PF2 - late-to-the-party impressions


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Hey gang. I've been away from Pathfinder for a while since I've been without a gaming group and focused most of my RPG reading time on nostalgic vintage and OSR games. However, I've recently read some reviews of PF2 that made it sound appealing, so I started scrolling through the PF2 SRD to get a better impression.

Obviously the SRD is not the best place to absorb the rules, just spot-reading concepts that interest me before scraping together the 15 bucks for the PDF or maybe waiting for the new Beginner Box.

As far as I can tell, it looks like D20 adopted 5e and tried to raise it as Mama-4e would've wanted. And I mean that in a good way, because there's a lot of elements to those games I like.

Fer instance, I've never liked paladins and rangers as spell-casting classes (I know it goes back to AD&D, I didn't like it then either), so I'm glad to see them lose the spells and replace them with thematic abilities.

There's a couple points I'm already squinting at, though. Now, this is obviously unplayed and just a reading, but 3 actions per round seems like a lot. In addition to making a far more mobile game than I'm used to (that's a lot of PCs and monsters moving around the map), It seems like everyone having multiple attacks would take up a lot of time. Has that been the actual play experience?

Also, the Gygaxian Naturalist in me doesn't dig that skill checks increase with level and not just training. Like, if you spent a bunch of skill increases to become a legendary...uhh...carpenter, you shouldn't be out-carpentered by a guy with minimal training who has just killed a lot of ogres. Is that a realistic interpretation? Are there mechanics that reign that in, or is your city's legendary dwarven armorsmith always going to be outclassed by the Sandpoint apprentice who learned smithing from slaying a dragon?

My only other struggle so far is remembering that 'ancestry' means 'race.' I get the move to a more acceptable term (I remember old talks of why there was no "Ultimate Race Guide" for 1e), but I'm a fogey and we don't change quickly.

Next up I'll try skimming equipment, because the idea of "bulk" for encumbrance appeals to me (a similar approach is used in my favorite OSR game, ACKS), and spellcasting, because the idea of advancing spells through higher level memorization rather than just default level bonuses sounded smart when I heard 5e was doing it.


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Fletch wrote:


There's a couple points I'm already squinting at, though. Now, this is obviously unplayed and just a reading, but 3 actions per round seems like a lot. In addition to making a far more mobile game than I'm used to (that's a lot of PCs and monsters moving around the map), It seems like everyone having multiple attacks would take up a lot of time. Has that been the actual play experience?

Everything is balanced around the 3 action system ( Enemy AC, HP, etc ) and MAP. Turns are way shorter ( 15/20 seconds per players, roll included ) because how 3 action system works, and things seems really well balanced ( Probably it could be from "a little" to "way too" easier if players manage to find rare materials, since enemy weakness could result in extra damage which could be equal to an extra attack ).

Fletch wrote:


Also, the Gygaxian Naturalist in me doesn't dig that skill checks increase with level and not just training. Like, if you spent a bunch of skill increases to become a legendary...uhh...carpenter, you shouldn't be out-carpentered by a guy with minimal training who has just killed a lot of ogres. Is that a realistic interpretation? Are there mechanics that reign that in, or is your city's legendary dwarven armorsmith always going to be outclassed by the Sandpoint apprentice who learned smithing from slaying a dragon?

That's simply progression for characters, and it happens that lore skills ( as well for craft ) also increase something which is meant to be increased overtime, but even here no issue.

The level increase would be lvl 3, 7 and 15.
And before you arrive the lvl 7 and 15 way much time will pass, so you will have time to practice with your skills.

You will be earning your income during downtimes, by probably using the skill you need ( you would likely to, since you are going to improve it ).

As for NPC, the background around them would be up to any DM ( it could be a retired adventurer, or simply a skilled crafter whose level is XX even if he never managed to deal with enemies ).

Fletch wrote:


My only other struggle so far is remembering that 'ancestry' means 'race.' I get the move to a more acceptable term (I remember old talks of why there was no "Ultimate Race Guide" for 1e), but I'm a fogey and we don't change quickly.

Ahah, don't worry about that one!


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For the 3-action thing, in practice people don't tend to use 3 attacks per turn. Due to the Multiple Attack Penalty, a 3rd attack at -10 is usually far worse than other things you could be doing (like raising a shield, using demoralize, or moving to name a few examples). As a martial character, you basically always want to attack at least once, but then you have to figure out what to do with the remaining 1-2 actions you have left. Finding impactful uses for those extra actions tends to be the crux of martial strategy in my experience.

