Bulmahn on Pathfinder 2 Design Goals; Plus Proficiency Clarifications & Archeologists!

This is my second attempt to do this today, as I had all this compiled earlier and then the internet flaked out on me just as I hit "Save". So... starting again! Today's Pathfinder 2nd Edition news update, remarkably similar to the one I wrote about an hour ago, includes Jason Bulmahn talking about game design goals, Mark Seifter clarifying some things about the new proficiency system, and Erik Mona discovering that the most popular archetype is the Archeologist! All, of course, will be added to the Pathfinder 2nd Edition Compiled Info Page!


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  • Design Goals & Pathfinder 1 --
    • Jason Bulmahn on talking about design goals -- "It's been kind of fascinating watching some of the debates go round and round issues that we hashed out a year ago, some of which are deeply nuanced looks at how the math behind a system influences the overall feel and verisimilitude of a system. The fact that many have intuited our intent after just a few blogs is a testament to their understanding of the game. We could do better in talking about our goals and driving motivations, but I am worried that it is a bit too "techie" and not interesting to many. Still, I think it is probably worth giving a try. I think I am going to talk to folks in the office in the coming week about the best way to communicate some aspects of our design philosophy. The "why" behind the new rules. Is that something you want to see?"
    • The design goals for the new proficiency system -- "We knew that this one was going to raise some eyebrows. Fundamentally, this system is trying to replace a fundamental part of 1st edition that caused us HUGE problems at the high levels of play, which distorted character choice and severely hampered design. A huge disparity is statistics between characters/adversaries of equal level really warps the play space and it led to stability problems with the entire game engine. The goal here to find a middle ground that still allows characters to excel in the places that they want, but not in such a way as to dominate the game. To allow monsters to be an appropriate challenge for their level without having an ability that practically auto-cripples some characters." (Bulmahn)
    • On his love for Pathfinder 1 -- "... in regards to PF1. Let me state unequivocally. I LOVE the game. It was my life's work for the past decade. I do not at all want it to go away, but I cannot let my love and efforts blind me to the fact that it is not perfect. There are things that could be even better, making the game more approachable and hopefully widening out the audience of people who love the game just as much as I do."
    • Mark Seifter agrees -- "A hearty agreement here. I would not have left my degree to come work here if I didn't absolutely love PF1. I still play PF1, and in fact I just played in a PF1 Ironfang Invasion game earlier today. PF1 is a great system and works really well for my group, especially with our house rules to match our particular group style. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to improve the chassis, fixing some of the issues with, for instance, the fast vs slow save progression compared to spell DC meaning that optimized PC and NPC spellcasters alike can eliminate multiple targets with one spell on any but the luckiest rolls if the spell targets a weak save. The presence of these issues doesn't mean the game isn't great; far from it. But just because the game is great, it doesn't mean it couldn't be even better."
  • The Mark Seifter Math Hour --
    • On different types of group skill check -- "We did the math there and suggested some rough guidelines for situations like (in roughly descending order of difficulty): "Everybody can keep rolling until it works with nothing bad on a failure"; "Everybody can roll once, only one person needs to succeed, and trying and failing doesn't do anything bad"; "Only the best person will roll this, possibly with assistance"; "Everyone has to roll and something bad happens to the people who fail"; "Everyone has to roll and if anyone fails, the whole thing fails" ... There's no reason we can't give advice for all of those situations. They all come up in adventures after all!"
    • On not scaling DCs according to the level of the characters -- "...we give examples of what tasks might be by level and elsewhere some suggested DCs for tasks of those levels (with several gradations within each level, to help GMs decide), but we go a step farther and have a significant discussion about the fact that you shouldn't scale things by level arbitrarily; a simple oak tree is a simple oak tree."
    • On auto-successes -- "I'm going to make a minor correction to this because I've been seeing it spread, so I'll repeat what I said about it before with a small clarification as to how this differs: There is an option you can choose (actually before Expert) that gives you the ability to auto-succeed at some checks depending on what your rank is. It is not Taking 10; it scales with proficiency rank and not with your bonus (so the level 7 Master is much better at using it than the level 20 Trained character, even though the level 20 Trained character would potentially have a higher result with 10+modifier)."
    • Legendary high level rogue vs. non-legendary high level guard -- "So a legendary rogue, maybe level 15? Pretty high level. I'm going to actually spot this random guard at least trained proficiency in Perception because a level 15 guard is an incredibly powerful figure on the worlds stage and is weirdly terrible at being a guard if he hasn't trained in Perception. We'll also assume that we've decided to build this guard out full PC style, since the numbers work out similarly anyway. The guard's Wisdom is not his primary attribute, but the rogue's Dexterity is. We'll say the guard has 16 Wisdom? It could be maybe 18 at the most or potentially much lower. If I recall correctly, this guard is going to be under the DC a legendary rogue can just not roll and auto-succeed with the right skill feat. Supposing the rogue didn't bother with that skill feat but does have some kind of magic cloak , we're looking at a situation where the rogue's bonus of ~+28 is going to roughly equal or surpass the guard's DC of 28 (we don't have opposed rolls) leading to near certitude of success. Even if the level 15 trained guard somehow had 18 Wisdom and some kind of magic goggles boosting him to a DC of 31, the equal level legendary rogue is still looking at a 90% chance of success. If the guard was actually untrained? It's even easier, though that just doesn't seem plausible for a level 15 guard."
    • What happens when his untried fighter friend tries the same thing? -- "But the difference is that in PF2, the untrained 14 Dex 15th level fighter is at +15 (or worse from armor, perhaps +14) instead of +2 (or worse from armor, perhaps +1), so while he is still more likely to fail than succeed against DC 28, he at least has a reasonable shot at trying, rather than no chance at all (opposed roll +1 Stealth vs +20 Perception)."
  • Ancestries allow for wide variation -- "Just a note, we will be talking a lot about ancestries soon, but I wanted to make one quick note. The way they are built allows for a wide variety of variation and differentiation between members of the same ancestry. We do not want to mandate anything aside from a few basic characteristics. That is half the reason we made this change, to allow your ancestry to speak to who you are as an individual." (Bulmahn)
  • Running out of resonance? "...in all honestly, it is very difficult for a low level character to run out of resonance (which is by design). Mass playtesting might show us otherwise, and we are looking forward to that feedback." (Bulmahn)
  • There will be monsters! Erik Mona confirms that there will be monsters available for use when the play test land in August -- "There will be a big monster download for free on August 2nd. The actual monster book for Second Edition (no matter how large) will presumably come out with the Core Rulebook in August 2019."


