Is character building faster, more convenient, in P2E?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In Pathfinder, it could take me the better part of a day to make a fully fleshed out character of 3rd-level or higher, and maybe an hour or so for a 1st- or 2nd-level character.

In P2E, I find that, in my case at least, that hasn't really changed much (more on that below).

I'm curious to know what others' experiences with P2E character creation has been like.

1) How long does it take for you to build a 1st-level character?
2) How long does it take for you to build a higher level character?
3) Do you use online apps or other aids to expedite the process? If so, which ones, and how do they help?
4) What other notable experiences have you had with character building in P2E?

BELOW:
For me, I could probably flesh out a 1st-level P2E character in about an hour, with much of that time going into building the concept rather than the mechanics. Now that I've got a few characters under my belt, if I already knew what I wanted, I'd probably put out a 1st-level character in 10 minutes.

But I seldom actually do that. Instead, I like to see where a character can go, so I usually build at much higher level (5-15 generally) as it lets me better see what a completed concept might be capable of. This theorycraft is great for finding out what might be fun for me, or even help me come up with other cool ideas and combinations, but it's not fast. Building a high level character in P2E is a painstakingly long process for me, though no more or less so than First Edition.

I see tons of people throwing up seemingly quick character builds online, making it look quick and easy, but I've found that most are actually illegal if they aren't 1st-level.

I've found that, in actuality, there are SO many prerequisites on everything that I have to have spread sheets (such as this one for this character) to track what I have, when I have it, and whether or not I'm meeting all my ability, feat, and skill prerequisites at the appropriate times in my character's progression.

After all, I can't take Wizard Dedication at 2nd-level if I didn't boost my Intelligence to meet the prerequisite until 5th-level (not unless I'm a half-elf). I'd have to take it at 6th-level instead, which can seriously delay some of my other follow up options. And I can't take Dedication in another class until I have at least three archetype feats in wizard first (unless I'm a human with the Multitalented feat). And all those feats might have other prerequisites of their own!

But you know what? That prerequisites thing (and perhaps deciding on what starting gear to begin with) is about as hard as it gets. That's largely a good thing, I think. Certainly not worse than First Edition, and possibly much better. Time will tell.


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I can make about 10 characters in an hour. I don't really plan ahead ever - never did it in PF1E, and don't really plan to do that for PF2E, either.

I just use a form-fillable PDF of the sheet and a PDF copy of the book.


retraining complicates some of the "legal build issues."

In play, you could qualify for a dedication at level 5, and have it use your level 2 class feat slot, if you retrained your feat after getting the stat boosts.

Liberty's Edge

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My insight is mostly from the playtest, but while the specific rules have changed a fair bit, the structure of characters is almost identical.

1. I think making a 1st level character is much quicker. Stats are much quicker, as is Ancestry if you were using Alternate Racial Traits, Backgrounds go much quicker than Traits, and everything else is at least as quick.

2. Higher level characters seem to take about as long as PF1 due to a combination of more Feat picks and the careful prerequisites thing like you say, except for equipment which is a bit quicker since you're picking 3 level 8 items or whatever instead of spending all your gold from a big pile.

I find it much less fiddly, though. Sure, it takes time, but the prerequisite ordering thing is the only real fiddly bit, which there were a lot of in PF1.

3. I do not use such programs.

4. I think the biggest thing you're not considering (or at least not mentioning) is how long leveling a character takes. IMO, this is actually the area PF2 has improved the most, with it going so much quicker than PF1 leveling it isn't even funny.

In PF1 you needed to check a bunch of tables, distribute Skill points, and then add different incremental numbers to a host of different things. In PF2, you add one to pretty much everything, a flat number of HP, and then maybe add a Proficiency up or two. That's it.

This is easy to miss if making characters at high level rather than leveling them up one level at a time (since checking the table once works fine for a character created at level X), but it's a huge quality of life improvement in terms of actual play.


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Unicore wrote:

retraining complicates some of the "legal build issues."

In play, you could qualify for a dedication at level 5, and have it use your level 2 class feat slot, if you retrained your feat after getting the stat boosts.

And the retraining rules don't have any restrictions against that?

I didn't look at them too closely, but what I did see made me think they were stricter than retraining rules of the past.

EDIT:

Looked again and found this under Retraining:
When retraining, you generally can’t make choices you couldn’t make when you selected the original option. For instance, you can’t exchange a 2nd-level skill feat for a 4th-level one, or for one that requires prerequisites you didn’t meet at the time you took the original feat. If you don’t remember whether you met the prerequisites at the time, ask your GM to make the call. If you cease to meet the prerequisites for an ability due to retraining, you can’t use that ability. You might need to retrain several abilities in sequence in order to get all the abilities you want.


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Are you building your character out of order? Realizing that your wizard dedication at 2 is illegal because your stat boost doesn't bump your int up until 5 doesn't seem like an issue if you just pick the level 2 stuff first.

