How many also play 5e?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:
In the short run, they reported that they've made far more money on PF2 than they did with PF1, but admitted they have a smaller market share.

That is not because PF2E is doing worse, it's because Critical Role and Stranger Things have caused 5E to finally be a game played by non-geeks.

The current sales dynamic would exist regardless of any other statements about D&D or Pathfinder. The only way Pathfinder or any other tRPG could have countered it would be to resonate with non-gamer pop culture even bigger than D&D did. You'd need a show more popular than Stranger Things where the characters played Pathfinder in a way that reminded your viewers of their childhood...

Stranger Things' references to D&D only worked because there was this very brief period in the early 80s when D&D was semi-cool for tween boys. I remember it, I was there. It was very short lived. By the mid 80s it was over. But Stranger Things used it as a way to say "this show takes place in 80s-pop references."
- And now in the 2020s, geek culture is "in", so D&D got a spike.

Critical Role is a money making platform, so they switched to D&D when the Stranger Things spike make it a better path to getting viewers.

These things are unrelated to anything about either game's current nature.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:

By about 5th level, PF1 encounters (skill checks and combat) become increasingly hard to balance.

5e is not afflicted with the need for "balance" as is evident with PF2 and as such the game breathes and feels far more open.

You've just said 5E is a better game because it has the flaw that PF1E had, the flaw that made PF1E a worse game is the very thing that makes 5E better... That's not logical.

BUT it is correct to say that 5E lacks balance...

N N 959 wrote:
Obviously there are a considerable number of people who do love "builds." And PF2 is definitely going to scratch that itch far more than 5e.

I hear quite the opposite. There are a lot of popular 5E YouTubers who's channels are nothing but min-maxing broken builds in 5E. Multi-class this or multi-class that to be the most powerful. And cautions to not take these things here that are too weak.

You will find very little of this in the PF2E community. PF2E folks do make some tier lists, but on balance... they're balanced. The lists have a few outliers but most of the entries comes in similar in effectiveness. People don't bother to go deep in making builds because there's little to min-max.

I am constantly hearing that by the high-middle levels, DMs need to resort to lots of houserules to make 5E encounters because the RAW are no longer capable of providing a challenge. There will be someone in the group that can break any encounter that isn't Houseruled or where the the DM isn't fudging rolls. And I use the word 'someone' on purpose because with a lack of balance - it's not going to be the whole party that's a problem, it's going to be some of them are way outclassing the others.

By contrast there are popular PF2E YouTubers who regularly run high or even max levels encounters with no houserules, RAW, and demonstrate a fun and balanced game.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:
That having been said, I am far less inclined to play non-Rangers in 5e.

That's similar to a common complaint I see for 5E. With the lack of balance and the low level of customization for classes - if you don't like the class 'as written', you've little interest in it. And your options for what you might want to play rapidly dry up.

I've been able to take almost any class in PF2E and tweak it to be what I like.

I happen to really like the PF2E ranger. Your post makes me want to read the 5E ranger and see what I think. But you keep mentioning a 'revised' Ranger which I gather means something not in the core rulebook?

It's interesting that you ended your post saying you like PF2E because until your last paragraph I thought you were headed the other way on things.

----

As a general note to anyone who wonders if PF2E is doing well, join the Pathfinder, Foundry, and r/Pathfinder2e Discords (the discord for a reddit channel, yeah, not the actual reddit channel - maybe the reddit channel, I just haven't looked). And do NOT go anywhere near roll20. Roll20 caters to 5E folks and still has some PF1E folks, but it's support for PF2E is so bad, people who play PF2E have mostly walked away. So looking there will give you a perception that it's dead.

The noted Discords are good places to see very active discussion and a lot of games being posted.

What I've not found is a 'neutral ground' place with a community that plays both (EnWorld for example, is mostly 5E and non-d20 folks, the PF2E and PF1E scene there not very active).

One thing I have seen a lot of and am still seeing is people who are going to those Discords because they're leaving 5E and they are filling in missing seats at their tables for the folks who refused to jump with them, or they looking for whole new tables to put together or join, and so on. I'm seeing a LOT of people moving from 5E to PF2E and a few to PF1E.

(My personal preference is probably PF2E -> 4E -> 5E -> PF1E. I wanted to like 5E but I keep finding things in it I don't care for.)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
arcady wrote:


That's similar to a common complaint I see for 5E. With the lack of balance and the low level of customization for classes - if you don't like the class 'as written', you've little interest in it. And your options for what you might want to play rapidly dry up.

I feel like that really speaks to both the strength and weakness of 5e tbh.

It creates these bespoke packages that tend to be very specific, which means they can have these highly specialized skills that exist just to enable the idea. 5e gets to play a lot faster and looser with some design principles because these packages are so specific anyways.

The downside is that if a package isn't quite what you're looking for, or if the balance is off, or if the package just doesn't do enough (because some of them work off very narrow power budgets) there isn't very much you can do about it. You're just sort of stuck.

PF2 has more things you can adjust, but that means you tend to have less of a starting point, these moving parts have to be more carefully balanced against each other, and if you have a build that wants to juggle a lot of ideas, you end up spending a lot of resources just to get your build started and then keep up and it feels like you end up losing the customization game rather than gaining anything.

The ranger just happens to be a focal point here because it's one of the most visibly 'stripped down' classes when you compare it to its PF1 counterpart.


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N N 959 wrote:
I feel Paizo made the wrong choice. I think they could have made a better version of 5e

I think the assumption that they were trying to displace WotC is a bad one. They wanted their own game.

Why can't there be multiple types of games, for people with different tastes?

N N 959 wrote:

In that department, 5e's Revised Ranger blows PF2 out of the sky. PF2 can't produce anything even remotely close to the Revised Ranger. Even the "official" Ranger in 5e is better and has far more agency and is far more inspiring and flat out fun. But there's more.

You going to have to be a bit more specific here if you want to get your point across. I don't think that D&D5's Ranger is any good. Mechanically it is weak sauce apart from the Gloom Stalker which is broken. I don't like the flavour either. I much prefer Rangers who aren't spell casters. That better fits how I see them in fiction. So flavour and mechanics wise I'm firmly on PF2's side here.

N N 959 wrote:
So the real purpose of PF2 is to create a framework that will do a better job of supporting Paizo's ability to create AP's that are still playable as you get into higher levels.

I agree this is perhaps part of the reason. Though the broader reason I think was that the players were asking for it - a lot. Those goals are aligned.

N N 959 wrote:
In contrast with Paizo, WotC seems to have placed its energies into making classes that are fun to play as written and put less design energy into expecting the player to figure out what is fun to play. For me, this what I prefer. I don't want to build a class. I don't want to spend hours trying to figure out how to avoid crappy skill/feat/class choices. I don't want to spend hours looking for a "build." I want to play game where professional game designers actually do that.

To me making builds is a bit part of the enjoyment of the game. It overlaps with the characterisation. If you don't like mechanics and rules then PF2 is definitely not the game for you. What are you doing here? Outsource your character building or go find a much lighter game.

N N 959 wrote:
Obviously there are a considerable number of people who do love "builds." And PF2 is definitely going to scratch that itch far more than 5e. But even when I've been motivated to spend time on a build in PF2, I find the options in PF2 are mostly flaccid. PF2 gives out so many build increments, it cannot allow any of them to be that impactful and they can't stack. So for me, the PF2 approach feels more of a facade: How do we create the experience of customization without letting it really impact efficacy?

I do agree that Paizo has wimped out on some of the options and we end up with characters with just the taste of the flavour of options but aren't really mechanically what they say they should be. I mean it does feel odd playing a wooden Poppet and getting poisoned by a snake bite. That is an issue for me. If I play such an odd character I just have to accept the approximation that I have. I do want something a bit more satisfying where there is more mechanical and flavour alignment.


