Tell me why I should switch from PF1 to PF2


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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[QUOTE=

Yes, there are no longer ways to get your odds too high as part of character creation, but there are absolutely ways to do so as active tactics in combat. Sure, you can't up the DC on Slow, but you can choose to target foes you know have a low Fort Save, or those who someone just hit with Demoralize, or various other in-the-moment tactics to increase your odds of success.

The same is true of most other combat options. You can't scale them to the point of being certain of success with static decisions in character creation that will always be active, you have to actively work for the bonuses you get.
/QUOTE]

You have expressed very clearly why I prefer second edition.

Dark Archive

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SuperBidi wrote:
perception check wrote:
Those are three martial characters that were more than just "relevant"; they were overpowered. (Others, I'm sure, have been able to make "relevant" martial characters in first edition.)

I stick with what I was saying above: What you want is to play overpowered characters that trivializes combat. Just ask your DM to put underleveled opponents against you. Most PF2 spells and maneuvers have PF1 efficiency when you aim for the critical success.

Now, if what you want is abuse the system, then PF2 is not for you at the moment, as noone has currently found any abusive build.

Perhaps I'm misrepresenting what I want, which is not to simply have an easy time in combat. Rather, what I'm looking for is a greater sense that the choices made in character creation and character building matter. Those PF1 fights weren't easy because the baddies were, well, bad, but because the group made awesome choices in character creation that translated into being able to effectively and efficiently deal with those baddies. PF2 lacks that in a big way, comparatively speaking.

As DMW said at some point, one of the benefits of this new system is that no one is able to simply end encounters before other PCs have a chance to contribute. I agree that that's huge. I still think that the potential "power" of the individual character can and should be bumped up, and that such an increase doesn't necessarily have to terminate that benefit.

DMW et al wrote:

(Paraphrasing:)

You need to look to in-combat choices, rather than to character building, to maximize your combat potential.

As everyone is saying, we look now to in-combat decisions to increase character efficacy. I assure you all, this has not been lost on me or my group; positioning and debuffs existed in PF1 also, and we use them to our full advantage in PF2 as well. While this does indeed increase the odds that our attacks will succeed (or that our spells will stick), it does not sufficiently allay PF2's overreliance on the dice for determining what happens. You can stack all the debuffs your party has to offer in PF2, and there will still be very significant chance that the rolls work against you.

Which circles back to my previous point: there isn't enough in the way of character creation to increase the odds in your favor. Honestly, you guys are somewhat selling me on the charm of in-combat tactics being more important in PF2 than they were in PF1. At the same time, those very same tactics still did exist in PF1; we just lost -- relatively speaking -- the influence and importance of character creation/building in the conversion to PF2, and we have surrendered IMO too much to RNG.

If that all sits well with you, great. And I mean that sincerely. As I've said before in this thread, it's all subjective. That I'm in the minority here is not lost on me; I'm happy to simply agree to disagree.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
perception check wrote:
I play a wizard now, yes, and one of my favorite first-edition Society characters was a wizard, but my absolute favorite was a fox-form kitsune who would grapple things extremely effectively, combining a high grapple modifier, a high sneak score, and the bushwhack feat. My wife played a second grappler in the same group and, with a splash of the constable archetype of cavalier, was also extremely effective, albeit in a different way. I could pin creatures before they even knew I was there (they typically did not know I was there), and she would often leave baddies tied up -- not a single point of damage done to them, in either case.
Okay. How many books were involved in making those extremely niche builds? And how much did the rest of the group enjoy you auto-succeeding and making encounters not happen?

i'm currently in a group in 1e and one character is a kineticist who uses foe throw and a bunch of other splat books to make a nigh constantly invisible fox kitsune(with feats from a splat book for silent gathering) that just throws people into the air.

if only doing damage is boring, i don't even get that most of the time. though most of the group has voiced concerns now and the GMs talking with them. and i'm a divination, illusion and transmutation focused wizard.


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I feel like the ways you maximize character creation are less about getting a bonus so high the dice roll doesn't matter and more about finding ways to bend the action economy to your advantage. For example, Battle Cry and maxed intimidation can let your character frighten an enemy before initiative is rolled and make them more vulnerable for the entire party. Assurance and maxed athletics can be used to automatically Manuever enemies while ignoring your MAP.

Then there's things like spell selection. That's a huge variable in how well you build your character and how well they can do. Item selection matters as well, especially for the alchemist.

And a lot of character builds work best when made with your allies in mind. Champions make absurdly good partners for barbarians. Rangers with Warden's Boon make monks into killing machines. A fully heightened heroism can make a fighter with a fatal weapon into an absurd killing machine. Spells like haste are no longer auto casts on every party, but they are really good on certain builds that don't just spam attacks every round like gishes or mounted shield champions. Rogues love alchemsits with bottled lightning. But if you build your character in a vacuum you'll get worse results.

Liberty's Edge

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There is a philosophy in some RPGs and for some RPG players, a philosophy to which perception check clearly subscribes, that the game's conflicts are won during character creation. PF1 was a game where that philosophy thrived, and if you happen to agree with it, then you will indeed find PF1 to be the superior game. There's nothing at all wrong with such an approach. It's just not at all the game that PF2 is, and it's incredibly unlikely that you will ever find PF2 satisfying as a result.

