Rules Reveals from the Oblivion Oath Twitch game! (was sleepy sea cat)


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Unlike Starfinder, where opposition have a numerical phase shift so building like a PC would lead to a flurry of misses on both sides, in PF2 building NPCs like a PC is an accepted form of creating NPCs, and is one of the standard forms to do so. We just happen to have a method (newly designed) to build NPCs quickly and easily that look roughly like PCs (with intentionally fewer overall feats and abilities to make them easier to run), and it's a method we think many GMs will want to use all the time, and those who prefer the PC method will enjoy having up your sleeves when you need an NPC quickly because the PCs do something you didn't expect.

Which method are you going to use in APs and the like? Are they going to all be the quick generated way, or are at least major NPCs going to be created PC style?

I'm mostly ok with monsters and NPCs being handled differently than PCs, with one exception: weapons. The way monsters seem to ignore weapon rules is the part that annoys me. It just doesn't feel like they're actually using a weapon, it's just cosmetic. Having the weapon attacks 'built in' just doesn't sit right with me, as well as things like gnolls getting 2 dice even though they're using mundane weapons. The later complaint would go away if PCs had ways of getting the same results from mundane weapons, which has been hinted they might. But fundamentally, weapons should behave basically the same regardless of who's wielding them (with the exception of abilities to get more use out of them of course).

Liberty's Edge

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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Which method are you going to use in APs and the like? Are they going to all be the quick generated way, or are at least major NPCs going to be created PC style?

He's previously said that Karzoug, for example, would've been created with the PC rules in PF2. So you definitely get the PC treatment if you're a PC Ancestry and important enough. I suppose the question is what the cutoff is for 'important enough'.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
I'm mostly ok with monsters and NPCs being handled differently than PCs, with one exception: weapons. The way monsters seem to ignore weapon rules is the part that annoys me. It just doesn't feel like they're actually using a weapon, it's just cosmetic.

Uh...all enemies use the damage dice for the weapon they're using in PF2. All weapon rules are taken into account. The sole exception is the possibility of extra dice, which (as you mention below) is probably fixed in the final version.

So I agree with this point in general but I'm not sure what you're complaining about in this first paragraph in regards to PF1.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Having the weapon attacks 'built in' just doesn't sit right with me, as well as things like gnolls getting 2 dice even though they're using mundane weapons. The later complaint would go away if PCs had ways of getting the same results from mundane weapons, which has been hinted they might. But fundamentally, weapons should behave basically the same regardless of who's wielding them (with the exception of abilities to get more use out of them of course).

See, multiple dice I agree with you entirely on, though I sincerely hope that's been solved in the final version and agree with you that indications favor that.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Uh...all enemies use the damage dice for the weapon they're using in PF2. All weapon rules are taken into account. The sole exception is the possibility of extra dice, which (as you mention below) is probably fixed in the final version.

So I agree with this point in general but I'm not sure what you're complaining about in this first paragraph in regards to PF1.

This is a case where I probably should have re-checked the material before I posted, it would save some embarassment. For some reason I was under the impression that weapons were abstracted away, and that it took some reverse-engineering to switch out weapons and such. But on rechecking, you're right. So I withdraw the complaint other than the extra dice thing that is possibly resolved.


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I'm all for NPCs and monsters built using a quicker, more practical method, as long as the results don't break suspension of disbelief like the D&D Redbrand Ruffians mentioned by Bardarok, or the gladiator in the Monster Manual, who can shield bash when no pc actually can.

If an enemy is similar to a pc (standard ancestry & class) they shouldn't be able to do things no pc of similar level could do without a good explanation (curses, artifacts, mythic status...), nor be vastly more skilled than them (like making 2 attacks instead of 1 in D&D, or having much higher final bonuses to a roll). That completely breaks suspension of disbelief. And is very annoying.


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This is pretty much my stance.

I don't care how a dragon got to be just that strong. So long as "that strong" is accurately rated by the system designed to rate the strength of creatures, and mechanics are legible, I'm happy.

If I wanna play a dragon, that might be a different story, but that is not being advertised, at least yet, to my knowledge.

If I wanna play a human, or elf or dwarf or goblin, that is something the game advertises. I want to immerse myself in a world where these creatures exist, and I play one of them, not just share a superficial identity while experiencing and operating under different principles like some alien in disguise. Otherwise I might as well play a "goblin" with Wish at will, cus I'm going to Wish for things I want, so it's fun, and why care about what other goblins can do, I'm a "goblin".

I get that enough from life. I play games to enjoy fantasy.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Roswynn wrote:

I'm all for NPCs and monsters built using a quicker, more practical method, as long as the results don't break suspension of disbelief like the D&D Redbrand Ruffians mentioned by Bardarok, or the gladiator in the Monster Manual, who can shield bash when no pc actually can.

If an enemy is similar to a pc (standard ancestry & class) they shouldn't be able to do things no pc of similar level could do without a good explanation (curses, artifacts, mythic status...), nor be vastly more skilled than them (like making 2 attacks instead of 1 in D&D, or having much higher final bonuses to a roll). That completely breaks suspension of disbelief. And is very annoying.

Nothing to add other than that this is exactly my stance as well, and you've put it far more succinctly than I've ever been able to manage.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Screw versimilitude and the nice fuzzy feeling that reality fits neat little boxes in your brain you've made for yourself. And that those boxes are nice and orderly. Oh and your boxes are the same as the boxes over there.

It's a game, opponents are supposed to be challenging, encounters are supposed to be interesting. I don't care if my PC could potentially do the same things the Gladiator NPC can do, I want it to be a tough cookie I can fight and have satisfaction from winning. Pretty much nothing else matters.


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Gorbacz wrote:

Screw versimilitude and the nice fuzzy feeling that reality fits neat little boxes in your brain you've made for yourself. And that those boxes are nice and orderly. Oh and your boxes are the same as the boxes over there.

It's a game, opponents are supposed to be challenging, encounters are supposed to be interesting. I don't care if my PC could potentially do the same things the Gladiator NPC can do, I want it to be a tough cookie I can fight and have satisfaction from winning. Pretty much nothing else matters.

"Screw verisimilitude" is not exactly a point of view lots of people will share, in my opinion, but you're obviously entitled to it. No need to get riled up.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Roswynn wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Screw versimilitude and the nice fuzzy feeling that reality fits neat little boxes in your brain you've made for yourself. And that those boxes are nice and orderly. Oh and your boxes are the same as the boxes over there.

It's a game, opponents are supposed to be challenging, encounters are supposed to be interesting. I don't care if my PC could potentially do the same things the Gladiator NPC can do, I want it to be a tough cookie I can fight and have satisfaction from winning. Pretty much nothing else matters.

"Screw verisimilitude" is not exactly a point of view lots of people will share, in my opinion, but you're obviously entitled to it. No need to get riled up.

Enough people shared it to go 5E (where PC/NPC symmetry was discarded right off the bat) and leave PF1 tanking so hard that a new edition was inevitable.

Sorry, folks, you're a vocal minority. I've yet ever to hear "but my PC can't do it!" at my table when an NPC suddenly teleports as a swift action because that ability makes the fight interesting, unlike gabzillion abilities and feats the NPC would have at that class level which would be completely lost on it, since they were designed with a PC in mind.

