Meaningful customization


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There was a lot of discussion over what constitutes meaningful customization, and I personally think PF2 has quite a bit of it- at least, comparing CRB to playtest CRB.

To me, meaningful customization is anything that allows my character to stand out as memorable or unique in some fashion (so long as its not "memorably bad").

- "Ancestry plus class" is the most basic form.
- The path your class takes is pretty significant for the overall effect, so we can add that in. (If you're a bard, barbarian, druid, etc., people are going to want to know what kind, much like wanting to know if you took an archetype in PF1.)
- Heritage and background can count, but don't always. They're not necessarily significant, but humans get significant heritages, and bleachling vs. non-bleachling stands out for gnomes. Backgrounds only count if you've got a character that actually plays into their background. (A fighter who used to work at a tavern and a fighter who used to work at a circus could be very different, or their past could be glossed over.) That's borrowing some from the significance of a character's backstory, though.
- Ancestry feats count. A gnome bard with a songbird familiar, an elven fighter whose long life allows them to recall skills, etc.
- Multiclass feats count. Personally, I would say even more so than PF1 multiclassing, because picking something like rogue/cleric doesn't mean sucking at both anymore. Now your cleric of Norgober can actually emulate their patron.
- Class feats count. This is where your fighting style and tricks are coming from.
- I'd probably count skills and skill feats together on this one. Fighter who invests in medicine? Eh… might not really stick out, even with the large bonuses. But once you throw in some actual healing, it sticks out more.
- General feats are where a lot of "get better numbers" stuff ended up, and that's okay. It keeps it from getting mixed in with other stuff.


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I feel like putting floating stat bonuses into various steps of the ABC stat gen really increases the number of viable ancestry/class options. Assuming the math works out so that starting with a 16 in your main stat is completely okay, there are now no ancestry/class combos which are unplayable.

In PF1 we basically had to wait for archetypes if we wanted to make a Dwarf in a class with a Cha focus- tortured crusader, sage bloodline sorcerer, dwarven scholar bard. Now I can just roll up a Dwarf with 16 Cha at level 1 and be fine as a sorcerer or bard.

Some things, like Gnome Barbarians, were never really very good in PF1.


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To me customization means:
1- You play differently if you build differently, choose to use a different weapon it should have some different properties. Choose to use 1 hand instead of 2 hands your free hand can be used.
2- This kind of ties into 1 but choices that don't penalize you as much. If you make a choice it shouldn't be infinitely better than another one, so if a feat says. 'You get to do X' another feat can't simply say 'You get to do X and to do Y' also choices that don't change anything besides a roll. (You get +1 to X roll)
3- Well having choices in the matter. The easy example for me to give the example of 5e, 5e front-loads a few choices and gives too little in the long run. I want choices in the long run, so feat trees/abilities that require prereqs that are the same type of feat specially are a nono in my opnion.
4- This might seem dumb... But not having access to every choice at start. This includes both choices that can only be found later, or choices that aren't common and you can only get asking your DM.

Liberty's Edge

When I was trying to guess what the 5 steps mentioned by Jason were, I went to the creation chapter of the playtest and checked what choices, within his parameters, had mechanical impacts. And I ended up with the list he later gave (Ancestry, Heritage, Background, Class, Major class choice).

What I find most interesting is what is missing (whereas it was a very big thing in PF1) : Alignment.

Liberty's Edge

The Raven Black wrote:

When I was trying to guess what the 5 steps mentioned by Jason were, I went to the creation chapter of the playtest and checked what choices, within his parameters, had mechanical impacts. And I ended up with the list he later gave (Ancestry, Heritage, Background, Class, Major class choice).

What I find most interesting is what is missing (whereas it was a very big thing in PF1) : Alignment.

He left that out in his PF1 list as well. And justifiably so, since we're talking mechanical choices. Alignment, like Gender, is an extremely important flavor choice, but not a super important mechanical one most of the time.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

What Deadman said. This is one of the reasons I would want alignment to become simply outsider subtypes and not something on character sheets at all. The only classes alignment had a real mechanical effect have anathemas now anyways.

Edit: Except Monks, who really should. They even mention "vows and rules" in the RP section for monks, but there's no mechanic backing that up. There doesn't need to be, of course, but it is still jarring. That goes directly to what Deadman said in the other thread:

Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I hope this means that all classes are going to get that extra step of "choose a totem, order, bloodline, muse, school, etc."

If nothing else this is a great way to future proof classes so we can replicate the "you are a different kind of these" archetypes from PF1 that only ever made sense if you start out that way.

That seems very likely. Almost all Classes had them already by the end of the playtest. I think all we're missing as of 1.6 are Monk and Fighter (well, and Cleric if you don't count God), and those seem easy enough to add.

I was surprised when the monks were previewed that they didn't have "schools" analogous to barbarian totems, complete with anathemas. Especially since Monk schools are present in Golarian. I could even see a neutral "Brawler" school with no real anathema being included, so that playtest characters can be moved seemlessly into PF2.


In the playtest, I really felt like Monks needed like 1 more featish thing at early levels, so having a "school" or whatever where you learned your monk stuff that gives some bonus would be great.

Like Paladins get the same number of feats and they get their focus power built into the class. Monks having to buy it with a feat never sat well with me.

Liberty's Edge

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
What Deadman said. This is one of the reasons I would want alignment to become simply outsider subtypes and not something on character sheets at all. The only classes alignment had a real mechanical effect have anathemas now anyways.

Alignment is solid roleplaying advice, and relevant for a few spells. I'm cool with it being part of the base character sheet. It's just not the most mechanically relevant part.

EDIT: I'm very up for Monk Schools. Especially if one adds Wis instead of Dex to AC. I still think that's an awesome Monk mechanic.


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For me, customization is about narrative control. A roleplaying campaign is a story and the player contributes a character to that story. In a railroad campaign, the story that the campaign tells overrules the story that the character tells. This marginalizes the character and disappoints the player. The railroading could come from the GM or from the rules of the game. Customization prevents the rules from conflicting with the story that the character tells.

When a player choses a race and class, he or she is mostly in agreement with the built-in story of that race and of that class. But the default story might not completely interest the player. The player might want more dimensions, more character to the default. If the rules try to limit the character down to one dimension and railroad the character into one possible role in the game, then customization is denied.

For example, decades ago I created a Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 cleric. I was not interested in the standard frontline armor-wearing cleric, for I had played that role too much already. I chose to make an archer cleric, who would keep some distance from the enemies to protect himself. The cleric class does not favor archery, but the elf race did, so I made an elf archer cleric with Dex 19 and Int 16.

This cleric did not remain an archer, because character concepts evolve during the campaign. We discovered that we had three characters with good scouting skills: the rogue, the bard, and my cleric. We developed a style of scouting out our enemy and then the entire party sneaked up from an unexpected direction to catch them by surprise. Our motto was never enter by the front door. Thus, he became an elf scout archer cleric. And at 4th level, his spells became more effective than his archery, so he spent his time casting spells instead. He became an elf scout summoner cleric. Several levels later, he could not maintain his stealth skills, Hide and Move Silently, because they cost double due to the D&D cross-class skill rules. Thus, he took one level of wizard to qualify as arcane archer. The arcane archer prestige class supported stealth skills. He had returned to his elven archer roots.

