Is it just me, or is it way too easy to get hit in this edition?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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The Raven Black wrote:
In fact the bigger room has a pretty small entrance through which your party came and that can be used as a chokepoint.

... so we could have fought the one boss monster by only engaging one monster at a time?

I'm not sure you've understood the problem, here. It wrecked the hardest to kill character in the party in its first turn, before he got to act, by moving up to him and hitting him. Standing in a narrow spot and stopping it getting to the easier-to-hit parts of the party wasn't the problem, because it didn't do that. The fact that the toughest character on the team can drop because the monster rolls a 6+ on its first attack and an 11+ on its second (it didn't even crit!) is the problem.


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

Yup. That scenario, specifically, is the single worst case I've seen of scaling encounters being done poorly. At the high end of low tier, the results genuinely are absurdly deadly, and Lucy isn't wrong that there is a high chance of that creature dropping or even outright killing 1-2 characters before anyone can even act.

It is a serious failure of encounter balancing (to the extent that after reading it I decided that I would definitely not ever be running that scenario unless players specifically requested it, or there was some change made to the scenario).

It's also such a large failure of encounter balancing that using it as an example for discussion of how the system plays in general does not work, because encounter guidelines will tell you that setting up the encounter that way is creating a TPK machine.

Scarab Sages

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As someone who GMs PFS and Standalone Adventures and plays PFS and APs, PFS scenarios are the easiest adventures that Paizo publishes. They generally favor "boss-with-mooks" encounters over "solo-boss" encounters.

The PFS encounters mentioned are the exception and so they are overturned, especially for low-level PCs. But they're still the exception rather than the rule. Solo-boss encounters are more common in The Fall of Plaguestone and Hellknight Hill than they are in PFS scenarios.

The hardest battles in PF2 are against solo monsters at low levels. Such encounters are more common in APs and Standalone Adventures than in PFS Scenarios.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Low level characters have always been able to die quick, even in 3E and PF1. One non-crit hit could often bring you down.

Technically correct, but not really accurate, for three reasons.

First, optimisation. The maximum HP for a 1e character optimised for HP was like... 25 or so. Which is well out of the reach of single non-crits, and into "crit with a greataxe" territory. Okay, that's an extreme case, but it does demonstrate the increased customisability of first edition. Or to put it another way, first ed players could solve that problem if they wanted to. Take Toughness, and you aren't dropping to a non-crit longsword, even if you're playing a wizard.
Second, crits. They happen a lot more in PF2.
Third, "not being hit very often" was a viable defence in first ed. Sure, an 8hp starting wizard could drop to any old longsword... but the person playing that 7hp wizard could at the very least hide behind other characters. In an environment where most martials don't have AoOs, there's nothing to stop even melee enemies targetting whoever they like. Alternatively, they could cast some spells and maybe hit AC22 for a fight, which could see them through. Okay, that's probably with scrolls and that, but using resources was part of the game.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Usually Recall Knowledge is recommended. Not going to be easy at low level.

Is it, though? Looking at Recall Knowledge as an action, I don't actually see how it helps. Even if we assume I have an action spare (lol), and that I can pass the DC, what it gives you is:

CRB wrote:
A character who successfully identifies a creature learns one of its best-known attributes—such as a troll’s regeneration (and the fact that it can be stopped by acid or fire) or a manticore’s tail spikes. On a critical success, the character also learns something subtler, like a demon’s weakness or the trigger for one of the creature’s reactions.

So... what use is that? "The big monster has a high strength score" is not useful intel. Neither are the examples given, honestly. I play in PFS, so if a manticore showed up we'd probably find out about the tail spike because combat would start with it tail spiking us.

I need to know whether I should just be running away, what defence I should be targetting, whether I have the mobility advantage, and if so what range I should be engaging at. You know, the sort of thing I could have got from recalling knowledge as a free action in PF1. But PF2 took that and... threw it away? I guess now I also need to know if it has AoOs, but the skill for finding stuff out about monsters doesn't give me that information.

Like, if scouting was viable, then sure I'd make the checks and hope for something useful. But even then I wouldn't expect much from this.

And ultimately this is what I don't get. People say PF2 is all about tactics, but tactics come from a position of having information and being able to exert some control. While my experience of PF2 is PFS games, where we get no information and have no control of anything important. We know nothing about the monsters, can't control the time of the engagement or even choose not to engage, we can't control the terrain we engage on, we just get thrown into a mess and then dice+numbers happen. AFAICS the limit of control in PFS is that sometimes you aren't caught with weapons sheathed, and sometimes you can flank the enemy. W00t!

I think Hsui nailed it:

Hsui wrote:

We have to understand that there are actually two PF2 games

PFS games - Combat tactics are much less useful because the setup of the scenario precludes most of them (e.g. lack of allowed scouting, ambush into small rooms, no room to dance out of the npc reach).

If the game mechanics give the enemies dangerous stats, and relies on players being brutally efficient to succeed, and PFS precludes you being efficient, then... why is PFS supposed to be the easy version, again?

I think PFS worked better with PF1 because there was more character optimisation there, which meant that being engaged on the monsters terms was not so bad.

CRB wrote:
My group usually stays in and swings to provide flanks for each other. Someone usually intimidates or tries to apply a status penalty or bonus.

So to apply that concept to PFS, I'd need to play a cha-based caster, to give myself more options for debuffs. Okay, cool. That's actually useful advice... though I'd still be guessing what defence to go for :(


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
King_Of_The_Crossroads wrote:

I'm new to the system, and my group has only been playing for a few months, but I've noticed that our characters are getting hit-- and crit-- waaaay more often than in other editions.

It has gotten to the point where we have had players opt out of playing melee characters because no matter what they do, the enemies seem to be able to knock our teeth in with casual ease.

Am I imagining things? Or is this system designed in such a way that the odds of getting missed are lower than average?

Granted, we are only 3rd level, but even characters optimized for high AC are routinely getting crit by random mooks, let alone boss level enemies. Are we supposed to be that fragile?

The reason your players are being brutalized- and this discussion has been had here before- is because they are playing PF1 with PF2 rules.

You just can't play the game as if the edition didn't change. This will lead to some unsatisfying play.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

To be clear most of the tactics you can do should work in pfs, combat as war is cool, but the game works fine for combat as sport.

You don't need a sandbox to cast the fear spell or demoralize, flank, raise a shield, use reactions, cast slow, cast haste, spam magic missiles, inspire courage, commit resources to healing, take advantage of failure+success effect chances on spells, use AOO, bait AOO, True Strike, Hero Points, and so forth.

Also... if you're gonna use a maunever use it without any MAP penalty, lots of actions is the player advantage when fighting higher level foes, even one extra hit or crit from an ally that round immediately makes up for any potential damage loss and across a standard party's collective 11 remaining actions, often counts for more.


