Grade the Pathfinder 2E Game System

How do you feel about the Pathfinder 2E System?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 30 17.4%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 32 18.6%
  • Meh, it's okay.

    Votes: 37 21.5%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 15 8.7%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 57 33.1%
  • I've never heard of it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
It wasn't like in the 3e days people didn't chronically go up as regularly as was possible. All that happened was the thing you complain about in your second paragraph where the skills became worthless above a certain level (and far worse; its sometimes hard to get value out of a skill you haven't kept investing in in PF2e, but its not impossible in a lot of cases). On the other hand, in 3e (or PF1e) the skill you haven't invested in in ten levels might as well not exist. The automatic level add essentially says "We're not going to force people to play this stupid game of chase-the-level".

And I should note if you really want to avoid that, there's an optional rule to do so. Its just not the core rule, because, frankly, they decided for the routine user, its not a virtue.
On the other hand, you had skill points and magic items that could help you catch up in that skill during the characters advancement in 3E. 5E for example, you set it at first level and then never look back. PF2 is sort of in the middle in that you are only really good at a few things as the character advances (unless rogue or bard) and choose which feats to invest.

Of all of that, I do prefer 3E approach, however, I do not like the roofless numbers rocket game that 3E becomes.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
On the other hand, you had skill points and magic items that could help you catch up in that skill during the characters advancement in 3E. 5E for example, you set it at first level and then never look back. PF2 is sort of in the middle in that you are only really good at a few things as the character advances (unless rogue or bard) and choose which feats to invest.

Almost no one who wasn't a rogue, bard (or possibly a wizard) could have enough skill points to keep up with it that way (I don't recall anyone else getting more the 4/level, and you could easily have more than four skills you'd like to be at least vaguely able to do), and the magic items were still fishing in the pool of things you wanted to get for your primary operating procedure.

That's the point; having at least some competence doesn't fish in your main gig in PF2e (except for rogues, and they get so many skill advancements unless they're seriously trying to be a Jack of all Trades its not an issue); most of it comes from just investing in the skill in the first place, and then letting level do the rest. There might be a skill or two that involves your core operations, but pretty much anyone can keep with a skill or two.

Of all of that, I do prefer 3E approach, however, I do not like the roofless numbers rocket game that 3E becomes.

Once they were going to chase a full 20 levels and make all of them mean something, that was probably inevitable. There are games that don't do that but they're either lower powered in terms of ultimate extent, or don't use a big linear die like a D20.
 

It wasn't like in the 3e days people didn't chronically go up as regularly as was possible. All that happened was the thing you complain about in your second paragraph where the skills became worthless above a certain level (and far worse; its sometimes hard to get value out of a skill you haven't kept investing in in PF2e, but its not impossible in a lot of cases). On the other hand, in 3e (or PF1e) the skill you haven't invested in in ten levels might as well not exist. The automatic level add essentially says "We're not going to force people to play this stupid game of chase-the-level".

And I should note if you really want to avoid that, there's an optional rule to do so. Its just not the core rule, because, frankly, they decided for the routine user, its not a virtue.
Yeah, 3E had its own problems, that's for sure, but I think 5E and this "bounded accuracy" thing was really the best approach to skills and attacks. It allows any type of skill, attack or challenge to remain relevant, and still leaves enough room to be really good at something and make it count.

One thing I noticed that bothered me when I was making a "plan" for my Pathfinder 2E Kingmaker character: You can't increase skills "out of turn". You get your classes/levels skill increases, and that's almost all you can get. My Fighter was basically chosen to become the king-in-the-making for the group, and covering not just the Fighter skills and the social skills in the long run was almost impossible,and the way lots of stuff is set up as rolls against the difficulty of your level, I already forsee that it will be a struggle... I wouldn't mind spending feats on it, but it seems there isn't anything to boost skill proficiency level...
 

Pluses:

  • most power is in the core class features and can't be traded away through multi class or feat choices.
  • encounter creation math that works
  • playable levels 1-20 without completely falling apart
  • classes mostly balanced with some outliers that aren't way off the charts
  • lots of character customization (esp if use free archtype)
  • 3 action economy is a great idea
  • success ladder vs binary pass/fail
  • combat game is more about tactical choices than build. teamwork is rewarded
  • very easy to run from DM side (perhaps more complex to learn at first)
  • everything is free


Cons:
  • went a little too far nerfing some spellcasters at lower levels (cough wizard). Mid/Higher levels seem fine
  • magic is general is ok but don't love some of the choices --- should have called "success" save -> "minor failure" and gone from there for player pyschology, should be a way to occasionally get an incapacitation off, more spells that interact with the 3 action economy, etc.
  • early adventures overtuned so you can get the wrong impression on difficulty / how to build encounters
  • a little too many modifiers/conditions but not a deal killer
  • I'm not a huge fan of the way they did skill feats -- too many "permission" feats instead of bonuses. e.g., should be a +5 to interact with royalty instead of "you can...." It feels like feat gating for mundane things. Not hard to house rule but I'm not a fan.
 

