Possible changes to ability score generation


Second Edition

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So the lizardfolk rogue for Oblivion Oath got previewed, and had the following stats:

STR 12
Dex 18
CON 14
INT 12
WIS 10
CHA 14

Which doesn't seem to work with our current ABC method, as far as I can tell. Discuss. Or tell me I'm wrong so I can hang my head in shame.


Yeah that 10 should be an 8.


You are correct. This char possesses higher stats than any playtest PC, the equivalent of 10 stat boosts with no penalty from race, which is higher than Human by one boost.


Even at an 8, I still get the Int too high too.


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Well that's just because Lizardfolk are awesome.

Relatedly, I mostly like the new 'native' name for them...
(perhaps this will be more highlighted for all generic-description race names, like Ratfolk/Ysoki?)
But the pronunciation used in the podcast didn't jive with me, i.e. "Ih-Rook-See"
I could roll with pronuncing the final XI like Romanized Chinese (~"Shih") or even Spanish (or Russian?) (~"Hee").
But maybe I'm just sensitive.


Not really
+ dex rogue
+ dex,+str background
+ dex,+int,+con,+cha bonus
+ dex,+con,+cha race
12 str, +18 dex, +14 con, +12 int, 10 wis, 14 cha
A -2 in any score would solve that


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I forgot about the floating racial bonus! My bad


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Maybe they dropped the ancestry flaw or added an ancestry feat that gives you +2 to your flawed ability score or something. Or most likely it's just a mistake.


Quandary wrote:

Well that's just because Lizardfolk are awesome.

Relatedly, I mostly like the new 'native' name for them...
(perhaps this will be more highlighted for all generic-description race names, like Ratfolk/Ysoki?)

That'd be my guess. Although I think Ysoki for Ratfolk is somewhat problematic. Mostly because it's been established that it's specifically the term used for the Ratfolk on Akiton, who are considered a different group than those on Golarion.

I kind of like the idea of Golarion Ratfolk not having their own name for themselves. The feeling is that they don't have their own language or a separate self-identification. Their presented as cultural chameleons in a way. They mostly just accept the local culture they're in, instead of keeping a distinct one of their own. They don't even know their origins other than a few bits of folklore. So I figure they just shrug and say 'Ratfolk' works as well as any other name and then just get on with their business.


^ Well that is a good rationale for diverging from that approach in specific case of Ratfolk.
(I agree Ratfolk lacking own unique language is very significant quality of them)

Re: Iruxi pronunciation, I'm still unsure of whether I prefer "Chinese" "Irushi" or "Spanish" "Iruhi",
although maybe it's interesting to go with "Russian" X/Kh = Irukhi, just slightly different than "Iruhi".
English X ("ks") usage just feels out of place for word that is explicitly in their own language... /shrug


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I guess I need to go watch the video. Someone is playing a lizardfolk? It seems odd that they would allow a non-core player race in a preview game for 2e.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
I guess I need to go watch the video. Someone is playing a lizardfolk? It seems odd that they would allow a non-core player race in a preview game for 2e.

Showing off how easy it is to homebrew is also a selling point of the system. Personally I will probably edit all of the ancestries to better fit my homebrew world since I can't leave well enough alone.

Liberty's Edge

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It'd be easy to add another bonus to one stage of character creation. Adding such a bonus to any stage would result in the stats you show.

Maybe they did that. It'd be reasonable and fun if so.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

It'd be easy to add another bonus to one stage of character creation. Adding such a bonus to any stage would result in the stats you show.

Maybe they did that. It'd be reasonable and fun if so.

Indeed. If they took that route, I'd guess it might be a free boost in the class stage.


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Giving a floating bonus to class would mean that there's one such bonus at each step, which make sense to me.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I agree. Additional floating bonus at class stage feels good because it supports the idea that not all members of that class are the same.

Liberty's Edge

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It also allows anyone to have an 18 in any stat (and up to 2 stats to be that high), and allows stuff like Paladin Archers without changing the core Paladin stat mods.