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Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Third, "not being hit very often" was a viable defence in first ed. Sure, an 8hp starting wizard could drop to any old longsword... but the person playing that 7hp wizard could at the very least hide behind other characters. In an environment where most martials don't have AoOs, there's nothing to stop even melee enemies targetting whoever they like. Alternatively, they could cast some spells and maybe hit AC22 for a fight, which could see them through. Okay, that's probably with scrolls and that, but using resources was part of the game.

I'm really not sure how that would help when your given base scenario is "being surprised by a CR3 martial enemy at level 1 over the course of 6 hours and they immediately roll a 16+ on their first attack". Even by PF1's low optimization standards, that's still hitting AC 22 for 13 average damage, which knocks out a good portion of characters.


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HammerJack wrote:
Yup. That scenario, specifically, is the single worst case I've seen of scaling encounters being done poorly. At the high end of low tier, the results genuinely are absurdly deadly, and Lucy isn't wrong that there is a high chance of that creature dropping or even outright killing 1-2 characters before anyone can even act.

I have no idea where this encounter ranks, but I've played some others that seemed arguably just as dire: PCs getting crit left and right and it's looking like a TPK.

I will admit this is the one scenario where I saw a Ranger and two companions die. That Ranger had Toughness, by the way. The only reason we avoided the TPK is the GM clearly, and I mean clearly, went out of his way to allow us to creative solution our way out of it. We failed to kill the creature, but we only had one permanent casualty, if we ignore the two companions. We probably should have lost another player, if not two, but the GM mercifully moved the boss away.

That having beens said, we might have prevailed, despite having party full of Rangers, had the caster not put Magic Weapon on the worst built combatant - a Ranger with no Hunted Shot and a bird companion?

Quote:
It is a serious failure of encounter balancing

I can't say I completely agree with that. Formulaically is it not legal? It's +3 encounter solo NPC, is that not a legal difference in PFS?

It's not much different than other PFS boss encounters, IME. We just happened to be caught unprepared and one or two bad decisions and we were ill-suited. I'm sure other optimized 1st level parties have beaten that encounter.

What really makes the encounter deadly is the high-crit/one-shot ability of the boss. As Lucy says, there is was no escaping that creature moving anywhere in the room and it getting to hit at least one PC and essentially one shot that PC with a crit. We lost two players to that thing and two companions. No one was going to tank it.

Quote:
It's also such a large failure of encounter balancing that using it as an example for discussion of how the system plays in general does not work, because encounter guidelines will tell you that setting up the encounter that way is creating a TPK machine.

What guidelines? Is it an illegal encounter by budget?

From where I set, whoever designed that encounter had to know full well and good that with the to-hit bonus, it's going to crit insta/kill the vast majority of 1st level PCs. The problem with us is we got a couple of bad rolls, made some less than optimal decisions, and simply lacked the fire power to kill it before it killed us. I personally thought that had we rested, we might have come back and finished it off, even despite being down a PC and two companiosn. But the rest of the party was totally demoralized and gave up.

Lucy wrote:
I'm not sure you've understood the problem, here.

He doesn't. Nevertheless, people insist that you're using the wrong tactics, or you need to be using Demoralize....lol.

The translation is that you need to hyper-optimize your entire party's build in PF2 just to survival nominal game play. In other systems, one or two optimized PCs could carry the party and leave the door open for more indulgent builds. IME, the crit mechanic asymmetry has reduced that kind of margin.

Again, after two years of PFS and some APs the most reliably way to win encounters is to simply out damage the NPCs. And that becomes easier at level 4. I haven't seen any use of non-damaging technicals that has had any demonstrative effect in PFS or can be the basis of why we win. So far, in my AP and PFS encounters, it always comes down to who kills faster. I'm not trying to discount peoples love of Trip and Grapple and Demoralize, but IME, it is not a difference maker as compared to hitting with weapons/spells.

I dont't think it's coincidental that PF2 has Hero Points and one of their functions is to automatically stop you from dying.


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

It is a serious failure of encounter balancing

I can't say I completely agree with that. Formulaically is it not legal? It's +3 encounter solo NPC, is that not a legal difference in PFS?

It's not much different than other PFS boss encounters, IME. We just happened to be caught unprepared and one or two bad decisions and we were ill-suited. I'm sure other optimized 1st level parties have beaten that encounter.

What really makes the encounter deadly is the high-crit/one-shot ability of the boss. As Lucy says, there is was no escaping that creature moving anywhere in the room and it getting to hit at least one PC and essentially one shot that PC with a crit. We lost two players to that thing and two companions. No one was going to tank it.

A +3 boss is LEGAL, but still almost always a bad idea with level 1 characters. But that's only the state of things at step 1.

things about the scenario:
Then the suite of abilities added onto this one makes the creature significantly stronger than is normal for the level (a problem), and starting with a favorable position (GMG does say to take effects of terrain into consideration and "Creature that easily 1-shots PCs probably starts next to the smartest, not most durable, members of the party, while they're all unprepared, and likely with targets close enough to use its ability to Strike two targets at full bonus" is easily as important as "may involve climbing". So if you actually adjust your encounter budget to include the situation properly, instead of only counting monster level, you get a result that tells you that you have a good chance of killing the whole party.

Can the encounter be beaten? Sure. Was it designed well? Absolutely not.


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Squiggit wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Do you know what the most common results are if you turn the difficulty sliders up on a video game?
I mean, I haven't played many video games where your attacks are just expected to fail with significant regularity and getting downed by enemies is completely a matter of RNG.

My wife and I used to play Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the same X-Box. She played a lot more than me, became quite good, and set the difficulty to maximum. The damage to the player character was doubled and the damage from the player character was halved. Rather than adjusting the settings for my games, I learned to play the Dragonborn as the weakest, most vulnerable combatant in all of Skyrim. I mastered dodging melee attacks, sniping from hiding, casting illusions, and running away.

Squiggit wrote:
Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Its super-cool that the advice for people who are having trouble is "use tactics, noobs", but none of the tactics proposed could actually work in the situations that people are encountering. That's great, much advice, very community.
I mean, clearly those tactics are working for other people, which is why they keep getting brought up.

In other comments, Lucy_Valentine rightly points out that each individual tactic only works in some cases, far from all cases. That is why I refer to Pathfinder 2nd Edition tactics as adaptive tactics. My players usually start combat defensively, with lots of Recall Knowledge checks against opponents of a new type (And I am an generous about tactical information on Recall Knowledge successes). Once they know the opponents' strengths and weaknesses, they select tactics that nullify those particular strengths and exploit those particular weaknesses.

For example, several weeks ago they fought a Nuckelavee, a hideous fey that adds Mortasheen disease to its melee attacks. They learned of this through Recall Knowledge. The party spread out over the forested riverbank and went for ranged attacks. The nuckelavee's frightful presence and lack of ranged attacks also encouraged the party to keep their distance. The nickelavee's speed 40 let it close a few times and infect two PCs out of seven.

That tactic would be a waste of time against most opponents, but it was the best tactic against a nuckelavee.