Ravingdork wrote:

And the retraining rules don't have any restrictions against that?

I didn't look at them too closely, but what I did see made me think they were stricter than retraining rules of the past.

You're right, you're just reading Unicore's post backwards I think. In PF1 you could explicitly retrain your first level rogue feat into Weapon Focus despite its BAB requirement.

In PF2 you have to be able to qualify for it at the level you're retraining for, so no attribute boosting at 10 to retroactively qualify for a retrained level 4 feat.


Ravingdork wrote:
Unicore wrote:

retraining complicates some of the "legal build issues."

In play, you could qualify for a dedication at level 5, and have it use your level 2 class feat slot, if you retrained your feat after getting the stat boosts.

And the retraining rules don't have any restrictions against that?

I didn't look at them too closely, but what I did see made me think they were stricter than retraining rules of the past.

EDIT:

Looked again and found this under Retraining:
When retraining, you generally can’t make choices you couldn’t make when you selected the original option. For instance, you can’t exchange a 2nd-level skill feat for a 4th-level one, or for one that requires prerequisites you didn’t meet at the time you took the original feat. If you don’t remember whether you met the prerequisites at the time, ask your GM to make the call. If you cease to meet the prerequisites for an ability due to retraining, you can’t use that ability. You might need to retrain several abilities in sequence in order to get all the abilities you want.

I guess you are right then, over the course on an AP I think it will get pretty muddled what character's qualified for over months in play and as a GM, I'd be loose about it, but it shouldn't be the player's intent to game the system from designing the build.


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Squiggit wrote:
Are you building your character out of order? Realizing that your wizard dedication at 2 is illegal because your stat boost doesn't bump your int up until 5 doesn't seem like an issue if you just pick the level 2 stuff first.

I'm usually building the character altogether all at once. I typically start with heritage, background, and class , then move into ability scores, skills, feats, class abilities, and gear in that order. So naturally, there's a lot of back and forth, and sometimes things get missed and have to be corrected.

Yes, I too have found the best way to create a high level character (in terms of accuracy anyways) is to start at level one, and then go level by level, but that takes a long time too, and I'm still liable to miss some fiddly prerequisite tucked away in some dark corner somewhere. :P


Squiggit wrote:

Are you building your character out of order? Realizing that your wizard dedication at 2 is illegal because your stat boost doesn't bump your int up until 5 doesn't seem like an issue if you just pick the level 2 stuff first.

Ravingdork wrote:

And the retraining rules don't have any restrictions against that?

I didn't look at them too closely, but what I did see made me think they were stricter than retraining rules of the past.

You're right, you're just reading Unicore's post backwards I think. In PF1 you could explicitly retrain your first level rogue feat into Weapon Focus despite its BAB requirement.

In PF2 you have to be able to qualify for it at the level you're retraining for, so no attribute boosting at 10 to retroactively qualify for a retrained level 4 feat.

I don't remember that being the case, but I could be remembering wrong. I thought the only restriction was that basically you couldn't retrain your 2nd level feat into a 4th level feat just because you're now 5th level, for example. That is to say, the feats retrained to can't be higher level that the level they were gained at.


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Edge93 wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

Are you building your character out of order? Realizing that your wizard dedication at 2 is illegal because your stat boost doesn't bump your int up until 5 doesn't seem like an issue if you just pick the level 2 stuff first.

Ravingdork wrote:

And the retraining rules don't have any restrictions against that?

I didn't look at them too closely, but what I did see made me think they were stricter than retraining rules of the past.

You're right, you're just reading Unicore's post backwards I think. In PF1 you could explicitly retrain your first level rogue feat into Weapon Focus despite its BAB requirement.

In PF2 you have to be able to qualify for it at the level you're retraining for, so no attribute boosting at 10 to retroactively qualify for a retrained level 4 feat.

I don't remember that being the case, but I could be remembering wrong. I thought the only restriction was that basically you couldn't retrain your 2nd level feat into a 4th level feat just because you're now 5th level, for example. That is to say, the feats retrained to can't be higher level that the level they were gained at.

I edited my post above with the relevant rules quote.


Oh, answered now. Huh, didn't quite follow that. Unfortunate, though I can't imagine that having to come up all too often. A little odd, but I guess they want to avoid retraining becoming an optimization thing rather than "I want to follow a different path" or "this feat I took isnt so useful anymore".


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Edge93 wrote:
Oh, answered now. Huh, didn't quite follow that. Unfortunate, though I can't imagine that having to come up all too often. A little odd, but I guess they want to avoid retraining becoming an optimization thing rather than "I want to follow a different path" or "this feat I took isnt so useful anymore".

You say optimization, but the developers say "exploitation."

Under Disallowed Options:

While some character options can’t normally be retrained, you can invent ways for a character to retrain even these—special rituals, incredible quests, or the perfect tutor. For example, ability scores can’t normally be retrained, as that can unbalance the game. But not all players necessarily want to exploit the system—maybe a player simply wants to swap an ability boost between two low stats. In situations like this, you could let them spend a few months working out or studying to reassign an ability boost.


