Any word on Ease of Play?


General Discussion


I walked away from PF2 in November and am curious if any juicy tidbits have been released on how the game is shaping up.

My main concern last year was ease of play (leveled conditions, number of conditions, finnicky +1 modifier this, funky +2 modifier that, etc). Has there been any word if that stuff will be streamlined a bit?

Liberty's Edge

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No word on conditions.

We know that Proficiency bonuses are going way up (Level+2 at Trained, Level+4 at Expert, Level+6 at Master, and Level+8 at Legendary) while item bonuses go down or away entirely, so that debatably drops some finicky bonuses.

But really, as compared to PF1, I find calling PF2 'finicky' deeply odd. The number of fiddly mechanical bonuses has dropped by something like an order of magnitude in the edition change.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Conditions with a number attached to it seems like an odd complaint to me. We found it added to ease of play loads. Like the answer to "how long does Frightened 2 last and whats the penalty?" is available in the quwstion


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

All I can say is that if you thought the PF2 playtest wasn't easy enough to play, and too finicky, then this may not be the system for you. Frankly, if it got any simpler it would start to drive me away.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:

No word on conditions.

We know that Proficiency bonuses are going way up (Level+2 at Trained, Level+4 at Expert, Level+6 at Master, and Level+8 at Legendary) while item bonuses go down or away entirely, so that debatably drops some finicky bonuses.

But really, as compared to PF1, I find calling PF2 'finicky' deeply odd. The number of fiddly mechanical bonuses has dropped by something like an order of magnitude in the edition change.

While I agree with you, DataLoreRPG never compared it to PF1 here. A quick browsing of their post history reveals they switched to 5e from 3.X, and PF2 probably still qualifies as finicky compared to 5e. Mind you, plenty of people have committed the fallacy of calling PF2 finicky just because it is new and different from PF1, but I don't think that is happening here.


Malk_Content wrote:
Conditions with a number attached to it seems like an odd complaint to me. We found it added to ease of play loads. Like the answer to "how long does Frightened 2 last and whats the penalty?" is available in the quwstion

Frightened is the only condition that works that way, though.

Additionally, what rolls (and DCs) does its penalty apply to?

What about feebled?

Silver Crusade

Deadmanwalking wrote:

No word on conditions.

We know that Proficiency bonuses are going way up (Level+2 at Trained, Level+4 at Expert, Level+6 at Master, and Level+8 at Legendary) while item bonuses go down or away entirely, so that debatably drops some finicky bonuses.

I thought one of the designers said they were trying to clean up conditions for ease of play, but I can't find anything in my post history discussing it, so maybe that's just me hoping I heard that ...

I do know conditions are being reorganized to the back of the book, which should help some.


We have been told that conditions have been reviewed and consolidated/split/refined as appropriate. It was actually listed in the top five things to expect.

Liberty's Edge

Captain Morgan wrote:
While I agree with you, DataLoreRPG never compared it to PF1 here. A quick browsing of their post history reveals they switched to 5e from 3.X, and PF2 probably still qualifies as finicky compared to 5e. Mind you, plenty of people have committed the fallacy of calling PF2 finicky just because it is new and different from PF1, but I don't think that is happening here.

Fair enough, though having played a whole host of games I'd still peg PF2 on the lower end of average in terms of fiddliness as compared to most other RPGs in general. It's on the higher end of complex, and probably fiddlier than 5E, I'll grant, but almost any game with Skill Points is fiddlier (if less complex in many cases).

QuidEst wrote:
We have been told that conditions have been reviewed and consolidated/split/refined as appropriate. It was actually listed in the top five things to expect.

Awesome. I must've missed that bit.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Draco18s wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Conditions with a number attached to it seems like an odd complaint to me. We found it added to ease of play loads. Like the answer to "how long does Frightened 2 last and whats the penalty?" is available in the quwstion

Frightened is the only condition that works that way, though.