Thus, this character defied the expectations of how a cleric was played, yet he was very much an elven cleric of Corellon Larethian and he always functioned well in the party.

Sometimes the players' narrative control can reshape an adventure path. In December 2015 I began an Iron Gods campaign. Two of my players, Amy (my wife) and John, wanted to explore the alien technology in Numeria. A third player, Cync, wanted to play an exotic chararcter in an exotic land. The fourth player, Rich, was new to the game and simply wanted to master Pathfinder. Paizo Creative Director James Jacobs had built many rich themes of religion and science into the Iron Gods adventure path, with some default options readily available to the story, such as technology versus nature or good people versus evil gods. Due to the influence of Amy and John, the main story of my campaign became providing science for the common people versus hoarding technology for monopolists. They crafted their own gear, they set up workshops in towns and made jobs for their acquaintences, they took over the evil Technic League at the end of the campaign and planned to reform it into a teaching organization.

But their classes had to support their themes. Amy created the dwarven gadgeteer Boffin Freddert. Technically, the character was a gunslinger with the gnomish Experimental Gunsmith archetype. I had to bend the rules to let her play with gadgets as much as she wanted. Surprisingly, she became a master of battlefield control rather than the standard damage-dealer role of most gunslingers. John created half-elf magic Elric Jones. He built a high Intelligence magus, not as good a build as the high Strength magus or the high Dexterity magus, but intelligence suited the character. He developed a reputation of having the right spell available at the right time due to his arcane pool. Cync played the strix skald Kirii. Strix are very rare, living only in Devil's Perch in Cheliax, and I had to put a second tribe of strix in the Shudderwood off the Worldwound to justify a strix in Numeria. She succeeded at exotic and liked to hold concerts to show off her musical skills. She played a huaca, essentially a three-chambered ocarina, which she found on the wreck of an alien spacecraft. Rich played a fighter/investigator, a former caravan guard whose curiosity led him to seek more adventure than standing guard. They recruited an NPC, Val Baine, who was the daughter of the missing wizard in the 1st module, and I build her as a bloodrager smith. All five characters exemplified through their oddball versatility their willingness to learn and adapt.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition appears to restrict classes more than Pathfinder 1st Edition. The players cannot mix-and-match abilities by level-based multiclassing. Many classes have branches, such as the bard's muses and the druid's orders, that force them to specialize. In contract, their skills are mostly independent of class, determined by a one-size-fits-all proficiency system. Proficiency prevents specialization for better bonuses.

However, Pathfinder 2nd Edition added backgrounds. My wife made solid use of backgrounds for customizing characters for ruleplaying. I described this elsewhere and won't repeat everything here: Enhanced Roleplaying via Backgrounds.

Yet, many people saw backgrounds as just a tool for assigning a pair of ability score boosts and ignored its customization potential. They took the background that best matched the class, as if they had no other choice.

Mathmuse wrote:
Amy proved the strong roleplaying potential of Pathfinder 2nd Edition's backgrounds. On the other hand, my other players often chose backgrounds that faded away into the background: scout rogue, scout ranger, two separate scholar wizards. A blacksmith druid and nomad alchemist stood out, and by the time of Affair at Sombrefell Hall, the whole party had more variety: half-elf barkeep cleric of Cayden Cailean teamed up with a dwarf barkeep monk, half-elf esoteric-scion cleric of Sarenrae, and Amy's elf noble bard.

Background is not much of a mechanical choice: two ability boosts so flexible that a dozen backgrounds could serve most player's purpose, a lackluster feat, and a Lore skill in a game that provides little use for Lore. But it worked well for narrative control when I followed my wife's suggestions.

Liberty's Edge

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Mathmuse wrote:
Pathfinder 2nd Edition appears to restrict classes more than Pathfinder 1st Edition. The players cannot mix-and-match abilities by level-based multiclassing. Many classes have branches, such as the bard's muses and the druid's orders, that force them to specialize. In contract, their skills are mostly independent of class, determined by a one-size-fits-all proficiency system. Proficiency prevents specialization for better bonuses.

While I agree with most of the rest of Mathmuse's post, I disagree with this.

Most branches allow you to dabble in others (indeed, you can easily have a full two of them as a Bard, if you like), and for the most part I think Multiclass Feats allow as much freedom as level-based multiclassing in most (though not all) circumstances. While Skills are easier to think outside the box with, and I feel like (especially with the new doubled Proficiency bonuses) Proficiency in and of itself is specializing in certain skills, and doing so quite effectively.

The big area where customization is gonna be reduced from PF1 is Feats, specifically in regard to how Class Feats work, but I think it makes up for that in other areas.

This doesn't net as much customization as PF1 had, but it probably does do more than the PF1 core rulebook, which I feel is as much as we can expect a core rulebook to allow.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Mathmuse wrote:
Background is not much of a mechanical choice: two ability boosts so flexible that a dozen backgrounds could serve most player's purpose, a lackluster feat, and a Lore skill in a game that provides little use for Lore. But it worked well for narrative control when I followed my wife's suggestions.

So, one houserule I plan on implementing in what I call "secondary backgrounds" where instead of the free boost, you can choose to restrict yourself to the options of a second background. For example: you can select Nomad as your background, with the normal Wisdom or Constitution boost, and then also select Scholar as your second background, and choose between Intelligence or Wisdom instead of any attribute for your second background boost. Since this is still the background stage of character creation, you can't put both boosts in Wisdom, so if you select Wisdom as your Nomad boost, you have to take Intelligence for your Scholar boost. If you accept this restriction, you get the lore skill associated with the second background, but not the skill feat or anything else the second background grants (in this example, you'd still get Assurance on survival and Terrain Lore as normal for a nomad, and you'd also get the Academia Lore skill, but not the assurance on Arcane/Divine/Occultism).

Since your wife likes RPing backgrounds, I bring this houserule up because I wonder what kind of characters she'd create with two background lore skills to draw on.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
What Deadman said. This is one of the reasons I would want alignment to become simply outsider subtypes and not something on character sheets at all. The only classes alignment had a real mechanical effect have anathemas now anyways.

Alignment is solid roleplaying advice, and relevant for a few spells. I'm cool with it being part of the base character sheet. It's just not the most mechanically relevant part.

Sure. I hope I didn't imply you felt otherwise. I think alignment should go, and harms more than it helps, but I doubt many others share that belief.


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Weirdly, I'm actually against every class having a "unique path" selection incorporated into it. Since 2e seems to prefer having those be far too specific flavour-wise, that it felt to my group that they limited concepts more then they diversified them.


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I'll be honest, pathfinder 1 does have a lot of choices, but many times, it feels like most of them are trap options that can cause players to end up feeling ineffective.

My first character was a kobold hunter that hailed from a tribe of dinosaur taming kobolds, and she had a deinonychus as her trusted companion, and she supported him with her shortbow. Unfortunately, hunter was one of the harder classes to play, and especially optimize, and it turns out that unlike the ranger, the hunter with its teamwork feats heavily favors melee combat over ranged. I managed to optimize the dino quite well, but the kobold herself really struggled to be effective.

