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PF2E Is this a fair review of PF2?

CapnZapp

Legend
Hmmmm I'm not sure that no rule is a better solution than using an action, in the 5e games I've played in the DM has insisted its an action (obviously with exceptions), which i think is a fair shout.
I've always started off the encounter with everybody getting a free monster knowledge check. (Talking both 5E and PF2 here)

Success gives pretty much everything you need to know. You seldom need more than one success.

If nobody succeeds, the party members might well spend an action on a second (third...) attempt.

But likely only if the fighters learn the monster is highly resistant to regular attacks. Remember that in many cases, trial and error works well enough.

After all, the overwhelming majority of monsters abide by the classic rule "if it bleeds you can kill it"!

So just attacking it often tells you what you need to know. And in most cases you deal at least some damage! That alone makes the action worthwhile, and likely a better deal than wasting time with monster knowledge.
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
I think the reason why Paizo restricted creature knowledge checks in the first place (from 3.5 to PF1) was to reduce rolling. In 3.5 anyone who’s trained in the relevant skill could know something useful, so if you have 3 new monsters in an encounter, you could technically have 3 PCs each make 3 knowledge checks when initiative is rolled. That’s 9 checks before anyone’s turn, plus the DM having to check what exactly the characters would know. Thus, by making this an action with an opportunity cost you reduce the amount of rolling and theoretically speed things up.
Well, in that case, I call it a failure. Creating this highly complex substructure to avoid a few extra rolls?

Consider a far better solution - have everybody make a single roll, and apply that d20 result to each of the relevant skills.
 

Eric V

Hero
That's not good enough, I'm afraid. I think the segment of the market that enjoys what PF2 is offering is small. More importantly: I think 5E has shown the gamers brought up between 2000-2015 that most of the clutter of 3E and 4E is just that. Clutter.

I believe Paizo could have gained a much larger market share if their game had exhibited any indications its team had studied and learned from 5E.
Well, if you're right, they'll go belly-up sooner than later.

I don't think you're right.

We'll see.
 

Saelorn

Hero
I believe that session time is best spent on adventuring. On encounters - including exploratory and social, not just combat. I believe session time spent on "between encounters" is essentially wasted time.
That's an interesting premise. Does that come from other games and editions, or is it something specific to the PF2 ruleset?
4) Medicine. Somebody should have killed a lot of darlings here. The game is clearly predicated on the assumption every encounter is started at full health or close to it. Going into an encounter at 50% hp is toying with death (at least given the difficulty of official adventure paths). If you have 100 hp there's no reason to worry if you're five or ten short, but if you only have 40 or 60? Then you stop and rest for a number of ten-minute periods before proceeding, it's that simple.
I haven't been following PF2 that closely. Does this mean that HP damage is just as nebulous and inconsistent as it is in 5E? Are people still getting hit, and then claiming that they weren't actually hit?
 

Malkinban

The Torn
I have no problems whatsoever with "it's a check". That you're given check DCs is good. That different monsters use different skills is great.

I'm not ignoring the rest of your response. I can definitely see where you are coming from. Do I think they codified too much? Yes, most likely, at least regarding Recall Knowledge, but I think it is easily modified or ignored based on your preference. Should that be an excuse for designing something in a bad way? No. Should you let that get in the way of enjoying the rest of the game? IMO, no.
 

Nilbog

Snotling Herder
I don't mind the identify monster issue so much, its not something my players regular use and when we played 5e it cost a standard action, so in PF2e when it gets used it doesn't seem too much of a penalty, and gives the DM a bit more of a chance to drop in some lore on the creature

I do agree with the medicine and Talismans, they are both way too fiddly, as a DM, I don't give out talismans, too much messing for the players and they are bound to forget them, as for medicine its the only real major bugbear I have with the system, if i could find a more elegant solution that was easy to slot in, I'd be a very happy bunny
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
That's fair. I don't want to invalidate your experience. The players who have used it in the group I am playing with haven't seen to much of an issue with burning the action to learn some important information, especially since they usually aren't moving all the time anyway.

OOC, what was the class of the players in your group that used it? Obviously, certain classes have more or less use of a third action and therefore it might be less “costly” to use.

In my group, I was the only one ever using Recall Knowledge because the others were pretty much Move/Attack/Attack or Attack/Attack/Attack all the time. Since I was a spellcaster, this meant my options were Cast a spell; and one of Move, Cast Shield, or Recall Knowledge.

