Pathfinder 2E How is Pathfinder doing?

Thomas Shey

Legend
Very true but I chalk pf1e up to the edition wars. The market split really started with the birth of the OSR and D20 fatigue. 4e was just a sort of thumb shaking at the 3.5 fanbase, unintentional, that didn’t help so Pathfinder became a bigger emblem of that split because it picked up those who didn’t move to 4e. I think their market is now Paizo fans and not edition warriors or 3.5 players looking to continue to use their books considering how far PF1e moved away from 3.5 as the supplement churn started and how close to 1e that 2e actually really is when you look at the entirety of the Lifecycle and Pathfinder Unchained’s various optional rules that were implemented.

While I don't disagree, that's just the reason PF1e was an outlier. It was very much an artifact of a series of events that is not duplicable.
 

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teitan

Legend
Yeah, I think this is mostly true. In many of the PF2e communities I'm in there is a lot of 5e bashing, so the edition war is still ongoing just not between 3.5 diehards and everyone else anymore. But in general, I just like being a Paizo customer/fan more. They produce more stuff that I think is higher quality, they continually develop their lore and setting, their pre-made adventures are second to none, and in general there's a sense of a community-company relationship where there is none with WotC. Paizo would not exist without it's fans and the communities they create and Paizo acts like it, WotC could not give less of a damn about their players or the people making third party content for their game. This isn't to say Paizo has never made massive embarrassing mistakes (remember Pathfinder Online?), just that blow for blow I enjoy being a part of Pathfinder communities more so than most 5e communities.
They also do a lot of support that is just useful like the flip tiles and maps, the tokens, decks etc. they’re a very DM friendly company. I play Starfinder and the resources they provide are wonderful everything that I would have loved when DMing 3.5.
 

darjr

I crit!
Here is another photo of the game room for Paizo at GenCon.
Still only a narrow view of the admin table. I wish someone would take a photo from one of the corners.

That room is LARGE.

paizo game room.jpeg
 

I always find these debates weird but funny, since they are basically the same ones I saw elsewhere at the start of 5E. I remember a bunch of people saying that 5E was failing and pointing to the very slow release schedule as an example, when all that actually showed was that 5E was going to have fewer books and system bloat and focus more on adventure releases.

As it stands, from everything I can tell it looks like Pathfinder 2E is doing fine. On the ICv2 charts it's a consistent second to 5E, going down to third back when the Cyberpunk 2071 video game released, which almost certainly sparked some interest there. Releases are humming and honestly the output seems great. I think they may have had a bit of trouble with COVID because I think they actually get a good deal of sales from engagement and stuff like Pathfinder Society, but overall it seems like it's selling just fine. If all we're going on is anecdotes about how it's selling in someone's hobby shop and the Orr Report, I think we are scraping the bottom. The only RPG that seems to come close really isn't a singular RPG as much as a brand/franchise (Call of Cthulhu, which has many different versions but seem to all get grouped together), otherwise it's far and away the solid #2 on the market.

I do disagree that the main base is Paizo fans, though. At this point, I think it's pretty clear that their base is 5E fans who want a bit more crunch and customizability compared to what WotC is giving them. It's how I ended up falling into it after absolutely swearing I would never play PF1 (I never jived with 3.X). Heck, I remember reading about how shields worked in the playtest and being turned off by it. Weird what happens when you get the full rules in your hands and take a look. But PF2 feels like a game that goes a bit beyond the casual, which means it might miss some of the people who aren't up for the system enabling a bunch of customization.

I'd also like to say that their switches in how they expand their line have also helped guys like me stay in it. I don't think I could have kept up with the previous way supplements were done in masses of constantly-released small splatbooks. Moving away from those and doing big theme books like Book of the Dead, The Dark Archive, and Guns and Gears was absolutely the way to go, in the same way 5E has benefited from not having too many mechanical expansions.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
But PF2 feels like a game that goes a bit beyond the casual, which means it might miss some of the people who aren't up for the system enabling a bunch of customization.

I really think it has more to do with the fact that unless the GM is deliberately low-balling encounters, it kind of demands a certain degree of engagement if you want good outcomes; its not a game you can get by on autopilot or by doing all the heavy lifting during character creation and advancement. There's a few slightly substandard choices (though to what degree is kind of in the eye of the observer) but not much in the way of "I win" buttons. That just means you have to actually pay attention to the "game" part of PF2e, and, seriously, that's not what some people are used to, or really, want. I think that's been a big part of Retreater's problem (since he seems to have bad luck finding people to do that) or the person in one of these recent threads who mentioned a barbarian player who bailed on on the game when he figured out that just going in swinging was not going to work out a lot (which I have a little sympathy for since that's a lot of people's image of "barbarian" but PF2e is just not that game).
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
... recent threads who mentioned a barbarian player who bailed on on the game when he figured out that just going in swinging was not going to work out a lot (which I have a little sympathy for since that's a lot of people's image of "barbarian" but PF2e is just not that game).
I think it certainly can be. GMs are learning the new paradigm, and its very new in comparison to PF1/5E. A steady diet of -1/0 APL encounters will allow a traditional kick in the door style of play. The math is more forgiving here, casters will get a good use of their spellbooks, martials can expect to score crits once in awhile. Save the +2/3 APL encounters for boss fights and you have gotten back to that typical experience. If you want to dive into a sandbox or megadungeon, I also advise you use the proficiency without level variant. That will broaden the band of possible fights that are possible for the PCs to engage.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I think it certainly can be. GMs are learning the new paradigm, and its very new in comparison to PF1/5E. A steady diet of -1/0 APL encounters will allow a traditional kick in the door style of play.

