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Pathfinder 2E Pathfinder 2 and support for other playing styles/subgenres

transmission89

Adventurer
I think this post pretty much encapsulates my problems with PF2. In a lot of areas, it comes off as a system that assumes that you are playing with players that have played D&D so much that it can be taken for granted that the can immediately identify the cause of the problem. Or that once they hit level 2, they will immediately buy the power rune and buy the striking rune at level 4. Or that will immediately recognize that you should trip wraiths but intimidate ogres.
But you don’t though? Aren’t these what the recall knowledge checks are for? Or in the case of haunts as a problem, investigating the area?

Are these not also valid 5e, nay, any d&d “problems”? Learning effective strategies against certain enemies, over coming puzzling encounters or (for some editions) learning effective feats/items/abilities to take?

I guess I’m just struggling to understand what you’re saying here that is particular to this system? Or have I misunderstood what you’re saying?
 

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kenada

Legend
Supporter
I’m curious about this, because I don’t see the VP subsystem as any different from skill challenges. Both of them are mechanisms to create more open-ended challenges that can’t be resolved in a single roll.
They are similar. Skill challenges strike me as a predecessor to countdown clocks, and the VP subsystem is basically an implementation of clocks. For whatever reason, the VP subsystem felt more organic than skill challenges in play. Maybe it’s the countdown clock versus the successes before failures mechanic?

One difference between the two is that clocks take it as a given you will succeed. Where you fail is either when you run out of time or because other clocks catch up to you. Those are both things that can be framed easily in terms of the characters’ understanding. X failures feels comparatively arbitrary and dissociated.

Thinking about it a bit, VP uses an abstract points system, so anything that can generate points will advance your clock. That could be successes, but it could be other things (e.g., deeds will progress your reputation clocks). I think that also helps make it feel better in play.

Nothing says you couldn’t have other things contribute successes to skill challenges, but I can’t recall their being framed that way in the stuff I ran. They would list a difficulty level and the primary and secondary skills. With more experience with e.g., clocks, I might handle things differently. However, I wouldn’t use them just to have a skill challenge.

I’d also add that similar mechanics can still fee different in practice. 5e owes a lot to 4e, but it feels very different in practice. Even a game like PF2 that aims for a similarly tactical approach ends up feeling quite different once the swords come out.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
They are similar. Skill challenges strike me as a predecessor to countdown clocks, and the VP subsystem is basically an implementation of clocks. For whatever reason, the VP subsystem felt more organic than skill challenges in play. Maybe it’s the countdown clock versus the successes before failures mechanic?

One difference between the two is that clocks take it as a given you will succeed. Where you fail is either when you run out of time or because other clocks catch up to you. Those are both things that can be framed easily in terms of the characters’ understanding. X failures feels comparatively arbitrary and dissociated.

Thinking about it a bit, VP uses an abstract points system, so anything that can generate points will advance your clock. That could be successes, but it could be other things (e.g., deeds will progress your reputation clocks). I think that also helps make it feel better in play.

Nothing says you couldn’t have other things contribute successes to skill challenges, but I can’t recall their being framed that way in the stuff I ran. They would list a difficulty level and the primary and secondary skills. With more experience with e.g., clocks, I might handle things differently. However, I wouldn’t use them just to have a skill challenge.

I’d also add that similar mechanics can still fee different in practice. 5e owes a lot to 4e, but it feels very different in practice. Even a game like PF2 that aims for a similarly tactical approach ends up feeling quite different once the swords come out.
Yes, I agree with this. I think the VP system is a good refinement on the skill challenges. It explores the same space but I think benefits from the lessons learnt in the way you’ve stated.

The way presented here allows a more generic framework to apply to a variety of situations.

I think it was mummy’s mask AP they appeared in first with the knowledge points in the library.
It at least gave me food for thought about how I might approach similar scenarios in any games system really.
 

I think this post pretty much encapsulates my problems with PF2. In a lot of areas, it comes off as a system that assumes that you are playing with players that have played D&D so much that it can be taken for granted that the can immediately identify the cause of the problem. Or that once they hit level 2, they will immediately buy the power rune and buy the striking rune at level 4. Or that will immediately recognize that you should trip wraiths but intimidate ogres.
Not at all, the books teach as well as any other game how the GM presents the basic narrative of the game and the players engage with it. There is in fact, an entire chapter of the core rulebook entitled "How to play the game." That covers the player facing basics of all of this, alternatively, I've had players learn it from me (the GM) and the other players willing to read rulebooks.

Seperately, I think its ok for players to cut their teeth on different monster types by experience, between recall knowledge checks and experimentation and encounters that aren't as hard as possible, they'll learn, the game wouldnt be as fun if there was nothing to learn and no room to improve. The game's difficulty isnt truly so tight that the occasional wasted action is really life or death.
 

