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My Biggest Concern for Pathfinder 2e

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Saying the monster stays relevant for 13 levels sounds manageable, sounds normal, as if there's no real difference to PF2. But I wager your definition of usefulness is likely a theoretical construct only.

The real take away here is that level bands or ranges are much more narrow in PF2.

Certainly a 5E DM is not used to being told to think twice before having a PL+4 CR monster.

To me the useful thing to say would be use caution, to openly agree PF2 is much more sensitive to level, and that this can trap the unwary GM.

That doesn't make it a worse game. But trying to downplay the difference might.
I am not trying to downplay the differences. I legitimately believe that it is a pretty good range. I tend to actually think it is a good thing that as characters raise in levels they get meaningfully more powerful. I also do not look at everything through the prism of Fifth Edition. Not being like Fifth Edition is not a black mark against a game.

As far as it being a trap : this is a different game that works differently. The encounter guidelines are pretty clear about how much of a threat higher level monsters are.

I mean the game tells you how it works and does so in detail. When I started running Fifth Edition I had to change the way I designed both combat and noncombat encounters dramatically. I do not consider that a black mark against Fifth Edition. It is just a different game.
 

Haffrung

Explorer
This also could greatly affect sandbox play...
I assume the developers are aware of this.

5E and Pathfinder 2 are different games with different strengths and weaknesses. The flat math of 5E is better geared towards sandbox play, where you can create a region with orcs, ogres, manticores, hags, and hill giants, and it will be broadly playable by PCs from level 2 to level 9. Pathfinder 2 takes a different approach, where the band of suitable challenge is narrower, but the rewards of optmization and system mastery are greater.

If I were running a sandbox campaign I'd run 5E, while if I were running an story-driven adventure path I'd probably lean towards Pathfinder 2e.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
In case I didn't make it clear. An enemy 4 levels higher being 4 times as strong is probably about the right spot. Then it can be used as a solo style enemy for a group of 4 lower level PC's.

What I am concerned with is what if that enemy that is 4 levels higher is actually 8 times as strong. Maybe that is the case, maybe it isn't. But if it is the case I'm thinking that narrows the usable monster range to maybe level+3 as an extremely hard solo fight.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Can joe the rogue kick it in the nads and induce an enfeeblement ;) and will they stack
Eventually. At 9th level Rogues get Debilitating Strike which allows them to apply Enfeebled 1 to any flatfooted opponent they do damage to. The Redeemer's (NG Champion) Glimpse of Redemption reaction gives the target a choice. Either the attack they just made on one of the Redeemer's allies does no damage or they are Enfeebled 2 until the end of their next turn. Redeemers get that from first level.

Only the strongest version of any Condition applies, but you can apply multiple conditions that have similar effects to dramatically reduce an enemy's potency.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I think we fought a level+4 monster in the play test. At least I recall something that would hit us pretty much every time, and the main point was to avoid taking criticals. It made for some interesting tactical decisions -- my character started using three actions for move - attack - run away (spring-attack style) and the tankiest of us was raising shield all the time.
Oh, on its lonesome a +4 critter is definitely a reasonable encounter.

However, give it a couple of +0 helpers and the encounter quickly becomes a death trap for the adventurers (quicker than you'd expect from DMing 5th Edition)
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I am not trying to downplay the differences. I legitimately believe that it is a pretty good range. I tend to actually think it is a good thing that as characters raise in levels they get meaningfully more powerful. I also do not look at everything through the prism of Fifth Edition. Not being like Fifth Edition is not a black mark against a game.

As far as it being a trap : this is a different game that works differently. The encounter guidelines are pretty clear about how much of a threat higher level monsters are.

I mean the game tells you how it works and does so in detail. When I started running Fifth Edition I had to change the way I designed both combat and noncombat encounters dramatically. I do not consider that a black mark against Fifth Edition. It is just a different game.
Absolutely. I'm just saying that I find it useful for the wider audience to say "the level range is narrow as hell" implicitly comparing it to 5E.

Does this mean it's a bad game? No.

It only means I elect to express myself using words intended to avert any number of unintentional TPKs! :)
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
In case I didn't make it clear. An enemy 4 levels higher being 4 times as strong is probably about the right spot. Then it can be used as a solo style enemy for a group of 4 lower level PC's.

What I am concerned with is what if that enemy that is 4 levels higher is actually 8 times as strong. Maybe that is the case, maybe it isn't. But if it is the case I'm thinking that narrows the usable monster range to maybe level+3 as an extremely hard solo fight.
There are two variables at play: level and numbers.