For skill stuff, the city's legendary dwarven armorsmith isn't using PC rules. The GMG mentions that an NPC can be high level in one area (such as smithing, or baking), while still having a low combat level. So a legendary cooking grandma can be a level 12 challenge in a bake-off, while being a level 0 threat in combat.

Liberty's Edge

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Fletch wrote:
There's a couple points I'm already squinting at, though. Now, this is obviously unplayed and just a reading, but 3 actions per round seems like a lot. In addition to making a far more mobile game than I'm used to (that's a lot of PCs and monsters moving around the map), It seems like everyone having multiple attacks would take up a lot of time. Has that been the actual play experience?

It's generally not. Remember that in PF1 there were Swift Actions, Full Attacks, 5 foot steps, and a host of other things, and in 5E most martial characters are doing three actions in PF2 terms every round (a move and two attacks) by 5th level. It's really pretty quick most of the time.

Fletch wrote:
Also, the Gygaxian Naturalist in me doesn't dig that skill checks increase with level and not just training. Like, if you spent a bunch of skill increases to become a legendary...uhh...carpenter, you shouldn't be out-carpentered by a guy with minimal training who has just killed a lot of ogres. Is that a realistic interpretation? Are there mechanics that reign that in, or is your city's legendary dwarven armorsmith always going to be outclassed by the Sandpoint apprentice who learned smithing from slaying a dragon?

Well, even in PF1 or most other games this is true to some degree due to how leveling works.

However, the real thing stopping this in PF2 is that the way PCs level and gain skills is not how NPCs do so, and NPCs can have a much higher level in their skills of choice than in combat. The default smith, for example, is only level 3 in most ways, but in the specific area of his craft he is level 6, and a pretty optimal level 6 at that.

That smith is, of course, not legendary, but a Legendary Smith could easily be level 3, or 5, or whatever for most things, and a level 15 or 20 challenge specifically in the area of Crafting.

Fletch wrote:
My only other struggle so far is remembering that 'ancestry' means 'race.' I get the move to a more acceptable term (I remember old talks of why there was no "Ultimate Race Guide" for 1e), but I'm a fogey and we don't change quickly.

You get used to it. The combination with Heritage also allows some neat stuff, too, like, for example, Tieflings (coming in the APG) now being a Heritage available to any Ancestry. So you can be an Elf descended from Demons if you want. That's pretty neat.

Fletch wrote:
Next up I'll try skimming equipment, because the idea of "bulk" for encumbrance appeals to me (a similar approach is used in my favorite OSR game, ACKS), and spellcasting, because the idea of advancing spells through higher level memorization rather than just default level bonuses sounded smart when I heard 5e was doing it.

Bulk is more convenient, but does have a few issues of its own. The spells work quite well, though they're lower powered than in PF1, of course.


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Henro wrote:
Finding impactful uses for those extra actions tends to be the crux of martial strategy in my experience.

Having martial classes need to make choices sounds like a great improvement. I did see the penalties for multiple attacks (as well as the 'raise shields' action requirement) but I guess I hadn't thought through the impact of those.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
However, the real thing stopping this in PF2 is that the way PCs level and gain skills is not how NPCs do so

Oh, that's new. I'd thought NPCs and monsters following the same progression rules as PCs was a hallmark of 3e and Pathfinder. I wasn't aware of a shift. Thanks.

Also, I confess that my old group might not have been the most efficient players, as swift actions etc. didn't seem to come up much? Maybe we were all just to ingrained with the 2-action actions of earlier editions and never deviated much from move-attack.

Thanks for the insights, guys.


When it comes to NPCs, they don't follow PC rules.

So your legendary smith would have (somehow) acquired being legendary in their smithing skill. I say somehow because it doesn't follow the PC rules, which require you to be 15th level (I think) before you can reach legendary proficiency. Because NPCs don't follow the (PC) rules.


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Side thought only kind of related to the rules, I'm learning that none of the currently available or proposed APs for PF2 interest me. Out of curiosity, how easy is it to run a PF1 adventure in the new rules? Is it as easy as using updated monster stats, or do skill DCs and treasure amounts need adjusting too?

Similarly, is PF2 any flatter than previous editions? I mean, does it have the same power escalation that made it difficult to run an adventure for a wider range of levels, or is it more lenient in letting me run a 5th level adventure for my 1st or 10th level PCs?

