How does PF 2E handle the power of high level casters


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Recently a group am I am in all died playing one of PF Aps due to magic wielding BBEG npc killing of the group. It was combination of the DM properly running the npc and an ambush. The encounter soured my DM so much so that he thinks of disallowing any martial pcs except for Ranger and Rogue and allowing only Arcane and Divine pcs in the next reboot with a new AP.

My question is how does PF 2W handle the linear progression of martials and quadaratic progression of casters that PF !e imo suffers from. Is it better, worse of the same? Note the group is not a bunch of new players. We used our characters abilites to the fullest so it was not due to player issues

Liberty's Edge

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It's better, though casters are probably still slightly more powerful.

Casters get less spells, and spells do not increase in power with caster level alone, instead you need to cast them in a higher level spell slot in order to increase their effect (ie: if you cast a 3rd level fireball it does 8d6 damage, even if you're 20th level...but you can cast a 9th level one and do 20d6 if you want).

A lot of spells, especially save or die spells, are also powered down a bit. PF2 has critical failures and most spells that just took you out on a failure now require a critical failure to do that, instead inflicting heavy debuffs or making you useless for only a turn or two on a failure, inflicting some minor debuff on a success, and having no effect only on a critical success.

For example, Dominate spells now only control their victim long-term if they critically fail, simple failure leaves them mind-controlled but with a new Save every turn to snap out of it, success leaves them Slowed for a round (the PF1 equivalent would be Staggered), and on a critical success they are unaffected.

A lot of spells that replaced skills in PF1 now give bonuses instead in PF2, making them more effective when paired with people who are actually good at the skill (and thus making having the skill in the first place actually good). Discern Lies, for example, just gives a +4 bonus on spotting lies in PF2. That's a good bonus with PF2's math, but it's not better than actually being good at spotting lies in the first place.

In the playtest spells were also weakened in several other ways, but those are the ones almost certain to continue being true in the final game.

Additionally, all Classes now get Skill Feats, some of which include, at high levels, literally scaring people to death with Intimidate and the like, providing non-spellcasters an avenue for more utility and non-stabbing effects. Spellcasters get these as well, mind you, but they're still a nice bonus for non-casters.

Spells remain very powerful and effective, and thus spellcasters probably remain top of the heap in PC power, but the gap's narrowed quite a bit.

In a related note, high level math works vastly better in PF2 and high level 'rocket tag' (which sounds like part of your problem) is much less of a thing as well.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Much, much better. In the Playtest, casters were arguably inferior, even at higher levels.

They adjusted the power of casters in many ways.

1. Most spells don't auto-scale in power (e.g. longer durations, more damage dice, more targets). They now must be boosted or used in a higher level spell slot to get more oomf.

2. Fewer spells slots. Everyone gets fewer spell slots at every level, and you don't end up with a massive pile of low level spells you can use at a whim.

3. Four degrees of success. Many spells had their worst effects locked into the Critical territory. So a death spell spell would only kill someone if they failed their save by more than 10, for example. This actually is a nerf too far, in my opinion, because many of the regular success outcomes were just yawn worthy. In exchange casters go get to do more on a successful save than in PF1e, however.

4. Reduced duration. It remains to be seen if this was kept, but many spells that could last for several battles were dropped down to ~1 minute durations, essentially making them encounter powers.

5. Everyone gets better saves. There will be fewer cases of a character or monster having one abysmally low save, allowing casters to target that specifically and always succeed.

6. Skills should be more impressive. Coupled with things like legendary skill feats and skill buffing spells being reduced to meager +2 boosts, natural skill should more frequently outclass magic, not the other way around.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

With the PF2 Playtest, the tables were turned.

Martial characters can basically end an encounter by spending four or five rounds doing their at-will abilities (hit things). Magic-users can only end encounters by spending their limited slots and hoping for a 5% chance of a critical, unless they use damaging spells, in which case they typically contribute less than their martial allies and still consume limited slots.

This is widely regarded as a feature, not a bug.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Anguish wrote:

With the PF2 Playtest, the tables were turned.

Martial characters can basically end an encounter by spending four or five rounds doing their at-will abilities (hit things). Magic-users can only end encounters by spending their limited slots and hoping for a 5% chance of a critical, unless they use damaging spells, in which case they typically contribute less than their martial allies and still consume limited slots.

This is widely regarded as a feature, not a bug.

