The Unfortunate Necessity of the Cleric


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Queaux wrote:
Your dwarf fighter is using a pretty effective weapon set up with the right feats. With a shield boss, the character can used double slice followed up by raise a shield. The numbers on that set of actions are better than just about any other build, and it should work well versus bosses because the character is effectively at +2 to max...

Thanks for the heads up! I might talk to him about those suggestions since I think he has gone full turtle mode so far (reactive block, aggressive block and shielded stride), neglecting his offensive capabilities which of course does not work too well in PF2E.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Queaux wrote:
Ubertron_X wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

Or grapple, or trip, or have your casters use Reach Spell, or use Readied actions to move away, or use Recall Knowledge checks to determine their weaknesses and cripple them, or Reposition them to your advantage, or...

If it's not working at your table, I'm sorry. I don't know what's happening there, but there are a wealth of options available that aren't hit the thing, get hit in return. If that's happening often enough that you feel like the game mechanics aren't working, you might need to look at the game mechanics to see what you can be doing.

I am aware of all this, however this may or may not help building a "viable" character. For example our dwarf fighter. Uses an axe and shield and is as generic a dwarf as you would expect one to be. And here the trouble begins. Occupying both hands and not using a weapon with a suitable trait means that he can not use any athletics action at all, so no grab, trip or shove. Having dumped CHA because of his ancestry and occupation he can not hope to successfully use Intimidate to demoralize either. Being dwarf he is slower than most monsters, so once engaged staying away is not easy. All this character in his current iteration does is try to tank and spank which as we all know does not work well versus bosses.

Bottom line is, building a character or group without having fully understood all the pitfalls of the current game mechanics can easily limit your options as has happend at our table. Entirely new to the system most of our group made their feat & character set-up based on roleplaying decisions rather then game mechanics which is now comming back to us full circle.

Your dwarf fighter is using a pretty effective weapon set up with the right feats. With a shield boss, the character can used double slice followed up by raise a shield. The numbers on that set of actions are better than just about any other build, and it should work well versus bosses because the character is
...

Well, also because once you get to level 5 your shield will be 2 to hit behind, so people might not want to invest in an ability that doesn't help levels 5-12.


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A little on the last page. I've always incredibly despised enemies being on grouped initiative, and have always had each enemy roll separately. It's just plain better IMO. More organic, less swingly, allows PCs to deal with larger numbers etc.

On the cleric being 'required', well, it's not. That said, having a cleric can change the party dynamic entirely. Your tactics can accomodate a healing cleric and you can do different things in comparison to a party lacking one.

Which is a real nice middle ground. Depending on party comp, tactics change. I love that aspect of PF2.


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My group for Plaguestone had a Redeemer and Monk (both with Medicine) and two wizards. So frontliners and two squishies. A couple of fights were really hard, but once we figured out to not stand still and to really use mobility to our advantage it the need for in combat healing really dropped.

Really Medicine was more useful than Lay on Hands, 2d8 vs 6.


I run a table for 6 players. It started with 5. A divine sorcerer, a alchemist and a rouge that when full on medicine skill with all the feats were more then enough healing. The 6th player came along and made a cleric. It's almost no challenge for the party now.
I am running age of ashes and even increasing the encounters per the core book. Increasing the solo monsters to elite gets them a little frustrated on lots of misses, but I can not get close to killing any of them. For our table the cleric is just too much. I'm going to let it ride for this adventure. The cleric did not show up till the party was level 7. Before that the healing provided from the others made the game feel more balanced. Now, not so much.


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An anecdote: my party of 4 players consists of a Human Fighter, Human Monk, Human Occult Sorc and Elf Evocation Wizard. Only the Monk is Expert in Medicine (the Sorc is trained), and the group has survived on almost 0 in-combat healing so far. That's not to say they haven't had close calls. There have been tough fights where 3/4 of the party went to 0 hp at some point, and I haven't been pulling any punches, yet they still managed to pull through. I don't think a Cleric is necessary, even in longer fights they have access to Battle Medicine (and with Continuous Recovery, it's not limited to 1/day).

In terms of casting debuff spells not feeling good when they fail, I can't speak to my players' experience when that happens, but when the spells do succeed (and this happens a good amount of the time), they are very significant.

