Have they got rid of +level to everything yet?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Here's why I want +level to everything: right now I'm playing a swashbuckler 11/brawler 3 with saves that look like this: Fort +11, Ref +20, Will +5. It's completely absurd.


You know, with the consistency of +level, it'll be so easy to change things up. Doing something as simple as making it level/2 makes for a much grittier game, where your skills aren't as powerful and enemies remain threats for. Of course, more changes would need to be made, but such a simple change gets you most of the way there.


Albatoonoe wrote:
You know, with the consistency of +level, it'll be so easy to change things up. Doing something as simple as making it level/2 makes for a much grittier game, where your skills aren't as powerful and enemies remain threats for. Of course, more changes would need to be made, but such a simple change gets you most of the way there.

I used to advocate for this very early in the playtest. Unfortunately, while it works almost as advertised for martials, it leads to increased resource expenditure for casters and is essentially a magic nerf... You'd have to counterbalance it in some way.

+1/2 is much milder than +0, so you don't notice it unless you start recording data over long term, but it'll make you rest more often, have longer fights, and probably spend more on heal/ress.


Ediwir wrote:
...it leads to increased resource expenditure for casters...

Why?

I would expect the effect to be that lower level enemies are relatively tougher, and higher level enemies are relatively weaker. So I can see that in an adventure with a large number of lower level enemies, the casters would have somewhat less success with their spells, but I'd have thought martials would have the same issue in that case.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
...it leads to increased resource expenditure for casters...

Why?

I would expect the effect to be that lower level enemies are relatively tougher, and higher level enemies are relatively weaker. So I can see that in an adventure with a large number of lower level enemies, the casters would have somewhat less success with their spells, but I'd have thought martials would have the same issue in that case.

Yes and no - on lower level enemies, everyone will crit less, be it a sword attack or a spell.

However, for most spellcasting effects (particularly low level ‘dismiss sucker’ spells), there is a large difference between critically failing and just failing, and unlike weapon attacks, they come in a limited amount and take a whole turn (or at least 2 out of 3 actions).
For a martial, it’s just the difference between regular damage and double damage on one of their attacks. For a spellcaster, it’s the difference between making good use of a turn and getting a softened out version.
You don’t get to cast it again that turn.
You don’t get endless shots.
Spells aren’t equivalent to swords, and altering saves progression hurts one more than the other.

As for higher level enemies, yes, your spells will succeed more.
But you’ll be looking at using high level spell slots for that, as you need your full effectiveness in most cases. Sometimes you can manage a good low level spell against a difficult target, but you might still want it heightened (to prevent dispels, for example - I have had that issue).
So, while you do get a benefit here, it’s much more limited in application.


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Maybe in the release version of PF2, spellcasters will be less reliant on enemies critically failing saves to be effective...


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't think we should be thinking about spells crit fail as the "desired outcome" when casting any given spell. Its the bonus "that went super well" option. Spells oomph should largely be judged on their Fail level, with Success being a conciliation prize in most cases. I felt for the most part if an enemy failed a save in the playtest that the spell effect was worth the actions and slot. Some exceptions to this obviously.

Liberty's Edge

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Crit fails are what allows a 9th level caster to massacre a dozen Ogres with only a 3rd level spell. They're what makes them really good at minion sweeping even using only low level spells. Removing that ability is certainly a power down for spellcasters.


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Spells should be judged on their Fail condition, against even-leveled enemies. Against bosses, you try spells that will do something even on a save. Against mooks,

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Crit fails are what allows a 9th level caster to massacre a dozen Ogres with only a 3rd level spell. They're what makes them really good at minion sweeping even using only low level spells. Removing that ability is certainly a power down for spellcasters.

That.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
Here's why I want +level to everything: right now I'm playing a swashbuckler 11/brawler 3 with saves that look like this: Fort +11, Ref +20, Will +5. It's completely absurd.

I have an organized play 14th level bloodrager with Fort +23, Ref +18, Will +16 (NON-raging but not including things like Runeward tattoos and Steadfast Personality), because I've invested in feats, gear, and ability scores. Poor saves are a choice not something forced upon one by the game system.

Liberty's Edge

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pjrogers wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Here's why I want +level to everything: right now I'm playing a swashbuckler 11/brawler 3 with saves that look like this: Fort +11, Ref +20, Will +5. It's completely absurd.
I have an organized play 14th level bloodrager with Fort +23, Ref +18, Will +16 (NON-raging but not including things like Runeward tattoos and Steadfast Personality), because I've invested in feats, gear, and ability scores. Poor saves are a choice not something forced upon one by the game system.

