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

I would say that in the case of D&D-like games combat is definitely a reward and not a penalty.

Note he was speaking in the context of certain parts of the OSR, which view it in the light of the apparent original design idea that you only got into combat when you couldn't get to your aims any other way (and that those aims were usually not things that intrinsically required violence, let alone combat).

You can, of course, legitimately question how often that was ever true away from Lake Geneva, but there's the ideal aimed at.
 

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That’s fair. Unless you have the tables nicely laid out, it’s not practical to use them on the fly, so there would be a bit of downtime. One way to mitigate that is to ask the PCs where they are going next at the end of the session, so you can have stuff ready (even if it’s just converted monsters). I actually give XP for that. If they accomplish their goal, the party gets XP. In PF2, one could make that a moderate or even major accomplishment.

Yeah, its not insurmountable. Like I said, I just got used to being able to do it with things like basic templates and eyeballing, and I don't think I'd feel confident to do that on the fly with PF2e. But like you say, with some warning...
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
You’re assuming trad play, but that’s not what’s being discussed. @Retreater is right, I’m talking about old-school sandboxes (or, rather, OSR play). In that style of game, encounters aren’t designed with the capabilities of the PCs in mind.
Ah - okay.

I was assuming we were discussing Pathfinder 2.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Note he was speaking in the context of certain parts of the OSR, which view it in the light of the apparent original design idea that you only got into combat when you couldn't get to your aims any other way (and that those aims were usually not things that intrinsically required violence, let alone combat).

You can, of course, legitimately question how often that was ever true away from Lake Geneva, but there's the ideal aimed at.
Yeah I now know he wasn't discussing recent and even semi-recent games.

(Made by WotC and Paizo, that is. Obviously there are many recent OSR games by lots of publishers)
 


CapnZapp

Legend
I was discussing PF2 too. My point is that saying "it sure can do OSR" misses the point. Any game can do OSR. (Please note when I use the term, I'm specifically using it as short hand for the usages I've seen upthread and nothing else)

To me, the more interesting question is how suited is the game to it. I think PF2 is eminently unsuitable for OSR. Both in absolute terms, and when compared to just about any other iteration of D&D.

Everything that sets PF2 apart from other D&D games and makes it special are things that make it harder, not easier, to do OSR. You are ignoring the game's strengths and exposing its weaknesses.

That doesn't mean I'm disallowing you from discussing how to use PF2 for OSR of course. If you feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, cool. I just missed the stage where the thread acknowledged that PF2 should not be any newcomers first (or fifth) choice for OSR gameplay. It is best used for a highly specialized and regimented play style and easily breaks down when otherwise utilized.

Carry on
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I’ve said a few times in this resurrected thread that Pathfinder 2e wouldn’t be my default choice for an old-school sandbox game. For one, the community is better-suited to that style. There are more resources, and it tends to be the assumed default rather than trad play (though I see no reason why someone couldn’t do trad if that’s what they wanted). To be fair, while I have my issues with PF2 discourse, I also have them with 5e. For all the different ways people play it, there’s an annoyingly vocal segment who are blind to 5e’s limitations or gaps.

I don’t think the combat system is problematic either. Old-school games are pretty dangerous too. I would probably suggest using the Proficiency Without Level variant for an old-school game, but it’s not strictly required for sandbox play in general. As we’ve been discussing, you can have a sandbox game with curated encounters. It takes some work on the GM’s part, and it helps to get advance notice of the players’ plans, so you can prep for them, but I don’t think it’s fundamentally incompatible.

If people like the PF2 system and want to try doing a sandbox game, I see no reason not to figure out how to make that work. For the most part, it’s a few GM principles and maybe a couple of tools imported from old-school games or adapted from existing PF2 subsystems. The issues you’ve raised may be problems in the specific style you discuss, but they’re not for old-school sandbox games. Bringing them up just doesn’t seem topical.

