Extremely Worried About Compatibility And General Edition Change


Playtest General Discussion


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With the release of the playtest, I became very, very worried about the PF2e compatibility being made a priority for the new edition. While there are problems with Starfinder that ought to be addressed, I don't feel that jumping ship to the 3 Action System and absorbing all of those flaws instead of ironing out the old flaws is a good move.

That said, I wish to be proven wrong. However, the Soldier makes me feel very anxious in that regard, at least from what we've seen: putting Constitution as their main stat makes it very wonky to build a Soldier and have them be comparable to a Fighter, or even a Champion. It feels like a weird middleman that deals in very discreet buffs to a weapon class that we don't know enough about but seem very restrictive. As has been pointed out in a group I frequent, if progression stays the same as is, a Wizard would be just as good as doing the Soldier's job as the Soldier itself. Put the Rottary Laser in the hands of a Fighter, and the Soldier can't even compete.

I don't know, I don't feel very good about this one, lads/ladettes/everyone. If you can assuage my doubts, I'd be very very thankful. Otherwise, seems like someone's gonna have to pick up the slack and develop SF1e content on their own, because "You shouldn't change editions" doesn't seem like valid/acceptable feedback.

PS: I'm aware of the upcoming PF2e remaster, and how that might change the numbers of stuff like Class DCs, but from what I've seen/heard, that's not gonna be too much interference with the points made about soldier up there. Also, while I don't personally think it's a good idea, I am happy to see that people seem engaged and are happy with the edition change. Trust me, I want to be just as happy as you guys are.

PPS: Sorry, I keep adding stuff. I have a fear that other Starfinder classes are just gonna be made to be "Pathfinder2e class, but with a twist and weaker because of it", and I hope hope hope that won't be the case, but the playtest is making me very skeptical.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Personally I'm sad to see that stamina points are gone, or at least don't seem to be mentioned in the pdf that I can see. I really like the stamina/hit point system and it's something that helps Starfinder to stand out.

I kind of WANT Starfinder to have key differences from PF, I don't want SF2E to just be taking PF2E's mechanics and integrating them into SF. I want to see more of an evolution of Starfinder itself.

I can also understand wanting to give Soldier more of an identity to not just be 'fighter, but in space' but I'm not sure this focus on area weapons is the way to do it. It feels like ranged is now the 'default' for Soldier and if you want to go melee you need to spec into it with a specific fighting style, instead of it being a class that can specialize in either, the way SF 1E soldier can pick strength or dex accordingly.

The phrasing of ability scores makes it sound like maybe they're ditching the old ability score system and just having the modifier? I'm mostly fine with that, as it wasn't often than having an odd ability score really benefitted you compared to being one lower in that score, outside of ability damage/drain etc potentially or a couple fringe cases. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding this and the classic ability score/modifier format isn't going anywhere.


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I really don't like con as the man stat on a soldier IF they're going to keep the pf2 paradigm of not being able to freely pick your own stats. In either edition, not being able to max out your main to hit stat is a big deal.


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So, Soldier stuff! It seems really big on AoE blasts, and the Constitution focus encourages that: your AoE DC is generally going to be +1 over your attack modifier, although there will be stretches where they equal each other.

Soldier does a few nice design things. One, you get a flat improvement to a category of weapon- anyone can use those AoE weapons, but you apply a movement and attack debuff- and the attack debuff is a circumstance bonus that will stack with any statuses. Two, you get the issues with going Con mitigated: you get a skill that you can use effectively (Intimidation), putting you in the same position that strength would normally be in, and you also get your AC taken care of (you qualify for heavy armor using Con, and get your carrying capacity boosted by enough to make up the difference). Now, because your AC and method of attack are both resolved without touching Str or Dex, you can still pick the secondary stat of your choice as long as you're fine sticking to AoE damage (the armor specialty seems good for that, so you can shell your own position). You can also go Dex-based, which will give you a way to deal with high reflex saves (resolving your blast against one target's AC instead of offering a save), or you can go Str-based, which gives you further armor benefits and allows you to build for switch-hitting.