His point is in no way that a +5 Will Save is too low, any more than a +20 Reflex Save being too high. His point is that having that 15 point swing makes it really hard to properly balance encounters in a way that actually works for most PCs.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Here's why I want +level to everything: right now I'm playing a swashbuckler 11/brawler 3 with saves that look like this: Fort +11, Ref +20, Will +5. It's completely absurd.
I have an organized play 14th level bloodrager with Fort +23, Ref +18, Will +16 (NON-raging but not including things like Runeward tattoos and Steadfast Personality), because I've invested in feats, gear, and ability scores. Poor saves are a choice not something forced upon one by the game system.
His point is in no way that a +5 Will Save is too low, any more than a +20 Reflex Save being too high. His point is that having that 15 point swing makes it really hard to properly balance encounters in a way that actually works for most PCs.

That doesn't take away from my point that such a large "swing" is the result of player choice. If players create characters such as this, and the result is that it's hard to balance encounters, then is the problem with the players or with the game system? I would argue the former.

Liberty's Edge

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pjrogers wrote:
That doesn't take away from my point that such a large "swing" is the result of player choice. If players create characters such as this, and the result is that it's hard to balance encounters, then is the problem with the players or with the game system? I would argue the former.

There exist systems where you simply cannot do this. Or at least not by accident, whereas doing it by accident is easy in PF1. So you're flatly wrong, at least in part. A good system can prevent this from happening even more than an experienced player.

The point being made is that PF2 it will be harder for players to make such an error and character capabilities at a particular level will be more comparable to each other even when comparing the optimized and non-optimized. Which is an unambiguous good.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
That doesn't take away from my point that such a large "swing" is the result of player choice. If players create characters such as this, and the result is that it's hard to balance encounters, then is the problem with the players or with the game system? I would argue the former.

There exist systems where you simply cannot do this. Or at least not by accident, whereas doing it by accident is easy in PF1. So you're flatly wrong, at least in part. A good system can prevent this from happening even more than an experienced player.

The point being made is that PF2 it will be harder for players to make such an error and character capabilities at a particular level will be more comparable to each other even when comparing the optimized and non-optimized. Which is an unambiguous good.

And here's where we clearly part company on what is really a subjective matter, aka what makes a good set of rules. I would prefer one with a wider range of options, including ones that aren't really all that great, while others would prefer a set that, to my mind, "coddles" players and protects them from themselves.

Also, by the time a player has a 14th level character, they should not be "accidentally" making characters with such a poor Will save.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've played with a lot of new Pathfinder players over the years. Many didn't even notice how crippled their spellcasting was by evenly splitting their levels while multiclassing. The notion that these players even thought about how their saves would end up when they were level 15 is laughable.

I've played with people who had to be convinced that a cloak of resistance was built into the assumptions of the game, and would rather have spent the money on shiny, but mathematically weak weapon enchantments.

Point is, having a 15 point spread in saves on a single character isn't always a choice, it's a surprise penalty. There are a lot of reasons making it harder to make drastically unbalanced characters is a good thing for the game, especially for new players, or even players who simply never got to a level range where it was a problem.

Grand Lodge

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pjrogers wrote:


And here's where we clearly part company on what is really a subjective matter, aka what makes a good set of rules. I would prefer one with a wider range of options, including ones that aren't really all that great, while others would prefer a set that, to my mind, "coddles" players and protects them from themselves.

Also, by the time a player has a 14th level character, they should not be "accidentally" making characters with such a poor Will save.

In my experience, having a huge range of options, including those who are not that great is a recipe for narrowing the best choices and leaving someone behind. I'm yet to see a wizard without color spray and grease at first level if they know what they're doing - which shouldn't be required to play the game (or a wizard) at all.

To be honest, I do prefer a system where everyone can contribute somehow without reading a list of 1k feats or spells to be effective.

Liberty's Edge

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pjrogers wrote:
And here's where we clearly part company on what is really a subjective matter, aka what makes a good set of rules.

Apparently. Of course, what you're advocating actively penalizes many players allowing only those that match a very specific game style to fully enjoy the game in question.

pjrogers wrote:
I would prefer one with a wider range of options, including ones that aren't really all that great, while others would prefer a set that, to my mind, "coddles" players and protects them from themselves.

Having some options flatly better than others to an unhealthy degree is the core of 'ivory tower game design' and has always been a pretty terrible idea.

Good games reward system mastery, because all games reward system mastery, but reducing this to the level possible within the desired range of complexity should always be the goal, or you're intentionally making the game less fun for new players or anyone who isn't good at picking mechanical systems apart for the best options.

