PF2 really makes GMing harder


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Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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2/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
eddv wrote:
My main worry with this whole system is that those bonuses will begin to become part of the power curve assumption of the game and make it much harder for a more casual player to survive.

I have not yet noticed this after 2 years of SFS.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

SFS has a big curve because of the combined Stamina and Hit Points, but the closer tiers, which both PF2 and SFS have, makes them not as glaring as they would have been in the PF1 tier structure.

PF2 doesn't have the same curve as SFS, at least not in the lower half of the levels, and looks to be pretty balanced once you start using runes and magic on weapons. (like buying better guns in SFS)

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

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I am going to address one thing here... secret rolls...

It has already been stated that this technically is nothing new. What is new are the critical failure tidbits of information that are now in the scenarios. I honestly think these are quite cool, and reason enough to do them. For a bunch of stuff, it should be easy to figure out what you can say for critical failures.

At Gen Con, I had a few on-the-fly ad libs I needed to do. I had the PCs misidentify a creature on two occasions. Both times I gave them some basic information on a much more powerful creature of the same general type, along with a flaw of the creature.

The players never balked at that, and played right along!

Two other times I had potions misidentified. On one case I told Fumbus it wa a potion of invisibility. When he decided to use it, the character was jumping around saying “I’m invisible!”, causing Valeros to wonder if he had learned to see invisible.

The other was identified as a “potion of shrinking”. The eventually decided it was a shrink wounds potion, which was funny.

All of these were great Roleplaying opportunities that few tables would have experienced without the secret rolls.

As an FYI, I was doing it like Gary, roll all the checks, then hand out the information. Seemed to work really well. I was managing it without a screen, even (‘cause I haven’t gotten mine yet)

Finally, if you don’t think you can handle it on the fly, just make a note of what. Failed check will give as you do your prep. Probably what I will be doing as I get better at 2E

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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I played at Jack’s table and can contest that he did a great job with secret roles and made it feel seamless. We did not know how well we did on the roll and the info provided sounded legit.

I think most people are going to accept the secret rolls though GMs do have to plan a bit by having the players provide their modifiers. Just a minor tweak to the prep. If you are a GM that prefers the players roll their own fate, you could have them generate a set of die rolls and randomly pick one when needed. This isn’t much different than how we did secret rolls in 1E, it’s just a bit more structured and pervasive in 2E.

I think the only people who are going to grumble about secret rolls are the few that absolutely have to “win” Pathfinder and dislike anything that may interfere with their ability to get max rewards. They might get a bit miffed when given misinformation for a critical fail.

1/5

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Then, of course,there is a hidden plus to hidden -- someone whose die 'luck' is truly abominable may get a chance to shine for the right reasons for a change.

I like Jack's idea of using something bigger and more terrifying.

I may borrow it if I run 2e again.

The Exchange 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

Blake's Tiger wrote:
eddv wrote:
My main worry with this whole system is that those bonuses will begin to become part of the power curve assumption of the game and make it much harder for a more casual player to survive.
I have not yet noticed this after 2 years of SFS.

The level to which they habd out goodies in SFS is also literally half of what we see here.

Plus I would say that hireling usage is probably the hugest scenario difficulty swinger I see and is like THE hallmark that separates casual and non casual tables and that that hireling is fairly liable to swing the secondary success conditions of a scenario fairly frequently.

Silver Crusade 5/5

GM Wageslave wrote:
Then, of course,there is a hidden plus to hidden -- someone whose die 'luck' is truly abominable may get a chance to shine for the right reasons for a change.

Which is, of course, EXACTLY counterbalanced by the hidden minus of someone with abnormally good luck.

Assuming fair dice rolled correctly, dice "luck" is a myth and is just a matter of perception

Silver Crusade 5/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:

.

I think the only people who are going to grumble about secret rolls are the few that absolutely have to “win” Pathfinder and dislike anything that may interfere with their ability to get max rewards. They might get a bit miffed when given misinformation for a critical fail.