They've already been very vocal about the power level of casters and spells which they said they would fix it in the final release, so i dont get where the sarcastic comment on the end comes from.

Liberty's Edge

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For the record, while WatersLethe's post is substantially correct for the playtest, a couple of points are, at least according to the folks at Paizo, probably no longer true for the final version, as many felt they went a tad too far in powering down casters.

In particular, there are strong indications that points #4 and #5 are no longer true in the final game. They've specifically mentioned that the math will be changed to make monsters fail more Saves (especially with their weak save), and there are strong indicators that many durations will have improved.

Anguish, I think, is overstating the point even for the playtest. I ran Doomsday Dawn, and while martial characters were absolutely excellent, several chapters also demonstrated exactly how impressive casters could be if they played their cards right. A lot of it was stuff on the order of buffs or debuffs or area damage (and area damage was often quite good if fighting large numbers of foes) rather than winning directly, but in many cases the buffs or debuffs in question were invaluable. They could certainly seem weaker than martials, but mostly only if you tried to play them exactly how you would've in PF1 (which results in all sorts of poor tactical choices).

They were certainly far less powerful as compared to their martial compatriots than they were in PF1, however. Nobody disagrees on that.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

One thing to note is that with the removal of level to untrained, enemy saves have had their floor increased so that may hurt casters a bit. E. G the range of (prestat) bonuses has decreased, unless we really think we can have level 10 monsters with +0 to a save.

I also disagree with anguish. The casters more than contributed, there is quite a wide spread of outcomes between instawin and 5 rounds of martial boffing and the casters sat nicely in the middle.

Liberty's Edge

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Malk_Content wrote:
One thing to note is that with the removal of level to untrained, enemy saves have had their floor increased so that may hurt casters a bit. E. G the range of (prestat) bonuses has decreased, unless we really think we can have level 10 monsters with +0 to a save.

Not really. Firstly, stat bonuses and things like attack bonuses and saves are completely decoupled in PF2. Secondly, all that's happened to the 'floor' of Saves is that they've gone up by 2 (all monsters shown were at least Trained in all Saves in the playtest...that seems likely to continue), and Save DCs have also gone up by 2.

Save DCs also go up quite a bit compared to lower Saves in the higher levels. I mean, once you're an Expert or Master in Save DCs, monsters with low Saves in a particular category start really falling behind.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Davido1000 wrote:
Anguish wrote:

With the PF2 Playtest, the tables were turned.

Martial characters can basically end an encounter by spending four or five rounds doing their at-will abilities (hit things). Magic-users can only end encounters by spending their limited slots and hoping for a 5% chance of a critical, unless they use damaging spells, in which case they typically contribute less than their martial allies and still consume limited slots.

This is widely regarded as a feature, not a bug.

They've already been very vocal about the power level of casters and spells which they said they would fix it in the final release, so i dont get where the sarcastic comment on the end comes from.

My apologies if that came off as sarcastic. I meant it as literal. The majority of opinions that have weighed in have expressed that they view this as an improvement, not a flaw. There's nothing intended to be snarky, dismissive, or even complaining there. I meant "this is a deliberate design choice that most people seem to like."

I have avoided posting in PF2 topics for precisely this reason... everyone's really high-strung and sensitive, so even neutral comments are getting people fired up.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The general impression I got from the playtest was that casters required more and different strategy to play effectively than in PF1e - and most of the go-to strats from 1e were garbage - but could absolutely still be highly effective. Casters MVP'd in both of the playtest games I ran, but the players who tried to run their casters like PF1e casters suffered. In particular "find the one spell that ends the fight instantly" isn't really a valid strategy anymore, but "find the spell that debilitates the monster so my party can crush them" is incredibly effective.

I imagine that will still be true in the final version, but to a lesser extent.

Dark Archive

It’s been months now since we played the playtest material, but, if memory serves, disrupting spell casting (1 point of damage per caster level is required) can really cut casters down to size. Being surrounded by foes intent on disrupting your casting is now a genuine threat to casters of all level.


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Ikos wrote:
It’s been months now since we played the playtest material, but, if memory serves, disrupting spell casting (1 point of damage per caster level is required) can really cut casters down to size. Being surrounded by foes intent on disrupting your casting is now a genuine threat to casters of all level.

