My opinions on PF2 after Plaguestone


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Hey guys, a year back I did this post in the Playtest section: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2vbha&page=1?My-opinion-as-a-15-years-game r-after-around

It was a long feedback on the first iteration of the Playtest, and I did not try again before the game real launch. But my post had some sucess from other playtesters, and I know from Mona answer that my feedback reached Paizo.

So as we just finished this weekend Plaguestone, and we are heading next week in the AP, I just felt that it was faire and square of me to post my opinion on the game. I was not really convinced at the begining of the Playtest, and now that the game is out, I thought my experience could convince some people who shared my worries back then to try the game, and it would also be a good place for everyone to share their thoughts on the game.

Of course all this is only the thoughts of our group, and I invit all of you to participate, as long as you can stay civil and polite with each other.

So, Pathfinder 2, after Plaguestone, from an experienced gamer:

THE CONS:

- We only got a few books for now, and of course we can't compare the huge diversity of builds that PF1 allows with Pathfinder 2 for the moment. Which means that if you are looking to do a brawler with a mechanical leg, a Psychic with a monstruous race, or an Oozemorph, the game might not be for you... yet.

- You can't be the BEST of the BEST in ONE thing like you could in PF1. You can't overcharge your Hold Personn DC, you can not Grappple all the creatures as easily that if you built for it in PF1, you can't use natural attacks shenanigans for more sneak attacks, etc... You do what you do, and you can't improve it as much as in first edition.

- As the game is just out, from the build diversity to the short life of the game, some builds are not avaible, or broken due to the lack of an errata. Mutagenist for example, Unarmed proficiencies, bulk... These things WILL get fixed, but it will take some time.

- In a lot of ways, adventurers do less things at lower level that what you can do in PF1. Because the game is made to go to level 20, you can't have as much options at level 1-5 than some builds from Pathfinder 1. For example a Magus, or a Brawler with an Archetype, or even a Alchemist with archetype can do more things at level 3 in PF1.

- Magic got nerfed, hard. It does not mean that magic is useless, and there are pros to that that i will explain later, but in general, magic got nerfed. You will not be invicible at high level, you wil not break the game at low level, and you will have very little power on your DCs. On that subject, we found the Divine list to be lackluster and boring, at low levels anyway.

- Charisma is underused, like always.

- Anathemas can be a real pain, that not to serve the story of the nuance of Golarion at all. Evil clerics, and some goods clerics, are just a pain in the party and it is a shame. These things should stay roleplay guideline, not hardcoded things that can cost you your powers.

- The D20 dice is the master of all things. If you got poor rolls, with bounded accuracy, you will be in a lot of pain. You can't maximize enough to protect you from bad rolls.

- Goblins are core, and don't have the Uncommon tag. Which make no sense at all in Golarion or in many universes. This is a just a mascott thing to sell more. You have as many chance to cross the path of a Goblin adventurer than a Halfling adventurer.

- You are your main class, in sooooo many ways. You can pick multiclass archetypes, you have some diversity from one fighter to another, but you are your class. This is not just a buffet of ability that you pick to build your perfect concept like in PF1. No, if you are a Rogue you will do Roguery things. Many things, but Roguery almost all the time...

THE PROS:

... But your ARE your class. Even with MC archetypes, you will have the opportunity to do things that only your class can do. You will have a lots of thematic feats, and in all purpose, you will have a strong fantasy to support your concept, mechanically and in roleplay.

- The three action system is solid, versatile, and fun. You can play around action economy, and you got each turn strategic decisions to make that matter.

- The four degrees of sucess/failures is very good, easy to grasp, and allow the DM and the player to see more variations in the outcome of narration and mechanical decisions.

- The monsters are very different from one to another. They got unique and thematic abilities that make them fun to play and fight. They are not players, and don't work the same way. Wich means you can make a solo Rogue NPC boss, and give him the action economy to make him dangerous.

- From the monsters, the treasure list, the wealth for players, the tags... The game is way easier to DM. You got more "headspace" for roleplay, descriptions, because the rules are simpler and more logical.

- Martials rock. They are strong, versatile, dangerous, and they got thematic abilities.

- Magic is less frustrating than before. Because even if a monster suceed a saving throw, he might suffer partialy from the spell. You can do a blaster with elemental magic, and you will be dangerous. In many ways this translate with more diversity in choice of spells, and the outcome of spells.

- Skills and skill feat are just better than in PF1. Your skills choices are a very important part of your character, and allow for build diversity and some strong actions choice, like Intimidate, Medicine, Knowledge, Crafting, etc... Skills matter in Pathfinder 2, a lot.

- The game is more streamlined. It is very difficult to make a bad character, and there is more balance between an experienced player and a new one. The abilities boost allow you to make the character you want, and to have 18 in your primary stat, no matter your race. They also give you the opportunity to do things that suck before, like a Fighter good in knowledge or the party face.

- You got way lesser trap or must-have options than in PF1. Some are better in general, of course, but by a little margin.

- The way the game works, your level matter a lot. You will be better against lower level threats, and your Wizard will kick the **** out of thugs with his staff. But a Dragon will be way more dangerous, because he got a better level than you, so he will be harder to hit, and will critical hit a lot. Your level, your experience, MATTER a LOT. You can feel the increase in power at each level, constantly. You path to glory is hard, but you can FEEL that an Orc who is a serious threat at level one, become something you can butcher at level 3.

- You are less dependent on items and treasure, and your build is the base of your powers.

- You got more place for roleplay. You want to have a good idea to get some circumstance bonus, and the three action system allow the DM to give life to your decisions. You will propably try more various things in PF2 when it is your turn to play.

- Hero points means less deaths, and maybe more succes in clutch moments, that define what it is to be an hero.

