Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

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Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Jub » 2018-08-09 01:55am

So Paizo has dropped the PF 2e playtest here (http://paizo.com/pathfinderplaytest).

I've only just started looking it over but it feels very much like a middle ground between 3.x/PF and 5e D&D. Which is exactly what I'd expect to see from the second edition of Paizo's game given the current RPG market.

Character creation, as has been the trend, is less about rolling dice and more about assigning a starting set of points to a base layer of stats. In this case, you start with 10's across the board with the expected complete neutral modifier. Your race adds points to some number of fixed stats in chunks of +2 but also gives a player assigned free boost to be placed where ever you'd like. Most races also have a penalized stat which drops by -2. Your background then gives a boost that can go to one of two stats and has another free stat boost. Classes don't give stat boosts but all characters get an additional 4 free stat boosts that can be placed in any stat.

No starting stat can be increased past 18 at level 1, and stat boosts to stats at or above 18 only boost that stat by 1 point. It doesn't seem like stats are capped 5e style in this playtest.

Here's what my example Dwarve's stats looks like at each step:

Base:
Str: 10 - Dex: 10 - Con: 10 - Int: 10 Wis: 10 - Cha: 10

Racial Mods Added: Con and Wis must be raised and charisma lowered, plus the free boost which went to strength
Str: 12 - Dex: 10 - Con: 12 - Int: 10 Wis: 12 - Cha: 8

Background Mods Added: I chose Acolyte which means I can boost Con or Wis and one stat of my choice. I chose to boost Con and Wis.
Str: 12 - Dex: 10 - Con: 14 - Int: 10 Wis: 14 - Cha: 8

Lastly I add my free points and get:
Str: 16 - Dex: 10 - Con: 14 - Int: 10 Wis: 18 - Cha: 8

HP is also done by a race + class + stat system. In this case Dwarf is 10, Cleric adds 8, and my Con of 14 adds 2 for a starting HP pool of 20.

Speaking of classes they have a built in archetype system much like both PF and 5e. It's a little closer in feel to 5e than PF by my current judgment.

Skills are a cross between 5e's proficiency and 3.x/PF bonuses and modifiers. They go up in steps of untrained, trained, expert, master, legend with each level giving some bonus or penalty to the skill; these modifiers apply to other things like equipment quality as well. Classes, races, and backgrounds give certain skills priority and skills that aren't within your specialty can't be moved up to the next level of proficiency. I assume there is a feat to allow more skills to be upgraded but this is a pretty quick first impression.

Feats are back and are divided between racial (they call them Heritage) feats, class feats, and general feats. It feels like you get enough feats to make a very customized character and there are enough feats overall that you can build the same race, class, background combination in many very different ways.

Magic is more tied to spell level than to character level and you can use higher level slots to cast lower level spells to increase the effects. This is very 5e.

Armor classes seem slightly lower all around and you need to use an action to raise your shield in combat. If you don't not only do you not get your shield bonus to your AC, but you can't use a special action to have your shield can block damage from a hit that went through your AC.

Weapons have special qualities, damage types, and damage values as we've come to expect from both Pathfinder and 5e.

Encumbrance is simplified down to bulk. Items have negligible bulk and you can carry hundreds without penalty, light bulk where 10 items equal one full point of bulk, and whole numbers of bulk from 1 to 4 for your usually sized starting races. You can carry bulk equal to 5 + str modifier with no issue and max out at 10 + strength modifier.

In combat you now get 3 actions per round, they can be attacking, moving, reloading a weapon, raising your shield. Multiple attacks are rolled right into this and you take a -5 penalty per extra attack you take giving the familiar +0/-5/-10 curve we've come to expect.

Thus far I think I like it. It's like less fiddly PF or more crunchy 5e and should find a nice middle ground for groups split between the two systems. My own group will probably enjoy it and it should replace both systems as our new game of choice if it plays as well as a first glance suggests it should.

Thus ends my rambly first impression of PF 2e's playtest material. I'm curious to see what others think of the system.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Jub » 2018-08-09 02:20am

Ghetto Edit: You do get a stat boost based on your classes most important skill. So my character should have an extra +2 to a stat over what I showed.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by houser2112 » 2018-08-09 10:11am

Jub wrote:
2018-08-09 01:55am
I've only just started looking it over but it feels very much like a middle ground between 3.x/PF and 5e D&D. Which is exactly what I'd expect to see from the second edition of Paizo's game given the current RPG market.
I agree that a cross between those systems is what we could expect, but I would say there are a lot more 4Eisms in PF2 than 5Eisms.
Character creation, as has been the trend, is less about rolling dice and more about assigning a starting set of points to a base layer of stats. In this case, you start with 10's across the board with the expected complete neutral modifier. Your race adds points to some number of fixed stats in chunks of +2 but also gives a player assigned free boost to be placed where ever you'd like. Most races also have a penalized stat which drops by -2. Your background then gives a boost that can go to one of two stats and has another free stat boost. Classes don't give stat boosts but all characters get an additional 4 free stat boosts that can be placed in any stat.

No starting stat can be increased past 18 at level 1, and stat boosts to stats at or above 18 only boost that stat by 1 point. It doesn't seem like stats are capped 5e style in this playtest.
Ability score generation is neat, but their handling of raceancestry is weird. Other than size, speed, hit points, languages, vision, and ability adjustments, you have to buy racial features with ancestry feats, which you only get one of to start. If you want to be a half-elf or half-orc, you have to spend that feat to turn a human into your desired race. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet, but it's a significant change in how things work.
Speaking of classes they have a built in archetype system much like both PF and 5e. It's a little closer in feel to 5e than PF by my current judgment.
The multiclass/archetype system is a radical departure from both 3.PF and 5E. These systems, you actually take a level in your new class and get either all (3.PF) or some (5E) of its features. With 3.PF, there was no mechanical impediment to taking whatever other base class you wanted (leaving prestige classes out of this since 5E lacks them); with 5E, you had ability requirements and didn't get all of the features of the new class. With PF2, you are always whatever class you start with, and you have ability score and skill training requirements to take the "dedication" feat of your off-class (which are admittedly pretty good), at which point you can spend your class feats to gain class feats from the off-class as if you were half level. You can't take a different dedication feat until you've taken two class feats from your off-class.

This opens up new possibilities, but closes off others. However, it should be noted that they've heavily siloed combat styles in PF2. Rangers are good with (have class feats that support) crossbows and two-weapon fighting. If you want any other style, you have to multi into fighter, where all the generic combat style feats are. This is awful, and one of my biggest complaints.
Skills are a cross between 5e's proficiency and 3.x/PF bonuses and modifiers. They go up in steps of untrained, trained, expert, master, legend with each level giving some bonus or penalty to the skill; these modifiers apply to other things like equipment quality as well. Classes, races, and backgrounds give certain skills priority and skills that aren't within your specialty can't be moved up to the next level of proficiency. I assume there is a feat to allow more skills to be upgraded but this is a pretty quick first impression.
I'll add that your level is added to just about everything you do. This solves the problem of wide disparity between the success rate of skills between the haves and have nots, but introduces verisimilitude problems. YMMV on whether that's an acceptable trade. Increased training opens up additional things you can do (in the form of skill feats), but has a negligible effect on how well you can do them. Untrained is -2, and legendary is +3, so there is a max bonus difference of 5 for things that anyone can do.
Feats are back and are divided between racial (they call them Heritage) feats, class feats, and general feats. It feels like you get enough feats to make a very customized character and there are enough feats overall that you can build the same race, class, background combination in many very different ways.
You forgot skill feats, as I mentioned above. You get each of these feat types at specific levels, regardless of class. Heritage feats are a specific kind of ancestry feat that can only be taken at 1st level.
Magic is more tied to spell level than to character level and you can use higher level slots to cast lower level spells to increase the effects. This is very 5e.
The change from spells autoscaling to having to pay for increased power ("Heightening" in PF2) is similar to 5E, but the similarity ends there. With 5E, you prepare (if you're a prepared caster) a subset of your repertoire, and can spontaneously cast from that subset (the jargon term for this is neovancian). PF2 prepared casters are still paleovancian (specific spells in specific slots). Not only does heightening increase potency (+2d6/level for fireball), but for certain spells, heightening gives you what used to be separate spells (greater invisibility is now just invisibility heightened to 4th level, and all the summon monster X spells are collapsed into summon monster). Prepared casters need only know a spell once, and prepare it in whatever slot they want. Spontaneous casters can only freely heighten two spells per day, chosen during "daily preparations". Otherwise, you must know a spell at every level you intend to heighten it. This awful feature, that builds on a prepared caster's strength and a spontaneous caster's weakness, is justified by Paizo as a check on the sorcerer's power and for eliminating "analysis paralysis" at the table (a bullshit argument, IMHO).