What are the most popular archetypes? Erik Mona took an informal poll and got these results:
TOP 10 OVERALL
--------------------
Archaeologist (Bard) 40 (!!!)
Lore Warden (Fighter) 24
Eldritch Scoundrel (Rogue) 22
Vivisectionist (Alchemist) 20
Arcane Duelist (Bard) 17
Zen Archer (Monk) 17
Tattooed Sorcerer (Sorcerer) 17
Titan Mauler (Barbarian) 16
Mooncursed (Barbarian) 13
Drunken Master (Monk) 12 (TIE)
Evangelist (Cleric) 12 (TIE)
Skirmisher (Ranger) 12 (TIE)​
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Finally, over on TRAILseeker, we have a little poll running:

As you may know, Paizo announced Pathfinder 2nd Edition a couple of weeks ago. The final game doesn't arrive until August 2019, and no third party licensing information is being released until early 2019, so there's no rush on our end of things to plan TRAILseeker's future; we have the luxury of taking our time and consulting with you, our patrons.Here's where we are right now, although nothing is set in stone (and we have 18 months to wait):

  • TRAILseeker will continue to support Pathfinder 1E as it always has. That's not going away.
  • We will launch a second Patreon, TRAILseeker II, which will focus exclusively on Pathfinder 2nd Edition.
Our question to you is this -- would a Pathfinder 2E Patreon, which works just like this one, be of interest to you? We need to gauge overall interest levels. The team would be the same -- Felipe (editor) and Alex (layout) would be doubling up their efforts to run both Patreons simultaneously, and we anticipate that there will be an eager pool of writers willing to contribute.

Let us know in the poll! And remember, this is still 18 months away. No rush!

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


Kobold Boots

Banned
Banned
Agreed Kaodi - There's going to be a lot of stuff that we're just not going to be able to intelligently discuss until we're actually playing the game.
 

JMCampbell82

Explorer
I don't back Trailseeker, but I do back En5ider. So far I like what I'm seeing with PF2 for the most part. Depending on what the final PF2 rules look like, I'd be inclined to back Trailseeker II, in addition.
 


Kobold Boots

Banned
Banned
+28, +31...high modifiers seem to still be in the game. Not a fan of that anymore.

Agreed, once they get over 10 it's problematic. Mods that large really require a mechanic that re-bases to 0 and suggest a higher tier of play.

Truthfully, any mechanic that provides a modifier higher than the available results on the dice used to roll for resolution needs to be fixed such that you're either moving to a d100 type system or at least a resolution 20 and exploding 20. Just an opinion.

But I don't think it's too hard to argue that if you're rolling a D20 and need to add +30 to it, that you're doing it wrong.

