Repetition and 2e / "Taking20"s Break Up Letter


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

Ubertron_X wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Uniting multiple encounters into a single fight will ramp up the encounter severity real fast in PF2. GMs should really avoid doing this. There was a recent thread touching on this.

While I absolutely agree on the severity issue not chaining fights can pose a major plausibility issue, especially when dungeon design is expected to be static but features a lot of door to door encounters nonetheless. Not chaining encounters may even be borderline illogical*, e.g. a certain open area "dungeon" in AoA volume 2.

* your mileage may vary depending on how the GM presents the situation and the group and GM play out each individual encounter

Yes. This is a major point modules and scenarios need to address : are close-by encounters supposed to be merged or not?

And if not, reasonable causes should be provided so that it does not stretch plausibility too much.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Uniting multiple encounters into a single fight will ramp up the encounter severity real fast in PF2. GMs should really avoid doing this. There was a recent thread touching on this.

My players recently faced this in Age of Ashes book 2, but I managed to get them to flee. They had just barely defeated a +3 encounter, and saw nearby foes rallying to attack. They decided to fight on, knowing they were seriously outnumbered. It wasn't until I rolled initiative for all twenty opponents and put them on the digital initiative board that what they were about to face really sunk in. Thankfully they decided to retreat and come up with a plan to assault the enemy camp later.

It didn't help that they found this camp a level early. I tried warning them off by having an NPC use animal messenger telling them the area ahead is very dangerous, but they said "Everywhere we go is dangerous." And this is all with a five player group for which I had not modified the camp encounters. The book can certainly be rough if players do not use common sense and pick up on hints from their GM.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am avoiding reading posts that are clearly jumping ahead of where I am at in any campaign, but it can definitely be tricky for GMs to not overwhelm parties in large open dungeons when the players try to do things like sneak to the edge of a giant pit and throw a fireball where it will hit the most enemies below, only to anger some near by creatures the party doesn't realize are powerful teleporting outsiders, while raising the alarm of everyone else in the pit and 2 encounters outside the pit the party had not discovered yet.

To our party's credit, were it not for teleporting enemies, we very well might have won the fight. Our plan was strong and going well...until it wasn't. It cost one, maybe two character's lives (our GM left us on a cliff hanger).

Our party enjoys the difficulty, but not all groups will. Part of what Cody is missing in his analysis is that he is making the assumption that adventure writers are going to be able to predict the expectations of all players and preemptively hit the sweet spot for everyone without a GM acting as a mediator between pre-written content and the players. For society play, the developers do have to make this happen, but in a long running AP, you end up taking away way too much player ownership of the campaign if you try to do so, and the GM needs to figure out whether to dial back the level of encounters piling up on each other, or ramp them up based on the party and the player's expectations. Instead he blames the system for failures that he is finding in his own expectations from the pre-written material that he chose to run first.


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Cody of Taking20 has posted a response video to the response videos, Illusion of Choice - Breaking it Down. He points out that his players are experienced with many roleplaying systems and do use roleplaying and creativity, to debunk the hypothesis that his players fell into a repetitive routine due to inexperience. At time mark 14:00 he number crunched a hypothetical PF2 ranger archer versus a hypothetical D&D 5e ranger archer to show that the PF2 archer lost 60% of his damage when not using archery while the D&D 5e archer lost 20% of his damage when not using archery to demonstrate that PF2 has more lock-in to its design.

And that is his elaboration on illusion of choice, that if a character invests in one combat style, such as archery, then the character has better results with that style and temporarily switching to another style falls woefully short of the new and higher baseline in either damage or chance of success. At time mark 7:17 he states that his players are not min-maxers because the choices they made are standard to PF2. He gave the example that if a player wanted to create a ranger archer then Dex 18 and Hunted Shot ranger feat 1 are natural choices, not min-maxed choices. His hypothetical ranger went for Quick Draw as his or her 2nd-level ranger feat, in case the ranger needed to draw a melee weapon, so the ranger was not totally archery focused.

Contrast Cody's ranger to the ranger Zinfandel in my game. Zinfandel took Flurry Edge rather than Precision Edge, because he planned on multiple attacks in both melee combat and ranged combat. With Dex 18, Zinfandal was hoping to be an archer; nevertheless, characters proficiency in all martial weapons were rare in the party (for a while, Zinfandel was the only one), so he expected to be called to melee combat, too. Thus, his 1st-level ranger feat was Twin Takedown. He took the 2nd-level ranger feat that favored archery, Hunter's Aim. Hunter's Aim is not compatible with Hunted Shot, which probably explains why Cody's ranger skipped it. Thus, the ranger in my game sometimes fought with a longbow and sometimes fought with kukri and shortsword, less repetitive than Cody's ranger. Zinfandel chose to invest in two combat styles. As a houserule, I allow Zinfandel to draw or sheathe two weapons with one Interact action to enable switching between the two styles in mid-combat with only two Interact actions rather than three.

Shadow Lodge

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Breaking news, characters are better at what they specialize in. YouTube footage to follow.

Dark Archive

Mathmuse wrote:

Cody of Taking20 has posted a response video to the response videos, Illusion of Choice - Breaking it Down. He points out that his players are experienced with many roleplaying systems and do use roleplaying and creativity, to debunk the hypothesis that his players fell into a repetitive routine due to inexperience. At time mark 14:00 he number crunched a hypothetical PF2 ranger archer versus a hypothetical D&D 5e ranger archer to show that the PF2 archer lost 60% of his damage when not using archery while the D&D 5e archer lost 20% of his damage when not using archery to demonstrate that PF2 has more lock-in to its design.

And that is his elaboration on illusion of choice, that if a character invests in one combat style, such as archery, then the character has better results with that style and temporarily switching to another style falls woefully short of the new and higher baseline in either damage or chance of success. At time mark 7:17 he states that his players are not min-maxers because the choices they made are standard to PF2. He gave the example that if a player wanted to create a ranger archer then Dex 18 and Hunted Shot ranger feat 1 are natural choices, not min-maxed choices. His hypothetical ranger went for Quick Draw as his or her 2nd-level ranger feat, in case the ranger needed to draw a melee weapon, so the ranger was not totally archery focused.

Contrast Cody's ranger to the ranger Zinfandel in my game. Zinfandel took Flurry Edge rather than Precision Edge, because he planned on multiple attacks in both melee combat and ranged combat. With Dex 18, Zinfandal was hoping to be an archer; nevertheless, characters proficiency in all martial weapons were rare in the party (for a while, Zinfandel was the only one), so he expected to be called to melee combat, too. Thus, his 1st-level ranger feat was Twin Takedown. He took the 2nd-level ranger feat that favored archery, Hunter's Aim. Hunter's Aim is not compatible with Hunted Shot, which...

I'm curious. Does the ranger really lose 60% damage when not using ranged attacks? Can someone else do the math?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Those maths can be interpreted as; in 5e, you barely have any benefit for specializing, and it CAN be viewed as a flaw. Nothing that he said is "factual" - Is all anecdotal evidence based on something that is quite natural to all RPGs


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TOZ wrote:
Breaking news, characters are better at what they specialize in. YouTube footage to follow.

That was my first insight after watching the video, but I try to dig deeper, too. In Pathfinder 1st Edition, any min-maxer could specialize so much that the specialization was almost everything that the character needed. An archer's solution was shoot it and it dies. Pathfinder 2nd Edition nerfed the min=maxing and the archer has to shoot the target over several turns, which becomes boring.

Second insight: powergaming prevented boredom in PF1. Removing it made PF2 more repetitively boring for specialists.


