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PF2E Pathfinder 2e: Actual Play Experience

CapnZapp

Legend
shrugs I mean yeah, potency crystal is most commonly used ones, rest of them tend to be more like "Oh, neat, found this, I guess I might as well use it or never bother(puts it into same pile as 50+ cure moderate wounds potions)"(I'm not joking about that, we had hundreds of cure moderate wounds at high level 1e pathfinder just from enemy equipment). Which is my usual experience with consumables in first place, people only buy them if they are bored of saving money or do specifically know they need it or know what kind of success they want to maximize :p
Seems we are in agreement - for consumables in general.

I guess I just take Talisman design more personally than you. I'm insulted by the designer asking me to jump through all these hoops, and for what? To gain a ridiculously restricted and minimal ability for the shortest possible time imaginable? Let me give you my detached and professional opinion: Fuck, no!

50+ cure moderate wounds potions come off as positively generous design work compared to Talismans!
 

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MaskedGuy

Explorer
In general its really hard to tell what newcomers are able to grasp and what they aren't. According to Jason Bulhman thing he was most surprised about 2e was that newbies seemed to grasp it easier and faster than 1e veterans did. Though I'd still be surprised if 5e wasn't even easier to grasp for newbies.

But yeah, I guess I don't mind the list since uh... Well looking for feats to pick for fighter in 1e WAS looking at list. And same way for all archetypes really when you use online sources to have all of them in one place.

Anyhoo, I don't really have strong opinion on treat wounds vs short rest. Starfinder did the short rest version, 2e did it differently, I haven't seen much problems caused by medicine(and usually all gms including the devs I've seen usually just say "you have enough time to heal yourself fully" unless pcs actually have some sort of time limit present.)

Starfinder did do the "your earn income is twice your dice result" but I've seen some people dislike that as well. I think earn income table is overly complicated yeah, but apparently it is to some people's tastes for reasons I don't really know. That said, lore skills are actually surprisingly useful. Like forest lore pretty much allows character without nature to roll nature when subject is forest related stuff. Which is.... Surprisingly useful really xD
 

CapnZapp

Legend
This is why I prefer the 5E way of preparation. This advanced preparation in a game of already weakened magic is too restricting on casters. I'd rather let them prepare level plus appropriate stat number of spells whatever varying levels they want and cast what they need. That is one aspect of 5E I vastly prefer. It punishes preparation casters less and allows classes like clerics to decide between a few useful options with their spell slots while having things like neutralize poison prepared. After some time, I think I'm going to move my PF2 group to 5E casting memorization. I think that would go a long way to fix the caster-wizard balance.
Even in 1e, its usually better to leave few spellslots empty so you can prepare utility spells in case you happen to run into situation where they would be useful rather than prepping utility spell just in case you get to use them.
Obviously you can't just houserule this without invalidating a game choice in PF2 ;)


That is, the game does offer a way for a Wizard to be able to cast any spell (in his spellbook) if only given 10 minutes warning.
 

MaskedGuy

Explorer
Isn't that different thing though? :D That allows you to swap your already prepared slot. I could remember wrong yeah, but as far as I remember, 2e allows same "If you leave slot empty, you can at any time use 10 minutes to prep something in it" rule.

That said, the 5e way is definitely user friendlier to player. (though I kinda dislike what they did with wizards since it makes sorcerers in comparison feel less useful :p )
 

dave2008

Legend
The 4E and PF2 rulebooks are basically only long long lists of choices (powers and feats, respectively).

The 5E rulebook is much more like a general textbook, and like other rpg rulebooks. It contains more text (prose) than tables.

You can't get a sense of what a "fighter" or "ranger" is by just looking at an easy overview. The games are "buried" in lists. I might be able to move past that, but I'm not so sure about many newcomers to the hobby.

Apologies for not being precise.
I must say I had the same feeling. For me personally, who hasn't been a PC in about 25 years, it is very overwhelming and has lessened my desire to play.
 

Puggins

Explorer
Supporter
A huge post. I realized my reply were become nearly as huge so I'm chopping it up.

