Which Fictional Characters Does PF2 Support Well?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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I'm trying to get hyped for PF2 so I can give it another shot as a player. My issue is that for the kind of fantasy world Golarion presents I want types of characters that PF2 doesn't do well. For example, it can't do a Shonen-style character very well and would likely struggle with presenting even a mid-series Rand al'Thor very well, but I don't want to be negative. So instead let's flip it.

What sorts of fictional characters it can represent well mechanically? More specifically, at least for my interests, what kind of smite first ask questions later melee style divine beat stick can I make?

Liberty's Edge

The last part reminds me of my most recent PFS character concept : a Shillelagh-wielder.

My first try is a level 1 Warpriest of a deity with Shillelagh in their spell-list.

She has Heal spells and cantrips but is not as good at hitting than most martials.

I will switch her build from level 2 on to a Fighter using Trick Magic Item to cast Shillelagh from a scroll at the beginning of combat. And getting Cleric MC Dedication for Deadly Simplicity later on.

A Magus could be interesting too for their ability to get better traits on their staff.

Hope it helps somewhat.

Otherwise, a Champion (Paladin) is a good Divine beat stick IMO.


Norade wrote:
what kind of smite first ask questions later melee style divine beat stick can I make?

My first thoughts are either Champion or Magus with Cleric/Oracle/Sorcerer archetype.

Champion is less of a beat stick than you are probably hoping for, but it comes with divine smite options in-class.

Magus is probably what you are looking for as far as a magical melee beat stick, but doesn't come with divine tradition out of the box.

Norade wrote:
What sorts of fictional characters it can represent well mechanically?

It does well with team-centered adventuring characters - fictions where there isn't one main character and maybe some sidekicks.

So things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Thundercats. Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy (though that is more Starfinder theme).

But not so much things like Dragonball or Superman.


The Raven Black wrote:

The last part reminds me of my most recent PFS character concept : a Shillelagh-wielder.

My first try is a level 1 Warpriest of a deity with Shillelagh in their spell-list.

She has Heal spells and cantrips but is not as good at hitting than most martials.

I will switch her build from level 2 on to a Fighter using Trick Magic Item to cast Shillelagh from a scroll at the beginning of combat. And getting Cleric MC Dedication for Deadly Simplicity later on.

A Magus could be interesting too for their ability to get better traits on their staff.

Hope it helps somewhat.

Otherwise, a Champion (Paladin) is a good Divine beat stick IMO.

Of those, I think Magus could get the closest, but it doesn't have access to the divine list. Likewise, a Champion that invests in a two-handed weapon gets close as well but lacks the burst damage that I'd want from an agent of divine wrath.

I wonder if some mix of Champion and Magus or even Champion Swashbuckler could get that oomph in. If I went Champion Swashbuckler I'd focus on demoralizing opponents and have him read the holy proclamations to inspire fear in his foes.


breithauptclan wrote:

So things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Thundercats. Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy (though that is more Starfinder theme).

But not so much things like Dragonball or Superman.

I'd be looking to build more Naruto or My Hero Academia but I'm still not sure I could get the pop needed to make them feel on genre. I'd like to see a rules supplement that allows for both heroes and villains to pull out something extra in tough fights.

Paizo Employee

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If you're looking for shonen characters, a few possibilities-

Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail

Yuffie Kisaragi from Final Fantasy 7

Kagome from Inuyasha

Generic JRPG Protagonist

There's a lot of shonen influences in PF2, so as long as you're not trying to jump to a mid-series protagonist level of skill and versatility at 1st level, there's actually a ton of possibility (when the skeleton ancestry drops with Book of the Dead, I'm looking forward to completing my "all core" One Piece crew with Brook the skeleton bard, my last missing piece.)

For something like Rand Al'Thor, you probably want to go magus multiclassing wizard, something like-

Rand Al'Thor:

Human Magus/Wizard
2 Wizard Dedication
4 Basic Wizard Spellcasting
6 Spell Parry
8 Fused Staff (this lets you effectively use a "Callandor" type weapon)
10 Arcane Breadth
12 Expert Wizard Spellcasting
14 Arcane Shroud
16 Dispelling Strike
18 Master Wizard Spellcasting
20 Versatile Spellstrike

That'll let you cover your bases on the early swordsmanship front and do a lot of the mid-series stuff where Rand still leans on his swordsmanship while integrating it with his channeling and giving you a really robust and expanding selection of spells to dive into as your skill with channeling grows.

When the SaGa Frontier Remaster dropped, I started putting together a one-off for a group of my high school friends that we played recently as some of the protagonists from that game: Asellus = changling magus, T-260G = automaton inventor, Red = Monk/Vigilante/Bullet Dancer, Gen = Champion (Liberator, Blade Ally), Lute = Bard/Shadowcaster.
As to a "smite first, ask questions later, melee divine beatstick", it depends on the particular flavor you're looking for. Cleric (warpriest) / Sentinel is a pretty decent buff and bash, though it's routine is more "cast and single Strike", so if you're going for something that still has lots of divine casting but also hits like a beast without needing to plan ahead, Champion (blade ally) / Cleric or Fighter/Cleric are probably closer conceptually.

For a weirder and more complex build, you could take something like this Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 monk build, choose Divine as your monk casting tradition, and then drop the Talisman Dabbler feats and maybe one or two others for Cleric multiclass feats. If a sword isn't really that essential, there's also something more like this Dragoneagle Disciple build.

Some other genre variety stuff-

We've currently got a Strange Aeons game converted to PF2 where the party includes a Nidalese rogue, an Andoran thaumaturge (with rapier pistol), a con-man investigator, and a few other characters. We've referred to it as "Golarion by Gaslight" and it's got a great vibe bordering on modern horror during our current adventures in Thrushmoor.

There's some fun "fantasy street level heroes" potential in the game with options like a Red Hood alongside e.g. a tonfa-wielding monk to cover your Nightwing.

