A Safe Space for Respectful Criticisms of PF2


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Minor gripes that are well past the point of mattering:

Monks have no subclasses with anathema. They’d thematic description suggests that they ought, and Monk School is right there.

Focus points aren’t called mana points. Feels like a missed opportunity to retroactively have the Mana wastes actually refer to something players can touch.


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Travelling Sasha wrote:

Also, here's another grievance that I have with the game, and this is actually something that I find a little, substantially (but respectfully), annoying: Recall Knowledge insta-locking after a failure. I mean, I get the idea behind this: A failure should mean something, narratively, and the resolution that you don't know anything more about the subject sure is something.

But at least when using it against foes and enemies... I mean, I dunno, I feel like it should an extra clause or something. Narratively, it's as easy as saying "The battlefield is always chaotic and interrupting, and a failure in using Recall Knowledge against foes during an encounter represents the character not being able to concentrate instead of not knowing anything else about the subject".

This is similar to an issue I've had since the playtest. I was really hyped to see PF2 embrace some mechanics from more narrative games (degrees of success, hero points) as core mechanics but wish they had done more with them.

That's more a complaint with the structure of PF2, though, I suppose and not really something that can be addressed too much at this point.

Liberty's Edge

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Travelling Sasha wrote:

ALSO! I just remembered something else, just after sending the post. But, hero points, man! It's horrible, to watch a player go from a pyrrhic failure to a crushing critical failure because bad luck dice. We've had a whole discussion about this, after a session. Very politely, of course. First, on how to earn them.

It's recommended that a hero point is awarded from thirty to thirty minutes, more or less. Yet, as one of my players themselves remarked, in a game about heroism — either only great heroic actions are the ones where the reward feels right, or the GM look for excuses to give out hero points constantly.

The first one feels the most right — to our group, at least — while the second feels a little... I don't know. Unrewarding? A player said something akin to "I like trying to gain hero points. If you'd just look for excuses to give them out, I feel like I wouldn't try to be awarded anymore, you know?".

The issue is that, independently, hero points don't... Feel particularly heroic, most of the time. I've been recommended the hero points deck for juice effects and what not, but ironically, I just entered a game with that anddddd the first time I decided to cash in my hero point for a hero card or whatever it's called, I got the ranged shot opportunity thing. With my melee sentinel rogue. :c

I wonder if upgrading a degree of sucess with a hero points sounds like, way too good. It does, right?

In my PFS groups, we only spend hero points to counter a critical failure or for heroic recovery.

If I get 2 critical failures in a row, it is obviously the will of deities.


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Thanks to a post Gisher made in another thread, I now know that druids are the only full casters without Cantrip Expansion. That's disappointing! I'm assuming they lack the feat because of space constraints, not thematic concerns, but I suppose it's possible druids believe two extra cantrips would unbalance nature and refuse to engage in such savagery.

Because so many casters have the feat, I assumed druids did as well and gave it to the cleric/druid I'm playing in Strength of Thousands so I'd have a higher chance of exploiting weaknesses. With Cantrip Expansion gone, my slots will generally go to Electric Arc and Ray of Frost. That isn't a concern from a power standpoint, but I enjoyed occasionally casting a cantrip other than Electric Arc.


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Thaliak wrote:
Thanks to a post Gisher made in another thread, I now know that druids are the only full casters without Cantrip Expansion.

The thing is, almost any caster dedication is strictly better and gives these two cantrips. So now I don't see almost any value in this feat.

Even if this dedication is not based on your best stat, you could just take utility cantrips there and free main cantrip slots for something using your bonuses.


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Errenor wrote:
Thaliak wrote:
Thanks to a post Gisher made in another thread, I now know that druids are the only full casters without Cantrip Expansion.

The thing is, almost any caster dedication is strictly better and gives these two cantrips. So now I don't see almost any value in this feat.

Even if this dedication is not based on your best stat, you could just take utility cantrips there and free main cantrip slots for something using your bonuses.

That may work, until there's an archetype you actually want for the full archetype and can't take it because you have to take two feats from the multiclass. Cantrip Expansion is certainly not my favorite feat, but it has its place.


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Travelling Sasha wrote:

ALSO! I just remembered something else, just after sending the post. But, hero points, man! It's horrible, to watch a player go from a pyrrhic failure to a crushing critical failure because bad luck dice. We've had a whole discussion about this, after a session. Very politely, of course. First, on how to earn them.

It's recommended that a hero point is awarded from thirty to thirty minutes, more or less. Yet, as one of my players themselves remarked, in a game about heroism — either only great heroic actions are the ones where the reward feels right, or the GM look for excuses to give out hero points constantly.

The first one feels the most right — to our group, at least — while the second feels a little... I don't know. Unrewarding? A player said something akin to "I like trying to gain hero points. If you'd just look for excuses to give them out, I feel like I wouldn't try to be awarded anymore, you know?".