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Narxiso wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:

Cody of Taking20 has posted a response video to the response videos, Illusion of Choice - Breaking it Down. He points out that his players are experienced with many roleplaying systems and do use roleplaying and creativity, to debunk the hypothesis that his players fell into a repetitive routine due to inexperience. At time mark 14:00 he number crunched a hypothetical PF2 ranger archer versus a hypothetical D&D 5e ranger archer to show that the PF2 archer lost 60% of his damage when not using archery while the D&D 5e archer lost 20% of his damage when not using archery to demonstrate that PF2 has more lock-in to its design.

And that is his elaboration on illusion of choice, that if a character invests in one combat style, such as archery, then the character has better results with that style and temporarily switching to another style falls woefully short of the new and higher baseline in either damage or chance of success. At time mark 7:17 he states that his players are not min-maxers because the choices they made are standard to PF2. He gave the example that if a player wanted to create a ranger archer then Dex 18 and Hunted Shot ranger feat 1 are natural choices, not min-maxed choices. His hypothetical ranger went for Quick Draw as his or her 2nd-level ranger feat, in case the ranger needed to draw a melee weapon, so the ranger was not totally archery focused.

Contrast Cody's ranger to the ranger Zinfandel in my game. Zinfandel took Flurry Edge rather than Precision Edge, because he planned on multiple attacks in both melee combat and ranged combat. With Dex 18, Zinfandal was hoping to be an archer; nevertheless, characters proficiency in all martial weapons were rare in the party (for a while, Zinfandel was the only one), so he expected to be called to melee combat, too. Thus, his 1st-level ranger feat was Twin Takedown. He took the 2nd-level ranger feat that favored archery, Hunter's Aim. Hunter's Aim is not

...

I guess it depends what you're comparing it to. Let's suppose a level 4 ranger with hunted shot and a +1 striking composite longbow (14 Str, 18 Dex) vs a Quick Drawn +1 shortsword. For maximum disparity, I'll pretend that this is a flurry ranger who had managed to use Hunt Prey on a previous turn.

Against moderate level 4 AC of 20:
+11 (2d8+1, deadly d10) averages 6.75/4.725/3.375 = 18.225 from four attacks.
+11 (1d6+2, agile) averages 3.85/3.025/2.475 = 9.35 from three attacks.

So yes, in this hilariously cherrypicked situation, the ranger does lose half their damage when not using archery. However, most of that comes from the fact that you're downgrading from a +1 striking to a +1 at the exact period of time where that's relevant. Let's look at another calculation for just a +1 composite longbow:

+11 (1d8+1, deadly d10) averages 4.4/3.025/2.2 = 11.825 from four attacks.

You'll notice that this is significantly closer, carried almost entirely by that fourth flurry attack. If the ranger were a precision or outwit ranger, it'd be very close to equal, but still slightly favouring the bow-user.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mathmuse wrote:
He points out that his players are experienced with many roleplaying systems and do use roleplaying and creativity, to debunk the hypothesis that his players fell into a repetitive routine due to inexperience.

I mean that's all well and good, but simply declaring "no trust us we know what we're talking about" isn't very useful on its own, especially given the context.

That's less debunking and more deflecting.


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Filthy Lucre wrote:
What is the communities thoughts on Jeremy's hot take here? How do your play experiences mirror, or contrast, from his?

I for one really like Pathfinder 2e as does my gaming group and we have been playing for a little over a year now. The choices are meaningful, interesting, varied, and for the most part balanced. Yes, optimizers (like me) can drain the fun out of it, but that's true for every game.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

For me, personally, I'd love it if people would stop talking about Cody.

And he'd really hate it. So that's another reason not to feed this troll.


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I can only say that in the most recent video that I agree new players tend to just attack/raise shield/move and dont plan around anything else since they dont know any better.

Also I wish he compared Fighter since Ranger in both edition are a lot different. They are also more restricted IMO and have seen new players build super poorly. They are great against big monsters though.

Overall I feel he is very biased. He goes over EVERYTHING Ranger can do in 5e but not even half of what you can do in 2e.

There are so many skill actions that he could take and he just makes an unfair comparison. Move+Trip+Hunted shot would be way more effective then move+Trip+Grapple.

The whole monster walks up to and you take 4 shots is bad too, since moving away is better as a precision Ranger. Not to mention the other 10 actions.

Also why take quick draw as an Archer. Logically if you want to be a "switch hitter" you should take another melee feat+quick draw

I mean take Ranger+Mauler+Quick Draw and have a blast!

I am curious if his group even messed with dedications, even before the APG there were lots of options and now there are so many it is insane.

Overall I do feel PF2 does take more system mastery to enjoy the best parts. At the same time a player that just wants to shoot a bow, why is it any better in any other edition?

The worst part is I heard a someone of PF1 persuading a player away from PF2 because "illusion of choice" is worse than PF2 even though he said he never played. So it does seem like potential players are being turned away by this.


RPGnoremac wrote:
Overall I do feel PF2 does take more system mastery to enjoy the best parts. At the same time a player that just wants to shoot a bow, why is it any better in any other edition?

I believe the argument is that in any other edition, you don't have to learn a bevy of extra rules for action resolution. You get largely the same results, but with less brain load.

Which makes sense. If all other things are equal, then why go with the more complicated system?

For all the time he spent going on and on about the ranger, which was probably the least interesting example he could have expounded upon (Examining the druid would have been better, I think) I was more interested in what he said when he griped about the social interaction actions.

Does the four degrees of success when Making a Request or Making an Impression come up all that often in play? And if we're all just handwaving it, why is the rule there? Is it a system we only use for unimportant NPCs? I dunno. But I'm interested in other people's experiences.


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Narxiso wrote:
I'm curious. Does the ranger really lose 60% damage when not using ranged attacks? Can someone else do the math?
TSRodriguez wrote:
Those maths can be interpreted as; in 5e, you barely have any benefit for specializing, and it CAN be viewed as a flaw. Nothing that he said is "factual" - Is all anecdotal evidence based on something that is quite natural to all RPGs

Cody tried to put each ranger in the optimal position for archery, 30 feet from the foe, with a longbow in hand. (Note: he forgot the -2 volley penalty and the deadly 1d10 on the PF2 longbow.) That gave archery a bias over melee.

The ranger's three actions were Hunt Prey, Hunter's Shot (which includes 2 Strikes), Strike. In switching to melee, the ranger performed Stride, Quick Draw (including 1 Strike), Strike. This is one fewer Strike. Cody also mistakenly thought that Precision Edge does not apply to melee strikes, so he removed the 1d8 precision damage from that, too. Or maybe he gave it up by deliberately not using Hunt Prey.

The ranged option would have been 1st Strike (50%)(1d8) + (20%)(2d8+1d10), 2nd Strike (40%)(1d8) + (5%)(2d8+1d10), 3rd Strike (15%)(1d8) + (5%)(2d8+1d10), and (87%)(1d8) precision damage for 13.0 damage on average, applying the volley and deadly correctly. The melee option would have been 1st Strike (50%)(1d6) + (30%)(2d6) and 2nd Strike (50%)(1d6) + (10%)(2d6) for 6.3 damage on average. The missing damage (13.0-6.3) = 6.7 is 52% of the 13.0 archery damage.

However, applying PF2 tactics a little more accurately, the ranged option should have been Hunt Prey, Stride away, Hunted Shot to eliminate the volley penalty before shooting. That gives 1st Strike (50%)(1d8) + (30%)(2d8+1d10), 2nd Strike (50%)(1d8) + (5%)(2d8+1d10), and (91%)(1d8) precision damage for 13.7 damage on average. The melee option should have been Hunt Prey, Stride to target, Quick Draw for 1st Strike (50%)(1d6) + (30%)(2d6) and (80%)(1d8) precision damage for 7.5 damage on average. The missing damage (13.7-7.5) = 6.2 is 45% of the 13.7 archery damage.

