Experienced Gaming Group Finding Surviving PF2E Combat to be Very Difficult


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I've been tabletop gaming with the same group on and off for 20 years or so. I started playing 2nd Ed D&D and our group played PF1 from launch to up until PF2E came out. We are currently finding surviving combat in PF2E to be very difficult.

The current party is composed of a bard (stays out of combat to buff), melee champion of Cayden Cailen, melee cleric of Gorum (specced into Medicine for Battle Medicine in-combat healing and out of combat treatment), and a Wildshape Druid. The current party level is 2 and we are playing The Fall of Plaguestone module.

Between crits dropping a PC to dying 2, and unconscious penalties making it almost guaranteed the second hit on the downed character is a crit, it seems like we're getting 2 shotted to dead a lot of the time. The wounded condition only being removed with "treat wounds" or healing to full and resting 10 mins makes it even more likely a PC dies if they have been dropped once in a fight.

While out of combat/downtime healing has been increased, and heal is a spell on all spell lists, in combat options are still limited in terms of uses per day. With Hero Points only bringing a character back to unconscious and removing the wounded condition vs. resetting a PC to one hit point, it further strains resources to get that person back in the fight.

Even at early levels it seems like mobs and traps have a much higher hit modifier than the PCs do. We have had 4 sessions, but PF2E is still not growing on me. I enjoy a challenge, but dying 2x in a session or getting knocked unconscious multiple times a day is getting really old.

I was just curious if other experienced groups were having these issues? Have you home-ruled any changes such as 1.) Any magical healing removes the wounded condition, or 2.) Hero Points reset an unconscious PC to 1 HP

If I misread any rules stated above, please correct me. Thanks.


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

You do not want to reset to 1 HP with hero points. It is much better to play dead because your initative moves before your killers, giving an entire turn for your party to draw attention away from the dying while the dying uses their hero points if recovery rolls go poorly. If instead you chose to be a wounded PC with 1 HP you will be the next target as you are still the immediate threat, which then only takes one crit while prone to get to dying 3 and now dead dead on bad roll or another hit when out of hero points.

Part of your problem is Plaguestone does not fit encounter balance recommendations. Severe encounters are supposed to be for level bosses and not back to back opening fights. Moderate encounters should not turn into sequential yard fights, as just two of them becomes an extreme campaign ending fight.

Really the only yard fight is both orc yard fights, and those should be nerfed in qty because they exceed encounter guidelines (although here is a fun reddit post today about strategy for this yard fight

The other dungeon rooms are written that bosses lay in wait while their minions are supposed to be focused on their job which is alchemy and not roaming around looking for a fight.

Magical healing does remove wounded as long as it was a 10m break and healed to full. You are much better off with everyone with any WIS buying medicine tools and using them as unlimited resource rather than using daily spells. You should be finding excuses for 10m healing breaks after rough moderate encounters because as you experience the math assumes bosses can take you down by themselves, no need to help them by not focus breaking.

The entire reason the bosses do so much damage is devs know that no matter how much the rules say you should not spam heals, players will spam heals. So the devs wrote heal spamming with med tools into the rules, defined the 10m break to make it feasible to use them after most fights, then cranked up the boss damage to compensate.

PF2e fights are most optimal when you focus on depriving NPCs of action economy or AC rather than hit hit hit them with damage. This is because PCs usually outnumber NPC actions, so it hurts worse for an NPC to move back into melee than a PC to move out of melee (opportunity attack creatures are rare now). Move out, or flank them, or raise shield, or shove or trip with the right weapons, lots of things to do instead of that third hit.

Shadow Lodge

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Hamanu_of_Urik wrote:
...Between crits dropping a PC to dying 2, and unconscious penalties making it almost guaranteed the second hit on the downed character is a crit, it seems like we're getting 2 shotted to dead a lot of the time. The wounded condition only being removed with "treat wounds" or healing to full and resting 10 mins makes it even more likely a PC dies if they have been dropped once in a fight.

I have to say, I don't remember any edition of this game where you weren't killed if you kept being attacked after going down.

