Pathfinder 2: Fighters, Skills, & Counterspells

Today's Pathfinder 2nd Edition roundup is an eclectic collection of bits and pieces and little hints. A bit on the fighter, a bit on skills, and hints at a new Counterspell.

  • GeekDad has posted a "first impressions" article about Pathfinder 2nd Edition.
  • Courtesy of Jason Bulmahn -- "Just found the text for the very first 2nd edition adventure I wrote here in the office over a year ago. Too spoiler filled and out of date to share just yet... but there were some good times had in Etran's Folly".


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  • Jason Bulmahn on the fighter's focus on weapons -- "He does still have armor proficiency, and it does improve a bit for him, but for the fighter, we decided that weapons were his prime focus. This leaves a focus on armor for another class..."
    • Reactive Shield -- "It occurs to me that I forgot to include a mention of Reactive Shield in this blog, which is a bit of an oversight. The preview version we ran all weekend had this ability, which allows you to spend your reaction to raise your shield. You can't block with it if you use this ability (since you've already spent your reaction), unless you get the extra reaction to block. I may try and get an edit in there to add a note about this." (Bulmahn)
    • Determination -- "Determination... Your fighter training just lets you shrug off a spell or condition entirely." (Seifter)
    • Mark Seifter on Sudden Charge during a chase -- "We had a crazy chase/fight up a spiral staircase in my Shattered Star playtest game where the Sudden Charging fighter was chasing a rat-form wererat, kicking off the walls and over her ratty-form to block her off while the wererat would squeeze through the fighter and continue upward (the rat was faster but was slowed down by not always succeeding to squeeze through the fighter). They eventually dropped her low enough to cry mercy just at the top of the stairs. The fighter mentioned that it was one of the craziest and coolest action scenes he had seen in a long time, and I was thinking it seems like the kind of fight scene they would choreograph in a kung fu movie."
    • Fighter vs. flying foes -- "This particular aerial combo [jump up and smash flying oppo to the ground] is an ability available exclusively to fighters, and it is available in the level range of master (pre-legendary), but that doesn't mean you can have the whole thing going at a particular level. You'll at least get some anti-aerial options around the time the wizard is first able to fly." (Seifter)
    • How many skills does the fighter start with? "That hasn't been revealed yet. It will definitely be more than 2 trained skills at 1st level for pretty much any fighter you build, potentially quite a few more, and we have fewer overall skills (with Athletics covering Climb, Swim, Jumping, combat maneuvers, and more, for example) so that's worth even more than it seems." (Seifter)
    • Agile or powerful fighter? "You can make a character with lots of smaller but fairly accurate attacks (agile based), or a character with fewer enormous attacks (Power Attack), or something in between. I really like my agile build especially whenever I can get some haste, but I mostly just think it's cool that we can finally have something different but also cool for the lighter weapons to do that works out to good damage in a different way than the heavy ones do." (Seifter)
  • Bulmahn talks about the breadth of character options -- "One thing that I think we could explain a bit better is the fact that every character has a breadth of options open to them when it comes to social and out of combat abilities. Some come from classes whose theme and purpose aligns closely with those parts of the game. For those classes, they usually get some additional choices so that they do not feel that they are lacking in combat ability (sacrificing social for combat, or vice versa). That said, everyone has access to skills, skill feats, and general feats that allow you to tune your character to perform in the way that you want outside of combat (exploration mode and downtime mode). We will be looking at the modes of play on Friday and I am going to sneak in some information on this topic then to give you a sense of what's out there."
  • Bulmahn on design goals -- "As for the issues at hand, we have been working hard to shift some balances around a bit. Making an attack more accurate over the levels of play, while adding some variability and scaling to damage. This gives us more "levers" for design, and will result in a better play experience. The math of the old system, and the way some feats interacted with it caused serious balance issues over the life of the system. We hope to have corrected them, but only a full playtest will give us any indication as to whether or not we have succeeded. We hope you will hold off on judgement until then."
  • Attacks of Opportunity are more commonly triggered -- "In my playtests, I've found that both monsters and PCs trigger way more AoOs than before because they get down to the cost/benefit analysis of the action they really want to cast and sometimes decide "Well it might not have an AoO" or "Well it might miss me and I'll get my spell." In PF1, PCs always had AoOs, and martial PCs eventually pretty much always hit with them because they weren't at an iterative penalty, so you would cast on the defensive and auto-succeed (or nearly auto-succeed) at that check because it didn't scale quickly enough and there would be no AoO." (Seifter)
  • There's a new Counterspell -- "Yeah, counterspelling is weird in PF1. As you say, it's incredibly situational and overly complicated. On top of that, it feels really unexciting to do it too. But if you actually do it against an encounter where most of the challenge rests in a caster boss? You can wreck that encounter even without any feats or abilities taken to make counterspelling better, particularly if you have a caster level boost (karma prayer bead on my oracle, I'm looking at you; I accidentally turned one of the most notorious PFS scenarios into a cakewalk readying dispel over and over again). So it was the worst of several worlds: super situational, complicated, felt weak, and was actually too strong when its situation came up but in a boring way. Anyway, I can't wait until you guys can check out PF2's counterspell!" (Seifter)
  • How many skill ranks will a level 20 rogue have? "Oh, you can get 40-50 increases on the right rogue hellbent on getting skill rank increases instead of other skill options, not counting your starting trained skill picks. The range represents how increasingly unlikely you would be to put that many resources into it for diminishing returns on the sorts of skills you can pick. A more realistic rogue will be in the 30s at level 20 counting starting trained skill picks." (Seifter)

