Has player agency taken a hit?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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We're seeing a lot of topics pop up with concerns about proficiency scaling issues for anyone trying to step even a little bit outside of what the class provides (Bards and Medium Armor, Wizards and a Martial Weapon, even things built into the class, such as a Dragon Sorcerer's prof with their claw attacks).
I've also noticed that since every class is so heavily tied to it's class feat options, you really can't adopt a playstyle that wasn't built specifically for the class. If you want to TWF as a Barbarian, for instance, you just can't as the feats that make it happen aren't available to you (yes, you can "technically" TWF with regular MAP attacks and two different weapons, but we aaaall know that's not what anyone means by TWF ;P ).

There is certainly a lot of new and interesting things with the new edition that are improvements over the old, but I'm getting the feeling that Classes specifically are essentially so rigid that you either play the way the rulebook tells you or you struggle to keep up, by design.

That seems anathema to D&D-esque gameplay.

How do others feel?


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You can TWF on a barbarian by multi-classing as fighter or rogue though. Archetypes (including MC) are being made specifically to let players adopt whatever playstyle they want. The MC archetypes already open up quite a few options, and it looks like a ton of archetypes opening up options are being added over the next year.


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I don't think it has anything to do with player agency.

Just that the numbers (especially in proficiencies) are more restrictive, and unarmed is tied up in a weird area what it was for some reason deemed abusable*, so it was separated from simple weapons, but unarmed attacks show up all over the place.

*given that monk stances give attacks that are significantly better than martial weapons for a two feat multiclass investment, I blame monks.

Folks are used to Voltroning together absurd bonuses, and PF2 doesn't allow for that.


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I'd disagree pretty strongly. If you want your wizard to swing a greatsword you can just spend a level 2 class feat on Fighter multiclass and if you want it to scale fairly well grab the level 12 feat or if you want it more for flavour spend a General Feat to grab martial weapons. Do either of those and you'll fight acceptably well with a melee weapon, not to the same level of a martial but you'll usually be only 2-3 points behind most of them if you keep your Strength or Dexterity up there. (Fighter is the exception but Fighter is 2 points ahead of everyone)

In comparison in first ed, a Wizard couldn't come close to that, you could get proficiency through shenanigans or a dip but your BAB was miles behind the martials so your hit rate would always be much lower and you'd lose some casting power.

This is much more flexible than most D&Desque games because you can easier take a multiclass to add some new options to your character without compromising core strengths.


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I do agree that the lack of a general feat for weapon/armor proficiency greater than Trained is a problem (if being "almost as good" as a fighter is fine for levels 1-6, why is it suddenly not-fine after that?)

But I don't see that as a player agency problem. Player Agency has literally zero foxes to give about how you stat-build a character. The two aren't even on the same planet, much less intimately involved with each other.

Quote:

What is Agency?

I personally define agency by three criteria:

1. The player has control over their own character's decisions.
2. Those decisions have consequences within the game world.
3. The player has enough information to anticipate what those consequences might be before making them.

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/a/71266/31471

Notice how literally zero of those bullet points relate to class features, feat choices, race, attributes, or any other statistic.


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Neo2151 wrote:
We're seeing a lot of topics pop up with concerns about proficiency scaling issues for anyone trying to step even a little bit outside of what the class provides.

Yeah, but all of those threads are made by one poster.

On topic, I don't feel like I'm chained down. I pick a class and it acts as my chassis. If I'm a rogue, I'm not going to be as good with weapons and armor as a fighter or a champion. If I wanted to have heavier armor while keeping the rogue spirit, I would instead take a fighter or champion and take rogue dedications. If I want to be a TWF barbarian, I'll grab fighter dedication and pick up Double Slice. I mean, I'm not really sure that was the best example.


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When I first read through the PF2 book, I was disappointed in the same way you are. It felt difficult to play around and make Wizard's that hit stuff with greatswords or Bard tanks or "Bloodragers." There just wasn't enough in the book to power all these cool ideas. Why can't I two-weapon fight awesomely with my Barbarian!

What I decided to do was go back to PF1, core rulebook only, and try the same stuff. Could I make a TWF Barbarian? Could I get my Wizard to be the best melee DPR in his party? Could I make a Con-Charisma Bard tank that excelled at his job?

The answer is no. I could make a Barbarian that hit really hard with a greatsword or falchion or great axe, but not sword and board so much and definitely not two weapons. All the great feats for it were in later books. And all the great tricks to get TWF were too. And the Unchained Barbarian had the big damage and accuracy bonuses! My melee Wizard? He was aight, but nothing special. Sure, he had good strength, the stat-buff spells, Mirror Image, but the really cool tricks came later, there weren't traits, there weren't archetypes to swap out abilities.

The message here is that while we did have a robust game library and a collective system mastery with it, that was not always so. At some point, in the beginning stages, we had limited tools to work with when crafting our characters. If something isn't there yet, don't sweat it. There's going to be a decade of options coming.


