Your Experience: Is 2E Combat Shorter or Longer?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Compared to Pathfinder 1st Edition, does 2E combat take up less game time, or more? I'm not asking about in-game duration in rounds, I'm talking about minutes/hours of play time spent on combat.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Calybos1 wrote:

Compared to Pathfinder 1st Edition, does 2E combat take up less game time, or more? I'm not asking about in-game duration in rounds, I'm talking about minutes/hours of play time spent on combat.

At lower levels it has been about the same, but by level 8 PF2 combats have taken much less time and by level 15 it is hours less time per combat.

The 3 action economy is part of this, but the standardized duration of buffing spells and limited bonus types just make keeping track of combats much more direct and create a lot less tracking to do.


I'd say at lower levels its longer on average due to lack of one-cast/one-crit fight enders being possible, but only slightly (even in normal circumstances).

But as soon as secondary attacks came online in PF1/3.X the game got a lot slower, and as Unicore says above, it's much faster.

Basically 2E takes about 3-4 rounds on average at any point in the game for the most part in my experience, and those 3-4 rounds take about the same length of time to play regardless of the level. Decision paralysis has also not been as much of an issue, which helps as well.


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I've only played lower levels so far (1 to 5), but my experience is similar. I think even at lower levels PF1 combat is slightly shorter, and it will only get better. Even with new players, it seems to be much easier and quicker. It certainly is easier and faster for me as a GM, as I have less things to track and less things to try and remember (you know, that pesky hidden info on PF1 stat blocks like what feats do and what "x creature type" means, which are now generally all written out in the stat-block).


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About as Unicore says. The lack of massive time spent pre-buffing, multi-attack rounds, tons of nasty spell combinations, magic items, and the like make the game go much faster at higher levels.

Though it does depend on how many enemies and what they can do. More casters or creatures with effects like auras and poisons and the like can take a little bit longer.


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My experience has been combat in PF2 last more rounds than in PF1 (with PF1 combat at higher levels end in round 1 or 2). However, each individual turn tends to be shorter as their are much less complicated interactions than in PF1.

With PF1 I feel like a lot of time get's planned out with movement and area of effects and trying to avoid AoO. While in PF2 my group took the stance of "you assume no one has AoO until you have evidence otherwise" which applies to both GM ran creatures and players, and means both sides get you use AoO at least once per combat. All that planning how to avoid AoO really slowed down PF1.


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

Definitely shorter for me. This past weekend I ran six level seven PCs through three fights in four hours of game time. They also spent time traveling through the Mwangi and fighting off dysentery and malaria between fights, so it wasn't all combat.


I find at early levels its about the same, but as the levels go up, 2e's combat is faster and faster compared to 1e. 2e has a lot less moving parts for the players, which I appreciate since one of my friends optimizes the heck out of their characters, which lead to absolutely glacial turns in 1e where in 2e, he's usually pretty quick unless he's in a really tricky situation


More rounds in a shorter time frame.

Once I took a 40 min trip after I had my turn and came back before playing again. It happened in a level 10 encounter in PF1e.


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Lightning Raven wrote:

More rounds in a shorter time frame.

Once I took a 40 min trip after I had my turn and came back before playing again. It happened in a level 10 encounter in PF1e.

Honestly, this is why I optimized in 1e. If I'm only getting 3 turns and the fight is gonna take 3-4 hours, I at least want my turns to really mess something up.

2e is such a godsend for me. My genuine favorite role in rpg is support/control, but it was so... unengaging, if not effective in 1e, but in 2e, I'm getting more turns, and support is a lot more active


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Alchemic_Genius wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:

More rounds in a shorter time frame.

Once I took a 40 min trip after I had my turn and came back before playing again. It happened in a level 10 encounter in PF1e.

Honestly, this is why I optimized in 1e. If I'm only getting 3 turns and the fight is gonna take 3-4 hours, I at least want my turns to really mess something up.

2e is such a godsend for me. My genuine favorite role in rpg is support/control, but it was so... unengaging, if not effective in 1e, but in 2e, I'm getting more turns, and support is a lot more active

I'm curious what you were doing as support and control in PF1.

Using magic to support and control is considered one of the strongest things you could do in PF1. If you combined it with the summoning is was the classic "god wizard" build. However, I can totally see why it would be unengaging. Just not ineffective.