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

I started with 5e and played it for a while, but once I started playing Pathfinder I felt less and less inclined to continue playing 5e. Sone aspects of the rules simply don't vibe with me (plus I was never interested in DnD lore). Mainly:

- Concentration feels far too stifling. So many natural spell combinations are impossible due to both having concentration. Spell choices feel very restrained because so many of them are mutually exclusive.

- Advantage and disadvantage are overused. And since they cancel each other and neither stacks, this leads to extremely silly and counterintuitive situations. (Two blinded people whaling on each other just do straight rolls to hit.)

- I just don't really enjoy bounded accuracy that much. This is more of a personal thing than the two points above, but I don't like how easy even high-CR foes are to hit even at a much lower level than them.

- I despise the design of the warlock. The fact that it is purely a short-rest class doesn't fit with the other classes and inevitably leads to annoying discussions about resting; its balance is way out of whack, with eldritch blast doing tons of damage while also pushing and pulling foes all willy-nilly; and its multiclassing exploitability is through the roof. 5e would be a better game if the warlock didn't exist.

- Feat balance is all over the place. For instance, I really don't know what they were thinking making their version of power attack -5/+10 from the get-go. I guess PF1 has some issues in this regard as well, but with there being as few feats as there are in 5e, it is much more jarring. Plus having to choose between an ability score improvement and a feat sucks.

- I don't like the official adventures all that much. The ones I played leaned into sandbox so hard that they basically lost almost all sense of a coherent story. It was mostly just 'pick a direction and see what you find'. Not my style at all.


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arcady wrote:
Critical Role is a money making platform, so they switched to D&D when the Stranger Things spike make it a better path to getting viewers.

Small correction, Critical Role started streaming their home game on Geek and Sundry's Twitch/YouTube channel a whole year and a half before Stranger Things started airing. It WAS switched due to 5E's brand recognition over Pathfinder 1E, and also so combat would be faster.


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Ezekieru wrote:
Small correction, Critical Role started streaming their home game on Geek and Sundry's Twitch/YouTube channel a whole year and a half before Stranger Things started airing. It WAS switched due to 5E's brand recognition over Pathfinder 1E, and also so combat would be faster.

Yup, 5e is a simpler game and more enjoyable for many people to watch. As watching a game be played for a show is VERY different to playing a game.

On top of this WotC entered into a promotion deal with them prior to the show starting. And 5e at that point was already trending to be the most popular d&d system of all time, even if its numbers look quaint to what they are now.


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arcady wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
That having been said, I am far less inclined to play non-Rangers in 5e.

That's similar to a common complaint I see for 5E. With the lack of balance and the low level of customization for classes - if you don't like the class 'as written', you've little interest in it. And your options for what you might want to play rapidly dry up.

I've been able to take almost any class in PF2E and tweak it to be what I like.

I happen to really like the PF2E ranger. Your post makes me want to read the 5E ranger and see what I think. But you keep mentioning a 'revised' Ranger which I gather means something not in the core rulebook?

The 5e Ranger was bungled when deployed. It was "fixed" (i.e., redeployed) in one of the early supplements. Possibly one of Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, or Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes...

I can't be sure which. I briefly flirted with getting into 5E back in '14 but I found the treatment of monsters in the monster manual was generally going to be unhelpful to me to update my game setting so I donated the trio of PHB, MM, and DMG to my local library and stuck with my customized 3.5.

Speaking from decades of experience, "balance" is a mythical illusion that, in my experience, best benefits min-maxers (or munchkins as we called them in the 90s). I'm getting into PF2 because it has both the tools I need to do the converting work (D&D3.5 to PF2) and has a story toolbox of things that D&D simply doesn't have (e.g., alchemist [artificer is just not the same], gunslinger, investigator, oracle, thaumaturge, etc.).

I do like to customize things. It's been that way since (A)D&D2. But it's mainly for taste. On the minus side for PF2, as I dig into its mechanics, it does seem as though everything has been overtuned towards something which may or may not be balanced (depending on what one wants out of spellcasters, ranged combatants, etc.). It is in fact so overtuned that the system is like a power line that's been pulled taut. Things that lack slack inevitably snap. Considering the perennialness of certain conversations on these forums I'd say that there's a burgeoning minority of folks who are not satisfied with the system's balancing points. As more and more folks switch from D&D5 to PF2, this group is going to grow. (And for a TTRPG, any minority that grows into more than 25~30% of its user base is going to ultimately cause an edition ending problem.)

The true test of any TTRPG system is its malleability to become whatever game its players want it to be. Considering the hijinks I see in the rules to make some things work (e.g., signature spells, among others), customization is something of a heavy lift. For example, consider how monumental of a task it would be to add sub-class systems to fighters and monks. Or for that matter, given their extraordinarily narrow niche of designated healer, how difficult is it to add additional doctrines to the cleric that do something other than being the designated healer? Is there even any space for additional ranger sub-classes at all? How long before these start looking one-dimensional?

Balance, is in the eye of the beholder.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Jacob Jett wrote:


The 5e Ranger was bungled when deployed. It was "fixed" (i.e., redeployed) in one of the early supplements. Possibly one of Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, or Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes...

All three or four Ranger "fixes" were done through Unearthed Arcana, none of them were actually published, although Tasha's published variant rules for classes that helped provide some alternatives for rangers in general and beastmasters in particular.

Quote:
Or for that matter, given their extraordinarily narrow niche of designated healer, how difficult is it to add additional doctrines to the cleric that do something other than being the designated healer?

That's not really their niche though, and if you wanted to change how the class functions in that way you wouldn't do it through a doctrine anyways.


I did a couple of games in the past months.

I like it because character creation and combats are really fast compared to 2e ( overall. A well performant group can deal with a 2e round in 10/20 seconds, but I witnessed that the majority of players require a couple of minutes to decide what to do ).

Plus, having played it for years, I probably know that world better.

The major issue is that apart from the battlemaster every class feels meh.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

5e was our main game before pf2e and we were really at the end of our rope with that system, the level of performance difference between optimized and unoptimized characters was frightening, magic items break the game in such a way being stingy with them is mandatory, making combats entertaining was actively hard in terms of the degree of effort you have to put into the battlefield (Kobold Press's Tome of Foes did help a lot) and to keep up with the level of options my table wanted I had to curate a very large homebrew collection by hand (the strongest characters were still made using official options, like 'normal wizard') and people were frustrated by the lack of granularity which meant once you had advantage, there was no further mathematical advantage you can get and how significant advantage was.

When we switched to pf2e it was like dropping a massive weight I didn't realize I was carrying, even when I'm expanding on the game I feel like we could always just go back to playing the default and still have it be fun, my players have loads of exciting options and I don't have to worry at all about how they're going to feel in play besides the alchemist (and we started using Up to the Mark, which is a simple enough fix) and there's a lot more play-style variety, being a dedicated healer isn't a trap for instance, and solo fights against powerful boss monsters just work out of the box without the duct tape and shoestring of minions and lair actions at all times (they're still fine to make a boss fight even better, obviously.) The game is streamlined enough to be simple, but still has plenty for us to sink our teeth into, and it has a functional ranger class, I can also hand out loads of magic items and treasure without breaking the game or having to ban a slew of feats.

Honestly, after a little PF2e, I realized that I really regret the time I spent playing 5e, at least in terms of the system (the people still made it fun) and part of me wishes I never switched off 4e until pf2e came out.


Gortle wrote:
N N 959 wrote:

In that department, 5e's Revised Ranger blows PF2 out of the sky. PF2 can't produce anything even remotely close to the Revised Ranger. Even the "official" Ranger in 5e is better and has far more agency and is far more inspiring and flat out fun. But there's more.