The next was the time where I wanted to run a twf rogue that relied primarily on flanking (eventually grabbing circling mongoose), and I was wanting to take 3 lvls in shadowdancer to be able to surround people with my own moving and deadly shadow (well, shade, but still). Again, I felt like I got overshadowed, and my friends and the dm eventually wanted to go over the build with me, and we found out that it didn't really work well with the map (we were running an adventure path), that we had too many people in melee, and the shade was too squishy and punishing to use to be worth putting 3 lvls in a prestige class.

There's also the part where there are quite a few feats and spells that are literally too situational or weak to implement.

Yes, I would rather the feat chains get meshed into macro feats that scale with lvl, but I would also rather have fewer but more effective choices than having a ton of options but with the ivory tower in full-effect.


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QuidEst wrote:

There was a lot of discussion over what constitutes meaningful customization, and I personally think PF2 has quite a bit of it- at least, comparing CRB to playtest CRB.

To me, meaningful customization is anything that allows my character to stand out as memorable or unique in some fashion (so long as its not "memorably bad").

- "Ancestry plus class" is the most basic form.
- The path your class takes is pretty significant for the overall effect, so we can add that in. (If you're a bard, barbarian, druid, etc., people are going to want to know what kind, much like wanting to know if you took an archetype in PF1.)
- Heritage and background can count, but don't always. They're not necessarily significant, but humans get significant heritages, and bleachling vs. non-bleachling stands out for gnomes. Backgrounds only count if you've got a character that actually plays into their background. (A fighter who used to work at a tavern and a fighter who used to work at a circus could be very different, or their past could be glossed over.) That's borrowing some from the significance of a character's backstory, though.
- Ancestry feats count. A gnome bard with a songbird familiar, an elven fighter whose long life allows them to recall skills, etc.
- Multiclass feats count. Personally, I would say even more so than PF1 multiclassing, because picking something like rogue/cleric doesn't mean sucking at both anymore. Now your cleric of Norgober can actually emulate their patron.
- Class feats count. This is where your fighting style and tricks are coming from.
- I'd probably count skills and skill feats together on this one. Fighter who invests in medicine? Eh… might not really stick out, even with the large bonuses. But once you throw in some actual healing, it sticks out more.
- General feats are where a lot of "get better numbers" stuff ended up, and that's okay. It keeps it from getting mixed in with other stuff.

Sure, there is meaningful customization, but only because there is a lot more meaningful negativity than positivity, which is where people draw/blur the lines between "meaningful" and not. And I can personally agree that wholly negative meaningful customization isn't really meaningful.

As one prime example, Druids with Orders who take feats that don't synergize with their order (or don't have added benefits based on their order) technically have meaningful choice, but only really in a negative light, and that's not really a fair application of the concept of "meaningful choices." There should be both positive and negative connotations for those choices, AKA Tradeoffs, not strictly negative ones. A Storm Druid who wants an Animal Companion is not only sacrificing being solid at his schtick, but also forgoing a "meaningful choice" for something that is objectively worse for him due to his original path choice. One of my players, who is a Storm Druid, made this point to me, and I wholly agree with it simply because Druids are more than just a 1st level choice (anyone remember PF1 Clerics being practically the same exact way?), which is how he feels about it, and how I feel about it. Once you're a Storm Druid, there is no sane reason to take feats outside of your schtick (or more accurately, feats that are another order's schtick). And when the feats of a given order choice are split 4-5 different ways, with them taking up 90% of your feat choices, that's very little in the way of "meaningful" customization.

Some other examples are Spirit Totem Barbarians who have little to no class feats hingent upon their other choices, which means, like the Druids, they are merely going through the motions. At least several of their non-choice class feats are actually fairly good. (In contrast, the class' 2nd level feats are all trash, by the way, so more often than not they will take dedication feats with their 2nd level options.)

Armor is also a very telling blow against this concept, since people only use certain armors based on their proficiency or lack thereof (which isn't a meaningful choice when it's baked into your class), otherwise resorting to an eventual default of "the best" option (AKA Light Armor) based on how leveling up usually works is not much of a meaningful choice. Again, this can be a meaningful choice if players simply want to gimp themselves out of potential AC via MDB. But meaningful choices made of pure negativity aren't really perceived as meaningful to the general populace when there is no upsides to it.

Hell, even the flaws in attribute generation portrays this the best. If someone actually decides to accept flaws for no benefits, it's technically a meaningful choice, but with there being no upside to it outside of personal challenges and roleplay reasons, something that isn't positively mechanically represented in the game, who of the general populace would do that?

No-brainers like the above aren't really representative of meaningful choices, and there are a lot of those in the playtest 1.6 currently. If Paizo were to adjust a lot of these things to make them less no-brainers for the final product (not saying get rid of them entirely, things like the flaws can stay for obvious reasons), I'd think there would be a better representation of your examples.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
As one prime example, Druids with Orders who take feats that don't synergize with their order (or don't have added benefits based on their order) technically have meaningful choice, but only really in a negative light, and that's not really a fair application of the concept of "meaningful choices." There should be both positive and negative connotations for those choices, AKA Tradeoffs, not strictly negative ones. A Storm Druid who wants an Animal Companion is not only sacrificing being solid at his schtick, but also forgoing a "meaningful choice" for something that is objectively worse for him due to his original path choice.

I'm only commenting on this because I saw very close to this in actual play so I feel a bit more able to comment on it. One of my players went Wild Druid and was able to happily have a meaningful companion and do everything they wanted with their main schtick (that dragon form was kind of s~*! was a problem with Dragon Form itself, rather than the amount of feats he had to devote to it. And my player totally enjoyed being a Dragon despite me knowing it wasn't all that good.)

It was a tradeoff (he could have taken another companion feat in the last section of the playtest) but even without a fully powered up companion it still worked exceptionally well with him (the work together rules allowing him to reap the benefits of a companion against foes the companion itself was unlikely to hit.)

He could have had a more [not quite the right word] independantly powerful companion if he was happy with dinosaur form and that would have been mechanically better IMO (we had a decent Sorc for aoe and the playtests environments didn't make the most of the dragons massive fly speed) but he loved the flavour of dragon form and I hope numbers wise it is a bit better for its investment in the final product, but that to me is a pretty strong contender for meaningful choice right there.

Whenever there are two paths and one path has it better you can choose to view that as a negative for the pathless or a positive for the pathed. I think so long as taking the option is still a reasonably good choice for the pathless it is fairer to view it as the latter rather than the former and for Druids my playtest experience definitely reinforces that point of view.


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I really don't think Heritage, Background, or 'Class Path' should be considered to be meaningful precisely because all they are is mechanical bloat.


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If traits were meaningful in PF1, then by extension heritage and background are meaningful in PF2.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Crayon wrote:
I really don't think Heritage, Background, or 'Class Path' should be considered to be meaningful precisely because all they are is mechanical bloat.

Racial Traits, Background Traits and Archetypes shouldn't be considered to be meaningful precisely because all they are is mechanical bloat.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
If traits were meaningful in PF1, then by extension heritage and background are meaningful in PF2.

They weren't.