Silver Crusade

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PF1 is Championship Manager. How you set up, prepare and develop your team pretty much determines your success with some RNG sprinkled on the top.

PF2 is Sensible Soccer/FIFA (before loot boxes). How you set up and prepare has some importance, but it's ultimately how good do you wiggle your biggle + RNG that determines your success.

Wait, is this an American forum and you guys don't know what actual footy is, right?

Liberty's Edge

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Gorbacz wrote:
Wait, is this an American forum and you guys don't know what actual footy is, right?

You put "soccer" in your post so I'm sure we'll figure it out.


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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Flatness of character builds could also be read as "balance", no? Then it comes down to a question of flavor. -- For those of us who remember D&D 4e, that was a huge problem. At a given level, the fighter could hit you with a sword with about an 80% of hitting you for around 10 points of damage; or the wizard could blast you with about an 80% chance of success for around 10 points of damage; or the thief could grab the chandelier, do a backflip and hit you from behind and... he'd have about an 80% chance of pulling it off and would do about 10 points of damage. The math in 4e was *too* tight, and you could see the skeleton under the skin. Is that the issue here?

This is a nice metaphor for close to Halloween :-)

PF2 has a definite skeleton, but whereas in D&D 4th Edition the skeleton was a design principle that all classes would have the same effectiveness, in PF2 the skeleton is a metaphorical skeleton underlying character creation. Every character starts with the same skeleton, the proficiency system. The quality of their numbers of doing things is determined by proficiency and ability scores. Other factors, such as feats or items, can seldom budge those numbers and when they do, they barely change them. The skill proficiencies are determined by training and the weapon, armor, and spellcasting proficiencies are determined by class.

Then PF2 fleshes out the skeleton with a few class features and class feats and pre-trained skills. This layer distinguishes between the classes but seldom affects the numbers (fighters and monks gain expert proficiency in weapons and unarmed attacks respectively, which gives them a +2). Seriously, give a wizard Strength 18 and a weapon in which he is trained, such as a staff, and he could cast Mage Armor on himself and hit in melee as well as a champion (new name for paladin) at any level.

The numbers are the skeleton in PF2 and they stay close to each other for all classes.

CyberMephit wrote:
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Also, flat or balanced characters != flat or boring combats automatically. Maybe it does, but I'm not seeing the automatic connection.
I think this could be the PF2 tagline. This game rewards emergent group tactical decisions much more than each party member focusing on its own one-trick build path.

I think CyberMephit's statement is the answer to perception check's question:

perception check wrote:

In closing, I'm a little confused by what appears to be a contradiction, but I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding on my part. I can't reconcile the following:

perception check wrote:
...our martials will hit things, I the wizard will cast my boring, static-DC spells (and will likely resort to hitting things), and the baddies will hit us back. In terms of combat, grappling into submission as an alternate win condition is suboptimal at best. Control spells as an alternate win condition are nonexistent. It's all about damage now. We hit things, the enemies hit us back, and when the dice allow for it, one side wins. Long live my d20.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Anyone have a response to this?
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Basically, it's not true.

...
Yes, most enemies probably go down to damage...
Emphasis mine.

In Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder, one martial party member damaging a hostile monster for 55% of its hit points and a second martial party member damaging the same monster for another 50% of its hit points to finish it off is teamwork. Yet, a spellcaster casting a Save-or-Die spell on a hostile monster with a 55% chance of success and a second spellcaster casting another Save-or-Die spell on the same monster after it saved against the first spell to finish it off is not teamwork. Okay, it is a little bit of teamwork in that the second spellcaster had the back of the first spellcaster, but tactically they were acting independently.

Damage tactics are inherently cooperative. Some spells, such as buffs, debuffs, and battlefield control, are also cooperative. Damage-dealing spells are damage. But the Save-or-Die spells were not about cooperation.

The designers of PF2 tried to make spells more cooperative tactically, not just in battlefield control, but also in Save-or-Die. In PF2 those spells fail more often; however, the failure often has a little effect that other characters can take advantage against.

FLESH TO STONE Spell 6
Transmutation
Traditions arcane, primal
Cast [two-actions] somatic, verbal
Range 120 feet; Targets 1 creature made of flesh
Saving Throw Fortitude; Duration varies
You try to turn the target’s flesh into stone. The target must attempt a Fortitude save.
Critical Success The target is unaffected.
Success The target is slowed 1 for 1 round.
Failure The target is slowed 1 and must attempt a Fortitude save at the end of each of its turns; this ongoing save has the incapacitation trait. On a failed save, the slowed condition increases by 1 (or 2 on a critical failure). A successful save reduces the slowed condition by 1. When a creature is unable to act due to the slowed condition from flesh to stone, the creature is petrified permanently. The spell ends if the creature is petrified or the slowed condition is removed.
Critical Failure As failure, but the target is initially slowed 2.

Slowed X means the target loses X actions on its three-action turn. Thus, even if the creature successfully saves, it is slowed which gives the martials a temporary advantage.