For Cody's D&D 5e ranger the ranged option lead to Hunter's Mark and two Attacks, and the melee option lead to Hunter's Mark, Move, and two Attacks. I don't know enough about D&D 5e rules to analyze this.

Shadow Lodge

Mathmuse wrote:
That was my first insight after watching the video, but I try to dig deeper, too.

Absolutely worthwhile, but not as funny. :)


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Well his last few minutes about complicated rules is 100% true compared to 5e.

For the most part I see skill checks hand waived in every system. The people that love them I am pretty sure actually prefer the 4 degrees of success. After playing 5e for 3 years I cant remember anything but perception/stealth really matter.

PFS really goes in depth into the skill. Sometime it is good sometimes bad. I am not even joking I think we made skill checks for 2 hours one day. The first hour was kind of fun. Then there are times where you use your diplomacy to gather rumors to make a plan, that just feels great.

I also dont exactly enjoy reading the rulebook with how it is set up but luckily we have crazy good online resources.

I think crit successes have actually been really fun in PFS. Love knowing because I invested in a skill u crit and earned more treasure.

They really tried their best to make skills actually interesting rather than 5e barely any skill matter. Was it 100% a success? I dont know. I think it is still on the GM to showcase the skill system.

Truly I think 5e is great if every single player doesnt want to go in depth for designing their character.

It was surprising me but people actually dont want to choose things. This is the perfect example of it in the video.

He goes on and on about how a player made a character to shoot things but didnt put thought into what else they want to do. Well if the player looked into his options he would have had lots of options.

Again I feel Ranger might have been the worse character to compare since for the most part their edge+hunt prey make your character super focused. All the other comparisons would have been cool honestly, but it seemed like he was going for 5e WINS sort of video.


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Mathmuse wrote:
He points out that his players are experienced with many roleplaying systems and do use roleplaying and creativity, to debunk the hypothesis that his players fell into a repetitive routine due to inexperience.

This issue appear to be FAR MORE prominent with TTRPG veterans that have preconceived notions of what is good and what is optimal to do in other RPG's, specially if they are players of Pathfinder 2e's ancestors, since they will have a certain expectation of what makes a well performed character round. This new edition has some design paradigms that significantly alter the moment to moment in battle. For example, if you weren't full attacking (or class equivalent, in the case of Magi/Spellcasters) in PF1e/3.5/etc, you weren't doing your best combat routine. While in this edition, it's sometimes better to forego your second attack and set up an Aid Action and use a defensive action or even try to identify the monsters, three actions that improve your standing in combat without engaging with the enemy's HP.

The way he described the players' actions in his first video made me perceive exactly the issue I stated above of preconceived notions. The Druid thought that becoming the same monster every time was "optimal" when in truth, this would've been a PF1e's druid optimal playstyle that focused on shapes that granted the highest amount attacks and those that granted flight. A PF2e druid, even a shapeshifter, will have to make some choices based on the situation at hand, instead of defaulting to the same pattern regardless of the enemy (imagine facing a monster with dmg resistance and high AC and instead of using your spells to take it down or debuff it, you joined the characters without other options in whacking at it? Not that smart and definitely not optimal).

Veteran players are more prone to these views than newer players, that will learn the system with fresh eyes and won't know that in previous editions, your character could pounce on the enemy and attack it 5 times and not give it a chance to act.


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Like, it's fine if someone doesn't like a system. I don't like GURPS, for instance. Some people do.

The problem here is a lot of the arguments he is making don't make any sense, coming from either the 5e or PF1 side of things. Illusion of choice compared to PF1 (where you can easily shoot yourself in the foot with character choices) or 5e (where you just don't have choices at all) is a weird thing to say. I take great joy in making characters of the beaten path and Pf2 has supported that way better.

Then on the Micro level (actions), the amount of things each character can do is way more open. Skills have useful in combat options and any character can get them. In 5e, you get few and if you share a skill with a rogue, you may as well never use it.


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I'm just tired.

I feel like so many conversations online about PF2 in its first year of existence was trying to justify its existence to upset PF1 players.

I do not want year 2 to be marked by having the narrativist/rules-lite/(every 5e player, who thinks they belong to either of those categories) be sneering at the system. Paizo does such good and heartfelt work on this system, and I put in tons of effort to run three tables for my players... and it's just frustrating to watch disinterested clickbaiters stir up shit.

The internet is just exhausting. As I am both an optimist and a peacemaker, it's just the balls most days.


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Mathmuse wrote:

Cody of Taking20 has posted a response video to the response videos, Illusion of Choice - Breaking it Down. He points out that his players are experienced with many roleplaying systems and do use roleplaying and creativity, to debunk the hypothesis that his players fell into a repetitive routine due to inexperience. At time mark 14:00 he number crunched a hypothetical PF2 ranger archer versus a hypothetical D&D 5e ranger archer to show that the PF2 archer lost 60% of his damage when not using archery while the D&D 5e archer lost 20% of his damage when not using archery to demonstrate that PF2 has more lock-in to its design.

And that is his elaboration on illusion of choice, that if a character invests in one combat style, such as archery, then the character has better results with that style and temporarily switching to another style falls woefully short of the new and higher baseline in either damage or chance of success. At time mark 7:17 he states that his players are not min-maxers because the choices they made are standard to PF2. He gave the example that if a player wanted to create a ranger archer then Dex 18 and Hunted Shot ranger feat 1 are natural choices, not min-maxed choices. His hypothetical ranger went for Quick Draw as his or her 2nd-level ranger feat, in case the ranger needed to draw a melee weapon, so the ranger was not totally archery focused.

Contrast Cody's ranger to the ranger Zinfandel in my game. Zinfandel took Flurry Edge rather than Precision Edge, because he planned on multiple attacks in both melee combat and ranged combat. With Dex 18, Zinfandal was hoping to be an archer; nevertheless, characters proficiency in all martial weapons were rare in the party (for a while, Zinfandel was the only one), so he expected to be called to melee combat, too. Thus, his 1st-level ranger feat was Twin Takedown. He took the 2nd-level ranger feat that favored archery, Hunter's Aim. Hunter's Aim is not compatible with Hunted Shot, which...

This sounds like a false assertion on his part. If you're using feats in 5E like Sharpshooter, that will skew the damage more. If you're not using feats in 5E, well, it's a far more boring and limited game and being able to change weapons doesn't change that. Sounds like a lot of cherry-picking what constitutes locked in or not. I don't see it as a having variation when you don't have much to build on nearly every 5E ranger will be exactly the same absent feats.

Liberty's Edge

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The guy had weeks to prepare his response video, made it nearly an hour long and he STILL got a bunch of stuff wrong.

He clearly isn't cut out for PF2 if his attention to detail is REALLY this poor in the first place so it really does make a lot of sense for him to just stick to 5e since that game is intentionally loose and sloppy with the math and balance.

The tool is really emotionally invested in proving that he is right about this and the ironic part is that the only thing his response did was blow even more holes in the original thesis. Sucks to suck I guess, it's a shame he won't eat crow like he deserves since the edition wars have (apparently) been reignited by reactionaries like him.

To: Paizo developers and senior staff:
Stop sending him free books, maps, and codes. Go ahead and moderate this message if you think it is out of pocket but I don't think it is and I think it's important that you actually read it.

