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Nat 20 rule. Is it immersion breaking?

Markh3rd

Explorer
From the Pathfinder 2 SRD:

If you rolled a 20 on the die (a “natural 20”), your result is one degree of success better than it would be by numbers alone. If you roll a 1 on the d20 (a “natural 1”), your result is one degree worse. This means that a natural 20 usually results in a critical success and natural 1 usually results in a critical failure. However, if you were going up against a very high DC, you might get only a success with a natural 20, or even a failure if 20 plus your total modifier is 10 or more below the DC. Likewise, if your modifier for a statistic is so high that adding it to a 1 from your d20 roll exceeds the DC by 10 or more, you can succeed even if you roll a natural 1! If a feat, magic item, spell, or other effect does not list a critical success or critical failure, treat is as an ordinary success or failure instead.

So at higher levels, a lone fighter could face 10,000 goblins and never get hit as long as his AC was high enough? Because the best a goblin could get would be low 20s total result. Meaning a critical failure turns into a failure even with a nat 20? So I guess lucky shots don't work in PF2 if I read that correctly.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
You read that correctly.

Whether you like it or not is a matter of taste. If you like it, no it doesn't break immersion. If you don't, then yes, it can.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
If it bothers you, I believe there's an official variant in the upcoming Gamemastery Guide for removing level from proficiency. Without the level bonus, this scenario is extremely unlikely to occur.

I agree that it's a matter of preference. My table, for example, is all about auto-success on a natural 20, and auto-failure on a natural 1. To keep things reasonable, however, I only ask for a roll when success/failure is uncertain (and even then, usually only if it could produce an interesting result). That said, they've shown little interest in P2.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
This does make me hesitant about the game. The sword can swing both ways with that rule. You could find yourself in a position of no hope where even a nat 20 couldn’t help or save you. I imagine a PFS game where no one at the table is sufficiently skilled at something crucial and the game crashes unless the GM makes something up (which in PFS they aren’t supposed to change the adventure).

Or worse, you’re attempt causes a critical failure that punishes everyone else at the table. This could lead to bad things and it gives me great pause.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
This does make me hesitant about the game. The sword can swing both ways with that rule. You could find yourself in a position of no hope where even a nat 20 couldn’t help or save you. I imagine a PFS game where no one at the table is sufficiently skilled at something crucial and the game crashes unless the GM makes something up (which in PFS they aren’t supposed to change the adventure).

Or worse, you’re attempt causes a critical failure that punishes everyone else at the table. This could lead to bad things and it gives me great pause.
If the adventure or DM put in a hard block that can only be solved with a 20, doesn't allow rerolls, and has no alternate way to move forward in the adventure - that's poor adventure design, has nothing to do with the game system.

Now we have a case where even a 20 won't handle it, and that stays true. It's bad adventure design or DMing, has nothing to do with the game.

And if it's a combat and the characters can't hit on a 20, perhaps the players should not assume everything they encounter is a fight they can win and instead retreat. With the same caveat - if an adventure has an unbeatable monster and no reasonable way to win via alternate methods or retreat, it's a poorly designed encounter.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
This does make me hesitant about the game. The sword can swing both ways with that rule. You could find yourself in a position of no hope where even a nat 20 couldn’t help or save you. I imagine a PFS game where no one at the table is sufficiently skilled at something crucial and the game crashes unless the GM makes something up (which in PFS they aren’t supposed to change the adventure).

Or worse, you’re attempt causes a critical failure that punishes everyone else at the table. This could lead to bad things and it gives me great pause.
That seems fairly unlikely, particularly for PFS. All other things being equal, you're not likely to encounter this unless there's a large level disparity (in the range of a 10 to 20 level difference).

Because you only add your level bonus if trained, it could become an issue at high levels, but really only if the player opts into it. You get a considerable number of skill proficiencies as you level, so it's not too hard to be at least trained in skills you think you might need.

Personally, I prefer the 5e approach where failure or success is rarely guaranteed, but I don't think it is likely to be an issue in practice.

Edit: To put that level disparity into context, the CRB doesn't even have XP rewards for challenges more than +/- 4 of the party's level. While I'm still reading through and can't be certain, I believe the goblin encounter would be considered a trivial encounter that isn't worth XP (unless the GM decides otherwise).
 
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moxcamel

Explorer
So at higher levels, a lone fighter could face 10,000 goblins and never get hit as long as his AC was high enough?
I know you're giving an extreme example to make a point, but if I were DM'ing a lone fighter facing a massive horde of creatures like this, I wouldn't be playing out the combat blow by blow. The reality of the situation is that the lone fighter would be overwhelmed and swarmed. Maybe the DM says, "you manage to stand your ground for a few rounds, taking out several dozen of the little buggers, but ultimately there's just too many of them, and you are overwhelmed."

So I'd really only see this kind of situation in a scenario where the DM is purposely overwhelming the PC in order to accomplish some narrative goal, such as "you've been captured by a metric crap ton of Kobolds, and now they've got you trussed up to go meet the chieftain" sort of thing.

