with folks who didn’t want change!). But the surveys showed a very different picture than the boards. There were “an awful lot of people, a ridiculous number of people” who tried the playtest at home, enjoyed it, and went on with their lives!

That’s not to say the playtest didn’t need a lot of work!!

We just recently started internal playtests with what I would call the final set of rules. [might want to check phrasing, this is a paraphrase and it was a little more nuanced re ‘final’.] And, whoo!, smooth as butter. I haven’t been this excited in so long. I’m just like, giddy, at some of the cool things that are in there that I can’t wait for people to play with.”

One reveal re monsters. Skeletons. Ability to take off head and throw it at you to make ranged bite attack, after which it rolls back to the skeleton (though blinded till next turn). Lots of stuff like that. Fun, silly. Who knows if that will make it through but it’s fun.

One limit of the playtest was because so focused on stressing the rules, didn’t play around with all of the cool fun new monster abilities the new monster paradigm allows. The people talk about how the PFS scenarios leaned into the fun, inventive monsters a lot more.

JB: “Doomsday Dawn was intentionally written with a lot of repetition built into it.” The best way to get consistent data both between groups and between adventures with the same group.

. . . [I missed some conversation here but I don’t think it was too important?]

JB: There’s part of me that just wants to release Burnt Offerings, but honestly we don’t really need to do that. We put all the monsters out there, you can run it.

Grumbles a bit about how the more-rigorous, data-gathering goal of DD made it less fun. “You didn’t tell me to put together a marketing campaign, you told me to put together a playtest. So that’s what I did.”

How much will the game change? If you’re familiar with the fundamental main structure of the game, you’ll understand the final. But don’t get hung up on the precise details of any one thing—lots of little adjustments. “On the whole much of the game will feel very similar to the playtest.” But took a lot of feedback where folks thought things were counterintuitive, or awkward or not working well, etc, and addressed. E.g., folks felt Legendary wasn’t a big enough difference, intuitively, so now it’s bigger. Example of armor check penalties applying to Strength check to break a door. JB: no longer applies to maneuver like breaking a door, but will apply (e.g.) to climbing a mountain.

JB: Likely to be some kind of conversion guide, but some rules elements are easier to convert than others so.

What are the goals of PF2? What would be a success in your eyes? JB: To create a game that I can teach someone to sit down and play in a few minutes, but in time they’ll see there’s more and more and more to it. [That old Othello tagline: minute to learn lifetime to master?] Easy to explain the fundamentals—there’s one universal system for making checks. Once you have that, I’ve basically described the core engine of the game. But where’s more? That’s where *your* choices come in: you get to pick what abilities you have, how you use your actions beyond the basic actions. The complexity is what you build into your own character. You get to decide how complex of a character you want and you play just fine next to someone who built a much more complex character.

JB: “I love PF1, but I can’t pretend to myself that it was a game that was easy to learn. It really wasn’t.” Doesn’t meant the playtest was perfect! Lots to improve! E.g., this is why Chapter 1 was one of the first “we have to fix this” after the playtest: “it wasn’t doing what we needed it to do, it wasn’t explaining the game to the new player.”

JB: “I’ve only played second edition a couple of times. I have officially played games that were built entirely with rules that we have said are final for second edition. I’ve played a scenario that I had also played with playtest rules. The changes were subtle but when you saw what they were the difference was stark. Oh!, that is cleaner, that is better.” Just ran a few people who didn’t do the playtest through it. Got them into playing the game, rolling dice, playing their characters, within 10 minutes (suggests this may be quicker than average for a fully new player).

The playtest had a math model that performed kind of as we thought it did, but it didn’t deliver the experience we wanted to, so had to adjust the math.

Which systems were deliberately taken to the extreme? Resonance, obviously. Archetypes. “We thought people really weren’t going to like them. But most people liked them just fine.” (But everyone hated the pirate archetype.) Fix: archetypes now have other types of feats internal. I think he means(?), spend the class feat to buy into pirate, but then you can spend a skill feat to get a pirate-specific skill feat, instead of everything running through class feats—the customization bottleneck discussed on here.

Was there a backup plan for archetypes? There was an opportunity to possibly go back to PF1-style multiclassing. This system would be more forgiving, but still some of the same problems: not good at the job your party needs you to be good at while still not being good at the job you’re trying to pick up . . . unless over time we release a lot of broken bits trying to fix that. JB talks about swapping out class feature archetypes as very possible to build in in the future, but the point here was to focus on class feats since that’s new and needs testing and that’s what you’re supposed to spend to customize your character and express your character idea.

. . . I missed a bit here but nothing important I don’t think . . .

JB: If I had to do it over again I’d maybe do 5 parts instead of 7 so they didn’t have to go so fast. But overall I think it was pretty close.

Does the adjustment to DCs include armor class? Yes. On the whole one of the things we’re looking into doing. In the playtest, DCs and bonuses marched more or less in lock step. It meant if you weren’t improving you were falling behind. And that’s not what we wanted to play (though it was kind of how we wanted to test—I lost some details here). Now that we’ve changed proficiency numbers we have more latitude to differentiate legendary and ordinary. My goal is that, at least at high levels, if you’ve invested somewhat, you’ll at least be able to keep up without embarassing yourself (but you definitely won’t be the star of that challenge!) (but not if you’re a fighter in full plate trying to sneak). Some chance you’ll succeed, though some risk. But if you’ve invested, “you should absolutely crush it. And the playtest wasn’t doing that. And that should be for everything, not just skills.”