You going to have to be a bit more specific here if you want to get your point across. I don't think that D&D5's Ranger is any good. Mechanically it is weak sauce apart from the Gloom Stalker which is broken. I don't like the flavour either. I much prefer Rangers who aren't spell casters. That better fits how I see them in fiction. So flavour and mechanics wise I'm firmly on PF2's side here.

Yet PF2 also give us some Ranger caster ability via APG using focus points. Including they are one of the best focus spells for martials IMO.

Being honest these complains about PF2 ranger was a surprise to me. Rangers in PF2 usually is one of the most prized classes in PF2 since the release of the system.

That's the point of no return that I usually say makes tables end up adopting PF2 (when tried), even when there are some players who don't like the system. Because when it comes to mastering, nobody really wants to go back to 5e and often not even to PF1.

Not only is the game simpler, easier, and clearer to run. But the GM gameplay itself is much more fun. It's really cool in combat when you open the monster/NPC file and see the list of actions and skills he has in addition to his personality and start using them in an intuitive and simple way and even surprising the players. You are rarely in a battle where "monsters use one action to get close and another to attack" and stay there for the rest of their lives. They have the same rules and mechanics as the players, they have 3 actions, activities that consume more than one of them or you can simply use skills like athletics to try to control the combat in the same way. It's a lot more fun than the monsters in 5e!

So one of the things that keeps me from going back to playing 5e or PF1 is that even if a player says "let's go back to playing 5e", my default response will be: "OK, are you going to GM?"

Vigilant Seal

It isn't that I don't like roleplay, it's just sort of a cherry on top, or the delicious sides with a good entree. Combat is the main meal, the main course and I love fighting. I like things simple: I swing my sword, or cast fireball: my enemies "the bad guys" die. Simple as. If they surrender, cool, now we can move to the next fight sooner. I'm probably a war gamer, but not a power gamer. I actually, personally, have always hated spells that just bypass/end a fight automatically. I don't like sleep or hallucination or mind altering magic like charm or anything like that. I understand the appeal (I think?) that some people may find in these tactics, maybe it makes them feel clever, or cool to have circumvented a big threat, but to me, the most fun part of the big threat is the very challenge itself. I want to fight an Ancient Dragon in all its glory. I want to see what it takes to win, and not just idk, use 1 magic spell to make it our best friend and give us all its hoard of gold.
And I guess I'd never considered something like "haste" to be indirect magic. I do prefer blasting to buffing.

And ideally, I think, in a home game I'd play a Champion Tyrant of Gorum. Even though Tyrants have to be lawful. I actually don't want to play an evil character, though. I just want an option like 4E D&D's Blackguard, aka Anti-Hero Paladin. Not evil, just not good per se. More like Heroic Death Knights of WoW who try to do good things with an "evil" toolkit.

I refused to play D&D 3.5 and I never played Pathfinder 1 after D&D 4e came out. I was/am a huge fan to this very day. Because to me, even knowing there's probably no GM on the planet who would allow it in real life, the fact that Pun Pun can exist purely by RAW just means...the game is fundamentally broken on a level that I simply do not wish to engage with. I guess that's the appeal to me. A mostly level playing field: which is why I loved 4e D&D and PF2E. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. It's also why I've largely abandoned 5e. Everything begins to feel the same. I've played almost every class, and a variety of builds, but it all begins to feel the same. There is so little customizability or flexibility especially within the same class save for 3 or 4 "special" abilities...it's all the same. I'm not going to say anything wild like "It only has the illusion of choice". I think choosing Paladin over Ranger is a meaningful choice, probably, but if you've played 1 Greatsword Paladin or TWF Ranger..you've kind of played them all.

(I know PF2E has some outlier but overall it's extremely well balanced IMO and from what I've seen)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
arcady wrote:
(My personal preference is probably PF2E -> 4E -> 5E -> PF1E. I wanted to like 5E but I...

Can't edit my posts because they're now just a tiny bit too old before I got back to here.

First, the part where I stated the other person's post seem to not be logical. I am going to guess that is either me mis-reading them, or them posting stream of thought and needing to edit their post. ;)

Second...

My preference list up there. Originally I would have put PF1E first, it's only last now because it got 'long in the tooth' for me. I've just had enough playtime with 3E and am more forward looking now. I only put 4E second because... if you scratch the words 'D&D' off of it, it's a decent fantasy RPG. It would have made a great game for them to use for a Magic: The Gathering RPG. It never felt like D&D / SRD /d20 though.

PF2E is also a radical departure from d20 / SRD - but weirdly feels more true to the spirit of d20/SRD games. It feels like an actual descendant whereas 4E felt like the adopted foster kid. I liked that kid, he had potential, he just wasn't related.

PF2E is the actual adopted kid, but feels like he's family.

5E feels like the kid I wanted to like until he started selling stuff on the street corner and I had cut my losses with him. ;)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gortle wrote:
If you don't like mechanics and rules then PF2 is definitely not the game...

Weirdly enough, for me it's that I want rules that disappear that causes me to like PF2E. Since I'm reaching the opposite conclusion from me, I need to explain that.

The PF2E rules are extremely consistent and repetitive. For me, that means I learn them and forget they are there. I want to something, it's done the same way the other thing was. I rarely need to know much more. So I can focus on playing and story.

I've been around tRPGs since right after the AD&D core books were being put out. I've got first printings of some AD&D books that I got new (in the 'toys' section of Sears no less). So I've seen a LOT of different game systems over the decades.

Some games have a different set of mechanics for every situation, some have had a sort of 'universal equation' through which everything filters. PF2E is closer to the latter camp. It's not as far in there as something simplistic like BESM or Theatrix, but it's definitely no AD&D, Arduin, or Rolemaster.

I more or less learned PF2E in under 10 minutes:

Roll d20 + proficiency bonus to do stuff.

Prof bonus = level + stat + skill.

You get 3 actions, and if something happens you might be able to react to it.

Mostly Done. Anything else is just filler.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Trixleby wrote:

It isn't that I don't like roleplay, it's just sort of a cherry on top, or the delicious sides with a good entree. Combat is the main meal, the main course and I love fighting. I like things simple: I swing my sword, or cast fireball: my enemies "the bad guys" die. Simple as. If they surrender, cool, now we can move to the next fight sooner. I'm probably a war gamer, but not a power gamer. I actually, personally, have always hated spells that just bypass/end a fight automatically. I don't like sleep or hallucination or mind altering magic like charm or anything like that. I understand the appeal (I think?) that some people may find in these tactics, maybe it makes them feel clever, or cool to have circumvented a big threat, but to me, the most fun part of the big threat is the very challenge itself. I want to fight an Ancient Dragon in all its glory. I want to see what it takes to win, and not just idk, use 1 magic spell to make it our best friend and give us all its hoard of gold.

And I guess I'd never considered something like "haste" to be indirect magic. I do prefer blasting to buffing.

And ideally, I think, in a home game I'd play a Champion Tyrant of Gorum. Even though Tyrants have to be lawful. I actually don't want to play an evil character, though. I just want an option like 4E D&D's Blackguard, aka Anti-Hero Paladin. Not evil, just not good per se. More like Heroic Death Knights of WoW who try to do good things with an "evil" toolkit.

I refused to play D&D 3.5 and I never played Pathfinder 1 after D&D 4e came out. I was/am a huge fan to this very day. Because to me, even knowing there's probably no GM on the planet who would allow it in real life, the fact that Pun Pun can exist purely by RAW just means...the game is fundamentally broken on a level that I simply do not wish to engage with. I guess that's the appeal to me. A mostly level playing field: which is why I loved 4e D&D and PF2E. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. It's also why I've largely abandoned 5e. Everything begins to...