The mechanics are setup to handle a typical "us vs them" scenario. Once you start moving outside that box, the mechanics will naturally break down, and it's time for the DM to get creative.
 

gargoyleking

Explorer
I like the idea of taking the level out of the equation. It lets even goblins be a potential threat to high level characters in a meaningful way and also removes a rediculous amount of record keeping from an otherwise enjoyable game.
 

jib916

Explorer
Hasn't Pathfinder (And Most DND Before 5e's Bounded Accuracy) been this way in terms of immersion? Sure Nat 20s and 1s are a thing, but A Higher Level fighter always had a higher AC that low level goblins had a hard time (if not impossible) hitting.
 

gargoyleking

Explorer
In a way, but mainly that was a factor of equipment bonuses adding up as the character's gear improved. In fact, as you progressed in 3.0/3.5 you learned to accept more hits in general as your enemies chances to hit quickly outstripped your ability to block or dodge said hits. It AC was more about stopping that 3rd or 4th attack rather than the first two.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
A level 20 fighter could have, what, an AC of 41 with +3 full plate, an indestructible shield (13 hardness), and possibly infinite block reactions? So to get a failure instead of a critical failure you would have to hit 32, so you would need a natural 20 plus an attack bonus of +12. I think there are at least a few level 3 creatures that could hit and damage that. So if you had 10,000 of an appropriate level 3 opponent versus a defence optimized fighter I think the 10,000 could win, ;) .

Edit: Ack, I forgot the fighters proficiency bonus ncreasing. So, uh, no, the 10,000 would be completely boned.
 
Lets look at the threat of those 10,000. A natural 20 won't hit, what do we do?

That means they can't hit? That doesn't feel right, enough stuff coming at you and something's going to get very lucky.

A natural 20 hits anyway? Insta-killed. (I'm picturing an army with ranged weapons.) I don't like that option, either.

How about a middle ground? There's a 50% rounded down chance that you get a one-higher result--repeat until you get a hit or don't have any more attackers.

20,000 arrows coming at you? That means 1,000 natural 20s. 20 doesn't hit? That means 500 21s. 21 doesn't hit? 250 22s. 125 23s. 62 24s. 31 25s. 15 26s 7 27s. 3 28s. 1 29. You're only safe if it takes a 30 to hit you.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
For me this is immersion supporting. A level 20 fighter is the equal of a Pit Fiend. An Ancient Red Dragon is a moderate encounter for him alone. He wrestles giants and is so intimidating he can literally scare opponents to death. He is every inch as legendary and fearsome as any other high level character. He is worthy of his name.
 

mewzard

Explorer
For me this is immersion supporting. A level 20 fighter is the equal of a Pit Fiend. An Ancient Red Dragon is a moderate encounter for him alone. He wrestles giants and is so intimidating he can literally scare opponents to death. He is every inch as legendary and fearsome as any other high level character. He is worthy of his name.
Agreed. At some point when you're leaping 120 feet into the air (Quick Jump/Cloud Jump with Monk speed), grabbing onto the Ancient Red Dragon (Titan Wrestler), putting it into a sleeper hold (Monk feat), and riding its unconscious body into the ground, where you don't even take a single point of damage (Cat Fall), and you wrap up that mild exercise with a swim across the Ocean (Quick Swim)...what is William Tell over there going to do with his month of basic archery training?

He can come back when he's faced a tenth of what I have and survived.
 

zztong

Explorer
Agreed. At some point when you're leaping 120 feet into the air (Quick Jump/Cloud Jump with Monk speed)...
This is the stuff I find to be immersion breaking, but everyone is looking for different things in a game. I'm happy those looking for an ultra-fantastic game have found a home.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
It makes it feel too unrealistic to me. Not that I want ultra realism simulation in my fantasy game but I do have a level of realism I enjoy. In the Hobbit Smaug was nearly indestructible but that one well placed shot brought him down. I don’t mind improbable, I just don’t like to see it be impossible in my heroic story. I guess I never realized how well bonded accuracy fit my style of rpg storytelling.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
I guess I never realized how well bonded accuracy fit my style of rpg storytelling.
I feel this as well. I very much want something with the level of options as Pathfinder but with bounded accuracy and simpler bonuses and penalties.

Within the scaling success model in PF2, I don't hate the 20 rule but I'd be fine with houseruling it if the table truly hates it.
 

zztong

Explorer
I guess I never realized how well bonded accuracy fit my style of rpg storytelling.
Me too.

I was content with D&D 3.5 -> PF1. It took the PF2 playtest to get our table to look at D&D 5 and finally notice bounded accuracy and how well it fit. In retrospect, I unconsciously knew. Anytime I've whipped up my own game system based on D20, its stopped around levels 9-11.
 

mewzard

Explorer
This is the stuff I find to be immersion breaking, but everyone is looking for different things in a game. I'm happy those looking for an ultra-fantastic game have found a home.
Well, like anything else, your individual game can have different standards to what's acceptable and the DM can note if any particular feat is forbidden...but in my case, I want my martials to be able to be badass Heroes. Like Greek Heroes, Hercules and the like, or like Beowulf. I do appreciate your support in finding the kind of game I've always wanted though, thanks.

I've always found it ridiculous that the excuse of "It's magic" lets the Wizard do any crazy physics breaking thing he wants, but the Monk who literally trained so hard they can explode a Pit Fiend into ash with a Flurry of Blows has to spec their jump super hard to jump on a two story house. The Fighter doesn't even get that, climb up or let the Wizard cast fly on you.

At least with the options available I can finally let my Monk be as crazy as I feel is appropriate, whereas Pathfinder 1e let the martials languish when compared to the casters.

Sometimes you want less Enter the Dragon, more ending of Kung Fu Hustle with your fights.
 

gargoyleking

Explorer
Yeah, but looking at it in retrospective, the ending of Kung Fu Hustle was kind of silly, even for Kung Fu Hustle. It was fun to be sure. But the fact that basically a thousand axers weren't even up to the task of making him sweat kind of makes the fight boring aside from the fact that it was simply too comical in nature. If you'd played that out at a table, people would be yawning their arses off by the time he got to the BBEG.
 

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