Hit / Success Chance Vs 5e


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Horizon Hunters

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I am very curious if anyone has run numbers. I tried to search for info online but couldn't find anything. We are playing Extinction Curse btw.

Our group switched over from 5e but most players are feeling like hit chances are worse in 2e which makes turns feel wasted and I honestly have no idea if it is true.

I guess when I am playing I dont even think about these kinds of things. I just use my 3 actions with all the options I chose and have fun.

I really enjoy the ability to mess with numbers with demoralize/bon mot/flanking and all the other effects.

Do you think 1st attack is nearly the same without buffs/debuffs? I have a feeling they arent too far off. I would guess flat footed would make it quite even since it is super easy to cause.

Do you think saves for spells are close to the same? I actually have no idea about this either. IMO the 4 degrees of success really make spells more interesting to me. All I can say I have noticed a lot of crit saves, especially if you target the strong save on accident.

On the other hand I love landing a crit failure on an enemy with a spell. Even something as simple as fear is great. Also for most spells I feel like a success is a minor hit which feels nice.

There is one huge difference in PF2 and 5e, that is damaging spells in 5e always do damage unless they have built in evasion. On the otherhand they can crit fail too.

Overall I completely understand people hate missing. I am very curious if it is just a feeling or numbers are really that much lower in 2e.

Has anyone else ran into issues of players feeling hit chances are bad in 2e from 5e.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The values are pretty much exactly where they need to be. If your party is really struggling, then either the GM hasn't learned how to balance encounters well yet, or the party hasn't discovered the value of teamwork.

The numbers do matter, but not near as much as the teamwork.

Take a look at this thread for a bit of number crunching.

Don't make the mistake of comparing the numbers to D&D 5E. They are totally distinct games operating on completely separate mechanical frameworks with entirely different objectives. Asking to compare numbers is like asking to compare the speed of a bowling ball and a race car. Any answer, however true, would be completely moot since bowling balls aren't meant for racing any more than race cars are meant to embarrass you in front of that hot chick you like at the alley.


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Well he just uses he Extinction Curse book. For attacks it is really easy to use teamwork but harder for casters.

Like I said I dont even noticed them being much different. Mainly just curious if they are actually worse or not.

I actually am super happy pretty much playing every character in 2e. Overall I have been very impressed with 2e except for rule confusions/learning has been tough.

I actually feel PF2 is a great for teamwork. In PF1/5e in combat I mostly just nuke and stun everything.

In PF2 most the characters I made are charisma based. I just love demoralize. Not only do I increase my chances of hitting but also my entire party.

Mainly was just curious since things feel fine to me.

Sovereign Court

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Cylar Nann wrote:

I am very curious if anyone has run numbers. I tried to search for info online but couldn't find anything. We are playing Extinction Curse btw.

Our group switched over from 5e but most players are feeling like hit chances are worse in 2e which makes turns feel wasted and I honestly have no idea if it is true.

I haven't played any 5E so it's hard to make a comparison. That said, if you're regularly not even hitting once per turn, there's probably something wrong.

The way it's set up with multiple attack penalty (MAP), it should be obvious that just spamming only attacks isn't encouraged. You're strongly pushed to do something else with your third action - or maybe I should say first action. I mean, if you were going to flank, you're probably doing that before you attack, not after.

There are some other possible reasons why you aren't hitting often, such as:

- (Too) Low ability score. The game allows you to make, say, a barbarian with strength 14, but it's not a good idea. An 18 in your main ability is really easy to do during character generation and usually a good idea. And picking up a +1 potency weapon when you can afford it is also strongly recommended.

- Not using the thing you're best at. Sounds dumb, but I've seen people play the pregen bard in PFS using his bow all the time, until the player realized that his telekinatic projectile spell had better to-hit and did more damage and was more versatile against skeletons and zombies.

- The GM is using a lot of tough monsters. Monsters of your level+2 are quite tough. Occasionally you'll even run into a level+3 monster, those are extremely tough. But it's recommended that GMs mostly pick from the level-1 to level+2 range. You often get more fun encounters with a slightly weaker boss with some flunkies, than from one really tough boss.

- Not enough teamwork. Flanking, maneuvers, demoralize, bless, inspire courage are all ways to improve to-hit for the rest of your party and available to multiple classes from level 1 onwards. The difficulty of the game is tuned assuming you do at least some teamwork.


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Pathfinder 2e mechanics are structured in a way that makes teamwork a very important aspect of the game, but unfortunaly it isn't writen in the books clearly enought. There are some players and GMs in this forum who say they have to adjust the encounter balance rules because they used advanced teamwork.

For example: You play a fighter with good intimidation and athletics. You know that one of your allies goes next. You can just attack, probably hitting because you are a fighter, or Trip as your first action and them demoralize. If everything succeded your ally (and probably more) would have +3 to hit and the enemy must use an action to stand up. Is it worth it? Maybe: not if the enemy was a mook and you could hurt him severly, but a mid level+ enemey - Yes.

This could become even wilder with spell as Synthesia and flanking (add a bard and you can get insane bonuses to hit).