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Completely agreed. For a game that prides itself on so much customization, it still has a very "stay in your lane, the limits of our imagination are the limits of your's" feel.

I remain amazed that they allowed Joe Average Everyone and their grandmother (even the monk) just be able to use all kinds of shields without having to fight the system to do it. Why couldn't the attitude behind THAT design decision have permeated elsewhere? Anyone can use a shield. Anyone can pick up Shield Block. Neither of these have specific ranges where they're allowed to be useful before they become trap options that must be retrained (eventually, you might need a better shield with more hp/hardness, but that's not something you have to give up on a defining element of your character to do). And this, in no way whatsoever, steps on the niches of the classes that usually use shields.


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Also remember that we have literally one major book of player content right now. Paizo themselves have stated that most things that you could do in PF1 but cannot do right now are more a result of limited book space rather than a conscious "we don't want you do to do that kind of thing anymore" decision.

Plus you can honestly do quite a lot more with just the 2e CRB than you could with just the 1e CRB, even if the path you take to get there is a bit different.

But really, none of that seems to fly in the face of lessening player agency.

So, relax.


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Well, it's not like it's a secret. See this post by James Jacobs, for example.

Quote:
That seems anathema to D&D-esque gameplay.

Only if you (like me) started in the 3.x splatbook era. Before that, as far as I can tell, players had very little choice in building their characters, which weren't even expected to survive for more than a few sessions, and GM was the be-all and end-all of the game.

I was pretty excited to have a ton of options for mechanically expressing almost any character concept back in PF1 as a player, but as a GM the pile-on of the mechanical side effects of cherry-picking disparate options by the players who got their fun from breaking the game got tiring pretty fast.

As much as the CRB2 seems limiting compared to a sea of PF1 material, however, I think it actually supports MUCH more options right out of the box. It's just sometimes you need to change your mindset from "I'll go dip one level or pick one trait that will open up a whole new playstyle for me while making the base class assumptions irrelevant" to "I'll choose the base class that fits my intended playstyle and add feats/dedications which give me that quirk I want while keeping the base class assumptions intact".

For your specific example, you can get TWF by level 4 at the cost of two feats, either Fighter Dedication -> Basic Maneuver (Double Slice) or Ranger Dedication -> Twin Takedown. But if your character concept is not a "Barbarian who also has two weapons" but a "TWF martial who also rages", you can instead start as a Fighter or Ranger and take Barbarian dedication at level 2.

EDIT: wow, so many ninjas on this board and the class hasn't even been announced yet!


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Almost all of what you listed are things that were sub optimal in 1st edition. And due to being behind on proficiency scaling they are still sub optimal

People are talking about them as if they are impossible. They are not. The language also used is all about "viable". These things are actually more "viable" than ever before as you don't need to spend feat or get spell failure to use them, just to be better at them. But will never be as good at them

A barbarian was never an amazing two weapon fighter because it often didn't have the dex for the later feats. Wizards often were not good with martial weapons because they had half BAB and lower strength (same with dragon claw sorcerer). None of these things have changed. It is just proficiency is a different paradigm

The biggest complaints seem to be about when proficiency in what the class is "supposed to be good at" jumps at 11 or 13 to then be better than an alternative you may have picked. This is not ideal but is another example of just not being as good

Take the wizard with his martial weapon. In 1E you could use a simple weapon and pick another feat to improve your use with that OR spend that feat on being able to use the martial weapon. So at any given moment in time the wizard who wanted to use a weapon should be better with the ones they were originally proficient with. So once again this hasn't really changed

A Bard could pick chain shirt and dodge for +5 AC or medium armour proficiency and breast plate for +6. Slightly better but check penalties, weight and max dex may become a factor for many 1E bards so it wasn't strictly better

What I am trying to say is, no I don't think player agency has taken a hit and it is just a terminology shift. But perhaps this is coloured by the fact that I have almost exclusively GM'd for the last 8 years. Time will tell when my players start to make characters


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Neo2151 wrote:

We're seeing a lot of topics pop up with concerns about proficiency scaling issues for anyone trying to step even a little bit outside of what the class provides (Bards and Medium Armor, Wizards and a Martial Weapon, even things built into the class, such as a Dragon Sorcerer's prof with their claw attacks).

I've also noticed that since every class is so heavily tied to it's class feat options, you really can't adopt a playstyle that wasn't built specifically for the class. If you want to TWF as a Barbarian, for instance, you just can't as the feats that make it happen aren't available to you (yes, you can "technically" TWF with regular MAP attacks and two different weapons, but we aaaall know that's not what anyone means by TWF ;P ).

There is certainly a lot of new and interesting things with the new edition that are improvements over the old, but I'm getting the feeling that Classes specifically are essentially so rigid that you either play the way the rulebook tells you or you struggle to keep up, by design.