Teemu

Adventurer
How?

I mean, exactly?

Can I assume you're talking about the case where the heroes have successfully detected the haunt?

How do you describe this? As opposed to an "undetected" haunt, I mean? If you hear spooky moaning, how do you differentiate listening to it "clueless" as opposed to "informed"?

Since Recall Knowledge is an action, do you require the heroes to win initiative? (It's no use identifying a trap if you don't have time disabling it before it activates) Or how do you make it work?
If we’re still in exploration mode, the action cost doesn’t matter, so any character can try understanding the detected phenomenon with Recall Knowledge rules. If we’re in encounter mode, a character can spend an action to Recall Knowledge as usual.

Obviously if the haunt is a simple hazard and isn’t detected, it just activates and does its thing, the end.

How do I describe it? When a character “listens” or tries to understand the detected haunt, I make a secret Recall Knowledge check to determine what exactly they understand and piece together. In encounter mode that does take an action.
 


dave2008

Legend
They are similar. Skill challenges strike me as a predecessor to countdown clocks, and the VP subsystem is basically an implementation of clocks. For whatever reason, the VP subsystem felt more organic than skill challenges in play. Maybe it’s the countdown clock versus the successes before failures mechanic?

One difference between the two is that clocks take it as a given you will succeed. Where you fail is either when you run out of time or because other clocks catch up to you. Those are both things that can be framed easily in terms of the characters’ understanding. X failures feels comparatively arbitrary and dissociated.

Thinking about it a bit, VP uses an abstract points system, so anything that can generate points will advance your clock. That could be successes, but it could be other things (e.g., deeds will progress your reputation clocks). I think that also helps make it feel better in play.

Nothing says you couldn’t have other things contribute successes to skill challenges, but I can’t recall their being framed that way in the stuff I ran. They would list a difficulty level and the primary and secondary skills. With more experience with e.g., clocks, I might handle things differently. However, I wouldn’t use them just to have a skill challenge.

I’d also add that similar mechanics can still fee different in practice. 5e owes a lot to 4e, but it feels very different in practice. Even a game like PF2 that aims for a similarly tactical approach ends up feeling quite different once the swords come out.
It has been a while since I reviewed the PF2 rulebooks. Is the VP system in the CRB or GMG?
 




kenada

Legend
Supporter

But you don’t though? Aren’t these what the recall knowledge checks are for? Or in the case of haunts as a problem, investigating the area?
I will elaborate a bit more on my examples.

When I look at spells, it does not feel that their effects are balanced against a spellcaster who did not know the creature’s defenses.

Instead, it feels like spells are balanced against:
  • a Spellcaster who knows the creature’s weakness (either because they spent an action on Recall Knowledge AND succeeded on the roll; OR because they already know most of the creatures in the Bestiary); AND
  • has a spell of the appropriate type prepared.

Likewise, it does not feel like damage spells are balanced against weapon attacks. It feels like weapon attacks are balanced against a spellcaster who used a feat to get trained proficiency with a bow and uses their third action to shoot a bow at 0 MAP (after casting a non-attack roll spell with their first two actions).

Likewise, the wording of certain spells. Unseen servant seems to have been designed with the presumption that the spellcaster is using him as a trapspringer and to break action economy in combat, not that the principal use is for the unseen servant is to pitch a tent and start a fire after a long day of adventuring.

There is nothing wrong with presuming that the players will know all these old dungeon tricks (or will simply crib them off an internet guide), but it does make it feel like the game is balanced against those that don’t do this.
 

dave2008

Legend

transmission89

Adventurer
I will elaborate a bit more on my examples.

When I look at spells, it does not feel that their effects are balanced against a spellcaster who did not know the creature’s defenses.

Instead, it feels like spells are balanced against:
  • a Spellcaster who knows the creature’s weakness (either because they spent an action on Recall Knowledge AND succeeded on the roll; OR because they already know most of the creatures in the Bestiary); AND
  • has a spell of the appropriate type prepared.

Likewise, it does not feel like damage spells are balanced against weapon attacks. It feels like weapon attacks are balanced against a spellcaster who used a feat to get trained proficiency with a bow and uses their third action to shoot a bow at 0 MAP (after casting a non-attack roll spell with their first two actions).

Likewise, the wording of certain spells. Unseen servant seems to have been designed with the presumption that the spellcaster is using him as a trapspringer and to break action economy in combat, not that the principal use is for the unseen servant is to pitch a tent and start a fire after a long day of adventuring.

There is nothing wrong with presuming that the players will know all these old dungeon tricks (or will simply crib them off an internet guide), but it does make it feel like the game is balanced against those that don’t do this.
I get what you are saying, but I'd respectfully disagree with the conclusion. The things you've stated here aren't necessarily required knowledge, known only by hoary old players. These are the that things the game is designed to want you to do. If there was no incentive to recall knowledge, why would "waste time" doing it for example?

