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Pathfinder 2E Is this a fair review of PF2?

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
You clearly haven't played with people who can't do quick additions and subtractions. I know a few - I know because I've gamed with them.

I have played with some people who are slower at it than others, but never a person who couldn't learn it. That would indeed surprise me.
 

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1. As noted in my earlier post, there are three bonus or penalty types:

Status: Usually due to magic or some other condition like frightened or sickened. They don't stack. You use the highest number bonus or penalty.

Circumstance: Cover, flanking, using a shield. Don't stack. Use the highest number or penalty.

Item bonus: +1 sword or what item bonus from item. Don't stack. Use the highest number. Usually worked into the stat block prior.

A few unnamed bonuses for something like bloodline spell damage bonus.
Technically, a character could have : a status bonus, a circumstance bonus, an item bonus, an untyped bonus, a status penalty, a circumstance penalty, an item penalty and a MAP penalty.

The enemy the character is trying to hit could also have a status bonus, a circumstance bonus, an item bonus, a status penalty, a circumstance penalty and item penalty.

Frankly, I think it is more productive to speak in terms of actual play. From my experience (<4 level and characters that didn’t use a lot of buffs or debuffs), every turn there were 2 or 3 effects in play + MAP.
 

BigZebra

Explorer
Technically, a character could have : a status bonus, a circumstance bonus, an item bonus, an untyped bonus, a status penalty, a circumstance penalty, an item penalty and a MAP penalty.

The enemy the character is trying to hit could also have a status bonus, a circumstance bonus, an item bonus, a status penalty, a circumstance penalty and item penalty.

Frankly, I think it is more productive to speak in terms of actual play. From my experience (<4 level and characters that didn’t use a lot of buffs or debuffs), every turn there were 2 or 3 effects in play + MAP.

Well you could include the MAP in the numbers on the sheet, by having three lines for each weapon strike entry. I know the official sheet doesn't support that, but could be a good idea.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I am on the 5th module of Age of Ashes and the second of Extinction Curse running as a DM and playing in a 3rd campaign. I have not noticed that the game runs poorly if you miss an occasional modifier or ability. So not sure what you mean by fast and loose, but I'm certainly not recommending ignoring modifiers. I am stating that if you forget one here or there, you won't break the game or ruin the challenge. The game does not require you remember every number every round without fail or the game runs poorly. That isn't the case at all.
Okay.

But how does "you won't break the game by forgetting a modifier" counter my claim?

You still want to remember to add most of them, and just because you forgot once doesn't mean you'll want forget about them entirely.

It's not as if the game offers an "easy" mode. You are absolutely expected to spend entire strategies on how to slap a -1 on your enemies, since that has a real effect.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
No.

This game clearly expects it's customers to have no problems doing math in their heads, to a significantly higher level than 5th Edition.

Claiming anything else is just misleading.

There's enough exceptions that the "three weapon lines" idea didn't pan out in practice for us. Part of the fun of playing a weapon wielder is the feats that let you vary your routine.

Then there's special weapon traits that come across as incredibly petty for a 5E gamer, but here are clearly intended to be a meaningful addition to your offensive.

Take Sweep for instance. If you switch targets with an axe, you get a +1. In practice, this means you make one attack at +0 then a second at -4 instead of -5.

Definitely don't play a Ranger if you plan on having one line for every possible attack modifier. You can easily end up with three weapons (two melee, one ranged) and all the numbers change depending on whether the target is marked, you're making a twin takedown, using agile weapons, weapons with different fundamental runes, etc etc etc.

Then you have all the conditions imposed on you by poison, disease, curses and the like. Being hit with -1 to attacks, or mental saves, or physical maneuvers is not rare at all. Once past the lowest levels, it happens every session.

Resistance and weakness to damage is not uncommon. Calculating damage as (3d8+12+1d6)X2+1d8+10 is not just something I just made up, it can definitely happen, several times in a single combat round in fact. (A greater striking weapon with an acid rune dealing a crit with a fatal weapon against a monster with weakness 10, in this particular case. Some of the variables can be pre-calculated, but most are cirumstancial and change for every attack)

It's just so much more honest to be upfront with the math demand.

tl;dr: I don't have a problem with 23+3-1+2-1+1 type calculations (except when late at night and my brain is mush), but if your friend does, do him a favor and stick to 5E.