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Ravingdork wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
Oh, answered now. Huh, didn't quite follow that. Unfortunate, though I can't imagine that having to come up all too often. A little odd, but I guess they want to avoid retraining becoming an optimization thing rather than "I want to follow a different path" or "this feat I took isnt so useful anymore".

You say optimization, but the developers say "exploitation."

Under Disallowed Options:

While some character options can’t normally be retrained, you can invent ways for a character to retrain even these—special rituals, incredible quests, or the perfect tutor. For example, ability scores can’t normally be retrained, as that can unbalance the game. But not all players necessarily want to exploit the system—maybe a player simply wants to swap an ability boost between two low stats. In situations like this, you could let them spend a few months working out or studying to reassign an ability boost.

By definition it is? If you can retrain ability scores and still keep the thing you needed them for as a prereq then that would absolutely be a player trying to exploit a game system for optimisation purposes.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
Oh, answered now. Huh, didn't quite follow that. Unfortunate, though I can't imagine that having to come up all too often. A little odd, but I guess they want to avoid retraining becoming an optimization thing rather than "I want to follow a different path" or "this feat I took isnt so useful anymore".

You say optimization, but the developers say "exploitation."

Under Disallowed Options:

While some character options can’t normally be retrained, you can invent ways for a character to retrain even these—special rituals, incredible quests, or the perfect tutor. For example, ability scores can’t normally be retrained, as that can unbalance the game. But not all players necessarily want to exploit the system—maybe a player simply wants to swap an ability boost between two low stats. In situations like this, you could let them spend a few months working out or studying to reassign an ability boost.

By definition it is? If you can retrain ability scores and still keep the thing you needed them for as a prereq then that would absolutely be a player trying to exploit a game system for optimisation purposes.

Huh, that's interesting. I appreciate that they take the time to acknowledge that there are non-exploitive reasons to want certain things, it's not just people trying to, say, retrain increses for an over-18 stat to keep their score an even number at all times and use the boost elsewhere in levels where the stat would be odd.


1). First level characters are a breeze for the rules. ABCs, a few feet choices that fit a basic theme, a class kit, then personalize gear and skills.
2). Higher-level characters take less time for everything but gear, which takes more time because the layout of the magic items takes a while to sift through.
3). I use the CRB, Archives of Nethys, and Pathbuilder 2e for different purposes. The first 2 are good for getting an idea on paper, the archives have a good layout for feats and spells, the CRB is easier to skim for ideas and read basic class abilities. Pathbuilder I mostly just keep some general outlines on to later flesh out, it is quick but I do not have enough control over what goes where for my taste.
4). New multiclassing rules actually make me considering multiclass characters, which does slow down the process a bit. Before multiclassing would take more time but I didn't want to try so in practice it did not slow me down.

Other note: The biggest time drain for me is getting all the character details worked out, and that hasn't changed. Now I can write down some of the background for my character, but the time to figure it out hadn't changed.

Overall the process is faster, and after about 3 years of quality content I suspect it won't really be faster. Not for a full ready-to-play character.


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Ravingdork wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
Oh, answered now. Huh, didn't quite follow that. Unfortunate, though I can't imagine that having to come up all too often. A little odd, but I guess they want to avoid retraining becoming an optimization thing rather than "I want to follow a different path" or "this feat I took isnt so useful anymore".

You say optimization, but the developers say "exploitation."

Under Disallowed Options:

While some character options can’t normally be retrained, you can invent ways for a character to retrain even these—special rituals, incredible quests, or the perfect tutor. For example, ability scores can’t normally be retrained, as that can unbalance the game. But not all players necessarily want to exploit the system—maybe a player simply wants to swap an ability boost between two low stats. In situations like this, you could let them spend a few months working out or studying to reassign an ability boost.

Even that seems overly harsh. Like, as long as whatever they're wanting to change to would have been a legal build had they planned to do exactly this from the start (so the player had to have recorded all their stat increases, et cetera, can't violate requirements), I don't give enough of a s@#%. I'm fine with and encourage people to take something else to tide the time until their actually desired build can come online, I don't think you should be spending any time sucking in order to "earn" an optimal build.

Even for abilitiy scores, like if someone started with an 18 in STR, at level 5 I would be perfectly fine with them boosting four scores other than STR, and then at level 10 taking one of those boosts back to put into STR so they can benefit from a 20. I really, REALLY hate forcing players to sacrifice fun now in order to be optimal later, and that sort of liberal respeccing just seems way more fun. I don't see what exactly is being exploited so long the end result isn't an invalid build.

I wouldn't even require the months of training or any GP to do most respeccing, if it was planned so that a player wouldn't be stuck with a suboptimal build while they wait for their real build to come online I'd just say they were doing the training for this all along and that it finally paid off right when they leveled up. The week-long waits would be reserved for changes in mind, and only as a way to justify it in-universe - I'd find an excuse for the players to have that downtime.

