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PF2 Lets Read and Review Pathfinder 2E

Zardnaar

Explorer
As the title says. Over the next while I plan on going through PF2 chapter by chapter. For each thing I really like I wll leave a up, for each thing I don't like I will leave a downvote and I will keep a running tally in this thread. Things that I only mildly like or dislike won't get a vote either way although I may comment on them. otherwise its more or less an arbitrary, subjective opinion piece just to be 100% clear. I'm also using the PDF version.




Chapter 1

Upvotes 3
Down Votes 1

Chapter 2
Upvotes 3

Chapter 3

Upvotes 3
Downvotes 3

Overall Score

Up 9
Down 4

This will probably take a while, feel free to chip in at any time the later chapters will probably be deeper in the thread.
 
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Zardnaar

Explorer
Chapter 1 Intorduction Review

642 pages of PDF goodness to dig through. First things first the cover. its an improvement on PF 1 and WAR 4E covers but its till WAR art. Personally I don't like his art style and have not since around 2002's Deities and Demigods for 3.0. To cartoony and animie for my tastes. Its a downvote for me, if I saw this sitting on a store shelf and didn't know what it was the art lone is a turn off. To be fair art is subjective but IMHO the cover is worse than say 5E art and even the 2E PHB art from 1989 and 1995 as it at least looks realistic. WAR can do good cover art, his 4E Darksun art look good IMHO but Paizo seems to have doubled down on his style. Its not a deal breaker but it is a negative for me. It doesn't get any better on page 5 and 6 while page 7 reminds e of a cleric of Lathendar on the cover of Faiths and Avatars from 1996 which arguably looked better. Page 9 has the 1st art I did like which i a landscape of a Dwarven fortress but yeah.

The rest of the chapter is a very basic 101 course on the basics, an example of play, and it explains the PF2 actions system. Overall fairly good so far and I'll be generous and give it an upvote, it does its job and was easy to follow, can't ask for much more.

It goes on to describe the boosts system which I admit I like and had fun with in the playtest. its new and I like it so another upvote. From page 23 it has a nice step by step guide with more bad character art (already downvoted), but its fairly easy to follow and they give a step by step guide so I'll throw in another upvote. Page 32 also has a nice picture of a treetop village, not enough for an upvote but the scenary looks nice.

Upvotes 3
Downvotes 1.

Good so far, but the character art starting from the cover is bad IMHO. In the races the halfling art in particular looks bad and you can't actually tell the Gnome is a gnome and it could be almost any near human race wearing a hood.
 
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Zardnaar

Explorer
Chapter 2 Ancestry and Backgrounds.

Races= ancestry BTW, I'll probably get the two terms mixed up and they're basically the same thing.

Pathfinder 2E races are a bit different. There is no real default Dwarf or Elfe etc except in the most basic of ways such as dark vision, low light vision, and racial hit points. The boost and flaw keywords I like, it save you writing out XYZ gets +2 to this and that and -2 to whatever. Nice to see flaws are retained and for the most part the races seem to get two +2 bosts and a free boost to be assigned how you like. This avoids pigeonholing a lot more than say 5E. I'm not 100% sure if the free boost can be used to offset the flaw but if so the race functionally have +2/+2 so its may be an option for fans of 4E and 5E who are not fans of ability penalties in effect it seems optional. Each race also gets a heritage and a racial feat. Its quite nifty IHMO but a minor downside is that the races don't feel very Dwarfy or Elfy and you almost have to row into the abilities you would get in sy AD&D, 3E, 5E or Pathfinder 1. Conceptually Its good but perhaps a fixed heritage, a free heritage and a racial feat may have been better. overall though I would still give it an up vote but it could have been better IMHO. A lot of racial feats are very minor as well and are a +1. They perhaps could have got 2 up votes here, 1 for the concept and 1 for execution. Its good but could have/should have been better.

The art has also improved, some of it is quite good, other parts are more of the same from chapter 1. No up or down vote though.