Classic D&D/Pathfinder novel adventures are the low-hanging fruit from the CRB.

Fighter/Marshal is a pretty straightforward build for doing characters like Sergeant Whiskeyjack or Dujek Onearm from Malazan Book of the Fallen (also good for your Bruenor Battlehammers and other warleader types).

You can make a pretty solid witcher using either fighter or magus with an alchemist multiclass.


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Norade wrote:
I'd be looking to build more Naruto or My Hero Academia but I'm still not sure I could get the pop needed to make them feel on genre.

I haven't ever watched either of those. But the litmus test is - how does the battle go when one of the characters ends up fighting against the enemies alone? If one character can win by themselves, then PF2 isn't going to represent that well at all. If one character on their own gets stomped and it takes the entire team to win the day, that is what will work.

Norade wrote:
I'd like to see a rules supplement that allows for both heroes and villains to pull out something extra in tough fights.

In current rules, that would be things like 1/day abilities or items. Probably with Hero Points or other Fortune effects to help them actually land rather than wiff.


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I think Guts and his crew can be a solid pick, power differences aside.

Guts is a Fighter/Barbarian
Serpico is a Swashbuckler
Isidro is a rogue
Shierke is a Wizard.

Is Record of Lodoss War cheating?


breithauptclan wrote:
Norade wrote:
I'd be looking to build more Naruto or My Hero Academia but I'm still not sure I could get the pop needed to make them feel on genre.
I haven't ever watched either of those. But the litmus test is - how does the battle go when one of the characters ends up fighting against the enemies alone? If one character can win by themselves, then PF2 isn't going to represent that well at all. If one character on their own gets stomped and it takes the entire team to win the day, that is what will work.

Generally, things tend to break down into 1-vs-1 battles because it allows for a greater depth of storytelling about the characters we're focused on. Though that isn't always the case and big battles often have groups of characters struggling against a boss-type foe.

The thing is, the characters often level up mid-fight in shonen anime. They tend to unlock a new technique or pull off a move they hadn't tried outside of practice until now. PF2 does a poor job of catering to those tropes.

Norade wrote:
In current rules, that would be things like 1/day abilities or items. Probably with Hero Points or other Fortune effects to help them actually land rather than wiff.

Yeah, but that doesn't compare to essentially busting out a higher-level spell at risk to your health Kaio-ken style, the villain showing off a new form, or the protagonist revealing that they were wearing weighted clothing the entire time. I'd like to see PF2 have a book that embraces a full-on gonzo style of play which it doesn't support well at this time.

Liberty's Edge

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The latter sounds like good focus for a 3pp.


Ssalarn wrote:

If you're looking for shonen characters, a few possibilities-

Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail

That's a Great Value(tm) Natsu at best. They never get fire immunity which Natsu has from scene one, nor can they match the RAW power output or versatility of what Natsu can manage.

There's no point to making a character as close as you can in a system if they can't actually replicate the feats from the show.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Norade wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:

If you're looking for shonen characters, a few possibilities-

Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail

That's a Great Value(tm) Natsu at best. They never get fire immunity which Natsu has from scene one, nor can they match the RAW power output or versatility of what Natsu can manage.

There's no point to making a character as close as you can in a system if they can't actually replicate the feats from the show.

That's sort of what a lot of people on this forum have been saying, you can only sort of replicate characters from Shonen and such. For balance reasons, mostly. A lot of the really fantastical stuff can be done, but probably only for a few minutes a day or a much more mitigated version of what you might see in something like one piece or fairy tail


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Norade wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:

If you're looking for shonen characters, a few possibilities-

Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail

That's a Great Value(tm) Natsu at best. They never get fire immunity which Natsu has from scene one, nor can they match the RAW power output or versatility of what Natsu can manage.

There's no point to making a character as close as you can in a system if they can't actually replicate the feats from the show.

Why not?

This all seems a matter of degree rather than type, power > flavor.
If one feels the power differential is the flavor, adjust the enemies and obstacles (while still hyping them up of course). PF2 comes tuned to a generous power curve; it just might require starting higher (despite thinking of the PC as a rookie). Or institute the +2 proficiency per level instead of +1 for some crazy anime shenanigans.

That plus "plot armor" and "solo protagonist power" seem the only differences IMO. Hard to mechanically introduce plot armor into a game meant to have risk (except maybe via bonus Hero Points), yet a GM could run the game that way easily enough (and I've seen this, where a GM narrates a PC out of an unsatisfying story consequence). And Rand (etc.) could be represented w/ a dual-class build, which while optional is a part of the game, just one not suited for typical party play. Lots of solo heroes fall in this category...and often lose this quality when put into larger teams! Ex. Superman has superhuman intelligence...except when working w/ Batman or Martian Manhunter (and sometimes Lois!), to balance contributions, much like a party-based RPG does (sometimes/ideally).

Paizo Employee

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Norade wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:

If you're looking for shonen characters, a few possibilities-

Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail

That's a Great Value(tm) Natsu at best. They never get fire immunity which Natsu has from scene one, nor can they match the RAW power output or versatility of what Natsu can manage.

There's no point to making a character as close as you can in a system if they can't actually replicate the feats from the show.

Natsu takes fire damage several times over the course of the series, most notably when trying to use Igneel's much stronger flames to incinerate his brother. He doesn't have immunity by Pathfinder standards, just very high resistance (as evidenced by him being canonically a higher level than basically every fire mage he ever encounters until Igneel's return.)

Natsu also only has like four moves across the entire first three cours, all of which the build can emulate, and is obviously a higher level character than the starting character, Lucy, as evidenced by both his international reputation when she meets him and various flashback arcs. That was part of why I noted "as long as you're not trying to jump to a mid-series protagonist level of skill and versatility at 1st level, there's actually a ton of possibility". Most shonen protagonists start as approximately 5th-level characters in a world where most people are 1st-3rd level, then meet "the real badasses" who are 8th level and up.