Its not even in and out of combat. When compared, many skill feats are, maybe used once a campaign > probably used per session > used in every encounter. Not much of a choice there.

I don't like how they did the non combat skill feats. Way too specific and gatekeeping.

SO, you mean I can't persuade 3 people at once without this feat? Or I can with a penalty or what (introducing ambiguity and DM work pf2e normally tries to avoid)? '

I houserule all those skill feats to be more generally useful and as bonuses. So for Connections you get +5 bonus to deal with famous and political figures. Yes, +5 is big but it doesn't happen that often and lets you pull of success ahead of the curve.

So, trying to get invited to that ball where the King is coming? That's something expected to be doable for level 15 DC. But with the feat you might be able to pull it off at level 10.

SO, you can't Survey Wildlife with Survival without this feat? Of course you can. Feat gives +5 bonus. Done.

Not perfect but helps.
 

MuhVerisimilitude

Adventurer
Skill feats are understandable. They seem to occur naturally when you try to answer the following question:

How do you balance a class that grows in two different ways as they level up, against a class that doesn't?

And the answer is: You make sure all classes grow in multiple ways.

5e fails this by having classes that improve dynamically (casters gain new spells allowing them to do new things) and non-casters who do not gain new spells and only get very slightly better at doing their thing. That is: What is the difference between having a +3 acrobatics and +10 acrobatics? How does that difference actually manifest in practice?

Skill feats are an attempt (and I think a bit clumsy one) at trying to codify skills so that classes that rely more on them can get more use out of them.
 

Skill feats are understandable. They seem to occur naturally when you try to answer the following question:

How do you balance a class that grows in two different ways as they level up, against a class that doesn't?

And the answer is: You make sure all classes grow in multiple ways.

5e fails this by having classes that improve dynamically (casters gain new spells allowing them to do new things) and non-casters who do not gain new spells and only get very slightly better at doing their thing. That is: What is the difference between having a +3 acrobatics and +10 acrobatics? How does that difference actually manifest in practice?

Skill feats are an attempt (and I think a bit clumsy one) at trying to codify skills so that classes that rely more on them can get more use out of them.

Yeah, I agree with that in principle but the execution is off in pf2e then.

Scare to Death is fine -- new usage that is outside the mundane realm

Survey Wildlife is not -- mundane use that seems like a key element of a Survival skill? Again, just give a +5 bonus so that someone with the feat can punch "above level" with their studying of details and get more critical success and less crit fails.

Group Impression is not -- mundane use that confuses whether you can even attempt 2 targets without the feat. Maybe you attempt 2 targets with a penalty? Or maybe you have to roll separately for each target without the feat? Weirdly ambiguous for pf2e. At least spell out the base case.

I like the idea of "unlocking" more uses of the skill check, but those uses should be pretty fantastic then not apparently gatekeeping rather mundane activities.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
One thing I noticed that bothered me when I was making a "plan" for my Pathfinder 2E Kingmaker character: You can't increase skills "out of turn". You get your classes/levels skill increases, and that's almost all you can get. My Fighter was basically chosen to become the king-in-the-making for the group, and covering not just the Fighter skills and the social skills in the long run was almost impossible,and the way lots of stuff is set up as rolls against the difficulty of your level, I already forsee that it will be a struggle... I wouldn't mind spending feats on it, but it seems there isn't anything to boost skill proficiency level...

Welcome to one of the reasons why, once you get out of the D&D-adjacent sphere, most people don't think the class-and-level model is exactly a great one.
 


Staffan

Legend
I don't like how they did the non combat skill feats. Way too specific and gatekeeping.

SO, you mean I can't persuade 3 people at once without this feat? Or I can with a penalty or what (introducing ambiguity and DM work pf2e normally tries to avoid)?
I think some of those skill feats have been fixed in the remaster. I specifically remember someone saying that Diplomacy now has rules included for using it on multiple targets at once, and Group Impression makes doing so much more usable.
SO, you can't Survey Wildlife with Survival without this feat? Of course you can. Feat gives +5 bonus. Done.
I think I'd generally prefer skill feats not giving numerical bonuses like that, but instead provide different benefits. For example, I could see Survey Wildlife being something that normally takes an hour, but the feat reduces it to 10 minutes, or 1 minute with Master Survival.
 

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