That being said, this game is fairly brutal in my experience: If the GM's dice are 'hot' or your dice are 'cold', then you are in for a rough time...


you absolutely need to focus on depriving enemy of actions vs, attacking second

after that, that module is balanced poorly.


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I can attest to Plaguestone being on the harder side. I'm running it with a party of 5, haven't adjusted any of the encounters, and the difficulty feels appropriate. Running the game by the encounter recommendations in the CRB should be a lot more in line with how the game is meant to be played. Still fairly deadly regardless, but low levels be like that.


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Thanks for the comments so far. Much appreciated.


We are currently playing AoA with 5 players and is very easy.

We are having a good mix, and all characters are doing fine ( obviously the fighter with power attack is ahead in terms of damage, but he needs support or he is an easy kill ).

Going down can happen if a critical hit occours or if monsters manage to pass your first line and go for the casters.

I wonder if without a champion it would have been way too harder.

Grand Lodge

I cannot speak for Plaguestone as I have not read or played it, so maybe it is not balanced properly. I can say that my experience in general differs from yours significantly. I mostly play PFS scenarios and so far they have not been particularly deadly even for moderately experienced players or even n00bs to 2E. That’s not to say it is easy, just not unfairly hard. We do see characters “dropped” but rarely has one actually died. Generally speaking, DPR does seem to be a bit higher for “monsters” at low levels compared to 1E so 1st level PCs seem to get clobbered a bit more often, but once you get to level 2-3+, that levels off and is less of an issue.

Perhaps the GM is being a bit heavy handled? Or perhaps the players, while experienced gamers, and not yet experienced in the nuances of 2E? That’s all speculation of course and not meant as an indictment. Given we cannot witness your games, it’s hard to say what the cause is.


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Champions should be taking a defensive role of strike/stride/shield rather than DPR strike/strike/strike, makes sure they can take advantage of retributive strike and shield block reactions.

Your champion is probably a STR/CHA build so lets look at what tactical actions those skill provide that add to this defensive role.

grapple, shove, trip, disarm, diversion, feint, request, demoralize

recall knowledge and nature would be good for intel on enemy and getting a steed involved.

PF1e was optimized for tactical character design, whereas PF2e is optimized for tactical encounter design to leverage character skills.


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TwilightKnight wrote:
I mostly play PFS scenarios and so far they have not been particularly deadly even for moderately experienced players or even n00bs to 2E.

PFS encounters usually give GMs specific adjustments to make on how to accommodate players/levels/experience.

Plaguestone is throwing moderate/severe encounters back to back which adds up to extreme/deadly.

Grand Lodge

krazmuze wrote:
Plaguestone

So perhaps the problem is the module not the 2E game system


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So what is this level 2 Bard doing "staying out of combat to buff"?

It's 1 action to Inspire, so if that's all they're doing every turn... Usually the Bard in my party is casting his spells or at worst using cantrips. He spends a lot of actions Demoralizing opponents with Performance in order to lower AC and attack bonuses.

Is your entire party trying their best to stay within 15 feet of the Champion to help them use their reaction every turn?

Plaguestone is a very hard module where the designers decided that Severe was the baseline. Playing in it right now we've just passed Chapter 1 and I've boggled at what the encounter designers thought was an appropriate challenge for a level 1 party.

But in all of this, the real question is why enemies are choosing to attack unconscious opponents over their conscious and still dangerous allies...


A champ just need another player and maybe a reach weapon + ranged reprisal, if the champ is a paladin.

Then both of them have to deal with the environement, forcing the enemies to come close to them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So Fall of Plaguestone is pretty brutal honestly. I have had 2 perma deaths and a at least 2 other dropped to dieing. The biggest thing I have noticed when this is happening though is when the party is using poor strategy. In my most recent game the swashbuckler Used a finisher to take down

Spoiler:
The Sculptor
and decided to run up to the
Spoiler:
Blood Ooze
solo on the next round and got nocked down from full.

But I have had the traps in this module take people to unconscious and the two

Spoiler:
Blighted wolves in the blighted den
is were the party barbarian and ac ranger died but it could have been easily avoided if the party just didn't fight in their den and instead lured them into the difficult terrain cave entrance.