I totally get you in reference to WOW's Death Knights, these games really benefit from having those Goth Heroic Options to let you play with those options without compromising your ability to actually at most tables, and in pf2e we actually coded evil and good different on the setting level to tackle that problem in our homebrew setting-- we made the darker alignment things associated with tumultuous head states and emotions (revenge, anger, defiance etc) and the lighter alignment ones associated with altruistic head states and emotions (altruism, tranquillity, love) etc to let players write their usage of darker and lighter powers as they wish.

Vigilant Seal

arcady wrote:
arcady wrote:
(My personal preference is probably PF2E -> 4E -> 5E -> PF1E. I wanted to like 5E but I...

It would have made a great game for them to use for a Magic: The Gathering RPG. It never felt like D&D / SRD /d20 though.

PF2E is also a radical departure from d20 / SRD - but weirdly feels more true to the spirit of d20/SRD games. It feels like an actual descendant whereas 4E felt like the adopted foster kid. I liked that kid, he had potential, he just wasn't related.
;)

This doesn’t mean anything to me. What does this mean? I know SRD is system reference document and I know d20 is a game that uses 20 sided dice to do the main rolls.

Is this like saying “it doesn’t feel like a Blizzard/Ubisoft/Capcom game to me” or is this like saying “this doesn’t feel like a TTRPG game or a Rogue-like(lite?) or a survival game to me”?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It means magic missile had a check in 4e and people got really upset about it.

Vigilant Seal

Squiggit wrote:
It means magic missile had a check in 4e and people got really upset about it.

So it broke from previously established tradition and killed some sacred cows?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Trixleby wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
It means magic missile had a check in 4e and people got really upset about it.
So it broke from previously established tradition and killed some sacred cows?

"Does he not know that the classical elements are classic for a reason?


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I played 5E. We liked it better than 4E. At first it seemed like a pretty good game. After playing it with feats and magic items that the game wasn't balanced for, it completely broke down. So we quit 5E.

5E is such a boring game. Once you get advantage, you're all done. Every ability might as well be called "Gain Advantage" and be done with it.

Archery and ranged combat is way too powerful in 5E. It trivializes the game if you allow the Sharpshooter feat.

I ran Out of the Abyss. When the PCs killed Demogorgon with fare ease kiting it at around level 7 or 8, I was done with the game. It's not a challenging game unless you make something up to counter the innate problems with 5E balance. Their monster design seems interesting, but in practice is quite boring and limited.

If Critical Role didn't blow 5E up by playing it and making it seem way more entertaining than it is, it wouldn't be as big as it is.

PF2 has its weak points, but playability and challenge across levels isn't one of them. You can play the game from 1 to 20 and create challenging encounters easily. Whereas 5E starts to break down if you allow feats and magic items fairly early, maybe around level 7. The bless spell is a level 9 spell disguised as a level 1 spell in 5E.

I can see how inexperienced players with a decent DM can enjoy 5E. Optimizers destroy 5E early and easily. I can't stand easy games.

Though I must admit I do love how 5E handled casting more than PF2 by a huge margin. 5E finally made casting more like you see in books and movies. 5E casting is far superior to PF2 casting. Discarding Vancian preparation was a huge step in the right direction. If 5E can make a game more balanced with feats and magic items while continuing to use non-Vancian prepared casting, I'd definitely give them a shot again if make a 6E.

I like PF2 and prefer it to 5E, but I'm not married to PF2. It's not a perfect game either and I don't like some of the decisions made in PF2 either. 5E and PF2 are real close in my mind with 5E missing on balance, incorporating magic items and feats, and making for a game that feels challenging. PF2 has some real misses for me too like the wizard, witch, and the Vancian prepared casting which I don't like at all after playing the more fluid and enjoyable 5E casting.


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arcady wrote:
N N 959 wrote:

By about 5th level, PF1 encounters (skill checks and combat) become increasingly hard to balance.

5e is not afflicted with the need for "balance" as is evident with PF2 and as such the game breathes and feels far more open.

You've just said 5E is a better game because it has the flaw that PF1E had, the flaw that made PF1E a worse game is the very thing that makes 5E better... That's not logical.

What you're inferring is not logical, because it's not what I said.

WotC realized from the mistake of 4e, that balance is not the end all be all for fun. Balance isn't required....the popularity of 5e proved that. And because WotC made balance a low level priority, it opened up their ability to create classes that were fun to play, as is. Yes, they totally screwed up the original Ranger, but the Revised Ranger showed what you could do in 5e and as I said, PF2 won't let you create anything in the same galaxy as that. More to the point, the the system couldn't support that kind of class, even if Paizo wanted to go that route.

In 5e, a GM can take the narrative behind a class feat and have it impact the game. You can't do that in PF2 without unequivocally house ruling. In PF2, there's no inteprative license for class feats. There's no clay which the GM can work or mold.. Feats, skills, abilities, do exactly and only what they say...because "tight math" preservation is paramount.

PF1 was more like PF2 in catering to the build crowed, but it had no qualms about providing substantive improvements and because there were no guard rails, it couldn't sustain itself. Too quickly, PF1 just becomes overwhelming for the average GM. There's a reason that Core was a thing in PFS PF1.

arcady wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Obviously there are a considerable number of people who do love "builds." And PF2 is definitely going to scratch that itch far more than 5e.
I hear quite the opposite. There are a lot of popular 5E YouTubers who's channels are nothing but min-maxing broken builds in 5E. Multi-class this or multi-class that to be the most powerful. And cautions to not take these things here that are too weak.

You're conflating the idea of people who like to make builds with people who like to simply min/max. The two are not the same. When I say "builds' I mean create concept characters.

Quote:
You will find very little of this in the PF2E community. PF2E folks do make some tier lists, but on balance... they're balanced.

No, they aren't "balanced." Such a thing is unprovable. But they are all constrained. You can reliably determine the max stats of any party at any level. But you can't reliably predict the futility, and there is futility. Alchemist and Investigator come to mind. Gunslingers seem to get a bad rap. Witch seems low on the totem pole. And IMO, the Ranger does very little that feels like a Ranger of any previous iterations.

Quote:
I am constantly hearing that by the high-middle levels, DMs need to resort to lots of houserules to make 5E encounters because the RAW are no longer capable of providing a challenge.

The homebrew campaign I play in is only level 7, and tonight we are trying o avoid a TPK. I can't speak to what happens at a higher levels. But I can say as compared to PF1, 5e feels way more "balanced" without feeling like my Class has had its very life essence crushed out of it.

Does 5e break down at higher levels? It's hard to imagine that any system doesn't falter the more variables you add. But obviously, if the "tight math" means a GM can know, with nearly 100% certainty what the upper bound is on a party, it would certainly make it easier to create consistently challenging encounters


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Trixleby wrote:
arcady wrote:
arcady wrote:
(My personal preference is probably PF2E -> 4E -> 5E -> PF1E. I wanted to like 5E but I...

It would have made a great game for them to use for a Magic: The Gathering RPG. It never felt like D&D / SRD /d20 though.

PF2E is also a radical departure from d20 / SRD - but weirdly feels more true to the spirit of d20/SRD games. It feels like an actual descendant whereas 4E felt like the adopted foster kid. I liked that kid, he had potential, he just wasn't related.
;)

This doesn’t mean anything to me.

It refers to the history of these games. Whether or not a game felt like a next step in the same kind of gaming experience or something different.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:
arcady wrote:
N N 959 wrote:

By about 5th level, PF1 encounters (skill checks and combat) become increasingly hard to balance.

5e is not afflicted with the need for "balance" as is evident with PF2 and as such the game breathes and feels far more open.