Bestiary won’t be 500–600 pages. It will be big but not that big. Core rulebook is a big book. It’s a chonk.

“Champion” confirmed as what used to be paladin, with “Paladin” for the LG variant. You’re a champion of a cause.

Casters seemed weaker in playtest. Will that change? Yes. Math/proficiency adjustments affect saves too—monsters won’t have as elite saves as they did in the playtest, especially if they have a weakness with that one save. We’ve also gone through and looked at all of the spells and casters. The damage ramping at the end of the playtest may have been too much—damage wasn’t the real issue, it was the non-damage spells, and the chance of success, but that was too difficult to tweak mid-playtest. E.g., some durations of 1min really could’ve been 1hr, especially if they’re signature spells.

Book organization. Playtest was organized to help create a character. Ch 1, play chapter, prime targets for rewriting/reorganizing.

“Focus spells” (playtest “powers”) that can only be accessed through classes are organized separately from general spells. The “powers” terminology wasn’t working. So “focus spells” use different resources than your normal spells, and are organized differently in rulebook for ease of use. [I will take credit for confirming that! It was my ‘hey wait’ in chat that got that confirmed.]

Secret rolls? Still a thing, kinda. But clear language that it’s up the GM whether to roll it herself or to let players roll it. The same as PF1—do whatever works for your table.

Orc ancestry in CRB? “We did not add or remove any ancestries from the playtest. We have made sure that half-orcs and half-elves have more robust options. The change with heritages (a choice, not a feat) helped a lot there. Heritages are a lot thinner in terms of their rules expression so it made sense to put them there.” Heritages are still physiologically themed, so half-orc/elf makes sense there, while other ancestry feats are more culturally themed.

Confirming that ancestries (other than heritages) are still feat based. Surveys showed lots of satisfaction with having ancestries being relevant as you level up. But did want to make sure that heritage and more cultural feats separate, and to make sure that ancestry feats were more even in their power rather than clear “choose this first” priority. Each ancestry has 4 or 5 separate heritages to choose from.

Customization bottleneck and archetypes putting big demand on class feats. JB: Some archetypes “want to” have skill based things, some even ancestry based things, really. And it didn’t make a lot of sense to spend a class feat on something about, say, swimming. So confirming the above hint, that archetypes give you access to whatever is in the basket: skill feat, ancestry feat, class feat, whatever. “Giving us permission tools,” kind of like the rarity system. New player doesn’t need to learn everything, just the core knowledge and the specific basket of what’s available to them at lvl 1. Over time, that basket expands.

JB talks a fair amount about the value of permission tools in allowing the GM to craft the game that makes sense for the table. If you aren’t playing a horror adventure, you just don’t have access to the feats in the horror adventure book (all GM’s discretion, of course, but the idea seems to be to make these permissions easier to manage for groups).

Concentrating on spells. JB: To the best of my knowledge, still require an action to maintain. But I think what we tried to do was try to cut how many of them there are. But the spells chapter is sitting in my living room right now so definitely not done there.

JB: “We are deep, deep, deep into the process of making second edition the final edition that we want it to be. Very stressful time for us. We are looking forward to showing that game off in the coming months. We are not ready to talk about how. We’ve said we’re going silent, and that’s what’s happening now. Until we’re done, we’re just not in a position to talk about it! It’s all subject to change! But once that’s all locked in, you probably won’t be able to get me to shut up. And we will be showing it to you. All the time. We won’t tease it out in 12 predictable blogs. What we’ll be focusing on is, what’s new about this game.”

(Various wrap-up chatter)


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Awesome stuff! Thanks for sharing!


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The bit about archetypes gating skill feats was interesting. I've been tinkering around with the skill feats and an idea that I had but not fully entertained was giving skills feats special clauses if you were a certain class. Like you could take Wild Empathy as a master of nature, or an expert if you're a ranger. That could help move some of the strain on the Ranger's class feats.

It sounds like something along those lines is going to be in effect for archetypes, and if that's the case I don't see why you couldn't have class specific skill feats too.

Liberty's Edge

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Yeah, thanks a bunch for that.

This all sounds quite good to me. I still have questions about Bulk, Armor, and ranged combat (plus maybe some stuff I've forgotten), but the general thrust sounds very positive indeed.


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I mean as a probably "old" person (I started with the D&D red box, others can out-grog me, but I'm still kinda groggy) I have very, very little fondness for how wands worked in 3.x. So it wasn't purely an age thing, I imagine.

"My Magic Wand is spent, so now it's a worthless stick" never sat well with me.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean as a probably "old" person (I started with the D&D red box, others can out-grog me, but I'm still kinda groggy) I have very, very little fondness for how wands worked in 3.x. So it wasn't purely an age thing, I imagine.

"My Magic Wand is spent, so now it's a worthless stick" never sat well with me.