Compare that to PF1 Flesh to Stone, which is an all-or-nothing effect.

Flesh to Stone
School transmutation; Level magus 6, shaman 6, sorcerer/wizard 6, witch 6; Elemental School earth 6
CASTING
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (lime, water, and earth)
EFFECT
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target one creature
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Fortitude negates; Spell Resistance yes
DESCRIPTION
The subject, along with all its carried gear, turns into a mindless, inert statue. If the statue resulting from this spell is broken or damaged, the subject (if ever returned to its original state) has similar damage or deformities. The creature is not dead, but it does not seem to be alive either when viewed with spells such as deathwatch.
Only creatures made of flesh are affected by this spell.

I have not yet run enough PF2 game sessions to determine whether this design encourages teamwork.


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I'll note in passing here that "I wanna play a kitsune!" has been a red flag for me personally for a while. Kitsune seemed to provide a disproportionate number of OP or simply annoying builds in PF1...

Doug M.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I feel, not from personal experience playing PF2 but from perusing the posts of people talking about their experience and providing advice, that a big difference lies in the underlying math of combat. In PF1 it was pretty simple DPR and you could easily grasp it enough and focus a build on overwhelming it.

In PF2, the key seems to lie hidden in the action economy, either to gain some or more often to deprive your opponents of some. Practice of PF2 combat is the only way I see to get a good feel for this underlying flow. Because there are so many variables that detailed analysis will fail you. And only when you get it, you can truly try and optimize your build.


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As a GM I really dont like players that wants to solve all their problems during character creation and then just spam their munchkin s&&! with OP numbers without actually thinking about the specifics of the situation, terrain and monsters. That is why I like PF2 philosophy way more. I want encounters that cannot be solved with the same OP tactic all over again. I get that in PF1, but it required a huge amount of work from me as a GM. I am looking forward to PF2 playing next year for our new campaign.


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PF2 is not a perfect system, but it improves clearly many of the issues of PF1, like the lack of basic magic attacks for casters, the wonkiness of the maths on too many situations, the 3 actions new paradigna...all those make PF2 a better game.


Okay, for an explanation of why PF 2E promotes in-encounter tactics, can I get something more than "they reduced the numbers and made everything more swingy"? I'm genuinely curious why people think that is the case in comparison to 1e.


I think one of my favorite things about 2nd edition is that combat maneuvers no longer provoke attacks of opportunity without having to purchase two feats. No more not bothering to try to overbear, overrun, trip, etc because the opponent was likely to hit you and make attempt almost impossible was boring. Buying feats that took that situation from pointless to nearly broken made it just worse.

I love the 3 action economy.

I really like the active shield blocking, just wish shield rules were better written to make non-sturdy shields something other then wet tissue paper. It seems like they can be made of special materials but the rules aren't very clear on that.

I like the massive damage spikes two handed weapon users got in PF1 is gone and dead.

While I like that you cannot make a dump stat by taking negative values at character creation, I also dislike it a bit from RP perspective. No stupid elves, weak humans, unwise dwarves, etc.

Silver Crusade

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In Encounter tactics are promoted by:

- No more Full-attack. 3 actions for everyone means that standing still and rolling attacks isn't the best option a character has.

- Multi attack penalty and tight math make the third/last swing very unrelyable (except for very specific builds), so you best do something else instead: move, raise shield, maybe auto-trip,...

- Less Attacks of Opportunities means combat is more dynamic, with PC's/NPC's moving around more freely, also thanks to 3-action-system.

- That also means casters can't be as easily protected by front-row-characters.

not a complete list

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There's more:

- charge no longer being an universal ability means that if you have speed advantage over your opponent, you can kite them while attacking - something that was rarely possible in PF1;

- there are far fewer "you lose your full round action so you're bascially screwed now because action economy" effects;

- conversely, any "lose X actions" effects is very important, because it can shut down multi-action abilities, some of which, in particular on monsters, can easily swing the battle around.

Dark Archive

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Joey Cote wrote:


While I like that you cannot make a dump stat by taking negative values at character creation, I also dislike it a bit from RP perspective. No stupid elves, weak humans, unwise dwarves, etc.

These are possible with the voluntary flaw mechanic: take two ability flaws for one ability boost. You just can’t reduce anything below 8, which I find completely reasonable for a party, making sure that everyone is mentally and physically fit enough to carry their own weights, so to speak.


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Franz Lunzer wrote:

In Encounter tactics are promoted by:

- No more Full-attack. 3 actions for everyone means that standing still and rolling attacks isn't the best option a character has.

- Multi attack penalty and tight math make the third/last swing very unrelyable (except for very specific builds), so you best do something else instead: move, raise shield, maybe auto-trip,...

- Less Attacks of Opportunities means combat is more dynamic, with PC's/NPC's moving around more freely, also thanks to 3-action-system.

- That also means casters can't be as easily protected by front-row-characters.

Removing attacks of Opportunity from near everything has from what I can tell from the combats I've played made things worse. People care about positioning a lot less, people are more willing to pull out Leeroy Jenkins all the time now. The only who cares about positioning are the casters, and waiting for them to figure out if they can stay out of charge range and cast has quickly become the new time sink of our party, and I can't even complain since they mostly keep the wet tissue status.