In fact last week I've blatantly cheated and had my players fight a Shadowdancer who could teleport between shadows as a swift action. They never noticed that the by-the-book Shadowdancer can't do that. They loved the fight and when I told them that I've winged the encounter they were all cool with that.

And in reverse, whenever Paizo would introduce class options designed clearly with NPCs in mind that did make things interesting, such as alchemist ability to self-destruct yourself upon death, a vocal bunch of versimilitude fans would go up their arms about how nonsensical is such ability because a PC would never use it.

Video games and board games have long crafted challenges for players while ignoring the symmetry. Most RPGs these days discard the symmetry in favour of abstraction and making challenging players easier, versimilitude be damned. It's basically D&D 3.5 and its offshots clinging to the symmetrical paradigm and as you can see, that didn't really work well in the long run, as far as sales are concerned.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I have to agree with Gorbacz on this one, i would prefer cool and interesting monsters and npcs to fight than complaining why cant my character do that.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm pretty much with Roswynn on this one.

I'm liking the new NPC/monster creation rules in PF2 quite a bit, but prefer that they do not result in categories of action that are flatly impossible for the PCs on characters who have no reason to diverge in that way (ie: no Human Wizards with too much in the way of abilities PC Human Wizards could not possess).

Luckily, I think the PF2 NPC design process as shown in the playtest seems to me to strike a good balance between such verisimilitude concerns and creating interesting encounters in the way Gorbacz suggests. So we can in fact have it both ways. And that's great.


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Gorbacz wrote:
Gorbacz things.

Well sir, those are some entirely rational and valid preferences you have.

Unfortunately, there can only be One, so you and all your kind must die for my future gaming. That's just how tabletop RPGs work, as even cursory research will show; the hobby is renowned for uniformity, and its history is clearly a Hunger Games contest building toward a sole surviving playstyle enthroned atop the corpse mountain of every slain alternative.

And it's a damn shame too. My moment of heartbreak was when they added machine guns to Chess but only for the other side. Yet that's the price of progress, and I can't contradict your examples of video games and board games, two industries that have already reached that final state of the monostyle. Tabletop RPGs are a smaller media, and simply not as far along that inevitable path all must walk.

And perhaps we should be grateful. After all, some think trends ebb, flow and swirl like tides with the passage of time, and the present, or "these days", is but an inconsequential transitional slice of history. Hah, what a bunch of fools. How lucky we are, truly, to be present at the advent of everything at last being done right. Can you imagine how it felt living a while back, knowing everything you experienced would be moved on from and scoffed at in hindsight? I bet it must have sucked. Glory be that all the things being done now will be 100% right and last forever for sure.

I wish it were not so, but I will not resent your struggles as I strike you down, because I cannot refute your reasoning. Minorities are a thing that exist, and Paizo has, if nothing else in its history, made its views on how to treat them clear: their differences are sport, their insignificance a fact, and remind them constantly.

It's a fate I cannot abide, and wish we'd both be spared, but I don't make the rules, and alas our ways are different, so I must defeat your kind such that mine prevails, old bag.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
So we can in fact have it both ways.

No we can't don't talk nonsense.


I don't agree with the idea that a PC can duplicate any ability a similar-class NPC could possibly have.
That doesn't mean that every NPC should be wildly different: respecting a certain level of expectation is a good thing because it adds to verisimilitude. What I mean is that a fighter may have studied in a war academy, trained in a foreign army or be completely self-taught; it doesn't break immersion that some have developed abilities others can't have, or haven't even heard of. Double attack at level 2? That's ok, they probably don't have some other feat the PC possesses - or if they do, their level is simply misjudged.
A demonic bloodline NPC sorcerer may be the descendant of an ancient demon lord, giving them different and/or stronger powers. Or they may be the offspring of a fire-related entity, and thus can cast Burning Hands even though their spell list is divine. You don't need to look for some forgotten feat to achieve that, you don't have to use multiclassing: that sorcerer is just different. Is that so intolerable?

I was writing encounters for a campaign I had in mind. Statting NPCs was a pain: choose feats, choose spells, choose equipment, recheck class abilities... I stopped after the 15th, and if I didn't have a computer program helping me I would surely have stopped earlier. That project is still on hold; I'll probably go back to it using PF2e when, I hope, I will be able to build my NPCs way faster. And it's a pity because I was tailoring everything to try spheres of power.

Liberty's Edge

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Megistone wrote:
I don't agree with the idea that a PC can duplicate any ability a similar-class NPC could possibly have.

No, but there needs to be a specific reason they can't do so. Cool abilities will inevitably result in PCs going 'Ooh! How do I get that?' and disappointment and annoyance if the answer is 'You just can't. No real reason, you just can't.' That's a bad answer, and one no GM should ever be required to give just because they don't want to make a House Rule on the spot.

For example, in Starfinder, there was a Solarian NPC who could shoot bolts of energy as a ranged attack. PCs immediately wanted this ability, and there was widespread annoyance when they couldn't get it (since there was no listed PC version anywhere). There wasn't anything special or different about said NPC that resulted in him having an ability no PC could ever acquire (and one that was thematically perfect for the Class in question), he just had it arbitrarily. which is why there were feelings of resentment and complaints.

Megistone wrote:
That doesn't mean that every NPC should be wildly different: respecting a certain level of expectation is a good thing because it adds to verisimilitude.

Depends on context. Racial abilities PCs can't duplicate without being that Ancestry certainly add this (and show up in many Bestiary entries). Arbitrary abilities that make sense for PCs to have and are just impossible for no good reason? Not so much.

Megistone wrote:
What I mean is that a fighter may have studied in a war academy, trained in a foreign army or be completely self-taught; it doesn't break immersion that some have developed abilities others can't have, or haven't even heard of. Double attack at level 2? That's ok, they probably don't have some other feat the PC possesses - or if they do, their level is simply misjudged.

It starts breaking immersion the second the PC says 'Oh, I'm totally gonna learn that trick.' and is flatly forbidden from doing so. Something that will inevitably happen if you do this with any regularity.

I mean, literally all those explanations are something a PC could do pretty readily. Why does this guy get something out of them that a PC can't ever get?

Megistone wrote:
A demonic bloodline NPC sorcerer may be the descendant of an ancient demon lord, giving them different and/or stronger powers. Or they may be the offspring of a fire-related entity, and thus can cast Burning Hands even though their spell list is divine. You don't need to look for some forgotten feat to achieve that, you don't have to use multiclassing: that sorcerer is just different. Is that so intolerable?

Absolutely not. This is a great example of a justified in-setting unique ability. When asked why their PC cannot have it the GM can give this exact explanation as an answer, and the world continues to make sense. In PF1, he'd have a template that granted this ability, and PF2's version of that is simply less bookkeeping.

The issue comes when there is no such justification, as in the Fighter example above.

Megistone wrote:
I was writing encounters for a campaign I had in mind. Statting NPCs was a pain: choose feats, choose spells, choose equipment, recheck class abilities... I stopped after the 15th, and if I didn't have a computer program helping me I would surely have stopped earlier. That project is still on hold; I'll probably go back to it using PF2e when, I hope, I will be able to build my NPCs way faster. And it's a pity because I was tailoring everything to try spheres of power.