On its own, a L+4 monster feels reasonable as an encounter, especially given the death and dying rules. That specifically means that, yes, a crit from the monster will likely KO any character regardless of health, but that this likely only results in "Dying 1".

But absolutely: a CR+4 monster on its own is a piece of delicious cake for a reasonably well-optimized 5th Ed party (certainly if feats are used, and let's not pretend otherwise).

On the other hand, bad luck (or bad play) can certainly result in a Pathfinder L+4 monster eating half the team and sending the rest running for the hills.

But as I said, that's only looking at level. Give the +4 monster a few adds, and the encounter scarily quick becomes something no adventurer escapes from. The reason is of course that the heroes' only chance of defeating that +4 monster is to kill it before it kills them - they have very little of the "hero resilience" (against overleveled foes) 5th edition players are used to... So "wasting" their attacks to clear out the adds could be a fatal mistake, but an understandable one: who wouldn't want to kill off critters that has the potential to damage you but dies off in maybe two solid hits?

Pathfinder 2 certainly is set up to shake the "we win no matter what" complacency that 5th edition have lulled so many players into...! :devilish:
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
In case I didn't make it clear. An enemy 4 levels higher being 4 times as strong is probably about the right spot.
Since not only level but also numbers enter the equation it isn't quite that simple. You know how people talk about "force multipliers"? I would consider this concept useful here:

On its own, yes, I can tentatively agree a L+4 monster is equal to four L+0 monsters, at least for the purpose of this argument. You gain harder attacks and better defense, but you lose 9 out of 12 actions.

But if you consider a band of goblins led by this ogre (or whatever, don't have the Bestiary on hand) to be a number of L+0's and a L+4, then the main weakness of that L+4 (its action handicap vs a party of 4-5 heroes) disappears, and it ONLY has strengths going for it. The adventurers are trapped in a conundrum; they must focus on the Ogre or it will kill them all, but they must also focus on the Goblins, or sheer numbers will prevail. When the heroes "action budget" isn't big enough, something will break.

I can see this tendency also in 5E of course, in that if a CR+6 boss monster is a challenging (but ultimately not really loseable) fight on its own for my mid-level heroes, that fight can become surprisingly tough by just adding a dozen CR-6 critters. It all boils down to how many actions the adds can "steal" - actions the heroes would have used to whale on the BBEG, but now feel compelled to spend on thinning the herd of low-level adds.

(Note: since levels work both ways, I imagine the idea of using L-4 mooks to supplant a BBEG works less well in Pathfinder 2. That is, I expect the correct response to being swarmed by a group of L-4's is to completely ignore them whenever possible, since they are not likely to cause any serious damage before the team has brought down the BBEG)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Eventually. At 9th level Rogues get Debilitating Strike which allows them to apply Enfeebled 1 to any flatfooted opponent they do damage to
that is a lot of levels but affects every hit is kind of impressive anyway. I somehow suspect that in 5e you would be waiting till 18th level. In 4e you would be doing it around level 1 but only every so often (maybe at later levels like 6 but once a fight).
Only the strongest version of any Condition applies, but you can apply multiple conditions that have similar effects to dramatically reduce an enemy's potency.
Well some stacking limits is a good thing...
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I assume the developers are aware of this.

5E and Pathfinder 2 are different games with different strengths and weaknesses. The flat math of 5E is better geared towards sandbox play, where you can create a region with orcs, ogres, manticores, hags, and hill giants, and it will be broadly playable by PCs from level 2 to level 9. Pathfinder 2 takes a different approach, where the band of suitable challenge is narrower, but the rewards of optmization and system mastery are greater.

If I were running a sandbox campaign I'd run 5E, while if I were running an story-driven adventure path I'd probably lean towards Pathfinder 2e.
Considering that its adventure paths are one of the most recognizable elements of the Pathfinder brand, this feels almost certainly intentional.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
My biggest concern is that only at level enemies are going to be fun to fight against.
To return to the original question...

I can't say it is "fun" to desperately fight for your life against the odds, but it certainly is a spice every good adventure should consider using.

I think the real difference coming from 5E to PF2 might be that the window for defeating ridiculously over-leveled foes is closing. L+4 yes, but L+6 or L+8 nope.

That might not be an entirely bad thing.

PS. Of course, it might turn out high-level heroes get so many doodads (in the form of feats, items, and whatnot) that they still romp thru the Bestiary... I simply don't know.
 

Mistwell

Hero
My biggest concern is three weeks into sales on Amazon and the PF2 core book has dropped to below #1200 in All Books (#1208). This, despite selling as low as $35.99 on Amazon (retails for $47.99).

