Pathfinder 2E Encounter Design in PF2 works.

Retreater

Legend
What I can say is that PF2 has probably the most "only these few levels of enemies can work" design of any RPG I've seen. This is because of the baked-in bonus to all pertinent die rolls based off creature level. And then you have the criticals triggering on +10 or -10 over the die roll. In this case, winning big (or losing big) absolutely matters.
It's not just that the HP are higher, or the AC is harder to hit. You are even more likely to drop in a one-shot critical hit against a higher level opponent than in any edition of D&D (or adjacent game).
 

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payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
What I can say is that PF2 has probably the most "only these few levels of enemies can work" design of any RPG I've seen. This is because of the baked-in bonus to all pertinent die rolls based off creature level. And then you have the criticals triggering on +10 or -10 over the die roll. In this case, winning big (or losing big) absolutely matters.
It's not just that the HP are higher, or the AC is harder to hit. You are even more likely to drop in a one-shot critical hit against a higher level opponent than in any edition of D&D (or adjacent game).
Pretty much this. It makes designing an adventure module easy work. It makes forming a world wide sandbox sort of a PITA because its hard to make sense of things living in a natural state with such disparate power levels.
 

miggyG777

Explorer
What I can say is that PF2 has probably the most "only these few levels of enemies can work" design of any RPG I've seen. This is because of the baked-in bonus to all pertinent die rolls based off creature level. And then you have the criticals triggering on +10 or -10 over the die roll. In this case, winning big (or losing big) absolutely matters.
It's not just that the HP are higher, or the AC is harder to hit. You are even more likely to drop in a one-shot critical hit against a higher level opponent than in any edition of D&D (or adjacent game).

As far as the RAW goes, this is a design choice, however, they also acknowledge that different DMs and groups might want to handle things differently. That's where the variant rules come into play. Specifically: Proficiency Without Level.

This variant presents a change to the proficiency bonus system, scaling it differently for a style of game that’s outside the norm. This is a significant change to the system.

The proficiency rank progression in the Core Rulebook is designed for heroic fantasy games where heroes rise from humble origins to world-shattering strength. For some games, this narrative arc doesn’t fit. Such games are about hedging bets in an uncertain and gritty world, in which even the world’s best fighter can’t guarantee a win against a large group of moderately skilled brigands.
Telling stories where a large group of low-level monsters can still be a significant threat to a high-level PC (and conversely, a single higher-level monster is not much of a threat to a group of PCs) requires some significant shifts in encounter building, including shifts in the PCs’ rewards.

 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
Honestly, the "disparate power levels" conundrum has existed in any RPG ever invented. In OD&D, if you sic a troll or a red dragon on low-level adventurers, they are going to bite the bucket, guaranteed.
The difference with PF2 is that those differences have been codified, and you know in advance (if you care to do the calculations) what is beyond their grasp.
 

miggyG777

Explorer
Honestly, the "disparate power levels" conundrum has existed in any RPG ever invented. In OD&D, if you sic a troll or a red dragon on low-level adventurers, they are going to bite the bucket, guaranteed.
The difference with PF2 is that those differences have been codified, and you know in advance (if you care to do the calculations) what is beyond their grasp.

Not only have they been codified more thoroughly, the designers even give you a tool to change the nature of the whole progression, so you can emulate different styles of play with it. It's a fabulous toolbox honestly. The caveat is, that there is a learning curve attached to it. Since it's a codified system you gotta put the time in, to learn the basic underpinnings. Once you've done that it is actually quite amazing how modular and easily hackable PF2e becomes. It does most of the heavy lifting for you if you understand which dials to tweak.
I can see that it seems unwieldy at first and barely approachable, as any powerful tool does initially, but given some effort and time there comes mastery and with mastery the possibilities of the tool come to live.
Granted not everyone wants to put time into learning a tool, some just want something simple that does the job so they can focus their time on different aspects of the game.
Eventually, given a certain ambition, a simple tool might not suffice anymore. Then the amount of time you'd have to spend to create your desired result with an improper tool outweighs the requirements of learning to handle a more powerful tool.
That's where I am at, and that's why I endorse PF2e.
 
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payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Honestly, the "disparate power levels" conundrum has existed in any RPG ever invented. In OD&D, if you sic a troll or a red dragon on low-level adventurers, they are going to bite the bucket, guaranteed.
The difference with PF2 is that those differences have been codified, and you know in advance (if you care to do the calculations) what is beyond their grasp.
Sort of. Sure you can point to obvious power disparities as proof this doesn't matter, but that's disingenuous. 1E/2E/3E/5E makes it much more easy to do this because players can often punch above their weight. If the players approach things from a war style perspective, there are things they can employ to narrow the power gap. The math of PF2 makes this impossible; even with proficiency without level. The variant doesnt do much besides make the treadmill less obvious.
 

Retreater

Legend
Honestly, the "disparate power levels" conundrum has existed in any RPG ever invented. In OD&D, if you sic a troll or a red dragon on low-level adventurers, they are going to bite the bucket, guaranteed.
That's true, if you're wildly off in the power level, like throwing an adult red dragon against a 1st level party.
It's more the in-between stuff. Like having a minor challenging dragon against a low-level party. Could work in D&D, possibly, but in PF2, it's far worse - and it takes some study to find out why it's worse. Not only are you looking at you're likely to get hit, you're likely to get multiple critical hits in a round. Not only are you unlikely to save to get out of the way from the breath weapon, you're likely to take double damage.
It is a compounding danger. It is overkill for the monsters fighting you. And it almost guarantees that you're not going to be challenged by lower-level baddies for long.
It's almost like they wanted to sell more bestiaries by limiting the range of effectiveness for each creature.
 

Retreater

Legend
As far as the RAW goes, this is a design choice, however, they also acknowledge that different DMs and groups might want to handle things differently. That's where the variant rules come into play. Specifically: Proficiency Without Level.
That's too much work for me, but thanks for sharing the option.
 



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