As I read you, you are defending Paizo's decisions to lock in the exact improvements in a class' fundamental bonuses (to hit, AC, saves).
Not so much defending it as understanding it- in a class-based system there have to be distinctions. The logical question then becomes- Why make a class-based system at all? Which is a very valid question. But we're not discussing that, so class-based system it is, and it has to lock in some differences.

But then you argue the difference isn't that great anyway. Doesn't this mean you're on my side - there was no reason to lock it down, there was no reason to deny the player the satisfaction of making his or her own choices?
Didn't say that- or at least I didn't mean to say it. The differences are really big. REALLY big.

At any given level if a fighter is getting hit 65% of the time (hit on 8+, which seems pretty common) while another one is using a steel shield and raising it, the one raising the shield is taking 25% less damage. That's just for having +2AC and before we even talk about using the shield to block incoming damage. That's... a pretty significant improvement for just adding 2AC.

Giving a character a choice is always good, as long as the choice is genuine- there's no genuine choice between +1 to attack and +2 to athletics and acrobatics (two actual feats in PF1), there was a choice which made your character substantially stronger and one that didn't move the needle at all. There are definitely better feats than others in PF2, but that huge disparity isn't there yet, at least not most of the time.

In 3E it is the multiclassing mechanism that provides the player control over his fundamentals. It is in this light PF2 comes across as weirdly - almost paranoiacally - locked down. There isn't even a token ability to switch around your saves (as in 5E, where you could take a feat to boost a given save, but since you have six of them, you basically chose your most important one and that was it).
There is a way- Canny acumen, which takes the pf2 equivalent of a "Poor" save and makes it a "medium" save.

There is definitely enough design space to sacrifice enough to make a save a "good" save too- it just hasn't been implemented yet.

Being able to juggle around your save proficiencies just like you're allowed to select skill proficiencies would have destroyed nothing, made the game slightly more fun, but most importantly, blunted the impression the game knows better than you, and makes the decisions for you!
Again, I think the design space is there to implement this. The issue here is how to implement it in a way that doesn't just make it an almost-automatic wisdom choice, as in 5e. The saving throws should be a clear point of distinction between classes if they're being used to balance the classes- something that appears to be the case.
 

Puggins

Explorer
Supporter
Regarding skill feats, apologies if I'm wrong, but you come off as someone talking in general as opposed to making a PF2 specific example.

...

The various books contains multitudes of "traps" like this, that basically paralyze your ability to use the game rules loosely and generously. You are basically told to use the rules as written, the full and complete rules - with every little restriction in place - since Paizo has taken the right to sell you a supplement book where that restriction can be mitigated or removed by taking a very special feat. You can never be sure you aren't invalidating a game choice by adopting a "house style" where some actions are just less clunky than in the RAW.
Ah, ok, you're talking the difference between a rule-lite approach, ala 13a and Shadows of the Demon Lord (naming two of my favorite rules-medium/lite games), which is what 5e embraced, for the most part, and rules-heavy approach, which has been Pathfinder's wheelhouse.

I definitely don't mind rules-lite games. In fact, I prefer them, especially when they have include substantial character customization options. 5e, which I think is my favorite version of D&D, doesn't fall in that category. Sure, there are dials you can crank to change effectiveness, but those dials are few in number, and the effect is too radical for my taste- it makes certain builds the "right" build and the whole host of others the "wrong" build.

You are absolutely correct in criticizing PF2 from a rules-lite perspective- it isn't rules-lite. But it wasn't ever intended to be, so there really isn't much point in continuing this part of the discussion- you're right, it's not rules-lite, which is as intended- a good chunk of people like to have definitive rules on crawling, which opens up space for feats that modify it.

Hope you see the difference and the point I'm making - let's not forget, I brought this up as one of the biggest similarities to 4E I'm seeing in PF2.
I hope I do.
 
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Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I can't make you agree with me. As long as you understand my point, you're free to disagree.

I just feel Paizo is doling out gifts as incrementally and specifically as possible. It's like being spoon-fed, never getting slightly more food, never getting slightly less.

I dislike the feeling of being completely controlled - yes, I can make a fighter with this highly specific maneuver here at the cost of not being able to make that maneuver there.

