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Pathfinder 2E Is It Time for PF2 "Essentials"?

kenada

Hero
Supporter
I've been thinking over what makes PF2 feel like a rollplaying game (using Justice and Rule's term). I think it is because all the options are so siloed. If I play an elven rogue, I pick elf and rogue feats. Elves and rouges may or may not have a certain ability. If they don't, I am out of luck. I am not freeing my imagination to create a character, I am picking from a rather closed menu. Some abilities are based on skill feats available to anyone, but this could be many, many more.

The second thing is something I mentioned above, that the rules create a world that feel ephemeral. There is not enough connection between the rules and the in-world image. The best example here is the one i already used; the only difference between large and small animal companions is the size of the playing piece.

The third is even more nebulous. In PF1 we used squares to move, had a zone of control (reach and AoO) and generally played an advanced boardgame. But that was somehow ok. In PF2 the same thing crossed some threshold to me, it became too gamey. This might just be lack of practice, I've been playing 3E, 3.5, and PF1 for decades and PF2 around 4 months.

All these points are subjective, they are how I feel. I am happy people don't agree because I still genuinely like Paizo.
Thanks for staying engaged. The first two seem somewhat related: characters feel less grounded because their options are siloed, and elements fee disconnected from the world due to the numbers being overtly arbitrary. Let me know if I got that wrong.

The thing with companions seems to be a matter of framing. Savage companions do get better stats, but they aren’t tied to the size change, so it reads like changing size does nothing. The section on companions could benefit from being written like PC customization (where it’s about what happens to you then the mechanics rather than just about the mechanics).

I agree on the siloing. In my list of changes posted earlier in this thread, I included building martials off of a shared chassis. The framework is there in the APG via martial archetypes, but it’s not available to 1st level characters unless you use the (apparently popular) free archetype variant.

The free archetype variant should have been reprinted in the APG and made the default (outside of PFS?). Archetypes were a game-changer in PF1. Giving classes a free archetype would help diversify builds while also making characters feel more grounded (by taking options from a shared pool).
 

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Justice and Rule

Adventurer
It's less about the use of a 20-sided die than it is the D&D-inspired fantasy. I have a GURPS-based dungeon crawler that is just D&D, but with different math, and as such, I can't be bothered to play it. In the case of PF2 and so many others, having evil chroma dragons and good metal dragons isn't "high fantasy;" it's Dungeons & Dragons. If you have evil, depth-dwelling duergar who grow huge and turn invisible, that's D&D. If you're mashing up dinosaurs, Greek myth, European fairy tales, Tolkien, and things that a bunch of nerds in Wisconsin dreamed up because winter there is hell, that's D&D.

Stop it.

Do something original. Do something that says something other than, "Your mom says Fruit Roll-Ups are too expensive? Well, check out these Fruity Roll-Snacks! They're almost as good!"

Fair, though not sure Pathfinder is the game to do it with. Would Starfinder qualify?

Certainly the larger market has gotten way more diverse in the last decade. Hell, Free League's output alone is pretty insanely diverse (Tales from the Loop, ALIEN, Twilight 2000, Mutant Year Zero) and you're seeing it from a lot of other companies, whether it be licensed stuff (40K, Star Trek, etc) or classic stuff (Cyberpunk, Lot5R, etc).
 

darjr

I crit!
Let people enjoy stuff. I mean I want other games and to be able to play them and support creators. But some people’s hobbies are Dungeons and Dragons, not role playing games in general. Sometimes they want to change things up with different rules and play styles.
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
Fair, though not sure Pathfinder is the game to do it with. Would Starfinder qualify?

Certainly the larger market has gotten way more diverse in the last decade. Hell, Free League's output alone is pretty insanely diverse (Tales from the Loop, ALIEN, Twilight 2000, Mutant Year Zero) and you're seeing it from a lot of other companies, whether it be licensed stuff (40K, Star Trek, etc) or classic stuff (Cyberpunk, Lot5R, etc).

Yeah, I would have liked to see them work more at growing Starfinder. But maybe that's not possible. What do I know? Armchair businessmen are a dime a dozen.

Let people enjoy stuff. I mean I want other games and to be able to play them and support creators. But some people’s hobbies are Dungeons and Dragons, not role playing games in general. Sometimes they want to change things up with different rules and play styles.

I haven't been able to reach my team of book-burning commandos all week due to the ice storm. It may be too late.
 


Porridge

Explorer
Thank you for the PF2 explanation, I haven't played yet. However, @Teemu was talking about 5e. Based on your description of PF2e, it is even more like a board game than 5e according to his/her criteria. Not that I agree with that!
Just to be clear, you can build NPCs using PC rules in PF2. But they also have quick-build rules you can use to build NPCs.

