Imho 2E nailed "encounter powers"


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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graystone wrote:
As for the rest... I'm not really on board with using anime to describe 'over the top'. Anime covers slice of life and dramas like Heidi, Girl of the Alps or Kare Kano were NO supernatural or over the top elements happen. We don't do the same with american blockbusters like john wick, the matrix or avatar do we?

This is an important distinction to make. Many people (its detractors, more often) reduce anime to its most extreme, and paint over the nuances. Anime is as variable as any other genre, and it's dishonest to act as if the over-the-top examples are entirely representative of anime.

This coming form someone who doesn't really enjoy very much anime.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Lunatic Barghest wrote:

It certainly sounds great in theory. Whether or not it will prove so in practice remains to be seen, I suppose. There's the possibility it could lead to some janky start-stop loops that feel shattered and inorganic.

I lean towards the former being the case, but it's tough to be sure until it's been thoroughly worn out by the public and its vast difference in styles and methods at each gaming table.

In 4e encounter powers removed all choice from the game. You always opened with your most powerful encounter power, then worked your way down until you just had at-will powers left. I'm not surprised to see encounter powers being praised given the tone of the playtest, but I'll need to see it in action in its final form before I sing its praises.

I definitely see the point. I myself was rather wary at the beginning of the Playtest due to its parallels with 4e. The trickle of details we've received about the final product has eroded this wariness for me to a degree. It's looking more and more that PF2 can find a good balance that 4e lacked, but, of course, we won't know for sure until its release.


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graystone wrote:
Adding fantasy to the game brings with it the "unnatural" by definition.

It always struck me as a little weird that people seemed okay with my Fighter jumping off a cliff and surviving a mile long fall with no meaningful injury, wrestling a creature many times its size to the ground and taking literally dozens of bullets to the chest without even slowing down as a matter of course.

But the moment I wanted to do something other than stand in one spot and full attack the sky is falling.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
In 4e encounter powers removed all choice from the game.

Not really at all true, unless that was the way you preferred to play the game which is fine of course.

But it seems like an odd argument to make given that for many classes you'd have even fewer choices in 3.5. 3.5 martials generally only have one "power" worth using in any given situation.

Insight wrote:
Agree on the thematic, for sure. Although I will point out that 4e started heading in this direction with Essentials, for which only the magic-based classes got encounter powers.

4e psionics had a really similar system to focus we're seeing here, with a pool of points fueling your short term abilities rather than recharging discrete powers. I feel like if they had just done that with Fighters and called them stamina instead of power points it would have been a lot more palatable a system.

And I'm kind of hoping we get some sort of grit/panache/stamina fluffed non-magical alternative to focus either in a new class or class option somewhere down the road here.


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Squiggit wrote:
graystone wrote:
Adding fantasy to the game brings with it the "unnatural" by definition.

It always struck me as a little weird that people seemed okay with my Fighter jumping off a cliff and surviving a mile long fall with no meaningful injury, wrestling a creature many times its size to the ground and taking literally dozens of bullets to the chest without even slowing down as a matter of course.

But the moment I wanted to do something other than stand in one spot and full attack the sky is falling.

Yep. The game is set in a world of magic and we know everyone has magic in their blood* so it's seems odd to mire some classes in the boring reality we live in here.

* What I mean by this is every creature that can take levels could have picked sorcerer and/or multiclassed into it and sorcerer has magic in the blood. Hence, it exists in everyone. Boiling it down, everyone is capable of producing magic effects from their own magic blood.

Deadmanwalking: As for "throwing out named attacks", I don't recall a NEED to yell out those attacks. Naming the attacks in game is just for ease of use: it isn't any different from sneak attack where you don't have to YELL sneak attack to do it and different people in world might even call it different things; the thing i liked the best about 4e is the infinite ability to refluff. As long as the mechanics stayed the same, everything else was up for grabs. So one persons magic missiles could be someone elses cucumbers of doom. Or maybe it's their unnamed spell #6.


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graystone wrote:
* What I mean by this is every creature that can take levels could have picked sorcerer and/or multiclassed into it and sorcerer has magic in the blood. Hence, it exists in everyone. Boiling it down, everyone is capable of producing magic effects from their own magic blood.

I'm not sure I agree. I see it as more - Everyone exits in a quantum superposition of 'has special blood' and 'does not have special blood. We can only collapse the wave function via taking the sorcerer dedication (in which case you have special blood) or being ineligible to take it (since you're level 20 with a 12 Charisma.) It's not fundamentally different from Eldritch Heritage in PF1- if you took the feat it turned out you had the potential all along, if you didn't then you don't.

If you take the sorcerer dedication then retrain out of it, you just ran out of whatever specialness was in your blood and now you have normal blood. I can definitely see someone who wants to take the sorcerer dedication doing something like "injecting dragon squeezings."


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
If you take the sorcerer dedication then retrain out of it, you just ran out of whatever specialness was in your blood and now you have normal blood.

But you can retrain back, hence you never lost the potential: the magic is still there, it just needs activated.

As to "ineligible", you're never 100% that. If I'm not mistaken, there are items that grant stat numbers like the belt of strength I think. You just have to put one on and you can retrain to gain it.

