Things I'm looking forward to in a new edition;


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Squiggit wrote:


The rewards of system mastery should be able to build and execute ideas more effectively and in more esoteric ways than might be readily apparent to someone with less experience, probably with an emphasis on the execution part, not... schadenfreude when you get to tell someone their idea doesn't work because the system is balanced terribly.

...It's not about that, it's about learning to become a better player. I hit some pitfalls when I started playing for the first time long ago. I learned from the experiences and it made me a better player and GM. New players today should get to have those same experiences.

If someone isn't willing to learn the game, I question whether they're really that invested in the first place. The one time I got stuck playing a game in (the other big system), which I know I'm never going to play again, I still took a couple dozen hours to learn the ins and outs and make the best character I could. I've only played one session of Starfinder (which I do like). Even knowing it was a one shot game, I still took around 15 to 20 hours studying the system because I was new to it. It's just what you do.


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This obsession with needing to spend 15+ hours to have basic competence with a game comes off as gatekeeping.

And yes, some people aren't invested the moment that they pick up a book. Some people need to play the game and have good memories with it before they start to invest in it.

And it isn't like there isn't a lot of optimization you can do in the new system, they just brought the ceiling and floor closer.

People who know the mechanics are also now more free to pick options for lore or flavor.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
sherlock1701 wrote:
If you work hard, you should do well. If you dont, then you shouldn't complain.

I don't want to work hard at a leisure activity. I'd rather it support all players from the start.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
...It's not about that, it's about learning to become a better player. I hit some pitfalls when I started playing for the first time long ago. I learned from the experiences and it made me a better player and GM. New players today should get to have those same experiences.

This "new player should also have troubles learning the game" is an attitude that you can have as a person. But as a company (here Paizo) you are going to fail with that.

Do you use your computer via command line like you had to with early computers? No because someone thought "Maybe users have an easier time if the interface was graphical" and not "I had to use command line so new users should also struggle with it". Nearly every device or activity that isn't madatory to use without alternatives gets easier to use over time, because why not?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
sherlock1701 wrote:
Even knowing it was a one shot game, I still took around 15 to 20 hours studying the system because I was new to it. It's just what you do.

That's exactly the problem though - it's "just what you do" for the likes of us. It's not a good approach for being able to realistically bring in new players easily, which makes it bad for the hobby, and bad for business.

I've spent long enough making characters for people and holding as much information about their abilities in my head as possible - good, lovely people who I thoroughly enjoy playing with, and who for one reason or another - personal life, health and energy restrictions, time constraints - wouldn't be playing the game if I didn't do that to facilitate their game experience. So I've done that, and done it gladly. But during the playtest, after the first couple of characters, everyone was invariably fine to go off and make their own level 7/11/14/17 (or whatever it was for DD) characters, and just check with me on the few things they got stuck on or if they wanted some advice, and I knew that everyone would end up with a functioning character which they also knew the abilities of more thoroughly. And it really opened my eyes to just how much better my games can be when I have more time to spend prepping plot and encounters because I don't have to spend it helping people with character creation and leveling up and remembering fiddly modifiers and random feats they took 4 levels ago and how they interact with the current situation.

Spending hours on character creation may be "just what you do", but it shouldn't have to be. It should be "a thing you can do", if you want, but which isn't necessary. And imo P2 seems to have improved that balance, and I, for one, am happy for it.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, it's definitely gatekeeping to say only people who are willing to prep for a game for 15 to 20 hours have a right to enjoy the game.

And that's what's being said when you think it's fine for low investment players to be saddled with trap options and broken characters.

It's also hugely dismissive of differences in human psychology. Some people simply do not function in the same way as those of us who happily spend our weekends buried in spreadsheets to optimize our characters.

If a system can let people who learn better with hands on teaching methods enjoy the game, while also allowing book-learners to have fun and delve into various mechanics, then that would be the ideal.

I just can't stand the notion that certain people should be punished over the course of an entire campaign for not studying up. That's sadistic.

The Exchange

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I'm most excited about the changes to magic in general. I like that I can finally play a caster who can sling cantrips all day without having to resort to using a weapon unless I want to and with scaling dcs I can finally use all of my spells at any level without agonizing over if I think the enemy will pass the crummy dc. There's also the chance at triggering weaknesses on a low level blast and still getting off decent damage. Doubly so if they crit fail.

Also I love the changes to Bards and finally being able to sing all day and effectively being able to hand out those +1s to hit which are effectively Improved Critical in this edition. I normally play a buffer/debuffer so Inspire Courage having a bit more power thanks to the new crit system makes me happy.