So what you said earlier is completely right!
They do follow the same rules. You can create them differently if you want, but you don’t have too. I think it is the same in PF2
 


fearsomepirate

Adventurer
What?!? Yes!!! There were and I can squint and kinda get it, as a fairness thing. Sorta. Maybe.

The funny thing is I said that, yet I had a player who had really been into 3.5 who demanded I explain why a monster was able to do anything it did. Every session, every new monster, he'd say at least once, "What?!?!? How is the monster able to do that?!?!?!"

"Because a bugbear gets +2d6 damage if it smacks you while you're surprised."
"But how is that possible."
The cruel and heartless DM shows him the stat block.
"Fine."
 

HJFudge

Explorer
I've recently started up as a player in a PF2 campaign and (so far) I have really enjoyed it. I am having fun playing my character. If it was more like PF1, I feel I would enjoy it less? Of course that all depends on HOW it was more like PF1...

But I am of the same opinion as several other posters here. PF2 does some unique things that are interesting to me, as a player. I have not tried to DM it (yet) but from a player side it's been fun. If it doesn't sell well, that is unfortunate, but lets not make it less unique to appeal to a wider swathe of people...as that would lessen its appeal to me.

Ya'll have your games let me have this one! It's an interesting alternative to the games I play now and I'd like it to remain such without 'essentialing' it into unrecognizability.
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
The funny thing is I said that, yet I had a player who had really been into 3.5 who demanded I explain why a monster was able to do anything it did. Every session, every new monster, he'd say at least once, "What?!?!? How is the monster able to do that?!?!?!"

"Because a bugbear gets +2d6 damage if it smacks you while you're surprised."
"But how is that possible."
The cruel and heartless DM shows him the stat block.
"Fine."


download (3).jpg
 
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FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Thanks for staying engaged. The first two seem somewhat related: characters feel less grounded because their options are siloed, and elements fee disconnected from the world due to the numbers being overtly arbitrary. Let me know if I got that wrong.
I think this is it, for me. It’s not that the design: more options + class based system = more siloing, but also the nature of the options that are siloed.

Options that are siloed that feel like options that should be available to everyone are going to feel more “game-y” than not. Having Conceal Spell and Silent Spell be wizard exclusive doesn’t bother me too much (though it might bother me more if I was playing a Fey Sorcerer focussed on casting spells without being noticed). Having Quick Draw mot being available to Dex-based Fighters bothers me more.

Saying “sure it’s available, just spend your second level class feat on Ranger dedication than your 4th level class feat on a 2nd level Ranger feat” is a good way to get dice thrown at your head. 😃
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
I think this is it, for me. It’s not that the design: more options + class based system = more siloing, but also the nature of the options that are siloed.

Options that are siloed that feel like options that should be available to everyone are going to feel more “game-y” than not. Having Conceal Spell and Silent Spell be wizard exclusive doesn’t bother me too much (though it might bother me more if I was playing a Fey Sorcerer focussed on casting spells without being noticed). Having Quick Draw mot being available to Dex-based Fighters bothers me more.

Saying “sure it’s available, just spend your second level class feat on Ranger dedication than your 4th level class feat on a 2nd level Ranger feat” is a good way to get dice thrown at your head. 😃

I totally get people not liking the archetype system, though at the same time there's something so fucking nice about saying "Look, you never have to try and calculate proficiency and spell slots across classes again, you just spend a feat. Also I'm going to give you free feats to spend on this, so don't whine to me about it."
 

Windjammer

Adventurer
If my PC fights a bear in the wild and tames it, does PF2 give me control over the same creature or will it swap out its statblock?
If my PC fights a humanoid that’s kitted out with armor, +2 bow and sword, and I defeat it, can I pick up that same gear (and not suddenly have new stats than what that sword had a minute ago)?

4e‘s answers to both questions was No and the result felt like playing Marioworld where the world is window dressing and you can’t really interact with all that much of it, really. Some encounters in 4e literally had environmental components that only the monsters but not the PCS could manipulate, like platforms that were magically unassailable until the monster blew them apart.
That’s what people mean when they say: siloed in game mechanics or building blocks take away from the game‘s verisimilitude.
 

Retreater

Legend
If my PC fights a bear in the wild and tames it, does PF2 give me control over the same creature or will it swap out its statblock?
If my PC fights a humanoid that’s kitted out with armor, +2 bow and sword, and I defeat it, can I pick up that same gear (and not suddenly have new stats than what that sword had a minute ago)?

4e‘s answers to both questions was No and the result felt like playing Marioworld where the world is window dressing and you can’t really interact with all that much of it, really. Some encounters in 4e literally had environmental components that only the monsters but not the PCS could manipulate, like platforms that were magically unassailable until the monster blew them apart.
That’s what people mean when they say: siloed in game mechanics or building blocks take away from the game‘s verisimilitude.
From what I can tell is, yes, you would have the same access to the same gear. Now your training with it could be different (like that evil warrior might have had different training with it that could yield different results).