To break Pathfinder down into "genre by level" categories, it's something like-

1st - 5th level: Conan, Lord of the Rings (not including immortals), etc. Your closest shonen protagonists are going to be things like still-working-on-graduating-from-the-academy Naruto or flashback-only-Natsu

6th -10th: Captain America, Teen Titans Zatanna, Naruto around Forest of Death arc, Lord of the Rings (immortals only), etc. This is the level range where they have left "Earth physics" behind but still have clear boundaries, weaknesses, and other limitations that are consistent regardless of plot. You'll never see a Justice League member here other than Batman, but you might see Avengers and X-Men (not including alpha mutants) in this range

11th - 15th: This is where your non-deity-level Justice Leaguers, your post-chuunin but pre-shippuden Naruto protags, most Fairy Tail members for the last two story arcs, alpha mutant X-Men, and the majority of your established Avengers who are explicitly stronger than Captain America but aren't Thor or Scarlet Witch hang out. Regular humans shouldn't even hang around unless they want to get the "Doug trying to do a field mission with the New Mutants" treatment just by being in the vicinity.

16th - 20th: Thor, Hercules, Scarlet Witch, Naruto and Sasuke when they fight their first giant space flea, Guy Sensei with all gates open, Wonder Woman, most mid-to-late-series shonen protags, etc. These are your god-killlers, your Cu Chullains, your "people at the peak of their legend" shonen types. They fight other beings that can destroy nations and actively shouldn't show up for street-level adventures lest they make things worse by attracting beings of their level.

The kind of character you seem to want is a higher level character by PF2 standards, so you're going to struggle to achieve a full simulation unless you either start at a higher and appropriate level or use generous subsystems like Dual Classing to juice your character's power and options. Hope that helps you align your expectations to the type of game you're looking for!


Norade wrote:

I'm trying to get hyped for PF2 so I can give it another shot as a player. My issue is that for the kind of fantasy world Golarion presents I want types of characters that PF2 doesn't do well. For example, it can't do a Shonen-style character very well and would likely struggle with presenting even a mid-series Rand al'Thor very well, but I don't want to be negative. So instead let's flip it.

What sorts of fictional characters it can represent well mechanically? More specifically, at least for my interests, what kind of smite first ask questions later melee style divine beat stick can I make?

It really depends on how much you are willing to taper expectations set for this replication, as well as determining if you want to mimic a specific character, or a "mirror" of that character.

For example, a Summoner can replicate Stand Users from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure quite well, and if we compare to how it would be adapted to PF2, it's pretty easy to make a character that can be called a Stand User. Can it replicate Stand Users like Jotaro or Polnareff? Not easily, or at all. But the core mechanics of Stands are present in the Summoner, so much so that I can't unsee it or separate the concepts.

Similarly, we had a player attempt to replicate Drizzt Do'Urden in one of our games, and it was a relatively admirable replication, even if it wasn't optimal or lacked certain things from that universe, most notably spellcasting.


Gaulin wrote:
Norade wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:

If you're looking for shonen characters, a few possibilities-

Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail

That's a Great Value(tm) Natsu at best. They never get fire immunity which Natsu has from scene one, nor can they match the RAW power output or versatility of what Natsu can manage.

There's no point to making a character as close as you can in a system if they can't actually replicate the feats from the show.

That's sort of what a lot of people on this forum have been saying, you can only sort of replicate characters from Shonen and such. For balance reasons, mostly. A lot of the really fantastical stuff can be done, but probably only for a few minutes a day or a much more mitigated version of what you might see in something like one piece or fairy tail

I get that, but those characters just don't feel that interesting to me. If I want a grounded, gritty, limited power level campaign there are systems that do that better. If I want a tactical game I'll play more of BattleTech's RogueTech mod or at the tabletop 4e or a board game. If I want high fantasy I'll likely reach for an older game because neither 5e of PF2 allow for that kind of grand-scale game anymore.

I feel like PF2 teases me with cool ideas than then handcuffs them so they don't ever get to feel cool.


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"If I want high fantasy I'll likely reach for an older game because neither 5e of PF2 allow for that kind of grand-scale game anymore."

Gonna have to disagree re: PF2, having also played those older games.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

It really depends on how much you are willing to taper expectations set for this replication, as well as determining if you want to mimic a specific character, or a "mirror" of that character.

For example, a Summoner can replicate Stand Users from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure quite well, and if we compare to how it would be adapted to PF2, it's pretty easy to make a character that can be called a Stand User. Can it replicate Stand Users like Jotaro or Polnareff? Not easily, or at all. But the core mechanics of Stands are present in the Summoner, so much so that I can't unsee it or separate the concepts.

Similarly, we had a player attempt to replicate Drizzt Do'Urden in one of our games, and it was a relatively admirable replication, even if it wasn't optimal or lacked certain things from that universe, most notably spellcasting.

It breaks down to this, I want the fine detail and control that PF1 or 3.x gave me to make a character. I'm fine with nerfs, I just want back that level of extremely detailed control over what I get to play. PF2 binds my hands in an attempt to keep everything within a very small and narrow box.

Like 3.x especially could replicate these characters more or less full force. PF2...


Castilliano wrote:

"If I want high fantasy I'll likely reach for an older game because neither 5e of PF2 allow for that kind of grand-scale game anymore."

Gonna have to disagree re: PF2, having also played those older games.

Can my Cleric actually fight as a proper frontliner in PF2 and then settle down for a few months and use stone shape and fabricate to build a modest temple? No, he cannot do either.

Can a Wizard create a fortress on a demiplane he willed into existance with conditions tailored to optimize his spell research, scrying, and magical item creation? Nope.

How about emulating maneuver system from BoNS as a martial character who wants some cool moves to bust out? Nope, they don't want me getting beyond my station and doing anything too cool as a martial class either.