Liberty's Edge

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sherlock1701 wrote:
...It's not about that, it's about learning to become a better player. I hit some pitfalls when I started playing for the first time long ago. I learned from the experiences and it made me a better player and GM. New players today should get to have those same experiences.

Why?

This is a serious question. Something having been done one way historically in no way makes it a good thing. masda_gib's computer interface analogy is spot on.

sherlock1701 wrote:
If someone isn't willing to learn the game, I question whether they're really that invested in the first place. The one time I got stuck playing a game in (the other big system), which I know I'm never going to play again, I still took a couple dozen hours to learn the ins and outs and make the best character I could. I've only played one session of Starfinder (which I do like). Even knowing it was a one shot game, I still took around 15 to 20 hours studying the system because I was new to it. It's just what you do.

No, it's what you, specifically, do. Presumably because you enjoy it and the degree of system mastery in enables. I do the same, for that matter, and enjoy the process as well.

But neither you nor I have desires that are universal among all people who want to roleplay. For many excellent roleplayers, the system is entirely secondary to the story, to getting to play a character they envision. For those people having to spend 20 hours learning all the ins and outs of a system just so their character doesn't suck mechanically is an unpleasant chore...and one that's avoidable as many systems take less time to learn than that. And then, of course, there are people who would enjoy this but have a job and kids and just don't have the time to do it. Or a host of other reasons people won't enjoy or be able to do this. Those people should be allowed to have fun in the game, too.

But you're basically excluding people like that from playing much Pathfinder if you make the system require this for baseline competence. And that's a bad business decision and also kind of a dick move/gatekeeping behavior. A well designed game should be enjoyable for people of all levels of investment in learning rules, not just those with the highest possible interest in (and time for) that specific sub-activity.

And PF2 seems to me to have hit a nice sweet spot. It's complicated enough to reward the 20 hours of study (for people who like that), while still allowing you to create a pretty decent character without such an investment (for those who don't).


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sherlock1701 wrote:

...It's not about that, it's about learning to become a better player. I hit some pitfalls when I started playing for the first time long ago. I learned from the experiences and it made me a better player and GM. New players today should get to have those same experiences.

If someone isn't willing to learn the game, I question whether they're really that invested in the first place. The one time I got stuck playing a game in (the other big system), which I know I'm never going to play again, I still took a couple dozen hours to learn the ins and outs and make the best character I could. I've only played one session of Starfinder (which I do like). Even knowing it was a one shot game, I still took around 15 to 20 hours studying the system because I was new to it. It's just what you do.

Why does learning to be better at the game have to come from sitting by yourself and studying a book? Isn't it more fun to become a better player by actually playing the game?

Newbie Bob and Veteran Joe are each fighting an Ogre. On Bob's turn he uses all his actions to attack the Ogre, thinking that dealing damage is the best option for his character. Joe, realizing his third attack isn't very valuable, attempts to intimidate the Ogre before attacking it. Bob has now learned that using all 3 actions to attack isn't usually that useful.

A few rounds later both Ogres are on their last legs. Bob uses the intimidate > attack > attack routine he learned from Joe earlier. Joe, realizing that one extra hit might completely take the Ogre out of the fight uses all 3 actions to attack. Bob has now learned that different situations call for different tactics.

At the end of the session Bob has gained some "system mastery," but not by pouring through books by himself, but by actually playing the game with his friends.


sherlock1701 wrote:

And why not? It's just like any other subject. If I spend an extra 20 hours studying statistics, would it be unfair for me to perform markedly better on an exam than someone who did not? I certainly don't see a difference.

If you work hard, you should do well. If you dont, then you shouldn't complain.

I would not want to think of the games I run or play as statistics exams. Actually, I think a better metaphore for what you're describing would be that one guy coming to a book club meeting having not only read the book but also two author biographies and several literary analysis papers on it. If it's not a book club full of like-minded people they're probably not going to have a good time.

I prefer to separate system (sets of mechanics that make it up and their interaction) mastery from content (different content build upon and using the game's systems) knowledge. I'd rather a game rewarded a player who spent time reading on its system and knows how a certain mechanic interact with another one (say, a certain power with a certain weakness), than a player who spent time studying the content and looking for exploits and trap choices. But in either case, even when actual system mastery is concerned, while dealing with a collaborative narrative construction game, I don't feel that a hugely pronounced reward such as usually seen in D&D and PF1 is really necessary. It feels to me like a throwback to D&D's wargame beginnings. This is the way I feel though, so if you have a group of like-minded people who like spending the extra 40 hours to read through the biographies and literary analyses, go nuts. I'll stick to just talking about what parts of the book I enjoyed.

