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%

Parmandur

Book-Friend
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.
It is in tge DMG section about setting DCs, and again it is all over examples of play. Won't keep it up, because it is seriously off topic.

On topic, I gave up on PF2E in the playtest after reading the Skills section.
 

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It is in tge DMG section about setting DCs

It is not. In the DMG, it never talks about preventing a player from attempting a check because they lack a skill or proficiency. It mostly goes over the expected results of the difficulty levels, going from the easiest (DC 5) to the Moderate (between DC10 and DC20) and the very difficult (DC 25-30).

It does talk about automatic success, which is which is basically the opposite. Not that it's a bad idea; there's certainly a school of thought around letting certain proficiencies allow you to just do things. This is a feature in the most recent edition of Delta Green, where checks often have a certain skill threshold where you can forgo a roll. But I also think that this really hammers down that 5E's chosen method isn't about stopping people from rolling, but stopping everyone from rolling by making the right people not have to. :unsure:

But unless you have a new citation, I'm also done on the topic. Pathfinder's skill section was what drew me to the game: after trying to fix the skill system for years, someone had just built a system that already worked the way I wanted it to. Was pretty damn nice to find. :)


To go into other stuff, I think my favorite thing is that PF2's math is good enough that you can basically hand out abilities and feats pretty liberally beyond what is normally granted and it won't make ultra-unbalanced characters. Feats generally don't add to your math, but rather make you more flexible. So if a character got every class feat their level granted them, they wouldn't break the math as much as they'd be ultra-flexible in what they can do: you'd have monks with a dozen stances, rather than a monk that had One Trick DMs Hate breaking the game.
 

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.

For the character specifically: Athletics, Acobatics, Deception, Intimidate, Diplomacy, Society, Stealth are all skills that I would see as relevant for my character in his assigned story role.
And if I don't keep them up, they will quickly become irrelevant because level appropriate DCs expect you to raise them to Expert and Master eventually, but there aren't enough skill increases for that, and almost no way to add more.

Bounded Accuracy means that the spread isn't as extreme as it was in 3E or Pathfinder. That's the part of 5E I like. I don't like how they made feats so rare, or made them compete with ability score increases, and I definitely would like it easier to add skill proficiencies (well, I suppose there are some rules or rule suggestions about downtime skill training, but meh.)

I prefer 4E +5 bonus for being trained in a skill vs untrained, for example, but I like that with bounded accuracy, there aren't going to add on a gazillion of other modifiers that will make the super specialized get 10-15 more points on top of that, plus a generic level bonus that spreads things apart even further.
 

For the character specifically: Athletics, Acobatics, Deception, Intimidate, Diplomacy, Society, Stealth are all skills that I would see as relevant for my character in his assigned story role.
And if I don't keep them up, they will quickly become irrelevant because level appropriate DCs expect you to raise them to Expert and Master eventually, but there aren't enough skill increases for that, and almost no way to add more.

Are you supposed to do all that, or can you have advisors who help with such things? I don't know the AP, but I think that is not a system problem but rather an adventure-building problem, especially when you start talking about "level-appropriate DCs". Reality doesn't make everything level-appropriate and when you're ruling, your style of rule should be defined by your strong points: you shouldn't always be able to do every option in front of you, but tailor your approach to your strengths (or be more of a generalist and not be as good at everything).

Bounded Accuracy means that the spread isn't as extreme as it was in 3E or Pathfinder. That's the part of 5E I like. I don't like how they made feats so rare, or made them compete with ability score increases, and I definitely would like it easier to add skill proficiencies (well, I suppose there are some rules or rule suggestions about downtime skill training, but meh.)

I prefer 4E +5 bonus for being trained in a skill vs untrained, for example, but I like that with bounded accuracy, there aren't going to add on a gazillion of other modifiers that will make the super specialized get 10-15 more points on top of that, plus a generic level bonus that spreads things apart even further.

Bounded Accuracy is very dependent on the execution, and I find a lot of the execution doesn't work well. With 5E, the spread is not as extreme but getting consistent results from a skill (or even differentiating compared to someone who has a better stat) is generally not possible with the numbers given. It's just way too compressed and the way things advance are too rigid. I mean, I'm not sure you'd be able to do better with 5E by comparison, given that your stats are harder to advance and that the Fighter gets precious few skills to begin with.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Are you supposed to do all that, or can you have advisors who help with such things? I don't know the AP, but I think that is not a system problem but rather an adventure-building problem, especially when you start talking about "level-appropriate DCs". Reality doesn't make everything level-appropriate and when you're ruling, your style of rule should be defined by your strong points: you shouldn't always be able to do every option in front of you, but tailor your approach to your strengths (or be more of a generalist and not be as good at everything).



Bounded Accuracy is very dependent on the execution, and I find a lot of the execution doesn't work well. With 5E, the spread is not as extreme but getting consistent results from a skill (or even differentiating compared to someone who has a better stat) is generally not possible with the numbers given. It's just way too compressed and the way things advance are too rigid. I mean, I'm not sure you'd be able to do better with 5E by comparison, given that your stats are harder to advance and that the Fighter gets precious few skills to begin with.
BA is great, it's the skill system in 5E that leaves much to be desired.
 

BA is great, it's the skill system in 5E that leaves much to be desired.

Apologies, that's what I meant but did not specify: the execution of BA with the skill system just fails. I suppose I could really search for a problem when it comes to combat, but BA is not really as much the problem as the execution of some classes and monsters. I've always heard that PF2's Proficiency Without Level works very well, but I've never tried it myself.

I wonder if you just halved the level bonus you get for things if you couldn't make a nice in-between compromise.
 
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Divine2021

Adventurer
I wonder if the remaster for 2e they just put out will change many people’s minds. I’m reading through the new PHB now and it looks quite fun.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I wonder if the remaster for 2e they just put out will change many people’s minds. I’m reading through the new PHB now and it looks quite fun.

The only cases where I can see that might have an impact is people put off by the PF2e corebook arrangement, since I've heard several compliments about the new one's changes here. But its not going to impact most of the things I see people complain about regarding the system.

(To make this clear, I quite understand (though can't say I really sympathize) with most of the major complaints about regarding PF2e. It just happens to be that most of what they consider flaws I consider virtues).
 

Are you supposed to do all that, or can you have advisors who help with such things? I don't know the AP, but I think that is not a system problem but rather an adventure-building problem, especially when you start talking about "level-appropriate DCs". Reality doesn't make everything level-appropriate and when you're ruling, your style of rule should be defined by your strong points: you shouldn't always be able to do every option in front of you, but tailor your approach to your strengths (or be more of a generalist and not be as good at everything).
No, I don't need to do all of that, and I can (and did) drop some.
But ultimately I want to be able to do a bit more of that than PF2E really allows, it makes character builds feel very constrained, especially because it feels like I am sacrificing combat competence vs non-combat/social competence.
 

The only cases where I can see that might have an impact is people put off by the PF2e corebook arrangement, since I've heard several compliments about the new one's changes here. But its not going to impact most of the things I see people complain about regarding the system.

(To make this clear, I quite understand (though can't say I really sympathize) with most of the major complaints about regarding PF2e. It just happens to be that most of what they consider flaws I consider virtues).
Agreed. I could see someone that is put off by a 600+ page rulebook being receptive to trying a 400ish page book, but the game hasn’t changed so much in mechanics that if you bounced off the original game, the Remaster probably still isn’t for you.
 

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