However, I will add that there are conflicts between OSR play and PF2, but they haven’t been discussed at all. There’s a saying, “the answer is not on your character sheet.” There’s a specific conception of “skilled play” where players are supposed to use their own creativity to solve problems and not just look for a skill they can roll or an ability to invoke that can solve them. Even low ability scores aren’t an issue in that approach. Your character may have a 3 INT, but that just means you need to be extra clever to avoid ever having to roll it.

I don’t think that style resonates with people who want to do an old-school sandbox using PF2. They obviously don’t mind the extra crunch. To be honest, that style doesn’t resonate with me, and I am running an OSR-adjacent game (Worlds Without Number). I try to strike a balance, but I think you need to roleplay your character. If your character is dumb or anti-social, being clever is not a workaround. Anyway, I expect most people who want to use PF2 probably view skills about how like I do, so it’s not even worth mentioning. It wouldn’t be very helpful, and it’d risk coming across as trying to invalidate what they want to do.
 

I'm still working on my big west marches project and its coming along pretty well (really I've been dragging it out since another campaign needs to end first, and we want Guns and Gears to come out and give us flintlocks) I've actually been thinking a lot about OSR adventure design and how to perform it in pf2e, and it doesn't seem hard at all. Actually @kenada its funny you mention that, because I've been working through some of that stuff mentally reading the threads over in the DND Discussion area in terms of my own game.

Essentially its helped me boil things down to a model that relates how our 'modern' (scare quotes to acknowledge baggage) skill systems handle things, to the problems of 'skilled play' as implemented traditionally:

1. The Gygaxian Skilled Play models discussed in those threads have the potential pain point of experienced players creating and implementing what is essentially an optimized Standard Operating Procedure where the ability to list off precautions and search strategies effectively 'solves' the environment, as well as bog the game down without having to treat the environment as a puzzle to solve.

2. The Gygaxian Skilled Play models discussed in those threads have the potential pain point of creating a dynamic where new characters by veteran players have the experience level of old-hand characters, which some people find at odds with the fictional elements of the game.

In my eyes, a 'new school' approach to skills actually solves these problems by removing the character's implementation of protocols like 'search' and 'disarm trap' to the character's statistics, making the character's SOP and their execution of tasks outside of the player's control. But in doing so, the game moves the ludic value of these elements to other areas of play-- a search in this context awards the player information or extra resources with which to make decisions, and because your execution hinges on the roll rather than 'just happening when you describe the right solution' it becomes a matter of risk management, and having a character who does things well is a reward for skilled character building.

By embracing the idea that these are essentially solutions for OS problems, we can contextualize and use them better-- ensuring that the interesting elements of decision making exist on the level of the player's decision making, rather than hidden behind the roll. So rather than just 'rolling at' the problem, we instead roll to gain information, or to execute a solution-- things that aren't decision making for an experienced player whose seen a few tricks and pokes at everything with a pole from 15 feet away, but have been functionally automated in their style of play (whether the GM has started automating it in practice, or if the player just runs down their mental check list.) Leaving you with decisions (attempt to disarm the trapped statue or leave the gem in its forehead alone) that make player skill an exercise in risk management.
 

In my eyes, a 'new school' approach to skills actually solves these problems by removing the character's implementation of protocols like 'search' and 'disarm trap' to the character's statistics, making the character's SOP and their execution of tasks outside of the player's control.

It absolutely does. But its a tenet of faith with at least some of the OSR folks that that's not a virtue (see the whole "the answer is not on your character sheet" business).
 

It absolutely does. But its a tenet of faith with at least some of the OSR folks that that's not a virtue (see the whole "the answer is not on your character sheet" business).
Yeah, my goal is to reconcile it (for me, not anyone else in particular, I don't have any 'OSR folks' in my group, its me trying to actualize my playstyle) so that the process of exploring the space of the adventure (lets say a dungeon, for the sake of argument) is one player decision making, but where skills provide information and execution in interacting with that environment.