Now, from game design stand point, trap decisions and exploits are not near ideal when you're working on the content for your game. A certain amount of imbalance is inevitable in complex games with multiple systems and lots of content, but it's definitely a part of the designer's job to try and minimize its impact. It is both good to lower the barrier of entrance, and actually provide a bigger decision space for the players (a trap decision or obviously OP decision do little except reducing this space).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

In the fighting game community, there is a really analogous position to Sherlock's desire for skill-based difficulty in character creation: Move input complexity. Some people really like moves to be hard to enter into their controller, and think that a fighting game needs that kind of complexity.

A game designer name David Sirlin (whom I've found pretty influential in how I think about game balance and multiplayer design) likens those kinds of skill challenges to having a contest for baking a cake, in that it has nothing to do with the actual strategy of playing the game at hand, and is just an extra thing that's added in that you also have to be good at to be successful. The only response to that analogy he's found satisfactory is "it's exactly like baking a cake." Because sometimes people just enjoy mastering that skill and want it included.

Which is where, I think, Sherlock is, and why no one will convince him otherwise. He likes the cake-baking contest of viable character design and system understanding, and wants people to learn how to do it. I certainly enjoy the process of peeling back layers in a system to understand how it works, and building characters around concepts or mechanics tied to that understanding...but not everyone does. And frankly, having a barrier like that gets in the way of learning the real strategy and tactics of the game. As long as the system still has depth for interesting options (which PF2 absolutely appears to), there's still tons of system mastery around understanding conditions, monster weaknesses, positioning, unique monster actions, skills, action economy, etc. And these are the things that most players consider "the game."

Those of us who enjoy learning a system (like Sherlock, DMW, and me) still have plenty of ways to optimize, but it's a better overall experience for my players to have the ability to quickly build a viable character and participate effectively. That such optimizations have diminishing returns is not a bug, but a feature.


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I think one of the key aesthetic appeals of Pathfinder compared to similar games is that Pathfinder appeals to tinkerers. Specifically, you get a lot of choices and some of them work better together than others.

Now, I specifically want to say that no one should have a bad character because they didn't choose the right options. Indeed, this is why it's good that PF2 largely avoids "math fixers" as things you can have, since "the optimizer has a much bigger number than anyone else" is probably the biggest failure state of "you can make a bad character by picking thematic choices."

But PF2's "combine options in ways that work together" is less about "making the number huge" and more about "what can you get done with 3 actions" and "what sorts of situations can you excel in."

We're not going to, nor should we, get rid of stuff like the 10th level elf monk with elf step, tiger stance, and winding path; who can step twice for 10' each, make 2 attacks, then step once for 10' then stride 45' all with 3 actions.

Paizo Employee

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Squiggit wrote:


If we were playing playing a strategy game or a shooter or fighting game or whatever, the argument that certain guns, factions or characters should intentionally be bad so that good players could feel better about themselves when a new player naively decides to use one you'd probably get a lot of weird looks.

This is actually an extremely good example because you can directly map it to examples in other games.

For example, in the first Destiny game there was a rocket launcher called the Gjallarhorn that was far and away the best rocket launcher in the game. Since this was a weapon initially only obtainable by RNG, the only ways to get it were to either be very lucky or to ground for countless hours. This rocket launcher was so powerful that soon groups would start posting for raids with disclaimers like "Gjallarhorn only"; they didn't want to play with anyone who didn't have it because there were "easy mode" strategies that were only possible with this super powerful gun. Ultimately this was damaging to the community and Bungee first released a patch where anyone could get it by performing a certain quest (the video game equivalent of a TTRPG guide), and then removed it from the game altogether, because a weapon that was so powerful it warped the intended design of the game was just not something worth keeping around.

Magic the Gathering intentionally prints bad cards for a variety of reasons; sometimes they're better in legacy, sometimes they do exist just to reward system mastery, and mostly they exist to boost sales since they take up space in a pack that might otherwise be occupied by a useful card. That makes sense in an environment built around competitive collectibles.

Both of those games have competitive elements (which Pathfinder does not), which means that a certain amount of mechanical inequity is to be expected; they need to drive you to play more, because doing so is the only way to collect the best stuff. Pathfinder doesn't share that element though. Everyone has access to the same books and the same options, and the players are cooperating together, not competing against each other. Trap options and intentionally subpar options don't really add anything to the environment except gatekeeping tools for gaming "elitists". There's no value in my cleric maybe not being able to tackle the same encounters as my wizard, or my fighter not being able to fight the same monsters as my rogue. I'd argue the opposite is true, that any dynamic where one player's system mastery has them playing a fundamentally different game than another player is bad for the hobby as a whole. It leads to decades of forum arguments, loss of players in the community, and it can be particularly bad for business as the things that players at one end of the curve want becoming increasingly divorced from the things players at the other end of the curve want.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
sherlock1701 wrote:
Squiggit wrote:


The rewards of system mastery should be able to build and execute ideas more effectively and in more esoteric ways than might be readily apparent to someone with less experience, probably with an emphasis on the execution part, not... schadenfreude when you get to tell someone their idea doesn't work because the system is balanced terribly.