Additionally, what rolls (and DCs) does its penalty apply to?

What about feebled?

With the exception of Dying and the "add/remove movement speed" conditions, I believe every condition that has a number attached uses that number as the duration.

The question about what rolls it applies to makes no sense; it's not like the name of the condition could tell you that in 1e.

Malk was not saying "conditions are simple", Malk was saying "PF2e's ease of play is higher than PF1e's, here's an example".

Silver Crusade

Ah, found it. That was a stream I didn't recap. HERE, starting right around 26:00.

EDIT: Not a lot of detail, but Jason does clearly acknowledge the problem and say they're trying to address it. Streamline, simplify, delete a few conditions, etc. Hopefully those efforts are successful.

Silver Crusade

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Quick transcript:

Jason wrote:

Conditions were causing a lot of headaches at the table because some of them were too close together. So we looked at the conditions and we found ways to push some of them apart. We deleted one or two that weren't doing the job we needed them to do.

We created a condition that said, your Strength is sapped. We created a condition that said, your Dexterity is sapped. We created a condition that says, your Constitution is sapped.

Most of these were adaptations of conditions we already had. They're not actually new. We just streamlined their abilities to be, like, the Dex damage condition basically says, take a penalty on all your Dex rolls and Dex stats. Because we did away with ability damage from PF1, these fill that gap.

Goes on to talk about a new Doomed condition, which lowers your dying threshold: Doomed 1 = dead at Dying 3, Doomed 2 = dead at Dying 2, etc.

(This confirms that "Condition #" remains as the format.)


Thank you for tracking that down!


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MaxAstro wrote:
With the exception of Dying and the "add/remove movement speed" conditions, I believe every condition that has a number attached uses that number as the duration.

Nope. Drained and Enervated have values and those values sorta relate to how long they last, but not really. Drained goes down each day and Enervated you have to make a saving throw against (success reduces it) every day. But that's assuming that the effect that gave it to you doesn't end sooner (check the Enervate spell) or override that rule (see also, the Enervate spell). But no, not all value-conditions work like Frightened. I give you:

Quote:


Enfeebled
You’re physically weakened. Enfeebled always includes a
value. When you are enfeebled, you take a conditional
penalty equal to the enfeebled value on attack rolls,
damage rolls, and Strength-based checks.

Note the lack of timer mention.

"Oh, that's a base condition rule!" Actually, it's not.

Quote:


CONDITION VALUES
Some conditions have a numerical value, called a
condition value, indicated by a numeral following the
condition. This value might enumerate a bonus or penalty
the condition gives you. These values can often be reduced
by spells, skills, or simply waiting. If such a value is ever
reduced to 0, the condition ends
.

The bolded part is the only sentence that makes reference to this. Each condition determines whether or not is value reduces over time and what that time span is.

Enfeebled lasts as long as the effect that gave it to you said it lasts, at full strength the whole time.

Quote:

The question about what rolls it applies to makes no sense; it's not like the name of the condition could tell you that in 1e.

Malk was not saying "conditions are simple", Malk was saying "PF2e's ease of play is higher than PF1e's, here's an example".

My point is that in PF1 if I get strength drained, I can track that. Every where my sheet says "STR" I can adjust by writing a little -1 next to it (or use a digital sheet that had a temporary attribute score box). In PF2 I have to look up the description every time because

Surprise

It isn't a -1 on every place that my sheet says "STR." If I make attack rolls using dex (you know, as a bow user or a spell slinger), I still take the penalty! I can't just remember "oh, enfeebled is strength"


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

On the other hand, if you get Strength damaged in PF1e, until you have played enough to be familiar with the fact that ability damage doesn't work anything like it sounds like it should, you are probably going to be looking it up every time.

