What I'm hearing from other folks is a very valid criticism: in most published PF2 adventures and APs (from Paizo, of course) there is a marked propensity for using adversaries that are 3 or 4 levels above the PCs' level. This leads to the feeling that adversaries get very frequent critical hits, and very rarely suffer from critical hits themselves. This feeling is of course completely justified, and it's the way the system was built to work.
Good advice, and maybe this is a case of bad (mechanically) first adventures spoiling the experience. Its quite common for the first several adventures in a new system to go awry of the best way to experience a new system.
I just want to say this thread has inspired me to give PF2 another go. I’ve tried running it three different times, converting volume 1 of both Legacy of Fire (the first time) and Wrath of the Righteous (the second time) and Lost Mines of Phandelver the third time.
This time my intention is to try Abomination Vaults and see if my issues are conversion related or system based.
There are aspects of the game I enjoyed but I just felt like there was little PF2 did that 4e didn’t do better.
Ill give it one more shot.
You need to do a lot of encounter futzing to do without magic weapons (or ABP). I don't think the biggest issue is the attack bonus, but the extra damage magic weapons put out. Striking weapons (usually a level 4 thing) deal an extra die of damage (two dice at 12 and three at 19).
Also, low-magic games that don't compensate in other ways are much harsher on martials than they are on casters. My level 11 sorcerer would be unhappy if he had to do without magic items, but he'd still have 14d6+6 cones of cold or dragon shape letting him fight at +22 dealing ~25 points with a primary attack or ~20 with an agile one. The 11th level champion in the same party would be devastated by losing 2 points of attack bonus, ~5 points of damage per hit, and the returning rune on his weapon which lets him use Retributive Strike at a short distance instead of just in melee. Martials need magic items not just to be competitive on numbers, but to gain useful abilities.
I used all custom ones for my campaign. If we had continued playing, I was considering doing a revamp. I wouldn’t say any were too powerful (compared to the core ones), but some were just kind of bad. There’s definitely an art to it. However, the easiest thing to do is MacGuyver a new ancestry out of existing feats. I don’t think that would be too problematic. (It also lets you make sure no one has darkvision. Yay!)
I’m pretty sure that’s working as intended. PF2 tries (and mostly succeeds) at making the old encounter building guidelines actually work. In 3e, a monster two levels higher was supposed to be twice as dangerous. Two monsters together were supposed to be CR+2. That didn’t quite work out in 3e because that’s not how the math worked. PF2 fixed the math by using criticals to make the damage scale based on the difference in levels between the attacker and defender. It’s a clever hack, but I can see how it could feel bad when the monsters always seem way more competent than the PCs (especially with riders or extra effects that the monsters get often and the PCs get less frequently).
I need to clarify: I don't worry about balance in race design, but want some balance in the rest of the system. The reason I can probably say this is that my players are not the type to build characters to get the best numbers. The don't look for the best race, background, class combo to try to max. their numbers, so balance has never really been any issue for usDon't take this wrong, but if you don't care about balance, why would you care about tight math in PF2e? Balance, in the end, is about the numbers and benefits not producing stupid and unfun results.
I need to clarify: I don't worry about balance in race design, but want some balance in the rest of the system. The reason I can probably say this is that my players are not the type to build characters to get the best numbers. The don't look for the best race, background, class combo to try to max. their numbers, so balance has never really been any issue for us
That’s possible. Pre-PF2 adventure almost never went to max level, so they had a bit more flexibility with how they progressed. However, I’d still describe them as being very combat-centric. That’s pretty safe to say about many adventures released in the last twenty years from WotC and Paizo. That’s not a criticism — just a contrast between what I like to do in my game.I have a hypothesis regarding the combat focus of PF2 adventures, particularly parts 1 of adventure paths.
I'm sure that is possible, but we've been gaming together for 30+ we don't have any issue speaking up if something is bothering us and we make corrections as needed.They don't have to do it deliberately to be a problem in play, though. If some particular thing or things an ancestry gets feel too valuable (or worthless) that can cause bad feelings in a group even when no one meant anything by it.
(This is the issue with a lot of mechanical imbalance; it doesn't require deliberate abuse to be a problem).
I'm sure that is possible, but we've been gaming together for 30+ we don't have any issue speaking up if something is bothering us and we make corrections as needed.
I believe they have taken steps to, if not fix, then at least ameliorate these problems. For example, Kindled Magic (part 1 of Strength of Thousands) is a level 1-3 adventure instead of 1-4 (giving more room to roleplaying and dealing with NPCs), and has a greater emphasis on non-violent solutions to things.
Number 2 is still an issue at low levels before Medicine actually becomes strong (which I'd define as Expert, Continuous Recovery, and maybe Ward Medic) – A non-rogue/non-investigator focusing on that would need to be 6th level if they don't want to focus excessively on being the party medic (that's 3rd level for Expert Medicine, 4th for one of the skill feats, and 6th for the second – it can be done faster if you use your 3rd level general feat for one of the skill feats or if you take the Medic dedication, but I think either one of those is going above and beyond what's expected). And it's the early levels where party resources tend to be the most strained.Well, there are two issues I think should be kept in mind:
1. Its probably perceived that the majority of end users kind of want a fair bit of combat encounters, which could well be more than a given person in this thread wants; and
2. Stacking up multiple encounters a day isn't as big a deal as it is in some prior editions because nonmagical healing is so strong.
Number 2 is still an issue at low levels before Medicine actually becomes strong (which I'd define as Expert, Continuous Recovery, and maybe Ward Medic) – A non-rogue/non-investigator focusing on that would need to be 6th level if they don't want to focus excessively on being the party medic
I mean, I'd expect someone in the party to grab Continuous Recovery and Ward Medic. I just wouldn't assume they'd use the level 3 General feat as a skill feat to do it. There's "I want to be the medic", and then there's "I really want to be the medic."Its not a particularly painful thing to do as a side gig for a Champion either. I've done it.
(And of course assuming there isn't a specialist to some degree is still not something I'd assume--they just don't have to tie up their magical resources in it any more).
Even without those feats which make treat wounds work well above the baseline, out of combat healing still works fairly well, even from 1st level. My initial group included a fighter, a rogue, a druid and a wizard, and whadayaknow, they all decided to be trained in medicine at 1st level. After a fight, if their initial attempts at Treat Wounds failed, they would simply withdraw back to their home base and wait a few hours or a day to get back into fighting shape before pursuing the adventure.