...It's not about that, it's about learning to become a better player. I hit some pitfalls when I started playing for the first time long ago. I learned from the experiences and it made me a better player and GM. New players today should get to have those same experiences.

If someone isn't willing to learn the game, I question whether they're really that invested in the first place. The one time I got stuck playing a game in (the other big system), which I know I'm never going to play again, I still took a couple dozen hours to learn the ins and outs and make the best character I could. I've only played one session of Starfinder (which I do like). Even knowing it was a one shot game, I still took around 15 to 20 hours studying the system because I was new to it. It's just what you do.

I get why many posters believe you are supporting a "they must suffer as I suffered" mindset. But I sincerely think they are misreading your intention.

Can you please tell us what you learned from the experiences and how it made you a better player and GM?

I am honestly interested in understanding your point.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I just can't think of anything getting to grips with pf1 obtuse character creation has done to make me a better role player or GM in general. It's made be better at those things specifically within pathfinders environment but not outside it. All the mindset shifts, role-playing immersion techniques, pacing aides, cooperation improvements, social contract understandings etc I have developed in my meager 18 years of role playing have come from less mechanically focused and ivory tower designed games.


The Raven Black wrote:
sherlock1701 wrote:


...It's not about that, it's about learning to become a better player. I hit some pitfalls when I started playing for the first time long ago. I learned from the experiences and it made me a better player and GM. New players today should get to have those same experiences.

If someone isn't willing to learn the game, I question whether they're really that invested in the first place. The one time I got stuck playing a game in (the other big system), which I know I'm never going to play again, I still took a couple dozen hours to learn the ins and outs and make the best character I could. I've only played one session of Starfinder (which I do like). Even knowing it was a one shot game, I still took around 15 to 20 hours studying the system because I was new to it. It's just what you do.

I get why many posters believe you are supporting a "they must suffer as I suffered" mindset. But I sincerely think they are misreading your intention.

Can you please tell us what you learned from the experiences and how it made you a better player and GM?

I am honestly interested in understanding your point.

I don't really think back on those as bad experiences or a cause of suffering as a player. I didn't even feel that way at the time. It was just another layer to the game.

It taught me to think long-term about how decisions could influence future gameplay, and to plan ahead, rather than assuming that something seemingly good would really be useful in the long term.

As a DM, it's a useful skillset both for designing monsters, and for watching and planning for player capabilities. It's not all that hard to work out sessions that work for a party with widely varying capabilities once you know the ins and outs of the system and the individual PCs.

For me, one-third to half the fun of an RPG from a player perspective is developing, planning, and executing a build, as well as responding to changing conditions that necessitate a redirection in the build. If there aren't wrong moves to make in this arena, then a very large portion of the game becomes stagnant, because your choices are unimportant - regardless of the move you make, you win.


Also, I didn't intend for the discussion to get hung up on this, it's not my biggest gripes with the system.


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masda_gib wrote:


Do you use your computer via command line like you had to with early computers? No because someone thought "Maybe users have an easier time if the interface was graphical" and not "I had to use command line so new users should also struggle with it".

It may be worth noting that there are a non-trivial number of people for whom graphical interfaces are awkward and non-intuitive and who work and think much better in text.


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It seems to me that "reward system mastery" and "avoid trap options" should not be mutually exclusive goals. A system with a baseline of everyone's character being competent and capable enough to succeed at whatever challenges the game offers them, but with options opening to be better than that, might be difficult but I don't believe it is entirely impossible.

My personal preference would be for design around a greater increase in complexity as the level goes up, rather than complexity in the initial build. In other words, give new players a chance to get a handle on that scale of complexity as the game progresses (it will always be a sight easier to implement E6 for those that favour a simpler game than to build working house-rules for high-end complexity). It does not feel to me like PF2.0 is going in the directions I would favour for this, but I am willing to wait and see.

Things I am unambiguously looking forward to:

1) significant reduction in attacks of opportunity.

2) cool flavourful unique monster abilities.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
masda_gib wrote:


Do you use your computer via command line like you had to with early computers? No because someone thought "Maybe users have an easier time if the interface was graphical" and not "I had to use command line so new users should also struggle with it".
It may be worth noting that there are a non-trivial number of people for whom graphical interfaces are awkward and non-intuitive and who work and think much better in text.

Bring back Basic!


John Lynch 106 wrote:
I am simultaneously looking forward to the bestiary and dreading it.

