Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?

CapnZapp

Hero
Most of the things people complained loudly about in 4e, 5e retains in at least some measure. Fighters casting spells, wizards being 'nerfed' (relative to 3e), martial healing, overnight 'natural healing,' dissociated mechanics, etc, etc...
I'd say you keep focusing on the wrong thing, Tony.

What makes you think 4E succeeded where 4E failed, even if all those things were true?

That's right - because it wasn't those things that made 4E fail, and it wasn't really those things that people disliked.

It was the way they were used in 4E that made people balk. Since the edition wars are long over, and this isn't about 4E anyway, let me skip the details and just establish that 4E and 5E looks, feels and plays very differently. That's what's important. Whether any given detail or feature is similar or even identical does not help or matter when that is so.

No, 5e returned to meeting longtime D&D expectations. Random lethality at 1st level segueing into a 'sweet spot' followed by increasingly wildly powerful magic (LFQW), beating the game using 'smart play' (CaW) because it gives you the tool to recharge your resources at will (5MWD), magic items making you 'just better' if the DM gives you any, etc... all curated by the Empowered DM (be he Monty Haul or Killer or Good).
This just feels like you're bitter about the fate of 4E, tbh….

Why don't you abandon this unproductive viewpoint and instead listen to me when I tell you that 5E feels like a proper successor to 3E while truly fixing its most egregious faults in a way neither 4E nor PF did. :)


...and, you'd think, if they wanted to keep rolling with those same PF fans, they wouldn't want to radically reverse direction, no?
We've already been over this.

They can't be targeting the PF fans, not the hardcore ones at least. Why would they when the 5E fans are such a massively bigger group? Besides, why would they create a completely new (and incompatible) game if they really did go for the conservative, nostalgic approach?

If the game released in two weeks is neither d20 compatible, nor simple like 5E, with obnoxious walls of feats which players are forced to wade through to even create characters, then yes, PF2 might truly be the 4E of Paizo.

In the worst possible way - being a commercial failure. Yet another entry in the very long line of would-be "better than D&D" games nobody even remembers. Heartbreakers.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
So take your pick. If you are the DM, Saelorn, and you still pick #3, I can respect that.
I chose #1, and as soon as it became apparent that PF2 wouldn't support that, I wrote up my own game to fill the obvious niche in the market. It's on drivethruRPG.com. It's great.

Of course, complexity and crunch are all relative. The real benefit of writing your own RPG is that you can make things exactly as complex as you want, so my PCs (and NPCs) are roughly as complex as 3.0 characters before the supplements hit. There's a lot you can do with multi-classing, but the character concept is much more important than how you manipulate the system into representing that concept.
 
What makes you think <5E> succeeded where 4E failed, even if all those things were true?That's right - because it wasn't those things that made 4E fail, and it wasn't really those things that people disliked.
I believe I said that. 5e didn't get rid of the things that were complained about, it put /back/ the things that those stalking-horses were really about.
This just feels like you're bitter about the fate of 4E, tbh….
You have no idea. I'm a bitter, cynical, old man on my best day, discussing the most innocuous things.
I turn it down to 11 when I'm here.
4E and 5E looks, feels and plays very differently.
Heh. Depends how you run it.

listen to me when I tell you that 5E feels like a proper successor to 3E while truly fixing its most egregious faults
5e /brought back/ the faults of 3e - and, more importantly, those of the TSR era - some of them to a lesser degree, but bringing back an issue, is not fixing it. And, as someone who appreciated 3e for things it did /well/, 5e is, sadly, no successor. It's more wedged between TSR & 3e. Mechanically, it uses lots of little details from d20, but the big picture, the 'play loop,' the role of the DM: it evokes the classic game.

They can't be targeting the PF fans, not the hardcore ones at least. Why would they when the 5E fans are such a massively bigger group?
Because the existing PF fans are already in their camp, they're deeply invested, they've developed a lot of loyalty with that base. 5e 'fans' are a bigger group, /but they're already fans of 5e/, the newer ones are barely aware other RPGs exist, and, were they to try one, would likely have one of two reactions "This is jus like D&D, why wouldn't I just keep playing D&D" or "This is weird, why would I bother learning it when I already know D&D?"

The more established fans of 5e, OTOH, find it more than adequately doing D&D things, while having the D&D label. They won't /leave/ it for yet another version of D&D with the serial #s filed off. They will entertain other systems that do entirely different things, though, if they've ever been open to that before...
...and if they have, they probably already have alternatives they like.