My point is, the magic is there for anyone to activate it: it isn't has or doesn't but activated or not. If it was there or not, it wouldn't be an option for everyone at 1st... but even the dwarf with an 8 cha can take it with no special requirements because everyone has the potential. ;)

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:

As far as actual anime, it was the other way around, d&d influenced it. Many, many anime follow the sword and magic of d&d to this day.

As for the rest... I'm not really on board with using anime to describe 'over the top'. Anime covers slice of life and dramas like Heidi, Girl of the Alps or Kare Kano were NO supernatural or over the top elements happen. We don't do the same with american blockbusters like john wick, the matrix or avatar do we?

I, at least, wasn't mostly using it to describe 'over the top'. Indeed, I was noting that the over the top bit was shared with previous D&D editions (the origin of that sharing, and whether it came from D&D or anime on the first place being kinda irrelevant).

I was referring to the tropes of anime (such as shouting technique names, or even having named combat techniques) being quite different from traditional heroic fantasy. And that shifting from one set of genre tropes to another wholesale feels weird.

graystone wrote:
In a world with demons/gods/fey lords/elemental lord and a host of various other divine level creatures tossing around curses/blessings/powers/spells/ect... It kind of DOES seem unreasonable when a lot of things boil down to 'a wizard did it'. We aren't playing a WW2 reenactment with realism at the forefront. Adding fantasy to the game brings with it the "unnatural" by definition. Other game have the grim/gritty realism factor missing from d&d.

This isn't a realism or power level issue. It's a genre tropes issue. Having everyone who uses a sword suddenly have named techniques with specific effects when nobody did before no longer feels like the same genre or game. Named techniques may not be exclusive to anime, but they're associated with it, and the sudden shift from 0% to 100% of Fighters having them feeling unnatural strikes me as reasonable.

I have no objections to adding anime tropes to Pathfinder or D&D, but the change in the case of 4E was stark and for no in-universe reason, making it feel wrong.


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If you're choosing to shout technique names that seems like an entirely manufactured problem. Just don't do that.

Liberty's Edge

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Squiggit wrote:
If you're choosing to shout technique names that seems like an entirely manufactured problem. Just don't do that.

Techniques having names at all when they never did before is sort of a problem, genre-wise. And the one I was referring to primarily.

Now, it's not an insoluble or game wrecking one, but I get why that change would feel weird and unpleasant to some people.


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graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If you take the sorcerer dedication then retrain out of it, you just ran out of whatever specialness was in your blood and now you have normal blood.

But you can retrain back, hence you never lost the potential: the magic is still there, it just needs activated.

As to "ineligible", you're never 100% that. If I'm not mistaken, there are items that grant stat numbers like the belt of strength I think. You just have to put one on and you can retrain to gain it.

My point is, the magic is there for anyone to activate it: it isn't has or doesn't but activated or not. If it was there or not, it wouldn't be an option for everyone at 1st... but even the dwarf with an 8 cha can take it with no special requirements because everyone has the potential. ;)

This is a bit of an aside, but I don't know if you can say everybody has magic because they could get a level in sorcerer. It's a bit chicken and egg, since you're talking about what they *could* do, but something being possible on a system-requirement level doesn't equate to it being true for every character within the system of a game.

Although some storylines do touch on this, like Diablo 3 explaining how humans are a divine and demonic melange with a watered down essence of true power within their souls (and some manifesting this more powerfully than others). Anyways, sorry for the aside, just wanted to say that.


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Squiggit wrote:


And I'm kind of hoping we get some sort of grit/panache/stamina fluffed non-magical alternative to focus either in a new class or class option somewhere down the road here.

I don't think that focus in and of itself needs to be wholly re-flavored to be nonmagical for purely marital classes. For instance, the monks focus is called 'ki', and does 'ki' stuff. I don't know what the sorcerer stuff is called, but it's not 'ki'. So for a fighter getting focus powers and then calling it 'stamina' you have the nonmagical flavor, and can take feats that generally improve focus powers, like getting more focus points, and the devs don't have to write a feat for each class to give that class more focus points (though I think they did this anyway...).

I personally like the 'general mechanic that is re-flavored per class' as opposed to making more mechanics that are slightly different but are only different in ways you need to look up in a book in the middle of a session. 3.5 did this really well: 10,000 mechanics, each doing one different thing and not doing it very well.


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Focus spells are *spells*. The Monk's may be ki spells, but they're still spells and operate by all the usual rules of magic. This was to make mechanics more coherent & intuitive than PF1's Spells/Spell-Like/Supernatural

A grit/panache/etc mechanic would have to be separate from focus spells


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Techniques having names at all when they never did before is sort of a problem, genre-wise. And the one I was referring to primarily.

This isn't ANY different from us having a strike action now or a shapeshift action or a sneak attack action or... Named techniques were there before and afterwords. No one ever had to call the abilities those names in game. Ever.

I don't see the playtest ranger as 'anime' because they have a named ability 'hunt prey' [and I sure don't expect one to run around shouting out 'hunt prey' when they use it]. Or a fighter with the charge feat.