- You don't go tall, but wide. You increase your toolbox as you level up, and what could have been a terrible flaw yesterday become something you are good at.

- Without Attack of Opportunity, you got way more mobility in fights.

- Small Race can go in melee and bring the pain.

- This is the perfect spot between the gamey Pathfinder 1 and the story telling 5E. You nailed it perfectly Paizo.

To conclude, we ha da blast in Plaguestone. Pathfinder 2 is strong, fun, driven by story and strategic choice. It offer improtant decision making choices, a huge build diversity from only one book, is easier to DM, and is the perfect spot for our group. I am glad, as a fan and a customer, that Paizo listened to our feedback, and decided to refocus the game on what a RPG is suppose to be: a narrative shared by people who make cool and strong characters.

Finally I want to point out that the game is not just an evolution of Pathfinder 1. It is something else. You got some strong connections, like Golarion, huge numbers of options, the vocabulary, but it is a new game. Which respond to the standards of the industry, and in our humble opinion, to what make a good game.

Thanks Paizo, continue the good work!


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SteelGuts wrote:
The D20 dice is the master of all things. If you got poor rolls, with bounded accuracy, you will be in a lot of pain. You can't maximize enough to protect you from bad rolls.

Oh boy is that the truth. 4 sessions in and all the players have been having a streak of bad luck, while the GM has been rolling hot. (Last night, nobody rolled above a 5 for at least an hour, while the GM rolled 3 critical attacks in a row.)

It was so demoralizing we had to stop the session halfway through.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Thank you for sharing, SteelGuts!

Sovereign Court

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Thebazilly wrote:
SteelGuts wrote:
The D20 dice is the master of all things. If you got poor rolls, with bounded accuracy, you will be in a lot of pain. You can't maximize enough to protect you from bad rolls.

Oh boy is that the truth. 4 sessions in and all the players have been having a streak of bad luck, while the GM has been rolling hot. (Last night, nobody rolled above a 5 for at least an hour, while the GM rolled 3 critical attacks in a row.)

It was so demoralizing we had to stop the session halfway through.

Well YMMV, but I think this is a good step, as recently the dice roll where only for show hidden behind a ridiculous amount of modifiers, to the point they hardly mattered.

There might be again challenge and danger in the game.


Stereofm wrote:

Well YMMV, but I think this is a good step, as recently the dice roll where only for show hidden behind a ridiculous amount of modifiers, to the point they hardly mattered.

There might be again challenge and danger in the game.

At high levels, maybe. Low level PF1 was pretty swingy, too and Plaguestone is a low level adventure.


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SteelGuts wrote:
This is not just a buffet of ability that you pick to build your perfect concept like in PF1.

I actually kind of disagree with this part of the “con” you listed for class builds. I’ve found myself feeling very limited by PF1e classes, especially when you consider feat taxes and such. The actual option of which class to pick is obviously wider in PF1e but the sheer amount of character builds in the PF2e CRB alone is mind blowing. Imagine the terribly limited builds using just the PF1e CRB. The future is bright if this kind of design paradigm expands similarly!


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swoosh wrote:
Stereofm wrote:

Well YMMV, but I think this is a good step, as recently the dice roll where only for show hidden behind a ridiculous amount of modifiers, to the point they hardly mattered.

There might be again challenge and danger in the game.

At high levels, maybe. Low level PF1 was pretty swingy, too and Plaguestone is a low level adventure.

Reminder that an orc was a CR 1/3 creature that had an 18-20 crit weapon that would instantly kill any level 1 character you could make.


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I think PF2 using the Starfinder hit point generating system at level 1 is great. It means your character can actually take a shot and stay standing.


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Steelguts,

1. Did anyone play a Ranger?

2. How often does tracking come up, or the need to cover one's tracks?


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber
Thebazilly wrote:


Oh boy is that the truth. 4 sessions in and all the players have been having a streak of bad luck, while the GM has been rolling hot. (Last night, nobody rolled above a 5 for at least an hour, while the GM rolled 3 critical attacks in a row.)

It was so demoralizing we had to stop the session halfway through.

By the book everyone gets a hero point every session, they can use them to break up the bad streaks.


I like that the dice roll matters. I am GMing a level 12 game and there is no point one character rolling bluff or intimidate anymore as he has nearly +30 to both. Coupled with "braggart" that is a free no-save debuff for usually minimum 3 rounds to anything that isn't mindless

And it works against anything of any size

I am glad that this part is gone

*

As small as it is I like the ancestry bonus hit points at level one. It was in either the Alpha or Beta 1E playtest and is something many of my games kept even after it disappeared from the final rules


krazmuze wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:


Oh boy is that the truth. 4 sessions in and all the players have been having a streak of bad luck, while the GM has been rolling hot. (Last night, nobody rolled above a 5 for at least an hour, while the GM rolled 3 critical attacks in a row.)

It was so demoralizing we had to stop the session halfway through.

By the book everyone gets a hero point every session, they can use them to break up the bad streaks.

This might depend on how generous a GM is with giving them out in game. Because 1E hero points were often hard to get and everyone clutched onto them tightly for the "cheat death" option

And it sounds like people will want to keep at least one for the very same reason in 2E


Lanathar wrote:
krazmuze wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:


Oh boy is that the truth. 4 sessions in and all the players have been having a streak of bad luck, while the GM has been rolling hot. (Last night, nobody rolled above a 5 for at least an hour, while the GM rolled 3 critical attacks in a row.)

It was so demoralizing we had to stop the session halfway through.

By the book everyone gets a hero point every session, they can use them to break up the bad streaks.

This might depend on how generous a GM is with giving them out in game. Because 1E hero points were often hard to get and everyone clutched onto them tightly for the "cheat death" option

And it sounds like people will want to keep at least one for the very same reason in 2E

Seems almost more likely you would want to hold a hero point in 2e because of how nasty crit hits crit save rolls are.


