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Pathfinder 2E Gamemastery Guide: What are your thoughts?

Bravesteel25

The Good-est Knight
I haven't seen any discussion on whether any of this will be implemented in the Pathbuilder 2 app.

(My players are so dependent on the app it's hard to even give them custom treasure if it can't be entered into the app... :rolleyes: )

But it does say something about how absolutely superb and vital this app is for players and gamesmasters alike!

I honestly don't get this part. I find PF2 to be WAY more paper friendly than PF1, and I would say basically on par with 5E from that perspective. Yes, the official sheets looks bad, but once you break it down and realize what you are looking at, it isn't that intimidating or hard to keep up on.
 

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dave2008

Legend
I honestly don't get this part. I find PF2 to be WAY more paper friendly than PF1, and I would say basically on par with 5E from that perspective. Yes, the official sheets looks bad, but once you break it down and realize what you are looking at, it isn't that intimidating or hard to keep up on.
I had the same response in 4e. People often said the only way to make a character in 4e was to use the character builder. No players in my group used the character build, ever. I (DM) used it a couple times to make NPCs, but it definitely was not required.

However, I do get that once you use an app, with all of that functionality, it may be hard to go back.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I honestly don't get this part. I find PF2 to be WAY more paper friendly than PF1, and I would say basically on par with 5E from that perspective. Yes, the official sheets looks bad, but once you break it down and realize what you are looking at, it isn't that intimidating or hard to keep up on.
Perhaps you're looking at it the other way...

Whether PF2 is "paper friendly" isn't the issue here. The issue is whether Pathbuilder 2 is so brilliant it makes you prefer using it over paper, friendly or not. And believe you me, it is :)

PS. If you have actually tried Pathbuilder 2, and went back to paper afterwards, you would have a point of course. So do you?
 

CapnZapp

Legend
However, I do get that once you use an app, with all of that functionality, it may be hard to go back.
Maybe off topic, Dave, but did you get PB2 running? Maybe you saw Morrus asking about iPhone alternatives? If you got it running maybe you could share your approach over there.

(Of course, that assumes you've had reason to start playing PF2 which was not the case when you last discussed, so feel free to ignore if that isn't the case :) )
 

zztong

Explorer
However, I do get that once you use an app, with all of that functionality, it may be hard to go back.

I can see this. Both of my regular games (one PF1 and one 5e) are automated. When we were playing PF2, we were automated. Folks in those games are used to it and expect it for systems as large (in rules and sales) as PF1/2 and 5e.

I can also say that these days I'd rather buy a good app than the rulebook. A good app will let me get at the rules I need, in the context of what I'm doing, far better than a lump of paper with an index or a PDF. I got to the point with PF1 that I was only buy Hero Lab Classic data files, not books. For PF2, there was one rulebook for six players. For 5e, there's two rulebooks for six players and everyone has access to the books via D&D Beyond. Buying a paper book just doubles my costs with no gain.
 

Rhianni32

Adventurer
The whole point is to put the decision in the hands of the individual gamesmaster.

Do not expect rules that let a player point to a book and demand access to a given feature.
There are two types of rarities though.
Rarity beacuse of theme and setting. kanatas in a western europe style culture. The AP archetypes where there are very few of them around to teach others makes sense. For these I am good with it left to the GM.

But then there are rarities that seem to be based on power level or some other factor. Circle of Protection and Zone of Truth 3rd level divine spells. No real RP flavor reason why these are uncommon. Why are these uncommon while a fireball isnt? These are the types I would have preferred some rules for since the reasoning for them being uncommon seems to be mechanic based in the first place.
 

pcrotteau

Explorer
For PF2, there was one rulebook for six players. For 5e, there's two rulebooks for six players and everyone has access to the books via D&D Beyond. Buying a paper book just doubles my costs with no gain.

I purchased the pdf on day 1 (rulebook a week later) and had a copy printed half sized for table use. The print shop screwed it up, so now I have a hard copy and 2 print copies plus a pdf for the table. Printing is more expensive than purchase, unless you print yourself or booklet sized
 

CapnZapp

Legend
But then there are rarities that seem to be based on power level or some other factor. Circle of Protection and Zone of Truth 3rd level divine spells. No real RP flavor reason why these are uncommon. Why are these uncommon while a fireball isnt?
I think Zone of Truth is clearly not every GMs cup of tea, and so a clear case can be made for it being uncommon. (Its about spells that can short-circuit investigative scenarios)

Circle of Protection: I don't have a clear opinion, but I would think it safe to assume for a similar reason. Or at least that Paizo considered it valuable to leave its inclusion into the hands of the GM...

