"Pathfinder 1.5" Musings


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Phantasmist wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

I noticed a bit of discussion on the fighter class on how it needs to change. I would like to know specifically what you would like to see.

Vote in the poll and leave a comment at the link.

Can't see the poll at all. Do I need to log in with either twitter or facebook?

The options were:

Fighters need to form weapons out of their minds (my thought: that would be a perfectly good archetype but should not be a defining feature)
Theme that gives it various class options (i.e. sorcerers bloodlines, wizards schools) (my thought: a nice idea, but would require us to come up with lots of other ideas to fill out the options)
Fighters need something else (answered in the comments below)
Keep it the way it is in the Core Rulebook
Fighters need area effect abilities (my thought: I think that should be an option for martials but it doesn't fix the narrative disparity issue)
Fighters need more to do outside of combat (my thought: yes, but what?)
Add a point system (i.e. monk ki points or magus's pool) (my thought: Fighters should be simple. They're the traditional choice for players who want a character with very few rules.)
Fighters need to be effective no matter what weapon they have (or even no weapon at all) (my thought: A somewhat good idea. Maybe the 'specialist in one weapon group' core fighter should be an archetype.)

Personally, I would like Fighters to have lots of skill points so they can do stuff outside of combat. I'd like there to be less of an incentive to dump Charisma (Charisma saving throws?) so they're not automatically bad at talking. I'd like spells to be less good at making skills obsolete. And I'd like martials in general not to be reliant on 'stand still and full attack'. D&D 5e has 'make your attacks at any point in your movement' and that seems to work fine.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Phantasmist wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

I noticed a bit of discussion on the fighter class on how it needs to change. I would like to know specifically what you would like to see.

Vote in the poll and leave a comment at the link.

Can't see the poll at all. Do I need to log in with either twitter or facebook?

The options were:

Fighters need to form weapons out of their minds (my thought: that would be a perfectly good archetype but should not be a defining feature)
Theme that gives it various class options (i.e. sorcerers bloodlines, wizards schools) (my thought: a nice idea, but would require us to come up with lots of other ideas to fill out the options)
Fighters need something else (answered in the comments below)
Keep it the way it is in the Core Rulebook
Fighters need area effect abilities (my thought: I think that should be an option for martials but it doesn't fix the narrative disparity issue)
Fighters need more to do outside of combat (my thought: yes, but what?)
Add a point system (i.e. monk ki points or magus's pool) (my thought: Fighters should be simple. They're the traditional choice for players who want a character with very few rules.)
Fighters need to be effective no matter what weapon they have (or even no weapon at all) (my thought: A somewhat good idea. Maybe the 'specialist in one weapon group' core fighter should be an archetype.)

Personally, I would like Fighters to have lots of skill points so they can do stuff outside of combat. I'd like there to be less of an incentive to dump Charisma (Charisma saving throws?) so they're not automatically bad at talking. I'd like spells to be less good at making skills obsolete. And I'd like martials in general not to be reliant on 'stand still and full attack'. D&D 5e has 'make your attacks at any point in your movement' and that seems to work fine.

Thanks for the information.

Fighters need to form weapons out of their minds
Sounds a little to supernatural for a fighter, but I could see an improvise weapon ability that would allow a fighter to make a weapon out of say a broken table leg.

Theme that gives it various class options.
The bonus feats and weapon/armor specialization already do this in a way (at least if I'm understanding it correctly). Just making these options better would be a big help.

Fighters need something else.
I would say the ability to toy with their opponent, My earlier comment about the staredown ability would be along these lines. That would be narrative control to a certain degree. Fixing the combat maneuver system would help in this regard too. For some reason I like the idea of the fighter being able to deny you (lock out) a certain action. Like say the hobgoblin wants to make a move towards the parties rogue for an attack, and the fighter says nope, not while I'm targeting you it's not happening. Sorry if I'm not making sense.

Fighters need more to do outside of combat.
A must is increasing skill points, fighter's should be a secondary skill monkey, in line with the ranger. Diplomacy, knowledge (local & world), sense motive, search & spot added to the class skill list are a must in my opinion.