IMO the classes list of feats and abilities in the playtest now aren't any different as back in 4e: they are all named abilities. EDIT: now if you want to say the actual names themselves were overtop, I can agree with that.


tqomins wrote:

Focus spells are *spells*. The Monk's may be ki spells, but they're still spells and operate by all the usual rules of magic. This was to make mechanics more coherent & intuitive than PF1's Spells/Spell-Like/Supernatural

A grit/panache/etc mechanic would have to be separate from focus spells

I'd be disappointed if monks have to cast spells if there is a mechanic coming out that doesn't require that.


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R0b0tBadgr wrote:
Squiggit wrote:


And I'm kind of hoping we get some sort of grit/panache/stamina fluffed non-magical alternative to focus either in a new class or class option somewhere down the road here.

I don't think that focus in and of itself needs to be wholly re-flavored to be nonmagical for purely marital classes. For instance, the monks focus is called 'ki', and does 'ki' stuff. I don't know what the sorcerer stuff is called, but it's not 'ki'. So for a fighter getting focus powers and then calling it 'stamina' you have the nonmagical flavor, and can take feats that generally improve focus powers, like getting more focus points, and the devs don't have to write a feat for each class to give that class more focus points (though I think they did this anyway...).

I personally like the 'general mechanic that is re-flavored per class' as opposed to making more mechanics that are slightly different but are only different in ways you need to look up in a book in the middle of a session. 3.5 did this really well: 10,000 mechanics, each doing one different thing and not doing it very well.

Unfortunately it's a bit unlikely for that to happen. All focus uses are explicitly tied to a magical tradition and magical, even ki. So that comes with baggage like not working in an anti magic field are provoking a superstitious barbarian. They have focus as being completely magical, I don't think they'll change that.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That can be solved. Give the non magical focus spells the keyword “grit” or “stamina,” and say that tag means the “spells” aren’t actually magical.

There will be oddities, like that you can potentially use focus for both magical and not magical abilities. I think that’s fine as a game simplification, but some will want a separate pool for stamina. Actually I guess that would work as a variant to the rule.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
This isn't ANY different from us having a strike action now or a shapeshift action or a sneak attack action or... Named techniques were there before and afterwords. No one ever had to call the abilities those names in game. Ever.

Sneak Attack has never been an action. Nor are having actions like 'shapeshift' or 'strike' or 'attack' the same as having specific names like 'Tide of Iron' or 'Steel Serpent Strike' (both 1st level Fighter Powers in 4E).

I played Exalted for years, as well as actually watching a varity of anime, and those sound like Charm names from Exalted or technique names from an anime (or wuxia film) in a way that 'strike' and 'shapeshift' never come remotely close to.

That's not a bad thing if you're doing an anime inspired game (like Exalted is). Indeed, in the right context evocative names like that are great. Suddenly adding them to a game which never had them before, however, is jarring and strange.

graystone wrote:
I don't see the playtest ranger as 'anime' because they have a named ability 'hunt prey' [and I sure don't expect one to run around shouting out 'hunt prey' when they use it]. Or a fighter with the charge feat.

'Hunt Target' and 'Sudden Charge', like most PF2 Feats, are entirely functional names. They describe what the action does very directly and without frills. There is a major substantive difference between calling something what it does and the more flowery language I'm talking about.

graystone wrote:
IMO the classes list of feats and abilities in the playtest now aren't any different as back in 4e: they are all named abilities.

There are several major and substantive differences:

#1: As I note above, naming and naming conventions matter. These are very different between the two.

#2: Non-magical characters do not suddenly have Encounter and Daily powers with no explanation as they did in 4E. This is huge and very meaningful.

#3: Many, in fact most, Feats do not give 'powers' in the 4E sense. They give permanent bonuses of some sort or enhancements to existing actions instead. Those that take actions to do certainly have some stuff in common with 4E 'powers' but also with, y'know, any other ability that lets you mechanically do something new.

#4: Finally, Feats don't go away. In 4E you swapped out Powers with fair regularity, which was oddly metagamey and created some weird situations. Feats stick, unless you retrain them.


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graystone wrote:
I'd be disappointed if monks have to cast spells if there is a mechanic coming out that doesn't require that.

Well, issue is that Focus pools are shared across Multiclasses, so either it stacks with e.g. Cleric pool and not Swashbuckler, or vice versa. I find it hard to be surprised by Monk abilities being spells, since in 1E they often were spells in a Su wrapper, which no longer exists as distinction.

But to expect Monk Ki to work with Grit/Panache mechanic seems to require Grit/Panache use a point pool in the first place. Having mechanics so identical to the other with one just "not magic" seems absurd, so I wouldn't expect they go that route.

Perhaps instead of a Pool, Grit/Panache could allow a Flat Check in order to enable special effects, with specific actions or situations allowing heightened or automatic chance of success. Possibly with cool-downs after succesfully use, which could also be situationally modified. That would smell alot more like a Luck-based class to me, especially as it would avoid them needing "10 minutes to regenerate Focus Pool", which works for a Monk's meditation exercises but not really Billy the Kid or the Three Musketeers.