Likewise; I fear it's going to have much more restatting PF1e monsters, and much less new content, than I would ideally wish for, because given even a moderately robust conversion system, I'd want maybe a dozen examples at most and apart from that the only existing monsters I'd value entries for are ones that were very low on flavour text in the PF1e bestiaries, like dragons.


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Secret Wizard wrote:


For the future, aggressive archetyping to reduce class proliferation. Investigator, Gunslinger, Inquisitor... all better done as archetypes than classes.

Has this been confirmed as a design goal? Because I would find it a very strong negative if so.

Liberty's Edge

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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:


For the future, aggressive archetyping to reduce class proliferation. Investigator, Gunslinger, Inquisitor... all better done as archetypes than classes.
Has this been confirmed as a design goal? Because I would find it a very strong negative if so.

It has not. Some Classes are likely to wind up Archetypes but this has not been stated as a design goal per se.

Personally, I also don't think Inquisitor or Investigator are good candidates for this treatment either (though Gunslinger and Vigilante sure are).


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
It seems to me that "reward system mastery" and "avoid trap options" should not be mutually exclusive goals.

Agreed. I personally would like to see NO trap options intentionally in the system, but I think once a game gets enough options you'll get them unintentionally.

As to "reward system mastery", my take of it is this: I think the bottom floor with no mastery is to be able to make a viable character without too much problems. For me, the "reward system mastery" come in being able to cool things with combinations of options to make unexpected or unusual character concepts work.

So for me I enjoyed putting three archetypes on a class and pretty much swapping out all it's abilities to do something new then taking a race that would normally not fit the class for it but now works with the new mix of abilities. Better still if I the race has a large number of optional race traits so a non-standard and unique version can be made for the PC. For me that's the type of things I'd want for "system mastery": I don't need it to enable stronger characters but unique and different ones.


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Davido1000 wrote:


Honestly alot of the complaints from sherlock are things that needed to be fixed from 1e, Rampant magic strength, constraining battle mechanics and a need for a maths doctorate to play the game at high levels.

I wish people would stop using that sort of shorthand for finding high-level play complex; the arithmetic may be long and fiddly, but it's arithmetic, not calculus or anything more abstruse than that. When the group I currently GM for get together, the average number of maths/sciency doctorates per person is about 1.5; and while I am well aware that makes us statistical outliers (y'know, because of having a grounding in statistics), I still appreciate the game being fun for that set of people as well as for newcomers.


graystone wrote:
Agreed. I personally would like to see NO trap options intentionally in the system, but I think once a game gets enough options you'll get them unintentionally.

Which strikes me as a consequence of higher-level design decisions about where to put the complexity.

A set of well-defined character classes, each of which has flavourful and thematically apt abilities (be they archetypes or feats or however you want to represent unique distinguishing abilities), is a reasonably finite set of things to test, and if you add another class, you are adding one class and one class progression's set of additional things to test. (Leaving out multi-classing, which is an abomination.)

Implementing that complexity in abilities that can be mixed and matched, otoh, gives you a number of combinations that is multiplied by the total number of abilities every time you add a new one, which fairly rapidly becomes something where it's impossible to playtest every possible combination for traps or game-breakers within the lifespan of the universe, let alone a plausible release cycle.

My feeling is that PF1 tends far more toward the second option than I would like, and I fear that PF2 has pulled back from it enough.

(And yeah, that does cut back on flexibility some. But as I think I have said before, give me forty solid iconics and I'll be happy with a game where those are the only characters I can play.)


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
graystone wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
It seems to me that "reward system mastery" and "avoid trap options" should not be mutually exclusive goals.

Agreed. I personally would like to see NO trap options intentionally in the system, but I think once a game gets enough options you'll get them unintentionally.

....

I kind of worry a bit about the No Trap options concept, because that could come to mean that someone is going to be gatekeeping insuring all feats are 'powerful' enough to make muster in their singular view.

Although I try to make characters that can pull their weight in general, it is equally, or even more important for there to be something special to their story. Quite honestly, it is normally something a little counter intuitive, and unexpected. [sometimes it can involve a potentially surprising synergy that might be really effective, but in some cases it might not be that effective]

I would consider it a distinct negative if they do away with flavorful feats just because they can't make it attractive enough for a power gamer. So, if there is concern about people falling into 'traps' by choosing a cool sounding ability that may not be as effective as it might sound from the fluff, maybe they could add a Fluff trait, as a warning not to build a character across several such Fluff traits. [or at least when playing a game where keeping up with the Jones' is an expectation] But I hope that not all feats have to be exactly the same power, just in a different direction.