Can I at least run across the clouds or scale the smoothest wall in the universe? Nope, again PF2 tells me to get in the box.


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The reason for these rules and restrictions is precisely because this is a cooperative multiplayer game. When you are watching your favorite anime, cartoon, movie, or reading a good book all of the characters are being controlled by the one author. So there is no need for character balance, rules, or even rolling dice. The author simply decides what the characters are capable of and what the outcome is.

That doesn't work when there are 4-6 authors (one of which being the GM), none of which are going to be happy being a minor player. If one player gets to be the awesome cool one that can suddenly bust out with some new overpowering move that the character didn't have previously, no one else at the table is going to be happy with it. Not if they are expecting the tactics, character build, and choices of their own characters to have any meaning.

The rules and limits are there specifically to prevent one player from being the main character.


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Norade wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

"If I want high fantasy I'll likely reach for an older game because neither 5e of PF2 allow for that kind of grand-scale game anymore."

Gonna have to disagree re: PF2, having also played those older games.

Can my Cleric actually fight as a proper frontliner in PF2 and then settle down for a few months and use stone shape and fabricate to build a modest temple? No, he cannot do either.

Can a Wizard create a fortress on a demiplane he willed into existance with conditions tailored to optimize his spell research, scrying, and magical item creation? Nope.

How about emulating maneuver system from BoNS as a martial character who wants some cool moves to bust out? Nope, they don't want me getting beyond my station and doing anything too cool as a martial class either.

Can I at least run across the clouds or scale the smoothest wall in the universe? Nope, again PF2 tells me to get in the box.

A Cleric being a frontliner doesn't qualify as "grand-scale" IMO, though yes, they could build a modest temple. Or earn one, buy one, take one over, etc. (And players have told of effective frontline Clerics.)

Demiplanes are grand-scale, yes, and available to any class in PF2 via an 8th level Ritual. It's Rare, an alert for GMs to measure its effects before allowing it, but it is part of PF2. And you could put those labs in there, and do any extradimensional scrying you have available. And again, any class, so if anything broadening the availability of this grand-scale activity.

I think being able to toss Cloud Giants around or knock over a Mu Spore are pretty grand-scale, or at mid-level being able to swat a dragon out of the sky so your allies can rush it. PF2 makes it easier than in previous editions to use maneuvers (or inflict their results) on larger enemies. The BoNS is a specific mechanic sub-system PF2 doesn't have, sure, but we were talking grand-scale actions in general, and martial PCs in PF2 have plenty of those, including making an earthquake!

So yeah, there are going to be specific grand-scale activities from previous editions that cannot be replicated. Yet the same is true in reverse! Yet your assertion (correct me if I'm wrong) seemed to be PF2 doesn't allow for grand-scale RPGing at all, and that's simply false, and it seems more that you're unaware of what can be done.

This resembles a mindset I've seen in some of my PF1 peers (again, correct me if I'm wrong); the kind of players not able to accept that a Level 9 monster should be as effective as a level 9 PC. They want system mastery to count at least for a level's worth of advantage. More honestly, they want dominance over their enemies, a play style easily achieved by simply adding a level to the PCs (or the Elite Template). And I much prefer in PF2 that battlemat play matters more than build. Tactics actually make a difference! That kind of system mastery pays game-changing dividends.


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Norade wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

"If I want high fantasy I'll likely reach for an older game because neither 5e of PF2 allow for that kind of grand-scale game anymore."

Gonna have to disagree re: PF2, having also played those older games.

Can my Cleric actually fight as a proper frontliner in PF2 and then settle down for a few months and use stone shape and fabricate to build a modest temple? No, he cannot do either.

Can a Wizard create a fortress on a demiplane he willed into existance with conditions tailored to optimize his spell research, scrying, and magical item creation? Nope.

How about emulating maneuver system from BoNS as a martial character who wants some cool moves to bust out? Nope, they don't want me getting beyond my station and doing anything too cool as a martial class either.

Can I at least run across the clouds or scale the smoothest wall in the universe? Nope, again PF2 tells me to get in the box.

Probably the side effect of PF2's greatest achevement, of making Levels actually meaning something accurate (in this case, the performance ceiling of an individual).


Castilliano wrote:
A Cleric being a frontliner doesn't qualify as "grand-scale" IMO, though yes, they could build a modest temple. Or earn one, buy one, take one over, etc. (And players have told of effective frontline Clerics.)

I want to build one in a mechanically set amount of time, using what's on my character sheet. Can PF2 handle that?

Quote:
Demiplanes are grand-scale, yes, and available to any class in PF2 via an 8th level Ritual. It's Rare, an alert for GMs to measure its effects before allowing it, but it is part of PF2. And you could put those labs in there, and do any extradimensional scrying you have available. And again, any class, so if anything broadening the availability of this grand-scale activity.

Rare basically means banned except for specific home games usually themed around the rare and uncommon things they allow. You also don't get plane shift as standard in PF2. Nor good scrying spells or the means to use them, or magic item creation worth a damn... So no, you can't actually do the same things.

You can putter around and have a thematic similarity but you can't send your wizard into his time chamber and have him come back an hour later with a solution to your problems.

Quote:
I think being able to toss Cloud Giants around or knock over a Mu Spore are pretty grand-scale, or at mid-level being able to swat a dragon out of the sky so your allies can rush it.

You can do that in PF1 too.

Quote:
PF2 makes it easier than in previous editions to use maneuvers (or inflict their results) on larger enemies.

No, it makes it harder it just lowers the system mastery required to get a build that can do it at all. There's a difference.

Quote:
Yet the same is true in reverse!

Prove it. Name something that 100% cannot be done in PF1 that can be done in PF2? Bonus points if that feat is also impossible in 3.x.


breithauptclan wrote:
The reason for these rules and restrictions is precisely because this is a cooperative multiplayer game. When you are watching your favorite anime, cartoon, movie, or reading a good book all of the characters are being controlled by the one author. So there is no need for character balance, rules, or even rolling dice. The author simply decides what the characters are capable of and what the outcome is.