My Sorc's go-to debuff right now is Synesthesia, and if it hits an enemy, it is brutal. -3 AC that stacks with Flat-Footed means a death sentence for most foes, as the Fighter and Monk will proceed to crit them to death in short order. When she's not casting Synesthesia, she's mass Fearing enemies or singling someone out with Phantasmal Killer, or denying everyone's actions with Synaptic Pulse. Seriously, action denial is great in PF2, especially when your party also positions themselves correctly.

So, in my case at least, not having a Cleric in the party is no problemo.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Quote:
even in longer fights they have access to Battle Medicine (and with Continuous Recovery, it's not limited to 1/day).

What? Continuous Recovery doesn't do anything to make Battle Medicine available more often. It only affects Treat Wounds. Are you thinking of Godless Healing, maybe?

Dark Archive

Ravingdork wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
If you’re before everyone else and all the enemies are after you but before your allies, don’t rush in. Personally, I wouldn’t waste a spell saving you (though I have a caster who will for me, but I’d change if the group dynamic changed).
I know a few groups that would consider that metagaming, especially on the first round.

If its too metagame, then he could make it a point to not rush in without immediate backup or until someone else has gone forth. Also, running in takes an action or two, actions that could be better served pulling out a ranged weapon and attacking, therefore denying the enemies opportunities to use their more powerful multi-action abilities or at least force them to waste an action so they aren't wailing on a party member for three actions. Dashing in alone against a full room of enemies when you don't have a reliable and willing healer in your party or don't know the other members of your party well is foolhardy at best. It didn't work for Leeroy Jenkins, and I doubt it would work against creatures with a person actively overseeing their actions.

Especially when you don't have healing in a party, you need to focus on making tactical decisions that reduce the greatest amount of damage if you wish to keep your character alive.


Narxiso wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
If you’re before everyone else and all the enemies are after you but before your allies, don’t rush in. Personally, I wouldn’t waste a spell saving you (though I have a caster who will for me, but I’d change if the group dynamic changed).
I know a few groups that would consider that metagaming, especially on the first round.

If its too metagame, then he could make it a point to not rush in without immediate backup or until someone else has gone forth. Also, running in takes an action or two, actions that could be better served pulling out a ranged weapon and attacking, therefore denying the enemies opportunities to use their more powerful multi-action abilities or at least force them to waste an action so they aren't wailing on a party member for three actions. Dashing in alone against a full room of enemies when you don't have a reliable and willing healer in your party or don't know the other members of your party well is foolhardy at best. It didn't work for Leeroy Jenkins, and I doubt it would work against creatures with a person actively overseeing their actions.

Especially when you don't have healing in a party, you need to focus on making tactical decisions that reduce the greatest amount of damage if you wish to keep your character alive.

I think you're assuming a lot about how they're playing.

I wouldn't be so quick to judge someone's tactics when I don't know the situation.

Dark Archive

citricking wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
If you’re before everyone else and all the enemies are after you but before your allies, don’t rush in. Personally, I wouldn’t waste a spell saving you (though I have a caster who will for me, but I’d change if the group dynamic changed).
I know a few groups that would consider that metagaming, especially on the first round.

If its too metagame, then he could make it a point to not rush in without immediate backup or until someone else has gone forth. Also, running in takes an action or two, actions that could be better served pulling out a ranged weapon and attacking, therefore denying the enemies opportunities to use their more powerful multi-action abilities or at least force them to waste an action so they aren't wailing on a party member for three actions. Dashing in alone against a full room of enemies when you don't have a reliable and willing healer in your party or don't know the other members of your party well is foolhardy at best. It didn't work for Leeroy Jenkins, and I doubt it would work against creatures with a person actively overseeing their actions.

Especially when you don't have healing in a party, you need to focus on making tactical decisions that reduce the greatest amount of damage if you wish to keep your character alive.

I think you're assuming a lot about how they're playing.

I wouldn't be so quick to judge someone's tactics when I don't know the situation.

The poster with the problem said:

Quote:

2. Striding away isn't always a possibility. Many, many times have I had to stride up to the monster so I can actually do something. Sure, this may be a bit of leftover from 1e, but sometimes you just have to spend your turn adjacent to a creature so somebody else can live to see another day. I shouldn't be punished unfairly, and the Cleric shouldn't have to use two actions, just because I didn't have an extra action and I dropped to a crit, even with all the proper precautions.

As well as mention that he feels obligated to run into combat in the first turn due to a high initiative. He seems to have problems with surviving , and I’m just trying to help him solve the problem. My bigger point, though, wasn’t that he was doing these things, but that tactics can cover the need for a dedicated healer.