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One, sure. But only one. Hold any more than that and you lose them all once you stabilize


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kaid wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
krazmuze wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:


Oh boy is that the truth. 4 sessions in and all the players have been having a streak of bad luck, while the GM has been rolling hot. (Last night, nobody rolled above a 5 for at least an hour, while the GM rolled 3 critical attacks in a row.)

It was so demoralizing we had to stop the session halfway through.

By the book everyone gets a hero point every session, they can use them to break up the bad streaks.

This might depend on how generous a GM is with giving them out in game. Because 1E hero points were often hard to get and everyone clutched onto them tightly for the "cheat death" option

And it sounds like people will want to keep at least one for the very same reason in 2E

Seems almost more likely you would want to hold a hero point in 2e because of how nasty crit hits crit save rolls are.

2 things, 1) you don't keep your Hero Points between sessions so it behooves you to use them each night. 2) They are *supposed* to be easier to get, so you can use them with the expectation you will get another that same night.


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I’m happy to hear this. I have made clear my disdain for this edition. That said I have a couple of friends that want to give it a try. So I’ll give it another try and see if I like it any better.

I agree with most your cons and a few of your pros. Though I can not agree with this one: “You are less dependent on items and treasure, and your build is the base of your powers.” I find martials are more tied to equipment more than ever, sine the number of damage die are tied to it.

Hopefully it will go well, time will tell


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Glad to see people sharing their impressions too!

And yes we had a Gnome Ranger who picked the Kurkri, and he was a blast to play. Ta combo with his Hunter Quarry and the Agile kurkris made the three Attack viable. And he had an imprecise Scent and was a Bounty Hunter so strong roleplay and flavor too.

And god he tracked a lot. I don’t want to spoil, but he tracked a monster from the first encounter who fled, the boss of the part one, and a few strange creatures at the end. He used Survival a lot to start hunting prey before the fight, gaining some action economy.

Probably the strongest character of the group to be honest. And when he decided to pick animal companion, with the new mechanic that allow monsters to become pet, well I don’t want to spoil but I will just say if you play Plaguestone, have a nice DM and have animal companion, don’t pick one, just the feat, you will have good surprise ;)


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Also, I forget one pro, and a very important one. I think the all game is designed to avoid bloat, and unbalanced future options. The core system is, I think, very robust to add things that don’t break what is already here.

I am looking at you Dervish Dance! You made all our Rogue, Magus and Duelist Quadiran Dancers for years!


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This is very interesting. All of your CONS are about character creation and how the game is described in the CRB. While all of your PROS are about how the game plays at the gaming table. That might give hope to those who've already given up on the new edition.

I do have one question for you because you have highlighted something I have also had a strong reaction to:

SteelGuts wrote:
- Goblins are core, and don't have the Uncommon tag. Which make no sense at all in Golarion or in many universes. This is a just a mascott thing to sell more. You have as many chance to cross the path of a Goblin adventurer than a Halfling adventurer.

You've hit the nail on the head. Goblins and the fact they're going to include more and more ancestries in most player facing books they produce is going to result in a Golarion where most players are not human and are not one of the classic races. We're going to have lizardfolk, tengu, ratfolk, catfolk, etc. That wasn't how my PF1e group played in Golarion and it's not how I like to play in Golarion.

So given two choices: (1) ban most ancestries from the game or (2) play in a different setting where goblins make sense I've gone with option 2.

I'm curious, what your group will be doing long term? Are you just going to suck it up and allow goblins? Ban goblins and allow most monstrous ancestries (orcs, lizardfolk and anything else Paizo comes up with)? Or are you going to ban most ancestries?

Fennris wrote:
I’m happy to hear this. I have made clear my disdain for this edition. That said I have a couple of friends that want to give it a try. So I’ll give it another try and see if I like it any better.

It reads like D&D 4th ed. Lots of people are free to disagree with me on this issue, but for me it reads so close to D&D 4e it's not funny.

I'm hoping in play it comes out completely different though. There's a few "minor" differences (there is no universal AEDU, although pretty much everything else is universal once you split apart casters and non-casters) and I'm hoping that's enough to make it play like a completely different game. My one shot I've run is promising. But it's a one shot. Pathfinder 1e and D&D 5e play identically at level 1. So it's not really a good test.

Fennris wrote:

I agree with most your cons and a few of your pros. Though I can not agree with this one: “You are less dependent on items and treasure, and your build is the base of your powers.” I find martials are more tied to equipment more than ever, sine the number of damage die are tied to it.

Hopefully it will go well, time will tell

It's funny. D&D 4th ed was meant to remove the Christmas Tree effect. Except it hardcoded it into the game. That would have to have been the biggest broken promise in 4e.

PF2e comes across as being very light on magic items. But unless you're playing a fighter or a caster, you're going to be heavily dependent on magic items. The tight math makes it impossible to not have the best plus you can buy. And due to the way they're mandatory (pluses often didn't feel mandatory in PF1e because you could over invest in your AC and to hit) your highest level items are always going to have the "mandatory" items prioritised over everything else.

At least, that's how it reads ;)

Kelseus wrote:
2 things, 1) you don't keep your Hero Points between sessions so it behooves you to use them each night. 2) They are *supposed* to be easier to get, so you can use them with the expectation you will get another that same night.

In my experience with D&D 4e and D&D 5e most players are going to forget to use them. They will probably remember when "oh s+$#. I'm about to die." But that's about it.

Also GMs are notoriously bad about handing them out. Even in 4th ed where it was automatically handed out after 2 encounters DMs would consistently forget to do it.