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5e Numbers are designed so that you hit more often as you level. By the time your level 9 you should be hitting consistently 75% + of the time. 2e numbers are consistent with level (apart from break levels 5,13) and tend much more strongly toward 50% a coin toss. Obviously the levels of enemies matter so you get a range of between 70% to 30% chance of succeeding a strike against level appropriate opposition.


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As siegfriedliner said, the hit chance is much lower in PF2E compared to 5E (past the early levels). This is the difference between using 5e's bounded accuracy vs PF2E's tighter math.

What this means for you and your fellow players, is that tactics are super important. Running up to monsters and using all your actions to attack is not always the best choice, unlike in 5e. PF2e has a ton of conditions and ways to inflict said conditions, so take advantage of that. Always try to flank monsters with a buddy is an easy way. Some other examples including using Athletics to trip a foe, Intimidation to frighten with demoralize, or using Bon Mot (skill feat) for Diplomacy to debuff a foe. If you are a caster, trying casting spells that inflict conditions such as sickened, frightened, or other ones that lower a monster's defense. A bard can buff everyone with focus cantrips like Inspire Courage and a divine spell list caster has access to very potent buffs too.

Here's an example of why debuffing and buffing is important. Let's take a 1st level fighter, and a bard vs a kobold scout (level 1 creature). The kobold scout has a 18 AC, and the fighter has a +9 to hit with their longsword, then +4 on their second attack. The bard uses inspire courage to give everyone +1 to attacks and then uses intimidation to Demoralize the kobold (-1 status penalty to everything). The fighter moves up to the kobold and trips the kobold using athletics, which was made easier thanks to the kobold's Reflex DC being lower because of the bard's demoralize. With the kobold prone, its flat-footed (-2 circumstance penalty to its AC), frightened 1 (-1 status penalty to everything), and the fighter has a +1 status bonus to attack rolls from the bard. The kobold's AC went from 18 to 15, and the fighter's to hit bonus went from +9 t +10. Now the fighter only needs a 5 to hit (80% chance of hitting) vs the 9 before all the buffs/debuffs (60% chance of hitting). Also, since crits in PF2E are on a natural 20 or if you roll 10 or higher than the target value, the fighter's critical hit chance against the kobold increased from 10% to 30%!

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Funny thing, my daughter's character in the Age of Ashes game I run usually only hits with her second attack, because of the way her dice roll.

The character is a barbarian and in game joke is she's so mad at missing the first time she swings harder the second. That and she's blind with fury and therefore has to figure out where the bad guy isn't before she can hit where he is.


Oh I do enjoy how players can combine teamwork to make the fights easier. I actually had a lot of fun playing Bard and buffing/debuffing everyone.

In general what about spellcasting? Unless I am mistaken there is pretty much just demoralize+bon mot for people to help hit more. I am not even sure if there is a way to apply any non status debuff to enemies. Also I am not aware of any buffs that apply to casters DCs either.

Do casters with save spells still have the 50% failure rate vs 5e 75% failure rate?

With those numbers wouldn't casters be at a staggering 35%-50% hit chance for attack spells since they don't get potency runes.

Also if anyone knows does the "Proficiency without Level" variant still have the same accuracy points of 50% hit/success rate?

I definitely have never felt like my turns have felt bad in PF2 though. As a caster normally I am quite happy with a success on a spell because it can still help the team a lot. I would guess 2e success+failure rate is much higher than 5e.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I for one have never felt that I had trouble contributing as a caster despite the lack of rune bonuses to hit. Why? Because I have an entire toolbox of spell options to choose from!

Need to snipe an enemy from far away? Ray of frost. Facing a horde of weaker foes? Fireball. Need to sneak away? Invisibility. Can't afford to miss? Magic missile. Need to give the martial some extra options? Haste. Need to disrupt that boss' routine? Slow.

Even if you don't have access to all of these options (or the hundreds of spells and abilities that will work just as well), you can easily cover 75% of the above scenarios in short order, and all of them by high levels. Though there's some variation in effectiveness among the different spellcasting traditions (eg, sorcerers are ideal for damaging large groups while bards are great for buffing/debuffing) every class can cover most of the above situations by high levels (and then some).

RPGnoremac wrote:
In general what about spellcasting? Unless I am mistaken there is pretty much just demoralize+bon mot for people to help hit more.

For magic there is magic. (And also a few other abilities. Takes dispel magic, counterspell, or synesthesia for example.

A big moment for me was when an enemy caster lit us up with a devastating flaming sphere from atop a large landing at the top of several stairs. He then moved it to the stairs to deter people from coming up after him.

As a sorcerer who specialized in identifying magic of all kinds, I knew what spells the enemy caster was casting as he cast them. First, I successfully used dispel magic on his flaming sphere to give the party some breathing room (having used the spell myself, we all knew how dangerous it could be if left to linger). Then I used my last action to cast a single magic missile against him knowing he had cast shield on himself earlier in the conflict. As I predicted, he blocked the magic missile and lost his precious AC bonus just as our party martials got to the top of the stairs to bring some serious smackdown.

Earlier in the same encounter, we tried to rescue a unicorn from a bunch of tieflings (which is what started the whole conflict in the first place). We ambushed the tieflings and fought our way to the unicorn, which was manacled to a stake in the floor at the center of a ruined tower in which they resided. Once we freed the unicorn from its chains, the enemy caster showed up, targeting it with magic missile. I immediately moved to and cast invisibility on the unicorn to protect it from further harm, while lying to the tieflings that I had sent it away, far from their vile reach. Our party enjoyed the benefits of several mysterious healing effects during the battle. XD

The whole thing made a lot of people realize the importance of strategy and thinking about more than just yourself.