The issue is that, independently, hero points don't... Feel particularly heroic, most of the time. I've been recommended the hero points deck for juice effects and what not, but ironically, I just entered a game with that anddddd the first time I decided to cash in my hero point for a hero card or whatever it's called, I got the ranged shot opportunity thing. With my melee sentinel rogue. :c

I wonder if upgrading a degree of sucess with a hero points sounds like, way too good. It does, right?

I'm pretty sure they are called Hero Points because only the PCs have them. Also, it allows the PCs to sometimes have a second chance. But it's just that, a second chance. It's not an automatic success or whatever.

I really think it should not be an increase of the degree of success. It would make them very automatic, less of a gamble. It would also open some crazy moves, like making a critical hit out of a normal hit (for Pick builds, it would be overpowered).

I also think too many players are using them on failures on save-based effects and that's a mistake. Failures are perfectly manageable. Very often, I see a player rerolling to avoid a few damage, or an easy to remove condition. Critical failures are what should be rerolled. And active rolls that are important to you or the adventure. For example, I very often reroll skill checks when I roll my main skills because I don't want people to think that my Sorcerer is bad at Diplomacy. It's my way of feeling heroic.


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I'd like it if you got your Hero Point refunded on failure, honestly. It shouldn't necessarily be an auto-win, but I don't see any gameplay benefit to losing a Hero Point for nothing. Simplicity, I guess?


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I'd like it if you got your Hero Point refunded on failure, honestly. It shouldn't necessarily be an auto-win, but I don't see any gameplay benefit to losing a Hero Point for nothing. Simplicity, I guess?

We usually permit another re-roll if the Hero Point re-roll isn't good. Sometimes it's even been worse than the original, getting a nat 1 instead of a 2 or 3, which is pretty feelsbad and runs counter to what we think Hero Points should be doing.

Liberty's Edge

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Thaliak wrote:

Thanks to a post Gisher made in another thread, I now know that druids are the only full casters without Cantrip Expansion. That's disappointing! I'm assuming they lack the feat because of space constraints, not thematic concerns, but I suppose it's possible druids believe two extra cantrips would unbalance nature and refuse to engage in such savagery.

Because so many casters have the feat, I assumed druids did as well and gave it to the cleric/druid I'm playing in Strength of Thousands so I'd have a higher chance of exploiting weaknesses. With Cantrip Expansion gone, my slots will generally go to Electric Arc and Ray of Frost. That isn't a concern from a power standpoint, but I enjoyed occasionally casting a cantrip other than Electric Arc.

In a somewhat similar vein, I really don't understand why Bards do not have Widen Spell in their feats list.

Liberty's Edge

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Really, when Paizo makes PF2.5, or even PF3, they need only parse this thread for extremely good value and insights.

Thanks for this KC.


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It would be interesting if every PC got, like, a "bonus Hero Point" every session that was keyed to a specific type of action they chose. So, like, if you want to avoid failing at Medicine because your whole character concept is that the PC is a brilliant doctor, you have that extra insulation.

Liberty's Edge

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A Skill feat that would give you a reroll once per day, and requiring being Expert ?

Wayfinders Contributor

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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
It would be interesting if every PC got, like, a "bonus Hero Point" every session that was keyed to a specific type of action they chose. So, like, if you want to avoid failing at Medicine because your whole character concept is that the PC is a brilliant doctor, you have that extra insulation.

That sounds like a fun variant rule.


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I don't know if I'd even want it gatekept behind a Skill Feat, let alone requiring you to be Expert. Most campaigns start at low levels, and it's at the campaign's start where it hurts the most to go around flubbing Diplomacy checks.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hero Points have always felt a bit wonky to me (and I mean the concept, mechanically; I had a similar feeling on D&D's Inspiration system, just for slightly different reasons). It's supposed to be such a core rule to the system, but it is such a subjective thing, and it puts this weird kind of pressure on both GMs and players to figure out how to incorporate them. This, in turn, leads to common problems like Hero Points feeling less heroic, or "forced", or GMs forgetting to award them, etc.

I like Kobold Catgirl's ideas here. I've thought of trying out refunding them on a failure before, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to mess with the equillibrium of the system. But I think refunding them on failures (the players still face the consequences of the failure, so I think it's fine) and giving "floating" ones based on a PC's concept will feel better, and reduce the amount of Hero Points that need to be awarded over the course of a session.

I think I'm going to try that out.

Grand Lodge

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I issue three Hero Points when my PCs level and one at the start of each game session (still capped at three). On average, we play bi-weekly for 3-4 hours at time. Also, since I believe that a heroic action (ie one influenced by a Hero Point) should never result in a worse result*, the player gets to chose which number to apply (generally the better one). Not only does this make a critical failure much less frequent, they also occasionally reroll a success hoping for a critical success without fear of failing. Seems to work very well for my two ongoing campaigns.