We'll you're definitely wrong about that. I'm grumbling about secret rolls because I don't like them as a GM. I rather doubt I'm the only GM who doesn't like them (I admit that I also don't like them as a player)

The fact that PFS is willing to allow table variation on the use of secret rolls strongly implies to me that it is known (or expected) that they will not be universally liked.


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

I rather doubt I'm the only GM who doesn't like them (I admit that I also don't like them as a player)

I also hate secret rolls as a GM, although as a player I don't mind them as much.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

pauljathome wrote:
I'm grumbling about secret rolls because I don't like them as a GM

Then don't use them. The difference between 1E and 2E is that in 1E, it was gently suggested that secret rolls could be used, but seemed to suggest its not the norm. 2E OTOH seems to put more emphasis on using them and change the dynamic that they would be more likely than not. Regardless of which game system used, they are not mandatory. GMs should do what is comfortable for them and let the players decide if they like what the GM is doing. Its going to be next to impossible to use the misinformation aspect of critical failures without secret rolls, meta-knowledge being what it is.

pauljathome wrote:
...they will not be universally liked

I'm not sure this is matters. I would dare to posit that there isn't a single rule in any game system or campaign, Pathfinder or otherwise, that is universally liked. There are a lot of rules that have options for implementation, this is just one of them.

The Exchange 1/5

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

Secret rolls in PFS2 take me back to 1st edition D&D when I started gaming. The DM would roll randomly at all times and would seldom tell you what he was rolling for. It added excitement or sense of dread depending on when he did it. I also use to use secret rolls when I DM'd because it kept the players on their toes and increased anticipation! Sometimes I rolled dice behind the screen for no reason just to make them wonder. I will be using secret rolls, because I love how the story can be told a little different if they have a critical fail and because finally what each person rolls matters even if the person next to them hits a 30 on their check. It gives me more chances to involve more of my players in the story and I like that.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
I'm grumbling about secret rolls because I don't like them as a GM
Then don't use them.

Fair point. I probably won't (still experimenting a bit). But then I'll grumble about the metagaming :-(.

The huge difference between PF1 and PF2 is, of course, the lying on a critical failure. As a GM this rule forces what are, to me, a choice between two unpleasant alternatives.

But, for PFS, as a player AND GM I'm still going to grumble because of the table variation this introduces.

I'm very afraid that at some point I'll be at a table (either as GM or player) where the group runs out of time due to some misinformation gained by a secret critical failure. Or dies because of it. In the playtest the former DID happen at a table I ran. The PCs ran with the false clue I'd provided and lots of time was lost.

2/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Do keep in mind that even if secret rolls are rolled in the open, the check still bears the secret tag and is not valid for fortune/misfortune effects.

...I had someone complaining that PF2 was ruined because you couldn't use a reroll on a knowledge check. The complaint was made as I was explaining PF2's secret checks to the table not after he made a knowledge check. I thought to myself, when have you ever used a reroll on a monster ID roll?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Blake's Tiger wrote:

Do keep in mind that even if secret rolls are rolled in the open, the check still bears the secret tag and is not valid for fortune/misfortune effects.

...I had someone complaining that PF2 was ruined because you couldn't use a reroll on a knowledge check. The complaint was made as I was explaining PF2's secret checks to the table not after he made a knowledge check. I thought to myself, when have you ever used a reroll on a monster ID roll?

I'll bet they brought up agency.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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pauljathome wrote:
The PCs ran with the false clue I'd provided and lots of time was lost

I think that is a matter of flexing our creative muscles to come up with alternative information that does not punish the players too badly, but is not so obvious that they dismiss it out of hand. I recall the old jokes when someone tried to ID a monster and rolled a nat 1. The GM would jokingly say "looks like a massive dog" when in fact it was a dragon. Knowing that critical fails and misinformation is now a thing, we can incorporate that into our prep. Telling the players the column of flame with arms and a face in front of them is a water elemental is gonna get so eyerolls, but they may mistake a magma elemental for a fire elemental or perhaps its a flaming demonic outsider instead. We can even be more subtle and give them the correct type, but when giving out info like resistances, weaknesses, etc. they get the wrong info. Then should be able to figure it out pretty quickly when they are not getting the results they expect. Its all in the communication. The misinformation should not be vindictive or hurtful in a way that totally screws them from completing the scenario or defeating the encounter, but it should inconvenience them a bit. At higher levels, I could see a critical failure resulting in a PCs death. We shouldn't be afraid of that.