So, what about Fighter? Well, that's a little like asking about Technomancer vs. Wizard in Starfinder 1e. Yes, the rules were there for bringing Wizard over. But unless you're playing a crossover game of some sort, that's not really the goal. That's not a very satisfying answer, though, so let's note- Fighter doesn't advance their class DC anywhere near as fast as their weapon proficiency. So Fighter would be ahead in single-target shots and melee (not Soldier's primary specialty) and behind on AoE damage (presumably slower class DC advancement, as well as not having any supporting features for it). And Soldier has more hitpoints while also debuffing for no extra actions.

I am guessing nothing in SF2 will get Fighter accuracy, and the balance will be built around that assumption. Bringing in a Fighter would probably be like calling forth a warrior from the times of legend?


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Malzra wrote:
Personally I'm sad to see that stamina points are gone, or at least don't seem to be mentioned in the pdf that I can see. I really like the stamina/hit point system and it's something that helps Starfinder to stand out.

For what comfort it is, isn't there a stamina variant rule in Pathfinder 2e through the GMG? Not sure how different they are from each other but if they're compatible that would make them applicable right?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Don't be *too* concerned! We're going to get a year of snippets like the first field test to provide feedback on, then ~half a year of playtesting.

You'll have constant opportunities to try things out and make your opinions heard. The PF2 playtest was very transformative, and it went from something I couldn't accept to my new favorite system by a country mile.

For what it's worth, Paizo has gotten even better at writing classes since PF2's launch and that means there's a really good chance the SF2 classes could outshine PF2's in various little ways.


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I also think that the Soldier is a bit too wonky and narrowly focused at the moment as a result of trying too hard to not be "Fighter in Space."

A more generalist defender approach would be nice. The last thing I want is for SF to feel incomplete without the PF classes added.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber

AoE Blasts can help your "friends" the lesson not to go into melee willingly. You are excluded form your blasts doesn't mean your allies are.

Second Seekers (Roheas)

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I mean it is very clearly the #1 design goal and percieved selling point for Starfinder that it be 100% cross compatible.

I would have much rather seen this game try to advance and improve on P2s engine rather than copy it myself. But easy and full compatibility is just so clearly the bedrock of the design philosophy they have done to this point and I do not anticipate any amount of feedback shifting them from that.

I do think as a design goal it is extremely disappointing; Starfinder has always had its own vibes and I dont think they match pathfinders 1 to 1. I think Starfinder will have to give up some of it's identity in order to be fully cross compatible with Pathfinder. But its gonna be what its gonna be, we can only hope they really nail the equipment/enhancements and tech aspects to help it still feel distinct from the fantasy game.

Back on topic somewhat, I anticipate all 6 classes are going to be the sort of niche experience the soldier is. I dont anticipate the 6 are necessarily even going to be 6 of the 7 from the starfinder core book.

After all we dont need a generic fightyman or generic magic-user; Wizard and Fighter are gonna be usable. So maybe technomancer doesnt make the jump. Do we need an operative when we have a rogue? We are gonna find out I guess. What does mechanic do that Inventor doesnt already do? Maybe we see Biohacker and Precog instead.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Actually, I wouldn't be too surprised if they eased up on the "remove as much overlap as possible" approach as they get into the meat of the design process. They're going to find that filling gaps in the SF2 lineup with PF2 classes isn't really an option, and some level of class overlap isn't the end of the world. Two classes across a system border can be more similar than you would allow within one system, and they could all still work together without too much drama if a table wants to do that.

I think the Operative/Rogue will highlight this.