Malk_Content wrote:
Racial Traits, Background Traits and Archetypes shouldn't be considered to be meaningful precisely because all they are is mechanical bloat.

Agreed.


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Crayon wrote:
They weren't.

I strongly disagree. Perhaps traits weren't significant choices, but they were nonetheless meaningful since they could fundamentally change what sorts of things your character would/was able to do.

I mean if traits weren't meaningful choices in PF1, then feats weren't really either. "Student of Philosophy" is liable to change a character's focus a lot more than "Weapon Focus".


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Crayon wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If traits were meaningful in PF1, then by extension heritage and background are meaningful in PF2.

They weren't.

Malk_Content wrote:
Racial Traits, Background Traits and Archetypes shouldn't be considered to be meaningful precisely because all they are is mechanical bloat.
Agreed.

Fair enough. Although in terms of comparison that just means PF1 lost a massive chunk of its "meaningful customization" as well. And most games I can think of with choices on that level.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
*snip*

I didn't list armor and stats and the like, because they aren't meaningful customization, and aren't really expected to be. Unless you're a wizard clanking around in full plate who calls themselves "The Iron Mage", your choice in armor isn't going to stand out for your character. Your stat selection isn't even something most other players are going to notice. Regardless of any balance tweaks they made, those likely wouldn't be meaningful customization. It doesn't seem like they're good examples to use, as people aren't using it as an example of meaningful customization in the first place.

I'm definitely on board with discussing druid and barbarian paths, though.

Druid: Paizo tested out a couple different styles of first-level selection with their different casters. Sorcerer's "pick what replaces your feats" got dropped. Bard has "pick a head-start on a path, but build any path". Wizard has "pick a path and choose if you build on it", which Sorcerer got moved to. Druid got "pick a path, and get bonuses on that path". If you view those bonuses as the expected baseline, then it's a negative thing. Personally, I think that's a bit of an unfair view. A storm druid's animal companion gets nimble or savage two levels before the (mount-restricted) archetype and four levels before Ranger. And, you're trading those small improvements (+1 hp/level, get one action when not commanded) in exchange for a pool of lightning bolts to throw. But it's not like the animal companion is inadequate for to bring to the table; it's the animal companion that everybody else is using but with early advancement. I dunno, maybe druid's just too big into feat chains for it to be considered as customizable. Druid kind of got to do everything before, so it's not surprising to me to have the class end up with their powerful stuff broken out (especially since their spell list isn't supposed to be a balancing point anymore).

Barbarian: Barbarian's operating on the wizard model. You pick your totem, and you some options based on it. I have no idea what you mean by spirit barbarian having little/no class feats hinging(?) on their choices. Their totem unlocks two feats, both of which seem reasonable. But, two-thirds of the options barbarian has are non-totem. Or are you saying that at certain levels, there aren't a lot of choices? (As far as second level feats go, I'd personally go for No Escape.)


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Crayon wrote:
They weren't.

I strongly disagree. Perhaps traits weren't significant choices, but they were nonetheless meaningful since they could fundamentally change what sorts of things your character would/was able to do.

I mean if traits weren't meaningful choices in PF1, then feats weren't really either. "Student of Philosophy" is liable to change a character's focus a lot more than "Weapon Focus".

You do realize that significant and meaningful are practically synonyms in this case, right?

Semantics aside, traits being meaningful choices is akin to saying armor proficiencies are meaningful choices. After all, the most chosen traits are ones with choices that aren't replicated anywhere (such as Wayang Spell Hunter, Magical Knack, or Fate's Favored), or simply add more of the same (Reactionary and Indomitable Faith being the most common).

The fact that several traits did more than what feats could do or replicate really demonstrated a problem with system bloat and inconsistent design than it did meaningful choices. After all, Wayang Spell Hunter and Magical Knack do offer some meaningful choices between them (metamagic cheese versus multiclass cheese, both of which had value between them that the other could not replicate), whereas Fate's Favored compared to Weapon Focus are neither mutually exclusive, nor are they fighting over specific choices, they're just Double+Good shenanigans, and as such aren't a proper comparison of meaningful choices.


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QuidEst wrote:

I didn't list armor and stats and the like, because they aren't meaningful customization, and aren't really expected to be. Unless you're a wizard clanking around in full plate who calls themselves "The Iron Mage", your choice in armor isn't going to stand out for your character. Your stat selection isn't even something most other players are going to notice. Regardless of any balance tweaks they made, those likely wouldn't be meaningful customization. It doesn't seem like they're good examples to use, as people aren't using it as an example of meaningful customization in the first place.

I'm definitely on board with discussing druid and barbarian paths, though.

Druid: Paizo tested out a couple different styles of first-level selection with their different casters. Sorcerer's "pick what replaces your feats" got dropped. Bard has "pick a head-start on a path, but build any path". Wizard has "pick a path and choose if you build on it", which Sorcerer got moved to. Druid got "pick a path, and get bonuses on that path". If you view those bonuses as the expected baseline, then it's a negative thing. Personally, I think that's a bit of an unfair view. A storm druid's animal companion gets nimble or savage two levels before the (mount-restricted) archetype and four levels before Ranger. And, you're trading those small improvements (+1 hp/level, get one action when not commanded) in exchange for a pool of lightning bolts to throw. But it's not like the animal companion is inadequate for to bring to the table; it's the animal companion that everybody else is using but with early advancement. I dunno, maybe druid's just too big into feat chains for it to be considered as customizable. Druid kind of got to do everything before, so it's not surprising to me to have the class end up with their powerful stuff broken out (especially since their spell list isn't supposed to be a balancing point anymore).

Barbarian: Barbarian's operating on the wizard model. You pick your totem, and you some options based on it. I have no idea what you mean by spirit barbarian having little/no class feats hinging(?) on their choices. Their totem unlocks two feats, both of which seem reasonable. But, two-thirds of the options barbarian has are non-totem. Or are you saying that at certain levels, there aren't a lot of choices? (As far as second level feats go, I'd personally go for No Escape.)

The Sorcerer being able to expand on their bloodline as much or as little as they want is actually the best existing example of "meaningful choice." Sure, they get a base benefit that is (should be) solid, and actually has multiple interchanging options (such as the Evolution feats working based on what type of bloodline picked, but multiple bloodlines can take the same Evolution feat, whereas the bloodline power advancements are specifically unique to the bloodline you chose), but they still have solid base options independent of their initial choice (AKA their Bloodline options). The Concentration feats, Dangerous Sorcery, Counterspell, these are all solid choices that fairly contend with expanding Bloodline Powers. That isn't to say that they can't have things like the Druid has, but when it takes up most of your available feat choices, and the benefits are limited based on what your first choice is, or are outright denied unless it is your initial choice, you're running into the PF1 Cleric issue all over again, where their choices at 1st level are largely all they get to decide for their class, which is absolutely lame, and actually a sign of history repeating itself, even if there is this sub-choice "trap option" shenanigans they throw into the mix.

In hindsight, the Animal Companion is probably the strongest non-path choice since a lot of its on-path choices aren't extremely powerful enough to warrant a "why bother" response. Perhaps one of the two other ones (such as the Wild or Plant options) would be a more apt comparison.