The biggest thing about 2E as a GM I have noticed is that it is much more a party game. Sure each player can shine on their own but trying to solo at level encounters like in 1e just doesn't work anymore. In fact the only classes with the dpr at level 1 and 2 to do that kind of stuff if they roll well are Fighters and Barbarians using 2h weapons. Especially dragon Barbs getting 4 rage damage and likely having 18 str means min 9 damage regardless of weapon but average 13 with a Greatsword/axe.

But seriously look at the encounter ratings in the module most are severe with the rest being moderate. Even with a larger than average party of 6 plagestone has been a challenge for my group.


Plaguestone is kind of crazy hard. It's very unfortunate given it'll one of the first modules many people will play.

Also, you're supposed to fall to dying a reasonably large amount in this edition I think, the whole dying and wounded see-saw is about getting back up again. And you can often heal a lot in between fights.

Give your players a break, and or extra time to heal between fights and more hero points if they are struggling, you have to nudge the difficulty a bit so they are challenged and it's risky, but doesn't feel like a slog of endless difficulty. Depending on your party, and their strategies, and how well they characters work together, etc.


On the whole, do we think that PF2 works better with 4 or 5 PCs?

Sovereign Court

EberronHoward wrote:
On the whole, do we think that PF2 works better with 4 or 5 PCs?

Hard to say overall.

I think the concept of "four food groups" fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard - that's alive and well. It gets hard to cover all the bases with less than four. (You can do it with different classes of course.)

More than that... well, adding a fifth player is 25% extra power. That's a LOT. If you're having trouble with an adventure with four people, then a fifth might help.

It's unfortunate that Plaguestone is apparently so over the top hard compared to the standard the CRB advises. Bad to set a bad example early on.


TwilightKnight wrote:
krazmuze wrote:
Plaguestone
So perhaps the problem is the module not the 2E game system

It's a little bit of both.

Plaguestone is definitely on the more difficult side of written adventures, but PF2 in general encourages a slightly more methodical style of play than PF1, too.


Our group is seeing similar results with Plaguestone. We've been trying out different character mechanics, but the game has been a bit brutal. Nearly every fight seems like it could TPK us and most end up with multiple characters down. Last session we did TPK. What has been particularly rough is going down with persistent damage, which is common in the module (not sure about AoA). That seems to almost guarantee a death.

I see several suggestions about altering tactics to deny the enemy actions. How is that done, just everyone doing spring attack-tpye rounds? Kiting the enemy? Do the combats last forever if you're not able to hit more than once a round with any given character?


EberronHoward wrote:
On the whole, do we think that PF2 works better with 4 or 5 PCs?

Thus far I have seen no clear indication that 1 or 2 more PCs than the 4 the game is written assuming has an impact on how well the game works.


HumbleGamer wrote:

We are currently playing AoA with 5 players and is very easy.

We are having a good mix, and all characters are doing fine ( obviously the fighter with power attack is ahead in terms of damage, but he needs support or he is an easy kill ).

Going down can happen if a critical hit occours or if monsters manage to pass your first line and go for the casters.

I wonder if without a champion it would have been way too harder.

My group (Gnome Fighter, Goblin Ranger, Goblin Alchemist, Half-Orc Druid, Human Wizard) has had the other experience with this. We have found almost every fight to be a challenging encounter. We are in book two, and every encounter is like a game of baccarat. AC does not seem to matter. Our average to hit bonus is +15, and we need 10+ rolls to hit (as expected). Our fighter with an AC of 26 got caught on a 6+ (in our most recent encounter). My wizard (AC 21) would get hit no matter the roll. The mobs had a +20 to their attacks. The first strikes did an average of 30+ damage because they were almost always crits. The only survivors of the encounter (still standing) were my Wizard and the Fighter, and he was at single-digit HPs. The Druid and the Alchemist were killed, not just downed. We are level 7. Per the GM, the encounter was scaled for a level 6 party.


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V. Gorilla wrote:
(Snip)

What does an average turn look like for each person? Are you keeping opponents away from your backline with trips or slows? Are you covering opponents in debuffs so they'll whiff their attacks?

