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PF2E Pathfinder 2e: Actual Play Experience


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CapnZapp

Legend
Writing your own adventures (in the sense that you're designing your own combat encounters from scratch) certainly requires a certain sense of how the system works and what characters are capable of withstanding.

Getting it wrong and risking a TPK or three is just part of the learning curve. PF2 certainly isn't as... infinitely patient... as 5E is. For instance, when WotC maxes out at "deadly" encounters, I'd have to peg that as somewhere between "moderate" "and severe" in Paizo parlance, and certainly nowhere near "extreme".

I have pitted maybe two encounters at "extreme" encounter budget. Over many months. Compare that to 5E where every session had to feature at least one fight at deadly (or far beyond!) for the players not to get bored...

Talking about reasonably seasoned players minding their minmax playing each game with feats, multiclassing and treasure turned "on" now.
 
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Nilbog

Snotling Herder
Writing your own adventures (in the sense that you're designing your own combat encounters from scratch) certainly requires a certain sense of how the system works and what characters are capable of withstanding.

Getting it wrong and risking a TPK or three is just part of the learning curve. PF2 certainly isn't as... infinitely patient... as 5E is. For instance, when Paizo calls an encounter "severe" or "extreme", that's many levels above what WotC calls "deadly".

Talking about reasonably seasoned players minding their minmax playing each game with feats, multiclassing and treasure turned "on" now.
And to me that's a plus point. I find that building encounters fits what the guidelines say.

I love 5e to bits but I found encounter building was more hit and miss and finding the sweet spot for a particular difficulty isn't as easy as easy as in PF2
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Just had a player die. And we don't have the gold to get them back. Looks like you can die again and can't get them back easily. Flesh to Stone is nastier than I thought it was.
 





CapnZapp

Legend
 

jeffh

Explorer
While Paizo encourages its AP writers to playtest, this isn't a requirement and many are not run.
I find this mind-boggling, but it explains a lot. At least in this case they have a good excuse, but my experiences with "normal" APs haven't been much better albeit in the opposite direction.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I find this mind-boggling, but it explains a lot.
As you say yourself, the context of this comment was the very first adventure. There's nothing unexpected about the fact that the first adventure(s) for a ruleset by necessity must be written before the ruleset is finalized.
 

zztong

Explorer
I thought I'd resurrect this one with the actual play testimonials.
At this point I think you'll largely get testimonials from those who found it appealing enough to stick with it. You can resurrect the thread, but the conversation will be much different that it was months ago.
 

Retreater

Legend
At this point I think you'll largely get testimonials from those who found it appealing enough to stick with it. You can resurrect the thread, but the conversation will be much different that it was months ago.
True, but after seeing the system in use for close to a year (my own campaign only a few months), I can have a much deeper discussion about gameplay, issues I've noticed, etc.
Plus I think not reducing a game's success only to conjecture about its financials is a good focus.
 

I find this mind-boggling, but it explains a lot. At least in this case they have a good excuse, but my experiences with "normal" APs haven't been much better albeit in the opposite direction.
There are typically time constraints. All the AP authors are generally working on their part at the same time, so you don’t know what equipment or treasure the PCs will have.
The assigned freelancer is given an outline and plots out the major encounters and then submits that for evaluation. They get that back with encounters added/removed, monsters changed, and the like. Then they flesh everything out.
But they have less than a month to basically write the whole thing.
But play testing would take over a month. And effective play testing would involve multiple groups running through things.

A few writers might test key encounters, but testing fights with pregens isn’t very effective or accurate (people don’t know their charcater’s abilities, people aren’t attached, people don’t know synergies or strategies).
And it’s hard. Finding groups can be tricky, even for freelancers. And telling your friends “the game we only get to play once a month is off because I want to run a few plot-less combat encounters” is unsatisfying.

But testing if the plot makes sense and flows well? Not usually possible.
 

JmanTheDM

Explorer
hey all. long time lurker. just a quick report of my experiences with PF2e. I've now GM'd 3, 4-hour sessions of The Fall of Plaguestone through Roll20 with 5 players. This is the first time I've ever played or GM'd any Pathfinder. I have hundreds of sessions of 5e and other editions of D&D under my belt. we play bi-weekly.

of the 5 players, 2 are enthusiastic (notably, character creation options and tactical choices during combat). 2 are meh - neither wowed nor adverse to the game, and 1 is dropping out due to rules confusion (this player and myself are also in an online 5e game, and its his first time playing both PF2 and 5e, and he's spending way to much time just trying to recall and remember rules and differences between the both).