Back grounds are also quite interesting for the most part they are 2 skills, a free boost and a fixed boost along with a skill/utility type feat. Not drastically different to 5 in some ways but it might actually be an improvement at least mechanically, the 5E ones have a bit more flavour IMHO. I quite like what they did here with back grounds and from the playtest it was fun using them and stacking up the boosts at character generation. I'm going to be generous here an give Paizo an upvote for concept and an upvote for execution. I think there are 35 of them, minor downside is more complexity.

The chapter is finished off by languages which are tied to the world of Golarion. Page 66 has more of that artwork I love so much with a massive oversized sword and a goofy action scene. Just when the art was improving overall. I know the sword is supposed to be from a giant but still it looked silly in PF1 and still does. What is this 3.0 cira 2002?

3 upvotes here, nothing really bad so far. Next up is classes, which will have to wait another day and potentially a lot of votes IMHO.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
First things first the cover. its an improvement on PF 1 and WAR 4E covers but its till WAR art. .
What do you mean by WAR?

Are you talking about Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play (WFRP) the tabletop role-playing game?

Or Warhammer Age of Reckoning (WAR) the computer massively multiplayer online game?
 

FowlJ

Villager
What do you mean by WAR?

Are you talking about Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play (WFRP) the tabletop role-playing game?

Or Warhammer Age of Reckoning (WAR) the computer massively multiplayer online game?
Wayne Reynolds, the artist of the Pathfinder cover. I'm not sure what the WAR actually stands for (Wayne "Art" Reynolds?), but there's a book about his art by that name.
 

mewzard

Explorer
Worth noting the free +2 can cancel the ability flaw if you wish. You can also optionally take an additional two -2 flaws for one additional +2 boost. You can't use them to raise any attribute above 12 or to drop any attribute below 8 at this stage, but you could use them to turn one of your boosted 12 attributes to an 8 and then combine the two boosts to raise your flawed stat to a 12 attribute. Makes playing against type for more viable Ancestry/Class combinations, which I like.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
Worth noting the free +2 can cancel the ability flaw if you wish. You can also optionally take an additional two -2 flaws for one additional +2 boost. You can't use them to raise any attribute above 12 or to drop any attribute below 8 at this stage, but you could use them to turn one of your boosted 12 attributes to an 8 and then combine the two boosts to raise your flawed stat to a 12 attribute. Makes playing against type for more viable Ancestry/Class combinations, which I like.
I thought it worked like that but was not 100% sure.

Anyway the quest continues.

Chapter 3 Classes

A big difference in PF2 with the classes is that each class now has a set amount of hit points more or less a maximised HD from previous editions (fighters get 10 hp, clerics 8 etc). A new class called the alchemist has been added. Each class more or less follows an identical template of bonus feats, racial, class, general etc with the differences being in the starting package, class feats and class abilities added to the each classes table.

Right from the get go though something stands out and that is its complexity. Consider a Dwarven fighter. in B/X all those year ago you had 7 choices, AD&D separating class and races had around 50 probably less due to racial restrictions. Here are the steps to make a Dwarf fighter and I'll just cover the main steps.

1. Select an ancestry 6 options. We pick Dwarf.
2. Pick a heritage (5 options)
3. Pick a racial feat (6 options)
4. Pick a background (35 options)
5. Pick a class (12 options) we pick fighter
6. Pick a fighter feat (7 options)

Just those steps there is over 500 000 combinations. This excludes your skills and how to assign your boosts. 5E made a fair bit of that optional and back grounds are not such a big element of your character. I've experienced 3.0, 3.5, 4E, Pathfinder and star Wars Saga and this is actually the hardest one yet. Each class is also huge in terms of page count. The basic fighter takes up 13 pages. This is a similar page count to 4E and that went to level 30 and the fighter class starts on page 140, in 5E that is approaching the feats section IIRC. Star Wars Saga puts its soldier around page 50 IIRC. You had better hope complexity is your thing. its not even in a particularly easy to digest format with a lot of cross referencing required which makes spellcaster lists from 3.5 seem simple by comparison. Its enough to add up to a down vote IMHO.