As far as I can tell, you would have to spend actions to command your bear ally to fight, but you could do it.

Maybe in Pathfinder Society play, for the purposes of balance, you wouldn't be able to keep weapons/armor/allies beyond what you should have in Organized Play, but otherwise, you're good.
 

kenada

Hero
Supporter
If my PC fights a bear in the wild and tames it, does PF2 give me control over the same creature or will it swap out its statblock?
PF2 doesn’t provide for non-special companions, but I don’t think anything would break if you just used the stats from the animal’s bestiary entry. However, it’d be up to the GM. I’d treat it as a minion and let the PC use Command an Animal to direct it. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I don’t expect the animal to be better than a companion, so it shouldn’t step on the toes of any class that gets one.

If my PC fights a humanoid that’s kitted out with armor, +2 bow and sword, and I defeat it, can I pick up that same gear (and not suddenly have new stats than what that sword had a minute ago)?
Generally, yes. Nothing in the guidelines stops a GM from designing creatures that work differently, but the default assumption is the PCs will acquire the equipment, and it should be the same as the equipment they would use. For example, a rune giant uses a +2 greater striking greatsword. It does 3d12+17 slashing damage in the giant’s hands, and it does 3d12+Str+6 (from greater weapon specialization) in a 16th level fighter’s hands when making a Strike.
 

The-Magic-Sword

Adventurer
Here's the regular enworld forums reality check that Pathfinder 2e and communities related to it are growing, and that it just doesn't have much traction on roll 20 since they support it badly and the entire community aggressively recommends Foundry instead, and that most PF2e players are converts from 5e (to the best of our ability to measure the community of course) who prefer it to 5e.

Here is (again) the growth chart for the subreddit which has doubled in subscribers in the last year. This still being before fan favorite unique classes like the Gunslinger, Magus, and Summoner release and DURING a major pandemic that has smashed in person play, convention play, and local store play.

I'd say by all accounts we're doing pretty well for our ourselves.
 

dave2008

Legend
If my PC fights a bear in the wild and tames it, does PF2 give me control over the same creature or will it swap out its statblock?
If my PC fights a humanoid that’s kitted out with armor, +2 bow and sword, and I defeat it, can I pick up that same gear (and not suddenly have new stats than what that sword had a minute ago)?

4e‘s answers to both questions was No and the result felt like playing Marioworld where the world is window dressing and you can’t really interact with all that much of it, really. Some encounters in 4e literally had environmental components that only the monsters but not the PCS could manipulate, like platforms that were magically unassailable until the monster blew them apart.
That’s what people mean when they say: siloed in game mechanics or building blocks take away from the game‘s verisimilitude.
Of course you didn't have to play 4e that way. I played 4e without magic shops and my PCs got stuff from looting their victims at times. Additionally, I used a dragon stat block straight from the MM for their companion. What you described was not required to play the game, it was just an assumption based on the idea of balance. Something I've never needed to worry about to much.
 

dave2008

Legend
PF2 doesn’t provide for non-special companions, but I don’t think anything would break if you just used the stats from the animal’s bestiary entry. However, it’d be up to the GM. I’d treat it as a minion and let the PC use Command an Animal to direct it. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I don’t expect the animal to be better than a companion, so it shouldn’t step on the toes of any class that gets one.


Generally, yes. Nothing in the guidelines stops a GM from designing creatures that work differently, but the default assumption is the PCs will acquire the equipment, and it should be the same as the equipment they would use. For example, a rune giant uses a +2 greater striking greatsword. It does 3d12+17 slashing damage in the giant’s hands, and it does 3d12+Str+6 (from greater weapon specialization) in a 16th level fighter’s hands when making a Strike.
How does the fighter wield a giant size sword? Is this addressed in PF2 or would I have to house rule that?
 


Porridge

Explorer
If my PC fights a bear in the wild and tames it, does PF2 give me control over the same creature or will it swap out its s
PF2 doesn’t provide for non-special companions, but I don’t think anything would break if you just used the stats from the animal’s bestiary entry. However, it’d be up to the GM. I’d treat it as a minion and let the PC use Command an Animal to direct it. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I don’t expect the animal to be better than a companion, so it shouldn’t step on the toes of any class that gets one.

Just to fill in a few details: RAW, you can use the Command Animal action on an animal that isn’t hostile or unfriendly, for a set list of tricks. (If you have a high enough proficiency level, the CRB suggests allowing this action on more exotic creatures to, though this is left to the GMs discretion.)

Anyone trained in Nature can also take the Train Animal skill feat to train animals in downtime to automatically do these tricks without a roll, or to teach it further tricks.

And anyone expert in Nature can get a non-special animal companion at lvl 2+ by taking the Bonded Animal skill feat and spending some downtime with the animal. This makes it permanently helpful, and increases Command Animal check results by one step.

None of these activities change the animal’s stats.
 

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