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Nat 20 rule. Is it immersion breaking?

zztong

Explorer
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
I agree. This is one reason why I prefer low-magic games or even games where wizardry is largely the domain of NPCs. In PF1, we used house rules to limit Wizards. Its much easier to keep them from casting.

You, for instance cite Beowulf and might point to the 2007 movie as an example. I too would cite Beowulf, but I would point to Eaters of the Dead, aka the 13th Warrior.

Alas, the DM of PF2 game I'm in generally likes the ultra-fantastic. He's a good friend. I just have to live with it. My other regular game stayed with PF1 and has all the house rules. At least half the time I get a game I can usually remain immersed.
 

mewzard

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.
Well, in an actual game, you could not only have a thousand fodder incapable of hurting you, but a few more level appropriate elites that could still cause you some harm, leading to the boss monster and their personal guard that's a major threat to you.

The fodder can show how much you've progressed (maybe it's made up of foes that once wrecked you at lower levels) while also letting you show off (three action Ki Blast at level 20 would do 18d6 damage on a failure for the Fort save in the 60 foot cone, 36d6 on a Critical Failure, which is likely for low level fodder), the higher ups let you warm up, your status/HP depending upon how smart you played it, and then the big fight where you're not entirely sure if you'll make it unless you really go in with a plan.

I agree. This is one reason why I prefer low-magic games or even games where wizardry is largely the domain of NPCs. In PF1, we used house rules to limit Wizards. Its much easier to keep them from casting.

You, for instance cite Beowulf and might point to the 2007 movie as an example. I too would cite Beowulf, but I would point to Eaters of the Dead, aka the 13th Warrior.

Alas, the DM of PF2 game I'm in generally likes the ultra-fantastic. He's a good friend. I just have to live with it. My other regular game stayed with PF1 and has all the house rules. At least half the time I get a game I can usually remain immersed.
It seems we take issue with the same problem (Caster>>>Martial), we just have different solutions to that problem. You like bringing the caster down in a low magic setting, whereas I like bringing the martial up in a high fantasy setting. Each can be a fantastic solution to the problem, the one you choose just depends on the group.

I ended up retraining late game to take Serpent Fire Adept for my Unchained Monk in our PF1 game partially because I felt like it could close that gap (it also fit where my Monk was at the time, finally turning inwards to focus on his spiritual side after ignoring it for too long due to story reasons, so it was a win-win).

I like the idea of the game having options to do Legendary things in default, rather than having to dig for the right (and probably broken) archetype to get that feel.

I'm also rather fond of how much skills matter, and that they're not as negatable by a caster as had been the case in the past.
 
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Kaodi

Adventurer
The primary way in which a army of 10,000 goblins deals with a level 20 fighter is probably just do anything else other than try and hit him. He can only kill so many goblins per round.
 

mewzard

Explorer
The primary way in which a army of 10,000 goblins deals with a level 20 fighter is probably just do anything else other than try and hit him. He can only kill so many goblins per round.
True, a Fighter's weak save is Will, so if he rolls a natural 1, it counts as a regular success if he still beats the DC by 10 for a partial effect. Or, I suppose, splash damage from 10,000 bomb-tossing foes would overwhelm the character (unless they resist the element in question).
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
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.
Sure, but I don't think you will be getting that in D&D either. Bard the Bowman made the shot with a non-magical bow and killed the dragon, despite a longbow only doing crit (1d8 + Dex) x 2 damage against an ancient red dragon that was previously at full HP. Even with bounded accuracy, I don't think D&D is meant to support these sort of stories.
 
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Johnny3D3D

Adventurer
I feel as though PF2 went in a very different direction in terms of world building and style than I've grown to prefer.
 

gargoyleking

Explorer
Screw it, let's even assume old 3.5 bow standards and give him an x3 crit.

I like the movie retelling. That was no arrow and he definitely used a makeshift balista. Still epic, but also some serious silliness.

Sure, but I don't think you will be getting that in D&D either. Bard the Bowman made the shot with a non-magical bow and killed the dragon, despite a longbow only doing crit (1d8 + Dex) x 2 damage against an ancient red dragon that was previously at full HP. Even with bounded accuracy, I don't think D&D is meant to support these sort of stories.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Sure, but I don't think you will be getting that in D&D either. Bard the Bowman made the shot with a non-magical bow and killed the dragon, despite a longbow only doing crit (1d8 + Dex) x 2 damage against an ancient red dragon that was previously at full HP. Even with bounded accuracy, I don't think D&D is meant to support these sort of stories.
I think that depends on how you interpret hit points.