Since the point of using Recall Knowledge as a spellcaster is to identify monster vulnerabilities (and hope you have a spell that can target those vulnerabilities), you are really trying to get it off as early as possible.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
I think the reason why Paizo restricted creature knowledge checks in the first place (from 3.5 to PF1) was to reduce rolling. In 3.5 anyone who’s trained in the relevant skill could know something useful, so if you have 3 new monsters in an encounter, you could technically have 3 PCs each make 3 knowledge checks when initiative is rolled. That’s 9 checks before anyone’s turn, plus the DM having to check what exactly the characters would know. Thus, by making this an action with an opportunity cost you reduce the amount of rolling and theoretically speed things up.
That seems needlessly complicated. Just do what I do in 5e. On your turn, you can try to remember what you know about one monster. It doesn’t take an action, but the DM calls for the appropriate skill check.

Not really directly on point to this discussion, but as a DM, I WANT the characters to have the most information possible. A character that doesn’t know the monster is vulnerable to bludgeoning doesn’t have a meaningful decision to make. A character that does may have to decide whether to keep their ancestral greatsword +1 or switch to a common quaterstaff.
 
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Malkinban

The Torn
OOC, what was the class of the players in your group that used it? Obviously, certain classes have more or less use of a third action and therefore it might be less “costly” to use.

In my group, I was the only one ever using Recall Knowledge because the others were pretty much Move/Attack/Attack or Attack/Attack/Attack all the time. Since I was a spellcaster, this meant my options were Cast a spell; and one of Move, Cast Shield, or Recall Knowledge.

Since the point of using Recall Knowledge as a spellcaster is to identify monster vulnerabilities (and hope you have a spell that can target those vulnerabilities), you are really trying to get it off as early as possible.

Let's see, if I am remembering correctly, our Champion (me), Wizard, Cleric, Druid, and Rogue have all used it at some point in time in an encounter. The only one that I can't think of a specific instance of using it would be our Fighter.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
That's an interesting premise.
What I mean is that I personally dislike it when players need to spend 10 or 20 minutes of real time to sort out who heals what. Just say "we're back" so the adventure can continue.

It would have been different in a different game. If you play, i dunno, WFRP or AD&D, you might well be expected to keep adventuring even with hp damage, and so there this kind of nitty gritty has its place.

But PF2 has loads and loads of combat. Nearly all of it is lethal enough that your lives is in danger. It is completely obvious encounters are balanced with heroes at full hp in mind.

So why not write the rules to expedite this assumption? Why not have the rules default to easily and quickly bring back heroes to full health?

Does this mean that HP damage is just as nebulous and inconsistent as it is in 5E? Are people still getting hit, and then claiming that they weren't actually hit?
I am sorry but I have no idea of what you're talking about.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I'm not ignoring the rest of your response. I can definitely see where you are coming from. Do I think they codified too much? Yes, most likely, at least regarding Recall Knowledge, but I think it is easily modified or ignored based on your preference. Should that be an excuse for designing something in a bad way? No. Should you let that get in the way of enjoying the rest of the game? IMO, no.
Oh, you're entirely right.

Once I realized my best move was to tell my players I'm ditching the Recall Knowledge minigame, the problem was solved. :)

(For me, that is. The problem still remains with the rules, since the core rulebook hasn't changed.)

I provide a very rough "danger assessment" for free (except in special cases; the monster might hide in the form of a sweet little girl etc):
green = the monster is your level or lower
yellow = the monster is 1-2 levels higher than you
red = the monster is 3 or more levels higher than you

Since exact level differences is critical to everything from Incapacitation to the Counteract rules, hiding this info felt just like more frustration and less fun. Plus, getting SOME meta clue to whether it's time to flee, to go all out (nova), fight normally using some resources, or to hold back entirely and just subdue clearly inferior monsters means less frustration and more fun.

And yes, the players now avoid the RK feats. There are literally thousands of feats to choose from, after all, so this wasn't a biggie.

Then heroes then each get one free monster knowledge roll at the start of each encounter (if they remember to ask for them, at any rate). That is, a Religion check for undead, Society for humanoids, and so on. Usually this means at least one hero succeeds, but it used to happen quite a lot that noone did. (Three of five characters have since taken feats that give them baseline proficiency to all skills)

Success here means I tell them the basics of the monster as written by the Bestiary, including most of the important traits (such as resistances and weaknesses). But success can also mean avoiding a fight, if a hero recalls things like "the monster is more afraid of you than you are of it" or "give it cookies and it becomes your friend" or similar.

