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PF2E Is this a fair review of PF2?

Yes, thank you.

Pathfinder 2 is built upon an acceptance of 3E or 4E levels of complexity.

But this should not be taken for granted. Not after the year 2015.

The question Paizo and its fans need to answer: "does D&D need to be this complicated?"

Yes, and the reason I say that is because if you want simple, Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition isn't actually the way to go. The industry has many truly simpler RPGs that are probably better than DND for their sensibility, titles like Dungeon World, or Masks: A New Generation, or Kids on Bikes/Brooms. None of those have the brand recognition of DND, so unfortunately, they're perfect for a bunch of people who have no idea they exist.

We've seen a lot of growth over on the 2e subreddit, and it seems like there's a strong conversion factor from 5e of people who are dissatisfied with 5e's lack of customization, and somewhat backwards mechanics. Stagnant-Bounded-Accuracy (as opposed to 2e's growing bounded accuracy) wound up having massive drawbacks for encounter balance as well.

My own group is one of those, and even my most resistant players when we switched over have changed their tune, finding this more fun. One of my players even thinks that while there's "more there" its simpler, because of how the 3 action system works.

Whether its smaller than the one 5e is drawing on remains to be seen (and may never, brand recognition is a hell of a drug) but there seems to be a definitive market niche for 2e that answers your question in the affirmative.

Which kinda makes sense, even if we accept that many people prefer 5e, different products exist for different people with differing tastes, why would we want every game ot be like 5e, when we already have 5e?
 

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dave2008

Legend
How is it "considerably" more complicated? What is it that you find so complicated in pf2 to describe the entire game as so much more complicated than 5e?
Just about every step and turn of PF2 requires more decisions and/or knowledge than 5e. Here are some examples:
  • more conditions
  • tags for everything
  • feats for everything
  • more classes
  • degrees of success / failure (tracking the modifier and the feature)
  • just more rules
That is just off the top of my head, quite sure there is more, but these things come up every level of character creation and pretty much every roll of the die. That, IMO, is a lot more complexity.
 
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FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Why does, or even should, 5e actually matter in this discussion? Shouldn't the actual issue of importance be the relative complexity when compared with the "parent" 3E or PF1 systems?
I disagree. Puffin, the maker of the original video, first started D&D in 4th edition before moving on to 5th.

If your target market is only former 3.5 and Pathfinder players, then it makes sense to limit the comparison to those two systems. However, it seems to me that the 4th and especially 5th edition player base dwarfs the 3.5/Pathfinder player base, so comparison to the current edition is what makes sense to me.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Just about every step and turn of PF2 requires more decisions and/or knowledge than 5e. Here are some examples:
  • more conditions
  • tags for everything
  • feats for everything
  • more classes
  • degrees of success / failure (tracking the modifier and the feature)
  • just more rules
That is just off the top of my head, quite sure there is more, but these things come up every level of character creation and pretty much every roll of the die. That, IMO, is a lot more complexity.

Yeah, and it's not like previous posts in this thread haven't gone over some of this territory before. PF2 is more complex in many ways. And as I said before, that complexity isn't necessarily bad... if it does what you're looking for it to do. I can see how elements like the degrees of success/failure and the variability between 1 action/2 action/3 action spell casting can add to the game if it's scratching your itch. But they undeniably add complexity as well.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
How is it "considerably" more complicated? What is it that you find so complicated in pf2 to describe the entire game as so much more complicated than 5e?
I feel that you are being somewhat disingenuous here.

On the assumption that you are not, dave2008 has provided a partial list.

To complement it (while trying to avoid duplication), let me add:
  • MAP;
  • 3 types of bonus that do not stack;
  • Class feats with extremely circumstantial triggers (Exacting strike, which can’t be used on your first strike, and generally can’t be used on your 3rd strike);
  • Skill feats that provide minor bonuses in situational circumstances;
  • 3 levels of Stealth;
  • Each character having to manage more skill feats, more racial feats and more class feats that individually have a smaller incidence on the game;
  • extensive use of numerical bonuses rather than the advantage/disadvantage system;
  • use of countdown timers for several systems (frightened for instance)
  • basic rulebook that is twice the length of the 5e rulebook;
  • reliance on purchasing/crafting/finding items/magical items of the proper level;
  • more complicated death and dying rules (incorporating a variable count-up);
  • multiple subsystems that you cannot “opt out” of (Repair subsystem, Healing subsystem)
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Oh, I forgot. The large number of keywords with minor effects for weapons means that a dual-weapon wielding build could end up with having to recalculate a different bonus on the fly for each attack.

I feel like the original video made this point and was derided for being unrealistic.
 


FrozenNorth

Adventurer
wow what a list. I guess I never thought of anything on that list as being "overly" complicated, as you want to convince me they are, because I was busy having fun with the game.
Hey, if you like it despite (or even because of) its complexity, good for you. But you aren’t doing potential players any favours when you claim it isn’t considerably more complicated than 5e.
 

dave2008

Legend
wow what a list. I guess I never thought of anything on that list as being "overly" complicated, as you want to convince me they are, because I was busy having fun with the game.
Nothing overly complicated, but it is clearly considerably more complicated than 5e. @billd91 did not say "overly" complicated, he said considerably. Bill91 was not making a value judgement, which you seemed to assume he was. Complicated may or may not be a good thing, but by saying overly you are implying it is a bad thing, which was not the intent. Whether you have fun playing PF2e or not has nothing to do with it being considerably more complex than 5e.
 

Malkinban

The Torn
Nothing overly complicated, but it is clearly considerably more complicated than 5e. @billd91 did not say "overly" complicated, he said considerably. Bill91 was not making a value judgement, which you seemed to assume he was. Complicated may or may not be a good thing, but by saying overly you are implying it is a bad thing, which was not the intent. Whether you have fun playing PF2e or not has nothing to do with it being considerably more complex than 5e.