I like the Hero Point system because it allows all the characters (PC, NPC, monsters, hazards, etc) to use the same game system, while giving the players an edge over their challenges. They are, after all, supposed to be heroic and tell fantastic stories like those we read in fantasy novels and comics growing up.

*I have experienced way too many occurrences in org play of a failure becoming a critical failure through the use of a Hero Point. IMO, that is the exact opposite of what Hero Points are supposed to represent.

Liberty's Edge

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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I don't know if I'd even want it gatekept behind a Skill Feat, let alone requiring you to be Expert. Most campaigns start at low levels, and it's at the campaign's start where it hurts the most to go around flubbing Diplomacy checks.

I see the feat as an addition to the hero points system, not a replacement. So, you could always use those.

And if the PC is supposed to be a brilliant diplomat, they should be Expert quite early and invest Skill feats in Diplomacy.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I'd like it if you got your Hero Point refunded on failure, honestly. It shouldn't necessarily be an auto-win, but I don't see any gameplay benefit to losing a Hero Point for nothing. Simplicity, I guess?

That should work if you only refund it on failures (and not critical failures). Otherwise, you create shenanigans with 3rd attacks. Also, you should not refund it if you roll better, as in rolling a failure instead of a critical failure.

There's still the question of rolling a critical failure with a hero point. Maybe making critical failures become failures if you used a Hero Point.


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The Raven Black wrote:


And if the PC is supposed to be a brilliant diplomat, they should be Expert quite early and invest Skill feats in Diplomacy.

Yes, exactly--they should be able to pick flavorful Skill Feats, not waste a Skill Feat on something I want everyone to have access to. :)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Thaliak wrote:
Thanks to a post Gisher made in another thread, I now know that druids are the only full casters without Cantrip Expansion.

TBH there are a handful of weird examples like this in the game. Like Alchemists don't get Enhanced Familiar. Wizard refocus feats and Ranger upgraded companion feats are a tier higher than the same feats on other classes (and Wizards can never refocus 3). Witch's murksight being 7 levels later and yet strictly worse than a level 1 druid feat...

It doesn't really feel like any of these make the game better they're just kind of annoying if you happen to be playing the class that doesn't get access to something or gets a worse version for no reason.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I love the game, but in order to print as many rules as they do, there is a lot of cross referencing for rules. So they put out a new thing and use an established rule as the mechanic. Great! You get something new and it takes little space to print it...

...except some of these rules reference a rule which references another rule, so instead of having the new rule right in front of you, you have to look up three different locations in the text to understand how it works!

From a mechanical design point of view it is very modular and balanced. From an organizational point of view, it is a pain. I have tried to get my players to work out the rules out of session to speed things up, but they keep falling back on what we have always done—look it up when the situation arises. And the session grounds to a halt as we end up doing research.

This is my only serious gripe in an otherwise fantastic game!


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I agree about hero points, I hate the thought process of handing them out so much that I made my own variant rule where players just get 1+(1/2 Charisma Mod Rounded Down)on Daily Preparation and that's that-- it takes it out of my hair and adds a reason for non-face to not dump charisma in the way other stats have saving throws, extra skills, encumbrance and such to incentivize them. Even if its less hero points overall, we're a consistently free archetype game, so I don't feel bad about them losing a little juice in another area.

I wonder how a variant where you could redeem them for an extra action would work out? 4e action point style, essentially (although obviously it would be lower impact generally due to the relative value of a single action.)


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Y'know, dump stats get a bad rap. I don't get it. It made sense in, like, AD&D, when Charisma literally did nothing for you. Dumping Charisma hurts nowadays--it limits your roleplay options a lot. I only do it when it fits the concept and/or I absolutely need every other ability to make the character work. I don't need more punishment. PF2 is mean enough to would-be generalists as it is. :P


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Y'know, dump stats get a bad rap. I don't get it. It made sense in, like, AD&D, when Charisma literally did nothing for you. Dumping Charisma hurts nowadays--it limits your roleplay options a lot. I only do it when it fits the concept and/or I absolutely need every other ability to make the character work. I don't need more punishment. PF2 is mean enough to would-be generalists as it is. :P

For some groups this works because the players are willing to act without looking at their character sheet until they need the number, most of mine (with one exception I can think of) are conscious of what they think their chance of failure is and will avoid trying if they don't think they have a good shot. So if say, they want to convince someone to do something, a character who specializes in charisma goes up to make sure the group is putting their best foot forward.

Interestingly, this group has another problem hiding behind that one as well: Some of my players have stronger personalities than others, so if 'being good at charisma' wasn't a requirement for certain obstacles (not all, if you make a logical argument based off like lore or something, I let the recall knowledge be used for example), I'd have people dumping charisma and then doing all the talking based off their actual charisma.

Largely, and this is me exploring how my group tends to work, not arguing with you, we tend to stimulate roleplaying by ensuring that our mechanical incentives line up with how we should feel to bring the player and character into a kind of emotional alignment.


