How's your experience with white room theories versus actual play?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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After that other Plaguestone post with the monk, I was curious if others had some positive experiences to share with the class?


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Not Monk-related, but the biggest surprises to me from actual play:

* The Liberator Champion is a lot better than it looks on paper. (Or looked on paper to me, at least.) I had initially deeply undervalued the impact of giving an ally the ability to step after moving. This can not only help set up flanks, but a lot of really common scenarios with enemy movement and attack activities make it so that that step effectively results in the rest of the monster's turn being wasted. It's possible for many monsters, especially ones with reach, to work around some of these advantages, but if they don't, then the Liberator has almost unmatchable action-wasting potential.

Because of the order in which the abilities are listed, its easy to misread the primary effect of the Liberator's reaction as freeing people from grapples and stuff, and that's certainly a perk, but you're mostly there for the awesome free Step.

I haven't heard people talking much about the Liberator online; it's possibly the most slept-on option in the game right now.

* Dazzled has gone from one of the least relevant conditions to one of the best. It has a decent chance of wrecking almost anything the afflicted tries to do, and it's budgeted pretty cheaply on spells.

* A dynamic that's not immediately obvious, I think, is that spellcasters in general and offensive spellcasters in particular have tremendous competition for their highest-level slots, which are not only the only places you can cast your new, coolest spells from, but which are also the best homes for a wide variety of other effects that benefit a lot from heightening. (Including Incapacitation spells, most spells whose primary function is damage, spells that rely on counteracting, summoning spells, and others.)

* One consequence of the above is that spells that do their thing perfectly or almost perfectly even when prepared or cast from their lowest-possible slot are really great.

* Multiclassing is really good. Somebody made the observation that, for most characters, the most exciting class feats from any other class are probably more exciting than your less-exciting choices from your own class. This seems borne out in practice.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have been able to run two sessions so far. As a DM, I have been surprised by:

* Increased mobility has increased the creativity and resilience of the party. Our rogue has been able to move around the battlefield from cover to cover and then spring out with a surprise attack, and then duck back into cover if need be. The casters could back off and position if they were targeted. All players easily able to pull back out of combat when they saw that they were in trouble. Finally, when characters went down it was easy for other players to step up and help them. My impression was that all the mobility kept players from feeling “locked out” of the game by being limited only to certain options. Instead a number of tactical opportunities were opened up to all players and they used them to make the party more resilient as a whole.

* Secret checks actually speed up the game. I thought that the rules for secret checks would slow things down. Under the old system the player would roll in a serial fashion. If someone rolled poorly the next person would roll until they were satisfied they had hit whatever number they suspected was the target. Under the new system, I could just roll quickly. When it came to searching in particular, it really helped with meta gaming as people were basically forced to accept the result of their effort which eliminated the serial rolls for the most part. Further, I have found that critical failures have changed the story in an interesting way.

* The 10 minute resource makes non combat more tactical. Speaking of searching, it was also interesting to see the result of 10 minute actions on play. Players basically had to choose whether to search the room, rest and regain focus, or do something else (like fix their shield). This made time into a resource which added tension to the time between combats. I found it to be a positive change.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I've been running Age Of Ashes, for 2 sessions so far. I think it's been great overall.

* I think the amount of actions to take a potion out of a pack and drink it is a little punitive but it fits the world and now players have started to put things in more belt pouches etc.

* Persistent damage is strong, almost had a player burn to death after getting caught on fire and rolling a great number of 1's trying to put himself out.

* Players are still adapting to the fact they can move about a lot more freely.

* Monsters have way more unique abilities that can surprise players and makes combat much more varied and interesting. Also the amount of monsters that have Diseases and poison has made the Churgeon very useful to have around.

It's been a lot of fun so far.


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Only played one game so far, and it was very fun, with a pair of back to back natural 1's showing first level is still quite deadly.

Two medicine nat 1's followed by two 8s on the d8 resulted in my character awkwardly leaving the bodies of his two fellow adventurers in the wine cellar and returning to town to try forgetting that ever happened.

But even with that we were having a blast. Every turn was a different combination of actions. Fighting mephits means you should never group up. In combat healing runs out quickly, and medicine is not super reliable early on, so moving in and out of combat is super important.


Joyd wrote:

Not Monk-related, but the biggest surprises to me from actual play:

* The Liberator Champion is a lot better than it looks on paper. (Or looked on paper to me, at least.) I had initially deeply undervalued the impact of giving an ally the ability to step after moving. This can not only help set up flanks, but a lot of really common scenarios with enemy movement and attack activities make it so that that step effectively results in the rest of the monster's turn being wasted. It's possible for many monsters, especially ones with reach, to work around some of these advantages, but if they don't, then the Liberator has almost unmatchable action-wasting potential.

Because of the order in which the abilities are listed, its easy to misread the primary effect of the Liberator's reaction as freeing people from grapples and stuff, and that's certainly a perk, but you're mostly there for the awesome free Step.

I haven't heard people talking much about the Liberator online; it's possibly the most slept-on option in the game right now.