As for no full-attacking, the fact that the best condition is dead still promotes the full-attack ideology. The amount of abilities that give you virtual actions to do things besides attacking so you can attack promote this as well.

And finally, the math isn't tight. The bonuses are smaller but thanks to the new critical rules can make attacks everything from a near guranteed crit to more of a risk to do than an advantage. Sure, people are inventivized to not attack...because doing so can have a major chance of a critical fumble.


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Attacks don't have critical failure effects, unless you are using the critical fumble deck or something (in which case you know what you signed up for). They are identical to regular failures for most purposes.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Saithor wrote:
Sure, people are inventivized to not attack...because doing so can have a major chance of a critical fumble.

You do realize that there are no effect of critical failures on attacks in PF2, right? That, or you're playing some set of house rules that places your games outside of "how's combat in PF2" discussion.

Liberty's Edge

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Saithor wrote:
Okay, for an explanation of why PF 2E promotes in-encounter tactics, can I get something more than "they reduced the numbers and made everything more swingy"? I'm genuinely curious why people think that is the case in comparison to 1e.

As others have noted, it's basically the three action economy combined with escalating penalties on multiple attacks (which strongly disincentivizes making a third attack at all on most characters, and makes alternatives to the second viable), though the lack of AoO on most foes also helps (as it makes combatants in general more mobile).

In PF1, if you're a weapon user and can Full Attack, more than 95% of the time that's just mathematically what you should do. There are a few builds that make this less true, but they tend to be so monofocused that 95% of the time whatever tactic they focus on is their best bet as well.

That kind of restricts you from actually using tactics, y'know? Sure, you could intimidate someone or move to flank, or a host of other things...but if doing so cost you a full attack you basically never should. In PF2, you can move to flank, then intimidate, then get your first attack, which is by far the majority of your DPR in a way that wasn't true in PF1, all in one round. As another example, all characters can freely Spring Attack in PF2, and without AoO there are several situations where that's a very solid call.

And this sort of option is available to everyone. Specific character options can add all sorts of interesting options on top of that.


Gorbacz wrote:

There's more:

- charge no longer being an universal ability means that if you have speed advantage over your opponent, you can kite them while attacking - something that was rarely possible in PF1;

- there are far fewer "you lose your full round action so you're bascially screwed now because action economy" effects;

- conversely, any "lose X actions" effects is very important, because it can shut down multi-action abilities, some of which, in particular on monsters, can easily swing the battle around.

Kiting isn't necessarily a good thing to promote. What you are describing sounds like whichever sound has ranged weapons, enough room to maneuver, and equal or higher speed can kite and attack with near impunity until they are out of ammunition. It sounds like a smaller scale battle of Hattin. And actually going and attacking someone with slower speed than moving out of range for melee doesn't even work. Move-attack-move, can be pretty easily countered by move-move-attack. The other two work.


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

There are critical failures on attacks, but they usually have no so evil effect of their own. Some reactions are triggered by critically failed strikes.

Liberty's Edge

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HammerJack wrote:
There are critical failures on attacks, but they usually have no so evil effect of their own. Some reactions are triggered by critically failed strikes.

Yeah, but they aren't very common. I mean, yes, these technically exist, but they're rare enough that, like AoO, they don't really shape the basic way combat works.

Silver Crusade

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If you are being shot at by someone with a higher speed, you don't run after them. You go somewhere they can't shoot at you. Take cover or something.

If they want to kill your character, let them work for it, make it as hard as possible.

If your character needs to hurt/incapacitate/capture/... them, you need to engage them in an area to your advantage.

Tactics: "an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end."
Highly mobile ranged attackers have a tactical advantage, why should they not use it?


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As for attacks of opportunities based on movement is there no way, not even a feat or class feature, to simulate them?

It doesn't make sense to not be able to do something when someone wants to run by you. Being able to protect something or someone in rear should be possible.


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wraithstrike wrote:

As for attacks of opportunities based on movement is there no way, not even a feat or class feature, to simulate them?

It doesn't make sense to not be able to do something when someone wants to run by you. Being able to protect something or someone in rear should be possible.

What do you mean?

There is the Attack of Opportunity class feature. There are a few classes that can take that same reaction as a class feat (and the multiclass approach to gaining it).

There are some other class feat reactions that can allow an attack to be taken in response to movement, like Stand Still and Disrupt Prey.

But there is no universal assumption of a reaction based on movement, and that does mean that combat is more mobile.


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And of course if your goal is to actually block, you can always ready to grab, trip or shove. You just have to be actually proactive now rather than it being an assumption.


HammerJack wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

As for attacks of opportunities based on movement is there no way, not even a feat or class feature, to simulate them?

It doesn't make sense to not be able to do something when someone wants to run by you. Being able to protect something or someone in rear should be possible.

What do you mean?

There is the Attack of Opportunity class feature. There are a few classes that can take that same reaction as a class feat (and the multiclass approach to gaining it).

There are some other class feat reactions that can allow an attack to be taken in response to movement, like Stand Still and Disrupt Prey.

