Experiences with the Stamina variant (GMG) in PF2e?


Rules Discussion


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

I was just wondering if anyone has any experience using the Stamina variant from the Gamemastery Guide (p. 200-201) in their Pathfinder 2e games? I've used in Starfinder (where it is the default assumption), and I like it, but I am always a little wary of using major variant systems in rulesets that aren't specifically designed for them. Has anyone seen it in (PF2) play? Are there any notable pitfalls or anything I should think about before adoptiong, other than whatever is already discussed in the spread in the GMG?


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I'm a player in Fists of the Ruby Phoenix using stamina. It works fantastically so far.


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I've used a houserule close to the stamina variant for my Abomination Vaults campaign: I've given my PCs the Take a Breather action, allowing them to retrieve 50% of their max hit points (the rest of the hit point loss, if any, has to be healed through standard means).

For me, it's now a staple. It reduces the need for Medicine and more importantly it allows the party to chain fights without having to take ages to heal in-between.


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I've played with Stamina a lot and my feelings are a bit mixed. First of all it nerfs healing a lot, I'm playing an oracle and I've noticed you can't really use a healing spell on someone unless they're at like 25% hp and it gets them up to only 50% back.

Secondly I've noticed it doesn't replace the need for someone to have medicine (why we used it at first) because often you take HP damage as well.

The positives, the rests are much a shorter narratively and you don't roll so much. You could technically go without any other out of combat healing (though not recommended imo as you will sustain HP damage that you have to heal somehow).

Also one thing you have to adjudicate, stuff that cares about your max hp. Namely bleeding effects and massive damage. You definitely should count stamina as HP for massive damage.
And you probably should count stamina damage as not being full hp so that bleeds don't instantly end on people.

Sovereign Court

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I'm kinda surprised to see even three people reporting they've used it, I thought it was an entirely unused rule.

On paper it doesn't look that nice to me, limiting Resolve to your key stat modifier means it's a lot less per day than in Starfinder. Four or five breathers per adventuring day for most of your career sounds a lot like a regression to the PF1/3.x model of four fights per day attrition based difficulty, and that's something I rather like PF2 got rid of.

It feels like something put in to satisfy people coming from Starfinder, but a bit overshadowed by the other out of combat healing options available (Treat Wounds, Lay on Hands, that bard thing, the monk thing, the ioun stone, ...) so it's a bit of a solution in search of a problem.

But there's one aspect of it that I do like: speeding up the recovery time in between encounters.

PF2 tends to balance fights with the assumption that you're at near full strength. Which is great if sometimes you have eight fights in a hefty dungeon, and sometimes you have only one fight during a week over overland travel, or during a weekday game when you only have a couple of hours to play. But it can take rather a lot of 10m intervals to heal up between some encounters, and that can strain immersion. This system scales well across levels because it always gives you a percentage of your HP, not a flat number that can lag behind your vast lake of high level HP.

So overall it seems like this system makes things quite a bit harder for PCs; healing in combat is drastically limited because you can't heal people over half, and it puts a brake on the number of encounters per day. I personally don't like those very much.

If I were to use it I might ignore most of it, except for Take a Breather and Resolve. So ignore the limit on healing over half with Treat Wounds/Heal/etc. It's just that a few times per day, you can recover out of combat faster.


Ascalaphus wrote:
I'm kinda surprised to see even three people reporting they've used it, I thought it was an entirely unused rule.

It's because of my Starfinder experience that I have included this rule. The rythm of dungeon exploration is excellent, 10mn between fights is both logical (after a fight, you take a breather) and it keeps the rythm.

Ascalaphus wrote:
If I were to use it I might ignore most of it, except for Take a Breather and Resolve. So ignore the limit on healing over half with Treat Wounds/Heal/etc. It's just that a few times per day, you can recover out of combat faster.

I think it's a good rule. I agree with you that keeping Stamina and HPs separated is annoying.

Sovereign Court

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I think hard separation between HP and Stamina in PF2 is not a good thing. Too much of the PF2 design is based on these things not being separate, to just wedge it in with a short house/variant rule and expect it to work properly. It has weird knock-on effects and unbalances things.

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As a side note, Take a Breather without most of the rest of the system is actually close to a house rule I was considering where the HP healed by potions and elixirs is based on your class hit die instead of being the same for everyone, so that a barbarian and a sorcerer need the same amount of potions to go from empty to full.


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I have never played with the stamina variant in PF2. Just looking at it I didn't like it much. In Starfinder it works great because it was built into the system to begin with. Characters start off with several Resolve points and usually not much to do with them other than recharge stamina. After a few levels there are both more stamina points and more things to do with them. So it becomes more of a tradeoff of what to do with your Resolve points.

In PF2 there is never anything else to do with Resolve points. And so I agree with Ascalaphus that it just becomes a hard limit on how many times you can recover after a battle.

I considered using Focus points for it, but then that becomes infinitely reusable. So still not an interesting resource that needs to be managed like it is in Starfinder.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I like Stamina in Starfinder, though I abhor the Resolve system for anything besides health and recovery. (Our whole group tossed any option that spent Resolve but didn't directly contribute to keeping you alive)

I excitedly read through the stamina rules for PF2 but ultimately decided not to implement them. It just doesn't feel necessary when other good magical and nonmagical healing options exist. Also it doesn't mesh well with healing focused characters.


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

Thanks everyone, this is just the kind of feedback I was looking for…much appreciated!


Im about to try the Stamina variant, but Im also using a crit variant of max dice + rolled instead of double rolled. Thinking that the max damage will come of Stamina and the rolled of the HP. Give the healers more to do.


Well, this is close to a year out, but I figure I'll chime in, just in case folks come across this later.

We've used it in our game, and it's good for a bit of a brutal feel in a game, especially in combination with Proficiency Without Level. Healing can only help you out so much in combat, so characters who go down only get brought back with a fraction of their health at most. It makes healing with lower-level slots more valuable. We made one small change- we modified Encouraging Words so that it could be used any time in the same fight rather than demanding the user immediately drop their planned third action any time somebody gets hit. Proficiency Without Level makes Medicine much weaker, since the higher DCs never become reliable, so having a method to get back health without relying on it is important.


I want to try the stamina variant along with wound threshold. That way after you exhaust your stamina things start to go down fast.

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