I do that with a lot of RPG's and it just stresses players out so much less. SO MUCH LESS. Players are spending way less time trying to plan their exact build to a T, knowing that I'm not gonna bust their gonads over even larger changes so long they're still recognizable.

And if it really comes down to something fundamental, like wanting to play a completely different class or race? Just make a new character and sub 'em in.

The penalties for retraining seem to exist purely for the sake of continuity and to avoid people using it as a cheesy way to prepare new spells/abilities, and I encourage GM's to be as liberal as possible. It will not unbalance your game and very few people will give a singular s~+&. Just don't let them do this too regularly if there's a munchkin that conveniently wants to do this build that very precisely counters what they're about to go up against.

Liberty's Edge

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OK lets do this-

Let's do two comparisons here since it varied greatly depending on how you compare things.

-----------------------------------

Pathfinder RPG (Core Rulebook ONLY):
>1E: Important Selections<
-Race
-Class
---Class Options (Typically 0 - 10 depending on Class)
-Ability Scores
-Feat
-Skill Points
-Equipment

*Somewhat Important Selections
-Languages
-Alignment
-Deity


-----------------------------------
Pathfinder RPG (Most Common Rules):
>1E: Important Selections<
-Race
---Alternate Racial Traits
-Class
---Gestalt/Mythic Y/N
---Class Options (Typically 0 - 10 depending on Class)
---Archetype Options (Typically 1 - 5(?) depending on Class)
-Ability Scores
-Feat
---Traits (Typically 2 - 5 depending on build)
-Skill Points
---Alternate Skill Rules Y/N
-Hero Points Y/N
-Equipment
---Alternate HP/Wounds/AC/Armor Rules Y/N

*Somewhat Important Selections
-Languages
-Alignment
-Deity
-History (Typically 10-15 depending on build)


--------------------------------------------
Pathfinder Second Edition RPG:
>2E: Important Selections<
-Ancestry
---Heritage
---Ancestry Feat
-Background
-Class
---Class Options & Feats (Typically 2 - 15 depending on Class)
-Ability Scores
-Skill Training
-Equipment

*Somewhat Important Selections
-Languages
-Home Region
-Alignment
-Deity


-----------------------------------
So, from a very base level, it seems that PF1 Core and PF2 core compared against one another has PF2 with more individual options to choose from, and may very well take a bit longer to make a VANILLA Character. That being said, the PF2 System for Character Creation is so elegant and adaptable that instead of having to bolt-on whole new subsystems and choices over time, they will instead simply drop new options into the existing silos. This to me says that while the options that expand, the actual steps and choices you have to make in creation are DRAMATICALLY reduced over the array of choices a PF1 Character would have to make even if the only rules they used were from the Core, APG, Unchained and Ultimate Books (Which in itself represents less than 5% of the total catalog of different sources released for PF1).

It's not exactly apples and oranges so much as it is Granny Smith VS Valencia right now since we can only really ASSUME that based on the structure of PF2 and what has been said about how new options will work but I'm confident that with the 3.X legacy having been fully shaken loose from the mechanics of the system, they won't have to release whole new aspects/sub-systems in order to make customizing your PC possible or interesting, they need only create more options for the existing silos and customization "slots."

All in all, I think you're probably right. PF1 Core VS PF2 Core, it takes longer to make a PF2 Character, but once you compare PF1 with even a TINY FRACTION of the overall Content for the system over what we can reasonably believe to be how characters will be built even another 8 years from now with PF2, I think that PF2 will come out MILES ahead for build speed unless one chooses simply to make the easiest to create character possible that is boring, plain, and overwhelmingly underpowered.


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Themetricsystem wrote:
post

I think the biggest factor by far is how much a player is thinking about each decision. In PF2, there are very few feat chains at all and there's nothing you need to take to keep up with your +1's; there is a much harder case to make that any one feat is suboptimal on nearly any build and you always reserve the right to change your mind later during play.

So long you get an 18 and 16 in the right stats and choose the few feats needed to actually do what you want to do with that character, you can practically throw darts at the list of feats and come out with a near-optimal character.

It's a big part of why I, at least, am building characters way faster than in PF1 despite overall making more choices. Analysis paralysis is pretty easily cured when the stakes aren't high and I can just change my mind later. So few feats are required to get playstyles off the ground that there's just going to be levels where I'm looking at my available options and thinking "why not?" It's liberating.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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I can build 1st edition characters pretty quickly, and 2nd edition characters are about the same for me. There are a lot of choices, but I'm picking from only a small list at each step. The class kits and adventurer's pack helps to streamline equipment buying, which is often the biggest time sink for me.

I estimate that I take 20 to 40 minutes to create a 1st level character in both editions. When I don't have a specific character concept in mind, I find that 2nd edition is faster because each step encourages more fleshing out of the PC's background and personality (for me, at least).

