The secret ingredient nobody is talking about


General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

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Preface: This turned into a much bigger rant than I intended so please try not to pull at any one thread too hard lest the shoddy craftsmanship of the post fall to shreds, this is intended to a discussion launching point about how best to position the mechanical components and "power level" of PF2 against it's competitors.

I've read the criticisms, the praise, the back-tracking of a few design decisions, the theorycrafting, pitfalls of the tight math, the endless circular debates about the "true" role of a number of classes, bemoaning of loss of backwards compatibility, and the million and one discussions about the caster/martial disparity that is being discussed around here.

One thing that I haven't seen much of, that I personally see as one of the best potential components to the future of PF2, is one that I think is being skirted by Paizo intentionally for the VERY reasonable fear that they'll be stepping on toes or infringing on someone else "zone" but nonetheless I think represents a function to enable more cross-pollination between different play groups and also to be attractive to new players.

This being, the degree to which published 5e D&D Adventures and player Content can be EASILY AND QUICKLY be converted for use with Pathfinder 2E. The Dice & Slice Podcast has tackled this discussion point HEAD-ON and I applaud you guys for doing so and jogging my imagination.

As it stands many people have been apt to compare the various components of the PF2 crunch to that which is present in 5E, some levying talk of how it is a bad idea or that it would serve to dumb things down, but they rarely touch on the idea that it is inherently in everyones best interest to line things up in such a way that a GM could take a published 5E Adventure such as the Temple of Elemental Evil, and with only a little bit of tweaks implement almost the whole Adventure with minimal pain. As it stands with PF1 being puffy and swollen like a Bloatmage at level 20 it is nearly impossible without rewriting EVERY statblock, challenge, trap, and encounter to use 5E Adventures.

If in the final version of PF2 we can bring some of the mechanical parity between the systems closer together I really think the system as a whole could greatly benefit, even WITHOUT a formal conversion guide (Which I'm certain is NOT in the cards legally speaking) I'd like to see this bridge to D&D repaired, and for some of those really great changes from 4E>5E to have comparable pieces that be used in the PF2 system.

Right now, we aren't actually too far off from being able to do this, but there are still stumbling blocks in the way, primary among these is the degree of PC customization and choice when first being created or advanced. There exists in 5E very VERY few choices a player can make to make themselves meaningfully different from someone else who is playing the same Race/Class compared to Pathfinder at large, but this isn't a weakness, in fact I think it stands as a strength but as it stands the ABC method for character creation is still an order of magnitude more adjustable than the elephant in the room.

The player choices really shouldn't matter too much in the scope of this sideways-compatibility , it's the back-end stuff like how Challenge Rating is handled, what "level" is appropriate for a given Spell/Power/Challenge that lies at the core of this.

Please forgive my rambling nature on this thread, but I've not seen much cogent discussion of the value that could be engendered by simply making sure that 5E Content could easily be either converted for PF2 or simply drag/dropped "as-is" to open up entire new exciting Campaign Settings, Iconic (Truly culture shifting) Adventures like CoS, and to work as a way to let players who are new the game and chomping at the bit for more content and options to be able to play/learn the new Edition as an avenue for people who want more "meat" and player choice in their RPGs.

Places to start- Something that need tackled if this is ever going to work is a way to transfer "Advantage/Disadvantage" mechanics that makes sense without breaking the math. I personally like the A/D system, but I do not think it is very "Pathfinder" and would like to see what any other folks think on the issue. To start off, there is going to be a quite sparse number of published modules/adventures for people to try PF2 and each of these are going to be truly untested pieces of new fiction.

If as a GM on day 1 I could come up with a few guidelines to bring my 5E books to the table and play them nearly "as-written" but supplanting the mechanical differences I feel that could be a HUGE advantage for the new system, and conversely if Paizo takes the tack that they should be doing everything they can to differentiate the "reality" of the two systems then I think it will not only be detrimental to the new Edition, I think it would be a crippling blow that ensures that D&D loyalists never even TRY PF2.

