PF2 - Kicking the tires. So far, it's incredible.


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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I didn’t get to test drive PF2 in play this weekend as I’d hoped, but I did get to spend a large portion of the weekend converting close to 30 NPCs over to PF2 using the character creation rules.

Major Impressions:
Characters are much more well-rounded and fleshed out via PF2’s ABC creation process. Backgrounds are surprisingly impactful mechanically while also rooting some basic backstory into the character in a way that PF1 Traits tried to do, but rarely succeeded.

The class chassis are more flexible. It is easier and more intuitive to create different builds using the same class. The general “pick a feat” structure is superior to PF1s archetype “packaged features”. BTW, PF1’s archetypes were hands-down one of my favorite features of that edition.

The idea that all PF2 NPCs follow the Starfinder model of NPCs “belonging” to a character class took some getting used to after years of having dedicated NPC classes. However, that hill was easily climbed once I realized that it opened up some different NPC interpretations. So far, the PF2 interpretations have turned out better than the original PF1.

Characters are also more well-rounded with respect to skills, in general. The streamlined skill list combined with somewhat broader skills plus greater access to skills for all classes means that you can build an educated fighter, social characters of any class, and other builds that previously required significant trade-offs to achieve in PF1.

The combination of armor training, unarmored defense, and level proficiency actually result in a feeling of a greater verisimilitude. Specifically, one can reasonably expect PCs and NPCs to dress appropriately to circumstances if desired. No longer does the heavy-armor warrior have to rely on heavy armor in every circumstance. Getting caught outside of one’s armor, while less effective and undesirable, isn’t a death sentence. The range between unarmored to heavily armored is lower but still has mechanical benefits. However, GMs don’t have to through reasonable plot constraints out the window for fear of nerfing a heavy armor character. Sorry, you’re a guest not a guard, so no, you can’t wear your full plate armor to the royal wedding…

Surprising specific character concepts that PF2 core allowed me to build:
Mystic Theurge – in my campaigns, I use Green Ronin’s Book of the Righteous (3.5 era) pantheon. For a priest of the god of magic, I was converting a character that was built using Kobold Press’ theurge class. Using a core cloistered cleric with wizard dedication multiclassing, I built an effective theurge character whose skills and feats really reinforced the character.

Mage Guard of Tinel – the warriors of the god of magic, as presented in the Book of the Righteous, the Mage Guard are ‘holy warriors’, i.e. paladins of different alignments. They protect Tinel’s temples and libraries but also hunt spellcasters seeking forbidden knowledge. While I could have built this character as a champion, one of the original concepts of the 3.5 class was that a Mage Guard got a familiar rather than paladin’s steed. They are also known for fighting sword-and-board. Using fighter with wizard dedication, I got an arcane-fighting sword-and-board warrior with a familiar to act as scout before wading in to give the shield bash.

PC Conversion, multi- to single-class – I helped my son convert his PF1 cleric/ranger to a warpriest cleric. The only reason he multi-classed the original character was because his PF1 cleric had so few skills and he wanted to be effective in the wilderness as well as better represent the goddess of athletics. His PF2 build is a straight-up warpriest cleric, complete with trained ranks in Athletics and Survival. No multi-classing necessary.

Haunted Girl – one of the upcoming NPCs in one of my campaigns was giving me problems on how to represent the character mechanically. Conceptually, she is haunted/can see/hear spirits in her home that no one else can detect. I hadn’t statted her up yet as I wasn’t sure which class would work best. For PF1, Spiritualist didn’t quite nail it but was the front-runner. Medium and Sorcerer were possibilities. Witch was out since I didn’t want her to be reliant on a familiar. My initial PF2 build was a undead blooded sorcerer, which I felt was adequate. However, a spirit instinct barbarian won out as the barbarian rage nicely depicts her fear and frustration of abilities she doesn’t understand. And I can still multiclass with sorcerer later, if desired.

Mercenary turned Priest – one of the adventures I’m using has a village priest who used to be an adventurer. She’s also an elf. In the original PF1 build, she’s a cleric 6 with few stats to represent her backstory and thus, she was in my ‘rebuild someday’ queue. In PF2, she’s a ranger with the cleric dedication with plenty of elven flavor. The ranger class and elven ancestry better represent her background and the cleric dedication are more in line with a small village priestess than a level 6 cleric.

All in all, I'm loving how flexible PF2 is while being easier to use. I don't know if class builds were as big a part of the "better representing the stories we want to tell" design goal as game math & mechanics were, but they're certainly helping me better realize the vision for my game world.

Sovereign Court

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Oh, someone that uses the Book of the Righteous, I have it. It's a fun one and really like the way, the gods are presented, well glad to hear that you are having a good time.


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Thank you for sharing! Great approach to character creation.


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Sounds great! But what inquiring minds *really* want to know is:
- did you generate stat blocks for these NPCs, and
- can you share some of them with us?


Wait did someone say free NPCs?


Unfortunately character creation/classes is a stumbling block for me and those around. I really like a lot about the system (RAE, monsters), but I am not feeling race or class design.

Liberty's Edge

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I wonder if the building process of the CRB might actually work better for NPCs who are innately a snapshot than for PCs whose concept tends to evolve over play


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Wheldrake wrote:

Sounds great! But what inquiring minds *really* want to know is:

- did you generate stat blocks for these NPCs, and
- can you share some of them with us?

I built all of these NPCs in Hero Lab Online. As for sharing, I'll have to test out how copy-friendly the output with the Paizo forums. I'm prepping for games this weekend and if it requires significant re-formatting to make it legible, that would eat into valuable - and limited - prep time.


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The Raven Black wrote:
I wonder if the building process of the CRB might actually work better for NPCs who are innately a snapshot than for PCs whose concept tends to evolve over play

I fail to see how that would be the case. Or put another way, I fail to see how PF2 is any different than any other RPG in existence with respect to a character 'snapshot' vs. evolved through play.


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BPorter wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

Sounds great! But what inquiring minds *really* want to know is:

- did you generate stat blocks for these NPCs, and
- can you share some of them with us?
I built all of these NPCs in Hero Lab Online. As for sharing, I'll have to test out how copy-friendly the output with the Paizo forums. I'm prepping for games this weekend and if it requires significant re-formatting to make it legible, that would eat into valuable - and limited - prep time.

Hero Lab Classic has an automatic output in BBCode that you can just copy/paste to get something like this, but I have been told that Hero Lab Online lacks the same output features.


Joana wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

Sounds great! But what inquiring minds *really* want to know is:

- did you generate stat blocks for these NPCs, and
- can you share some of them with us?
I built all of these NPCs in Hero Lab Online. As for sharing, I'll have to test out how copy-friendly the output with the Paizo forums. I'm prepping for games this weekend and if it requires significant re-formatting to make it legible, that would eat into valuable - and limited - prep time.
Hero Lab Classic has an automatic output in BBCode that you can just copy/paste to get something like this, but I have been told that Hero Lab Online lacks the same output features.

Going by the Hero Lab Online demo where you can build 1st-level characters in Pathfinder 2E, it does indeed have the same BBCode output feature.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
BPorter wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I wonder if the building process of the CRB might actually work better for NPCs who are innately a snapshot than for PCs whose concept tends to evolve over play
I fail to see how that would be the case. Or put another way, I fail to see how PF2 is any different than any other RPG in existence with respect to a character 'snapshot' vs. evolved through play.

Because in PF2 your class really defines what your character can and cannot do and you cannot retrain your class. Which is not a problem at all for a snapshot.

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