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RPGnoremac wrote:

Oh I do enjoy how players can combine teamwork to make the fights easier. I actually had a lot of fun playing Bard and buffing/debuffing everyone.

In general what about spellcasting? Unless I am mistaken there is pretty much just demoralize+bon mot for people to help hit more. I am not even sure if there is a way to apply any non status debuff to enemies. Also I am not aware of any buffs that apply to casters DCs either.

Do casters with save spells still have the 50% failure rate vs 5e 75% failure rate?

With those numbers wouldn't casters be at a staggering 35%-50% hit chance for attack spells since they don't get potency runes.

Also if anyone knows does the "Proficiency without Level" variant still have the same accuracy points of 50% hit/success rate?

I definitely have never felt like my turns have felt bad in PF2 though. As a caster normally I am quite happy with a success on a spell because it can still help the team a lot. I would guess 2e success+failure rate is much higher than 5e.

Magic is much more tame in this edition. Paizo made an effort to put a very tight leash on spellcasters (I just wish they were more creative with class feats, alas, this is a discussion for another time), but the very system itself compensates for these nerfs by making spells interact with the degrees of success. This means that if before the enemies could make a save and you would waste your turn, now, your spellslots are much more reliable and have the potential to go super nova at a whim.

You probably noticed that I mentioned my group playing AoA in previous posts, in one of the tight spots our party found ourselves in was solved by a Chain Lightning Cast by our wizard against measly 4 targets, but because they were weaker enemies (something that you want to aim your AOE at), they had a difficult time saving it, then with a couple of critical failures, the encounter went from tough fight with potential high drainage of resources to WHAT THE HELL? THEY'RE GONE? with a whooping 383 damage in a single spell for our Wizard, some of the giants suffered 80+ damage from a single spell at level 11.

Spells were definitely nerfed, but there are some mitigating factors that aren't readily apparent if you never saw a spellcaster in play across several levels (this way you can see how they progress and has a larger sample of experience).

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It really, really depends in my experience. A group of multiple players fighting a creature above their level will miss a lot, but wear the big bad down due to their action economy--if they can stay standing after a few crits against them.

By comparison, if the group is fighting a bunch of lower-level creatures, they'll hit very often, and even third attacks have a chance of doing damage. Crits are also much more likely, which can lead to some one-shots on baddies.

It's a lot of fun to have a creature or two serve as a significant challenge to a group, then pitch those same monsters against the PCs a couple levels later and see them wipe the floor with their foes.

I don't see a good comparison of D&D, where most creatures fall into a small range of ACs and where hit points are the main mitigating factor (and where a certain set of spells can still completely neutralize a powerful foe if the enemy gets unlucky with a saving throw). If you're talking about on-level foes, I would guess that D&D PCs hit more often. But Pathfinder offers many ways to vary the feel of a combat, and using creatures of different levels can produce very different results.


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Cylar Nann wrote:

Our group switched over from 5e but most players are feeling like hit chances are worse in 2e which makes turns feel wasted and I honestly have no idea if it is true.

There is one huge difference in PF2 and 5e, that is damaging spells in 5e always do damage unless they have built in evasion. On the otherhand they can crit fail too.

To hit chances are definitely lower in PF2.

5E was built by designers that belived "hitting is fun missing isn't" so they calibrated their game so skilled warriors hit significantly more often than 50%, and they removed penalties on second and third attacks, so these attacks too hit more often than not.

PF2 is an entirely different beast, where level means so much more. Whenever you face a monster three levels higher than yourself, you will find that you might not even have a 50% chance of success.

And that's on your first attack. Your second attack is maybe at 25% and you can forget about your third attack. Meanwhile the monster might hit you as easily as rolling a 3, meaning it has a whopping 35% crit chance.

But PF2 expects you to REALLY play the game, utilizing every single last bit of bonus you can conceivably get.

And once you learn to increase your chances by 2 or 3 points, you will find that you CAN defeat this monster.

--

Whether this is more or less fun I leave up to you.

If you're of the opinion a round where you just missed is "wasted" then by all means play 5E.

But if you like the satisfaction of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, where you survive but only just, then PF2 is easily the game for you.


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While I haven't played a ton of D&D 5e, it's pretty obvious that the focus is intentionally shifted away from tactical combat.

Players are meant to avoid questions like, "Is my ally blocking my shot?" and "Does he run close enough for me to hit as he passes by?"

I remember hitting a lot in my 5e campaign. But I also remember the combats feeling way less meaningful - because of the narrative focus, I never felt particularly threatened (i.e., I always felt like the only way my character could die is if the DM wanted my character to die).

D&D 5e certainly has its place (my 5e game was a lunchtime game at work, so no maps was a positive thing and DMs being overly generous was a positive thing), but I certainly like PF2 more in general.