Honest replies, thoughtful comments, genuine input to how this could be done without starting from scratch, dad-jokes, and criticism is welcome here, I mainly got this rant started in hopes to spark some NEW conversation about how PF2 can set itself up as a single "step up" from the simplicity of 5E without stepping over that "Sue me please" line.


I was hoping for a thread on bat guano, but it'll do.

I have personally converted entire APs from pathfinder to 5e on the fly and easily, without the need of many references or pre-written statblocks. There's not many moving parts in the system, so it wasn't easy to adjust everything but it wasn't a major challenge either. Also I love their Fatigue mechanics, I used them for my Reign of Winter adaptation. Cold environment effects got damn scary.

I have tried converting a Curse of Strahd into Pathfinder 1, and I gave up.

+1'd your point, there's value in it.


For all its potential problems, I think the Table of Level appropriate DCs is an extremely useful tool for converting adventure content between systems, especially since due to unified proficiency everything scales at the same rate. (or close to it)

The big thing will be how useful is the monster creator. (And I guess the hazard creator as well). To make the special monsters that help make an adventure memorable. If those are easy to use than you would really be in business.

As for advantage/disadvantage I think a +/- 3 conditional or circumstance (hell I can never remember the difference so I don't know which) would be sufficient. Advantage is worth a little more than that depending on DC somewhere in the neighborhood of +4 to 5, obviously it's a bell curve so not so easy to convert. But in PF2 the critical rules make a +3 more powerful due to potential crit effects.


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Themetricsystem wrote:

Preface: This turned into a much bigger rant than I intended so please try not to pull at any one thread too hard lest the shoddy craftsmanship of the post fall to shreds, this is intended to a discussion launching point about how best to position the mechanical components and "power level" of PF2 against it's competitors.

I've read the criticisms, the praise, the back-tracking of a few design decisions, the theorycrafting, pitfalls of the tight math, the endless circular debates about the "true" role of a number of classes, bemoaning of loss of backwards compatibility, and the million and one discussions about the caster/martial disparity that is being discussed around here.

One thing that I haven't seen much of, that I personally see as one of the best potential components to the future of PF2, is one that I think is being skirted by Paizo intentionally for the VERY reasonable fear that they'll be stepping on toes or infringing on someone else "zone" but nonetheless I think represents a function to enable more cross-pollination between different play groups and also to be attractive to new players.

This being, the degree to which published 5e D&D Adventures and player Content can be EASILY AND QUICKLY be converted for use with Pathfinder 2E. The Dice & Slice Podcast has tackled this discussion point HEAD-ON and I applaud you guys for doing so and jogging my imagination.

As it stands many people have been apt to compare the various components of the PF2 crunch to that which is present in 5E, some levying talk of how it is a bad idea or that it would serve to dumb things down, but they rarely touch on the idea that it is inherently in everyones best interest to line things up in such a way that a GM could take a published 5E Adventure such as the Temple of Elemental Evil, and with only a little bit of tweaks implement almost the whole Adventure with minimal pain. As it stands with PF1 being puffy and swollen like a Bloatmage at level 20 it is nearly impossible without rewriting EVERY statblock,...

. Because it isn’t in everyones interest if I want to play 5e i can, that ‘bloatmage’ is what makes pf great.


This strikes me as a solution looking for a problem. 5e has produced a lot less content than Paizo seems inclined to do and the Paizo adventures tend to be better quality as well. While I'm sure there will be some conversion in the PF 2e direction, I suspect that the similarities will mean that more will go in the other direction. Whether or not that is good for PF2e or Paizo as a whole is a separate discussion.

The similarities you point out will also mean that selling people on choosing PF2e over D&D 5e will become a more challenging task since 5e is already established. If Paizo can steal the audience with a more popular product ut will be great for Paizo. If not then I can see some challenges ahead depending on the planned publication strategy.


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Here’s the thing - converting TO a system is not like converting FROM. The amount of system mastey required is completely different and, while you need to be good at both, I have much more experience in Pathfinder1 than in 5e or P2, and yet I found converting to P1 hard.