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Squiggit wrote:
It doesn't really feel like any of these make the game better they're just kind of annoying if you happen to be playing the class that doesn't get access to something or gets a worse version for no reason.

It's called 'class identity', Squiggit.

Same reason why Barbarians get Juggernaut at 7 and Greater Juggernaut at 13, while Fighters only get Juggernaut at 9, and Rogues... Great Fortitude.

Or, for that matter, why on the other hand the Rogue gets Evasion at 7, the Improved version at 14, Fighters only Evasion and only at 15 (but hey, they get it), while Barbarians gotta make do with Lightning Reflexes.

See a theme there?


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I never liked hero points, even in PF1 that had plenty of ways to manipulate them.

PF2 forcing them to be more active to keep up to me just made it worse. If you need hero points to survive they are not points for heroics, they are just points to not die. Which carries to a lot of my complaints about PF2 math being too tight.

Also Lycar there are plenty of ways make classes feel different without hard coding success improvements. In fact the only reason why classes get those improvements is because the crit system quite literally demands them for classes to survive at higher level. Which is more reason as to why I hate the +/- 10 crit system. Most of the problems with the numbers on this edition can be attributed to that.

Liberty's Edge

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I've accepted that I'm just not the target audience for PF2. I'm disappointed but that's okay. Not every product is for every customer.

That said, having played multiple characters into the middle levels and having run an AP from beginning to end, I think I have enough experience with the system under my belt to give an informed opinion.

The big things that keep me from really embracing the system:

* Proficiency scaling is wonky and I'm not sure I entirely like it. With checks/rolls tying directly to critical success and critical failure it pushes players into a situation (even more than usual) where you only ever want the best person doing the thing. It's fun when everyone gets to participate. Creating gameplay where /only/ the bard ever rolls diplomacy checks is a bummer.

* Homogenized races and classes. I miss my partial caster bard. Pushing bards as full casters and gutting their capacity with weapons is another bummer. I liked my highly diverse races with wildly swinging stat arrays. Every time I see a goblin barbarian with 18 strength at level 1 my immersion checks out.

* The action system and class/feat system isn't as dynamic as it looks on paper. As you level you get lots of options for feats but you eventually fall into an optimal routine and the game plays like an MMO with dedicated rotations. Ironically, PF1's combat system feels more dynamic even though most martials didn't have class-based combat options beyond 'attack'.

* Lore changes. I liked the gritty pulpy Golarion that I was originally pitched. I realize that the term pulpy is kind of loaded but it has to be possible to move away from problematic themes of the past without abandoning the original tone of the setting. I like the fact that the story moved forward in PF2, I just disagree with the direction it took.

Unrelated:

I want to say, I appreciate you spinning up this thread KC. I think constructive feedback is super important if we want to build a better game and one that serves as many people as possible. I agree that it's important to remain respectful but, in my experience, this community is often guilty of pushing a culture of toxic positivity. We need to be able to have civil discourse on things we like and don't like without not liking things immediately being classified as toxic.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lycar wrote:
It's called 'class identity', Squiggit.

I'm not really buying the argument that Druids not being able to take Cantrip Expansion is somehow a lynchpin of class identity, sorry.


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JackieLane wrote:
Errenor wrote:


The thing is, almost any caster dedication is strictly better and gives these two cantrips. So now I don't see almost any value in this feat.
Even if this dedication is not based on your best stat, you could just take utility cantrips there and free main cantrip slots for something using your bonuses.
That may work, until there's an archetype you actually want for the full archetype and can't take it because you have to take two feats from the multiclass. Cantrip Expansion is certainly not my favorite feat, but it has its place.

That's true. But that's what 'almost' in my post was for. Also it's probable that you would find two other useful feats in the multiclass.

Scarab Sages

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Hero Points are just a worse way to do Fate Points from the 40k roleplaying games. Most of the suggestions here are just the missing pieces from that system. That's bugged me since the playtest.

Liberty's Edge

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The lore (or maybe rather tone of the setting) as exemplified by Agents of Edgewatch and likely by Blood Lords (and maybe also the Malevolence adventure) sounds still pretty dark. In fact I like that it is not only dark.


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Squiggit wrote:
Lycar wrote:
It's called 'class identity', Squiggit.
I'm not really buying the argument that Druids not being able to take Cantrip Expansion is somehow a lynchpin of class identity, sorry.

And you don't have to. But saying there is 'no reason' just because you do not understand the reason is disingenuous.

Squiggit wrote:
It doesn't really feel like any of these make the game better they're just kind of annoying if you happen to be playing the class that doesn't get access to something or gets a worse version for no reason.