...which really is the only criteria that matters for all of these spells.
 

Bravesteel25

The Good-est Knight
I had the same response in 4e. People often said the only way to make a character in 4e was to use the character builder. No players in my group used the character build, ever. I (DM) used it a couple times to make NPCs, but it definitely was not required.

However, I do get that once you use an app, with all of that functionality, it may be hard to go back.

Same experience as you regarding 4E. I can understand the ease of use, I just like to remind people that it is completely doable outside of electronic assistance because otherwise it tends to create a narrative that PF2 is overly complex or something.

Perhaps you're looking at it the other way...

Whether PF2 is "paper friendly" isn't the issue here. The issue is whether Pathbuilder 2 is so brilliant it makes you prefer using it over paper, friendly or not. And believe you me, it is :)

PS. If you have actually tried Pathbuilder 2, and went back to paper afterwards, you would have a point of course. So do you?

I totally get that. I actually work in IT, so I tend to avoid technology in my leisure time (yes even video games), so apps and digital aids aren't a big draw for me beyond professional interest in how they work.
 

dave2008

Legend
Maybe off topic, Dave, but did you get PB2 running? Maybe you saw Morrus asking about iPhone alternatives? If you got it running maybe you could share your approach over there.

(Of course, that assumes you've had reason to start playing PF2 which was not the case when you last discussed, so feel free to ignore if that isn't the case :) )
I haven't had a chance to play, so I didn't investigate the app further. I believe there was a workaround I could use on my computer. You sing the praises of the app so much I will likely give it a try on my PC and see how it goes.
 

pcrotteau

Explorer
The biggest benefit (for me) is that you can adjust a projected build and see where the numbers lie, and make changes accordingly.

Follow that feet tree, see where that choice ends up.
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
I have used Pathbuilder on my PC with an emulator (Bluestacks) and it works great. I've used it to create NPCs, mostly fighters and sorcerers, but it works OK for anything I need for the current campaign. Just export to pdf and then email it to myself.

Since this thread started out with comments about the Gamemastery Guide, I should say I haven't had time to read it all yet, but it looks very cool indeed. Intelligent items are always very cool. The NPC profiles are highly useful, even if they bear little relationship with the NPCs you can develop following the PC-creation rules. Looks like the general feeling is that you create NPC like creating monsters, and give them one or two signature powers from the class they are most associated with, and call it a day.

I'm mildly disappointed with the level of abstraction chosen for the vehicle rules, as if one set of vehicle rules could cover everything from a chariot to a warship. But at least it gives a framework for 3pp to jump into the breach and provide more specific rules, say, for sailing ships, as I intend to do.

Our last PF2 game was a great time for all, except most of the players haven't yet grasped how they should spend their hero points, or how they should react when one of their own goes down to enemy fire. One PC died, mostly because the other PCs were too busy fighting the enemy to spare a Battle Medicine action, and the PC in question had already spent all his hero points on die rolls to heal other PCs. A sad day, to be sure, and a lack of teamwork. But them's the breaks, as they say.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I haven't had a chance to play, so I didn't investigate the app further. I believe there was a workaround I could use on my computer. You sing the praises of the app so much I will likely give it a try on my PC and see how it goes.
I should add that as the GM I have limited experience myself. I've basically thrown together a quick Bard and a quick Barbarian just to see the ballpark of its values (since I didn't have the GMG NPCs).

My singing is 92% based on what my players are saying. 🎶🎵🎶
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Looks like the general feeling is that you create NPC like creating monsters, and give them one or two signature powers from the class they are most associated with, and call it a day.
Just like 5th Edition, in fact. And I love it! ❤

(I am a DM who quit 3rd edition specifically because I created a NPC in hours that died in seconds one time too many. So you could say that my capacity for sympathy to those complaining that NPCs are "cheating" is... let's just say "limited")
 

I had the same response in 4e. People often said the only way to make a character in 4e was to use the character builder. No players in my group used the character build, ever. I (DM) used it a couple times to make NPCs, but it definitely was not required.