5e is an easy system to convert TO.
Path1 is a hard system to convert TO.
Path2, I’m finding, is a pretty simple system to convert TO (my notes are in the War for the Second Crown thread).

It’s already possible to buy a P1 AP and play it in 5e. It’s not feasible to buy a 5e adventure and play it in P1.
They can’t change the first point. The second, however...


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I suspect it's more important for conversion to be the other way around. Paizo produces so much content and has such a large backlog of content that I can't imagine, other than nostalgia for beholders or something similar, much need to be able to convert 5E adventures to PF2. But with a slower release schedule I can definitely see folks maybe wanting to do the reverse


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Maybe hybrid Homebrew rules can fill the gap. Maybe use TEML based scaling bonus dice (T=d2, E=d4, M=d6, L=d8) that you can add to your d20 roll when you have advantage in 5e systems and reverse the order to d20 rolls when you have disadvantage (L=-d2, M=-d4, E=-d6, T=-d8).

Untrained advantage you add your level to the single d20 roll + ability mod and untrained disadvantage you just take the raw d20.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber

Another much simpler solution is it could simply increase or decrease your proficiency step by one or maybe double the number bonus for the current proficiency level and untrained is treated as rolling with disadvantage already.


Everyone I know that plays 5E runs paizo adventures.


Ediwir wrote:

Here’s the thing - converting TO a system is not like converting FROM. The amount of system mastey required is completely different and, while you need to be good at both, I have much more experience in Pathfinder1 than in 5e or P2, and yet I found converting to P1 hard.

5e is an easy system to convert TO.
Path1 is a hard system to convert TO.
Path2, I’m finding, is a pretty simple system to convert TO (my notes are in the War for the Second Crown thread).

It’s already possible to buy a P1 AP and play it in 5e. It’s not feasible to buy a 5e adventure and play it in P1.
They can’t change the first point. The second, however...

I'm not sure why either would be a problem. They're dealing with largely the same monsters, aesthetic and general range of challenges. An orc is an orc, just use the relevant system's stat block.

For the outliers, use a critter/NPC with a closer CR and repaint it as whatever it is 'supposed' to be.


I don't think they'll be easily convertible at all. The mechanics are far too different and PCs of the same nominative level have vastly different capabilities.


Voss wrote:
Ediwir wrote:

Here’s the thing - converting TO a system is not like converting FROM. The amount of system mastey required is completely different and, while you need to be good at both, I have much more experience in Pathfinder1 than in 5e or P2, and yet I found converting to P1 hard.

5e is an easy system to convert TO.
Path1 is a hard system to convert TO.
Path2, I’m finding, is a pretty simple system to convert TO (my notes are in the War for the Second Crown thread).

It’s already possible to buy a P1 AP and play it in 5e. It’s not feasible to buy a 5e adventure and play it in P1.
They can’t change the first point. The second, however...

I'm not sure why either would be a problem. They're dealing with largely the same monsters, aesthetic and general range of challenges. An orc is an orc, just use the relevant system's stat block.

For the outliers, use a critter/NPC with a closer CR and repaint it as whatever it is 'supposed' to be.

Pathfinder has plenty of weird critter that 5e doesn’t have, but I could write down a 5e statblock in 5 minutes flat. In fact, I often didn’t, and just had three values on my notes - CR, HP, damage. Everything else I did off the top of my head. Pathfinder2 will follow a similar tendency.

On the other hand, converting a missing creature or npc from 5e to pathfinder would take a looooong time, and even a simple skill check would be much less immediate.


Ediwir wrote:
Voss wrote:
Ediwir wrote:

Here’s the thing - converting TO a system is not like converting FROM. The amount of system mastey required is completely different and, while you need to be good at both, I have much more experience in Pathfinder1 than in 5e or P2, and yet I found converting to P1 hard.