This applies to virtually every d20 roll you make, but I'll mention it here: there are now variable effects for degree of success/failure. Exceeding the DC by 10 gives you a critical success, and failing by 10 gives you a critical failure. Each action (attack, spell, skill use, etc) details what these effects are, if any.
Armor classes seem slightly lower all around and you need to use an action to raise your shield in combat. If you don't not only do you not get your shield bonus to your AC, but you can't use a special action to have your shield can block damage from a hit that went through your AC.
i could live with raising a shield requiring an action, but the fact that they can only absorb as much damage as their hardness, and that they become damaged when that happens make them much to fiddly and unreliable to bother with.
Weapons have special qualities, damage types, and damage values as we've come to expect from both Pathfinder and 5e.
The variety of weapons is huge. The biggest change I've seen is that longbows have the "volley X" property, which gives you a -2 penalty within X feet (50 in the case of [composite] long bows). The feat to mitigate this penalty, Point-Blank Shot, is a fighter feat.
In combat you now get 3 actions per round, they can be attacking, moving, reloading a weapon, raising your shield. Multiple attacks are rolled right into this and you take a -5 penalty per extra attack you take giving the familiar +0/-5/-10 curve we've come to expect.
The 3-action system is a nice streamlining of the mess of actions 3.PF had. It doesn't have the movement freedom that 5E allows, but at least it supports move-attack-move that incurred a heavy feat tax in 3.PF.
Thus far I think I like it. It's like less fiddly PF or more crunchy 5e and should find a nice middle ground for groups split between the two systems. My own group will probably enjoy it and it should replace both systems as our new game of choice if it plays as well as a first glance suggests it should.

Thus ends my rambly first impression of PF 2e's playtest material. I'm curious to see what others think of the system.
You forgot to mention probably the biggest and most controversial change they've made: Resonance (level + Charisma mod). You have to invest RP each day to wear magic items, and spend RP to activate magic items, including consumables like potions, scrolls, and wands. The days of needing to have a cleric in your party are back!

I'm honestly not sure who their target audience is, because it's such a mixed bag. 4E fans might like the multiclassing, but it lacks 4E's shared AEDU resource structure (I never played 4E so I can't comment further). It's much more crunchy than 5E (the learning curve is steep) and lacks 5E's GM empowerment (it's definitely a "rules, not rulings" system). It's probably closest to 3.PF, but it slaughters so many sacred cows I can't confidently say that it will get fans of that system to switch. I know that it wouldn't inspire this 3.PF fan to switch as-is.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Khaat » 2018-08-09 11:12am

Dungeons & Dragons Barbie wrote:Second edition AD&D is too complicated!
Just thought I'd leave this here.... :D
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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Formless » 2018-08-09 03:16pm

No dice rolling of stats? Get out. Even 5E has the option, because your class doesn't influence the numbers any.

I don't say that out of tradition, but because deterministic point buy and similar stat allocation systems are both unrealistic (real people vary in physical and mental ability at the start of any venture) and lead to abusive optimization/standardization of character builds. If I walk into twelve groups and literally every wizard has exactly the same numbers, I refuse to play that game or with those groups. The fact that the class adds a bonus to stats as well just makes stats completely redundant. You might as well just get rid of them completely and determine effects of attacks, spells, and so forth by the class. Then add optional abilities determined by race and background. It would certainly simplify gameplay over always referring back to six base numbers for all of the math.

I hope Piazo realizes what a dumbass idea it is to have character class modify stats, at minimum. Then I can simply ignore everything else and play it the way I always have. Or else I won't bother with Pathfinder 2e at all. It would certainly be ironic if they pull a D&D 4e and get killed by their own prior edition... just like 4e. Because I know many, many people who stick with Pathfinder specifically because 5E is too simplistic. Like, I have never met anyone, even its fans, who deny it.
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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by houser2112 » 2018-08-09 03:53pm

Formless wrote:
2018-08-09 03:16pm
No dice rolling of stats? Get out. Even 5E has the option, because your class doesn't influence the numbers any.
PF2 has the option, as well. It's on page 21, if you're so inclined to check it out.
I don't say that out of tradition, but because deterministic point buy and similar stat allocation systems are both unrealistic (real people vary in physical and mental ability at the start of any venture) and lead to abusive optimization/standardization of character builds. If I walk into twelve groups and literally every wizard has exactly the same numbers, I refuse to play that game or with those groups. The fact that the class adds a bonus to stats as well just makes stats completely redundant. You might as well just get rid of them completely and determine effects of attacks, spells, and so forth by the class. Then add optional abilities determined by race and background. It would certainly simplify gameplay over always referring back to six base numbers for all of the math.

I hope Piazo realizes what a dumbass idea it is to have character class modify stats, at minimum. Then I can simply ignore everything else and play it the way I always have. Or else I won't bother with Pathfinder 2e at all. It would certainly be ironic if they pull a D&D 4e and get killed by their own prior edition... just like 4e. Because I know many, many people who stick with Pathfinder specifically because 5E is too simplistic. Like, I have never met anyone, even its fans, who deny it.
I think you're being a bit extreme. I haven't played in a group that rolled stats in years, and that group's DM had people roll so many arrays of "4d6 drop 1" that it was effectively "choose your stats, but don't get crazy".

I'm actually kind of disappointed that ability scores are even in the game, to be honest. It's just busywork to convert the ability score to the ability modifier that affects (most of?) the game's math. I haven't been through the whole book yet, so I can't say definitively, but I can't think of a single instance so far where your raw score matters.

I think Paizo may very well "pull a D&D 4e", but I doubt it'll be because of ability score generation.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Formless » 2018-08-09 04:47pm

No, I admit I don't have the time to read the book. I'm already knee deep in a campaign that is a mix of Pathfinder and 3E, so that limits my interest already. But I do like Piazo and Pathfinder, so I find it disappointing that they are going in that direction when it only makes sense in Organized play groups.
houser2112 wrote:I think you're being a bit extreme. I haven't played in a group that rolled stats in years, and that group's DM had people roll so many arrays of "4d6 drop 1" that it was effectively "choose your stats, but don't get crazy".
Whereas my group has never allowed point buy in over a decade of playing D&D and D20 system games; moreover my current DM actually forced his previous group to roll their stats once right in front of him to prevent re-roll shenanigans (he trusted us enough not to do that, though it probably helps he's my in-law). Just because you play a certain way does not make it a good way of playing. Nor does it make it the preferred way of playing for most players or play groups. The reason we throw dice is to raise the variance between campaigns, so that even if you choose to play the same class twice in a row you aren't playing the same character. Backgrounds do not help, because if the character can do something, and the player is used to solving problems with that tool of skill, that's how they are going to solve problems, Background be damned. Which leads to play dynamics that get very, very stale. Thus, stat rolls. They prevent you from finding a comfort zone. When point buy is allowed a lot of players will simply come to you with a character build they found online, which feels frankly insulting to those who put in the effort to come up with something they can call their own, especially the new players. And the new players are only slowed down by point buy as well. In fact, one great way of creating a character when you aren't sure what you want to do is to throw the dice and assign them in the order you threw them. Start with Strength and work your way down. You never know what kind of character you will get, and that's what's fun about it. But most people have never tried it before, unless they have played AD&D at some point.
I'm actually kind of disappointed that ability scores are even in the game, to be honest. It's just busywork to convert the ability score to the ability modifier that affects (most of?) the game's math. I haven't been through the whole book yet, so I can't say definitively, but I can't think of a single instance so far where your raw score matters.
Which is a shame, because like I said the more character class matters (like in 5E) the less the player's customization decisions matter, and players are more inclined to play paper thin cliches.
I think Paizo may very well "pull a D&D 4e", but I doubt it'll be because of ability score generation.
Maybe not directly, but the less effort the designers put into giving players valid options and encouragement to vary the kinds of characters they make, the more the game will suffer for it. Stats could well become a symptom of a bigger problem: lazy game design, video game inspired design, and overemphasis on game balance, the final thing being what killed 4E and to a degree also infests the design choices of 5E. Plus there is the tendency to cater towards organized play, which only represents a fraction of RP gamers.