That seems anathema to D&D-esque gameplay.

How do others feel?

In theory in PF1 you could have built a TWF barbarian. But how optimal would it have been? Assuming a limited point-buy, investing that 15 into Dexterity for Two-Weapon Fighting (and then 17 to get the subsequent feats on a restricted feat chain), points are being diverted away from Strength and Constitution.

Then, if you were to invest in two-weapon fighting feats, what "agency" do you have once you get into a battle? Now in PF2, you need to start your turn next to a still-living enemy before you can get those extra attacks from your off-hand in. Any movement more than 5 feet means you are limited to an attack from one hand. PF1's rule chassis did not let you break out of this restriction. PF2 lets you move and make a 2nd attack automatically from Level 1, without investing feats. And you can make that 2nd attack with either your main hand or your off hand. Isn't that "agency" as well?

So it's not clear to me what you mean by "agency." The agency to choose Barbarian as your class and to be a good two-weapon fighter? Yes, I assume that, in theory, you could have done so in PF1, but it often was not optimal. Now you can still do so, by getting an archetype at 2nd level that unlocks class feats that make that a viable fighting style. In the meantime, you already at Level 1 can make up to 3 attacks, whether they come from one hand or two. PF1 didn't silo off abilities down different paths. At first glance, this seems to give more "agency" than PF2. But PF2's design gates allow for multiple paths to be balanced with each other, and in my opinion this opens up the game, both for players and for the game's designers.


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A lot of these feel like weird examples for how the game has become more restrictive, because they were actually more restricted in 1st edition. Bards in medium Armor, for example, had to deal with arcane spell failure. Now they may fall behind in armor at high levels... Unless they spend a couple feats on Champion multiclassing.

Wizards were going to be behind the curve with ANY weapon no matter what they did because of their BAB, being 10 points behind a martial class. Now they are only 4 points behind martials. They are two more 2 points behind if they use martial weapons... Assuming they don't multiclass fighter or use their ancestry feats to catch up.

The dragon claws example sucks, but I don't think it is intentional, and even if it is I don't think it is a good example of losing agency because dragon claw sorcerers have always had to make up for bad BAB.

And while barbarians don't have a two weapon fighting fear yet, multiclassing let's them pick up twin takedown or double slice easily enough. And barbarians have always had to swim against the current to two weapon fight because of how strength bonuses interacted with light/agile weapons.

I'm sure you could find some examples where their are less choices. But the stuff you named doesn't seem especially relevant.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Neo2151 wrote:

We're seeing a lot of topics pop up with concerns about proficiency scaling issues for anyone trying to step even a little bit outside of what the class provides (Bards and Medium Armor, Wizards and a Martial Weapon, even things built into the class, such as a Dragon Sorcerer's prof with their claw attacks).

I've also noticed that since every class is so heavily tied to it's class feat options, you really can't adopt a playstyle that wasn't built specifically for the class. If you want to TWF as a Barbarian, for instance, you just can't as the feats that make it happen aren't available to you (yes, you can "technically" TWF with regular MAP attacks and two different weapons, but we aaaall know that's not what anyone means by TWF ;P ).

There is certainly a lot of new and interesting things with the new edition that are improvements over the old, but I'm getting the feeling that Classes specifically are essentially so rigid that you either play the way the rulebook tells you or you struggle to keep up, by design.

That seems anathema to D&D-esque gameplay.

How do others feel?

I'm guessing you didn't play 1st or 2nd edition AD&D.


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Yup gonna pile in with the other people comparing it to PF1e, I would argue that a lot of what is being complained about it is minor capability shifts compared to PF1e requirements.

Reminds me of a thread where someone was trying to say how big a difference there was between a 16 and an 18 in the primary stat. Nope, the difference is small and literally only effects half your levels with the CRB.
Much ado about very little, not nothing but certainly not as restrictive as PF1e CRB was to make a functional concept.


The Rot Grub wrote:
PF2 lets you move and make a 2nd attack automatically from Level 1, without investing feats.

So does PF1.


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Baby Samurai wrote:
The Rot Grub wrote:
PF2 lets you move and make a 2nd attack automatically from Level 1, without investing feats.
So does PF1.

Fair. But PF2 lets you make a second attack with any weapon. And without a penalty to the first

The minimum penalty in PF1 would be -4 to both. And you were far more restricted in what weapons you could dual wield with

But you are right you could do it in PF1 without feats. Terribly, but you could so you are not wrong


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Lanathar wrote:
Baby Samurai wrote:
The Rot Grub wrote:
PF2 lets you move and make a 2nd attack automatically from Level 1, without investing feats.
So does PF1.
Fair. But PF2 lets you make a second attack with any weapon. And without a penalty to the first.

Same with PF1 (Unchained RAE, been using it for years, it's what PF2 uses, just cleaned up a bit).