But people who are good at optimization can enjoy a game even with these minimized, because it is, as mentioned inevitable that such strategies will be useful. So minimizing such things maximizes fun for everyone.

pjrogers wrote:
Also, by the time a player has a 14th level character, they should not be "accidentally" making characters with such a poor Will save.

That's a very elitist attitude. Firstly, it assumes that they didn't make their first ever character at 14th, secondly, it assumes that anyone who plays the game picks such things up. Neither are necessarily true.


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pjrogers wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The point being made is that PF2 it will be harder for players to make such an error and character capabilities at a particular level will be more comparable to each other even when comparing the optimized and non-optimized. Which is an unambiguous good.

And here's where we clearly part company on what is really a subjective matter, aka what makes a good set of rules. I would prefer one with a wider range of options, including ones that aren't really all that great, while others would prefer a set that, to my mind, "coddles" players and protects them from themselves.

Also, by the time a player has a 14th level character, they should not be "accidentally" making characters with such a poor Will save.

In my view, a system with 1000 character build options, 50 of them great or good, and 950 disastrous, isn't a good set of rules for either experienced/careful players, or inexperienced/negligent players. The latter will fall into traps and have to be rescued by their GM or fellow players. The former will have to go through a lot of homework, not all of which is fun, for their own build, and sometimes for the other characters' (unless they don't want to help and are content with dominating an unbalanced group).

Besides, such a system places too much emphasis on building characters. This can be a fun activity on its own, but not everyone enjoys that. It is also a solitary activity, while the game is meant to be social.

I much prefer a system with 500 options, 250 of them being at least OK. It's easier on everybody and places the focus where it should be, that is, around the game table.


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gwynfrid wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The point being made is that PF2 it will be harder for players to make such an error and character capabilities at a particular level will be more comparable to each other even when comparing the optimized and non-optimized. Which is an unambiguous good.

And here's where we clearly part company on what is really a subjective matter, aka what makes a good set of rules. I would prefer one with a wider range of options, including ones that aren't really all that great, while others would prefer a set that, to my mind, "coddles" players and protects them from themselves.

Also, by the time a player has a 14th level character, they should not be "accidentally" making characters with such a poor Will save.

In my view, a system with 1000 character build options, 50 of them great or good, and 950 disastrous, isn't a good set of rules for either experienced/careful players, or inexperienced/negligent players. The latter will fall into traps and have to be rescued by their GM or fellow players. The former will have to go through a lot of homework, not all of which is fun, for their own build, and sometimes for the other characters' (unless they don't want to help and are content with dominating an unbalanced group).

Besides, such a system places too much emphasis on building characters. This can be a fun activity on its own, but not everyone enjoys that. It is also a solitary activity, while the game is meant to be social.

I much prefer a system with 500 options, 250 of them being at least OK. It's easier on everybody and places the focus where it should be, that is, around the game table.

And as you hint, I prefer a system where the options appear more at the table, rather than outside the game in the build process.


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gwynfrid wrote:

In my view, a system with 1000 character build options, 50 of them great or good, and 950 disastrous, isn't a good set of rules for either experienced/careful players, or inexperienced/negligent players. The latter will fall into traps and have to be rescued by their GM or fellow players. The former will have to go through a lot of homework, not all of which is fun, for their own build, and sometimes for the other characters' (unless they don't want to help and are content with dominating an unbalanced group).

Besides, such a system places too much emphasis on building characters. This can be a fun activity on its own, but not everyone enjoys that. It is also a solitary activity, while the game is meant to be social.

I much prefer a system with 500 options, 250 of them being at least OK. It's easier on everybody and places the focus where it should be, that is, around the game table.

I suspect that my most recent PF1 character chose a lot of those disastrous options and she worked out as intended. Val was a Air Elemental bloodrager with three archetypes, which gave her cantrips, gun and sword fighting style, a familiar, and the ability to swap out bloodline powers for rage powers (the last is Primalist archetype, considered overpowered). Her feats (source in parentheses) were: (Human feat) Technologist, (1st) Point-Blank Shot, (3rd) Precise Shot, (5th) Iron Will, (Bloodline 6th) Power Attack, (7th) Improved Familiar, (9th) Airy Step, (Bloodline 9th) Dodge, (11th) Wings of Air, (Bloodline 12th) Great Fortitude, (13th) Improved Spell Sharing, (15th) Craft Technological Item, (Bloodline 15th) Lightning Reflexes, and (17th) Field Repair. The improved familiar was a Clockwork Familiar that gave her +2 to crafting and little else.

