Pathfinder 2 Previews Run The Gauntlet
  • Pathfinder 2 Previews Run The Gauntlet


    Paizo released a few more teases about Pathfinder 2 on their Friday blog post about the upcoming game. In previous previews we saw some art and actual mechanics, but in this preview we're seeing more hints than reveals. Most of the hints have been for information previously given out in their blog posts, so let's looks at a few things.


    "The Fighter Class Preview previewed several fighter feats and class features, but one thing it didn't mention was fighters' ability to string together attacks to make powerful combinations. They do this through abilities that let them Fan attack or press the offensive—abilities with the open trait must come before any other attacks, and those with the press trait must come after you've already made an attack. Fighters can also enter stances, which are one of the most common types of open abilities, and grant various powerful benefits for the duration of the encounter or until you enter another stance." This is an interesting reveal that speaks to a big change in the capabilities of The Fighter class in the game. Obviously we don't yet know what this means mechanically for the class. Will this be a special class ability? Will there be special chains of feats? "Fighters can also enter stances, which are one of the most common types of open abilities, and grant various powerful benefits for the duration of the encounter or until you enter another stance."

    However it does work out for the Fighter, it sounds like this is something that will add complexity to combat. Are these abilities something that will always happen with the Fighter, or does a player have to remember and opt-in/activate the ability?

    For the Cleric there was this interesting reveal: "The Cleric Class Preview already included unity, but the Family domain also has the basic power soothing words, which dispels emotion effects on a target; this is actually extremely strong because as a power, it's always heightened to your highest possible level. This means it's quite tricky to keep up emotion effects on a Family cleric's allies, and you'll probably never need to prepare remove fear. Might has two options that are really good for heavily armored and high-Strength clerics. The basic power athletic exploit lets you ignore your armor's check penalty and movement speed reduction when you really need to, and enduring might is a reaction that reduces damage based on your Strength modifier and your cleric level."

    It sounds like there's going to be a wider buffet of abilities that are available to the cleric class as well.

    And then there were the reveals about the Rogue: "One thing about the rogue that's different than in Pathfinder First Edition is the rogue's focus on slippery mental defenses. In addition to the Cognitive Loophole feat mentioned in her preview blog, the rogue gains the slippery mind ability, which makes her a master at Will saves. Add in double debilitation, the ability to apply two debilitations to a foe at once, and you have a good sense of the rogue's odd-level features. But there are so many feats still hiding in the shadows. While the first blog focused on ways to get sneak attack, the rogue also has some fun ways to play with the action economy, including drawing and attacking with a weapon as a single action, or Stepping and Striking at a -1 penalty with the same action (in either order, perfect for flanking, entering reach, or forcing your foe to take an action to reach you). The rogue also has a pair of feats that allow her to poison weapons more easily, keep her poisons from being wasted, and create a bunch of doses of a very simple poison for free each day (this also works great with an alchemist on the team to make some really powerful poison for free every day). For those interested in traps, you can gain Trap Finder, which makes finding even the most devious traps easier and protects you against them, and Delay Trap, which can give you the time you need to escape the area when you accidentally set off a trap. However, unlike in Pathfinder First Edition, engaging with traps as a rogue is your choice."

    There were more hints about the Paladin as well. "Retributive Strike, first mentioned in the paladin blog, is a good way to add onto your damage while enfeebling enemies that dare to attack your allies, and all paladins have access to it at 1st level. Another ability all paladins receive is the righteous ally, a holy spirit that assists you from 3rd level on. There are three righteous allies to choose from (and you can take the Second Ally feat to gain another): blade, shield, and mount. Naturally, the blade righteous ally is the most offense-focused of the three, inhabiting your weapon (which you are free to change each day), and giving it the benefits of a property rune for the whole day. This starts with some simple properties like disrupting and ghost touch, but you can use feats to gain the benefits of more powerful runes; for instance, you can make your weapon dancing, allowing the spirit in your blade to attack on its own. The first major blade righteous ally feat is Blade of Justice, which is parallel to the Pathfinder First Edition paladin's smite evil—you declare a target to face judgment and deal extra damage to evil foes."

    It is sounding like there's going to be a lot more in the catalog of options for character classes in Pathfinder 2 across the board. Of course, this means that there's more options for customization which means not only better niche protection within a party, but also that you can have a party with multiples of classes (even with Fighters) that are going to have a different feel to them. The drawback is that with more options comes more complexity for the game. Not only will this probably mean that players will have to take more time in the creation of characters, but it could also mean that elements of the game, like combat, will take longer because there are more moving parts to things.