Hitting less in PF2 adds to that danger. Against minions (CL-2), you should be hitting a lot (first attack: nat 7s to hit, nat 17s to crit; second attack: nat 12s to hit; third attack, nat 17s to hit). Against bosses (CL+2), you should be struggling to hit (first attack: nat 13s to hit, second attack: nat 18s to hit, third attack: impossible to crit).

It's a feature, not a bug.

Horizon Hunters

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Thanks for the info, does sound like in 5e at level enemies are probably easier to hit in 2e at list at higher levels.

I was very curious if it was as bad as the players were feeling. I guess it is.

There is just one player who really hates missing. Sadly yes everything you mentioned is true but it wont help him enjoy the game anymore.

I guess the main difference is when he move up and misses he feels bad.

When I play my Sorcerer/Champion Dedication, if I move+demoralize+trip even if I miss I feel like I moved into a better position for my next turn.

Or I just think, ok I will get them next time. Also I just love when monsters crit fail my spells.

It is strange because in theory PF1 casters should feel better but I actually still enjoy my PF2 casters more. Even if I fail more and spells arent as OP for some reason fear has gives me more joy than ice prison/glitterdust. That pretty much just destroy the enemies.

For the people that love 2e do you think you could go back to playing 5e if your group didnt want to play 2e anymore?

I played like 2-3 years of 5e and admittingly had some fun but combat always just felt okay and character options were just abysmal.

I just loved my Camel Riding Bard in 2e where every turn I do some combination of demoralize+cast spell+camel spit+inspire courage+move to flank. Also got to specialize in halfling luck to change outcome in and out of combat.

5e I look at Bard and I just get these okay features and that's it. I guess moving+casting a spell is still kind if fun. I guess I just miss actually choosing what my character will do.


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I personally do not want to go back,I could, but it really puts a lot of strain on the DM to make combat exciting and I doubt I could play a pure martial character again. The very simplified character builds and the limited action economy means that I just don't feel like I can approach battles in a unique way and they tend to drag for me. But luckily, so far my group enjoys pathfinder 2 even through its not the most rules intensive group.

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I have one player who hates missing or failing rolls of any kind, to the point where he sulks when his PC fails at something. I'm of the opinion that Pathfinder simply is not his game, and that's okay.


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I love the way PF2 works. Mechanics really matter in the system, and the 50% hit rate for on level enemies with good AC gives the game the maximal amount of room to work with as far as hit/crit rate modifiers with everything from +21 to -20 mattering. Mechanics also feed directly into narrative in PF2, which makes the game feel more concrete.

That said, DnD5e also works as a game. I wouldn't want to play a 5e game that was too combat focused, but I wouldn't mind a GM that prefers the system expressing their campaign through 5e. Further, there are certain stories that benefit from the squishier numbers of 5e, particularly stories that are surreal and/or not-consistent.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Depends on the enemies. On a enemy that is supposedly equal to you and your buddies, is 55/45. Harder enemies need tactics to equalize the number disadvantage against them (As it should IMO)
And against weaker enemies your chance gets bigger.
The modularity that is gives is amazing, every fight works as intended. But you have to be careful throwing big guys against your party if they dont use tactics.
APs are over-tuned in my opinion, everything should be baseline easier, most of the critics at the system point at that.
My players love the challenge, but not everyone is like that


Charlie Brooks wrote:
I have one player who hates missing or failing rolls of any kind, to the point where he sulks when his PC fails at something. I'm of the opinion that Pathfinder simply is not his game, and that's okay.

Don't think that any system that involves dice randomness will be his thing. Challenges are always something that has a cost if you fail. In Pf2e this means that instead of being blocked by a failed roll, you accomplish the task but pay some price (more time, complications, etc).


I played 5e for around 3-4 years.

Most characters start with +5 to hit, and the AC of the enemies of all lvls are usually between 10 and 20. The damaging scale there is you hit more often and attack more.

Spells are a little more complicated, of the creature have proficiency in the save and the CR is close to your level, it will often make the save (after some CR most creatures become proficient in Constitution and Wisdom because it's where the encounter ending spells are). If the creature does not have proficiency in the save it will have around 25-40% on making the save depending on the lvl because it will be pure stats + dice roll (just target int saves, you can count with the hand the amount of creatures that are proficient on it).

On PF2 is different and keep the % kinda consistent over the lvls, creatures around your level will be hit or save around 50% of the time, and if the creature is higher lvl the odds will go to their favor and lower lvl to the player favor.

On average the 5e math will make the characters hit more often. Spells I can't really say because depends a lot of lvl of the players and CR/proficiency of the creature.


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Cylar Nann wrote:
For the people that love 2e do you think you could go back to playing 5e if your group didnt want to play 2e anymore?

Yes, of course, but I wouldn't have nearly the same level of fun for precisely the same reasons that Codey doesn't seem to have fun with PF2 anymore.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'd honestly probably start looking at completely different systems if my players hated 2e for whatever reason, or maybe just find new players if they were insistent on trying to make me GM 5e.

But if I'm being honest, part of that is because I've had players like that in terms of feeling bad before (in 5e, ironically), it was honestly liberating when I stopped playing with them because I wasn't holding my breath every time a monster took a swing at their character out of fear they would rage quit the table.

If your buddy is an adult, learning to accept moments of failure is a part of sportsmanship, I'd avoid enabling them if you can.