Liberty's Edge

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Fletch wrote:
Having martial classes need to make choices sounds like a great improvement. I did see the penalties for multiple attacks (as well as the 'raise shields' action requirement) but I guess I hadn't thought through the impact of those.

They matter even more than they did in previous editions due to the tight math, so they have an even greater impact on what actions are taken.

Fletch wrote:
Oh, that's new. I'd thought NPCs and monsters following the same progression rules as PCs was a hallmark of 3e and Pathfinder. I wasn't aware of a shift. Thanks.

In fairness, you can use the PC rules for NPCs, it's just the exception, not the rule.

Fletch wrote:
Also, I confess that my old group might not have been the most efficient players, as swift actions etc. didn't seem to come up much? Maybe we were all just to ingrained with the 2-action actions of earlier editions and never deviated much from move-attack.

Possibly. It goes much quicker in PF2 than PF1 in my experience, especially as levels rise.

Fletch wrote:
Thanks for the insights, guys.

You're quite welcome, I, at least, am always happy to be of assistance.

Fletch wrote:
Side thought only kind of related to the rules, I'm learning that none of the currently available or proposed APs for PF2 interest me. Out of curiosity, how easy is it to run a PF1 adventure in the new rules? Is it as easy as using updated monster stats, or do skill DCs and treasure amounts need adjusting too?

You definitely have to adjust DCs and treasure as well as monsters. It's not impossible by any means, and monster design is comparatively a breeze, while DCs can be eyeballed with the use of the PF2 DCs By Level table pretty readily most times...but treasure is actually a pretty fair sized issue.

That said, lots of people are doing this and you can probably find someone who's done at least some of the work for you on some APs.

Fletch wrote:
Similarly, is PF2 any flatter than previous editions? I mean, does it have the same power escalation that made it difficult to run an adventure for a wider range of levels, or is it more lenient in letting me run a 5th level adventure for my 1st or 10th level PCs?

You absolutely cannot run a high level adventure for low level characters (or vice versa) unchanged. Level is vitally important to power in PF2 and every one matters enormously.

That said, adjusting levels up or down is a lot easier, with the GMG monster creation guidelines allowing you to even wing it if you need to, so adjusting an adventure to have appropriately leveled foes by just scaling them up or down is probably quite a bit easier.

Additionally, it's much more predictable how powerful characters of a specific level are, allowing high level adventures to actually be properly calibrated, which is super nice.


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On the 3a thing. I find it raises the round time for low levels slightly. Low level characters can just do more. On the other hand the time per round doesn't increase that much as levels progress, whereas I found it happened so much in pf1 we found lvl 10+ unplayable.


Level 10+ n first was especially unplayable for the GM. So much work

On converting - at low levels skill checks seem like they should be similar but saving throws need to be at least 4 or 5 higher

Treasure is very different and much lower. Non item based treasure is worth approximately 5% from what I have seen so far


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Welcome back, Fletch!

Just a two quick side points as you delve into the ruleset:

1) As awesome as the SRD for the searching of specific rules, I have found being able to look at whole sections in the book to be invaluable. Often the way the information is laid out in the book is quite helpful. You miss that if you only bounce around in the SRD.

2) PF2 plays amazingly well. In fact, I suggest jumping right in, and running a few short combats with your players. At times the rules can come off as complex, when in fact, during play they are very straight forward. It is also during play that you start to notice, for example, that all Checks are built the same way, so once you get that, you basically rarely ever need to look up a specific check.

Have fun!


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A couple of things to keep in mind for your players, which are common edition shock points -

Success rates will initially seem low for people used to earlier editions. You can't really "build" a character for power anymore, other than making sure that your accuracy based stat is maxed. Attaining higher success rates on actions has been moved in game, and generally relies on synergies between players (not necessarily characters).

Bonuses are worth approximately twice what they used to be worth in most cases. This because of the new "degrees of success" mechanic - in many cases a +1 now adds both an additional 5% chance of success to a D20 roll, and an additional 5% chance of critically succeeding. +1 bonuses are well worth chasing and applying, as are -1 penalties on foes.

AC isn't so much about avoiding damage altogether anymore, as it is about managing how much damage you take. It helps you avoid being crit on an opponents first attack, and generally helps avoid their second and third.