I'd be very pleased if that were the case.


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Having a free bonus at each step let's you state it as "At each step (Ancestry, Background, Class) choose an attribute to give a bonus, it cannot be the one already granted (or chosen if a choice is presented) by the ancestry, background, or class".

So each background would read something like: "Give an ability boost to Strength or Dexterity." instead of "Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Dexterity, and one is a free boost."

I am totally houseruling a free boost at each step if this isn't official.


Looking at the other character:
Mykah Tano, gnome wizard. 15 HP. 10/12/12/18/10/16 for the stats.

From my memory of stats:
Gnome: Con/Cha/Free
Wizard: Int

So breaking it down:
Gnome: 8/10/12/12/10/12
Background: 8/10/12/14/10/14
Wizard: 8/10/12/16/10/14
Free: 10/12/12/18/10/16

I think it's just that Iruxi have some form of extra boost.

Liberty's Edge

Cyouni wrote:
I think it's just that Iruxi have some form of extra boost.

Or it's an error. This, too, is possible.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

So long as we don’t have ancestries with a different net bonus in the final version like PF1 did, I’ll be happy.

Liberty's Edge

QuidEst wrote:
So long as we don’t have ancestries with a different net bonus in the final version like PF1 did, I’ll be happy.

It might also be a kludge. If he's an Ancestry nobody has stats for they may have given him an extra +2 to make up for not getting an Ancestry Feat or something like that.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
So long as we don’t have ancestries with a different net bonus in the final version like PF1 did, I’ll be happy.
It might also be a kludge. If he's an Ancestry nobody has stats for they may have given him an extra +2 to make up for not getting an Ancestry Feat or something like that.

Yeah- we really don't have enough information yet to pin it down, especially on something like this.


We didn't get a stat array for Katina's gnome, right?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I wouldn't be surprised if the character generation process gives an extra +2 somewhere, since certain multiclass combos were flummoxed due to being 2 points too short. As a practical matter, all characters need a 16 in either strength or dexterity, in addition to at least a 16 in the primary ability score of their class and a 16 in the primary score of any class they're multiclassing into. In order to get a 16 in an ability score you needed three boosts total. The free boost is a gimme, class can only boost one ability score and background can only boost two ability scores, so that means to get a triple 16 you need an ancestry bonus that exactly matches the spread you're looking for. In practice this ancestry-locked certain multiclass combos. Adding even a single +2 somewhere else in the character building system alleviates that problem.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
We didn't get a stat array for Katina's gnome, right?

We did actually (it's in the character sheet section below the main video viewer):

HP: 15

STR: 10
DEX: 12
CON: 12
INT: 18
WIS: 10
CHA: 16

That looks like a standard array. But more interesting is the hit point total. If they are starting at 1st level, there has been a big increase in starting hp.

EDIT: Forget the last comment. I forgot ancestry hp.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Feros wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
We didn't get a stat array for Katina's gnome, right?

We did actually (it's in the character sheet section below the main video viewer):

HP: 15

STR: 10
DEX: 12
CON: 12
INT: 18
WIS: 10
DEX: 16

That looks like a standard array. But more interesting is the hit point total. If they are starting at 1st level, there has been a big increase in starting hp.

Is that bottom DEX supposed to be CHA?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Feros wrote:
If they are starting at 1st level, there has been a big increase in starting hp.

Looks exactly right to me;

8 hit points for gnome ancestry
6 hit points for 1st level wizard
1 hit point from +1 con
= 15


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QuidEst wrote:
Feros wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
We didn't get a stat array for Katina's gnome, right?

We did actually (it's in the character sheet section below the main video viewer):

HP: 15

STR: 10
DEX: 12
CON: 12
INT: 18
WIS: 10
DEX: 16

That looks like a standard array. But more interesting is the hit point total. If they are starting at 1st level, there has been a big increase in starting hp.

Is that bottom DEX supposed to be CHA?