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There are fewer options mostly because we are dealing with 1000 pages of books and not 100,000 pages of books.

Player agency is not really "I want to play a barbarian who TWFs with whips and the rules make this a viable thing" in the first place. Agency is more the thing we want to preserve in plots when we avoid "GM railroading."


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RiverMesa wrote:
Also remember that we have literally one major book of player content right now.

While true, a lot of these things don't feel like a lack of content so much as things Paizo built into the system. There may be feats later on to adjust them in specific ways, but those have their own problems (because now you're paying feat taxes to enable builds just like in PF1).

Lanathar wrote:
Almost all of what you listed are things that were sub optimal in 1st edition.

Saying it wasn't any better in 1e is a pretty poor defense when the whole reason 2e exists is supposedly to get away from the fundamental problems 1e has.

The fact that just like in PF1 has become the new mantra defending PF2 feels really worrying, because it undermines the whole premise of the game.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
There are fewer options mostly because we are dealing with 1000 pages of books and not 100,000 pages of books.

Allowing characters to advance their proficiency more easily, or allowing them to advance unarmed weapon proficiency at all wouldn't have required any new feats or book space. That's a mechanical choice Paizo made.

Maybe we'll get 'spend these two feats to make unarmed work' down the road... but dumping feats into a weapon just to make it function like other weapons was supposed to be one of the bad things in PF1 we were trying to get away from.


Squiggit wrote:

Saying it wasn't any better in 1e is a pretty poor defense when the whole reason 2e exists is supposedly to get away from the fundamental problems 1e has.

The fact that just like in PF1 has become the new mantra defending PF2 feels really worrying, because it undermines the whole premise of the game.

Its hardly a mantra.

But, really, none of whats being discussed here has anything at all to do with the 'fundamental problems of pf1.' This is just preferences for weapons and armor and the odd cases where proficiency non-advancement cause problems


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Voss wrote:
Its hardly a mantra.

It gets echoed constantly in any thread of this nature. Certainly feels like one.

Quote:
But, really, none of whats being discussed here has anything at all to do with the 'fundamental problems of pf1.'

Having options bound to certain classes because they couldn't work properly without the specific support they gave was absolutely one of the problems with PF1 people complained about.

Which makes it baffling that people are so happy to see Paizo artificially engineering it back into the game for PF2.

Quote:
the odd cases where proficiency non-advancement cause problems

It's not really the odd case though, it's any case where you want to do anything that your class doesn't give you innately (except spellcasting, that has good proficiency scaling).


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Crap, been too long to edit...

So I just want to clarify that, as far as "Agency" goes, I personally make a distinction between "player agency" and "character agency" where the former concerns things that take place outside of the game while the later concerns things that take place inside the game.

Sorry I wasn't more clear on that. :)


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Squiggit wrote:
RiverMesa wrote:
Also remember that we have literally one major book of player content right now.

While true, a lot of these things don't feel like a lack of content so much as things Paizo built into the system. There may be feats later on to adjust them in specific ways, but those have their own problems (because now you're paying feat taxes to enable builds just like in PF1).

Lanathar wrote:
Almost all of what you listed are things that were sub optimal in 1st edition.

Saying it wasn't any better in 1e is a pretty poor defense when the whole reason 2e exists is supposedly to get away from the fundamental problems 1e has.

The fact that just like in PF1 has become the new mantra defending PF2 feels really worrying, because it undermines the whole premise of the game.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
There are fewer options mostly because we are dealing with 1000 pages of books and not 100,000 pages of books.

Allowing characters to advance their proficiency more easily, or allowing them to advance unarmed weapon proficiency at all wouldn't have required any new feats or book space. That's a mechanical choice Paizo made.

Maybe we'll get 'spend these two feats to make unarmed work' down the road... but dumping feats into a weapon just to make it function like other weapons was supposed to be one of the bad things in PF1 we were trying to get away from.

I personally don't consider some classes being worse with weapons or heavy armour a fundamental problem with 1E. And the even if you can't spend feats to equalize things now the gap is still a lot closer than in 1E (without spending feats) and even closer when you do

Now as to how this bears out in the maths of the game - that will come from playing not theorycrafting

Unless I have misunderstood what you are saying was a "fundamental problem" from 1E


Squiggit wrote:
Voss wrote:
Its hardly a mantra.

It gets echoed constantly in any thread of this nature. Certainly feels like one.

Quote:
But, really, none of whats being discussed here has anything at all to do with the 'fundamental problems of pf1.'

Having options bound to certain classes because they couldn't work properly without the specific support they gave was absolutely one of the problems with PF1 people complained about.

Which makes it baffling that people are so happy to see Paizo artificially engineering it back into the game for PF2.

Quote:
the odd cases where proficiency non-advancement cause problems
It's not really the odd case though, it's any case where you want to do anything that your class doesn't give you innately (except spellcasting, that has good proficiency scaling).