Last year, the party was fighting a barbarian whose Deny Advantage ability prevented flat-footedness due to hidden, undetected, or flanking creatures. This nullified the sneak attacks from flanking of the two rogues in the party. The ranger made a Trip on the barbarian. His Deny Advantage did not prevent flat-footedness from prone condition, so the two rogues delivered their sneak attack damage. Once again, that tactic would be pointless against most opponents.

In a boss battle a level+3 enemy rogue's backup tactic when he lacked a flank was his Twin Feint feat. He would make two Strikes in two actions and the second one would catch his target flat-footed for the sneak attack damage. The other three party members were keeping the boss rogue's allies away from flanking position, so the ranger and the champion were taking on the boss alone. When the boss attacked the ranger, the champion would use her Liberating Step reaction to let the ranger Step out of reach from the boss rogue's second attack, making Twin Feint useless. And the champion herself raised her sturdy shield every turn, so attacking her instead was slow work. The boss switched to regular Strikes for Strike, Step, Strike against the ranger. That slowed down combat enough that the rest of the party finished off the minions and joined in to overwhelm the boss.

Pathfinder 1st Edition had some reliable tactics that the PCs could use most battles. Two of those tactics, Stand Still and Hit Often and Save-Or-Suck spells, were nerfed heavily for PCs in Pathfinder 2nd Edition (Hit Often still works for many monsters). The tactics in PF2 are more situational.

My players have fun inventing tactics, though good roleplaying is their true favorite activity. I throw armies at them these days for an occasional challenge. But such games aren't everyone's cup of tea.


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HammerJack wrote:
Can the encounter be beaten? Sure. Was it designed well? Absolutely not.

I haven't read the scenario. I can only go by how the GM ran it. From my end, it was not the "design" of the encounter that was the issue. I didn't feel like we were in an unfair position for a boss fight. It was the fact you can have a +3 boss who can so easily crit and kill a PC every round. As for "suite of abilities" I don't see that creature has any more than any other boss typically has. Most bosses have extra mechanics.

Our party just made some bad decisions. We could have done a LOT more in terms of preparing ourselves, which I won't go into for spoiler reasons. But when you have one PC dying a round because of mechanics, you're not given much room to recover.

What I will agree is that for 1st level players who may have been used to PF1 (though I do not really know if they were PF1 players), we weren't prepared for a boss who can just one shot PCs every round.

I liken it back to the PF1 scenario, First Steps, with Lem, that halfling, battle-axe wielding barbarian. That guy insta-killed a few PCs during that scenario's run. The pre-combat set up was way more egregious, imo. But you knew statistically, Lem wasn't going to kill the whole party. Statistically, this boss was likely to do it.

You can try and pin this on design, but if you put that "LEGAL" boss in any combat encounter, I think you'l get the same result unless you essentially handicap it and make the encounter a LOT easier to offset the inherent mechanics.

Even after I tried to lay out some ways in which we could possibly win, refresh our spells, come back the next day, no one wanted to face that Boss again.


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Mathmuse wrote:
lots of Recall Knowledge checks against opponents of a new type (And I am an generous about tactical information on Recall Knowledge successes)

This here can be a HUGE shift difficulty and peoples perception of it: What Recall Knowledge checks get you vacillates wildly from DM to DM. Individual DM's can hinder or facilitate what you called adaptive tactics, so it might not be "each individual tactic only works in some cases" but they also might work more or less often depending on the DM: often what works great for one party doesn't translate to a winning tactic for another group/DM.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Again, after two years of PFS and some APs the most reliably way to win encounters is to simply out damage the NPCs. And that becomes easier at level 4. I haven't seen any use of non-damaging technicals that has had any demonstrative effect in PFS or can be the basis of why we win. So far, in my AP and PFS encounters, it always comes down to who kills faster. I'm not trying to discount peoples love of Trip and Grapple and Demoralize, but IME, it is not a difference maker as compared to hitting with weapons/spells.

I haven't played a single PFS scenario or even read one, but I have played through 2 complete APs and am currently GMing a group through a 3rd (AV). We use disabling and debuffing abilities regularly and have no problem completing the APs, typically as written. We do typically have some sort of story rewards/relics/bonus feats, that obviously give us an edge later in the campaign, though I can't imagine not getting stuff like this - would be a boring campaign.

I'm a wimpy GM and pull more punches/tweak fights more than the other GM in my group, so my players have been stomping my game, but the other GM for my group does not at all, and we still did not have any TPKs and had only 3 player deaths that I recall across 3 campaigns (1 of which was late in the campaign and we were able to resurrect).

We do, as of recently, tend to play with Free Archetype because it's just more fun, but otherwise I don't think our parties are overly optimized. In our AoA game and also in our current AV game, we have had a Trip Fighter that seems to consistently be a cornerstone of party tactics. We had a Lightning-punching Grapple Monk in AoE that was really effective as well. Besides that, I really don't think any of our other characters have stood out as especially powerful or broken, typically just basic builds. We had a melee Sorcerer that survived all of AoE somehow, even.

graystone wrote:
This here can be a HUGE shift difficulty and peoples perception of it: What Recall Knowledge checks get you vacillates wildly from DM to DM. Individual DM's can hinder or facilitate what you called adaptive tactics, so it might not be "each individual tactic only works in some cases" but they also might work more or less often depending on the DM: often what works great for one party doesn't translate to a winning tactic for another group/DM.

100% true. To add to this, we play exclusively on VTT (Foundry). Every roll is out in the open except for Secret checks (when we remember they're supposed to be Secret, anyway). I guess some groups would consider it metagaming, but we have no problem seeing that a creature had a high Will save when the Cleric tried to Fear it, and shifting tactics.

If your GM is rolling in private, obviously this cuts off an avenue for learning and adapting to an encounter. That definitely makes things harder. IMO it's unrealistic to not be able to realize a NPC is highly Reflexive just by watching her dodge a Fireball, but I know lots have differing opinions here.


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graystone wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
lots of Recall Knowledge checks against opponents of a new type (And I am an generous about tactical information on Recall Knowledge successes)
This here can be a HUGE shift difficulty and peoples perception of it: What Recall Knowledge checks get you vacillates wildly from DM to DM. Individual DM's can hinder or facilitate what you called adaptive tactics, so it might not be "each individual tactic only works in some cases" but they also might work more or less often depending on the DM: often what works great for one party doesn't translate to a winning tactic for another group/DM.

The GMs who are stingy about information from Recall Knowledge are missing out on fun. Watching the PCs play Keep-Away from the nuckelavee was more interesting than having a PC unexpectedly infected with Mortasheen disease without warning.

I also view useful information as game balance for the Recall Knowledge action. If the results of Recall Knowledge are not worth spending an action, then the players will stop spending the action. Tossing a skill action out of their toolbox diminishes the game.

Besides, the information would leak out soon. The players track which numbers hit their opponent and quickly narrow down the AC. Whenever a monster uses a special attack, then the attack is revealed. When the barbarian's Deny Advantage prevented a sneak attack, I had to tell the players for free that the barbarian was not flat-footed to stop the rogues from adding sneak attack damage to their damage rolls. And the rogues had Deny Advantage themselves, so they knew what that meant. Stinginess in Recall Knowledge does not keep information secret; rather, it keeps information untimely.

