Pathfinder 2E Never give up on PF2

I ran PF2E until I ran out of juice with it. I think the revised edition fixes or tweaks some issues I had with it, which is nice, but I realized in the end that I prefer systems which are more swingy and less mechanically balanced. PF2E is a good experience so long as you embrace its specific narrow range of play styles, but if you want to have any more wiggle room then other systems (including D&D 5E and 3.5, PF1E and so forth) will be more flexible for your needs.

If I had to identify one glaring problem for me with PF2E that is still a problem with the revision: I just don't like how it does skills. I dislike the skill feats, I dislike the weird consolidations to feats; I miss the PF1E skill system and the D&D 3.5 skill system, and at least with D&D 5E I find that the skill system is comprehensive enough that I do not feel like I am missing too many skills important to the kind of games I run. In PF2E I get very tired of having to use Society for everything, as it reminds me the core design conceits were by designers who do not play like I do or value a wider range of knowledge and interaction skills than the game supports (in its' defense, I am someone who loves BRP/Call of Cthulhu and GURPS for their more nuanced takes on skills, so YMMV). D&D 5E, at least, seems to have recognized that a more open-ended interpretive-friendly skill system would be better for play than a closed/locked system which hides numerous useful traits behind skill feats.
 

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I miss the PF1E skill system and the D&D 3.5 skill system, and at least with D&D 5E I find that the skill system is comprehensive enough that I do not feel like I am missing too many skills important to the kind of games I run. In PF2E I get very tired of having to use Society for everything, as it reminds me the core design conceits were by designers who do not play like I do or value a wider range of knowledge and interaction skills than the game supports
What skills do you feel are missing? Can you give examples?
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I will have to remember that fewer pages is linked to less complexity.

I maintain that PF2e is far too rules heavy for my tastes.

Its entirely possible for your statement here to be entirely accurate, and for the statement that its more complex than PF1e to be inaccurate, you know.

Frankly, as someone who ran D&D3.5 until people hit 14th level, and got to see a dozen character sheets I was trying to at least vaguely keep track of while running it, its extremely difficult to take claims its more complex than that was seriously (and because of PF1e's close relationship to 3.5, it).

It is, however, entirely possible your tastes have changed enough PF2e is still more than you want to deal with (tastes do).

(Note: as I've noted in the past, there are critiques of PF2e that are, I think, legitimate from the perspective of the people having them; I don't always have a great degree of sympathy for them, but they are not hard to see as legitimate from a certain perspective. Some I can even relate to to a certain degree (Payn's complaint about the "tightness" of PF2e I get, for example, and can have some sympathy for; I just find it part of a set of necessary tradeoffs in a way they don't). But claims its more complex than PF1e/D&D3e are a very, very hard sell, even though I would never call it a low complexity game).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
If I had to identify one glaring problem for me with PF2E that is still a problem with the revision: I just don't like how it does skills. I dislike the skill feats, I dislike the weird consolidations to feats; I miss the PF1E skill system and the D&D 3.5 skill system, and at least with D&D 5E I find that the skill system is comprehensive enough that I do not feel like I am missing too many skills important to the kind of games I run. In PF2E I get very tired of having to use Society for everything, as it reminds me the core design conceits were by designers who do not play like I do or value a wider range of knowledge and interaction skills than the game supports (in its' defense, I am someone who loves BRP/Call of Cthulhu and GURPS for their more nuanced takes on skills, so YMMV). D&D 5E, at least, seems to have recognized that a more open-ended interpretive-friendly skill system would be better for play than a closed/locked system which hides numerous useful traits behind skill feats.

This is an example of a negative take I can somewhat relate to (though I'd note if I really wanted a broader take on skills, I wouldn't be using any D&D-derivative here).
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I have played 5e since before it came out. And I dabbled in other systems. And pf2 was the first time I truly felt like the system encouraged teamwork.
In 5e specifically, every character feels heroic on their own. And each feels like the main character on their own and it's easy for a pc to hog the spotlight
In pf2, no one can hold the spotlight by themselves. It is only as a group can they truly be heroic.
5E has the saddest skill system so if you think I prefer it, you are mistaken.
As far as "feat problems" goes. I think it's a straw man argument.
A feat in pf1, 5e and PF2e are completely different things.
In pf1, you had crazy feat chains which were extreme.
In 5e, classes have a collection of pre-selected Features earned per level (with very little choice or variability), and a special set of Feature groups you can buy by giving up an ASI.
In pf2, classes have a collection Features you can choose from at every level.
You mistook my meaning. By feat problems I meant feats that clearly are worse than others in usefulness.
A class feature by a different name is still a class feature. If you want pf2 to be like 5e, I guess you could go through and limit each class to a specific feat at every level. Instead of having options.
I never said anything about 5E that’s entirely your assumption. Though, I must say, this paragraph makes no sense.
 