Because of the three action system and how monsters are designed, spells that effectively "steal" an action on a successful save are amazing - but this isn't always apparent to players. Making sure they understand that Stunned 1 removed a dragons ability to move and still use its breath weapon or dragon fury, or turned off a monsters signature 3 action special attack, will help them understand that "successful" saves by monsters are still successful spells in many cases and that winning the action economy game is still a thing.

Spellcasters did get "weaker" in an absolute sense, but they're no less valuable or critical to success in a gameplay sense. I feel like they're now part of the team, as opposed to the teams de facto captains.

Once you get going, I think you'll have a great time. PF2E has proven to be a ton of fun to play for my group, resolving a lot of the frustrations and complications of earlier editions. Whats more, its more fun to run than any edition of DnD or its derivatives I've worked with (3.0 and onwards for me). A lot of the things that seemed weird on paper actually turned out to be brilliant when they actually came up in play.


I've had good success in converting 1e content to 2e games. Wasn't hard at all, just time consuming.

I read through the PF1 adventure and decided "this all works just the way it is. All I need to do is fix DCs, monsters, and loot."

The Player's Handbook and the Bestiary are all you need. If you want to get fancy, the Gamemastery Guide will be helpful, but I wouldn't say it's necessary.

DCs are scaled differently, so you can't just lift them and use them as-is. Fortunately you have very easy to use DC charts on page 503. If it's a DC caused by a creature of a certain level, or something that should be tailored to your party's level, use the DCs by Level chart. If not, use the Simple DC and DC Adjustment charts. For low level parties, Trained DC of 15 is pretty standard stuff, but don't be afraid to use Untrained for fairly straight forward DCs.

For monsters, you're essentially saying "Ok this fight has skeletons. Good. Now I'm consulting the Bestiary to see what level skeletons are, and I'm looking at the Encounter Budget chart on page 489 and the XP Award chart on page 508 to build the encounter. Most published adventures tell you if it's supposed to be an easy, medium or hard fight. The only caution I give here is to beware of single-enemy fights in the Severe/Extreme range. Those fights are absolutely winnable, but they require the players to use excellent tactics, and even then it's a dodgy thing. Example: 1st level party of 4 wants a Severe encounter. That's 120 XP, requiring a monster 3 levels higher. That's a really tough level gap to deal with. The monster will be critting quite a lot, your party will be struggling to hit at all. Once they realize they can do things like set up flanking and execute trips to debuff the enemy and deny it actions they'll do better, but right out of the gate something like that is going to be VERY difficult to manage. On the other hand, that same Severe encounter could be one enemy only 2 levels higher and two enemies that are 2 levels below the party. The higher level enemy will still feel suitably tough, but the minions won't pose much threat unless they can flank the party, so it feels like a rewarding fight all around - the party gets to feel the threat of a tough enemy and the danger of supporting minions, they also get to feel good about quickly taking out the minions so the big bad can no longer flank, the time they spend chewing on the minions lets the big bad get a turn or two in dealing big scary damage so everybody feels threatened, and then they face a tough but manageable enemy, maybe one or two of them gets KOed at one point or another, but overall they have a handle on things for most of the fight. It works great and everybody's happy.

For loot, just rebuilt the loot from scratch. There's too much difference between editions. Use the chart on page 509 (and adjust it if necessary using "different party sizes" on page 510), built a loot table for the level, and then distribute it among the encounters in a sensible way. It's easy, just takes time. And after you do it a few times you start to get more used to the loot and you know what you like to offer the players.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber
Fletch wrote:


Also, the Gygaxian Naturalist in me doesn't dig that skill checks increase with level and not just training. Like, if you spent a bunch of skill increases to become a legendary...uhh...carpenter, you shouldn't be out-carpentered by a guy with minimal training who has just killed a lot of ogres. Is that a realistic interpretation? Are there mechanics that reign that in, or is your city's legendary dwarven armorsmith always going to be outclassed by the Sandpoint apprentice who learned smithing from slaying a dragon?

There is a variant rule in the Gamemastery Guide that allows you to drop the level bonus to proficiencies. It's a bit of work to implement but it may align more with your preferred style of play.

Shadow Lodge

KrispyXIV wrote:
Success rates will initially seem low for people used to earlier editions.

That's a funny way to put it. They will seem low because they are low. You will fail checks more often by design. This is working as intended to make things more challenging.


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gnoams wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Success rates will initially seem low for people used to earlier editions.
That's a funny way to put it. They will seem low because they are low. You will fail checks more often by design. This is working as intended to make things more challenging.