Furthermore, I encourage tactics in other ways. I roleplay the enemy rather than optimizing their response with GM knowledge. Lawful opponents follow orders predictably. Chaotic opponents don't use disciplined tactics. Good opponents listen. Evil opponents don't necessarily listen to each other. Wild animals want food without damage and will run from danger.

The party once had to get into a Korred festival: "Despite their insular nature, korreds love to dance. On certain auspicious dates, korreds hold great festivals of music and dance in ancient stone circles deep within forest glades. A few non-korred fey sometimes receive invitations to these dances, but any non-fey who interrupts the dance is berated at best or attacked at worst."

The party sent two PCs ahead to talk to the korred guards: a Cha 18 halfling scoundrel rogue expert in Diplomacy and a gnome fey-touched druid with Fey Fellowship feat for bonuses in Diplomacy with fey. The guards explained that the festival was only for fey, and they would begrudgedly let the druid in (Fey-touched says, "You gain the fey trait.") but not the rogue. The rogue then said, "But I am fey, too. I'm a chergl," and rolled high for Deception. I had both korreds roll Recall Knowledge Society to recognize that the rogue was a halfling (halflings were scarce in that area) and both failed. Therefore, the korreds apologized and let them in. The two helped the others sneak in through a ruined tower.

Other GMs would have not allowed the deception. It totally undermined the planned challenges. I thought it was an amusing turn of events and made a great story. They accomplished their mission without combat.


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I was preparing for surgery and in surgery on Wednesday and Thursday during Belisar's talk of gaming with young children, so please indulge me as I return to the topic.

Belisar wrote:

In the end it's about the preferences of the group which game style you apply. I mostly play with my family including 6 yrs old kids. They can handle PF1 easily enough with some benevolent guidance and thus feeling like a hero is one of the main intentions. PF2 seems to rely heavily on intricate team work. As mentioned, this is rather a hindrance when you play with young kids.

To each its own, it depends on the situation and I think it's valid to prefer one over the other. So no big deal, I guess.

My two daughters joined the friends-and-family Dungeons & Dragons game at ages 5 and 6. The elder daughter could read, but was not up to reading the Player Handbook. We used was what became the standard policy for people who want to join the game but don't want to study rulebooks: in Session Zero they describe the character that they want to play, and then the rules-savvy players help them build the character according to the rules. In gameplay, they describe what they want to do, and the GM translates it into actions that fit the rules. This works for most systems, even Pathfinder 2nd Edition. The rules-light players quickly learn the pace of what actions can fit into one turn.

Belisar wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Belisar wrote:
Level advancement is something I of course do for them, based on their character concept.

Wow. Speaking as a player, I doubt I could ever permit such a thing. If a GM floated that idea I'd be like "I'm sitting this one out."

I'm glad it works for your group, but it just takes away too much player autonomy for my tastes. Leveling up for me is half the fun!

If playing with adults I would completely agree. My 6 yrs old daughters are happy telling me their character concepts with cute vivid descriptions and I choose the feats accordingly. They don't have the ambitions in their age to handcraft their chars themselves. With age, they will surely learn to.

Arakasius wrote:
Levelling up and choosing your character of choice is the fun in PF1. I mean it’s cool you’re playing it with your family but you have taken away the funnest part of the game. By restricting content and levelling them yourself that really takes away the fun parts of PF1. I still don’t understand why you don’t go with 5e. You can by default get that OP feel and you can let them dip their toes into making character choices. 5e advancement does have very limited advancement but at least there is some with feats vs abilities and the level 3 choice. Plus the game is far more rules light and easy to run as you won’t have to simplify the many clunky systems 3e/PF1 has. But I suppose it’s a good way to guarantee having a PF1 group to GM.

Even my wife (to a degree) and my eldest one are happy that I do their work and mechanically convert their character concepts into numbers and feats and I am happy to oblige them. After all I want to lure them into the hobby. I am sure with advanced player mastery, they will take over that part themselves in time willingly.

...

Belisar said, "based on their character concept." Think of it as the player commanding an interactive character-building servant rather than the GM taking control of character design. In my games, the other players help, too.

Not only are the player characters a team, the players are a team, too, aiding each other in enjoying the game.

The younger daughter liked Dungeons & Dragons so much that she asked for a boxed set for her 9th birthday. My wife ran the campaign for her, her friends, and me (token rules-savvy player).

The consequences of me marrying a gamer girl is that we raised two more gamer girls. It has been delightful.

These days, the two young women are ages 35 and 36. They are two of those highly-tactical players in my current PF2-converted Ironfang Invasion campaign. They live on the west coast while my wife and I live in upstate New York, but they joined in in March 2020 when we switched our campaign from the dinner table to online.

The Exchange

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Mathmuse wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
lots of Recall Knowledge checks against opponents of a new type (And I am an generous about tactical information on Recall Knowledge successes)
This here can be a HUGE shift difficulty and peoples perception of it: What Recall Knowledge checks get you vacillates wildly from DM to DM. Individual DM's can hinder or facilitate what you called adaptive tactics, so it might not be "each individual tactic only works in some cases" but they also might work more or less often depending on the DM: often what works great for one party doesn't translate to a winning tactic for another group/DM.

The GMs who are stingy about information from Recall Knowledge are missing out on fun. Watching the PCs play Keep-Away from the nuckelavee was more interesting than having a PC unexpectedly infected with Mortasheen disease without warning.

I also view useful information as game balance for the Recall Knowledge action. If the results of Recall Knowledge are not worth spending an action, then the players will stop spending the action. Tossing a skill action out of their toolbox diminishes the game.

Besides, the information would leak out soon. The players track which numbers hit their opponent and quickly narrow down the AC. Whenever a monster uses a special attack, then the attack is revealed. When the barbarian's Deny Advantage prevented a sneak attack, I had to tell the players for free that the barbarian was not flat-footed to stop the rogues from adding sneak attack damage to their damage rolls. And the rogues had Deny Advantage themselves, so they knew what that meant. Stinginess in Recall Knowledge does not keep information secret; rather, it keeps information untimely.

Furthermore, I encourage tactics in other ways. I roleplay the enemy rather than optimizing their response with GM knowledge. Lawful opponents follow orders predictably. Chaotic opponents don't use disciplined tactics. Good opponents listen. Evil opponents don't necessarily listen to each other....

This is a great illustration of the difference between PFS play and home games. NOT PFS scenarios, PFS play.

All GMs have to abide strictly by the rules so they are not supposed to adjust anything {making a uniform experience). It has to be played as written and as expected (e.g. no rolling open saves so PCs know the monster has high will saves, recall knowledge results stay notoriously stingy as written- so requiring crit success to get any weaknesses)


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Mathmuse wrote:
The GMs who are stingy about information from Recall Knowledge are missing out on fun.