PF1 succeeded because D&D wasn't D&D enough, and, thanks to the OGL, PF /could/ be D&D enough.
PF2 does not have that option.

If the game released in two weeks is neither d20 compatible, nor simple like 5E
5e's still not simple. It may be slow to release reams of crap, but it's still, in trying to feel like D&D, a needlessly complicated system, because, like LFQW and untennable time-pressure balance, needless complication is just part of the D&D feel.
 
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CapnZapp

Hero
Yeah, no.

You keep saying 5E has all the faults of 3E. You also appear to argue people want bad things.

Time to recalibrate your beliefs to reality there bud.
 
Right, but the inherent problem with that edition was specifically the combination of complex PCs with NPC symmetry. NPC symmetry, by itself, is not an inherent problem of any edition.
Which was my point. 3.x PCs had a lot of moving parts to them (race, class(es), feats, skills, spells, magic items, etc) all of which NPCs and monsters emulated nearly 1:1. It lead to some real PITA moments.

For example; creatures would have "hidden" abilities lost in the feat section. One example I recall vividly came from Libris Mortis. There was a creature there called a Slaughter Wright. It was a CR 8 monster that had some normal special abilities (energy drain, create spawn, etc) but in its feats section, it listed the following: Daunting Presence†, Death Master†, Eviscerator†, Improved Critical, Improved Initiative, Improved Toughness†, Power Attack

Most of those feats were listed in Chapter 2 of the same book. I dare you to tell me what they did without flipping to the feat chapter in combat to look at them. As it turns out, Daunting Presence allowed you make a foe Shaken (Fear effect) as an action, Death Master makes your foe Shaken on a crit, and Eviscerator makes a target's allies Shaken when you crit them. Basically, It had three abilities that forced foes to save or be shaken that are not mentioned in monster's stat block anywhere are required the DM to look at the feat line and then read what the feat did in another section of the book. If you didn't, the monster lost a whole important method of its attack options.

Feats were great when you are a PC and wanting extra abilities and powers, but on a monster, all three of those feats should have been a special ability in the monsters stat block where the DM could easily see them. Not hidden in the feat line with an asterisk. Monsters rarely needed feats but had to have them because everything got feats every 3rd (or 2nd for PF) HD.

The other example is magic items. 3e required an NPC buy x amount of treasure to keep up with PC math. That gold didn't buy interesting items like boots of the north or folding boats, it bought +1 weapons, armor, shields, rings of protection, cloaks or resistance, and stat-boosting gloves, belts, amulets and cloaks. Most of which was inferior anyway, leading the infamous "bag of holding full of +1 swords to be sold for 1k a pop" problem.

Both of these were problems came from forcing NPCs and monsters to be be built like PCs rather than allow them to be built using math that challenges the PC without resorting fiddly mechanics and long-winded stat blocks.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
Both of these were problems came from forcing NPCs and monsters to be be built like PCs rather than allow them to be built using math that challenges the PC without resorting fiddly mechanics and long-winded stat blocks.
I follow what you're saying, but I respectfully disagree. From my perspective, those problems came directly from problems with PC complexity, and the perfectly-functional NPC rules were simply caught as collateral.

It's not more wrong for an NPC to need six stat-boosting items, than it is for a PC to need them. Those problems are equally bad. If you fix it for PCs, then it would also be fixed for NPCs, and then everyone wins.

Likewise with obscure feat chains. The problem wasn't that some monsters used obscure feat chains that interacted in complex ways that required an extra paragraph to explain. The problem was in how feats were designed, such that most of them were entirely worthless outside of obscure builds, such that using them required you to figure out complex interactions. That feat chain wouldn't be better if it was on a PC; it's simply bad design.
 
You keep saying 5E has all the faults of 3E.
5e is definitely not bloated like 3e, for just one example.

Also, it should be pretty obvious that 5e managed some faults of it's own that 3e didn't suffer from.


You also appear to argue people want bad things.
Do I really need to argue something so obvious?

Have tobacco companies gone out of business? Has global peace broken out?
 
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Nilbog

Snotling Herder
I find the whole PC/Monster build debate very fascinating, and I can definitely see both sides to the argument, I personally don't mind when they use different build methods. I've always viewed it as a way that they 'plug in' to the rules and as long as the way they are built doesn't step outside those core rules, I'm happy with that.