He is a grifter with an injured ego who, upon failing to deliver for his pay to play Patreon game, decided to shift the blame onto the system itself because his head is too big and full of hot air for him to realize he and not the system itself is to blame. In the process, he's actually going out of his way to try and damage the system's reputation and that of its smaller content creators by lying, misrepresenting the rules, and literal name-calling.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Tbh the most upsetting thing about his videos ultimately for me is he pushes the concept of 2e and pathfinder in general being the game for people who find " narrative or role-playing silly," that it is for people who read the game out as an exact reading of the text. This is already a prevalent stereotype about pathfinder players amongst the 5e crowd, which I feel like are players who are savoring the mainstream spotlight of 5e and don't want to be associated with like the rest of the tabletop community.

He has such a huge platform and using it to criticize pathfinder and package that in with stereotypes is pretty upsetting and misuse of his platform and I would appreciate he at least acknowledge that. Especially since in his follow up he seems very concerned about the civility of the community.

At the end of the day I think he has the right to his opinion, and the right to share it. But he should be ready for criticisms, and acknowledge sometimes the things he says hurts people and communities.

Edit: I want to make it clear, I'm not gatekeeping. I welcome anybody who wishes to play tabletop. IF anything the people in 5e i'm talking about are like most likely established gamers I feel or at least not like indicative of like 5e and new members to the community as a whole. This isn't a " popular people enjoy the thing I like are bad," it's a " i've seen these harmful attitudes in communities and I think it stems from a sense of shame."

Liberty's Edge

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He stirs things up for the buzz.

He gets answers that contradict his first message.

He stirs things up again with his answer to the answers.

And the cycle of clicks (with all the benefits) never ends.

Win for him, loss for PF2 but does he care ?


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"I don't like this game" is a fine thing for anybody to feel about any game. So "here's my problem with the game" is just going to be received better than "here's the problem with the game." Particularly when "the problem" is couched in some pretty suspect analysis.


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pixierose wrote:

Tbh the most upsetting thing about his videos ultimately for me is he pushes the concept of 2e and pathfinder in general being the game for people who find " narrative or role-playing silly," that it is for people who read the game out as an exact reading of the text. This is already a prevalent stereotype about pathfinder players amongst the 5e crowd, which I feel like are players who are savoring the mainstream spotlight of 5e and don't want to be associated with like the rest of the tabletop community.

He has such a huge platform and using it to criticize pathfinder and package that in with stereotypes is pretty upsetting and misuse of his platform and I would appreciate he at least acknowledge that. Especially since in his follow up he seems very concerned about the civility of the community.

At the end of the day I think he has the right to his opinion, and the right to share it. But he should be ready for criticisms, and acknowledge sometimes the things he says hurts people and communities.

Edit: I want to make it clear, I'm not gatekeeping. I welcome anybody who wishes to play tabletop. IF anything the people in 5e i'm talking about are like most likely established gamers I feel or at least not like indicative of like 5e and new members to the community as a whole. This isn't a " popular people enjoy the thing I like are bad," it's a " i've seen these harmful attitudes in communities and I think it stems from a sense of shame."

I guess that's where my feelings lie on all of this. My first introduction to the TTRPG community was switching from AD&D over to 3rd. I was picking up my copy of the Player's Handbook at the mall as a wee teen and someone stood next to the register complaining about why the game was awful and that AD&D was better and I was a dumb child who didn't understand the history. Since then, I've moved through the d20 systems, running games of every edition, playing different systems - rules-lite, diceless, zany, super crunchy. But the hardest part of getting players was always the sell, even to my own groups!

"Hey guys, as a change of pace, let's try out some Rogue Trader." Or, "Actually, if we want to play a more horror themed game..." I've moved a lot in more life, which meant forming new gaming groups wherever I could.. This meant that most of the ground level stuff was starting with, "Oh, so you've heard of D&D? This is like that." And, "Why aren't we playing D&D, well, that's a matter of opinion, and I really enjoy this system."

I don't need people to like Pathfinder 2e, but it definitely makes me a lot happier when the well isn't poisoned to begin with. Especially when I find the claims in his videos completely wrong or, in the most generous take, misrepresenting of the actual gameplay.


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As a PF fan who finds PF2E completely at odd with what I love in gaming, I think the insider fanbase is missing the point.

The way this conversation, and most pointedly, the way the fans are responding with attacks against detractors, is completely a recycle of how 4E played out. I'm NOT saying PF2E is 4E. But I am most certainly saying that repeating that history will do nothing but repeat that result.

The mechanics of PF2E are quite specific and a subset of fans LOVING it does not negate the legitimate disappointment in many others. Writing off claims of things being "wrong" when in fact they may be completely right depending a different point of view or values is a huge mistake that only serves to further isolate the game from a larger audience.

4E fans were never willing to accept this and, unfortunately, I don't have any expectation that things will be any different this time.
But so it goes.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Been awhile, stranger.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
BryonD wrote:

As a PF fan who finds PF2E completely at odd with what I love in gaming, I think the insider fanbase is missing the point.

The way this conversation, and most pointedly, the way the fans are responding with attacks against detractors, is completely a recycle of how 4E played out. I'm NOT saying PF2E is 4E. But I am most certainly saying that repeating that history will do nothing but repeat that result.

The mechanics of PF2E are quite specific and a subset of fans LOVING it does not negate the legitimate disappointment in many others. Writing off claims of things being "wrong" when in fact they may be completely right depending a different point of view or values is a huge mistake that only serves to further isolate the game from a larger audience.

4E fans were never willing to accept this and, unfortunately, I don't have any expectation that things will be any different this time.
But so it goes.

is it also not too much to ask that the detractors, don't use their very public and large platforms to reinforce stereotypes about the players who play these games? I'm not saying you are but the video definitely does. I'm not condoning any attacks against him but he also seems to lump in people making assumptions about his play-style as like attacks? When if they are attacks didn't he throw the first punch?

He can not like the game, that's fine. I have some critiques of the game even if it is my favorite system to date.

If it really is a small enough niche/sub-sect then shouldn't people be like mindful and careful to not poison the well? Like if we all exist in the same space, shouldn't we expect that at least?


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Pretty big difference between 4e and the problems presented (that could be pointed to and applied only in the case of that edition AND were later given "fixes" in the form of new supplements), and the problems presented in the video (which appear to be table-specific or apply to other TTRPGs).

There's also the matter of where the conversation is taking place, where we didn't exactly have as much of an internet culture; reaction videos, twitter popularity, or even influencer as a job desctription.

(Also, I absolutely will run 4e as a one-shot for people, but only if I can talk people into a much more off-the-rails game of 7e Gamma World which really plays with those concepts in a lot more interesting ways, I feel)


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I wouldn't read too much into the attacks on Taking 20 on this forum. Yes a number of them go too far, but there is plenty of appropriate discussion on particular points. For an internet forum that is pretty good.

I watched 3 of his videos before his public rejection of PF2. I never found them particularily insightful, mostly aimed at beginners, and unsubscribed.

I get that he is stuck in a rut and can't find his way out. I do believe that the answers are there in PF2 if you look for them. However I have been doing a lot of tired GMing lately so I know how it can get that way. Players also have some responsibility to spice it up.

Well built characters in any RPG should have a number of different things they can do. In combat and out of combat. He needs to think about that. The options are there in PF2 if you look for them.

Having said that you can just blast through encounters with attack/attack/attack if you want. In a good portion of situations that will just work. I think it is incumbent on the GM and the module writer to mix it up a bit and provide some hooks to help with that.

I don't get why he is having a problem with a TPK. I've rarely have problems with published modules. But I have't played the one he is talking about. I'd expect a seasoned gorup of players to do better. I get that you can have bad luck (I rolled 4 natural 1s in a row recently).

I strongly object to D&D5 as a system. It's very simple. It has got maths scaling problems with AC and saving throws. There are very few options outside of extra spells. I want to customise my character but can't. I play it. But only when I can't talk people into something better. Having said that it is a fairly good version of D&D. I just have moved on.