I also think it's a certain degree of "coming from PF1e" confusion. You say you just put a -1 next to each Strength thing on your character sheet, but from an objective point of view I think "remember each thing that Strength applies to and -1 it" is more complicated than "-1 to attack rolls, damage rolls, and Strength checks". Or to reverse your argument, "Strength drain penalizes your melee attacks - oh, but not melee attacks with a rapier because you use your Dex for those. But it does apply to John's melee attacks with a rapier because he doesn't use his Dex" is more complicated than "enfeebled penalizes your attack rolls".

Is it odd that enfeebled applies to Dex-based attack rolls? Yes. Does the wording of the condition make it in any way unclear that it applies to all attack rolls? No.

Designer

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(also one of the ways we streamlined, per Jason's mention, is to make enfeebled be only Strength-based attack rolls; this does mean we have to tag the finesse trait in NPCs and monsters when their melee attack roll is Dex-based though, but small price to pay to make the condition easier to apply)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
(also one of the ways we streamlined, per Jason's mention, is to make enfeebled be only Strength-based attack rolls; this does mean we have to tag the finesse trait in NPCs and monsters when their melee attack roll is Dex-based though, but small price to pay to make the condition easier to apply)

Interesting. Is the reverse equally true? Does Sluggish no longer apply to strength based attack rolls? That would be quite the boon for giant totem barbarians.

This does mean narrowing the range of useful debuffs PCs can use against monsters.

MaxAstro wrote:

On the other hand, if you get Strength damaged in PF1e, until you have played enough to be familiar with the fact that ability damage doesn't work anything like it sounds like it should, you are probably going to be looking it up every time.

I also think it's a certain degree of "coming from PF1e" confusion. You say you just put a -1 next to each Strength thing on your character sheet, but from an objective point of view I think "remember each thing that Strength applies to and -1 it" is more complicated than "-1 to attack rolls, damage rolls, and Strength checks". Or to reverse your argument, "Strength drain penalizes your melee attacks - oh, but not melee attacks with a rapier because you use your Dex for those. But it does apply to John's melee attacks with a rapier because he doesn't use his Dex" is more complicated than "enfeebled penalizes your attack rolls".

Is it odd that enfeebled applies to Dex-based attack rolls? Yes. Does the wording of the condition make it in any way unclear that it applies to all attack rolls? No.

To add to this, strength damage or drain have their own extra step-- switching from ability scores to modifiers. "Take 2 strength drain" does not mean "take a -2 penalty on strength stuff," it means take a "take a -1 penalty on strength stuff.

Also, PF1 had a whole host of conditions that didn't follow any formula at all, including worsening versions of the same condition, like shaken/frightened/panicked. You just had to look those up (or remember them) anyway. PF2 is actually fairly unified, by comparison. The value system may sound game-y, but it lets us cut down on the number of conditions and still allow for a lot of flexibility in how rough the penalties become.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
(also one of the ways we streamlined, per Jason's mention, is to make enfeebled be only Strength-based attack rolls; this does mean we have to tag the finesse trait in NPCs and monsters when their melee attack roll is Dex-based though, but small price to pay to make the condition easier to apply)

Interesting. Is the reverse equally true? Does Sluggish no longer apply to strength based attack rolls? That would be quite the boon for giant totem barbarians.

This does mean narrowing the range of useful debuffs PCs can use against monsters.

MaxAstro wrote:

On the other hand, if you get Strength damaged in PF1e, until you have played enough to be familiar with the fact that ability damage doesn't work anything like it sounds like it should, you are probably going to be looking it up every time.

I also think it's a certain degree of "coming from PF1e" confusion. You say you just put a -1 next to each Strength thing on your character sheet, but from an objective point of view I think "remember each thing that Strength applies to and -1 it" is more complicated than "-1 to attack rolls, damage rolls, and Strength checks". Or to reverse your argument, "Strength drain penalizes your melee attacks - oh, but not melee attacks with a rapier because you use your Dex for those. But it does apply to John's melee attacks with a rapier because he doesn't use his Dex" is more complicated than "enfeebled penalizes your attack rolls".