You've just said 5E is a better game because it has the flaw that PF1E had, the flaw that made PF1E a worse game is the very thing that makes 5E better... That's not logical.
What you're inferring is not logical, because it's not what I said.

-----------------

It might not be what you wanted to say, but it is right there in the quote. ;)

BUT... lets examine this.

You state PF1E gets hard to balance as you go up in level.
You state 5E solves this by just being unbalanced.

Or rather you say it "is not afflicted with the need for "balance"" - which is way of trying to avoid saying that it's unbalanced inverting the statement to make a claim that 'balance' is some problem to be avoided and this being 'unbalanced' is a goal to seek out.

This is the "it's too hard to swim with all these weights tied to my legs... better if we just don't even try to swim" argument.

That's... an argument.

It's not one I'd make.

But it is an argument.

Later you note that your game, at 7th level, isn't experiencing the 'breaking down at high levels' issue. Let me just note that 7th level is not high level. PF1E was based on 3.5. I've seen that work to about 10th level - ending only because my GM did something that inspired one of those RPG Horror stories on reddit (my post of it even got made into a video). But it means I don't know when 3.5, and this PF1E actually breaks down. The more third party d20 you let in though, the more at risk a 3.x game is of breaking down earlier (as a lot of that stuff was not playtested).

I commonly hear 5E will break down in the teens. I know PF2E holds through level 20.

I bring this up because... this is what balance achieves.

==============================

N N 959 wrote:


WotC realized from the mistake of 4e, that balance is not the end all be all for fun. Balance isn't required....the popularity of 5e proved that.

-----------------

Correlation does not equal causation. Just because 3E and 5E are both unbalanced messes does not mean that the balance of 4E was what caused it to fail. There are many factors involved and I would argue this one is actually not relevant at all.

4E was a radically different style of gameplay. It was designed around the idea of taking MMO-style gameplay to the tabletop. That's actually a stated goal. And the process was fully circular - an MMO was later made based on the 4E rules (Neverwinter).

4E was designed to be played on a VTT. A VTT that was then never completed. That is also a stated design goal and an actual problem they later had.

4E was put out at a time when people were still happy to play 3E. It had to compete with itself when PF1E was basically 3.5 with the serial numbers filed off.

4E was not part of the OGL/SRD/etc when it came out. That made people immediately hostile to it.

5E was made as a way to return to 3E style gameplay, but minus things they felt had bogged down 3E. It was also made to get back to the table, away from MMO gameplay, and there was talk about returning to the SRD (at this point my knowledge of the timing of things is uncertain - I recall talk of being in the SRD, but I don't think it actually happened at first, but then my knowledge goes blank up until the recent OGL scandal).

That gives some actual stated reasons and facts. Other things might be in play or not. But beyond the above we're talking correlations, not causations.

==============================

N N 959 wrote:
Revised Ranger showed what you could do in 5e and as I said, PF2 won't let you create anything in the same galaxy as that. More to the point, the the system couldn't support that kind of class, even if Paizo wanted to go that route.

-----------------

I don't think anyone even knows what you're talking about with this 'Revised' Ranger'. You need to show proof on two claims here:
1. What is this revised Ranger so we can at least see what it is you like here?
2. Prove that the concept can't be don't in PF2E - which again requires showing us what it is you're talking about.

==============================

N N 959 wrote:


In 5e, a GM can take the narrative behind a class feat and have it impact the game. You can't do that in PF2 without unequivocally house ruling. In PF2, there's no inteprative license for class feats. There's no clay which the GM can work or mold.. Feats, skills, abilities, do exactly and only what they say...because "tight math" preservation is paramount.

-----------------

Here you are basically saying '5E works because you can make houserules to change it, PF2E doesn't work unless you make houserules,,,'
- The first part is actually an argument for 5E being worse, the second part is something I would argue to be false. I can do a lot with the feats and other elements of PF2E without even needing to make house rules. It's a failing of your GM if they can't do the same.

==============================

N N 959 wrote:
You're conflating the idea of people who like to make builds with people who like to simply min/max. The two are not the same. When I say "builds' I mean create concept characters.

-----------------

I think you have a custom personal meaning for builds that differs from the norm.

Trying to work within the way you understand words...

5E caters to min/maxers, there are many such min/maxers talking about it on YouTube and elsewhere. They can be found by searching for 'build guides'. a 5E game will break if one player is not min-maxing while another is. And this can happen by accident because the points of imbalance are severely present throughout the system. It is for this very reason that so many 'guides' on 'builds' exist teaching people 'min/maxing'.

There are very few guides for 'builds' in the PF2E community. Either under the definition of 'min/maxing' or as catalogs of 'here are all of my [concept] characters'. There just isn't a need for either set of guides.

Instead... "influencers" wishing to monetize videos in the PF2E scene seem to like doing lore videos for the settings, showing off high level game play because all the way up to level 20 it doesn't break down, and tier lists where they argue over what is cooler or tiny differences in power because they're trying to copy the 5E "influencers" despite these tier lists all kind of ending in "but well, they're all still good playable options, the S tier and F tier ones are really only about which is easier to play or which I think is cooler."

To me that speaks volumes. I can spin out a character for a game in PF2E based on "hey, this time I want to be a walking mushroom that fights with a shield as his weapon and call him "Cap'n Shroom" and not be too worried about needing to watch 3 videos on whether or not my class will be viable... It just will be.

That's what "balance" is about after all. ;)

ps: Here's Cap'N Shroom up to level 5: https://pathbuilder2e.com/launch.html?build=375382
Suggest getting the 'returning' rune on the shield boss as soon as the character has earned 55 gold.

Which... runs directly counter to the point I made of people sharing characters. People usually don't do this in PF2E, there's rarely any point to it.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
WotC realized from the mistake of 4e, that balance is not the end all be all for fun.

This is always such a weird sentiment to see crop up, because 4e was not a very well balanced game and as far as I can tell never really tried to be.

Arguably some of the worst aspects of 5e are places where it made changes to try to be more balanced than 4e was. You can see it in how limited some of the class design is, changes that were specifically made to reduce the number of moving parts and improve balance.

Quote:
In 5e, a GM can take the narrative behind a class feat and have it impact the game.

This is also a bit strange. Interpretive license isn't a really a system trait, it's a matter of what GMs and players put into their gaming experience and generally most systems empower groups to take narrative liberties.

It's just normal tabletop gaming, not some magic 5e sauce.


arcady wrote:

rying to work within the way you understand words...

5E caters to min/maxers, there are many such min/maxers talking about it on YouTube and elsewhere. They can be found by searching for 'build guides'. a 5E game will break if one player is not min-maxing while another is. And this can happen by accident because the points of imbalance are severely present throughout the system. It is for this very reason that so many 'guides' on 'builds' exist teaching people 'min/maxing'.

There are very few guides for 'builds' in the PF2E community. Either under the definition of 'min/maxing' or as catalogs of 'here are all of my [concept] characters'. There just isn't a need for either set of guides.

Instead... "influencers" wishing to monetize videos in the PF2E scene seem to like doing lore videos for the settings, showing off high level game play because all the way up to level 20 it doesn't break down, and tier lists where they argue over what is cooler or tiny differences in power because they're trying to copy the 5E "influencers" despite these tier lists all kind of ending in "but well, they're all still good playable options, the S tier and F tier ones are really only about which is easier to play or which I think is cooler."

To me that speaks volumes. I can spin out a character for a game in PF2E based on "hey, this time I want to be a walking mushroom that fights with a shield as his weapon and call him "Cap'n Shroom" and not be too worried about needing to watch 3 videos on whether or not my class will be viable... It just will be.

That's what "balance" is about after all. ;)

To me, it's just that d&d has way more fanbase/audience than 2e.

This ends up in more videos, tutorials, etc...