The punchline is that she was a GMPC. The choice of feats was to not optimize her, because GMPCs who grandstand are terrible for the game. Instead, her role was crafting assistant, hammering out adamantine weapons and mithral armor for the party. Her firearm and her clockwork familiar demontrated that she liked gadgets. Though she was a party member, I viewed her as part of the Numerian setting and designed her for Numerian flavor. Despite me spending few feats for combat, gun and sword from Savage Technologist and rage powers from Primalist were enough to make her powerful in combat.

She was fun to play, too.

I suspect that Pathfinder 2nd Edition will end up that way. The proficiencies determine most of a character's power. The weapon, armor, and spells proficiencies are beyond a player's control. Class feats, skill feats, and skill proficiencies are not as powerful as the weapons and spells, so the player can select them for flavor rather than power. The playtest called for 100% optimization because the test scenarios were brutal, but the games won't be so grueling and will have more opportunity to roleplay the flavor.


Leafar Cathal wrote:
pjrogers wrote:


And here's where we clearly part company on what is really a subjective matter, aka what makes a good set of rules. I would prefer one with a wider range of options, including ones that aren't really all that great, while others would prefer a set that, to my mind, "coddles" players and protects them from themselves.

Also, by the time a player has a 14th level character, they should not be "accidentally" making characters with such a poor Will save.

In my experience, having a huge range of options, including those who are not that great is a recipe for narrowing the best choices and leaving someone behind. I'm yet to see a wizard without color spray and grease at first level if they know what they're doing - which shouldn't be required to play the game (or a wizard) at all.

To be honest, I do prefer a system where everyone can contribute somehow without reading a list of 1k feats or spells to be effective.

See, I don't think I've seen a player take either of those spells full-stop. Or Power Attack. Or Point-Blank Shot or any of the other Feats these forums insist are required to be 'viable' (except as Bonus Feat selections from restricted lists like the Monk or Ranger)

Which, I guess, just shows how diverse the community that plays PF1 actually is and why trying to balance it to any arbitrary baseline is going to cause problems for some people because no matter what the specific numbers are, tightening the spread will cause problems for groups whose preferred play-style deviates too much as they'll find their campaigns strangled in the cradle.

Liberty's Edge

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Crayon wrote:
Which, I guess, just shows how diverse the community that plays PF1 actually is and why trying to balance it to any arbitrary baseline is going to cause problems for some people because no matter what the specific numbers are, tightening the spread will cause problems for groups whose preferred play-style deviates too much as they'll find their campaigns strangled in the cradle.

Uh...how? What playstyle is allowed by widely divergent numbers that isn't just as easily allowed by adjusting difficulty in other ways? I'm legitimately confused what possible campaign you think is 'strangled in the cradle'.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Crayon wrote:


See, I don't think I've seen a player take either of those spells full-stop. Or Power Attack. Or Point-Blank Shot or any of the other Feats these forums insist are required to be 'viable' (except as Bonus Feat selections from restricted lists like the Monk or Ranger)

So if your player is making a ranged build without point blank shot (and by extension precise shot) do they just take the -4 for shooting into melee every single time and they somehow don't feel like they are completely useless or do you guys just house rule that out of the game. Because legitimately it feels impossible to play an archer without that feat.


Dire Ursus wrote:
Crayon wrote:


See, I don't think I've seen a player take either of those spells full-stop. Or Power Attack. Or Point-Blank Shot or any of the other Feats these forums insist are required to be 'viable' (except as Bonus Feat selections from restricted lists like the Monk or Ranger)
So if your player is making a ranged build without point blank shot (and by extension precise shot) do they just take the -4 for shooting into melee every single time and they somehow don't feel like they are completely useless or do you guys just house rule that out of the game. Because legitimately it feels impossible to play an archer without that feat.

I am not that person, but I did house-rule a less annoying version of "shooting" into melee so players would be able to use ranged weapons without 2 feat tax. Straight up deleted the feat and it's not required for others.

Mixed results: It allows some feat-starved builds to at least become operational (yay), but then there's savvy players making Fighter/Ranger and rushing the machine gun even faster...

Liberty's Edge

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I'll note that saying 'nobody ever takes this Feat in my games' when you've removed the Feat from your game via House Rules is a disingenuous thing to say.

However, I strongly doubt Crayon is being disingenuous, and find it perfectly plausible that players in their games mostly play melee people or spell casters. Or play Rangers, of course (they noted they'd seen the standard Archery Feats from Rangers). Really, in a low optimization group going 'I want to play an archer, guess I'll be a Ranger.' seems a very plausible train of thought.


I mean, no one in my games takes Mobility, both because people don't usually move around in a way that provokes and because I combined Dodge and Mobility into a single feat via house rules.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, no one in my games takes Mobility, both because people don't usually move around in a way that provokes and because I combined Dodge and Mobility into a single feat via house rules.