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Regarding the metagaming subtopic, I would like to echo the idea that, even if we decree it metagaming to realize they will be surrounded by enemies if they run in because their allies' rolled poorly, it would not be metagaming after the first time or two they do so and this happens, leading them to the in-character decision to, if they are the first to act, strategically hold back until they see someone else rush in and coordinate their strike. This can take the form of either delaying or simply spending their first round taking a step back and using a ranged option or preparing to strike when the foes close within reach using a readied reaction.

I'm sure the data is coming in fairly strong regarding the necessity of clerics by now, but I would like to throw out there that our Bard-Monk recently changed her class to Monk-Bard, losing access to Soothe (the only healing magic in the party) in the process. The reduction of in-combat healing has been noted, but not insurmountable, and the same character being now a Master of Medicine has more than made up for any needed healing out-of-combat. Additionally she recently took Battle Medicine for emergency healing and to make up for the fact that nobody in the party ever buys or uses potions.


How can it be metagaming?
The rogue knows that they are the first of their group charging in, and that's a thing they really should have learned to avoid if they have survived so far.

By the way, even in PF1 (we were level 7 or 8 I think) we had our tankiest martial roll the highest initiative of the group and charge the boss: he went from full HP to dead before he could even attack once.
So, tactics like that sometimes just suck, regardless of the rules system or the availability of healers.


We found that when in doubt just let the enemy spend his actions to close the distance.*

*depending on the amount of ranged enemies in relation to the ranged abilities of your group.


I used grouped initative and it is 100% an option for the GM in pf2e "the GM could roll once for the group as a whole and have them take their turns within the group in any order."

While it can make group combats dangerous it is just so much faster than rolling 12 times for foes. I have all their modifiers in mind and can rattle through their actions quicker with relevant dice already in hand.

I run very fast combats though.

Party still hasn't needed a cleric, even if a dedicated healer would have made some scenarios easier. Other scenarios were easier becaue of the options the party has available because they have classes other than a healer cleric available.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I do single roll deviated initiative for groups. It let's me resolve initiative with less rolls while still giving space for alternation.

Eg an enemy group has +8 perception, there are 4 of them. I roll a 14 giving the first creature an init of 22. I then alternate adding or subtracting 2 to get a total set of initiatives of 18, 20,22 and 24. This is fast but preserves opportunity for back and forth.


Malk_Content wrote:

I do single roll deviated initiative for groups. It let's me resolve initiative with less rolls while still giving space for alternation.

Eg an enemy group has +8 perception, there are 4 of them. I roll a 14 giving the first creature an init of 22. I then alternate adding or subtracting 2 to get a total set of initiatives of 18, 20,22 and 24. This is fast but preserves opportunity for back and forth.

Y'know, I had never thought to try that. That's a good idea.


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

I used grouped initative and it is 100% an option for the GM in pf2e "the GM could roll once for the group as a whole and have them take their turns within the group in any order."

While it can make group combats dangerous it is just so much faster than rolling 12 times for foes. I have all their modifiers in mind and can rattle through their actions quicker with relevant dice already in hand.

I run very fast combats though.

Party still hasn't needed a cleric, even if a dedicated healer would have made some scenarios easier. Other scenarios were easier becaue of the options the party has available because they have classes other than a healer cleric available.

I also run fast combats, but I do this by pre-rolling init for every enemy the players can concievably encounter while prepping and noting it next to their stat block.


I am confused why delaying your turn to go after your enemy is metagaming. Holding the stronger position and forcing your enemy to move first is only a bad idea when they have weapons capable of taking you out before you get to counter. Wasting an action to move forward is often reckless and a bad tactical choice. It is PF1 where initiative was the game decider because spell casters we’re capable of destroying entire parties with one turn.

Often time in PF2 the better tactic is having the whole party delay to let the monsters move once or even twice to you, often requiring double moves to try to flank, and then mobbing one of them until it’s dead on the party’s Turn, as long as no one is left in “gets mobbed” back. Group initiative really isn’t that big a deal because both sides could basically do it tactically by the rules anyway.


Unicore wrote:

I am confused why delaying your turn to go after your enemy is metagaming. Holding the stronger position and forcing your enemy to move first is only a bad idea when they have weapons capable of taking you out before you get to counter. Wasting an action to move forward is often reckless and a bad tactical choice. It is PF1 where initiative was the game decider because spell casters we’re capable of destroying entire parties with one turn.