One way I've been doing this, is by following up on the dungeon designs and puzzles of Zelda titles through Gamemaker Toolkit's Boss Key videos-- they usually require the player to understand the layout of the dungeon or the puzzle in order to solve, in other words if traditionally Gygaxian Skilled Play revolved around the means by which we executed 'tasks' (simple challenges) as problem solving and modern skill systems threaten that by automating it, then it makes sense to me that kind of problem solving needs to move to a different level-- managing resources and information, deciding what tasks are worth the risk, and grappling with larger problem solving structures within the space.

So for an example, you might be wandering through an ancient and abandoned temple in my Pathfinder 2e game, I've taken the sandbox ethos from OSR sources so rather than a mission, you decided to follow rumors and leads here to try and find a secret room full of sacred relics and other treasures. Your perception checks from the 'search activity' might or might not tell you about the hollow beneath the durable stone floor of the main hall, but it hasn't found a way to open it. Your investigation checks might or might not tell you about how the skylight window is for letting the moon in, which was sacred to the builders of the temple and their works of art use it to create gorgeous images of stonework and light, a critical success might make this hint obvious, describing it as a common trigger to their magic. As you discover each room, you might find the series of massive murals on the walls which depict sacred events, and your perception checks may or may not pick up on the covered skylights. Whether or not they do, you find a series of seemingly modern art sculptures shaped like orbs with an intricate series of rings around them-- your checks might tell you that these are apparatuses that control some mechanism, or you might figure that out by interacting with them and then checking one of the mural rooms. Your skill at finding and disabling traps will see much wear and tear you take from that, perhaps conventional traps, or activations for the golems standing in each room, and perhaps the apparatus can stop them too with a high dc skill check (since it requires an intricate handling of the apparatus), or not, the players won't know until they try. By this point the players might crawl the rest, operating the apparatus's to shine the light on the murals, but there are monsters patrolling the hallways, difficult and time consuming, so maybe they find the secret passages that network the temple bypassing enemy patrols... or not, dunno, depends on their skillset and what they try to interact with. Ideally thetemple is jaquayed, so navigating it is an interesting challenge with real decisions that reward good decision making. They're probably finding smaller treasures as they travel the temple too, so if they leave without solving the overarching puzzle, it wasn't a total waste, and maybe somewhere in the game world there's a hidden manual for operating the temple, or they might come back in a couple of levels when the hallways are less dangerous to take their time working it out.

That was a little long in the tooth, but I think it gets what I'm going for across.
 


Maybe I am just dense, but that example didn't help me at all. How was that supposed to different from any other adventure site / skill usage?
Help you do what? I was just sharing an example that explicates how skills relate to decision making in the dynamic I'm going for in regards to play skill.

I don't know that its different per say depending on what you mean, in that I'm sure people already do it intuitively, but I needed to make it explicit to explore how it intersects with OSR design, without necessarily adopting the OSR system assumptions.

E.g. in Gygaxian Skilled Play you would find things by having the world described to you, and then as a player picking up on the clues and describing how you search. In this, your perception score handles that, as you might expect in a more modern non-OSR framework. But the design is about acknowledging this, and then placing the decision making above that level, to create a replacement framework for the skill 'lost' in converting descriptions of hands doing certain things to intricately described environmental objects, over to the automation of a skill roll-- the puzzle of the moon murals, the apparati, and the secret passage in the main room can't be solved with a dice roll, it has to be understood and the dungeon has to be interacted with in the right way... but since its not in the form of a simple object in the environment, you don't just open it with a thievery check or something on a single mechanism, but the skill checks still play a role in executing the smaller interactions that make up the larger example, and in gathering the information to understand how the dungeon puzzle works.
 

dave2008

Legend
Help you do what? I was just sharing an example that explicates how skills relate to decision making in the dynamic I'm going for in regards to play skill.
Yes, it didn't do that for me, like at all. But like I said, I'm dense sometimes.
I don't know that its different per say depending on what you mean, in that I'm sure people already do it intuitively, but I needed to make it explicit to explore how it intersects with OSR design, without necessarily adopting the OSR system assumptions.
I guess I didn't see anything explicit in your example. what are you making explicit?
 