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BryonD wrote:

As a PF fan who finds PF2E completely at odd with what I love in gaming, I think the insider fanbase is missing the point.

The way this conversation, and most pointedly, the way the fans are responding with attacks against detractors, is completely a recycle of how 4E played out. I'm NOT saying PF2E is 4E. But I am most certainly saying that repeating that history will do nothing but repeat that result.

The mechanics of PF2E are quite specific and a subset of fans LOVING it does not negate the legitimate disappointment in many others. Writing off claims of things being "wrong" when in fact they may be completely right depending a different point of view or values is a huge mistake that only serves to further isolate the game from a larger audience.

4E fans were never willing to accept this and, unfortunately, I don't have any expectation that things will be any different this time.
But so it goes.

Time will tell.

I think PF2 is more a DM edition than a player edition myself. Not sure that can sustain the game or make it grow enough to sustain it, but maybe. Most of these games are designed more with players in mind to let them do outlandish, fantastic things while the DM does his best to throw something challenging at them.

This edition is very easy on the DM. You can pick up a few books, let the players make a character at any level with any magic they want, and you can create a challenging encounter using the monsters and challenges out of the book.

Even I admit that PF is far more fun as a player. You can build so many whacky, outlandish characters that are over-the-top powerful that you have nearly limitless cool and effective options to explore. In PF2 you can pick anything and try your best to build an over-powered, over-the-top character, but it won't happen. So a player can play an erudite fighter or a muscular sword wielding wizard and be within an effectiveness range that can achieve the goals of the module. Players are far more limited with the main focus one of cosmetic differences rather than power differences.

As a DM that is great. Nearly anyone can pick up PF2 and DM it creating a challenge even if they don't know all the fiddly bit rules that some on here argue about. It's the easiest edition of D&D to DM and challenge players of any level I've ever played. It's even made guys who haven't DMed for years give DMing a shot because it's so easy to challenge a party as a DM.

Maybe a DM edition will fail as DMs make up a minority of the player base. But for right now I'm sure enjoying not having to deal with the headaches of every other edition of D&D that made the game eventually reach a point of DM overload and burnout due to being unable to challenge players. And scaring off anyone from DMing because trying to manage every insane over-powered character combination was something they didn't feel capable of dealing with.


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Kasoh wrote:
Does the four degrees of success when Making a Request or Making an Impression come up all that often in play? And if we're all just handwaving it, why is the rule there? Is it a system we only use for unimportant NPCs? I dunno. But I'm interested in other people's experiences.

Yes. The halfling rogue Sam with Cha 18, Scoundrel racket, expert Diplomacy, and Glad-Hand has twice rolled a critical success on Make an Impression and instantly turned an unfriendly NPC into a friendly NPC. In one case, a web lurker (ettercap) named All-Eyes who was intended as a hostile encounter but was not yet hostile became a friendly encounter. Then through roleplaying and treating All-Eyes with respect, the party converted it to helpful.

Now that the party has a new leshy sorcerer Honey with the Harmlessly Cute ancestry feat 1, I expect to see some Request actions.

I will have to study up on how the halfing rogue and leshy sorcerer can Aid each other on Diplomacy checks. Which sets up the next point.

Lightning Raven wrote:
While in this edition, it's sometimes better to forego your second attack and set up an Aid Action and use a defensive action or even try to identify the monsters, three actions that improve your standing in combat without engaging with the enemy's HP.

My players and I had read the Aid action last year at the beginning of the campaign and the default DC 20 looked formidable. Now that they are at 7th level and have some master skills, I will have to looking into Aid again and encourage it. Does anyone have experience with Aiding an attack?

Lightning Raven wrote:
The way he described the players' actions in his first video made me perceive exactly the issue I stated above of preconceived notions. The Druid thought that becoming the same monster every time was "optimal" when in truth, this would've been a PF1e's druid optimal playstyle that focused on shapes that granted the highest amount attacks and those that granted flight. A PF2e druid, even a shapeshifter, will have to make some choices based on the situation at hand, instead of defaulting to the same pattern regardless of the enemy (imagine facing a monster with dmg resistance and high AC and instead of using your spells to take it down or debuff it, you joined the characters without other options in whacking at it? Not that smart and definitely not optimal).

Cody said that the druid shapeshifted into a dinosaur or dragon, so that PC had two forms. And Cody might have simplified the description for brevity. The jaw and claw attacks were repetitive despite the variety of forms.

The gnome druid Stormdancer in my campaign used Dinosaur Form for the first time in the fight that spanned our last two game sessions. She took so much damage from opposing soldiers that the leshy sorcerer Honey had to follow him around casting 3rd-spell-level Heal spells. It does not seem her style for frequent use. On the other hand, she had already used up her two Fireballs and a Lightning Bolt, so the time was good for a spell that precluded other spellcasting.


Mathmuse wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I've been analyzing scaling lately. That is not actually how it scales.

I'll give a rough overview of what I've found:

1st to about 6th: PCs are fairly weak compared to the environment. Few options for adjusting the math. Mistakes or bad rolls can lead to severe punishment. Casters feel pretty weak. TPK very possible.

7th to 10th: Survivability fairly good. Players rise in power with more options. Players can shift math better in their favor. Enough hit points and defense to take hits. Casters start to impact the game more with feats, special abilities, and spells.

That is not how PF2 has worked out for my players. I don't claim that Deriven Firelion's analysis is wrong. Rather, my players' style works exceptionally well with PF2.

At 1st level in my PF2 conversion of Ironfang Invasion I sent hundreds of hobgoblin soldiers against them and the village of Phaendar. Of course they ran, because the module intended that. They also took 40 villagers with them, twice as many as the module expected. Higher-level NPCs protected them and their refugees. One NPC died. The party saved a second high-level NPC.

At 2nd level in Trail of the Hunted they kept the refugees alive and hidden in the Fangwood Forest, also as the module intended. However, they went through the planned encounters at a rate of one per day rather than one per week and broke the timeline.

I remember one encounter, down to three players because the fourth had a schedule conflict, where they had to take on three enemies, creature 1. The rogue was able to hide, but he sprung out for a sneak attack to protect the druid. That enemy turned on the rogue, another went after the druid, and a third went after the ranger. But Electric Arc let the druid attack two enemies at once, so the enemy on the rogue went down quickly. Teamwork gave them an advantage that mitigated bad rolls. The caster, i.e., the druid, felt properly scaled rather than weak. She was hit pretty hard since the last enemy...

Yes. The way you DM is a factor. I've seen this on the boards quite a bit. DMs have different styles. This affects how you see the game and how it runs. Depends on the level of experience of the players and their preferences as well. Lots of factors affect how a game runs other than the rules.

We have DM variance which affects how games run depending on who is in the DM chair. In my particular group over the years the DM styles have varied:

1. Role-play DM: We have one DM who runs the game closer to you preferring a more narrative, role-play driven mix of combat and encounter resolution.

2. Killer DM: One guy likes a high level of lethality and will sometimes kill you on a random die roll you can't avoid. Just look at you, tell you to roll a d6, you roll the wrong number, and he tells you you're dead without remorse.

3. Friendly Combat DM: One guy is a DM who runs campaigns where he wants to create the illusion of challenge, but you are never really in danger or likely to die. You always feel like you're going to win. It's not a bad way to go, but doesn't make for much tension in combat.

4. Ruthless DM: This is where I stand and one other guy in the group. You play the enemies as though they are trying to kill the players including using a high level of enemy teamwork, focus firing, and hitting players while they're down.