Cheers
 
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Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
I remember back in the 70s when one of nthe selling points for parents was "Sure, your kid is playing D&D, but at least he'll get a lot of practice in math."

All of this niggling about situational bonuses is a feature, not a bug. My players think it's fun to try to use the situation to wring another +1 or +2 out of their tactics, or inflict a similar penalty on their enemies.

If they were forced to play using a game system that didn't give situational bonuses and penalties, they would not be happy campers. I understand that DD5 is often perceived in that light, but can't comment from personal experience.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I remember back in the 70s when one of nthe selling points for parents was "Sure, your kid is playing D&D, but at least he'll get a lot of practice in math."

All of this niggling about situational bonuses is a feature, not a bug. My players think it's fun to try to use the situation to wring another +1 or +2 out of their tactics, or inflict a similar penalty on their enemies.

If they were forced to play using a game system that didn't give situational bonuses and penalties, they would not be happy campers. I understand that DD5 is often perceived in that light, but can't comment from personal experience.
Sure.

I'm not trying to say math = bad.

I just don't believe in selling PF2 as something else than a deeply deeply crunchy system, where -1s and +1s pop up everywhere you look. Much like how D&D used to be pre-5E, in fact.
 

Puggins

Explorer
Supporter
The OP asked whether there are as many mods as there were in PF1, though, not whether the system is crunchy or not- it very clearly is.

compared to PF1, though, it is extraordinarily clean and mod-lite. PF1’s combat system required me to use a spreadsheet by 8th level to track all the modifiers involved. My paladin at 8th level routinely headed into combat with at least 6 and sometimes ip to ten or more spell and ability buffs that lasted minutes (or rounds in some cases). I can name 7 or 8 of them off my head, but there were at last 10 or so others that might or might not be in effect and might or might not overlap other buffs. This is BRFORE getting to combat modifiers or status effect, which were no less varied in PF1. I stand by my first post- PF2 is far, far simpler than PF1, and is, at the same time, definitely more complexthan 5e.
 

Lefi2017

Explorer
So what are the m,odifieres that can apear or be rfreate in comabt_

Buffes condions andx placing

how much dose PF2 lends it slerf to thearther of the mind_
 

Retreater

Legend
So what are the m,odifieres that can apear or be rfreate in comabt_

Buffes condions andx placing

how much dose PF2 lends it slerf to thearther of the mind_
I would say that I couldn't run it at all as intended without a battle grid. Some could, but there is not official guidance in the Core Rulebook to do so.
There are many, many modifiers, as well 40+ conditions that can come up in combat.
 

willrali

Explorer
Yes, I've actually printed out and digitally distributed to my players a nicely written-up pamphlet with the conditions on it. It's been a godsend and really speeds things up. At first I loathed the continual referring of spells and abilities to these, but it actually makes good sense after a while. There being so many makes the learning curve steeper, but adds a lot of flavor and variation to the game while keeping it tight and fair.

Also helped to have a write-up with all the different actions characters can take. These, with some flow-charts to help with decisions and sequencing, have greatly simplified the game. (I've promised my flowcharts to another poster here... working on it.)

I do wish Paizo had rethought organizing and presenting the game.
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
We use the Paizo condition cards, and they generally clear up any confusion. This said, our campaign has only reached 3rd level so far (after a long COVID break from the game) so I'm sure we'll see more and more conditions pop up.

Also, since my players are all new to PF2, we have not made extensive use of things like weapon properties, and nobody has played a ranger yet, so we're mostly on the simpler side of things.

My feeling is that, as our campaign continues, we will grapple with more and more details, and get used to adding relevant modifiers on the fly.

To address the original question on this thread, I feel that video review of PF2 is exaggerated and unfair, even if the points it raises are not necessarily wrong, as such. I enjoy the unified level-based proficiency system in PF2, and the way it ties together all rolls, from saving throws, to skills to attack rolls, to armor class to spell attacks. After many years of playing DD3, DD3.5 and PF1, I find PF2 to be more intuitive and less mind-numbingly complex. Just the opposite reaction of this reviewer.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Technically, a character could have : a status bonus, a circumstance bonus, an item bonus, an untyped bonus, a status penalty, a circumstance penalty, an item penalty and a MAP penalty.

The enemy the character is trying to hit could also have a status bonus, a circumstance bonus, an item bonus, a status penalty, a circumstance penalty and item penalty.