Yes, it didn't do that for me, like at all. But like I said, I'm dense sometimes.

I guess I didn't see anything explicit in your example. what are you making explicit?
Skill checks gain information, or solve simple problems, the lost problem solving those rolls "skip" needs to come from elsewhere.

Broader puzzles that arent fodder for a single dice check, but that dice xhecks contribute to the players solving of accomplishes that in a modern skill system like pf2es.
 

Yeah, my goal is to reconcile it (for me, not anyone else in particular, I don't have any 'OSR folks' in my group, its me trying to actualize my playstyle) so that the process of exploring the space of the adventure (lets say a dungeon, for the sake of argument) is one player decision making, but where skills provide information and execution in interacting with that environment.

Absolutely legit. This is just an area where I've long since concluded what some of the OSR considers a virtue I kind of consider a "sin" (that is, offloading the maximum amount of capability in play on the player rather than trying to keep a balance between player and character, and if you have to fail, leaning toward character), so I tend to be sensitive to it when it comes up.
 

dave2008

Legend
Skill checks gain information, or solve simple problems, the lost problem solving those rolls "skip" needs to come from elsewhere.

Broader puzzles that arent fodder for a single dice check, but that dice xhecks contribute to the players solving of accomplishes that in a modern skill system like pf2es.
OK, let's just stop. I really have no idea what your saying. I mean the bolded part makes no sense to me at all. I'm probably just tired,
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
It absolutely does. But its a tenet of faith with at least some of the OSR folks that that's not a virtue (see the whole "the answer is not on your character sheet" business).
The way that form of “skilled play” gets held up as an ideal is one of the things I really dislike about OSR-style play. I don’t think that the game should be about cleverly avoiding rolling skills or scores just because they’re terrible. It’s an overreaction to a particular style of adjudicating skills that people associate with 3e+ D&D, and thus must be “bad”. I’m more of the fan of the Alexandrian’s approach: player skill unlocks character skill. You have to search the right place to get to make a skill check, but you don’t have to be exceptionally precise about it. If you are, then I see no reason not to give the player the thing they found, but if not, they still get to make a roll.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
OK, let's just stop. I really have no idea what your saying. I mean the bolded part makes no sense to me at all. I'm probably just tired,
There’s a strain of thought in OSR-style play that associates “skilled play” with cleverly avoiding whatever is on your character sheet. You’re expected to solve problems via your skill as a player. If your character is apparently incapable, then that’s just a challenge to figure out a way around that.

What @The-Magic-Sword is trying to do is replicate the experience of “skilled play” without that bit of silliness. Most games have some form of skill systems. Even non-modern ones like BRP or Traveler have them. I don’t think working around what’s on your sheet is all that interesting, though I suppose it’s skillful in a sense.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I should add that the criticism of skill systems is that they render characters incompetent by default. Prior to their introduction in D&D, you were purportedly able to solve whatever problems as long as you were clever about it. If a horse broke loose and needed to be captured, you could do it no matter who your character is provided you described a suitable solution. With a skill system, if you don’t have the right skill to deal with animals, then you’ll fail no matter what. It’s similar to the complaints that have been levied at PF2 and skill feats.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I'm still working on my big west marches project and its coming along pretty well (really I've been dragging it out since another campaign needs to end first, and we want Guns and Gears to come out and give us flintlocks) I've actually been thinking a lot about OSR adventure design and how to perform it in pf2e, and it doesn't seem hard at all. Actually @kenada its funny you mention that, because I've been working through some of that stuff mentally reading the threads over in the DND Discussion area in terms of my own game.
I can’t remember. Did we ever discuss what you were doing for wilderness exploration? Is that even a thing in a West Marches game? I posted a procedure over in the WWN thread and would love to get more feedback on it. Our next session is the 25th, so I’m antsy about it because we won’t be able to test it until then (assuming we get back to wilderness exploration).
 

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