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PF2E Is this a fair review of PF2?

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
That was my take too. It probably helped that we used some of the variant rules from Pathfinder Unchained, but it seemed pretty clear when we started playing that the PF2 devs were trying to make something like PF1 in a coherent chassis and with fewer math problems. For the most part, I think they succeeded. It feels like Pathfinder minus some of the rough edges (e.g., with character building).

Regarding the other stuff, my game tends more simulationist and exploration-focused. I don’t see some of the issues people have with e.g., Medicine as problems, but I agree that Recall Knowledge in combat is crap.

If you read the official forums, PCs should be working together and targeting monsters’ weaknesses for maximum effectiveness. “Target their weakest saves.” Except there is no way to learn that except either empirically or by metagaming. It’s a constant source of frustration for the alchemist in my group.

The alchemist’s player thinks that they need all the information so the party won’t get killed. The truth is more like they need to do a better job of working together as a team. I think what you all are saying about fighting like a Seal Team. There’s been a lot of focus here on complexity, but I feel like that is the bigger barrier (the expectations at higher-threat levels re: teamwork and tactics).

We had a (self-inflicted) TPK early in my campaign, and I still worry that another would could take the wind out of its sails (even though it’s a sandbox game, and death happens). I also think that’s why the alchemist is so worried about monster knowledge. Not sure what we’d do otherwise. The group is polarized on 5e, and there is absolutely no way I’d ever run PF1 again.
 

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Saelorn

Hero
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.
Alright. That makes sense, in context. Thanks.

I am sorry but I have no idea of what you're talking about.
There's a tendency, in certain games, to dissociate the mechanic of getting hit from the narrative of getting hit. If an ogre hits you with a club for 15 damage, then it should be obvious to everyone, exactly what's being modeled here; given the types of variables that go into the formulae for AC, damage, and Hit Points. And yet some people will insists that no, the ogre didn't actually hit them, on the grounds that the so-called "damage" will evaporate naturally over the course of an hour, which would not be possibly for any degree of physical wound. And the worst part is, the logic is irrefutable, in spite of what the variables are clearly attempting to represent.

Such unjustified rapid healing is the most ridiculous design decision of all time, and it renders otherwise-decent games (such as 5E, and apparently PF2) completely unplayable to anyone who cares in the slightest about having a world that makes any amount of sense.
 

Teemu

Adventurer
PF2 rules say fairly little about the nature of hit points. The CRB says:
Your maximum Hit Point value represents your health, wherewithal, and heroic drive when you are in good health and rested.
Then in the Dying condition it says:
You are bleeding out or otherwise at death’s door.
And in the Wounded condition (which you always get when reduced to 0 hp, but which you can remove in 10 minutes with Medicine):
You have been seriously injured during a fight.

Pretty standard stuff for a game with hp.
 

Saelorn

Hero
PF2 rules say fairly little about the nature of hit points.
I'm sure the rules say quite a bit on the matter, but it seems to be buried in the minutiae of (for example) the Medicine rules. What it says that it says about the nature of hit points, on the other hand, is another matter entirely (and one which is wholly irrelevant to what it actually says).
 

Yardiff

Adventurer
Hit Points (HP) A statistic representing the amount of physical harm a creature can
take before it falls unconscious or dies. Damage decreases Hit Points on a 1-to-1
basis, while healing restores Hit Points at the same rate. 12, 26, 67–68, 459–461
ancestry Hit Points 33
class Hit Points 67–68
item Hit Points 272–273, 461
temporary Hit Points 461

This is from the Index.

pg 459:
All creatures and objects have Hit Points (HP). Your
maximum Hit Point value represents your health,
wherewithal, and heroic drive when you are in good
health and rested.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
There's a tendency, in certain games, to dissociate the mechanic of getting hit from the narrative of getting hit. If an ogre hits you with a club for 15 damage, then it should be obvious to everyone, exactly what's being modeled here; given the types of variables that go into the formulae for AC, damage, and Hit Points. And yet some people will insists that no, the ogre didn't actually hit them, on the grounds that the so-called "damage" will evaporate naturally over the course of an hour, which would not be possibly for any degree of physical wound. And the worst part is, the logic is irrefutable, in spite of what the variables are clearly attempting to represent.