2/5 ⦵⦵

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Blake's Tiger wrote:

Do keep in mind that even if secret rolls are rolled in the open, the check still bears the secret tag and is not valid for fortune/misfortune effects.

...I had someone complaining that PF2 was ruined because you couldn't use a reroll on a knowledge check. The complaint was made as I was explaining PF2's secret checks to the table not after he made a knowledge check. I thought to myself, when have you ever used a reroll on a monster ID roll?

The Core Rulebook says that you can "usually" use fortune/misfortune abilities on secret rolls that you know are happening, and specifically mentions knowledge checks as an example.

Link

Quote:
If you know that the GM is attempting a secret check—as often happens with Recall Knowledge or Seek—you can usually activate fortune or misfortune abilities for that check. Just tell the GM, and they’ll apply the ability to the check.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

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In my first runs of PFS2 perhaps the funniest moment of the scenario was generated by someone following a brief false clue derail. I could tell he knew it was the crit fail result but he ran with it and a good time was had by all. So far, I love it!

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So 'save or suck' has migrated to hidden rolls with no hope of mitigation?

As a GM and as a player this is concerning. Particularly with some GMs I've played under in the past.

5/5

"Save or suck" saves aren't generally secret rolls.

2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

So 'save or suck' has migrated to hidden rolls with no hope of mitigation?

As a GM and as a player this is concerning. Particularly with some GMs I've played under in the past.

What in the world gave you that idea?

It's pretty much Recall Knowledge and Perception.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
The PCs ran with the false clue I'd provided and lots of time was lost
I think that is a matter of flexing our creative muscles to come up with alternative information that does not punish the players too badly, but is not so obvious that they dismiss it out of hand.

Unfortunately, this is difficult to do well all the time, especially with players who know the GM well. Even assuming that the GM comes up with a GOOD ad lib it becomes a contest between the GMs bluff and the players Sense Motive.

I'm waiting to see how it actually works in practice. One good thing that I've noticed in the 2 scenarios I have so far played or run is that there are often directions given by the scenario on what to do on a crit fail (NOT always, of course, because players ask the strangest questions :-))

But its definitely a new place where the GM is going to have a LOT of impact on the game. Which can be good and bad, of course, depending both on how good the GM is in some vague absolute sense AND on how much their gaming style agrees with the player.

But I'm DEFINITELY standing by my original assertion that this makes GMing harder. Most of the proposed solutions involve the GM doing more.

I'm not at all sure how happy I'll be if my character dies due to a crit fail on a knowledge check.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Blake's Tiger wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

So 'save or suck' has migrated to hidden rolls with no hope of mitigation?

As a GM and as a player this is concerning. Particularly with some GMs I've played under in the past.

What in the world gave you that idea?

It's pretty much Recall Knowledge and Perception.

And if the entire party blows their 'hidden' Perception as well as their 'hidden' Recall Knowledge rolls with no way to *know* that they've blown it to use things like rerolls or the sort, then it's a potential TPK depending on the creature in question.

From a pure mechanical perspective, it seems 'okay'-ish.

From a social contract/environment perspective, where some GMs (sadly) RELISH the ability to murder characters greatly, this is an enabling mechanic for them I Definitely Rolled those Secret Rolls! as well as a potential negative for a given party. We never even got a chance to figure out what we were fighting... some statue-things, maybe? And then we all died horribly.

The 'suck' in this case is not the saving throw, it's the ability of player characters to mitigate 'bad rolls' being eliminated, much like the nearly wholesale removal of 'Take 10' from PF2.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

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Wei Ji, this sounds like a problem with certain GMs more than a problem with the rules.