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graystone wrote:
I'd be disappointed if monks have to cast spells if there is a mechanic coming out that doesn't require that.

Ultimately all we've done is eliminate the distinction between "spells" and "spell-like abilities" and eliminated the "Su" tag for "it's magic but not spells." So if something was an SLA before, it's a spell now.

IMO, it never made sense for "you use your ki to cast dimension door" to not be a spell.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
'Hunt Target' and 'Sudden Charge', like most PF2 Feats, are entirely functional names. They describe what the action does very directly and without frills. There is a major substantive difference between calling something what it does and the more flowery language I'm talking about.

I agrees with you on the "flowery language": I disagree that nothing was named before 4e. Take elephant stomp for instance: it doesn't have to involve an elephant or a stomp.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
#2: Non-magical characters do not suddenly have Encounter and Daily powers with no explanation as they did in 4E. This is huge and very meaningful.

NOT part of what I'm talking about: My entire issue with what you said was about 'yelling named attacks'.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
#3: Many, in fact most, Feats do not give 'powers' in the 4E sense. They give permanent bonuses of some sort or enhancements to existing actions instead. Those that take actions to do certainly have some stuff in common with 4E 'powers' but also with, y'know, any other ability that lets you mechanically do something new.

Again, not really part of what I was talking about. I see NOTHING different between a a 4e power that does damage + a trip vs a feat that allows you to trip when you make an attack: it's pure semantics about formatting to complain about one's name and not the other.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
#4: Finally, Feats don't go away. In 4E you swapped out Powers with fair regularity, which was oddly metagamey and created some weird situations. Feats stick, unless you retrain them.

#1 retaining is part of pathfinder and classes that swap feats around like the brawler or master of many styles so they are'nt as permanent as you make it seem. #2 they still aren't what I'm talking about: being required to yell out it's name then you attack.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
IMO, it never made sense for "you use your ki to cast dimension door" to not be a spell.

I'm more thinking about an ability that doesn't replicate a spell. Ki allowed extra movement, another attack, ect. Ki strike and such abilities [that add simple numbers] don't jump out as spellcasting: all those untagged, NOT su abilities that ki was used for.

SO for me, if a monk has to cast a spell to get a +1 to strike then a grit user would have to cast a spell to use their abilities: that's really all I'm saying.

EDIT: also wanted to say something to Quandary: I'd be cool with that kind of mechanic [Flat Check in order to enable special effects] but I think it'd have to be a pretty mundane ability/special effects. Anything too complex will start to look like what PossibleCabbage was saying: 'why isn't a spell when if does something like a spell?'.


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graystone wrote:
Again, not really part of what I was talking about. I see NOTHING different between a a 4e power that does damage + a trip vs a feat that allows you to trip when you make an attack: it's pure semantics about formatting to complain about one's name and not the other.

To be fair, that literally does seem to be the complaint, specifically the names.

It sounds almost like if 4e had just left the name sections of all their powers blank it would have somehow been better, albeit a lot more confusing to discuss and navigate.


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Squiggit wrote:
To be fair, that literally does seem to be the complaint, specifically the names.

LOL Yeah, I know people had an issue with the names and I agree. What I don't understand is bringing up everything else about the game when it's not part of what I'm talking about. Nothing about the formatting, presentation, swapping or anything else really matters in a debate about the names or how they are used in game... :P

Squiggit wrote:
It sounds almost like if 4e had just left the name sections of all their powers blank it would have somehow been better, albeit a lot more confusing to discuss and navigate.

I have a feeling that simplified names would have been called out as too bland... :P

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graystone wrote:
I agrees with you on the "flowery language": I disagree that nothing was named before 4e. Take elephant stomp for instance: it doesn't have to involve an elephant or a stomp.

Obviously not literally nothing, but very few things comparatively, which makes the shift jarring.

Also, to be clear, if you agree on the flowery language, I'm not sure why you started this argument as that was almost literally my whole point.

I was saying, to be specific, that having what seem to be in-universe, often flowery, names on all attacks was jarring and a huge genre shift. Which seemed reasonable as a thing to object to.

graystone wrote:
NOT part of what I'm talking about: My entire issue with what you said was about 'yelling named attacks'.

That is not precisely what I said. I said that having named attacks on all characters all the time was a genre shift and something I understood people objecting to or finding jarring.

And you're the one who said the playtest abilities 'aren't any different' from 4E. I was listing differences.

If you meant exclusively in regards to names you should have been a tad clearer, it looked like you were making a more general statement.

graystone wrote:
Again, not really part of what I was talking about. I see NOTHING different between a a 4e power that does damage + a trip vs a feat that allows you to trip when you make an attack: it's pure semantics about formatting to complain about one's name and not the other.

If it were an at-will power, I agree. On the other hand, some Feats do things like give you Low Light Vision or increase Proficiency in a Save. That's not a power in the 4E sense and what I was talking about with many Feats not fitting that mold.

graystone wrote:
#1 retaining is part of pathfinder and classes that swap feats around like the brawler or master of many styles so they are'nt as permanent as you make it seem. #2 they still aren't what I'm talking about: being required to yell out it's name then you attack.