5e is an easy system to convert TO.
Path1 is a hard system to convert TO.
Path2, I’m finding, is a pretty simple system to convert TO (my notes are in the War for the Second Crown thread).

It’s already possible to buy a P1 AP and play it in 5e. It’s not feasible to buy a 5e adventure and play it in P1.
They can’t change the first point. The second, however...

I'm not sure why either would be a problem. They're dealing with largely the same monsters, aesthetic and general range of challenges. An orc is an orc, just use the relevant system's stat block.

For the outliers, use a critter/NPC with a closer CR and repaint it as whatever it is 'supposed' to be.

Pathfinder has plenty of weird critter that 5e doesn’t have, but I could write down a 5e statblock in 5 minutes flat. In fact, I often didn’t, and just had three values on my notes - CR, HP, damage. Everything else I did off the top of my head. Pathfinder2 will follow a similar tendency.

On the other hand, converting a missing creature or npc from 5e to pathfinder would take a looooong time, and even a simple skill check would be much less immediate.

Which in part is what the table of DCs and the simplified monster creation rules are supposed to address in PF2.


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You might be on to something, but I think you are looking at the wrong conversion point:

I doubt the goal is to make converting published adventures easy, but rather to make converting _campaigns_ easy. Aim at the people whose campaigns are pushing the limits of 5e with a "this conversion isn't hard, you can do it on the fly without really breaking anything."


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Ediwir wrote:
On the other hand, converting a missing creature or npc from 5e to pathfinder would take a looooong time, and even a simple skill check would be much less immediate.

Eh, I found that the Simple Monster Creation rules simplified this specific point pretty well. An exact analogue might be beyond the scope of those rules, but you can usually get close enough to wink at it,

Where PF1 fails and PF2 might succeed is Legendary and Lair actions of boss characters. It's possible, but the CR system really doesn't cope well with it. With PF2 you can simply add a few extra actions and reactions every round and call it a day.

...and the idea of complex reactions just now occurred to me. Those should totally be a thing in PF2, in th beastiary if not necessarily in player's hands.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
On the other hand, converting a missing creature or npc from 5e to pathfinder would take a looooong time, and even a simple skill check would be much less immediate.

Eh, I found that the Simple Monster Creation rules simplified this specific point pretty well. An exact analogue might be beyond the scope of those rules, but you can usually get close enough to wink at it,

Where PF1 fails and PF2 might succeed is Legendary and Lair actions of boss characters. It's possible, but the CR system really doesn't cope well with it. With PF2 you can simply add a few extra actions and reactions every round and call it a day.

...and the idea of complex reactions just now occurred to me. Those should totally be a thing in PF2, in th beastiary if not necessarily in player's hands.

To be fair, I don't think Extra Actions is something CR/Difficulty handles well in any system. Give a Dragon the ability to cast level 1 spells during someone else's turn; depending on the spells picked out that's either kinda meh or actually rather effective. How much CR does that change if the spells are on the lower end?


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If we're talking about the compatibility with pre-existing content, by dropping compatibility with Pathfinder (and by extension with 3.5), we're losing eighteen years of first-party content. Not to mention all the other third party stuff.

Getting three years of 5e content (which seems to be lighter on the ground than the Pathfinder content produced even in that same period) doesn't seem like a good exchange.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Richard Crawford wrote:

If we're talking about the compatibility with pre-existing content, by dropping compatibility with Pathfinder (and by extension with 3.5), we're losing eighteen years of first-party content. Not to mention all the other third party stuff.

Getting three years of 5e content (which seems to be lighter on the ground than the Pathfinder content produced even in that same period) doesn't seem like a good exchange.

It really isn't hard to convert PF1 to 2 so we aren't losing all that much. I've run part one of Kingmaker (before real life got in the way) without any increase in prep time (the added prep with converting was basically countered by the time saved due to PF2 being easier to prep in general.)

Even if that wasn't the case, while Pathfinder 1 obviously has a higher quantity of content (and I would say quality too) than 5e, what it doesn't have is a drop of the market share.

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