But there is no universal assumption of a reaction based on movement, and that does mean that combat is more mobile.

Ok, that's good. I was replying based on the above comments. I read it as, it was 100% impossible. As long as there are features to allow it that's good. I haven't played one session of PF2 yet.

The fact that this game allows for mobile striking is good.


wraithstrike wrote:

As for attacks of opportunities based on movement is there no way, not even a feat or class feature, to simulate them?

It doesn't make sense to not be able to do something when someone wants to run by you. Being able to protect something or someone in rear should be possible.

It might make sense tactically to Ready a grapple against an enemy after they jump in and strike. If you succeed, they're immobilized and your allies can close in and punish them appropriately.


Okay, so a lot of this turned into a short list of things:

-- three action system (most people seem to like it)
-- character creation (general agreement that it's flattened and it's hard to build OP characters now)
-- casters (general agreement they've been relatively nerfed, disagreement over whether this has gone too far / is bad)
-- combat

All of those are important and interesting. But some other questions arise:

1) Monsters. Better, worse, much the same? Keeping in mind that PF2 has only one Bestiary so far. PF2 monsters are no longer built like characters, which is ummm.... good and bad I guess? Is it still possible to take a squirrel, Awaken him to consciousness, and train him as an assassin? More generally, how flexible is monster construction? We seem to have done away with templates. I liked templates. How is this working out in actual play?

2) Treasure. The loot system looks VERY tight and very structured. Not sure I like this. Is there flexibility here? Does letting a first level character get a +2 sword unbalance the game badly?

3) Magic items. Haven't reviewed the new rules closely. Apparently the Wand of Cure Light Wounds is dead WOOO YES? What other major changes are here, good or bad?

Lots more, but those will do for now. As always, thanks in advance --

Doug M.


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Monsters are much better and templates are still a thing. You can build a monster to fit whatever role in the story you want it to have statblocks are much cleaner without all the feats, and monsters can get a lot of cool actions and activities to further cement their role in the story.


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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:


1) Monsters. Better, worse, much the same? Keeping in mind that PF2 has only one Bestiary so far. PF2 monsters are no longer built like characters, which is ummm.... good and bad I guess? Is it still possible to take a squirrel, Awaken him to consciousness, and train him as an assassin? More generally, how flexible is monster construction? We seem to have done away with templates. I liked templates. How is this working out in actual play?

Can't speak to treasure and magic items (my group just hit level 2 and missed quite a bit of loot in the first adventure) except that I'm also glad people actively treating wounds has replaced the heal sticks. However, for monsters, I can say that there are many noticeable improvements, especially as a DM.

1. The first note is that you can still make an enemy using PC rules (assuming an ancestry exists for their race) and they will come out to the same power level as an equal level monster. That is, a level 2 PC is the same power as a level 2 NPC is the same power as a level 2 monster (no more NPC classes, with Jim the Baker becoming harder to kill because he's really good at baking). The removal of the nebulous CR is a big plus for me, it's a lot easier to ballpark relative challenge levels.

2. However, most monsters are not made using PC rules, as you note. This means we don't have to deal with keeping a strict internal numbers logic to our monster's stats that only ever resulted in absurd things like an arbitrary racial +4 or +6 to some Stat so the numbers line up how you want. Instead, you start with the number you want, and you just leave it there. If you want high Reflex and low AC because it makes sense for the creature concept, you don't need to justify why that makes sense against some particular Dex score, you just set it how you want. This is good because the numbers juggling before didn't actually benefit the GM at all, since the PCs will never actually know the Dex score of a creature. You just set the numbers and abilities to what makes sense for the given level.

The awakened squirrel assassin is even easier as a result, because he can be any level you want and you can just tack on rogue or assassin abilities from class feats or other monsters, then just figure out the basic stats and you're done. Creating new monsters totally on the fly with an appropriate power level is totally doable in this way by just Frankensteining attacks or abilities of other Stat blocks and keeping the tables of typical monster stats by level handy. It's quite liberating as a GM because I'm not worried about my players wandering "off the map" so to speak.

3. When playing monsters, they are all very unique thanks to the three action system and the inclusion of special actions or abilities on basically every monster. The defining ones to me are the demons, which all have a thematic weakness. For example, if you reject the advances of a succubus (by making your save) it actually damages her. The players are encouraged to use the Recall Knowledge skills to learn about these weaknesses mid-fight so they can exploit them. As another example, look at the Gogiteth. It grabs someone in its Jaws and carries them away, smacking the other characters with leg attacks as it skitters by and using reactions to move out of reach. The tactics the party will need to employ to fight that will be drastically different than the tactics to fight other creatures of similar level. It's no longer about standing still and full attacking, for the party or for the creatures .

4. Templates are actually a thing still, but most are much looser. For example, to apply the skeleton template, you take the base creature, pick a skeleton which matches its size, change the natural attacks to what makes sense (but keep the skeleton's damage numbers), and you're done. It's level is just the level of the skeleton you used. As you can see, this is quick and easy enough that you don't need to stop the game when you need to do it on the fly. And you always have the option of customizing if you want it to be stronger or have other abilities.