I've been in that terrible situation where our group of poor knowledge characters were fighting a 'medium' enemy because the GM felt that was the information we earned. The answer wasn't changing the rules, it was going to the VC to discuss this hostile GM. Not saying I didn't want better knowledge guidelines, it just wasn't the root problem.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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Rules don't protect you from bad agents.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Rules don't protect you from bad agents.

That's only partly true. A lot of things in PFS are designed to mitigate the harm a poor or inexperienced GM can do.

I concede that just about nothing protects you from an actively malicious one, especially one willing to cheat.

But one reason I like open rolls is that ALL GMs make mistakes. They add something wrong, they thought they'd rolled for everybody but missed one character, etc. Open rolls protect from innocent mistakes

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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pauljathome wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Rules don't protect you from bad agents.
That's only partly true. A lot of things in PFS are designed to mitigate the harm a poor or inexperienced GM can do.

Rules can't force GMs to follow them. Only provide leverage when the GM is called on it.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

pauljathome wrote:
Assuming fair dice rolled correctly, dice "luck" is a myth and is just a matter of perception

I am so relieved that I don’t have bad dice luck!

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

I’ve heard this type of discussion a number of times over the years and the core of the concern is a lack of trust. If your GM is untrustworthy, then don’t play with them. If you cannot trust your player/s then don’t play with them. It’s just a game and life is too short to be unhappy. If the rules for PFS are not suitable for your pleasure, then play a home game where you can adjust the rules to maximize your fun. It really is an easy formula.

5/5

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That specific GM case is clearly a violation of the rules: making the DC earns you the creature's identity, which means its type, subtypes, alignment, and all the info that goes with the type and subtype. The "size" is something you get with a DC-10 Perception check (that's MINUS 10, not 10).

I still think there should be some benefit to the Pathfinder Training points we now have to quantify the years of schooling, which I'm sure would cover creature ID. Is it silver or cold iron for devils? Piercing or slashing for zombies? etc. Does anyone really forbid a player from using a club instead of a rapier on a skeleton if they don't make the ID check?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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GM Lamplighter wrote:
Does anyone really forbid a player from using a club instead of a rapier on a skeleton if they don't make the ID check?

No, but it shouldn’t come to that anyway. In 1E, the DC for common information started at 5. Unless all six characters had negative modifiers, it is extremely unlikely that no one could make a knowledge check to know that a skeleton is best dealt with using bludgeoning damage. I see too many GMs setting the DC unnecessarily high for what amounts to common knowledge and then trying to control a player’s actions to account for metagaming. It’s kind of ridiculous IMO.

Sovereign Court 2/5

So how do you calculate challenge points for a party comprising characters of equal level? Are they all the lowest? All the highest? How's that work?

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Within any tier (a four level range), the lowest level of the tier is worth 2 points; second level within tier 3; third, 4; and highest level within tier 6 points.

The tier refers to the levels the adventure is written for, and the lowest level (for PC level bump purposes when playing high tier) is the lowest level allowed to play the adventure, not the lowest level in the party.

Sovereign Court 2/5

NielsenE wrote:

Within any tier (a four level range), the lowest level of the tier is worth 2 points; second level within tier 3; third, 4; and highest level within tier 6 points.

The tier refers to the levels the adventure is written for, and the lowest level (for PC level bump purposes when playing high tier) is the lowest level allowed to play the adventure, not the lowest level in the party.

That makes so much more sense! Thank you!

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

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Aduaitam wrote:
NielsenE wrote:

Within any tier (a four level range), the lowest level of the tier is worth 2 points; second level within tier 3; third, 4; and highest level within tier 6 points.

The tier refers to the levels the adventure is written for, and the lowest level (for PC level bump purposes when playing high tier) is the lowest level allowed to play the adventure, not the lowest level in the party.

That makes so much more sense! Thank you!