* Dazzled has gone from one of the least relevant conditions to one of the best. It has a decent chance of wrecking almost anything the afflicted tries to do, and it's budgeted pretty cheaply on spells.

* A dynamic that's not immediately obvious, I think, is that spellcasters in general and offensive spellcasters in particular have tremendous competition for their highest-level slots, which are not only the only places you can cast your new, coolest spells from, but which are also the best homes for a wide variety of other effects that benefit a lot from heightening. (Including Incapacitation spells, most spells whose primary function is damage, spells that rely on counteracting, summoning spells, and others.)

* One consequence of the above is that spells that do their thing perfectly or almost perfectly even when prepared or cast from their lowest-possible slot are really great.

* Multiclassing is really good. Somebody made the observation that, for most characters,...

Mark Seifter was talking about the Liberator step on his stream. It seems pretty sweet indeed.


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* Played three sessions of Age of Ashes and I really like that the PC's are more powerful and have more options now, even at level 1.

* Combat feels a little more dynamic and GM and players alike still need to learn what can be done, now that not every single move is threathened by multiple AoO's.

* Switching from exploration mode to encounter mode and vice versa feels a little awkward, especially when you are in the middle of a dungeon crawl.

* In exploration mode you mostly do the same things as in former editions, however now you have rules governing your actions so the time in between encounters somehow does not feel as "free flow" anymore.

* I am very annoyed of the 10min "immersion" breaks, especially as I play our main healer and have to track 2 different sets of immunity timers for the whole group (looking forward for level 3, when at least one immunity timer is gone).


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Played a handful of games. These are my general impressions.

Alternate-Alignment Paladins (NG, CG) are pretty popular so far, and a joy to be in a posse with because of their various reactions.

Casters, despite the "nerfs" (I think the playing field is just more level now) have been having fun choosing their moments to use the 3-action system advantageously (ex. Casting two spells in a pinch).

Alchemists seem popular and like they are having less fun than everyone else for some reason...


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Garretmander wrote:

Only played one game so far, and it was very fun, with a pair of back to back natural 1's showing first level is still quite deadly.

Two medicine nat 1's followed by two 8s on the d8 resulted in my character awkwardly leaving the bodies of his two fellow adventurers in the wine cellar and returning to town to try forgetting that ever happened.

But even with that we were having a blast. Every turn was a different combination of actions. Fighting mephits means you should never group up. In combat healing runs out quickly, and medicine is not super reliable early on, so moving in and out of combat is super important.

If he ever retires, make him the villain of next story, a medic who wanders the land trying to heal, but always rolling 1 8 8, the number of death.


Ubertron_X wrote:
* I am very annoyed of the 10min "immersion" breaks, especially as I play our main healer and have to track 2 different sets of immunity timers for the whole group (looking forward for level 3, when at least one immunity timer is gone).

I kind of liked them, but mostly because they reminded me of the food breaks in Darkest Dungeon.


I've played a few sessions of Plaguestone, and the most notable difference for me so far is how much your health can yo-yo between combat and out of combat. It feels like we are taking more damage, but it's balanced by the fact that it also seems much easier to get back up on your feet after being knocked down. Of course my party has no 10HP classes in it, which could be a big part :P


How is it easier then PF1? Wands of CLW were pretty easy.

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
How is it easier then PF1? Wands of CLW were pretty easy.

Not at 1st level, which is relevant given they're describing the first few sessions of a game that starts at 1st.

The Wand of CLW meta was also not universal, though it was certainly common.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
How is it easier then PF1? Wands of CLW were pretty easy.

I can kinda understand how it might feel easier now since medicine skill easily acessible now. Before, our group didn't use the CLW spam wands out of ignorance, then out of principle.

Sovereign Court

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Ran a demo for some people yesterday. One player was extremely skeptical about Power Attack: "it's so much worse than last edition". Then he rolled a Power Attack crit for 41 damage after everything was counted up and another crit for about 30 the next round, and he was enlightened.

Other players were talking about how alchemists were said to be weak in the new edition, until they ran into the fire-vulnerable mummies. The bard stopped his performance and instead grabbed his own bomb because he'd seen how extremely effective the alchemist was being.

I'm seeing a lot of enemies with Grab and am starting to think the Liberator champion might be less niche than I thought at first.


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Ubertron_X wrote:
* Switching from exploration mode to encounter mode and vice versa feels a little awkward, especially when you are in the middle of a dungeon crawl.

We did something more homebrew than anything to handle this.

When rapidly advancing through a potentially hostile area (and not exploring/searching) we rolled a stealth initiative and then moved about action by action instead of turn by turn. It really helped to keep people moving off the battlemap in a single turn while sneaking about. It also let us use the battlemap while exploring the (small) dungeon. When encountering enemies we switched to full turns with their perception initiative determining when they spotted us.

I dunno if that will pan out to be a good idea, but it worked well for that session.

Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
If he ever retires, make him the villain of next story, a medic who wanders the land trying to heal, but always rolling 1 8 8, the number of death.