Fun is subjective. Some DM's could have just as much fun watching the PC's stumble around with less info. :P

Mathmuse wrote:
I also view useful information as game balance for the Recall Knowledge action. If the results of Recall Knowledge are not worth spending an action, then the players will stop spending the action. Tossing a skill action out of their toolbox diminishes the game.

A Dm might also feel that useful info might be a low Ref, an Immunity to poison, a weaknesses cold iron or fresh water vulnerability all of which wouldn't clue them in to avoid it's diseases melee attacks. You can give useful info that's worth the action but that doesn't mean it gives different tactical options by default. It's useful to know your waterskin can be used as a weapon vs it but that most likely isn't keeping the party at a distance while a cold iron weakness might not help in this encounter, they'll know to pull out cold iron weapons when they meet the next one.

Mathmuse wrote:
Besides, the information would leak out soon.

Does it though? Bonuses and penalties, like circumstance ones, mean that narrowing down the numbers for on might not mean you're right with another one. [and by the time you're figured out the numbers on something, it's mostly dead]. Well unless you regularly pass out info about things that grant bonuses. So info is always suspect [even Recall rolls, as they are secret rolls].

Mathmuse wrote:
Furthermore, I encourage tactics in other ways.

And that's great: I just don't know how often that's true for other DM's.


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

This is a great illustration of the difference between PFS play and home games. NOT PFS scenarios, PFS play.

All GMs have to abide strictly by the rules so they are not supposed to adjust anything {making a uniform experience). It has to be played as written and as expected (e.g. no rolling open saves so PCs know the monster has high will saves, recall knowledge results stay notoriously stingy as written- so requiring crit success to get any weaknesses)

While I absolutely tell people myself that normal play and PFS aren't really the same thing, this post seems to be saying some things that aren't quite accurate.

It has to be run as written... EXCEPT that when they PCs don't act as written, the GM actually is expected to account for the way the PCs are approaching things. The GM can't decide "This monster is too much for this party, I will adjust it's stats" but there is no PFS rule suggesting that if the party has a clever plan for how to scope out the dangers ahead, prepare in some unexpected way, go around the expected path (so that they aren't encountering the situation quite as expected), or what-have-you that you should prevent them from doing it.

Things that are simple table practice (whether there's a GM screen between the die I just rolled and the players or not) also aren't rules, and GMs are not compelled to do them the same way.

Recall knowledge is also extremely variable between tables as the rules do also say to give useful information and tightly formal rules on recall knowledge results don't exist so no one can be required to follow them.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:

To be clear most of the tactics you can do should work in pfs, combat as war is cool, but the game works fine for combat as sport.

You don't need a sandbox to cast the fear spell or demoralize, flank, raise a shield, use reactions, cast slow, cast haste, spam magic missiles, inspire courage, commit resources to healing, take advantage of failure+success effect chances on spells, use AOO, bait AOO, True Strike, Hero Points, and so forth.

Also... if you're gonna use a maunever use it without any MAP penalty, lots of actions is the player advantage when fighting higher level foes, even one extra hit or crit from an ally that round immediately makes up for any potential damage loss and across a standard party's collective 11 remaining actions, often counts for more.

Hahah!

Combat as war is win cowardly and smart.

In a war you want to atack the enemy without any chance of counter.

In a war like fight, if you know that the boss is in the room. You barred the door and kill hin without a touch. Dont let him eat, drink, sleep or breath.

Pf2 do everything so you cant use strategy to have a easy fight. PCs dont have a lot o methods to make set a trap, and if they make, boss gonna just step on make the save and crit atacks.

Pf2 is not combat as sport because thats not also a even field.

Pf2 is a game that GM dont need to think too much to make a dificult fight.


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HammerJack wrote:
While I absolutely tell people myself that normal play and PFS aren't really the same thing, this post seems to be saying some things that aren't quite accurate.

I'm sorry, but if anyone has been paying attention to forum discusions, the idea that there is such a thing as "normal" play is a fallacy. Non-PFS GMs insert all manners of house rules and modifications and adjustments that are idiosyncratic. Not to mention that many GMs do just as considerably does, "pull punches" because they don't want to kill off players in a steady campaign.

Quote:
It has to be run as written... EXCEPT that when they PCs don't act as written, the GM actually is expected to account for the way the PCs are approaching things. The GM can't decide "This monster is too much for this party, I will adjust it's stats" but there is no PFS rule suggesting that if the party has a clever plan for how to scope out the dangers ahead, prepare in some unexpected way, go around the expected path, or what-have-you that you should prevent them from doing it.

In PF2, I've experienced far more table variation than I did in PF1. Many GMs do not understand where the line is between adjudicating unforeseen PC actions, and straight house ruling. Nevertheless, I'd be willing to wager my life that there is far more consistency within PFS than there is without.

Quote:
Recall knowledge is also extremely variable between tables as the rules do also say to give useful information and tightly formal rules on recall knowledge results don't exist so no one can be required to follow them.

Exactly. So calls to use Recall Knowledge as some sort of grossly overlooked boon to the party are misplaced. As graystone points out, just because you or your GM makes this consistently useful, doesn't mean it works that way in nominal game play. And as you astutely point out, there is no hardcoded rule for what information to hand out and this dramatically undermines any perceived benefit from consistent use of RK.

The same goes for any tactic. GMs can, and will, counter player tactics or find ways to force players to burn actions. This is more likely when you're getting a different GM who thinks they need to up the difficulty (via monster actions) to make it "fun."

Conversely, there is a lot of softballing in PFS. Perhaps more in PF1 then PF2 because PF2 is more driven by dice outcomes. Probaby less than what happens in home games, but GMs will occasionally bend the rules or the plausibilty to try and save PC lives. I can't say I've ever truly come across a PFS GM who was clearly out to kill players (knock on wood).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
While I absolutely tell people myself that normal play and PFS aren't really the same thing, this post seems to be saying some things that aren't quite accurate.

I'm sorry, but if anyone has been paying attention to forum discusions, the idea that there is such a thing as "normal" play is a fallacy. Non-PFS GMs insert all manners of house rules and modifications and adjustments that are idiosyncratic. Not to mention that many GMs do just as considerably does, "pull punches" because they don't want to kill off players in a steady campaign.

To define a term, then. When I say normal play, I mean the game operating in the standard manner where there is no entity above the GM, who is available for the players to communicate with directly, making the call. Not suggesting some kind of standardization (of rulings, table practices or difficulty) in the least. The standardization IS a big part of the abnormality.

(Other big parts include the randomized player/PC group and the intra-party level spread, and some other Org P{lay specific ruling, but obviously any one of those could be duplicated in a given home group, though some of them have a lot less reason to exist outside of the Org Play format.)


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HammerJack wrote:
To define a term, then. When I say normal play, I mean the game operating in the standard manner where there is no entity above the GM, who is available for the players to communicate with directly, making the call. Not suggesting some kind of standardization in the least. The standardization IS the abnormality.