WatersLethe wrote:
They're going to find that filling gaps in the SF2 lineup with PF2 classes isn't really an option,

I think recreating a SF1 Blitz Soldier will be very easy to do with a PF2 Fighter. Sudden Charge and enhanced accuracy? You're there.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I mean they aren't going to require a SF2 player to pick up a PF2 book in order to fill out their core class or science-fantasy archetypical character lineup. Their goal will be to be able to buy and play SF2 completely independently from PF2, with the interoperability as a surprise bonus for new players who want to branch out later.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:
I mean they aren't going to require a SF2 player to pick up a PF2 book in order to fill out their core class or science-fantasy archetypical character lineup. Their goal will be to be able to buy and play SF2 completely independently from PF2, with the interoperability as a surprise bonus for new players who want to branch out later.

Though, notably, so long as you take the same basic elements and remix them, you don't really need to duplicate any classes either. The direction of the Soldier, as being a gun oriented defender who can impose conditions via suppression, for instance, is pretty good-- there isn't really a need to knuckle down and say "no we need to replace this with +2 to hit" So I'm expecting to see concepts we're used to from PF2e cut up-- the envoy is liable to be like the bard... but it's NOT a spellcaster, so it'll probably be like if the composition buffs of the bard were built onto a martial chassis. On the flip, picking up a fighter from pf2e and handing it the correct weapons and getting a very different vibe is a good thing, if you decide you don't want the character to be this iteration of a soldier. Incidentally, this soldier, given a melee two hander, is itself an interesting variant on a defense fighter.

Second Seekers (Roheas)

WatersLethe wrote:

Actually, I wouldn't be too surprised if they eased up on the "remove as much overlap as possible" approach as they get into the meat of the design process. They're going to find that filling gaps in the SF2 lineup with PF2 classes isn't really an option, and some level of class overlap isn't the end of the world. Two classes across a system border can be more similar than you would allow within one system, and they could all still work together without too much drama if a table wants to do that.

I think the Operative/Rogue will highlight this.

Well my point is I dont think they even percieve much of a system border on the mechanical level.

Second Seekers (Roheas)

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WatersLethe wrote:
I mean they aren't going to require a SF2 player to pick up a PF2 book in order to fill out their core class or science-fantasy archetypical character lineup. Their goal will be to be able to buy and play SF2 completely independently from PF2, with the interoperability as a surprise bonus for new players who want to branch out later.

This is the part that I just dont think is true or else Soldier wouldnt look the way it does.


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Maybe Solarian is going to be legendary with his solar weapon/flare, and that's why the Soldier is designed the way it is. It's possibly leaving space for the Solarian as the single-target, focused-fire DPR machine, not the PF2 fighter.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

They've definitively already stated that they don't want SF2 players to have to buy and use PF2 books. They've said they don't want the classes to overlap because it makes it easier to keep interoperability, but I think they'll find that some overlap is fine.

What we've seen so far of the Soldier is super early testing-concept stuff, and likely heavy on the new and experimental stuff anyway. As we get closer to release, I'm betting some more overlap will be inevitable because of the pressures of the system being able to stand on its own.

In short: "no class overlap" is likely less of an unchanging guiding principle than "this game needs to feel right on its own", and "no class overlap" is not as important as they might feel right now.


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ZuthaTheEvolutionist wrote:
With the release of the playtest, I became very, very worried about the PF2e compatibility being made a priority for the new edition. While there are problems with Starfinder that ought to be addressed, I don't feel that jumping ship to the 3 Action System and absorbing all of those flaws instead of ironing out the old flaws is a good move.

I'm afraid you are pretty much correct in your assumption. From the announcement and an interview afterwards, they are absolutely committed to the "100% compatibility" promise. KAC/EAC will be replaced with just AC, the math will be adjusted to fit, ancestries will get the full 2e treatment, and so on. Some stuff that was problematic - e.g. space battles - will be retained and reworked, though. So it kinda depends on what you liked, I guess?

That said, they also pointed out that SF and PF have two very different "meta states", which will be preserved. Guns being the main weapon in SF vs melee in PF for example. Or that flight and vehicles are much more accessible in SF.

ZuthaTheEvolutionist wrote:
PPS: Sorry, I keep adding stuff. I have a fear that other Starfinder classes are just gonna be made to be "Pathfinder2e class, but with a twist and weaker because of it", and I hope hope hope that won't be the case, but the playtest is making me very skeptical.