Retraining is an in-universe and most importantly optional process. Most characters will keep most of their Feats for most of their career. The same was not remotely true of powers in 4E.

And I literally never said you had to yell out the name of your attack (though I made references to talking about them). I said that having techniques that sound like what an anime character would yell was jarring and felt wrong to many people.


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graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
IMO, it never made sense for "you use your ki to cast dimension door" to not be a spell.

I'm more thinking about an ability that doesn't replicate a spell. Ki allowed extra movement, another attack, ect. Ki strike and such abilities [that add simple numbers] don't jump out as spellcasting: all those untagged, NOT su abilities that ki was used for.

SO for me, if a monk has to cast a spell to get a +1 to strike then a grit user would have to cast a spell to use their abilities: that's really all I'm saying.

I don't see why monks couldn't also get spell-less focus down the line. It would make for a good class archetype; the default assumption is that monks are semi mystical in their martial art practice, so a class archetype that did away with that might add interesting options to the class.


graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
IMO, it never made sense for "you use your ki to cast dimension door" to not be a spell.

I'm more thinking about an ability that doesn't replicate a spell. Ki allowed extra movement, another attack, ect. Ki strike and such abilities [that add simple numbers] don't jump out as spellcasting: all those untagged, NOT su abilities that ki was used for.

SO for me, if a monk has to cast a spell to get a +1 to strike then a grit user would have to cast a spell to use their abilities: that's really all I'm saying.

I think PF2's definition of spell is very broad. Basicallyyou do stuff to achieve a magical effect, whatever the effect and the stuff is. Especially with occult magic covering all the simply unexplainable effects.

The monks Ki Strike (and Ki Rush too) only has a verbal action, which could be a typical "Huh!" while punching or shouting "Falcon Punch!". And both are tagged as transmutation magic.


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I agree that the sense PF2 uses "spell" means anything you do which results in an effect which happens to be magical. Since ritual spells require nothing more than "skill ranks" and "knowledge of the ritual" the only real value to seeing one's character as "not a spellcaster" is if you're something like a superstition barbarian.

After all, three fighters with expertise in religion, medicine, and society between them can raise the dead if someone shows them how.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
graystone wrote:
This isn't ANY different from us having a strike action now or a shapeshift action or a sneak attack action or... Named techniques were there before and afterwords. No one ever had to call the abilities those names in game. Ever.

Sneak Attack has never been an action. Nor are having actions like 'shapeshift' or 'strike' or 'attack' the same as having specific names like 'Tide of Iron' or 'Steel Serpent Strike' (both 1st level Fighter Powers in 4E).

I played Exalted for years, as well as actually watching a varity of anime, and those sound like Charm names from Exalted or technique names from an anime (or wuxia film) in a way that 'strike' and 'shapeshift' never come remotely close to.

Do "Full Iron Door Defence" or "Grand Coup en Hauteur" sound like it comes from anime/wuxia? Does "Salmon Leap"?

Of course if it's all a matter of presentation and it's perfectly fine to give warriors a wide variety of non-magical techniques with distinctive mechanical effects as long as they're described in a way that people will tolerate (which seems to be the OPs position regarding 4e Encounter Powers and their PF2 equivalent) then I don't see much difference in effect. It's when a rejection of "anime" powers comes with a rejection of anything more sophisticated for martial abilities, and unfortunately there's a very strong correlation between people who object to both those things. Maybe you're fine with Fighters temporarily making themselves nearly invulnerable to attacks, striking enemies that start beyond their reach and falling back in the same manoeuvre, or jumping up waterfalls; but only if those are described in the most neutral language imaginable.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

DMW has a point. The 4e Powers Double Slice, Sudden Charge, or Point-Blank Shot would never cut it as the names of Pathfinder 2 powers.


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I think you guys are losing track of what a focus spell is, beyond flavour.
A focus spell is an ability with limited use within the short term.

Most grit effects are NOT limited in the short term. You are not limited to doing a special dodge once per fight, or to only do your special damage once, you do that as many rounds as you like as long as you’re able, and it doesn’t make sense to have them recharge from some outer source or turn them into powers because it wouldn’t make sense to restrict their use by making them not spammable.
These don’t make good powers. These make good feats.


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masda_gib wrote:

The monks Ki Strike (and Ki Rush too) only has a verbal action, which could be a typical "Huh!" while punching or shouting "Falcon Punch!". And both are tagged as transmutation magic.

Monk: FALCONNNN PUUUUNCH!!!

Also Monk: (Runs fast)


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, it's easy to lose perspective on this, but let's recap:

In 4E you selected a handful of at-will abilities or powers or whatever they were called. These at-will things were pretty inoffensive. In a lot of ways, they mimicked common actions from prior editions, albeit generally with more punch than could previously be achieved all-day at level 1.

You also selected Encounter powers, which were essentially upgraded versions of at-will powers that you could use once an "encounter" which was an arbitrary game construct. These are the most equivalent to PF2E focus powers.