Frankly, I think it is more productive to speak in terms of actual play. From my experience (<4 level and characters that didn’t use a lot of buffs or debuffs), every turn there were 2 or 3 effects in play + MAP.

True.

Untyped is very rare which is why I don't mention it too much. I think it only applies to sorcerer bloodline damage bonuses and pick crits. Those are the only two I think I've seen in the game. MAP is pretty easy to calculate most of the time. As a DM I mostly deal with circumstance bonuses or penalties or a status bonus of penalty if we are talking round to round in game play with MAP. You do have to read an ability closely to see how and when MAP applies. Some abilities don't apply MAP until they are finished or apply differently. You do have to read that part closely to adjust for MAP (Multiple Attack Penalty).

Most of my players work their MAP out in advance. As a DM you definitely have to look for that word Agile or read an ability to see how MAP works for the ability.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Okay.

But how does "you won't break the game by forgetting a modifier" counter my claim?

You still want to remember to add most of them, and just because you forgot once doesn't mean you'll want forget about them entirely.

It's not as if the game offers an "easy" mode. You are absolutely expected to spend entire strategies on how to slap a -1 on your enemies, since that has a real effect.

Counters? It doesn't need to counter. You were implying far too much into what I wrote. You can very much miss a modifier or some ability during a round and not ruin the experience of the game. That in no way means play the game fast and loose making modifiers meaningless. It means don't beat yourself up if you miss something. It's not rocket science. If you or your players aren't exact every round, the game doesn't suddenly become overly easy or overly hard.

I've missed a concealment check or frightened or sickened condition here or there, it hasn't ruined the overall experience of the game. Not sure how you turned that into a "play the game fast and loose" situation. It's an RPG. Play it in a way that is fun, don't get overly caught up in every small rule. PF2 doesn't break if you miss something. That's all I'm saying.
 


Celtavian

Dragon Lord
No.

This game clearly expects it's customers to have no problems doing math in their heads, to a significantly higher level than 5th Edition.

Claiming anything else is just misleading.

There's enough exceptions that the "three weapon lines" idea didn't pan out in practice for us. Part of the fun of playing a weapon wielder is the feats that let you vary your routine.

Then there's special weapon traits that come across as incredibly petty for a 5E gamer, but here are clearly intended to be a meaningful addition to your offensive.

Take Sweep for instance. If you switch targets with an axe, you get a +1. In practice, this means you make one attack at +0 then a second at -4 instead of -5.

Definitely don't play a Ranger if you plan on having one line for every possible attack modifier. You can easily end up with three weapons (two melee, one ranged) and all the numbers change depending on whether the target is marked, you're making a twin takedown, using agile weapons, weapons with different fundamental runes, etc etc etc.

Then you have all the conditions imposed on you by poison, disease, curses and the like. Being hit with -1 to attacks, or mental saves, or physical maneuvers is not rare at all. Once past the lowest levels, it happens every session.

Resistance and weakness to damage is not uncommon. Calculating damage as (3d8+12+1d6)X2+1d8+10 is not just something I made up, it can definitely happen, several times in a single combat round in fact. (A greater striking weapon with an acid rune dealing a crit with a fatal weapon against a monster with weakness 10, in this particular case.)

It's just so much more honest to be upfront with the math demand.

I don't have a problem with 23+3-1+2-1+1 type calculations (except when late at night and my brain is mush), but if your friend does, do him a favor and stick to 5E.

Cheers

Higher than 5th edition? Sure. I guess adding a few more modifiers besides Advantage/Disadvantage, bless, and magic item modifiers is higher. There are more rules to understand.

If the person is hit with poisoned, diseased, cursed, frightened, sickened, or what not, those are all status penalties and only the highest number will apply. It could have ten conditions with penalties and only the highest number will apply.

Real game play in PF2 will look something like the following:

Enemy: Stone Giant.

Target is flanked: -2 circumstance penalty to AC
Target is frightened 2: -2 status penalty to AC
Target is sickened 1: Doesn't matter, frightened status penalty is higher. Ignore.

Swing with +2 long sword by lvl10 fighter with master proficiency and 20 strength. (Should be worked out by your player prior to playing)

To hit roll: +23 to hit

Giant AC 31 -2 AC status frightened -2 circumstance flanked =AC 27

Swing: +23/18/13 for three attacks with -5 MAP per attack to a maximum of -10.

The players may add in a status bonus provided by a player like a bard song.