... I did this too and it's kind of too good. What has been your experience? At least people pick them now!

Liberty's Edge

If we're talking House Rules, I changed Mobility to give a +5 bonus on Acrobatics checks to avoid AoO, doubling to +10 when you hit 10 ranks. People have only taken it as a prerequisite so far, but they seemed happy enough with the change and used it.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, no one in my games takes Mobility, both because people don't usually move around in a way that provokes and because I combined Dodge and Mobility into a single feat via house rules.
... I did this too and it's kind of too good. What has been your experience? At least people pick them now!

Well, as a feat it's pretty much exactly the same as dodge 99% of the time, which is a fine feat but not exciting. Where it's borderline is that it lets you qualify for certain feats earlier. But I suspect a lot of "long feat chains" were artificially extended because fighters get all those feats.

So I'm okay with it; I wanted to remove all the "I am taking this feat, even though I don't care what it does, since I need it as a prereq" things.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am not too sure for the Fighter that class feats (at least in the play test; not seen finale version) are less important than the weapon. There were several that either gave an extra damage die and extra reactions. So I would say at least for the fighter the class feats were as important as the weapon. I would probably rank it for the fighter proficiency bonus, class feats, then weapon.
Just my take though.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
And here's where we clearly part company on what is really a subjective matter, aka what makes a good set of rules.

Apparently. Of course, what you're advocating actively penalizes many players allowing only those that match a very specific game style to fully enjoy the game in question.

pjrogers wrote:
I would prefer one with a wider range of options, including ones that aren't really all that great, while others would prefer a set that, to my mind, "coddles" players and protects them from themselves.

Having some options flatly better than others to an unhealthy degree is the core of 'ivory tower game design' and has always been a pretty terrible idea.

Good games reward system mastery, because all games reward system mastery, but reducing this to the level possible within the desired range of complexity should always be the goal, or you're intentionally making the game less fun for new players or anyone who isn't good at picking mechanical systems apart for the best options.

But people who are good at optimization can enjoy a game even with these minimized, because it is, as mentioned inevitable that such strategies will be useful. So minimizing such things maximizes fun for everyone.

pjrogers wrote:
Also, by the time a player has a 14th level character, they should not be "accidentally" making characters with such a poor Will save.
That's a very elitist attitude. Firstly, it assumes that they didn't make their first ever character at 14th, secondly, it assumes that anyone who plays the game picks such things up. Neither are necessarily true.

I'll also note this attitude is killing Pathfinder. So many people have dropped the game to play less unwieldy systems, and even some of the folks who like complex systems have moved onto new games that aren't quite as generically close to D&D.

It is very, very hard to find a local pathfinder game anymore, and,that is a shame because it is still my preferred system. But deliberately keeping the game inaccessible to new players will only hasten this decline.


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Captain Morgan wrote:


...
I'll also note this attitude is killing Pathfinder. So many people have dropped the game to play less unwieldy systems, and even some of the folks who like complex systems have moved onto new games that aren't quite as generically close to D&D.
...

Well said. This matches my experience as well.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

So many people have dropped the game to play less unwieldy systems, and even some of the folks who like complex systems have moved onto new games that aren't quite as generically close to D&D.

It is very, very hard to find a local pathfinder game anymore, and,that is a shame because it is still my preferred...

I've been fighting with the complexity vs fun aspect of PF1 ever since the playtest came out (and we coincidentally started a high level AD&D (1e) game). A few things I've noted...

1. The older games, if you haven't played them in awhile, you should play them again. In many cases they weren't as simple as you might be remembering.

2. Play-balancing to the extreme isn't always a virtue. There's always going to be some combination of criteria that are going to put you at a disadvantage or an advantage. That swashbuckler / brawler? It probably shines in the correct situation. You make your choices and realize you can't be all things at all times.

3. What I think pushed PF1 into PF2 is it's own success. Too many options, too much rules-bloat. Five years ago I said that you needed Hero Lab to keep up with the Pathfinder options. Today, you can't do it even with Hero Lab.

4. I have a lot of issues with what PF2 might be. I still love the three action economy. OMG, that was genius.

4a. My love-hate relationship with what PF2 might be took a huge turn for the better the moment I made peace with the fact that it's fundamentally a different system. Once I stopped trying to shoehorn PF1 into PF2 in my head I was able to start appreciating it for its own merits. And I was qutie the vocal critic of the playtest. (I may still be a vocal critic of the final system, though).

5. If i play an AP in PF1, I don't want my character to die strictly because of how long it takes to roll up a new 1st level character. As a GM I don't want to kill a PC because of the same. That becomes a problem.