Now if you were trying to do healing, or do support/control as a non-magical character I could see why you might think those things were ineffective. You had a lot less options at your disposal if you didn't have magic.

But it takes a specific kind of person to enjoy it. Playing a PF1 bard whos first turn every combat was "I cast haste and then start Inspiring Courage (as a move or swift action)" isn't very interesting or varied, but is extremely effective when you have 2/3 martial characters in range to receive those buffs.

With PF2 support is different. You no longer have those situations where haste and inspire courage are you best and only real options (if you have them). And now every class has some sort of support capability within their class feats. Heck, just picking up athletics with Assurance so you can try to body people around the map or trip them can be really effective.


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Claxon wrote:
Alchemic_Genius wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:

More rounds in a shorter time frame.

Once I took a 40 min trip after I had my turn and came back before playing again. It happened in a level 10 encounter in PF1e.

Honestly, this is why I optimized in 1e. If I'm only getting 3 turns and the fight is gonna take 3-4 hours, I at least want my turns to really mess something up.

2e is such a godsend for me. My genuine favorite role in rpg is support/control, but it was so... unengaging, if not effective in 1e, but in 2e, I'm getting more turns, and support is a lot more active

I'm curious what you were doing as support and control in PF1.

Using magic to support and control is considered one of the strongest things you could do in PF1. If you combined it with the summoning is was the classic "god wizard" build. However, I can totally see why it would be unengaging. Just not ineffective.

Now if you were trying to do healing, or do support/control as a non-magical character I could see why you might think those things were ineffective. You had a lot less options at your disposal if you didn't have magic.

But it takes a specific kind of person to enjoy it. Playing a PF1 bard whos first turn every combat was "I cast haste and then start Inspiring Courage (as a move or swift action)" isn't very interesting or varied, but is extremely effective when you have 2/3 martial characters in range to receive those buffs.

With PF2 support is different. You no longer have those situations where haste and inspire courage are you best and only real options (if you have them). And now every class has some sort of support capability within their class feats. Heck, just picking up athletics with Assurance so you can try to body people around the map or trip them can be really effective.

Oh, I musta worded that janky. Yeah, I was god wizard. It was effective, extremely effective, but like..., it feels bad when you gotta wait a half hour after casting a wall cutting off the big bad's mooks from their leader just to cast haste or something.

Like, I was always praised and credited for my contributions, but it sucks to have such little interaction with the game


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've only played level 6 and lower so far, but from my experience, 2e is MUCH faster.

In 1e we would regularly have games lasting up to 8 hours, and only get through an average of one or two combats. In 2e, our games are now regularly 3-4 hours long, and we've been able to squeeze in as many as SIX encounters!

2e is an efficiency godsend.


Generally PF2 combat lasts longer for my group. It also depends on what creatures we are facing. In PF1 my normal group could blow through a combat in 2 to 3 rounds. In 2e, most combats last at least 4 to 5 rounds.


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I find that PF2e runs faster, partially because the rules are consistent so people remember them and there isn't a bespoke set of DCs to check with its own unique path for each action/check/circumstance. But not dramatically so for mechanical reasons.

But I believe a big part of it is that PF2e encourages my players to pay attention to each other and not view their characters as solo mechanical workhorses that just happen to be next to other characters. PF1e it was too easy to build to be self sufficient to a large degree, sure there were group buffs that could go off. But those weren't usually strategies or tactical choices but just expectations.

PF2e I find rewards teamplay quite a bit. That results in players paying more attention to each other during combat rounds and the flexibility of actions (even for casters) has various decisions being made each round that are generally not describable as "rotations".

This said, I don't think PF1e needs to be as slow as people have mentioned above. For me I believe it started getting slow because myself and everyone else tended to lose interest and because none of us really wanted to be in combat as we all knew how it would turn out, nobody really paid much attention during combats past a certain point.

I like running fast combats though, my party managed to get through 7 major combats and multiple RP sections in a 5 hour session in the second Age of Ashes book. In the third book they cleared the intro combat, a hazard encounter, a big combat before going to the next location and six combats in their destination in one six hour session, again with a moderate amount of RP.
But I believe this was more because the party was engaged and having fun rather than the system itself being leagues faster.