To my mind, it seems a lot of what you said can be reduced to "The game plays differently, leading me to bounce off it". I really don't mean that in an offensive way here (I appreciate text is crap at conveying tone). A lot of these "tricks and knowledge expectations" (paraphrasing yourself), actually seem to have thrown more "experienced players" than totally new ones (hence many in the old guard having a negative reaction). There were many threads when the game first released about re learning your approach to the game. Many seemed to struggle to think about what to do with that 3rd action for example, because they didn't appreciate that the "game had changed" and that you were supposed to be using other action types in combat (like recall, demoralise etc). Those that came in playing it like pathfinder 1e or dnd, bounced off it as a result.

Though it presents itself in the similar lingua franca of those games, many aspects are different, leading people to think they are missing, I guess, the hidden knowledge. Feeling out of the loop? Would it be fair to say that might also apply to you (I don't know how much experience you've had playing pf1e or dnd 5e). It's absolutely fair enough if, upon realising that, you feel that kind of game isn't for you.

But I wonder, if Paizo had perhaps been more explicit with the implications of their design choices (communicating with players in the rule book more about why you might want to be doing these things) that a lot of gripes with the system might not have happened, because peoples' expectations were not aligned with what was actually delivered.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
These are the that things the game is designed to want you to do. If there was no incentive to recall knowledge, why would "waste time" doing it for example?
If the game wanted you to do Recall Knowledge (take the action called Recall Knowledge) it wouldn't make that action essentially crap.

In a combat, spending a whole action on maybe a 50% shot a getting one piece of information (that may or not be which save to target with spells) is beyond useless. That 50% number is vs a monster of your level (roughly speaking). But you are much more likely to need help against above-level monsters. But here your chance drops to well below 50%. And against uncommon, rare and unique creatures (where the DC is increased by +2, +5 or +10), forget about it.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
When I look at spells, it does not feel that their effects are balanced against a spellcaster who did not know the creature’s defenses.
At low level, spells are just crap. In absolute terms, and in relative terms. Your party is much better off having the spellcaster debuffing the monster or buffing the heroes. Or why not just not being there at all, instead playing one more martial?

At high level, you will find that unless the monster is a BBEG, it will be helpless against your spells. Yes, save bonuses vary considerably, but the difference might be it needing to roll a 17 to not fail the save, or having to roll an outright 20.

This leaves the middle levels. And there yes it matters a great deal if you are able to consistently target the "weak" save. The way Pathfinder 2 offers to convey this information to the character is unfortunately shot to pieces, see the thread on Recall Knowledge.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Recall Knowledge for creature identification is poorly specified and of limited practical use.
Hear ye, hear ye!

Since it’s become topical, one should note that Recall Knowledge does not tell you a monster’s weakest saves. You need a rogue with Battle Assessment to find out that.
This is both absurd and annoying at the same time.

It is of course absurd to suggest you need a highly specific feat only a single class can take to access commonly needed information.

It is a great example of the extremely user-hostile design that you wouldn't know this unless reading every single feat. Having rules only be inferred like this is yet another instance of the crap design that unfortunately permeates this game. Paizo has completely misunderstood the concept of exception-based design.

Having a general rule which then a specific feat breaks from: okay.

Having no general rule, except that a specific feat allows something: poor poor poor

The same goes for having incredibly tied down and limiting general rules, which you then need feats to relax. Feats like Combat Climber or Quick Squeezer (spelling?) should never have been in the game; these things should have been enabled automatically with greater proficiency levels.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
Hear ye, hear ye!


This is both absurd and annoying at the same time.

It is of course absurd to suggest you need a highly specific feat only a single class can take to access commonly needed information.

It is a great example of the extremely user-hostile design that you wouldn't know this unless reading every single feat. Having rules only be inferred like this is yet another instance of the crap design that unfortunately permeates this game.
Good lord, it’s like you’re not even trying to hide the fact you’re trolling now...
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Good lord, it’s like you’re not even trying to hide the fact you’re trolling now...
I have stopped responding to you. I have made dozens of arguments where I show exactly where Pathfinder 2 went wrong. You never engage in these threads, you are only focusing on attacking me. This is the sign of a person unable to acknowledge flaws in his favorite game, and I see no value in further engagement.

If you cut out the sniping, and instead make a genuine attempt at either defending, say the rules for Earn Income or Medicine or Recall Knowledge, meaning actually posting arguments why these rules need to be the way they are - or, better, finally acknowledge the game isn't best served by these rules as written, that they are severely over-engineered, cluttery and byzantine, and that PF2 deserved much simpler and elegant rules design, then I might change my opinion.
 

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