As I've demonstrated in other discussions, its not particularly strenuous to get success rates into the 'first attack hits on 4-6' range even at level 1.

Mid to late game, synergies and bonus stacking from multiple characters will let most of the party land their first attack on a 2-4 even against non-trivial foes.

The base, unmodified success chances sit around 9-11 for even level foes - but you should by no means settle for that as the way it has to be.


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Krispy your method(s) require many things to work right. They are possible but they are a very specific case.

Aka, both you and gnoams are right.


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Elorebaen wrote:
As awesome as the SRD for the searching of specific rules, I have found being able to look at whole sections in the book to be invaluable.

You're no doubt right. I intend to get the rules and might've jumped the gun on my late-to-the-party notes.

Quote:
I suggest jumping right in, and running a few short combats with your players.

Sadly, I've been without a group for a while now. Reading gaming books is really just, like, a mental exercise now. Does that make sense? I got a link to a supposedly good actual play podcast that I intend to listen to when work lets up.


Like Elorebaen hinted at, I should probably pause until I get the actual rule book, but I did give the spell section a good read and had some thoughts.

First was what turns out to be my own misunderstanding. To hear people review the game, I thought spellcasting was more sorcerer-like, with wizards being able to spontaneously up-level their spells to be more effective. Like, if you had fireball in your repertoire, you could choose to use a level 5 casting slot (fer instance) to get the increased damage dice. Unfortunately I convinced myself that was a cool idea and now I'm kind of disappointed that you have to memorize a spell at a specific level to get that boost; you can't just decide on the fly.

That's my own baggage, though.

I also noticed a real shortage of material components for some spells that traditionally had them. While previous editions had already started homogenizing them by just saying "yeah, that's in your spell pouch," I really enjoyed the detail of pulling out an amber rod and some fur to cast my lightning bolt. Sad to see those go.

The only real question I'm left with is about the Four Essences. I'm thinking this is new to PF2 (unless it was a late-add to PF1), but I don't see why it's a thing. Are there examples in the rulebook that explains why they're defining these elements? Are there some class traits or magic items that influence spells that affect "spirit" or "matter"?

Wait, there's a second question: why are some spells listed as 'Uncommon'?


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The essences are something new that they are using to partly explain why PF2 has traditions when PF1 has classes with specific spell lists. Its also used a sort of guide as to what spells should be in which list, but there are not specific rules as far as we players know.

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

As for why some spells are uncommon, rare, or unique. Its really complicated.

Some spells like Detect Alignment are uncommon because it messes with games in which knowing alignment is important.

Some spells like Circles of Protection are uncommon because they make the game easier when used against certain creatures.

Some spells are uncommon because of location, race, religious or some other setting based reason.

Some spells like Teleport are uncommon because the allow players to skip content that the GM might have prepared. In the case of Teleport specifically, I personally think its because too many people complained of PCs bypasing their plot hooks to reach the destination. There are a surprisingly large number of GMs who want to force players to travel without proper incentive for it.

Btw rare and unique are for things that not many people know about, are exclusive to certain things, or are too strong to just get without some effort. The spell Blood Money from PF1 (take con damage to pay for gold cost) is a rare or unique spell from the Rise of the Runelords campaign.


Anything listed as uncommon means you can't have it unless your GM says so. Occasionally there are some character specific background options that might give you access to things that are uncommon.

Rare things are basically saying "This is exists, but you shouldn't ever get access to it except under really specific conditions".

An example from PF1, would be playing through Rise of the Rune Lords where you discover the blood money spell. That would allow you to learn the spell, but not in other campaigns and not until you get to the place where you uncover the scroll in the campaign.


Claxon wrote:
Anything listed as uncommon means you can't have it unless your GM says so.

Or, not infrequently, that you have a character option that provides it to you. Uncommon weapons or feats are the most typical example, but several deities grant uncommon spells to their clerics as well.


Wizard of Ahhhs wrote:
There is a variant rule in the Gamemastery Guide that allows you to drop the level bonus to proficiencies. It's a bit of work to implement but it may align more with your preferred style of play.

Look at that, it's also in the SRD. I mean, I obviously don't hate the way it's originally written, but it's interesting that there was that much consideration put into modifying it to create what looks like a pretty different campaign style.


Totally agree on spell components. I understand the streamlining factor, but I'm very sad to see specific components for spells gone in 2E.