However, I do get that once you use an app, with all of that functionality, it may be hard to go back.

I have no idea how you'd play any non-Essentials 4e without using the character builder to print all the fiddly text of your powers. And PF2 felt a lot like Paizo's 4e.
 

I hope some of the stuff in the GMG makes PF2 more palatable to my players. We tried the playtest, but they were pretty negative on a lot of the design changes. I was mostly neutral about the core mechanics, but I'm still disappointed about how f---ing stingy they are with giving PCs fun abilities. Stuff that used to be front-loaded into, say, monk or paladin or druid now takes many more levels to get, and you've got to commit your class feats to those things.

I'd have much preferred if they gave all the other classes more stuff from the get-go. But that's probably not going to be covered in the GMG.
 

dave2008

Legend
I have no idea how you'd play any non-Essentials 4e without using the character builder to print all the fiddly text of your powers. And PF2 felt a lot like Paizo's 4e.
Old school. They either wrote them down or I photocopied from the book. At one point I made custom power cards and they kept them in sleeves (like a folder of MtC cards except to D&D powers).
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Is it me, or is the math a bit funky in the creature creation rules? I hadn’t noticed it at first, but I have now that I’m trying to create versions of the tables tables without level to proficiency. There are a few spots where the numbers look a little weird.

The pattern appears to be lerp from 1st to 21st level (increments of 5%, essentially) with level −1 being special-cased (increment of 2.5%). That’s what I’m going to be using for my proficiency without level tables, but I wonder if anyone else has done more analysis than I have this evening.

For example, extreme Strike attack bonus follows a pretty consistent pattern except for at level 11 where it is one higher (math suggests 26 but table has 27). Unfortunately, I can’t actually find any examples of creatures with extreme attacks. The highest I can find is +25.

AC and spell attack/DC are also a little weird. Level −1 and level 0 both seem too high compared to level 1. This becomes particularly evident when you subtract level (for proficiency without level), and you end up with level 1 creatures having lower AC than level 0 ones.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I hope some of the stuff in the GMG makes PF2 more palatable to my players. We tried the playtest, but they were pretty negative on a lot of the design changes. I was mostly neutral about the core mechanics, but I'm still disappointed about how f---ing stingy they are with giving PCs fun abilities. Stuff that used to be front-loaded into, say, monk or paladin or druid now takes many more levels to get, and you've got to commit your class feats to those things.

I'd have much preferred if they gave all the other classes more stuff from the get-go. But that's probably not going to be covered in the GMG.
Pathfinder 2 is a balanced game, meaning frontloading is much less of a thing, since that's just another name for "you get the better abilities up front".

Case in point: racial traits, or as they're called; ancestral feats.

Yep, you don't get all the Stonecunning and Giantslayer or Dwarven Weaponry or Grudgeholder when you create your Dwarf character in this game - you gain one such thing; the others you get as you level up.

The GMG certainly doesn't change that (unless you count its take on gestalt characters, which is explicitly an overpowered variant)
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
I believe the GMG was a missed opportunity to provide variants for several subsystems. A couple of examples in no particular order
  • hero points that doesn't involve the GM and yet provides real narrative power
  • a crafting alternative with reliable benefits regardless of adventure particulars
  • shield rules that doesn't rely on unintuitive "blocking after the fact"
  • a healing variant with no dice rolling and no wild variation in recovery times - in effect removing the obnoxious minigame that steals attention and brain power between encounters without denying Medicine feats their upgrades
  • a more sophisticated solution for those feeling the Incapacitation rule is crude and blunt

Also, advice on encounter pacing. Pathfinder 2 is a game with very detailed instructions on everything from building encounters to a certain level of difficulty to exactly how much loot to give out (and much more). Yet the game curiously offers no advice at all on how many encounters to expect a party to be able to take back to back, how many 10 minute breaks would be reasonable, the number of encounters per adventuring day and so on... The game is completely silent on this issue, despite it having a potentially bigger impact on how difficult an encounter is perceived to be than any other subsystem!
 
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