The flipside is fewer things have AoO to disrupt casting with. So unless you start preparing readied actions most casters can cast in melee better than ever. And they can wear full plate since arcane spell failure is gone.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Ikos wrote:
It’s been months now since we played the playtest material, but, if memory serves, disrupting spell casting (1 point of damage per caster level is required) can really cut casters down to size. Being surrounded by foes intent on disrupting your casting is now a genuine threat to casters of all level.
The flipside is fewer things have AoO to disrupt casting with. So unless you start preparing readied actions most casters can cast in melee better than ever. And they can wear full plate since arcane spell failure is gone.

ASF being gone was described as an experiment. Do we know that it's stayed gone?


Given even touch AC is gone, I'd be incredibly surprised if ASF is still around.

Anecdotally, though my bard in part 6 was certainly effective, I did feel that the saves from the higher level opponent made it hard to feel as though my spells had any effect. Part of that was that I picked the worst combat spells for the scenario, but I also don't think he failed a save once. It ended up being that my most effective spells were my composition cantrips, though true seeing and faerie fire certainly helped. I did notice this pattern occurring in part 7 as well as the GM.

So all in all, I'm glad they fixed that.


Happy about the 'unconfirmed' increase in duration from a world building perspective. I was looking at duration of spells in the playtest and I was wondering how a wizard was going to make a living/ how people were going to afford it. {ie either the spell was only going to last until you left there shop, so not many people would buy spellcasting services, or people would have to also hire the wizard to follow them to the spot they needed the spell.)

I guess they could still sell spells, and get into item crafting {ie what most adventures use them for}. But, at least in my mind, a good amount of there income comes from spellcasting [what the majority of NPC's would use them for.)


Cyouni wrote:
Given even touch AC is gone, I'd be incredibly surprised if ASF is still around.

I don't think the presence of absense of either are at all related, but I agree ASF is probably gone for it's own reasons.

I think this is area of playtest communications that was subpar: highlighting ASF% as 'experimental',
yet giving no feedback or insight into design processes around it, AFAIK no specific poll questions covered it,
we never saw variants of "no ASF" or variants of ASF%: at minimum converting to flat d20 which many already used in 3.x/P1E,
at maximum: moving away from binary 'waste a slot' mechanic + ASF% which are defacto not used unless shifted to <10%)
towards more supple 'degrade power/effect of magic (CL penalty in 3.x paradigm, DC/duration/dice penalty in 2e paradigm).
In other words, no 'experimentation' to subtantiate that it really was 'experimental'.
So maybe it's fair to say, it really wasn't that experimental, they expected it to work fine, and that's what they saw.

Personally, I was concerned by this direction, and am not fully satisfied it will not lead to too many full armored wizards.
But I do think the different factors interacting with it will restrain actual across the board ubiquity:
Feats (1 Multi-Class Feat or maybe multiple General Feats), Stats (STR needed to avoid movement penalty, competing against other stat needs: including DEX without which actual AC benefit is reduced, WIS for Perception/Init, and of course CON and hopefully CHA has something more going for it), and physical Skills like Athletics (which are used for more things now). I'm not sure if I'm forgetting something there off the top of my head.

I don't know if they will have achieved perfection, it's hard to say what actual experimentation and variation they did on broader mechanics revolving around this issue (not strictly localizable to one mechanic). But I think over-all the system will be more supple & nuanced than ASF% which was really just a binary 'not at all or barely affected' and 'so harsh don't even try this' which is ironic for a d100 mechanic presenting as equally or more varied than d20. If a STR build Wizard spending Class or multiple General Feats is viable with Heavy Armor then IMHO, great: ideally Medium, Light, and No Armor builds will also be equally or more attractive/optimal.


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MaxAstro wrote:

The general impression I got from the playtest was that casters required more and different strategy to play effectively than in PF1e - and most of the go-to strats from 1e were garbage - but could absolutely still be highly effective. Casters MVP'd in both of the playtest games I ran, but the players who tried to run their casters like PF1e casters suffered. In particular "find the one spell that ends the fight instantly" isn't really a valid strategy anymore, but "find the spell that debilitates the monster so my party can crush them" is incredibly effective.

I imagine that will still be true in the final version, but to a lesser extent.