And this is why PF2's simplified NPC creation is wonderful. But it in no way necessitates giving an NPC arbitrary powers a PC can't ever acquire, without in-universe justifications as to why they cannot.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

100% agreed on the whole "NPCs shouldn't have cool toys players can't get unless there's a good reason" thing.

Monsters, I don't care about, but Deadmanwalking is spot on about the "Can I do that?" question.

It causes so many problems when enemy humans of about your party's strength break the in-universe laws that you are bound to.

Your character dies, and you want to roll up one of those bandits with the cool early access to multiple attacks to take your character's place? Surprise! You can't, even if it would make sense in the story.

Now if they got extra attacks from all downing potions of Bloodlust that take part of your soul every time, and the party could acquire those potions but are naturally leary about using them... that's totally different.


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Gorbacz wrote:

Screw versimilitude and the nice fuzzy feeling that reality fits neat little boxes in your brain you've made for yourself. And that those boxes are nice and orderly. Oh and your boxes are the same as the boxes over there.

It's a game, opponents are supposed to be challenging, encounters are supposed to be interesting. I don't care if my PC could potentially do the same things the Gladiator NPC can do, I want it to be a tough cookie I can fight and have satisfaction from winning. Pretty much nothing else matters.

It might be just "a game" to you. There are tons of games out there.

I greatly enjoy TTRPGs for the creative storytelling and immersion.

I can join others in throwing stones at wonky bits and pieces in PF1. But the book is closed there. It was a phenomenal success in the marketplace and delivered years a great stories at my own table. The game is a lot more than a simple fixation on the wonky bits.

Paizo has clearly taken a strong step in the direction of your desire for a "game" which focuses on setting up fights and letting you high five yourself for winning the fight. And Paizo is clearly willing to move away from me in order to better deliver that product for you.

Time will tell if that strategy delivers for them.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
For example, in Starfinder, there was a Solarian NPC who could shoot bolts of energy as a ranged attack. PCs immediately wanted this ability, and there was widespread annoyance when they couldn't get it (since there was no listed PC version anywhere). There wasn't anything special or different about said NPC that resulted in him having an ability no PC could ever acquire (and one that was thematically perfect for the Class in question), he just had it arbitrarily. which is why there were feelings of resentment and complaints.

Yep, I even forecalled it.

Scarab Sages

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WatersLethe wrote:


It causes so many problems when enemy humans of about your party's strength break the in-universe laws that you are bound to.

This is a problem I struggled with for years, but I think its important to remember that the rules of the game are not the in universe laws of physics. They are an abstraction designed for us players to tell an interesting story and to have fun while playing a game. Their primary function is to make the game fun, not to establish the laws that bind everything together.

Just because their is no rule for a thing does not mean that thing doesn't exist in the universe. And just because there IS a rule for a thing doesn't mean that it must always happen the way the rule lays it out.

I mean on the actual planet Golarion, when throwing a knife at someone 50 feet away, in universe you don't always have a 5% change of hitting regardless of who you are and who you are throwing at. A 3 year old with a knife will hit that trained soldier way less than 5% of the time. But according to the rules out of 100 throws 5 of them will hit on average. That's because it is an abstraction meant to create a fun game for us real humans to play. Not a physics simulator.


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Bartram wrote:
That's because it is an abstraction meant to create a fun game for us real humans to play. Not a physics simulator.

The question is "does it succeed at creating fun?".

Three years olds throwing knives are pretty much outliers. The wonkiness there does nothing to impact the actual fun at the table.

But when "not a physics simulator" becomes an in your face rejection of consistency then that very much CAN be a bummer at the table.


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Remember when this thread was about rules reveals from the Oblivion Oath and not discussions about those rules, npc creation, edition warring, etc.? I miss that day.


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Thr3adcr4p wrote:
Remember when this thread was about rules reveals from the Oblivion Oath and not discussions about those rules, npc creation, edition warring, etc.? I miss that day.

Just wait for some new rules to be revealed, and then enjoy the subsequent heated discussion :)

To close the argument (at least on my part): I see your points. I would love to have perfect consistency; but I think that sometimes it's not worth the effort.
And I also think that some abilities may be appropriate for NPCs (even when they are humanoids) but not for PCs. Having to justify why they have them is just extra work.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BryonD wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Screw versimilitude and the nice fuzzy feeling that reality fits neat little boxes in your brain you've made for yourself. And that those boxes are nice and orderly. Oh and your boxes are the same as the boxes over there.

It's a game, opponents are supposed to be challenging, encounters are supposed to be interesting. I don't care if my PC could potentially do the same things the Gladiator NPC can do, I want it to be a tough cookie I can fight and have satisfaction from winning. Pretty much nothing else matters.

It might be just "a game" to you. There are tons of games out there.

I greatly enjoy TTRPGs for the creative storytelling and immersion.

I can join others in throwing stones at wonky bits and pieces in PF1. But the book is closed there. It was a phenomenal success in the marketplace and delivered years a great stories at my own table. The game is a lot more than a simple fixation on the wonky bits.

Paizo has clearly taken a strong step in the direction of your desire for a "game" which focuses on setting up fights and letting you high five yourself for winning the fight. And Paizo is clearly willing to move away from me in order to better deliver that product for you.

Time will tell if that strategy delivers for them.

Yes, it's just a game. And there's nothing that makes PF1 better at at facilitating storytelling and immersion than PF2 or any other RPG. Matter of fact, I'd say that the PF1's amount of super-deatiled rules in some areas coupled with ambiguity in other areas actually impedes storytelling and immersion, because nothing kicks you out of your evening of pretneding to be a fair elven archer than an hour long argument on about how exactly do feat X, archetype Y and spell Z interact. Dungeon World fares much better in thie regard. So do older editions of D&D with their light rules and explicit GM IS ALWAYS RIGHT disclaimer.

Consequently, framing the argument that PF1 is the game for refined storytellers of beautiful tales while PF2 is a dumbed down casual game of killing stuff is silly, beacause both PF1 and PF2 are essentialy the same - tactial wargames with some tiny flecks of narrativism sprinkled on the top. There are both mid-school RPGs with dozens of tables, little to no player narrative agency that isn't character agency, no meta-mechanics, overt focus on combat and other things that scream 1980 and ignore most of development in RPG design over the recent 20 years.

PF2 at least cuts down the lard a bit and acknowledges things such as non-binary degrees of success. Yay, Vampire the Masquerade did that in 1990, D&D is slowly catching up.

Of course, none of the above matters if you're having fun, and I've have had a lot of fun with PF1 and likely will have it with PF2. It's just that I am fully aware of what D&D and its offshots are. You folks should really get out and play some newer RPGs out there, because game design has really moved on in the recent two decades.


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Megistone wrote:
Having to justify why they have them is just extra work.

Option 1: "He can do that special shield bash because he has nine levels of Gladiator. If you're willing to give up all your class abilities and retrain as a Gladiator for that ability and nothing else, you can."

