So in 2E, is it normal to just feel... really weak?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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WWHsmackdown wrote:
If you're only throwing cr+2 and up at your party then your purposely depriving your casters of their aoe/cc niche. Your encounters should run the gambit of cr-2 to cr+3 in terms of creature comp

Yes and this is one of the problems of PF2. Too many modules where there are single opponents for the party at CR+2 or worse, for a very large portion of the encounters.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I started PF2 with my PF1 gming style of starting with weak enemies then dialing up the difficulty until fights were challenging and you didn't need to slog through a ton of boring fights.

I noticed it wasn't working out as well as it used to. In PF1 high powered fights meant pulling out all the stops, using more buffs and consumables and generally dipping into the deep well of cheese available to players in that system. In PF2, you can't generally solve tough fights by figuring out a new broken combo and crafting/cheesing your problems away. I started softening up fights to keep players from feeling like they're always up against a wall.

I really noticed how hard I had been pushing my players when I went to Strength of Thousands, and saw their much, much easier early combats. I'm making a point of adding more encounters with easier foes now because the players seem to have fun with that extra variety.


Gortle wrote:
WWHsmackdown wrote:
If you're only throwing cr+2 and up at your party then your purposely depriving your casters of their aoe/cc niche. Your encounters should run the gambit of cr-2 to cr+3 in terms of creature comp
Yes and this is one of the problems of PF2. Too many modules where there are single opponents for the party at CR+2 or worse, for a very large portion of the encounters.

Only cr-2 to cr+3? I throw armies of low-level characters at my players' party. I work from level -4 to level +3 (PF1 uses CR, PF2 uses level). If the enemies are too low level, then I group them into troops of 4 enemies raise their level by 4.

The PF1 module I am adapting gives a good variety of foes, though I am upping the difficulty due to an oversized, overleveled party of seven 14th-level PCs.
* First encounter, which I described in comment #89 last week, was ten gugs, party level -4, a 57-xp challenge.
*The current encounter is four gugs and a demon level -4 and a gug shaman level +1, a 63-xp challenge.
" Upcoming is a trap at level -1, 30 xp because it does not require an oversized-party adjustment.
* Followed by three fiendish gugs level -1 for a 51-xp challenge. The room cannot hold four gugs and the party.
* Two fiendish purple worms level +1 for a 69-xp challenge.
* The party will probably skip the iron golems but will encounter a pair of stone golems level -4, barely a blip on their xp.
* I haven't converted the forgefiends CR 10 to PF2 yet, but they will end up level 12 to challenge the party. Five forgefiends level -2 and a Zaramuun level +2 would be a 103-xp challenge.
* And the final boss is level +3, another 69-xp challenge unless I invent some minions for her.

I am refraining from giving then a 120-xp Severe-threat challenge before the final boss, but a level+3 character is only 69 xp against a 7-member party. And the encounter budget math gets iffy at level +4. I have not figured out this puzzle yet.

The Exchange

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Ah - this really makes clear why PF2 Society and many conventions reliant on modules are so problematic.

The posters on this board appear to feel that in PF2 you do not really build a character rather a group builds a team so that you tweak your characters to make sure all the bases are covered

This team building is not really an option in PFS2 play since you hope that people bring a wide selection of on-level characters to allow for a balanced team rather than playing a ad hoc group of 1 fighter and 3 wizard.

The ad hoc nature of Society play is one of the reasons that I believe adding the Free Archetype rule would have been helpful in Society play. The adamant decision to never have the Free Archetype rule to allow characters to backstop weak spots in an ad hoc group is also one of the reasons the I and many other people I know stopped Society play. By extension many conventions with BYOC (bring your own character) for scenarios rather provided pregens also suffer from this frustration


WatersLethe wrote:

I started PF2 with my PF1 gming style of starting with weak enemies then dialing up the difficulty until fights were challenging and you didn't need to slog through a ton of boring fights.

I noticed it wasn't working out as well as it used to. In PF1 high powered fights meant pulling out all the stops, using more buffs and consumables and generally dipping into the deep well of cheese available to players in that system.

A common design in PF1 modules is running the party through a gauntlet of easy fights in order to wear down their resources. Then the final boss battle can be easier, which makes it more predictable and less likely to result in Total Party Kill. This paradigm does not work as well in PF2, where a lot more resources, including hit points, can be restored in a 10-minute healing-and-refocus session.

That design philosophy did provide me an interesting series of encounters as I described above. However, boosting the preliminary encounters was easier than boosting the boss encounter, so they all ended up near the same threat level.

WatersLethe wrote:
In PF2, you can't generally solve tough fights by figuring out a new broken combo and crafting/cheesing your problems away. I started softening up fights to keep players from feeling like they're always up against a wall.

My players solve tough fights by finding tactics with their existing abilities that that particular enemy cannot adapt to. Half the time they stumble across those tactics by accident, by noticing when the enemy falters. Other times they apply logic to demonstrated abilities. At 4th level, the boss was a 7th-level rogue. The party prevented his minions from providing flanking, so he relied on Twin Feint to gain sneak attack damage on the second of a pair of Strikes. But the party champion repeatedly used her Liberating Step reaction to let the target Step out of reach of the second Strike, so the boss had to give up Twin Feint and dealt no sneak attack damage. The champion's clever tactic was specific to Twin Feint, so it was not a new broken combo.


gesalt wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
gesalt wrote:

The thing with moderate and weaker encounters though is that spending any resources on them is generally a waste. Maybe once or twice a campaign you'll need to expend something to deal with a weird circumstance but other than that, you'd be accomplishing nothing of value.

You rarely know beforehand the difficulty of an encounter. So it's better to use resources and just make sure to last the whole day.

You know a creature's threat level after the first round just based on attack roll results and incoming damage numbers. Couple that with some mental math based on number of the same creature in the encounter and you shouldn't have much issue estimating encounter difficulty. It's not exactly often that you have wildly diverse encounters after all.