Encounter powers were bizarre because they occupied the equivalent resource slot as a spellcaster's spells. This made everyone feel the same and made gish characters feel extremely weird. Every single encounter power felt like an ass-pull, like they were spit out of a spreadsheet rather than being mechanical representations of what a character in-world could do. They felt like they were shaping the stories that could be told rather than being tools to tell stories with. The fact that they were arbitrarily limited to "combats" just highlighted that fact.

Most feats in PF1 and now PF2 increase baseline capabilities. Give you more options with your melee attacks. Improve your ability to perform complex things. They very much augment your character, rather than giving you the periodic capability to perform one named attack with completely arbitrary effects. Focus powers fill that particular niche.

They also have a lot in common with Utility powers from 4e as well.

Focus powers get it right by:

1. Having an in-world justification or source

2. Being rechargeable under clearly defined in-world means, with real time consequences rather than arbitrary "encounter" limits.

3. Not replacing your character's fighting style choices. If you use all your focus spells you still feel like a distinct character and your build still matters.

4. Being opt-in. Some people don't like expendable resources, so those people might not take focus power class feats.

5. Not mucking with a caster's spells per day. In 4E, if you were a caster who wanted to be able to hit someone with a sword effectively, you had to effectively give up spell slots. Even if you just wanted the option to do it once in a while.


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Edge93 wrote:
masda_gib wrote:

The monks Ki Strike (and Ki Rush too) only has a verbal action, which could be a typical "Huh!" while punching or shouting "Falcon Punch!". And both are tagged as transmutation magic.

Monk: FALCONNNN PUUUUNCH!!!

Also Monk: (Runs fast)

Those examples where both for Ki Strike. :) When using Ki Rush to run, monks have to shout "Wheeeeee!" or "Swooooosh!".


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masda_gib wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
masda_gib wrote:

The monks Ki Strike (and Ki Rush too) only has a verbal action, which could be a typical "Huh!" while punching or shouting "Falcon Punch!". And both are tagged as transmutation magic.

Monk: FALCONNNN PUUUUNCH!!!

Also Monk: (Runs fast)
Those examples where both for Ki Strike. :) When using Ki Rush to run, monks have to shout "Wheeeeee!" or "Swooooosh!".

Is this also an option?

link


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'll just throw out there, I'll be very disappointed if martial classes don't have native access to Focus spells in some manner. Possibly excepting the Fighter, who I think is more likely to get access via an archetype.

But certainly Monk, Ranger, Paladin, and Barbarian should all have Focus spells.

EDIT: Nah, actually Fighters too. "Everyone has a focus pool and at least one thing to do with it" is a good general mechanic.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

I'll just throw out there, I'll be very disappointed if martial classes don't have native access to Focus spells in some manner. Possibly excepting the Fighter, who I think is more likely to get access via an archetype.

But certainly Monk, Ranger, Paladin, and Barbarian should all have Focus spells.

EDIT: Nah, actually Fighters too. "Everyone has a focus pool and at least one thing to do with it" is a good general mechanic.

Monk and Paladin certainly do. Ranger might; I know the playtest was for a spell-less Ranger, but if they bring back Ranger spellcasting, it will almost certainly be focus spells. I could see Barbarians getting Focus spells through a small number of instincts. But fighters: I really don't see them gaining Focus spells without some sort of dedication.


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MaxAstro wrote:

I'll just throw out there, I'll be very disappointed if martial classes don't have native access to Focus spells in some manner. Possibly excepting the Fighter, who I think is more likely to get access via an archetype.

But certainly Monk, Ranger, Paladin, and Barbarian should all have Focus spells.

EDIT: Nah, actually Fighters too. "Everyone has a focus pool and at least one thing to do with it" is a good general mechanic.

I'm hoping for opt-in for Fighter and Barbarian too. I kinda like the idea of totem-specific focus powers, and you refocus by venting your anger for 10 minutes or something. XD

Fighter is a little trickier to pick a good theme for, though. Though I kinda like the idea of being able to like draw on the power of Fighters who came before and mastered your particular fighting style to let you manifest a supernatural power themed off of said style, and you could refocus by spending time just practicing, doing drills or whatever.


Edge93 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

I'll just throw out there, I'll be very disappointed if martial classes don't have native access to Focus spells in some manner. Possibly excepting the Fighter, who I think is more likely to get access via an archetype.

But certainly Monk, Ranger, Paladin, and Barbarian should all have Focus spells.

EDIT: Nah, actually Fighters too. "Everyone has a focus pool and at least one thing to do with it" is a good general mechanic.

I'm hoping for opt-in for Fighter and Barbarian too. I kinda like the idea of totem-specific focus powers, and you refocus by venting your anger for 10 minutes or something. XD

Fighter is a little trickier to pick a good theme for, though. Though I kinda like the idea of being able to like draw on the power of Fighters who came before and mastered your particular fighting style to let you manifest a supernatural power themed off of said style, and you could refocus by spending time just practicing, doing drills or whatever.

It doesn't have to be something supernatural if Focus in itself is nothing magical. If it's just... you are focussed, concentrated.

I think for the Fighter, Second-Wind-like stuff or shrugging of a fear or domination effect would fit.
But since the PF2 rule for now is that Focus is used for spells only, I would rather give the fighter a pass than make them magical.