Liberty's Edge

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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Y'know, dump stats get a bad rap. I don't get it. It made sense in, like, AD&D, when Charisma literally did nothing for you. Dumping Charisma hurts nowadays--it limits your roleplay options a lot. I only do it when it fits the concept and/or I absolutely need every other ability to make the character work. I don't need more punishment. PF2 is mean enough to would-be generalists as it is. :P

My favorite dump stats are, in descending order :

CHA because, if I have not invested in social skills, I absolutely do not need it and will let someone else do the talking.

INT because Trained in some non-essential skills is nice, but not essential. I let someone else do the RKing.

STR because, unless I need it to Strike, it is of almost no use. I let someone else do the carrying and climbing.

DEX if I have Bulwark.

Almost never WIS or CON unless I really can't avoid it. In which case WIS usually goes first, with Avoid Notice and Canny Acumen (Will save) to make up for the dumped WIS.

And if I need to dump CON, reach weapons, Reach spell feat, Toughness and Canny Acumen (Fort save) are my friends.


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I think my most common dump stats are Wisdom and Charisma, but honestly, I'd refrain from dumping any sometimes if Pathfinder 2.0 weren't so hard on generalizing. Sometimes I want to play a traditional wizard with a big sword. "Play a magus!" people would lecture me in PF1, as if there's no thematic difference between a pure caster who also has a sword and someone who fuses their magic and swordplay.

I also dump stats for thematic reasons, of course. I dumped my SoT wizard's wisdom as low as it would go, because her whole point is that she's on a Sparrowhawk-type journey and she starts out reckless and arrogant.

Lycar wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Lycar wrote:
It's called 'class identity', Squiggit.
I'm not really buying the argument that Druids not being able to take Cantrip Expansion is somehow a lynchpin of class identity, sorry.

And you don't have to. But saying there is 'no reason' just because you do not understand the reason is disingenuous.

Squiggit wrote:
It doesn't really feel like any of these make the game better they're just kind of annoying if you happen to be playing the class that doesn't get access to something or gets a worse version for no reason.

This isn't the thread for arguing, and accusing someone of not understanding because they don't agree with your interpretation is not the way to keep a thread civil.

Dark Archive

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I kinda have problem with figuring out what to post in this thread due to not wanting to just debate other's opinions or being like "oh hey I have finally for first time ever dumped int" which feels bit off topic if I don't have anything else to add. I do have some criticm of system (such as "hand action economy" and legalese being confusing) but I overally love system (though cypher system is still my favorite maybe ;D)


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I also dump stats for thematic reasons, of course. I dumped my SoT wizard's wisdom as low as it would go, because her whole point is that she's on a Sparrowhawk-type journey and she starts out reckless and arrogant.

Not having this kind of thing supported well in RPGs is a long, if fairly mild, irritation of mine.

You can't really go from bad to good at something, at least relatively speaking. You can certainly get better - and likely outstrip normal people just by virtue of levelling more, but you'll always trail your peers who started out better.


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As far as dump stats go, not all dump stats are created equal. Dumping strength, intelligence, or charisma is straightforward and can be done for a lot of characters for both roleplay reasons and for min maxing. Dumping dex, con, or wis is a lot harder since those stats relate to your combat usefulness.


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thejeff wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I also dump stats for thematic reasons, of course. I dumped my SoT wizard's wisdom as low as it would go, because her whole point is that she's on a Sparrowhawk-type journey and she starts out reckless and arrogant.

Not having this kind of thing supported well in RPGs is a long, if fairly mild, irritation of mine.

You can't really go from bad to good at something, at least relatively speaking. You can certainly get better - and likely outstrip normal people just by virtue of levelling more, but you'll always trail your peers who started out better.

I think you could do this, but it would require buy-in from your fellow players, since the only real way to get better than them at the thing that you started out badly in is for them to stop advancing in that thing so you can pass them by in a tortoise and the hare situation.

Liberty's Edge

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CorvusMask wrote:
I kinda have problem with figuring out what to post in this thread due to not wanting to just debate other's opinions or being like "oh hey I have finally for first time ever dumped int" which feels bit off topic if I don't have anything else to add. I do have some criticm of system (such as "hand action economy" and legalese being confusing) but I overally love system (though cypher system is still my favorite maybe ;D)

That sounds quite alright.

I really love PF2 too, but I do have some qualms with it and I initially mostly used this thread as a Shout to the void (respectfully) place where I did not read what other people posted.


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My biggest gripe is alignment. It’s given too much mechanical weight. I prefer alignment, if it stays in the game, to be purely narrative. Because of my gripe with alignment, I really dislike the Champion class and how most divine casting works in regards to alignment damage.

Champion class seems overly restrictive compared to d&d 5e’s Paladin. Evil champions are cartoon villains while we still don’t have neutral champions. Even once we get neutral champions, the design space for the champion class is filled up because all the alignments will be covered, and Paizo designed the champion subclasses around alignment. Seems overly restrictive from a design perspective in addition to overly limiting as a player option.