Is it odd that enfeebled applies to Dex-based attack rolls? Yes. Does the wording of the condition make it in any way unclear that it applies to all attack rolls? No.

To add to this, strength damage or drain have their own extra step-- switching from ability scores to modifiers. "Take 2 strength drain" does not mean "take a -2 penalty on strength stuff," it means take a "take a -1 penalty on strength stuff.

Also, PF1 had a whole host of conditions that didn't follow any formula at all, including worsening versions of the...

I'm not really sure the net number of Conditions is a problem since most troupes aren't going to bother memorizing the things anyway and it doesn't really matter what it's called if you're just consulting the rulebook or a 3x5 card for the effect anyway.

Where I feel PF2 has a problem is the frequency with which players encounter conditions and, correspondingly, the degree to which their effects and duration overlap with each other. It may not be more 'difficult' than PF1 per se, but I do consider it to be more tedious


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Crayon wrote:
Where I feel PF2 has a problem is the frequency with which players encounter conditions and, correspondingly, the degree to which their effects and duration overlap with each other. It may not be more 'difficult' than PF1 per se, but I do consider it to be more tedious

Neither of those seems specific to PF2. Conditions pop up all the time in PF1, and that's really an adventure design thing anyway, not a rules problem. And PF1 conditions have plenty of duration overlaps. I guess PF1 has less "effect overlap" if you define it as "conditions which stack with each other." But having conditional penalties not stack with each other makes the tracking easier, not harder or more tedious. If you are both Shaken and Sickened, you are taking a -4 on attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws, and ability checks. But you take only a -2 on damage rolls.

If you are Frightened 2 and Sick 2, you take a -2 penalty on all checks and your DCs.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Crayon wrote:
Where I feel PF2 has a problem is the frequency with which players encounter conditions and, correspondingly, the degree to which their effects and duration overlap with each other. It may not be more 'difficult' than PF1 per se, but I do consider it to be more tedious

Neither of those seems specific to PF2. Conditions pop up all the time in PF1, and that's really an adventure design thing anyway, not a rules problem. And PF1 conditions have plenty of duration overlaps. I guess PF1 has less "effect overlap" if you define it as "conditions which stack with each other." But having conditional penalties not stack with each other makes the tracking easier, not harder or more tedious. If you are both Shaken and Sickened, you are taking a -4 on attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws, and ability checks. But you take only a -2 on damage rolls.

If you are Frightened 2 and Sick 2, you take a -2 penalty on all checks and your DCs.

Theoretically, perhaps. In practice, you could get around using conditions at all very easily in PF1, something that doesn't appear to be the case in PF2 based on the selection of spells, feats, weapons, and monsters that are currently available. It is, of course, possible that the final release will include options that allow you to avoid dealing with them, but somehow I feel it's rather unlikely...


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Crayon wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Crayon wrote:
Where I feel PF2 has a problem is the frequency with which players encounter conditions and, correspondingly, the degree to which their effects and duration overlap with each other. It may not be more 'difficult' than PF1 per se, but I do consider it to be more tedious

Neither of those seems specific to PF2. Conditions pop up all the time in PF1, and that's really an adventure design thing anyway, not a rules problem. And PF1 conditions have plenty of duration overlaps. I guess PF1 has less "effect overlap" if you define it as "conditions which stack with each other." But having conditional penalties not stack with each other makes the tracking easier, not harder or more tedious. If you are both Shaken and Sickened, you are taking a -4 on attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws, and ability checks. But you take only a -2 on damage rolls.

If you are Frightened 2 and Sick 2, you take a -2 penalty on all checks and your DCs.

Theoretically, perhaps. In practice, you could get around using conditions at all very easily in PF1, something that doesn't appear to be the case in PF2 based on the selection of spells, feats, weapons, and monsters that are currently available. It is, of course, possible that the final release will include options that allow you to avoid dealing with them, but somehow I feel it's rather unlikely...