That feels unnatural and gamist. I prefer a slightly looser game framework where the player and GM is given at least minimal trust, minimal latitude to work it out for themselves.

It makes everything look and feel so very complicated. And you always feel at the mercy of the publisher.

Yes, some might like it. But remember it makes the CRB read like a purchasing catalog rather than a living breathing rulebook. It's likely one of the biggest barriers to entry from new customers, especially given the competition. I had hoped this format died out with 4E.
I think we've seen with 5E and every version of every game besides PF2 that I know of that it is really hard to have balance from 1 to 20 without tight math.

Heck, even 4E which this is being compared to failed at balance. There were powers and abilities that were clearly better than other ones. Every single wizard or caster who could in 4E took Flaming Sphere. This spell was absolutely the superior choice at the level and for many levels up. I think every barbarian took the same at will power because it was superior that gave him constant temp Hps. Even 4E had a lot of min-maxing.

I have never in my entire 30 plus years of gaming seen a game as carefully balanced as PF2. I know some people don't love that balance. And maybe DMs asking for that tight balance will find that they don't like it as much as they thought they would. But this is what they gave us. A game that is playable from 1 to 20 with very little modification that is challenging that still includes lots of ways to build a character even if it is mostly a visual difference. This is the price of game balance from 1 to 20. The very tight math must have taken them a while to reach with quite a bit of testing, but they have as near as I can tell accomplished what nearly every other game has failed at for decades of game design: a very balanced game that you can play nearly any character concept in from 1 to 20.

Now we'll see how much people like what so many have requested for so many years. Because this is that game that may win the award for most balanced game over largest number of levels in RPG history.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Obviously you can't just houserule this without invalidating a game choice in PF2 ;)


That is, the game does offer a way for a Wizard to be able to cast any spell (in his spellbook) if only given 10 minutes warning.
Since it is our house game, I can do this. Done it before in PF1 or 3E elminating feats or requirements when we for example made it up to the player to choose between Dex and Str for attack rolls and combat maneuvers like grappling. We just write the feat out of the system and ignore it.

Every game has things in it that some want to change that might interfere with the rules. You just do it.

I know you're a good enough DM to do such things, explain how it will change the game to your players, and analyze the material effects on balance and gameplay. If you make it so Treat Wounds doesn't require a roll and reduce the time, I doubt any of your players will notice. One of the main reasons my players don't notice is because we don't spend much time thinking about it. We just ballpark the time, make a few rolls, done. 10 minutes to me just like the 6 second round is an arbitrary measure of time decided by the game designers for ease of tracking. In my mind's eyes, combats are longer, more like you would see in a movie or a real fight, and downtime is what we think it looks like. The numbers are there to provide a framework, not to trap you in that framework. We DMs can manipulate those activities to get the feel we want. If don't care, then we let them have plenty of downtime, handwave the treat wounds rolls, and be done with it. If we want to build tension and push the characters into tighter circumstances, then we make those Treat Wounds rolls feel important and pressured like if you don't get these wounds patched up, your party might die.


For me this has always been a game of manipulating the game elements for a desired outcome within a story. I don't see why PF2 would be any different other than it's starting point is far more balanced than other games. I feel like once I learn this game thoroughly since it is relatively new, then I'll be able to make it do what I want it to do with less problems at higher levels designing encounters. That's a win for me.
 

dave2008

Legend
And maybe DMs asking for that tight balance will find that they don't like it as much as they thought they would.
I would also add players to that query. Regardless, that is the question I am wondering too. I used to want balance, but 4e taught me that I don't. I still really like that game, but have decided I don't really like so much balance, and PF2e is more balanced then 4e. That makes me a bit worried, but not enough to not give it try. I think from a player perspective I can mostly ignore the balance.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I must say I had the same feeling. For me personally, who hasn't been a PC in about 25 years, it is very overwhelming and has lessened my desire to play.
You should be ok. Nice thing about PF2 is you can't really make any mistakes. Even in 4E you could make mistakes choosing inferior powers. In PF2 you can make a poison rogue, a thug str rogue, or a dex rogue and be relatively equally effective. Or a 2 weapon ranger or an archer and be just fine. There aren't many choices you make that will make you suboptimal.