Valantrix1 wrote:
Generally PF2 combat lasts longer for my group. It also depends on what creatures we are facing. In PF1 my normal group could blow through a combat in 2 to 3 rounds. In 2e, most combats last at least 4 to 5 rounds.

And how long (in real world time) do those rounds last for you? Is it the same for both games?

Dark Archive

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My experience is that combat is faster than in 1e while at same time taking more rounds(as in sometimes in 1e combat that lasts two rounds takes more than half hour in real time, while in 2e I've seen about five round long combat in half a hour. Those numbers aren't exactly 100% accurate because I haven't been keeping notes, but basically that yeah)


I asked three of my players. Their consensus is that PF2 turns average longer than PF1 turns. However, PF2 turns tend to have a uniform length while PF1 turns vary in length greatly. Thus, the very longest turns occurred in PF1.

As for the number of turns, my wife said that at with rocket-tag combat in PF1, the combat can be very short. She dislikes rocket tag, where each side deals enough damage to kill an equal-level opponent in a single turn so that the side that wins initiative wins combat.

Their combat style in PF2 is defensive teamwork, keeping everyone alive and giving them time to learn and tactically exploit the foe's limitations. They are not trying for fast.


It depends on which form of length you are measuring, for my groups.

Number of rounds? PF2 tends to take 3-10 rounds per combat depending mostly on difficulty, where PF1 would often take less than a full round and rarely get past the 4th round without some kind of artificial inflation like needing to travel hundreds of feet to actually engage fully.

Game time spent? PF2 tends to take less time per encounter, for a variety of reasons (using a VTT now when we didn't then, fewer players in the group that need reminders of how their features work, and then also the game itself being less time-consuming to resolve by the rules). PF2 also tends to have more consistent amount of time spent on an encounter than PF1, since there aren't the "fighter went first and a full-attack solved it" and "had the right spell, so it's one-and-done" situations, but also encounters that go badly don't manage to stretch into the "has it really been 3 hours?!" length that could happen in PF1 when thinks went poorly (and players started really checking all the details of their character sheet to see what would help)


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

PF2 stands out in a better light BECAUSE the encounters take more rounds. More than once I had seen people get burned out due to 1e's rocket tag. There are few things less fun than coming to a game and spending ~6 hours doing literally nothing just because your initiative modifier is lower than your friends' and they end the encounter in the first round.

thenobledrake wrote:
...encounters that go badly don't manage to stretch into the "has it really been 3 hours?!" length that could happen in PF1 when thinks went poorly (and players started really checking all the details of their character sheet to see what would help)

I got into trouble so many times with other players because I would stall the game in my desperation in exactly that fashion.


Again: Not asking about number of rounds. I'm asking how long your combats take in terms of playing time, 2E compared to 1E. Are you finding that your combats take up a larger percentage of your play time, or smaller? (Regardless of whether you see that as a good thing.)


Yeah but rounds are how we mark time in combats, particularly in battles that are epic or a painful slog. I often look back on an outlier where I had a combat with 11 PC's in PF1 at level 3 that took 4 rounds, i can't actually tell you the time in minutes that it took in totality. The first round took 57 minutes to get from first initiative back to first initiative. I stopped tracking time then and just counted rounds.


Calybos1 wrote:
Are you finding that your combats take up a larger percentage of your play time, or smaller? (Regardless of whether you see that as a good thing.)

Each encounter on average takes up less session time in PF2, so spending the same percentage of the session on combat encounters results in having 6-ish per session rather than 3-4-ish.


I haven't used a timer, but if I had to guess based on anecdotal memory:
Early game (levels 1~3), PF1 has faster combat.
Early~Mid (levels 4~8), probably the same-ish.
Mid+ (levels 9+), PF2 has faster combat.

I think PF1 has a lot more variance in combat duration. Especially in late game, some combats are fast because a player ends it in 1 standard action.

Possibly related, PF1 has a lot more bookkeeping, so a lot of time is spent in neither combat nor roleplay, where people are discussing buff distributions and durations, remaining resources, etc. This happens more as players reach higher levels.


I remember rocket tag combat. I set up so rocket tag wasn't going to work in major battles. I did this by either giving monsters like dragons 1000s of hit points or set up the enemy with sufficient defenses to negate rocket tag. 1 or 2 round combats in major encounters is not something I miss. 10 seconds and done against a supposed BBEG is not what I consider epic combat.


