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Pathfinder 2E Looks like I will be running a PF2e game in a few weeks...suggestions?

kenada

Legend
Supporter
The Beginner Box Game Master’s Guide has an explanation on pages 40–41 for building encounters. The gist of it is you determine a budget and then pick monsters per that budget. If you have more or less than 4 players, you add or remove monsters from the encounter. See the “Different Party Sizes” section on page 41. Note that you still award the originally budgeted XP.
 

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kenada

Legend
Supporter
It’s disappointing that it’s not up on Archive of Nethys. A few things are slightly different from the Core Rulebook, so it would be handy to have as a reference. I only have a hardcopy, so I have to go pull it off my shelf whenever I need to look up something. 😅
 


Campbell

Legend
Just realized I didn't elaborate on this the way I wanted to. The main corebook has a whole section after this discussing what to do with larger or smaller parties (which as I recall adds up to "prorate").

Actually XP is just XP. No prorating or adjusting based on party size.


Pathfinder Second Edition CRB p.508 said:
Party Size

The rules for advancement assume a group of four PCs. The rules for encounters (page 489) describe how to accommodate groups of a different size, but the XP awards don’t change—always award the amount of XP listed for a group of four characters. You usually won’t need to make many adjustments for a differently sized group outside of encounters. Be careful of providing too many ways to get accomplishment XP when you have a large group, though, since they can pursue multiple accomplishments at once, which can lead to the PCs leveling up too fast.

Prorating is probably somewhat more fair, but I just don't think the juice is really worth the squeeze there, especially considering that a fair deal of the XP from most adventures is going to come from accomplishments which go to everyone anyway.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
Started helping create characters for this and reading the BBox DM rules. I was confused on Experience.

It's wording is a little odd. It sounds as if you give the entire party the entire amount that is listed on the table, so if the table lists 40 XP for the encounter, than each member of the party will get 40 XP? That means that what is listed on the table it is not split between 4 members for a total of 10 XP each, but instead each member gets 40 XP each?
The short answer is yes, each party member gets the 40 XP.

(There are several replies but none simply answering the question)

I found PF2 incredibly confusing at first as regards how XP is handled and explained. And that as a very experienced D&Der.

I now understand it, but I remain convinced setting up your game for exactly 4 players to the detriment of other party sizes is not worth it.

The reason PF2 works this way is ONLY to save the players from having to divide a number by four. That is utterly trivial and definitely not worth the mental acrobatics required by everyone not playing with four players. Plus the convoluted explanations from people trying to say that encounters somehow become more balanced with the add-extra-monster procedure this shift to a four-man party focus requires.

No. Just no.

Saying a Goblin is worth perhaps 50 XP and that this is shared by everyone defeating it (so a solo hero gets 50 XP and ten heroes get 5 XP each) remains far more natural intuitive simple easy and above all: functional. Then, if XP totals are raised exponentially (so that an Ogre is worth 300 XP and a Dragon 1500 perhaps) you don't even have to worry which levels the individual heroes in the party are.

PF2 experience over-engineered a solution to a problem that didn't need solving. Which is actually a description apt for several PF2 subsystems. The moral of the story is: it's better to just ask people to do easy math.
 
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kenada

Legend
Supporter
I now understand it, but I remain convinced setting up your game for exactly 4 players to the detriment of other party sizes is not worth it.

The reason PF2 works this way is ONLY to save the players from having to divide a number by four. That is utterly trivial and definitely not worth the mental acrobatics required by everyone not playing with four players. Plus the convoluted explanations from people trying to say that encounters somehow become more balanced with the add-extra-monster procedure this shift to a four-man party focus requires.

No. Just no.

Saying a Goblin is worth perhaps 50 XP and that this is shared by everyone defeating it (so a solo hero gets 50 XP and ten heroes get 5 XP each) remains far more natural intuitive simple easy and above all: functional. Then, if XP totals are raised exponentially (so that an Ogre is worth 300 XP and a Dragon 1500 perhaps) you don't even have to worry which levels the individual heroes in the party are.

PF2 experience over-engineered a solution to a problem that didn't need solving. Which is actually a description apt for several PF2 subsystems. The moral of the story is: it's better to just ask people to do easy math.
The idea seems to be to standardize the XP awards. An accomplishment or particular-threat encounter is the same amount of XP regardless of level. That makes a certain kind of sense, but it comes with a cost when you deviate from the system’s base assumptions. Personally, I just prorated the XP and didn’t bother with adding or removing creatures (multiply by 4 then divide by the number of PCs). That meant encounters didn’t stay the same level of threat when party size changed, but I wasn’t very concerned about that.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Sure there are ideas. But the flaw isn't thinking - it's having bad luck when doing so. Not all ideas should be realized.