I suspect it's specifically people who got started with 3.0 and 3.5. I started with AD&D 2E (when I was around 12, if I recall correctly) and I never had much fondness for Wands as 'stick full of spells' either.


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Thanks for typing that up.

No orcs in core makes me sad since I was a big proponent of that. Oh well I'll need to homebrew something, with published orc ancestry feats already it should be pretty easy.

On wands I started with 3.0 and never liked wands as consumables. Didn't really like staves as consumables either. Though now that I think about it I don't really like consumables in general so there is probably a systematic bias there.

Skeleton ranged bite attack sounds fun.


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First, thank you Joe M. for the write up. You saved me a lot of time.

Second, I like the changes they have mentioned thus far. Especially the parts about expanding archetypes, abandoning resonance, the impact of legendary proficiency, spell revisions, reinventing wands, and reorganization (giving powers their own section).

Third, I am still concerned about the classes. I felt as if the classes in the play test were anemic. They seemed to have very little "back bone" (base features) and the class feats meant to customize them seemed limited and underdeveloped. The Paladins (now Champions) felt too reactionary, the Fighter was hoarding all the good combat feats, the Alchemist felt unnecessary when compared to the casters, and the Ranger lacked quality features to compensate for the loss of spells (at least Paladins gained powers). I'm most concerned about the casters, because I love my magic users and they will determine if I invest in 2E. I am disappointed by the continuation of traditional Vancian magic for the prepared casters, and the Sorcerer felt middling (it lacked the robust bloodline features from 1E and I personally found the spontaneous heightening and concerns about "decision paralysis" patronizing).


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For reference:
Know Direction 191 Live – Playtest Retrospective with Jason Bulmahn
January 16 @ 9:00 pm - 10:30 pm EST
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/365118646##

I listened to it, too, but I took notes on only a few issues, most covered above in more detail by Joe M.

(Time 0:39, Armor Check Penalty) Jason Bulmahn said, "For Athletics, and I think Acrobatics, if you are making a maneuver, like you are trying to break down a thing or push a person or shove a person, the check penalty does not apply."

(Time 0:48, Archetypes) Jason Bulmahn said that players disliked the Pirate archetype because players were buying what acted like skill feats with class feats. So Paizo invented real skill feats gated by the archetype. I like this idea, because then the character can grab an archetypical feat at every level, not just the class-feat levels, and immerse oneself in the archetype.

(Time 1:04, Rulebook Organization) (time 1:06:15) Jason Bulmahn said, "Laying it out in a way that is kind of a journey is what I would generally call it. First you would go on your character creation journey, then you play your character some, and then you journey forward into becoming a GM is kind of the line of the book." He also talked about reference chapters, which I assume are chapters mostly of lists, such as the Spells chapter.

Jason Bulmahn had mentioned a separate chapter with the Focus Spells, so the Know Direction hosts asked about that phrase, still at time 1:06. I am very happy that Powers are renamed "Focus Spells." The word Power was too general. Furthermore, Focus spells consume focus, so the awkward term "spell points" appears to be gone, too.

(Time 1:08, Secret Rolls) I had scrapped the GM-conducted secret dice rolls as a houserule, because my players are good enough to avoid metagaming and I don't have a GM screen anyway. Jason Bulmahn said that the rules will mention that the GM can let the player make the secret roll, so technically it will no longer be a houserule.

Jason Bulmahn also expressed some of his design goals. He explained, "The goal is to have a system where the new player does not have access to everything, so they don't have to learn that," and "It's a way to gate and control how much the player has to learn." That gave my wife a fit during character creation at 4th and 7th levels because she saw that the character creation branched into different streams, such as totems for barbarians and muses for bards, so she had to read everything in order to compare streams. She could not build the character level by level as she usually did due to the limited access. For example, for her elf noble bard who was a troubleshooter, she wanted Bardic Lore and Inspire Competence, but Bardic Lore was the gatekeeper feat for the lore muse stream (gatekeeper feats were dropped in Rules Update 1.6) and Inspire Competence was on the maestro muse stream, so she had to backtrack. The reference chapters being poorly set up for quick reference, such as the spell lists having no short spell summaries (Mr. Bulmahn said they will fix that), hurt, too.

My wife was also bothered by sense that she had to optimize, which Jason Bulmahn described well as, "If you weren't excelling at something, then you were falling behind." (I lost the time stamp.) They fixed that, so that a character can be good at something without having to excel at it.

At 0:46 Jason Bulmahm talked of revising their mathematical model, but I don't think he digs into the math of Pathfinder as obsessively as I do. I am rather extreme at that, even compared to my fellow mathematicians who also playtest boardgames.


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An important bit about the skeleton ranged bite and monster rules is that he called it a TEMPLATE ability, implying you can swap it out for other things, a bit like Dragon spellcasting can be swapped in by removing frenzy and momentum.


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Ediwir wrote:
An important bit about the skeleton ranged bite and monster rules is that he called it a TEMPLATE ability, implying you can swap it out for other things, a bit like Dragon spellcasting can be swapped in by removing frenzy and momentum.

I’m picturing a Dragon Skeleton throwing a ‘fast ball special’ at the Wizard in the back.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow! You got these notes done FAST!