Keep in mind, this isn't even a playtest. This is an extremely early WIP that the devs wanted to share with us for the sake of transparency. And because they think it's really cool and didn't want to leave us hanging with a "so SF 2e comes out next year kthxbye". This will probably change a dozen times in a dozen different ways before we get our hands on it next summer. Even then, looking at the differences between 2e and its playtest, that's not set in stone either. We will have plenty of opportunity to work with them so that scenario won't happen.

The SF team will also have a lot of design space that the PF team doesn't really touch, simply because of those meta differences I mentioned earlier. The prevalence of ranged combat and multishot guns alone will lead to some major differences.

And honestly, I think the Soldier is pretty good even in its current form, speaking from my PF2e perspective. Obviously early days, but it honestly wouldn't take a lot to make this into a great class. It certainly has no problems on the uniqueness front.


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eddv wrote:

I mean it is very clearly the #1 design goal and percieved selling point for Starfinder that it be 100% cross compatible.

I would have much rather seen this game try to advance and improve on P2s engine rather than copy it myself. But easy and full compatibility is just so clearly the bedrock of the design philosophy they have done to this point and I do not anticipate any amount of feedback shifting them from that.

I do think as a design goal it is extremely disappointing; Starfinder has always had its own vibes and I dont think they match pathfinders 1 to 1. I think Starfinder will have to give up some of it's identity in order to be fully cross compatible with Pathfinder. But its gonna be what its gonna be, we can only hope they really nail the equipment/enhancements and tech aspects to help it still feel distinct from the fantasy game.

Back on topic somewhat, I anticipate all 6 classes are going to be the sort of niche experience the soldier is. I dont anticipate the 6 are necessarily even going to be 6 of the 7 from the starfinder core book.

After all we dont need a generic fightyman or generic magic-user; Wizard and Fighter are gonna be usable. So maybe technomancer doesnt make the jump. Do we need an operative when we have a rogue? We are gonna find out I guess. What does mechanic do that Inventor doesnt already do? Maybe we see Biohacker and Precog instead.

I have a very different view.

For me it has already been made clear that although SF2 is 100% compatible with PF2, it has already been made clear that it will be an independent game, and therefore it will not depend on PF2 classes like figher and rogue.

For me, soldier is not different from fighter because it needs to be different from fighter, because the concept of fighter doesn't fit so well with Starfinder's sci-fi theme. So much so that when I look at soldier mechanics I don't see a fighter in space, I see a Starcraft Marine/Warhammer Space Marine. In practice, there is not the same space for a class like the fighter, trained in all types of weapons melee and ranger in a versatile way equally, as for the Soldier, a heavy soldier with a heavy weapon.

Import a PF2 fighter on Starfinder is possible, but it would be like a French musketeer these days, it's not that the fencing abilities in parallel with a modern soldier were useless, but in the end a soldier specialized in rifles, launches grenades and drones does much more sense for what we have available by default today.

That's why for me the idea of the Soldier being something different from the fighter makes perfect sense, much more focused on modern standard weapons for the theme, than specialists who dedicated their training in melee and ranged weapons equally.

For you guys to have an idea and how to look at Sci-fi psychics like Star Wars, there are some characters with different training who prefer to use melee weapons that are suitable for their type of training that are the Jedi, but in practice, outside of this specific class, 99% of the soldiers use tasers and not melee weapons!

So for me, while many here are concerned with "there is but using the same PF2 rulebase will make the 2 games too similar", the work of the class designers is going the opposite way, trying to make the classes unique and do sense for the Starfinder setting and moving away from the standard template used by the medieval fantasy setting.

Second Seekers (Roheas)

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First of all, I am not speculating; let me quote the FAQ for you:

Will new classes just be old classes IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE?

Classes in Starfinder are going to be their own bespoke classes that operate alongside the existing set of Pathfinder classes.

Theyre already explicitly telling us this is how its going to work and if you watched the announcement stream they really couldnt have been any more explicit about their intent.