Yep! Fixed! :)


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Dasrak wrote:
Feros wrote:
If they are starting at 1st level, there has been a big increase in starting hp.

Looks exactly right to me;

8 hit points for gnome ancestry
6 hit points for 1st level wizard
1 hit point from +1 con
= 15

Oops! You're correct! I forgot to add in ancestry hp!


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Has there been any word on whether there's an optional method included for randomly generating stats?


Steve Geddes wrote:
Has there been any word on whether there's an optional method included for randomly generating stats?

Well, the playtest had rules for it- it was 4d6 drop low, include ancestry stat bonuses and flaws (but not free boosts) and background bonus (but not the free one).

So I don't think they would drop the rules for it. If anything, that should still work and frankly "a different system for generating stats" is a pretty easy thing to bolt onto a game like this.


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I’m curious if there’s something in the book. I can usually persuade a DM to accept it if it’s listed as an optional rule. Very rarely do I get to write my own houserule as a player though.

Hopefully you’re right and it’s there somewhere. I know there’s a fair few people on staff who prefer rolling, though I’m not sure if it’s widely enjoyed amongst the design team.


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I think it's pretty likely that the same rolling system will make it into the actual game, since we know backgrounds are going to be a thing (they've teased "this book has more backgrounds"). "Not having backgrounds" in a stat generation system is going to be a problem since they give you more stuff than stats.

So it's basically "4d6 drop low, add racials" that we're used to except it's ancestry now and there's an additional step of "adding backgrounds" which is nice because it makes ancestries without ideal stat mods for a class can make up for it in the background step (e.g. a Dwarf Fighter can get +2 Str in addition to +2 Wis/Con by choosing a background like "Blacksmith" or "Laborer" or "Warrior".)


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
"Not having backgrounds" in a stat generation system is going to be a problem since they give you more stuff than stats.

It depends on what they changed about backgrounds. If they left them as is, you could just let everyone pick a free skill feat and be done with it.


Sure, but they are going to be printing a whole lot of backgrounds so we don't want to enable people to just ignore all that stuff in various books.

So I think the most likely official rolling system will be:
- 4d6 Drop Low
- Add Ancestry bonus and penalties (e.g. +Wis/+Con/-Cha for Dwarves)
- Add chosen Background bonus (e.g. Str or Cha for a Gladiator)

Stats in general are a bit higher than in PF1 (it's relatively painless to start with an 18 in something), and giving people the extra step of a background boost is going to make hunting for a perfect array for a class less critical.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Sure, but they are going to be printing a whole lot of backgrounds so we don't want to enable people to just ignore all that stuff in various books.

It remains to be seen what they did with backgrounds, but as they existed in the playtest I personally felt they were a waste of page space and I'd much preferred to have had more skill feats to pick from and a free skill feat pick at 1st level.


Well, if anything backgrounds are going to get more interesting and involved, rather than less. Since they've teased books with something like "just shy of 100 new world-appropriate backgrounds" it's extremely unlikely that we will be doing a freeform "boost stats and pick a skill feat" sort of thing.

Silver Crusade

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Well, if anything backgrounds are going to get more interesting and involved, rather than less. Since they've teased books with something like "just shy of 100 new world-appropriate backgrounds" it's extremely unlikely that we will be doing a freeform "boost stats and pick a skill feat" sort of thing.

Although Erik at first said "just shy of 100", he quickly corrected that guess:

Erik Mona wrote:
Cellion wrote:

Neat! Looks like PF2E is going to be following the Starfinder book release model!

Also, 100 (!!!) backgrounds in the first World Guide? Whoa, leave some for later!

It's probably more like 60+ than 100. I know that the two sections I wrote had about 6-8 backgrounds. Also, the book is still in layout, so the exact number will have to wait until we've completely locked everything down.

And if anything, I expect the large number of backgrounds suggests they're still the same pretty boring bundle of numbers.