Here is the edited audio version as well as the permanent YouTube video for those who want to catch the episode themselves.

http://knowdirectionpodcast.com/2019/01/know-direction-191-pathfinder-playt est-interview-with-jason-bulmahn/

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Another thing of note: Jason said no changes to which ancestries would be included from the playtest. This probably means Goblins are in, and weren't cut after feedback.


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Very informative... Now I only need to wait for "explained monster bonuses and related world-buliding problems" to confirm this game rule as a decent one (yeah, really, as the Martial-Magical gap has closed up somehow to a respective width, that is my only concern left).


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Thanks to the OP for getting the notes so quick.

Lot's of good news, I'm so hyped for the final version and curious about stuff yet to be revealed. But since these are the boards and we have to complain about something, I'm pretty disappointed with no mentions of Vancian casting being changed. At this point it 99% means that it's not happening, which in turn means I'm gonna have to come up with extensive houserules for it... Again.


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Good to see spell durrations finally mentioned. That was probably the worst aspect of spells in the playtest and wasn't even asked about in the surveys, hopefully enough of them will be extended to something reasonable. Pre-buffing isn't really possible with just about everything being one minute total (unless you're just on the other side of the door and only cast a round or two of buffs). That takes a lot of planning away. No apparent mention of dealing with the small number of spell slots makes me wary. The slot reduction felt pretty bad, especially with the need to heighten spells. That increases demand for slots at higher level, but they're reduced instead. So even fewer of the spells in the book will likely ever see play. You can't risk wasting a slot on something situational. Ditching Vancian for Arcanist casting would help some. Leaving in concentration isn't promising, but at least the number of spells that need it might be reduced. Bless needing concentration is terrible, Unseen Servant is even worse.

There's a lot that goes unmentioned. Which is understandable, they can't mention everything, but still makes me worry about things (it's my default state when dealing with the unknown). In particular, the setup of classes. Are they getting opened up so they're not so restrictive, or are they being left as is? I'd like to know if alchemists are getting their much needed overhaul (not just a few changes, but dramatic reworking). Or if Champions are still stuck in a reactive role and pushed into heavy armor. Are they being kept with any good, or changed to every alignment? If any alignment, what is True Neutral going to be about, champions of Meh? (please don't say balance, I've never seen that idea not lead to nonsensical things). Are the differences in the sub-classes going to be as arbitrary as 1.6 (NG always being about redemption, LG always being about defense, etc)?

Ultimately the math was probably the biggest problem with the playtest. If that's fixed, than some of the other issues sort themselves out (not all, but some). It will be nice to actually be able to be good at things, instead of needing to optimize just to be competent. There was too much focus in the playtest on keeping PCs from being too good at anything, instead they weren't good enough.

Liberty's Edge

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Lucas Yew wrote:
Very informative... Now I only need to wait for "explained monster bonuses and related world-buliding problems" to confirm this game rule as a decent one (yeah, really, as the Martial-Magical gap has closed up somehow to a respective width, that is my only concern left).

Well, we know from this discussion that they're adjusting monsters to take the new math into account, and we know from the last one that they're reducing item reliance for PCs, and that they seem to be making at least some bonus damage dice inherent for PCs as well.

I dunno what other world building problems you're talking about, but that mostly sounds like my own issues with monster bonuses are taken care of (though I'd bet their skills are still not gonna be directly stat based).


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I didn't see him finally mentioning how to attack objects without crashing the game. There's still no rules for how to do it, let alone to attack attended items.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm still concerned about the customization bottleneck. If I have to take an archetype to unlock "good with a bow" and that locks me out of taking an actual archetype for X levels, I'm going to be severely disappointed.

The rest sounds great, especially increasing spell buff duration!


Nice update, very interesting to hear Jason talk about the playtest goals and why it made playing it less fun than a regular adventure (I had plenty of fun nonetheless, but I wasn't able to go through the entire playtest so I avoided a sense of repetition).

So happy to see powers and spell points go away. Also the book organization's worst issues (mixed spell catalog with no reference to the list they come from) being fixed, great. Also great to see the spell stick wand gone, never liked it. It never was a thing in any known lore. It's not like Harry Potter was an innovation to that concept. Only 3.0 made it a spell stick, so that wasn't a true sacred cow.

Then a big thing is about DC adjustments, to guarantee that the specialist in a thing will crush it at high level while the guy with some training will be behind, but not hopeless at it. This is the kind of progression I was hoping to see with the adjustments to UTEML.

Finally - confirmation that the major structural things we saw in the playtest are here to stay. That's really important. They're adjusting some feats, spells, numbers, etc but not overhauling any major mechanic (other than the already announced resonance).


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I think Champions being a class of any alignment with LG being paladin is a good move. Was that something the surveys helped decide?


gwynfrid wrote:
So happy to see powers and spell points go away. Also the book organization's worst issues (mixed spell catalog with no reference to the list they come from) being fixed, great. Also great to see the spell stick wand gone, never liked it. It never was a thing in any known lore. It's not like Harry Potter was an innovation to that concept. Only 3.0 made it a spell stick, so that wasn't a true sacred cow.