Alignment damage makes for weird use cases and breaks my immersion. Why are divine casters of neutral deities screwed out of so many divine spells? Is it because neutral characters are immune to alignment damage? Why not just remove alignment damage and avoid this weird use case? For immersion breaking, divine lance is a pseudo detect opposite alignment spell that deals damage. Why wouldn’t important figures hire a priest to blast everyone with good divine lance to determine if they’re evil or not. Seems like a good way for a monarch to check visitors being meeting with them. Alignment damage also screws over certain character types. What if I want to play a character like Teen Titans Raven (demonic sorcerer) that uses my dark magic for good? Doesn’t work well in this system because in a traditional campaign, my enemies will be evil and therefore immune to my evil damage spells I gain from my demonic bloodline.

I also wish clerics were more individualistic. The deity granted spells are nice but not enough. I would love 5e style gods that grant a whole slew of thematic spells to really make a cleric of one god feel different from a cleric of another god.

I tend to love playing divine characters so these stuff bugs me more than probably most people to be fair.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
This isn't the thread for arguing, and accusing someone of not understanding because they don't agree with your interpretation is not the way to keep a thread civil.

You don't have to like reasons. It is okay not to understand the reasoning behind them. But saying that there is no reason for something the developers clearly did intentionally, and thus arguably did have reasons for doing, is dishonest, and dishonesty is the opposite of 'respectful criticism'. *points at thread title*


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For our group I like that it is quite mechanics heavy. We really have a mix of role/rollplayers and it works for that.

Most of us seem to dislike the lack of choice within a class (well for most classes). Luckily the GM guide options and in particular the free archetype and dual class options have solved most of that for us (small group of players anyway).


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fanatic66 wrote:

My biggest gripe is alignment. It’s given too much mechanical weight. I prefer alignment, if it stays in the game, to be purely narrative. Because of my gripe with alignment, I really dislike the Champion class and how most divine casting works in regards to alignment damage.

Champion class seems overly restrictive compared to d&d 5e’s Paladin. Evil champions are cartoon villains while we still don’t have neutral champions. Even once we get neutral champions, the design space for the champion class is filled up because all the alignments will be covered, and Paizo designed the champion subclasses around alignment. Seems overly restrictive from a design perspective in addition to overly limiting as a player option.

Alignment damage makes for weird use cases and breaks my immersion. Why are divine casters of neutral deities screwed out of so many divine spells? Is it because neutral characters are immune to alignment damage? Why not just remove alignment damage and avoid this weird use case? For immersion breaking, divine lance is a pseudo detect opposite alignment spell that deals damage. Why wouldn’t important figures hire a priest to blast everyone with good divine lance to determine if they’re evil or not. Seems like a good way for a monarch to check visitors being meeting with them. Alignment damage also screws over certain character types. What if I want to play a character like Teen Titans Raven (demonic sorcerer) that uses my dark magic for good? Doesn’t work well in this system because in a traditional campaign, my enemies will be evil and therefore immune to my evil damage spells I gain from my demonic bloodline.

I also wish clerics were more individualistic. The deity granted spells are nice but not enough. I would love 5e style gods that grant a whole slew of thematic spells to really make a cleric of one god feel different from a cleric of another god.

I tend to love playing divine characters so these stuff bugs me more than probably most people to be fair.

As someone who likes alignment but arrives at many of the same grievances you list here, agree that I wish there was less mechanical weight to alignment--or perhaps that the mechanical weight was more consistent. Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos may be tangible spiritual forces in the universe, but when a sizable chunk of the Divine spell list either excludes my player's Cleric of Pharasma (a la the aforementioned Divine Lance, or Divine Vessel), or needs to include a specific exception which is not always terribly streamlined (Righteous Might substitutes alignment damage with... precision damage? Divine Armageddon with drastically decreased bonus negative damage?) I am not terribly satisfied. This is only on top of the fact that, as written, my somewhat amoral party is immune to the majority of the antagonists' aligned damage (Urgathoa) with the exceptions of that cleric and the champion.

It has been some time and I still struggle to find a way to describe what alignment damage is and how it harms a person in a way that both makes sense and clearly distinguishes it from mental and force damage. On the one hand, it is clearly spiritual energy and probably causes damage directly to oppositely aligned souls, but aside from describing halos of light and using the word 'hallelujah' repeatedly, I don't know what it does. Never mind that several other spells which are described as direct attacks on a creature's soul (Spirit Blast) use force damage instead, which appropriately damages soul-based creatures like ghosts, who otherwise resist alignment damage normally.

It's times like this where, even though I far prefer the interaction between positive and negative energy of Pathfinder, I almost wish 2e had come up with something equivalent to D&D's radiant damage, which could damage both living and dead alike if you wanted to strike down your foes with a burst of divine light even when they're not dead. Very often I find it weird to distinguish between 'holy' abilities (like Holy Cascade) which selectively damage demons and undead in different ways. Same goes for being able to use unholy powers to strike down unholy foes. The utility of being able to unload alignment damage AoEs that selectively targets your (evil/good) enemies while ignoring your(non-evil/good) allies is pretty nice, but doesn't make up for the headaches it causes.