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New counterspell. I'm rather happy about that. Until I see it.. then I might not be happy.. dunno which to be.. (gronk plays PF2)
I just hope it's nothing like 5E counterspell, which uses up a spell slot and a reaction from both the target and the caster before allowing the original spell to go through unimpeded.
 

EthanSental

Legend
Supporter
The math of the old system, and the way some feats interacted with it caused serious balance issues over the life of the system.

Above red copied from the article - so the way some feats or maybe half of the 2K plus that were in the game cause serious balance issues. How can any game balance how 2000 feats might interact? Keep the number of feats in check in PF2 and I'll check it out, but if paizo plans on mass producing feats like they did in PF, I'm hesitant to invest cause I know I'll lose interest 2 years in in trying to keep up.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Above red copied from the article - so the way some feats or maybe half of the 2K plus that were in the game cause serious balance issues. How can any game balance how 2000 feats might interact? Keep the music,her of feats in check in PF2 and I'll check it out, but if paizo plans on mass producing feats like they did in PF, I'm hesitant to invest cause I know I'll lose interest 2 years in in trying to keep up.
I share your concern. But I think it’s safe to assume that the core books won’t contain 2000 feats, and that the feats they do include in the core rules will be at least reasonably balanced against each other. So, worst comes to worst, folks like us can run “core books only” games. That’s how I tend to run most games anyway, no matter the system - the core rules are all fair game, anything from outside the core is off-limits unless otherwise specified. Then I’ll tailor what outside sources I allow to suit the specific campaign.
 

I just hope it's nothing like 5E counterspell, which uses up a spell slot and a reaction from both the target and the caster before allowing the original spell to go through unimpeded.

Counterspell doesnt use up a reaction from the target. Not sure where you've read that.

I personally would prefer it to be a class ability that wizards get as distinct from sorcerors. While sorcers gain innate talent, wizards, who study the process and flow of casting spells are able to distrupt this process in others ×/day based on etc etc
 

Counterspell doesnt use up a reaction from the target. Not sure where you've read that.
Here's how Counterspell works in 5E, in practice:
1) The enemy casts a spell
2) The PC wizard spends their reaction and a spell slot to counter that spell
3) The enemy spends their reaction and a spell slot to counter that counter

The end result is that the spell goes through as normal and the PC wizard loses a spell slot. It's a strictly worse situation than if Counterspell had never existed in the first place.
 

If we're assuming that the opposing spellcaster has counterspell, yes.

I would prefer counter spell to be more like an ability check only certain casters can do (this imo would differentiate wizards from other arcane casters).

In the situation there are 2 counterspellers, this could be resolved in an opppsesd check, aka wizard duel
 

If we're assuming that the opposing spellcaster has counterspell, yes.
I can't imagine not taking it, if it was an option. After all, not taking counterspell means you can't actually cast your own spell, since the enemy will obviously counter it, since it's just a reaction and they don't have to ready an action or anything.

And if you have it, but the enemy doesn't, then they aren't going to waste their action to cast a spell because there's no reason for you to not counter them.

If countering in Pathfinder is so obtuse as to be unusable, then 5E represents the opposite extreme, where it's so trivial as to become meaningless. In both cases, the game is improved by simply ignoring those rules.
 

Anselyn

Explorer
I can't imagine not taking it, if it was an option. After all, not taking counterspell means you can't actually cast your own spell, since the enemy will obviously counter it, since it's just a reaction and they don't have to ready an action or anything.

And if you have it, but the enemy doesn't, then they aren't going to waste their action to cast a spell because there's no reason for you to not counter them.

If countering in Pathfinder is so obtuse as to be unusable, then 5E represents the opposite extreme, where it's so trivial as to become meaningless. In both cases, the game is improved by simply ignoring those rules.

But if you are the fighter, you've just been made more important as the spellcasters rapidly attrit their resources. That may a desirable outcome for the non casters and the game.
 

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