A desert based Feat is going to be much better in a desert campaign, as a general rule. A maritime feat better in a seafaring campaign. A combat feat, in a high-combat game. Intrigue related feats much more valuable in a social campaign with lots of downtime than a chain of dungeon crawls type of campaign. The thing being... all of these types of feats should absolutely be able to exist. If someone builds a desert based character for an underwater campaign, expect someone to accuse them of having made trap choices. But on the other hand, as long as it doesn't cause the death of the other PCs, and they player enjoys playing the non-fish in the middle of the water, it should be able to happen.

I hope the can't have trap options kills the potential variety that one would hopefully be able to explore in both mechanical value, as well as fluff.

Sure, try to make feats of the same type and level as generally equivalent as you can afford to, but don't stop it from making specialized options that are truly impactful for a character concept even if it can't be called a first tier choice in most general circumstances.


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Loreguard wrote:


A desert based Feat is going to be much better in a desert campaign, as a general rule.

Trying to avoid making trap feats doesn't mean never make specialized feats.

In fact, the most infamous trap options in PF1 aren't generally traps because they're too niche, they're traps because the math doesn't work out for them or the benefits they provide appear much more useful than they actually are.

The problem isn't releasing a desert based Feat so much as it's releasing a desert based Feat when there's already a feat that does deserts and more, or releasing a desert based feat that's so specialized or so low impact that even if you spend all campaign in a desert it's still not very good.


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masda_gib wrote:


Do you use your computer via command line like you had to with early computers? No because someone thought "Maybe users have an easier time if the interface was graphical" and not "I had to use command line so new users should also struggle with it". Nearly every device or activity that isn't madatory to use without alternatives gets easier to use over time, because why not?

I do actually spend most of my work day in a terminal, because a modern terminal is still the best way to do a lot of tasks. But your point stands.


Squiggit wrote:
Loreguard wrote:


A desert based Feat is going to be much better in a desert campaign, as a general rule.

Trying to avoid making trap feats doesn't mean never make specialized feats.

In fact, the most infamous trap options in PF1 aren't generally traps because they're too niche, they're traps because the math doesn't work out for them or the benefits they provide appear much more useful than they actually are.

The problem isn't releasing a desert based Feat so much as it's releasing a desert based Feat when there's already a feat that does deserts and more, or releasing a desert based feat that's so specialized or so low impact that even if you spend all campaign in a desert it's still not very good.

Out of interest what would you consider the most infamous trap options from PF1? I have obviously read lots of guides with red rated items but nothing immediately springs to mind as a notable trap that would be “infamous”. Perhaps I never thought of things that way ...


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So I ran my first game for about 6 weeks today
Over the last two I have been reading lots about the new edition . That plus this game has flagged a lot of things

(Level 10 , Book 4 of Hells Rebels)

- the combats took a long time as we have not played lots at this level

- there were loads of moments where it was easy to spot how 3 action economy would make things loads more flexible

- there was the usual stacking of bonuses and penalties that slowed things a little

- one character was rolling in the mid 30s on bluff and intimidate for feint and dazzling display (demonstrating the crazy swings in the maths)

- there were a couple of instances of players and the enemy casting spells / SLAs that had no effect on a successful save - degrees of success would be an interesting and worthy addition

- one player died outright to a full attack as he was left standing on zero faced with the last attack and dropped to something like -28 with the final full round attack . Both the new dying rules and action economy would eliminate circumstances like this and probably for the better

So in short most of the key theoretical or actual changes from PF2 seem like they would have had a positive impact on my game today. But perhaps I was only looking for positives ...


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I think the floor for "feat quality" should be at the "orange" level in most PF1 guides. Specifically "this feat is situational, and if you're not going to be in those situations don't take that feat". Things like "you are good at underwater".


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lordcirth wrote:
masda_gib wrote:


Do you use your computer via command line like you had to with early computers? No because someone thought "Maybe users have an easier time if the interface was graphical" and not "I had to use command line so new users should also struggle with it". Nearly every device or activity that isn't madatory to use without alternatives gets easier to use over time, because why not?
I do actually spend most of my work day in a terminal, because a modern terminal is still the best way to do a lot of tasks. But your point stands.

I also use a command line a lot at work. I do as much as I can from there, avoiding the GUI unless necessary. Command line work is much easier and quicker (not to mention more powerful) once you get the hang of the system in question.

Easy to use isn't always a good thing. One thing I hate about modern software is minimalist design that makes it hard to find anything but the most used function.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:
sherlock1701 wrote:
RussianAlly wrote:
I feel that system mastery should be rewarding when it shows through intelligent strategical and tactical application of the systems in play to achieve unexpected and interesting results. It should not be a reward for having extra 20 hours to spend on manuals or the SRD reading build options.