6. My son won't be playing PF1. The curve is too steep and there's too much else to do. He might try PF1 if he gets into PF2 and likes it, but if someone who has been playing RPGs since basic and AD&D can't get his kid interested, that's indicative of a larger problem for the game. It's time to wipe the slate and start anew.


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Bardarok wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
I'll also note this attitude is killing Pathfinder. So many people have dropped the game to play less unwieldy systems, and even some of the folks who like complex systems have moved onto new games that aren't quite as generically close to D&D.
Well said. This matches my experience as well.

In the years since I started playing and GMing Pathfinder, I have played other roleplaying systems, such as Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, Legend of the Five Rings, the Serenity Roleplaying System, White Wolf's World of Darkness Werewolves, and GURPS Fantasy Dungeon RPG, either as a second game each week or after a Pathfinder campaign ended. But I kept returning to Pathfinder. My wife, who was a three-games-per-week addict, has tried many more systems, but she quickly joins Pathfinder games.

Pathfinder is convenient. Paizo publishes great adventure paths that, nevertheless, I can tweak to fit my player's preferences. Character creation was slower than I liked, taking an entire game session with the newbie players, but I could explain it verbally as they filled in a character sheet. People who played some version of D&D in the past knew the basics. And Paizo has their rules online in their game reference document, and fans publish class guides online, so that the newbies don't have to rely on me and my books. One of my PF2 playtesters had not played a roleplaying game since AD&D in the 1980s.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition had many of these advantages, too, but the characters felt more restricted than fictional characters. Gameplay there was more, "Do you have a power for it?" rather than "Make a d20 roll for um, Acrobatics." GURPS was less restricted, but the number crunching slows down the game. I haven't tried Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think I've made no secret of the fact that the Adventure Path line is what sells Pathfinder to me.

Honestly 2e could be a fundamentally broken system and I'd probably still play it as long as the APs are good. You could argue that's what I've been doing with 1e for the past couple years.

But after APs, my second biggest concern is ease of play: Is the system approachable, is it quick to walk new players through character creation without overwhelming them with options, and most importantly how fast can I get people to the point that they can create and run their own characters without my help?

For PF1e, the answer to that last question is "never" for some players, and that makes me sad. I hope 2e does better.


Biztak wrote:


Except that in 5e a level 1 can hit a lvl 20 enemy with AC 20 a good 25 percent of the time.

So? In PF1, a level 1 Wizard can hit a level 20 enemy with TAC 9 an astonishing 75% of the time. What's your point?

Mathmuse wrote:
The struggle to use that 20% maxed out features as often as possible hid the treadmill in PF1. Every opponent had a weakness where they were not maxed out and one style of combat especially common among wizards who targeted saving throws was to figure out...

I really hope they've addressed this, because they fundamentally failed at this in the playtest. None of the monsters felt unique and interesting at all, and none had any interesting abilities. I routinely thought: "Okay, what cool thing can they do this turn. ... alright, I guess I'll just attack. -_-"

Liberty's Edge

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ClanPsi wrote:
I really hope they've addressed this, because they fundamentally failed at this in the playtest. None of the monsters felt unique and interesting at all, and none had any interesting abilities. I routinely thought: "Okay, what cool thing can they do this turn. ... alright, I guess I'll just attack. -_-"

Uh...were we reading the same monsters? Level 0 monsters tended to be a tad boring, but things above that got interesting stuff real quick, with higher levels leading to progressively more interesting stuff (for the most part anyway). Indeed, despite disliking some other aspects of the playtest this was one area that my players went out of their way to comment on positively.

I mean...did you only play at level 1 and thus fight only very low level foes or something? I'm really at a loss here.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
ClanPsi wrote:
I really hope they've addressed this, because they fundamentally failed at this in the playtest. None of the monsters felt unique and interesting at all, and none had any interesting abilities. I routinely thought: "Okay, what cool thing can they do this turn. ... alright, I guess I'll just attack. -_-"

Uh...were we reading the same monsters? Level 0 monsters tended to be a tad boring, but things above that got interesting stuff real quick, with higher levels leading to progressively more interesting stuff (for the most part anyway). Indeed, despite disliking some other aspects of the playtest this was one area that my players went out of their way to comment on positively.