Also of note, Book 2 of Age of Ashes assumes a lot of "nova encounters," in which you should be using most of your abilities since you will only have one combat a day.


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V. Gorilla wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:

We are currently playing AoA with 5 players and is very easy.

We are having a good mix, and all characters are doing fine ( obviously the fighter with power attack is ahead in terms of damage, but he needs support or he is an easy kill ).

Going down can happen if a critical hit occours or if monsters manage to pass your first line and go for the casters.

I wonder if without a champion it would have been way too harder.

My group (Gnome Fighter, Goblin Ranger, Goblin Alchemist, Half-Orc Druid, Human Wizard) has had the other experience with this. We have found almost every fight to be a challenging encounter. We are in book two, and every encounter is like a game of baccarat. AC does not seem to matter. Our average to hit bonus is +15, and we need 10+ rolls to hit (as expected). Our fighter with an AC of 26 got caught on a 6+ (in our most recent encounter). My wizard (AC 21) would get hit no matter the roll. The mobs had a +20 to their attacks. The first strikes did an average of 30+ damage because they were almost always crits. The only survivors of the encounter (still standing) were my Wizard and the Fighter, and he was at single-digit HPs. The Druid and the Alchemist were killed, not just downed. We are level 7. Per the GM, the encounter was scaled for a level 6 party.

The Age of Ashes GM thread for the second book has noted the difficulty.

There's a reason for some of that:
Basically all of those "level 6" encounters are "Severe 6" encounters because you are assumed to be doing only one such encounter per day while exploring.

So yeah, severe encounters are dangerous, especially with anything that's much ahead of you in levels.

Edit: ninja'd


One thing I've noticed in all of the discussion about the difficulty of Pathfinder 2 is that a lot of parties that have a hard time don't have a cleric with healing font.

That singular class feature is almost necessary to ensure the survival of a party due to bad dice luck. Sometimes you whiff your first swing and a monster gets another turn and now he's done an additional 50 damage-- that the cleric can just say "no, let's have a re-do" and heal up in two actions, then throw any one-action skill they need to-- maybe even Battle Medicine if they want to top them off.

With (in my opinion) the Divine spell list being so lackluster, to me it's obvious they intended for Healing or Harming font to supplement it-- and after being relatively disappointed by the Oracle and Divine Sorcerer, I'm considering just houseruling giving Healing or Harming font to anyone who casts off the Divine spell list.

So far my party has had troubles in Age of Ashes, but universally the reason boils down to "our cleric runs into melee and feeds the enemies." There's been a lot of discussion on how to extract him from combat so he can heal himself and not die to AoOs... which wouldn't be a problem if he just let the Champion, Barbarian and large-sized animal companion frontline instead.

Now that we've reached Book 3, which WAS written when Pathfinder 2 was out, I'm really hoping that we'll see less jank and more balanced fights.


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EberronHoward wrote:
On the whole, do we think that PF2 works better with 4 or 5 PCs?

Encounter budgets are balanced for 4 PCs, and my experience is their difficulty descriptions are accurate.

Those doing Plaguestone with 5PC without balancing is because Plaguestone is ignoring encounter guidelines. With 5 PC encounter balance you are supposed to rebalance with more minions, stronger bosses, but that would be a bad idea to do for Plaguestone.


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Ice Titan wrote:
maybe even Battle Medicine if they want to top them off.

Battle Medicine for anyone not just the cleric. While it is a daily, it is not limited to daily use just daily target. That means if all 4 PC have it, then each PC can get healed four times by different medics for a total of 16 heals.

Way more healing than cleric font, save the clerics for when range or AOE heals are needed do not waste them on touch heals.


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Don't agree that cleric's with healing font are necessary, do agree that the party really needs to plan together to make sure they can heal themselves. Lot's of classes have some options to do so though.


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Yeah, it sounds less like "We need healing font," and more like, "We need to go over our tactics a bit more." Especially if your cleric is getting whacked so often.


Ice Titan wrote:
Now that we've reached Book 3, which WAS written when Pathfinder 2 was out, I'm really hoping that we'll see less jank and more balanced fights.

Source citation?