A 1st level villain whose motto is: This time I'm not going to cut the artery when I cut the bandage, those other times were just flukes.


Garretmander wrote:

We did something more homebrew than anything to handle this.

When rapidly advancing through a potentially hostile area (and not exploring/searching) we rolled a stealth initiative and then moved about action by action instead of turn by turn. It really helped to keep people moving off the battlemap in a single turn while sneaking about. It also let us use the battlemap while exploring the (small) dungeon. When encountering enemies we switched to full turns with their perception initiative determining when they spotted us.

I dunno if that will pan out to be a good idea, but it worked well for that session.

Our GM actually asked us if we would like to play the entire dungeon in encounter mode but we said, well screw it, we will try the new exploration mode.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
How is it easier then PF1? Wands of CLW were pretty easy.

Not at 1st level, which is relevant given they're describing the first few sessions of a game that starts at 1st.

The Wand of CLW meta was also not universal, though it was certainly common.

Basically this. None of us can afford, or I think even use those wands because they aren't of the right magical tradition, but I believe at least two of our party are trained in medicine, so, while we get knocked down pretty hard, especially when an enemy is on fire with the dice, we can also relax for a little afterward and recover either to full health, or pretty close to it given how quickly we want to advance.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The new exploration mode shouldn't really slow the game down at all. For me it is exactly the same as I've always been doing in every rpg ever, just with rules to tell you that what you are doing outside combat effects the start of combat.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Three sessions into Fall of Plaguestone as the DM, I would never have guessed Ghost Sound would be my group's favorite cantrip.... 100% of ghost sounds have been used to make fart jokes.


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Malk_Content wrote:
The new exploration mode shouldn't really slow the game down at all. For me it is exactly the same as I've always been doing in every rpg ever, just with rules to tell you that what you are doing outside combat effects the start of combat.

I agree with MC. It took me GMing two scenarios of PFS 2E to really "get" encounter mode. I understood the rules mechanically, but I finally sort of figured out how it helps the GM and just provides a better way to handle the somewhat awkward tactics employed by PCs in 1E (e.g. searching everything meticulously with perception while also getting the benefits of constant detect magic).

Since there are trade-offs now, you really want everyone in the party to explore in the way that's best suited for their character. In the last game I GMed, the party generally did the following:

A fighter scouted, giving everyone a +1 on initiative
A cleric and a second fighter searched for hazards / threats / etc, getting to make secret perception checks
A second cleric detected magic which made finding magic loot easy
A sorcerer investigated to recall knowledge giving secret recall knowledge
A champion defended to be ready for a fight

Once that was established, it made it really easy to bounce back and forth from encounter mode to exploration mode. When dealing with specific problems that weren't combat, we sort of stayed in a sort of soft encounter mode letting each player dictate their actions, but then we walked "back out into the hall," I'd check if everyone was going back into the same exploration and we just kept moving.

The system really encourages teamwork instead of everyone just rolling every check they can, which also really can make it hard to actually surprise the party (5-6 x perception checks have a much better chance of catching every clue and hazard the point where you either need to juice the old DCs or just accept the party will find *everything*)


cavernshark wrote:

Once that was established, it made it really easy to bounce back and forth from encounter mode to exploration mode. When dealing with specific problems that weren't combat, we sort of stayed in a sort of soft encounter mode letting each player dictate their actions, but then we walked "back out into the hall," I'd check if everyone was going back into the same exploration and we just kept moving.

The system really encourages teamwork instead of everyone just rolling every check they can, which also really can make it hard to actually surprise the party (5-6 x perception checks have a much better chance of catching every clue and hazard the point where you either need to juice the old DCs or just accept the party will find *everything*)

I agree on the "soft encounter mode" as the middle ground in between exploration mode and encounter mode for non-combat related problems.

However I still think that having a "role" assigned to each player in exploration mode works better for overland travel than for dungeon crawling (both thematically and mechanically).

Also I find that assigning roles and bringing the number of dice down makes it a lot more comfortable for the GM but for the players it is a lot easier now to fail even easy checks because the rule of large numbers is abolished.

A single party watchout failing a DC13 perception check with a +7 in perception is rather easy. All 4 to 5 players failing this check is most improbable.

Shadow Lodge

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I just had the chance to play the first few pfs scenarios. Since magic looked so awful, I decided to try a primal sorceress and see how it played out. Surely I was missing something and it would be better in play.

Turns out, spellcasting wasn't as bad as it looked on paper, it was worse in actual play. The scenario writers really like to use undead, constructs, and vermin. Pretty much everything was immune to mind affecting (I personally didn't have any will save spells, but we had an occult sorceror in one game who felt completely useless because everything was immune to his magic). Spell damage is universally worse than hitting things with stick damage and compounded by several enemies having energy resistances, while none of them had physical resistances. Enemy reflex saves were also mostly equal to or higher than their ACs so I hit less often. I had one amazing round where I aoe'd two enemies and they both rolled nat 1s for saves taking double damage. Then the rogue got 2 normal hits and did more damage then my crits.