Option 2: "You want to do that? Sure, I'll invent a custom feat after the session. Actually, that looks more powerful than a typical feat... we'll say it's a chain of two feats and this is the Improved version."
Option 3: "Because he's an NPC."


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Gorbacz wrote:
little to no player narrative agency that isn't character agency, no meta-mechanics

Are you comparing Pathfinder to games where players can, say, spend a "plot twist" so that suddenly one of the bandits trying to rob them turns out to be his long-lost father?

That kind of thing harms immersion (though not, presumably, creative storytelling) for a lot of players. They like to be thinking in character and making the decisions that character would make in the situation, not making meta-decisions about the story.

Even D&D 4e 'daily' powers are an immersion-breaker for some people. "Does my character know he can only use his Knee Breaker attack once per day? Did he make the decision to expend that power when I decided to use it, or does he just think he got lucky?"

Liberty's Edge

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Bartram wrote:
This is a problem I struggled with for years, but I think its important to remember that the rules of the game are not the in universe laws of physics. They are an abstraction designed for us players to tell an interesting story and to have fun while playing a game. Their primary function is to make the game fun, not to establish the laws that bind everything together.

This explanation works for numbers being higher or lower (ie: having a +7 when a PC with those stats would have a +6).

It kinda falls apart when covering categories of action that are impossible for the PCs (like the two attack bandits noted previously). Because that is something your character can notice as divergent (ie: your character notices when the NPC uses the ability, he's attacking twice as fast as I am...that's super obvious). It becomes very reasonable and logical for him to ask, in-character "How do I learn to attack twice as fast?"

And when the character asks that and there's no in-world answer, verisimilitude breaks down.

Bartram wrote:
Just because their is no rule for a thing does not mean that thing doesn't exist in the universe.

Absolutely true. But those things should be whole new Classes or Ancestries, or weird mystical bargains. Not things that the PCs know the workings of (like their own Class) suddenly behaving differently.

Including an Antipaladin NPC before there are PC rules for them is fine. The players will get that they don't get those powers because they aren't an Antipaladin. Having a Fighter suddenly do things PC Fighters can't? Not so much.

Bartram wrote:
And just because there IS a rule for a thing doesn't mean that it must always happen the way the rule lays it out.

Here's the thing. A character who is a member of a particular Class probably knows a fair amount about what that Class is capable of. Even stuff they can't personally do is likely to be something they've at least heard of. And if not, it's probably something they'll immediately want to learn about as soon as they see it (or they will if it's effective, anyway).

They should not get surprised out of left field by new and unexpected things from their own Classes without the opportunity to learn what those things were and why they worked that way.

Diverging from the basic rules is fine, but it should be a hint that the thing that diverges from them is strange and different, because even if it isn't that's how players will treat it. And having that expectation anticlimactically destroyed by an out-of-character 'Nah, PCs just aren't allowed to do that.' is super not fun.

I'm not saying this will happen every time, but it's a real problem, and one easily solved by just not doing this without explanation.

Bartram wrote:
I mean on the actual planet Golarion, when throwing a knife at someone 50 feet away, in universe you don't always have a 5% change of hitting regardless of who you are and who you are throwing at. A 3 year old with a knife will hit that trained soldier way less than 5% of the time. But according to the rules out of 100 throws 5 of them will hit on average. That's because it is an abstraction meant to create a fun game for us real humans to play. Not a physics simulator.

This is actually not true. They changed it so that getting a 20 just ups the success one category. Meaning it's a critical failure on a 1-19 and a mere failure on a 20 in the scenario presented.

This is also not really relevant to the question at hand. The world being unrealistic and the world being inconsistent are very different things. We've mostly all accepted the lack of perfect realism when we sat down to play a game featuring elves and dragons. We did not accept inconsistency at the same time.

Megistone wrote:
To close the argument (at least on my part): I see your points. I would love to have perfect consistency; but I think that sometimes it's not worth the effort.

For who? I'm arguing about what the official rules and adventures should do. I don't think asking the professionals at Paizo to keep an eye on this and not give PC Ancestry characters of PC Classes stuff they just couldn't have without explaining why they're special is too unreasonable a request. Heck, if there's something they just need a particular NPC Fighter to have thematically...maybe they should include a Feat for it in case PCs want it as well.

If you the GM want to homebrew an ability, go for it. I just think you should be prepared to also design a PC version if they take a shine to it.

Megistone wrote:
And I also think that some abilities may be appropriate for NPCs (even when they are humanoids) but not for PCs. Having to justify why they have them is just extra work.

Not that much extra. And certainly not too much for professionals in the field, which is who I was primarily talking about.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
little to no player narrative agency that isn't character agency, no meta-mechanics

Are you comparing Pathfinder to games where players can, say, spend a "plot twist" so that suddenly one of the bandits trying to rob them turns out to be his long-lost father?

That kind of thing harms immersion (though not, presumably, creative storytelling) for a lot of players. They like to be thinking in character and making the decisions that character would make in the situation, not making meta-decisions about the story.

Even D&D 4e 'daily' powers are an immersion-breaker for some people. "Does my character know he can only use his Knee Breaker attack once per day? Did he make the decision to expend that power when I decided to use it, or does he just think he got lucky?"

Exactly, I refer to players being able to, say, state three times per game that there's an exploding barrel right when they need it to be or that the captain of the city guard which just jailed them for a botched bank job is a cousin of their ex who just might be agreeable if some debts are repaid.

And yeah, I understand that this can be totally immersion-breaking for D&D vets. They've spent their entire gaming life under the "GM tells you how the world looks like and you might only use your PC's abilities to influence that world" paradigm. It's only natural that they might have hard time with meta-mechanics, after all, we only like the music which we know.

But from my personal experience, and I've been in the process of "modernizing" some D&D grogs for some time now, the game gets better with this. And yeah, it was rocky at the beginning, but at this point we pretty much all agree that our gaming is better now that we've spalshed some XXI century into the game of killing things and taking their stuff.

Liberty's Edge

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Gorbacz wrote:

Exactly, I refer to players being able to, say, state three times per game that there's an exploding barrel right when they need it to be or that the captain of the city guard which just jailed them for a botched bank job is a cousin of their ex who just might be agreeable if some debts are repaid.

And yeah, I understand that this can be totally immersion-breaking for D&D vets. They've spent their entire gaming life under the "GM tells you how the world looks like and you might only use your PC's abilities to influence that world" paradigm. It's only natural that they might have hard time with meta-mechanics, after all, we only like the music which we know.

But from my personal experience, and I've been in the process of "modernizing" some D&D grogs for some time now, the game gets better with this. And yeah, it was rocky at the beginning, but at this point we pretty much all agree that our gaming is better now that we've spalshed some XXI century into the game of killing things and taking their stuff.

For the record, I play games like this all the time. Indeed, I'm currently running the Dresden Files RPG (a FATE game). Fate's a great engine and I really enjoy games in this vein in general.

But that said, I don't think finding the mechanics to be jarring or immersion breaking is unique to those who've mostly played D&D. Nor is this style of game inherently superior to something lacking meta-mechanics. It is definitely better for some groups, but probably worse for others.