Ruzza wrote:
Yeah, it sounds less like "We need healing font," and more like, "We need to go over our tactics a bit more." Especially if your cleric is getting whacked so often.

It's the Warpriest doctrine paradox. Because he's a cleric, he needed WIS and CHA already. Warpriest had him putting points in STR and DEX... he ended up with 10 CON because of it. He has the least hp in the party by a landslide, and only average AC. But he chose Warpriest so he could go into melee, so he does, and it's painful because unlike the other martials he doesn't have a ton of feat support. So he could stand back and cast cantrips far more safely, but... why have worse spells and DCs if he doesn't go into melee to use his AC and expert weapon proficiency?

Some of the monsters in AoA are pretty rough-- I don't know if my party would have made it without healing font. I can agree that they needed to go over tactics, but it was healing font that let them survive the fights that made them realize they were trying to play PF2 like PF1 and were getting slugged hard for it. Even so, the monsters are a bit overtuned it felt.

Age of Ashes monster math stuff:

One of the monsters you encounter very early on has a +20 to hit with 3 different natural attacks, AoO at -2 and a two-action activity that lets them make 3 attacks. They can also haste themselves for one round in the combat as a free action. You very likely encounter this monster at level 6, where a Champion in full plate with their shield raised is rocking a 25 AC... and a warpriest with 1 DEX, like ours, is sitting on 21. Both of those characters want to go into melee, and this guy hits the warpriest on an 11 with a -10 MAP!

Quote:
Source citation?

Plaguestone and AoA book 1 are considered to be a weird kind of "unfinished" book state, with some small anomalies. This released like 20 days later. It's not unfinished by any means and I actually think it's a really cool adventure, just there are some small things in encounter design that don't quite seem right. Like... the difficulty of the encounters, not just the ones you're supposed to nova in Part 2. Lots of "Moderate" threat encounters against a single foe-- what the game calls a "severe threat boss" and it definitely feels like it.

The next book has a lot of Low threat encounters mixed in, and far less Severe and Moderate that are a single monster or a pair of monsters. In fact it's hard to find an encounter in Book 3 that isn't 3+, or even 5+ monsters.

Really preferable.


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Ice Titan wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
Yeah, it sounds less like "We need healing font," and more like, "We need to go over our tactics a bit more." Especially if your cleric is getting whacked so often.
It's the Warpriest doctrine paradox. Because he's a cleric, he needed WIS and CHA already. Warpriest had him putting points in STR and DEX... he ended up with 10 CON because of it. He has the least hp in the party by a landslide, and only average AC. But he chose Warpriest so he could go into melee, so he does, and it's painful because unlike the other martials he doesn't have a ton of feat support. So he could stand back and cast cantrips far more safely, but... why have worse spells and DCs if he doesn't go into melee to use his AC and expert weapon proficiency?

This is absolutely a topic for another thread, but does a Warpriest really need WIS and CHA? Having those hover around 12 doesn't seem to cause an issue with the build. As a warpriest, you shouldn't be using your spells offensively, but rather buffing, so DCs aren't an issue (since you aren't getting higher proficiency anyway). CHA gives you Divine Font, but healing should mostly be taken care of with Medicine out of combat, and in combat having one or two uses of heal should be enough for triage.

Heck, grabbing Fighter Dedication and Resiliency along with the Toughness general feat (with a high hp ancestry like dwarf or unbreakable goblin) seems like it would deal with HP problems as well as feeling like cleric feats aren't well suited for their playstyle.

My group is on Book 2 of AoA at the moment and aren't optimizers in any sense of the word. But they did realize that some of their tactics (or lack thereof) in combat weren't accomplishing what they wanted.

Spoiler:
The barghest in book 1 taught them that lesson.

I think if you have a cleric who is going warpriest, they shouldn't try and play them like a cloistered cleric, but look at why they aren't having success with their way of fighting. Divine Font is GOOD, don't get me wrong, but my group has been going just fine without it (we have a negative energy cloistered cleric) thanks to minimizing damage, out of combat healing, and using spells for buffing and debuffing. This is without a fighter or a champion, mind you.

Sovereign Court

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With regard to Fall of Plaguestone, who was the author again... oh wait. What other adventures have they written... oh. I think we should not be surprised it is a bit deadly.