There seems to be a difference between "work properly" and "work optimally". Or at least how I am viewing it

So what is meant by "work properly" in this instance. Or the inverse, what were things that didn't work properly before? I am not being obtuse but this seems to be the divide

-


chiming in late.
I don't think player agency has been removed.

The only "restriction" i personally felt is more or less having to have access to Human feats for a lot of things I want to do.

To make my alchmist use an Aklys, gotta have human feats to make it expert.
To take two separate dedicationos (because I only want a small choice from them, but also don't want to dump my own classf eats) I need to be human for multi talented to save me a lot of grief.

Buuut. in p1 that was often true that you more or less had to be a human if you wanted plenty of skills and enough feats to make lv 1-3 "feel" like your character style and not a copy paste.

Personally I wish that general feats had had more baseline details, like the multitalted human feat was a general one (and preferably somewhat lower).
or that there were skill feats to bring outside your standard class profiencies up to your class profiencies.

However its the first book, and pure core p1 felt kind of similiar. So I rather expect more options later on once they have large roving data mine of experience going
Otherwise I dont really feel much loss of agency.


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Baby Samurai wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Baby Samurai wrote:
The Rot Grub wrote:
PF2 lets you move and make a 2nd attack automatically from Level 1, without investing feats.
So does PF1.
Fair. But PF2 lets you make a second attack with any weapon. And without a penalty to the first.
Same with PF1 (Unchained RAE, been using it for years, it's what PF2 uses, just cleaned up a bit).

Not everyone has Unchained.

I, for one, do not (the only Pathfinder Classic rulebook I don't have).


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Mostly boils down to the "viable" band being a lot tighter in PF2 right now compared to PF1. The best character you can make right now is going to be hitting like 60% of the time with their stuff. As soon as you deviate a bit to make something more flavorful, you are going to run into some -2s and suddenly your character feels really useless. A -2 did not use to feel so insurmountable before, but it just cripples your character right now. Being 50/50 (or worse) on whatever you built for is not very satisfying.


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Lanathar wrote:
Unless I have misunderstood what you are saying was a "fundamental problem" from 1E

Well, for instance, certain combat styles being so bad that Paizo had to build entire classes or archetypes just to make them viable (like the Swashbuckler). Or certain weapons requiring unnecessarily long feat chains to reach a point where they can function properly. I remember these things being issues in 1e that people didn't like. Now in 2e people seem excited to have them come back and it feels strange to me.

Lanathar wrote:
So what is meant by "work properly" in this instance. Or the inverse, what were things that didn't work properly before? I am not being obtuse but this seems to be the divide

I mean, in a very literal sense technically anything works.

But just for instance, a rogue who wants to use their fists is, by high levels, eventually going to be rolling a -4 to hit compared to their shortsword using counterpart on top of being on a smaller damage die and lacking specialization damage. These are all significant penalties with no real counterbalancing incentive. You're just making yourself significantly worse.

You can make it work in a literal sense, it'll just hurt. More importantly though, these penalties don't seem to really serve a compelling function when it comes to game balance or design. It's just Paizo building systems to try to keep players from stepping outside of their class' predesignated lane, even if it's just for flavor reasons.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

And this kind of threads always comes down to the same conclusion:

Some archetypes will add the option that you want, sometime in the future. Because we already know that the core rulebook won't be modified.

The PF2 APG will probably be the one with most options like PF1 APG changed PF1 forever. The only issue, it's not coming out until next summer.

The Lost Omens character guide will have more options but I don't expect any major mechanical shift in October, besides just having some Golarion specific options.


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I like it this way. there is pf1 for those people. PF2 imo strikes a good balance between the free for all of 3.0/3.5/pf1 and the super constraint of 5E. they have set the boundaries I hope they stay within them, and don't introduce options to go beyond them, unless its mythic or epic.


There are fewer options now, because it's a new game, so you have less ability to make the type of character you want if it's not one of the standard options.

And various abilities (some of which were pretty broken) have become more restricted via rarity or updated spells.

So yes, player agency has taken a hit.

And that's fine. Player agency isn't an absolute good.

If every character had the ability to make unlimited Wish spells at level 1, you'd have tons of agency (going by the 'decisions have consequences within the game world' definition) but the game wouldn't be more fun as a result.


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People are mentioning sub optimal choices in pathfinder 1st but those choices could be shored up because losing a bit of damage or to hit could be made up elsewhere.

That's far from the same in 2nd edition where +1 is considered a big deal.


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The fundamental problems of PF1e as stated by some (I agree with a few)::

1) Multiclassing is bad and creates unplayemable character for wanting to RP.

2) Feat chains are bad and limits how much I can do.

3) Feat taxes are bad and a waste of space.

4) "Math fixes" (aka increasing proficiency to match your class) are horrible and boggles down play.

5) Having a lot of controlled creatures (Summoner/Necromancer) is bad because it boggles down play and makes martians feel bad.