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People play for different reasons. Not everyone wants a tough, tactical combat all the time. Even within PF2, if every session there's a combat that thrashes characters to within an inch of their lives, it's not going to be fun.

Sometimes players have a rough day and just want to beat up a few orcs, not so subtly named after their most annoying coworkers. Sometimes players just want to spend a little Downtime building their character's house and then chill with their friends while drinking a few beers.

One of the reasons that I like PF2 is that it has that dynamic range - you can handwave unfun rules away a lot easier than adding crunch to a nebulous system. And a good GM should have the story ebb and flow and take full advantage of that range.


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Watery Soup wrote:
Sometimes players have a rough day and just want to beat up a few orcs, not so subtly named after their most annoying coworkers. Sometimes players just want to spend a little Downtime building their character's house and then chill with their friends while drinking a few beers.

Indeed. There's been discussions about how different groups/people mean different things when they say they want their characters to feel heroic. The kind of accomplishment that is created by having a high risk of failure honestly sounds like a nightmare to me. I fully get why some would enjoy it; I enjoy it on occasion myself. But doing it regularly would send me into a depressive spiral.

And I mean that literally. I have a DX, medication, everything. I can handle failure (I work in logistics, nothing ever goes right), but too much in a short period of time is bad for my mental health. What is good for my health is a bunch of small accomplishments all in a row, like successfully hitting something. It doesn't need to be a big hit or that encounter-turning crit, just a simple hit and a bit of damage is enough for me.

Which is why I tend to prefer low stakes games. Preferably with some kind of level advantage, like the solo-dungeons I usually run. Or GMing, where I'm winning if I'm losing, as long as I'm losing with style.

Yes we're all adults, and learning how to lose gracefully is part of sportsmanship, but part of being an adult is figuring out what your actual needs are and providing them to yourself. And figuring out when your needs conflict with those of the people around you. And then DOING something about it.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Having done the math on this a while ago, if you check hit % vs 5e’s guidelines, it’s 65% (hit on an 8) at all levels.

Pathfinder 2e, against high AC which most enemies have, for martials, is 60% for 13/20 levels, 55% for 4/20 levels and 65% for 3/20 levels. So roughly even hit chance.

Now if you look at spells, obviously a big difference. 5e’s 6 save system means that many monsters have a very weak save (usually Dex or INT) which makes failure chances very high. Contrast PF2e where the weakest save for an equal level monster generally has a failure chance of about 60%, and the strongest save about 30%, with the medium save 40-45%.

Of course, it’s a massive difference for casters who are used to being able to one shot encounters fairly reliably to not being able to one shot encounters, or even inflict lasting effects reliably. But it’s undoubtably more tactical when you don’t have an entire subset of classes that can just push an “I win” button.


Exocist wrote:
Having done the math on this a while ago, if you check hit % vs 5e’s guidelines, it’s 65% (hit on an 8) at all levels.

Is this for situations where the PCs have no magic weapons?

I believe 5e was balanced around this assumption, but most GMs will end up handing out a +3 sword somewhere along the way. Which would bring the base hit chance up to 80% in the late game.

Dataphiles

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Exocist wrote:
Having done the math on this a while ago, if you check hit % vs 5e’s guidelines, it’s 65% (hit on an 8) at all levels.

Is this for situations where the PCs have no magic weapons?

I believe 5e was balanced around this assumption, but most GMs will end up handing out a +3 sword somewhere along the way. Which would bring the base hit chance up to 80% in the late game.

Yeah no magic items, which of course skews those numbers a lot. The difference between a +1 weapon in 5e and PF2e is that a +1 weapon isn’t baked into 5e’s math (though +1 armor/shield is, interestingly enough) so it will provide a hit bonus, whereas in PF2e not having a +1 weapon is a penalty.


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The other thing you need to consider in this is that 5e has Advantage and Disadvantage, and it's relatively easy to get. This will boost/cripple a given roll by 25% on average, vastly improving chances to hit, save, whatever.

Contrast this to PF2e, where you're probably looking at a +1 to +3 equivalent from flanking, bonuses, enhancements, and so a 5 to 15% bonus on a single roll

Sovereign Court

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Asethe wrote:

The other thing you need to consider in this is that 5e has Advantage and Disadvantage, and it's relatively easy to get. This will boost/cripple a given roll by 25% on average, vastly improving chances to hit, save, whatever.

Contrast this to PF2e, where you're probably looking at a +1 to +3 equivalent from flanking, bonuses, enhancements, and so a 5 to 15% bonus on a single roll

(Dis)advantage is a bit less linear, in that the equivalent bonus is more like a +5 when the (flat) DC is around 11, and curves to only a +1 at the top and bottom of the DC range.

Hard to say whether that's good or bad, really. It just means that (dis)advantage is more valuable on mid-range DCs, compared to the more uniform value of a +1/-1.

I suppose the effect could be that as long as you're fighting monsters/challenges of about your own level (=midrange DCs) advantage makes you very reliable, but that benefit drastically diminishes when facing a boss/trying to do a hard thing?

For example, fighting a creature where you need an 11 to hit, advantage is worth a +5, but fighting a creature where you need a 16 to hit it's worth only a +4, when you need an 18 it's worth a +3, against 19 it's +2 and against 20 it's +1.