And why not? It's just like any other subject. If I spend an extra 20 hours studying statistics, would it be unfair for me to perform markedly better on an exam than someone who did not? I certainly don't see a difference.

If you work hard, you should do well. If you dont, then you shouldn't complain.

This approach is perfectly valid on its own logic. However, it implies that the game is designed for an elite group of heavily invested players. Other players don't need to apply, unless they don't mind their PCs being vastly outclassed at the table. Your exam analogy is telling, in that perspective. You have those who pass, and those who, well, fail or drop out.

I don't agree with this philosophy. It's appropriate to reward mastery, but that reward should be moderate in scope. Otherwise the difference between hardcore and casual players becomes so large that they can't play together.

So then the casual players ask the hardcore players for help. Back to the metaphor, I used to study with and help classmates all the time. You can do the same thing with character builds. Think of it like tutoring.

As long as it takes some effort to make a solid character and the cap on outcomes based on effort is high. Tutoring or studying on their own, either way the casual player learns the system better (I would expect the experienced player to talk things through and go over why to pick A vs B for a given scenario, and why C is usually a trap, to raise the quality of the game overall by educating the casual player for future events, not just say "take A"). Sure, the experienced player has to be willing, but I've always been happy...

That's all fine and good, but then you run into cases where a new player asks the experienced players in the group for advice on a type of character, only to find out that said experience players in the group are unfamiliar with said class. For example, I remember my first campaign I decided to play a hunter (the Ranger/Druid hybrid that focuses on animal companions) as my first pathfinder character. When I asked for advice, no one had any idea on how hunters work, and had never worked with teamwork feats before. Needless to say, I had to rely on some outdated guides, and as expected, the character flopped(though at least the pet raptor was decent when buffed). After the party wiped, I remember a couple of those players being pissed off at me and my crappy character, and it actually caused me to get turned off from pathfinder for a while. A few months later, I then tried an alchemist for a one shot, then a unchained rogue for mummy's mask, which also flopped, even though I was just going for a simple twf build that happened to dip 3 lvls in shadowdancer (and it didn't even reach the dip point), and then I made another bomber alchemist, which was finally a character that can hold his own. But the only thing that those experiences had taught me is that I shouldn't play non-casters or hunters, and that alchemist was my "safe-zone" class. I'm too cautious to try anything else now.

I actually have an expert optimizer in my current group, but his knowledge focused in pure martials. He's able to give people all the advice in the world when it comes to making unkillable monks or deadly gunslingers and fighters, but he wasn't able to help me much with building inquisitors aside from maybe focusing on crossbows.

I'm for system mastery when it comes to things like positioning or coming up with creative ways to use your spells, but it just feels overly punishing when it reaches into building your character the way you want it. I think that kind of mastery belongs to trading card games like magic the gathering, where at least you can change your deck after a 5-20 minute game. In a campaign, you're forced to bear with the fact that your dragging your team down, or your just reduced to being a spectator. And not every gm is fine with you changing your character multiple times


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I apologize for that rant earlier.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to seeing what they ended up doing to the skill feats in the final version, the new bard and the ranger.

Dark Archive

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To the system mastery argument, I see fans of both approaches, and would prefer that a game with a dozen classes have some to support both types of players, those who want all characters of type X to be more or less balanced against each other, so that you can't 'nerf' a character by making some terrible choices early in your career, and those who would like to be rewarded for the time they've put in and able to cleverly combine elements to make neat synergistic characters that are better than one just thrown together out of the box, or chosen randomly.

Given the number of class options, I would prefer that there be both available (although the latter could become available in the game, and not show up in the very first book, or even the very first year, since nobody should be expected to have 'system mastery' of a system that they've barely even seen yet). :)

Instead of saying X class is badly designed because you can gimp yourself with bad choices, or Y class is boring and same-same-y and has no real options, it could be recognized that *some* classes require a bit of system mastery to work, and others are designed to work 'out of the box' and put newbies on an even footing even if they don't own 24 rule-books and have a week to pore over them to cobble together their own 'modern Prometeus.'


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think core PF2 already offers plenty for system masters, as evidenced by my players achieving tactics another poster hadn't even envisioned as possible. The difference is that the non master players still have characters that mathematically work. The reward for mastery in PF2 isn't "have a modifier large enough such that you can't fail" but is instead "have ability combinations that allow for advanced and effective tactics."


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Another facet that improves system mastery is adaptability. Past early levels in pf1 you had to be so invested in your shtick that trying to do something else on the fly was basically worthless. Realise and enemy has a weakness? Not really worth swapping weapons because your to hit will drop too much. Enemy resistant to tripping, well you can't try a different tactic because you are a trip build

Counter this with PF2 were you might actually adapt tactics on the go. Real playtest example is my ranger player dropping his weapon to grapple a melee enemy whose speed allowed them to move in, strike and then move away faster than any other character could follow.