SteelGuts wrote:
Also, I forget one pro, and a very important one. I think the all game is designed to avoid bloat

If that were true we wouldn't have class feats be the primary feat selection classes gain. D&D 4e could have made powers available to multiple classes. It would have allowed so much more diversity of builds and cut down on the bloat so dramatically. Pathfinder 2e could have done the same with class feats. The 4th edition D&D design team decided against it, likely because then they could sell more books with powers and as the game wore on the classes ultimately began doing the same thing regardless of what class you chose. Pathfinder 2e's design team has chosen to make the same mistake with class feats being class specific. Whether they'll go the 4th ed route of producing more and more class feats or martial classes will simply be left out of increased diversity remains to be seen. I expect we're going to get lots of class feats, but this will become most obvious with the Advanced Player's Guide coming out next year.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Goblins and the fact they're going to include more and more ancestries in most player facing books they produce is going to result in a Golarion where most players are not human and are not one of the classic races.

If that's not how you played 1e then it shouldn't be a problem in 2e either, because 1e had literally dozens of alternate races too.


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Squiggit wrote:
If that's not how you played 1e then it shouldn't be a problem in 2e either, because 1e had literally dozens of alternate races too.

I have a question for you: Do you honestly see no difference in how ancestries are being rolled out in Pathfinder 2e compared with how they were in Pathfinder 1e?

If you honestly can't see the difference I'm willing to explain what difference I see. But I would be quite surprised if you didn't notice any differences.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
I have a question for you: Do you honestly see no difference in how ancestries are being rolled out in Pathfinder 2e compared with how they were in Pathfinder 1e?

Legitimately? Not really.

Goblins in core is obviously new, but the rest of the core races are pretty much standard stuff and Goblins have been a player option in 1e for seven years now. The ARG wasn't exactly late into PF1's life cycle and had a ton of very odd race choices.

Most people I saw still played humans and elves though.


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Squiggit wrote:
Legitimately? Not really.

Given your (now deleted) comment about playing goblins it really sounds like your not trying very hard. But I'll reply to your post in good faith regardless.

Squiggit wrote:

Goblins in core is obviously new, but the rest of the core races are pretty much standard stuff and Goblins have been a player option in 1e for seven years now. The ARG wasn't exactly late into PF1's life cycle and had a ton of very odd race choices.

Most people I saw still played humans and elves though.

In Pathfinder 1e we got 3 years before alternative races appeared as player options in a hardcover. We had three years where the baseline was the CRB races only. If you got a region specific book you MIGHT have had a race outlined in it. But they were pretty rare and tightly restricted to that region.

Then when it came to the ARG? We had the Core Races, and then we had other choices that were available "with the GM's permission". But we'd already gotten use to the core races by then. You might use one or two to spice up a game's options, but those one or two are going to be specific to that campaign and not part of the default assumption.

And those goblins you claim were playable? With +4 Dexterity and -2 Strength and -2 Charisma it was pretty clear these were not balanced the same way that the CRB races were. IMO they were actually completely unbalanced under PF1e's system, but that's another matter.

If you'd like an alternative example on how new races can be introduced to a game to make them feel more core and much more likely to be chosen, you don't need to look any further than D&D 4th ed. After the PHB was released do you know what the very next player facing book was? Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. Which came with two more races (drow and genasi) suitable for players to choose. It then produced new races in it's next big non-setting specific expansion, Player's Handbook 2 which had more races to choose from along with new classes.

In D&D 4th ed's paradigm playing a wide variety of non-PHB1 races was assumed and they used the above ways, along with modifying the core setting to accept these new races as common PC options, to push the idea that you weren't restricted to just the PHB1 races.

If you can't see how the above two approaches are different, then there's no point continuing this conversation any further. Because I cannot explain it any clearer.

By the by, I played both Pathfinder 1e with some of the same people who I played D&D 4th ed with. They went from refusing to choose humans to almost always choosing humans.

Now assuming you can appreciate the different approaches Pathfinder 1e used and D&D 4th ed used when it came to handling races: which approach do you think Pathfinder 2e more closely aligns with?

Well in their primary PHB1-equivalent we have an expanded core list of races with the inclusion of goblins. If we then look at the next player facing book it's the Lost Omens Character Guide. This is a pretty strong equivalent to the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. And sure enough, we have more races being introduced just like with 4th ed. If we then look to the next big expansion of rules we have the Advanced Player's Guide which is the PHB2 equivalent of this edition. And sure enough we have new races and new classes. Just like was in the PHB2.

So if you had to choose between Pathfinder 1e or D&D 4e which one do you think PF2e most closely aligns with in how races are being handled?

I think it's pretty clear PF2e is going the D&D 4th ed route. And that isn't bad. However just as I felt the Forgotten Realms was a poor fit for that approach, I also feel my vision of Golarion is a poor fit for this approach. So I've chosen the Eberron setting for my PF2e games (just like I did with D&D 4e). Because guess what? Goblins are a core playable race and it can accommodate pretty much any new ancestries Pathfinder 2e produces in almost any campaign. So for me that is a much better aligning of flavour and mechanics. And I also like the Eberron setting so it's really a win-win. Player's get to choose any ancestry they want, and I get to run games in a fun setting with lots of opportunities for adventures.


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Yeah, Goblin is a branding decision (calling it no-brainer means it wasn't up for legit competition vs other contenders, leaving out-of-game factor), but other than that not much difference. Half the races mentioned were core races in Tian Xia anyways. I don't like Mos Eisley effect and I don't like watered down Goblins, but other than Core Goblins not much difference from 1E.

EDIT: Other than the difficulty of expressing nuance of "Goblins aren't as normalized in my game as Paizo tried to present, but it's no less technically possible to have a Goblin PC than in 1E", there isn't major problem in downplaying them in your game, Goblins were also Common creatures in 1E. I mean, it's also reasonable to not want an Elf-Dwarf-Gnome-Half-Orc PC party in Tian Xia game, just communicate to stay on same page with all players. EDIT2: Most of which is just informing and inviting into what ancestries are core to milieu of game and how they can be excited about roleplaying them.