I don't think that everyone needs focus spells, Barbarian Totems in the playtest like Dragon and Giant only needed to be in rage to use and I liked, it doesn't really need a pool of points for that.


graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
IMO, it never made sense for "you use your ki to cast dimension door" to not be a spell.

I'm more thinking about an ability that doesn't replicate a spell. Ki allowed extra movement, another attack, ect. Ki strike and such abilities [that add simple numbers] don't jump out as spellcasting: all those untagged, NOT su abilities that ki was used for.

SO for me, if a monk has to cast a spell to get a +1 to strike then a grit user would have to cast a spell to use their abilities: that's really all I'm saying.

I see the Monk using Ki to punch a few extra times or run a bit faster as them channeling this internal power to push their body beyond the limits, like The Flash channeling the Speed Force to enter Flash Time and dodge those 50,000 bullets, or the the Shinigami in Bleach using Flash Step. Being able to punch 8 times is 6 seconds is a superhuman feat of speed, so is going ~200’ in that same time span. Yes PCs are above human in terms of... everything, but even then there’s still the physical limitation of a body just not being able to do X without outside assistance. Plus Ki Strike also add elemental damage to the blow, implying you’re covering your hand in this mystical power a la Iron Fist


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MaxAstro wrote:

I'll just throw out there, I'll be very disappointed if martial classes don't have native access to Focus spells in some manner. Possibly excepting the Fighter, who I think is more likely to get access via an archetype.

But certainly Monk, Ranger, Paladin, and Barbarian should all have Focus spells.

EDIT: Nah, actually Fighters too. "Everyone has a focus pool and at least one thing to do with it" is a good general mechanic.

I'm not completely sure that's true. Classes which don't have focus pools seem well poised to do other things while their allies refocus that can move the game along, like Treat Wouends. Repair or Identify items, or searching the area.

Having the fighter refocus after a fight mechanically doesn't drastically change things, as taking an extra 10 to 20 minutes will rarely make a difference most of the time.

But thematically I think there's a big difference between everyone resting on their laurels vs the casters resting while the martials stay active and on the lookout for danger. As such, I'd prefer focus to at least be kept optional for those classes.


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masda_gib wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
IMO, it never made sense for "you use your ki to cast dimension door" to not be a spell.

I'm more thinking about an ability that doesn't replicate a spell. Ki allowed extra movement, another attack, ect. Ki strike and such abilities [that add simple numbers] don't jump out as spellcasting: all those untagged, NOT su abilities that ki was used for.

SO for me, if a monk has to cast a spell to get a +1 to strike then a grit user would have to cast a spell to use their abilities: that's really all I'm saying.

I think PF2's definition of spell is very broad. Basicallyyou do stuff to achieve a magical effect, whatever the effect and the stuff is. Especially with occult magic covering all the simply unexplainable effects.

The monks Ki Strike (and Ki Rush too) only has a verbal action, which could be a typical "Huh!" while punching or shouting "Falcon Punch!". And both are tagged as transmutation magic.

If they count as magic, can they be countered Spelled? Does Anti Magic Field gimp Monks now?

As for the topic, I see this going 2 ways.

1) Nova. Every Fight. I disliked it in Spheres, I'll probably dislike it here. No reason to think about resources, no reason to think up a plan that isn't "Damage". Death is the best CC and just take 10 minutes to eyeball the room.

2) Nothing. Being so trained over X years to never use their cool stuff till the boss, players might actually with hold using their powers out of habit.


MerlinCross wrote:
masda_gib wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
IMO, it never made sense for "you use your ki to cast dimension door" to not be a spell.

I'm more thinking about an ability that doesn't replicate a spell. Ki allowed extra movement, another attack, ect. Ki strike and such abilities [that add simple numbers] don't jump out as spellcasting: all those untagged, NOT su abilities that ki was used for.

SO for me, if a monk has to cast a spell to get a +1 to strike then a grit user would have to cast a spell to use their abilities: that's really all I'm saying.

I think PF2's definition of spell is very broad. Basicallyyou do stuff to achieve a magical effect, whatever the effect and the stuff is. Especially with occult magic covering all the simply unexplainable effects.

The monks Ki Strike (and Ki Rush too) only has a verbal action, which could be a typical "Huh!" while punching or shouting "Falcon Punch!". And both are tagged as transmutation magic.

If they count as magic, can they be countered Spelled? Does Anti Magic Field gimp Monks now?

I'm pretty sure Ki was Supernatural in PF1, so an AMF stopped their Ki before, didn't it? Or was Ki Extraordinary?

As for Counterspell, that requires having the same spell at hand. So depending on how they are classified in the final rules, either no or yes, but only if you have the Counterspell feat and the same power. Which would be kinda cool honestly.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Does Anti Magic Field gimp Monks now?

It does, unless the monk is higher level than the caster, and all it means is that the monk can't use Ki (punching people works great still.)

It's also worth noting that AMFs are going to be a lot rarer than in PF1- it is the only thing in the playtest rulebook which is "rare" rather than common or uncommon.


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Edge93 wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
masda_gib wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
IMO, it never made sense for "you use your ki to cast dimension door" to not be a spell.