I've never considered known values like that as metagaming so I've never had an issue with it but that might just be me.

I'd just add that your time is a ressource too, on easy encounters it's better to blow some ressources to end the encounter in 2 rounds instead of 4 (specially if it's the only encounter of the day) because that means the fight takes less time and you have more time for doing more story progression.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Gortle wrote:
WWHsmackdown wrote:
If you're only throwing cr+2 and up at your party then your purposely depriving your casters of their aoe/cc niche. Your encounters should run the gambit of cr-2 to cr+3 in terms of creature comp
Yes and this is one of the problems of PF2. Too many modules where there are single opponents for the party at CR+2 or worse, for a very large portion of the encounters.

Only cr-2 to cr+3? I throw armies of low-level characters at my players' party. I work from level -4 to level +3 (PF1 uses CR, PF2 uses level). If the enemies are too low level, then I group them into troops of 4 enemies raise their level by 4.

Which is excellent if you are running your own game. I'm playing in a weekly game, and its just so nice to have everything set up for you (using Foundry and not GMing for once).

The problem is the base chance of success is too low. So it just feels frustrating having a 40% success rate instead of a 60% success rate.
We need some more higher hitpoint but lower level monsters as options to mix it up.

Liberty's Edge

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Hsui wrote:

Ah - this really makes clear why PF2 Society and many conventions reliant on modules are so problematic.

The posters on this board appear to feel that in PF2 you do not really build a character rather a group builds a team so that you tweak your characters to make sure all the bases are covered

This team building is not really an option in PFS2 play since you hope that people bring a wide selection of on-level characters to allow for a balanced team rather than playing a ad hoc group of 1 fighter and 3 wizard.

The ad hoc nature of Society play is one of the reasons that I believe adding the Free Archetype rule would have been helpful in Society play. The adamant decision to never have the Free Archetype rule to allow characters to backstop weak spots in an ad hoc group is also one of the reasons the I and many other people I know stopped Society play. By extension many conventions with BYOC (bring your own character) for scenarios rather provided pregens also suffer from this frustration

I play exclusively PFS. I have not met this problem to such an extent that I would imagine quitting.

Really, the only required functions are contributing to fights, healing to full between fights and providing spot healing in-fight. The first is always covered by any character IME and there is a myriad ways to do the second and third.

Once you make sure you have ways to do this for your character, you're good to go.

It helps that PFS fights are usually less difficult than what you may meet in APs.

Now, what is required in PFS, just as in any PF2 game, is teamwork. But that is not a function of build.


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gesalt wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
You rarely know beforehand the difficulty of an encounter. So it's better to use resources and just make sure to last the whole day.
You know a creature's threat level after the first round just based on attack roll results and incoming damage numbers.

After the first round, which is too late.

The later you wait before nuking and the less efficient it goes. A violent first round is the best opener for a victory. If you let the fight drag on, chances are higher for a stream of bad luck to force you to use even more resources than what would have been ideal and even, in the worst case, you may end up with a death/TPK because you started with cold feet.


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My players couldn't take the feeling of constant weakness. They wanted to go back to PF1. I told them I would only do it if we use point buy this time. Maybe that will help the power creep.

PF2 just doesn't feel great for players at times. Great for a DM. My players got bored with the rangebound classes making every combat feel similar from character to character.


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You feel week when you are fighting things that are stronger than you (AKA higher level). The difference in PF2e is that level does mean what it means: you can't build a character that is officially level X, but fights as a level X+5.
The correct question is: are published adventures too hard?

Liberty's Edge

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One possible answer (provided in the RAW themselves IIRC) is that the GM makes any necessary adjustment.

Free archetype, increased PC level ... are all simple tools to tailor the game to your players' taste.


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Gortle wrote:

The problem is the base chance of success is too low. So it just feels frustrating having a 40% success rate instead of a 60% success rate.

We need some more higher hitpoint but lower level monsters as options to mix it up.

Due to critical hits, hitting 60% of the Strikes instead of 40% is 56% more damage. For two Strikes a turn, that would be 60% and 35% compared to 40% and 15%, 69% more damage.

Nevertheless, the numbers in the Bestiaries give a 60% success rate.

Let's skip the fighter and the monk with their early expert weapon or unarmed proficiency. A barbarian or ranger does not become expert until 5th level, so a 3rd-level martial like them would have +10 to hit: +4 from ability score, +3 from level, +2 from proficiency rank, and +1 from a weapon potency rune.

The Gamemastery Guide's Table 2–5: Armor Class lists the high AC for 3rd level as 19. Most 3rd-level creatures such as Animated Statue, Caligni Slayer, Giant Scorpion, Grizzly Bear and Spriggan Bully have AC 19.

The 3rd-level ranger with their +10 hits that AC 19 60% of the time.

To hit only 40% of the time would require an opponent with AC 23. The Armor Class table skips that value, but 5th-level high AC is 22, so a few 5th-level creatures will have AC 23. Or a 4th-level creature with AC 21 could Raise a Shield, but then the party can see that they are fighting a creature that focuses on defense. A 5th-level creature is level+2 to a 3rd-level ranger, so a 4-member party would be fighting just one such creature at a time, maybe with lower-level minions. The minions would have lower AC, so hit them for a good chance of success. If the 5th-level creature is alone, the party is ganging up on it 4 to 1, so only 40% of attacks getting through is still a lot of attacks that hit.

A few creatures have the moderate AC from the Armor Class table, but those tend to be spellcasters or other specialists who try to stay out of melee range. I don't recall any Bestiary creatures that use the low AC, but when I build troop units I usually give them low AC, since banding together in a group should not make them harder to hit. Oozes have AC even lower than low, but they also have a ton of hit points and immunity to critical hits. Fighting an ooze is like stabbing jello.