Higher-level characters take longer in both systems. Near the end of the playtest, I managed to crank out high-level characters in about an hour. That's faster than 1st edition for me.

I haven't made higher-level PCs in 2nd edition yet, but I have created NPCs using the PC rules. However, I usually cut out skill feats and stick to just a few signature class feats when detailing these NPCs. That makes it very quick to make them.

I used Hero Lab for 1st edition, but haven't used any software aids for 2nd edition yet.


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For me, what makes PF2 character creation go much faster is that there's almost no pressure to plan out the build completely. I don't have to worry about the most efficient way to reach a critical mass of feats, or reach the end of a feat chain. Pretty much all the "level 1 choices" I need to worry about long term are about stat allocation.

A thing I would never do in PF1 is "make a fighter as a level 1 character without a road map for where I'm going from here" but that seems like a perfectly valid way to do PF2.


I've found that character creation is mostly faster. Selecting gear is something the Core 6 of PF1 made easy that's less so here. I suspect that will grow to be faster here in time and experience, though.


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A big difference in creation speed, at least at level 1, is that in PF2 you make about the same number of choices, but each choice is made from a smaller list. For example, a 1st level fighter in Pathfinder 1 gets to choose two feats: one from the entire list of about 70 feats in the core book (not counting those that are completely irrelevant or those whose prerequisites the fighter can't fulfill), and one from the only slightly smaller list of combat feats. A 1st level fighter in PF2 will also choose two feats: one ancestry feat from a list of about five, and one fighter feat out of seven. That's a far lighter cognitive load, though it's not readily apparent for someone who has been playing 3e/PF for almost 20 years and knows that of course you take Point-Blank Shot and Precise Shot if you're playing an archer.


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I personally find it a lot quicker to make a new character in 2e than in 1e.

In 1e, I when I would think of an idea, such as a gun or whip magus, a hunter, a ranger (with or without guns), or a unchained rogue with a shadow spectre, I would have to try to research if said build was actually viable or if I would be simply shooting myself in the foot if I tried that (and I never play humans or half-humans, so the bonus feat is off the table). It would involve browsing through guides or through forum lurking, only to find out that there are some conflicting posts about said ideas or guides that are heavily outdated. Some classes like the slayer don't even have guides. Granted, I do have the archery feats memorized.

In 2e, I just have to look at the class, which has the class feats listed, and then switch to the multiclass feats section if I wanna try that. It feels like it's more comfortable to just grab feats as I go as opposed to having to plan out everything.


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Have we pointed out yet how premature it is to have this conversation? Like, the game has been out less than a month. We had 10 years to get good at making PF1 characters. It feels quite strange to pose such a question when it is largely a matter of familiarity.

That being said, if you're finding that it takes you ONLY about as long to make a character right now, it bodes well for how quickly you'll be able to do it in a year.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

Have we pointed out yet how premature it is to have this conversation? Like, the game has been out less than a month. We had 10 years to get good at making PF1 characters. It feels quite strange to pose such a question when it is largely a matter of familiarity.

That being said, if you're finding that it takes you ONLY about as long to make a character right now, it bodes well for how quickly you'll be able to do it in a year.

On the flip side, PF1 had tons and tons more options bloating out each choice you had to make. When I pick my first level class feat there are 3-4 options right now compared to dozens I could take in 1e.


Squiggit wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

Have we pointed out yet how premature it is to have this conversation? Like, the game has been out less than a month. We had 10 years to get good at making PF1 characters. It feels quite strange to pose such a question when it is largely a matter of familiarity.

That being said, if you're finding that it takes you ONLY about as long to make a character right now, it bodes well for how quickly you'll be able to do it in a year.

On the flip side, PF1 had tons and tons more options bloating out each choice you had to make. When I pick my first level class feat there are 3-4 options right now compared to dozens I could take in 1e.

Only if you discount the archetypes. And in Ravingdork's example he was very specifically using them.


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Ravingdork wrote:

1) How long does it take for you to build a 1st-level character?

2) How long does it take for you to build a higher level character?
3) Do you use online apps or other aids to expedite the process? If so, which ones, and how do they help?
4) What other notable experiences have you had with character building in P2E?

#1 Well that really depends on what I'm doing. If I already have a build in mind a couple of minutes maybe? Now if it's a vague idea... I might spend an hour or two.

#2 The few times I have have been painfully long.
#3 Use archives of nethys, that's it.
#4 so far, character building is a longer process so far for PF2 vs PF1. I'm sure part of it is experience with PF1, but I find parts of PF2 unintuitive for me on the other side.


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Not sure about high level, but I find building a 1st-level PF2 character to be more fiddly and time-consuming than PF1, so far. PF2 seems rather dense, lots of moving parts.