If nobody succeeds, or they realize they need more details, they can still spend actions on more Recall Knowledge checks.

But this happens rarely if at all. Remember, even when I didn't hand out any information at all for free, players STILL seldom or never spent actions on Recall Knowledge. Surviving is more important, and usually you can learn what you need to know by simply fighting the monster. Even if you encounter resistances or miss out on weaknesses, those actions usually do SOME damage, and are therefore better.

Spending an action on getting a 40% shot at a single useful info snippet (the RAW) is only efficient if said knowledge is a true gamechanger. Just about the only real gamechanger is "this monster is not only four or more levels higher than you, it has very strong resistances or immunities, and you will die fighting it without that information". But for 95% to 99% of the monsters that just isn't true.

So if everybody fails, that just means they trudge through a fight.

After all, exceedingly few encounters in official APs are unwinnable. Even fewer of them rely on Recall Knowledge to get it right. In the rare case a monster is clearly too powerful, the adventure text will bend over backwards to telegraph this to the players.

Yes, the fact that monsters are not put in front of you until you have a decent chance of defeating them is meta. But it's been that way for decades, so it's not exactly a secret any longer....
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
OOC, what was the class of the players in your group that used it? Obviously, certain classes have more or less use of a third action and therefore it might be less “costly” to use.

In my group, I was the only one ever using Recall Knowledge because the others were pretty much Move/Attack/Attack or Attack/Attack/Attack all the time. Since I was a spellcaster, this meant my options were Cast a spell; and one of Move, Cast Shield, or Recall Knowledge.

Since the point of using Recall Knowledge as a spellcaster is to identify monster vulnerabilities (and hope you have a spell that can target those vulnerabilities), you are really trying to get it off as early as possible.
Since you often have less than 50% chance of succeeding at your monster identification check (since you need it more against higher levelled monsters)...

ALL heroes need to pump at least one action into it in the first round. Because the info is much less valuable if you only learn it half way through a fight.

If four people each take that 4 out of 10 shot, the probability that you still have learned nothing at the end of the round is 13%. At that time, you better decide whether to flee or stay (to brute-strength the fight).
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I do agree with the medicine and Talismans, they are both way too fiddly, as a DM, I don't give out talismans, too much messing for the players and they are bound to forget them, as for medicine its the only real major bugbear I have with the system, if i could find a more elegant solution that was easy to slot in, I'd be a very happy bunny
I live to serve...

In the quoted thread below I crunched the numbers to see what Medicine yields on average, if you want to skip the nitty gritty, all the die rolling and player indecision :( A thread for those of us GMs that dislike how the players completely lose focus on the story while they debate exactly who heals what, and whether their efforts end up healing you in 40 minutes or if they need 50...

If you want to scream "NONE OF THAT IS INTERESTING OR FUN" and just feel it steals play session time, keep reading...!

In short, how about this:

Remove all choices, checks and die rolls from the Treat Wounds trained Medicine activity. Replace with the following:

Treat Wounds makes the target regain a number of hit points equal to your skill bonus in Medicine plus double your Proficiency Rank:
Trained +4
Expert +8
Master +12
Legendary +16


So if you're Trained in Medicine with a +7 bonus, the target gets 11 hp.
If you're Legendary in Medicine with a +36 bonus, the target gets 52 hp.
I have also examined the Stamina Points variant of the Gamesmastery Guide. And sure enough, Paizo overengineered that too :-/

Stamina rules is interesting but I fear just adds complexity for no net gain.
Agreed.

The introduction to the concept of Stamina Points was very generic and completely failed to acknowledge how Pathfinder 2 already by the default plays much like older games with Stamina Points! (Meaning that any group where even a single party member invest in Medicine and its feats will heal up incurred damage in a matter of minutes or hours, not days).

Plus the implementation came across as needlessly cluttery to me. Why not simply say
  • half your hit points are now stamina points
  • damage depletes stamina before hit points
  • healing increases hit points before stamina
  • you regain all lost stamina in 10 minutes
Do take a look at the official rules (GMG page 200). You will find the above does everything in four lines that Paizo needs two pages for, no cluttery resolve points or special actions or detailed calculations needed! :)

And yes, if you think "this basically means you can skip Medicine if you only take it to heal up between encounters" you're entirely correct - that shows you how redundant Stamina really is in Pathfinder 2!