I mean, for a long time I didn't pay any attention to Pathfinder. I was more interested in the homebrew scene for 3E. What finally sucked me in was the sheer number of interesting classes they made for the game, and that in itself is reason not to play the sequel game until later in its lifespan. For whatever reason, they always want to reboot D20 games with the same damn twelve boring classes when the really interesting things are the oddball shit like Kineticists, Shamans, Alchemists, Investigators, Brawlers, Vigilantes, etc. Who at this point really wants to play a Fighter anymore? Or a Paladin? Screw those classes. They suck.
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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Jub » 2018-08-09 05:18pm

houser2112 wrote:
2018-08-09 10:11am
I agree that a cross between those systems is what we could expect, but I would say there are a lot more 4Eisms in PF2 than 5Eisms.
Yeah, upon further reading it does have a fair bit of 4e in it. Some of that is good, weapons feeling unique, very defined ways to upgrade your character and equipment, very clearly written rules. Other bits are bad, so much rules text it feels they had to cut descriptions, especially in spells, and some options feel pretty narrow.
Ability score generation is neat, but their handling of raceancestry is weird. Other than size, speed, hit points, languages, vision, and ability adjustments, you have to buy racial features with ancestry feats, which you only get one of to start. If you want to be a half-elf or half-orc, you have to spend that feat to turn a human into your desired race. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet, but it's a significant change in how things work.
It does seem a little odd that races seem to evolve as you gain levels. Human's taking a feat to be half-breeds actually kind of works. The feat you take gives some racial features in addition to unlocking other goodies while giving enough of a bonus to feel like 2/3rds of a normal feat.
The multiclass/archetype system is a radical departure from both 3.PF and 5E. These systems, you actually take a level in your new class and get either all (3.PF) or some (5E) of its features. With 3.PF, there was no mechanical impediment to taking whatever other base class you wanted (leaving prestige classes out of this since 5E lacks them); with 5E, you had ability requirements and didn't get all of the features of the new class. With PF2, you are always whatever class you start with, and you have ability score and skill training requirements to take the "dedication" feat of your off-class (which are admittedly pretty good), at which point you can spend your class feats to gain class feats from the off-class as if you were half level. You can't take a different dedication feat until you've taken two class feats from your off-class.

This opens up new possibilities, but closes off others. However, it should be noted that they've heavily siloed combat styles in PF2. Rangers are good with (have class feats that support) crossbows and two-weapon fighting. If you want any other style, you have to multi into fighter, where all the generic combat style feats are. This is awful, and one of my biggest complaints.
Not what I meant. I was talking about the 5e system where each class gets a few different very clearly defined paths has kind of crossed over with Pathfinders system where you can modify a class by taking an Archetype.

As for multiclassing, it really feels like Paizo and WotC want to get away from how 3.x worked with regards to optimal builds often having half or more of their levels tied up in dips to take the juiciest bits of other classes. I get the appeal, but I'll miss that level of freedom and specificity in how my mechanics match up to my fluff.
I'll add that your level is added to just about everything you do. This solves the problem of wide disparity between the success rate of skills between the haves and have nots, but introduces verisimilitude problems. YMMV on whether that's an acceptable trade. Increased training opens up additional things you can do (in the form of skill feats), but has a negligible effect on how well you can do them. Untrained is -2, and legendary is +3, so there is a max bonus difference of 5 for things that anyone can do.
Yeah, you can easily be a jack-of-all or a master of few with how they do skill upgrades and skill feats. It's a nice balance between skill points and 5es bounded stat system.
You forgot skill feats, as I mentioned above. You get each of these feat types at specific levels, regardless of class. Heritage feats are a specific kind of ancestry feat that can only be taken at 1st level.
Yeah, I was skimming. It's worth noting that many (all?) skill feats also have the general tag so if skills are your thing go nuts.
The change from spells autoscaling to having to pay for increased power ("Heightening" in PF2) is similar to 5E, but the similarity ends there. With 5E, you prepare (if you're a prepared caster) a subset of your repertoire, and can spontaneously cast from that subset (the jargon term for this is neovancian). PF2 prepared casters are still paleovancian (specific spells in specific slots). Not only does heightening increase potency (+2d6/level for fireball), but for certain spells, heightening gives you what used to be separate spells (greater invisibility is now just invisibility heightened to 4th level, and all the summon monster X spells are collapsed into summon monster). Prepared casters need only know a spell once, and prepare it in whatever slot they want. Spontaneous casters can only freely heighten two spells per day, chosen during "daily preparations". Otherwise, you must know a spell at every level you intend to heighten it. This awful feature, that builds on a prepared caster's strength and a spontaneous caster's weakness, is justified by Paizo as a check on the sorcerer's power and for eliminating "analysis paralysis" at the table (a bullshit argument, IMHO).
Yeah, I hate that spontaneous casters, with a few exceptions over the years, have always felt like the weaker option over their prepared counterparts. Sorcerers shouldn't feel like a Wizard with training wheels and only toys that don't have sharp edges. It's an easy enough houserule to go to a 5e style casting system or find some other fix and it's something I'll be giving feedback on when I finally run the adventure and submit my playtest notes.
This applies to virtually every d20 roll you make, but I'll mention it here: there are now variable effects for degree of success/failure. Exceeding the DC by 10 gives you a critical success, and failing by 10 gives you a critical failure. Each action (attack, spell, skill use, etc) details what these effects are, if any.
Yeah, I like the system it rewards specialization without being overly harsh on those that are merely competant at the same skill.
I could live with raising a shield requiring an action, but the fact that they can only absorb as much damage as their hardness, and that they become damaged when that happens make them much to fiddly and unreliable to bother with.
It's a use of a reaction that you might not have another use for, and you still get the base shield AC bonus even if you never block damage with your shield. It's also halfway between the old toggle off and on of defensive fighting in older editions.

I haven't looked over the feats but some means of raising the shield as a free action would be welcome.
The variety of weapons is huge. The biggest change I've seen is that longbows have the "volley X" property, which gives you a -2 penalty within X feet (50 in the case of [composite] long bows). The feat to mitigate this penalty, Point-Blank Shot, is a fighter feat.
It feels like there are reasons to break out of the usual weapons you see in every game now. Even simple weapons, in the right hands, can feel pretty strong these days.
The 3-action system is a nice streamlining of the mess of actions 3.PF had. It doesn't have the movement freedom that 5E allows, but at least it supports move-attack-move that incurred a heavy feat tax in 3.PF.
Three action is also very much linked to spellcasting with each action type (Verbal, Somatic, Spell Component) costing one of your three actions that round.
You forgot to mention probably the biggest and most controversial change they've made: Resonance (level + Charisma mod). You have to invest RP each day to wear magic items, and spend RP to activate magic items, including consumables like potions, scrolls, and wands. The days of needing to have a cleric in your party are back!
I think making Charisma worth a damn outside of diplomancy is a noble goal, but Resonance is something I'll need to see in action.

As for Clerics, they seem back to being buffers and healers again. I was enjoying the combat spells that 5e had given the class and 3.x Clerics were just swiss army knives or specialists that beat most other specialists depending on how nuts you wanted to go.
I'm honestly not sure who their target audience is, because it's such a mixed bag. 4E fans might like the multiclassing, but it lacks 4E's shared AEDU resource structure (I never played 4E so I can't comment further). It's much more crunchy than 5E (the learning curve is steep) and lacks 5E's GM empowerment (it's definitely a "rules, not rulings" system). It's probably closest to 3.PF, but it slaughters so many sacred cows I can't confidently say that it will get fans of that system to switch. I know that it wouldn't inspire this 3.PF fan to switch as-is.
4e fans won't leave 4e because nothing will ever be enough like 4e to capture all the gameplay loops unique to that system. They might peak over but I think most of them won't stay.