Thoroughly this. My group had VERY similar experiences to this in the Playtest. I think a lot of the complaints about casters being weak were either people using them ineffectively and/or playing them with a PF1 mindset/playstyle. My group utilized them to excellent effect and not from any particular luck with the dice, either. It was a matter of playing them smart.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

The general impression I got from the playtest was that casters required more and different strategy to play effectively than in PF1e - and most of the go-to strats from 1e were garbage - but could absolutely still be highly effective. Casters MVP'd in both of the playtest games I ran, but the players who tried to run their casters like PF1e casters suffered. In particular "find the one spell that ends the fight instantly" isn't really a valid strategy anymore, but "find the spell that debilitates the monster so my party can crush them" is incredibly effective.

I imagine that will still be true in the final version, but to a lesser extent.

Thoroughly this. My group had VERY similar experiences to this in the Playtest. I think a lot of the complaints about casters being weak were either people using them ineffectively and/or playing them with a PF1 mindset/playstyle. My group utilized them to excellent effect and not from any particular luck with the dice, either. It was a matter of playing them smart.

In part two, the Cleric used "Command - Fall Prone" to the Manticore... It was utterly effective, with the Manticore (that was flying) falling down the mountain. The Cleric, not wanting the fall to steal her kill, proceeded to jump down the mountain to make a killing blow... and almost died doing so. BUT she managed to kill the beast. They lost a couple of hours to get her back on the road, then resting a bit... But it was awesome. :P

(She used 3 hero points then to have the extra action to attack after the jump... That was RECKLESS...)


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Elfteiroh wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

The general impression I got from the playtest was that casters required more and different strategy to play effectively than in PF1e - and most of the go-to strats from 1e were garbage - but could absolutely still be highly effective. Casters MVP'd in both of the playtest games I ran, but the players who tried to run their casters like PF1e casters suffered. In particular "find the one spell that ends the fight instantly" isn't really a valid strategy anymore, but "find the spell that debilitates the monster so my party can crush them" is incredibly effective.

I imagine that will still be true in the final version, but to a lesser extent.

Thoroughly this. My group had VERY similar experiences to this in the Playtest. I think a lot of the complaints about casters being weak were either people using them ineffectively and/or playing them with a PF1 mindset/playstyle. My group utilized them to excellent effect and not from any particular luck with the dice, either. It was a matter of playing them smart.

In part two, the Cleric used "Command - Fall Prone" to the Manticore... It was utterly effective, with the Manticore (that was flying) falling down the mountain. The Cleric, not wanting the fall to steal her kill, proceeded to jump down the mountain to make a killing blow... and almost died doing so. BUT she managed to kill the beast. They lost a couple of hours to get her back on the road, then resting a bit... But it was awesome. :P

(She used 3 hero points then to have the extra action to attack after the jump... That was RECKLESS...)

That's my kind of player. Mine pulled some similar shenanigans on the manticore fight... but the dice weren't with them and the party fled while the manticore ate the Enlarged goblin corpse of the Barbarian.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Elfteiroh wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

The general impression I got from the playtest was that casters required more and different strategy to play effectively than in PF1e - and most of the go-to strats from 1e were garbage - but could absolutely still be highly effective. Casters MVP'd in both of the playtest games I ran, but the players who tried to run their casters like PF1e casters suffered. In particular "find the one spell that ends the fight instantly" isn't really a valid strategy anymore, but "find the spell that debilitates the monster so my party can crush them" is incredibly effective.

I imagine that will still be true in the final version, but to a lesser extent.

Thoroughly this. My group had VERY similar experiences to this in the Playtest. I think a lot of the complaints about casters being weak were either people using them ineffectively and/or playing them with a PF1 mindset/playstyle. My group utilized them to excellent effect and not from any particular luck with the dice, either. It was a matter of playing them smart.

In part two, the Cleric used "Command - Fall Prone" to the Manticore... It was utterly effective, with the Manticore (that was flying) falling down the mountain. The Cleric, not wanting the fall to steal her kill, proceeded to jump down the mountain to make a killing blow... and almost died doing so. BUT she managed to kill the beast. They lost a couple of hours to get her back on the road, then resting a bit... But it was awesome. :P

(She used 3 hero points then to have the extra action to attack after the jump... That was RECKLESS...)
That's my kind of player. Mine pulled some similar shenanigans on the manticore fight... but the dice weren't with them and the party fled while the manticore ate the Enlarged goblin corpse of the Barbarian.