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Gortle wrote:

The problem is the base chance of success is too low. So it just feels frustrating having a 40% success rate instead of a 60% success rate.

We need some more higher hitpoint but lower level monsters as options to mix it up.

That's Starfinder way of dealing with monsters. Monsters have quite low AC compared to characters. But hitting a lot and dealing a small portion of the enemy hp doesn't feel more rewarding than hitting rarely but dealing a significant portion of the enemy hp.

The advantage of Pathfinder 2 way of dealing is that you can shine through tactics: If you manage to grab a significant advantage during a round thanks to buffing and debuffing or just an intelligent party tactic, you can get to a point where it is decisive. When, in Starfinder, nothing is really rewarded and you just roll dice to roll dice.


SuperBidi wrote:
gesalt wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
You rarely know beforehand the difficulty of an encounter. So it's better to use resources and just make sure to last the whole day.
You know a creature's threat level after the first round just based on attack roll results and incoming damage numbers.

After the first round, which is too late.

The later you wait before nuking and the less efficient it goes. A violent first round is the best opener for a victory. If you let the fight drag on, chances are higher for a stream of bad luck to force you to use even more resources than what would have been ideal and even, in the worst case, you may end up with a death/TPK because you started with cold feet.

I'm not advocating a passive first round. I'm saying that after your typical opening salvo of attacks, focus spells, skill actions, etc you'll know if the encounter is worth spending resources on. You might even know during round 1 if you lose initiative and get to see how the enemies perform first. If the party can't handle going later in a severe or extreme encounter or going first and not immediately throwing everything they have at it (which they might not have if they've been wasting resources against lesser encounters), that party is probably just too weak to begin with.

AlastarOG wrote:
I'd just add that your time is a ressource too, on easy encounters it's better to blow some ressources to end the encounter in 2 rounds instead of 4 (specially if it's the only encounter of the day) because that means the fight takes less time and you have more time for doing more story progression.

Touché.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Gortle wrote:

The problem is the base chance of success is too low. So it just feels frustrating having a 40% success rate instead of a 60% success rate.

We need some more higher hitpoint but lower level monsters as options to mix it up.

That's Starfinder way of dealing with monsters. Monsters have quite low AC compared to characters. But hitting a lot and dealing a small portion of the enemy hp doesn't feel more rewarding than hitting rarely but dealing a significant portion of the enemy hp.

The advantage of Pathfinder 2 way of dealing is that you can shine through tactics: If you manage to grab a significant advantage during a round thanks to buffing and debuffing or just an intelligent party tactic, you can get to a point where it is decisive. When, in Starfinder, nothing is really rewarded and you just roll dice to roll dice.

Its the D&D way as well - many monsters have very poor AC, and its so easy to get advantage its broken.

The problem with the way you are suggesting are that many of the ways to debuff or to stack bonuses and penalties against enemies, run into that same problem of very high DCs so they don't work. Quite frankly I don't want everyone feeling they need to take a Bard with Synesthesia into every boss fight. Most of the ways should still work reasonably in a good range of circumstances.

Obviously rewarding tactics is better. Its just frustrating when your tactics which should be Ok run into high defences over and over again.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Gortle wrote:

The problem is the base chance of success is too low. So it just feels frustrating having a 40% success rate instead of a 60% success rate.

We need some more higher hitpoint but lower level monsters as options to mix it up.
That's Starfinder way of dealing with monsters. Monsters have quite low AC compared to characters. But hitting a lot and dealing a small portion of the enemy hp doesn't feel more rewarding than hitting rarely but dealing a significant portion of the enemy hp.

Speak for yourself!

I much prefer to hit 90% of the time even if it takes just as many rounds/shot to down the enemy.

When I miss an attack I fill bad. Much worse than if my attack connects, but doesn't end them. Now if I have to spend 10 successful attacks to take someone down I'm going to be frustrated too. And I don't expect every attack to hit. But on average I'd like to see 1 successful attack per round (for characters that should focus on making attacks) and maybe 4-6 successful attacks to down an enemy.

Anyways, hitting for small damage feels way better than missing a lot in my book!


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Under the general balance of 2e math, i think you could craft an action/strike that gets above average accuracy +2-4, but would need a modified 'critical success' line of "regular damage" to override the normal CS tier of a strike -- ie, basically throw the "critical hit immunity" from the a ooze/slime onto the strike instead, probably needs to go a bit further too in suppressing other (non-damage) crit effects.

You lose the upside of a crit in exchange for the higher chance or hitting. It would need to be a custom action so it doesn't combo into other generic strikes, etc. For the player who just wants to reliably hit and do consistent amounts of damage.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
That's Starfinder way of dealing with monsters. Monsters have quite low AC compared to characters. But hitting a lot and dealing a small portion of the enemy hp doesn't feel more rewarding than hitting rarely but dealing a significant portion of the enemy hp.

I could not possibly disagree more. A higher chance of failure means a higher chance of consistent failure, which means a higher chance of going an entire encounter without contributing at all. That doesn't feel good. It's crushing. It's depressing. It's boring. This isn't Dwarf Fortress; failure is rarely fun.


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Sandal Fury wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
That's Starfinder way of dealing with monsters. Monsters have quite low AC compared to characters. But hitting a lot and dealing a small portion of the enemy hp doesn't feel more rewarding than hitting rarely but dealing a significant portion of the enemy hp.
I could not possibly disagree more. A higher chance of failure means a higher chance of consistent failure, which means a higher chance of going an entire encounter without contributing at all. That doesn't feel good. It's crushing. It's depressing. It's boring. This isn't Dwarf Fortress; failure is rarely fun.

Artificial success doesn't feel fun either. If your actions aren't impactful, if the result of the die doesn't matter much, you very quickly get bored. The same feeling of boredom and depress can be felt in SF.