As far as dropping the level bonus to proficiency, this is something that changes how the game works on a pretty fundamental level. I think it can be worth experimenting with for groups who want that kind of feel, but for most groups I would recommend trying out the way the game plays as written first to get a feel for how this change alters the game.


Regarding dropping level.

It is not an all or nothing rule.

You can change it so that it uses 1/2 level, 3/4 level, or (if you are feeling really wild) change it so different proficiencies have different fractions. Heck you can technically increase the ratio, but that is a recipe for disaster

Changing this value will have a large effect on the campaign. From everything is super easy, to (in the case of ever raising it) "why would you wish this on your players?".


I haven't read the rules on changing proficiency, I don't know where to find it, but does it include giving you something else to add into the calculation for things?

Because if you remove level from the proficiency calculation and are using that to calculate attack rolls....I don't know how people would hit things after about level 4. Or avoid being hit.

Or is this only for skills?


Its on the gamemastery guide.

The rule is basically remove level from everything and double check things to make sure they make sense, adjust accordingly.

They also gave an optional sample simplified table that is more diffcult. It caps at DC 30, when the adjusted regular table caps at DC20.

Liberty's Edge

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Claxon wrote:

I haven't read the rules on changing proficiency, I don't know where to find it, but does it include giving you something else to add into the calculation for things?

Because if you remove level from the proficiency calculation and are using that to calculate attack rolls....I don't know how people would hit things after about level 4. Or avoid being hit.

Or is this only for skills?

You remove it from everything, for everyone including the monsters. So yes, you remove the PC's level from to-hit on attacks...but you also remove the monster's level from their AC (a Balor, a level 20 monster, would have AC 25 instead of 45 under this variant). It works fine, and the GMG section dealing with it (found here) includes adjustments for static DCs and how to change XP costs.

It's pretty cool, really, if you want a game with bounded accuracy ala D&D 5E.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Quote:
if you want a game with bounded accuracy ala D&D 5E.

*Shiver*


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thaX wrote:


*Shiver*

You might want to get that checked out...


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
FowlJ wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Anything listed as uncommon means you can't have it unless your GM says so.
Or, not infrequently, that you have a character option that provides it to you. Uncommon weapons or feats are the most typical example, but several deities grant uncommon spells to their clerics as well.

Also, the GM section of the rules very heavily implies "if your PC wants to learn an Uncommon spell or find an Uncommon item, you should work with them to come up with a way unless it would completely derail your campaign".


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Fletch wrote:
I also noticed a real shortage of material components for some spells that traditionally had them. While previous editions had already started homogenizing them by just saying "yeah, that's in your spell pouch," I really enjoyed the detail of pulling out an amber rod and some fur to cast my lightning bolt. Sad to see those go.

You can still totally include those for your character though. When describing your action, just include whatever material components you think your spellcaster would have used.

Horizon Hunters

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MaxAstro wrote:
FowlJ wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Anything listed as uncommon means you can't have it unless your GM says so.
Or, not infrequently, that you have a character option that provides it to you. Uncommon weapons or feats are the most typical example, but several deities grant uncommon spells to their clerics as well.
Also, the GM section of the rules very heavily implies "if your PC wants to learn an Uncommon spell or find an Uncommon item, you should work with them to come up with a way unless it would completely derail your campaign".

At my table, if a character has discussed a concept and I think an uncommon ability they are unaware of will add to it, I will suggest it to them and discuss how we can go about getting it or something in the characters backstory that will make it available if it is at level 1.

My players generally have only really read the very basic rules so aren't au fait with everything, though.

Shadow Lodge

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The spell components thing is because of how they decided casting would work with actions. Each component (verbal, somatic, material) takes one action to perform. Because of this, most spells became verbal somatic only, with material components pretty much only used on 3 action or longer cast time spells.


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gnoams wrote:
The spell components thing is because of how they decided casting would work with actions. Each component (verbal, somatic, material) takes one action to perform. Because of this, most spells became verbal somatic only, with material components pretty much only used on 3 action or longer cast time spells.

That's a thing that may have been true during the playtest period, but has since been removed from the game.

There is no direct relationship between a spell having particular components and the number of actions a spell takes to cast.


thenobledrake wrote:
gnoams wrote:
The spell components thing is because of how they decided casting would work with actions. Each component (verbal, somatic, material) takes one action to perform. Because of this, most spells became verbal somatic only, with material components pretty much only used on 3 action or longer cast time spells.