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.
 

willrali

Explorer
Yeah, it was a variation on previous complaints about complexity, though the 4e video complaints had a dimension of ‘restrictiveness’ that was notably absent from the p2 video.

The guy likes 5e. Nothing wrong with that. It’s good to like the thing everyone plays. (As I’ve mentioned before, I‘m very over 5e and prefer both AD&D 2e and P2 for different reasons.) Puffin Forest gonna do what he does.
 

Nilbog

Snotling Herder
Is it more complex than 5e? Without doubt. Is it overly complex? Well that's in the eye of the beholder (wotc trademarks apply 😉)

I love pf2e and it's my go to game but there are areas I find over fiddly, and the rules rely on a breadcrumb approach which often makes things more complex than they need to be. What I will add is it certainly flows better in play than how it reads, things that seem complex on paper go well in play (the degrees of success I think is a good example of this)

It's no where near the levels of 4e though (a game I also enjoyed) we only got to the first few levels of epic tier and my rangers turn alone could take ten minutes calculating the number of attacks, the bonuses granted and damage, especially when our warlord was boosting him, and then add in all the reactions and counter reactions
 

LotsOfLore

Villager
Hey, if you like it despite (or even because of) its complexity, good for you. But you aren’t doing potential players any favours when you claim it isn’t considerably more complicated than 5e.

Ok now I have to set the record straight: I am the last person who is doing a disservice to potential new PF2 players. I love the game and have brought all of my regular rpg playing friends over on board with it (some of them from 5e) also because I was able to show them how wrong these claims of PF2 being "considerably more difficult" than 5e really are.

Please try not to misinterpret my own explanation of why I think the game is good. I was very clear: the game is easy to learn and easy to play (more so from the player's perspective), while it is indeed A LITTLE MORE complex than 5e. It's well engineered complexity allows for a much deeper expansion, customization and exploration of what can be done with a fantasy rpg, with respect to 5e. It's more easily scalable, it's modular nature makes it easier to expand and manage over a long period of time, and clearly it's Paizo's intention to keep it around for a long, long time.

It will be interesting to refresh this discussion once D&D 6th edition will come out.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Ok now I have to set the record straight: I am the last person who is doing a disservice to potential new PF2 players. I love the game and have brought all of my regular rpg playing friends over on board with it (some of them from 5e) also because I was able to show them how wrong these claims of PF2 being "considerably more difficult" than 5e really are.

Emphasis mine above. Your problem in this thread is you keep changing the nature of our statements and quotes like you did above. When we were saying it was “considerably more complex” you replaced considerably with “overly”... which is not what we said. Now, you‘ve changed more complex to be “more difficult”.

Whether you’re doing it unconsciously or deliberately, please stop.
 

LotsOfLore

Villager
Emphasis mine above. Your problem in this thread is you keep changing the nature of our statements and quotes like you did above. When we were saying it was “considerably more complex” you replaced considerably with “overly”... which is not what we said. Now, you‘ve changed more complex to be “more difficult”.

Whether you’re doing it unconsciously or deliberately, please stop.

Feel free to wiggle out of this with semantics, if that makes you feel better. I know what I meant, you know what I meant. It's all pretty clear. Since there's clearly no chance of changing your minds on PF2, there's no need for me to keep trying.
 

dave2008

Legend
Ok now I have to set the record straight: I am the last person who is doing a disservice to potential new PF2 players. I love the game and have brought all of my regular rpg playing friends over on board with it (some of them from 5e) also because I was able to show them how wrong these claims of PF2 being "considerably more difficult" than 5e really are.

Please try not to misinterpret my own explanation...
Seriously? You are asking people not to misinterpret when that is exactly what your doing. Considerably more complex =/= considerably more difficult. You are the one misinterpreting my and I believe other's comments. So as to not have that happen again I will be very clear.

I believe PF2e is considerably more complex than 5e.

I believe PF2e is comparably difficult to 5e, it is just a different type of difficulty.

I you wish me to elaborate I will, but I want to clarify that point.
 

dave2008

Legend
Feel free to wiggle out of this with semantics, if that makes you feel better. I know what I meant, you know what I meant. It's all pretty clear. Since there's clearly no chance of changing your minds on PF2, there's no need for me to keep trying.
Further clarification needed i guess. Maybe you haven't followed my post on this forum (Pathfinder forum), but I will set you straight: yes you probably will not change my mind about PF2, but I don't think you would want to. I think it is an amazing system. Probably the best designed game I have seen. However, I still believe it is considerably more complex than 5e (but not more difficult).
 

dave2008

Legend
Feel free to wiggle out of this with semantics, if that makes you feel better. I know what I meant, you know what I meant. It's all pretty clear. Since there's clearly no chance of changing your minds on PF2, there's no need for me to keep trying.
Final point of clarification on why your getting the reaction about your word changes (which a decidedly not just semantic):
  1. "considerably more complex" means it has a lot more complexity. This is a neutral statement (complexity can be good or bad)
  2. "overly complex," your phrase, means it has too much complexity. Which has a negative connotation.
  3. "considerably more difficult," your phrase again, means it is more difficult. This also has a negative connotation.
In both instances, you took a neutral statement and turned it negative. Complexity is neutral, it can be good or bad. Therefore having more can be good or bad. When you change "considerably more complex" to "overly" or "difficult," you are making it a value judgement. Which the original statement was not.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Puffin Forest video ranted about PF2 is too complex, and now he runs a 4E one shot? So I'm not sure where he's coming from:

He likes the abstract idea of more complexity, but when the rubber meets the road he finds that in actual play his personal preference isn't at 4E or PF levels of complexity.
 


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