I specifically picked example series, for my Shonen example, where characters are closely matched in power and work as a team. Even Rand al'Thor works as part of a team often enough, but if he's too much just give me Mat instead and I'll be happy enough.

Quote:
That doesn't work when there are 4-6 authors (one of which being the GM), none of which are going to be happy being a minor player. If one player gets to be the awesome cool one that can suddenly bust out with some new overpowering move that the character didn't have previously, no one else at the table is going to be happy with it. Not if they are expecting the tactics, character build, and choices of their own characters to have any meaning.

Funny, nobody that plays FATE seems to have an issue with everybody at the table getting to tell the story as if they're the main character. Plus that system can 100% allow for the anime power boost for heroes and villains alike.

So why can't PF2 do that?


Lucas Yew wrote:
Probably the side effect of PF2's greatest achevement, of making Levels actually meaning something accurate (in this case, the performance ceiling of an individual).

What's the point if the cost of doing so is gutting everything, restricting player options, and making it so your best features are balanced around failing?


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Huh. I think I see the issue. You want to play someone who feels powerful. You want to wade into battle against a horde of orcs, and strike one orc so hard that his head goes flying off and strikes another orc, killing them both. I respect that.

PF2... doesn't offer that, so much. Barbarian is likely to get you closest, and the Spirit Instinct might actually give you some of that Holy Warrior feel, especially with just a bit of refluffing.

As for the modest temple... I'm not sure why he couldn't? The Shape Stone part, at least, is quite possible if you're a worshipper of Ashukharma, Findeladlara, or Mazludeh. Admittedly, the resulting temple is likely to be somewhat crude, but if you're spending months at it, you can use skills like Crafting and Architecture Lore as downtime actions to fix that issue.

...but yeah. PF2 is E6, stretched out over 20 levels and tuned well. That's... pretty clearly not what you're looking for.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
Huh. I think I see the issue. You want to play someone who feels powerful. You want to wade into battle against a horde of orcs, and strike one orc so hard that his head goes flying off and strikes another orc, killing them both. I respect that.

Then the big stompy boss orc comes out and fills his followers with power and the real battle starts.

Quote:
As for the modest temple... I'm not sure why he couldn't? The Shape Stone part, at least, is quite possible if you're a worshipper of Ashukharma, Findeladlara, or Mazludeh. Admittedly, the resulting temple is likely to be somewhat crude, but if you're spending months at it, you can use skills like Crafting and Architecture Lore as downtime actions to fix that issue.

You could, but it feels like a cruder weaker way to accomplish something that defaulted to characters in PF1 and even D&D 5e.

Quote:
...but yeah. PF2 is E6, stretched out over 20 levels and tuned well. That's... pretty clearly not what you're looking for.

I'm cool with lower power, just don't touch my options.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Something that would partially help is fighting much lower level enemies. I know it's seems like a no brainer but that's really what you're describing, wading into a ton of baddies and mowing them all down. Fight a bunch of 5 or 6 levels lower than your character and you'll feel great.


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Norade wrote:

Funny, nobody that plays FATE seems to have an issue with everybody at the table getting to tell the story as if they're the main character. Plus that system can 100% allow for the anime power boost for heroes and villains alike.

So why can't PF2 do that?

Because FATE is a rules-light system. One that involves a bunch of social agreement between the players to let each of the characters have their time in center stage.

PF2 is a rules-heavy system designed to handle things reasonably well even when strangers get together to play. Or when new players are trying to figure out how to even do role-play. Or to reign in a mildly uncooperative player deliberately trying to outshine everyone else at the table.

It might not be the best game for you. That doesn't mean that the game system is flawed or failing to meet its design goals.


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As for what PF2 PCs can do that 3.X can't, an example was already above: a PF2 Barbarian can make a demiplane only aided by other Barbarians.

Except whoa, whoa, whoa. The goalposts have zoomed away given that question. It started w/ what can PF2 do, and making a divine beatstick.
From that to PF2 can't do fictional characters well. When it was shown it can, then it's that PF2 can't do grand-scale well. When it was shown it can, then it's PF2 can't do anything 3.X couldn't do which has nothing to do with the original question.

PF2 can emulate most any high fantasy, i.e. Tolkien, Martin, Brooks, Erickson, and yes, Jordan. There might be specific differences, like erasing a target from reality w/ retroactive causality, but how exactly could any game emulate that mechanically? (Narratively, a GM could pull it off w/ their own labor and tracking, if a martyr.) Similar for soothsaying and other plot-bending tricks, since a game works linearly.

Yet if one wants the exact status and power differential of those narratives, PF2 does put that ability in the GM's hands, and the GMG gives options for that. As in that's a perfectly valid play style of PF2.

And one major benefit of PF2 is one doesn't need to use one's choices simply to keep even w/ numbers. Functional numbers are built into the chassis, and skill feats don't feel like a waste of power. If anything I feel a LOT more freedom in PF2, since I'm not pigeonholed into specific builds or feat chains.


Gaulin wrote:
Something that would partially help is fighting much lower level enemies. I know it's seems like a no brainer but that's really what you're describing, wading into a ton of baddies and mowing them all down. Fight a bunch of 5 or 6 levels lower than your character and you'll feel great.

Where did I ever ask for that? I explicitly said that I want boss-type enemies to be able to have the same style of power up as the characters have. Freiza and Cell aren't themselves if they can't transform.

I'm asking for a game that allows the same mechanical breadth of options as 3.x did even if some of them are toned down for balance and that could support a system that allows for bursts of power at a cost to emulate certain styles of anime.


breithauptclan wrote:
Because FATE is a rules-light system. One that involves a bunch of social agreement between the players to let each of the characters have their time in center stage.