Add a point system.
Not feeling it, sorry, but I just think it doesn't fit the fighter thematically.

Well that's my take if Dale is still reading.


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Melkiador wrote:
I think a “book” should probably be dropped entirely. PF1 suffered too much from issues of spacing and formatting. We’re living in the future. The rules should be all digital.

On the other hand, books don't crash, even if solar stormed.


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Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

I noticed a bit of discussion on the fighter class on how it needs to change. I would like to know specifically what you would like to see.

Vote in the poll and leave a comment at the link.

Voted for "Keep it the way it is in the Core Rulebook".

A fighter is in a party of ~4 player characters. It's totally fine if he covers only a fraction of the noncombat capabilities. I am opposed to the idea that everyone plays a Swiss Army knife. Leave the skilled people (bards, rogues etc.) some space. Trust them to do their job.

If you still want to combine a fighter's combat prowess AND skills / magic, you can have that, thanks to the options of 10 years of Pathfinder. It's not baked into the class, so you will have to spend character options on it. Powers should come at a price - classes like cleric and wizard are the real offenders here, with their broad and free / cheap access to new spells.

Further, it's good to have a class that barely spans 2 pages in the Core Rulebook. People not always want to choose a subtheme (like bloodline) or sandbox options (like revelations). Or deal with a point system (like ki) or spellcasting.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
On the other hand, books don't crash..

Fire.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Phantasmist wrote:
Well that's my take if Dale is still reading.

Yep. Still reading. I should have posted the poll options. Thank you Matthew Downie.


SheepishEidolon wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

I noticed a bit of discussion on the fighter class on how it needs to change. I would like to know specifically what you would like to see.

Vote in the poll and leave a comment at the link.

Voted for "Keep it the way it is in the Core Rulebook".

{. . .}
If you still want to combine a fighter's combat prowess AND skills / magic, you can have that, thanks to the options of 10 years of Pathfinder. It's not baked into the class, so you will have to spend character options on it. Powers should come at a price - classes like cleric and wizard are the real offenders here, with their broad and free / cheap access to new spells.

Further, it's good to have a class that barely spans 2 pages in the Core Rulebook. People not always want to choose a subtheme (like bloodline) or sandbox options (like revelations). Or deal with a point system (like ki) or spellcasting.

If you're trying to get that onto a Fighter, you have to read WAY MORE than 2 pages in the Core Rulebook, and assemble a whole bunch of stuff from several books and/or several places in the online repositories, and you have to know where to find it. Such options also exist for the spellcasters, but they are nowhere nearly as essential for these classes to be awesome.

Melkiador wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
On the other hand, books don't crash..
Fire.

That also hoses electronics and electronic/optical storage media just fine.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
On the other hand, books don't crash..
Fire.

That also hoses electronics and electronic/optical storage media just fine.

Cloud


SheepishEidolon wrote:

Voted for "Keep it the way it is in the Core Rulebook".

A fighter is in a party of ~4 player characters. It's totally fine if he covers only a fraction of the noncombat capabilities. I am opposed to the idea that everyone plays a Swiss Army knife. Leave the skilled people (bards, rogues etc.) some space. Trust them to do their job.

If you still want to combine a fighter's combat prowess AND skills / magic, you can have that, thanks to the options of 10 years of Pathfinder. It's not baked into the class, so you will have to spend character options on it. Powers should come at a price - classes like cleric and wizard are the real offenders here, with their broad and free / cheap access to new spells.

With the Core Rulebook, every other class is more useful than Fighters out of combat. Almost all of them are more useful in combat too.

I'm fine with the Fighter being simple, but let's say we gave them the same number of skill points as Rangers. (Rangers will still be better at magic, animal companions, wilderness survival, etc, so this doesn't seem unbalanced to me.)

We give the Fighter class skills in areas like stealth, perception, leadership, athletics, crafting/engineering, riding, knowledge about certain types of enemies, and first aid. (But not: arcane knowledge, lockpicking, sleight of hand, bluffing or performance.)

This version of the Fighter no longer seems like he'd be a bad choice to work as a bodyguard or soldier. He can spot ambushes! He can fend for himself!

Bards would still own their space. They get buffing and bluffing and spellcasting and lore abilities.