In PF1, 5E, or even 4E, you had to force the character idea to fit the powers. In PF2 you can write a character you want to play first, then figure out what powers or choices will let you play it without feeling like you made sub-optimal choices. If you write down I want to be a knife throwing former circus performer, you can build that fairly easy.

PF2 really reinvigorated my character building, which I really enjoyed. No more orc warlord-elemental bloodline sorcerers with empower spell and quicken to make the super damage dealing sorcerer. Now I built an ancient elf sorcerer with the undead bloodline who was stillborn and raised by a wizard father who brought him back with arcane magic that manifested within the character as the ability to channel positive and negative energy to destroy his enemies while multiclassing as a wizard to show the wizard training his father gave him. I made a blue dragon instrinct drow barbarian wielding a Falchion whose sword crackles with electricity when he rages. Yeah, you can make an elf barbarian even with the -2 Con and be just fine. I made a stormborn half-elf druid whose mother was struck by lightning while pregnant who also has a affinity for animals. You can literally make any concept you feel like making and can find the feats to make and not feel like you short-changed yourself. That is a huge change over 5E, PF1, or any edition of D&D I've played in the past except maybe Basic/Expert D&D where you had very few choices.

I was so tired of having to play a 2-hander weapon user in PF1 or 5E to be a decent martial. Or a magus using shocking grasp. Or a caster taking the same feats every time to maximize my power. Or having to deal with master summoners. Or in 5E choosing a 2-handed weapon user with GWM or an archer with Sharpshooter or make some Paladin Multiclass with smite or a sorlock as a caster while having a bard with bless to optimize the group. Watching my players unable to find optimized ways to build characters and feeling like they can make any class any way they want to make it has been incredible refreshing in PF2.

Now that my players can't find the optimal way to play, they just try different things depending on what catches their interest. They don't focus on weapons with better crit ranges or ability enhancing magic items or classes with the best feats or any of that. They just read the classes and go, "This looks interesting. Let me give this a shot." They find that no matter what they pick other than wizard, they are fun and effective.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I would also add players to that query. Regardless, that is the question I am wondering too. I used to want balance, but 4e taught me that I don't. I still really like that game, but have decided I don't really like so much balance, and PF2e is more balanced then 4e. That makes me a bit worried, but not enough to not give it try. I think from a player perspective I can mostly ignore the balance.
All I can say is my players have reached level 12 with me running the Age of Ashes AP and I have been able to challenge them without having to modify anything but a few hit points totals. And that is a huge difference from what I used to have to do to challenge lvl 12 characters in PF2. It was the same for me in 5E as by lvl 12 5E characters also trivialized the game using monsters as ran out of the book. PF2 is the first time I've seen level 12 characters be challenged by monsters out of the book dating as far back as 2E.

And as a DM the monsters still feel real and the combats are fun to run while PCs still feel like powerful adventurers fighting powerful enemies that threaten their lives.

Thus why I am pleasantly surprised by PF2. When I read the PF2 playtest book long ago, we thought it would suck and planned to stick with PF1. On paper it looked boring and like nothing we would want to play. Then we were between games and I didn't want to run 5E, so we decided to give PF2 a shot. And it surprised all of us how much fun it was play versus how boring it was to read.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Honestly, those aren't even the best examples!

Picture this. Your party has been ambushed by an invisible stalker when you are running low on spells and are in the middle of healing. The ranger immediately used his "Hunt Prey" on it, so he is a having a little less trouble locating it than the other characters. The first round goes badly for the party. Beginning of 2nd round, the ranger pulls out a dagger. When he hits, the player says "OK, I let go of the dagger so the other characters know where the monster is".

Except....that's pretty much the "Revealing Stab" feat .

How about this? A character asks if he can disguise the fact that he is casting a magic spell. Well, a DM might be tempted to allow this, but make it really difficult. "You can certainly try..." the DM says, "but you will first have to make a Deception check opposed by the target's Perception to hide the verbal components, then a second Stealth check opposed by the target's Perception to hide the somatic effects." But wait! That is the "Conceal Spell" feat ), and that is a Wizard exclusive.