6) Druids and Clerics are broken because they get too much (Clerics had few features but great stats).

7) High (and some low) level magic invalidates martials and some GM railroading. Magic is too easy to get.

8) Getting RP choices makes your character unplayable, especially if there is an optimizer in your party.

9) Forum and guide designated "one true builds", high power minmaxers deemed anything else bad/suboptimal.

10) Some options are out right traps as other things give better effects.


what PF2e does about it::

1) Classes are railroaded and can't do anything without multiclassing/picking an archetype.

2) Multiclassing/archetypes requires feat chains and in general force you to get thing you may not want.

3) Option that should otherwise be for everyone (matching your classes proficiency) have a dedication tax, and possibly a dedication exit tax.

4) Getting "Math fixes" is increadibly hard and requires paying taxes.

5) Playing Summoners/Necromancers and pet classes is effectively shooting yourself in the legs, while simultaneous lobotomizing intelligent creatures.

6) Druids were over nerfed, not only less access to abilities, but each also got nerfed in some way. Clerics lost stats in favor of more feats (I'll say its a sidegrade)

7) Magic is unsatisfying, railroaded, nerfed and highly subjected to "one true build or you are doing it wrong". Lots of spells from all levels are nerfed, gone, or unattainable (without GM good will).

8) RP choices are bad even when compared to the average player, specially for casters.

9) Forum and guide designated "one true builds" continue to exist. They now demand multiclassing to stay effective.

10) Some options are still traps, even if they aren't as bad.

* Bonus: Ancestry feats and retraining are being branded as "new options" when they were actual rules in PF1e. As for retraining, did any of you noticed that PF2e removed the ability to retrain your class?


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I agree that Player Agency has taken a hit as concerns the "meta" aka what is allowed in the game.

Correspondingly, DM Agency has gotten a boost with respect to that same field of play.

Overall, I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.


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captain yesterday wrote:
Baby Samurai wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Baby Samurai wrote:
The Rot Grub wrote:
PF2 lets you move and make a 2nd attack automatically from Level 1, without investing feats.
So does PF1.
Fair. But PF2 lets you make a second attack with any weapon. And without a penalty to the first.
Same with PF1 (Unchained RAE, been using it for years, it's what PF2 uses, just cleaned up a bit).

Not everyone has Unchained.

I, for one, do not (the only Pathfinder Classic rulebook I don't have).

It's been free on the PFSRD for years. I only bought a copy after seeing what it had to offer via the online SRD, same with Occult Adventures.


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Matthew Downie wrote:

If every character had the ability to make unlimited Wish spells at level 1, you'd have tons of agency (going by the 'decisions have consequences within the game world' definition) but the game wouldn't be more fun as a result.

Little bit absurd to compare someone wanting to play an unarmed rogue with having unlimited wish spells at level 1, don't you think?


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It is absurd but there is a lot of hyperbole going round in general...


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Neo2151 wrote:

We're seeing a lot of topics pop up with concerns about proficiency scaling issues for anyone trying to step even a little bit outside of what the class provides (Bards and Medium Armor, Wizards and a Martial Weapon, even things built into the class, such as a Dragon Sorcerer's prof with their claw attacks).

I've also noticed that since every class is so heavily tied to it's class feat options, you really can't adopt a playstyle that wasn't built specifically for the class. If you want to TWF as a Barbarian, for instance, you just can't as the feats that make it happen aren't available to you (yes, you can "technically" TWF with regular MAP attacks and two different weapons, but we aaaall know that's not what anyone means by TWF ;P ).

There is certainly a lot of new and interesting things with the new edition that are improvements over the old, but I'm getting the feeling that Classes specifically are essentially so rigid that you either play the way the rulebook tells you or you struggle to keep up, by design.

That seems anathema to D&D-esque gameplay.

How do others feel?

I think there's a lot of hyperbole being dramatized out there. One of the threads you're talking about is basically about how heavy armor becomes useless to a wizard around 13th, because if he optimized for unarmored, he'd have maybe +2AC.

I'm biased, but I hope that 2AC isn't a dealbreaker for your character's aesthetics and choices. I personally will build around Spiked Gauntlets and I'm not gonna ask if I'm being punished for not using a rapier which deals more damage. It's a personal choice.

If anything, we got more choices. You can spend class feats to be a hierophant before level 10 basically. I will be going Rogue with fighter MC for grappling strikes to use with my gauntlets, it seems really fun and I've never liked fighter before.

Just top of the hat, a human can use his 9th ancestry feat to get a MC Dedication. In theory, a half-elf wizard who took Fighter Dedication at level 10th, and Champion Dedication via ancestry at 9th, could have Expert Simple/Martial Weapons and Expert in all armors at level 12 and 14 respectively. Without having to meet dedication stat requirements.