5E has the saddest skill system so if you think I prefer it, you are mistaken.

Yeah, I don't think we've ever agreed on something so much as the idea that the 5E skill system is just trash. Just a very bad system in general, especially with how it is implemented with classes (I'm utterly amazed that Wizards still limits skills by classes and doesn't just give a free skill with them).

I'd probably disagree with you on skill points with 3.X. I don't really see it as different from PF2, especially if we're talking about having problems scaling up; being able to put a few points into a skill won't matter if every check is meant to be leveled. But I find progression of skills to be a large problem in games that have hard level advancement, rather than points-based advancement like GURPS or FFG/Edge's oddball systems.

But I think if people have a problem with feeling overspecialized, it's a relatively easy fix to just allow classes to have an extra skill boost or two within their progression, and allow people to train into a skill. If your game plays in a world where you don't always face level-based challenges, it might even be easier to take another page out of 4E's book and say every non-trained skill gets a bonus of half your level, rounded up. This would mean everyone picks up a little bit over time. But ultimately I find it really easy to adjust these sorts of things in PF2 compared to other systems.
 

Staffan

Legend
But I think if people have a problem with feeling overspecialized, it's a relatively easy fix to just allow classes to have an extra skill boost or two within their progression, and allow people to train into a skill.
This is one of my issues with PF2 – it's really hard to get good at multiple skills. The only way I can think of to get additional Expert or better non-Lore skills without spending class feats is to be a Skilled human – that gets you one additional Trained skill to start with and one additional Expert skill at level 5. But other than that, I think the only way to get additional Expert+ skills beyond what your class gives you is to either take a Dedication that boosts a skill (e.g. Medic giving you Expert medicine or Acrobat giving you auto-scaling Acrobatics), or to multi-class into Rogue or Investigator and then take the Skill Mastery archetype feat – and both of these cost class feats. I'd love it if there was a General feat that could boost a skill, but apparently the developers think having broad skill competencies is a bad thing.
If your game plays in a world where you don't always face level-based challenges, it might even be easier to take another page out of 4E's book and say every non-trained skill gets a bonus of half your level, rounded up. This would mean everyone picks up a little bit over time. But ultimately I find it really easy to adjust these sorts of things in PF2 compared to other systems.
There is a 3rd level general feat called Untrained Improvisation that gives you a proficiency bonus equal to your level-2 to skills you aren't proficient in, increasing to level-1 at level 5 and full level at level 7. It doesn't let you use trained-only skill applications though. Humans have a better variant as an Ancestral feat that does allow you to do that.
 

Pedantic

Legend
I'd probably disagree with you on skill points with 3.X. I don't really see it as different from PF2, especially if we're talking about having problems scaling up; being able to put a few points into a skill won't matter if every check is meant to be leveled. But I find progression of skills to be a large problem in games that have hard level advancement, rather than points-based advancement like GURPS or FFG/Edge's oddball systems.
I would argue the fundamental difference is the idea of a "leveled check" to begin with. Outside of directly NPC affecting skills, skill DCs were calibrated to match specific abilities. You could balance on surfaces of X thickness with Y penalties for difficult circumstances, at DC Z. Gameplay was in finding surfaces to balance on usefully.

PF2 leans in to the tradition 4e started of making checks a pacing mechanism instead of PC abilities. A problem exists that can be solved with an Acrobatics check, and that problem's description scales with the PC's level, instead of the PC's competence and breadth of ability scaling.
 

I would argue the fundamental difference is the idea of a "leveled check" to begin with. Outside of directly NPC affecting skills, skill DCs were calibrated to match specific abilities. You could balance on surfaces of X thickness with Y penalties for difficult circumstances, at DC Z. Gameplay was in finding surfaces to balance on usefully.

PF2 leans in to the tradition 4e started of making checks a pacing mechanism instead of PC abilities. A problem exists that can be solved with an Acrobatics check, and that problem's description scales with the PC's level, instead of the PC's competence and breadth of ability scaling.

But that's not really true: you can scale the challenges if you like, but you don't need to if you don't want to. The system does both perfectly fine, it's just a matter of what you want to do.
 

Pedantic

Legend
But that's not really true: you can scale the challenges if you like, but you don't need to if you don't want to. The system does both perfectly fine, it's just a matter of what you want to do.
No, that's still not the same. Moving from a skill DC to a "challenge" is already an inversion is my point. DCs weren't assumed to move in relationship to the PCs at all previously outside of opposed checks, they instead signposted specific abilities. It doesn't make sense to talk about a "challenge" as tied to a skill check at all in that paradigm. The DC is effectively a level range proxy for when a PC will get access to new abilities.

It is already transformative to suggest that DCs can and/or should scale with level at all, and moves the skill system from a player facing tool, to primarily a pacing mechanism. 5e does the same thing more unevenly through a generic difficulty table.
 

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