Often time in PF2 the better tactic is having the whole party delay to let the monsters move once or even twice to you, often requiring double moves to try to flank, and then mobbing one of them until it’s dead on the party’s Turn, as long as no one is left in “gets mobbed” back. Group initiative really isn’t that big a deal because both sides could basically do it tactically by the rules anyway.

I think they consider it metagaming to know their party member's relative position to the monster's init. Delaying if the party member is likely to go second, vs. rushing in if they know their party member will go before the monster.

I disagree with that, but table variation and all that.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Megistone wrote:
How can it be metagaming?

How is acting like you know precisely when the enemy's turn is going to be at the start of an encounter NOT metagaming?


I mean, I can see both sides of the "delaying your action is metagaming." Personally, though, I feel like it's pretty established that a seasoned fighter would only move with his group, rather than charging alone, not knowing if his group is on the same page as him.

Where each table draws the line at metagaming varies though. By these same metrics, at what point is delaying your action in any way NOT seen as metagaming?


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Ravingdork wrote:
Megistone wrote:
How can it be metagaming?
How is acting like you know precisely when the enemy's turn is going to be at the start of an encounter NOT metagaming?

I understand your point. But that's not what we are suggesting. We are just saying: Don't charge if you are alone. Either wait for your allies and make a coordinate charge or wait for the monsters to come to you (and to know their initiative rolls).

Waiting being either delay or use range/spell options.


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The decision to force the enemy to make the first move and then respond to the tactical situation they create is a heavily employed tactic in literature, and smart fighting, especially in a world where stabbing someone until they are dead almost never happens from quick movement and a single strike action.


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I can feel that this is getting a little off topic, but to bring it back to the cleric and the necessity of in-combat healing, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the expectation for reckless behavior on the part of the PCs does make in-combat healing more of a necessity than a luxury.

The game is far more punishing of tactical mistakes than PF1 because your ability to count on incredibly defenses and magic to dominate the battlefield are much more limited.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Megistone wrote:
How can it be metagaming?
How is acting like you know precisely when the enemy's turn is going to be at the start of an encounter NOT metagaming?

I understand your point. But that's not what we are suggesting. We are just saying: Don't charge if you are alone. Either wait for your allies and make a coordinate charge or wait for the monsters to come to you (and to know their initiative rolls).

Waiting being either delay or use range/spell options.

What you're suggesting sounds totally reasonable to me.

Liberty's Edge

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

For what it's worth, there's a distinction here in what it means to be a healer that is significant in PF2 and did not exist in PF1. This might be relevant to the differences in perspective if it's not something a PF1 veteran is taking into account.

In PF1, you had three categories of healers: tier 1 were the channelers, the clerics and the life oracles. Generally, a tier 1 healer can keep an entire group going on their own, for both in and out of combat healing. Tier 2 was the group of "can cast cure light wounds" classes: other oracles, bards, druids, witches, etc., with paladins and rangers sort of a lower subtier. For these healers, keeping an entire group going was difficult, if not necessarily impossible, and you probably would want to double up in the party if that was at all an option. Tier 3 was basically everyone else.

In PF2, though, there are five tiers: clerics with healing fonts are tier 1, but so are divine sorcerers, because both have castings of heal coming out their ears; in addition, you could make a pretty strong case for primal sorcerers and occult spontaneous casters here as well. Tier 2 is druids, thanks to focus-spell healing and prepped heals, and alchemists who focus on having elixirs of life at the ready. Tier 3 is a Medicine-focused skill user, one keeping Medicine at close to max proficiency and with at least Battle Medicine if not also Ward Medic and Continual Recovery. Tier 4 is good-aligned champions, with only focus-based healing. Tier 5 is still everyone else.

The big difference as I see it is that the breakline for a single character being able to keep a whole party going in and out of combat is at tier 3 rather than tier 1. That seems to be the general consensus here, as well as best matching my own gameplay experience. There's also the fact that the difference between tiers 2 and 3 is one of approach (class features vs skills) rather than effectiveness. In the group I mentioned above, the one with both the druid and the bard, I've actually seen the two of them get in each other's way by both planning to heal someone who needed it when the other had planned to make that their next action. If anything, druid + bard is too much healing - though I rather suspect my players are fine with the redundancy.

Sovereign Court

I guess the metagamey part would be if you used your OOC knowledge of how well the other players rolled on initiative.