You can bolt FATE onto a rules-heavy system and it still works. Explain that.

Quote:
PF2 is a rules-heavy system designed to handle things reasonably well even when strangers get together to play. Or when new players are trying to figure out how to even do role-play. Or to reign in a mildly uncooperative player deliberately trying to outshine everyone else at the table.

So PF2 is a bike with training wheels welded on. That explains my distaste for it.

I like systems where mastery matters.


Castilliano wrote:
As for what PF2 PCs can do that 3.X can't, an example was already above: a PF2 Barbarian can make a demiplane only aided by other Barbarians.

I'll throw a level of Barbarian onto my mage and call that good enough.

Also, PF1 and 3.x also had rituals and given that the ritual to do this is rare in PF2 you could as easily do the same thing in PF1 with a willing GM.

Quote:
It started w/ what can PF2 do, and making a divine beatstick.

Which we've determined that PF2 can't do, at least not well.

Quote:
From that to PF2 can't do fictional characters well. When it was shown it can,

Except that it can't. We saw a couple of dollar story Disney knock-offs that cannot ever reach the appropriate level of power, flexibility, or replicate all the abilities of the source material. Even if we assume that level plays a factor that Natsu build at level 20 won't do what Natsu in the show is doing at their peak using PF2 RAW.

Quote:
then it's that PF2 can't do grand-scale well.

It can't. It can't replicate everything that its earlier version could do while not having a unique trick.

Quote:
PF2 can emulate Jordan.

Please show me any class in PF2 that has the casting flexibility of a channeler and the ability to create new spells on the fly using different elemental weaves? Leaving aside the time-bending factor which PF2 spell can erase an entire fortress? Can PF2 properly emulate late series Matt's luck?

Quote:
And one major benefit of PF2 is one doesn't need to use one's choices simply to keep even w/ numbers. Functional numbers are built into the chassis, and skill feats don't feel like a waste of power. If anything I feel a LOT more freedom in PF2, since I'm not pigeonholed into specific builds or feat chains.

Yes, and that's why 3.x stealing PF1s best features is superior to even PF1 because PF1 was Paizo's first attempt at taking a good thing and cutting off bits of it for 'balance' and failing at that.


But back to the topic in the OP.

Can we actually faithfully recreate anybody in PF2. They need to match abilities, feats accomplished, damage dealt for me to count them. A mockbuster style demake doesn't cut it with me.

Can a good, as in straight Champion/Fighter/Druid/Bard level, divine beat stick be built without needing to dance through restrictive action loops or completely ditch spell casting?


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Norade wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

It really depends on how much you are willing to taper expectations set for this replication, as well as determining if you want to mimic a specific character, or a "mirror" of that character.

For example, a Summoner can replicate Stand Users from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure quite well, and if we compare to how it would be adapted to PF2, it's pretty easy to make a character that can be called a Stand User. Can it replicate Stand Users like Jotaro or Polnareff? Not easily, or at all. But the core mechanics of Stands are present in the Summoner, so much so that I can't unsee it or separate the concepts.

Similarly, we had a player attempt to replicate Drizzt Do'Urden in one of our games, and it was a relatively admirable replication, even if it wasn't optimal or lacked certain things from that universe, most notably spellcasting.

It breaks down to this, I want the fine detail and control that PF1 or 3.x gave me to make a character. I'm fine with nerfs, I just want back that level of extremely detailed control over what I get to play. PF2 binds my hands in an attempt to keep everything within a very small and narrow box.

Like 3.x especially could replicate these characters more or less full force. PF2...

Well, one big problem is that you're not going to get that kind of benefit with a system like PF2, which prioritizes niche protection and role fulfillment over "This is cool." Several threads have been posited that question why a Fighter should be the only class that gets Legendary weapons, or how badly would the game be imbalanced if classes could poach abilities/proficiencies from other classes at the cost of higher level/max level feats, and while I'm in the camp that a character who invests heavily for a certain niche boost should definitely receive it, since something of at least equal or higher value has been confiscated for it, there are many whom will defend it to the last.

A major issue with PF1 was the factor that certain builds and classes could absolutely solo entire APs, whereas other builds and classes couldn't even compare to attempt said APs. The fact that there is such a big gap means you could have those kinds of adventures where the main character is superior in most every way to his compatriots, whereas this game features characters that are much more focused in scope and much less varied in overall power that you won't get those "Main Character Absolutely Beats Down BBEG By Self With Theme Song Playing" anime tropes that you seem to want.

Monsters are an actual threat and aren't just a bag of hitpoints that can be taken by the PCs when initiative is rolled and won, several of which require using certain tactics to even have a chance of defeating them. That's not comparable to traditional anime tropes in the slightest, meaning this isn't really the system to implement that, despite several published options attempting to.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Well, one big problem is that you're not going to get that kind of benefit with a system like PF2, which prioritizes niche protection and role fulfillment over "This is cool." Several threads have been posited that question why a Fighter should be the only class that gets Legendary weapons, or how badly would the game be imbalanced if classes could poach abilities/proficiencies from other classes at the cost of higher level/max level feats, and while I'm in the camp that a character who invests heavily for a certain niche boost should definitely receive it, since something of at least equal or higher value has been confiscated for it, there are many whom will defend it to the last.

Classes, in general, suck. I'd rather play a skill-based system any day of the week but very few have the audience that larger games have. When you also heavily niche protect things and remove basic customization options I start to wonder why we don't just all use premade characters or go stateless and freeform if the build isn't supposed to matter.

Quote:
A major issue with PF1 was the factor that certain builds and classes could absolutely solo entire APs, whereas other builds and classes couldn't even compare to attempt said APs. The fact that there is such a big gap means you could have those kinds of adventures where the main character is superior in most every way to his compatriots, whereas this game features characters that are much more focused in scope and much less varied in overall power that you won't get those "Main Character Absolutely Beats Down BBEG By Self With Theme Song Playing" anime tropes that you seem to want.