The DM style affects how encounters resolve. I've seen many variations in how people run games. I even knew a DM who didn't stat up his enemies and never told his players that he didn't. He on the fly ran combat in a narrative fashion determining whether you hit based on a low or high roll. If you got a high roll, he would describe some great hit. Low roll and a miss. He decided how much damage you took on the fly and when the creature died based on what he considered a tough fight. We didn't even know he did this until the adventure was over. That was surprising, but the game was fun so no one cared.

That's ultimately the rule for any DM at the end of the day: did your players have fun? If no, back to the drawing board. If yes, then you did your job.


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Mathmuse wrote:

Cody of Taking20 has posted a response video to the response videos, Illusion of Choice - Breaking it Down. He points out that his players are experienced with many roleplaying systems and do use roleplaying and creativity, to debunk the hypothesis that his players fell into a repetitive routine due to inexperience. At time mark 14:00 he number crunched a hypothetical PF2 ranger archer versus a hypothetical D&D 5e ranger archer to show that the PF2 archer lost 60% of his damage when not using archery while the D&D 5e archer lost 20% of his damage when not using archery to demonstrate that PF2 has more lock-in to its design.

And that is his elaboration on illusion of choice, that if a character invests in one combat style, such as archery, then the character has better results with that style and temporarily switching to another style falls woefully short of the new and higher baseline in either damage or chance of success. At time mark 7:17 he states that his players are not min-maxers because the choices they made are standard to PF2. He gave the example that if a player wanted to create a ranger archer then Dex 18 and Hunted Shot ranger feat 1 are natural choices, not min-maxed choices. His hypothetical ranger went for Quick Draw as his or her 2nd-level ranger feat, in case the ranger needed to draw a melee weapon, so the ranger was not totally archery focused.

I can tell you that his examples would be significantly more different and varied if he took an Animal Companion of some sort, and it's not like an Archer Ranger who hunts wouldn't also likewise have an animal who helps him track down potential prey, meaning it wouldn't really breach any sort of flavor issues that might come up. He might have glossed over the animal companion for going for a simple concept, since for some an Animal Companion is too much, but choosing something that offers less options because it's "more natural" to do so, when another option is equally as plausible, isn't really helping his case any.

After all, it's very easy to take a class that is literally built to be a rotation and nothing more and use it as an example of creating overly repetitive gameplay, whereas taking a class that has more variance to it, like Fighters, or Rogues, or Wizards, which has infinitely more variance by comparison, and say it's repetitive. Rogues can be spell dabblers, skill monkies, incredible damage dealers, and powerful debuffers, both at the same time as well as independently, and in many different ways. Fighters can fight with bows, two-handed weapons, two different weapons, free-hand...the list goes on. And they have special feats which provide options for their fighting style choice. Wizards have Theses which can help them approach encounters and obstacles in various ways, and the obvious different choices for spell loadouts is good to begin with, and grows with level, downtime, and book publications.

I'll tell you what, if he can break down numerous classes with numerous feat choices and build paths and playstyles, I'll definitely reconsider his opinion. Until then, it stays as just that: An opinion. One that I don't agree with on any level.


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He definitely tries his best to make 5e "win". Only thing I agree with is a new player could easily end up down this path if they just want to be an "archer".

Is this a problem? I am not sure I would think if you wanted to be an archer character you would want to shoot.

I am sure if he made other videos he would just make more biased examples making the most boring 2e characters possible.

Oddly I thought players would love to have lots of choices and specialize or diversify as much as possible.


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I very much am confused by him saying that the problem of there being too few meaningful choices isnt in character creation, then intentionally builds a character who doesnt take anything to help them do other things

Grand Lodge

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You cannot play PF1 via PF2. That's the first problem. The second one is this whole thing is all about him badmouthing PF2 to attract more potential subscribers from the PF1 types who will never try PF2. Quit giving him oxygen to suck on. Let him cater to the idiot types.

Sovereign Court

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Cyouni wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
(Analysis of new Cody post)
I'm curious. Does the ranger really lose 60% damage when not using ranged attacks? Can someone else do the math?

(math breakdown)

You'll notice that this is significantly closer, carried almost entirely by that fourth flurry attack. If the ranger were a precision or outwit ranger, it'd be very close to equal, but still slightly favouring the bow-user.

I've been noticing a trend that Precision ranger is noticeably more robust when Plan A doesn't work than Flurry. For example, when faced with skeletons (resistance to piercing) a Flurry ranger is screwed. A Precision ranger can use a sling (free, 1 copper piece per bullet) with only modest loss of damage.

But Flurry and Hunted Shot/Twin Takedown are very eye-catching and a lot of people zero in on that as the quintessential ranger build.

I guess this comes back to what I've been saying before: optimization can be "DPR under best case circumstances" but I'm personally more interested in robust "always a decent plan under any circumstances" optimization. Precision rangers are far less reliant on any one specific weapon type, they can just as well use holy water, alchemical bombs, a tree branch as improvised club, their bare fists, a sling or their favorite bow.

But it comes with a psychological handicap. People seem fearful of using Precision because while it feels great to roll a lot of dice for damage if you hit, Flurry holds out the promise of shooting so many times that you almost certainly gotta hit.

Overall though the DPR for both styles seems to be very close together under normal circumstances, it's just that Precision has a bigger gambling aspect to it.


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Mathmuse wrote:

Cody tried to put each ranger in the optimal position for archery, 30 feet from the foe, with a longbow in hand. (Note: he forgot the -2 volley penalty and the deadly 1d10 on the PF2 longbow.) That gave archery a bias over melee.

The ranger's three actions were Hunt Prey, Hunter's Shot (which includes 2 Strikes), Strike. In switching to melee, the ranger performed Stride, Quick Draw (including 1 Strike), Strike. This is one fewer Strike. Cody also mistakenly thought that Precision Edge does not apply to melee strikes, so he removed the 1d8 precision damage from that, too. Or maybe he gave it up by deliberately not using Hunt Prey.

The ranged option would have been 1st Strike (50%)(1d8) + (20%)(2d8+1d10), 2nd Strike (40%)(1d8) + (5%)(2d8+1d10), 3rd Strike (15%)(1d8) + (5%)(2d8+1d10), and (87%)(1d8) precision damage for 13.0 damage on average, applying the volley and deadly correctly. The melee option would have been 1st Strike (50%)(1d6) + (30%)(2d6) and 2nd Strike (50%)(1d6) + (10%)(2d6) for 6.3 damage on average. The missing damage (13.0-6.3) = 6.7 is 52% of the 13.0 archery damage.

However, applying PF2 tactics a little more accurately, the ranged option should have been Hunt Prey, Stride away, Hunted Shot to eliminate the volley penalty before shooting. That gives 1st Strike (50%)(1d8) + (30%)(2d8+1d10), 2nd Strike (50%)(1d8) + (5%)(2d8+1d10), and (91%)(1d8) precision damage for 13.7 damage on average. The melee option should have been Hunt Prey, Stride to target, Quick Draw for 1st Strike (50%)(1d6) + (30%)(2d6) and (80%)(1d8) precision damage for 7.5 damage on average. The missing damage...

Things I noticed:

* The PF2 ranger, by walking up to the wight, sacrifices an attack. The 5e ranger does not sacrifice an attack, by virtue of 5e's action economy. In 5e, movement does not compete with your Action. (Whether that leads to more or less interesting "choices" is its own entire discussion.) Cody's example mainly demonstrates that there is an action cost for switching between 2 attack modes in PF2. A math breakdown if the wight had already been in the ranger's face would've been more honest.

* On that note, the 30' distance forced the ranger to Stride two times and lose TWO attacks, while the 5e ranger lost none.