Arguably, the situation is even worse in the second case: if the DM allows it despite the fact that the feat already exists, guess what? Bards and rogues are now better at concealing magic than wizards, the only class that is supposed to be able to.

Can I play a musical instrument to distract the guards while the rogue sneaks in the background? Do you have the "Fascinating Performance" feat? Even if you do, unless you are an Expert in Performance, you will only affect one guard? I'm a cleric of Sarenrae, do I really need to roll a Religion check to remember the tenets of my own faith? "Student of Canon" suggests you do. I want to play my pan flute to impress the dryad. Do you have the "Impressive Performance" feat? When meeting a group of people for the first time, can I try to impress all of them? Do you have the "Group Impression" feat (which at Expert level, allows you to impress 4 people at the same time)? (Side note - Is that what passes as an Expert in Diplomacy these days? You can impress a whole 4 people at a time?)

As a DM, my instinct when a character comes up with something is "Yes, and..." or "You can certainly try...", but Pathfinder 2 makes it difficult.

I would also like to point out that there is a flip side the coin. One side is addressed above: rules prevent the characters from doing things that by all rights, they should be permitted to at least try. The other side is this: the rules clearly allowing characters to do things that don't make sense (and in my case, breaking my immersion in the game).

We are running "Fall of Plaguestone". After much difficulty, we confront the first boss (SPOILERS!), [HIDE]Hallod[/HIDE], a named, humanoid opponent. What's the first thing my wizard character does? I Recall Knowledge on this person I never met before. OK. Guess what? As a wizard with a high intelligence, I am better placed to know that we are fighting a fighter than the archer/fighter standing next to me.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Honestly, those aren't even the best examples!

Picture this. Your party has been ambushed by an invisible stalker when you are running low on spells and are in the middle of healing. The ranger immediately used his "Hunt Prey" on it, so he is a having a little less trouble locating it than the other characters. The first round goes badly for the party. Beginning of 2nd round, the ranger pulls out a dagger. When he hits, the player says "OK, I let go of the dagger so the other characters know where the monster is".

Except....that's pretty much the "Revealing Stab" feat .

How about this? A character asks if he can disguise the fact that he is casting a magic spell. Well, a DM might be tempted to allow this, but make it really difficult. "You can certainly try..." the DM says, "but you will first have to make a Deception check opposed by the target's Perception to hide the verbal components, then a second Stealth check opposed by the target's Perception to hide the somatic effects." But wait! That is the "Conceal Spell" feat ), and that is a Wizard exclusive.

Arguably, the situation is even worse in the second case: if the DM allows it despite the fact that the feat already exists, guess what? Bards and rogues are now better at concealing magic than wizards, the only class that is supposed to be able to.

Can I play a musical instrument to distract the guards while the rogue sneaks in the background? Do you have the "Fascinating Performance" feat? Even if you do, unless you are an Expert in Performance, you will only affect one guard? I'm a cleric of Sarenrae, do I really need to roll a Religion check to remember the tenets of my own faith? "Student of Canon" suggests you do. I want to play my pan flute to impress the dryad. Do you have the "Impressive Performance" feat? When meeting a group of people for the first time, can I try to impress all of them? Do you have the "Group Impression" feat (which at Expert level, allows you to impress 4 people at the same time)? (Side note - Is that what passes as an Expert in Diplomacy these days? You can impress a whole 4 people at a time?)

As a DM, my instinct when a character comes up with something is "Yes, and..." or "You can certainly try...", but Pathfinder 2 makes it difficult.

I would also like to point out that there is a flip side the coin. One side is addressed above: rules prevent the characters from doing things that by all rights, they should be permitted to at least try. The other side is this: the rules clearly allowing characters to do things that don't make sense (and in my case, breaking my immersion in the game).