I mean...did you only play at level 1 and thus fight only very low level foes or something? I'm really at a loss here.

yeah... I remember liking the Gnolls in the playtest, and I tried to look in the PF1 bestiary to know what they had as special abilities then... only to find... nothing... I thought I was just dumb and missing it, so I reread the entry... Woah, gnolls in PF1 where BORING.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Elfteiroh wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
ClanPsi wrote:
I really hope they've addressed this, because they fundamentally failed at this in the playtest. None of the monsters felt unique and interesting at all, and none had any interesting abilities. I routinely thought: "Okay, what cool thing can they do this turn. ... alright, I guess I'll just attack. -_-"

Uh...were we reading the same monsters? Level 0 monsters tended to be a tad boring, but things above that got interesting stuff real quick, with higher levels leading to progressively more interesting stuff (for the most part anyway). Indeed, despite disliking some other aspects of the playtest this was one area that my players went out of their way to comment on positively.

I mean...did you only play at level 1 and thus fight only very low level foes or something? I'm really at a loss here.

yeah... I remember liking the Gnolls in the playtest, and I tried to look in the PF1 bestiary to know what they had as special abilities then... only to find... nothing... I thought I was just dumb and missing it, so I reread the entry... Woah, gnolls in PF1 where BORING.

When looking through some of these classic PF1 monsters in the playtest and PF2 process (gnoll, owlbear just having less than the same-CR tiger, etc), I was often surprised by how little to mechanically distinguish them that they actually had. All that flavorful goodness I have in my head for a lot of these monsters from my time as a fan before working here is really a testament to the amazing setting work and lore books like Classic Monsters Revisited, since there wasn't really anything mechanically distinctive in the original Bestiary (Monster Codex also was wonderful for this and had mechanics, but technically they were still copyfitting it when I joined the company, so it doesn't count the same way for me when I'm wondering what helped me form my vision of these monsters as complex, deep, and intriguing).


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Elfteiroh wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
ClanPsi wrote:
I really hope they've addressed this, because they fundamentally failed at this in the playtest. None of the monsters felt unique and interesting at all, and none had any interesting abilities. I routinely thought: "Okay, what cool thing can they do this turn. ... alright, I guess I'll just attack. -_-"

Uh...were we reading the same monsters? Level 0 monsters tended to be a tad boring, but things above that got interesting stuff real quick, with higher levels leading to progressively more interesting stuff (for the most part anyway). Indeed, despite disliking some other aspects of the playtest this was one area that my players went out of their way to comment on positively.

I mean...did you only play at level 1 and thus fight only very low level foes or something? I'm really at a loss here.

yeah... I remember liking the Gnolls in the playtest, and I tried to look in the PF1 bestiary to know what they had as special abilities then... only to find... nothing... I thought I was just dumb and missing it, so I reread the entry... Woah, gnolls in PF1 where BORING.
When looking through some of these classic PF1 monsters in the playtest and PF2 process (gnoll, owlbear just having less than the same-CR tiger, etc), I was often surprised by how little to mechanically distinguish them that they actually had. All that flavorful goodness I have in my head for a lot of these monsters from my time as a fan before working here is really a testament to the amazing setting work and lore books like Classic Monsters Revisited, since there wasn't really anything mechanically distinctive in the original Bestiary (Monster Codex also was wonderful for this and had mechanics, but technically they were still copyfitting it when I joined the company, so it doesn't count the same way for me when I'm wondering what helped me form my vision of these monsters as complex, deep, and intriguing).

Should see those 5E Monster Manual where nobody has any ability! Just meat bags x.x

Monster in PF2 were quite cool, let's hope PC/animal companion versions can get access to the cool stuff too!


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pjrogers wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
pjrogers wrote:
That doesn't take away from my point that such a large "swing" is the result of player choice. If players create characters such as this, and the result is that it's hard to balance encounters, then is the problem with the players or with the game system? I would argue the former.

There exist systems where you simply cannot do this. Or at least not by accident, whereas doing it by accident is easy in PF1. So you're flatly wrong, at least in part. A good system can prevent this from happening even more than an experienced player.

The point being made is that PF2 it will be harder for players to make such an error and character capabilities at a particular level will be more comparable to each other even when comparing the optimized and non-optimized. Which is an unambiguous good.

And here's where we clearly part company on what is really a subjective matter, aka what makes a good set of rules. I would prefer one with a wider range of options, including ones that aren't really all that great, while others would prefer a set that, to my mind, "coddles" players and protects them from themselves.

Also, by the time a player has a 14th level character, they should not be "accidentally" making characters with such a poor Will save.

I played a 15th-level character with saves of +22/+21/+13. At the same time, a fellow character in that campaign had +14/+10/+24 for saves. Both of us were optimizing to a pretty heavy degree.

How do you even balance around that?


On the point of PFs complexitivity:

Many of my online and offline friends have started playing Pen&Paper the last years. Some PF, some D&D5.