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Yeah, it's not like the plethora of feats published meant most of them were useful and interesting in PF1.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm honestly fine with Backgrounds being pretty low impact and there being lots of them. They're clearly intended as a more balanced replacement for Traits on a thematic level, and I'm pretty much fine with that sort of thing being multitudinous and individually low impact.


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The Lore aspect is one of my favorite aspects, even though Lore is likely useless in many situations, when it does come up it will be exciting, and the GM tying your backstory to your character makes it suddenly very handy.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'm honestly fine with Backgrounds being pretty low impact and there being lots of them. They're clearly intended as a more balanced replacement for Traits on a thematic level, and I'm pretty much fine with that sort of thing being multitudinous and individually low impact.

Like Deadmanwalking, I think that backgrounds are essentially the replacement for Traits. I read about Fey Foundling paladins and think that Paizo putting traits into a more balanced package is a good idea.

Except that instead of two little trait-like perks, backgrounds give a skill feat and a lore, which my character could gain by learning the skill feat itself and putting a skill increase into Lore. The ability score boosts don't feel like a part of the background; instead, they feel like a half-sized duplicate of the 4 ability score boosts from 1st level. Thus, backgrounds don't feel special, they are only a foretaste of other mechanics.

In the playtest, my wife found a lot of roleplaying potential in the backgronds: Enhanced Roleplaying via Backgrounds. The mechanical benefits of backgrounds were almost a smokescreen hiding the roleplaying aspects.

TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
The Lore aspect is one of my favorite aspects, even though Lore is likely useless in many situations, when it does come up it will be exciting, and the GM tying your backstory to your character makes it suddenly very handy.

Lore has a lot of untapped potential, too. See comment #2 in my linked thread on backgrounds.


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I mean, I think one of the real benefits of backgrounds is that with the non-rolling ability score generation, you can just say "Okay, I want to play a Dwarf Bartender who becomes an Alchemist" and in stating the frame of your character concept, your stats are done except for a handful of free score ability score bonuses half of which are informed by "Intelligence is the most important stat for alchemists."

Like PF1 point buy takes way too long compared to what it actually offers. ABC stat generation you can do in your head.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They are probes. They helps "kickstart" an idea for the roleplay/identity of your character. And the fact they are low impact make them easy to fudge if there's none that really fit, or if one could fit with a small nudge. As a DM, I feel MUCH MORE comfortable creating a new one for a player, or changing one, than I would be with traits.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, I think one of the real benefits of backgrounds is that with the non-rolling ability score generation, you can just say "Okay, I want to play a Dwarf Bartender who becomes an Alchemist" and in stating the frame of your character concept, your stats are done except for a handful of free score ability score bonuses half of which are informed by "Intelligence is the most important stat for alchemists."

Like PF1 point buy takes way too long compared to what it actually offers. ABC stat generation you can do in your head.

In contrast, if my character concept were, "My alchemist came from a primitive tribe and she learned the basics of alchemy from her grandmother who practiced herbal medicine," then the background system fights against the character concept for no particular reason. Nomad background sounds best for a primitive tribe, but neither Constitution nor Wisdom favor the Intelligence an alchemist needs. Hunter can also be primitive and its Dexterity boost fits a bomber alchemist, but the Survey Wildlife feat doesn't. Scout also has a Dexterity boost and Forager feat fits the grandmother story, but it sounds military rather than tribal.

The backgrounds that favor intelligence are Blacksmith (good for a crafter alchemist), Criminal (good for a poisoner alchemist), Merchant (good for a shopkeeper alchemist), noble (um ...), Scholar (good for a university alchemist), and Street Urchin (how did a street urchin learn alchemy?). Medical herbalist alchemist is not directly supported by the background stories. Neither is brewer alchemist that uses the Barkeep background. The backgrounds have a free ability score boost for such unsupported cases, but using it for the class's key ability leaves the background-relevant ability score boost dangling.

I examined possible point buys for PF2, but with the ability scores limited to even numbers, the options are so limited that the mechancis of point buy are not worth the effort.