5e plays might pop in, this is less of a wall than 3.x/PF is, and stay for clearer in book rulings on things. 5e has issues of being fuzzy and at least some groups have issues with that.

3.x fans will likely pop over just for something new. 3.x/PF has been around for more than some D&D players have been alive and for everything it does well it can be clunky at times.

Not all of these groups will stick or fully migrate but I suspect that PF 2e has enough broad appeal to get players from all of the PF/D&D spectra to at least page through and try a one-shot.

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Formless wrote:
2018-08-09 03:16pm
No dice rolling of stats? Get out. Even 5E has the option, because your class doesn't influence the numbers any.

I don't say that out of tradition, but because deterministic point buy and similar stat allocation systems are both unrealistic (real people vary in physical and mental ability at the start of any venture) and lead to abusive optimization/standardization of character builds. If I walk into twelve groups and literally every wizard has exactly the same numbers, I refuse to play that game or with those groups. The fact that the class adds a bonus to stats as well just makes stats completely redundant. You might as well just get rid of them completely and determine effects of attacks, spells, and so forth by the class. Then add optional abilities determined by race and background. It would certainly simplify gameplay over always referring back to six base numbers for all of the math.

I hope Piazo realizes what a dumbass idea it is to have character class modify stats, at minimum. Then I can simply ignore everything else and play it the way I always have. Or else I won't bother with Pathfinder 2e at all. It would certainly be ironic if they pull a D&D 4e and get killed by their own prior edition... just like 4e. Because I know many, many people who stick with Pathfinder specifically because 5E is too simplistic. Like, I have never met anyone, even its fans, who deny it.
You can roll stats, but it doesn't feel supported as the primary means of character generation and, let's be honest, it hasn't exactly been a staple of modern systems for at least a decade.

A proper breakdown of PF 2e's stat spread for non-human races goes as follows.

Base 10 stats across the board.

Non-human Race: +2 to two specific stats, +2 to a stat of the player's choice, -2 to a single stat
Human: +2 to two stats of the player's choice

Background: +2 to one of two stats, +2 to a stat of the player's choice

Class: +2 to that class's primary stat

Universal: +2 to 4 stats of the player's choice

As for classes modifying stats, they give a +2 boost to their primary stat and that's it. It makes some sense that years of training for that role have made you better at to the point where you're generally better at a lot of related tasks.

If you wanted to roll, I honestly feel like rolling a d4 for each stat and having 1 mean -4 to that stat, 2 mean -2 to that stat, 3 meaning +1 to that stat, and 4 meaning +4 to that stat make the most sense. 4d6 drop lowest feels like a throwback at this point given how PF 2e has been designed.

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houser2112 wrote:
2018-08-09 03:53pm
I think you're being a bit extreme. I haven't played in a group that rolled stats in years, and that group's DM had people roll so many arrays of "4d6 drop 1" that it was effectively "choose your stats, but don't get crazy".

I'm actually kind of disappointed that ability scores are even in the game, to be honest. It's just busywork to convert the ability score to the ability modifier that affects (most of?) the game's math. I haven't been through the whole book yet, so I can't say definitively, but I can't think of a single instance so far where your raw score matters.

I think Paizo may very well "pull a D&D 4e", but I doubt it'll be because of ability score generation.
Yeah, you could go with straight modifiers or even a stat pip system at this stage. That said most stat pip systems are capped at some stage and just using modifiers means having negative base stats so I can somewhat see why, nostalgia and familiarity aside, that they're keen on keeping the traditional D&D stats.

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Formless wrote:
2018-08-09 04:47pm
No, I admit I don't have the time to read the book. I'm already knee deep in a campaign that is a mix of Pathfinder and 3E, so that limits my interest already. But I do like Piazo and Pathfinder, so I find it disappointing that they are going in that direction when it only makes sense in Organized play groups.
It's really a balance thing and while I get that long time groups with established house rules can throw balance to the wind, it does help new players and pickup style games which is huge for actually growing a game these days.
Whereas my group has never allowed point buy in over a decade of playing D&D and D20 system games; moreover my current DM actually forced his previous group to roll their stats once right in front of him to prevent re-roll shenanigans (he trusted us enough not to do that, though it probably helps he's my in-law). Just because you play a certain way does not make it a good way of playing. Nor does it make it the preferred way of playing for most players or play groups. The reason we throw dice is to raise the variance between campaigns, so that even if you choose to play the same class twice in a row you aren't playing the same character. Backgrounds do not help, because if the character can do something, and the player is used to solving problems with that tool of skill, that's how they are going to solve problems, Background be damned. Which leads to play dynamics that get very, very stale. Thus, stat rolls. They prevent you from finding a comfort zone. When point buy is allowed a lot of players will simply come to you with a character build they found online, which feels frankly insulting to those who put in the effort to come up with something they can call their own, especially the new players. And the new players are only slowed down by point buy as well. In fact, one great way of creating a character when you aren't sure what you want to do is to throw the dice and assign them in the order you threw them. Start with Strength and work your way down. You never know what kind of character you will get, and that's what's fun about it. But most people have never tried it before, unless they have played AD&D at some point.
I started with 3.0 and moved to 3.5 and I've both rolled stats, bought stats, used arrays, and come up with my own systems for stats on top of it all. At the end of the day, your base stats matter way less than feats, skills, classes, teamwork, and the backstory you create for your character.

If you want to play Regrar the oafish Rogue, just assign your stats to suit that character and build him appropriately. Just don't complain when other more 'optimal' builds sometimes steal your thunder in less RP heavy sections of the game. Just like how nobody should complain when 3d6 in order rolls that one guy the Paladin and the other guy sir Joe the barely average in the same character generation session.
Which is a shame, because like I said the more character class matters (like in 5E) the less the player's customization decisions matter, and players are more inclined to play paper thin cliches.
Stats may as well just be modifiers in 3.x/PF anyway. The odd stat levels only really matter for a few feats and making it awkward half the time you place a stat upgrade. Functionally having a stat of 14 and a stat of 2 do the same thing in a system where you've decoupled stat modifiers from base stats. You could deal with odd levels by having characters choose a stat or two to mark as special interest and say that you either need 2 and a stat focus or 3 to take certain feats.
For whatever reason, they always want to reboot D20 games with the same damn twelve boring classes when the really interesting things are the oddball shit like Kineticists, Shamans, Alchemists, Investigators, Brawlers, Vigilantes, etc. Who at this point really wants to play a Fighter anymore? Or a Paladin? Screw those classes. They suck.
PF2e starts with Alchemist, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard this go around and offers some multiclassing and what seems like a very early look at prestige classes. Lots of Pathfinder's oddball stuff is what multiclassing should look like (Brawler as a prime example) while others aren't setting neutral enough for pure core (Gunslinger) though things like Summoner, Warlock, Witches really should start being seen as core classes these days.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by houser2112 » 2018-08-09 05:23pm

Formless wrote:
2018-08-09 04:47pm
houser2112 wrote:I'm actually kind of disappointed that ability scores are even in the game, to be honest. It's just busywork to convert the ability score to the ability modifier that affects (most of?) the game's math. I haven't been through the whole book yet, so I can't say definitively, but I can't think of a single instance so far where your raw score matters.
Which is a shame, because like I said the more character class matters (like in 5E) the less the player's customization decisions matter, and players are more inclined to play paper thin cliches.
I was too quick to make a comment before leaving for work, and immediately after shutting down, remembered that multiclassing requires a 16 in an ability score, and ability boosts above 18 only give you 1 instead of 2, so raw score matters at least that much. My point remains, that extra step to go from score to modifier is annoying and vestigial, and should have been exised like the burst appendix it is.

I don''t have time right now to properly reply to the rest of your comment.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Mr Bean » 2018-08-09 05:42pm

One thing I need to comment on because it's almost there but not there yet in the current system is Fighter combos with openers and presses which sadly don't work at the moment but the idea behind them is great even if the execution fails for the system assumption that your setting up these combos for someone else.