If you consider them "meat points", where HP loss always results in some physical damage, then you are correct.

If, on the other hand, you interpret HP damage as having the potential to be non-physical, then you can have that scene. It's admittedly been decades since I read The Hobbit, but I believe that there were other archers who were firing upon Smaug. If we assume that some of those attacks chipped away at the dragon's HP (luck and other non-physical factors) and Bard simply landed the finishing blow, then the scene works as written.

So I don't think that D&D can't support such stories, but rather that some people's view on how D&D hit points work doesn't mesh well with such stories.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
Screw it, let's even assume old 3.5 bow standards and give him an x3 crit.

I like the movie retelling. That was no arrow and he definitely used a makeshift balista. Still epic, but also some serious silliness.

Ok it was a ballista bolt of dragon slaying. An arrow does 6d10 so a ballista bolt must do more. Then he crits. And the dragon failed his saving throw. Dead dragon. And then the orcs and goblins showed up to attack the dwarves in the lonely mountain but didn't realize that the dwarves had an untouchable AC and couldn't touch any of them so the dwarves killed them all roflstomp style. The end.
 

Johnny3D3D

Adventurer
I feel as though the Smaug scene likely works out better in a non-d20/D&D game.

However, in D&D terms, Bard's arrow shot is likely a combination of a critical hit, a special arrow, a lore/knowledge check which gave a circumstantial bonus, and the target having a specific weakness. Maybe a failed Fort save against something...?
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I also would not cast Smaug as an Ancient Red Dragon. Generally nothing seen in Middle Earth can't be accomplished in the first 10 levels of the game.

If Bard is a Ranger it would also help explain why he could put so much power into a single arrow.
 

Mistwell

Hero
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.
I disagree with your analysis on this. Let's say at low levels the players face defeat at the hands of goblins. And the PCs swear some day they will return and kill all the goblins.

Fast forward, the PCs are now all high level. And they say they want to go back to the goblin nation, and start killing all the goblins.

This is not "adventure design" it's "ordinary sandbox play". The world doesn't automatically increase the difficulty level of challenges in an area just because the players enter it, like a video game. If that's the goblin nation, composed almost entirely of low level goblins, and the rules state the goblins literally cannot hit the players even if they roll a 20, that's a RULES issue that is breaking immersion, not a DM or adventure design issue. Any sort of fantasy or real world laws of physics should state that someone can get a lucky hit, and that hordes can overwhelm individuals even if each member of the horde couldn't do it alone. The rules should, in some respect, account for this. The DM should not need to design around it.
 
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Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I disagree with your analysis on this. Let's say at low levels the players face defeat at the hands of goblins. And the players swear some day they will return and kill all the goblins.

Fast forward, the players are now all high level. And they say they want to go back to the goblin nation, and start killing all the goblins.

This is not "adventure design" it's "ordinary sandbox play". The world doesn't automatically increase the difficulty level of challenges in an area just because the players enter it, like a video game. If that's the goblin nation, composed almost entirely of low level goblins, and the rules state the goblins literally cannot hit the players even if they roll a 20, that's a RULES issue that is breaking immersion, not a DM or adventure design issue. Any sort of fantasy or real world laws of physics should state that someone can get a lucky hit, and that hordes can overwhelm individuals even if each member of the horde couldn't do it alone. The rules should, in some respect, account for this. The DM should not need to design around it.
I disagree. You are mixing up "real world" hit which mean contact, and PF hit, which also adds penetrating armor. I can take a stick, swing it at the WW2 tank that's an exhibit at a nearby park, and I don't care if I do it 20 times of 100, I can guarentee that it will not penetrate the armor to do damage to something inside. And yes, high level characters with magical defenses are like that tank.

So it might be that there is a rules issue, but it's with defenses generating "misses" in the first place, something in place with both versions of PF (and every version of D&D both before and after).
 
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Mistwell

Hero
I disagree. You are mixing up "real world" hit which mean contact, and PF hit, which also adds penetrating armor. I can take a stick, swing it at the WW2 tank that's an exhibit at a nearby part, and I don't care if I do it 20 times of 100, I can guarentee that it will not penetrate the armor to do damage to something inside. And yes, high level characters with magical defenses are like that tank.

So it might be that there is a rules issue, but it's with defenses generating "misses" in the first place, something in place with both versions of PF (and every version of D&D both before and after).
Then you would be wrong. Ordinary infantry soldiers, in sufficient quantities, destroyed tanks sometimes during WW2. It was not a favored tactic, but it definitely happened (usually by destroying tank treads, or running them into an unseen ditch).