Such unjustified rapid healing is the most ridiculous design decision of all time, and it renders otherwise-decent games (such as 5E, and apparently PF2) completely unplayable to anyone who cares in the slightest about having a world that makes any amount of sense.
First off a direct reply to one possible direction you might take this is: yes, I'm aware of posters claiming you can't see if an attack actually took a bite out of the monster's hit points unless you have an ability that says so, meaning that you can attack a monster highly resistant to your weapon several times without the GM being obliged to tell you "you only deal 1 point of damage each time" (or something). I find that stance ridiculous and I can only suggest you ignore it.

If that wasn't what you were going for, then I'm afraid this is the dreaded "what is hit points really?" discussion...!

It boils down to the social contract of playing. Tracking HP can only ever be a gentleman's agreement that "hit points represent what makes for the most fun play experience". You can never logically convince anyone that hit points is physical wounds, or just heroic weariness, or energy and morale... Or any other specific damage model because it is all these things and none of them at the same time. And yes, I'm aware of the irony in trying to do just that...

Hit points is whatever serves the need of the story.

Since these needs vary wildly between different scenarios (or even different attacks in one and the same fight) you will never be able to lock down precisely what hit points represent. In one instance, the story might allow for you to rest a day (or a month), and in that scenario, losing 70 hit points can represent physical injuries that need time to heal. But in another instance, the story hinges on you pressing on right now, with not a moment to spare, and so there 70 damage must mean getting the wind knocked out of you, or you becoming momentarily demoralized or something. The second you lock down hit points to mean just one or a few of these things, you have severely reduced the kinds of stories you can tell with the game.

(I'm not saying this to tell you you're playing the game badwrongfun. I'm saying this to explain why WotC and Paizo will never commit to any single damage explanation, since it would severely reduce the number of customers that can use their product to tell their stories. Not only do "amorphous" hit points work for both action-heavy and moderately-gritty storytellers, it is required for those of us who enjoys telling both kinds of stories, sometimes even at once!)

---

Back to Pathfinder 2; preventing the heroes from healing up completely between encounters is a mistake. Just forcing the heroes into a fight at, say, half hp drastically increases the risk of character death (and eventually a TPK) in ways you probably don't intend. This approach might work in AD&D, but it does not work in PF2 (unless you deviate from the recommended encounter budgets).

That does not mean you can't model longer lasting injuries in Pathfinder 2 - just that you need to use much less obvious tools to do it.

That tool is Conditions. I suggest looking at Fatigued to begin with - asking the heroes to keep pressing on while Fatigued is already a big ask given the mathematical underpinnings of that game, and you can pile on Drained or Doomed if you know what you're doing.
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
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.
Thank you. Yes, this is my experience also.
Hopefully it is obvious to every reader that this assumes somebody learns the Medicine skill and its assorted feats. Yes, thare are alternatives, but for our purposes it's simpler to just have the group realize at least one of them should train Medicine.

I realize what about this that disappoints Saelorn, but here I want to discuss another problem.

As I understand it, the 10-minute downtime activity was standardized and codified to make the choice of which such activity you take an interesting little mini-game between encounters. Should I regain a focus spell, or use a special ability to regain a spell slot, or should I stand guard, or make repairs, or contribute to the group's healing, or...

But for that decision point to be interesting, there must be a scarcity of 10-minute chunks or you can simply choose "all of them".

That is why I started out GMing with the expectation rests would complete in 10, 20 or 30 minutes but rarely more (unless you're done adventuring for the day, of course). But once you're off the very lowest levels, Medicine isn't powerful enough to heal everybody back up to 100% health (or 90% at least) in just three 10-minute downtime activities. Just as FrozenNorth says, you'll often need four. Or nine.

That becomes a real problem. The mini-game of how to spend your 10-minute downtime activities fall apart when you get so many of them. Not only the simple fact that five or so is often plenty. But also the very notion you can have a variable number of them. If you can take five, why can't you take six? And there is no good reason not to.

---

As far as I can see, the only thing that restores interest to this area is if the game is predicated on an unwritten convention that resting between encounters is 1-3 downtime activities. More than that, and you can just as well rest for the whole day.

In other words, make a "short rest" last ten to thirty minutes. The "long rest" is 8 hours once per 24 hours just like you'd imagine. You can't benefit from two short rests in a row.