On Class Feat, there already is overlap between classes, but I think discussion is ignoring direction of Archetypes. They're straight up liquidating classes like Gunslinger and Cavalier in favor of focused archetypes which any class can access. That will be where alot of Class Feats will be done in 2E, they are doing 60 pages of Archetypes in APG and 4 classes. Do the math. Some of those will probably even overlap with Classes (Duelist does overlap Fighter feats, but with early access), but be more accessible than a vanilla Multiclass if only by being alternate approach.

To the OP's complaint on CHA, I would suggest checking ou the forum's discussion on that, such as this thread: Charisma the StepChild Stat I think some solid ideas were developed there that solidify consistent value of CHA without disrupting game conventions: CHA to 1/day magic item overcharge checks (riffing on UMD history), CHA=INT in determining bonus languages (possibly distinguishing written vs spoken), and possibly breaking out some Will Saves to use CHA instead of WIS (same proficiency) although the first two are significant enough IMHO (and CHA builds do have very viable competencies, it is more about passive relevance for everybody).


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Quandary wrote:
Other than the difficulty of expressing nuance of "Goblins aren't as normalized in my game as Paizo tried to present, but it's no less technically possible to have a Goblin PC than in 1E", there isn't major problem in downplaying them in your game, Goblins were also Common creatures in 1E. I mean, it's also reasonable to not want an Elf-Dwarf-Gnome-Half-Orc PC party in Tian Xia game, just communicate to stay on page with all players.

You can definitely fight the system and constantly tell your players "that new ancestry is banned. So is that one. And that one. And that one. I don't even know what the F*%^ Paizo was thinking with that race! That one's definitely banned!"

Or you can just accept the new paradigm and go with the flow and find a way to make it work. But guaranteed: Every new annual core expansion (the 2e equivalents of Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Occult Adventures, etc, etc) is going to have new ancestries. So fight it if you want. But your going to be fighting it for the duration of this edition.


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Coming from the opposite end of the spectrum as someone who really wants to play these greenskin ancestries I saw pretty much the same thing Lynch did. Aasimars and Tieflings would be at most tables (usually played as an anime human lol) but anything beyond that was based on if the GM personally loved that race and the only standard expectation was that the Core races were available.

Being in a book as a statted out race never made it necessarily a "player race". I'd be as likely to find a game that allowed full-blooded orcs as I was to find a game that allowed driders.


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I mean, I've been in games that explicitly banned core races (e.g. "no elves in this one") more often than games where the GM was going to hesitate to approve whatever weird snake person you saw in a book and got excited about.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So far the more monstrous ancestries are marked as Uncommon, meaning they explicitly require GM approval to use. This was not the case in 4e where they were implicitly core.


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Campbell wrote:
So far the more monstrous ancestries are marked as Uncommon, meaning they explicitly require GM approval to use. This was not the case in 4e where they were implicitly core.

(1) Not all of them have been (see goblins in the CRB). (2) Uncommon doesn't strictly mean you need the GM's permission. It means you need to take something (potentially like a background) that gives you permission to take it OR get the GM's permission. If they wanted it be strictly via GM fiat then they would be marked as rare. (3) It's going to be a dick move on the GM's part if they consistently ban every ancestry except the CRB ones with every single new core expansion that comes out. . Doing it for 1 core expansion? Sure. Could get away with that. Doing it for 2? Alright. Most will probably accept that. But doing it for 3? Your going to have a revolt on your hands. I never saw that sort of reaction in PF1e. I fully expect it would happen in PF2e if anyone tried to be that strict on which ancestries were available.

A Pathfinder 1e GM could run a "CRB only" game. Most people considered that a dick move and I expect it was done quite rarely. I'm willing to say banning non-core ancestries will happen somewhere between rarely and almost never. But we'll have to wait and see how things shake out in PF2e. Paizo definitely expects people to allow them. otherwise they wouldn't be pumping them out so soon and so quickly.

Personally I fully intend to allow orcs, hobgoblins and all sorts of other ancestries in my games (still skeptical of leshy but I'm willing to give them a look over).


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
It's funny. D&D 4th ed was meant to remove the Christmas Tree effect. Except it hardcoded it into the game. That would have to have been the biggest broken promise in 4e.

It did not so much remove it as reduce it. In 3e/PF1, you had the Big Six items you needed: weapon, armor, amulet of natural armor, ring of protection, cloak of resistance, and whatever the booster for your primary stat was. In 4e, it was reduced to three: weapon/implement, armor, and cloak/necklace. And PF2 reduces it to two: weapon and armor.


Staffan Johansson wrote:
It did not so much remove it as reduce it. In 3e/PF1, you had the Big Six items you needed

I consider those to be mandatory items whereas the christmas tree effect I see as being where everyone maximises how many magic items they have on their body at any one time. With how D&D 4th ed handed out magic items (magic items as parcels rather then a WBL that you used to purchase magic items) you ended up with everyone wearing a crapload of magic items. That's what I meant by "hardcoded it into the game." Those treasure parcels which were evenly doled out to players meant that everyone had a predictable and high number of magic items being worn at any given time. And the game assumed you got more and more with every new level.

But I understand (after a quick google) everyone has a different definition of the term :)


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So a few remarks:

- About the magic items not being mandatory, I mean way less mandatory than in PF1. Your striking rune is hard coded, you will have it. But you don’t have the big six, or a few special items that were known to be really good and accessible (Ring of Sustenance is uncommon now for example, or the Aegis of Recovery don’t exist):

- You made a very good point John, I indeed dislike many things about character creation, but I really like the feeling of playing the game. Very much like 5E to be honest, as PF1 I always loved building a character but sometimes the game could turn into a slog at high level.