I do think everyone should try various types of games, simply so everyone can find what type of game (or types of games) are best for them, but that's true if you've only ever played FATE every bit as much as if you've only played Pathfinder, IMO.

And, for the record, my particular issue is verisimilitude rather than immersion. There's admittedly some overlap...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sure, and I don't think PF1 or PF2 need such mechanics. They're both perfectly fine old codgers of gaming design.

But I do think that only after playing some various RPGs you can make an informed opinion on whether some design decisions are bad or good. Else you risk being against change because it's a change and you fear the new thing. Familiarity dispels the fear :)


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Megistone wrote:
Having to justify why they have them is just extra work.

Option 1: "He can do that special shield bash because he has nine levels of Gladiator. If you're willing to give up all your class abilities and retrain as a Gladiator for that ability and nothing else, you can."

Option 2: "You want to do that? Sure, I'll invent a custom feat after the session. Actually, that looks more powerful than a typical feat... we'll say it's a chain of two feats and this is the Improved version."
Option 3: "Because he's an NPC."

As someone who frequently, in PF1e, runs NPCs with abilities different from PC abilities, options 1 and 2 are exactly my approach.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Exactly, I refer to players being able to, say, state three times per game that there's an exploding barrel right when they need it to be or that the captain of the city guard which just jailed them for a botched bank job is a cousin of their ex who just might be agreeable if some debts are repaid.

And yeah, I understand that this can be totally immersion-breaking for D&D vets. They've spent their entire gaming life under the "GM tells you how the world looks like and you might only use your PC's abilities to influence that world" paradigm. It's only natural that they might have hard time with meta-mechanics, after all, we only like the music which we know.

But from my personal experience, and I've been in the process of "modernizing" some D&D grogs for some time now, the game gets better with this. And yeah, it was rocky at the beginning, but at this point we pretty much all agree that our gaming is better now that we've spalshed some XXI century into the game of killing things and taking their stuff.

For the record, I play games like this all the time. Indeed, I'm currently running the Dresden Files RPG (a FATE game). Fate's a great engine and I really enjoy games in this vein in general.

But that said, I don't think finding the mechanics to be jarring or immersion breaking is unique to those who've mostly played D&D. Nor is this style of game inherently superior to something lacking meta-mechanics. It is definitely better for some groups, but probably worse for others.

I do think everyone should try various types of games, simply so everyone can find what type of game (or types of games) are best for them, but that's true if you've only ever played FATE every bit as much as if you've only played Pathfinder, IMO.

And, for the record, my particular issue is verisimilitude rather than immersion. There's admittedly some overlap...

Whereas those narrative rules do break my immersion, despite playing many non-D&D games and generally preferring more rules light systems and not caring at all about the kind of mechanics=world simulation verisimilitude we're talking about here.

Making decisions from outside my characters POV, like "I know the city guard who just jailed us", breaks my immersion in a way that has nothing to do with mechanics issues like "there's no feat I can take that duplicates what the bad guy just did".

Other mechanics issues might, especially in harder rules sets: That people in a fight really take turns acting and stay frozen in place when it's not their action is something I really have to actively not think about the implications of.


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BryonD wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Screw versimilitude and the nice fuzzy feeling that reality fits neat little boxes in your brain you've made for yourself. And that those boxes are nice and orderly. Oh and your boxes are the same as the boxes over there.

It's a game, opponents are supposed to be challenging, encounters are supposed to be interesting. I don't care if my PC could potentially do the same things the Gladiator NPC can do, I want it to be a tough cookie I can fight and have satisfaction from winning. Pretty much nothing else matters.

It might be just "a game" to you. There are tons of games out there.

I greatly enjoy TTRPGs for the creative storytelling and immersion.

I can join others in throwing stones at wonky bits and pieces in PF1. But the book is closed there. It was a phenomenal success in the marketplace and delivered years a great stories at my own table. The game is a lot more than a simple fixation on the wonky bits.

Paizo has clearly taken a strong step in the direction of your desire for a "game" which focuses on setting up fights and letting you high five yourself for winning the fight. And Paizo is clearly willing to move away from me in order to better deliver that product for you.

Time will tell if that strategy delivers for them.

I'm curious to see an answer to this: what breaks verisimilitude and immersion for players if the imp no longer has a magic +2 racial bonus to its poison because it has to?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Absolutely true. But those things should be whole new Classes or Ancestries, or weird mystical bargains. Not things that the PCs know the workings of (like their own Class) suddenly behaving differently.

I'm not entirely sure I buy the argument that PCs know the workings of their own Class. There's a spectrum here. Some classes are clearly things that exist in the fiction of the world (i.e. a Wizard is an arcane spellcaster who prepares spells in this particular way, etc). Some of them are not so clear cut (i.e. the difference between a Fighter and various other types of non-magical martial classes). PCs know the visible results of the inner workings of the world, that doesn't necessarily mean they even know what class they are.

Dataphiles

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Deadmanwalking wrote:


Including an Antipaladin NPC before there are PC rules for them is fine. The players will get that they don't get those powers because they aren't an Antipaladin. Having a Fighter suddenly do things PC Fighters can't? Not so much.

So, I once screwed up a spell effect. Screwed it up in such a way that my players noticed a round later going, "That's now how that works. The NPCs can't do that. We can't do that. How did they do that?" It wasn't worth the retcon, so I just went with it. After the fight was over, the players found an empty potion vial on the NPC. So, suddenly, there was a possibility that the break in verisimilitude was caused by something in-world and verisimilitude was restored. After all, there are hundreds of spells and alchemical concoctions that the players don't have. Spell research is a thing.

That is the only time I have ever had a problem with a player calling me out on mechanics not matching. Given all of the insane things that monsters and NPCs can do throughout multiple adventure paths.

A random fighter doing things the PC fighters can't? They have an archetype or a feat or a potion or heritage or something else. Maybe they multiclassed into Antipaladin.

This is Pathfinder. I have a trait in PF1 that allows my character to throw a bottle into the air, catch it in her teeth, pop the cork with her tongue, and drink it. Why? Because she's an inquisitor of Cayden Cailean named Fifth O'Barley and Accelerated Drinker looked like a thematic trait.

I imagine PF2 will end up with having enough options that as long as the NPC building rules aren't bone-headed then players aren't going to blink an eye at it.


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For me, the verisimilitude I am personally chasing basically requires me to reject the "NPCs have to follow PC rules" paradigm. Like if I want the hermit nearby the town to be a master blacksmith who is nonetheless nearly worthless in a fight, in PF1 in order to make that guy really good at hammering steel I would need to give him class levels, which gives him things like "more hit points" and "more attack bonus" which I do not want.

I'd much rather prefer to write down "Craft: +13, +15 Blacksmithing, HP 14, smithing hammer +2 1d6+2 " than have to jump through hoops to try to justify how a noncombatant can be good at their job without accidentally gaining the ability to go toe-to-toe with vile horrors along the way.

