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PF2E Pathfinder 2e: Actual Play Experience

CapnZapp

Legend
This what I don't understand. Why would you want a game with choices that so clearly outclass other choices if you don't play that way? Why would you want them to exist?
That's reductive, Celt, and you know it.

No, this isn't about choosing "would you like +10 damage or pink fingernails".

It's a question about who gets to build the character. The player or the game.

In PF2 you easily get the impression the game is building your character for you, when you aren't allowed many (any?) choices that really matter.

We should be able to discuss why the player isn't trusted enough to choose which save to maximize, for instance, (or whether to focus on saves or AC, to take another example) without that being characterized as "you want choices that clearly outclass others".
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
And if that is an issue hurting the game for them, their options are house rules or different game. I'm just saying that they are only as problematic as you make them. At some point, you have to decide if the other elements of the game are desirable and you can house rule the parts you don't like in such a way to make them palatable.

We know by this point they are not going to rewrite the game to change these things. So house rules is the only method for dealing with them or just doing things the way you want to do them. If you're playing PFS, then you're at the mercy of their rule decisions. If you're playing pick up games, then you let the players know your house rules and they decide if they want to play with you.

The design for PF2 is pretty much done and decided. Options for official adjustments are likely not coming. DMs gotta do what they gotta do at this point to make things work.
Hate to break it to ya but forum discussions are quite often about things you can't actually change ;)
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Personally when running a game like 5e I often feel like I am doing all the heavy lifting - that the game is providing no actual value outside of combat.
An interesting take.

I wouldn't have said PF2 is better at ooc stuff than 5E myself. I'll keep this in mind as we level up.
 

dave2008

Legend
This what I don't understand. Why would you want a game with choices that so clearly outclass other choices if you don't play that way? Why would you want them to exist?
I've seen people run the numbers for 5e and clearly outclass is an exaggeration. IMO, every build in 5e is effective. Some do more damage, but the difference is, IMO, minimal. But to be honest, my players don't look at that stuff or seem to care. We have 2 fighters in my current group and only one chose GWM and they are thinking about retraining that feat because with the -5 they miss to often.

However, that is not really what I am talking about. If each feat was just as effective as the next, that would be fine. It doesn't matter to me or our group one way or the other.

Also, to be honest, 5e is to balanced for me too. I would prefer unbalanced races.
 

dave2008

Legend
The design for PF2 is pretty much done and decided. Options for official adjustments are likely not coming. DMs gotta do what they gotta do at this point to make things work.
Agreed, but that never stops people from pointing out things they don't like!
 
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dave2008

Legend
It is what it is. If you are looking for a game where the rules of the game fade into the background you probably should not be playing either edition of Pathfinder. Pathfinder Second Edition wants you to be actively engaged with the rules. It defines what a character is capable of both in combat and out of combat. That allows them to build in meaningful progression of noncombat prowess (that is not just numbers). It also means that when I am running a game I get to be meaningfully surprised by how things go.
Is that really a requirement to play? I guess I am weird in that I like designing rules, but not playing with them! I am fascinated by the design of PF2e. On paper it is close to my ideal game (with a few tweaks); however, I simply don't want to play a game were I have to master the rules to have fun. @Celtavian hinted that I could still enjoy PF2e and learn the rules through play. Are you suggesting that is incorrect, that you really have to master the rules to enjoy PF2?
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Is that really a requirement to play? I guess I am weird in that I like designing rules, but not playing with them! I am fascinated by the design of PF2e. On paper it is close to my ideal game (with a few tweaks); however, I simply don't want to play a game were I have to master the rules to have fun. @Celtavian hinted that I could still enjoy PF2e and learn the rules through play. Are you suggesting that is incorrect, that you really have to master the rules to enjoy PF2?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t help in learning the game that the rules are poorly edited.
Examples

Blinded works like concealed (in that you need a flat check to target something if you are blind).

Is this explained in the summary of conditions at the end of the book? No (though for concealed, which works similarly, it is explained there). How about in the conditions section under “Playing the Game”? Still no. It is explained in the “Detecting Creatures” subsection, under the subheading “Hidden”.

The Artificer wanted to Repair a Shield. Is the DC to do sounder the Repair action in the Skills section? No. “The GM determines the DC based on its level, rarity and other circumstances.” Ok, how about the Equipment section? Still no, and no useful redirects. Ok, “Crafting and Treasure” Section? Nope, its in the Game Mastering section “Craft” subsection (but you need to cross-reference the item level).

Last example. Does “frightened” affect a character’s AC? Ah ha! The condition says that it only affects a character’s DCs. But wait! The definition of AC specifies that it is a special type of DC. But double wait!! Is it “the character’s” DC? Isn’t it literally the Difficulty Class of the creature trying to hit you? We finally landed on “yes”, frightened does affect DCs.
 

BryonD

Hero
I think the pro-2E comments are completely valid at face value. But the flaw is that they look at the game in a vacuum.
If there were no other TTRPGs in the world and I had PF2E, I expect I'd be thrilled.
But there are other games. And PF2E is held to the standard of doing a BETTER job of delivering fun and fulfillment at the table than the other choices available.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I think the pro-2E comments are completely valid at face value. But the flaw is that they look at the game in a vacuum.
If there were no other TTRPGs in the world and I had PF2E, I expect I'd be thrilled.
But there are other games. And PF2E is held to the standard of doing a BETTER job of delivering fun and fulfillment at the table than the other choices available.
Exactly my point when I question the launch of PF2 in a world where 5E has already achieved mega success.