Now, hopefully this doesn't count as attempting to argue a point, but I expect (and hope) that the nine-alignment Champion subtypes will not close off all future Champion design space. Others have pointed out the very rich space for Champion Codes which are tied to things other than alignment, even if Champions as we know them so far are designed to be hide-bound by the grid. I actually (mostly) love what 2e has done with Champions minus a few quibbles (I'm not a fan of cartoon villain evil champions, but I'm very tired of evil PCs anyway, so it's unlikely I'd ever allow one even if their code did permit any kind of nuance) so I await eagerly for a greater variety of Champions, whether of Neutrality or Nature/Spiritualism/Philosophy.

One other quibble--while I fully agree with you that being able to test if a foe is truly evil with Divine Lance several levels below when Detect Alignment would even register runs counter to previously established goals for removing alignment auras from low-level NPCs, I don't actually think it would be useful in your scenario. A monarch, even a good monarch, would have little to gain from singling out evil visitors by attacking them with divine lance except in the most paranoid cases. Many of a ruler's foes are just as likely to be well-intentioned Neutral rivals who disagree with the ruler's policy or have their own non-evil motivations for striking, while the realities of politics mean that the ruler cannot risk alienating even their own evil subjects, who while evil, may have no reason to harm the ruler and be a staunch ally provided their needs continue to be met. In fact, a cleric on-hand who can Detect Evil should be more effective, since most individuals who would post a legitimate threat to the head of state are likely at least to be 6th level except in the smallest nations.

Forgive my rambling. I have been considering ways to either retool alignment mechanics to suit my needs or break them off entirely, and it seems like there's just not enough consistency in the application of things like alignment damage or selectively-targeting abilities (Blade of Justice - can only target foes who have harmed your allies, deals bonus damage only against evil foes, and gives you the option to negate the attack by converting it all to good damage if you change your mind about your foe) but just too much integration to make removing it a simple matter (once again see Blade of Justice--I love the utility of an ability which can allow a Champion of Righteousness to back out of a holy smite in case they've mistaken their foe, but don't want it to be a matter of objective good/evil). The love-hate relationship has generated no small amount of mental and verbal treadmilling.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don't mind alignment in general, but I don't really like... say, champion reactions being alignment driven. The subtle coding that you can't have a CG hero meting out divine vengeance or a LG champion offering glimpses of redemption feels unnecessary and pigeonholing to me.

And imo alignment damage would be better served as just... another damage type. Juggling the weirdness with neutral deities is annoying and I don't like the cosmic gaminess of, say, a neutral follower of a good deity being better equipped to fight denizens of the lower planes than a good follower of that same deity... because an LN follower of Torag can deal Good damage without being susceptible to Evil damage themselves.


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Honestly, I always expected alignment damage to be the codified form of "Divine damage", the added bonus of dealing bonus damage to creatures of the opposite alignment and half damage to creatures of the same. Neutral would always take and deal normal damage. In all cases the damage would be "unblockable". At least that way neutral characters are not totally immune.

But alas that is not what we got. Which to me personally it became like this because they wanted to get closer to 5e damage types instead of staying with the damage types that Pathfinder already had. Did we even need more damage types when they cut all the buffs to just a handful that doesn't even let alchemical buffs stack with item buffs? (As if that even makes sense and is another criticism of mine.)

Pigeon holing champions abilities to be so strict doesn't even make sense when you consider that you could have made the power up based on what deity you worship as opposed to what alignment you are. This would had replicated the deific obedience line of feats which were honestly really cool. More specifically you could had just incorporated the Sentinel PRC straight into Champion. Bam each Deity has a set of power that they give, it can be easily modified by other classes making a call to the deity's granted abilities instead of the Champion, and it allows for champions of different alignments to have the same power which gives a lot more RP options.


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Squiggit wrote:

I don't mind alignment in general, but I don't really like... say, champion reactions being alignment driven. The subtle coding that you can't have a CG hero meting out divine vengeance or a LG champion offering glimpses of redemption feels unnecessary and pigeonholing to me.

And imo alignment damage would be better served as just... another damage type. Juggling the weirdness with neutral deities is annoying and I don't like the cosmic gaminess of, say, a neutral follower of a good deity being better equipped to fight denizens of the lower planes than a good follower of that same deity... because an LN follower of Torag can deal Good damage without being susceptible to Evil damage themselves.

100% agree. I’m not sure why dealing divine punishment is only the purview of LG champions.