I'm primarily a DM, and I can honestly say if I'd continued running 3/3.5e I'd have been in Arkham a long time ago, spending hours designing monsters/npc's that the group would overcome in minutes drove me crazy. Is that the fault of the method or of the individual system? its absolutely the systems fault, it was over complex and laden with hidden options, so I could switch to simpler system, however my players (or a big percentage of them) liked building PC's that way, they liked scouring books and finding weird and wonderful combinations, its not right or wrong its just peoples style. So I could either continue playing 3/3.5/PF or similar system and lose my sanity or find an alternative.

I find that having a system where PC and NPC's are created differently but interact with the rules system in the same way to be the best compromise for me, we switched to 4e and enjoyed that system a lot, although towards the end we did have system fatigue, and we switched to 5e and are enjoying that also, however now we are a few campaigns in the players are starting to find the lack of crunch for the PC's a little frustrating. I'm so hoping PF2 adds that extra crunch in without going the route of 3e.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I follow what you're saying, but I respectfully disagree. From my perspective, those problems came directly from problems with PC complexity, and the perfectly-functional NPC rules were simply caught as collateral.

It's not more wrong for an NPC to need six stat-boosting items, than it is for a PC to need them. Those problems are equally bad. If you fix it for PCs, then it would also be fixed for NPCs, and then everyone wins.

Likewise with obscure feat chains. The problem wasn't that some monsters used obscure feat chains that interacted in complex ways that required an extra paragraph to explain. The problem was in how feats were designed, such that most of them were entirely worthless outside of obscure builds, such that using them required you to figure out complex interactions. That feat chain wouldn't be better if it was on a PC; it's simply bad design.
Now you seem to argue in favor of 5E and simpler systems, Saelorn. All this time I've thought you were in these discussions to defend older systems (like 3.x).

If you're content with simple PC options, then of course the issue of "1 hour build; 1 minute kill" goes away.

The remaining question for you then is:

What about the calls for crunchier player character generation and build options?

If you loved 3.5 or Pathfinder as a player, you find 5E meager pickings. So you want a game with richer deeper and more complex options.

But as a DM, I definitely don't want that. As in I can't stand it. As in, the game won't be happening at all (with me as DM - I could probably use the game as a player, since that means the nightmarish admin is somebody else's problem ;) )

Ergo the solution to split PC and NPC generation rules!
 

Hussar

Legend
/snip

Why don't you abandon this unproductive viewpoint and instead listen to me when I tell you that 5E feels like a proper successor to 3E while truly fixing its most egregious faults in a way neither 4E nor PF did. :)
/snip.
Heh. It feels that way because of the presentation. It's certainly not the mechanics which are virtually identical to 4e. If 5e is the proper successor to 3e, then 4e was as well. But, the trick that WotC has performed has been to convince everyone that 4e and 5e are not related at all, while, at the same time, retaining virtually all of the mechanics of 4e.

The primary difference between 4e and 5e is the speed of combat. Outside of that, the game is virtually identical. Or, to put it another way, 5e is a very good successor to 4e. It's only related to 3e through the leftover design DNA that passed through into 4e.

Now, I think that [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] is going a bit too far in relating 5e to earlier editions and the whole "DM empowerment" thing. Because, frankly, DM's are not terribly more empowered in 5e than they were in 4e. Sure, some of the edge mechanics have a bit more wiggle room, but, by and large, a 5e DM has about the same amount of freedom and power as a 4e DM did. It's just, again, that WotC has written the game in such a way as to convince everyone that 5e isn't 4e.

I imagine that some time in the future, WotC's 5e marketing decisions will become textbook fodder for MBA programs. It's been absolutely fantastic to watch.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
The primary difference between 4e and 5e is the speed of combat. Outside of that, the game is virtually identical.
What an odd thing to say. You come across as not having played either.

I have played both 4E and 5E and they're worlds apart.

For D&D games, that is.

I guess you could say 5E is virtually identical to 4E compared to, say, Monopoly or Uno...
 

Hussar

Legend
What an odd thing to say. You come across as not having played either.

I have played both 4E and 5E and they're worlds apart.

For D&D games, that is.

I guess you could say 5E is virtually identical to 4E compared to, say, Monopoly or Uno...
LOL. I always shake my head when folks say this.