You should be able to hit anything, with really very good luck. The odds might be drastically, overwhelmingly against you, and you might do little damage, but you should have a chance. If PF2 has built a rules-based system which says you simply cannot hit something, ever, no matter how much luck and fate is on your side, I'd say that is very clearly a rules issue and not a DM or adventure design issue.

I am not even sure how this is a controversial issue. I know people get super passionate about rules, particularly new rules which are under fire, and I can appreciate that as I've experienced that sentiment myself before. But I feel like this is pretty objectively a rules-oriented discussion and not something people should bash DMs or adventure designers over. If you're OK with something being just entirely not hittable at all, that's a fair opinion. But I don't get the bashing DMs and adventure designers over this issue - PF2 made a rules-oriented choice about this. Adherents to PF2 should be able to defend that rule without turning it on players of the game for not finding a way to work around the rule. If it's something players need to work around, that's a pretty good sign it's the rule that's the problem.
 

Agamon

Adventurer
I'd be okay with letting players come up with plans to deal with something that isn't "hittable" with a normal attack. It'd make for an interesting encounter. Going against design? Maybe

I don't really see it being much of a real problem though. PF2, much like it's predecessors, isn't a flat math game where the party might fight anything, sandbox-style. If they stay in their +/-4 lane, this should never come up.

It's okay for myriad different RPGs to have different types of rules.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I am not even sure how this is a controversial issue. I know people get super passionate about rules, particularly new rules which are under fire, and I can appreciate that as I've experienced that sentiment myself before. But I feel like this is pretty objectively a rules-oriented discussion and not something people should bash DMs or adventure designers over. If you're OK with something being just entirely not hittable at all, that's a fair opinion. But I don't get the bashing DMs and adventure designers over this issue - PF2 made a rules-oriented choice about this. Adherents to PF2 should be able to defend that rule without turning it on players of the game for not finding a way to work around the rule. If it's something players need to work around, that's a pretty good sign it's the rule that's the problem.
It's basically inconsequential. A 20 that's a failure is still turned into a success. It's only a 20 that's already a critical failure that won't succeed. So we're talking about a check where after all bonuses we would need to roll a 30 to succeed normally, right?

Combine that with even in that rare case, it only matters the 1/20th of the time when someone rolls a 20.

So this isn't going to come up very often at all. (Though I am a bit recalibrated to 5e's Bounded Accuracy, so it's not totally out of the picture as I was originally thinking.) But still, it's impact on most sessions will be nothing, and it may only come up a few times in a whole campaign for the players.

For "adventure shaming": I was originally thinking from the PC viewpoint as my examples showed. Any situation that requires a 20 (or worse yet - lots of 20s) to be the only solution, the DM or adventure has let us down. You brought up the valid counter-example of foes, which I have to say is a good point.

Still not a fan of even massed foes that only succeed on 20s. We're talking lowest ACs in the 30s if the goblins would still critically fail on a 20. So we're talking quite powerful PCs against the same wimpy goblins.

It's a great revenge scene, but forcing it through the combat system that either ends up with inconsequential damage to the PCs or ends up being a horrible grind because of the sheer number of them. That corner case really showcases a weaknesses of the combat system. I'd suggest handling it as some sort of other challenge that will provide better pacing and risk - and therefore tension - to move forward. That's a much more successful scene then tying yourself to the combat mechanics for something so far off their intended math.
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
You should be able to hit anything, with really very good luck. The odds might be drastically, overwhelmingly against you, and you might do little damage, but you should have a chance. If PF2 has built a rules-based system which says you simply cannot hit something, ever, no matter how much luck and fate is on your side, I'd say that is very clearly a rules issue and not a DM or adventure design issue.
This is a d20 system. If something would happen much less than 5% of the time, then it's too rare to show up in our statistical model.

The idea that astronomically-unlikely events should have a 5% chance of happening is at the root of almost every bad anecdote in this medium. If you want to model unlikely events, then you need a game mechanic which is better suited to that job.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Sure, but I don't think you will be getting that in D&D either. Bard the Bowman made the shot with a non-magical bow and killed the dragon, despite a longbow only doing crit (1d8 + Dex) x 2 damage against an ancient red dragon that was previously at full HP. Even with bounded accuracy, I don't think D&D is meant to support these sort of stories.
Depends on which D&D.

Prior to 3e D&D had the Arrow of Dragon Slaying (based, interestingly enough probably on the Hobbit and Smaug's Death) which, if used against a Dragon, could slay it instantly.

No need for a critical hit, no need for a natural 20.
 

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