Compared to flanking in PF2, you might say E5 flanking/advantage has an inflated effect against midrange enemies.


Watery Soup wrote:
I remember hitting a lot in my 5e campaign. But I also remember the combats feeling way less meaningful - because of the narrative focus, I never felt particularly threatened (i.e., I always felt like the only way my character could die is if the DM wanted my character to die).

Thing is, most of us discussing the game on forums have at least some skill and experience playing D&D like games.

For us it's a no-brainer to utilize all the bells and whistles of a game, which in 5E's case include feats, multiclassing and magic items.

But 5E monsters are really only capable of threatening characters without all of that.

A 5E character with no feats, no multiclassing and few items will find Monster Manual critters significantly more threatening. Still not equal to how Bestiary entires threaten PF2 characters, but way more than their threat level to min-maxed heroes using all the goodies the Player's Handbook contains.

So imagine a brand new roleplayer joining a game with no bells and whistles, where all the other players are uncoordinated newbs too. I imagine even the bog-standard foes of the Monster Manual come across as terribly dangerous there.

Sovereign Court

I think overall, at least compared to PF1 but I suspect also compared to 5E, PF2 is just set up with more flow back and forth between success and failure, but ultimately trending towards victory.

What I mean is that in PF1 you could be so good at something that you never failed at it. But a lot of dice rolls were also all or nothing, so you had better be that good. PF2 however has its DCs and PC power levels set up that the odds are almost always somewhere between 40-80% for the PCs. Since there's no guarantee of success on any rolls, challenges also don't assume that you succeed. You can totally succeed at an adventure overall, even if you failed at some checks here and there, because it's not written assuming perfect success.

And the same goes for combat; compared to PF1, PF2 characters actually get a lot of hit points, but they also tend to get hit more. I have several PF1 characters who can frontline a whole scenario and not take damage just because they have ridiculous AC. But if they actually get hit it gets dicey. In PF2, this is far less the case.

The ceiling's come down a bit on combat potential but the floor went up a lot. People coming into PF2 from PF1 often have to get used to the fact that their wizard can actually hit things in melee (to a point). If you're playing a level 1 wizard with reasonable dexterity, say 14 (because AC..) and you run into zombies, take out your dagger and shiv them. Since your dagger is a finesse weapon and you no longer need a feat to use that, you have a reasonable +5 to hit. Doing slashing damage, you trigger their weakness and even with your puny 1d4 weapon you can do substantial damage to them.


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5E has the bless spell and advantage mechanic. Both are very easy to get. This makes hitting very favorable for PCs. Bless adds +1d4 to each attack in a very tight window with no MAP. You can push this heavily in your favor in 5E.

PF2 operates on a failure or success chance that is around 35 to 45% for first attacks for a Challenge+1. Let's use an example.

Lvl 17 Party versus Ancient Blue Dragon: AC 42

Rogue Thief 17: Master Prof Shortsword +2 greater striking. 21 Dex.

+30 attack roll

Barbarian Giant 17: Master proficiency 21 str +2 greater striking weapon

+30 attack roll

Wizard 17: Int: 20 Master Spellcasting Spell Attack: +28/DC38

Cleric 17: Wis: 20 Master Spellcasting Spell Attack: +28/DC38

So you're looking at a starting: +28 to 30 attack roll base. Meaning they need a 14 to 12 to hit.

35% to 45% chance to hit on the first attack.

If you add in flanking and say a fear 1 condition, pretty easy to obtain. You shift the chance to hit to a 11 to 9. 50% to 60% chance to hit on first attack.

You can land a save attack against Reflex +30 (31) against magic on a 6 or less. You only have a 30% chance of a spell failure against reflex, even less against Fort or Will. A Phantasmal Killer has a great chance of a landing at least a -1 fear.

Even with teamwork and abilities, you will be operating in the 40 to 50% range for your first attack against CR+1 or +2 creatures. After your first attack, it drops off quite a bit. Which is harder than any edition of D&D for the past decade or so.

It makes for an easy time DMing. If your players enjoy feeling very powerful like superheroes, PF2 is not going to make them feel great. But if you want a fun time role-playing with inherently difficult challenges that make you feel like you're never safe, then PF2 is your game. It takes some getting used to coming from 5E, but you will find your DM time is better spent on story and building unique challenges rather than modifying monsters, building up challenges, and trying to account for every buff and advantage a player can obtain.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Watery Soup wrote:
Sometimes players have a rough day and just want to beat up a few orcs, not so subtly named after their most annoying coworkers. Sometimes players just want to spend a little Downtime building their character's house and then chill with their friends while drinking a few beers.

Indeed. There's been discussions about how different groups/people mean different things when they say they want their characters to feel heroic. The kind of accomplishment that is created by having a high risk of failure honestly sounds like a nightmare to me. I fully get why some would enjoy it; I enjoy it on occasion myself. But doing it regularly would send me into a depressive spiral.

And I mean that literally. I have a DX, medication, everything. I can handle failure (I work in logistics, nothing ever goes right), but too much in a short period of time is bad for my mental health. What is good for my health is a bunch of small accomplishments all in a row, like successfully hitting something. It doesn't need to be a big hit or that encounter-turning crit, just a simple hit and a bit of damage is enough for me.