Second while the fighter class is the same one used in Pathfinder its not like he is gonna use a holy avenger longsword. He is gonna use the same Reaction Cannon the soldier is or a doshko or something and still use Sudden Charge or Power Attack as normal.

I want to be clear I dont think this even necessarily is a bad thing, they still have a solid chance of nailing the flavor anyway even without their own mechanical engine.

But I think being in denial that its what this is gonna be is weird.


Come to think of it, the vibe I'm getting from the SF2 soldier reminds me a little of D&D 4e. Not in the specifics, but the vibe.

Back in 3e, the Fighter was a generalist whose main class abilities were (a) generally good fighting numbers and (b) a whole lot of bonus feats you could use to specialize in various directions. You could use the Fighter class to make an archer, a sword & board defender, a greatweapon wielder focusing on hitting hard, a dual-wielder, a fencer doing various weapon tricks, and so on. This tradition was more or less carried through to the SF1 Soldier, where it was also channeled through Fighting Styles making you better at fighting in a particular manner.

But in D&D 4e, the Fighter got pigeon-holed into the Defender role. Their abilities would tend to revolve around defending their allies (primarily through punisher-style abilities where they get to hit you if you attack their buddies), enduring damage, and controlling the flow of battle. You still had a variety of weapon styles you could choose, but you would never be particularly good at ranged combat and other more subtle things. The response to "How do I convert my archer fighter from 3e to 4e?" was "Make them a ranger."

That's the vibe I'm getting from the SF2 Soldier. It only represents a subset of possible SF1 Soldiers. Since we're only getting a snapshot of a small part of the system, it's possible that other Soldier types get absorbed into other classes (e.g. Operative snipers), but it's still setting off warning bells.


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Staffan Johansson wrote:

Come to think of it, the vibe I'm getting from the SF2 soldier reminds me a little of D&D 4e. Not in the specifics, but the vibe.

Back in 3e, the Fighter was a generalist whose main class abilities were (a) generally good fighting numbers and (b) a whole lot of bonus feats you could use to specialize in various directions. You could use the Fighter class to make an archer, a sword & board defender, a greatweapon wielder focusing on hitting hard, a dual-wielder, a fencer doing various weapon tricks, and so on. This tradition was more or less carried through to the SF1 Soldier, where it was also channeled through Fighting Styles making you better at fighting in a particular manner.

But in D&D 4e, the Fighter got pigeon-holed into the Defender role. Their abilities would tend to revolve around defending their allies (primarily through punisher-style abilities where they get to hit you if you attack their buddies), enduring damage, and controlling the flow of battle. You still had a variety of weapon styles you could choose, but you would never be particularly good at ranged combat and other more subtle things. The response to "How do I convert my archer fighter from 3e to 4e?" was "Make them a ranger."

That's the vibe I'm getting from the SF2 Soldier. It only represents a subset of possible SF1 Soldiers. Since we're only getting a snapshot of a small part of the system, it's possible that other Soldier types get absorbed into other classes (e.g. Operative snipers), but it's still setting off warning bells.

I don't think the issue is that it's being pigeon-holed into a Defender role, but that it's specifically a Defender with Area Weapons. A more generalist ranged Defender (say, Suppressing Fire works with any weapon attack or it gets an entirely different class feature) would still be able to fulfill a wide array of fantasies, but just sticking with Area Weapons seems pretty rough. It's doubly weird when two of the subclasses focus on weapon types, with one being even more Area focused and another being melee focused.

Flavor-wise, the melee one is supposed to be a switch-hitter, but mechanically, it seems to mainly be just normal melee shenanigans that lets you ignore Area Weapons outright.


Golurkcanfly wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Come to think of it, the vibe I'm getting from the SF2 soldier reminds me a little of D&D 4e. Not in the specifics, but the vibe.
I don't think the issue is that it's being pigeon-holed into a Defender role, but that it's specifically a Defender with Area Weapons.