KB
 

Arakasius

First Post
Well if they're adding level to the rolls its very easy to just recreate 5e in PF2 by just taking that part out.

However they did say they tried level/2 instead of level and it didn't work. Curious why it didn't work. I know partly they want to have the higher level character feel very strong compared to low level ones. (and it is still likely to be slightly lower than PF1 numbers when all things are summed) But I wouldn't have minded everyone's level bonuses being capped to 10 instead of 20 which would drop 10 off every roll.
 

Kobold Boots

Banned
Banned
Well if they're adding level to the rolls its very easy to just recreate 5e in PF2 by just taking that part out.

However they did say they tried level/2 instead of level and it didn't work. Curious why it didn't work. I know partly they want to have the higher level character feel very strong compared to low level ones. (and it is still likely to be slightly lower than PF1 numbers when all things are summed) But I wouldn't have minded everyone's level bonuses being capped to 10 instead of 20 which would drop 10 off every roll.

Dunno, I have some ideas of how I would do it at my own table, but I'd need to really play test it to know how feasible it would be.

Just spitballing here so don't kill me when someone pulls out a TI84 and destroys the math with a bell curve or some such, but:

Each level of +10 to a skill implies a level of mastery, then any challenge that is lower than the level of mastery is an auto success. The only hold ups would be the amount of time required to complete something or if there were special mats needed that the character didn't have.

Combat - each level of +10 to a hit roll implies a level of mastery. If two combatants are at the same level then combat as usual. If not then the higher level combatant operates at constant advantage or outright one shots someone.

Anyhoo, this is way too minimal to actually work in practice but it's a good mechanic to keep the maths out of table play.
 

darjr

I crit!
It may not have worked because I think if the game is to have a lot of character options those options will need “space” to provide benefits and bonuses. Just a thought.
 


R

RevTurkey

Guest
In PF2...Am I right in thinking that say for example you have a Blacksmith who has everyday crafted his wares for his entire life say 40 years...awarding him maximum proficiency bonus of +5 but being a ‘normal’ chap and only 1st level...he’ll have a +6 total before stats playing a part...but a 20th level Wizard who has a fleeting/passing familiarity with Blacksmithing by virtue of how many Goblins he has incinerated with Fireballs is somehow naturally about +15 better off (75%ish) than our rubbish Smithy...is that how this plays out? Am I missing something obvious because that doesn’t sound like it is the right maths for skills.
 

Arakasius

First Post
NPCs use different generation rules. Also having proficiency gates things. Like if you're untrained you just won't be able to do something a trained person can do, even if your modifier is higher.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
One example used in a thread is a high level but untrained someone making fantastic cookies from a recipie, but a lower level but with mastery in cooking could create new dishes and recipeis that the higher level person cannot do.

In PF1 the roll/modifier told you both how well you did something, and told you what you could attempt.
In PF2 the roll/modifier tells you how well you did something, but what you can do is up to the level of proficiency you have.
 

dave2008

Legend
In PF2...Am I right in thinking that say for example you have a Blacksmith who has everyday crafted his wares for his entire life say 40 years...awarding him maximum proficiency bonus of +5 but being a ‘normal’ chap and only 1st level...he’ll have a +6 total before stats playing a part...but a 20th level Wizard who has a fleeting/passing familiarity with Blacksmithing by virtue of how many Goblins he has incinerated with Fireballs is somehow naturally about +15 better off (75%ish) than our rubbish Smithy...is that how this plays out? Am I missing something obvious because that doesn’t sound like it is the right maths for skills.


That is how it read to me (which I think is silly), but I think there is also a mechanic where the training affects what you can and can't do, regardless of level. I just couldn't quite figure it out by skimming all the info on proficiency. All together is seems a bit wonky to me, but I will wait and see.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
In PF2...Am I right in thinking that say for example you have a Blacksmith who has everyday crafted his wares for his entire life say 40 years...awarding him maximum proficiency bonus of +5 but being a ‘normal’ chap and only 1st level...he’ll have a +6 total before stats playing a part...but a 20th level Wizard who has a fleeting/passing familiarity with Blacksmithing by virtue of how many Goblins he has incinerated with Fireballs is somehow naturally about +15 better off (75%ish) than our rubbish Smithy...is that how this plays out? Am I missing something obvious because that doesn’t sound like it is the right maths for skills.
You are missing two things, but they’re not really obvious because they’ve only been talked about in hypothetical terms so far; they haven’t shown us examples.