The names of Powers and Spell Points are going away, but the concept is still there. They were renamed Focus Spells for which the character spends focus to use. They will have their own chapter, not longer mixed in the Spells chapter, sorted by the class that gives them.

Thus, we will still have the rules presentation problem of the class chapter saying, "Fantastic Word Feat - You gain the Fantastic Word focus spell and one more focus point," and then having to page over to another chapter to see what Fantastic Word does. Maybe they will add a short description of Fantastic Word to the feat. And all the classes focus spells will be adjacent to each other, so a bookmarker will make the paging easier.

As for wands, Jason Bulmahn explained the attitudes about wands in the surveys, but he did not explain what wand rules Pathfinder 2nd Edition would have.

I vaguely remember that in AD&D wands were spell storage sticks, too, but magic items were so rare in those games I can't recall seeing a wand used. In folklore and fiction, wands were never consumables. The earliest wand described was used by the sorceress Circe in the Odyssey. She transformed Odysseus's men into pigs with a wand. It is hard to tell whether the wand was a focus tool to aid casting the spell or whether the wand generated the spell itself--later writers used both.


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I am an old timer too, and I would prefer wands help you cast over spells in a stick. Wands/staffs/etc. might be good place for metamagic.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:


Or if Champions are still stuck in a reactive role and pushed into heavy armor. Are they being kept with any good, or changed to every alignment? If any alignment, what is True Neutral going to be about, champions of Meh? (please don't say balance, I've never seen that idea not lead to nonsensical things).

Clearly TN paladins are Champions of Indecision (and they fall by making a decision, or do they?).

I am not sure how much design space for giving Champions of different alignments different abilities (like armor proficiency), but I do hope they push it as far as they can. Anything to avoid the creatively bankrupt idea of "paladin of alignment X is exactly the same as the LG paladin, but with 'evil' replaced by some other word."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is the kind of news I like to hear. I adore the playtest, but seeing so much negativity made me anxious for the prospects of the game. Seeing that the surveys were more positive than feedback here was a huge relief! Looking forward to those skeletons ;)


Mathmuse wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
So happy to see powers and spell points go away. Also the book organization's worst issues (mixed spell catalog with no reference to the list they come from) being fixed, great. Also great to see the spell stick wand gone, never liked it. It never was a thing in any known lore. It's not like Harry Potter was an innovation to that concept. Only 3.0 made it a spell stick, so that wasn't a true sacred cow.
The names of Powers and Spell Points are going away, but the concept is still there. They were renamed Focus Spells for which the character spends focus to use. They will have their own chapter, not longer mixed in the Spells chapter, sorted by the class that gives them.

Yes, that's what I meant, sorry. The terms "powers" and "spell points" are gone. The concept itself is great, and it stays.

Mathmuse wrote:
Thus, we will still have the rules presentation problem of the class chapter saying, "Fantastic Word Feat - You gain the Fantastic Word focus spell and one more focus point," and then having to page over to another chapter to see what Fantastic Word does. Maybe they will add a short description of Fantastic Word to the feat. And all the classes focus spells will be adjacent to each other, so a bookmarker will make the paging easier.

There may be other solutions to the problem of the feat referring to a focus spell of the same name. For example, the feat could be "you get a focus spell of half your level rounded up", then you go choose your focus spell for your class and level. It still requires you to page over, but it's straightforward and the same feat can work for several classes. It saves space in the book, too.

Mathmuse wrote:
As for wands, Jason Bulmahn explained the attitudes about wands in the surveys, but he did not explain what wand rules Pathfinder 2nd Edition would have.

He didn't, but it can only be an improvement over the spell stick.

Mathmuse wrote:
I vaguely remember that in AD&D wands were spell storage sticks, too, but magic items were so rare in those games I can't recall seeing a wand used. In folklore and fiction, wands were never consumables. The earliest wand described was used by the sorceress Circe in the Odyssey. She transformed Odysseus's men into pigs with a wand. It is hard to tell whether the wand was a focus tool to aid casting the spell or whether the wand generated the spell itself--later writers used both.

I don't remember AD&D original rules. I played them back in the day, but threw my book away a long time ago. I'm pretty sure I never had a character with a wand. In AD&D 2nd edition, wands were not just spell storage. Some (wand of fire) stored several powers similar to spells, but slightly different. They didn't scale, and had fiddly bits like "count rolls of 1s as 2s". They burned a different number of charges depending on the power used. Other wands stored powers that were entirely unlike any spell (wand of negation, as far as I can recall, was super strong). And others stored both spells and wholly new things. So, wands were used by the authors as ways to add rules and magic capabilities without bothering to put them in the spell lists.

Interesting tidbit about the Odyssey. All the way between that and Disney's fairy godmother, the wand looked like a focus but it was never clearly specified. The authors didn't need to call out any rules, after all.


gwynfrid wrote:
Interesting tidbit about the Odyssey. All the way between that and Disney's fairy godmother, the wand looked like a focus but it was never clearly specified. The authors didn't need to call out any rules, after all.

Circe's wand was the pestle of her mortar and pestle. She transformed Odysseus' men into beasts after they drank wine infused with her magical concoction by touching them with the instrument she used to mix it.