I mean, it's not a 1:1 correlation to the 4e fighter situation, but more the general idea of going from a generalist class to a specialist.

And I guess it depends on how the rest of the system shakes out. If you have other primarily martial classes that are good with more targeted attacks, that could work (much like the solution for those who wanted to play an archer in 4e was "play a ranger"). But I feel it's an inauspicious start.


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eddv wrote:

I mean it is very clearly the #1 design goal and percieved selling point for Starfinder that it be 100% cross compatible.

I would have much rather seen this game try to advance and improve on P2s engine rather than copy it myself. But easy and full compatibility is just so clearly the bedrock of the design philosophy they have done to this point and I do not anticipate any amount of feedback shifting them from that.

I do think as a design goal it is extremely disappointing; Starfinder has always had its own vibes and I dont think they match pathfinders 1 to 1. I think Starfinder will have to give up some of it's identity in order to be fully cross compatible with Pathfinder. But its gonna be what its gonna be, we can only hope they really nail the equipment/enhancements and tech aspects to help it still feel distinct from the fantasy game.

Back on topic somewhat, I anticipate all 6 classes are going to be the sort of niche experience the soldier is. I dont anticipate the 6 are necessarily even going to be 6 of the 7 from the starfinder core book.

After all we dont need a generic fightyman or generic magic-user; Wizard and Fighter are gonna be usable. So maybe technomancer doesnt make the jump. Do we need an operative when we have a rogue? We are gonna find out I guess. What does mechanic do that Inventor doesnt already do? Maybe we see Biohacker and Precog instead.

The moment they mentioned 100% compatibly I felt like it was a huge missed opportunity. Could have been a chance to try and take pf2s systems to the next level... While that may still has happen in some ways, it's going to be extremely restricted, which I think is quite unfortunate. That said, it's a great idea for marketing, as it now means pf2 huge playerbase with 0 interest in SF might pick up books just for more options.

... Personally hoping they can be pushed to make stamina the core assumption, if only to expand the mechanic for both games.

Wayfinders

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I like the stamina rules. I play a mystic healer medic so I can even heal stamina but I still have to wait until someone takes at least 1 HP of damage. But I'll be happy to be able to heal without having to track Stanima points to know when I can heal. I like Stanima overall but it's more complex than it needs to be when dealing with when/if you can heal.


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I understand the logic in making the Soldier a con class, since making the "Heavy Armor, and Big Weapons" class a "STR or DEX" thing doesn't really feel right.

Like obviously if you want to be in melee you want Str, and if you're shooting people with guns you want Dex. Playing a Soldier who wants to do exactly one of those two things is a valid choice.

"You have to be tough in order to carry around all those heavy weapons and armor" seems like a reasonable unifying theme."


And it is not like PF2 classes don't have some class overlap already.

Fighter, Barbarian, Monk, and Gunslinger all have things that overlap. Fighter/Gunslinger: enhanced accuracy with their weapons. Fighter/Monk/Animal Barbarian: unarmed attacks and grappling moves.

So do Rogue, Swashbuckler, and Investigator. Their reliance on lightweight weapons and precision damage, extra skills for Rogue/Investigator, and extra skill feats for Rogue/Swashbuckler.


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The thing I would honestly appreciate Starfinder 2e doing, which they probably won't in terms of compatibility, is use the attribute variant from the PF2 GMG.

Specifically:
- Constitution no longer exists, Fort and HP now key off Strength.
- Split Dexterity into Finesse (ranged attacks, operative weapons, sleight of hand) and Dexterity (reflex, stealth, acrobatics, AC)
-Cha now does Will.

This seems even better suited to a "default ranged combat" game.


breithauptclan wrote:
So do Rogue, Swashbuckler, and Investigator. Their reliance on lightweight weapons and precision damage, extra skills for Rogue/Investigator, and extra skill feats for Rogue/Swashbuckler.

Investigator also has extra skill feats

Rogue: Any

Swash: Acrobatics, or the trained skill from style

Investigator: Any mental-based skill, or the skill gained from methodology

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