5e customization ( classes, paths, feats every 4 levels, etc... ) is really low, as well as combat, and while this might end up being negative in terms choices ( characters ending up being very similar each other ), it indeeds contribute to balance ( less choices contributes to a better balance ).

In 2e you have to deal with more min max to find a proper balanced build, one the one hand because of large customization, and on the other one because the encounters are meant for a group of 4 that, overall, give some sort of contribution to the fight.

To make a quick example, I witnessed a party with 2 dex damage dealer with 10 str.

It was extremely hard because of the missing flat damage.
Sometimes the damage rolls were bad, sometimes the enemies had DR, and even with several hits the attacks did very low damage.

Same goes with not having frontlines with heavy armor or a shield ( or any other +2 ac ), that increased the healing required.

Or a healer/support that dropped their main stat, found themselves useless in terms of counteract checks.

I can say for sure that is way, way easier to get a proper build in 5e ( even without any tutorial ) rather than 2e, because in the latter being a burder is kinda easy ( and if you are unexperienced with 2e, you would hardly grasp the meaning of a mere +1 or -1 ).


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arcady wrote:
It might not be what you wanted to say, but it is right there in the quote. ;)

You're quoting my text then trying to paraphrase it. In doing so, you're repeatedly conflating concepts and making inferences that aren't there.

Case in point:

Quote:

You state PF1E gets hard to balance as you go up in level.

You state 5E solves this by just being unbalanced.

I didn't state that 5e "solves' anything. By introducing your own words and phrasing, you're totally misrepresenting what's being conveyed.

Quote:
Or rather you say it "is not afflicted with the need for "balance"" - which is way of trying to avoid saying that it's unbalanced inverting the statement to make a claim that 'balance' is some problem to be avoided and this being 'unbalanced' is a goal to seek out.

No, that's not even close to what it's trying to say. I'm pointing out that "balance" wasn't a primary design goal of 5e in the same way it was for PF2. And because of that, there's a fundamentally more open approach to class design. At no point do I say one is "better" than the other. If you don't understand what I am saying, I'd prefer you simply ask as opposed to trying to put my statements in your own words.

Quote:
This is the "it's too hard to swim with all these weights tied to my legs... better if we just don't even try to swim" argument.

That's a disanalogy.

Quote:
It's not one I'd make.

Nor is it the argument I made.

Quote:
Let me just note that 7th level is not high level. PF1E was based on 3.5. I've seen that work to about 10th level

I played PFS PF1 for about 10 years (and counting). By 5th level, PF1 is noticeably susceptible to min/maxing, that's in PFS where there were "house rules" to try and keep things from getting out of hand. But I don't have the same breadth of experience with 5e. So if someone claimed 5e is just as bad at these levels, I could not argue otherwise.

Quote:
I commonly hear 5E will break down in the teens. I know PF2E holds through level 20.

PF2 was designed with that goal in mind, so I would expect it is easer to GM PF2 at those levels.

Quote:
I bring this up because... this is what balance achieves.

Again you're confusing balance with constraint. There is no "balance." It doesn't exist because it can't be proven or derived. Now, I might agree with the word "balance" as connoted by fairness. But there is no such thing as empirical balance in these types of games. What Paizo did is bound everything...that's not balance.

Quote:
I think you have a custom personal meaning for builds that differs from the norm.

And I would argue that your definition of "build" seems to only contemplate people who want to min/max.

You can absolutely min/max PF2. It's just that results of those efforts are not as high as in other games because the PF2 building blocks are that much smaller and PF2 has made it a design imperative to constrain what can be achieved. Theres's a trade-off for that. People on these forums are predominately those who are willing to make it.

Quote:
Correlation does not equal causation.

This statement is not applicable. Pointing out that 5e proved "balance" (or what is really constraint) is not necessary is not a correlation. It's a fact. It proves that "balance" is not a rrequired ingredient to be the most popular version of D&D to date. This assertion is not about why 4e failed, it's pointing out that you simply don't need the "tight math" of PF2 for people to enjoy a D&D style game. Lots of people, like 10x more people than what play PF2.


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Squiggit wrote:
This is always such a weird sentiment to see crop up, because 4e was not a very well balanced game and as far as I can tell never really tried to be.

4e was more about mechanical balance as opposed to numerically. If you're going to port it to a digital format, you're going to need the classes to all have the same button in the same place and just skin it differently.

And I'm sure they tried to "balance" it numerically to some degree. But PF2 shows that you have to have that as your primary goal to come close to pulling it off.

Quote:
Arguably some of the worst aspects of 5e are places where it made changes to try to be more balanced than 4e was.

That wouldn't surprise me. I think PF2 has similar issues. Volley trait, anyone?

Quote:
This is also a bit strange. Interpretive license isn't a really a system trait, it's a matter of what GMs and players put into their gaming experience and generally most systems empower groups to take narrative liberties.

I disagree. And I wouldn't call it interpretive license, I would call it narrative agency. Here is an example from the Revised Ranger,'s ability Natural Explorer which is given out at 1st level. This is only one facet of the class feat.

Revised Ranger wrote:
Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.

While this rule is specifically enabling Rangers to make passive perceptions checks when they character normally couldn't, because of how this is written, this allows the GM to a wide latitude in how this can be applied. It's not limited to just getting to make those rolls. This is just one example.

I don't see anything in the PF2 Ranger that lends itself to this type of narrative agency. To put it another way, everything in PF2 not only feels prescribed, but the proliferation of small real estate skill feats essentially proscribes many actions a GM might have otherwise allowed.


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To me, the best thing about 5e is accessibility, the rules are simple, yes there are holes in them, which tends to lead to house ruling or GMing on the fly. But to me that isn’t a weakness.

I very much doubt there was a group in the world running pf1 rule perfect, every table has house rules and makes mistakes. I suspect the same is true in pf2 although I’m not experienced and can’t say for sure.

The difference is 5e’s looseness made it feel easier to do that, especially from a GM point of view. And the low difficulty ceiling made it much more accessible for players who aren’t incline to go on forums and ask how to best build their concept.

Pf2 is absolutely more balanced but I’m not sure how much of a selling point that is. You don’t have to worry about the fighter chopping down the enemy in one round, or he wizard tangling everything up in a cloud of something, but I suspect for a lot of people that was part of the fun.

For the barbarian with the hurt feelings who felt underwhelming next to his learned wizardly associate it’s great, but I always felt the scope of that problem got over blown on these forums.

The type of people that come here are details oriented with a higher than average investment in mechanics and those kinds of issues, most of the people I played with were quite happy with their martials cause “yeah the wizard banished one enemy just like that, but did you see how much damage I just did? He couldn’t do that” was a much more common attitude.

For someone who wants to play a fighter the power fantasy is blending a monster to bits and they could absolutely do that.

I’ve played 5e and pf1 and I’d be very happy to play pf2. All the systems have pros and cons, but to me more often than not how much you enjoy the game is at least 75% to do with the people at the table with you.

If those people are casual about the game and don’t wanna have to do so much research I’d suggest 5e

If they’re interested in a fairly gritty system and real challenging encounters I’d suggest pf2

If they’re super details oriented and/or excited about the power fantasy I’d suggest pf1


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N N 959 is right. 5e is partially popular because of its broad rule flexibility (and partially because of all the nostalgia for [A]D&D1e). The first 2 editions of D&D left a lot of things up to the DM, despite their mountains of rules. 5e has tried to take inspiration from all of the best things from the previous editions. PF2's design to a great extent though seems to be a reaction to all of the worst things in PF1 specifically and to a lesser extent D&D3.5 (which was, and remains, a fun crunchy system).

There're reasons why the first 30 years of D&D only saw two editions, while we've gotten 3 and a half editions (soon to be 4 and half) in the last 25.