In other words, standardizing XP awards is... not particularly useful, and certainly not worth the hoops you have to jump through. Making a "severe encounter" worth the same XP every time is in itself neutral, but when you consider the alternative - that a "goblin" is worth the same XP every time, you have an alternative that is also in itself neutral, except everything else is far less confusing.

Change for change's sake, and an "idea" they'll hopefully abandon in PF3.
 


GreyLord

Hero
We are probably going to have our last session this weekend. I just finished the first volume, and we'd continue...BUT it seems we may be going online again and not meeting in person for the near future due to local circumstances with a virus running amok and unrestrained due to our local governments encouraging people to die or do their best to kill themselves in real life.

Frustrating. I now have to come up with a plausible conclusion to the adventure because I don't think I am going to GM this game via online means. Last time we did this it didn't work out to well...so we'll play another system when online.

So, last installment for us will probably be this weekend from how things are looking.
 

Retreater

Legend
We are probably going to have our last session this weekend. I just finished the first volume, and we'd continue...BUT it seems we may be going online again and not meeting in person for the near future due to local circumstances with a virus running amok and unrestrained due to our local governments encouraging people to die or do their best to kill themselves in real life.

Frustrating. I now have to come up with a plausible conclusion to the adventure because I don't think I am going to GM this game via online means. Last time we did this it didn't work out to well...so we'll play another system when online.

So, last installment for us will probably be this weekend from how things are looking.
Hopefully (for many reasons) this is a temporary thing. If you need help with coming up with a satisfying mid-point ending, just ask on here.
 

Mustrum_Ridcully

Adventurer
Kind of unrelated, but one thing I dislike about Paizo mega dungeons is that the levels are always compact and made to fit with their Flipmat line. It makes the encounters very close together to an almost absurd degree. Especially since in 2e it's often a bad idea for encounters to combine and for dungeon denizens to support each other.
Just a quick thought I had, which already had from playing (and loving) D&D. We have an online MapTools game, and we have only 2.5h each session once a week (with lots of breaks because someone can't make it). Most of my players liked D&D 4 "combat as a sport" / tactical combat. But we also want to experience story. If combat happens, it will probably require the entire session. There needs to be some story in the next session or it's going to become frustrating. So we don't really do "dungeon crawls". Combats are usually more important challenges in the campaign.

But if I were to make a dungeon crawl, I would probably design the dungeon as single - with the dungeon denizens in fact running away, getting support and what not. Because the PCs don't encounter all the opposition at once, they can usually handle larger numbers than usual, that's something to look out for.
Maybe that would be a better approach for these dungeons. But of course, from Paizo's perspective, that's a lot of map to print for just one fight or two... So maybe it is not so practical for publishing...
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Kind of unrelated, but one thing I dislike about Paizo mega dungeons is that the levels are always compact and made to fit with their Flipmat line. It makes the encounters very close together to an almost absurd degree. Especially since in 2e it's often a bad idea for encounters to combine and for dungeon denizens to support each other.
Thank you! This is my observation too, but when I asked for advice about it on Paizo forums people tended to ignore anything that would have forced them to acknowledge their chosen game wasn't flawless...
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I think the issue is most things can run down a party. Escape is actually quite difficult. Folks have said things like, "well the monster wont pursue, or the monster wont chase you into enemy territory (which then why doesn't the new monster(s) mop up?). Of course, you can always start up a chase sub system to get away too." The former you cant always count on, and the latter isn't something that is intuitive to new users of the system.
If you need to leave the combat system to escape, that is equal to saying you can't escape at all, for to us it feels like cheating.

And if you do run it by the rules, the risks involved with escape are great. After all one hero must be the last one to leave. But if many monster are able to focus their fire on a single hero, that hero drops.

PF2 combat is just not geared towards allowing escape:

Either the fight is sufficiently easy that you indeed are able to escape - but then it is sufficiently easy that no escape is needed.

Or the fight is challenging... so that the few fights you do want to run away from are precisely those you can't run away from.

Possible exception: a single BBEG. It all comes down to the action economy, and by running away a monster force consisting of only one monster will likely only be able to make one attack (which the covering hero should be able to soak), compared to a monster force of, say, four monsters.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
In regards to retreating:
In pathfinder 2e, when playing with dynamic dungeons, success isn’t guaranteed. So the PCs should plan for failure (proper preparation prevents poor performance).