I've personally felt it more in SF than in PF2. In PF2, the average chance of success are fine for me (it's slightly higher than one hit per round). Not too much, not too few. Sure, you have bad rounds, but you'll rarely have an entire fight without doing anything.


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There is a reason 90% of games have their default "regular/medium" mode be easy, then still have an easy mode. But similarly you do not want to bore players, which is why games offer higher difficulty for people who want that. Most people do not like difficult games and would rather spend their time on an easy mobile game.

But I will agree auto hitting makes it boring because "just skip it". But never hitting is more frustrating because "why bother?"


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SuperBidi wrote:
Sandal Fury wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
That's Starfinder way of dealing with monsters. Monsters have quite low AC compared to characters. But hitting a lot and dealing a small portion of the enemy hp doesn't feel more rewarding than hitting rarely but dealing a significant portion of the enemy hp.
I could not possibly disagree more. A higher chance of failure means a higher chance of consistent failure, which means a higher chance of going an entire encounter without contributing at all. That doesn't feel good. It's crushing. It's depressing. It's boring. This isn't Dwarf Fortress; failure is rarely fun.

Artificial success doesn't feel fun either. If your actions aren't impactful, if the result of the die doesn't matter much, you very quickly get bored. The same feeling of boredom and depress can be felt in SF.

Again, speak for yourself! I love the standard difficulty of Starfinder. To me it was just the right balance. Full BAB classes hit reliably enough that my character feels competent. It doesn't bother me that I can't kill the enemy in one full attack. But chances are that if two full BAB characters full attack the same enemy, they're going down (unless it's a boss fight). And that feels just right to me.

But even if it took more hits, that still feels better than doing nothing.

At extremes, it's kind of like the difference between a 1% chance to do 100 damage, or a 100% chance to do 1 damage. Now, both of those are going to be unfun. The first because you're do mostly nothing and occasionally get lucky, the second because your action is mostly irrelevant. PF2 and Starfinder are on that spectrum. PF2 is around the 40% chance to do something for a relatively impactful ratio of damage to monster health. Starfinder is around the 70% chance to hit (on a full attack) but for a smaller ratio of damage to monster health.

For me, that second one feels a lot better than the first.


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I don't recall my players having any issues with hit chances when we tackled Starfinder. It's a great game, with a lot of cool ideas — but honestly, what eventually killed the game for us were combats in general. They felt like a slog. :| They're waaaay too long, and that's mainly because of how little damage you do, especially if you're not melee.

I've skimmed through the entire thread and people have already made their points about the earlier premade adventures, have already spelled out useful and not implicit advice, and etc. I'd love to offer and extrapolate another perspective, though, for the discussion's sake. This is a big post, by the way. :B

And that is of a GM's. I'm not sure how new your GM is to the game, but I will say that GMing Pathfinder 2e is both an incredibly easy experience and, at first, an uncomfortable one. People often say how players should readjust their expectations and paradigms when playing Pathfinder 2e, but I'd say the same thing counts to GMs as well. I have never GMed another game out there that has the same precise fine-tuning in difficulty that PF2e has. I can genuinely say out of all the encounters that I've tailored,a good 90% of them turn out exactly as I thought they would, difficulty-wise.

And this is a powerful but sensitive feature to have! When I GM, I dunno, PF1e, SWADE, heck, Vampire The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition — all these games require a more flexible mindset when designing challenges and encounters. Of course they have their own nuances, but I can more or less adapt pretty swiftly to them, shooting for a difficult in any of these games is exactly that: A small bet. Sometetimes it pays out, sometimes it doesn't.

And sometimes GMs do not realize that that's not only not needed in PF2E, but can also cause trouble. Yet, the issue that I want to point out is not even that. At this point, a GM has to wonder: Do I want my game to be difficult? Heroic? Trivial?

And that can be an issue. It might not, but it can! For a long time I've myself thought that challenging encounters are more fun! And sometimes they're great. But when players are fighting for their lives in every single encounter, well...

It can cause what you're feeling, I think. In my group's last encounters, my 5 level 9 PCs faced a group of... Six or seven? Elite Brimoraks. Fireballs were thrown, Resist Energy was cast, a surprising amount of damage was dealt to the group... But the Fighter got to use their AoA a bunch of times, the Monk was able to trip using Assurance (Athletics), and the Ranger used their frost crossbow to great effect. The optional boss of the dungeon has already been teased, and they are more or less ready — though they do know that the boss is a strong enemy, and know that they will have to adapt accordingly and suffer anyways, because it's a boss. And feeling powerful and then facing a powerful opponent, that might be on your same group's level? That can create great tension, imo.

Anyways, just food for thought. I hope you can grow to like the game, OP, because I've had great, great fun with it. And I don't mean to drop this on the GM or anything: As I said, GMs have to readjust to the game's paradigm, yeah, but so does the players, at least for a fun experience. And if you don't... It's not the end of the world. People can like what they like.


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I think there's a slider between guaranteed success on attacks and harsh failure that Pf2e adresses quite well.

If you're fighting a solo monster, gear up, chum up, lose 2 actions to flank, spam that demoralize, get that aid another up cause every +1 matter, its part of the ''boss fight'' strategy.

That being said I do agree the math is very swingy. I have started to do away with +4 monsters entirely. Instead I use something I got from... I think AngryGM?... and I put two CL+2 creatures that occupy the same square.

They have the same cooldown on recharge skills (Like breath weapon) but otherwise have two initiative tracks and independent actions (can't act back to back). Once my players take out the first stack of HP I describe the creature as being ''bloodied but committed to defeating you''

If the creature heals itself above its max the second ini comes back. This feels very ''Raid boss'' for the players and they get it, the monster has like a ''two phase'' system, but you can gain momentum after one of its phases is down.