So it was really a focus. She was also also a minor goddess, so her pestle-wand was just a divine attribute much like Eros' love arrows or Poseidon's storm-raising trident.

Other famous mythical wands were Hermes' caduceus and Hypnos' branch of yew.

Silver Crusade

gwynfrid wrote:
Interesting tidbit about the Odyssey.
Jeven wrote:

Circe's wand was the pestle of her mortar and pestle. She transformed Odysseus' men into beasts after they drank wine infused with her magical concoction by touching them with the instrument she used to mix it.

So it was really a focus. She was also also a minor goddess, so her pestle-wand was just a divine attribute much like Eros' love arrows or Poseidon's storm-raising trident.
The other famous mythical wand was Hermes' caduceus.

Always happy for an excuse to talk about the Greeks! The passage about Circe is reproduced below. The word for her implement is rhabdos, which as far as I can tell might be closer to a short staff or a rod rather than a Harry-Potter-size wand.

@Jeven, I don't see any reference in the Odyssey to Circe using the rhabdos in a mortar-and-pestle like manner (Homer doesn't seem to mention any implement used to mix the potion), but that does sound familiar—do you know where that idea comes from? Homer isn't the only depiction of Circe, of course.

Homer also uses rhabdos for Hermes' implement, "with which he mazes the eyes of those mortals whose eyes he would maze, or wakes again the sleepers" (Il. 24.343; cf. Od. 5.47), and for the implement that Athena strikes Odysseus with in changing his appearance to that of an old man (Od 16.456). It's also used, with an adjective meaning "long," of a fishing pole (Od. 12.251).

In later Greek the dictionary shows it used of a staff of office, a hunting spear shaft, a shepherd's crook, a switch for punishment. The dictionary refers to it as lighter than a baktêria (staff, cane, walking stick). In metaphorical uses, Aristotle uses it for an animal's stripe, and in grammatical discussion it shows up for a line or verse.

So I look at these uses and figure the implement described is probably envisioned as a short staff or a rod rather than as what we might call a "wand."

Here's the Circe passage, in Lattimore's beautiful translation:

Homer wrote:

She brought them inside and seated them on chairs and benches,

and mixed them a potion, with barley and cheese and pale honey
added to Pramneian wine, but put into the mixture
malignant drugs, to make them forgetful of their own country.
When she had given them this and they had drunk it down, next thing
she struck them with her wand and drove them into her pig pens,
and they took on the look of pigs, with the heads and voices
and bristles of pigs, but the minds within them stayed as they had been
before. So crying they went in, and before them Circe
threw down acorns for them to eat, and ilex and cornel
buds, such foods as pigs who sleep on the ground always feed on.

Homer, Odyssey 10.233–243.


Joe M. wrote:
Always happy for an excuse to talk about the Greeks! The passage about Circe is reproduced below. The word for her implement is rhabdos, which as far as I can tell might be closer to a short staff or a rod rather than a Harry-Potter-size wand.

You are right. I was thinking of ancient Athenian pottery where she is holding a mortar in one hand and waving her pestle "wand" at Odysseus' men in the other.

"Mortar and pestle" might not be accurate. You could also interpret it as a small bowl and a stick to stir the stew.

Silver Crusade

Jeven wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Always happy for an excuse to talk about the Greeks! The passage about Circe is reproduced below. The word for her implement is rhabdos, which as far as I can tell might be closer to a short staff or a rod rather than a Harry-Potter-size wand.

You are right. I was thinking of ancient Athenian pottery where she is holding a mortar in one hand and waving her pestle "wand" at Odysseus' men in the other.

"Mortar and pestle" might not be accurate. You could also interpret it as a small bowl and a stick to stir the stew. Either way it is the short stick the witch is waving.

Ah, right. Google image search does show a number of depictions like that. Thanks!


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I say let wands have unlimited charges of spells, but require a certain amount of time between uses. Like level 1 wands would require 1 round between uses, level 2 wands would require 1d3 rounds between uses, level 3 wands would require 1d4 rounds between uses, and level 4 wands would require 1d6 between uses.

Or make them ranged magical weapons that deal less per hit than cantrips, but only require a single action to use and are subject to the multi attack penalty.


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I feel like we should just call low level staffs "wands."


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dmerceless wrote:
I'm pretty disappointed with no mentions of Vancian casting being changed. At this point it 99% means that it's not happening

I share your dismay about vancian casting. I'm curious about your opinion on the current state of spontaneous casting. I personally find the current spontaneous casting mechanics overly restrictive and an unsatisfactory alternative to vancian casting. At this point I probably sound like a broken record, but I desperately want to enjoy 2E, but can't if I find the casters wanting.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

That all sounds positive. I continue to be very excited about second edition.

In particular, it's very nice to hear Jason acknowledging some of the flaws in PF1e and reaffirming those are things they are trying to fix.

The fact that they kept the name Focus is reassuring, too, as it makes me thing that class powers and staves might use rules similar to the Focus rules in the Resonance test. With staves in particular that would make me very happy, and I quite liked the stronger class powers.


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If focus is still based on Charisma that would leave the stat with a cool function sans Resonance.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
If focus is still based on Charisma that would leave the stat with a cool function sans Resonance.