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Mathmuse wrote:

In contrast, if my character concept were, "My alchemist came from a primitive tribe and she learned the basics of alchemy from her grandmother who practiced herbal medicine," then the background system fights against the character concept for no particular reason. Nomad background sounds best for a primitive tribe, but neither Constitution nor Wisdom favor the Intelligence an alchemist needs. Hunter can also be primitive and its Dexterity boost fits a bomber alchemist, but the Survey Wildlife feat doesn't. Scout also has a Dexterity boost and Forager feat fits the grandmother story, but it sounds military rather than tribal.

The backgrounds that favor intelligence are Blacksmith (good for a crafter alchemist), Criminal (good for a poisoner alchemist), Merchant (good for a shopkeeper alchemist), noble (um ...), Scholar (good for a university alchemist), and Street Urchin (how did a street urchin learn alchemy?). Medical herbalist alchemist is not directly supported by the background stories. Neither is brewer alchemist that uses the Barkeep background. The backgrounds have a free ability score boost for such unsupported cases, but using it for the class's key ability leaves the background-relevant ability score boost dangling.

I examined possible point buys for PF2, but with the ability scores limited to even numbers, the options are so limited that the mechancis of point buy are not worth the effort.

Exactly this. Backgrounds are unsatisfying. They seem to be in an awkward middle zone where they are both not impactful enough, and too impactful at the same time. As Mathmuse pointed out, if you have an existing idea of a backstory they can actually get in the way instead of help develop the character. But they're also not really inspiring or impressive in what they give to inspire character ideas themselves. None jumps out and make me say "Oh! This sounds cool, I totally want to play a <insert background here> now." So what good are they anyway? Do they really serve any point at all? As presented in the playtest, I don't think they do. I suspect a common house rule will be to just ignore the backgrounds entirely and at that point in CG just take two stats, a skill feat and a lore that makes sense to you. It's net effect is the same, but you're not restricted to the options that have been printed. Having 60-100 backgrounds just feels like filler text, and page count that could be put to better use. Although that's assuming that they're largely unchanged. Hopefully they've been changed to be better than in the playtest.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Backgrounds stat choices are only a problem if you are trying to be 100% optimal. You can always boost what you feel is the most important stat and the only stat combinations that might be 100% useless to your character is if your background offers Strength or Charisma. Literally any other stat will be beneficial to you.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Backgrounds stat choices are only a problem if you are trying to be 100% optimal. You can always boost what you feel is the most important stat and the only stat combinations that might be 100% useless to your character is if your background offers Strength or Charisma. Literally any other stat will be beneficial to you.

And because the system rewards and punishes more than PF1, 100% optimal is what people will try to do.

I'm totally with Weasel here, if backgrounds don't give unique abilities, they are better as giving stat boosts, skill feat an Lore of your choice. But considering Paizo is in the business of printing character options, I'm pretty certain they will be as in playtest. Well, at least it's easy to house rule.

Liberty's Edge

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necromental wrote:
And because the system rewards and punishes more than PF1, 100% optimal is what people will try to do.

This is not true. Not that people won't be trying to be optimal because the system is tight (though not as tight as the playtest), which they will because it is.

No, this is untrue because, with the possible aforementioned exceptions of Str and Cha (and actually, we don't know if they somehow boosted Cha to make up for the loss of Resonance), which only effect certain characters, all the others are quite useful for everyone. Having more Con than Int or Wis than Dex is not more optimal than the reverse, IMO. Int can be argued as less important, but with Proficiency now being vastly more important I'd disagree. Your prime stat is always most important, but you can always also raise it due to the floating bonus.

This means that every Background in the playtest book is 'optimal' in that sense except for Gladiator (which is still fine for Str or Cha based characters). And so will the vast majority of other Backgrounds be.

So what does that leave to optimize? Skill Feats, I suppose, but those, while useful and hopefully more so in the final version don't really interact much with the tight math and are thus not nearly as necessary to optimize.

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