You can even work in special reactions that trigger when one of its blocks dies, such as ''rage mode, this creature becomes quickened and gains +2 status bonus to damage. Trigger: This creature is reduce to its bloodied state, lasts 1 minute or until the bloodied state is negated (such as through healing).

Level +2 creatures have fierce attacks but they feel less like cheating, you still have some good chances of connecting, and this mechanic makes it so you can even have a half of the monster focused on defense and the other on offense (like for angels or demons that have good buffs and abilities but rarely have time for them).

This also allows you to keep that ''hyped up big boss'' feel like for dragons or war leaders, or uber liches or what not. It just feels less unique if you're fighting 2 BBEG at the ultimate showdown. ''This is Vordakai the 9000 year old lich cyclop and his.... twin brother...!!!''

So far its been very enjoyable. My stream group is going up agaisnt the mutant manticore from Scrapwall in Iron Gods using this mechanic if you want to follow the stream(4th of june is our next game).


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Claxon wrote:
Again, speak for yourself!

Hence the use of the word "personally".

Travelling Sasha wrote:
I don't recall my players having any issues with hit chances when we tackled Starfinder. It's a great game, with a lot of cool ideas — but honestly, what eventually killed the game for us were combats in general. They felt like a slog. :| They're waaaay too long, and that's mainly because of how little damage you do, especially if you're not melee.

I got the exact same feeling.

Maybe this whole "average chance of success" issue is subjective. Some people will prefer high chances of success, others will prefer impactful rolls.


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Mathmuse wrote:


Let's skip the fighter and the monk with their early expert weapon or unarmed proficiency. A barbarian or ranger does not become expert until 5th level,

Um a Monk becomes expert in unarmed attacks and simple weapons at level 5 same as Barbarian, same as Ranger for becoming Expert. No early expert with a Monk.

A Monk is an expert at Unarmormed Defense but that's another story

Liberty's Edge

Claxon wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Sandal Fury wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
That's Starfinder way of dealing with monsters. Monsters have quite low AC compared to characters. But hitting a lot and dealing a small portion of the enemy hp doesn't feel more rewarding than hitting rarely but dealing a significant portion of the enemy hp.
I could not possibly disagree more. A higher chance of failure means a higher chance of consistent failure, which means a higher chance of going an entire encounter without contributing at all. That doesn't feel good. It's crushing. It's depressing. It's boring. This isn't Dwarf Fortress; failure is rarely fun.

Artificial success doesn't feel fun either. If your actions aren't impactful, if the result of the die doesn't matter much, you very quickly get bored. The same feeling of boredom and depress can be felt in SF.

Again, speak for yourself! I love the standard difficulty of Starfinder. To me it was just the right balance. Full BAB classes hit reliably enough that my character feels competent. It doesn't bother me that I can't kill the enemy in one full attack. But chances are that if two full BAB characters full attack the same enemy, they're going down (unless it's a boss fight). And that feels just right to me.

But even if it took more hits, that still feels better than doing nothing.

At extremes, it's kind of like the difference between a 1% chance to do 100 damage, or a 100% chance to do 1 damage. Now, both of those are going to be unfun. The first because you're do mostly nothing and occasionally get lucky, the second because your action is mostly irrelevant. PF2 and Starfinder are on that spectrum. PF2 is around the 40% chance to do something for a relatively impactful ratio of damage to monster health. Starfinder is around the 70% chance to hit (on a full attack) but for a smaller ratio of damage to monster health.

For me, that second one feels a lot better than the first.

IME a Fighter in PF2 feels like they are hitting very reliably. And with a Reach weapon, it gets even better thanks to AoOs.


Tristan d'Ambrosius wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Let's skip the fighter and the monk with their early expert weapon or unarmed proficiency. A barbarian or ranger does not become expert until 5th level,

Um a Monk becomes expert in unarmed attacks and simple weapons at level 5 same as Barbarian, same as Ranger for becoming Expert. No early expert with a Monk.

A Monk is an expert at Unarmormed Defense but that's another story

Oops. A monk character joined my campaign at 6th level, so I think of him as always an expert in unarmed strikes.


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Claxon wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Gortle wrote:

The problem is the base chance of success is too low. So it just feels frustrating having a 40% success rate instead of a 60% success rate.

We need some more higher hitpoint but lower level monsters as options to mix it up.
That's Starfinder way of dealing with monsters. Monsters have quite low AC compared to characters. But hitting a lot and dealing a small portion of the enemy hp doesn't feel more rewarding than hitting rarely but dealing a significant portion of the enemy hp.

Speak for yourself!

I much prefer to hit 90% of the time even if it takes just as many rounds/shot to down the enemy.

When I miss an attack I fill bad. Much worse than if my attack connects, but doesn't end them. Now if I have to spend 10 successful attacks to take someone down I'm going to be frustrated too. And I don't expect every attack to hit. But on average I'd like to see 1 successful attack per round (for characters that should focus on making attacks) and maybe 4-6 successful attacks to down an enemy.

Anyways, hitting for small damage feels way better than missing a lot in my book!

I have to say my players want that feeling of being great at something. They don't get that in PF2.

They missed making a high AC character that was actually hard to hit.

A fighter who invests heavily in Greatsword who hits really hard with the Greatsword.

Or a caster that when he invests in casting a particular spell or group of spells, those spells do the job.

They missed specialization meaning something as it did in PF1.

I like PF2 as a DM. I think PF2 cosmetically looks like it should look. But my players want their investment and their numbers to have a meaningful impact on the game. They felt like a guy with a 20 Dex and a 20 Strength if built well basically had the same chance to hit using the same tactics regardless of build investment.

The lack of variation in things like crit ranges, effect of power attack with a two handed weapon, no feats like Spell Focus, or other abilities or feats that were used to specialize in something led to no difference in the feel of combat effectiveness from character to character.