It's more work than 5E, far less work than PF1. It's really not that hard. I don't know why people try to make it seem hard. Most PF DMs will make these things very easy for the players. I run the game all the time. I don't have any trouble with the modifiers. Now PF1 was a beast of a game for modifiers. That got truly insane. PF2 is three modifiers to track with MAP.

I would just give it a try with someone. See how you like it. See for yourself how it all works. I can't imagine my group is particularly special in their ability to do basic addition and subtraction with some occasional multiplication and division. Making PF2 sound like scary math is a little weird to me.
 

dave2008

Legend
It's more work than 5E, far less work than PF1. It's really not that hard. I don't know why people try to make it seem hard. Most PF DMs will make these things very easy for the players. I run the game all the time. I don't have any trouble with the modifiers. Now PF1 was a beast of a game for modifiers. That got truly insane. PF2 is three modifiers to track with MAP.

I would just give it a try with someone. See how you like it. See for yourself how it all works. I can't imagine my group is particularly special in their ability to do basic addition and subtraction with some occasional multiplication and division. Making PF2 sound like scary math is a little weird to me.
I think Cap is saying it is harder, not that it is hard. And specifically that it is harder than 5e in the math department. He is also not saying that is a bad thing, but that it shouldn't just be dismissed like you seem to want to do. He is also, I believe, talking in reference to people coming from 5e, not PF1. A 5e player or DM would probably find it quite shocking (I know I did). However, it is less the math (which I am pretty good at) and more the multitude of conditions and feats that is keeping me from PF2e (and I couldn't find anyone to play) at this time.
 

I am on the 5th module of Age of Ashes and the second of Extinction Curse running as a DM and playing in a 3rd campaign. I have not noticed that the game runs poorly if you miss an occasional modifier or ability. So not sure what you mean by fast and loose, but I'm certainly not recommending ignoring modifiers. I am stating that if you forget one here or there, you won't break the game or ruin the challenge. The game does not require you remember every number every round without fail or the game runs poorly. That isn't the case at all.

Also agree here. Like Celtavia, I actually have experience here. yes, +1 modifiers are nice, but they aren't game-changing. They could be the difference between a critical and not-a-critical, but that's the same in all D&D systems.

I strongly agree that "The game does not require you remember every number every round without fail or the game runs poorly" -- that's exactly how we play and we've had fun at levels 1-15 (and I'm about to play in 10 minutes!). If I was pressed, I'd say a +1 in PF2 is more valuable than in 5E, maybe about the same as 1.5. So as a rough rule of thumb, if you agonize over getting a +2 in any other D&D, you might agonize over getting +1 in PF2.

There are a lot fo dinky +1 feats, but there are a ton of other more interesting ones. So, for example, my favorite feats are not the +X ones, but the ones that build of my intimidation skill:
  • Battle Cry on initiative can give -1 or -2 penalty to target enemy. They might even run in fear for a round
  • I can literally frighten a lower-level enemy to death
  • I can coerce a group of 10 people to do something they really don't want to, and the coercive effect will last. month
Characterizing the game as nothing but a bunch of minor effects that give minor tweaks to rolls seems to be a bit of a myopic look at only certain sorts of activities. For me, there are so many other fun things to do that I pretty much ignore the +1 tweak feats.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
So... since everyone has been so helpful with commentary...

I'll deviate from the Puffin video and ask about the alchemist. Now, I'm mildly obsessed with the alchemist as a PC (so much so I read grimoires to mine them for gaming material, and I recently wrote an Alchemist class for the GLOG system using those grimoire spells).

I was very excited when PF2 came out and the alchemist was going to be all alchemy - no more pseudo spells, only alchemical preparations! Yes! But when I read the playtest rules they felt... very flat. Lacked creativity.

How is the class working in the actual release?
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
I suspect you may be disappointed in the alchemist. General consensus is that it is one of the weakest classes, and that the various things he can make feel underpowered. We had an alchemist in our group, and my first suggestion was that he take a multiclass wizard dedication at 2nd level, and after that he spent most of his actions casting attack cantrips, rather than relying on his alchemist powers.

It's very flavorful, sure, but mechanically not the equal of other classes. IMHO, the best way for a DM to make an alchemist PC feel useful is to be sure to give him lots of alchemically-flavored goodies during the campaign, and never stint on supplying formulae in loot drops. If you can work alchemical puzzles and enigmas into the campaign, all the better.
 

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