That's a thing that may have been true during the playtest period, but has since been removed from the game.

There is no direct relationship between a spell having particular components and the number of actions a spell takes to cast.

This still checks out surprisingly often


Seisho wrote:
This still checks out surprisingly often

Not exactly. A lot of spells being somatic & verbal and also being 2 actions to cast is coincidental.

Look at magic missile; it's somatic and verbal whether it is 1, 2, or 3 actions.


thenobledrake wrote:
Seisho wrote:
This still checks out surprisingly often

Not exactly. A lot of spells being somatic & verbal and also being 2 actions to cast is coincidental.

Look at magic missile; it's somatic and verbal whether it is 1, 2, or 3 actions.

I don't think its purely coincidental. It isn't a hard rules, but is absolutely the prevailing design trend.

I mean yeah picking out one of the two spells that does it differently doesn't disprove that. Magic Missile and Heal are the exceptions to the trend.

Shadow Lodge

From the Core Rulebook, page 303

Spell Components wrote:

A spell description lists the components required to Cast the Spell. For most spells, the number of components is equal to the number of actions you must spend to Cast

the Spell. Each component adds certain traits to the Cast a Spell activity, and some components have special requirements.

Shadow Lodge

Also the heal spell:
[one-action] (somatic) The spell has a range of touch.
[two-actions] (verbal, somatic) The spell has a range of 30 feet. If you’re
healing a living creature, increase the Hit Points restored
by 8.
[three-actions] (material, somatic, verbal) You disperse positive energy
in a 30-foot emanation. This targets all living and undead
creatures in the burst.

Magic missile however does break this rule.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I wouldn't even call it a rule, just a trend. There's no innate connection, just that generally speaking that's how most spells are set up.


thenobledrake wrote:
gnoams wrote:
The spell components thing is because of how they decided casting would work with actions. Each component (verbal, somatic, material) takes one action to perform. Because of this, most spells became verbal somatic only, with material components pretty much only used on 3 action or longer cast time spells.

That's a thing that may have been true during the playtest period, but has since been removed from the game.

There is no direct relationship between a spell having particular components and the number of actions a spell takes to cast.

The vast majority of 2-action spells require a Verbal and a Somatic action.

I think it's to enable characters to cast most spells without having to have a free hand.


thaX wrote:
Quote:
if you want a game with bounded accuracy ala D&D 5E.
*Shiver*

Well, there's bounded accuracy and there's... what PF2 has. If you subtract proficiency from level in PF2, you still have the typical Level 1 creature from the Bestiary with a +7 bonus to attack, while the typical Level 20 creature has a +20 to attack -- still a huge difference: a change of 13 versus 5E's change of 4.

I'm not a fan of 5E's bounded accuracy myself, either. I like what it's going for -- allowing for more static, sandbox adventures and making a wider spread of monsters available at any given level -- but in 5E I get bored seeing a d20 roll and usually knowing instantly whether a creature hits, because the ACs and attack bonuses are all so very samey-samey.

In PF2's Proficiency Without Level variant, there still are significant differences when comparing monsters a few levels apart from each other. And all those situational bonuses from spells, flanking, debuffing, etc. that I like in PF2 combat remain as important as ever. So I think the PWL variant is rather promising; I would avoid calling it "bounded accuracy" because in practice I think it will play pretty differently from 5E. (I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I hope to soon.)


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Henro wrote:


As far as dropping the level bonus to proficiency, this is something that changes how the game works on a pretty fundamental level. I think it can be worth experimenting with for groups who want that kind of feel, but for most groups I would recommend trying out the way the game plays as written first to get a feel for how this change alters the game.

100% agree with Henro on this point. A lot of folks made a lot of noise about the level bonus, but once you play it feels like all that noise was just that.

Shadow Lodge

I found PF2 to play in a different style/different feel of a game than PF1. First edition was for super heroes smashing their way through ridiculous challenges, an over the top action game, a la Star Wars or some Marvel movie. Second edition is more down to earth, the struggle is real, more like Tolkein level action.

Now you could easily play PF2 in a super hero style, all it would take is to use enemies that are significantly lower level than the PCs. If commenters on these boards are any indication however, nobody plays like that. Its all at level or higher challenges.


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Claxon wrote:

Anything listed as uncommon means you can't have it unless your GM says so. Occasionally there are some character specific background options that might give you access to things that are uncommon.