Well I definitely thought you meant something different. But, IME, this is normal play in PFS. After Michael Brock left, there has been a distinct change in philosophy that PFS, the OOC aspect, has no power to control GMs. As such, the GMs have been given way more latitude than under the old head of PFS. If you complain to OOC officers, they tell you there is nothing they can do and won't step in unless a PC dies and it's unequivocally an illegal action by the GM.

The Exchange

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HammerJack wrote:
Quote:

This is a great illustration of the difference between PFS play and home games. NOT PFS scenarios, PFS play.

All GMs have to abide strictly by the rules so they are not supposed to adjust anything {making a uniform experience). It has to be played as written and as expected (e.g. no rolling open saves so PCs know the monster has high will saves, recall knowledge results stay notoriously stingy as written- so requiring crit success to get any weaknesses)

While I absolutely tell people myself that normal play and PFS aren't really the same thing, this post seems to be saying some things that aren't quite accurate.

It has to be run as written... EXCEPT that when they PCs don't act as written, the GM actually is expected to account for the way the PCs are approaching things. The GM can't decide "This monster is too much for this party, I will adjust it's stats" but there is no PFS rule suggesting that if the party has a clever plan for how to scope out the dangers ahead, prepare in some unexpected way, go around the expected path (so that they aren't encountering the situation quite as expected), or what-have-you that you should prevent them from doing it.

Things that are simple table practice (whether there's a GM screen between the die I just rolled and the players or not) also aren't rules, and GMs are not compelled to do them the same way.

Recall knowledge is also extremely variable between tables as the rules do also say to give useful information and tightly formal rules on recall knowledge results don't exist so no one can be required to follow them.

That is quite disingenuous. Clever plans for how to avoid the ambush that you get caught in? Clever plans for how to explore the railroad exploration path and constrained map?

Table practice so you roll your checks in the open and comment on the modifiers of the npcs is not usual (correct that it is not forbidden as is handing out the npc stat blocks is not forbidden)

Recall knowledge (p506) specific FORMAL rule - on a regular success you learn one of the common characteristics of a creature while it takes a critical success to learn a weakness. Thus, you might learn that a troll regenerates but it takes a critical success to learn what stops it.


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

Not disingenuous at all. If "the ambush you got caught in" was the only form of encounter that could ever exist, it might be. That isn't the case.

Checks happening to end up open is pretty common in the Plague Years, with so many games going online, and some tools used for that defaulting to making rolls visible if you don't take steps to prevent it.

You are citing a single example of recall knowledge as though it were something much more meaningful and much more categorically defining than it is.

The Exchange

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HammerJack wrote:

Not disingenuous at all. If "the ambush you got caught in" was the only form of encounter that could ever exist, it might be. That isn't the case.

Checks happening to end up open is pretty common in the Plague Years, with so many games going online, and some tools used for that defaulting to making rolls visible if you don't take steps to prevent it.

You are citing a single example of recall knowledge as though it were something much more meaningful and much more catergorically defining than it is.

That is not a single example, it is literally how the CRB says to adjudicate recall knowledge checks. (edit - not critical success not needed to stop regen knowledge but any weaknesses yes)

"Creature Identification
A character who successfully identifies a creature learns
one of its best-known attributes—such as a troll’s
regeneration (and the fact that it can be stopped by acid
or fire) or a manticore’s tail spikes. On a critical success,
the character also learns something subtler, like a demon’s
weakness or the trigger for one of the creature’s reactions."

Checks happening in the open due to technical quirks is easily stopped in most TTRPGs by making them secret. Just because some GMs do not do so does not make it the standard

The vast majority of PFS scenarios are written in such a way that you cannot spot the next encounter.


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Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Technically correct, but not really accurate, for three reasons.
First, optimisation. The maximum HP for a 1e character optimised for HP was like... 25 or so. Which is well out of the reach of single non-crits, and into "crit with a greataxe" territory. Okay, that's an extreme case, but it does demonstrate the increased customisability of first edition. Or to put it another way, first ed players could solve that problem if they wanted to. Take Toughness, and you aren't dropping to a non-crit longsword, even if you're playing a wizard.

This is not PF1. You have been informed. PF1 versus PF2 debate has been beaten to death here. Those of us here do not want an easy game like PF1. If you want a game where the math is entirely in favor of the players, PF1 is there for you to play.

Quote:
Second, crits. They happen a lot more in PF2.

By design to make combats faster and more dangerous than PF1.

Quote:
Third, "not being hit very often" was a viable defence in first ed. Sure, an 8hp starting wizard could drop to any old longsword... but the person playing that 7hp wizard could at the very least hide behind other characters. In an environment where most martials don't have AoOs, there's nothing to stop even melee enemies targetting whoever they like. Alternatively, they could cast some spells and maybe hit AC22 for a fight, which could see them through. Okay, that's probably with scrolls and that, but using resources was part of the game.

PF2 was designed to be a faster game that is more challenging for the players. This has been explained multiple times.

If you're going by PF1 and want those norms back, then that game is available.

PF2 is a game for people who want a more challenging game with fast and brutal combats. It is not PF1 and those of us enjoying PF2 are happy about that.

PF1 was a game set on the easy slider. Way too easy to break the math. Way too slanted towards players. Way too time consuming and punishing to DM for little to no reward for putting in the work to make PF1 challenging.

Quote:

So... what use is that? "The big monster has a high strength score" is not useful intel. Neither are the examples given, honestly. I play in PFS, so if a manticore showed up we'd probably find out about the tail spike because combat would start with it tail spiking us.

I need to know whether I should just be running away, what defence I should be targetting, whether I have the mobility advantage, and if so what range I should be engaging at. You know, the sort of thing I could have got from recalling knowledge as a free action in PF1. But PF2 took that and... threw it away? I guess now I also need to know if it has AoOs, but the skill for finding stuff out about monsters doesn't give me that information.
Like, if scouting was viable, then sure I'd make the checks and hope for something useful. But even then I wouldn't expect much from this.

And ultimately this is what I don't get. People say PF2 is all about tactics, but tactics come from a position of having information and being able to exert some control. While my experience of PF2 is PFS games, where we get no information and have no control of anything important. We know nothing about the monsters, can't control the time of the engagement or even choose not to engage, we can't control the terrain we engage on, we just get thrown into a mess and then dice+numbers happen. AFAICS the limit of control in PFS is that sometimes you aren't caught with weapons sheathed, and sometimes you can flank the enemy. W00t!

So you just want to play PF1.

You don't want a difficult game. You want a game where you can customize your character to easily beat the dangers in the system.

Ok, we know your stance now. And it's the usual complaints about PF2 from PF1 players who don't like that they can't build a character to easily beat the monsters that they've done for the last ten plus years.

Well, that's not PF2. It is not ever going to be PF2 from what I can tell. You'll likely need to find some other group to play with if PFS is going full PF2.

PFS as far as I know was a big part of the massive playtest Paizo did. This PF2 game is a lot of what they wanted. If you're not in that group, then you're likely out of luck.