Spirit Totem Barbarian options are pretty lame. The DC 5 flat check while raging against ranged attacks is a glorified Obscuring Mist, and the ability to summon a spirit to attack your enemies isn't very strong either since it competes with your ability to attack enemies. It might be fair if it functioned more like Summon Monster, where it takes 3 actions to activate (and as such not compatible with Mighty Rage), and requires an action each turn after the fact, but it's still pretty weak otherwise. I mean, what's the point when you can just use a back-up throwing weapon with a Returning rune?

The base rage benefits can be useful if you fight undead a lot, but otherwise aren't very strong. And if a Barbarian takes any feats besides Sudden Charge and No Escape (Fighter Dedication is better than this IMO, since even a 1/day AoO is very powerful, eventually taking Power Attack and Opportunist by 6th level), he's set himself up for a trap build, which last I checked was a Ranger thing. Darkvision and Scent while raging is trash, since things like vision and senses should have already been configured well before the first encounter in level 1. Those "meaningful choices" have no positive for them considering how limited they are.

Liberty's Edge

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/sips his coffee

"Oh this ought to be good..."


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Its funny you mention Wild feats when not wild pathed being not great, whilst saying the evolution sorc feats are when they do functionally the same thing. Give you an extra cast of a specific thing once per day. Although I'd argue the wild feats are better because you can put more into them an (for example) get more shaping than a Wild Druid if they've not focused Str (which why would they normally want to, they are shape changing into things that ignore their Str score.)


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
You do realize that significant and meaningful are practically synonyms in this case, right?

I disagree. A meaningful choice, almost tautologically, changes what something means. But this can be as little as "changing how I think/feel about something, or how it is interpreted". Case in point, the illusion of choice can be meaningful if executed well.

A significant choice, since "significant" is an intensifier, has to actually make a difference in what happens.

But if I take the trait, for example, "creepy" and that changes how I RP my character, then that's a meaningful choice. But it's not significant if I never actually end up rolling intimidate. It's only if I reinforce that choice with other choices (by specializing in intimidation) that it becomes significant.


Malk_Content wrote:
Crayon wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If traits were meaningful in PF1, then by extension heritage and background are meaningful in PF2.

They weren't.

Malk_Content wrote:
Racial Traits, Background Traits and Archetypes shouldn't be considered to be meaningful precisely because all they are is mechanical bloat.
Agreed.
Fair enough. Although in terms of comparison that just means PF1 lost a massive chunk of its "meaningful customization" as well. And most games I can think of with choices on that level.

Well, none of those rules are Core so they likely weren't included in Jason's calculations anyway. That said I've never been part of a group that bothered with any of them regardless, but I do suspect the two to be at or near par.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
You do realize that significant and meaningful are practically synonyms in this case, right?

I disagree. A meaningful choice, almost tautologically, changes what something means. But this can be as little as "changing how I think/feel about something, or how it is interpreted". Case in point, the illusion of choice can be meaningful if executed well.

A significant choice, since "significant" is an intensifier, has to actually make a difference in what happens.

But if I take the trait, for example, "creepy" and that changes how I RP my character, then that's a meaningful choice. But it's not significant if I never actually end up rolling intimidate. It's only if I reinforce that choice with other choices (by specializing in intimidation) that it becomes significant.

Then you and I have different definitions of what "meaningful" and "significant" mean. To me, they are synonyms; being meaningful means it has an impact on your decision. Significant, likewise, means it has an impact on the decision. In my opinion, they are synonymous here because things that are significant are likewise meaningful choices, and vice-versa. It could very well be that the reason you don't roll Intimidate checks (or make active uses of the Intimidate skill) is because of the significance of the Creepy trait, which thereby has its meaning properly defined by how significant it is.

In other words, I think the two words are too intertwined together that trying to define one or the other would be splitting hairs.


Malk_Content wrote:
Its funny you mention Wild feats when not wild pathed being not great, whilst saying the evolution sorc feats are when they do functionally the same thing. Give you an extra cast of a specific thing once per day. Although I'd argue the wild feats are better because you can put more into them an (for example) get more shaping than a Wild Druid if they've not focused Str (which why would they normally want to, they are shape changing into things that ignore their Str score.)

Not necessarily. The feat effects depend on what choice you originally made, and there are multiple individual choices that receive an identical benefit. The big thing is that there are numerous interchangeable parts with the Sorcerer choice that gives it more modularity than the Druid's choice. Having that choice affect both the spell list they cast from as well as the powers they gain, as well as creating feats that adjust those multiple interchangeable parts, is the exact definition of meaningful choice that I want to see happen more in PF2.

That being said, I could agree that a lot of the extra benefits could be rebalanced to make the feat more or less appealing compared to both other versions of the evolution, as well as other feats of the appropriate level, but the skeleton is there to set the groundwork for what I personally believe to be a proper definition of meaningful choice.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Sorcerer bit.

Thanks for clarifying what you do think works well. I'm cool with the Sorc's set-up, although I hope the bloodline spell powers get beefed up a bit.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Druid bit.

Wild order, fair. If you want to use wild shape, you're going to want to use it more than once, and you're not going to want to wait a bunch of levels in order to use it more than once. The other benefits for wild order? I think those can be dismissed pretty easily. But in return, secondary wild shape does mean you get +1 AC (Dex instead of Str during build) and +1 skill (Int instead of Str during build).

What's leaf order getting extra that you're jealous of, though? If I want a leshy familiar, I can still get that, it's just got two daily choice abilities rather than three. Walking through magical plants is nice, but I think that's fair to give the plant specialist.

That does not strike me like PF1 cleric's "pick at level 1". If I'm playing a pet-class druid, I can get an animal companion and still pick up a leshy familiar. If I'm playing a blaster, I can still pick up an animal companion to help keep folks from getting to me. If I'm playing a plant druid, I can still get the ability to turn into a plant. If I'm playing a shapeshifter, I can pick up some blasting to use in between dinosaurs.

Quote:
The DC 5 flat check while raging against ranged attacks is a glorified Obscuring Mist

It's a one-action personal Obscuring Mist that doesn't interfere with you or your allies. That seems at least okay on a class with a baked-in AC penalty?

Quote:
and the ability to summon a spirit to attack your enemies isn't very strong either since it competes with your ability to attack enemies. It might be fair if it functioned more like Summon Monster, where it takes 3 actions to activate (and as such not compatible with Mighty Rage), and requires an action each turn after the fact, but it's still pretty weak otherwise. I mean, what's the point when you can just use a back-up throwing weapon with a Returning rune?

If you want to spend the money to upgrade your backup trident to +3 with a rune on it, sure. That's 1.5k, the equivalent of 15k in PF. I'd spend a feat to save 15k in Pathfinder at level 12.

Yeah, barbarian has some weak low-level options. I'd add that Raging Intimidation is nice- coolest legendary skill feat, and you can put it in a 1st-level slot. Moment of Clarity is how you build bloodrager for now. I hope they improve the low-level options based on playtest results.