A full casting wizard, at the cost of 3 class feats and 1 ancestry feat, can have full casting, expert martial/simple, trained advanced, and expert in all armors. I don't think it's as restrictive or punishing as people make it out to be.


Why would the stat requirements not be needed - out of interest?


Lanathar wrote:
Why would the stat requirements not be needed - out of interest?

Multitalented ancestry feat gives you a Dedication feat: "If you’re a half-elf, you don’t need to meet the feat’s ability score prerequisites."

It also bypasses the "take 2 feats before taking another dedication", so you can get two dedication, fighter expert weaponry at 12th, and champion expert armor at 14th. If we're going with wizard, it wouldn't be out of character to pick Nethys as your deity.

Edit: On second thought, this might not apply to the first dedication picked up the normal way. Meaning a non-cha caster would need 14 str and 14 dex. While a CHA caster could match the champion Cha and then ignore the fighter ones. Still, not too bad for 3 class feats if one wants full casting, expert martial and expert armors. Plus a few skills gained from dedication, and champion code can be ignored with no loss.


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
I'm biased, but I hope that 2AC isn't a dealbreaker for your character's aesthetics and choices.

For me it's less about whether or not it's a dealbreaker and more about why should it even be a potential dealbreaker at all? Someone spending feats to be no better off (or potentially even worse) than they were before they started just because they want to RP something weird doesn't seem like a good thing to me.


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Neo2151 wrote:

I've also noticed that since every class is so heavily tied to it's class feat options, you really can't adopt a playstyle that wasn't built specifically for the class.

****

There is certainly a lot of new and interesting things with the new edition that are improvements over the old, but I'm getting the feeling that Classes specifically are essentially so rigid that you either play the way the rulebook tells you or you struggle to keep up, by design.

How do others feel?

This is an interesting question, especially in the face of a new system. However, I think you've conflated some concepts which makes it hard to discuss with accuracy.

I distinguish between player agency and character agency. If we use the definition someone quoted form StackExchange, I don't think the player agency has changed much. A player has just as much ability to effect the game as before. The rules are printed. Your characters determine outcomes.

Character agency, at least with regard to some classes like the Ranger and possibly the Druid, imo, has been severely reduced. In principle, I think that is a good thing.

I'm generally a fan of giving a class a box and keeping them in it. The problem is when you have classes whose schtick is very theme-oriented/situational and those abilities aren't generally useful.

Too often in PF1 you have these high level multi-classes that totally obviated the need for a pure class. Multi-classing should come at a price: versatility in exchange for efficacy. In PF1, you could power game and get the versatility and out perform classes, who didn't multi-class, in the things those classes were intended to be good at.


Because PF1e had such a high price for casters the number 1 suggestion for full casters was, "never multiclass". Everyone saw multiclassing as something that only made you weak.
For martials, most people where anywhere from "dont do it you'll ruin your character" to "dont do use that class its bad".

Also it is not a players fault for finding synergies when building their concept. The fact that taking your own time to make what you as a player want is a problem, is why martials hardly got fun stuff and why we the players are losing build agency. Hyperbole statement: "How could we not railroad them into what we want? They would break the game and ruin our stories if we didnt."


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Neo2151 wrote:
How do others feel?

I feel like even with the "limited" options in the core rulebook, they have opened up and laid foundation for a huge design space. There are character concepts in these core rules I wouldn't have ever even considered in 1E and the majority of popular character concepts in 1E are supported baseline within their respective classes, at least insofar as they can be right now.

I like the trade offs. It might be hard to give up some class features for others but that is mostly because I want both. I think it is only going to get better with time as more archetypes, feats, spells, amd equipment are released.

I'm content to explore core character concepts I didn't in 1E for various reasons (e.g. no skills on a sorcerer or cleric, multiclassing casters, fighters at all) while I wait for new content to enable more outlandish ideas.


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I don't think there is a problem with player agency. What I've noticed is there is "bumpiness." You expect something to happen a certain way, not necessarily based upon 1e, but based on common sense. If it is OK for your wizard to use a morningstar as well as a staff at 1st level, then it should be fine for the wizard to use a morningstar as well as a staff at 20th level. That's common sense. The bumpiness is that at 11th level, the wizard who was just as good with a morningstar as with a staff is... until 11th level.

There are several straw men about how that is just fine because rogue doesn't use rapier but gets better blah, blah, blah, but it is not what a reasonable person would expect to happen. There is nothing special about 11th level that makes you think, "Ah, at 11th level it seems like a wizard should cease to be as skilled with a morningstar as with a staff, unlike he was from 1st-10th levels."

For this reason, an 11th level powergamer will say, "wizards need to start using staves again and retrain weapon proficiency feat," and roleplayers will say, "you just have to suck a little more than the rules allow to keep the 1st-10th level vision alive." That is an unfortunate bifurcation of the player base at this arbitrary point in a character's development. I think it would be far superior game design to simply figure out how much X is worth and then charge the player the requisite number of feats necessary to match the value of X at every level.