Sure, if you wanted to. You could also mess around with weaker builds that heavily focused on doing things that were cool and corner case but not that powerful. It's a matter of what your group wanted to do and having them all on the same page.

This made APs kind of worthless and PFS either very restrictive or busted as hell, but I'm not a company trying to push a new adventure monthly and build a brand so I don't care about those issues.

Quote:
Monsters are an actual threat and aren't just a bag of hitpoints that can be taken by the PCs when initiative is rolled and won, several of which require using certain tactics to even have a chance of defeating them. That's not comparable to traditional anime tropes in the slightest, meaning this isn't really the system to implement that, despite several published options attempting to.

Yes, in PF1 combat could be trivial but it didn't have to be. You could have a party that opted to use their limitless options to make characters that actually played the game rather than racing to make pun-pun. In such cases, you could get a very powerful feeling character that has a few cool things they do and still have interesting fights.

You simply don't have that option in PF2.

-----

This system is designed from the ground up to support the main moneymaker that the company has. They didn't set out to make the best game they could, they set out to make something easy to make content for that played well enough.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don't think it does. PF2 is a game that makes PF2 characters. You can be inspired by other media, but you're not going to make your favorite character from whatever in PF2, because PF2 is built around a specific set of mechanics and concepts that don't necessarily align with most other popular fiction.

This isn't really new though. 3.5/PF1 and 5e are likewise pretty garbage at creating characters from other media.


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Just moving goalposts...
A Barb 1/Wiz X is nothing like a dedicated Barbarian!
And you know this, so why say such a thing and call it good?
That PC would still be called a Wizard, albeit w/ anger issues. Meanwhile the actual Barbarian couldn't just dip Wizard to do the same.

And of course you could do ANYTHING with a willing GM, with the counterargument you also cannot do anything without a willing GM. But in PF2's specific case, it lays out rules for the GM on how to make demiplanes...which was the whole original point.

And those older games also cannot replicate all of the abilities of all of the Shonen, not even Exalted which is based on anime.
One example is I mapped out Gon (HunterXHunter) in PF1 and it was okay, then I mapped him out in PF2 and he blossomed. Of course that world's mechanics don't mesh well w/ any d20 system, so no Future Gon via oathmaking, but I got me a Gon, much like others above gave examples of characters they feel map fine onto PF2.

When did achieving grand-scale narratives require duplicating everything previous editions can do?
It's been demonstrated PF2 can do such things. And given how many people didn't play 3.X or even PF1 into higher levels because it went off the rails at higher levels, I'd say PF2 has opened up such things to a broader swath of players. (I myself have run groups into high levels in both systems, though that was me using my experience since I agree the guidelines & published adventures failed to align w/ actual PC ability.)

I could recreate Jordan's storyline, characters, and world with PF2 as well or better than I could have in 3.X or PF1 (both of which I had more mastery of). I have to wonder if even the Wheel of Time RPG manages what you're asking. :-P

I have no idea why you'd think PF2's freedom of choice makes 3.X better for stealing from PF1. Seems like a non sequitur. And PF1 made me never want to return to 3.X, and instead convert the other direction.

It's awkward for me (likely others too) when you change "X can't ever do Y" to "X can't do Y in these specific ways" or even "X can't do Z".

Ever heard of steelmanning?
---

"It started w/ what can PF2 do, and making a divine beatstick."
-Which we've determined that PF2 can't do, at least not well.
Citation needed.

In fact, in one of your first posts you'd capitulated that it was possible except for burst damage. That's not a requirement of beatsticks, though I'd argue good bursts can be achieved through Focus spells or a Magus MCD. Also there are several combat archetypes that would add some solid reliable beatsticking.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Norade wrote:
Gaulin wrote:
Something that would partially help is fighting much lower level enemies. I know it's seems like a no brainer but that's really what you're describing, wading into a ton of baddies and mowing them all down. Fight a bunch of 5 or 6 levels lower than your character and you'll feel great.

Where did I ever ask for that? I explicitly said that I want boss-type enemies to be able to have the same style of power up as the characters have. Freiza and Cell aren't themselves if they can't transform.

I'm asking for a game that allows the same mechanical breadth of options as 3.x did even if some of them are toned down for balance and that could support a system that allows for bursts of power at a cost to emulate certain styles of anime.

I thought you were agreeing with sanityfaerie, wanting to fight a bunch of orcs and then a boss. Sorry if I got mixed up. It's also some of what ssalarn is saying (that's Michael sayres alt account, a cool developer, so I would put a lot of stock in to his well developed posts), those big crazy characters you want to play largely exist, they're just very high level.

That being said, I agree to an extent. There are some things like how often in a day something can be done or the character needs blank in order to be able to do their awesome thing. Things like those that don't really matter to the balance of the game (they don't affect the actual math of encounters much) but are limited because reasons can be annoying.

I still have fun with 2e but I do think starfinder walks a finer line between balanced and 1e.


Squiggit wrote:

I don't think it does. PF2 is a game that makes PF2 characters. You can be inspired by other media, but you're not going to make your favorite character from whatever in PF2, because PF2 is built around a specific set of mechanics and concepts that don't necessarily align with most other popular fiction.

This isn't really new though. 3.5/PF1 and 5e are likewise pretty garbage at creating characters from other media.

I feel like 3.x especially could get a lot closer than PF2 can, but it's true making some things fit could be clunky. That's just going to happen unless you go full skill-based or are GURPS.


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Norade wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Because FATE is a rules-light system. One that involves a bunch of social agreement between the players to let each of the characters have their time in center stage.
You can bolt FATE onto a rules-heavy system and it still works. Explain that.

I call shenanigans on that idea. You explain how that is even possible to combine together and still end up with a coherent game system.