For context, we're now in the first week of year SIX for 5e, and the Player's Handbook is still ranked in the top 100 for All Books (#94).

I know both companies make digital sales, and of course store sales as well. But still, these are some shocking numbers to me. The disparity is on a scale that I can't justify based on "it must be digital sales" or "it must be direct sales" or "Amazon numbers are biased".

I also heard they did not sell out at GenCon. Which was planned, but I have never heard of planning to ship a near mountain of extra book inventory back home with you (which is what reports from GenCon were of what was left, and that sales were very light on Sunday with no lines).

Maybe this is unfounded unease on my part. It goes against my bias - I genuinely assumed PF2 sales would be extremely strong out the gate, and do well long term. But I am starting to be (at least mildly) concerned that it's not hitting the expected sales numbers.

This isn't something we'd hear in any official capacity. I think we heard glowing reports from Paizo about the MMO right up until they laid off most of the staff for that project and missed their targets, and I don't think we're going to get any data from Paizo other than "It's doing better than expected". Which I guess I don't blame them for, as that's the job of public relations. But it makes figuring out the real situation kinda difficult for a fan.

I hope I am wrong on this one. Paizo is a good company, they make some great RPG products, their employees are some of the best in the industry, and it's good for the industry to have that competition for WOTC. (And from a personal bias, I use some Pathfinder adventures to convert to 5e).
 
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Retreater

Adventurer
All the Math-finder in these posts makes my head hurt. Haha.
But yes, the anecdotes of mountains of PF2 product at GenCon leftover on Sunday are completely correct from my first-hand account. What also may not have been noticed is the secondary market of other booths selling copies too, all of them with massive stacks remaining on Sunday.
I'm glad there was enough product for their fans, but it seemed like there were far too many - again, just in my experience. Other GenCon releases they ran out (or at least, very low): PF1, Starfinder.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
Anecdotally the two gaming stores near me are not carrying it yet and neither is the nearby B&N (which still has a few PF1 products and a massive section of 5e products.) Another game store further away reduced the price of its PF2 books already.

I am going to PAX west this year and wanted to play some PFS there after building my ranger but there has been no word on games being scheduled.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
My biggest concern is three weeks into sales on Amazon and the PF2 core book has dropped to below #1200 in All Books (#1208). This, despite selling as low as $35.99 on Amazon (retails for $47.99).

For context, we're now in the first week of year SIX for 5e, and the Player's Handbook is still ranked in the top 100 for All Books (#94).

I know both companies make digital sales, and of course store sales as well. But still, these are some shocking numbers to me. The disparity is on a scale that I can't justify based on "it must be digital sales" or "it must be direct sales" or "Amazon numbers are biased".

I also heard they did not sell out at GenCon. Which was planned, but I have never heard of planning to ship a near mountain of extra book inventory back home with you (which is what reports from GenCon were of what was left, and that sales were very light on Sunday with no lines).

Maybe this is unfounded unease on my part. It goes against my bias - I genuinely assumed PF2 sales would be extremely strong out the gate, and do well long term. But I am starting to be (at least mildly) concerned that it's not hitting the expected sales numbers.

This isn't something we'd hear in any official capacity. I think we heard glowing reports from Paizo about the MMO right up until they laid off most of the staff for that project and missed their targets, and I don't think we're going to get any data from Paizo other than "It's doing better than expected". Which I guess I don't blame them for, as that's the job of public relations. But it makes figuring out the real situation kinda difficult for a fan.

I hope I am wrong on this one. Paizo is a good company, they make some great RPG products, their employees are some of the best in the industry, and it's good for the industry to have that competition for WOTC. (And from a personal bias, I use some Pathfinder adventures to convert to 5e).
My first advice, Mist: stare at sales numbers less, play and enjoy your game more.

That said:

Paizo had the chance to learn from 5E's success. They chose to disregard its improvements over both PF1/3E and (somehow) 4E to create a very involved yet restricted game with open eyes.

Or at least eyes that could have been open if Paizo only lifted their gaze and exited their own bubble.

It's premature to say "I told you* so", so I'll wait.

*) Not any individual, more the forum at large
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I think it's too early to tell. There definitely is a portion of the market that wants a complex, highly tactical game with tons of fiddly bits.
 

Imaculata

Explorer
I hope Pathfinder 2e makes it easier to scale up monsters. In 3.5 it always was a giant hassle to figure out how to scale up a monster for higher levels and figuring out the CR and its new statistics.
 

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