Rare things are basically saying "This is exists, but you shouldn't ever get access to it except under really specific conditions".

So the assumption is that a player couldn't choose these uncommon or rare spells outside of a class trait or a campaign event? I like that idea. My son and I played the PF Beginner's Box and I liked the very limited spell listings in there as kind of a foundation to build on from exploring. That's for sure how I'd want to play it.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
It's pretty cool, really, if you want a game with bounded accuracy ala D&D 5E.

Just between us, I've never played 5e either, but I really like the *idea* of bounded accuracy. I don't hate the idea of adding level to skills enough to want to head that way out of the box (even as it doesn't feel very simulation-y), but it's fun to know that's an option. (While understanding The Rot Grub's clarification of it).

To be honest, it didn't register that the "add level to skills" was also considered to include to-hit rolls. That doesn't seem weird to me, but I might have to re-evaluate what I consider a skill check if I'm misreading the rules.

gnoams wrote:
Second edition is more down to earth, the struggle is real, more like Tolkein level action.

And that's the one review point that single handedly got me to even look at Pathfinder 2. If anybody remembers the old Pathfinder Chronicles Podcast, there was a point where everybody chases off after the badguy using a crazy variety of flying abilities/spells/items and thry describe it as feeling like a superhero game. Any fantasy game system that stops shy of 'D&D Avengers' is something I'm interested in.

Liberty's Edge

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Attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, even AC all use the exact same level-based proficiency system. This is for the most part a strength of the system, in my opinion, but it does have some drawbacks as well. In general, though, I really like that once you grok proficiency for one of those things, you've really figured it out for all of them.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Fletch wrote:


gnoams wrote:
Second edition is more down to earth, the struggle is real, more like Tolkein level action.
And that's the one review point that single handedly got me to even look at Pathfinder 2. If anybody remembers the old Pathfinder Chronicles Podcast, there was a point where everybody chases off after the badguy using a crazy variety of flying abilities/spells/items and thry describe it as feeling like a superhero game. Any fantasy game system that stops shy of 'D&D Avengers' is something I'm interested in.

Well, I hope this doesn't turn you off of PF2 but I actually disagree with gnoams assessment there. PF1 let you build more powerful heroes in the sense that you could mathematically smash the game's difficulty curve. But usually the best way to do that was using incredibly static strategies. 5 foot step, full attack, all day every day. You might get the occasional rage lance pouncer, but then pouncing was all they did. Even more esoteric builds, like grapplers, tended to pretty much just do that.

PF2 caps how powerful a character of X level can be, which makes things like Challenge Rating usable but means sacrificing the same mathematical certainty of outcomes. But in exchange, it gives you a lot more narrative and cinematic options that really enable the super hero style of play.

An 8th level monk, without any spells or magic items, can run up a wall, bounce off it, and Flying Kick an enemy of the sky. A NG champion can literally make an enemy rethink their life choices every round. Spell casters have taken some nerfs, but they've also gained the ability to deal reliable at will damage which means they can always feel like a spell caster and not a bad crossbowman.

And honestly, PF1 feels more like Lord of the Rings to me. Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas (at least in the book) are good enough carve their way through armies but they aren't leaping 30 feet straight up or suplexing elephants to do it. They aren't pulling flashy stunts but they are just consistently better than the enemies they face.

PF2 is more like a wuxia movie. The hero isn't fighting armies usually, but a duel with a skilled rival is actually a challenge. But they're also running on water and balancing on tree tops.

Or for a more contemporary example, PF1 heroes are John Wick, and PF2 heroes are Neo. John's fighting is more down to Earth, but he fights hundreds of enemies and never loses because he rolled badly. Neo's power level relative to his opposition varies much more than John's, but Neo can frigging fly.


Wow Captain Morgan that is an incredible way to put it and it does bring a lot into perspective.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
I wouldn't even call it a rule, just a trend. There's no innate connection, just that generally speaking that's how most spells are set up.

I know I'm a guilty party for spreading this idea, but the thing is that for a while it literally was a rule.

Then when they changed it so that it wasn't actually a thing anymore, but they changed it in a subtle enough way that I didn't even realise the intent was to break the link rather than just a bit of a verbiage change.

The "trend" holds true for literally every spell that doesn't contain its own casting rules within its text, because it was baked directly into the 2e spell design from the start then broken in an arbitrary way between final playtest and release.

We'll probably see more alternations with future releases now that they aren't tied to a system, but for now its super baked in.

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