If someone wants to ask "how did that guy get master proficiency at level 1" I'll just point out that the way to do that is to apprentice as a blacksmith, go into business for yourself, train apprentices, and generally work in the business for 20+ years during which time you get much better at craft but no better at fighting.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Bartram wrote:
This is a problem I struggled with for years, but I think its important to remember that the rules of the game are not the in universe laws of physics. They are an abstraction designed for us players to tell an interesting story and to have fun while playing a game. Their primary function is to make the game fun, not to establish the laws that bind everything together.

This explanation works for numbers being higher or lower (ie: having a +7 when a PC with those stats would have a +6).

It kinda falls apart when covering categories of action that are impossible for the PCs (like the two attack bandits noted previously). Because that is something your character can notice as divergent (ie: your character notices when the NPC uses the ability, he's attacking twice as fast as I am...that's super obvious). It becomes very reasonable and logical for him to ask, in-character "How do I learn to attack twice as fast?"

And when the character asks that and there's no in-world answer, verisimilitude breaks down.

Bartram wrote:
Just because their is no rule for a thing does not mean that thing doesn't exist in the universe.

Absolutely true. But those things should be whole new Classes or Ancestries, or weird mystical bargains. Not things that the PCs know the workings of (like their own Class) suddenly behaving differently.

Including an Antipaladin NPC before there are PC rules for them is fine. The players will get that they don't get those powers because they aren't an Antipaladin. Having a Fighter suddenly do things PC Fighters can't? Not so much.

Bartram wrote:
And just because there IS a rule for a thing doesn't mean that it must always happen the way the rule lays it out.
Here's the thing. A character who is a member of a particular Class probably knows a fair amount about what that Class is capable of. Even stuff they can't personally do is likely to be something they've at least heard of. And if not, it's probably...

Given the huge range of available abilities in PF1 (and very likely eventually in PF2, even if there aren't as many books out yet), it should be unlikely that any PC would be nearly as aware of the possibilities as a player who can search the web for build options would be. You know what you can do and you're aware of a lot of other common options, but there are plenty of obscure feats and archetypes that might give some other Fighter abilities you don't have. Why wouldn't the character assume it was one of those rather than it being some weird shock to their understanding of the universe? And there may be plenty of in-character reasons that PC couldn't learn the ability. Whether mechanical, like being an archetype that trades away something they already use or in world like not being able to find a way to learn it.

The player knows it's an NPC ability because the player knows the rules well enough to know it's not something they can take, but that's meta-game knowledge. It kind of has to be, since the PC/NPC distinction is a meta-game one to start with. As is, for the most part, any kind of character build decision.


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I've played, let's see, Exalted 3rd edition, Monsterhearts, Apocalypse World, Psi*Run, Mutants & Masterminds, Dogs in the Vineyard, Fate, D&D 3e, 4e, and 5e, and probably others I'm not remembering.

I still prefer the d20 system. I would be playing 5e if Golarion and its Adventure Paths had been written for it. But honestly I think PF 2e will deliver more of the kind of crunch I like - not too much as to make things unnecessary complex, but just enough to avoid blandness. And I'm all for metamechanics like hero points, inspiration, fate points, whatever - but I still prefer for the setting to be mainly regulated by myself/the GM, with players ordinarily unable to come up with meta details on the spot just by using a meta resource (they can talk about it with me of course and I'll probably say yes). I'm not saying I won't play a game like that of course, it's just a preference. I think PF 2e strikes a very good balance, or at least it does for me.

Same for npc and monsters creation - I'm actually very happy they don't need to follow the same process used for pcs, 1) because for bestial or very alien monsters it doesn't make an ounce of sense, and 2) because I don't have time for complex and toilsome generations of stats, compilations of feats and spells, calculating bulk down to the decimals, and so on. I'm all for simplifying npc/monster creation.

I do prefer that, if according to the narrative being shared, an ability should be possible for the pcs to acquire, then it is. For all the perfectly valid reasons DMW mentioned. This can differ from someone else's approach, and I think it's just dandy. We disagree, thank the gods.

But please no one come tell me that the way I want to run the game is badwrongfun. Thanks.


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rooneg wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Absolutely true. But those things should be whole new Classes or Ancestries, or weird mystical bargains. Not things that the PCs know the workings of (like their own Class) suddenly behaving differently.
I'm not entirely sure I buy the argument that PCs know the workings of their own Class. There's a spectrum here. Some classes are clearly things that exist in the fiction of the world (i.e. a Wizard is an arcane spellcaster who prepares spells in this particular way, etc). Some of them are not so clear cut (i.e. the difference between a Fighter and various other types of non-magical martial classes). PCs know the visible results of the inner workings of the world, that doesn't necessarily mean they even know what class they are.

Yeah, this too.

To what extent are Classes actually recognizable things in the game world? Especially once you factor in all the archetypes and multi-class characters and all the other weirdness.

Related: Does the world actually suddenly change when a new book comes out? Should a character be surprised when an NPC has an ability that wasn't available when the PC was made, but is now?


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Gorbacz wrote:

Yes, it's just a game. And there's nothing that makes PF1 better at at facilitating storytelling and immersion than PF2 or any other RPG. Matter of fact, I'd say that the PF1's amount of super-deatiled rules in some areas coupled with ambiguity in other areas actually impedes storytelling and immersion, because nothing kicks you out of your evening of pretneding to be a fair elven archer than an hour long argument on about how exactly do feat X, archetype Y and spell Z interact. Dungeon World fares much better in thie regard. So do older editions of D&D with their light rules and explicit GM IS ALWAYS RIGHT disclaimer.

Consequently, framing the argument that PF1 is the game for refined storytellers of beautiful tales while PF2 is a dumbed down casual game of killing stuff is silly, beacause both PF1 and PF2 are essentialy the same - tactial wargames with some tiny flecks of narrativism sprinkled on the top. There are both mid-school RPGs with dozens of tables, little to no player narrative agency that isn't character agency, no meta-mechanics, overt focus on combat and other things that scream 1980 and ignore most of development in RPG design over the recent 20 years.

Yes, yes, the exact same arguments were made when 4E came out. They were flawed then, they are flawed now.

As to "framing the argument", you are the one who framed it that way. I simply commented on the implications of your framing.

You said "Screw versimilitude" then you turn around and say "there's nothing that makes PF1 better at at facilitating storytelling and immersion than PF2". It may be entirely true that PF2 delivers 100% of the immersion that *you* gained from PF1. But your initial comment was the honest point of view. You are simply trying to turn a180 now that the downside of your blunt statement is exposed.

Quote:

PF2 at least cuts down the lard a bit and acknowledges things such as non-binary degrees of success. Yay, Vampire the Masquerade did that in 1990, D&D is slowly catching up.

Of course, none of the above matters if you're having fun, and I've have had a lot of fun with PF1 and likely will have it with PF2. It's just that I am fully aware of what D&D and its offshots are. You folks should really get out and play some newer RPGs out there, because game design has really moved on in the recent two decades.

First questions would be, is it the same or is it not the same? You can't have it both ways.

As to 20 years, please go back and read comments I've offered over and over. PF1, while great and a proven success, it also clearly deeply dated and showing that. I was a fan of a new edition from the moment it was announced. You are right that game design has moved on. And the gutters are full of games that tried the more about the game, "Screw versimilitude" approach. It is a logical fallacy to leap from "a new game is needed" to "therefore any critical comments on the current version are invalid".