    Obviously we won't know all the details on what is new and what is changed until the release of the Pathfinder 2 Playtest this summer. All of the teases and reveals in the world don't really tell you how a game works until you get a chance to get in there and play with the systems and subsystems. As long as the Pathfinder 2​ reveals aren't curtailed by the holiday weekend, we should see more about the game on Monday.
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Charlaquin's Avatar
      Charlaquin -
      Hopefully the Shield Paragon stance will be welcome news to some of the folks who were iffy about shields costing an action to raise.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      The Paladin Blade Ally ability looks pretty nifty.

      It looks like every class is going to have a whole slew of different abilities to choose from.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      Also note there is information coming out from the Paizocon banquet on their forums now, in the play test forum. A good bit of info came out about the Druid, the nomad background, the gnomish ancestry, etc.
    1. EthanSental's Avatar
      EthanSental -
      Sounds like herolabs will be a must have for this edition as well!
    1. MechaTarrasque's Avatar
      MechaTarrasque -
      For some reason I thought of 5e warlocks when I read about PF2 paladins, maybe just the whole 3 spirits vs. 3 pact implements......
    1. mellored's Avatar
      mellored -
      Changeable feat sounds great for the fighter.
      Finally, a way for them to adapt to the situation.
    1. Stacie GmrGrl's Avatar
      Stacie GmrGrl -
      I have a feeling that PF2 will be my fantasy game of choice when it comes out.
    1. Sunseeker's Avatar
      Sunseeker -
      I played this in a JRPG once.

      It was fun.

      It was also a JRPG.

      So it wasn't that fun.
    1. Johnny3D3D -
      For what playstyle is PF2 aiming?

      It sounds like the goal is something more cinematic and over the top.
    1. mellored's Avatar
      mellored -
      It sounds like the goal is something more cinematic and over the top.
      The high levels are definatly over the top, but they always have been, at least for the wizard.
      It's just that non-magical classes get to do the over-top things as well.


      As for low levels, it doesn't seem that far out.
    1. Xavian Starsider's Avatar
      Xavian Starsider -
      Quote Originally Posted by mellored View Post
      The high levels are definatly over the top, but they always have been, at least for the wizard.
      It's just that non-magical classes get to do the over-top things as well.


      As for low levels, it doesn't seem that far out.
      Reading this post reminded me of talk about development of another system that would enable all classes to have their own cool maneuvers and flourishes like in an action movie. 4E :P
    1. Yaarel -
      In 5e, Mearls noted the conflictive tension between ‘options’ and ‘balance’. The more options, the more combinations, and the less likely the balance.

      While I agree with that assessment, I disagree with the design tactic that 5e adopted. The idea is ‘fewer choices but bigger choices’. In other words, less moving parts. If a player wants to be an ‘archer’, then the player picks the ‘archer’ package that comes with a premade assemblage of features relating to archer. This is for certain playstyles, including newbie players. But for advanced players who want to customize, there is no way to tweak this one-size-fits-all. Worse, there is no way to remove undesirable features that are included.

      There needs to be a third option that navigates both customizability and balance.
    1. Yaarel -
      One solution is:

      • setting-neutral core rules, being highly customizable
      • specific settings with premade builds, vetted for balance, and baked-in flavor.

      A DM can purchase the setting, and then use the setting-neutral core rules to customize the setting to taste.

      While the core rules options are tested for balance, of course. At the same time, the DM ultimately becomes responsible for balance when using the core rules to build or modify a setting.



      Generally, it is possible for character optimization to gauge mechanical options, from weaker to stronger. Notable combos, count as an option separate from either part and gauges separately. This continuum from weaker to stronger, then correlates with level appropriateness. It is possible to balance a diversity of options well.
    1. Yaarel -
      Consider a two-track design space.

      • setting-neutral core rules, being highly customizable.
      • specific settings with premade builds, vetted for balance, and baked-in flavor.

      The setting-neutral core rules can continue to grow and evolve with additions and errata.

      But the setting-specific content need never change. The book that was purchased can be evergreen, because it is always true for that specific setting. And remain balanced. Any expansions to the setting, will likewise be carefully vetted and flavored for the original setting book.

      Via the setting-neutral core rules, the game can grow and expand, and respond to diverse and changing interests.
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