Dark Archive

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It doesn't actually take me long time in either system... Because I don't ever plan characters multiple levels ahead and I don't really like retraining if I can avoid it <_< I basically just pick whatever I feel like at each level


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

Two days ago, Friday 16 August, we had our first PF2 game here in west central France. I had two players and with my help we created their two 1st-level characters in about an hour. And that was with me helping my pals to bridge the language gap. And having only one physical CRB to share. If they had already read the rules and had their own CRB it would've been much quicker.

I consider that fast and easy. Much moreso than with PF1. If you'd like to see more details about that session, you can find them here.

Shadow Lodge

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Interesting that a lot of people find Pf2 character creation to be elegant. I find it quite the opposite. The terrible organization of the book requires you to hunt back and forth in a long string of looking up options that refer you to other parts of the book where those rules are only partially defined and refer you to yet another term that you have to look up. There's so many terms that I often don't realize some word is actually a defined game term and scratch my head for a while trying to figure out how something works. But I digress, some of that will get better with time and learning the system. The poor book layout will remain an obstacle though.
I find the stat boost method of ability score generation to be extremely clunky. I have to reverse engineer how to end with the stats I want and am forced into particular ancestries and backgrounds because of the stats available to them. Pf1 had the same problem with racial ability modifiers, but it was so much more straightforward. You just picked your stats, added the modifiers and done. None of this flipping back and forth to compare what stats you could get at different levels to combine into the array you're looking for.
I can build Pf1 characters quickly and easily, I regularly build high level npcs for my games and can whip one out in 15mins, but then I've been doing it for 10 years, not to mention 3.5 before that, and I don't really know the Pf2 rules yet, so it's hardly a good comparison.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
gnoams wrote:
Interesting that a lot of people find Pf2 character creation to be elegant. I find it quite the opposite. The terrible organization of the book requires you to hunt back and forth in a long string of looking up options that refer you to other parts of the book where those rules are only partially defined and refer you to yet another term that you have to look up.

I've experienced this as well, but I believe it's more of an issue for those of us coming from previous editions. New players don't seem to have this issue at all.

The developers in the Friday Twitch stream commented about how they made the book so as to not burden players with too much information they didn't need until they needed it. They seemed quite happy with what they had accomplished.

gnoams wrote:
There's so many terms that I often don't realize some word is actually a defined game term and scratch my head for a while trying to figure out how something works. But I digress, some of that will get better with time and learning the system.

Yeah, I keep thinking one thing, then having people online tell me about a rule that I didn't know about because it's tucked away in the glossary behind a trait.

EXAMPLE

gnoams wrote:
I find the stat boost method of ability score generation to be extremely clunky. I have to reverse engineer how to end with the stats I want and am forced into particular ancestries and backgrounds because of the stats available to them. Pf1 had the same problem with racial ability modifiers, but it was so much more straightforward. You just picked your stats, added the modifiers and done. None of this flipping back and forth to compare what stats you could get at different levels to combine into the array you're looking for.

I totally agree with you on this. It's not a bad system, but there certainly is more "flipping back and forth" than there used to be.

I think that, as more backgrounds and options are released, you're going to feel less straight-jacketed with your ability scores. It looks like P2E's backgrounds are going to be taking the place of P1E's traits, which were released with nearly every book and adventure path. That means there's likely going to be THOUSANDS of them.

gnoams wrote:
I can build Pf1 characters quickly and easily, I regularly build high level npcs for my games and can whip one out in 15mins, but then I've been doing it for 10 years, not to mention 3.5 before that, and I don't really know the Pf2 rules yet, so it's hardly a good comparison.

This seems to be a common feeling.


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Ravingdork wrote:
I think that, as more backgrounds and options are released, you're going to feel less straight-jacketed with your ability scores. It looks like P2E's backgrounds are going to be taking the place of P1E's traits, which were released with nearly every book and adventure path. That means there's likely going to be THOUSANDS of them.

I really would rather Paizo put out player-facing rules to create your own background. It's the default for D&D 5e, you can just make your own background wholecloth without really requiring GM fiat, as the guidelines for creating your own background are well laid-out. For PF2 backgrounds, they're even more formulaic - pick two ability scores (one of which needs to be thematically tied to the background), a relevant lore training of limited scope, one relevant trained skill and a relevant first level skill feat. The whole suite of benefits is fairly low impact stuff that you can get any number of different ways, so as long as the lore skill is reasonable you're pretty much good to go. It'll at least prevent every game from having a bunch of farmhands and field medics.

I'm sure they'll be making a bunch anyways just because they're so easy to make and provide plot hooks for specific AP's and settings, but having a generic "be creative" option would be fun and not irritate folk who really don't want to be made to be a Sailor just to pick up a particular skill feat.


Helmic wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I think that, as more backgrounds and options are released, you're going to feel less straight-jacketed with your ability scores. It looks like P2E's backgrounds are going to be taking the place of P1E's traits, which were released with nearly every book and adventure path. That means there's likely going to be THOUSANDS of them.