Note my first sentence in that post. (Though I'm not sold that being completely blase about your tactics will even reliably work with +0 encounters).
 

Staffan

Legend
I think it certainly can be. GMs are learning the new paradigm, and its very new in comparison to PF1/5E. A steady diet of -1/0 APL encounters will allow a traditional kick in the door style of play. The math is more forgiving here, casters will get a good use of their spellbooks, martials can expect to score crits once in awhile. Save the +2/3 APL encounters for boss fights and you have gotten back to that typical experience. If you want to dive into a sandbox or megadungeon, I also advise you use the proficiency without level variant. That will broaden the band of possible fights that are possible for the PCs to engage.
I think the game is a little over-tuned even with on-level encounters. A maxed-out non-fighter martial (starting attack stat 18, putting stat increases into the attack stat at both level 5, 10, 15, and 20, getting magic upgrades on schedule, and getting an apex item to boost your attack rather than cover a weakness) will hit a high-AC foe (the default) on a 9 at most levels, sometimes going down to 8 and sometimes up to 10. I would have liked to see this be a point or two better, but it's OK.

The problem is with spells rather than attacks. Spells have two problems: for the most part they are a limited resource (other than cantrips), and they have a lower chance of success than attacks (both because of the pure save vs DC math, and because it's easier to get an advantage on physical attacks via things like flanking). This creates something of a feelbad situation – particularly when you're facing tough opponents. It makes intuitive sense to save your resources for tough fights, but that's when they are least useful. I would probably have tuned this differently, or at least made sure more spells had reasonably good effects even on successful saves. Fear is a good example I think, inflicting Frightened 1 even on a successful save. Incapacitation also hurts a lot – I think it would have been better to give strong debuffs a hp threshold, like in 13th Age, instead of the current mechanic. That would still allow casters to use their cool spells, just not to insta-win.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I think the game is a little over-tuned even with on-level encounters. A maxed-out non-fighter martial (starting attack stat 18, putting stat increases into the attack stat at both level 5, 10, 15, and 20, getting magic upgrades on schedule, and getting an apex item to boost your attack rather than cover a weakness) will hit a high-AC foe (the default) on a 9 at most levels, sometimes going down to 8 and sometimes up to 10. I would have liked to see this be a point or two better, but it's OK.

The problem is with spells rather than attacks. Spells have two problems: for the most part they are a limited resource (other than cantrips), and they have a lower chance of success than attacks (both because of the pure save vs DC math, and because it's easier to get an advantage on physical attacks via things like flanking). This creates something of a feelbad situation – particularly when you're facing tough opponents. It makes intuitive sense to save your resources for tough fights, but that's when they are least useful. I would probably have tuned this differently, or at least made sure more spells had reasonably good effects even on successful saves. Fear is a good example I think, inflicting Frightened 1 even on a successful save. Incapacitation also hurts a lot – I think it would have been better to give strong debuffs a hp threshold, like in 13th Age, instead of the current mechanic. That would still allow casters to use their cool spells, just not to insta-win.
Yeap. On one hand, it makes solo fights possible and interesting. Casters cant just debilitate them while martials gang tackle them. Though, it does suck relying on your weaker spells over your big bangs in fights. It also sucks watching the enemy gleefully crit the PCs when it becomes like a once a session thing for the PCs. Feel bad is a good word for it. I do recognize that it is tactics driven and challenging, but I prefer the challenge on the strategic end, not the tactical one. YMMV.
 

Staffan

Legend
Yeap. On one hand, it makes solo fights possible and interesting. Casters cant just debilitate them while martials gang tackle them. Though, it does suck relying on your weaker spells over your big bangs in fights. It also sucks watching the enemy gleefully crit the PCs when it becomes like a once a session thing for the PCs. Feel bad is a good word for it. I do recognize that it is tactics driven and challenging, but I prefer the challenge on the strategic end, not the tactical one. YMMV.
That's why I like 13th Age's HP threshold instead. It means that instead of something like paralyze being a dead spell against a boss, it becomes the spell you use to finish it off after the burly dudes/dudettes have taken it down a notch.
 

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