- When I say avoir the bloat I did not exprime myself well I think, English is not my mother tongue and I lack good vocabulary or subtlety sometimes. What I mean is that Ithink the CRB options will stay relevant, even with 4 core books along the line. The design is like the builds, more wide than tall. I think new options will add mechanical ides and concept,but will not make previous content irrelevant. Or in PF1, it has been ages since I saw a vanilla Fighter without Archetypes or weapon mastery. I think the design space here is really smart and if they don’t inflate new options it should stay that way.

- As for the Goblins, to be honest with you guys I hesitated to mention them,just like in the Playtest, because I don’t want to turn this post into Goblin War again. But as you ask Iwill share my thoughts: Goblins should be an Uncommon/Rare Ancestry that come from a setting book, not the CRB. Just like the upcoming Hobgoblins, who are perfect. For me and a lots of players I think Goblins are iconic yes, but iconic monsters. They are the enemy mascot, just like the beholders and will it hides for Faerun. We got a huge list of AP and modules introducing them as pyromaniac child-eater crazy pyromaniac pest. So there is a retcon not explained at all here.Even more the lack of rarity tag let us think that in the core assumptions of the setting, it is as common to see a Goblin adventurer as a Halflings Adventurer, and again it makes no sense. And finally for me it show the Drizzt disease of “my race is like 98% evil but not me and our four previous Goblins characters”. Chewbacca is special because he is the only alien of the team. Add two other wookie and he loose all his charm. Same for Goblins. So for us they got the Rare tag, as a houserule. You can select them but you better be ready for the roleplay consequences, and have a solide backstory.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
A Pathfinder 1e GM could run a "CRB only" game. Most people considered that a dick move and I expect it was done quite rarely.

I've actually been in a couple of these, and nobody ever really complained about it all that much, mostly for two reasons. First, in those games we also had new players, either to Pathfinder, or to tabletops in general, and limiting the material made it easier to build a character. Second, it was honestly a bit of a relief to know that we didn't have to search through fifty books to find all the pieces of our characters; you grabbed your crap out of the core book and started play. I'm not necessarily refuting this point, because I think in most circumstances players might get a bit upset, just lending some perspective from someone who's done it two or three times without the negative experience.


Nice report.

It's interesting that much of the stuff on your CONS list I personally regard as PROS. Especially not being able to min-max, and the adjustments to magic. But that's subjectivity for you!


Perpdepog wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
A Pathfinder 1e GM could run a "CRB only" game. Most people considered that a dick move and I expect it was done quite rarely.
I've actually been in a couple of these, and nobody ever really complained about it all that much, mostly for two reasons. First, in those games we also had new players, either to Pathfinder, or to tabletops in general, and limiting the material made it easier to build a character. Second, it was honestly a bit of a relief to know that we didn't have to search through fifty books to find all the pieces of our characters; you grabbed your crap out of the core book and started play. I'm not necessarily refuting this point, because I think in most circumstances players might get a bit upset, just lending some perspective from someone who's done it two or three times without the negative experience.

I mean. When you post on the internet saying "X almost never happens" everyone always comes out of the woodwork to say how THEY always do X. I'm not trying to invalidate your experiences. I just don't think they're common. But you're of course welcome to disagree as I have no actual data to back up my position :)


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
A Pathfinder 1e GM could run a "CRB only" game. Most people considered that a dick move and I expect it was done quite rarely.
I've actually been in a couple of these, and nobody ever really complained about it all that much, mostly for two reasons. First, in those games we also had new players, either to Pathfinder, or to tabletops in general, and limiting the material made it easier to build a character. Second, it was honestly a bit of a relief to know that we didn't have to search through fifty books to find all the pieces of our characters; you grabbed your crap out of the core book and started play. I'm not necessarily refuting this point, because I think in most circumstances players might get a bit upset, just lending some perspective from someone who's done it two or three times without the negative experience.
I mean. When you post on the internet saying "X almost never happens" everyone always comes out of the woodwork to say how THEY always do X. I'm not trying to invalidate your experiences. I just don't think they're common. But you're of course welcome to disagree as I have no actual data to back up my position :)

Organized Play has a Core campaign for 1st edition which is exactly this, the use of the 1st edition CRB only.


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As someone who came to PF1 about half way through it’s lifespan, I didn’t get the slow increase of races/ancestries - when I first played there were already many options available.

As a result, from my perspective, there is no difference in that regard. Golarion for me has always been full of unusual species.

That said, the presentation of Goblins specifically has definitely shifted from the adventures we played in golarion, and that was something I did have to discuss with my players.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
A Pathfinder 1e GM could run a "CRB only" game. Most people considered that a dick move and I expect it was done quite rarely.
I've actually been in a couple of these, and nobody ever really complained about it all that much, mostly for two reasons. First, in those games we also had new players, either to Pathfinder, or to tabletops in general, and limiting the material made it easier to build a character. Second, it was honestly a bit of a relief to know that we didn't have to search through fifty books to find all the pieces of our characters; you grabbed your crap out of the core book and started play. I'm not necessarily refuting this point, because I think in most circumstances players might get a bit upset, just lending some perspective from someone who's done it two or three times without the negative experience.
I mean. When you post on the internet saying "X almost never happens" everyone always comes out of the woodwork to say how THEY always do X. I'm not trying to invalidate your experiences. I just don't think they're common. But you're of course welcome to disagree as I have no actual data to back up my position :)

I'm not actually disagreeing? I was just offering my perspective on that topic because I thought it would be appreciated. I suppose it wasn't, and sorry if it seemed I was trying to challenge you.