I really would rather Paizo put out player-facing rules to create your own background. It's the default for D&D 5e, you can just make your own background wholecloth without really requiring GM fiat, as the guidelines for creating your own background are well laid-out. For PF2 backgrounds, they're even more formulaic - pick two ability scores (one of which needs to be thematically tied to the background), a relevant lore training of limited scope, one relevant trained skill and a relevant first level skill feat. The whole suite of benefits is fairly low impact stuff that you can get any number of different ways, so as long as the lore skill is reasonable you're pretty much good to go. It'll at least prevent every game from having a bunch of farmhands and field medics.

I'm sure they'll be making a bunch anyways just because they're so easy to make and provide plot hooks for specific AP's and settings, but having a generic "be creative" option would be fun and not irritate folk who really don't want to be made to be a Sailor just to pick up a particular skill feat.

I honestly wouldn't at all be surprised if this was a system in the upcoming GMG or maybe APG because, like you said, it's so easy to adapt. The only possible issue I can see is someone picking two boosts which just so happen to fit their most required stats irrespective of what their background actually does to gain the maximum advantage, but even that mileage will vary from table to table depending on if the group cares more or less about adhering strictly to theme.

Edit: And to answer the actual question, so far I'm finding character generation in PF2E to be easier. Having most feats bracketed behind levels helps with this, I feel, since you no longer have to wade through the couple dozen (and later couple hundred) feats you would qualify for at level 1. We're at only the couple dozen level right now since the game is so new, and only time will tell if it will continue to be easy as we move ahead, but as of right now I can bang out a new character for PF2E in about half an hour, as opposed to my first characters I made for PF1E, which I recall needing much more help with and taking a couple of days.


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Is there really a lot of flipping back and forth when doing stats? I find this is much easier to do in my head than it used to be.

Like say I'm making a storm druid and I have decided my highest stats should be Wisdom and Dexterity. So for ancestries I can consider all the ancestries with a bonus to one of them, and a penalty to neither: so human, elf, halfling, and dwarf work well. It's easy to remember what the stat mods for those are, since they're the same as PF1 (except halflings swapped cha and wis). For backgrounds I want a background which gives either a dex or a wis bonus, I can just assume I have one (they exist) and pick it out later, then I get +Wis from my class, and up whichever four stats I want (likely dex/wis/con plus one other, depending on what my ancestry gives.)

The only time I need to even open the book for this is "picking out a background that works for my character" which I can do at the end. If I don't have access to the book, I can always just pick something I know gives a benefit to either Dex or Wis- like Acrobat or Herbalist, and trust the lore and skill it gives won't be totally useless. By contrast I could never do point buy without a) remembering an array I used before, b) some sort of tool, or c) opening the book.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the question is currently meaningless.

If you compare a PF1 CRB-only character creation to PF2 CRB-only character creation, there isn't a significant difference. Point-buy versus ability boosts... you still do the mental gymnastics to get things where you want them. Otherwise it's really just picking some stuff off a menu.

If you're building a caster, you've "got to" read the whole spells section, with either edition.

As again in a decade, when there are choices. 'Cuz right now, once you have a vague idea what you want to do, the two (or three) feat choices you get at any given level are easy to figure out which one(s) to not take because they have nothing to do with what you're building. Later, there'll be much more to choose from, and the granularity will be much finer, so taking time will make sense. Right now you could almost build a character by throwing darts.


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Anguish wrote:

I think the question is currently meaningless.

If you compare a PF1 CRB-only character creation to PF2 CRB-only character creation, there isn't a significant difference. Point-buy versus ability boosts... you still do the mental gymnastics to get things where you want them. Otherwise it's really just picking some stuff off a menu.

If you're building a caster, you've "got to" read the whole spells section, with either edition.

As again in a decade, when there are choices. 'Cuz right now, once you have a vague idea what you want to do, the two (or three) feat choices you get at any given level are easy to figure out which one(s) to not take because they have nothing to do with what you're building. Later, there'll be much more to choose from, and the granularity will be much finer, so taking time will make sense. Right now you could almost build a character by throwing darts.

I have found that the amount of busywork required to make qualitative assessments is considerably worse in PF2 than in Pathfinder.

Part of this is because classes don't have a "feat tree" that exists in Pathfinder. Part of this is because some class feats refer to focus spells that require referring to somewhere half a book away.

This is further exacerbated by having feat chains that are heavily siloed - so if you want to take a certain sixth-level feat at sixth-level, you'll need to take the prerequisites. So now you need to understand what the sixth-level feats do before you make your choice at first level.

The fact that character options have all been significantly underpowered makes the whole process feel unfulfilling. The very fact that

Anguish wrote:
Right now you could almost build a character by throwing darts.

doesn't bode well for character creation.