Of course, since then I've realized that there's little point to preserving the out of combat healing minigame and the Medicine feats.

Just go with
Each time you take a 10-minute rest, you heal one third of your hp while you take an activity.
...instead and shift the focus squarely back to where it belongs! :)

On adventure, that is! And, between encounters, on your choice of 10-minute activities ("should I regain a focus point or repair my shield" stuff) since this rule all but ensures rests are 10, 20 or 30 minutes but not more. Which is exactly what the rest of the game assume anyway!

Zapp
 
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FrozenNorth

Adventurer
ALL heroes need to pump at least one action into it in the first round. Because the info is much less valuable if you only learn it half way through a fight.
I would say sure, if you are fighting like a team, for the three groups I run, that isn’t the case.

I am hoping that over the course of the campaign they start coordinating more, and to me, that would be a better Ah-ha! moment than if from the first combat they were acting as Seal Team Six.

As a narratavist, I am happy if my players choose characters that they find fun to play, even if they don’t necessarily complement each other (within reason: I try to ensure that there is at least one character that can tank).
However, trying to get the most of my spells (which is the whole point of Wizards), meant that I was the only one invested in using Recall Knowledge, beside the fact that the other characters had stuff to do with their actions.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
I haven't been following PF2 that closely. Does this mean that HP damage is just as nebulous and inconsistent as it is in 5E? Are people still getting hit, and then claiming that they weren't actually hit?
I’m not sure I 100% understand your question, but, my experience has been that if you are reduced to single digit hit points, you will be restored to full hit points after a short rest (which will take anywhere between 40 min and 90 min). The restoration is non-magical and resourceless.
 

nevin

Explorer
I guess I disagree in that I don’t think PF2 is even considerably more complicated. I would say it is a little bit more complicated. I know we are splitting hairs, but I think that 5E players that are heavily invested in the rules from a mechanical standpoint forget all the things there are to remember.
pathfinder was made to be more complicated but clean up the mess of 3.5.(which I don't think was a mess unless you allowed all splat books).
you spend every single movement planning things like 5 foot steps, preventing enemy from disengaging ,
spells can fail but do some effect or critically fail or critically succeed, so casters have to plan for succeeding, failing and half succeeding with their magic. If you like that have fun but trying to argue it's not designed to be complicated is a bit wierd
 

nevin

Explorer
when I DM any edition of D&D (except 4 never used it). a 10th level ;Boss encounter is ave. about 30 min to an hour.

pathfinder it's 2 to 3. hours because each step of the game is obsessed over and over. did I move right which spell let's the barbarian get an extra action etc. Enough people like that that pathfinders been successful. I prefer my games to flow more naturally and faster.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I would say sure, if you are fighting like a team, for the three groups I run, that isn’t the case.

I am hoping that over the course of the campaign they start coordinating more, and to me, that would be a better Ah-ha! moment than if from the first combat they were acting as Seal Team Six.

As a narratavist, I am happy if my players choose characters that they find fun to play, even if they don’t necessarily complement each other (within reason: I try to ensure that there is at least one character that can tank).
However, trying to get the most of my spells (which is the whole point of Wizards), meant that I was the only one invested in using Recall Knowledge, beside the fact that the other characters had stuff to do with their actions.
Lol. True.

One thing though. In my experience so far, every official level 1 adventure features at least one insanely difficult fight. And you are at your weakest at first level.

If you were to say Paizo fully expects you to Seal Team Six already from the start, I wouldn't bat an eye.

Whether that is or not, it certainly is true that Pathfinder 2 is much more geared towards the tactical player than, say, 5th Edition...
 

Malkinban

The Torn
If you like that have fun but trying to argue it's not designed to be complicated is a bit wierd

I don't think it is designed to be complicated. I think it is designed to be deep in options. Can that lead to complexity and issues like the ones CapnZapp and I agree on? Yes, but to assume that Pathfinder 2E was designed in the same environment, design space, and end goal as Pathfinder 1E is missing the point. Pathfinder 2E reads and plays MUCH better than Pathfinder 1E did/does, I think that was one of the main goals of the design team, along with fully baking Golarion into the rules as much as possible and retaining the customizability of Pathfinder 1E.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

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