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SteelGuts wrote:
- You can't be the BEST of the BEST in ONE thing like you could in PF1. You can't overcharge your Hold Personn DC, you can not Grappple all the creatures as easily that if you built for it in PF1, you can't use natural attacks shenanigans for more sneak attacks, etc... You do what you do, and you can't improve it as much as in first edition.

That seems to vary with the class and your build path? A Fighter is clearly going to be the best at wielding a shield or fighting with a hand free compared to a bard or druid, and their class feats keep on enhancing said playstyles. Monk is better at grappling, eventually even getting a knockout chokehold. And champion seems really good at being in the way with reactions.

SteelGuts wrote:
- In a lot of ways, adventurers do less things at lower level that what you can do in PF1. Because the game is made to go to level 20, you can't have as much options at level 1-5 than some builds from Pathfinder 1. For example a Magus, or a Brawler with an Archetype, or even a Alchemist with archetype can do more things at level 3 in PF1.

In a lot of ways, we can do more than ever. A rogue at low level would essentially just flank and strike. Martials would full auto or charge or power attack. Now it's much easier to weave in movement and strikes, and it expands a lot more as you use archetypes or level up. A fighter could now for example strike twice at no penalty if using an agility weapon, then follow up with an intimidate at no penalty. Or feint then strike and grab. Since everyone can take up athletics and max it out, anyone could also do maneuvers now.

SteelGuts wrote:
- Charisma is underused, like always.

By players. It can be used for feints, demorolize, coerce, making an income via bargain hunter and other things. We also get so many ability boosts that it's not a big hit to put a few points in that. For min-max rollplay, yeah it's dumpable. For others, it's not as bad as it was before.

SteelGuts wrote:
- You are your main class, in sooooo many ways. You can pick multiclass archetypes, you have some diversity from one fighter to another, but you are your class. This is not just a buffet of ability that you pick to build your perfect concept like in PF1. No, if you are a Rogue you will do Roguery things. Many things, but Roguery almost all the time...

We can "multiclass" better than ever in a way. Say I was playing my alchemist. A single dip into anything but the mutagenist prestige would mean I'd always be behind discoveries, my craft checks and spellcasting. Now I can actually give up two feats and pick up Monk's Flurry and Powerful Fists if I was inclined without gutting my baseline. Any arcane can now dip into any divine for a so-so hybrid as well, or even occultist or nature. It's not as optimal as some silly dips in pf1, but core:core, we got more build options.


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Perpdepog wrote:
I'm not actually disagreeing? I was just offering my perspective on that topic because I thought it would be appreciated. I suppose it wasn't, and sorry if it seemed I was trying to challenge you.

It's not that it wasn't appreciated or wasn't wanted. It was just funny because those posts ALWAYS come out the second someone says something on the internet and sure enough yours came literally 4 minutes after my post :P


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
SteelGuts wrote:
- Goblins are core, and don't have the Uncommon tag. Which make no sense at all in Golarion or in many universes. This is a just a mascott thing to sell more. You have as many chance to cross the path of a Goblin adventurer than a Halfling adventurer.

You've hit the nail on the head. Goblins and the fact they're going to include more and more ancestries in most player facing books they produce is going to result in a Golarion where most players are not human and are not one of the classic races. We're going to have lizardfolk, tengu, ratfolk, catfolk, etc. That wasn't how my PF1e group played in Golarion and it's not how I like to play in Golarion.

So given two choices: (1) ban most ancestries from the game or (2) play in a different setting where goblins make sense I've gone with option 2.

I'm curious, what your group will be doing long term? Are you just going to suck it up and allow goblins? Ban goblins and allow most monstrous ancestries (orcs, lizardfolk and anything else Paizo comes up with)? Or are you going to ban most ancestries?

I find this sentiment rather peculiar and slightly baffling, especially for people who are familiar with Pathfinder and Golarion. The Halfling comparison is actually a really good one, as being a Halfling adventurer in about half of Golarion is about as feasible as being a Goblin adventurer. Cheliax, Irrisen, Isger, Qadira, and Taldor, are all nations with considerable Halfling populations living mostly in slavery, so should Halflings also be made into an Uncommon ancestry?

I think common sense should solve these problems quite easily: Ask your GM "Hey how does ancestry X work in campaign Y that takes place in Z?". Even the player's guides mention which ancestries play well in that AP and deviating from these recommendations should always spark a small exchange between a player and a GM. No need to ban anything, but a GM can always just say "keep this idea for another campaign because it doesn't fit in here".

This problem isn't new though, as others have already pointed out, as PF1 tons of much weirder options than goblins. How have you dealt with those, when they came up during your PF1 games? The answer to that question will probably provide you with a good guideline on how to handle them in PF2.


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The question didn’t come up because PF1 didn’t set the same expectations. By having a fairly traditional and generic core and then 3 years for that core to be pretty firmly established, in my experience most people didn’t stray very far from that core. Contrast that with PF2e...

How about this: if next year’s APG has an iconic that is of an ancestry not from the core Rulebook will people concede that PF2e is setting different expectations with its ancestries compared to PF1e? Because I just went through all the PF1e iconics and with the exception of villain iconics they were all core Rulebook races.

And if they are all core ancestries I will concede they are not pushing new ancestries like D&D 4e did.

Does that sound fair? :D


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

The question didn’t come up because PF1 didn’t set the same expectations. By having a fairly traditional and generic core and then 3 years for that core to be pretty firmly established, in my experience most people didn’t stray very far from that core. Contrast that with PF2e...

How about this: if next year’s APG has an iconic that is of an ancestry not from the core Rulebook will people concede that PF2e is setting different expectations with its ancestries compared to PF1e? Because I just went through all the PF1e iconics and with the exception of villain iconics they were all core Rulebook races.

And if they are all core ancestries I will concede they are not pushing new ancestries like D&D 4e did.