My AC was as good as I could get it to be, which is ~2 less than the martial characters, and my hp less too. I was one shot several times and killed instantly by a crit (but hey, you get hero points for get out of death free).

Everyone got hit and took lots of damage, coupled with the frequency of undead encounters made 3 action heal almost always the best way to spend my turn.

Skill challenges were all set up to allow for a number of different skills to be rolled, but DCs were ridiculously high. With full tables we succeeded most of the time because there was enough dice being rolled that someone rolled high, but with small tables we failed most checks. It didn't seem like it mattered what skills you had, because you probably had one that you could roll. It all felt very random, like our party succeeded due to dumb luck not skill.

It may sound like a lot of complaints, but I still had a lot of fun playing the game. I will be playing the character as an inept naive girl, bumbling through and succeeding due to pluck. This is not a game where you get to be a powerful hero, everyone gets beat down hard, and fails frequently, but somehow together you blunder through to success!


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From higher level play (8), Disarm is looking like a major power move. Which to be fair I have been saying for a while, but you know, "you only do something on a 20 (in a bossfight)"...

Also, lv-4 opponents have been actually doing some good damage and burning several spell slots in attrition encounters. I'm liking this. Very different from what I expected.
I ran a bandit ambush with lv4 archers and lv5 frontliners against lv8 characters, making sure I had the advantage of cover and positioning. It got people in actual trouble despite how quickly they melted once in melee range.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ediwir wrote:
Disarm is looking like a major power move.

I'm curious to hear the explanation for that one, considering they don't even drop their weapon on a success.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Played through the Absolam Initiative scenario in a party of 6 with my Skilled Human Noble Dragon Aspect Barbarian. My social skills definitely came in handy except when a secret Gather Information roll critical failure led us to almost lose everybody in the ritual part of the scenario. It was amazing!

In combat we got beat up pretty bad. I dropped like 3 times over the course of the scenario, including twice in one of the boss fight encounters. Glad I still had a hero point!

We also had a couple of other people drop at one point or another. My ability to do fire damage came up big in a couple encounters. I also really benefited from my ability to Feint and Demoralize.

I will say that the action economy is not always your friend. I definitely had to shift around my Bastard Sword quite a bit.


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Perpdepog wrote:
I've played a few sessions of Plaguestone, and the most notable difference for me so far is how much your health can yo-yo between combat and out of combat. It feels like we are taking more damage, but it's balanced by the fact that it also seems much easier to get back up on your feet after being knocked down. Of course my party has no 10HP classes in it, which could be a big part :P

I'm GMing Plaguestone. The party consists of a Ranger, a Rogue, a Sorcerer, and a Cleric.

Pretty much every single combat consists of the following:

A first round where the Ranger and the Rogue get in position and make 2 or 3 attacks, the sorcerer casts a spell, and if he goes before the monsters the cleric casts a spell.

Then monsters drop either the Ranger or the Rogue (or both), the sorcerer casts a spell, and the cleric heals whoever was knocked out back into the fight.

The dropped character picks up their weapon, stands up and makes one attack, while the other gets a few hits in. Then the monsters drop the other PC and the cycle repeats.

Once the fight is over, the cleric is out of heals, the sorcerer is out of spells, and they need to rest for a day or the next fight will be a TPK (also the Rogue and Ranger are usually have a high level of wounded).

These are all 1st Ed players that are good at 1st Ed Char Op, and as far as I can tell their characters are reasonably built.

As far as I can tell the Rogue and the Ranger players utterly hate 2 Edition and when Plaguestone is over will insist that we never play it again. The sorcerer is having fun but isn't impressed, and I assume the Cleric is bored out of his mind by his only role in combat being to use his turn keeping people on their feet.


Ravingdork wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
Disarm is looking like a major power move.
I'm curious to hear the explanation for that one, considering they don't even drop their weapon on a success.

True, and if you play only on paper with every single fight being a bossfight it'll stay pretty bad up until the very high levels. But real adventures use enemies of lower level than the PC for the most part, and higher level at times. Casually slapping swords off the hand of mooks makes them a lot less annoying, while bossfights knocking spears away from the players feels terrifying. The fact that it requires a critical success means it's not as automatic, and usually relies on having a 13-15 on the die, but it's massively powerful when it kicks in.

Also, weakening reactions helps mobility a lot. I had a few rogueish NPCs using disarm to set themselves for group repositionings.

vagabond_666 wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
I've played a few sessions of Plaguestone, and the most notable difference for me so far is how much your health can yo-yo between combat and out of combat. It feels like we are taking more damage, but it's balanced by the fact that it also seems much easier to get back up on your feet after being knocked down. Of course my party has no 10HP classes in it, which could be a big part :P

I'm GMing Plaguestone. The party consists of a Ranger, a Rogue, a Sorcerer, and a Cleric.

Pretty much every single combat consists of the following:

A first round where the Ranger and the Rogue get in position and make 2 or 3 attacks, the sorcerer casts a spell, and if he goes before the monsters the cleric casts a spell.