PF2 will sell well Day 1. (remember 4E made Mearls a NYT bestlling author). Talk to me in two years. But we already know from history how that plays out as well. Right now you are telling the people being left out to get bent, two years from now you will be saying everything is our fault.


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BryonD wrote:

As to 20 years, please go back and read comments I've offered over and over. PF1, while great and a proven success, it also clearly deeply dated and showing that. I was a fan of a new edition from the moment it was announced. You are right that game design has moved on. And the gutters are full of games that tried the more about the game, "Screw versimilitude" approach. It is a logical fallacy to leap from "a new game is needed" to "therefore any critical comments on the current version are invalid".

PF2 will sell well Day 1. (remember 4E made Mearls a NYT bestlling author). Talk to me in two years. But we already know from history how that plays out as well. Right now you are telling the people being left out to get bent, two years from now you will be saying everything is our fault.

Not to dig into edition warring, but didn't 5E also take this kind of "Screw versimilitude" approach and do pretty well?

At least to the extent of different PC/NPC builds? As did Starfinder, which also seems to be doing well.


Cyouni wrote:
BryonD wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Screw versimilitude and the nice fuzzy feeling that reality fits neat little boxes in your brain you've made for yourself. And that those boxes are nice and orderly. Oh and your boxes are the same as the boxes over there.

It's a game, opponents are supposed to be challenging, encounters are supposed to be interesting. I don't care if my PC could potentially do the same things the Gladiator NPC can do, I want it to be a tough cookie I can fight and have satisfaction from winning. Pretty much nothing else matters.

It might be just "a game" to you. There are tons of games out there.

I greatly enjoy TTRPGs for the creative storytelling and immersion.

I can join others in throwing stones at wonky bits and pieces in PF1. But the book is closed there. It was a phenomenal success in the marketplace and delivered years a great stories at my own table. The game is a lot more than a simple fixation on the wonky bits.

Paizo has clearly taken a strong step in the direction of your desire for a "game" which focuses on setting up fights and letting you high five yourself for winning the fight. And Paizo is clearly willing to move away from me in order to better deliver that product for you.

Time will tell if that strategy delivers for them.

I'm curious to see an answer to this: what breaks verisimilitude and immersion for players if the imp no longer has a magic +2 racial bonus to its poison because it has to?

Nothing.


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thejeff wrote:

Not to dig into edition warring, but didn't 5E also take this kind of "Screw versimilitude" approach and do pretty well?

At least to the extent of different PC/NPC builds? As did Starfinder, which also seems to be doing well.

I would say very much "no" to the first part of your question.

Go ask a 4E fan the same question. I play 5E and really enjoy it and see it as (among other things) WotC correcting from the "screw versimiltude" approach of 4E.

There is a big difference between being relatively rules light and being as Gorbacz summed it up "screw versimiltude".


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Don't forget, Bryon, you still owe me an apology if PF2e is successful two years from now.

I promise I won't neglect mine if you are right and it does tank. :P

P.S. I think "it's just like what happened to 4e" is just as meaningless of an argument as "screw verisimilitude"; neither really says anything productive about the here and now.


BryonD wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Not to dig into edition warring, but didn't 5E also take this kind of "Screw versimilitude" approach and do pretty well?

At least to the extent of different PC/NPC builds? As did Starfinder, which also seems to be doing well.

I would say very much "no" to the first part of your question.

Go ask a 4E fan the same question. I play 5E and really enjoy it and see it as (among other things) WotC correcting from the "screw versimiltude" approach of 4E.

There is a big difference between being relatively rules light and being as Gorbacz summed it up "screw versimiltude".

But you think PF2 is on the "screw verisimilitude" side? Didn't all this start with talk about special NPC abilities? I haven't played a lot of 5E, but isn't that an approach they took?

Liberty's Edge

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rooneg wrote:
I'm not entirely sure I buy the argument that PCs know the workings of their own Class. There's a spectrum here. Some classes are clearly things that exist in the fiction of the world (i.e. a Wizard is an arcane spellcaster who prepares spells in this particular way, etc). Some of them are not so clear cut (i.e. the difference between a Fighter and various other types of non-magical martial classes). PCs know the visible results of the inner workings of the world, that doesn't necessarily mean they even know what class they are.

This is true. But that actually makes them more likely to notice abilities that are distinctly abnormal, IMO. I'd expect a Fighter to know a lot about, well, combat, which is to say the combat abilities of all martial Classes.

I'd find him looking at someone who is in all ways a Barbarian except for this one thing that makes no sense as every bit as plausible as him doing the same with another Fighter.

The same applies to most other Classes, really.

PossibleCabbage wrote:

For me, the verisimilitude I am personally chasing basically requires me to reject the "NPCs have to follow PC rules" paradigm. Like if I want the hermit nearby the town to be a master blacksmith who is nonetheless nearly worthless in a fight, in PF1 in order to make that guy really good at hammering steel I would need to give him class levels, which gives him things like "more hit points" and "more attack bonus" which I do not want.

I'd much rather prefer to write down "Craft: +13, +15 Blacksmithing, HP 14, smithing hammer +2 1d6+2 " than have to jump through hoops to try to justify how a noncombatant can be good at their job without accidentally gaining the ability to go toe-to-toe with vile horrors along the way.

If someone wants to ask "how did that guy get master proficiency at level 1" I'll just point out that the way to do that is to apprentice as a blacksmith, go into business for yourself, train apprentices, and generally work in the business for 20+ years during which time you get much better at craft but no better at fighting.

This is the kind of explicitly and solely math based difference (ie: higher numbers or proficiencies) I'm fine with, for the record (and have noted as much a few times). The character in question counts as higher level in a very specific area...or as lower in everything outside that area, depending on point of view (I prefer the latter, and would use it when referring to the character, he'd be a Level 7 Blacksmith, Level 1 or 2 for combat purposes). Both work, logic-wise, and neither has verisimilitude problems of the sort I'm mentioning.

Where I start having problems is when someone who is narratively a PC Class and Ancestry, or very close to one, who suddenly has new categories of action they can take that no PC can achieve.

Liberty's Edge

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Chetna Wavari wrote:
So, I once screwed up a spell effect. Screwed it up in such a way that my players noticed a round later going, "That's now how that works. The NPCs can't do that. We can't do that. How did they do that?" It wasn't worth the retcon, so I just went with it. After the fight was over, the players found an empty potion vial on the NPC. So, suddenly, there was a possibility that the break in verisimilitude was caused by something in-world and verisimilitude was restored. After all, there are hundreds of spells and alchemical concoctions that the players don't have. Spell research is a thing.

Sounds fine to me. At least as long as the PCs could have acquired this effect themselves with sufficient effort.

Chetna Wavari wrote:
That is the only time I have ever had a problem with a player calling me out on mechanics not matching. Given all of the insane things that monsters and NPCs can do throughout multiple adventure paths.

Sure. I never said this happened regularly. Indeed, I'm sure many games it never happens at all. And in others it's a weekly occurrence. I'm not advocating a specific way for you to play the game at your house, or not strongly anyway (I do think you should always be either prepared to allow PCs to acquire unique abilities somehow or have an in-world explanation why they can't).