I knew it going in that PF2 was more of a DM/GM edition than a player edition. PF1 is a player paradise for customization and specialization, but a DM nightmare trying to manage it all. PF2 is a player in a narrow hall, which makes it so the DM can manage everything in that narrow range much, much easier.

My players got bored of it I guess. No game is perfect.


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It's funny, as our group starts to get into high level play (we're level 13 now) our combats are taking foreeever. Part of it could probably be our group but it really seems like health pools are inflating a lot faster than our damage is going up. It felt the opposite when we played starfinder.


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Gaulin wrote:
It's funny, as our group starts to get into high level play (we're level 13 now) our combats are taking foreeever. Part of it could probably be our group but it really seems like health pools are inflating a lot faster than our damage is going up. It felt the opposite when we played starfinder.

That was another thing my players were getting tired of. Grindy combats against creatures with way too many hit points. If you didn't min/max for damage, it took forever to cut through higher level creatures.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Again, speak for yourself!

Hence the use of the word "personally".

Travelling Sasha wrote:
I don't recall my players having any issues with hit chances when we tackled Starfinder. It's a great game, with a lot of cool ideas — but honestly, what eventually killed the game for us were combats in general. They felt like a slog. :| They're waaaay too long, and that's mainly because of how little damage you do, especially if you're not melee.

I got the exact same feeling.

Maybe this whole "average chance of success" issue is subjective. Some people will prefer high chances of success, others will prefer impactful rolls.

I would take it a step further than subjective, I think its largely conditioned by prior experience and expectations, the only way to fix it is to step up and defy the current until you halt the momentum and move it differently.

The players who seem to have the most trouble with the success chance specifically compare it to games with consistently high success chance especially optimized DND/PF1e, which were also games that leverage interparty synergy less-- where success means carrying the rest of the party (or in fully optimized parties, just being a bunch of really effective lone wolves), rather than being a piece of the puzzle.

Just the other night two of my players were chasing a dryad down while other members of the party were fighting flytrap leshy, and one of them was a gunslinger with the reaction attack roll aid mechanic and had also demoralized it, was essential in taking that thing down quickly, and that fit in with their regular attacking and such.

It was excellent.


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

If we're sharing stories, a couple weeks back a tyrannosaurus stepped on our wizard, knocking him out and pinning him in place. The party champion charged in to try and save him with lay on hands and battle medicine, then got swallowed whole.

The wizard blasted the dinosaur from underfoot; the fighter harried it and kept it off balance with their warhammer; and the champion freaking crawled up the monster's throat, dead-lifted its jaws open, hopped out, then proceeded to scream in its face until it whimpered (crit success on Demoralize). The tyrannosaur trampled the party (finally freeing the wizard) in a bid to escape, only to have the fighter run up a nearby hill and leap off to KO it in the face with his hammer.

Team work is for winners.

In 1st Edition though? The wizard casts a save or die spell while everyone else yawns from behind their phones.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
I have to say my players want that feeling of being great at something. They don't get that in PF2.

Does feeling great apply only to attacks? The characters in my campaign (descriptions in comment #89) feel great at many activities besides attacks. Binny is great at Stealth and the party relies on her Precise Debilitation. Sam is great at Deception and arcane senses. Honey is great at Diplomacy and healing. Tikti is great at keeping people alive during combat. Stormdancer is great at destroying armies with area-of-effect spells. Ren'zar-jo and Zinfandel are our two martial characters, so they feel great at combat compared to the other party members, but individually Ren is also great at mobility and Zin is great at long-range archery.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
They missed specialization meaning something as it did in PF1.

Honey's player has a unique complaint about the lack of specialization. She cannot focus all her feats on what she wants Honey to be good at. PF2 does not have enough feats in those specialties. She has to sometimes take a feat that does something else. And then, because that feat does not relate to Honey's build, she forgets Honey has it and she never uses it.

Deriven Firelion wrote:

I like PF2 as a DM. I think PF2 cosmetically looks like it should look.

...
I knew it going in that PF2 was more of a DM/GM edition than a player edition. PF1 is a player paradise for customization and specialization, but a DM nightmare trying to manage it all. PF2 is a player in a narrow hall, which makes it so the DM can manage everything in that narrow range much, much easier.

I had no trouble as a GM with the customization in PF1. My players built their characters the same way they do now in PF2 as two-dimensional characters devoted to the mission of the adventure path yet full of individual quirks. I had to increase the challenges to balance out their teamwork tactics.

The narrow range in PF2 bothers me when my players or I run into a roadblock that says, "Road Closed to Prevent Abuse." My players don't abuse builds, so I would rather give them the full customization. Thus, I take down the roadblock with a houserule. For example, in my game animal companions can gain item bonuses besides those to speed and AC, especially the item bonus from the Magic Fang spell. And Tikti's velociraptor Liklik can use a Gorget of the Primal Roar while polymorphed by Enlarge, because that is cool. (The gorget was loot and the players could not resist putting it on the dinosaur, even if it wouldn't work. They still haven't tried it.)


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Mathmuse wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
I have to say my players want that feeling of being great at something. They don't get that in PF2.

Does feeling great apply only to attacks? The characters in my campaign (descriptions in comment #89) feel great at many activities besides attacks. Binny is great at Stealth and the party relies on her Precise Debilitation. Sam is great at Deception and arcane senses. Honey is great at Diplomacy and healing. Tikti is great at keeping people alive during combat. Stormdancer is great at destroying armies with area-of-effect spells. Ren'zar-jo and Zinfandel are our two martial characters, so they feel great at combat compared to the other party members, but individually Ren is also great at mobility and Zin is great at long-range archery.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
They missed specialization meaning something as it did in PF1.

Honey's player has a unique complaint about the lack of specialization. She cannot focus all her feats on what she wants Honey to be good at. PF2 does not have enough feats in those specialties. She has to sometimes take a feat that does something else. And then, because that feat does not relate to Honey's build, she forgets Honey has it and she never uses it.