Then monsters drop either the Ranger or the Rogue (or both), the sorcerer casts a spell, and the cleric heals whoever was knocked out back into the fight.

The dropped character picks up their weapon, stands up and makes one attack, while the other gets a few hits in. Then the monsters drop the other PC and the cycle repeats.

Once the fight is over, the cleric is out of heals, the sorcerer is out of spells, and they need to rest for a day or the next fight will be a TPK (also the Rogue and Ranger are usually have a high level of wounded).

These are all 1st Ed players that are good at 1st Ed Char Op, and as far as I can tell their characters are reasonably built.

As far as I can tell the Rogue and the Ranger players utterly hate 2 Edition and when Plaguestone is over will insist that we never play it again. The sorcerer is having fun but isn't impressed, and I assume the Cleric is bored out of his mind by his only role in combat being to use his turn keeping people on their feet.

Haven't run Plaguestone, but between converting WftC and playing in Age of Ashes, this feels pretty odd. Are your guys just sitting still to take the beating? What relative level enemies are they facing?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Also running Plaguestone. Fighter not happy Ranger has higher AC without needing to have shield and take raise shield actions. Fighter at 19+2=21 when shield raised; Ranger at 20 just walking around.

The poster before me sounds about right - only we have a gnome cleric with Battle Medic feat, and the ability to restore massive hps in combat is pretty cool and saved at least 2 PCs lives.

The party needed it, triggering two Severe 2 combats with no rest in between.

Overall, rogue is very good, better than on paper; while wizard has niche strengths, martials seem to win the day. Like the poster above, many monsters have an energy resistance type, while few have a resistance to martial damage. That's no fun for casters, who already got the nerf.

We'll finish Plaguestone, but I don't relish the idea of playing any kind of caster in this edition from what I've seen at the table so far.

Liberty's Edge

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Being experienced in PF1 can be a disadvantage in PF2. Not in character creation, but in terms of tactics in play.

For example (and this is only one example), vs. many higher level foes, their actions (especially their second and third ones) are worth more than yours so moving in, attacking, then moving back is extremely worth it. Versus foes with low movement this is even more true (and a lot of horrifying single foes in PF2, and especially in Plaguestone, have lower than 25 movement).

That's super unintuitive for people used to the full attack meta of PF1, but it remains true.

Liberty's Edge

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Sliska Zafir wrote:
Also running Plaguestone. Fighter not happy Ranger has higher AC without needing to have shield and take raise shield actions. Fighter at 19+2=21 when shield raised; Ranger at 20 just walking around.

Wait, what? How? The rules do not support this at all. Any Fighter with Dex 12 should have higher AC than any Ranger, assuming they grab Heavy Armor, and equal assuming they don't.

This sounds like a straight rules error or someone making a profound mistake in their armor selection.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Sliska Zafir wrote:
Also running Plaguestone. Fighter not happy Ranger has higher AC without needing to have shield and take raise shield actions. Fighter at 19+2=21 when shield raised; Ranger at 20 just walking around.

Wait, what? How? The rules do not support this at all. Any Fighter with Dex 12 should have higher AC than any Ranger, assuming they grab Heavy Armor, and equal assuming they don't.

This sounds like a straight rules error or someone making a profound mistake in their armor selection.

Agreed, a lv1 Ranger shouldn't be higher than 18 AC. Something's off. Are we talking lv3? If so, why isn't the Fighter's AC 21/23 (which would be if he had any heavy armour)?


I'm running a wiz in our campaign so far, and I've been having a good time. I'll totally admit that I am not dealing damage anywhere near as well as our rogue, or our new flickmace champion, but my cantrips feel like they at least contribute, and if we really need it I can fling out a more damaging spell or fling out some Diviner's Sight for other party members.

Honestly though, so far I've been pulling the majority of my weight in our out-of-combat encounters. Rolling skill checks and using a few utility spells to get us to places we otherwise couldn't, or helping the party get the drop on enemies.

Liberty's Edge

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Ediwir wrote:
Agreed, a lv1 Ranger shouldn't be higher than 18 AC. Something's off.

They could be level 3 instead, but yeah, Fighter being worse off than Ranger is strictly an error, either in rules or in the Fighter's choices.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Sliska Zafir wrote:
Also running Plaguestone. Fighter not happy Ranger has higher AC without needing to have shield and take raise shield actions. Fighter at 19+2=21 when shield raised; Ranger at 20 just walking around.

Wait, what? How? The rules do not support this at all. Any Fighter with Dex 12 should have higher AC than any Ranger, assuming they grab Heavy Armor, and equal assuming they don't.

This sounds like a straight rules error or someone making a profound mistake in their armor selection.

A fighter with Dex 12 and in Hide or Scale is going to be lower than a Ranger with Dex 14 in the same armor. Both are Trained proficiency until 11, at which point both become Expert. It's not until level 17 that the Fighter gets an inherent advantage. As for the Fighter being decked in Heavy Armor, well, that stuff's expensive. Getting the cheapest Heavy Armor (Splint Mail) at level 1 is going to cost nearly the entirety of your starting gold, leaving barely enough to pick up the forementioned Shield and a weapon, let alone any QoL gear.

