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Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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ArchSage20 wrote:
the basic reasoning is that its far easier for gm to limit fly that its is for a gm to buff it

That's... not in line with my experiences.

It is always easier to add more powers than it is to reign them in, both in the sense of finding a balance point that you can be satisfied with and in the sense of players having a favorable reaction to the changes - just look at how you seem to view flight have been set to "you only get it in special circumstances" as something having been ruined.

In the paradigm of letting the players have everything unless the GM prevents that, you've got "people playing by the book" and "GMs that took stuff away from their players."

In the paradigm of the base set of available options being limited unless the GM expands it, you've got "people playing by the book" and "GMs that give their players extras."

ArchSage20 wrote:
because if a gm tried to do that on 2e since the whole game is now balanced with the intention of permanent flying not being available it will break the game

That's not actually a difference. PF1 was not balanced with the intention of flight being available either - that is how it got ear-marked to be made a non-default option in the first place. Flight is, and has always been, a "game changer" - if players have it, it is either a massive advantage or being counter-acted by the GM.

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thenobledrake wrote:

"GMs that took stuff away from their players."

"GMs that give their players extras."

see right here that is your issue

you think people aren't smart enough to realize they just made the taken away into default to make the gm look better?

its doesn't feel like we are being given anything it feels like we are being forced to ask for permission to use something we already had

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That seems to be a kind of specific "we" if it doesn't include new players or players who recalibrate their baseline assumptions when they play a new game.

That's not a question if "are people smart enough?" It's a question if "aren't they looking at it from this specific perspective?"

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ArchSage20 wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
I think you're using a way different definition of "railroading" than I've ever heard of before if you think not having access to every ability that exists in the game counts.
Despite being in the minority by favoring permanent flight, I agree with thenobledrake about the definition of railroading.

no its not they are arguing semantics

i was talking about gms preventing players from obtaining or using certain abilities such as fly

i referred to that as railroading

i pointed out that gms wont have to railroad

"limit players ability to use certain spell etc..."

because that limit would already be embed on the base game

which is bad because now everyone who liked the other way would have to home-brew or be forced to play in a way they dislike

the basic reasoning is that its far easier for gm to limit fly that its is for a gm to buff it

because if a gm tried to do that on 2e since the whole game is now balanced with the intention of permanent flying not being available it will break the game

but then again anyone with basic reading skills can understand what i'm saying but they are desperately looking for something to disagree even semantics will do

I call these game restrictions rather than railroading. Dungeons & Dragons has a long history of such game restrictions. Some settings are low magic. Some settings are bronze-age technology. I once played in an Iron Kingdoms game, a D&D variant based on the Warmachine tactical miniatures game. That drastically limited the rules for magical healing, because such healing did not fit Warmachine, and added rules for magic-powered war machines. I played the party cleric, so I had to carefully avoid the backlash from healing too much.

The GM has to be upfront about such changes. Saying, "We are playing Pathfinder," and really playing by Iron Kingdoms rules would be a lie. Putting the restrictions in the rulebook itself is as upfront as possible.

For Pathfinder 2nd Edition, the Paizo developers decided to change the level of some spells and magic items. I heard that Scry-and-Fry, where the wizard scries on a known enemy and teleports a ready party past his castle defenses to battle him in his bedroom, was a problem with some roleplaying groups. In PF2 both Scry and Teleport gained more limitations to prevent this combination.

Fly in PF1 is a 3rd-level wizard spell with duration 1 minute per caster level. It changed in PF2 to a 4th-level arcane spell with duration 10 minutes. The spell was delayed by 2 levels. That restriction seems a natural change in emphasis. Invisibility in PF1 is a 2nd-level wizard spell with duration 1 minute per caster level. Invisibility in PF1 is a 2nd-level arcane/occult spell with duration 10 minutes. It did not change level; in fact, in PF2 a 7th-level character can buy a Cloak of Elvenkind for invisibility once a day. I recall having more trouble with invisibility in PF1 games (darn Intellect Devourers) than with flying, so I wonder why invisibility was not delayed.

In PF1 an aasimar with Con 13 can take Angelic Blood (1st-level feat, resists evil) and Angel Wings (10th-level feat, gives fly speed) to gain permanent flight. In PF2 an aasimer can take Celestial Wings (ancestry feat 9, fly for 10 minutes once per day) and Eternal Wings (ancestry feat 17, fly all day) for permanent flight. A delay for 7 levels seems extreme. Most people accept that as the new standard.

I view Pathfinder gameplay as slowly altering by level. A 1st-level party traveling through a wolf-infested forest will worry about a pair of wolves. The same party returning to the forest at 6th level will barely worry about the wolves but will still want an alert night watch in case a wolf pack prowls in the dark. The party at 11th level will have fast travel so that they do not waste a night in the forest.