Dark Archive

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:


1) Monsters. Better, worse, much the same? Keeping in mind that PF2 has only one Bestiary so far. PF2 monsters are no longer built like characters, which is ummm.... good and bad I guess? Is it still possible to take a squirrel, Awaken him to consciousness, and train him as an assassin? More generally, how flexible is monster construction? We seem to have done away with templates. I liked templates. How is this working out in actual play?

2) Treasure. The loot system looks VERY tight and very structured. Not sure I like this. Is there flexibility here? Does letting a first level character get a +2 sword unbalance the game badly?

3) Magic items. Haven't reviewed the new rules closely. Apparently the Wand of Cure Light Wounds is dead WOOO YES? What other major changes are here, good or bad?

Lots more, but those will do for now. As always, thanks in advance --

Doug M.

1. From what I’ve seen, monsters seem more appropriate for their levels, at least so far. Higher level opponents are dangerous, equal leveled creatures are challenging, while low level creatures are easier to manage until they overwhelm with numbers. Creatures seem more fine-tuned compared to the past where a level five party can take on a level 12 creature (I was in such a party). I don’t really know about monster construction though, as I haven’t fiddled with that.

2. To be completely honest, the magic item system is the thing I hate most about this edition. Magic items are completely necessary and are built into the system math. Giving a +2 item before the expected level will throw off the math, but I’m not sure exactly how much. On the inverse, I find the prospect of losing items at high level much more disagreeable, as martials rely on the magic of their weapons for six die of damage or more depending on the weapon type, and everyone relies on runes for 3 AC and +3 on saves at later levels, without which they are not comparable to equal level monsters even if they would be a PC half their levels if given the high level PC’s armor. This is the main reason I’m looking forward to the Game Mastery Guide.

3. As an aside on 2, I do like the changes to wands and staffs, being limited use items daily, while the greater focus is on consumables, caster’s spells, and skills. Having the medicine skill as a healing option makes adventures great and less reliant on a healing focus (it’s still great to have one as healing specialization is really good). Items are almost completely necessary for skills, however, to overcome many DCs later level.

Liberty's Edge

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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
1) Monsters. Better, worse, much the same? Keeping in mind that PF2 has only one Bestiary so far. PF2 monsters are no longer built like characters, which is ummm.... good and bad I guess? Is it still possible to take a squirrel, Awaken him to consciousness, and train him as an assassin? More generally, how flexible is monster construction? We seem to have done away with templates. I liked templates. How is this working out in actual play?

Monsters are much improved, IMO.

Firstly, as others note, you can make an NPC with the PC rules and that works just fine. Overdoing this can be an issue because you need to give them PC level gear, but it's totally rules legal. Most monsters won't be built this way, but the fact that they can be is relevant and important.

Secondly, again as others note, templates absolutely still exist, and the training of an awakened squirrel as an assassin is as viable as it ever was.

Thirdly, monster creation is basically not that different at its heart, just much easier. In PF1, it was always about hitting the CR guidelines, you just had to jump through hoops and figure out exactly how many HD, what ability scores, what special arbitrary Racial bonuses, and so on, were needed to make the stats work out to a CR 7. In PF2, you just pick the numbers you want to have (there's a chart for what a high or low bonuses are per level), with a bit of guidance, and there you are. Same result, so much less effort.

Fourthly, and in my opinion most importantly, the actual monsters are so much more interesting. They basically all have specific abilities that really make them feel different in use, rather than many just being arbitrary bags of HP who full attack at similar bonuses.

Let's take an example the designers used. In PF1, the Tiger and Owlbear are both CR 4, Int 2, enemies with Grab. The Owlbear is a tad tougher defensively and the Tiger has Pounce...and there's very little else to distinguish the two, and both almost certainly do exactly the same things in combat after round 1 (which is only different due to Pounce). In PF2, they fight and play completely differently, despite both being level 4 creatures with Grab. The Tiger has Sneak Attack to take advantage of being an ambush predator, and a Wrestle move to drag creatures it has grappled prone...which makes you flat footed and susceptible to Sneak Attack. It's a straight damage specialist Rogue-type. The Owlbear, meanwhile, has a 'Bloodcurdling Screech' intimidate style debuff, and then a Gnaw ability to inflict Sickened on those it's grappling. It's a debuff machine. Those are very different play styles, and result in the creatures feeling very different.

Almost all monsters have personalized stuff like that and it's almost all super neat. Fire Giants have a special attack that lets them hit everyone in a 15 foot line (their Reach) with a single sword attack (which is just so thematically on-point), while kobolds have an action to retreat better from combat, and Gnolls deal extra damage to people they're ganging up on. All of these reinforce what the monsters are supposed to be like in the fiction, and allow neat mechanical stuff. It's a breath of fresh air compared to non-spellcasting monsters in PF1, and basically all monsters in D&D 5E.

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
2) Treasure. The loot system looks VERY tight and very structured. Not sure I like this. Is there flexibility here? Does letting a first level character get a +2 sword unbalance the game badly?

There's some flexibility in terms of total amount of treasure and total number of items, but it's not unlimited.