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Ravingdork wrote:
gnoams wrote:
Interesting that a lot of people find Pf2 character creation to be elegant. I find it quite the opposite. The terrible organization of the book requires you to hunt back and forth in a long string of looking up options that refer you to other parts of the book where those rules are only partially defined and refer you to yet another term that you have to look up.
I've experienced this as well, but I believe it's more of an issue for those of us coming from previous editions. New players don't seem to have this issue at all.

I am not seeing this at all; PF2 is rather byzantine, the least new-player friendly edition to date, I feel. I would introduce a new player to pretty much any other edition before PF2.

PF2 is like an advanced (niche) fantasy RPG. A system designed for designers.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Having introduced new players to both (and with just core of both to boot). Nope new players find PF2 easier. They go look at the bit of the book that is relevant and see a limited list of things to pick. They pick one and they don't have to look at my face to see if it was a good choice. In PF1 it was an exercise in me often going "eeeh that doesn't really work, sorry." Sure if you are used to what is good and bad in PF1 then it is pretty fast, after all you just plugin in "good archer" feat tree and you know all your choices for the first 6-8 levels of your character. New players don't have that and "limited scope of options all of which are decently okay" is much easier for them.

Liberty's Edge

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Yeah, those of us used to PF1 are a bad barometer for whether new players will find the system easier. We're so used to PF1's quirks that we just miss how hard a lot of it is for new people.

All tests people have done with actual new players seem to bear out PF2 being much easier for them.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Having introduced new players to both (and with just core of both to boot). Nope new players find PF2 easier.

I don't agree with this assertion; PF2 is more difficult to teach/dive into than any other edition of PF or D&D.

I can understand not wanting to simplify 3rd Ed to the level 5th Ed did (3rd Ed Lite) for PF2, but they seem to have made it more complex, yet a bit homogenous, but that can be a byproduct of gunning for balance, as some of us have seen in the past.


Eh its really more complicated a question some facets are more complex and others are simpler and then their is going to be an individual variable some people will pick some parts up faster and some parts slower.

Liberty's Edge

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And you base your disbelief of Malk_Content on? He's at least basing his contention that they find it easier on personal experience with new people. Which isn't precisely data, but it's something.

I've literally not seen any actual statements from people saying they've tried teaching PF2 to actually new people (as opposed to former PF1 players) who found it harder, but have heard a lot of stories of them finding it easier.

Do you have a counterpoint to that other than it being harder for you personally?


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Eh its really more complicated a question some facets are more complex and others are simpler and then their is going to be an individual variable some people will pick some parts up faster and some parts slower.

That's fair, but PF2 comes across as more fiddly, dense, page flipping, and a lot of jargon (conditions).

Also, for my eye condition, PF2 is way harder on the eyes, aesthetically very unpleasant.
The icons are utterly horrid, I have a hard time deciphering the difference between the 2 and 3 Action icons, at a glance.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
And you base your disbelief of Malk_Content on?

Several reasons, but I'm not going to go into that here.

Liberty's Edge

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Colonel Kurtz wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
And you base your disbelief of Malk_Content on?
Several reasons, but I'm not going to go into that here.

I'm honestly not sure where else you'd go into the subject of why you believe the game is hard to learn for new players.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Colonel Kurtz wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
And you base your disbelief of Malk_Content on?
Several reasons, but I'm not going to go into that here.

Why not? This seems like the thread for it.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Colonel Kurtz wrote:
PF2 is more difficult to teach/dive into than any other edition of PF or D&D.

I disagree. Last Friday I ran a game with two veteran PF1 players. In about an hour, their characters were ready to play. This was including the time I took to explain the 3 actions per turn action economy and the TEML-based skill system. And dealing with the language barrier, since my two French friends have limited English skills.

Mekkis wrote:

Part of this is because classes don't have a "feat tree" that exists in Pathfinder. Part of this is because some class feats refer to focus spells that require referring to somewhere half a book away.

This is further exacerbated by having feat chains that are heavily siloed - so if you want to take a certain sixth-level feat at sixth-level, you'll need to take the prerequisites. So now you need to understand what the sixth-level feats do before you make your choice at first level.

I disagree. You can just pick feats based on your "feeling" for them. If, later on, you realize you didn't pick the right prerequisite for another feat, you can retrain it with a short downtime activity. No need to laboriously plan ahead.


I think maybe trying to read it front to cover may be a bit more challenging then pf1 but I think teaching people it will be easier for me and my group. I have a good handle on it and I feel some things will be easier to convey.

I can't really speak for how someone who isn't familiar with rpg's will pick it up. I'm well over that line. I would say it's harder then moving from 3.5 to pf for sure but I mean come on they are practically the same while this is a new game. I guess we could do a twin study on it but otherwise I doubt its quantifiable.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Do you have a counterpoint to that other than it being harder for you personally?

Counterpoint...okay, I am not just talking about my experiences.

Seems if you do not dig every aspect of PF2, the same half-dozen posters all come down on you (plus the cheerleading), been going on since the playtest started.

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