Another popular online meme has been comparing pathfinder 2 classes to 4E. The classes are not trying to emulate 4E's play style in any way o hats a big difference and I think that is the main problem 4E had in the edition wars. However the formatting of the classes does remind one of 4E in a lot of ways with a fairly universal class progression system, 4E hit points at level 1 (race+class+con modifier) a similar page count number, the feats could be redone as powers, a lot of key wording used and a universal class progression with the class powers basically being class features and spellcaster spells in this. Also they have kind of eliminated multiple attacks at least as class features although there is the odd feat that sorta enable it and anyone can multi attack with the new 3 action system. 4E love it or hate it was formatted a lot better than this and was easier to understand. Its a slight improvement over the play test but if you hated that aspect of the play test not much has changed really. Overall its another down vote as its actually hard to read all of this, harder than it needs to be to follow it, and a lot of cross referencing required, even using the PRD only makes it marginally better. its another down vote.

And guess what no messing around here there another down vote incoming to make 3 right off the bat. The reason is the class feats/features themselves are full of minor or even worse minor and situational +1's or something similar that don't do a lot. A lot of this could also be compressed and a lot of these feats compare poorly to something as basic as 5E's fighting styles that Rangers, Paladins and Fighters get. Its almost headache inducing and being honest its a pain in the butt, reading 3.0 or 3.5 is actually an improvement as the feats at least are shunted ff into another chapter.

The reason I put the 3 down votes first is you have to get past all of the above to get to the good parts IMHO. If people rage quite PF2, give up or just go meh its this chapter that will do it IMHO. PF2 main problem IMHO is 5E existing. For self inflicted wounds this chapter here will do it. Its a hurdle and i you can get over it.

Now I'll list the upvotes. The final step of apply the last boosts and pick your stuff. If you can get your head around it the process is kind of fun and that is worth an upvote. if you can't get your head around it or can't be bothered its a YMMV type situation. Then again it possible its just relief of getting this far.

Some of the options are fairly basic but certain things start coming together as good parts of 3.X start shining through and there are a lot more options as well due to the free racial boost the race get. 5E still rewards you heavily for certain race and class combos with a decent amount of system knowledge and/or rolled stats to break out of the box the system kind of builds for you. For example a human heritage half orc wizard can hit 18 intelligence and take human options to pick up hand of the adept feat and marry it do 1d12+ int mod battle axe and throw it 500'. And they can do that 3 times a round (at -5 and 10 on the 2nd and 3rd attacks). Or a human can borrow cantrips from other classes perhaps the bard for example and cast 3 spells a round so they could cast an 2 attack spell cantrips and use inspire courage granting allies +1 to hit, saves, skills. These are a couple of examples I have found but they are kind of interesting. Anyway its an upvote there is a lot of interesting things to find hidden in there.

One more upvote as well, the execution might be slightly off but they have at least divorced combat and non combat abilities with their new class system. In 3.0, 3.5, 4E, Star Wars Saga Edition and 5E the feats are all competing and their is opportunity cost involved in picking a non combat feat over a combat feat. Pathfinder 2 kind of just gives you both and this is the first real time "D&D" has made that distinction since AD&D 2E which had weapon and non weapon proficiency's. 4E kind of tried with its utility powers but the feats had the same issues as everything else.


I'll leave it there, this is more of an impression of the classes but this chapter is hard to digest and is going to require a fair bit of patience and game play to figure out. This chapter is very subjective IMHO and you will probably love or hate it depending on your own personal tastes.
 
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mewzard

Explorer
Definitely put me on the "Love It" category for classes. The level of choice just excites me, and like you noted, the split between combat and non-combat feats is something I can't praise enough. Too often it was easy to worry if this feat that could help you do better in your skill of choice was going to delay you in your combat role, keeping you from being optimal when the time came, especially if the feat chain was long towards your particularly desired feat. Not an issue anymore, I can get my skilling on while also make excellent combat choices in several various directions depending upon what I want to do with said class.

And yeah, some of the boosts you get aren't all that big, but it really does feel like even the little numbers add up a lot more in 2e.
 