It would make having a Core Rogue less useful (even though this Fighter is no good at handling complicated traps) but I'm assuming the Rogue will get some fixes too. Or just use the Unchained one.


Matthew Downie wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:

Voted for "Keep it the way it is in the Core Rulebook".

A fighter is in a party of ~4 player characters. It's totally fine if he covers only a fraction of the noncombat capabilities. I am opposed to the idea that everyone plays a Swiss Army knife. Leave the skilled people (bards, rogues etc.) some space. Trust them to do their job.

If you still want to combine a fighter's combat prowess AND skills / magic, you can have that, thanks to the options of 10 years of Pathfinder. It's not baked into the class, so you will have to spend character options on it. Powers should come at a price - classes like cleric and wizard are the real offenders here, with their broad and free / cheap access to new spells.

With the Core Rulebook, every other class is more useful than Fighters out of combat. Almost all of them are more useful in combat too.

I'm fine with the Fighter being simple, but let's say we gave them the same number of skill points as Rangers. (Rangers will still be better at magic, animal companions, wilderness survival, etc, so this doesn't seem unbalanced to me.)

We give the Fighter class skills in areas like stealth, perception, leadership, athletics, crafting/engineering, riding, knowledge about certain types of enemies, and first aid. (But not: arcane knowledge, lockpicking, sleight of hand, bluffing or performance.)

This version of the Fighter no longer seems like he'd be a bad choice to work as a bodyguard or soldier. He can spot ambushes! He can fend for himself!

Bards would still own their space. They get buffing and bluffing and spellcasting and lore abilities.

It would make having a Core Rogue less useful (even though this Fighter is no good at handling complicated traps) but I'm assuming the Rogue will get some fixes too. Or just use the Unchained one.

Your wandering closer and closer to my suggestion - eliminate both Fighter and Rogue, and put in an enhanced Slayer into core, that can fill either role depending on build choices.


Your fighter/rogue replacement idea is mostly just the vigilante without the secret identity.


Melkiador wrote:
Your fighter/rogue replacement idea is mostly just the vigilante without the secret identity.

You could be right; I never really got into the Vigilante class. Although I understand there are a lot more ways to build a Vigilante than fighter or rogue...it's got some 6 level caster archetypes.


Well the talents is what really sell a Vigilante, and the social talents round it out.

Which is why giving the Fighter more out of combat options would go a long way to make them better. Combat wise they are fine.


I still think all classes should have at least 4+int skill points and all skills are class skills.

I agree that many feats have too many requirements. The worse offender to me are the feats in Ultimate Intrigue.

I agree, the fighter could really use some out combat options.

Would giving a fighter 6+int skill points really be all that unbalancing?


It would not be unbalancing. They still wouldn't be the best specialist at anything except maybe str based skills. Dropping the AWT option to increase skill points might be an idea if you went as far as 6+int though, they'd have enough (and could still scrape up another point via AAT if they really wanted).


AWT and AAT really do give a huge number of skill ranks. Between the two at level 20 Fighter, they give up to +20*8 (+160). The only ability that gives more is the Bard's Versatile Performance (and only if well chosen). And a lv 20 Fighter that planned things correctly can have +100 skill ranks, and use Weapon Spirit to get +60 on demand.

The fact that Fighters can have 11 skills fully maxed using only 1 single feat and 10 Int is why I think the problem is people not looking properly at the Fighter. A Fighter that doesn't dump Int can easily get 12-13 skills maxed.

******************

* P.S. I do think Fighters needs more out of combat, but I dont think they necessarily need more skills. Looking at Vigilante, Ranger, etc. is a good starting point. Flavorful out of combat abilities > more skill ranks.


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The advanced training options for fighters are more like a “patch”. It’d be nice if the class didn’t require the patch in the first place.


I agree, but its a really good patch that does most of what people want to add to Fighters.

You can't talk about changing Fighter without also talking about the advanced training options.

Dark Archive

Melkiador wrote:

I think the strong control spells could work more like poisons or diseases, where you have an onset time and maybe secondary saves.