But "I delay until at least one other member of the party is also ready to go" would be fine.


Garretmander wrote:
]I also run fast combats, but I do this by pre-rolling init for every enemy the players can concievably encounter while prepping and noting it next to their stat block.

I also do this, i´m doing Age of Ashes, and i pre roll the initiative of the encounters, one for each monster.


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Demonknight wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
]I also run fast combats, but I do this by pre-rolling init for every enemy the players can concievably encounter while prepping and noting it next to their stat block.

I also do this, i´m doing Age of Ashes, and i pre roll the initiative of the encounters, one for each monster.

I'm also running Age of Ashes, but I use Combat Manager to run fights. I preload the expected encounters and when fights come up I just roll a d20 for each foe, plug in the values for the PCs, sort them all and then we're off to the races. It doesn't take long at all to get fights started this way, less than a minute at the table I'd estimate, no matter how many foes with individual initiative scores they face.


Garretmander wrote:
I also run fast combats, but I do this by pre-rolling init for every enemy the players can concievably encounter while prepping and noting it next to their stat block.

Ah, I don't run on rails that much and having to preroll and note every enemy per encounter when I don't even know what skill will be used in some cases is just a hassle for me.

I have enough prep to do as it is and never enough time for it.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

PF2 specifically makes it to where you don't have to have a cleric. My group made it thru Fall of Plaguestone (barely) without a cleric. And that's a rough module.
Debuffs are huge. A -1 or -2 to an enemy's AC isn't just a chance to hit it more easily, it's a chance to crit it more easily. Hit & run tactics. Endless cantrips.
PF2 is definitely not PF1. If you try to play like it's PF1 with a 3-action economy, you will cry.


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ANother very important factor for debuffs are the higher chance of landing another attack, sometimes this is even more important than increasing the first attack's higher chance.

My party is on Age of Ashes right now and we're in a point where we get a severe encounter once per day, which makes them very tough fights in the numbers department rather than resources, so it's easier to see the importance of some buffs and debuffs when the math is stacked against you.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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You don't need a cleric unless you have an aggressive party or an aggressive GM. Usually just having someone with Medicine, a few elixirs, and maybe someone with the heal or soothe spell will do just fine.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

I guess the metagamey part would be if you used your OOC knowledge of how well the other players rolled on initiative.

But "I delay until at least one other member of the party is also ready to go" would be fine.

That first still seems really weak metagaming, unless you know it is literally one or two Init ticks after you and you gamble on NPCs not beating them in modifier, and/or are also metagaming by knowing the exact Init modifier of the monster/NPC in question can't possibly achieve as high of a result even on a Nat20.

There is a difference between metagaming and playing with normal understanding of the game's mechanics. Knowing that a 5' Step doesn't provoke while a Stride up to your movement speed CAN provoke AoO isn't metagaming, it's why those exist as distinct actions. Same for knowing a 3rd attack at -10 MAP has low chances of success and even mediocre other actions may be stronger tactical choice.


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My Saturday night game ran with only the rogue's medicine skills until level 9. At which point they got some supplemental magical healing in a new party member, but it's the medicine checks that still do most of the party healing.


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To be fair I haven't read the whole thread, but your conclusion, that clerics are nesscesary,isn't supported by your argument. All you have argued is that they are the most optimal healer, not that you must have a cleric in that role.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think that what we should be considering, is healing as it relates to an abstract "Overall Contribution."

Damage, Healing, Buffing, De-Buffing, Hit-Taking are all things that contribute to the group's victory overall, and characters (in combat as a context) are designed to contribute in each area to varying degrees.

Every PC is worth a certain amount of exp to the encounter (20 exp in a moderate encounter), so their "Overall Contribution" needs to meet and surpass what their presence adds to encounters- optimization is basically the art of maximizing the contribution to encounter worth ratio.

A powerful healer does this by counteracting damage inflicted against the party, a powerful damage dealer does this by shortening encounters, a powerful hit taker absorbs attacks that would have threatened the party, a debuffer reduces the enemy's power... all of these things functionally contribute to victory, but in different ways- a perfectly balanced party might be imagined to have equal amounts, or at least percentages skewed only by the relative power of each type of contribution as determined by factors in the system.

(As an aside, the relative power of each contribution types, and the builds that maximize each, is what determines the 'meta' it seems like 2e has a well balanced one, which is to say one in which there is a great deal of variety at even high levels of play)

For this thread, I think that the takeaway is that a dedicated magical healer is one means of yielding a high contribution, but that a character that yields less healing, but more of the other areas could be just as good for the party overall.