First of all, assuming the blacksmith is built using PC rules, he’s never going to get above +1 from his Proficiency unless he starts gaining some class levels; Expert (+1) is the highest level of Proficiency you can get before level 7, with Fighters being an exception and being able to get to Master with some Proficiencies a little earlier. So the blacksmith who stays in his village honing his craft will never become a legendary blacksmith. He may have the greatest expertise of anyone he knows, but to improve he will have to venture out beyond his small community and seek out new experiences.

Second, and more importantly, the bonus isn’t the only difference between different levels of Proficiency. There are some checks that can only be attempted by someone with training (and presumably some that can only be attempted by experts, some that can only be attempted by masters, and some that can only be attempted by legends.) As well, there are Skill Feats that require certain levels of Proficiency as prerequisites. So while the wizard who has melted enough armor witn fireballs to have a passing familiarity with metallurgy may be more likely to succeed at the tasks they can both attempt than the expert blacksmith, the expert will be able to do things the wizard can’t.
 

Superchunk77

Adventurer
You are missing two things, but they’re not really obvious because they’ve only been talked about in hypothetical terms so far; they haven’t shown us examples.

First of all, assuming the blacksmith is built using PC rules, he’s never going to get above +1 from his Proficiency unless he starts gaining some class levels; Expert (+1) is the highest level of Proficiency you can get before level 7, with Fighters being an exception and being able to get to Master with some Proficiencies a little earlier. So the blacksmith who stays in his village honing his craft will never become a legendary blacksmith. He may have the greatest expertise of anyone he knows, but to improve he will have to venture out beyond his small community and seek out new experiences.

Second, and more importantly, the bonus isn’t the only difference between different levels of Proficiency. There are some checks that can only be attempted by someone with training (and presumably some that can only be attempted by experts, some that can only be attempted by masters, and some that can only be attempted by legends.) As well, there are Skill Feats that require certain levels of Proficiency as prerequisites. So while the wizard who has melted enough armor witn fireballs to have a passing familiarity with metallurgy may be more likely to succeed at the tasks they can both attempt than the expert blacksmith, the expert will be able to do things the wizard can’t.

From what I have read so far, monsters and NPC's will not use PC rules for creation. Which means you could potentially have a Level 1 NPC blacksmith with Legendary proficiency but only a +4 modifier.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
From what I have read so far, monsters and NPC's will not use PC rules for creation.
That’s why I said, “assuming the blacksmith is built using PC rules.” We’ve also been told that it will be possible to build NPCs using PC rules if you want to, and the question seemed to be about PC rules.

Which means you could potentially have a Level 1 NPC blacksmith with Legendary proficiency but only a +4 modifier.
Do we know that yet? We know how Proficiencies work for PCs and that NPCs work differently, but as far as I know we don’t have enough information on how NPCs work to say with confidence that they’ll have levels at all, that thru’ll add their level to their Proficiency Bonus, that they’ll get the same Proficiency Tiers that PCs do, that those Proficiency Tiers will give them the same bonuses, or that they won’t be restricted in what Proficiency Tiers they can have based on their level. Some of those things are fairly reasonable assumptions to make, but I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions based on those assumptions yet. Better to discuss what we do know for sure.
 

Dalamar

Explorer
That is how it read to me (which I think is silly), but I think there is also a mechanic where the training affects what you can and can't do, regardless of level. I just couldn't quite figure it out by skimming all the info or proficiency. All together is seems wonky to me, but I will wait and see.
I believe one of the Glass Cannon podcasts actually touched on crafting specifically. If I remember correctly, they said that your proficiency in crafting directly translates to the quality of items you can create, meaning that an untrained crafter can only create poor quality items that bestow a -2 penalty on checks where they are used. Trained crafters create standard quality items (no modifiers), experts create expert items (+1 to rolls), etc.
 

dave2008

Legend
I believe one of the Glass Cannon podcasts actually touched on crafting specifically. If I remember correctly, they said that your proficiency in crafting directly translates to the quality of items you can create, meaning that an untrained crafter can only create poor quality items that bestow a -2 penalty on checks where they are used. Trained crafters create standard quality items (no modifiers), experts create expert items (+1 to rolls), etc.

thanks! I thought I remembered something like that. I like the general idea, but I don't understand our that relates to the legendary blacksmith have +4 to craft and the trained wizard having a +20 to craft. I would prefer the pick on or the other, not both.

Maybe get rid of per level bonus and just go with training:

untrained: +0
Trained: +1
Skilled: +2
Expert: +3
Master: +4
Grandmaster: +5
Legendary: +6

If you need a bigger spread, just make each step a +2 bonus, or add more steps, or both!

EDIT: A +3 bonus per step would work well (0-18 spread) and it could be tied into the # of attacks too. (-3/-6 instead of -5/-10)
 
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