Which is why I tend to prefer low stakes games. Preferably with some kind of level advantage, like the solo-dungeons I usually run. Or GMing, where I'm winning if I'm losing, as long as I'm losing with style.

Yes we're all adults, and learning how to lose gracefully is part of sportsmanship, but part of being an adult is figuring out what your actual needs are and providing them to yourself. And figuring out when your needs conflict with those of the people around you. And then DOING something about it.

GMing a lot helps me feel better about facing the higher difficulty encounters of some of PF2s APs, but I also tend to be careful with the content I homebrew in making sure that the party doesn’t often face a higher level solo monster intent on killing them all. Maybe once or twice a campaign.


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fanatic66 wrote:


Here's an example of why debuffing and buffing is important. Let's take a 1st level fighter, and a bard vs a kobold scout (level 1 creature). The kobold scout has a 18 AC, and the fighter has a +9 to hit with their longsword, then +4 on their second attack. The bard uses inspire courage to give everyone +1 to attacks and then uses intimidation to Demoralize the kobold (-1 status penalty to everything). The fighter moves up to the kobold and trips the kobold using athletics, which was made easier thanks to the kobold's Reflex DC being lower because of the bard's demoralize. With the kobold prone, its flat-footed (-2 circumstance penalty to its AC), frightened 1 (-1 status penalty to everything), and the fighter has a +1 status bonus to attack rolls from the bard. The kobold's AC went from 18 to 15, and the fighter's to hit bonus went from +9 t +10. Now the fighter only needs a 5 to hit (80% chance of hitting) vs the 9 before all the buffs/debuffs (60% chance of hitting). Also, since crits in PF2E are on a natural 20 or if you roll 10 or higher than the...

I don't believe this example is correct. I'm new to the system so I may not be following it all. The fighter's trip has the attack trait so when he attacks the Kobold after the trip the MAP applies and he only has +5 to hit on the second attack which makes it a 55% chance to hit.


You are right, my bad. The fighter would have a lower bonus to hit but the kobolds AC is also significantly lower. More importantly though, the fighter’s successful trip helps all his allies since the kobold is flat footed while prone.


The funny thing is that PF2e encounter balance is predictable enough that you can achieve the superhero feel.

You just have to halve the xp budget of combats (or some other fraction between 0.5 and 1).

If you convert PF1e adventures you'll often see rooms with a single on level foe, which PF2e would treat as Trivial, being 40 xp instead of the standard moderate 80 xp.

In that situation you're often going to be 2 levels higher and +3 to hit better, and will succeed more like 65-80% than 50-65%.

I think the trick is, you actually know it's easier, as opposed to other games which obscure the math a bit more, but have a default difficulty assumption that is much more forgiving.


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At low levels, the official encounter guidelines leads to a hellish slog where nearly every monster is so much better than you (in attack bonus and AC) it's not funny.

On the other hand, if you limit foes to lower levels than the heroes (except I guess the odd dragon or two) you let PF2 heroes too feel heroic and powerful.

At levels 15 and above the math makes the game do this automatically.

But someone at Paizo clearly hated low-level adventurers... ;)

Grand Lodge

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For new players of PF2 coming from 5ed i think you should just have the PCs boosted a level, maybe even 2 until they figure everything out.

The culture shock for new players feeling like wimps in PF2 until they figure out all the tricks is kind of hard for a lot of player types.


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Zapp wrote:
At low levels, the official encounter guidelines leads to a hellish slog where nearly every monster is so much better than you (in attack bonus and AC) it's not funny.

No they don't.

If you'd said "the relative lack of level -1 and level 0 creatures leads to" you might have had a point, but the encounter guidelines work just fine and are not themselves the cause of the "hellish slog" you describe.


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thenobledrake wrote:
Zapp wrote:
At low levels, the official encounter guidelines leads to a hellish slog where nearly every monster is so much better than you (in attack bonus and AC) it's not funny.

No they don't.

If you'd said "the relative lack of level -1 and level 0 creatures leads to" you might have had a point, but the encounter guidelines work just fine and are not themselves the cause of the "hellish slog" you describe.

Not sure I understand.

You agree but point towards too few critters as the cause?

I guess I must be mistaken but that's not logical. It would suggest that either you use the low-level critters there are, and you're fine; or you just use higher level monsters and that's the cause?

Again, I don't see how that is your argument, but if it is: no, you're not and no, it's not breaking the guidelines that cause the problems, it's following them.

Regards


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thenobledrake wrote:
Zapp wrote:
At low levels, the official encounter guidelines leads to a hellish slog where nearly every monster is so much better than you (in attack bonus and AC) it's not funny.

No they don't.

If you'd said "the relative lack of level -1 and level 0 creatures leads to" you might have had a point, but the encounter guidelines work just fine and are not themselves the cause of the "hellish slog" you describe.

There's also the thing where creatures below level 1 have a better AC than they "should". Normally, a 2-level difference leads to a 3-point AC difference. But level -1 creatures have an AC just 1 point below a level 1 creature, and level 0 creatures have the same AC. There's probably a good mathematical reason for it (along the lines of hit points getting weird when a single hit is likely to take you down anyway), but it does mean that level 1 characters fighting level -1 opponents don't get to feel as badass as, say, a level 10 character fighting level 8 foes.