Temperans wrote:
Because PF1e had such a high price for casters the number 1 suggestion for full casters was, "never multiclass". Everyone saw multiclassing as something that only made you weak.

That was probably true because the agency afforded by spells and high INT/Skill Points, was unparalleled.

To solve this problem, PF2 has apparently tried to nerf spells and casters and improve martial agency. I'm not convinced they went far enough in limiting casters, but I'm sure casters feel differently.

Quote:
For martials, most people where anywhere from "dont do it you'll ruin your character" to "dont do use that class its bad".

That's not really accurate IME. I've seen very few pure class martial builds in PFS at high level. Class dipping was standard practice. In fact, class dipping was so problematic, it drove a lot of the design decisions with Dedications, which I am more optimistic about as fixing the problem with dipping.

Quote:
Also it is not a players fault for finding synergies when building their concept.

I agree. Players should also get some degree of reward for system mastery. I think Paizo does as well, that's why they changed the system. When WoTC built the foundation for 3.5, optimization wasn't really a thing and WotC didn't anticipate the problems that would arise.

Quote:
The fact that taking your own time to make what you as a player want is a problem, is why martials hardly got fun stuff and why we the players are losing build agency.

Not sure I understand the first part, but if by "build agency" you mean access to all the different paths for character agency, then I think that's a good thing for a number of reasons. There's no way one build should be able to substantively infringe on several character philosophies. Multi-classing in Cleric should not let you out perform a pure Fighter in all the things a Fighter is suppose to provide the party. I'm pretty sure that was true in PF1. I'm hoping it's not in PF2.

There are other problems with unfettered multi-classing that Paizo has talked about from time to time, so it's not just about efficacy and stepping on toes.


Yeah they tried to nerf them, but it's highly debated whether they did it correctly (see wizard nerf thread).

I meant that people said not to multiclass to get the classes high level ability or that your dip was bad/not optimal and getting a different dip was better. I know I sometimes did the second, if I knew of a potentially good option. I didnt mean that dipping didnt lead to potentially broken things, specially at high level when the build comes together (Ex: Full Cha Desna Build), but that it was very varied with good and bad multiclass. I probably should had been clearer.

* On a related note, some of those high dip "broken" martials are proof that martials could compete with caster if they were given good tools from the start (obviously not front loaded as well). And as you you noted, they were definitely in a better position than some single class characters.

I really hope they add a bit more system mastery elements that are properly designed and not just "get this 1 specific multiclass" to not fall behind your own class.

I agree 1 class should not infringe on another class specially with multiclassing. But, the concept "X class can only do Y thing and no one else can" seems very stifling. Fighter and Rogue were just poorly designed in PF1e, a base Vigilante overall makes a better Fighter or Rogue (specially if looking at only core).

* The your own time part is an extension of the synergy part, where looking to make the character you wanted using whatever you needed for it, made you "bad for the table" and "ruining games". Specially with martial that could compete with caster; Those got shreaded for ruining games and being munchkins, but at the same time people where complaining about martials not being good enough.
In other words, I think the problem is people complaining about high power martials aren't realistic, and to nerf casters (and everything magical).


Neo2151 wrote:

We're seeing a lot of topics pop up with concerns about proficiency scaling issues for anyone trying to step even a little bit outside of what the class provides (Bards and Medium Armor, Wizards and a Martial Weapon, even things built into the class, such as a Dragon Sorcerer's prof with their claw attacks).

I've also noticed that since every class is so heavily tied to it's class feat options, you really can't adopt a playstyle that wasn't built specifically for the class. If you want to TWF as a Barbarian, for instance, you just can't as the feats that make it happen aren't available to you (yes, you can "technically" TWF with regular MAP attacks and two different weapons, but we aaaall know that's not what anyone means by TWF ;P ).

There is certainly a lot of new and interesting things with the new edition that are improvements over the old, but I'm getting the feeling that Classes specifically are essentially so rigid that you either play the way the rulebook tells you or you struggle to keep up, by design.

That seems anathema to D&D-esque gameplay.

How do others feel?

I think its an intentional choice to make the GMs job easier.

It makes characters more predictable and easier to design around.


totoro wrote:
I think it would be far superior game design to simply figure out how much X is worth and then charge the player the requisite number of feats necessary to match the value of X at every level.

That sort of design would then have to be rolled out over most proficiencies and would turn away a lot of players/gms with its bean counting nature. Mind you I do not lament the loss of skill ranks, so make of that what you will :P.

The reason I don't care if a RPer has a -2AC (at most) is because unless you are optimising it isn't that big of a deal, it opens up new armour types (regarding specific magical items and materials) and we KNOW we are getting new archetypes, feats and other options.

A general feat is a nice easily accessible option for a RP dip where someone just wants to wear something or wield an item. Something else giving scaling proficiency is a healthier design imo.

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