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%

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...

I can't reconcile the first paragraph with the second. The bounded accuracy problem is that it makes skills less meaningful because everyone can roll; it creates points where having a skill is less meaningful than having the attributes. Combined with the lack of distinction with skill along with the difficulty in getting new ones makes it rough for anyone who wants to engage with it past the most cursory level. Like you talk about how you can't increase skills "out of turn" in PF2, but that's way worse in 5E where you can only get new skills by spending a Feat, which are both rare and are competing with a bunch of different (and often build-crucial, especially for Martials) feats and ASIs. This was one of the biggest problems I had back when 5E started and it's one of the things I've seen people mess around with to create more meaningful distinctions between those who have skills and those who don't. If you don't like plans, then 5E's version of skills is terrible because if you don't plan for what you want at the beginning, you're probably not going to have it (or at least have it for quite a while).

I also don't really get having problems creating a fighter with social skills in PF2 given the spread of attribute boosts they hand out. You might not be able to specialize in every charisma skill, but you can probably get one or two. Like, you talk about "Fighter Skills", but I'm not sure what you really need outside of "Athletics" to do just about all the things you need to do as a Fighter. What are you juggling here?

But honestly, when it comes to level-based systems, I generally think PF2 does a pretty good job of it. There's a lot more room to play with and use GM's discretion without breaking the system; it's easier to hand out a skill in something because it doesn't instantly boost up to maximum like 5E, while it's also harder to max out and break the system through numbers given how the actual math works.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
The bounded accuracy problem is that it makes skills less meaningful because everyone can roll
This part isnuntrue: gating rolls behind the proficiency binary is part of the system. So a DM can call for a roll thst only someone with proficiency can try: so the Paladin can always outshine the secular Wizard on Religion checks.
 

This part isnuntrue: gating rolls behind the proficiency binary is part of the system. So a DM can call for a roll thst only someone with proficiency can try: so the Paladin can always outshine the secular Wizard on Religion checks.

You can do that, but that's a GM choice and it's something that has come about with time. You also can't gate everything, since certain things are just going to be things anyone can do, at which point generally people who have the attribute are going to outshine those who don't (Until the mid-to-upper levels, at least). It's a real problem with the system, and I think there are better ways of tackling it than having to always adjudicate what task is gated off with what skill. Sometimes you just got to let people try, even if it would be hard. There is fun in that, as long as you make it a proper long-shot, which it currently isn't.

When I modified the skill system, I halved the proficiency bonus but created more distinction by using "Trained" and "Untrained" tasks: if it was an "Untrained" task, someone with a skill started with Advantage, while if it was a "Trained" task, someone without it started it at Disadvantage. It was an easier way that allowed people to try long shots while also bending consistency in a stronger way to those with skills while keeping the numbers down. Also allowed me to keep the numbers down.
 

I mean, if I really wanted to say one thing, it's that while the proficiency modifier is great for attack bonuses, DCs, etc, it's just not great for skills. If you wanted to create a basic skill point system where you could have skills go up, but only go up to something like +6, that's actually not too much of a hassle. It's not like 3E where the numbers go on forever, and it allows you to express stuff with your build that you normally can't.

I also think 5E's handling of skills for classes is generally bad, especially with classes like the Ranger who get more skills but have to spend more to get what they should traditionally just have. 5E should have something like PF2, where your class just grants you your most important skill: Fighters get Athletics or Acrobatics, Wizards get Arcana, Clerics get Religion, etc. Also lose the concept of "class skills" in general and just let people choose whatever skills they want. PF2 defining classes more by what they do in combat and leaving skills and skill feats open to define what people are out of that was generally a smart idea.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
You can do that, but that's a GM choice and it's something that has come about with time. You also can't gate everything, since certain things are just going to be things anyone can do, at which point generally people who have the attribute are going to outshine those who don't (Until the mid-to-upper levels, at least). It's a real problem with the system, and I think there are better ways of tackling it than having to always adjudicate what task is gated off with what skill. Sometimes you just got to let people try, even if it would be hard. There is fun in that, as long as you make it a proper long-shot, which it currently isn't.

When I modified the skill system, I halved the proficiency bonus but created more distinction by using "Trained" and "Untrained" tasks: if it was an "Untrained" task, someone with a skill started with Advantage, while if it was a "Trained" task, someone without it started it at Disadvantage. It was an easier way that allowed people to try long shots while also bending consistency in a stronger way to those with skills while keeping the numbers down. Also allowed me to keep the numbers down.
I mean,no, it isn't a "real problem" in the system, insofar as it is accounted for in the rules, and the actual play examples are replete with the fix.
 

I mean,no, it isn't a "real problem" in the system, insofar as it is accounted for in the rules, and the actual play examples are replete with the fix.

It's a real problem in that the fix is just a Rule 0 solution, and I don't really see it as being "accounted for" in the rules. It's just something that has largely been dealt with through a community solution rather than one actually outlined by the rules.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
It's a real problem in that the fix is just a Rule 0 solution, and I don't really see it as being "accounted for" in the rules. It's just something that has largely been dealt with through a community solution rather than one actually outlined by the rules.
No, it isn't a community solution? That's in the rules as written. That's not Rule 0, that just...how the system works. Not everyone can everything.
 

No, it isn't a community solution? That's in the rules as written. That's not Rule 0, that just...how the system works. Not everyone can everything.

Where is it rules as written? I don't see it in the PHB in the Skills section, nor in the DMG section about skills. Those sections largely talking about when to apply proficiency bonuses or not for various uses, not gating skills.
 

Where is it rules as written? I don't see it in the PHB in the Skills section, nor in the DMG section about skills. Those sections largely talking about when to apply proficiency bonuses or not for various uses, not gating skills.
At the risk of this going further down the 5e rabbit hole in a PF2e thread, I remember the relevant part of the PHB the way you're explaining it:

Sometimes, the DM might ask for an ability check using a specific skill — for example, “Make a Wisdom (Perception) check.” At other times, a player might ask the DM if proficiency in a particular skill applies to a check. In either case, proficiency in a skill means an individual can add his or her proficiency bonus to ability checks that involve that skill. Without proficiency in the skill, the individual makes a normal ability check.

There may be a part of the rules that contradicts it, because reasons but I've seen people who actually work(ed) on 5e say there's no such thing as "make a stealth check". The proper ask is "make a dexterity (stealth) roll" which means what it says above in the quote.

Circling this back to PF2e, I like the skills system better because it both clearly defines what is and isn't a trained/untrained task and makes it possible for you to change course later in the game to train in something different. Regret picking something? The rules cover retraining.
 

Circling this back to PF2e, I like the skills system better because it both clearly defines what is and isn't a trained/untrained task and makes it possible for you to change course later in the game to train in something different. Regret picking something? The rules cover retraining.

The skill system just works way better as written. I can understand some people not liking the execution of some skill feats, but it feels like they've done a decent job in the Remaster of upping what you get out of things and making general usage clearer. It does a good job of not being a huge amount of point management while still allowing skill differences. The written usages of skills, too, is just great, especially when it comes to combat uses. But in general, PF2 does a great job at striking a solid balance of allowing flexibility while still being fairly straightforward and simple.
 

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