Now theoretically following this logic, this should extend to 'no healing' and it should follow that enough damage, control, and other elements should be a substitute. However I would say that the way the game is designed, none of the other roles can get powerful enough to say, lock down enemies so they can do no damage with consistency, or alpha strike so hard the enemies don't get enough turns to potentially down people, this is exacerbated by the scaling nature of encounters- some very difficult encounters may be long and drawn out even with the very best in damage.

Because of this scaling I would argue that basically all combat roles have diminishing returns, where the first bit you have grows in usefulness very quickly, but then peters out past a certain threshold (even if you can't reach that threshold in the current game) this diminishing returns prevent the roles from replacing each other.

Ultimately, dedicated in combat healing is not necessary (but can be powerful) while reliable out of combat healing probably *is* necessary (and designed to be achieved in any party)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:

Are you perchance trying to fight using PF1 tactics of "I walk up the enemy and full attack until they die"? Because if yes, no amount of healing will help you. PF2 plays differently from PF1, you can't expect the healers to keep if you fight that way.

Cleric's thing is that they allow you to be more reckless, but the baseline of PF2 fights, especially boss fights, isn't "win the battle of attrition" like it was in PF1, but "mitigate damage by debuffs/mobility/advantage of numbers".

my party is at 11 going through the age of ashes ap and still no cleric but are doing fine

they do have 3 heal tyeps in a bomber alch, a druid and a paladin but none are particularly heal focused

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
If you’re before everyone else and all the enemies are after you but before your allies, don’t rush in. Personally, I wouldn’t waste a spell saving you (though I have a caster who will for me, but I’d change if the group dynamic changed).
I know a few groups that would consider that metagaming, especially on the first round.

and?

:)

seriously though combats are a tactical exercise , so some tactics are a good idea particularly if you don't want to get tpked :


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Quandary wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

I guess the metagamey part would be if you used your OOC knowledge of how well the other players rolled on initiative.

But "I delay until at least one other member of the party is also ready to go" would be fine.

That first still seems really weak metagaming, unless you know it is literally one or two Init ticks after you and you gamble on NPCs not beating them in modifier, and/or are also metagaming by knowing the exact Init modifier of the monster/NPC in question can't possibly achieve as high of a result even on a Nat20.

There is a difference between metagaming and playing with normal understanding of the game's mechanics. Knowing that a 5' Step doesn't provoke while a Stride up to your movement speed CAN provoke AoO isn't metagaming, it's why those exist as distinct actions. Same for knowing a 3rd attack at -10 MAP has low chances of success and even mediocre other actions may be stronger tactical choice.

As a GM, for years now I always reveal monster's place in the initiative count the first time it acts. So my players don't know exactly when their enemies will act. (I also roll individual initiative for monsters, too, starting with 2nd Edition.)


The Rot Grub wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

I guess the metagamey part would be if you used your OOC knowledge of how well the other players rolled on initiative.

But "I delay until at least one other member of the party is also ready to go" would be fine.

That first still seems really weak metagaming, unless you know it is literally one or two Init ticks after you and you gamble on NPCs not beating them in modifier, and/or are also metagaming by knowing the exact Init modifier of the monster/NPC in question can't possibly achieve as high of a result even on a Nat20.

There is a difference between metagaming and playing with normal understanding of the game's mechanics. Knowing that a 5' Step doesn't provoke while a Stride up to your movement speed CAN provoke AoO isn't metagaming, it's why those exist as distinct actions. Same for knowing a 3rd attack at -10 MAP has low chances of success and even mediocre other actions may be stronger tactical choice.

As a GM, for years now I always reveal monster's place in the initiative count the first time it acts. So my players don't know exactly when their enemies will act. (I also roll individual initiative for monsters, too, starting with 2nd Edition.)

Which is fine. As the party member who rolled high, seeing the rest of my party rolling low, I am probably better of delaying my turn until the enemy moves or the rest of my party is going to be able to follow my next action.

People saying the game breaks with grouped initiative are ignoring that PCs can group their initiative as well, and that it is usually the strongest tactic in PF2, since most of the ways of getting killed quickly (for players and enemies) involve moving forward without support. Maybe the argument is that GMs should roll dice for groups of monsters, but roll as many 20s as their are monsters and then just take the low roll.