The pluses on magic weapons now only go from +1 to +3 and a +2 Sword is a 10th level item, and just like handing out a 20k item in PF1, that absolutely will unbalance a low level group...less because of its own benefits, and more because they can sell it for huge amounts and really mess stuff up. Though even just using it will more than double a 1st level character's damage (a +2 weapon is certainly also Striking, which means it adds a weapon die to damage on top of the plus to hit).

But really, this is just a side effect of making items matter more. Gone are the days of random +1s to unimportant stuff in item form. Everything except weapons and armor give other effects as well, and the math is tight enough that +1 to hit or AC is super important and relevant.

And in large part, the listed prices of various items effectively restricted them at least as much in PF1 as it does in PF2, PF2 just does you the courtesy of labeling what level you'll probably have the treasure for them (or find them in a dungeon of course).

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
3) Magic items. Haven't reviewed the new rules closely. Apparently the Wand of Cure Light Wounds is dead WOOO YES? What other major changes are here, good or bad?

Personally, I think there's a general improvement. The 'Big 6' and Christmas Tree effect are pretty much gone, with scaling Save bonuses built into armor, most of the other AC items nonexistent (you just add level to AC now instead), and Ability Boost items restricted to high levels (they kick in around 17th).

Also, as stated in the previous question, items matter a lot more, which also helps. Having items actually do cool stuff, rather than just provide a necessary math fix, is very nice.


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I don't really think magic items are more assumed than PF1. Items provide a much smaller fraction of your bonuses than PF1, even accounting for things like the four tiers of success. In PF1, your AC was almost entirely dependent on your magical equipment.+5 from amulet of natural armor, +5 from ring of protection, +5 armor, a potential +5 from a shield, and miscellaneous items that gave you things like insight or luck bonuses.

Saving throws are close to even. +5 resistance bonus and another miscellaneous items like a lucky horseshoe is roughly even with a PF2 +3 item bonus.

Item bonuses to skills were way crazier in PF1. +5 items are cheap and plentiful, and can go even higher on some cases.

The one exception is damage dice on weapons, but even that is mollified a bit by how common DR became at higher levels and having a high enough enhancement bonus let you punch through it.

Liberty's Edge

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To be clear, when I say 'items matter more' I mostly mean individual ones are each individually a more important thing (Armor on PF2 does what Cloaks of Resistance did in PF1 on top of adding to AC), and that almost none just provide math bonuses.

Items are indeed less required than in PF1 in order to be functional, and a game with no items is quite a bit easier to do, if you so desire.


I like the way items work and hope in my campaign there would be tons of them.

A situation which sees a limit of 10 invested items, and a feat which increase your limit by 2, should necessarily require at some point, at least 20 invested item per character, in order to let them decide what to invest or not ( and to give value at a no lvl requirement feat like Incredible investiture ).

Items are imho required in a huge amount, mostly since many of them doesn't change your gameplay but simply slightly enhance it.


Douglas Muir 416 wrote:


3) Magic items. Haven't reviewed the new rules closely. Apparently the Wand of Cure Light Wounds is dead WOOO YES? What other major changes are here, good or bad?

Another good thing here is that magic item properties, including the +1, +2, etc., are all specific runes that can be transferred from one piece of equipment to another by Crafting during Downtime. So, if you find a longsword with a +1 weapon potency rune and a flaming rune, the fighter can transfer the runes from the longsword to their rapier, if they would prefer to use a rapier. I think this really opens up the "family heirloom weapon" trope, in that a fighter can keep using the family sword and keep up with the item bonuses, as opposed to the family sword no longer being relevant past level 3 because the +1 weapon is so much better.


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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:


1) Monsters. Better, worse, much the same? Keeping in mind that PF2 has only one Bestiary so far. PF2 monsters are no longer built like characters, which is ummm.... good and bad I guess? Is it still possible to take a squirrel, Awaken him to consciousness, and train him as an assassin? More generally, how flexible is monster construction? We seem to have done away with templates. I liked templates. How is this working out in actual play?

Way better overall. Lot less of the pseudo science that ended up with wildly unbalanced numbers and more art. I slapped together a Popobala yesterday insanely quickly, and really the only thing that stopped it from being a completely legitimate monster was not really having a special combat thing.

Quote:
3) Magic items. Haven't reviewed the new rules closely. Apparently the Wand of Cure Light Wounds is dead WOOO YES? What other major changes are here, good or bad?

No more item slots. Instead, you can wear 10 magic items.

You still can't wear two sets of boots.


"No more item slots" is a little bit misleading, in my opinion.

While technically true that there are no longer a specific list of hard limits of 1 of this 2 of that, there are still limits on most of the sorts of item that used to have specific slots such as boots, armor, hats.

But now you aren't restricted to how many rings, or necklaces, or other things which the limit was "because you only have X slots" in nature instead of "because wearing that many of a thing isn't a thing people do"

Much more intuitive to not have to figure out whether an item fills your neck or shoulders slot, so a big improvement in my opinion.


Cyouni wrote:
You still can't wear two sets of boots.

I am considering allowing the characters in my campaign to wear one pair of enchanted socks, one pair of enchanted boots, and one pair of enchanted overshoes. Now that I have that down in black and white, I think that most enchanted boots should really be overshoes, so that they can be combined with the boots from armor.