We are running "Fall of Plaguestone". After much difficulty, we confront the first boss (SPOILERS!), [HIDE]Hallod[/HIDE], a named, humanoid opponent. What's the first thing my wizard character does? I Recall Knowledge on this person I never met before. OK. Guess what? As a wizard with a high intelligence, I am better placed to know that we are fighting a fighter than the archer/fighter standing next to me.
Not really a problem in my opinion. The feats you suggest make those abilities automatic and unquestioned. Whereas the DM can certainly allow a player to use a skill in an outside the box way for a specific thing without having to apply a condition to it. For example, if a player wants to conceal a spellcasting, he doesn't have the metamagic feat for it to alter the spell component itself. So he would have to say use his napkin to hide his mouth requiring a deception, perhaps one more difficult than normal if insufficient props.

Or he doesn't need to fascinate or impress the group. He can instead convince them or distract them for a few rounds if appropriate. No in game feat needed. He does what he needs to do. It doesn't have a condition.

The feats you noted have specific game rules that can be applied in any situation. The player has control over them due to his expertise rather than the DM controlling the situation allowing something specific to occur. A Fascinating Performance doesn't care if you're using it on an orc or a nymph, the player gets to use it. Whereas the DM can still say the nymph is responsive to beautiful music, so if you give a good enough performance you can convince her to do do such and such or delay combat. The DM can still allow people with skills to use them to resolve issues in a creative fashion, but the player also has control over the use of his skills to use them in a tactical manner. It seems this system allows you to do either.

Not sure why DMs are thinking the rules somehow override their ability as DM to allow players to creatively use their abilities. I know I have had zero trouble allowing player creativity same as any edition. More feats that allow for player agency do not disallow the DM from allowing creative use of abilities.
 

dave2008

Legend
You should be ok. Nice thing about PF2 is you can't really make any mistakes. Even in 4E you could make mistakes choosing inferior powers. In PF2 you can make a poison rogue, a thug str rogue, or a dex rogue and be relatively equally effective. Or a 2 weapon ranger or an archer and be just fine. There aren't many choices you make that will make you suboptimal.
I think you misunderstood or I was unclear. I'm not concerned about "making any mistakes." that has never been an issue for me or my players in any edition of D&D we have played. We just don't play that way. However, my concern is that there should be, IMO, sub-optimal choices. That makes the game feel more real to me. Having everything balanced just rubs me a bit wrong.
 

dave2008

Legend
All I can say is my players have reached level 12 with me running the Age of Ashes AP and I have been able to challenge them without having to modify anything but a few hit points totals.
OK, but what does that have to do with my fear that the game is over balanced?

Thus why I am pleasantly surprised by PF2. When I read the PF2 playtest book long ago, we thought it would suck and planned to stick with PF1. On paper it looked boring and like nothing we would want to play. Then we were between games and I didn't want to run 5E, so we decided to give PF2 a shot. And it surprised all of us how much fun it was play versus how boring it was to read.
That could be true for me too; however, it is also a real issue for me. I skipped 2e and 3e on large part because I didn't like the look, format, and layout of the books. I like to think I'm past that, but I have had the CRB since the first week it was released and I've barely touched it. Any time I open it up, I get the feeling it is going to be to much work.
 

dave2008

Legend
Not sure why DMs are thinking the rules somehow override their ability as DM to allow players to creatively use their abilities. I know I have had zero trouble allowing player creativity same as any edition. More feats that allow for player agency do not disallow the DM from allowing creative use of abilities.
I agree with you; however, it was real issue some people had with 4e powers too. Some players didn't want to do anything that wasn't in a power, even though 4e had a powerful improvisation engine built in. To break my players of their reliance on their "powers" I ran an adventure completely without powers and we did everything with improvised actions (even spells) and used DMG 42 to adjudicate it. So I get and agree with your point, but @CapnZapp has noted the it is a problem for him and it is likely a problem for others. Best to be aware of it and not just dismiss it, or you might not pick up on it when it is happening.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I think you misunderstood or I was unclear. I'm not concerned about "making any mistakes." that has never been an issue for me or my players in any edition of D&D we have played. We just don't play that way. However, my concern is that there should be, IMO, sub-optimal choices. That makes the game feel more real to me. Having everything balanced just rubs me a bit wrong.
Really? Maybe you won't like it then. I don't like making a two-weapon fighter and being the red-headed step-child to the two-hander fighter. I don't like archers being supreme damage dealers while ranged magic users are left with AoE damage. I don't much enjoy having to take the same feats or spells over and over again to be effective. It gets boring. I don't like it when there is a wide gap in effectiveness between varying styles and builds that make one super-optimal over another to the point where playing the other choice is something you do "just because."