Captain Morgan mentioned crossing a raging river as a challenge. At 2nd level, the party would hike along the river to find a calmer section, send their most athletic member to swim across with a safety rope, and then secure that rope to let the others climb across above the water. At 7th level, they use ropes again, but this time the wizard casts a Fly spell instead of someone risking swimming the rapids, so the violence of the rapids no longer matters. At 12th level, everyone trained in Athletics simply swims across with a non-swimmer clinging to their back.

Captain Morgan also mentioned lava. I once had a party cross over a pair of deadly lava pits in a tunnel at 13th level. The module ignored the rising heat, so the challenge was getting over two pits quickly before enemies showed up. That felt like an 11th-level challenge, because the lava was death and party could not take time for safety measures. The strix skald could fly so she could cross easily. The bloodrager with Air Elemental bloodline could fly while raging. She and the fighter stripped off their heavy gear and armor and she carried him across and went back for the gear. The magus could cast Fly, so he crossed. The gunslinger had a grappling-hook gun. She swung across the first pit, but failed her Acrobatics check on the second pit and ended up dangling. The strix pushed her like a child on a swing until she could reach the other side. The strix having permanent flight did not trivialize this challenge any more than the magus knowing the Fly spell did. At 16th level, in contrast, the fighter had Powered Armor that let him fly slowly and the bloodrager had lighter mithral armor so the party could have crossed the pits with only a slowdown, not any risk.

Delaying an ability by 2 levels relative to PF1 leaves it used against the same category of challenges. Delaying an ability by 6 levels moves its use into the next category of challenges.

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ArchSage20 wrote:
you think people aren't smart enough...

No. Unsurprisingly, since mind reading isn't a thing, you are not accurate in your estimation of what I think.

Because what I think (that is relevant to this topic) is that people are capable of setting their own perspective. A person can choose to see something in a favorable way, or they can choose to see it in an unfavorable way. To put specific examples to it:

You can choose to view PF2 as "forcing you to ask for permission to use something you already had," or you can choose to view PF2 as more-clearly communicating whether you can actually utilize this stuff or not because now the GM has to pre-approve them rather than a player just grabbing whatever and then finding out when they go to use it that their GM actually doesn't want them to have that power so they've deliberately countered it's benefits.

Just like you can choose to view the GM & Players dynamic as being "in it together" so there's no reason to fear that your GM won't give you the things you enjoy from the game, or you can choose to view the dynamic as "opposing forces" if you really want to entertain the idea that your GM is out to spoil your fun.

Sovereign Court

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siegfriedliner wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
(stuff )
Most of the encounters you can mitigate with flight tend to be filler oh no I didn't slaughter some wild animals oh no I didn't get ambushed by bandits.

I don't really like filler encounters.

Mathmuse and I have both ran book four of Iron Gods and that book has a bunch of filler encounters in it. Here and there the author plainly comes out and says "the point of this dungeon is to get the players to high enough level so they're ready for some later thing". I hate that.

I also skipped quite a bit of that. I don't use XP for leveling, I just tell the players to level up at the appropriate parts in the story. So I don't need filler encounters to get them up to sufficient XP.

But that doesn't mean every encounter that isn't directly part of the main quest is a filler encounter.

Unconnected, random, or standalone encounters (I'll say standalone, since "random" has a lot of baggage of its own) can do a lot for your story.

For example:

- running into bandits in a forest tells you stuff: there is population here, travelers worth robbing. It also says something about the state of law and order.
- getting ambushed by a slimy swamp monster and having a fight with lots of terrain hazards really drives home the point that this adventure is happening in the swamp, and not in the mountains or forest.
- being harrassed by Thieves' Guild enforcers tells you something about how this city is really organized, and also lets you show off that the PCs are a cut above the average now.
- we get attacked by wolves. One of them seems sickly and spits acid. WTF? There's something weird going on here.

I would say that standalone encounters are actually more relevant than ever due to how PF2 healing and encounter balance work. In 3/x/PF1, the challenge model of the game was based on the idea of multiple encounters that through attrition would make the game hard. But this meant that if you had one encounter per day, that it would be hard to make it properly challenging if it was anything less than a major threat monster.

PF2 takes a different tack; because it assumes that attrition plays only a small role and that most encounters start from full health, it basically dispenses with the idea that "the only goal of this encounter is to drain your resources and make the next encounter harder". Instead, the focus is on how do I make this encounter interesting in itself. This is of course something you should always do, but in PF2 the rule system has more synergy with it than in PF1.