At the end of the day a TTRPG is a game. Games are meant to be fun, not make players (including the GMs) slavishly jump through hoops for the sake of performance (to maintain the illusion) of balance. An excellent source book that I wish Paizo would write is a Gamemastery Guide 2 that blows up the system with variant rules and walks GMs (and players too) through how to layer permutations into the system without completely nuking it.

For instance, what if spells auto-heightened too? What else needs to change to make the players of fighters feel good about that? Perhaps weapon specialization adds an additional damage die (or more for greater weapon specialization) after all calculations for a successful hit or critical hit have been tallied? If you do these two things do you also need to buff monster damage to keep the challenge there? Does this make for highly lethal, fast-paced combat that healing might not be able to contribute to in any way? Do you then need to buff healing (again)? (If there's one thing that PF2, and really all TTRPGs in the last 15 years, trivializes, it's getting injured.) What happens to signature spells (which have the express purpose of sidestepping the fact that spells do not natively auto-heighten)? (After all, we don't want spontaneous casters to get the short end of the stick.)

Or, what happens if you start handing out expert proficiencies for weapons to other martial classes out of the gate?

If balance is the key component of the game, what needs to be done to preserve it? A source book that outlines the system's gotchas would equip GMs with the tools to do that.

Ultimately, balance is no more a sacred cow than PF2, 5e, 4e, or magic missile, etc., etc. is. If you want your darlings to thrive, you have to kill them. Or, as in Inception, "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."


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Man, if I had a dollar for every time someone said something potentially unachievable is not worth striving for, I'd at least have enough for my groceries this week.

There's a lot of people in this thread treating balance considerations as something outside of typical game design process, which is... a puzzling outlook. Balance also has some strict utilitarian purposes. It makes crafting reliable encounters much easier and removes some of the workload from the shoulders of a GM.

Then there's the statement that more rules is worse when it's really just different. Like, I get wanting mechanical flexibility and space to make your own rulings but when I'm running a game I'd much rather have quick and clean answers to fall back on in the heat of the moment. Again, it reduces the cognitive load I have to deal with. Setting these rules up and relying on them also gives players a framework to know how to interact with the game world to achieve what they want and builds them a platform to improvise from.

Additionally, 'too many rules' falls flat even more flat to me when Paizo games all have robust and easily referenced SRDs that contain all the rules in a searchable format... for free I might add. This vastly increases accessibility, especially to new players.

5e is just... outpaced by other games and not just Pathfinder. There's plenty of games that throw balance out the window with far more panache or sidestep the issue all together. There's plenty that provide the classic dungeon crawling experience of earlier editions. There's plenty that have a greater and more flexible narrative focus.

And, I can't say this enough, none of them contribute to growing WotC/Hasbro's market share which is probably the best selling point as WotC/Hasbro have demonstrated an actively malicious intent toward the TTRPG community.

Vigilant Seal

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Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
And, I can't say this enough, none of them contribute to growing WotC/Hasbro's market share which is probably the best selling point as WotC/Hasbro have demonstrated an actively malicious intent toward the TTRPG community.

It's going to be difficult to express this, but N N 99 has implied or said something to the effect that as I understand, "D&D is clearly popular and clearly nobody cares about its balance." More or less. At least that's the impression I got.

I can't help but point to Critical Role. I wonder what the world would look like if Critical Role had stayed with PF1, or had adopted 4E, or even PF2E (although I don't think it existed when they started). Is it possible those games would be even more popular or widely used than they are now? It's hard to say.

I think it's a mix of 2 things: 5e seems simple, and doesn't have a lot of depth or complexity so it feels like "wow anyone can play D&D" when, before, it had that stigma of being a nerd game with too many rules, and too complex and too much pen and paper and what the hell is even going on. It also doesn't (or does?) help that the Critical Role crew barely played by the rules or appeared to know what the hell they were doing, essentially doing Night at the Improv with some dice involved sometimes.

So you have what appears to be, and what probably is, a very rules light system, with a group of charismatic people barely engaging in the system in a meaningful way (in my opinion) making it look fun, easy, and seamless and boom explosion of popularity.

It's entirely possible 5e is the majority of these people's first TTRPG and straight up, they might not know what balance even is, means, or how to tell. It's all the ever known, so it's probably fine/right as is. They probably don't read forums or engage in the game outside of the tabletop. Many people I knew, personally, never actually read the rules or knew what their class did and struggled to remember how to make an attack roll. Week after week. Month after month.

So like yeah, maybe "this is fine" because nobody knows about any other TTRPG, what they play, look, feel or sound like and have no interest in going outside of the 5e bubble because "those games look too hard."


That's definitely one way to look at things but popularity is not the be all and end all, nevermind what can be said about majority opinions. The classic analogy is that 5e is the TTRPG equivalent of McDonalds. Broadly appealing, far from great, but everywhere. Also, if your friend is eating nothing but McDs, you should probably check in with them... maybe show them another restaurant.

Vigilant Seal

Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
That's definitely one way to look at things but popularity is not the be all and end all, nevermind what can be said about majority opinions. The classic analogy is that 5e is the TTRPG equivalent of McDonalds. Broadly appealing, far from great, but everywhere. Also, if your friend is eating nothing but McDs, you should probably check in with them... maybe show them another restaurant.

I have tried for at least a solid year until I finally gave up. Some of my friends have even outright stated they have no interest in playing PF2E because it doesn't have a Warlock and they can't spam eldritch blast. This particular person literally only plays Warlocks. Often multiclassed, but always they only play a Warlock. Over and over.


Woof, my condolences.

I've had a very different experience. I even managed to convert the GM of the last 5e game I ever played to convert to Starfinder of all things. Granted, I'm more or less the only GM in my friend group at this point and it's largely whatever system I'm interested in or no game.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I also experienced a player in 3.5 that would only play Warlocks. I understand your pain.


Trixleby wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
That's definitely one way to look at things but popularity is not the be all and end all, nevermind what can be said about majority opinions. The classic analogy is that 5e is the TTRPG equivalent of McDonalds. Broadly appealing, far from great, but everywhere. Also, if your friend is eating nothing but McDs, you should probably check in with them... maybe show them another restaurant.
I have tried for at least a solid year until I finally gave up. Some of my friends have even outright stated they have no interest in playing PF2E because it doesn't have a Warlock and they can't spam eldritch blast. This particular person literally only plays Warlocks. Often multiclassed, but always they only play a Warlock. Over and over.

I'd point out the kineticist coming soon (tm) but I could guess that this person won't be satisfied with that.

Radiant Oath

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When we talk about 5e players that only play warlocks, it's worth remembering that warlock is one of the only 5e classes with a decent number of choices. They get:

Choices of patron(subclass) at 1st.
Invocations, two at second level and another every 3.
A new spell or replace a spell every level. Also, sometimes a new cantrips.
Feats or ability score increases, and since they are SAD, they can nearly always choose the feat.

On the other hand, I played an open hand monk to level 16.
I chose a subclass at 3rd level.
Monk is MAD, so I took ability score increases and few feats.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I mean warlocks are fun, flexible, and have a decent gradient of options between being somewhat of a spellcaster with a toolbox and being a one-trick class like a martial, where you can sort of adjust your experience to your liking.

No surprise that a lot of people seem drawn to it then.


Yeah. To be fair, it's probably one of the only classes I'd have a mechanical interest in playing. If memory serves, Artificer also maybe has a bit of halfway decent customization.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
Yeah. To be fair, it's probably one of the only classes I'd have a mechanical interest in playing. If memory serves, Artificer also maybe has a bit of halfway decent customization.