My players are a bit like this too. Hero points were used frequently, and only TWICE in all of Doomsday Dawn were they used for stabilizing. Honestly I don't get the whole "hoard hero points for death" thing for two reasons. One, using them for a critical reroll or extra action can actually be better, as it can prevent a KO or worse in the first place, and two, unless your party doesn't have a healer, wouldn't you normally trust to your allies to save you? I mean, even if you use a hero point to stabilize you still need healing anyway, it's just a little less urgent. XP

On the other hand my DD parties only suffered 2 KOs and no deaths in the entire AP, so that could color my perception...


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Edge93 wrote:
...

Yeah, I definitely see the Hero Points used more often to reroll critical failures on saving throws or clutch skill checks. And that's with costing 2 points-- in PF2 I'm sure you will see them spent even more frequently this way, since it only costs 1 hero point to reroll a check and the cost/benefit for stabilizing has become much worse.

Liberty's Edge

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We weren't used to Hero Points and basically forgot their existence after Chapter 1 (during which we only remembered them at the end when people were unconscious and they used them to stabilize).


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
We weren't used to Hero Points and basically forgot their existence after Chapter 1 (during which we only remembered them at the end when people were unconscious and they used them to stabilize).

My players bring a lot of snacks, so I hand out hero points at he beginning of pretty much every session. Definitely helps in remembering they exist.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
We weren't used to Hero Points and basically forgot their existence after Chapter 1 (during which we only remembered them at the end when people were unconscious and they used them to stabilize).
My players bring a lot of snacks, so I hand out hero points at he beginning of pretty much every session. Definitely helps in remembering they exist.

As someone who has to run online, I really hope they present a more direct in game option for doling out hero points. It seemed odd to me that a very real balance system was primarily controlled by out of game forces.

Dark Archive

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Malk_Content wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
We weren't used to Hero Points and basically forgot their existence after Chapter 1 (during which we only remembered them at the end when people were unconscious and they used them to stabilize).
My players bring a lot of snacks, so I hand out hero points at he beginning of pretty much every session. Definitely helps in remembering they exist.
As someone who has to run online, I really hope they present a more direct in game option for doling out hero points. It seemed odd to me that a very real balance system was primarily controlled by out of game forces.

Yeaaah, turns out my player group hates meta game resources. (they hated inspiration in D&D 5e too apparently) They much preferred the "you are guaranteed to get one hero point at level up" approach of 1e


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hero points always seem like an ass-pull to me.

Liberty's Edge

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Hero Points are easily ignored. A simple 'We don't use those' from the GM and they're gone. The game continues to function fine.

Dark Archive

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WatersLethe wrote:
Hero points always seem like an ass-pull to me.

Bah, they are a mechanic that allows you to mitigate effect of bad luck with extremely limited resource. Nothing bs about that


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CorvusMask wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Hero points always seem like an ass-pull to me.
Bah, they are a mechanic that allows you to mitigate effect of bad luck with extremely limited resource. Nothing bs about that

When my group played the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, we adapted the D&D 3.5 version to Pathfinder, because the Pathfinder Anniversary version had not yet been written. The final boss at the end of The Skinsaw Murders was a notorious party killer--Paizo toned her down for the Anniversary version. And that boss took our wizard down from full hit points to about negative 15 hit points in a single round. Except that the GM, my wife, decided to fudge the damage so that the wizard survived, because killing a party member like that was no fun for either the players nor the GM.

She inserted The Warren of the Death Spider by Rogue Genius Games between The Skinsaw Murders and Hook Mountain Massacre. We went in armed with Molotov cocktails made of flasks of oil, because the spider swarms were vulnerable to fire. A munchin player playing a pyromanic druid caused a giant fuel-air explosion that would have engulfed everyone. The GM gave us one round to run. Most PCs escaped out the entrance, the wizard was delayed by the invisible giant spider getting in his way for an attack, the dwarf fighter stopped to fight the now-visible spider, and my gnome character and a gnome NPC had to run deeper into the temple and hide behind a large statue because the entrance was too far away. The GM took some creative license and the wizard was blasted out the entrance by the explosion unconscious but alive, the dwarf fighter barely survived the explosion due to her massive hit points but the 12 Molotov cocktails she carried on her were lit, and the statue did protect the gnomes. The GM gave the dwarf fighter an extra action to drop the cocktails, but the player decided to be heroic and used the action to grab the giant spider and hang on tight as the cocktails burst into their own fireball. That sacrifice was enough to finish off the giant spider that was an avatar of the spider god.