Deriven Firelion wrote:

I like PF2 as a DM. I think PF2 cosmetically looks like it should look.

...
I knew it going in that PF2 was more of a DM/GM edition than a player edition. PF1 is a player paradise for customization and specialization, but a DM nightmare trying to manage it all. PF2 is a player in a narrow hall, which makes it so the DM can manage everything in that narrow range much, much easier.
I had no trouble as a GM with the customization in PF1. My players built their characters the same way they do now in PF2 as two-dimensional characters devoted to the mission of the adventure path yet full of individual quirks. I had to increase the challenges...

To put it simply, they just missed feeling badass. We call that overpowered in PF1 and it was hard on a DM. Which is why my compromise was point buy, when I used to let them roll generous stats. I hope it goes ok.

I still like PF2. I wish my players were more into RP than power building. But they aren't. They want to sit down, build a badass character, and have fun crushing the game world even if the GM doesn't feel the game world is challenging enough.

So I just gave in. I'm going to run them power gaming for a while and hope point buy is enough of a throttle to not make my life completely miserable. We'll see how it goes.


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Honestly, a gaming table where the GM has a hard and frustrating time just so a bunch of nerds can enjoy their power fantasy of roflbbqing every encounter is not a good table. This game is supposed to be fun for everyone involved, not frustrating/taxing.

Having to spend hours carefully customising encounters so that my players who min-max AND my players who are casual snoozes that play Dwarf fighters with axe and shield ALL have equal levels of fun was an unrewarding chore and frankly a Sisyphean task given how PF1 works. This is why we switched to PF2, the power level variance between characters is far smaller, and my players all enjoy a challenge.

Liberty's Edge

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

To put it simply, they just missed feeling badass. We call that overpowered in PF1 and it was hard on a DM. Which is why my compromise was point buy, when I used to let them roll generous stats. I hope it goes ok.

I still like PF2. I wish my players were more into RP than power building. But they aren't. They want to sit down, build a badass character, and have fun crushing the game world even if the GM doesn't feel the game world is challenging enough.

So I just gave in. I'm going to run them power gaming for a while and hope point buy is enough of a throttle to not make my life completely miserable. We'll see how it goes.

Out of interest, how do they feel about the possibility of a PF2 table that's modified to feel more 'badass'? Some combination of dual-class, large amounts of lower-level enemies, using the mythic rules people have done as homebrew, liberal use of the Weak template on enemies, and so on? It seems like if they're looking for being badass, that might still scratch the itch, and it's going to be a lot less work than trying to run PF1, in my experience.


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Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:

Honestly, a gaming table where the GM has a hard and frustrating time just so a bunch of nerds can enjoy their power fantasy of roflbbqing every encounter is not a good table. This game is supposed to be fun for everyone involved, not frustrating/taxing.

Having to spend hours carefully customising encounters so that my players who min-max AND my players who are casual snoozes that play Dwarf fighters with axe and shield ALL have equal levels of fun was an unrewarding chore and frankly a Sisyphean task given how PF1 works. This is why we switched to PF2, the power level variance between characters is far smaller, and my players all enjoy a challenge.

I have fun with them as friends. I've known them a long, long time. The game is more of a social activity as well as a game. So we can both compromise a little to keep our gaming group going.


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Arcaian wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

To put it simply, they just missed feeling badass. We call that overpowered in PF1 and it was hard on a DM. Which is why my compromise was point buy, when I used to let them roll generous stats. I hope it goes ok.

I still like PF2. I wish my players were more into RP than power building. But they aren't. They want to sit down, build a badass character, and have fun crushing the game world even if the GM doesn't feel the game world is challenging enough.

So I just gave in. I'm going to run them power gaming for a while and hope point buy is enough of a throttle to not make my life completely miserable. We'll see how it goes.

Out of interest, how do they feel about the possibility of a PF2 table that's modified to feel more 'badass'? Some combination of dual-class, large amounts of lower-level enemies, using the mythic rules people have done as homebrew, liberal use of the Weak template on enemies, and so on? It seems like if they're looking for being badass, that might still scratch the itch, and it's going to be a lot less work than trying to run PF1, in my experience.

I already tried Free Archetype. And lower end encounters.

There problem is the characters just feel very rangebound. They can tell what's going to happen each character each time.

They know every full caster will advance their casting proficiency and DC at exactly the same pace with the same DC no matter what feats they take or what they do.

They know they will need a striking and greater striking weapon by around level 12 and all Master Proficiency Martials will have the same hit roll at the same level using the same type of weapon with only weapon die mattering.

They know they will be using trip or some tactic to get the enemy flat-footed over and over again. They know they will move to flank.

There is no real specialization, no real customization. It's all cosmetic with no real ability to make a high AC unhittable character or focus on saves or make a two-weapon guy that does a ton of damage. Or meaningful power attack.

They kind of feel like they're making the same character time and time again with a different cosmetic appearance. They're using the same tactics. They just kind of play the same campaign over and over again.

I even told them I had a surprise monster they hadn't faced before. The first thing out of one player's mouth was, "It will just be some +2 or 3 challenge monster that will be hard to hit, none of our spells will land, and we'll just spend a bunch of time swinging and missing until it drops while it does tons of damage to us. Big deal."

What could I say to him? You're wrong?

I could feel they were burning out. They didn't seem engaged. So I offered to do a PF1 campaign. That seemed to generate far more interest. They had way more fun designing their characters and look forward to leveling again.

It's way more fun to build a character in PF1 for my players. They feel like they have far more meaningful choices that make them feel more powerful and less like just another iteration of a similar character.

I get it. I can't force them to love PF2. I'd prefer they have fun or why bother playing.


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But are YOU having fun running PF1? Taking into account all the work you need to put in to make PF1 adventures made for baseline non-optimised characters remotely challenging for charop folks.