On top of that, the Ranger has the option of taking the Outwit Edge, which while not quite "just walking around" is the equivalent of permanently having a Buckler raised against your Prey at the cost of only a single action at the start of the fight.

That said, I do still think there's a mistake somewhere, as unless they're level 3 (in which case the Fighter probably is in Hide or Scale Mail with 12 Dex, or Light Armor with slightly higher Dex, and probably should have upgraded to Chain or a Breastplate if not Heavy Armor by now) I'm not seeing any way that the Ranger can have 20 AC casually.

Liberty's Edge

Shinigami02 wrote:
A fighter with Dex 12 and in Hide or Scale is going to be lower than a Ranger with Dex 14 in the same armor.

I'm quite aware. This is precisely what I meant by 'a profound mistake in their armor selection'.

Chain Mail is just not enough more expensive than those armors that taking them instead of it makes much sense even at 1st level.


I mean it's what's given in the Fighter's gear pack, but going up to lv3 without ever upgrading basic equipment... sounds odd. Especially with the complaints.


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Ediwir wrote:
Haven't run Plaguestone, but between converting WftC and playing in Age of Ashes, this feels pretty odd. Are your guys just sitting still to take the beating? What relative level enemies are they facing?

They're currently Level 2, and last session fought three Bloodlash Bushes (https://2e.aonprd.com/Monsters.aspx?ID=427) and then rested up before fighting two mutant wolves (which are Creature 3, have AC 19, 45 hp, bite for +11 doing 1d8+4 + 1d6 acid, and if they hit with the bite can spend and action to auto do a further 1d6 + 2 with 1 persistent acid). This just seems to be too high a to hit and damage compared to the PCs, and to be AC on par with the PCs with substantially more hit points.

Both these encounters appear to be "Severe" according to the XP budget system, but based on the way the book presents them and the described behaviour of the NPC that is leading them around in the story, it seems the assumption is that these fights should be taken back to back with perhaps a 10-20 minute break or so in between. That said, the same dynamic has occurred in a lot of the fights they had at level 1, and those were all moderate.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Being experienced in PF1 can be a disadvantage in PF2. Not in character creation, but in terms of tactics in play.

For example (and this is only one example), vs. many higher level foes, their actions (especially their second and third ones) are worth more than yours so moving in, attacking, then moving back is extremely worth it. Versus foes with low movement this is even more true (and a lot of horrifying single foes in PF2, and especially in Plaguestone, have lower than 25 movement).

That's super unintuitive for people used to the full attack meta of PF1, but it remains true.

The Ranger is a TWF ranger, so his MAP maxes out a -4, so he wants to get next to them and "full attack", and if they backed off between goes the rogue would lose flanking, plus once they've been downed it's two actions to stand up and retrieve a dropped weapon, so if they also backed off, they likely just get downed again without actually doing any damage.

I take your point that if they can move far enough with one action that the enemy needs to spend two to follow up it may be advantageous to kite them around, but
a) the bushes have reach, even though they are move 20, and the wolves are move 35, so that's not likely to be that useful a tactic here.
and
b) if someone gets downed, either the cleric needs to get within single move striking range to heal them up again, or if the other melee PC backs off you no longer provide a credible alternative threat and the downed PC gets mauled to death within a turn.


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The game plays better than it reads. That is very strange to me. We often read these abilities that provide some boring bonus and it ends up being a very effective ability.

-Champion defensive abilities are better than I thought. Glimpse of Redemption blocks of a lot of damage and can help keeping pets alive.

-Creatures are much better balanced to provide a challenge. They can dish some serious damage and put pressure on the party. Even solo creatures provide a much greater challenge than in PF1.

-Damage is much lower. It helps make combats less swingy and more interesting.

-I'm still trying to figure out how to make a wizard seem effective using other than cantrips.

-The action system makes the game so much better and more immersive. Smartest idea I've seen in RPGs for a while.

I'm finding that describing battle in PF2 is much more interesting than PF1. I read the game and found it boring compared to PF1. Playing it is more fun than reading the game. I'm finding a basic bonus and some flavor text allows me more freedom describing combat. I like it so far.


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We got through about 7 encounters last game (plus introduction scene). 5 of the encounters were combats (there was an opportunity for as few as 4 combats and as many as 7 combats). We got through the content in about 3.5 hours (Using roll20 with most of the maps predrawn).

There were 3 PCs (one of the players couldn’t make it). The trivial fight was trivial (monk one shotted a reflavoured duergar which instantly ended the fight). 2 fights were moderate with 1 high and the last one was severe. Moderate fights consisted of goblin warriors as did the high combat. Moderates could deal damage but otherwise the PCs made it through without issue. High combat certainly got there attention (despite just being goblins) and needed a 30 min rest. Severe fight had 2 goblins and a bugbear.