Calybos1 wrote:

Again: Not asking about number of rounds. I'm asking how long your combats take in terms of playing time, 2E compared to 1E. Are you finding that your combats take up a larger percentage of your play time, or smaller? (Regardless of whether you see that as a good thing.)

The amount of time in combat feels the same in both editions of Pathfinder. I have not noticed a difference in how long an all-combat game session requires.

On the other hand, PF2 combat seems to take up more mental space. My players analyze the combat more and adapt their tactics mid-combat more often. This might mean that PF2 combat is faster, but takes the same amount of time because the players are more comfortable using a slow, adaptive strategy.

Dataphiles

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Compared to 3.5 longer and at high levels much longer. By level 15+, short of scare to death or other incap instant “kills” (banishment, calm emotions e.g. where you can just handwave the rest of the encounter because theres no threat left), encounters routinely end up taking 6+ rounds to resolve simply due to quantity of HP.

In 3.5 there was simply no reason to count up all the buffs. The fighter charges and whatever he charged at died unless it had an immediate to do something. The wizard casts a spell and the entire encounter turns into vegetables. Why bother counting just how much overkill each of them did?


I've found that on the whole combats are shorter across the board, though those who suggest this is more notable at higher levels may have an argument; its possible in some cases it takes longer because its harder to reliably bake a cake and just fiat the opposition out of existence (a version of rocket tag).


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

At low levels things are about the same, but more interesting to play so it feels faster.

At high levels, good goddess is 2e faster. Even at level 20 in my Age of Ashes campaign, the group was reliably getting through 3-4 combats in a session.

Level 17+ in 1e, we'd tend to have single combats that lasted more than one session.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
I remember rocket tag combat. I set up so rocket tag wasn't going to work in major battles. I did this by either giving monsters like dragons 1000s of hit points or set up the enemy with sufficient defenses to negate rocket tag. 1 or 2 round combats in major encounters is not something I miss. 10 seconds and done against a supposed BBEG is not what I consider epic combat.

I once had a 15th-level sorcerer that could force a DC 34 fortitude save (roll twice and take worse) with her flesh to stone spell. After six games, it never landed once, and the other PCs ultimately booted my character from the party for "being pretty useless."

I quit because I realized the GM had been cheating. The mathematical probability that all those foes would pass that save (with most needing natural 20s) would be like a trillion to one.

So on one hand I can understand not wanting a player to ROFL-stomp too many encounters, but on the other hand, I now take a VERY dim view of GMs who cheat their players.


Unquestionably PF2E has taken less time. We haven't gotten to higher levels of play yet, but I am in both low level and higher level PF1E games, and we can generally squeeze in three combats, four without any rp between, in my PF2E games, while the PF1E games I both play in and run can generally accommodate one, maybe two combats. Last week we were able to have three combat encounters, but the party also defused the last combat with diplomacy.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
I remember rocket tag combat. I set up so rocket tag wasn't going to work in major battles. I did this by either giving monsters like dragons 1000s of hit points or set up the enemy with sufficient defenses to negate rocket tag. 1 or 2 round combats in major encounters is not something I miss. 10 seconds and done against a supposed BBEG is not what I consider epic combat.

I once had a 15th-level sorcerer that could force a DC 34 fortitude save (roll twice and take worse) with her flesh to stone spell. After six games, it never landed once, and the other PCs ultimately booted my character from the party for "being pretty useless."

I quit because I realized the GM had been cheating. The mathematical probability that all those foes would pass that save (with most needing natural 20s) would be like a trillion to one.

So on one hand I can understand not wanting a player to ROFL-stomp too many encounters, but on the other hand, I now take a VERY dim view of GMs who cheat their players.

Maybe you were being DM’d by Dream


Mechanically speaking, combats are faster ( assuming, if i recall correctly, that d&d 3e is equal to pathfinder 1e when it comes to mechanics, since I don't remember much about the 1e ), but it mostly comes down to players.

I have players who need 2 whole minutes to make their turn, and others who need ten seconds. Regardless the classes they are playing.

I like to play with turn time limit to push either players and dm ( myself ) to make errors ( that would be also part of a dynamic combat ).


I have had to suffer through too many sessions of 1 encounter that lasts the full session in 3.x.