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1 person not having fun running a game but having fun hanging out.

VS

X people not having fun but having fun hanging out.

Is the argument that Deriven and his players should all just stop playing TRPGs because it is impossible to all have fun? Deriven won't be able to play because he won't have any players. Or the players won't be able to play because they won't have a GM. Everyone loses if there is no compromise, and it sounds like Deriven tried.

The only thing I can say is that he can at least take some of the PF2 design practices to simplify PF1 monster design.


I'd be interested in knowing how it will work, Deriven. If the assets of PF2 will be made more obvious when going back to PF1.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
They kind of feel like they're making the same character time and time again with a different cosmetic appearance. They're using the same tactics. They just kind of play the same campaign over and over again.

I really don't understand how this concerns specifically PF2e comparing to any other TTRPG when everyone knows the system perfectly. If you can't wrap the mechanics in imagination and have fun in one game you'd probably end up like that in other games too. Or you've just burned out. Happens.


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Temperans wrote:

1 person not having fun running a game but having fun hanging out.

VS

X people not having fun but having fun hanging out.

Is the argument that Deriven and his players should all just stop playing TRPGs because it is impossible to all have fun? Deriven won't be able to play because he won't have any players. Or the players won't be able to play because they won't have a GM. Everyone loses if there is no compromise, and it sounds like Deriven tried.

The only thing I can say is that he can at least take some of the PF2 design practices to simplify PF1 monster design.

He can find new players, he can't find new himself.


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Errenor wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
They kind of feel like they're making the same character time and time again with a different cosmetic appearance. They're using the same tactics. They just kind of play the same campaign over and over again.
I really don't understand how this concerns specifically PF2e comparing to any other TTRPG when everyone knows the system perfectly. If you can't wrap the mechanics in imagination and have fun in one game you'd probably end up like that in other games too. Or you've just burned out. Happens.

Especially in PF1, where you either know the system and end up playing one of limited character builds that work or you end up with some Rogue/Druid "thematically fun but crippled mechanically" character.

If there is a system that truly has something that you could describe as an "illusion of choice", it's PF1. It has 35000 feats and 2340 archetypes, but only a limited number of those will give you what you want, and the game is really not as much as about tactics in combat or teamwork but about having system mastery to the point where you know that "mobile move-attack-move skirmisher with a halberd" or "half wizard, half oracle" are ideas that don't work but "Fighter with el cheapo 1.5k gp metamagic rods that aren't used as rods but as +4 magic weapons because Shikigami Style is a broken feat chain hidden in a peripheral splatbook" is something that will break the campaign and leave the guy next to you playing a Dwarf Paladin with a +1 hammer and a shield wondering what went wrong.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
So I just gave in. I'm going to run them power gaming for a while and hope point buy is enough of a throttle to not make my life completely miserable. We'll see how it goes.

Where are you setting the point buy? Cause too high and you'll hit the same stumbling blocks. Too low and the players may feel cheated.


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Tristan d'Ambrosius wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
So I just gave in. I'm going to run them power gaming for a while and hope point buy is enough of a throttle to not make my life completely miserable. We'll see how it goes.
Where are you setting the point buy? Cause too high and you'll hit the same stumbling blocks. Too low and the players may feel cheated.

Point buy is no throttle. PF1 hands out bonuses to stats so liberally that the difference between 10pt buy and 25pt buy makes no difference for powergaming but instead it cripples people who want to play characters that aren't SAD.


Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
Tristan d'Ambrosius wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
So I just gave in. I'm going to run them power gaming for a while and hope point buy is enough of a throttle to not make my life completely miserable. We'll see how it goes.
Where are you setting the point buy? Cause too high and you'll hit the same stumbling blocks. Too low and the players may feel cheated.
Point buy is no throttle. PF1 hands out bonuses to stats so liberally that the difference between 10pt buy and 25pt buy makes no difference for powergaming but instead it cripples people who want to play characters that aren't SAD.

A better throttle would be tier limits to restrict which classes are available or book limits to prevent using the entire breadth of options or both. Consider something like no higher than tier 3 or 4 and no more than 3 sourcebooks or crb+2.


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The most OP PF1 stuff is in the core (full casters) and you need splats to fix stuff that's unworkable and bring low tier classes anywhere close to Wizard/Druid/Cleric (Unchained for Rogues/Monks, WMH for Fighters).

You say "no more than two splatbooks!" and I say OK, Martial Arts Handbook for Shikigami chain and whatever book that gives you a 1.5k gp CL 17 rod aaaand we're done here.

A carefully curated selection of books is how you can keep PF1 reasonable, sure, but then again the usual pro-PF1 argument is that its greatest strength is the myriad of options it has compared to 5e/PF2. It isn't, but it takes some experience to discover that.

Yes, PF2 characters feel much more in a similiar range of AC, damage, saves and skills values. But that's OK and that's the strength of the system because it means GM can prepare challenges without having to constantly keep in mind that one person has +40 Perception at level 10 while others are at +11 at best and monsters/NPCs work as intended. PF2 characters don't vary by numbers they produce, they vary in how are those numbers used.


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Errenor wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
They kind of feel like they're making the same character time and time again with a different cosmetic appearance. They're using the same tactics. They just kind of play the same campaign over and over again.
I really don't understand how this concerns specifically PF2e comparing to any other TTRPG when everyone knows the system perfectly. If you can't wrap the mechanics in imagination and have fun in one game you'd probably end up like that in other games too. Or you've just burned out. Happens.

That's not really true, and even if I really love PF2, I also think there's something missing from PF1.

In PF1 (and 3rd edition) you can create nearly anything. Untouchable AC, auto-hit attacks, irresistible spells and such exist.
They are part of the complaints against PF1: with enough system mastery, you can just break the game. But if your pleasure is to break the game, then you should be happy about it. It becomes a super hero game.

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