Or to put it another way, the fighter abilities are design to not let them solo but team very well, so a fighter can make an enemy flat footed to let the rogue get a backstab but he can't flat foot the enemy so he can hit them easier. Same thing with other abilities a great idea you can't benefit from.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Formless » 2018-08-09 07:05pm

Jub wrote:You can roll stats, but it doesn't feel supported as the primary means of character generation and, let's be honest, it hasn't exactly been a staple of modern systems for at least a decade.
And yet most of the Pathfinder players I've seen prefer the 4d6-drop lowest method over point buy unless they specifically want to play around with builds or are involved in organized play. And even many 5E players I've seen prefer it over stat arrays. So unless there is a statistic proving which method is actually preferred by the majority of people who play the two biggest RPGs on the market, I'm inclined to ignore that as an anomaly rather than a reflection of what people actually prefer.

And anyway, regular point buy seems to have far fewer steps involved than whatever the hell they are currently experimenting with.
If you wanted to roll, I honestly feel like rolling a d4 for each stat and having 1 mean -4 to that stat, 2 mean -2 to that stat, 3 meaning +1 to that stat, and 4 meaning +4 to that stat make the most sense. 4d6 drop lowest feels like a throwback at this point given how PF 2e has been designed.
My preferred method currently is 1d12+6 prior to adding or subtracting racial modifiers. Its the simplest and fastest method I've found, and it creates a good ammount of variance without worrying about generally having a score lower than 7. Oh, yeah, that's another thing I've found to be fun. I've met a lot of people who have simply never played a character with a score lower than 10, because its unlikely with the 4d6-drop method, and flat out does not happen with the point buy or standard array methods. Its a risk I like taking, because characters with genuine weaknesses are more interesting. Although...
If you want to play Regrar the oafish Rogue, just assign your stats to suit that character and build him appropriately. Just don't complain when other more 'optimal' builds sometimes steal your thunder in less RP heavy sections of the game. Just like how nobody should complain when 3d6 in order rolls that one guy the Paladin and the other guy sir Joe the barely average in the same character generation session.
This is a common strawman, but not what I am talking about. Few people outright desire to play an incompitent, but what variance does is sometimes force you to play a character with an 18 in one stat and an 8 in another. Having such a large disparity between your strengths and weaknesses makes both feel more important, and also makes the characters feel more organic than the often very flat distributions people make up so they don't feel vulnerable to any one situation. But when people do point buy, they almost always avoid scores lower than 10. Its also important to make sure that if one person is rolling dice, everyone at the table is. Its the only fair way.

Also, I would consider spotlight hogs to be as much a problem with the DM as with the system or the player. Our current DM talks to us between sessions, and one of the things he did to ensure no one player could hog the spotlight was simply ask each player to come up with an in game goal for the character (as opposed to a meta-goal like entering some prestige class or some shit). If one player seems too overbearing, the next adventure simply shifts to a plot hook of interest to a different player's goals. If a player becomes too domineering in combat, they might find themselves fighting a nemesis tailor made for them, and its all justified because we have to actually relate to the game world. We aren't allowed to make aimless murderhobos.
It's really a balance thing and while I get that long time groups with established house rules can throw balance to the wind, it does help new players and pickup style games which is huge for actually growing a game these days.
What is important for new players is to find old players who can show them the ropes. The entry point is never the book, its the living tradition of experienced role players. Picking up on the dynamics of the table is more important than learning the rules. This is something we had to learn when we were teenagers, because while we wanted to play it was kind of awkward and no one knew how to DM until we met someone who had been playing RPGs with their parents since they were, like, 8 or something. Up until that point we had been treating it like a wargame or a board game, but it was only after meeting the more experienced player (relatively) that it clicked for us and changed our fundamental approach. So as far as I'm concerned, in order to grow a new game you still absolutely need to attract old players, because they bring with them the meta-knowledge that is transferrable between games and the social framework for really enjoying these games.
Stats may as well just be modifiers in 3.x/PF anyway. The odd stat levels only really matter for a few feats and making it awkward half the time you place a stat upgrade. Functionally having a stat of 14 and a stat of 2 do the same thing in a system where you've decoupled stat modifiers from base stats. You could deal with odd levels by having characters choose a stat or two to mark as special interest and say that you either need 2 and a stat focus or 3 to take certain feats.
I actually don't disagree with that. Its reminiscent of how FATE does things. However, its kind of a side note, not really relevant to how the stat/modifier should or shouldn't be determined.
PF2e starts with Alchemist, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard this go around and offers some multiclassing and what seems like a very early look at prestige classes. Lots of Pathfinder's oddball stuff is what multiclassing should look like (Brawler as a prime example) while others aren't setting neutral enough for pure core (Gunslinger) though things like Summoner, Warlock, Witches really should start being seen as core classes these days.
God, don't get me started on Prestige classes. In all my years of playing the game I have seen more people talk about taking a prestige class than actually enter one in a game. Honestly, Pathfinder's archetypes system made them completely redundant, because it allowed you to become the thing you wanted to be starting at level 1 rather than waiting until at least level 6 or higher to fulfill some nonsensical requirement that dragged you down in the meantime.

And I really, really wouldn't want to lose the Hybrid classes just because they feel like multiclassing. That was the whole point of the hybrid classes. It was easier to take a hybrid class than to work out the complicated math of multiclassing, and the flavor of the classes were great as well.

And I agree that Summoner, Warlock, and Witch are all something that needs to be seen as core these days. They offer interesting and distinct forms of magic, at least flavor wise, that doesn't really feel like its covered by the Wizard and Sorcerer classes. I also feel like the Psychic or Medium goes on the same list for the same reason. Meanwhile the Fighter should be combined into the Paladin, killing two birds with one stone: some people like playing the shiny knight character, but no one likes that character when they act like a Lawful Stupid douche. Or maybe do the opposite and fold the Paladin, Barbarian, and Monk into the Fighter as archetypes, because literally all of them feel like aesthetic rehashes of the same concept: I hit it with my sword (or fist).
Mr Bean wrote:One thing I need to comment on because it's almost there but not there yet in the current system is Fighter combos with openers and presses which sadly don't work at the moment but the idea behind them is great even if the execution fails for the system assumption that your setting up these combos for someone else.

Or to put it another way, the fighter abilities are design to not let them solo but team very well, so a fighter can make an enemy flat footed to let the rogue get a backstab but he can't flat foot the enemy so he can hit them easier. Same thing with other abilities a great idea you can't benefit from.
Personally, I have always felt like making an official Called Shots system would solve a lot of problems melee characters have with both power and feeling like their combat options are boring. It doesn't have to enable a level 1 character to behead a level 10 NPC, but just existing would allow fighters to nerf enemies without the players being pulled out of the game the way 4E's powers often did for people. And it also seems like any fighter paradigm based on how fencers attack humanoid opponents just doesn't work when fighting monsters (you basically can't trip anything with four legs, for instance).
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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Solauren » 2018-08-09 09:46pm

Not going to bother with it.

After 17 years of 3.X (including PF), converting to another system for my massive home campaign would be time consuming.

That, and I have d20 system books I haven't even looked at yet, or unleashed the contents of :)
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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Jub » 2018-08-09 11:12pm

Formless wrote:
2018-08-09 07:05pm
And yet most of the Pathfinder players I've seen prefer the 4d6-drop lowest method over point buy unless they specifically want to play around with builds or are involved in organized play. And even many 5E players I've seen prefer it over stat arrays. So unless there is a statistic proving which method is actually preferred by the majority of people who play the two biggest RPGs on the market, I'm inclined to ignore that as an anomaly rather than a reflection of what people actually prefer.

And anyway, regular point buy seems to have far fewer steps involved than whatever the hell they are currently experimenting with.
Regular point buy also has sliding cost scales where a point spent doesn't always equal a point gained and some have systems where you can subtract points to gain extra points. This system is literally add or subtract two points from the stat the game tells you to, repeat until all +2s and -2s have been applied with the only exception being no stat over 18 at level 1.

It's so simple you could do it randomly for any freely allocated points.