Jason Bulhman likes to write adventures that ratchet up the difficulty quite a bit. Also great adventures but yeah it is his reputation to write some deadly stuff.


I saw prior comments about using a PC's second action to deprive enemies of actions vs. attacking. What strategies are your players using? Moving out of threat range after attacking, control spells/debuffs, trips? We're only level 2 so options seem limited right now.

Do multiple players in your campaigns roll with a healer's kit and Battle Medicine? Our party seems to only depend on my cleric for healing, with very limited self-recovery options and nobody else wants to spec into Medicine.


I have two players in my group with healer's kits, a monk and a cleric. Though the monk's wisdom isn't particularly great and only the cleric has battle medicine.


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Hamanu_of_Urik wrote:
I saw prior comments about using a PC's second action to deprive enemies of actions vs. attacking. What strategies are your players using? Moving out of threat range after attacking, control spells/debuffs, trips? We're only level 2 so options seem limited right now.

At level 2, simple debuffs versus on-par enemies work well. Demoralize via Intimidate, spells that blind or dazzle (like Color Spray or a handful of the Cleric Focus spells), even Assurance (Atheletics) checks to trip or disarm them. Versus much more dangerous enemies, using your actions to keep away from them limits the number of times they can Strike you with their significantly higher attack rolls. An alchemist with Frost Vials can hamper the opponent's speed while more "sure fire" spells can get the debuffs you want (using Fear to get frightened on an opponent reliably, Bane and Bless are also solid choices here). A few Quicksilver Elixirs passed out for ranged characters (or for melee playing keep away with a large single target) never hurt either.

And don't forget about the Ready action to keep opponents from getting to your more vulnerable characters! Sometimes a Champion can just Raise a Shield and Ready a Trip or Grapple action if an enemy makes a move towards their teammate.

Hamanu_of_Urik wrote:
Do multiple players in your campaigns roll with a healer's kit and Battle Medicine? Our party seems to only depend on my cleric for healing, with very limited self-recovery options and nobody else wants to spec into Medicine.

I have two groups. One has a Rogue/Alchemist (level 2) who has Assurance (Medicine) and is Expert in it. He just patches everyone up after a battle without batting an eye. My other group runs with two members trained in Medicine, who chance the rolls post combat. No one in either of my groups have Battle Medicine (though one has a Champion for Lay on Hands and the other has the aforementioned Harm Cleric who keeps a few Heal spells prepped for emergencies). Also one group has an alchemist who is ready to prep some Elixirs of Life should the need arise, but the action economy isn't really great for doing that in combat.

EDIT: Oh, man and Bards! Beautiful, amazing Bards and the group buffs they bring to the table. Cleric Guidance, Champions with Ranged Reprisal, there's plenty of options that aren't just "attack the enemy more."


Something I want to add is that you can't approach combat in PF2 the same way you approach combat in PF1, it will get you killed quickly.

You no longer have a numbers advantage that all but guarantees success. In fact, at your best attack rolls have about a 60-75% chance to succeed, and second attacks are at 35% chance of success.

You have to find ways to win in terms of action economy over the enemy, and find ways to debuff the enemy. Debuff is much more important than buffing in this edition, IMO. The buffs in this edition aren't terribly strong, but debuffs, especially ones that deny action economy are brutal.


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Goblin Bard Intimidating Glare is just a glance within visual range and is almost as good as Fear Spell, then does a horrible goblin song to catch the the hidden foe and setup them up for the cleric with a will save debuff, all while inspiring courage for the party. Can do this every round!


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:
Now that we've reached Book 3, which WAS written when Pathfinder 2 was out, I'm really hoping that we'll see less jank and more balanced fights.
Source citation?

They have been profiling the books in videos lately and it seems the AP used different authors for each book so they could get them done before the rules was finished. The creative director kept making this point how chaotic it was because of that. Just because it came out after the rules does not mean it was written before it came out! Writing, art, design and production takes a very long time.

The books are just different balance because different authors.