Come prepared for the dungeon. Hire hirelings and give them signal whistles and elixirs of life. Have the wizard memorize web or grease and lock (or buy scrolls or wands). Use the pitons and hammers that came with the starting kit and rope to seal off areas. Invest in pavise, potions of expeditious retreat or invisibility. Have an alchemist in the party. Take snarecrafting.

As you explore find good locations and prepare the ground. Set up hirelings to close and lock doors or rapidly restore your ho. Spike shut doors you are unsure off. Build traps and defenses.

Then when you retreat you do it right: Don’t run off into unknown territory, don’t wait until the fight is lost. Coordinate actions to retreat safely back to prepared ground - if the monsters follow they are walking into a kill box. If they bring their buddies it just saves you from having to go in and fight them on their prepared ground.
Some people don't want to bring NPCs into their game. Play is slow and complicated as is, no need to slow it down further. Your DM does take all those hirelings into account for the encounter budget, right...?

That is because you are entirely correct.

Combat in PF2 is highly pitched. Even adding a single ally can transform a challenging fight into a trivial one, even if that ally just stands there, soaking damage but not making any significant attacks themselves.

So just adding hirelings means playing the game on very easy mode. And very slow too...

Unless, of course, you need to keep the hirelings alive... but I don't think you do, because then they could not be part of combat (low level critters die pretty much instantly, sometimes with exactly zero effort, such as being collateral damage in a Fireball)

So while hirelings is a time-honored tradition in old school dungeoneering, I don't see it working in Pathfinder 2 (if you want to retain the challenge level intended by the dungeon constructor).

Cheers
 


kenada

Legend
Supporter
I’m not really sure why posts from June are being dredged back up. I hope it’s not time to have yet another round of arguments over Pathfinder 2e again. The theme of these posts seems to be about diminishing (or denying!) a style of play that’s different from the presumed default (balanced encounter story play). The proposed alternate style has different values, so judging it by the presumed default ones makes no sense. It’s like complaining that Dragonlance isn’t a dungeon crawl. It’s not; that’s the point.

The approach that’s being described is very much Combat as War. Engaging with the dungeon and exploration are interesting acts in their own right. Rigging things in your favor is the point. You’re not supposed to have fair fights if that’s at all possible. The same is true for the proposed escape procedure. Escape is a release valve, so the party can push its luck but not be unfairly punished if they get in over their heads (or reinforcements prove unmanageable). The only reason I can see for insisting that escape be run in encounter mode is to constrain the discussion so that any such proposals necessarily can’t work.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
I’m not really sure why posts from June are being dredged back up. I hope it’s not time to have yet another round of arguments over Pathfinder 2e again. The theme of these posts seems to be about diminishing (or denying!) a style of play that’s different from the presumed default (balanced encounter story play). The proposed alternate style has different values, so judging it by the presumed default ones makes no sense. It’s like complaining that Dragonlance isn’t a dungeon crawl. It’s not; that’s the point.

The approach that’s being described is very much Combat as War. Engaging with the dungeon and exploration are interesting acts in their own right. Rigging things in your favor is the point. You’re not supposed to have fair fights if that’s at all possible. The same is true for the proposed escape procedure. Escape is a release valve, so the party can push its luck but not be unfairly punished if they get in over their heads (or reinforcements prove unmanageable). The only reason I can see for insisting that escape be run in encounter mode is to constrain the discussion so that any such proposals necessarily can’t work.
If you are describing "how I want my D&D to work" that's entirely fine.

I'm just saying Pathfinder 2 is not ideal for that mode of play.

You might want unfair fights to work, and escape to be possible. I don't see how it can be done without the GM easing off and not using the rules as written to their full extent, however.

What i mean is, yes, of course any game can be used for any play style. You can use Pathfinder 2 to enact Alice in Wonderland or just intrigue in the palace or indeed monster island.

But if there's any edition of D&D or Pathfinder that simply isn't geared for "any" adventure in my opinion, it's Pathfinder 2. Think of PF2 as perhaps the most specialized version of D&D there is (that I've come across).

Almost all the effort that Paizo has poured into this game is towards combat.

And a highly ritualized arena-style combat at that, where if the opposition is even slightly too difficult will likely result in PC death.

Nothing about this particular variant of D&D is suited to sandbox play with very varied encounters. As soon as you deviate with long range or unusual terrain or monster groups interacting the meat of the game, it's carefully calibrated - and heavily enforced - balance, goes out the window.

You would not utilize the strengths of PF2 and you would have to manage yourself what the game does not.

I'm not saying you can't make it happen. Heck, I could make it happen!

But why would I? I'm saying I would strongly recommend a looser version of D&D for it.

"You" here isn't personally directed at you Kenada. I'm addressing any newcomers that are using our posts to decide if PF2 is for them.
 

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