Liberty's Edge

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Sidenote : npt that many GM's rolls are supposed to be secret, just saying.

RK definitely are though.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Hsui wrote:
Recall knowledge (p506) specific FORMAL rule - on a regular success you learn one of the common characteristics of a creature while it takes a critical success to learn a weakness. Thus, you might learn that a troll regenerates but it takes a critical success to learn what stops it.

That isn't what pg 506 says: "A character who successfully identifies a creature learns one of its best-known attributes—such as a troll’s regeneration (and the fact that it can be stopped by acid or fire) or a manticore’s tail spikes. On a critical success, the character also learns something subtler, like a demon’s weakness or the trigger for one of the creature’s reactions."

(And for clarity, the demon's weakness there most likely refers to their unique sin vulnerability, not the fact that all demons are weak to cold iron and good damage.)

And friendly reminder that the Recall Knowledge action success says you are supposed to get "a useful clue about your current situation," which means your party should be able to actually use it.


So this is all primarily complaints about PFS moving to PF2?

PFS had a big hand in designing PF2 as far as I understand it. They participated in the big play test. I wonder if they feel PF2 was successful at addressing some of their criticisms like speed of play, challenge level, and the like.

PF2 had a few design goals from what I read:

1. Speed up combat.

2. Make the game more challenging.

3. Widen the use of ancestries meaning things like a dwarf can be an aasimar.

4. Balance the game better for higher level play.

PF2 accomplished all of this.

The complaints I'm reading on here seem to be from a PFS scenario gone bad.

But that can happen in PF2 even outside of PFS. I had my barbarian get taken out by a boss creature with minions at lvl 6. He was killed and it was far too expensive to bring him back.

I've seen a lot more characters, especially at low level, taken down hard. PF2 is very lethal at lower level, but gets less so as you progres.

I like this change, but I know some do not. Even my players don't like getting hammered all the time, though they're learning to accept the new PF2 paradigm. After ten plus years of being able to build combat monsters that destroy the game math, this is a big change for them.

There are a lot of people offering solutions with tactics. There's just not much you can do at low level. Boss monsters hit low level characters super easy. One big hit or critical can take you out. You hopefully will have a healer to get you back up. A lvl+3 boss monster at lvl 1 or 2 is a beast of a fight. That can easily turn into a TPK without much you can do about it tactically. You're going to have to hope you can kill it.

That's just the honest truth of it. Party composition might help some. Having a fighter and/or champion and some kind of healer can help quite a bit, but at low level you just have to survive to around lvl 5 to 7 for that first shift in power with striking weapons, stat boosts, and better options.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
So this is all primarily complaints about PFS moving to PF2?

Not really.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
The complaints I'm reading on here seem to be from a PFS scenario gone bad.

Some PFS scenarios illustrate the issues some have but so to do some AP's like Age of Ashes or Fall of Plaguestone that seem... over-tuned to some. So it's not as simple as PFS vs other play. Some people just don't like being able to walk around a corner and meeting a monster that takes out a PC per hit.


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graystone wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
So this is all primarily complaints about PFS moving to PF2?

Not really.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
The complaints I'm reading on here seem to be from a PFS scenario gone bad.
Some PFS scenarios illustrate the issues some have but so to do some AP's like Age of Ashes or Fall of Plaguestone that seem... over-tuned to some. So it's not as simple as PFS vs other play. Some people just don't like being able to walk around a corner and meeting a monster that takes out a PC per hit.

Age of Ashes did have some brutal encounters. Even the mooks seemed too strong.

Extinction Curse and Abom Vaults have both been much better experiences, though Abom Vaults has had a few crazy encounters.

Agents of Edgewatch has also had a nice mix of encounter ranges.

It sounds like a few of these players play primarily PFS and don't like that PFS has moved to PF2 and they can't do what they did in PF1.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
If you want a game where the math is entirely in favor of the players, PF1 is there for you to play.

Did I say that, or did you just decide it and then act like it's true?

(it's the latter)

Deriven Firelion wrote:
By design to make combats faster and more dangerous than PF1.

Okay, but is that actually good? What part of "hey the monster scored a crit so now you get to not play this combat" is supposed to be interesting? What part gives tactics or counterplay? Didn't people get annoyed by save-or-sucks stopping them participating in PF1? I know I did.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
PF2 was designed to be a faster game that is more challenging for the players.

More challenging seems like a success. Faster seems... false. It's still fiddly as f$!#.

Also, if it's supposed to be fast and brutal, why is chargen such a f$*!ing chore of picking through mostly meaningless options? Like, D&D 2e is fast and brutal, but it doesn't make you read two hundred skill feats just to understand how the skill system works.

Deriven Firelion wrote:


So you just want to play PF1.
You don't want a difficult game. You want a game where you can customize your character to easily beat the dangers in the system.

Nope. Not at all! I never tried to do that in PF1, and watching other people doing it was super annoying! I picked deliberately weak build concepts and put time and effort into making them adequate!

I want either: 1) a game which isn't about combat, in which combat is over quickly so it doesn't get in the way, OR 2) a game where combat is involved and tactical, and my choices are meaningful. Like XCOM or something.
PF1 sort of managed the latter, but only if I picked the correct build. Something on the lines of a 2/3 caster. And only if nobody else pulled a munchkin. But still, there *was* a sweet spot in there that did that job some of the time. And that is literally the only reason I played PF1.
PF2 does not seem to be managing it so far. Spending actions equipping gear is not doing it for me as a tactical choice. Taking every defensive option available within concept and being dropped because the enemy rolled a fairly high number is also not doing it. Understanding that there are technically options like demoralise, but using them is mathematically a poor choice if I didn't build for charisma, is also not doing it. Possibly this is because I don't gravitate toward Str/Cha builds. Maybe the advice should be "build for Str or Cha or both"?

To be brutally honest, I've had a long-term 5e game going this last year, and we were playing low-optimisation builds with the GM just throwing stuff at us and seeing how we handle it. 5e is the "simple" edition, which is "tactics-light", right? And yet, that long-term 5e game has been tactically more interesting than any of the PFS2 games I've encountered, because we actually had meaningful options in fights. PFS2 has been either easy fights where the choices were obvious, more difficult fights where the choices were obvious but the dice rolls needed to be better, or borderline impossible fights where, again, the choices were obvious (raise shield because it might help, die anyway).
Oh wait, missed one: the fight where the choice that looked good on paper (moving into melee with a caster who thought they were safe behind difficult terrain) was actually a gotcha because said caster was way better in melee than at range.

So no, I don't really want to be playing PF1. Much of PF1 was crap, and it was a lot of effort. If I'm going to spend this much effort on rules and stuff, I would like to be playing an interesting tactical game. I just don't think PF2 is one, really. And people keep suggesting tactics that are either obvious (flanking? Chokepoints? Yes thankyou I know), not seeming to be useful (debuffing with techniques that you have to build for), impossible in PFS (do scouting and learn about foes before the encounter is triggered), or dependant on GMs breaking or bending the rules (knowledge checks, open-modifier dice rolling). I'm sat here waiting for the Wisdom of Stuff That Actually Works to be laid out by people who've played this more than me, any time now, and all I'm really getting is that if I played PF2 outside of a PFS context, and I went for a Cha caster or a Str-athletics build, then MAYBE there would be an interesting tactical game.