Many DM some small one-shot adventures online and ask for players via Twitter. The ruleset für those online one-shots is ALWAYS D&D5.
Why? Brcause some new players knew neither ruleset an DnD is easier. And even players that knew PF where in favor of DnD because nobody wanted to go throughthe process of creating a PF-character for 1-2 sessions of play.

I understand that, and I love PF. :/ It's time that PF gets a more accessible successor.


masda_gib wrote:
nobody wanted to go through the process of creating a PF-character for 1-2 sessions of play.

I think I'd enjoy making Pathfinder characters for one-shots. I could have fun making an extreme specialist, and wouldn't risk getting bored of using their speciality in every battle over a campaign.


Matthew Downie wrote:
masda_gib wrote:
nobody wanted to go through the process of creating a PF-character for 1-2 sessions of play.
I think I'd enjoy making Pathfinder characters for one-shots. I could have fun making an extreme specialist, and wouldn't risk getting bored of using their speciality in every battle over a campaign.

But in this case, there is no campaign, just a 2-session-adventure with maybe 3 to 4 battles. So the danger of skill-boredom is very low.


Mathmuse wrote:
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition had many of these advantages, too, but the characters felt more restricted than fictional characters.

I don't think there's any edition of D&D where that's not true for most characters that don't come from D&D-inspired fiction. Of course there's one great exception, most D&D casters are much less restricted in what their magic can do than fictional characters. I certainly wouldn't claim D&D tried to emulate any sort of fiction, it doesn't even always do a good job at emulating itself.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
ClanPsi wrote:
I really hope they've addressed this, because they fundamentally failed at this in the playtest. None of the monsters felt unique and interesting at all, and none had any interesting abilities. I routinely thought: "Okay, what cool thing can they do this turn. ... alright, I guess I'll just attack. -_-"

Uh...were we reading the same monsters? Level 0 monsters tended to be a tad boring, but things above that got interesting stuff real quick, with higher levels leading to progressively more interesting stuff (for the most part anyway). Indeed, despite disliking some other aspects of the playtest this was one area that my players went out of their way to comment on positively.

I mean...did you only play at level 1 and thus fight only very low level foes or something? I'm really at a loss here.

I did my best to do a review thread of all the new stuff monsters got during the playtest ( I failed miserably and barely even got to Gs though ;_;) and was utterly delighted at all the neat tricks almost all the monster can get. Black Dragons can backhand someone snarking at them as a Reaction!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Elfteiroh wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
ClanPsi wrote:
I really hope they've addressed this, because they fundamentally failed at this in the playtest. None of the monsters felt unique and interesting at all, and none had any interesting abilities. I routinely thought: "Okay, what cool thing can they do this turn. ... alright, I guess I'll just attack. -_-"

Uh...were we reading the same monsters? Level 0 monsters tended to be a tad boring, but things above that got interesting stuff real quick, with higher levels leading to progressively more interesting stuff (for the most part anyway). Indeed, despite disliking some other aspects of the playtest this was one area that my players went out of their way to comment on positively.

I mean...did you only play at level 1 and thus fight only very low level foes or something? I'm really at a loss here.

yeah... I remember liking the Gnolls in the playtest, and I tried to look in the PF1 bestiary to know what they had as special abilities then... only to find... nothing... I thought I was just dumb and missing it, so I reread the entry... Woah, gnolls in PF1 where BORING.

No, they were fluffy.


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BryonD wrote:

I use advanced skeletons (and numerous other low level monsters) in my 1E (currently L14) all the time. The advancement includes, in part, some increasing of numbers. But the numbers increase in ways that fit the concept. A warrior increase his to hit much more than a spellcaster, an agile foe gets much better at Ref, but not necessarily at Fort. Every mechanic asks what the character is first.

+11 to everything is the height of anti-narrative and boring.

The thing is that the numbers are still added to the same d20 roll and judged against steadily rising DCs. That means that a difference of, say, 4-5 points is still as relevant at 5th, 10th, or 15th level as it was at 1st level. That's a natural consequence of a level-based system like Pathfinder.

Your way of thinking works much better in a more skill-based and down-to-earth system like Hârnmaster or Runequest, where you advance individual skills as opposed to classes/levels, and where you over the course of a typical campaign might increase your good skills from 60% to 90% and feel great about that.


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Also, as far as advancing monsters from low level bases. I am pretty sure we are going to get a lot more interesting templates than just "advanced" for making skeleton like monsters that feel justifiably higher level, with abilities that are more interesting than bigger numbers. Maybe not in the first bestiary, but probably very shortly in the book that helps DMs make monsters from scratch.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think one of the things that I am taking away from a lot of the hints and discussion is "the PF2e GMG is going to be an absolute beast of a game changer". :)

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