For my Dwarf, Acolyte, Cleric my auto assigned stats leave me at:

Str: 10 - Dex: 10 - Con: 12 - Int: 10 - Wis: 14 - Cha: 8

I have one +2 that can go between Con and Wis, that should be easy enough to random, in this case let's say it goes to Wis, so:

Str: 10 - Dex: 10 - Con: 12 - Int: 10 - Wis: 16 - Cha: 8

Now I have five +2 boosts to apply randomly. If I roll Wis more than once I roll again. I rolled 3, 3, 4, 4, 6 on 5 d6 so that's Con +4, Int +4, Cha +2 for:

Str: 10 - Dex: 10 - Con: 16 - Int: 14 - Wis: 16 - Cha: 10

Not what I'd have picked if I had full control, but easily a passable Cleric with some neat, probably skill focused flavor.

I can go one step more random and roll a d4 for each stat and using the system described below swing a stat by as much as +4/-4.

Trying this method I rolled 2, 4, 4, 3, 1, 2 for -2, +4, +4, +2, -4, -2 for a final stat array of:

Str: 8 - Dex: 14 - Con: 18 - Int: 16 - Wis: 12 - Cha: 8

I should have done this to start because my Con tried to go to 20. I'll assign that to Wis for a more passable Cleric and end with a finally, final stat array of:

Str: 8 - Dex: 14 - Con: 18 - Int: 16 - Wis: 14 - Cha: 8

TLDR; The basic method is: Assign any fixed stat points, then roll for any stats that are assigned between a fixed number of stats, and finally roll for the free stats. Reroll for any stat that tries to go above 18 or below 6.

The advanced method is: Roll 1d4 six times, in order if you're feeling old school, where 1 is that stat -4, 2 is stat -2, 3 is stat +2, and 4 is stat +4. Apply these increases to you base 10 stats. Then apply the basic steps listed above. Done and dusted.
My preferred method currently is 1d12+6 prior to adding or subtracting racial modifiers. Its the simplest and fastest method I've found, and it creates a good ammount of variance without worrying about generally having a score lower than 7. Oh, yeah, that's another thing I've found to be fun. I've met a lot of people who have simply never played a character with a score lower than 10, because its unlikely with the 4d6-drop method, and flat out does not happen with the point buy or standard array methods. Its a risk I like taking, because characters with genuine weaknesses are more interesting. Although...
I've tended to run characters with at least some bad stats in point buy systems, but just as often with 4d6 drop lowest, you don't really get many bad stats. I also find heroic stats of 5d6 drop lowest, reroll your lowest stat and replace it if your new roll is better fun under the right circumstances.

In Cyberpunk 2020 I even designed a system for custom stat rolls so players would, likely, have a set number of high, medium, and low stats to force so build varriety. The base stat system for that game is point buy, no sliding scale, and some stats are vastly more useful than others. The other methods are too random (straight d10's for all 9 stats) or produce higher stats too often (1d6+4) so I wanted a change for my game.
This is a common strawman, but not what I am talking about. Few people outright desire to play an incompitent, but what variance does is sometimes force you to play a character with an 18 in one stat and an 8 in another.
You do realize that pretty much any system with dump stats does this right? Most optimized builds for D&D tend to dump a stat they don't need creating this exact scenario, the usual stats to dump are Charisma for 90% of classes and Strength for any non-melee class that doesn't need to worry about equipment weight. Lots of min-max builds would tank those stats past 8 if they could get away with it.
What is important for new players is to find old players who can show them the ropes. The entry point is never the book, its the living tradition of experienced role players. Picking up on the dynamics of the table is more important than learning the rules. This is something we had to learn when we were teenagers, because while we wanted to play it was kind of awkward and no one knew how to DM until we met someone who had been playing RPGs with their parents since they were, like, 8 or something. Up until that point we had been treating it like a wargame or a board game, but it was only after meeting the more experienced player (relatively) that it clicked for us and changed our fundamental approach. So as far as I'm concerned, in order to grow a new game you still absolutely need to attract old players, because they bring with them the meta-knowledge that is transferrable between games and the social framework for really enjoying these games.
You put a lot of words into my mouth there. The biggest draw for new players is easy drop in organized play with a decent advertising reach and a nice clean place to play. The rules, such as point buy or even premade characters, along with a balanced play experience then provide a nice easy on ramp for them to eventually split off from organized play and start their own group.
God, don't get me started on Prestige classes. In all my years of playing the game I have seen more people talk about taking a prestige class than actually enter one in a game.
It depends on the game's starting level I think. Given the strangely arcane system of requirements and the lore weirdness with prestige classes, it's often too much work for the player and/or DM to allow for the player to actually adopt one in play. They are good ideas in theory but often poor in execution.
Honestly, Pathfinder's archetypes system made them completely redundant, because it allowed you to become the thing you wanted to be starting at level 1 rather than waiting until at least level 6 or higher to fulfill some nonsensical requirement that dragged you down in the meantime.
I agree.
And I really, really wouldn't want to lose the Hybrid classes just because they feel like multiclassing. That was the whole point of the hybrid classes. It was easier to take a hybrid class than to work out the complicated math of multiclassing, and the flavor of the classes were great as well.
You could easily just say something like:

Brawler: Fighter 1, Dex and Wis of at least 14 each, take Monk at level 2, proceed taking fighter on odd and monk on even levels.
At character level 5 replace class ability x with class ability y (see page blah), at 10 replace w with z, at 15 replace a with b, at 20 pick from these three cool things.

Repeat for all hybrid classes, maybe even change up hybrid classes based on which class you took at level 1.

If you want hybrid classes it's not hard to design around them.
And I agree that Summoner, Warlock, and Witch are all something that needs to be seen as core these days. They offer interesting and distinct forms of magic, at least flavor wise, that doesn't really feel like its covered by the Wizard and Sorcerer classes. I also feel like the Psychic or Medium goes on the same list for the same reason.
Yeah, getting from 12 to say 18 base classes would be a nice step and make new core systems feel more feature rich.
Meanwhile the Fighter should be combined into the Paladin, killing two birds with one stone: some people like playing the shiny knight character, but no one likes that character when they act like a Lawful Stupid douche. Or maybe do the opposite and fold the Paladin, Barbarian, and Monk into the Fighter as archetypes, because literally all of them feel like aesthetic rehashes of the same concept: I hit it with my sword (or fist).
Nah, lost of players like the sheer simplicity of the fighter and smashing all those classes into one takes away from that. Just because you and your group find them passe doesn't mean they're pointless.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Formless » 2018-08-10 12:53am

Jub wrote:You do realize that pretty much any system with dump stats does this right? Most optimized builds for D&D tend to dump a stat they don't need creating this exact scenario, the usual stats to dump are Charisma for 90% of classes and Strength for any non-melee class that doesn't need to worry about equipment weight. Lots of min-max builds would tank those stats past 8 if they could get away with it.
I know about dump stats, but people tend to talk about them in the abstract as if they will never be relevant in practice because "this class doesn't use this stat". However, if they know ahead of time that the DM will have NPC's willing to trick them or socially outmaneuver them then it becomes much more punishing to dump Charisma just because you aren't playing a Bard or Sorcerer. Strength likewise might seem like a safe stat for a Wizard to dump... until you learn you have to infiltrate a castle by climbing the walls. Or swim. Online, people talk about dumping stats based on your class, but in practice you will need what you don't have. If you know that ahead of time (and people are not stupid), you tend to make your ability array flatter even if it means shaving away some optimization. Hence why scores lower than 10 are so rare among point buy users.

Of course, that depends on how the DM perceives your decisions on whether or not to dump a stat or bring a pre-gen build to the table. If you don't do that or if you roll for stats the DM will more likely reward you for playing up to your strengths and weaknesses instead of punishing you for them. The game goes much smoother when the DM feels like the players aren't trying to undermine their efforts to challenge the players. To me this is a far more important dynamic than balance, although the two are easily confused.
You put a lot of words into my mouth there. The biggest draw for new players is easy drop in organized play with a decent advertising reach and a nice clean place to play. The rules, such as point buy or even premade characters, along with a balanced play experience then provide a nice easy on ramp for them to eventually split off from organized play and start their own group.
Organized play is a completely different animal, nowhere comparable to a house game. I've heard many, many people bitch about how limiting organized play is, in that it doesn't even follow the same rules sometimes as the ones you see in the book. 5E's organized play for instance is apparently about to do away with experience points altogether even though the essential rules uses them. You also don't actually get to keep your loot, which is bizarre to me, but is apparently intended to railroad you so that you keep to the intended story arc. As if a RPG should have an intended story arc! IMO RPGs should not be comparable to a television show. You shouldn't do it all the time, but you should always have the freedom to do things the DM didn't or couldn't anticipate. The experience of organized play is about as similar to traditional role playing as MMOs are.