So my conclusion here is: if an encounter feels like a "filler" encounter instead of an interesting flavorful standalone encounter, then that's because it was poorly written, not because standalone encounters are bad. It's a challenge for writers to make every encounter interesting.

Note that nowhere am I saying that you have to fight every encounter. That fight with the thieves' guild enforcers who are totally below your level? Maybe the challenge there is actually how to get rid of them without everyone noticing a big fight that would alert the BBEG that Heroes Are In Town.

But it comes back to abilities to deal with it that engage with the encounter, vs. abilities that disengage. If your standard response to an encounter is "I fly over it and move on", that's different than "I try to find out what these people are all about and then we can maybe Lie our way past them". The second one takes much more interest in the encounter.

Since I was advocating that a "filler" encounter actually should be contributing something to the story, even though it's not necessarily part of the plot of the story, I view engagement-based encounter circumventing as good, and disengagement-based circumvention as bad.

I don't know what this topic is really about, but generally I approach Game Mastering as "What can the players do?" as the start of the adventure. Like, sure some GMs are like "Haha, I made this rooms only locked door inaccessible because the key is 20ft up in the air! Now they have to go through the entire dungeon to get it"; turns out the player picked the ladder gnome race with the summon ladder spell and brought a bag of holding full of ladders which immediately becomes a problem with the system ruining this amazing ladder dungeon.

I mean, when players have more options do you think the game gets easier? Haha- fat chance! Oh you have flight and xray vision and the strongest hat item in the game? Cool; now you get to go to the heart of the abyss and fight Abraxas on the back of a Tarrasque. Quit your whining, what did you think was going to happen after you got all this stuff?

Exactly Jader.

Making encounters while ignoring what your players are capable is a sure fire way of making a boring encounter.

Back to all those trips. If you design a series of encounters without checking whether you players can just go around them. It not the fault of the players for using their abilities and/or resources. Its yours as a GM for not doing your do diligence on what the players can do and failing to adapt when the players threw a wrench in your plans.


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Temperans wrote:

Exactly Jader.

Making encounters while ignoring what your players are capable is a sure fire way of making a boring encounter.

Back to all those trips. If you design a series of encounters without checking whether you players can just go around them. It not the fault of the players for using their abilities and/or resources. Its yours as a GM for not doing your do diligence on what the players can do and failing to adapt when the players threw a wrench in your plans.

And this is precisely why gating permanent flight to higher levels can be a good thing for the GM and thus general play experience. It ensures that said GM doesn't have to consider the utility of permanent flight, and can thus spend their energies better when working with the other abilities that players have. Once that's old hat, bring on the flight; the tools to work with it are far more prevalent at high levels anyway.

If permanent flight were prevalent from a low level, a GM would certainly be able to account for that. They would certainly be at fault if they did not do so. I don't think that anybody disputes this. That could still be bad for a game like PF2, because it would put undue stress on every AP designer and GM who now cannot meaningfully use the bulk of low-level monsters without ensuring that every fight against such a monster happens in a low-ceilinged room. They absolutely could use other monsters or homebrew up their own, but that's additional time and effort that could be spent making fun in other ways.

Again, there are the tools to deal with that if need be, and there are interesting stories to be told in an aerial design space, but they are gated in this system for a good reason. Permanent flight opens some doors and closes others (from a design perspective), and the game currently seems to encourage all of those doors to be explored over time. Time that now exists in this edition, since higher levels are no longer assumed to be post-campaign, at least not by the PF2 itself.

Additionally, if APs have to plan for permanent flight, the risk is run that design becomes diluted, as satisfying and distinct pathways have to be constructed both that account for permanent flight and that follow a more terrestrial route. Otherwise, it could force every party to pick up flight, which I'm sure nobody is gunning for.


All that said, I'd still love to play a system wherein innate flight was prevalent from first level, with the entire system built around that premise. I don't really want that system to be Pathfinder by-default, but I wouldn't be surprised if we got an optional ruleset for it at some point... Or an Adventure Path entirely focused around the idea, which sounds super fun, but I'm glad it's not the default assumption.

Adventure set in the plane of air says high. (There are some solid bits in there).

Bit I do want to make it clear. I used the trip to make it clear what I was talking about, and flight is not that much of a problem as usually its only one player who has is.

Its things like: "all non-plants around me die when I walk" which invalidate brambles and similary obstacles; Having an adamantine weapon making most locks trivial; Having a folding boat invalidating rivers; A grappling hook making climbs trivial; Teleport, Etc.

Flight is just one of many ways that players can go around an encounter if the GM doesn't plan accordingly. People get angrier at flight because it makes melee combat weird when done by a PC. Not because its any better.

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