Hrm, 2 step recovery system, skill system that is virtually identical (strip out the level adjustments from 4e and you get the 5e skill system), every class is built on the same model, instead of powers, nearly every class gets spells, many of which do the same things that powers did in 4e. What else... oh, removing the need for magic items - 4e used inherent bonuses, 5e just does without, umm, what else? NPC's and PC's built on different rules, no magic item economy, spells attack stats, I'm sure I could come up with more.

Having played and run both for about equal numbers of years, I can honestly say that if you think they're worlds apart and that 5e is closer to 3e, well, I'm not sure what you're looking at.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
LOL. I always shake my head when folks say this.

Hrm, 2 step recovery system, skill system that is virtually identical (strip out the level adjustments from 4e and you get the 5e skill system), every class is built on the same model, instead of powers, nearly every class gets spells, many of which do the same things that powers did in 4e. What else... oh, removing the need for magic items - 4e used inherent bonuses, 5e just does without, umm, what else? NPC's and PC's built on different rules, no magic item economy, spells attack stats, I'm sure I could come up with more.

Having played and run both for about equal numbers of years, I can honestly say that if you think they're worlds apart and that 5e is closer to 3e, well, I'm not sure what you're looking at.
I'm not denying the theoretical similarities.

I'm telling you they look and feel completely different.

4E had an intense focus on the battle board. Every little push and move felt important and useful. While this made playing a Fighter much more fun and interesting and rewarding than in 3E or 5E, it contributed to making combats take forever (at least if you made them challenging). 5E is nothing like this.

The way you could not regain hit points without spending a Healing Surge completely transforms 4E into something alien contrasted to other editions - it means every character absolutely must get into the thick of it. If they don't soak any damage, their surges get unused, something the party simply cannot afford.

Skill Challenges was a hateful trainwreck of an idea. Minions were a fudge you simply don't need in 3E or 5E. 4E has solid support for Solos, which is good, but also something that differentiates the editions.

Spells are not just refluffed attacks. They do, well, magical stuff. Casters and martials feel completely different and not much-the-same. Fireball isn't a "daily" (except, I guess, at exactly level five). Huge difference.

Magic items are actually magical and powerful in 5E, much like in 3E. In 4E they were utterly bland and I routinely had to combine two items into one, and still the players simply forgot to use them. It's like night and day.

The vast majority of official 4E adventures are just stringed-along combat encounters. 5E adventures read much like AD&D or 3E adventures, which you may or may not like, but at least make for a sizeable difference.

Sure the default healing rule of 5E feels very off, but ruling you don't get back any hit points (but instead all of your hit dice) is quick and painless, and makes the game run close enough to older editions.

So... not sure what to say. I never thought I had to point out something as obvious as this.

I'm happy leaving it at that, and won't reply to you further on this matter.
 

Hussar

Legend
CapnZapp said:
The vast majority of official 4E adventures are just stringed-along combat encounters. 5E adventures read much like AD&D or 3E adventures, which you may or may not like, but at least make for a sizeable difference.
Now that I can't really argue with. 4e modules, particularly early ones, were egregiously bad. To be fair, the Dungeon ones got better towards the end - the Chaos Scar adventures were actually a ton of fun.

On the other hand, magic items in 4e were what you made them. My rogue with a life draining dagger and my warlock with the Crown of Winter were both fascinating to play. Again, it's what you make it.

But, yeah, we're going to have to agree to disagree here. You see these massive differences in play and I simply don't. 4e and 5e, outside of combat, play virtually identically. 5e, to me, is just sped up 4e. It's an improvement, to be sure, but, the 4e DNA is most certainly there in every aspect of 5e.
 

Haffrung

Explorer
I mean, what exactly is Paizo hoping for?
1) Paizo needs to address the relentless attrition of their existing player-base that all popular RPGs are subject to. The status-quo means decline. A new edition raises the profile of the game and will bring in new blood.

2) Help maintain the existing PF1 player-base by addressing some of the widely acknowledged problems with PF1.

3) Get in on the incredible growth of the D&D market in the last few years. If even only 20 per cent of 5E players decide to try PF2, that's a huge influx of new players.

4) Sell a bunch of new books to keep the revenue flowing.
 

amethal

Explorer
Not at all but that isn’t what the published rules help you to do, that’s a patch over them
I'm not sure I'd call it a patch.

In my case, it is throwing out a major part of the rules-as-written in favour of something that I basically make up as I go along. The alternative would be not running Pathfinder at all.

However, plenty of players prefer the GM to play by the rules and I'd be unable to run Pathfinder with those players.
 