Most RPGs don't have organized play. Their publishers can't afford it like Hasbro and Piazo can. Also, I don't think Piazo lets you bring third party material for Pathfinder to organized play, but tons of people buy it anyway because that isn't the main selling point of Pathfinder. Most people are playing it with friends at home or wherever they have agreed to meet up.

Plus, this assumes organized play is even available where you live. As far as I can tell, both Piazo and Hasbro don't care about the Denver suburbs where I live. Though I'm not really looking for it either, so maybe I'm wrong; but I do know there are markets and countries like Brazil where Hasbro just doesn't give a fuck. But I know for a fact that mine is not the only play group in town that is disconnected from organized play. I can go to a tea shop down the road about two miles that caters to geeks and gamers and last I checked every night there are 5E players with dice out at the tables. The shop even has a room you can rent out specifically for the purpose.
You could easily just say something like:

Brawler: Fighter 1, Dex and Wis of at least 14 each, take Monk at level 2, proceed taking fighter on odd and monk on even levels.
At character level 5 replace class ability x with class ability y (see page blah), at 10 replace w with z, at 15 replace a with b, at 20 pick from these three cool things.

Repeat for all hybrid classes, maybe even change up hybrid classes based on which class you took at level 1.

If you want hybrid classes it's not hard to design around them.
But why would I go through all the effort? Moreover, the monk has a lot of baggage that I might not want (like a focus on Chinese weapons, n alignment requirement, and Chi nonsense), because its the Monk. If I want to play a Monk that's what I'm going to play. But maybe I feel like its Chinese aesthetic clashes with the world around which the character is embedded. If so, a Brawler is just a better fit.

The game is essentially class based, and so more classes is simply better than fewer. I know people like Solauren who didn't move on from 3E even now because there were so many classes they wanted to get around to playing. Gunslinger for instance should be a signature class of Pathfinder that can be found in the main book; if some DMs don't feel like firearms fit in their game then it should (and does) have an archetype for crossbow specialists that will fit. Real character options are always superior to multiclassing hacks.
Nah, lost of players like the sheer simplicity of the fighter and smashing all those classes into one takes away from that. Just because you and your group find them passe doesn't mean they're pointless.
I'm actually far from the first person to suggest that the Fighter is an inherently bad class. Look around Giant in the Playground some time and you will find the consensus that yeah, its never going to get better because of its identity problem. Its the one class that isn't defined by trope so much as function... and unfortunately that also means that all of the interesting (or powerful) functions get handed to other classes with a strong trope defining them. You will never be as good a brute as a Barbarian because you don't get the rage ability (without multiclassing). You should be able to make a better TWF Fighter, but in practice its hard to pull off and not really worth it. The gunslinger has all the cool trick shots and grit abilities, and you don't, although the fighter is perhaps the best archer in the game. The monk will always be a better fisticuffs character than you even though your whole class is defined by their ability to fight in melee distance. And the Paladin is the Knight in Shining Armor by definition. To do anything interesting with the Fighter requires chaining together a dozen feats, most of which are prerequisite feats because game designers have yet to realize that feat chains are cancer (something I hear Wizards at least finally learned in 5E). But the problem would go away if they stopped looking at the fighter as a template to justify the poorly realized feat system which was built on the class features of the AD&D 2E Warrior class to begin with.
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Jub
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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by Jub » 2018-08-10 05:09am

Formless wrote:
2018-08-10 12:53am
I know about dump stats, but people tend to talk about them in the abstract as if they will never be relevant in practice because "this class doesn't use this stat". However, if they know ahead of time that the DM will have NPC's willing to trick them or socially outmaneuver them then it becomes much more punishing to dump Charisma just because you aren't playing a Bard or Sorcerer. Strength likewise might seem like a safe stat for a Wizard to dump... until you learn you have to infiltrate a castle by climbing the walls. Or swim. Online, people talk about dumping stats based on your class, but in practice you will need what you don't have. If you know that ahead of time (and people are not stupid), you tend to make your ability array flatter even if it means shaving away some optimization. Hence why scores lower than 10 are so rare among point buy users.

Of course, that depends on how the DM perceives your decisions on whether or not to dump a stat or bring a pre-gen build to the table. If you don't do that or if you roll for stats the DM will more likely reward you for playing up to your strengths and weaknesses instead of punishing you for them. The game goes much smoother when the DM feels like the players aren't trying to undermine their efforts to challenge the players. To me this is a far more important dynamic than balance, although the two are easily confused.
It really depends but I'd also find a DM punishing the player or rewarding them based solely on how they built the mechanical side of their character to end up in player vs. DM territory. I get that this may not be your experience, but constantly throwing social encounters at a low charisma character should have the logical end result that said character falls away from society or is simply ignored at said events once the group targeting them loses interest. Low charisma people are boring and forgettable, not socially inept buffoons.

Low Strength is much the same, and often a stronger character can climb ahead of the weaker and help them up. Either by carrying up their pack, or by literally hauling them up the rope. Even with a party with no outstanding strength scores a block and tackle resolves many issues of strength quickly.
Organized play is a completely different animal, nowhere comparable to a house game. I've heard many, many people bitch about how limiting organized play is, in that it doesn't even follow the same rules sometimes as the ones you see in the book. 5E's organized play for instance is apparently about to do away with experience points altogether even though the essential rules uses them. You also don't actually get to keep your loot, which is bizarre to me, but is apparently intended to railroad you so that you keep to the intended story arc. As if a RPG should have an intended story arc! IMO RPGs should not be comparable to a television show. You shouldn't do it all the time, but you should always have the freedom to do things the DM didn't or couldn't anticipate. The experience of organized play is about as similar to traditional role playing as MMOs are.

Most RPGs don't have organized play. Their publishers can't afford it like Hasbro and Piazo can. Also, I don't think Piazo lets you bring third party material for Pathfinder to organized play, but tons of people buy it anyway because that isn't the main selling point of Pathfinder. Most people are playing it with friends at home or wherever they have agreed to meet up.