Overall, I just don't buy it, that some spots where there aren't many good options means that overall you don't have meaningful choices overall. Especially since you can just take an archetype or multiclass feat there any time you don't like what you're seeing. I don't buy that Druid is functionally required to stick to their order, and certainly not to any extent comparable to PF1 Cleric, which couldn't make a choice after 1st.

Fortunately, our disagreement here eventually becomes pretty moot. After we get a couple books out, options will be rounded out. Druids will have more order-neutral options to choose from, and barbarians will have cooler totem-neutral options for the levels that are a lacking.

Liberty's Edge

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Crayon wrote:
I really don't think Heritage, Background, or 'Class Path' should be considered to be meaningful precisely because all they are is mechanical bloat.

How exactly is "mechanical bloat" (whatever that means) mutually exclusive with "meaningful?"

Liberty's Edge

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FWIW, my take on meaningful customization is that two characters who make different choices will be different from one another on a mechanical point of view from the start.

Not sure what "mechanical bloat" means though.


Isn't mechanical bloat a bunch of rules/options with little to no purpose/use?

Or maybe its just a bunch of rules/options that dont have much effect on a build, but are still part of it.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Crayon wrote:
They weren't.

I strongly disagree. Perhaps traits weren't significant choices, but they were nonetheless meaningful since they could fundamentally change what sorts of things your character would/was able to do.

I mean if traits weren't meaningful choices in PF1, then feats weren't really either. "Student of Philosophy" is liable to change a character's focus a lot more than "Weapon Focus".

I think giving this trait as an example is a bit fallacious, because for every "Student of Philosophy" you can find a dozen traits that read "become proficient with skill X" or "gain +1-3 to Y". So I'd argue that 90% of the traits aren't as impactful as your example. You could still say that those 90% are meaningful, but I guess I have a different idea of what that term means in this context.

To me meaningful customisation means that the choices reflect part of a character's flavour or help to show a character's progression and development. That doesn't mean the choices have to be flavourful, but they have to be at least impactful enough to create a noticeable difference between your character and a similar character that made a couple different choices. So to me that eliminates most Traits from PF1 and most Skill Feats from PF2.


BluLion wrote:

I'll be honest, pathfinder 1 does have a lot of choices, but many times, it feels like most of them are trap options that can cause players to end up feeling ineffective.

My first character was a kobold hunter that hailed from a tribe of dinosaur taming kobolds, and she had a deinonychus as her trusted companion, and she supported him with her shortbow. Unfortunately, hunter was one of the harder classes to play, and especially optimize, and it turns out that unlike the ranger, the hunter with its teamwork feats heavily favors melee combat over ranged. I managed to optimize the dino quite well, but the kobold herself really struggled to be effective.

Was that a case of Pathfinder 1st Edition having too much customization that bad options were not immediately evident as traps? Or was it a case of Pathfinder 1st Edition not having enough customization on the hunter class so that a ranged hunter was not a viable option?

A kobold with a dinosaur companion is a cool character concept and if Pathfinder does not make it good, then the fault is on Pathfinder. A kobold's -4 racial modifier to Strength makes them too weak for melee, and the +2 to Dexterity favors archery, so a specialization on ranged attacks seems wise. Since a hunter is proficient with all martial weapons, he can easily use a bow (why a shortbow rather than a longbow?). This does not appear to be a trap.

The majority of the teamwork feats for combat require standing adjacent to the teammate or both threatening the same opponent, so they would be a poor choice for a team of one ranged combatant (kobold) and one melee combatant (deinonychus). I searched for teamwork feats for archery and found Enfilading Fire (UC). Target of Opportunity (UC) and Volley Fire (RangedTT) require two archers, and Covering Fire requires firearms. Ranged Feint (UI) could make teamwork Feint Partner (UC) work, but the combination is hard to spot. That leaves movement teamwork, such as Swap Places, and non-combat teamwork, such as Stealth Synergy.

Okay, teamwork does not work well between a ranged partner and a melee partner. Pick an archetype that swaps out the teamwork feats for something useful. Divine Hunter (ACG), Flood Flourisher (PPC:People of the Wastes), and Patient Ambusher (UW) swap out the teamwork feats but keep the animal companion.

BluLion wrote:

The next was the time where I wanted to run a twf rogue that relied primarily on flanking (eventually grabbing circling mongoose), and I was wanting to take 3 lvls in shadowdancer to be able to surround people with my own moving and deadly shadow (well, shade, but still). Again, I felt like I got overshadowed, and my friends and the dm eventually wanted to go over the build with me, and we found out that it didn't really work well with the map (we were running an adventure path), that we had too many people in melee, and the shade was too squishy and punishing to use to be worth putting 3 lvls in a prestige class.

There's also the part where there are quite a few feats and spells that are literally too situational or weak to implement.

I check up on Circling Mongoose and that feat looks like a trap unless the circler can avoid the Attack of Opportunity.

A lot of the teamwork feats I looked at above were situational. Some of it might have been accidental because the developer did not imagine the kobold and deinonychus partnership. It might be deliberate. Situational is a design principle for a lot of feats. By limited feats to non-abusive situations, the developers can prevent unbalancing abuse. This design, however, leads to more flavors of the same feat than flavors of ice cream found in Baskin Robbins (famous for their 31 flavors motto), because a lot of different situations are non-abusive.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition is designed to be more resistant to abuse. Paizo could drop the situational design.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gratz wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Crayon wrote:
They weren't.

I strongly disagree. Perhaps traits weren't significant choices, but they were nonetheless meaningful since they could fundamentally change what sorts of things your character would/was able to do.

I mean if traits weren't meaningful choices in PF1, then feats weren't really either. "Student of Philosophy" is liable to change a character's focus a lot more than "Weapon Focus".

I think giving this trait as an example is a bit fallacious, because for every "Student of Philosophy" you can find a dozen traits that read "become proficient with skill X" or "gain +1-3 to Y". So I'd argue that 90% of the traits aren't as impactful as your example. You could still say that those 90% are meaningful, but I guess I have a different idea of what that term means in this context.

To me meaningful customisation means that the choices reflect part of a character's flavour or help to show a character's progression and development. That doesn't mean the choices have to be flavourful, but they have to be at least impactful enough to create a noticeable difference between your character and a similar character that made a couple different choices. So to me that eliminates most Traits from PF1 and most Skill Feats from PF2.

While it's true most traits weren't that powerful (though boosting a save or gaining a class skill was at least pretty) I'm not sure if that makes traits less than a meaningful choice. After all, choosing one of the 90% of bad traits meant not choosing the 10% that were really character changing. That's still a meaningful choice, albeit one I imagine most people made out of ignorance of the good traits. Most people who knew of them probably pulled from the 10%, which still left a lot of powerful options. Traits were a mess.

I feel I may have lost the thread of the original argument, because I'm not really sure how this intersects with PF2. I guess I could argue skill feats are in a similar boat as traits. Most aren't very good, but a few really alter how your character plays or feels. I'm hoping we instead get skill feats that are pretty good across the board.


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Quote:
- Class feats count. This is where your fighting style and tricks are coming from.

To me this is a negative.

Now we have to choose between our tricks, class features, and combat style all from one silo.

It "counts" in more ways than it should, because now choosing to be good at lay on hands costs you the ability to wield Bows effectively, where as in PF1 that was not the case.