It would leave monks nothing to do with Wisdom though unless they did the alchemist "stat substitution" thing.


I continue to have excitement and good feelings towards the advent of PF2e.

As James Jacobs says in one of the general threads, and has repeated it several times, 'the playtest is not 2nd edition.' Obviously, successful elements of it will make it through, but I do feel that 2e will be recognizable as Pathfinder.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
If focus is still based on Charisma that would leave the stat with a cool function sans Resonance.

My current fantasy is that wands won't have changes; instead, they will cost focus alone. And any non-spellcaster can learn a general feat that gives them a focus pool of zize equal to his or her Charisma bonus (minimum 1) that can be used to activate wands and staves.

Thus, a cleric won't have a Wand of 1st-level Heal, because using his focus to cast healing spells directly would be more efficient. But a fighter might learn to use such a wand as a backup.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Most of this sounds very positive to me. Overall, I think it's moving in a good direction, especially with the fixed monster math and decreasing the need to optimize just to keep up, one of my big concerns with the playtest. (My other main concern was the increased amount of math required at the table, what with the increasing numbers of weapon damage dice over static bonuses and the +10/-10 crit system, but I didn't really expect them to change that. It's not Paizo's fault that I probably have dyscalculia and struggle with this.)

"Focus spells" is kind of a weird term for me; I feel like it might lead to confusion among players without classes that get actual spells ("wait, I thought I didn't have spells."). I actually liked powers better, but oh well.

Really the only remaining concerns I have from this are the half-elves/half-orcs (viewing them as a subset of human not only feels off, but cuts off what they seemed to initially indicate they were trying to do, make it easier to make a half-something that wasn't human) and multiclassing/archetypes, which still aren't really doing it for me. But it's hard to judge from this, so we'll see.

Thanks for the summary!


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A lot to digest there. And also plenty of vague comments with room to misinterpret.

If the final game has a strong narrativist foundation then there is every reason to think I'll enjoy it. If it is overtly gamist then it won't happen. For some reference, PF1 was very much narrativist and the PF2 was dripping gamism.

I do find the comment about opposition to change to be closed-minded and counter-productive. There is a huge difference between being opposed to change and not liking a particular change. The fact that he lumps PF1E fans into the bucket makes it even worse. Really, history has shown that 4E had issues. So to dislike it obviously can't be cast aside as simply being opposed to change. And, differences between 4E and the playtest not withstanding, the +level / +0.5X level comparison and the heavily gamist outgrowth of that foundation is a strong common theme.

The statements that AC *will* change in a manner consistent with the other DCs is very encouraging. But, again, it is very vague.

Overall still maddeningly vague. Anxious to see if they put story first or math first. Easy to say that they both are important. They *are* both important. But it matters a great deal which one comes out on top. Will the final version be a story system or a balanced conflict resolution mechanical network? I'll be here with my optimism going when they show us.

Small matter: wands. Kinda funny. First of all, things like wand of fireball have been around way longer than 3E, so I'm not understanding why that is put at the feet of 3E. I grew up playign that way, so I'm ok with it. It doesn't get much notice from me. But I do LOVE the idea of better wands. I didn't like resonance, but my personal pitch was they should keep it specifically for things like wands. Make the PC be the power source and the item be the channel. But the idea of wands as open implements is certainly more cool than the idea of spells in a stick.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like we should just call low level staffs "wands."

We don't agree on much, but we do agree on this.

Oddly enough, I DID start with 3.X and I STILL don't like wands as "spell batteries".

My guess is that it mostly stems from a certain wizard PC I played with that absolutely broke the game by having essentially all of his spells prepared via wands and scrolls.

I always liked the idea of wands being a wizard's "weapon" and upgrading the wand made your spells more powerful/harder to resist.

Silver Crusade

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BryonD wrote:
I do find the comment about opposition to change to be closed-minded and counter-productive. There is a huge difference between being opposed to change and not liking a particular change. The fact that he lumps PF1E fans into the bucket makes it even worse.

FWIW, I didn't get the impression of this kind of attitude from watching the stream. If my notes suggest such an attitude that's unintentional.

My impression is that Jason was just saying that of course they knew there would be folks who didn't want any change (after all they benefitted from that before!), and that's fine. I very much did not feel that he was using that observation as an excuse to dismiss any playtest comments (saying "oh that's just because you don't want change" so I won't bother listening to you)

Maybe if you listen to that portion of the interview you'll have a different impression than me, of course, but do keep in mind that I typed all of this while listening live and posted immediately after. So there are of course going to be instances where I didn't capture everything or my summary doesn't fully reflect the discussion.

Always check the source!


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Geminus wrote:
dmerceless wrote:
I'm pretty disappointed with no mentions of Vancian casting being changed. At this point it 99% means that it's not happening
I share your dismay about vancian casting. I'm curious about your opinion on the current state of spontaneous casting. I personally find the current spontaneous casting mechanics overly restrictive and an unsatisfactory alternative to vancian casting. At this point I probably sound like a broken record, but I desperately want to enjoy 2E, but can't if I find the casters wanting.