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15-20 hours studying the rule for a one shot character? No, just no

I mean, I have lots of fun building all kinds of characters and more then once have spend a few hours to create a character that I never played...but...

1) the 6 hours session for a character I never build was for a system with a way different approach in character creation (which inherintly takes longer then assembling a pf1 character with class/feats of an equivalent power level)

2) as gm it dreads me to think that I have to put so much research into characters that might just end up as cannon fodder - I need to be able to whip up lots of competetive characters and I don't can study every concept that long before creating an npc with it that dies in the first encounter

3) I hate the concept of dips to increase the character power, seriously, that is just bad design and I am so glad to be rid of that

4) It is a total HORROR to design encounters for players with different levels of system mastery

5) as some said before, I rather invest time into creating memorable encounters and adventures then holding hands with the new players

6) even if I help new players (which I gladly do) I don't want to go over the discussion why their concept is bad and why they shouldn't play it - dissappointed players make me sad

7) this kind of system mastery is one of the many reasons I have problems finding groups, at least one reason less would really be nice


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Is there an argument that the system mastery discussion be transported to another thread?

Sure “not needing system mastery” is a reason some people are looking forward to the new edition.

Others disagree and the back and forward is really interesting but muddying things quite a lot...


Lanathar wrote:

Is there an argument that the system mastery discussion be transported to another thread?

Sure “not needing system mastery” is a reason some people are looking forward to the new edition.

Others disagree and the back and forward is really interesting but muddying things quite a lot...

I think we should put this system mastery discussion in another thread.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Lanathar wrote:

Is there an argument that the system mastery discussion be transported to another thread?

Sure “not needing system mastery” is a reason some people are looking forward to the new edition.

Others disagree and the back and forward is really interesting but muddying things quite a lot...

Well my two posts above are also things I'm looking forward to, but I'll reframe them better in that light.

The ability to organically create characters with little need to worry over mechanical viability.

Baseline competence meaning univested tactics are still usable at opportune moments.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

What I am most looking forward to is the reset of options. And if the system lessens the need to comb books for the one true trait, feat, item or worse for the unintended combo of doom, that is even better.


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Set wrote:
Instead of saying X class is badly designed because you can gimp yourself with bad choices, or Y class is boring and same-same-y and has no real options, it could be recognized that *some* classes require a bit of system mastery to work, and others are designed to work 'out of the box' and put newbies on an even footing even if they don't own 24 rule-books and have a week to pore over them to cobble together their own 'modern Prometeus.'

I'm not sure that's quite a good solution either though. Because what if the newbie is more attracted to what the complicated class represents, or the experienced player likes the way one of the training wheels classes is presented thematically?

Like, in ultra high op 3.5 the common wisdom was to not play a fighter. Stick to full spellcasters and everyone can break the game, which means no one is breaking the game. That's all well and good, except the result is that an entire concept of character simply didn't exist in those kinds of games anymore.

That's one of the things I'm looking forward to in PF2, the idea that I won't have to worry as much about playing down a character to fit with a group, or that certain characters won't be unplayable because even if you stretch the system they can't quite go far enough.


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I feel like the thing we should reserve for "some classes" is "complexity" - simply being printed in a later book gives you license to make a more complex class because it's extremely unlikely someone's entry to the game will be World Guide 4.

Having a class be complex (e.g. the occultist manages multiple metacurrencies, the kineticist has to balance a negative column against a positive column) runs the risk of creating a weaker character in case a player simply refuses to engage with whatever systems they don't understand. In this way we can reward system mastery without punishing people who lack it (as it is not hard to steer someone away from playing a thing they don't understand.)


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like the thing we should reserve for "some classes" is "complexity" - simply being printed in a later book gives you license to make a more complex class because it's extremely unlikely someone's entry to the game will be World Guide 4.

Having some more complex options is good, what I don't want to see is classes walled off in terms of gameplay.

That said, I also don't think, with how much of an emphasis PF2 is placing on modularity, that complexity needs to necessarily be on a class by class basis either.

Like, the fighter traditionally has a reputation for being basic, but there's no reason down the line Paizo couldn't print an archetype or feat chain for fighters that add, just for example, some sort of resource management mechanic that might increase their relatively complexity but also be an optional thing a player can inject into the character.


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I like the reveal that anyone can use a shield - at least raising it. This gives a nice rule for improvised handheld cover.

The mage hides behind a chair in the tavern brawl and gets cover. They decide it's time to leave, grab the chair and try to defend themselves with it while heading for the door. That's an improvised shield for +1 AC right there and there is no hassle whether it needs proficiency or not.

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