* Getting into attack position and making as many attacks as possible is NOT always the optimal thing to do in PF2, even when you do invest feats in your attack. Skill actions are very useful in PF2 because they soften up enemies to your allies' attacks. The ranger can forego that attack at -10 to Demoralize an enemy, Recall Knowledge, or Stride, and if they have Assurance in Athletics they can trip them and grant all allies an effective +2 to attacks before it acts, and that is effectively twice as powerful as in other systems (so like a +4 in 5e or PF1) due to the +10/-10 crit system.

* The PF2 ranger that has the wight in its face actually might be better off Striding away and firing. In general, melee brute monsters in PF2 are very accurate, and even their 3rd attack has a strong chance of hitting. It's not a clear answer: if the enemy is stronger and has an agile weapon (-8 on the third attack), you definitely do NOT want to be next to it at the end of your turn. Tactics in PF2 involve denying attacks to the enemy as well. You can Stride twice and pull off two attacks with Hunted Shot, and force the wight to Stride twice and make only one attack. Movement and positioning are impactful in PF2.

* If an ally is at low HP, it might actually be better to run up to an enemy and take hits at the loss of some DPS. You might also set up a flank while getting into melee range. It all depends on the situation.

* His example of the ranger running up to the wight, tripping it, and grappling it is an exaggeration. (Also, it wouldn't leave the ranger prone.) This is a plainly extreme example. Tripping the wight would be enough to give all the party members an effective +2 on their attacks against it. (And Demoralizing it would help allies even further.) This doesn't increase the ranger's DPS, but it may very well increase the party's. Cody doesn't look into this.

* The other reason he added Grapple to the already-tripped wight was because tripping by itself in 5e is easy for it to correct. When the wight stands up it does not provoke an opportunity attack, and since movement spent on standing up does not compete with attacks, the wight still has the same number of attacks.

In sum, his examples are contrived to support his conclusion that PF2 gives an "illusion of choice." His focus on individual DPS ignores the importance of (1) cooperation, (2) varying circumstances and (3) freeing up actions. You need action efficiency as well as damage efficiency in 2e. There are often TOO many things to do in 2e, and 3 actions isn't enough. On the last point, the value of Hunted Shot is actually not being able to make a 3rd and 4th strike at -10 (which in his 1st video he said "usually misses"); it's freeing up an action that can be used to Stride, do Battle Medicine, Recall Knowledge, do a skill action with Assurance, and many other things.

Meanwhile, despite his players finding these "optimal rotations" so easily, his party TPK'd. No word as to why. Since he doesn't accept the offered observation that the Adventure Path he was running might have been overtuned/too difficult, I can only assume that his players in fact did not play optimally, and perhaps brought in habits from 5e and PF1 that get you killed in PF2.


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Mathmuse wrote:


Lightning Raven wrote:
While in this edition, it's sometimes better to forego your second attack and set up an Aid Action and use a defensive action or even try to identify the monsters, three actions that improve your standing in combat without engaging with the enemy's HP.

My players and I had read the Aid action last year at the beginning of the campaign and the default DC 20 looked formidable. Now that they are at 7th level and have some master skills, I will have to looking into Aid again and encourage it. Does anyone have experience with Aiding an attack?

When you're at higher levels, like I did with my Monk, you can easily crit the effect, your main costs will be the action and reaction cost, which my monk weren't that big of a deal since Stand Still was harder to trigger, so I ended up helping my Ranger and Champion that partnered with me on the frontlines. At that point I was a Master in Athletics and I had my character trying to shove or block the enemy physically to use it as my skill for the action. It was pretty good and can be really helpful against bosses and your ranged teammates will love the help because Flat-Footed isn't as frequent for them. It's not something you use every round, but in some situations you can spare the action (even more so if you don't have good reactions for the occasion).


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
(Analysis of new Cody post)
I'm curious. Does the ranger really lose 60% damage when not using ranged attacks? Can someone else do the math?

(math breakdown)

You'll notice that this is significantly closer, carried almost entirely by that fourth flurry attack. If the ranger were a precision or outwit ranger, it'd be very close to equal, but still slightly favouring the bow-user.

I've been noticing a trend that Precision ranger is noticeably more robust when Plan A doesn't work than Flurry. For example, when faced with skeletons (resistance to piercing) a Flurry ranger is screwed. A Precision ranger can use a sling (free, 1 copper piece per bullet) with only modest loss of damage.

But Flurry and Hunted Shot/Twin Takedown are very eye-catching and a lot of people zero in on that as the quintessential ranger build.

I guess this comes back to what I've been saying before: optimization can be "DPR under best case circumstances" but I'm personally more interested in robust "always a decent plan under any circumstances" optimization. Precision rangers are far less reliant on any one specific weapon type, they can just as well use holy water, alchemical bombs, a tree branch as improvised club, their bare fists, a sling or their favorite bow.

But it comes with a psychological handicap. People seem fearful of using Precision because while it feels great to roll a lot of dice for damage if you hit, Flurry holds out the promise of shooting so many times that you almost certainly gotta hit.

Overall though the DPR for both styles seems to be very close together under normal circumstances, it's just that Precision has a bigger gambling aspect to it.

Can confirm. As someone that initially scoffed at Precision Ranger when it was proposed during the playtest, in play it does a lot of damage and allows you to switch things up as needed. I created a support-focused Ranger on my party's Rise of The Runelords campaign(it's been on hold for months now, sadly) and in some very tight spaces I opted for using one of the spears we've found in the dungeon and even though I'm 2 points behind in Accuracy, nothing a flank and the lack of soft cover wouldn't solve, I still dished out some solid damage. When your first hit is doing the bulk of your damage, you have a lot more options to work with in combat, and that's what my character did with Monster Hunter and extra recall knowledge.


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The Rot Grub wrote:
Meanwhile, despite his players finding these "optimal rotations" so easily, his party TPK'd. No word as to why. Since he doesn't accept the offered observation that the Adventure Path he was running might have been overtuned/too difficult, I can only assume that his players in fact did not play optimally, and perhaps brought in habits from 5e and PF1 that get you killed in PF2.

Here's the truth, they thought they were being optimized. Turns out they were... For a Pathfinder 1e or D&D3.5 character. My party ran into four "off the charts" (as in far harder than the module intended) encounters and we survived all of it and only on two occasions we really ended up on the brink of death (Once with our Wizard at 25 HP on a duel against the boss at low HP and another with my Monk with 49 HP against three mooks out of 13 we already downed... I kited the hell out of those idiots and only finished the fight with low HP due to a lucky crit for the enemy). Everyone in our party were somewhat veteran players from PF1e and yet we embraced this new system's differences (Except our alchemist, that had several turns of pure attacking. The character was retired and a Champion suited the player far more), with a bit of luck and making use of our abilities (Warden's Boon from a Flurry Ranger to a Monk is simply divine) and we survived the tough spots. They were a Boss Spellcaster plus extra encounter with two outsiders at once, 2 Alchemical Golems plus two extra encounters with poisoners, 4 encounters with Boggarts and Charau-ka at once, and two outsider fishes (we didn't identify the creatures) along with another charau-ka encounter (Standard enemy from Book2 in Age of Ashes) and finally, the most recent event was a terrible gauntlet with us facing a Severe-Challenge Shadow Giant followed by 4 Stone Giants (no rest), then after a measly 10 min break we were faced with a whooping 13 humanoid enemies (I think this was at least 2 encounters, can't say for certain).

In all of these tough rounds mentioned above, very few of them any members of our group did the Attack, Attack, Attack routine without any kind of support (Warden's Boon allowed my monk to try more attacks, but sometimes I still used trip so that the Ranger could Sneak Attack).


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I think PF2 is more a DM edition than a player edition myself. Not sure that can sustain the game or make it grow enough to sustain it, but maybe. Most of these games are designed more with players in mind to let them do outlandish, fantastic things while the DM does his best to throw something challenging at them.