For instance, Flesh to Stone might start with a slow effect and a save to end further effects. If you fail the save, the next round you gain a nauseated state and another save to prevent further effects. If you fail the next save, then you are petrified. Different spells could have different onsets and ramp up times.

This general idea should help lower the "rocket tag" aspect of the game.

I like this idea because it reminds me of the movie Willow, where a person being turned to stone sees it affecting her hand first, and it progresses up her arm before she counters it. It gives a sort of progressive vibe and less of an all or nothing vibe, and I very much like the idea of staged effects, where a spell that is saved against isn't necessarily an entirely wasted turn, since it may still be landing a lesser debuff than the best ever debuff (like dazzled instead of blind, or sickened instead of nauseated, or slowed instead of paralyzed or petrified).

(I feel the same way about combat maneuvers for melee classes. There should be some degrees of success there as well, so that a risky maneuver isn't necessarily a total waste of a round if it 'fails.' Some sort of lesser effect on a 'partial success' could be neat.)

The other magical tweak I've thought about for a long time is that magic should be combat affecting, but less world affecting. Yes to PCs using dimension door and blink, no to PCs (or high level NPCs) casually teleport. Yes to cure wounds and even breath of life, no to easy access to raise dead or resurrect messing with story assumptions like the deaths of kings or fights over succession or whatever. It's great for affecting stuff right here, right now, but over years or great distances, not so much.

I first came to this realization when reading about the 'True Rituals' of the Scarred Lands setting for 3.X, but later the same sort of 'mega-magic' that existed outside of the traditional spell lists and wasn't something a PC could just throw off, but required the resources of an entire cult or church or kingdom to pull off, and thought this would be a great place to gate off spells like resurrect and teleport, that so massively impact the setting and it's logistics after a certain level. Raise dead would still be available, but it's something an entire church or cult or nation-state would have to gather resources to cast, and those resources could include whatever rare mcguffins the game master wants to include, to keep their hand firmly on the wheel.

I don't mind those options existing, I just don't think they belong on the spell list alongside fireball and polymorph.


Temperans wrote:

AWT and AAT really do give a huge number of skill ranks. Between the two at level 20 Fighter, they give up to +20*8 (+160). The only ability that gives more is the Bard's Versatile Performance (and only if well chosen). And a lv 20 Fighter that planned things correctly can have +100 skill ranks, and use Weapon Spirit to get +60 on demand.

The fact that Fighters can have 11 skills fully maxed using only 1 single feat and 10 Int is why I think the problem is people not looking properly at the Fighter. A Fighter that doesn't dump Int can easily get 12-13 skills maxed.

******************

* P.S. I do think Fighters needs more out of combat, but I dont think they necessarily need more skills. Looking at Vigilante, Ranger, etc. is a good starting point. Flavorful out of combat abilities > more skill ranks.

Bear in mind you have to actually take the weapon groups you're picking out for those skill ranks. To get that many you have to burn 3 of your AWT feat options, so at 5, 10 and 15. That also means you aren't getting any other AWT options til 17 and 20.

You can get a lot of skills yes but its not like it doesn't come with significant opportunity cost in other areas.


^You can use feats to get some (or even all, depending upon the total number you want) of the Advanced Weapon Training options you want.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^You can use feats to get some (or even all, depending upon the total number you want) of the Advanced Weapon Training options you want.

You can only take that feat once for every 5 fighter levels you have.

edit: Or i guess as a bonus feat if you happen to be a weapon master fighter, but that archetype only allows one group to be chosen for AWT, which means you get 4 bonus skills max.


^Like I said, depends upon how many you want. Of course, I would still rather replace the clunky mechanic of Versatile Training (and Versatile Performance on Bards, for that matter, although at least there it makes some thematic sense) with more skill ranks per level to begin with (especially on Fighter, since you start with so few and need to go up several levels before you can start the Versatile Training process, unless you do something weird like go for Elven Battle Style and pump your Intelligence).


The point im making is that the 11/12 skill points per level fighter is generally an exaggeration and even when you build that way you dont get there til almost the end of your adventuring career. Yes its possible but you're burning a LOT of resources to do so and in a way thats probably going to significantly impact your combat ability.

Its a cute trick, but honestly the weapon trick feat does more for you.