Shadow Lodge

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PF2 is designed far to the gamist side of the spectrum. It assumes and requires a certain level of metagaming in order to play. It is not a game where you can just sit down and play, not knowing the rules (there are many rpgs where you can do that, that are designed for the player to describe their actions and the gm tells them what dice to roll). PF2 expects players to use a stride action to move up to the door, a manipulate action to open the door, and a strike action to throw their axe at the goblin. Everything very defined and metagamy. Every combat round you are expected to make metagame decisions of how best to spend your 3 actions, and all the "tactics" of the game are based off understanding the meta.

Initiative clumps have always been a problem in every turn based game. For initiative in the pf1 home game I run, I have taken to not really rolling for monsters. I just have players roll, then add the npcs in spread out in between, based on their' initiative modifiers. So high initiative enemies go near the top and low ones go to the bottom.

Back on topic, my anecdotal experience so far has mostly been in parties without a cleric, but numerous classes are able to heal. So the cleric is not necessary, however healing in combat does seem far more viable/required in pf2 than it was in pf1. It is not even remotely possible to get your defenses up to the untouchable levels that you could do in pf1. Your party will take damage every fight, so some sort of healing is absolutely required.
At the current state, it's still difficult to tell how things will play out. Players are still feeling out how to effectively play the game. Gms are still figuring out how to run monsters. Writers are still figuring out how to effectively balance scenarios. I've played 3 pfs scenarios, the first one I was instakilled by an enemy critting me for over double my hp (we were all level 1 and they had included a level 3 monster). The second one the enemies were all level -1 and easy fights, but the skill challenge DCs were so high we had to roll 19-20 to make them. So, at least for the group I play with, it's still much to early to know what the meta balance will be.


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

As it seems some people are using different definitions of "metagaming" I thought that perhaps the GMG's definition of metagaming might help get us all on the same page.

Glossary Entry for metagaming: A player using knowledge they have but their character lacks to inform their character’s decisions and actions in the game.

Furthermore, the book offers the following expanded definition and GM advice:

Knowledge the players have that their characters don’t is called “metagame knowledge,” and using it to influence characters’ decisions is called “metagaming.” Some metagaming results naturally from play and is wise to disregard. The wizard aiming a fireball precisely enough to include three enemies in the very edge of the spell’s area is probably unrealistic, but isn’t that disruptive to play. Things get more questionable if the player says, “That’s a rakshasa, so don’t use divine spells against it,” regardless of whether their character has encountered a rakshasa before or identified the creature. Each group is different, and the assumption of what the characters know varies. If metagaming starts to get out of hand, you might just use some gentle reminders, like, “I’m not sure your character’s aware of that,” or, “Can you explain your character’s thinking when they do that?” If the problem persists, see the guidelines mentioned in the Problematic Players section on page 31.

Silver Crusade

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gnoams wrote:
PF2 expects players to use a stride action to move up to the door, a manipulate action to open the door, and a strike action to throw their axe at the goblin.

Whereas in P1 you used a Move Action to move to the door, a Move Action to open the door, and that was it for this round.


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^ Sure, but regardless of particularities, both are examples of crunchy, gamist type of game assuming player recognition of mechanics.

Anyhow, I think there is fundamental distinction that not everybody might be making between "mechanics aware" and "metagaming".

A player might remember stuff about Rakshasas that the character doesn't necessarily.
That is "metagaming" because the character COULD know that info if they passed relevant Knowledge check, etc.
It is the type of info that in-world character could either know or not know, depending on particularities of character/actions/situation.
Thus it's abusing player knowledge to bypass those constraints of in-world character knowledge and reasonable tactics based on that.
(different groups may still be comfortable with certain level of this, but this is at least "metagaming" as such)

A player knowing how to effectively use AoE positioning to best effect is using player understanding of mechanics,
but isn't a particular piece of in-world info the character could know or could not know: it's above in-world considerations,
or perhaps better said: there is no mechanical distinction between a character knowing or not knowing that info, it's just assumed available.
So this isn't metagaming any more than knowing difference of Stride and Step re: avoiding AoOs (which may both be equal to 5').
This is better described as being "mechanics aware" and playing a crunchy, gamist sort of game as it is meant to be played.

