Pathfinder 2E My Pathfinder 2e Post-Mortem

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
If that’s what you think it takes to run a good campaign, then that’s fine, but I also don’t agree. I don’t think that level of prep is necessary for a good campaign, and it definitely shouldn’t reflect poorly on GMs who want tools that actually work for them. It’s like holding up the crappy encounter-building rules in 5e as fine because a “good GM” can make it work. Even WotC doesn’t agree! That’s why they’ve said they plan to improve them for 2024 version of the rules. Why should we as GMs settle for less?
I didn’t mean to imply a less intricate module means bad campaign or crappy GM. I do think the more time and effort a GM puts into their game shows from experience. The main point is I have never seen the AP line as a GM simplifier or time savor and launching a new line that is would likely have its audience.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
The PF1e community certainly had people who would see things that way, so its not too shocking. Groups that spend a lot of time on those other things tend to be able to do it anyway (like spending way more time chatting up the provided NPCs), but i think the GM who 'has to' make encounters would be more annoyed than the GM who just ignores some of the provided ones. So I think they were playing it safe, from their perspective. There have always been people who bounce through APs super fast via a more cutscene and combat oriented approach.

I'm still of the opinion that people who are really heavily into the noncombat events in games are less likely to be playing in the D&D-sphere for that experience in the first place. While they aren't monomaniacal about it, too much of the character design element is too baked around combat for it to seem an attractive choice unless that's going to be a fairly strong focus of the game you're playing, unless you're unlikely to get anyone onboard anything else.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
And yeah, I feel like a lot of the complaints about "This feat means you can only do this if you have the feat!" miss that those feats are really more about "I can skip the rigamarole and just go for it" instead of having to make multiple checks. The Dandy feat that allows one to create a rumor on a single roll fits this exactly, where creating a rumor would take multiple checks to do it successfully, but having the feat allows you to save time by just hitting it with one.

I strongly still claim that most of that is people who don't look at the feats involved, or do and read too much into them. Almost all feats are (and this of course supports your claim at least in part) "You get to do this thing in this way" which usually involves not having a requirement, taking as long, or using a different skill, or getting better output than the default way one would expect. I.e. they're things for people who expect to do something frequently and want to be able to do so better than the rank-and-file do it.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Is that because people prefer combat or because that’s what the games offer? If there were equal support for non-combat activities, would those be more popular? Our crew in our Blades in the Dark game is quite violent (we’ve eradicated factions and killed a higher-tier NPC last session because we got word he was going to turn an ally against us), but we’ve also had some incredible social scores adventures, which were made possible by the structure of the mechanics.

At the very least you'd have to find things the whole group can (and is interested in) participating in. That's harder than one might think (I tend to find investigation or puzzle-solving tedious as all get-out for example). Combat may not be interesting to everyone, but its easy for everyone to participate (and gets back to my comment about class design to boot).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
GMing, three actions, conditions, 4 tier saving system, etc...
A beast to run at the table. Though, made super slick with VTT. Gotta be cool with VTT though.

Just as a datapoint, our PF2e GM has expressed that he finds it massively easier to run than PF1e (I'm unwilling to make a more general statement since I have yet to run it, but reading it makes me think I'd find it far easier than D&D 3.5).

Solo fights:
On one hand, solos can now live against a party long enough to be those set piece battles you always wanted. On the other, they make PCs feel like wimps as they settle for their weakest abilities, skills, and spells to be effective. You have to essentially papercut the solo to death and hope you can survive its attacks which often crit. I'm told this is tactical and if so, I'm probably just not a tactical guy (I didnt like 4E either).

I haven't found it bad, though I can understand why some people do.

Downtime:
Boring as hell in every TTRPG ever. Not just a PF2 porblem.