I'm more thinking about an ability that doesn't replicate a spell. Ki allowed extra movement, another attack, ect. Ki strike and such abilities [that add simple numbers] don't jump out as spellcasting: all those untagged, NOT su abilities that ki was used for.

SO for me, if a monk has to cast a spell to get a +1 to strike then a grit user would have to cast a spell to use their abilities: that's really all I'm saying.

I think PF2's definition of spell is very broad. Basicallyyou do stuff to achieve a magical effect, whatever the effect and the stuff is. Especially with occult magic covering all the simply unexplainable effects.

The monks Ki Strike (and Ki Rush too) only has a verbal action, which could be a typical "Huh!" while punching or shouting "Falcon Punch!". And both are tagged as transmutation magic.

If they count as magic, can they be countered Spelled? Does Anti Magic Field gimp Monks now?

I'm pretty sure Ki was Supernatural in PF1, so an AMF stopped their Ki before, didn't it? Or was Ki Extraordinary?

As for Counterspell, that requires having the same spell at hand. So depending on how they are classified in the final rules, either no or yes, but only if you have the Counterspell feat and the same power. Which would be kinda cool honestly.

I just picture 2 Anime Monks just countering each other's Ki ability spam while the fight goes on around them.


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MerlinCross wrote:
I just picture 2 Anime Monks just countering each other's Ki ability spam while the fight goes on around them.

Monk 1 countering Monk 2's "Wholeness of Body" because they know what pressure points to hit in order to block the appropriate chakras is pretty flavorful.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
I just picture 2 Anime Monks just countering each other's Ki ability spam while the fight goes on around them.
Monk 1 countering Monk 2's "Wholeness of Body" because they know what pressure points to hit in order to block the appropriate chakras is pretty flavorful.

Very “Fist of the North Star” in feeling... now I wanna make Kenshiro as well as the JoJos... DAMN IT MAN, WHY MUST YOU GIVE ME AWESOME IDEAS?!? But yeah, using Ki to cancel Ki has some very DBZ feels to it as well, Kamehameha beam wars and all that


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nick1wasd wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
I just picture 2 Anime Monks just countering each other's Ki ability spam while the fight goes on around them.
Monk 1 countering Monk 2's "Wholeness of Body" because they know what pressure points to hit in order to block the appropriate chakras is pretty flavorful.
Very “Fist of the North Star” in feeling... now I wanna make Kenshiro as well as the JoJos... DAMN IT MAN, WHY MUST YOU GIVE ME AWESOME IDEAS?!? But yeah, using Ki to cancel Ki has some very DBZ feels to it as well, Kamehameha beam wars and all that

Because I'm very good at coming up with odd ideas for builds/characters. Like I just found out there's kinda a "Dancer Fighter" archetype for Brawler and I need to make something for that.

As for Jojo..., maybe the first 2 parts. We'll have to see how they do Summoner and see if we can do Stands again.

This is very off topic now so I'll stop.

Liberty's Edge

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Insight wrote:
DMW has a point. The 4e Powers Double Slice, Sudden Charge, or Point-Blank Shot would never cut it as the names of Pathfinder 2 powers.

I never said all of them were objectionable on the grounds of naming conventions. Just that enough were to make it an issue. The whole problem in question is one of perception. Of what feels right.

And, because some of the names were flowery rather than straightforward, it felt like all of them were now in-world, whereas before they had simply been OOC descriptors. That's a pretty big genre shift, and many found it problematic (this is especially true given how Encounter and Daily powers worked, which fed into the same vibe pretty hard).

PF2 does not have the same problem, for the most part.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lunatic Barghest wrote:
graystone wrote:
As for the rest... I'm not really on board with using anime to describe 'over the top'. Anime covers slice of life and dramas like Heidi, Girl of the Alps or Kare Kano were NO supernatural or over the top elements happen. We don't do the same with american blockbusters like john wick, the matrix or avatar do we?

This is an important distinction to make. Many people (its detractors, more often) reduce anime to its most extreme, and paint over the nuances. Anime is as variable as any other genre, and it's dishonest to act as if the over-the-top examples are entirely representative of anime.

(Honestly, this is a side issue, but it's been bugging me long enough that I'll stop lurking for a second.)

Anime is a medium, not a genre.

What people usually are referencing when they say something is "anime" in a game context is a particular subgenre of shounen anime/manga. Yes, it's often used as shorthand, but people don't tend to conflate Western media nearly as much (in the US, anyway). You wouldn't hear someone saying they don't like movies (as a whole) because they didn't happen to like the MCU, or saying that something was "too much like a book" because it reminded them of something from Lord of the Rings.

(okay, carry on debating encounter powers, sorry for the tangent)


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Captain Morgan wrote:
And that also makes sense in fiction: the paladin never had to learn first aid when they had such a renewable well of magic to use.

Paksennarion was a soldier before she became a paladin. She almost certainly learned first aid. Same for Bahzell Bahnakson. I would not be surprised if that were the usual way in which people become paladins. It's one class that seems like starting from scratch would be unusual. Of course, neither of those fictional worlds is Golarion.

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