LOL. I always shake my head when folks say this.
Hrm, 2 step recovery system, every class is built on the same model, instead of powers, nearly every class gets spells, many of which do the same things that powers did in 4e, skill system that is virtually identical (strip out the level adjustments from 4e and you get the 5e skill system), What else... oh, removing the need for magic items - 4e used inherent bonuses, 5e just does without, umm, what else?
You're not wrong about those being similarities, but they're not identical, and the play dynamic they generate can be /very/ different.

The short/long rest distinction in 5e, for instance, is 1 vs 8 hrs, often time enough for one is time enough for the other, you just can't take more than one of the latter in a given 24 hr period - the design assumption is 2-3 short rest & 6-8 encounters per long rest, or about a short rest every-other encounter.
In 4e the short rest is 5 min, virtually guaranteed between encounters.

The latter is a much more practical assumption to design around.

And, it's further complicated by the differences in class design. In 4e, AEDU classes were all on the same schedule, a variation in encounters:short rests:long rests impacted all classes about the same. In 5e, while, if you look under the hood, and listen carefully to some things Mearls has said, yes, there's an underlying spell-based design framework, the resultant classes vary wildly in the proportions & powers of their resources that recharge with each type of rest, which means varying from the 6-8:2-3:1 assumption alters class balance... not that classes are balanced to begin with, nor that they balance at that same point dependably as the game progresses in level (LFQW).

NPC's and PC's built on different rules, no magic item economy, spells attack stats, I'm sure I could come up with more.
So, /only/ 3.x of all the D&D species, built PCs & NPCs/monsters on exactly the same rules by default. It was always an option in all the others, but the presentation of monsters/NPCs in completely different blocks is the norm for D&D, just one of the few ways that 4e was normative D&D.

4e had a very prescriptive wealth/buy magic item economy, just like 3e. It was simpler to do away with it, but it was there by default and assumed. 5e nominally assumes no items (first time in D&D history, BTW, one of the few unique things about it), but no 3.5 make/buy, it goes back to old-school exclusively-DM-curated items.

Linking spell effectiveness - saves are mathematically identical to attack rolls - dates to 3.0, at the latest, and linking caster effectiveness to one stat goes back to the beginning. Using the same stat for the formal distinction of an attack roll as well as saves is almost trivial, really.

Having played and run both for about equal numbers of years, I can honestly say that if you think they're worlds apart and that 5e is closer to 3e, well, I'm not sure what you're looking at.
4e and 5e and 3e and TSR-era D&D are definitely worlds apart. Yes, even though they're worlds made of all the same elements in very closely similar proportions. Like, Mars and Venus are both terrestrial nickel-iron-core planets in the life zone - but surface conditions vary between the two. The play experience of 5e is - OK, can be - entirely different from 3e or 4e. (In all eds of D&D, the DM can greatly influence the play experience, of course.)

But, yeah, we're going to have to agree to disagree here. You see these massive differences in play and I simply don't. 4e and 5e, outside of combat, play virtually identically. 5e, to me, is just sped up 4e. It's an improvement, to be sure, but, the 4e DNA is most certainly there in every aspect of 5e.
The DNA is certainly there in all d20/WotC eds... the same base-pairs, 98-99% identical like Humans, Chimps and Gorillas - and at least as different as humans, chimps and gorillas.


I mean, your not wrong: D&D has stayed the same much more than it's changed - even with 4e - but among versions of D&D, 4e is the outlier along a lot more dimensions than 5e. And, in some of the most important ones, like the role of the DM, 3e & 4e are both more deviant than 5e.
 
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zztong

Explorer
Not at all but that isn’t what the published rules help you to do, that’s a patch over them
That's an interesting perspective. I wouldn't have called it a patch, but I get your meaning.

I do appreciate that I can use the rules to make monsters/NPCs. I like having the option. I just don't feel bound to always use them.

When it comes to PF2, I may not be a fan, but I can appreciate why they may have switched philosophies.

I've met some folks who view using the rules for NPCs/monsters as a matter of balance. My interpretation is that they like that using the rules gives them a marker, like "its a CR4 encounter." But I usually look at "balance" as a matter between players. I don't want one player to feel slighted compared to another. As a DM, I regularly create encounters that are out of balance (over and under powered) with the PCs and I recognize that things like shapes of rooms, environmental hazards, numbers of opponents, the presence of flying creatures, surprise, and preparation can skew any CR-like computations.
 

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