This edition is very easy on the DM. You can pick up a few books, let the players make a character at any level with any magic they want, and you can create a challenging encounter using the monsters and challenges out of the book.

Even I admit that PF is far more fun as a player. You can build so many whacky, outlandish characters that are over-the-top powerful that you have nearly limitless cool and effective options to explore. In PF2 you can pick anything and try your best to build an over-powered, over-the-top character, but it won't happen. So a player can play an erudite fighter or a muscular sword wielding wizard and be within an effectiveness range that can achieve the goals of the module. Players are far more limited with the main focus one of cosmetic differences rather than power differences.

This DM vs player dichotomy only makes sense if you equate player fun with the build game. With building wacky over the top powerful characters. That's not necessarily the case.

If your players find their fun in tactical choices in combat, as we've been discussing here, then PF2 is more of a player game.


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thejeff wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I think PF2 is more a DM edition than a player edition myself. Not sure that can sustain the game or make it grow enough to sustain it, but maybe. Most of these games are designed more with players in mind to let them do outlandish, fantastic things while the DM does his best to throw something challenging at them.

This edition is very easy on the DM. You can pick up a few books, let the players make a character at any level with any magic they want, and you can create a challenging encounter using the monsters and challenges out of the book.

Even I admit that PF is far more fun as a player. You can build so many whacky, outlandish characters that are over-the-top powerful that you have nearly limitless cool and effective options to explore. In PF2 you can pick anything and try your best to build an over-powered, over-the-top character, but it won't happen. So a player can play an erudite fighter or a muscular sword wielding wizard and be within an effectiveness range that can achieve the goals of the module. Players are far more limited with the main focus one of cosmetic differences rather than power differences.

This DM vs player dichotomy only makes sense if you equate player fun with the build game. With building wacky over the top powerful characters. That's not necessarily the case.

If your players find their fun in tactical choices in combat, as we've been discussing here, then PF2 is more of a player game.

My GM plays the enemies as killing machines, I particularly do not like this playstyle and prefer a more role-played approach to the monsters(predators cutting their losses, intelligent monsters using their best tactics but concerned for their well-being, etc), because this style significantly limits player option in combat and character creation (you can't afford some character concepts if the concept don't bring in meaningful contribution to combat challenges).


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I posted this on reddit, but I think the postulation that "I always use Hunted Shot and if I don't I'm sub-optimal" is a false premise:

The problem is the perceived "optimization" of using Hunted Shot over and over again.

It's sunken cost fallacy. Sometimes a Class Feat you buy isn't going to get used. That's the nature of Class Feats. Some are more common than others, but its an option and not a dictation.

The fact is that if the Ranger is using a Bow, they have a high DEX and can use a Finesse weapon with some competency.

The fact is that the same Bow ranger can have an Animal companion at level 1 (if Human) or level 2 that completely changes their action economy.

He's setting up a lob by forcing us into a build with no options and then complaining there are no options.

But the reality is, there are options. You can use any of the other Skill actions in the game or even a melee Strike with some competency on a Finesse weapon with lots of success.

His problem is he expects the game to tell him how to be optimal, and the whole point of Pathfinder is that versatility is king, no action is 100% the most optimal action no matter how core it is to your build.

Now, I think the biggest legit criticism you can make about the game is that the game doesn't necessarily inform you that but that's already really been discussed up thread.

Things like:

"Hey, so even though you're a really good marksman with a bow, if you were to Stride to this enemy and use Athletics Assurance to Trip, because they have low Reflex and are Frightened from your Barbarian, you'd be guaranteed to succeed, so Strike first, then Trip with your next two actions using assurance on the latter."

Even in the cherrypicked example he gave, Wights have devastatingly low Reflex saves, ones that Assurance at their level would beat.

Realistically the only person who can do a better job to inform the players on how to play the field and not the build is the GM.

Is that a big ask for a GM? It's a bigger ask than 5E, because in 5E you can just make everything up.

Is it more rewarding as a GM? I would argue yes. The game is more complex and that gives me the ability to build more complex encounters and more interesting circumstances.

The Bestiary really helps with that because all of the monsters are really interesting and generally have abilities that force players to realize that routines are not "always do this" but "when there's nothing specific you need to do, this is your fallback".

Like , let's look at Penetrating Shot. You can only use that feat in pretty specific circumstances, even if you're trying to set it up. Why would the expectation ever be "If I'm not using Penetrating Shot, I'm not optimizing"? It's just a pretty ridiculous statement.

If characters were less robust than they are, I could get these complaints, but they encompass a lot more than initial Class Feats.

There's too much going on for you to claim that ONE Class Feat is somehow the most optimal use of your turn always. And honestly, stating that as being a problem shows a massive disconnect on the system rules in general, if only for the fact that it's still not optimal to be using Hunted Shot and then attack twice more after that.

He set up dominoes he thought were easy to knock over too, because Ranger is one of the most locked rotations for a base-Class and he's still not correct IMO.


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There was some mention about PF1 being all about full attack, and while that was often true, it is not often true. There are plenty of cases where a PF1 character wants to do something other than full attack, but they usually do need to be built for it.

PF2 made everyone more capable, but severely lowered how specialized they can be. Which can be quite problematic when someone wants to be a specialist.

Now when talking about the illusion of choice between 5e, PF1, and PF2.

* 5e has the most basic choices of "what type of attack" and "what type of flavor". The illusion of choice is large, bad players wont notice, good players will notice it but might not care.

* PF1 has the most choices period, but its very limited in how wide you can go. The illusion of choice is non existent, bad players might miss the correct choice for what they want, but good players are able to make almost anything work.

* PF2 lands right in between, for better or worse. The illusion of choice is present enough that good players will see it, but the game is built in such a way that tactics matter more so the point can become mute.

PF2 overall plays like a puzzle, where you are trying to find the right move to solve it.

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

Regarding the reason this entire thread started. 1 person said he was not going to play because he founds some problems for his group. Why are people so worked up over it? Pathfinder 1e had a decades of people talking about how it had problems, and people still played it. 3.5 is constantly getting complains and people still play it. GURPS gets constant complaints and people still play it.

All this people complaining just look like they are attacking him, while he gets to benefit from all the views. Which means more people will see his comments, and therefore more people will see it.

Not only that, but some of the lines of thinking are just going in weird directions. Complaining that someone doesn't like it because they did not understood the game is A grade ivory tower speech. While talking about the players just "not knowing" dismisses the fact that maybe they just misunderstood a rule. Something that happens incredibly often even in games like 5e. Then there is the whole, "they shouldn't have any problem, look my party was fine", which is pure anecdote just like the video you are talking against. Which only looks worse, when you consider that a series of bad rolls and a few bad choices can have a vast swing on how difficult PF2 can get.

Same with the "oh but my party has great RP/teamwork and dealt with it this way." Which ignores the fact that not everyone plays the same, or may even be good at doing RP/teamwork. Which just makes everything more complicated.

Might he and his player made some mistakes in how to play the game? Maybe. But his experience with the game, does not disappear because someone else had a good experience.

#1 Example right now: Cyberpunk 2077 is anything from a beautiful game to incredibly bad, all based on what you run it on. The fact some people got a good experience, does not invalidate the people who had a bad one. All the company and players can do is choose to fix the problem, or leave it be and cut their loses.

Liberty's Edge

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Bad publicity is a problem. I feel this thread indeed exists and has gone so long because people are trying to see how valid the points he raises actually are. I for one learned things thanks to this thread.


Yeah bad publicity is bad, and this thread has a lot of good information. But also constantly talking bad about the guy wont solve anything. But might make his viewers turn away instead.

Humans are weird as seen by this year.


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I thought there was no such thing as bad publicity...

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