I am really not following your logic at all here. The monsters that inflict conditions in the playtest also inflict conditions in PF1. Same thing for spells, really.

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

They are releasing condition cards as a quick reference additionally there is a fanmade website where you type in the condition and it gives you the entire text. Having something to quickly reference the effect of the condition is nice but I don't think they are to difficult to work with. Coming from P1 the conditions here are very simplified and easy to manage.


Mark Seifter wrote:
(also one of the ways we streamlined, per Jason's mention, is to make enfeebled be only Strength-based attack rolls; this does mean we have to tag the finesse trait in NPCs and monsters when their melee attack roll is Dex-based though, but small price to pay to make the condition easier to apply)

Thumbs up. I'd really like to see the six stat modifying conditions merged (down to one if possible, but I suspect it'd have to be two, due to spells), eg. Having text along the lines of:

"Take the numerical penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and DCs using the associated ability score."

Reduces the mental complexity of having to remember that Stupefy is intelligence and ...huh. There isn't a CHA or WIS based version at all (that implies only Wizards can be afflicted with a drain on their casting stat...unless it applies to all spell casters in the same way we just recognized as stupid for melee types!).

Liberty's Edge

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Draco18s wrote:
(that implies only Wizards can be afflicted with a drain on their casting stat...unless it applies to all spell casters in the same way we just recognized as stupid for melee types!).

Stupefy effects all spellcasting.

Designer

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
(that implies only Wizards can be afflicted with a drain on their casting stat...unless it applies to all spell casters in the same way we just recognized as stupid for melee types!).
Stupefy effects all spellcasting.

Yep, it hits all the mental stats, for much the same reason that PF1's touch of idiocy hit all three; Int and Cha penalties are useful against a pretty narrow range of opponents and not always obvious which would be useful against which opponent without pretty extensive knowledge of the foe.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
(that implies only Wizards can be afflicted with a drain on their casting stat...unless it applies to all spell casters in the same way we just recognized as stupid for melee types!).
Stupefy effects all spellcasting.

And the second half of my statement:

Quote:
unless it applies to all spell casters in the same way we just recognized as stupid for melee types!
Mark Seifter wrote:
Yep, it hits all the mental stats, for much the same reason that PF1's touch of idiocy hit all three; Int and Cha penalties are useful against a pretty narrow range of opponents and not always obvious which would be useful against which opponent without pretty extensive knowledge of the foe.

If that's the case, why not do that to the physical stats?

The disparity irks me.

Oh, and figure out if a Stupefied and Clumsy wizard has a single (or stacking) penalty to hit with ranged touch attacks.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Mark already answered that. It is much harder to tell what mental stat hurts a given creature and much less forgiving if you get it wrong. Just about everything cares if you reduce its con or dex, but how do you tell the difference between a wisdom or charisma based caster? If you guess wrong you have done nothing.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Mark already answered that. It is much harder to tell what mental stat hurts a given creature and much less forgiving if you get it wrong. Just about everything cares if you reduce its con or dex, but how do you tell the difference between a wisdom or charisma based caster? If you guess wrong you have done nothing.

That doesn't actually help.

I asked "why not make A and B the same, either A or B"

And you just told me why B is the way it is.

In no way justifying why A is the way it is.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Draco18s wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Mark already answered that. It is much harder to tell what mental stat hurts a given creature and much less forgiving if you get it wrong. Just about everything cares if you reduce its con or dex, but how do you tell the difference between a wisdom or charisma based caster? If you guess wrong you have done nothing.

That doesn't actually help.

I asked "why not make A and B the same, either A or B"

And you just told me why B is the way it is.

In no way justifying why A is the way it is.

Yes he did. Mentals are as they are because effecting the wrong one can be the same as having not used the ability to affect them at all. Physicals are as they are because even if you don't hit an opponents "core stat" it will still have detrimental outcomes to them and hitting all three would cripple too much.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Indeed. The answer to why A and B aren't the same is because they aren't as comparable in practice as you seem to think.