Does that sound fair? :D

I would guess that the iconics for Witch (Human), Oracle (Human), Swashbuckler (Half-Elf), and Investigator (Human) will be the same ones as they were in 1E, just with updated art.

Silver Crusade

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GameDesignerDM wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

The question didn’t come up because PF1 didn’t set the same expectations. By having a fairly traditional and generic core and then 3 years for that core to be pretty firmly established, in my experience most people didn’t stray very far from that core. Contrast that with PF2e...

How about this: if next year’s APG has an iconic that is of an ancestry not from the core Rulebook will people concede that PF2e is setting different expectations with its ancestries compared to PF1e? Because I just went through all the PF1e iconics and with the exception of villain iconics they were all core Rulebook races.

And if they are all core ancestries I will concede they are not pushing new ancestries like D&D 4e did.

Does that sound fair? :D

I would guess that the iconics for Witch (Human), Oracle (Human), Swashbuckler (Half-Elf), and Investigator (Human) will be the same ones as they were in 1E, just with updated art.

All but one is staying as the "iconic", they're all getting updated art.

Granted I've always seen the "Core" limitation for Iconics to be a poor one.


GameDesignerDM wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

The question didn’t come up because PF1 didn’t set the same expectations. By having a fairly traditional and generic core and then 3 years for that core to be pretty firmly established, in my experience most people didn’t stray very far from that core. Contrast that with PF2e...

How about this: if next year’s APG has an iconic that is of an ancestry not from the core Rulebook will people concede that PF2e is setting different expectations with its ancestries compared to PF1e? Because I just went through all the PF1e iconics and with the exception of villain iconics they were all core Rulebook races.

And if they are all core ancestries I will concede they are not pushing new ancestries like D&D 4e did.

Does that sound fair? :D

I would guess that the iconics for Witch (Human), Oracle (Human), Swashbuckler (Half-Elf), and Investigator (Human) will be the same ones as they were in 1E, just with updated art.

Well in that case if you take me up on my bet it’s an easy win for those betting against me. Right?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
The question didn’t come up because PF1 didn’t set the same expectations. By having a fairly traditional and generic core and then 3 years for that core to be pretty firmly established, in my experience most people didn’t stray very far from that core. Contrast that with PF2e...

I can't contrast your experience with your perception of PF2, especially since mine was very different and considering that I find Goblins rather banal and not all that standing out in a fantasy setting.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
How about this: if next year’s APG has an iconic that is of an ancestry not from the core Rulebook will people concede that PF2e is setting different expectations with its ancestries compared to PF1e? Because I just went through all the PF1e iconics and with the exception of villain iconics they were all core Rulebook races.

I don't understand what you are trying to get at with "expectation of ancestries" and I find your parameter to measure that also strange. Why would the iconics be a good way to measure this? Maybe Paizo has decided to use a dartboard to decide all further iconic configurations, for all we know. Or maybe having the rule books tie directly into the setting, unlike in PF1, opens up the audience to being more tuned into the setting, thus not needing to stick to dwarves, elves, and "hobbits", to keep the representation generic.

John Lynch 106 wrote:

And if they are all core ancestries I will concede they are not pushing new ancestries like D&D 4e did.

Does that sound fair? :D

I have no clue how 4th edition ties into this or how that matters.


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D&D 4th ed pushed a menagerie of races from day 1. PF1e pushed the core races almost exclusively for 3 years. The iconics was one way it did that.

I am saying PF2e is following 4e’s model.

If that doesn’t clarify everything, how about we just leave this thread for the OP?

[EDIT]: And yes. A GM can ban every ancestry he wants. Except, unlike PF1e where we got 3 years of the core races almost exclusively, we’re getting a wide swathe of ancestries in core books with the expectation many/most people will use them. And while a GM can still ban everything, they’re fighting against the system rather than working with the system.

If THAT point is still unclear or baffling further discussion is fruitless.

If the point isn’t understood from this post there is no other way I can articulate my point and we might as well move on and agree to disagree.

I have no desire to convince I’m right. I’m simply discussing my point of view. Eventually though, after explaining it for the third time it gets tiring. So if I can’t make myself understood any clearer then I’ll own that failing and simply move on to more productive topics.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Other than the difficulty of expressing nuance of "Goblins aren't as normalized in my game as Paizo tried to present, but it's no less technically possible to have a Goblin PC than in 1E", there isn't major problem in downplaying them in your game, Goblins were also Common creatures in 1E. I mean, it's also reasonable to not want an Elf-Dwarf-Gnome-Half-Orc PC party in Tian Xia game, just communicate to stay on page with all players.

You can definitely fight the system and constantly tell your players "that new ancestry is banned. So is that one. And that one. And that one. I don't even know what the F*%^ Paizo was thinking with that race! That one's definitely banned!"

Or you can just accept the new paradigm and go with the flow and find a way to make it work. But guaranteed: Every new annual core expansion (the 2e equivalents of Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Occult Adventures, etc, etc) is going to have new ancestries. So fight it if you want. But your going to be fighting it for the duration of this edition.

I don't see it as a fight, at all. "In this campaign, there are no goblin PCs." Easy peasy.


Right. And if it were 1 race that would be that. But we’re getting 3 more next month and a whole suite next year. How many do you want to ban? And if your players keep asking for them, why not find a way to accomodate them? I have. It’s called Eberron. Fun setting. I’m looking forward to running a game knit.


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I feel like it's unreasonable to expect people to limit themselves to a small number of books when there is more than one SRD on the internet which is going to have "all of the druid feats in one place". People are going to find themselves there because they're looking for druid feats, and they will find ones from an obscurer book. While they're there, they're going to learn about all the new classes, ancestries, etc. because those look like interesting sidebars to click on.

There was a time when "only use the books we've got" was a reasonable (or the only) way to play something like this, but now all the rules are online.

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