However, the PCs are currently 1st level, so I have a lot of time to reconsider this plan. At the moment, given the new backpack rules in the errata, I am more worried about someone trying to wear two backpacks, which I won't allow.


Mathmuse wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
You still can't wear two sets of boots.

I am considering allowing the characters in my campaign to wear one pair of enchanted socks, one pair of enchanted boots, and one pair of enchanted overshoes. Now that I have that down in black and white, I think that most enchanted boots should really be overshoes, so that they can be combined with the boots from armor.

However, the PCs are currently 1st level, so I have a lot of time to reconsider this plan. At the moment, given the new backpack rules in the errata, I am more worried about someone trying to wear two backpacks, which I won't allow.

Make sure one of them gets the set of sacred silver silken sylven stockings of steady spider stepping.

Only those who can invoke their name are fit to wear them.


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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
1) Monsters. Better, worse, much the same? Keeping in mind that PF2 has only one Bestiary so far. PF2 monsters are no longer built like characters, which is ummm.... good and bad I guess? Is it still possible to take a squirrel, Awaken him to consciousness, and train him as an assassin? More generally, how flexible is monster construction? We seem to have done away with templates. I liked templates. How is this working out in actual play?

So much better from a time perspective. Before when I had a cool idea for a monster it took like 90 minutes to work out all the math and rework until it looked good. Now all the math is done ahead of time, cutting creation to like 10-20 minutes depending on what cool abilities I want to give it. As for the specific squirrel example, in 1e you would have to look at the squirrel, give it adjustments for awaken, then add rogue and assassin levels and math tweaks until it looked okay. Now you can just decide you want the squirrel to be a level -1 creature before awakening and level whatever assassin after training, give it sneak attack and other assassin skills, follow the charts and be done. Much easier IMO.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Saithor wrote:
Okay, for an explanation of why PF 2E promotes in-encounter tactics, can I get something more than "they reduced the numbers and made everything more swingy"? I'm genuinely curious why people think that is the case in comparison to 1e.

I wanted to take a crack at this because I have an actual play example that I thinks demonstrates it really well.

I'm running my first PF2e campaign, and all of my players are new to the system. For most of the fights so far, they've been using PF1e-like tactics not much more complicated than "hit it until it dies". They ran into trouble, however, when they had an encounter with some turtle-like creatures. These creatures have a special ability that allows them to hide in their shell, boosting their AC and letting them block some damage.

Due to that ability putting their AC into a range that only the fighter could reliably hit and then blocking what damage the fighter would do, they went two or three rounds against these things while only doing a couple points of damage. Finally, though, the party rogue had a revelation. "Wait. They come out of their shells to attack right? I ready an action to attack when they do."

The rest of the party instantly shifted gears to adopt this tactic and they cleaned the creatures up in under a round.

And honestly, in all the time I've run PF1e (~ten years) I've almost never seen tactical play like that happen. Certainly not totally organically where the players realized their current tactics weren't working and changed them. And the main reason for that IMO is that in 1e it's very easy to come up with tactics that work against 99% of encounters.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

A live play example from my group was the super fast elven wizard who realized his spare action each turn was best used pulling blood sucking insects off the other players, having the turn broken down into three actions enabled him to do that once a turn without hurting his casting. That just could not have happened in pf1.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:


The title says it all. I've been playing PF1 for a decade. PF2 looks intriguing but it's a significant investment, not only of money but of time. Presumably most posters on this port either have switched or are in the process of switching. So... please tell a fellow gamer, how has that worked out for you? Would you recommend it? And if so, why -- what's so good about the new system?

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.

I like PF2e. And I don't suggest switching, that is to say abandoning 1e in favor of 2e. 1e is still a really good game. But 2e is well worth trying out. I run both systems at the moment and don't expect that to change.

People can argue theory until they're out of breath. PF2e is fun to play and GM. I was pretty against it until I actually played it.

If you give it a fair try and don't like it, to each their own. The idea that one game system is empirically the "best choice" is nonsense.


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MaxAstro wrote:
... they've been using PF1e-like tactics not much more complicated than "hit it until it dies".

I hear this a lot about 1e, and it's never been my experience except with very unimaginative GMs. I mean, most combats boil down to dealing hp damage but in most of my experience combat has been just as dynamic as 2e.


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Artofregicide wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
... they've been using PF1e-like tactics not much more complicated than "hit it until it dies".
I hear this a lot about 1e, and it's never been my experience except with very unimaginative GMs. I mean, most combats boil down to dealing hp damage but in most of my experience combat has been just as dynamic as 2e.

My experience of playing 3.x since the early days of 3.0 was... You build a character to be good at 1-3 things depending on how strong the class is. Then every combat is an attempt to do that one good thing.

It isn't much to do with GM interaction, but rather viable options available to a player at any one time.

I am not going to say PF2e is a revelation in this respect, but it is a bit looser than PF1e allows for on a pure mechanical level especially when it comes to martials.

That is to say that I believe that in PF1e a fight's outcome is more rooted in character creation strategies than moment to moment tactical acumen.

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