The severe fight was dangerous and the cleric was invaluable in keeping the monk and champion standing. The monk did ridiculous damage on one turn but only brought the bugbear to half HP. Goblins didn’t last long enough to help flank with the bugbear. But the bugbear has an ability to fix that.

Overall the players earned 560 XP (mostly from encounters, 0 XP from the trivial fight and then some bonus XP for adventure completion and doing the right thing). They also got 22 gp each (including the absent player) for completing the adventure. They all got excited at earning so much money and one of them instantly spent it all.

So overall I’d say the system works as advertised. Encounters were well balanced and easy to build (a lot less calculations then PF1e). Handing out treasure was easy (I just used the lump sum column, divided it in half then split it by 4). Had they tried to Greyhawk the bodies and dungeon it would have been as difficult as a PF1e adventure, but they didn’t so hooray.

Liberty's Edge

vagabond_666 wrote:
They're currently Level 2, and last session fought three Bloodlash Bushes (https://2e.aonprd.com/Monsters.aspx?ID=427) and then rested up before fighting two mutant wolves (which are Creature 3, have AC 19, 45 hp, bite for +11 doing 1d8+4 + 1d6 acid, and if they hit with the bite can spend and action to auto do a further 1d6 + 2 with 1 persistent acid). This just seems to be too high a to hit and damage compared to the PCs, and to be AC on par with the PCs with substantially more hit points.

Well, in regards to the wolves they're level 3, so yes they're more impressive than level 2 PCs. That's intentional and definitional. The bushes have high to-hit, but AC 16 which is really low compared to most PCs, and 35 HP is well within the range of a tough 2nd level PC.

Also, you outnumber them in both cases. That's supposed to even the odds a bit, but those are each still extremely harsh encounters.

Severe is the equivalent of a level +3 CR encounter in PF1. Having two in a row is rough s%*+. That's two CR 5 encounters for level 2 characters in PF1 terms. No wonder you had trouble.

vagabond_666 wrote:
Both these encounters appear to be "Severe" according to the XP budget system, but based on the way the book presents them and the described behaviour of the NPC that is leading them around in the story, it seems the assumption is that these fights should be taken back to back with perhaps a 10-20 minute break or so in between. That said, the same dynamic has occurred in a lot of the fights they had at level 1, and those were all moderate.

Those two fights are clearly intended to be back to back, yes. They also seem very intended to be the only two in a particular day. Spending all your resources on the two of them is very much expected, and they are expected to be very rough and difficult encounters.

Frankly, even given all that I'm still not sure that particular pair of encounters is good encounter design given their difficulty, but that's an adventure design issue (and a relatively minor one in the grand scheme) rather than a systemic one.

vagabond_666 wrote:
The Ranger is a TWF ranger, so his MAP maxes out a -4, so he wants to get next to them and "full attack", and if they backed off between goes the rogue would lose flanking, plus once they've been downed it's two actions to stand up and retrieve a dropped weapon, so if they also backed off, they likely just get downed again without actually doing any damage.

My point was to dart in and out to hopefully avoid going down in the first place, but how viable that is will certainly vary.

And vs. a single dangerous foe (which it doesn't seem either of these encounters are) doing this is often good even if they can catch up with you with one action. Their -10 action is probably more valuable than your -5 actions are.

vagabond_666 wrote:

I take your point that if they can move far enough with one action that the enemy needs to spend two to follow up it may be advantageous to kite them around, but

a) the bushes have reach, even though they are move 20, and the wolves are move 35, so that's not likely to be that useful a tactic here.
and
b) if someone gets downed, either the cleric needs to get within single move striking range to heal them up again, or if the other melee PC backs off you no longer provide a credible alternative threat and the downed PC gets mauled to death within a turn.

Yeah, kiting these specific encounters has issues. I was just noting it as one example, though. A lot of PF1 habits can be problematic in PF2, not just that one.

In this specific case, however, these encounters are just super rough to start with, combined with your party only having two melee characters, both on the fragile end of the melee character spectrum.


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So far I like the descriptions of monsters based on their level. I don’t think I would throw an encounter of nothing but level+1 creatures against a party, because they don’t feel like bosses, just a hard and frustrating fight (for the same budget I could have 4 Level-1 creatures which is “severe” but the players don’t have to contend with a flurry of misses).


Damage for sure looks more common and "spikey" than in former editions, which makes me think that the increased damage and out of combat healing capabilities are designed to make combat more interesting/dramatic/dangerous/tense.

While in former editions combat often was more about conserving HP by avoiding damage, this editions look more like you need to be willing to trade HP in order to win (with the party hopefully being able to make the better trade).

Not a huge fan of this "roller-coaster" HP though...


My limited experience doesn’t really support roller coaster HP. I’d be interested in hearing more details on what fights you are (and aren’t) experiencing that.


Considering you are not at the high end (tank) or low end (early casters) of your levels AC range a typical mob (+7) will hit an average player (AC18 for 1st level) with an 11+ and 16+ on the first and second attack. That is a pretty high chance of at least hitting one attack per round and still a decent chance to hit 2. And keep in mind that those values are for mobs on or below your level. If you up the ante and take a better mob things look even worse as the first two attacks are even more likely to connect and a third attack might still be feasable.