I could spend my general feats on Archery, and then archetype class features to support my Lay on Hands.

Now occasionally, your general Feats occupied some space vs. combat feats when picking feats that augmented Lay on Hands, but now the competition is competing exclusively against each other (as opposed to only when it pertained to Feats).

So while it "counts" it also counted before, and *even more so*. All that really happened was the variability went up because all archetypes were tethered with other options.

I would wager that if you broke archetypes (and just the first release from the APG) into Class Feats and listed them alongside their corresponding Class Features they replaced, that it would offer MORE options than the current playtest offers in terms of "Class Feats".

Especially if you consider that General Feats could be used to select some of what have become "Class Feats".

Milo v3 wrote:
Weirdly, I'm actually against every class having a "unique path" selection incorporated into it. Since 2e seems to prefer having those be far too specific flavour-wise, that it felt to my group that they limited concepts more then they diversified them.

I think if it was a general enough application, that it could be fine.

Paladin choice is pretty wide ranging, but opens up options that encourage choice.

Same for Rogue and their three choices (brute, feint, Dex to damage).

I think as long as the "path" choice always fosters options that were currently much weaker (like brute rogues) or not possible (chaotic paladins) then it's a good idea.

If only just for the fact that it creates spaces for wider range of combat options without having to rely on sacrificing flavor for favor in your choice of Class Feats.


I mean, there being a thing in a category which is weak doesn't mean that choosing a thing from that category isn't a meaningful part of shaping your character. Like just because I could play an Oozemorph Shifter or a Brute Vigilante doesn't mean that class and archetype weren't a meaningful choice in PF1, because I could have chosen an Exploiter Wizard or a Razmiran Priest.

If anything we make choices less meaningful by smoothing out the variations of power between the various options. But considering the sheer volume of bad options in PF1, this is a good thing.

Which is why I want to reinforce: emphasizing "meaningful" only in terms that this choice makes my character more powerful along chosen lines than another choice is the wrong idea. What makes a choice "meaningful" is that it changes how you think about or play your character.

Like "deity" has no mechanical impact outside of a few classes, but your Kuthite monk is going to be a very different character than your monk who worships Sarenrae, for no greater reason than "what you wrote in that field" and that you understand how those two deities are very different.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, there being a thing in a category which is weak doesn't mean that choosing a thing from that category isn't a meaningful part of shaping your character. Like just because I could play an Oozemorph Shifter or a Brute Vigilante doesn't mean that class and archetype weren't a meaningful choice in PF1, because I could have chosen an Exploiter Wizard or a Razmiran Priest.

If anything we make choices less meaningful by smoothing out the variations of power between the various options. But considering the sheer volume of bad option in PF1, this is a good thing.

I mean the main argument for introducing choices is always that it creates imbalance among choices.

Thus why it should be as general as possible, basically BIG sweeping changes to otherwise cornerstone items of a class.

The change suggested by DeadmanWalking for a "School" of Monks that use Wisdom to AC is certainly something I could see fitting into that mold. It allows for a more Ki focused style Monk (which is already just an option) without having to heavily sacrifice ability to defend oneself in combat.

That wide sweeping major mechanic change (changing the way a major mechanic is calculated) are the types of changes that makes sense for these "paths" (and is the case for all those that have them currently).

You can always tune the viability of those sweeping changes with Class Feats to support them over time, but the change itself isn't directly good or bad inherently.


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Midnightoker wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, there being a thing in a category which is weak doesn't mean that choosing a thing from that category isn't a meaningful part of shaping your character. Like just because I could play an Oozemorph Shifter or a Brute Vigilante doesn't mean that class and archetype weren't a meaningful choice in PF1, because I could have chosen an Exploiter Wizard or a Razmiran Priest.

If anything we make choices less meaningful by smoothing out the variations of power between the various options. But considering the sheer volume of bad option in PF1, this is a good thing.

I mean the main argument for introducing choices is always that it creates imbalance among choices.

Ergo the pkaytest design ethos of balance above all else: no choice, no way, no how. Because an option with clear power/utility above others is imbalanced, so instead everything is s+*!.

Reading this thread, I'm reminded of my complaint about 4E's progression:
"You get four options: 1, the obvious trap. 2, the choice that matches your (chosen at 1st) silo. 3, the choice that matches the other silo (and thus a trap). 4, the wild card."

The wild card varied in power/utility from class to class and level to level and could be anywhere from "blatantly better than everything else" to "hidden trap," but was, usually, a little weaker than option 2 and there was your meaningful choice. Sacrificea little power, be a little different.

A lot of the PF2 class feats feel like that:
- trap (fortunately pretty rare in PF2)
- my silo
- not my silo (if I can even take it, it will be bowline useless)
- wildcard

What constituted a silo varies from class to class, as well as how difficult it was to make effective use of another silos' option. Some classes (like sorceter) were hard locked put off other silos. Others (bard, fighter) were fully free-form. And some were in between those two extremes (druid).

But in every case it was (with some exception) the "in my silo" option was the only option.

"When you have 3,you have 3. When you have 2, you have 2. But when you have 1, you have none."


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Draco18s wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, there being a thing in a category which is weak doesn't mean that choosing a thing from that category isn't a meaningful part of shaping your character. Like just because I could play an Oozemorph Shifter or a Brute Vigilante doesn't mean that class and archetype weren't a meaningful choice in PF1, because I could have chosen an Exploiter Wizard or a Razmiran Priest.

If anything we make choices less meaningful by smoothing out the variations of power between the various options. But considering the sheer volume of bad option in PF1, this is a good thing.

I mean the main argument for introducing choices is always that it creates imbalance among choices.

Ergo the pkaytest design ethos of balance above all else: no choice, no way, no how. Because an option with clear power/utility above others is imbalanced, so instead everything is s~*#.

I don't think that's necessarily the case, but I do see how maybe you could feel that way.

It's the biggest proponent of why I think nebulous powers/features/feats are something to strive for instead of something that can be literally translated into "good" or "bad".

And we're not speaking about deliberate paths that stretch beyond initial concepts (at least I'm not), more initial first choices of Classes that help dictate long term choices by proxy.

I.E. choosing Brute Rogue encourages you to choose Class Feats that support that.

Same concept could be applied to the "School Monk" that selects the Wis to AC option, it encourages him to pick more WIS based Class Feats.

To expect someone that chose a path like the above to be just as likely to select a Monk Class Feat that appeals more heavily to another "School" (such as one more geared towards DEX or STR) is silly and sort of the point. Otherwise, why play a WIS focused Monk?

That's why I think the "Paths" in this case need not be quite so binding to structured long term choices, more as "guidelines" to choose choices that are fostered by your original choice.

The biggest problem with the Druid/Barbarian is the initial Order/Totem does more than foster those choices indirectly (Class Feats) it fosters them directly by adding a little footnote to the bottom of the Class that effectively amounts to a +1 increase (or some other direct numerical benefit).

A better approach would be having those Orders/Totems apply benefits to things based on Action sub-types and make those sub-types wider application.

I.E. "Energy" could be a sub-type for feats and apply to Storm Druids or Druids of the Flame Order or Water Order (should they come into existence). You can then have ones of more specificity and some that apply more globally.