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Wait... did I see someone suggest trying to use assurance (athletics) with disarm? That only works with trip against things that are lower level than you or have particularly low reflex saves. Why would someone try it with disarm, which only has a worthwhile effect on a critical success?

Silver Crusade

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krazmuze wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:
Now that we've reached Book 3, which WAS written when Pathfinder 2 was out, I'm really hoping that we'll see less jank and more balanced fights.
Source citation?

They have been profiling the books in videos lately and it seems the AP used different authors for each book so they could get them done before the rules was finished. The creative director kept making this point how chaotic it was because of that. Just because it came out after the rules does not mean it was written before it came out! Writing, art, design and production takes a very long time.

The books are just different balance because different authors.

*nods*

And the APs have always used a different author for each issue.


Ice Titan wrote:
Is your entire party trying their best to stay within 15 feet of the Champion to help them use their reaction every turn?

Nitpick alert: 5 or 10 feet IMO - the attacking monster also needs to be within 15 feet for the reaction.

But I agree that's a prime example of how combat has changed, and how a lot of 1e players are missing out by trying to transfer over their 1e strategies (and builds!).

My champion has been running around like a headless chicken trying to protect the weakest characters, while everyone tries to spread out and strike^3.

I didn't believe it when someone told me in August that "it's probably easier for a 5e player to learn 2e than it is for a 1e player to learn 2e." I kind of do now.


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Ice Titan wrote:
One of the monsters you encounter very early on has a +20 to hit with 3 different natural attacks, AoO at -2 and a two-action activity that lets them make 3 attacks. They can also haste themselves for one round in the combat as a free action. You very likely encounter this monster at level 6, where a Champion in full plate with their shield raised is rocking a 25 AC... and a warpriest with 1 DEX, like ours, is sitting on 21. Both of those characters want to go into melee, and this guy hits the warpriest on an 11 with a -10 MAP!

Why is his AC so low, it would be at worst -1 from the champion if the Champ is in full plate, otherwise they can have identical AC.

6(lvl) + 2 (trained) + 4 (breastplate) + 1(dex)
13 + 10 = 23AC
Raise Shield, 25AC


The ShadowShackleton wrote:

With regard to Fall of Plaguestone, who was the author again... oh wait. What other adventures have they written... oh. I think we should not be surprised it is a bit deadly.

Jason Bulhman likes to write adventures that ratchet up the difficulty quite a bit. Also great adventures but yeah it is his reputation to write some deadly stuff.

I wonder how much having fewer but deadlier encounters is also an issue of space in the physical book. A severe encounter takes up as much space as a moderate encounter, but getting the party to the next level's worth of XP requires less encounter write-ups if they're all worth more XP.


EberronHoward wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:

With regard to Fall of Plaguestone, who was the author again... oh wait. What other adventures have they written... oh. I think we should not be surprised it is a bit deadly.

Jason Bulhman likes to write adventures that ratchet up the difficulty quite a bit. Also great adventures but yeah it is his reputation to write some deadly stuff.

I wonder how much having fewer but deadlier encounters is also an issue of space in the physical book. A severe encounter takes up as much space as a moderate encounter, but getting the party to the next level's worth of XP requires less encounter write-ups if they're all worth more XP.

Space comes down more to how many encounters use creatures from the bestiary rather than those printed in the adventure itself, and how many unique creatures get used, than it does how many encounter are what difficulty.


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Hamanu_of_Urik wrote:
The current party is composed of a bard (stays out of combat to buff), melee champion of Cayden Cailen, melee cleric of Gorum (specced into Medicine for Battle Medicine in-combat healing and out of combat treatment), and a Wildshape Druid. The current party level is 2 and we are playing The Fall of Plaguestone module.

3 casters and 1 martial, of course you're having hard time!

Try with this party composition: champion, fighter/bard, fighter/cleric, fighter/druid.

Note: when people want to show casters are balanced with martial, they cite level 4+ spells (and usually level 6+ uncommon spells). you can allow the PC to reroll as casters at level 10 - but no one should play a caster before level 10. The more caster you have at low level, the harder the game is.