We had adopted some features out of the recently published Advanced Player's Guide, but had not yet adopted Hero Points. I took over as GM during the next module and introduced Hero Points, because I was not as creative as my wife at finding ways for the PCs to survive. Though I did have to be creative when my players spent two Hero Points for Cheat Death. I had a houserule that Cheat Death not only prevented going too negative in hit points, but also placed the character in a situation where the enemy has no opportunity to finish the task of killing the character with an extra stab.

I view Hero Points as an in-game mechanism to keep the campaign story sufficiently heroic, without the characters dying off for trivial reasons or acting overly cautious. Caution slows down gameplay. If a game lacked Hero Points, then the GM would have to creatively fudge as my wife did.

Yes, most of my players carefully hoarded two Hero Points for Cheat Death and used only the third one to improve rolls or take an extra action. The two exceptions were one player who took the Hero's Fortune feat that raised maximum hero points to five, and my wife. My adorably creative roleplaying-fanatic wife loved to spend her Hero Points down to zero with extra actions, luck bonuses, or special effects and then find ways for her character to earn them back.

By the way, I was poor at awarding Hero Points. Whenever a PC pulled a dramatic and heroic action, I became so busy figuring out the enemy's reaction that I would not think about side matters such as awarding Hero Points. In our Iron Gods campaign, my wife persuaded me to institute a Most Valuable Player award. At the end of a game session, the players and I would discuss who had done the most for the game that session, which usually was dramatic heroism but sometimes was useful support actions or advancing the story by acting well in character. That player received a Hero Point. If that Most Valuable Player was at max hero points, then we figured out the Second Most Valuable Player instead to gain the Hero Point.

Shadow Lodge

WatersLethe wrote:
Hero points always seem like an ass-pull to me.

Luck is an asspull to you?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

To be fair, luck is kind of an asspull by definition. :P


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Hero Points are easily ignored. A simple 'We don't use those' from the GM and they're gone. The game continues to function fine.

That does change balance quite significantly once the consequences for failing certain rolls gets more dire. I like the mechanic of a resource players can spend to mitigate bad rolls, I don't like that Greg has a better chance of surving the mega lichens death spores because he brought cookies.

I also don't like that they are session based as you then have the bizarre issue that tackling a dungeon in 4 one hour sessions will increase your odds of success over doing it in 1 four hour session.

Plus APs will have to assume either no hero points or an arbitrary number (or declare how many hero points per section which I would actually like). This is off topic though so will make a new thread if people find it interesting enough to do so.

Liberty's Edge

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Eh. The stream of Oblivion Oath says that using Hero Points to cheat death always costs all of them, so bringing cookies doesn't help with that. It's apparently only one for a reroll, so it'd help with that, but not the auto-stabilize thing.

We also don't know how Hero Points are given out in the final version of the game, nor whether it's still per session (the Oblivion Oath game they're given out by viewers and seem to persist...that's clearly an atypical and non-default arrangement, so the official way is still a mystery). I think that makes discussing it too much more than a bit premature.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
[...] I don't like that Greg has a better chance of surving the mega lichens death spores because he brought cookies.

I agree that tying Hero Points into an out-of-game spending of money and/or resources is a suboptimal solution. Instead, I will give one per session to each player, plus one more for each player that arrives on time and ready to play. A third can be earned by in-game actions.

I also plan on using Plot Twist cards as Hero Points (modified of course as the mechanical benefits on the cards are for first edition) as I like it when players have lots of tools to help craft the story. The players will be able to use the cards either as Hero Points or as the card's description. I have no idea if this will be overpowered since previously I only gave one card per session, so I will have to see how this plays out.


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Mathmuse wrote:

When my group played the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, we adapted the D&D 3.5 version to Pathfinder, because the Pathfinder Anniversary version had not yet been written. The final boss at the end of The Skinsaw Murders was a notorious party killer--Paizo toned her down for the Anniversary version. And that boss took our wizard down from full hit points to about negative 15 hit points in a single round. Except that the GM, my wife, decided to fudge the damage so that the wizard survived, because killing a party member like that was no fun for either the players nor the GM.