It is the bane of my existence, what is worse are GM's and players who are happy with it / used to it.

Exocist wrote:
Maybe you were being DM’d by Dream

Hahahaha... ah... shame he is still rich and famous despite his choices. Disgusting.


Ravingdork wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
I remember rocket tag combat. I set up so rocket tag wasn't going to work in major battles. I did this by either giving monsters like dragons 1000s of hit points or set up the enemy with sufficient defenses to negate rocket tag. 1 or 2 round combats in major encounters is not something I miss. 10 seconds and done against a supposed BBEG is not what I consider epic combat.

I once had a 15th-level sorcerer that could force a DC 34 fortitude save (roll twice and take worse) with her flesh to stone spell. After six games, it never landed once, and the other PCs ultimately booted my character from the party for "being pretty useless."

I quit because I realized the GM had been cheating. The mathematical probability that all those foes would pass that save (with most needing natural 20s) would be like a trillion to one.

So on one hand I can understand not wanting a player to ROFL-stomp too many encounters, but on the other hand, I now take a VERY dim view of GMs who cheat their players.

I do not cheat my players.

I instead plan the math in advance to require a very low roll. I would plan the enemy to only fail against your spell on a 2 to a 4. You would know this in advance. I would roll the saves in front of you, so that if it did fail its save on some unlucky roll you would see it happen.

Just as you would know I give my large single monsters like dragons or giants 1000s of hit points based on the round by round damage output of the party. You want the players to be able to use their toys, but you also want the fights to seem epic. A 6 to 12 second combat against a supposedly powerful enemy is not epic.

Glad I don't have to do that any more. The only modifications I have to make now is due to number of players. That's an easy percentage increased based on the idea that encounters are designed for 4 players.

I'm a big believer in the players having trust the DM is not fudging rolls or the like. Or randomly making something easier than it should be. My players would not like that.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:


I'm a big believer in the players having trust the DM is not fudging rolls or the like. Or randomly making something...

That's part of the reason I never use either DM screen or Secret rolls when it comes to combat ( they even roll their knowledge checks during combat, as well as other stuff which might involve a dm secret check ).

This also mean that if the odds are against them, some hero could easily die because of RNG.


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I believe in selective fudging and the dm screen bc sometimes my casters have missed a bunch of spells and I wanna give them feel good points and say the next one landed. Sometimes I reaaallly don't want to drop another player bc my monster has been rolling straight rocks four turns in a row. Fudging your players can be just as much a boon as a detriment depending on the dm.


If anything I'd say for our group combat takes longer in PF2 than in PF1. This is based on many factors but mostly because PF2 combat isn't as "beer and pretzels" as PF1 combat was. As math and probability is very important in PF2 and both GM and players try to play to the best of their ability (coming from a background of war games and table tops) we sometimes take the cooperative aspect of the game to the next level and "hivemind" individual player moves, especially in important and close fights, openly arguing the pros and cons of individual actions before finally commiting to them. This can be as simple as "I want to flank, are you with me" to figuring out the correct initiative order and which tactic/maneuvre/buff/debuff to apply in preparation of an important move, spell or attack.

Interestingly this is one of the reasons our current campaign is on hold. With both GM and players playing very meticulously combat usually is very dragged out and draining and loses much of its potential dynamics (we literally went form 'yay, a dungeon!' to 'ugh, another dungeon, can we roleplay some more please?'). As a sidenotes both GM and all players do play by the credo 'if not proven otherwise the enemy has an AoO' simply because of the above average number of important enemies that do feature them in the first 2 volumes of AoA.

Scarab Sages

Ubertron_X wrote:

If anything I'd say for our group combat takes longer in PF2 than in PF1. This is based on many factors but mostly because PF2 combat isn't as "beer and pretzels" as PF1 combat was. As math and probability is very important in PF2 and both GM and players try to play to the best of their ability (coming from a background of war games and table tops) we sometimes take the cooperative aspect of the game to the next level and "hivemind" individual player moves, especially in important and close fights, openly arguing the pros and cons of individual actions before finally commiting to them. This can be as simple as "I want to flank, are you with me" to figuring out the correct initiative order and which tactic/maneuvre/buff/debuff to apply in preparation of an important move, spell or attack.