Mycroft

Explorer
4th Ed hit points at level 1 (race+class+con modifier)
That's not how level 1 hit points work in 4th Ed, it's a set value from your class (4, 5, 6, or 7) + your Con score.
Though 4th Ed and PF2 both boost 1st level hit points compared to 3rd and 5th Ed.
In the first D&D Next playtest, you got 1st level hit points = max hit points from 1 class hit dice (10 for fighter, etc) + your Con score.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
That's not how level 1 hit points work in 4th Ed, it's a set value from your class (4, 5, 6, or 7) + your Con score.
Though 4th Ed and PF2 both boost 1st level hit points compared to 3rd and 5th Ed.
In the first D&D Next playtest, you got 1st level hit points = max hit points from 1 class hit dice (10 for fighter, etc) + your Con score.
The concept is from 4E though the basic idea is more hp at level one. The book does give off a 4E vibe but the playstyle is different.
 

gargoyleking

Explorer
Worth noting the free +2 can cancel the ability flaw if you wish. You can also optionally take an additional two -2 flaws for one additional +2 boost. You can't use them to raise any attribute above 12 or to drop any attribute below 8 at this stage, but you could use them to turn one of your boosted 12 attributes to an 8 and then combine the two boosts to raise your flawed stat to a 12 attribute. Makes playing against type for more viable Ancestry/Class combinations, which I like.
Also worth noting that this is an optional rule. (Pg 26 in the sidebar for reference) It may be something rhat a DM may deny you if they want to minimize min-maxing.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
You can't use them to raise any attribute above 12 or to drop any attribute below 8 at this stage
I believe it is important to remind readers this refers to the Ancestry step of assigning boosts to your attributes.

There is no "maximum 12" rule. It's just that you're not allowed to raise the same attribute as the ones you just raised from Ancestry. (You can't use this rule to leave the Ancestry step with a 10+2+2=14 anywhere.) Also, you are not allowed to lower the same attribute as the one you just lowered from your Ancestry. (You can't use this rule to leave the Ancestry step with a 10-2-2=6 anywhere.)

The only relevant max and min rules are: you can't start above 18 or below 8.
 

Aldarc

Explorer
The concept is from 4E though the basic idea is more hp at level one. The book does give off a 4E vibe but the playstyle is different.
That may have a lot more to do with the new critical system than anything else. Needing a 10 point spread to crit, generally means that it happens more often. So the initial bonus HP from your ancestry acts as an additional buffer.

And I think the main reason why HP is set per level is so that the designers and GMs (see organized play) have a better approximate sense of character HP totals. If you have the GM that wants you to roll, and you get a lot of 1s and 2s on your HP dice rolls, whether as a fighter or a wizard, then that can lead to so fairly large HP differentials, which makes it more difficult for Paizo to account for.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
That may have a lot more to do with the new critical system than anything else. Needing a 10 point spread to crit, generally means that it happens more often. So the initial bonus HP from your ancestry acts as an additional buffer.

And I think the main reason why HP is set per level is so that the designers and GMs (see organized play) have a better approximate sense of character HP totals. If you have the GM that wants you to roll, and you get a lot of 1s and 2s on your HP dice rolls, whether as a fighter or a wizard, then that can lead to so fairly large HP differentials, which makes it more difficult for Paizo to account for.
Good luck with that lol. Homogeneous rubbish.

Encounters and combat are two subjective so I think rules and assumptions for it are inherently flawed. No modern D&D/Pathfinder had pulled this off yet. Basically IMHO none of them have made a better system than AD&D.
 

Aldarc

Explorer
Good luck with that lol. Homogeneous rubbish.

Encounters and combat are two subjective so I think rules and assumptions for it are inherently flawed. No modern D&D/Pathfinder had pulled this off yet. Basically IMHO none of them have made a better system than AD&D.
No need to get so bent out of shape about it. There is a reason why 5e also provides with the option for average HP per level. There is a reason why average damage exists as an option for monsters. There is a reason why proficiency bonus exists as a steady bonus for assumed proficiency in your main attack method. Regardless of the encounter subjectivity or randomness, designers still need known assumptions when designing adventures, encounters, monsters, etc.
 

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