Pathfinder 2E Getting started with PF2

If you're like me and you're not comfortable setting up a hosting computer, you want to have it available at all times for your players to log-on, etc., then it's a good idea to sign up for The Forge. There's a monthly fee involved (I think $9/month), but again I think it's well worth it just to not have to fool around with my own hosting settings. (If you feel comfortable doing that, then there's zero fees for using Foundry.)
The monthly fee depends on how much data you need to store. I'm paying $4.49 a month and that gives me enough storage to run Abomination Vaults. I did buy the AV Foundry module, so there's probably some optimization there compared to just importing the PDF but I'm not sure.
 

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I want to caution you to have more realistic expectations with Foundry, in that while it is a really good VTT for PF2, it's not perfect and it can be a bit clunky and buggy at times. The PF2 rules module is made entirely by volunteers, so they're not paid professionals who are creating a product to be sold. It works quite well overall but the user interface takes some time getting used to. Because there's so much automation, you also have to tinker with certain elements of the character sheet for the automation to work, or you have to spend time learning what exactly you need to add from the compendium for things to work as desired. Because of the automation element, it's more difficult to adjust feats or items or spells. If something is bugged, it can be rather frustrating because of the reliance on the automation.

I just wanted to point this out because I was oversold on Foundry by the enthusiasts. It's good, but it's not perfect.
I'd agree. Foundry is really nice for PF2e, but there definitely is a bit of a learning curve to getting everything working. You have to be aware of situations where the automation will apply something that it shouldn't. An example is flanking a target to cause it to be flat-footed. If you apply the flat-footed status to the target, it will now be flat-footed to everyone even if they aren't flanking the target so you need to either manually switch off the flat-footed status when it wouldn't apply or remember to add 2 to the target's AC when someone not flanking the target attacks.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
The caution on Fighter: It seems like a straightforward hit things option... but the fighter player needs to be tracking all kinds of different maneuvers they could pick from. Attack, shove, trip, grapple, sweep... use my reaction to raise shield or save it for the AoO that might happen if that guy there moves... try to kite this enemy to that spot and that enemy to this spot... etc. If this was an MMO you are both the top melee DPS and the off-tank at the same time (if a Champion is around they are the maintank).

That's why I had a caveat in my suggestion for Fighter. Two-handed user is relatively straightforward out the gate, and you can learn as you go on additional tactics. I wouldn't recommend sword-and-shield (not because it can't be good--my first PF2e character was one and I enjoyed him quite a bit, but you have to learn the ins and outs of when to block or not and keeping on top of shield selection) but two-hander or archer should be okay.

If not - a non magical ranged. Non-magical ranged do work best when played tactically but you can also just 'point and shoot'. Archers and Gunslingers. Or a less tactical melee in a Barbarian (they can be played to just hit things), Swashbuckler (they are meant to be tactical, but the most effective way is often just to spam 'finisher' and ignore all the class mechanics).

I wouldn't actually recommend Gunslinger for someone with an impatient streak--the reduced rate of fire can feel punishing until you internalize the benefits they have.

Yeah, if you run PF2E in a VTT, you almost always want that VTT to be Foundry.

I still maintain people expect VTTs to do more mechanical lifting for them than is necessary.
 


I don't know about that. I've done plenty of Severe encounters and no PC has died in one of those yet. I had one die in a situation where the party split up and each group ran into a moderate encounter, and one die on the run from an extreme+ encounter.

Have had some really hairy moderate encounters with a single +2 level enemy, though.
That's been my experience so far. The 2 times we've nearly had a death is when a player split off from the group and the group didn't get to engage the enemy on their terms.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yep, the VTT can definitely help but the GM still needs to know the rules to make sure the VTT is doing what it's supposed to.

And honestly, people seem to somehow think they can't run remotely without automation, or that its somehow harder. At most I can see wanting a built in die-roller if you like to keep an eye on player rolls.
 

Retreater

Legend
And honestly, people seem to somehow think they can't run remotely without automation, or that its somehow harder. At most I can see wanting a built in die-roller if you like to keep an eye on player rolls.
Heck, I don't know if I can even run PF2 in-person without automation. Maybe I'll find out after my in-person group's current 5e campaign ends.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Heck, I don't know if I can even run PF2 in-person without automation. Maybe I'll find out after my in-person group's current 5e campaign ends.
Yeap, thats interesting to think about. I assume you could use dice to track conditions, or cards, maybe even the combat initiative tracker. Its not very complicated math wise, but its a lot to juggle at once.
 

Kichwas

Half-breed, still living despite WotC racism
I still maintain people expect VTTs to do more mechanical lifting for them than is necessary.
I actually find this very useful.

You can load up mods in Foundry to do all that heavy lifting or you can run it with almost no mods and do all that math on your own.

What I love about Foundry is that once I got all the mods I wanted in place, I barely have to think of the numbers in PF2E at all. Persistent stuff, flat-footed, conditions, weird modifier for bizzare action X, and so on - if you need to figure out, there's a mod for that which will do it for you.

For me, that's a major selling point. The table can focus on the play of the game, and not working out the numbers.

In two games I've been in of late. One GM had mods to automate everything and the other did not. It typically cuts the time it takes to resolve a turn of combat by more than half to have all that automation. For me, as a former 'Champions Forever GM' - that is a massive selling point. And see the impact even in a light and fast game like PF2E, it's a thing of beauty.


That said. When you get a new mod, load up your copy of Foundry on a test world with some test characters and TEST THAT MOD out to be sure it's correct and learn what it forgets to handle, if anything.

The Mods are great tools, but they are not always 103% accurate. I've yet to see one be actually wrong on the rules. But I have seen them not know how to handle that one very weird situation that never happens in anyone's game except of course... the one I'm playing in because a player took that one weird ancestry / class / feat / item / action that the mod author didn't think people ever took. ;)

I have also found a bug or two that, when I took it the authors of that content, was told "yeah we know about that, we've not been able to figure out how to fix it, but we figured it was harmless so didn't think it was worth telling anyone or having any documentation on or even putting out a request for help to find a solution for..."

So just test your stuff out, know the limits. For the vast majority of things it does, Foundry is amazing. Also be prepared for everything to break on updates. So... don't update in mid game. You can update mods, but the base foundry software can blow up all your stuff if you update. For me, it's flat out killed game saves by corrupting the files with the recent move from 10 to 11. Good thing those were all test worlds and not live games where I'd have to tell players to re-import their PCs.
 

Kichwas

Half-breed, still living despite WotC racism
The monthly fee depends on how much data you need to store. I'm paying $4.49 a month and that gives me enough storage to run Abomination Vaults. I did buy the AV Foundry module, so there's probably some optimization there compared to just importing the PDF but I'm not sure.
It's very easy to run Foundry on your own local machine. But one big selling point of having it on Forge is you can leave the game server up 24/7 which, as a player, is something I really appreciate. I like to look over my PC from time to time outside of the game. And if there are edits or revisions to make (hey GM can I rewrite my PC? Sure. Ok.) - I can do them outside of game time and be ready when it's time to play.

I do like having Foundry on my own local machine though - so I can mess with it and test out new mods, make test worlds, run test encounters, and spot problems. I imagine that if I had it on Forge, nothing would stop me from also having my own local copy to mess around in.
 

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