Yes it is absurd to get that many skills using the advance training, since it means cutting down on power.

My point was that Advance training really does a lot to help Fighters, to the point they can have the most skill ranks in the game. Versatile performance copies the bonus, it does not give skill ranks.

So, people should look at it and other similar abilities that classes have (Ex: wild empathy), and not just focus on the combat abilities. Which is part of the problem, combat is given too much value, but its never enough.


Temperans wrote:

Yes it is absurd to get that many skills using the advance training, since it means cutting down on power.

My point was that Advance training really does a lot to help Fighters, to the point they can have the most skill ranks in the game. Versatile performance copies the bonus, it does not give skill ranks.

So, people should look at it and other similar abilities that classes have (Ex: wild empathy), and not just focus on the combat abilities. Which is part of the problem, combat is given too much value, but its never enough.

Skill unlocks for everyone and skill focus or other skill boosting feats count as ranks for the purposes of those skill unlocks IMO.


Skill unlocks mostly never come up. There's about three that might, starting with intimidate because it has a combat use. Not wanting to tread on toes made them mostly a waste of paper.


The set of unlocks for each skill seem to be worth a good feat when taken as a whole. The problem is that the benefits are spread out over 20 levels and sometimes don't get to the really good part till level 15 or 20.

At the least, I think each step of the skill unlock should be moved up 5 levels. So, level 5 benefit moves to level 1, level 10 moves to level 5 and so on. You might even go more extreme in stepping this up, but I think that's a good place to start.


I disagree entirely. The problem with skill unlocks is that they're gated behind a feat or a specific class, and the good parts dont come online til level 15 or 20 for most. Standardizing actual GOOD effects from heroic level investment in mundane skills raises the floor for martials without unduly benefiting primary casters as they tend to have more potent spell answers for what skill unlocks provide.


avr wrote:
Skill unlocks mostly never come up. There's about three that might, starting with intimidate because it has a combat use. Not wanting to tread on toes made them mostly a waste of paper.

To be fair, Skill Unlocks are roughly on par with typical feats in that regard. Most feats aren't particularly good either, or are only ever taken in very specific kinds of campaigns or on very specific kinds of builds. Skill unlocks aren't much different; there are a couple gems, a bunch of situational options, and most of them are just filler that you would never taken on a PC but a GM might slap on an NPC.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alright, I guess I got to post something as well, given that I was definitely hoping for a Pathfinder 1.5 for 2E and got something I did not like instead.

My main bugbears in the game:

- High-level gaming (i.e. everything after level 10 for me) challenges feel trivial compared to the lower levels. Bonus stacking becomes pretty absurd and things like rocket tag pretty common. I heavily need to edit the encounters and stat blocks of the enemies, depending on how powerful a particular party turns out in a particular campaign. Currently in Shattered Star, all enemies range from 300 to 600 HP, something I normally don't have had to do in previous campaigns.

- Another bug bear of mine, stat boosters being mandatory, has already been resolved with the ABP. That should be made core, so that people can concentrate on purchasing more interesting items than "another +2" booster.

- At the same time magic item crafting needs to be overhauled to not unbalance the campaign with cheap magic items. Ultimate Campaign already did that as an optional rule, which I tend to use in all of my campaigns (still salty that we weren't given a lore reason for that, though ^^).

- Some skills need to be consolidated, like Swim, Climb and the Jump aspect of Acrobatics being rolled into an Athletics skill (like 2E, Starfinder and D&D 5E did). Also, Background skills from Pathfinder Unchained.

- Nerfs to archery. ^^

- Monster abilities should be introduced to deal with the way too unfavorable action economy solo bosses face against a standard party of four.

So, the big thing for me which hasn't actually been adressed in 1E with some optional rule is bonus stacking. In almost every single of the campaigns I've run the last five or eight years, there have been characters to cast Haste, Heroism and Blessing of Fervor on the party. I already prohibit more then three magic buffs from other characters (except class abilities like Inspire Courage), but putting the right buffs on the party still puts them way ahead of the CR appropiate opponents they face (i.e. the vast majority of things they'll encounter in an adventure path).