For example we fought a Warg, and while I am well aware that a CR2 monster is a severe thread to level 1 chars, at +11 to hit and 1d8+4 damage per attack the monster one-shotted nearly one character each round, while all it needed to do so were some slightly above average to-hit and damage rolls (7+ and 12+ on the attacks with 8 to 9 damage each and 17+ on the first roll will probably crit already).

But even if you disregard stronger opponents it looks like regular enemies will always be able to hit you on 11+ with their first attacks (due to auto-scaling) which is way better than any regular enemy could have hoped for in 1E.


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Ubertron_X wrote:

Considering you are not at the high end (tank) or low end (early casters) of your levels AC range a typical mob (+7) will hit an average player (AC18 for 1st level) with an 11+ and 16+ on the first and second attack. That is a pretty high chance of at least hitting one attack per round and still a decent chance to hit 2. And keep in mind that those values are for mobs on or below your level. If you up the ante and take a better mob things look even worse as the first two attacks are even more likely to connect and a third attack might still be feasable.

For example we fought a Warg, and while I am well aware that a CR2 monster is a severe thread to level 1 chars, at +11 to hit and 1d8+4 damage per attack the monster one-shotted nearly one character each round, while all it needed to do so were some slightly above average to-hit and damage rolls (7+ and 12+ on the attacks with 8 to 9 damage each and 17+ on the first roll will probably crit already).

But even if you disregard stronger opponents it looks like regular enemies will always be able to hit you on 11+ with their first attacks (due to auto-scaling) which is way better than any regular enemy could have hoped for in 1E.

I believe this is the point.

A level 1 creature is the equal of a level 1 character. They have about a 50% chance of hitting you and you have about a 50% chance of hitting them with the first attack. They have about as much health, and they hit just as hard. At higher levels NPC wealth is no longer really a thing, they will continue to be equal in combat, if not better.

I'm not sure the gamemastery section of the core rulebook really emphasizes this enough. Two or three on level creatures can be very dangerous. Unlike PF1 where you could throw many CR+1-2 creatures at a party and expect the PC to triumph, in PF2 you should throw level -1 or -2 creatures at a party.

But, I didn't see any sort of huge HP swings. In the first session I ran for age of ashes, my players made a series of bad decisions and fought two CR2s, and two CR1s, they won and no one went down, mostly because action economy (there were essentially six of them), kiting, pulling well out of combat once they went down to single digits, use of terrain, etc. That group had zero in combat healing.

Shadow Lodge

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The dice is king in this system. With the math so tight, everything is a random roll, so the more people you have rolling the more likely/quicker you succeed. To me, the fact that all our limited anecdotal experience varies so much is just further illustration of this.

As for huge hp swings, I definitely saw this, but it's hard to tell if that is the system or just first level woes. PF1 definitely had plenty of getting one shot at first level too. Getting dropped and healed back into the fight repeatedly was just part of low levels, but quickly went away as your characters got more experienced. It remains to be seen whether that will hold true for higher levels of pf2 or if we'll go down just as quickly.


I dont think anyone is saying huge swings arent possible. I personally am interested in how its happening though. Goblins (a level-2 creature) deal 1d6 damage. 4 of them is a moderate fight. Unless you are having them all go on the same initiative (which is against the PF2e guidelines) and dogpiling on one person, it seems unlikely your going to get the yoyo effect that you would see in PF1e. So I'm curious how people are experiencing it so I can better understand how the system behaves.


CR-2 and CR-1 are usually less of a problem. They cause attrition but are not likely to provide a great variety of outcome. However when you face CR+1 creatures (Warg, Giant Bat) things can go south very fast, at least at level 1. Those mobs usually have enough to-hit and damage to conduct a good old one-two punch and down any non-fighter/champion character very easy.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Last week, I was playing in Fall of Plaguestone, and we were going through the first dungeon, at level 1. I'm going to try to be vague, but we had three encounters in total, which I'm sure people will be able to figure out. We had a 6-person party (2 sorcerers, one primal for heals, one arcane for DPS, 1 glaive fighter (me), 1 ruffian rogue, an alchemist, and an archery champion paladin).

The first two encounters, with the minions and mini-boss, were easy. We took some damage from the mini-boss, but nothing big, and the paladin was able to patch up most of that. The boss, though... he was brutal. Even without being upgraded for having 6 players, he was taking down one of us a round. One of his attacks had high odds of taking down any PC in melee (level 1), except for my character, who wasn't at full hit points. His one-two attack brutalized my character, dealing 26 damage between the two of them, and he shoved another character into a trap, almost outright killing them since they were already unconscious after his attacks.

Maybe it's just swingy dice (I know mine were completely betraying me), but if we'd been a 4-person party, we'd have had a TPK, and the alchemist was the MVP with his bottled lightning, as otherwise he wouldn't have died to the rogue. Well, and the healer, who managed a 3-action heal to get the three of us who were unconscious up.

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