She inserted The Warren of the Death Spider by Rogue Genius Games between The Skinsaw Murders and Hook Mountain Massacre. We went in armed with Molotov cocktails made of flasks of oil, because the spider swarms were vulnerable to fire. A munchin player playing a pyromanic druid caused a giant fuel-air explosion that would have engulfed everyone. The GM gave us one round to run. Most PCs escaped out the entrance, the wizard was delayed by the invisible giant spider getting in his way for an attack, the dwarf fighter stopped to fight the now-visible spider, and my gnome character and a gnome NPC had to run deeper into the temple and hide behind a large statue because the entrance was too far away. The GM took some creative license and the wizard was blasted out the entrance by the explosion unconscious but alive, the dwarf fighter barely survived the explosion due to her massive hit points but the 12 Molotov cocktails she carried on her were lit, and the statue did protect the gnomes. The GM gave the dwarf fighter an extra action to drop the cocktails, but the player decided to be...

I love reading the accounts of your adventures, Mathmuse. For one, you and your wife sound so awesome together, and I really wish I were as lucky as you in finding an SO who's an RPG nerd as I am. And the stories are always pretty damn cool!


Oh God, paying for hero points... I’ve seen that kind of mechanic go horribly wrong in the past. DMW and myself could tell some stories about a LARP group that went P2W.


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Returning in topic, high level spellcasting is still powerful, but not much more than martial combat. The feats and health mostly make the difference - I had several players run high levels by playing Fighters, Rogues and Rangers with Wizard or Cleric multiclass.
That led them to taking care of major encounters with ease, such as Shoggoths, Star-Spawns and bunches of giants... but it also led them to major trouble once they met with large amounts of crowd control and mental effects. A single bard would’ve changed the encounter significantly, and despite the rogue’s dispel abilities, a defensive or protective spellcaster would have done much better.

So, it’s about niches.


Raylyeh wrote:
Oh God, paying for hero points... I’ve seen that kind of mechanic go horribly wrong in the past. DMW and myself could tell some stories about a LARP group that went P2W.

That sounds terrible. XP But it does remind me of a funny story.

I'm someone who would love to do paid GMing and I have joked with my friends about running a paid campaign and allowing players to pay extra for more hero points.

I would NEVER actually do that of course, and not just because I expect I'd be put of a job quickly but because it's a d*** move, but I found the mental image hilarious, something akin to dumping another token in the Gauntlet arcade machine because you did something stupid and need to buy yourself a bailout. XD


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Edge93 wrote:
I would NEVER actually do that of course, and not just because I expect I'd be put of a job quickly but because it's a d*** move, but I found the mental image hilarious, something akin to dumping another token in the Gauntlet arcade machine because you did something stupid and need to buy yourself a bailout. XD

Blue wizard needs food badly! ("Food is good!").

Once I was reading a thread in which a gm was explaining he *did* have the players pay for the privilege of having adventures run by him. He said that the way he saw it, he was providing a service. The horror of every other thread participant was palpable.


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Well, paying for hero points would be much better IMO if the money gets pooled until the group can use that to go out for a pizza.
That may work.


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Megistone wrote:

Well, paying for hero points would be much better IMO if the money gets pooled until the group can use that to go out for a pizza.

That may work.

I suppose that if everyone at the table agrees to it and there is 100% transparency sure. But I feel that shouldn’t be in the actual rules. Any mechanic that favors certain players over others due to out of game circumstances such as income is complete BS. And loaded as Hell.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Raylyeh wrote:
Megistone wrote:

Well, paying for hero points would be much better IMO if the money gets pooled until the group can use that to go out for a pizza.

That may work.
I suppose that if everyone at the table agrees to it and there is 100% transparency sure. But I feel that shouldn’t be in the actual rules. Any mechanic that favors certain players over others due to out of game circumstances such as income is complete BS. And loaded as Hell.

Which I what the current rules (playtest) do. I have personally been in gaming groups in which I'm the only one with the disposable income to treat everyone. For which I would get hero points.


I’m aware. Thankfully my group will more than likely not even use hero points and even if we did something like buying food for the group isn’t likely to come up. We have some dietary restrictions and we fend for ourselves as it were.
Luckily hero points are not integral to the game at the moment. We will see if that holds in the final cut.


Getting back to high level spellcasters' capacity for mayhem, maybe? I mean, not that we know a lot more than what's already been told. If you guys think the thread has exhausted itself already then don't mind me.


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If I wanted people to start with 2 hero points i’d give them one for showing up and one for being on time.
Not sitting around for half an hour is more important than free snacks.