But what I'm primarily advocating is a 'best practices' kinda thing for people actually writing rulebooks and adventures.

Chetna Wavari wrote:
A random fighter doing things the PC fighters can't? They have an archetype or a feat or a potion or heritage or something else. Maybe they multiclassed into Antipaladin.

All of those are explanations. Which is what I'm asking for. Either a way for PCs to get it or an explanation why they can't that makes sense in the world. That's all.

Chetna Wavari wrote:
This is Pathfinder. I have a trait in PF1 that allows my character to throw a bottle into the air, catch it in her teeth, pop the cork with her tongue, and drink it. Why? Because she's an inquisitor of Cayden Cailean named Fifth O'Barley and Accelerated Drinker looked like a thematic trait.

That's awesome. Now, what if there was an NPC Cleric of Cayden Cailean with that ability but no way for a PC to get it? Don't you think someone wanting to play that character might find that annoying or disappointing? Don't you think it might be a good idea if, when they included an NPC who can do that trick, they also included a way for PCs to acquire it?

Because that's what I'm advocating.

Chetna Wavari wrote:
I imagine PF2 will end up with having enough options that as long as the NPC building rules aren't bone-headed then players aren't going to blink an eye at it.

They will if NPCs get abilities PCs want but can't have with no explanation as to why them and not the PCs. See my previous example of the Solarian with a ranged energy blast. That's not a hypothetical, it happened and a number of people were justifiably upset.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
rooneg wrote:
I'm not entirely sure I buy the argument that PCs know the workings of their own Class. There's a spectrum here. Some classes are clearly things that exist in the fiction of the world (i.e. a Wizard is an arcane spellcaster who prepares spells in this particular way, etc). Some of them are not so clear cut (i.e. the difference between a Fighter and various other types of non-magical martial classes). PCs know the visible results of the inner workings of the world, that doesn't necessarily mean they even know what class they are.

This is true. But that actually makes them more likely to notice abilities that are distinctly abnormal, IMO. I'd expect a Fighter to know a lot about, well, combat, which is to say the combat abilities of all martial Classes.

I'd find him looking at someone who is in all ways a Barbarian except for this one thing that makes no sense as every bit as plausible as him doing the same with another Fighter.

The same applies to most other Classes, really.

So he's got some obscure archetype or feat I didn't know about. So what? There's hundreds of them.

Does he react that way to his first Urban Barbarian? Or whatever that fighter archetype that gets a familiar is?

This is a metagame problem that only exists because the player knows the ability doesn't exist for PCs.

It's the problem of players wanting the cool toy that's balanced for NPCs not PCs.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

That's awesome. Now, what if there was an NPC Cleric of Cayden Cailean with that ability but no way for a PC to get it? Don't you think someone wanting to play that character might find that annoying or disappointing? Don't you think it might be a good idea if, when they included an NPC who can do that trick, they also included a way for PCs to acquire it?

Because that's what I'm advocating.

Honestly? I don't. At least not as a hard and fast rule. Abilities for NPCs have to be balanced for that particular character in that particular encounter. Player abilities have to be considered in every possible context and interaction with other classes and potential abilities. It's a much tougher job.

It's not so much a matter of PCs losing out on cool options the NPCs have, but NPCs not getting as many cool things to challenge the PCs with because they don't have time to vet them as PC abilities.


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Damn, caught up on 25 posts here at once and lost track of which one I meant to reply to. Well, maybe the comment will be useful to someone anyway.

PF2 has a mechanic PF1 lacked for "they can do that and you can't [ever]"; it's rarity. In PF1 it was implicitly the case that if you learned of a feat's existence and satisfied its prereqs, you could learn the feat. In PF2 that's only the case if the feat is common. (I'm not sure whether any feats in the playtest weren't common, but the rules definitely allow for it.) An uncommon feat would further require---well, let's look at the definition:

playtest rulebook page 10 wrote:
The uncommon rarity indicates an element available only to those who have been initiated into a special kind of training, grow up in a certain culture, or come from a particular part of the world. A character can’t take these options by default. Specific choices, such as class features or backgrounds, might give access to certain uncommon elements. The GM can grant any character access to uncommon options if she so chooses. The level (or type of element for those without levels) is marked in red.

Admittedly being from a certain culture or whatever has sometimes been used as a prereq for PF1 feats, but I think that gets ignored more often than rarity is likely to.

Does that help with verisimilitude problems or invite more of them?

(And now I'm thinking of a player asking the GM "So if we capture this guy and force them on pain of death to teach us, can we have 'access' to their feat?")


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Correct me if i'm wrong but all I see from the argument against asymmetrical design is the extreme point of "A npc fighter who can suddenly cause massive tornadoes with a flick of there blade at level 1 and expect the players to look on as we say sorry only my npcs can do that."

All i want is an abridged stat block without the rows and rows of feats and reasons why it has the appropriate stats it has. while offering me some cool tricks and maneuvers that an npc fighter would have without having to learn the entire fighter class from 1-20.

For example

Scorpion themed fighter cr 2

abridged math for all the important defences of that cr

Atks

Scorpion sting assault - madeup flavour attack that does some cool thing that pc fighters dont have access to because of region, training, religion etc.

Liberty's Edge

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thejeff wrote:

So he's got some obscure archetype or feat I didn't know about. So what? There's hundreds of them.

Does he react that way to his first Urban Barbarian? Or whatever that fighter archetype that gets a familiar is?

I he wants a Dex-boost or a Familiar and didn't know about them before? Absolutely.

thejeff wrote:
This is a metagame problem that only exists because the player knows the ability doesn't exist for PCs.

It isn't. It's a problem that exists because PCs see cool things and want them. I've had people who know a bit less of the system than I happen to do this with available options all the time after they show up, or even just are brought up in conversation. The difference is that with real options the GM can just say 'Oh, yeah, take this thing right here and you've got it.' Or possibly 'Join this setting specific organization and do them some favors and they can teach it to you.'

thejeff wrote:
It's the problem of players wanting the cool toy that's balanced for NPCs not PCs.

At least some PCs will inevitably want any sufficiently cool toy presented to them. It is incumbent on good GMs and designers to either make said toys available or provide a reason they cannot have them that goes beyond 'Because I say so.'

Because being told you can't do things 'because I said so' is an unpleasant experience and this is a game, and is thus intended to be fun.

thejeff wrote:
Honestly? I don't. At least not as a hard and fast rule. Abilities for NPCs have to be balanced for that particular character in that particular encounter. Player abilities have to be considered in every possible context and interaction with other classes and potential abilities. It's a much tougher job.

I was specifically talking about a fun flavor ability, there. I'm not advocating every ability no matter how unbalanced be PC approved. I'm advocating that those that aren't have a reason why they aren't.

thejeff wrote:
It's not so much a matter of PCs losing out on cool options the NPCs have, but NPCs not getting as many cool things to challenge the PCs with because they don't have time to vet them as PC abilities.

Again, I'm not suggesting everything be available to PCs. I'm suggesting those things that aren't have in-setting rationales beyond 'because I said so'.

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