I have nothing against the mechanics on Spontaneous Casting specifically, they're fine. I do have issues with the way Spontaneous Heightening works. I used to be against that, but after seing some pretty good arguments here on the boards I started believing that just letting they Spontaneously Heighten everything and making sure that non-heightenable spells are stilll useful at higher levels would be wat better.


Joe M. wrote:
BryonD wrote:
I do find the comment about opposition to change to be closed-minded and counter-productive. There is a huge difference between being opposed to change and not liking a particular change. The fact that he lumps PF1E fans into the bucket makes it even worse.

FWIW, I didn't get the impression of this kind of attitude from watching the stream. If my notes suggest such an attitude that's unintentional.

My impression is that Jason was just saying that of course they knew there would be folks who didn't want any change (after all they benefitted from that before!), and that's fine. I very much did not feel that he was using that observation as an excuse to dismiss any playtest comments (saying "oh that's just because you don't want change" so I won't bother listening to you)

Maybe if you listen to that portion of the interview you'll have a different impression than me, of course, but do keep in mind that I typed all of this while listening live and posted immediately after. So there are of course going to be instances where I didn't capture everything or my summary doesn't fully reflect the discussion.

Always check the source!

Thank you

And your last sentence is well noted.

Thanks


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Mathmuse wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
If focus is still based on Charisma that would leave the stat with a cool function sans Resonance.

My current fantasy is that wands won't have changes; instead, they will cost focus alone. And any non-spellcaster can learn a general feat that gives them a focus pool of zize equal to his or her Charisma bonus (minimum 1) that can be used to activate wands and staves.

Thus, a cleric won't have a Wand of 1st-level Heal, because using his focus to cast healing spells directly would be more efficient. But a fighter might learn to use such a wand as a backup.

I'm not sure about Cha.

But i do like the idea of being able to pick up non-class spells in a wand.

So a wand of fireball lets anyone expend focus/slots to cast fireball. A wizard could still find it useful as they can prepare other spells that day.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mathmuse wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
If focus is still based on Charisma that would leave the stat with a cool function sans Resonance.

My current fantasy is that wands won't have changes; instead, they will cost focus alone. And any non-spellcaster can learn a general feat that gives them a focus pool of zize equal to his or her Charisma bonus (minimum 1) that can be used to activate wands and staves.

Thus, a cleric won't have a Wand of 1st-level Heal, because using his focus to cast healing spells directly would be more efficient. But a fighter might learn to use such a wand as a backup.

I really like this idea. Interesting way to reward Charisma investment, and neatly fixes some wand issues while still leaving wands a useful niche.

My personal fix to not liking spell batteries in 1e was to change wands to be 3/day instead of 50 charges (interesting side note: If you do the math in the magic item creation rules, 3/day and 50 charges total are very close to the same price), but I really liked how they ran off of a character pool in 2e.

Yeah, I'm the one guy who loved Resonance, sue me. :)


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I had some half crazed idea when the focus test was released that all characters would have a focus pool equal to Cha mod and then casters would add a second modifier as well so

Martial focus = Cha mod
Wizard/Bard focus = Int mod + Cha mod
Paldin/Cleric/Druid focus = Wis mod + cha mod
Sorcerer focus = Con mod + Cha mod

Or something like that. I thought is was a good idea but who knows what they will come up with (well I guess they do)

Liberty's Edge

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Bardarok wrote:

I had some half crazed idea when the focus test was released that all characters would have a focus pool equal to Cha mod and then casters would add a second modifier as well so

Martial focus = Cha mod
Wizard/Bard focus = Int mod + Cha mod
Paldin/Cleric/Druid focus = Wis mod + cha mod
Sorcerer focus = Con mod + Cha mod

Or something like that. I thought is was a good idea but who knows what they will come up with (well I guess they do)

A Con based Sorcerer Sub-Type would be AWESOME!


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Captain Morgan wrote:
If focus is still based on Charisma that would leave the stat with a cool function sans Resonance.

I sure hope not. Classes with Focus Spells should use the stat that actually makes sense for the class. Shoehorning it all into charisma feels way too artificial to me. It's just trying to force Charisma to be relevant to everyone. But not all stats should be important for every character. Most casters don't use strength for anything, so should we add some strength based magical class features to force it to be relevant? No, it doesn't fit. The druid has that for Wild Shape, it's nonsensical and I hope will be changed back to Wisdom (but it probably won't be).

I think I'm in the minority here. But I feel that all stats shouldn't be equally relevant. The existence of dump stats isn't really a bug, but a feature. If they get out of control it can be a problem, but I don't think every character should be well rounded either. This gets into requiring the bookish introverted wizard to have social graces to not fall behind in power. The reserved, inward-focused monk also gets tossed aside in favor of strong personalities, not very zen at all. It's really a conflict between game balance and story. Sure making all stats equal is good for game balance, but it's bad for verisimilitude (at least for me). It was one of the many flaws of resonance.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My feeling is that not all stats should be equally relevant, but a class that dumps a particular stat should play different and have different options than a class that keeps that stat high, in the way that a high-Strength wizard has melee options that a Strength-dump wizard doesn't.

I would like to avoid the PF1e issue where there is sometimes no meaningful reason NOT to dump a stat. Dumping a stat should be a choice, not an assumption.

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