I do want to mention for the sake of people worried about having to buy hero points with real money the actual text states;

PF2 Playtest wrote:
Your character starts each game session with 1 Hero Point. The GM can award Hero Points when PCs perform further heroic deeds or tasks, or when players do something special for the group. For the characters’ actions, this all comes from the story. A character needs to do something selfless or daring beyond normal expectations. Players add Hero Points by taking on at least one additional responsibility, such as bringing food for the group, keeping a map of a dungeon, or taking notes.

So first off, of the three possible hero points for a session only one is obtained from out of game actions.

Secondly, of the three examples of how to earn out of game points only one has any monetary cost. The general theme I see is that any player who does something to help run the game instead of making the GM do everything gets a point.

As a GM, anything that encourages players to do some of my bookkeeping for me I'm down with.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Anyone who does something that benefits the group, GM included, deserves a hero point IMO.


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I do hope casters are a bit more potent in actual play. It's why I love the 4 degrees of success, the best use of a spell I've done was a Gust of Wind Spell that not only extinguished the fire on an ally, but it blew a fire elemental into a pond. But I only got that from a nat 1 on the save and cant rely too much on that. I think unreliability is my biggest worry with spells-I personally as a spellcaster in PF1 try to pick spells that dont have saves and rely only on my ability to hit. Would be nice to see some other spells come into play hat work, so big fan of spells that still do damage on sucessful saves, needing a crit success to dodge completely.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
I do hope casters are a bit more potent in actual play. It's why I love the 4 degrees of success, the best use of a spell I've done was a Gust of Wind Spell that not only extinguished the fire on an ally, but it blew a fire elemental into a pond. But I only got that from a nat 1 on the save and cant rely too much on that. I think unreliability is my biggest worry with spells-I personally as a spellcaster in PF1 try to pick spells that dont have saves and rely only on my ability to hit. Would be nice to see some other spells come into play hat work, so big fan of spells that still do damage on sucessful saves, needing a crit success to dodge completely.

Excuse me, this is a hero point thread, can you take this discussion to- oh, wait. Nevermind.

I agree, I'm a bit nervous about too much being stuck behind a crit fail. I *hope* that buffs to spells that they hinted at included making sure a regular success matters.

If they hit the balance just right, they can really go far with the 4 degrees of success. Potentially the whole "Oh, they saved? Guess my turn and spell slot was a complete waste, see you guys tomorrow." feeling can be significantly reduced.

Paizo Employee Designer

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WatersLethe wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
I do hope casters are a bit more potent in actual play. It's why I love the 4 degrees of success, the best use of a spell I've done was a Gust of Wind Spell that not only extinguished the fire on an ally, but it blew a fire elemental into a pond. But I only got that from a nat 1 on the save and cant rely too much on that. I think unreliability is my biggest worry with spells-I personally as a spellcaster in PF1 try to pick spells that dont have saves and rely only on my ability to hit. Would be nice to see some other spells come into play hat work, so big fan of spells that still do damage on sucessful saves, needing a crit success to dodge completely.

Excuse me, this is a hero point thread, can you take this discussion to- oh, wait. Nevermind.

I agree, I'm a bit nervous about too much being stuck behind a crit fail. I *hope* that buffs to spells that they hinted at included making sure a regular success matters.

If they hit the balance just right, they can really go far with the 4 degrees of success. Potentially the whole "Oh, they saved? Guess my turn and spell slot was a complete waste, see you guys tomorrow." feeling can be significantly reduced.

Yep, the key isn't to make a regular failure a disaster, that'll just take us back to PF1 instawins, but instead to drill into the idea you mention here and one of the main reasons for the degrees of success in the first place: We need to make sure that success is still something useful for the caster. For a single target save or lose spell, if you cast it and the target saved, it's more likely a boss, so something like taking away one of the boss's actions is very useful (slowed 1 may be humble, but I can't count the number of times in my game that my foes were screwed by losing that third action, for instance by losing access to a three-action activity or because I couldn't move and use a two-action activity). And some reasonably lowish level spells do that on a success, like slow is a great spell for that. Spending two of the party's twelve (for four person group) actions to take 1 of the boss's 3 actions even on a success is a 2:1 advantage for the group (even better for a larger group, but then a solo boss is odd for a giant group and might critically succeed), and that's on a success!

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