Artificer and warlock are the only classes I ever played in my short time with 5E and yeah, I believe the artificer did get a reasonable degree of customization.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm playing in a 5e game right now, but only because I wanted to support a friend's game. We're closing in on the end of the campaign now and he is switching to PF2e for his next campaign, having been exposed to it through the game I'm running.

I am really excited to be done with 5e. I don't find it remotely interesting, and the myriad flaws frustrate me immensely. Once this campaign is done I doubt I'll ever touch it again.


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Challenge for the sake of challenge is only fun for the hardcore people. Regular people just want to get in and play the game while doing crazy stuff.

Everyone always says "oh but its so hard to challenge the players". Meanwhile, the first thing players want is to eliminate the challenge, with the second being to look cool while doing so. Why else do you think we went from "start at level 0 and you have multiple characters die and everything is hard" to "you start at level 3, eveything is easy, and if players fail they should still get something".

The early DnD lasted because it was the only option and the concern was "how to make this fun so people would buy it".

DnD 3e and DnD 3.5e decided to remove all the wonk and make the game easier while doubling down on "make cool characters".

DnD 4e decided that because MMOs were popular they should make that into a TTRPG and failed, while making it easier on DMs.

Pathfinder 1e decided, hey DnD 3.5e was good lets make more of that, but fix some issues.

DnD 5e decided, you know what lets go back to just making cool characters and let the GM decide how to run it.

Pathfinder 2e decided to copy DnD 4e and make a TTRPG that runs like a video game, including making the classes follow only a prescribed path and nothing else.

****************

5e players are leaving 5e not because the game doesn't work or is not fun for players. They are leaving for 2 reasons:

* They are fed up with Wizard/Hasbro and decided "maybe I should try something else in case the ship sinks".

* They, like a lot of people who played 3.5e and PF1e for 10+ years, are bored of the options available and want something new.

Many of those players leaving 5e don't want a harder game or the complexity that is PF1e, so they go to PF2e which is advertized by many as "fixing 5e" (which it doesn't). PF2e is a fixed 4e, that actually had the companion apps (Pathbuilder and Foundry) available at launch. Even in this thread you have people saying to not use roll20 because it doesn't "support PF2e enough".

Radiant Oath

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Quote:
5e players are leaving 5e not because the game doesn't work or is not fun for players.

I'll refute this with an example: myself.


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AceofMoxen wrote:
Quote:
5e players are leaving 5e not because the game doesn't work or is not fun for players.
I'll refute this with an example: myself.

I probably should had added the qualifier "many". Its hard to put exact numbers on these things and there are as many tastes as there are colors.


Jacob Jett wrote:

N N 959 is right. 5e is partially popular because of its broad rule flexibility (and partially because of all the nostalgia for [A]D&D1e). The first 2 editions of D&D left a lot of things up to the DM, despite their mountains of rules. 5e has tried to take inspiration from all of the best things from the previous editions. PF2's design to a great extent though seems to be a reaction to all of the worst things in PF1 specifically and to a lesser extent D&D3.5 (which was, and remains, a fun crunchy system).

There're reasons why the first 30 years of D&D only saw two editions, while we've gotten 3 and a half editions (soon to be 4 and half) in the last 25.

At the end of the day a TTRPG is a game. Games are meant to be fun, not make players (including the GMs) slavishly jump through hoops for the sake of performance (to maintain the illusion) of balance. An excellent source book that I wish Paizo would write is a Gamemastery Guide 2 that blows up the system with variant rules and walks GMs (and players too) through how to layer permutations into the system without completely nuking it.

For instance, what if spells auto-heightened too? What else needs to change to make the players of fighters feel good about that? Perhaps weapon specialization adds an additional damage die (or more for greater weapon specialization) after all calculations for a successful hit or critical hit have been tallied? If you do these two things do you also need to buff monster damage to keep the challenge there? Does this make for highly lethal, fast-paced combat that healing might not be able to contribute to in any way? Do you then need to buff healing (again)? (If there's one thing that PF2, and really all TTRPGs in the last 15 years, trivializes, it's getting injured.) What happens to signature spells (which have the express purpose of sidestepping the fact that spells do not natively auto-heighten)? (After all, we don't want spontaneous casters to get the short end of the stick.)

Or, what happens if you start handing out...

Part of the fun of 1st and 2nd edition D&D was when a character did survive, it was a great feat. It was so easy to die in 1st and 2nd edition that you expected a character to die nearly every adventure. Those few times you lived and ran up to high level, those were memorable characters.

The saves were terrible in those editions. You couldn't cast spells in melee range or you would get disrupted or wrecked. Casters had to cast spells over segments, which opened them to attack. It was such a brutal game. I still remember how brutal it was in 1st and 2nd edition where you could feel like things were going well and you made to level 10 or 12, then you'd miss a death save to a banshee and your character was all done. "Sorry, you're dead."

Haste used to cause a system shock roll and you could die from having haste cast on you. Poisons were super nasty. So much could kill you in those early editions. Sometimes I do miss the days of slow leveling, frightening monsters, and death was one bad roll away.

Characters weren't quite as interesting to make, but they were tough if you did survive to those higher levels. Lethality seriously shifted in 3E to lower level lethality and much increased player power. PF2 has probably been the most lethal edition since 2nd edition, but still nowhere near as lethal as those early D&D days. They were brutal.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds like Kingdom Death.


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Temperans wrote:
Pathfinder 2e decided to copy DnD 4e and make a TTRPG that runs like a video game, including making the classes follow only a prescribed path and nothing else.

No? If anything PF2e has more in common with 5e just with better and more robust design standards. They took the idea of a more unified idea of proficiency and iterated on it in a big way. I'm just not seeing the 'video game-y' traits.

Additionally, the idea that classes follow only one path is just patently false. Every single one has several discrete play styles built into them while still following the general theme of the class. Not to mention how much skill feats and the incredibly expanded archetype system can additionally alter how a class plays overall.

Temperans wrote:
5e players are leaving 5e not because the game doesn't work or is not fun for players.

This is literally the exact opposite of what I've been mostly hearing from 5e converts, particularly from former 5e GMs.


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Temperans wrote:

5e players are leaving 5e not because the game doesn't work or is not fun for players. They are leaving for 2 reasons:

* They are fed up with Wizard/Hasbro and decided "maybe I should try something else in case the ship sinks".

* They, like a lot of people who played 3.5e and PF1e for 10+ years, are bored of the options available and want something new.

Many of those players leaving 5e don't want a harder game or the complexity that is PF1e, so they go to PF2e which is advertized by many as "fixing 5e" (which it doesn't). PF2e is a fixed 4e, that actually had the companion apps (Pathbuilder and Foundry) available at launch. Even in this thread you have people saying to not use roll20 because it doesn't support PF2e enough

I think all of these reasons are valid justifiable reasons for leaving D&D5.

* the game doesn't work

* not fun for players

* fed up with Wizard/Hasbro

* bored of the options available and want something new

* want a harder game

* want a balanced game

But not everyone has the same reasons.

Yes PF2 is seen as more complex than D&D5 so some people are disappointed by the transition.

The tools for PF2 aren't as simple or as good. I really think PF2 would be greatly improved by Roll20 and other platforms fixing up their support for PF2. As that is a very lightweight tool popular with many D&D players. With the WotC announcements I am sure even Roll20 realises they are being deliberately shut out and have to change or die. Foundry is good and I use it, but it is too complex and too buggy for many people. We need another easy online tool for PF2.

I don't think that describing PF2 as a fixed D&D4 is useful. Yes there
some staff from D&D4 who also worked on PF2 but the gaming industry is not that big for that to be insightful. PF2 kept to the flavour of D&D whereas D&D4 did not. Yes D&D4 had plug and play components but it wasn't balanced and there just weren't than many options.

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