The fact that this has been asked 3 times suggests that the guide could possibly be more clear. We will see if there are any simple changes we can make to make it more clear.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Blake's Tiger wrote:

Do keep in mind that even if secret rolls are rolled in the open, the check still bears the secret tag and is not valid for fortune/misfortune effects.

...I had someone complaining that PF2 was ruined because you couldn't use a reroll on a knowledge check. The complaint was made as I was explaining PF2's secret checks to the table not after he made a knowledge check. I thought to myself, when have you ever used a reroll on a monster ID roll?

Aren't you the person who complained about a combat encounter which gets severely blunted if you identify what the monsters abilities are? It wasn't that way in 1e but identifying monsters goes a long way under the right circumstances in 2e.

2/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Adam Yakaboski wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:

Do keep in mind that even if secret rolls are rolled in the open, the check still bears the secret tag and is not valid for fortune/misfortune effects.

...I had someone complaining that PF2 was ruined because you couldn't use a reroll on a knowledge check. The complaint was made as I was explaining PF2's secret checks to the table not after he made a knowledge check. I thought to myself, when have you ever used a reroll on a monster ID roll?

Aren't you the person who complained about a combat encounter which gets severely blunted if you identify what the monsters abilities are? It wasn't that way in 1e but identifying monsters goes a long way under the right circumstances in 2e.

That doesn't sound like anything I'd ever have a reason to say.

I am not a GM vs. PC type of GM, so I'm fine with players using their abilities to swing things in their advantage, which would include knowledge rolls.

Have I done or said something to you to make you want to toss disparagement at me out of left field?

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Blake's Tiger wrote:
Adam Yakaboski wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:

Do keep in mind that even if secret rolls are rolled in the open, the check still bears the secret tag and is not valid for fortune/misfortune effects.

...I had someone complaining that PF2 was ruined because you couldn't use a reroll on a knowledge check. The complaint was made as I was explaining PF2's secret checks to the table not after he made a knowledge check. I thought to myself, when have you ever used a reroll on a monster ID roll?

Aren't you the person who complained about a combat encounter which gets severely blunted if you identify what the monsters abilities are? It wasn't that way in 1e but identifying monsters goes a long way under the right circumstances in 2e.

That doesn't sound like anything I'd ever have a reason to say.

I am not a GM vs. PC type of GM, so I'm fine with players using their abilities to swing things in their advantage, which would include knowledge rolls.

Have I done or said something to you to make you want to toss disparagement at me out of left field?

I meant that less as disparagement and more that having run the encounter that you talked about in another thread I can see why you'd want to nail the identification check. I feel like it matters more in PF2 than it does in PF1 which isn't a bad thing but it does explain why someone would grouse about it. Im sorry for sounding like a jerk and being blunt about it. I didn't intent for it to come off that way.

Silver Crusade 5/5

So, I just GMed 1-03 Escaping the Grave last night.

Ended up with 7 players (one joining a bit late so splitting the party wasn't really an option at that point).

I'm sorry, but doing level bumps on the fly definitely adds a fair bit of complexity to the GMs role.

Not an impossible amount, but a fair bit of extra work.

An encounter occurs. I first have to look up the 5 player adjustment. Then I have to remember to level bump everything.

So, the <deleted> attack. By the time I get to 3rd attack I'm doing
<d20 roll> + 5 + 2 (flat footed) - 5 (or is it 4, was that attack agile) -5 (or was it 4, was that attack agile) + 1 (Oh yeah, level adjustment).

I'd have been better off if I'd printed out the stats so I could just change the numbers on a piece of paper. But I run from my tablet (hate generating all that paper).

It doesn't help, of course, that the various adjustments aren't yet instinctive. Flank, flat footed, MAP, I have to think about them all just a tiny little bit still. So it WILL get better.

But I stand firmly by my original position that PFS2 is notably more complicated than PFS1 in general, at least at low levels. EVERYTHING moves it in the same direction. Monster powers are easier (not a huge thing at low level) but spells are just as hard.

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