Pathfinder 2E How is Pathfinder doing?


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Yeah. It's a bummer because I want it to work (as evidenced by my number of attempts to run the game). The online implementation on Foundry is excellent. The rules make sense, and character creation options provide a lot of variety. The APs seem interesting, and PFS organized play seems vibrant.
The baseline combats are just too difficult for the tastes of any group I've GMed, and I can't find that "sweet spot" because when I run through practice fights on my own, everything turns out fine using just simple tactics (not needing to use regularly demoralization, trips, recall knowledge, etc.)


Probably too late, but there were a few groups that sound similar to you that had success at simply playing APs with PCs at level +1. So start at Level 2 and always keep the PCs 1 level higher than the AP states. Worked for them at getting the difficulty feel they wanted.
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
In my latest TPK (which I've discussed more in detail elsewhere) I had been giving out Hero Points to every player every hour. I dropped the monsters' AC by 3 points and the characters still couldn't reliably hit them. Yes, my players had suboptimal tactics and the dice were against them that combat, but ultimately the group isn't interested in doing a lot of work out of the game to master the game. The other option (my toning down the encounters) felt insulting to them, and they didn't want me to do it either.
So we were left with sticking with PF2, a game that made them frustrated and (some of the players at least) actively angry at me. Or we could switch to something else - which we did.
My experience with the system is that it doesn't hold up to campaign play - it's fine for a convention, one-shot, or Organized Play. I've yet to have a good campaign experience across the three I've GMed (for three different groups).
I'm really sorry to hear you've had a bad experience. I've been running a homebrew campaign for over 2 years (and just started another one) but I have heard a few TPK horror stories about the published campaigns. I'm still convinced that a DM can "finesse" any published campaign, though. Certainly, a lot depends on how the players react to monsters. Here's some of my thoughts:
  • You shouldn't be using adversaries more than +1 level above the party level when they are 1st-3rd level. I wouldn't go more than party level +2 through 5th party level, and wouldn't use a +4 level adversary before, say, tenth level. That may mean some serious alterations to published APs, especially the early ones.
  • Players need to learn a few things, like not always charging into the middle of a fight and staying there, using teamwork to apply conditions to adversaries, and being ready to run like hell if things go south - even if that means abandoning a couple party members to a gruesome death.
-DMs shouldn't always try to use the most optimal actions against their PCs. Occasionally using maneuvers instead of an attack can help, and intelligent adversaries should sometimes try to withdraw to better carry out their evil plots, rather than fight to the death.

This said, I can fully understand why Retreater has pulled back and switched game systems. His players don't like their PF2 experience, and a good DM has to respect that. Good luck with your alternate choices!
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yeah. It's a bummer because I want it to work (as evidenced by my number of attempts to run the game). The online implementation on Foundry is excellent. The rules make sense, and character creation options provide a lot of variety. The APs seem interesting, and PFS organized play seems vibrant.
The baseline combats are just too difficult for the tastes of any group I've GMed, and I can't find that "sweet spot" because when I run through practice fights on my own, everything turns out fine using just simple tactics (not needing to use regularly demoralization, trips, recall knowledge, etc.)

If you keep running into people who just can't be arsed to use tactics, I can see how PF2e is gonna be a problem every time. Its just not a game that's kind to that approach.
 

dave2008

Legend
Lack of magic items, or really just any use for gold at all, is one of the big sticking points in my 5e group. I also feel the lack of a skill system during play; much of the player's character sheets go unused because they have no idea how they can or should use their skills or tools, because about 99% of use cases are bespoke and requires DM input.
That's really the thing PF2e has solved for me, moreso than lack of balance or options. There are huge holes in 5e's systems that are stickied over with an I.O.U. that the DM is charged to fulfill with their time and/or money. PF2e has a functioning core set of systems that work without significant modification.
Of course you could play LevelUp to solve those issues too. It is not a 5e issue, but a WotC issue.
 

dirtypool

Explorer
Bestiaries, alien archives, Pathfinder/Starfinder pawns have all been cancelled just in the past couple of months. To me, this is not re-assuring that the current suite of games is performing that well.
Pawns have indeed been cancelled, but both the Bestiary line and Alien Archives line were intended to be replaced with a differently structured product that provides Bestiary/Archive material alongside lore, new Ancestries/Classes/Archetypes, new spells, new gear, and occasionally pre-built encounters all built around a narrative theme. They announced that shift when they announced Book of the Dead at GenCon last summer.
 

Pawns have indeed been cancelled, but both the Bestiary line and Alien Archives line were intended to be replaced with a differently structured product that provides Bestiary/Archive material alongside lore, new Ancestries/Classes/Archetypes, new spells, new gear, and occasionally pre-built encounters all built around a narrative theme. They announced that shift when they announced Book of the Dead at GenCon last summer.

Yeah, the pawns thing seems to be more of a reaction to where the market is at, given the explosion of VTT play. I suspect a lot of people who would otherwise bought pawns transitioned to online in the last few years and have yet to come back. Combine with increased costs on stuff like good cardstock and there you go.
 

teitan

Legend
Here you can find actual data of roll20 users division on different systems. Pathfinder 1e has stayed in same percentage while 2e has dropped from previous year.
Roll20 is well known to not be a good measure for Paizo products due to lack of support.

That said I’ve noticed locally an uptick in Starfinder interest with the increase in support from Paizo. While not a massive increase the shorter adventures and supplements has had an impact in people playing.
 


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