Given you don't have anyone playing paladins or like in your 5E game, I find your idea of optimization strange. The paladin two-weapon user with Greater Weapon Master is vastly superior to any of the other martials. If no one is making them in your game, how would you even know if something is sup-optimal. Just like if no one in your group is making a hand crossbow wielding sharpshooter, how do you even know they are making suboptimal choies? Or a sorlock? Or using a bard with bless? The way you describe your group is they don't make any of the optimal choices, but you want the game to allow optimal choices? Hard to understand where you're coming from.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
OK, but what does that have to do with my fear that the game is over balanced?
Because fun is the primary driver of the game. If I'm still having fun playing, then no reason to believe the balance is a problem. You can have fun playing PF2.

That could be true for me too; however, it is also a real issue for me. I skipped 2e and 3e on large part because I didn't like the look, format, and layout of the books. I like to think I'm past that, but I have had the CRB since the first week it was released and I've barely touched it. Any time I open it up, I get the feeling it is going to be to much work.
It is a lot of work to start. If you don't want to commit a lot of small rules to memory, maybe avoid the game. I am learning new small rules all the time like shields requiring an interact action to remove and switching between one hand and two-hands for weapons takes an action. Though you can release a hand for free. And I just used the crafting rules to make a magic item. Only required one roll, but you had to calculate the reduction in cost for full price using the earn income table and number of days. It's less than PF1 in overall complexity, but a lot more than 5E. It's not what I would call a rules-lite system save in comparison to PF1 or 3rd edition. It still has a lot of little rules that will take you and any players time to learn. Though I wouldn't focus too much on missed rules and just play to start with and learn as you go. I'm coming from PF1, so learning a bunch of rules is ok for me. I committed most rules to memory in PF1 which had more. I'm doing the same in PF2. But if you're coming from 5E, then this is a big jump in the number of rules you need to memorize and the amount of reading you need to do. I think PF2 game designers are building this according to PF1 player wants and complaints than to take players from 5E.

I know the biggest complaints about PF1 that I saw were:
1. Game Balance: Game balance was terrible past lvl 7 or so. And non-existent at higher levels. PCs were superheroes disguised as fantasy characters easily able to hit for hundreds of points of damage per round per character or cast spells that ended battles with a single missed save often forcing enemies to save multiple times against the same spell. Or they just made it so the enemy couldn't fight back making it just a beatdown fest for the PCs.

2. Ease of Preparation: PF1 required an immense amount of preparation and understanding of the game rules to know how to counter high level PCs. It required hours of preparation and planning for encounters that often lasted anywhere from a few rounds to 10 or 15 rounds depending on rolls.

3. Martial-Caster Balance: Martials did the most damage. But who cares, casters had all the real power. Casters were god-like and their weapons were limited by what spells could do, which wasn't much of a limit.

PF2 addresses all of these concerns without losing the feel of a living, breathing world. That was what was important to me. If none of those areas concerned you, then PF2 is just another game with some interesting subsystems. PF2 took all the complaints from PF1 DMs and players, then produced PF2. I think they addressed most of the primary complaints I heard on the various forums without ruining the game. It doesn't sound to me like those complaints were anything you worried about.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I think you misunderstood or I was unclear. I'm not concerned about "making any mistakes." that has never been an issue for me or my players in any edition of D&D we have played. We just don't play that way. However, my concern is that there should be, IMO, sub-optimal choices. That makes the game feel more real to me. Having everything balanced just rubs me a bit wrong.
I'm pretty sure there are ways to make choices that don't work with the particularly campaign at hand. For example, if you're playing in an arctic or alpine campaign, the ranger could chose something more tropical for his favored terrain feat. There are opportunities to make choices like that, but I doubt they're completely crippling.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

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