But for this scheme to work, you need to rejig healing to actually match this. I've already discussed healing above, but in its simplest form you say you automatically heal 1/3rd of your maximum hit points during a 10-minute period, no matter which activity you take. (Any actual healing is on top of that)
 



Saelorn

Hero
(I'm not saying this to tell you you're playing the game badwrongfun. I'm saying this to explain why WotC and Paizo will never commit to any single damage explanation, since it would severely reduce the number of customers that can use their product to tell their stories. Not only do "amorphous" hit points work for both action-heavy and moderately-gritty storytellers, it is required for those of us who enjoys telling both kinds of stories, sometimes even at once!)
If that's their decision, then so be it, but they should know that they're completely alienating any potential players who actually care about having a solid model for what's going on. That includes a good number of players from the AD&D era, who had figured this all out already.

"Amorphous" anything is the worst possible (lack of a) solution, from a modeling standpoint.
 
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nevin

Explorer
If that's their decision, then so be it, but they should know that they're completely alienating any potential players who actually care about having a solid model for what's going on. That includes a good number of players from the AD&D era, who had figured this all out already.

"Amorphous" anything is the worst possible (lack of a) solution, from a modeling standpoint.
I think you are wrong. Hitpts have been an amorphous blob since 1e and the game has done fine. most dms either don't care or decide how it is and move on. Generally the more you specify and lock things down the more it hurts your game. When it's fuzzy DM decides and thing move on. Now what I really think is driving the whole 10 min rest thing is someone has convinced thier peers if make the rules more like world of warcraft it'll grow the base.
 

Saelorn

Hero
I think you are wrong. Hitpts have been an amorphous blob since 1e and the game has done fine. most dms either don't care or decide how it is and move on. Generally the more you specify and lock things down the more it hurts your game. When it's fuzzy DM decides and thing move on.
Hit Points were codified well enough in earlier editions, that individual DMs were able to figure out some sort of consistent answer that worked. I know, because I was there. It wasn't perfect, by any means, but it made enough sense as to not trivialize the entire world model.

Fourth Edition took a radical shift in declaring that Hit Point damage definitely did not include any sort of physical injury, in spite of all the variables involved; and for whatever reason, that was the one thing from 4E that both 5E and PF2 integrated into their core rules.

You're right, when you say that most DMs don't care. I just question the design logic that led them to alienating all of the DMs who do care.
 

nevin

Explorer
maybe they'd alienate more by pinning it down. there are other game systems that do and I don't know of one that's ever been as popular.
 

Saelorn

Hero
maybe they'd alienate more by pinning it down. there are other game systems that do and I don't know of one that's ever been as popular.
They did alienate more than they needed to, by pinning it down inconsistently. They could have continued to welcome everyone, by sticking with the healing model from earlier editions.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Nah, that ship sailed a long time ago. A very long time ago.

That is, the AD&D notion of gradually chipping away at your hit point total, with any given fight not being likely to require you to be at full health. Heck, even many AD&D fans played the game more aggressively than that. And thanks to wands of CLW, not even 3E had that in practice.

That said, 5E is probably your best bet if you want a contemporary edition of D&D that can work like D&D of old. It is far better equipped than PF2 in using nonstandard healing rates and variant healing rules if the aim is to recapture the older style of gaming.

PF2 is definitely not the game to use as a starting point, though. It is very focused on making each and every encounter individually challenging in isolation. And the "isolation" part means not making assumptions on previous attrition, so every encounter is simply calibrated for four characters at maximum resources. I would not recommend trying to rejig that into an AD&D-like experience.
 
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Yardiff

Adventurer
I've always preferred that Hit Point damage was a least a very small amount of physical damage because, to me, it makes more since with attacks at deal poison damage that you get at least scratched so the poison can enter your blood stream.
 
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Teemu

Adventurer
Hp in PF2 kind of leans towards meat points as default because of bleed damage and stuff like drained. You could take bleed damage from at or near full hp, and there’s no other way to narrate that than straight up physical bleeding. There are creatures immune to bleeding because of physiology, so it’s not like “bleeding” is an abstract game term either.
 


nevin

Explorer
Wait what? It took 40 minutes of table time to deal with healing?!?!? This should be a 5 minute activity - it can take 10 minutes because people waffle in my experience but 40?!?

I hope I simply misunderstood you there...
I believe it. I've seen groups of detail oriented people spending 30 to 40 min a round playing pathfinder. I've played with a group where boss fights we're almost the whole night. Because the GM didn't make people make descisions quickly and every thing that happened had people looking stuff up in the book to make sure they made the most perfect optimized action. Pathfinder with a group of detail l oriented control freaks is like swimming through jello
 

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