Plus, this assumes organized play is even available where you live. As far as I can tell, both Piazo and Hasbro don't care about the Denver suburbs where I live. Though I'm not really looking for it either, so maybe I'm wrong; but I do know there are markets and countries like Brazil where Hasbro just doesn't give a fuck. But I know for a fact that mine is not the only play group in town that is disconnected from organized play. I can go to a tea shop down the road about two miles that caters to geeks and gamers and last I checked every night there are 5E players with dice out at the tables. The shop even has a room you can rent out specifically for the purpose.
Paizo does do organized play, rather heavily, and while it's not for you they MUST design their game around it if they wish to continue organizing events for new and returning players who may not have another dedicated playgroup. Obviously different regions and countries will get less attention than others but it does not make the inclusion of organized play from the very earliest design phases any less of a priority for the writers of the largest PnP RPGs.
But why would I go through all the effort? Moreover, the monk has a lot of baggage that I might not want (like a focus on Chinese weapons, n alignment requirement, and Chi nonsense), because its the Monk. If I want to play a Monk that's what I'm going to play. But maybe I feel like its Chinese aesthetic clashes with the world around which the character is embedded. If so, a Brawler is just a better fit.
It's still less effort than writing fully realized hybrids for every class combination. Fighter --> Monk may have less mystical nonsense while Monk --> Fighter may embrace it and ditch more of the non-mystic fighter trappings. Obviously more classes are better, but resources will always have some limitations and this could be an elegant solution to that problem while adding more variety to a core rulebook.
The game is essentially class based, and so more classes is simply better than fewer. I know people like Solauren who didn't move on from 3E even now because there were so many classes they wanted to get around to playing. Gunslinger for instance should be a signature class of Pathfinder that can be found in the main book; if some DMs don't feel like firearms fit in their game then it should (and does) have an archetype for crossbow specialists that will fit. Real character options are always superior to multiclassing hacks.
I agree, I like 3.x/PF myself because they combine well and offer a lot of variety but a new game will always be hard pressed to catch up. Thus maybe placeholder hybrid classes could bridge that gap until more material is published. I'm not at all advocating 5es complete lack of content and reliance on 3rd party support, which many groups will simply disallow out of hand.
I'm actually far from the first person to suggest that the Fighter is an inherently bad class. Look around Giant in the Playground some time and you will find the consensus that yeah, its never going to get better because of its identity problem. Its the one class that isn't defined by trope so much as function... and unfortunately that also means that all of the interesting (or powerful) functions get handed to other classes with a strong trope defining them. You will never be as good a brute as a Barbarian because you don't get the rage ability (without multiclassing). You should be able to make a better TWF Fighter, but in practice its hard to pull off and not really worth it. The gunslinger has all the cool trick shots and grit abilities, and you don't, although the fighter is perhaps the best archer in the game. The monk will always be a better fisticuffs character than you even though your whole class is defined by their ability to fight in melee distance. And the Paladin is the Knight in Shining Armor by definition. To do anything interesting with the Fighter requires chaining together a dozen feats, most of which are prerequisite feats because game designers have yet to realize that feat chains are cancer (something I hear Wizards at least finally learned in 5E). But the problem would go away if they stopped looking at the fighter as a template to justify the poorly realized feat system which was built on the class features of the AD&D 2E Warrior class to begin with.
Yeah, I know about the class tier system. Fighters as a class are boring, only do anything in combat and are next to useless there. Players still fucking love them, though honestly the Knight found in 3.5's Player's Handbook 2 is just a better fighter in every way. If that became the new fighter I'd be entirely down, but as far as cutting out the warrior in heavy armor who fights entirely with his own guile and strength of arm archetype is a bad idea.

Tweak them to add extra affinity for magic arms and armor, give them more things to do in combat than just hit things for HP damage (combat maneuvers but with a less confusing system), and tack on some mostly RP stuff that has some crunch like a squire potentially the Knight's version of an animal companion or familiar. Just don't entirely cut them.

houser2112
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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by houser2112 » 2018-08-10 09:26am

Formless wrote:
2018-08-09 04:47pm
houser2112 wrote:I think you're being a bit extreme. I haven't played in a group that rolled stats in years, and that group's DM had people roll so many arrays of "4d6 drop 1" that it was effectively "choose your stats, but don't get crazy".
Whereas my group has never allowed point buy in over a decade of playing D&D and D20 system games; moreover my current DM actually forced his previous group to roll their stats once right in front of him to prevent re-roll shenanigans (he trusted us enough not to do that, though it probably helps he's my in-law). Just because you play a certain way does not make it a good way of playing. Nor does it make it the preferred way of playing for most players or play groups. The reason we throw dice is to raise the variance between campaigns, so that even if you choose to play the same class twice in a row you aren't playing the same character. Backgrounds do not help, because if the character can do something, and the player is used to solving problems with that tool of skill, that's how they are going to solve problems, Background be damned. Which leads to play dynamics that get very, very stale. Thus, stat rolls. They prevent you from finding a comfort zone. When point buy is allowed a lot of players will simply come to you with a character build they found online, which feels frankly insulting to those who put in the effort to come up with something they can call their own, especially the new players. And the new players are only slowed down by point buy as well. In fact, one great way of creating a character when you aren't sure what you want to do is to throw the dice and assign them in the order you threw them. Start with Strength and work your way down. You never know what kind of character you will get, and that's what's fun about it. But most people have never tried it before, unless they have played AD&D at some point.
I"m not going to invalidate what you say, but I think stat generation is not the problem if players are stuck in a rut. That DM I mentioned... one of the players always played a human male sword-and-board fighter. Every time. Despite being encouraged to branch out. Rolled for stats every time. Some men you just can't reach.

If was inclined to play a build I downloaded off the internet, I wouldn't let the fact that I have to roll for stats stop me from applying that build. I also wouldn't tell anyone either, because that's embarrassing. I wouldn't be insulted by someone at the table doing that, I'd be disappointed and internally mocking that they lack creativity and skill.

The fact is, and this is the reason why it exists, that point buy is more fair. You don't get one PC with 3 18s (by a noob guest player, the gf of one of the regulars. "what a waste", I thought!) and another with nothing above a 12. Every one is at the same relative power level, and no hard feelings.
I'm actually kind of disappointed that ability scores are even in the game, to be honest. It's just busywork to convert the ability score to the ability modifier that affects (most of?) the game's math. I haven't been through the whole book yet, so I can't say definitively, but I can't think of a single instance so far where your raw score matters.
Which is a shame, because like I said the more character class matters (like in 5E) the less the player's customization decisions matter, and players are more inclined to play paper thin cliches.
As I said in my brief comment earlier, what I said here isn't exactly true, but stats do matter, probably even more than in 3.PF, because you add level to almost every d20 roll. Customization matters, they've just changed how you go about getting them, and it's painful (for combat styles, anyway).
I think Paizo may very well "pull a D&D 4e", but I doubt it'll be because of ability score generation.
Maybe not directly, but the less effort the designers put into giving players valid options and encouragement to vary the kinds of characters they make, the more the game will suffer for it. Stats could well become a symptom of a bigger problem: lazy game design, video game inspired design, and overemphasis on game balance, the final thing being what killed 4E and to a degree also infests the design choices of 5E. Plus there is the tendency to cater towards organized play, which only represents a fraction of RP gamers.
This is a strange hill to die on. If anything, designing a system to generate scores other than random chance is by definition less lazy. Stat generation is something you do exactly once a character. The options you have after that is done matter far more, as you say.

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Re: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest Now Live

Post by houser2112 » 2018-08-10 10:02am

Jub wrote:
2018-08-09 05:18pm
Not what I meant. I was talking about the 5e system where each class gets a few different very clearly defined paths has kind of crossed over with Pathfinders system where you can modify a class by taking an Archetype.

As for multiclassing, it really feels like Paizo and WotC want to get away from how 3.x worked with regards to optimal builds often having half or more of their levels tied up in dips to take the juiciest bits of other classes. I get the appeal, but I'll miss that level of freedom and specificity in how my mechanics match up to my fluff.
Yes, that much is clear. This is a strange tactic for them, since that freedom is why they exist, frankly.
houser2112 wrote:
2018-08-09 10:11am
I could live with raising a shield requiring an action, but the fact that they can only absorb as much damage as their hardness, and that they become damaged when that happens make them much to fiddly and unreliable to bother with.
It's a use of a reaction that you might not have another use for, and you still get the base shield AC bonus even if you never block damage with your shield. It's also halfway between the old toggle off and on of defensive fighting in older editions.

I haven't looked over the feats but some means of raising the shield as a free action would be welcome.
That it uses a reaction is not my complaint, that they've introduced durability is. There is no "raise a shield as a free action" feat, but there is one that's pretty close, Shield Paragon (12th level fighter stance feat). It takes an Action to get into the stance, and from then on, your shield is always raised. There's a 14th level fighter feat Stance Savant, that allows you to enter a stance as a Free Action.
You forgot to mention probably the biggest and most controversial change they've made: Resonance (level + Charisma mod). You have to invest RP each day to wear magic items, and spend RP to activate magic items, including consumables like potions, scrolls, and wands. The days of needing to have a cleric in your party are back!
I think making Charisma worth a damn outside of diplomancy is a noble goal, but Resonance is something I'll need to see in action.

As for Clerics, they seem back to being buffers and healers again. I was enjoying the combat spells that 5e had given the class and 3.x Clerics were just swiss army knives or specialists that beat most other specialists depending on how nuts you wanted to go.
I don't need to see Resonance in action. It could be the most well-balanced, elegant system ever, I don't like the idea that you may not have the ability to chug a potion when you need to because you decided that earlier in the day you wanted to zap a wand.

As for clerics, they've always been buffers and healers, but 3.PF made them more. PF2 doesn't change that, it just changes the fact that you pretty much need magical healing now because you can't spam CLW wands anymore.

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