Interestingly this is one of the reasons our current campaign is on hold. With both GM and players playing very meticulously combat usually is very dragged out and draining and loses much of its potential dynamics (we literally went form 'yay, a dungeon!' to 'ugh, another dungeon, can we roleplay some more please?').

My group had a similar problem so the GM made bunch of rules limiting players talking when it's not their turn. It's worked well, although our experience was never as bad as yours.

Players should work together to some extent, but I'm wary of GMs "hiveminding" enemies, especially when it slows down combat.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

About the same, but certain players take up disproportionately more time by having no idea how anything they do works, they tend to elongate our encounters to similar lengths regardless of the systems.


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
I believe in selective fudging and the dm screen bc sometimes my casters have missed a bunch of spells and I wanna give them feel good points and say the next one landed. Sometimes I reaaallly don't want to drop another player bc my monster has been rolling straight rocks four turns in a row. Fudging your players can be just as much a boon as a detriment depending on the dm.

The problem with this arises when a player realizes the GM has made the choice to alter or ignore a die roll, even if to benefit the player, it makes all die rolls questionable.

Even if the player can trust that the GM is only altering rolls in the party's favor, rather than to suit their own desired outcomes or in a malicious fashion, it leaves them to question why remove this failure and not that one?

And for many players, just having the question in their mind "did I actually succeed, or did the GM pick that result?" spoils the fun and makes rolling dice feel pointless.

Which is why I advocate any "you've had such bad luck tonight, I want to give you a bennie to make you feel better" acts be done in a transparent fashion rather than via fudging the dice behind the GM screen, because then there is no doubt, no reason to mistrust the dice rolls in the future, and an opportunity for a player (such as myself) that doesn't want this kind of GM-intervention even if not having it means losing a character, failing an objective, or even the end of the entire campaign, to say "No thanks, I'm having fun either way this goes."


Calybos1 wrote:

Again: Not asking about number of rounds. I'm asking how long your combats take in terms of playing time, 2E compared to 1E. Are you finding that your combats take up a larger percentage of your play time, or smaller? (Regardless of whether you see that as a good thing.)

For me as a GM, 2E is awesome in terms of playing time during battles, i played AoA all the way, and even high level battles were fast, the party could do 4 battles of those in the same session (we usually do around 5 hours of game time).

You really notice the difference in speed when you go higher levels! Love it!

So more rounds of combat in PF2, but less time in real life with those rounds!


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Ran another session of abomination vaults tonight. 5 combats 1 hazard in 2h 30min of play, roleplay and explaining how rules worked to the newer players inbetween.

This is only a level 1 party and new campaign though (I was surprised when my weekly 5e party wanted to move over, I blame the members in my fortnightly game corrupting them ;) )


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

Ran another session of abomination vaults tonight. 5 combats 1 hazard in 2h 30min of play, roleplay and explaining how rules worked to the newer players inbetween.

This is only a level 1 party and new campaign though (I was surprised when my weekly 5e party wanted to move over, I blame the members in my fortnightly game corrupting them ;) )

Abomination vaults is a great way to lure them in!

Another dynamic aspect of this question is table focus and table type. A bunch of friends getting together to be social and kinda play a game while doing so can definitely stretch things out longer. I would never dream of doing that with PF1. I do it with PF2 and our combats take a bit longer as people make jokes but everyone is having fun, can follow their characters and still feel like their characters are uniquely Golarion characters.

Then the tables I run with people gathered to play pathfinder, instead of using pathfinder as an excuse to gather, are much much faster with PF2


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thenobledrake wrote:
WWHsmackdown wrote:
I believe in selective fudging and the dm screen bc sometimes my casters have missed a bunch of spells and I wanna give them feel good points and say the next one landed. Sometimes I reaaallly don't want to drop another player bc my monster has been rolling straight rocks four turns in a row. Fudging your players can be just as much a boon as a detriment depending on the dm.

The problem with this arises when a player realizes the GM has made the choice to alter or ignore a die roll, even if to benefit the player, it makes all die rolls questionable.

Even if the player can trust that the GM is only altering rolls in the party's favor, rather than to suit their own desired outcomes or in a malicious fashion, it leaves them to question why remove this failure and not that one?

And for many players, just having the question in their mind "did I actually succeed, or did the GM pick that result?" spoils the fun and makes rolling dice feel pointless.