Norade wrote:
Quote:
PF2 is a rules-heavy system designed to handle things reasonably well even when strangers get together to play. Or when new players are trying to figure out how to even do role-play. Or to reign in a mildly uncooperative player deliberately trying to outshine everyone else at the table.

So PF2 is a bike with training wheels welded on. That explains my distaste for it.

I like systems where mastery matters.

Not a problem. Sounds like you should go play something else then. Have fun with your group of skilled and knowledgeable gamers.


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It's ok if it's not the game for you. This thread does bring up some mild flashbacks, though.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'd suggest packing the preconceptions away and focusing on the game in front of you, most of this only really makes sense in the context of trying to talk yourself out of liking something in the first place.

I can testify that my table of anime nerds love the game and emulate plenty of shonen tropes in it without too much trouble and typically feel pretty powerful as they get a few levels under their belt.

The game is kinda like Dark Souls or Hollow Knight or something, you have to actually play it to learn how to succeed-- you learn skills and tactics that make you more successful, rather than just aiming your character build at things and letting it rip.


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
It's ok if it's not the game for you. This thread does bring up some mild flashbacks, though.

I've literally had to remind myself that this was a new thread a couple times its so similar.


Castilliano wrote:

Just moving goalposts...

A Barb 1/Wiz X is nothing like a dedicated Barbarian!
And you know this, so why say such a thing and call it good?
That PC would still be called a Wizard, albeit w/ anger issues. Meanwhile the actual Barbarian couldn't just dip Wizard to do the same.

Rage Mage. Page 72 of Complete Warrior. A Barbarian with a class-appropriate PrC could 100% pull that off with the right build.

Quote:

And those older games also cannot replicate all of the abilities of all of the Shonen, not even Exalted which is based on anime.

One example is I mapped out Gon (HunterXHunter) in PF1 and it was okay, then I mapped him out in PF2 and he blossomed.

PF1 was worse for that than 3.5, thankfully you could just port things over with very few changes.

I could recreate Jordan's storyline, characters, and world with PF2 as well or better than I could have in 3.X or PF1 (both of which I had more mastery of). I have to wonder if even the Wheel of Time RPG manages what you're asking. :-P

The Wheel of Time RPG came out pretty early into the series and didn't do well enough to get any additional material. It did a pretty good job of letting you make spells even if it wasn't developed as well and as completely as it could have been.

Quote:
I have no idea why you'd think PF2's freedom of choice makes 3.X better for stealing from PF1. Seems like a non sequitur. And PF1 made me never want to return to 3.X, and instead convert the other direction.

I took parts from both and made my own thing. It was probably more 3.5 than PF1 but the skill merger and CMB/CMD were 100% used once the system dropped and I allowed players to use either version of base classes as they desired. 3.X spells were the default and overwrote the PF1 versions, as did 3.X feats in most cases.

Quote:
In fact, in one of your first posts you'd capitulated that it was possible except for burst damage. That's not a requirement of beatsticks, though I'd argue good bursts can be achieved through Focus spells or a Magus MCD. Also there are several combat archetypes that would add some solid reliable beatsticking.

I speculated that it might work with a specific build, even then it won't do what I want entirely. What I want is a 3.X smite paladin or a melee, no I don't heal people, style of Battle Cleric from either PF1 or 3.X. They can be toned down some, but I want to be a proper divine beat stick on par with a Fighter with my buffs up and closer to a Battle Cleric in plate with them down.

I'll willingly toss divine font and my focus spells down a well to get this.


Gaulin wrote:
I thought you were agreeing with sanityfaerie, wanting to fight a bunch of orcs and then a boss.

The orcs aren't a fight, they're set dressing for a proper fight and get buffed into proper enemies once the boss shows up. You kill a couple without even tossing dice, make a quip or two, and then get into rolling initiative.


breithauptclan wrote:
I call shenanigans on that idea. You explain how that is even possible to combine together and still end up with a coherent game system.

Easily, you give players FATE tokens and allow them to make describe details of the scene for a mechanical bonus but otherwise use the base games systems. You make characters have FATE style descriptions and can use the system to draw them into adventure.

Norade wrote:
Not a problem. Sounds like you should go play something else then. Have fun with your group of skilled and knowledgeable gamers.

I would but we're scattered across the globe these days and I can't stand GMing via VTT.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
The game is kinda like Dark Souls or Hollow Knight or something, you have to actually play it to learn how to succeed-- you learn skills and tactics that make you more successful, rather than just aiming your character build at things and letting it rip.

I enjoy games like that, but the fun in that style of game is breaking them. Doing a skip to get an item early or cheesing a boss off a cliff.

They're dull as dishwater to play normally.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Norade wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
The game is kinda like Dark Souls or Hollow Knight or something, you have to actually play it to learn how to succeed-- you learn skills and tactics that make you more successful, rather than just aiming your character build at things and letting it rip.

I enjoy games like that, but the fun in that style of game is breaking them. Doing a skip to get an item early or cheesing a boss off a cliff.

They're dull as dishwater to play normally.

Sounds like something to bring up to your GM at session zero, that you want clever plays to get unlikely advantages and a laissez faire approach to the game world.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Sounds like something to bring up to your GM at session zero, that you want clever plays to get unlikely advantages and a laissez faire approach to the game world.

I'm down for a hard game. It's just that games should reward creativity.

In some games, the best way to do collect a bounty might be a car bomb instead of going in guns blazing, in others it could be collecting evidence on a baddy on taking it to one of their enemies, in yet more it might be researching an enemies weakness and loading up on materials to take it down. Enemies in a cave? Light a fire at the cave mouth and smoke them out. Enemies hiding in a room? Nail the door shut and let them run out of supplies.

I don't expect the enemies to fight fair or be easy, so if I can win without risk to myself that's the best way to fight. If that's not an option I want to play the meanest mofo on the battlefield who hits hard, often, and then leaves.

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