I would have also prefer 5e’s radiant/necrotic damage as opposed to alignment damage mess that we have, but I understand not everyone wants more streamlined mechanics. At the very least, we could keep the 4 alignment damages but let them hurt anyone (unless you have resistances or immunities), and rename them, so good to radiant and your evil to necrotic. That way you can keep 4 damage types but remove the alignment connotations and restrictions. Radiant/good damage harms everyone but maybe celestials have resistance and immunity to radiant.


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For what it's worth, I like to interpret appointment damage as simply being the purest embodiment of a cute philosophy, so distilled down to its component parts that it is as deadly as fire or electricity to someone who doesn't hold the same philosophies on some level. The same way an angel is the embodiment of Goodness given flesh, Good-aligned damage in the embodiment of Goodness given a simpler, more inherently destructive form.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
For what it's worth, I like to interpret appointment damage as simply being the purest embodiment of a cute philosophy, so distilled down to its component parts that it is as deadly as fire or electricity to someone who doesn't hold the same philosophies on some level. The same way an angel is the embodiment of Goodness given flesh, Good-aligned damage in the embodiment of Goodness given a simpler, more inherently destructive form.

That is exactly what it is supposed to be as far as I understand the lore. Unfortunately, even knowing that I'm not entirely certain how to describe what it looks like and why it hurts without copying the homework of some other metaphysical damage types (namely force, a bit of mental, and sometimes also pos/neg). I can handle that part, even if I struggle with things like "Why should I describe goodness a holy light and evilness unholy darkness when there are good gods of night/darkness and evil gods of light/sun?" and "what kind of energy beam does pure order look like?".

The rest of the problem comes in with fanatic's post. Even in 1e the game intentionally made NPC alignments undetectable level 1-5 unless they were paladins, clerics, or outsiders. As I understand, this was a soft counter to the notion of just scanning peasants and villagers for evil. In 2e, the question of easily identifying NPC alignments is pushed just slightly further as the only spell that does it (or at least is supposed to do it) is also Uncommon.

Now at the same time, all clerics have access to a cantrip which can channel a beam of purest distilled goodness that can only harm evil targets. This brings us back to being able to detect evil at will at the same time as making one of the Cleric's bread-and-butter attack cantrips useless in fights against golems and animals. On top of that, the very cool ocncept of wielding your innate demonic powers to fight the forces of evil--the forces of evil are immune.

Making alignment damage harm any except the same alignment (and maybe 'soulless' creatures like golems) would solve a lot of problems for me, but it doesn't get at that last challenge.

---

PS: I realize we're getting ourselves into a spin-off discussion here, so if anybody has a lot more to say about this, feel free to drum up a new thread about alignment damage... which I realize sounds like an invitation to attract the less fun sorts of debate, but then again there is already that 'moral objectivism' thread down in Lost Omens forum if your point is about the metaphysical tangibility of alignment rather than just the damage itself.

Grand Lodge

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fanatic66 wrote:
Alignment damage...

is one of the things I dislike the most. Increasingly in org play, and even in my own home campaigns, players are discovering that selecting an alignment other than Neutral (unless you have to for rules reasons) is suboptimal. A character's alignment should be a reflection of their personality and actions, but because players have learned there are (to date) no neutral-specific damage traits, selecting anything else will lead to it being exploited by their enemies. As a GM, your only recourse is to "force" alignment changes based on your own evaluations of how a character is being played. If you always tell the truth, follow the rules, perform actions of self-sacrifice, do the right thing, etc. which is fairly common with heroic characters, you are much more LG than N and your "official" alignment should reflect that. However, I am loath to force players to play their character's MY way.

Personally, I like champions, clerics, etc and their connections to certain alignments, however an alignment system cannot work unless all of them are balanced for gameplay. One, or more cannot be patently better or worse than the others and the further away from neutral you get, the more punitive they are.

Thematically, I don't feel like "neutral" damage makes much sense given it is generally the lack of an emotional conviction which is at the heart of the non-neutral alignments. However, it is necessary to avoid the situation we currently have. Sure I can fix it with my own campaigns (and I will*), but I should not have to fix a fundamental imbalance in the game system. This isn't a math problem like so many of the game complaints that stem from the belief that something is better or worse than something else. This is a fundamental hole in the alignment system that should be addressed. YMMV

*I am still working through options, but I think the cleanest, easiest way to address this is to change the language of alignment damage to:
"Weapons and effects keyed to a particular alignment can deal chaotic, evil, good, or lawful damage. These damage types apply to any creature that lacks the alignment trait along the same axis. Chaotic damage harms lawful and neutral creatures, evil damage harms good and neutral creatures, good damage harms evil and neutral creatures, and lawful damage harms chaotic and neutral creatures."

Of course this does make neutral more susceptible to alignment damage, but I am okay with that because it means I don't have to create an entire "neutral" subcategory that I will have to remember to apply to an ever growing number of monsters. It also applies equally well for characters providing their alignment weapons and spells more utility. Although, because the neutrals are twice at risk, I might give them half damage to "balance" it.

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