Plaguestone is a tough module. But there are many things to do besides stride and strike.
And remember to gang up on opponents. A creature with 1 hit point does as much damage as a creature at full hit points.
Tactics are everything in PF2 fights. Use your actions wisely.
And also remember, crits are determined by beating the AC by 10 or more. So any little bit you can do to increase your attack rating is important. Flanking. Inspire Courage. Anything to bump it up even a couple of points will increase your damage a lot.


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Gaterie wrote:
Hamanu_of_Urik wrote:
The current party is composed of a bard (stays out of combat to buff), melee champion of Cayden Cailen, melee cleric of Gorum (specced into Medicine for Battle Medicine in-combat healing and out of combat treatment), and a Wildshape Druid. The current party level is 2 and we are playing The Fall of Plaguestone module.

3 casters and 1 martial, of course you're having hard time!

Try with this party composition: champion, fighter/bard, fighter/cleric, fighter/druid.

Note: when people want to show casters are balanced with martial, they cite level 4+ spells (and usually level 6+ uncommon spells). you can allow the PC to reroll as casters at level 10 - but no one should play a caster before level 10. The more caster you have at low level, the harder the game is.

What you're adding to the conversation isn't helpful. Telling people that their choices of character are incorrect is turning a roleplaying game into one of sheer numbers. Some people may prefer to play that way, but this is someone looking for advice about what to do.

As well, you've stated that martials are the superior choice, but haven't shown why you feel that way beyond white room hypotheticals. Do you have any play experiences that you are basing your assumptions on?

(And before you ask, I'm running two games: One with barbarian, sorcerer, cleric, alchemist and another with bard, sorcerer, rogue/aclhemist, champion. Both have had difficulties, but expected difficulties. Y'know... a challenge.)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah my group us sub 10 and half casters, turns out they are fine. Grease literally ate 12 enemy actions last session (in addition to making the enemy easy targets and is a level 1 spell.) That wizard single handily made a mockery of the severe encounter.


Gaterie wrote:
Hamanu_of_Urik wrote:
The current party is composed of a bard (stays out of combat to buff), melee champion of Cayden Cailen, melee cleric of Gorum (specced into Medicine for Battle Medicine in-combat healing and out of combat treatment), and a Wildshape Druid. The current party level is 2 and we are playing The Fall of Plaguestone module.

3 casters and 1 martial, of course you're having hard time!

Try with this party composition: champion, fighter/bard, fighter/cleric, fighter/druid.

Note: when people want to show casters are balanced with martial, they cite level 4+ spells (and usually level 6+ uncommon spells). you can allow the PC to reroll as casters at level 10 - but no one should play a caster before level 10. The more caster you have at low level, the harder the game is.

It should be mentioned that the party you suggested has no access to Divine Font, one of the most useful things in the game for keeping a party alive


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Playing AoA with my group of 6 players (but mostly 4 come to each session) and though the first book was pretty tough - once they have discovered all their options in fight it became much better.

The monsters somebody talked about - this +20 to hit vs 24-26 AC was our encounter 2 days ago - my party just rocked it with clever tactics and fighter's 44 dmg from his critical Power Attack (33+ to crit and he has +17 to hit).

We have 2 casters and no clerics among them - our wizard is a great helper in both encounters and in exploration. His Dispel Magic, Magic Missile, color spray, hypnotic patters, Acid Splash and paralyze are all great spells which actually saved the party for couple of times (paralyze owned the Bargheis, even though it is incapacitation effect).

Our druid with his Animal Companion is on par with our fighter - the bear slams everything and the druid throws elecric arcs and buffs/heals the party. If it was not for him the fighter would've died for 3 times already.

And we are already on Session 15 with 90 hours of game... Sooo... Seems pretty balanced for us ).

Action economy of martials vs casters was really a challenge, when it is 2 strikes for Fighter vs 1 Chill Touch of the wizard, but in most situations the fighter spent one action to move, one action to strike and the third action was 50/50 strike/demoralize/smth. This is to say - martials need more actions to move and stay effective than somewhat more static wizard.

Also the wizard already understood that his single target dmg will never ever get close to fighter and it is ok. The fighter will never be able to throw a nasty 6d6 fireball against 7 enemies at once, dealing ~140 dmg to them.

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