Can sometimes be interesting from a gamist, kind of process sort of view, but you're not generally wrong.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Just as a datapoint, our PF2e GM has expressed that he finds it massively easier to run than PF1e (I'm unwilling to make a more general statement since I have yet to run it, but reading it makes me think I'd find it far easier than D&D 3.5).
Id bet I find PF2 a lot easier to run if I had as much experience with it as 3E/PF1. After so many decades it just becomes second nature. On the flip side, the reliance on VTT might get to the point GMs never really learn to play PF2 on the table!
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Id bet I find PF2 a lot easier to run if I had as much experience with it as 3E/PF1. After so many decades it just becomes second nature. On the flip side, the reliance on VTT might get to the point GMs never really learn to play PF2 on the table!

I haven't run D&D3.5 in, I want to say something like 15 years now, but that's largely because I basically decided after watching how it played out at level 14 I'd never do it again.
 

Staffan

Legend
I strongly still claim that most of that is people who don't look at the feats involved, or do and read too much into them. Almost all feats are (and this of course supports your claim at least in part) "You get to do this thing in this way" which usually involves not having a requirement, taking as long, or using a different skill, or getting better output than the default way one would expect. I.e. they're things for people who expect to do something frequently and want to be able to do so better than the rank-and-file do it.
From a pedagogical perspective, it would be nice to bring back the "Normal:" entry from 3e feats.

For those who don't recall, 3e feats often had a "Normal" entry describing the effects of doing the thing described in the feat without having it. For example, the feat Combat Expertise allowed you to take a penalty of up to 5 on your attacks and get an equal bonus to AC. The feat had a "Normal" entry referring to the Fight Defensively option, where you take a -4 penalty to attacks in exchange for a +2 bonus to AC.

But given that the core book is 640 pages long, I can't really blame them for not including that.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I haven't run D&D3.5 in, I want to say something like 15 years now, but that's largely because I basically decided after watching how it played out at level 14 I'd never do it again.
Understandable. I ran APs for a solid decade in PF1 up to about level 14 tops (even if the AP went further).
 

glass

(he, him)
I will say I think some of these decisions were driven by PFS.
I consider this to be a good thing. Public Organised Play stress tests any system, so if it can run smoothly for that, it should be even smoother in a typical home game.

I don't think I need to learn anything, but just having to make 3 decisions for each monster. That feels like a lot.
For simple monsters, it is pretty much going to be a choice of moving and attacking in various combinations (maybe raising a shield at the end if they have one). More complex monsters are more likely to have 2- or 3-action activities, so while the decisions are more complicated there are fewer of them.

Just as a datapoint, our PF2e GM has expressed that he finds it massively easier to run than PF1e (I'm unwilling to make a more general statement since I have yet to run it, but reading it makes me think I'd find it far easier than D&D 3.5).
I would say that I find PF1 and PF2 about equally easy to run, but since I have been playing and running the 3e family for around 22 years and PF2 for around 22 sessions the latter is probably easier in a vacuum.



Anyway, although I like PF2, I think I agree with the OP's criticisms, even though I do not feel as strongly about them as they do (apart from their criticism of the AP format in principle - I cannot speak to the specific APs mentioned, as I have played neither nor indeed any PF2 APs). The post-combat hp recover is not too onerous, but it is definitely fiddlier than it needs to be. A lot of the feats are rather situational or just...small. And secret checks are a bit of a PITA, especially the "come up with plausible false info on the spot for a crit fail on knowledge checks" bit.

The downtime and exploration sections are rather anaemic. And even though the book tells you that the players describe what they are doing in plain language and the GM convert it into explanation activities, there are far too many ways for the PCs to screw themselves over if they do not understand the underlying mechanics for that to be feasible.

But my biggest issue right now the prevalence of "the GM will set the DC", with the guidance on how to do that being extremely well hidden, leading to me shouting "I am the naughty word GM" a lot. I guess that one will get easier with experience though.

To reiterate, I still like PF2 overall, and am in fact gearing up to run it in the new year (which reminds me: I have an adventure to write). But that just makes the missed opportunities all the more annoying!
 

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