Back to what prompted this, it seems reasonable that in 1st round of combat there is meant to be uncertainty of Init order.
Various table practices can reduce that, but it seems reasonable that this is intended to be part of game assumption.
So a fair awareness of mechanics (not specific in-world info) means it's a forseeable risk that enemies may act before allies.
(if you know ally has high Init modifier, you can assume they won't act absolutely last, but that is gamble that can be wrong)
Tactics to avoid a bad situation from that are no less reasonable than using 5' step to avoid AoO or precisely aiming AoE spell.
After 1st round, Init order is known, and mechanically taking that into account is IMHO totally fair - also for enemy monster/NPCs.

A more controversial issue might be how "recognizable" is a Delay or Ready action? I think it's fair to say they are recognizable,
although in case of Ready, exactly what they will do is not always clear (i.e. the target of an attack, or exact spell for casters).
I think if Readying a weapon attack it's fairly clear that is what you are doing, but it's precise trigger/target isn't clear.

Sovereign Court

gnoams wrote:
PF2 is designed far to the gamist side of the spectrum. It assumes and requires a certain level of metagaming in order to play. It is not a game where you can just sit down and play, not knowing the rules (there are many rpgs where you can do that, that are designed for the player to describe their actions and the gm tells them what dice to roll). PF2 expects players to use a stride action to move up to the door, a manipulate action to open the door, and a strike action to throw their axe at the goblin. Everything very defined and metagamy. Every combat round you are expected to make metagame decisions of how best to spend your 3 actions, and all the "tactics" of the game are based off understanding the meta.

I don't think the word "metagamey" is a good fit here - not in the way the word metagame is normally used on this forum.

But I catch your drift, the game is very "defined". Actions fit under a heading somewhere. But I disagree that it requires deep learning; I think the CRB just buries the lead a bit. If they'd opened up with:

You get three actions per turn, one reaction, and you may be able to take some free actions as well. There are some basic actions that anyone can take, like walking, attacking and doing stuff with objects. The most important basic actions are:
* Interact do something with an object, like picking it up, putting it in your pocket or taking it out, drawing or sheathing a weapon, opening or closing a door, or drinking a potion.
* Strike you attack someone with your body or with a weapon.
* Stride you move up to your speed.
* Step you carefully move 5ft, and this movement never triggers reactions.

You can sort of imagine these actions to be the big four buttons on a video game controller. If you understand those, you're already able to do a lot of things in the game. It's unfortunate they got put so far in the back of the book.


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So, what i'm getting here. Not so much Necessity of a Cleric as there is a Necessity of a Bard/occult caster? to buff/debuff?


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Zengaio wrote:

So, what i'm getting here. Not so much Necessity of a Cleric as there is a Necessity of a Bard/occult caster? to buff/debuff?

It's certainly nice, but I don't think that's entirely necessary either. I GM for a very damage focused party (Barbarian, Monk, Arcane Witch, Devil Sorcerer, and Cleric). The cleric is really the only one that doesn't deal damage primarily, and the only debuffing comes from the barbarian (demoralize) and monk (stun) oddly enough. They've been pretty capable so far.


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Not to join in on this necro-train, but...

Zengaio wrote:

So, what i'm getting here. Not so much Necessity of a Cleric as there is a Necessity of a Bard/occult caster? to buff/debuff?

What you really need to do is manage combat in a way that reduces the damage you take. That means buffing/debuffing, Striking and Striding away, Readying actions to move away, tripping, stunning, using spells that absorb damage, etc. The onus of keeping someone alive is not longer just on one person, but a group effort to mitigate harm.


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Zengaio wrote:

So, what i'm getting here. Not so much Necessity of a Cleric as there is a Necessity of a Bard/occult caster? to buff/debuff?

My party's victory (Tiger-Style Monk, Necromancy Wizard, Alchemist Bomber, Dex Dual-Wielding Ranger) against 4 encounters at once says differently, no need of a Cleric or a dedicated buffer/debuffer. The battle happened on Age of Ashes book 2, we thought throwing a fireball would help us and it did, but also got a lot of attention which prompted a s@!& ton of cultists to band together and fight us. Some of the encounters were weaker than normal but there were at least 2 Charau-ka with Barbarian abilities and stats (including a +20 to hit chance on our 22~26 AC) and a lot of damage.

It was a really tough fight and we weren't exactly rolling high as well (we even took a few crits), but only the Alchemist and Ranger got down in the end (and one level 5 NPC traveling with us).

Just to showcase that these two (Clerics and Bards) are great to have, but like everyone else, they're just options not necessities.

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