Let's take the Storm Born and change it to "Elemental Born" and remove the "wind" characteristic and apply more global logic:

Quote:


Elemental Born

You are at home out in the elements. Reduce any circumstance penalties to your attacks, skills, or Perception checks caused by natural occurrences of the elements by 1.

Special: If you are a druid order has a specified element, you do not take any circumstance penalties to attacks, skills, or Perception checks caused by natural occurrences of that element, and your targeted spells don’t require a flat check to succeed when interacting with that element (such as fog for Electricity or smoke for Fire).

That makes it scale a little better, apply a little more widely, and is far more nebulous in "power" (since the DM ultimately decides when you're interacting with "natural occurrences" of that element).

However, I will say that given that the choice is only 1 deep at the moment (for each respective Order) this problem actually gets alleviated as more choices become available to that order (picking between 3 Storm Druid feats vs just the 1).


The problem with nebulous readings is that it worsens the FAQ problem of PF1. It had so many FAQ requests for things that were supposedly clearly written, because some people read a phrase totally different then another group (Remembers the "stacking archetypes", "does Vital Strike work on standard actions" and "ability mod stacking" threads).

Making it so such rules questions are the default and expected, just seems counterintuitive to the whole, "let's make the game simpler".


Temperans wrote:

The problem with nebulous readings is that it worsens the FAQ problem of PF1. It had so many FAQ requests for things that were supposedly clearly written, because some people read a phrase totally different then another group (Remembers the "stacking archetypes", "does Vital Strike work on standard actions" and "ability mod stacking" threads).

Making it so such rules questions are the default and expected, just seems counterintuitive to the whole, "let's make the game simpler".

I think I would define a nebulous strength ability different than a nebulously written rule.

The intent is not to create badly written rules that didn't fully disclose what action something would be, in the new system that's kind of impossible based on how they have to list everything.

Vital Strike was just poorly written in terms of what it did, but it was obvious what strength it had once the rules were clear (very little).

Now a Class Feat that makes AoE Frost spells add a "slick" terrain to set squares that's clearly defined on how it works, is a bit "nebulous" in how strong it is (depends on how many AoE frost spells you carry on a daily, how well you can position, etc.)

No one wants nebulous rules writing. Nebulous "power" is power that is dependent on the situation. It should be difficult for someone to 100% say that something is "bad". If that makes any sense.


Even in that case you get things like Antagonize. Which many people say it's bad cause most things break the effect. And, Leadership, which just guarantees some followers (any PC could in theory get a group of followers from RP, given a good GM and the right campaign). But, it's the most banned feat in the game from how overpowered it is, compared to all other feats.


Temperans wrote:
Even in that case you get things like Antagonize. Which many people say it's bad cause most things break the effect. And, Leadership, which just guarantees some followers (any PC could in theory get a group of followers from RP, given a good GM and the right campaign). But, it's the most banned feat in the game from how overpowered it is, compared to all other feats.

Who says antagonize was bad??

It was erratad for how broken it was, and even after the errata it is one of the only ways in the game to force aggro (on a tank, literally unbeatable). It's at the very least strong post errata and overpowered before errata.

Leadership is banned because it's effectively never used properly by the PC (who expects to be able to craft all those in their service most of the time, but since they are all NPCs it's technically the GMs job). It's banned for the same reason necromancy is banned, it disrupts the game because balancing encounters gets increasingly difficult and losing "followers/cohorts" really doesn't have the same risk as dying.

Antagonize I actually like as a concept, and after the errata it is a good addition to the game IMO.

Leadership shouldn't come with a cohort and only allow you to cultivate a following for a purpose (that is run by the gm). Even then I feel like it should be a system instead of a feat that GMs can decide to integrate as a second metric in their game (I could see a sandbox game where a cleric tries to found a church or a fighter a guard or a thief a guild) but in general it requires a lot of GM work so it should ultimately be a GM decision to include.


In the case of Leadership, the game does include some rules to get assistance. Mostly the kingdom building and downtime rules were for. But also the hire people options in the Goods and Services section. Still what leadership does is guarantee a # of creatures, which without the feat would depend on how many people the GM is willing to give.

I agree that the feat is problematic because of the followers breaking the balance of encounters, but also partially on WBL. The way money can be redistributed in a strange pyramid scheme can be too much.

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In the case of Antagonize, what I remember is that in most tanking threads when Antagonize is mention people start talking bad about it. Specially about the part were it doesn't work, "when doing so would harm it". Usually saying that a caster attacking him/his group would stop the feat, or moving would trigger AoO and so again the feat would fail.

I personally agree that it's a great feat, even if it's just for the diplomacy effect. (I also wasn


Temperans wrote:
"when doing so would harm it".

That line calls out specific examples of what it pertains too (crossing a wall of fire, or dropping off a cliff).

Anyone that attempts to argue that getting attacked counts or some other such thing either has a GM that was hamstringing the feat or just outright nerfed it on the fly due to personal reasons.

Quote:
The effect ends if the creature is prevented from attacking you or attempting to do so would harm it (for example, if you are on the other side of a chasm or a wall of fire).

It's pretty clear RAW and RAI.

Especially with the errata:

Quote:
On its next turn, the target must attempt to make a melee attack against you, make a ranged attack against you, target you with a spell, or include you in the area of a spell.

There is literally no scenario where you cannot attempt a ranged attack/spell that it would "do you harm" to attempt it. (Pick up a rock and throw it for instance).

You say you've heard a lot of people say it's bad, you are literally the first person I've ever heard call it bad.

It was errata'd because Wizard were getting antagonized and had to run up and make melee attacks. Literally death of the wizard.


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I've heard people call Antagonize bad before, but mostly in the framing of "bad for the game, because I don't think aggro mechanics should exist in a P&P game".

I also think a lot of the... unfortunate interpretations... of the feat were propagated by the same people who didn't want it to exist at all, with a mindset of "if I can't get rid of the feat, I'll just argue for it to work in a way that makes it worthless".


MaxAstro wrote:

I've heard people call Antagonize bad before, but mostly in the framing of "bad for the game, because I don't think aggro mechanics should exist in a P&P game".

I also think a lot of the... unfortunate interpretations... of the feat were propagated by the same people who didn't want it to exist at all, with a mindset of "if I can't get rid of the feat, I'll just argue for it to work in a way that makes it worthless".

Now that I've heard before.

This mechanic is certainly a little "gamey" (hey there astro), since it's basically a text book "aggro" ability, ala WoW.

That said, it's once per day per target and gives some of the tankier builds that don't do a lot of DPS a way to force the enemy to give them attention. Thematically, antagonizing an opponent is certainly possible.

It also requires a successful check just to get the feat to work.

Personally, post-errata, I like it. You could perhaps put a minimum intelligence requirement on it to make it more realistic (I think it's a little silly to expect the tactic to work on say an Arch-mage, but an orc? why not.). It mostly became a problem because of how quickly Skills used to progress.

In the current edition, if it were written as is, I think it would be limited but strong (and honestly without AoO's on most melee classes, would certainly help protecting your back lines).

To each their own.

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