I expected a worse reaction TBH. all of my players are (save 1) 5e players, none have any Pathfinder experience and a couple were actively anti-3.5e. I had to sell it pretty hard by highlighting some of the 2e improvements (3 actions, feat pools, char gen options, critical's, etc.). Losing only a single player is IMO, a win. I honestly thought most would be "well, Jman, good game, but this is too reminiscent of 3.5, and I have better things to do with my life than re-live that period of time :) )

myself, I love it. if I could, I'd switch all my Face 2 face games over to Pf2e. I'm still lost as hell to all the rules, conditions, edge cases, and if/then clauses - but for me it feels tight, it feels internally consistent, and for the most part there is a lexicon throughout that once things start permeating through my thick head, I feel will lead to a bunch of AH HA! moments. (though, as an aside, Conditions! My god, how does anyone track this in-game?) Unlike 5e, where I've really only read the PHB once, and glanced at specific rules over the years, PF2e feels more like effort in = effort out, and (at least for the gm) will require work, multiple reads, lots of page flipping and, like, taking notes :). so far, this work has not bothered me but I can certainly empathize with GM's who might not want to put in the work. bottom line, PF2e feels like a niche game to me - really attractive to those players and GM's who want their D&D to be crunchier, with a large heaping of player choice. Those who want a fast, quick to enter, quick to play game, or those who are teaching RPG's, not an ideal first choice. But dare I even say it, those who want to graduate to a more "Advanced" version of D&D, wow!

the adventure (Plaguestone) has been universally derided as being boring. I agree. The combats have been tough and fun, and the players especially LOVE the fact that they are zooming around the battlefield and getting to do a bunch of fun things, and make tough choices. while combats are slower than 5e, by a long shot, I feel it is more than made up for with how dynamic it all feels.

we've gotten to play with some downtime activities (which was mostly earning income, some RP, and a few dice rolls), and Exploration mode. nothing notable, but I do like that there are choices outside of combat that utilize the skills PC's have to assist with dungeon delving and travel.

For my little corner of gaming, PF2e has been a great Virtual Tabletop game to play - almost perfectly suited for VTT's (roll20). the only regret I now have is not simply doing my own thing rather than running plaguestone, but that was simply due to not expecting to make it past session 1 and faced with learning the system AND building an adventure or just learning a system and buying a module - I picked Lazy :)

I got interested in wanting to try PF2 as a player as I wanted a bit more choice. I didn't really ever want to run the game because it felt too crunchy for me. I was and still am intimidated as hell with Society play and with the quarantine I figured what the hell. PF has gone from a game where I only wanted to ever play to one that I'm actively trying to figure out how to run more and convert in-progress games over to.

Cheers,

J.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
hey all. long time lurker. just a quick report of my experiences with PF2e. I've now GM'd 3, 4-hour sessions of The Fall of Plaguestone through Roll20 with 5 players. This is the first time I've ever played or GM'd any Pathfinder. I have hundreds of sessions of 5e and other editions of D&D under my belt. we play bi-weekly.

of the 5 players, 2 are enthusiastic (notably, character creation options and tactical choices during combat). 2 are meh - neither wowed nor adverse to the game, and 1 is dropping out due to rules confusion (this player and myself are also in an online 5e game, and its his first time playing both PF2 and 5e, and he's spending way to much time just trying to recall and remember rules and differences between the both).
Quick follow-up question - any of you and your players have 4e experience?
 

JmanTheDM

Explorer
yes. the 2 enthusiastic players and 1 meh player plus myself were all involved in a 20+ session "mega dungeon" 4e "campaign". it was a bunch of fun and we all very much enjoyed it for what it was - not "D&D" per say, but a tactical squad based combat game :). Back then 4e was a curiosity and our group wasn't really into D&D games - we were much more into short-term non-traditional games and we'd keep cycling through different systems (eg, fate, WHFPRG3e, Unisystem, Deathwatch, mythender, FFG star wars etc etc etc).

cheers,

J.
 



billd91

Hobbit on Quest
yes. the 2 enthusiastic players and 1 meh player plus myself were all involved in a 20+ session "mega dungeon" 4e "campaign". it was a bunch of fun and we all very much enjoyed it for what it was - not "D&D" per say, but a tactical squad based combat game :). Back then 4e was a curiosity and our group wasn't really into D&D games - we were much more into short-term non-traditional games and we'd keep cycling through different systems (eg, fate, WHFPRG3e, Unisystem, Deathwatch, mythender, FFG star wars etc etc etc).
How do you feel PF2 compares\contrasts to 4e as far as feel? 4e has had a lot of influence on PF2 and I was curious how much you could tell.
 

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