Which is why I advocate any "you've had such bad luck tonight, I want to give you a bennie to make you feel better" acts be done in a transparent fashion rather than via fudging the dice behind the GM screen, because then there is no doubt, no reason to mistrust the dice rolls in the future, and an opportunity for a player (such as myself) that doesn't want this kind of GM-intervention even if not having it means losing a character, failing an objective, or even the end of the entire campaign, to say "No thanks, I'm having fun either way this goes."

You have a screen. The players won't realize. I consider it the dms responsibility to nudge fate for the the tables enjoyment AND to avoid tpks

Grand Lodge

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Early on 2E was taking longer, but I attribute that to the learning curve of a new system. Now, it seems to be about the same. Though I find that damage output does not keep up with hit point increases by level as much as 1E did so higher-level play seems to last longer since hit point attrition is slower. We are currently playing at level 12 and the combat seems to take longer depending on the player's actions. My paladin is a complicated build with a lot of moving parts and multiple (2) reactions. It means I take up more playtime than other players because I essentially get five actions per round spread across multiple creature turns and isn't as simple as just make a Strike. YMMV.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Much, much quicker. My group wasn't very rules savvy in PF1 to begin with, so they had to wrestle with an already heavy system.


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
You have a screen. The players won't realize.

That's far from accurate (the latter part, not the former).

People almost never have as good of a "poker face" as they think they do, especially when they aren't deliberately preparing to use it, so there is actually quite a lot of probability that if a GM fudges, at least someone is going to notice it despite the screen.

WWHsmackdown wrote:
I consider it the dms responsibility to nudge fate for the the tables enjoyment AND to avoid tpks

You're creating a false equivalence between the results and the methods used to produce them. A GM has plenty of opportunity and means to both nudge fate and avoid TPKs without the specific technique of fudging dice rolls, and many of the ways in which they can achieve the same result don't carry the same risk of negative player experience that fudging does.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
thenobledrake wrote:


WWHsmackdown wrote:
I consider it the dms responsibility to nudge fate for the the tables enjoyment AND to avoid tpks
You're creating a false equivalence between the results and the methods used to produce them. A GM has plenty of opportunity and means to both nudge fate and avoid TPKs without the specific technique of fudging dice rolls, and many of the ways in which they can achieve the same result don't carry the same risk of negative player experience that fudging does.

This is true, but it can take GMs a long time to learn how to nudge the story along in the best/most fun way for their table, without resorting to dice fudging. A lot of GMs turn to dice fudging during that learning process, when they get things wrong, and realize they created a situation with the dice that is totally counter to what they intended. I don't think it is necessary to get too upset about it when it happens.

At the same time, GMs who frequently find themselves having to do it, would probably benefit from talking things over with their players about the difficulty of encounters and whether the party needs to adopt some variant rules, or other modifications to the game for everyone to have fun without that requiring the GM frequently having to just narrate the consequences of player actions (which is what happens when you fudge dice) and take that power out of player hands.

While I personally encourage more players and GMs to start thinking of campaigns as stories bigger than their one character, and thus be more comfortable with character death happening, I also recognize that that preference is not necessary for people to have fun playing the game, and if everyone wants their one character to be THE character that experiences this story from start to finish, that is a very important thing to vocalize as a player early in the campaign. It also doesn't really have much to do with how long combat encounters take as far as consuming overall play time.


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
You have a screen. The players won't realize. I consider it the dms responsibility to nudge fate for the the tables enjoyment AND to avoid tpks

As a player... yeah. We do realize. Maybe not every time, but we do. And the first time we realize dice are not being reported accurately throws every roll after that into question.

Downtune the encounters if you want a less punishing experience. It doesn't feel good to know that you're succeeding or failing because whatever the result is is just what the GM thought made sense at the time.


Arachnofiend wrote:
WWHsmackdown wrote:
You have a screen. The players won't realize. I consider it the dms responsibility to nudge fate for the the tables enjoyment AND to avoid tpks

As a player... yeah. We do realize. Maybe not every time, but we do. And the first time we realize dice are not being reported accurately throws every roll after that into question.

Downtune the encounters if you want a less punishing experience. It doesn't feel good to know that you're succeeding or failing because whatever the result is is just what the GM thought made sense at the time.

Easy enough in homebrew. Less so published content

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