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Staffan Johansson wrote:
There's also the thing where creatures below level 1 have a better AC than they "should". Normally, a 2-level difference leads to a 3-point AC difference. But level -1 creatures have an AC just 1 point below a level 1 creature, and level 0 creatures have the same AC. There's probably a good mathematical reason for it (along the lines of hit points getting weird when a single hit is likely to take you down anyway), but it does mean that level 1 characters fighting level -1 opponents don't get to feel as badass as, say, a level 10 character fighting level 8 foes.

Where from my perspective I see the following:

Level 1 character vs. Kobold Warrior or Skeleton Guard, fairly good odds to take it down in a single Strike and "feel badass."

Level 10 character vs. Two-Headed Troll or Bodak, perhaps slightly more "badass" chance to hit, but basically zero chance of taking the lesser opponent out with a single Strike.


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My experience with 5e vs 2e regarding spell casting:

Attack roll spells are more likely to land in 5e. However, saving throw spells are big gambles as they too often fail entirely to have any affect.

Attack roll spells in 2e fail too often. However, due to partial success even on successful saves, means saving throw spells are far better to use.

I’m in the camp that believes that math regarding casters attack in 2e is too low particularly with cantrips. That said, save spells are actually worth using. I can’t count how many turns I’ve had wasted because the 5e enemy made the save again.


thenobledrake wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
There's also the thing where creatures below level 1 have a better AC than they "should". Normally, a 2-level difference leads to a 3-point AC difference. But level -1 creatures have an AC just 1 point below a level 1 creature, and level 0 creatures have the same AC. There's probably a good mathematical reason for it (along the lines of hit points getting weird when a single hit is likely to take you down anyway), but it does mean that level 1 characters fighting level -1 opponents don't get to feel as badass as, say, a level 10 character fighting level 8 foes.

Where from my perspective I see the following:

Level 1 character vs. Kobold Warrior or Skeleton Guard, fairly good odds to take it down in a single Strike and "feel badass."

Level 10 character vs. Two-Headed Troll or Bodak, perhaps slightly more "badass" chance to hit, but basically zero chance of taking the lesser opponent out with a single Strike.

That's certainly a possibility. It's not much comfort when your dice are cold, though.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Staffan Johansson wrote:
That's certainly a possibility. It's not much comfort when your dice are cold, though.

Why should the encounter math provide comfort for those with cold dice? If the encounter design must allow for the comfort of people who are having bad dice luck - how challenging can an encounter ever really be?


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dirtypool wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
That's certainly a possibility. It's not much comfort when your dice are cold, though.
Why should the encounter math provide comfort for those with cold dice? If the encounter design must allow for the comfort of people who are having bad dice luck - how challenging can an encounter ever really be?

There are games with zero RNG and games where there are limits to how bad your RNG can get. For example, Gloomhaven, which is every bit as tactical as PF2 uses a deck instead of dice which means every bad card you draw can't be drawn again until you shuffle your deck. In games with dice like RNG you can make enemies tougher or lower damage per strike and allow for more hits without making combat any easier.

You don't need tight 50/50 math to keep a game challenging.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You could use a dice deck for PF2e - 1 or 2 of every number, reshuffle on some condition (e.g. drawing a 1 or 20, getting through 50-75% of the deck, etc.)

It would have some issues though, namely

1) Taking pointless actions that require a roll out of combat to ensure your deck only has good numbers in combat. Solved by DM throwing the CRB at you, or by simply saying “at the start of encounter mode, reshuffle”.

2) Taking low chance actions you otherwise wouldn’t take in combat (e.g. MAP-10 attacks) to either burn through low numbers if your deck only has low numbers, or because you know your deck only has high numbers and they’re near guaranteed to work.

3) The above may not be a problem if you like your game to have a more tactical feel like gloomhaven, where you’re playing the odds of what’s left in your/the DM’s dice deck.


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Exocist wrote:

You could use a dice deck for PF2e - 1 or 2 of every number, reshuffle on some condition (e.g. drawing a 1 or 20, getting through 50-75% of the deck, etc.)

It would have some issues though, namely

1) Taking pointless actions that require a roll out of combat to ensure your deck only has good numbers in combat. Solved by DM throwing the CRB at you, or by simply saying “at the start of encounter mode, reshuffle”.

2) Taking low chance actions you otherwise wouldn’t take in combat (e.g. MAP-10 attacks) to either burn through low numbers if your deck only has low numbers, or because you know your deck only has high numbers and they’re near guaranteed to work.

3) The above may not be a problem if you like your game to have a more tactical feel like gloomhaven, where you’re playing the odds of what’s left in your/the DM’s dice deck.

I see each card being pulled out of the deck as an elegant ebb and flow to the battle. If you're on the back foot now - pulling your low cards - you can play it off as biding your time and waiting for the right moment to change the tempo in your favor. With a die, especially one with as large a range as a D20, you are far more apt to leap around from one extreme to the other with no mechanical reason for this to be the case. Heck, with cards you could even deal players a small hand of 5-cards that they must empty before they can draw again so they can have more agency in how the battle flows.

The same could go for important encounters where minions might use cards drawn off the top or a die to represent them relying more on luck and a large volume of attacks than true skill.

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