The same goes with DC stacking for spellcasters or skill stacking for Rogues (trivializing traps, always a bummer for a GM).

So, what's the solution? I think a complete removal of bonus buff spells (or removal of the stat buff aspect of some like Haste) and rework of monster stats and DC's to work with that paradigm would be the best idea. Starfinder already pretty much did that, so it is definitely possible to math it out. Their solution to DC stacking also appealed to me, i.e. automatically giving those DC boosts to all caster player characters and baking that stat boost into the monster stat blocks.

Honestly, Starfinder did mostly a good job at being Pathfinder 1.5. I don't agree with their heavily item-centric progression, but otherwise they had a lot of good ideas, which didn't take the game too far away from its 1.5 roots. A variant of that would make for a great Pathfinder 1.5.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, Linguistics needs to be fixed. Seriously, that skill breaks my suspension of disbelief more than Fireballs.

"So, yeah, we've spent two weeks cooped up in a dungeon, sweaty, dirty and hiding in half darkness behind spiked doors for 23 hours a day, while all kind of beasties were stalking through the corridors. I learnt how to perfectly speak and read five new languages!"


I'd agree with you but every fix I've tried or thought about just makes things harder. The best you could go is like AM and have every language be a separate skill, but with how the skill system works, that's a terrible idea.

We just use Linguistics as is but say people have to actually state they are going to learn a language some time before they level up.


The languages thing is about unspoken downtime. You also don’t usually talk about all of the time your character spent using the bathroom, but you are assumed to be doing this. In the same way, your character is assumed to have been studying other skills in the downtime and also in their past.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

RE: Upstream discussion about AWT and AAT: AWT and AAT are really kludgy. They 'solve' the skill problem but kick in a third of the way through a typical 1E fighter's life, and even then take until a higher level before you're on par with other martials. They enable some neat fighting styles like finesse one-handing, but again they take too long to do so. Any potential Fighter revamp should really remove these and integrate better combat style support and better skill support into the class chassis.

RE: Magnuskn's comments: Totally agree with most of your points. High-level games not only take tons of GM adjustment far too often, but they suffer from wide gulfs in numbers between characters that make outcomes binary. Its nigh impossible to adjust a monster if it hits one party member only on an 18 or higher while it hits the other on a 2.

Buff and bonus stacking only makes this worse. I've run for a more novice group that didn't appreciate haste, fervor, or other buffs, and I had to tune the game easier for them. I've also run for more experienced groups whose buff lists were twenty items long, and had to tune things up dramatically just to give them something interesting that won't roll over and die.

I especially am not a fan of the "arms race" aspect of PF1E. If I want to present a challenging combat or game that's full of interesting terrain, multiple enemy subfactions that can be played off each other, or enemies with strengths and weaknesses that must be avoided or exploited, rather than rising tactically to the challenge, the next time players level up they attempt to preemptively "beat" future encounters by optimizing harder.

Like you said, Starfinder already did this pretty well, so a potential PF1.5E should be able to do so as well.


Cellion wrote:
RE: Upstream discussion about AWT and AAT: AWT and AAT are really kludgy. They 'solve' the skill problem but kick in a third of the way through a typical 1E fighter's life, and even then take until a higher level before you're on par with other martials. They enable some neat fighting styles like finesse one-handing, but again they take too long to do so. Any potential Fighter revamp should really remove these and integrate better combat style support and better skill support into the class chassis.

I feel that if his skill problems are addressed, the Fighter is okay at low levels, and AAT and AWT are starting to come into play when he does need that major boost.


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Personally, I like high level PF1e play. But it's genuinely not to everyone's taste, and that's okay.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Artofregicide wrote:
Personally, I like high level PF1e play. But it's genuinely not to everyone's taste, and that's okay.

Oh, I definitely like it as well and since I'm (almost) always running my AP's to the very end, I've seen a lot of it over the years. But it's the one aspect of the game which needs balancing the most and the approach Starfinder took, by simply removing the vast majority of "to hit" buffs and such, appeals a lot to me. It's much more interesting if PC's prevail over their opponents due to superior tactics, than just because they brought all the right buffs and hence just overwhelmed them with superior targeting mechanics.

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