Which... I gotta say, is not really selling it. That's a lot of effort for a maybe.

But I do have to say thanks for one thing. Thinking about this has really made me appreciate my 5e GM more.


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It’s really hard to comprehend a post that goes on about how PF2 combat fails in being tactical and such and touts 5e (oh did you get advantage or impose disadvantage) or PF1 (oh you moved I guess that was a mistake you lost most of your damage) as superior tactical games.

Just from three action system alone PF2 is far more tactical then the other two options. You don’t win the fight on the first turn so inherently the decisions you take in combat matter more. This is supported by new groups being much more successful than PF1 vets because they’d been trained that not to move and fight statically was the best thing.


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I'm going to be honest, if the choices have always been "obvious", and you've been constantly failing...

Perhaps you're making the wrong choices, and they're not actually obvious.


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Like, this is on the level of a certain Youtuber who said that their players found the optimal routine and were constantly doing it, and also had about 4 TPKs in one AP by the end of book 2 (or was it 3).


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Cyouni wrote:

I'm going to be honest, if the choices have always been "obvious", and you've been constantly failing...

Perhaps you're making the wrong choices, and they're not actually obvious.

I won all but one of my fights so far.

And that one annoys me because it seems like the only winning move was to immediately flee.
But hey, you believe what you like.


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Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
If you want a game where the math is entirely in favor of the players, PF1 is there for you to play.

Did I say that, or did you just decide it and then act like it's true?

(it's the latter)

Deriven Firelion wrote:
By design to make combats faster and more dangerous than PF1.

Okay, but is that actually good? What part of "hey the monster scored a crit so now you get to not play this combat" is supposed to be interesting? What part gives tactics or counterplay? Didn't people get annoyed by save-or-sucks stopping them participating in PF1? I know I did.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
PF2 was designed to be a faster game that is more challenging for the players.

More challenging seems like a success. Faster seems... false. It's still fiddly as f#~#.

Also, if it's supposed to be fast and brutal, why is chargen such a f@$%ing chore of picking through mostly meaningless options? Like, D&D 2e is fast and brutal, but it doesn't make you read two hundred skill feats just to understand how the skill system works.

Deriven Firelion wrote:


So you just want to play PF1.
You don't want a difficult game. You want a game where you can customize your character to easily beat the dangers in the system.

Nope. Not at all! I never tried to do that in PF1, and watching other people doing it was super annoying! I picked deliberately weak build concepts and put time and effort into making them adequate!

I want either: 1) a game which isn't about combat, in which combat is over quickly so it doesn't get in the way, OR 2) a game where combat is involved and tactical, and my choices are meaningful. Like XCOM or something.
PF1 sort of managed the latter, but only if I picked the correct build. Something on the lines of a 2/3 caster. And only if nobody else pulled a munchkin. But still, there *was* a sweet spot in there that did that job some of the time. And that is literally the only reason I played PF1.
PF2 does not seem to be...

I played PF1 since the launch of 4E. I know PF1 and 3E inside and out. The tactical options were in your build and the power of spells. Your individual tactics other than perhaps flanking were mostly meaningless.

PF2 is the same, but with a different design focus that compacted the math substantially.

There's a bunch of people telling you this and that.

It's real simple:

1. PF2 math is much more compact mathematically.

2. Power is still in build options and spells.

3. Monsters are built much, much stronger to ensure they can challenge players while still making for fast combat.

PF2 is faster because you don't do near as much pre-combat preparation. And once you learn the system, it runs really fast.

4. PF2 has just started and PF1 has been out for nearly 10 years with nearly every book imaginable that has allowed players to the game the math to the point it was unplayable at high level unless you put some serious work into making it playable.

Bottom line is PF2 is built after a massive playtest with feedback from the PF1 player base and whoever else was interested in participating. This is what the final product looks like and it isn't changing any time soon.

If you don't like it, you find a new game or play PF1.

As far as the rest, stop already. PF2 is a game built on different mechanics. You either learn to accept the new accuracy paradigm or you find something else. Stop arguing one is better than the other. It isn't.

When I designed PF1 enemies, I designed them like PF2 designs enemies. So you would have been just as pissed off playing PF1 with me as you are unhappy playing PF2 because I would not have allowed you as DM to game the math. If you were fighting a Dark Lord level enemy in PF1 in one of my games, you would have had a high chance of failing your saving throws, you would have been hit easier than you hit the boss, and that boss enemy would have shrugged off your spells and effects.

You can enable that level of difficult in PF1 as well. They just made it default in PF2. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of DMs like myself are the reason why because we wanted a game where the players can die.

If you understand the action economy issue of 3E/PF1, then you can see why the made the decision they did in PF2 for accuracy. Monsters need to be able to threaten parties without having the same resources or action choices of PCs.

How do you do that? In PF1 the action economy was so vastly in favor of PCs that you could not accomplish this. Even a hasted dragon with 5 or 6 attacks was rendered weak because each attack did less damage than a PC and each PC had a similar number of more powerful attacks with each one gaining an action from haste.

So in PF2 they acknowledged PC group action economy and designed enemies with the ability to do the same amount of damage or more using less actions. This was one method of pressuring PC group action economy and it has accomplished the dual goal of making combats fast and challenging.

This paradigm was nonexistent in PF1 past the low levels.

I could explain until I'm blue in the face why certain design decisions were made and what it does to game mechanics. It's pretty obvious you miss the PF1 mathematical modeling that favored players in the extreme. I don't know what else to tell you other than that game exists for you to play because PF2 is not a game that favors the players. It's a far more balanced option. The damage per action match is very nicely tuned to challenge PC parties while ensuring speed of combat.


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Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

I'm going to be honest, if the choices have always been "obvious", and you've been constantly failing...

Perhaps you're making the wrong choices, and they're not actually obvious.

I won all but one of my fights so far.

And that one annoys me because it seems like the only winning move was to immediately flee.
But hey, you believe what you like.

You know, it's funny. Because the encounter you described is very close numerically to the playtest adventure's first boss (1 less to-hit and 2 less average damage, but had a thing to boost its t1 stats far higher and sneak attack). And it came at the end of a dungeon, meaning a lot of parties had burned significant resources. And it also tried to hide itself if given notice, meaning it had very good odds of instantly critting someone out of the fight by critting on a 13.

As it did to my party, incidentally. The champion with a shield went down instantly to the sneak attack crit.

My party beat that encounter fine, as did a lot of other parties that did the playtest.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The grip thing is a bit wonky for sure. I feel like there should be a middle ground to keep 1 handed builds and weapon traits interesting.

It is something that doesn't come up super often and not really that important when analysing tactics.

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