Liberty's Edge

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Conditions are primarily a combat debuff. In combat, specifically, all three mental stats are basically equivalent, in that debuffing them impacts spellcasting and little else (well, Wisdom also hits Perception and Will Saves...making it flatly better). Frankly, if you needed to do Int or Cha separately, nobody ever would unless they knew for a fact that was a caster, because Wis is flatly better...and still not as good a combat debuff as reducing any physical stat.

Which, really, is the point. Even many casters are much more debilitated by reducing their Con or Dex alone than by dropping all three mental stats. Therefore, in practice, reducing all three mental stats is reasonable in a way reducing more than one physical stat at a time is not.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It's also annoying for a GM. I've had traps go off that do CHA damage in APs, for example, and they only matter if they hit a charisma based caster. It's not a fun position to be in, having to hope for a specific character to spring a trap for it to matter at all. I generally like how stupified is pretty nasty for any brand of caster at least.

On the other hand, I have been trying to figure out a somewhat less excruciating penalty. I'm converting a bunch of haunts that do WIS damage, and I'm not sure what to use as its counterpart. The spell failure chance feels awfully brutal, and but there's not really a lesser and lasting mental condition to use. I might just take a page from Mummy rot and tell players to take a stacking penalty to WIS based checks, rather than use a named condition.

Liberty's Edge

Stupefied isn't always that big a deal on spells. There's potentially a fairly wide band of DCs that are not impossible to fail Saves against, and not very hard to make a Spell Roll against.

This likely becomes even more true in the final version given the increase in what Proficiency means and does. I'd be shocked if Wizards weren't still Legendary at spells, for example, while probably Master at best which likely totals a +4 to +6 swing between their Will Save and Spell Roll, meaning that if they make the Save on an 11 they make the Spell Roll on a 4 or 6.


Draco18s wrote:

Oh, and figure out if a Stupefied and Clumsy wizard has a single (or stacking) penalty to hit with ranged touch attacks.

Hmm, let me think about that...

Stupefied inflicts a conditional penalty.

Sluggish (I assume that's what you mean by clumsy( inflicts a conditional penalty.

I WONDER...

Honestly, it's not hard to figure out. It's clearly spelled out. They both inflict conditional penalties, so even if they both effected spell touch attacks (which they don't, as detailed below) they wouldn't stack. I know you don't like this system but you could at least have the decency to not act like an obvious question is some conundrum or significant ambiguity.

And on top of that Stupefied doesn't even effect spell touch attacks, so it's a moot point anyway. It effects Spell ROLLS, which were clarified in early FAQ/Errata to be different from spell touch attacks. Spell rolls are things like dispel checks and rolls to see if Knock works or not.

Yeah, the phrasing is a little confusing at first and some proper clarification is in order for the final release but the clarification they released in like the first Errata is more than enough to clear things up until then.


Edge93 wrote:


Yeah, the phrasing is a little confusing at first and some proper clarification is in order for the final release but the clarification they released in like the first Errata is more than enough to clear things up until then.

Thanks for that breakdown. And your right, it is confusing at first, and that ends up being how I feel about a large majority of the rules.

The save that spell rolls do (almost) nothing irks me. Counter-spell rules irk me. Everything is now "flat footed" irks me. Enervation irks me (quick, can you cure it?)

Everything is either confusing to parse, or confusing as to why it it was done that way. There's ONE thing I like (stat gen) and even that I dislike (the results aren't much different than "you're X class? Have Y stats").

I don't begrudge them from trying things, but everything I see feels like the kinds of things I'd have tested out and discarded in the prototype phase before I ever got around to getting someone else to look at it.

(That my be a bit of a hyperbole, but accurate enough to sum up my overall opinion in 30 seconds).

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