PF2 does have definite merit, but did it have to come across as so clueless about two things?
a) the success and popularity of 5E
b) pretty much the exact opposite for 4E

I say, no, I don't see any reason why Paizo couldn't have made a successor to their Pathfinder game that at the very least made a token effort to take those two factoids into account. To me, PF2 comes uncomfortably close to existing in an alternative timeline where 4E was appreciated and 5E didn't exist. Almost as if the game was developed during 2008 and then collected dust in a desk drawer for a decade.
 

BryonD

Hero
I say, no, I don't see any reason why Paizo couldn't have made a successor to their Pathfinder game that at the very least made a token effort to take those two factoids into account.
Heh, at the risk of cross referencing threads.... I think the "like 4E" thing is a big factor here.
Now, I'll repeat my position that PF2E is UNLIKE 4E in a lot more ways than it is LIKE 4E. In my opinion, it is a weak analysis to say that PF2E is like 4E.

BUT...
I strongly believe that the roots of 4E and the roots of PF2E both being reaction to the 3X core system can't be denied.
And this is a squeaky wheel gets the grease kind of thing. The people who disliked the balance issues (bugs for some, features for others, but certainly bugs for those squeaking) were LOUD and constantly repeating. I'm sure the design teams in both cases had those complaints ringing in their ears eternally.
I won't suggest that they were not completely fair and honest concerns for some people. But I will say that the significant number of players who had no problem with these issues (ranging from "its a feature" to "whatever") didn't go around posting how awesome it was ever other day. People don't work that way. So after literally a DECADE in the Paizo case, this water torture had an effect.
The mentality that "our next game will be a balanced as any game in the history of the universe" mindset seems practically overwhelming.

They went very different directions once that foundation was set. But that foundation itself, very much the same.

And it crushed their chance for the "token effort" you speak of. I truly think they were so saturated in the vocal minority eternal drone that they had no idea it was happening. I think they were shocked that so many of their old fans were so disappointed.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
I don't like that type of game design. I much prefer a type of game design where you can pick a fighting style or character type that is a relative power level where you do things differently, but not sub-optimally. If the two-weapon fighter and the two-hander fighter do roughly the same amount of damage with maybe the two-hander guy getting a higher weapon die while two-weapon guy gets an additional attack, then we have much closer balance and less of a feeling of the two-weapon guy being mathematically less valuable than the two-hander guy in nearly every circumstance.
Here’s something funny. I played 8 levels as a sword and board Dex-based Eldritch Knight. I never felt sub-optimal (and I had several utility spells).

Same group, PF2, I was begging my DM to allow my wizard to retrain out of Ray of Frost for Electric Arc after 3 sessions. When I took Ray of Frost I didn’t think it would bother me that it was sub-optimal but it did.

So what was the difference? In PF2, I didn’t just feel sub-optimal, I felt useless. The other characters were dealing 10+ per hit, and regularly hitting twice in a round, whereas I was doing 7 points of damage (with a high of 9).

When I first started PF2, I was concerned that that I had 3 AC less than the champion, because I was afraid that a monster would sidestep the champion and drop me in one turn. This fear was overblown, because it simply wasn’t worth the monster’s action to move around the champion and drop me.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Now, I'll repeat my position that PF2E is UNLIKE 4E in a lot more ways than it is LIKE 4E. In my opinion, it is a weak analysis to say that PF2E is like 4E.
Happily I am not providing such a weak analysis :)

I have quite emphatically stated that PF2 is not 4E and does not play like 4E.

I have also said I see clear design similarities between PF2 and 4E, and I have detailed in which specific areas my comparison applies.

I therefore trust you weren't talking about me even though it was me you quoted :cool:
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Same group, PF2, I was begging my DM to allow my wizard to retrain out of Ray of Frost for Electric Arc after 3 sessions. When I took Ray of Frost I didn’t think it would bother me that it was sub-optimal but it did.
Both my casters (one Wizard, one Cleric) uses Electric Arc almost exclusively (amongst their cantrips). Not only does it avoid having to make spell attack (where a miss means zero damage and not half damage), it also targets two creatures, not one. So the fire or cold cantrips deal three or four times as much damage, right? No - they deal comparable damage! o_O

That said...

Even though the cantrip situation is a clear and unequivocal bungle on Paizo's side I wouldn't draw too big conclusions on that. Celt is right that PF2 is overall the (by far) more balanced game.
 
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Porridge

Explorer
Exactly my point when I question the launch of PF2 in a world where 5E has already achieved mega success.

PF2 does have definite merit, but did it have to come across as so clueless about two things?
a) the success and popularity of 5E
b) pretty much the exact opposite for 4E
FWIW, I think the developers stated that they weren't aiming to have PF2 be a 5e competitor, but rather a game that appealed to people who didn't like 5e because they wanted a crunchier ruleset. (Though, of course, PF2 is still streamlined and less crunchy than PF1/3.5e, so they were clearly aware of the general market trend toward simpler games.)

So I don't think PF2 was designed in ignorance of 5e. Rather, I think it was designed with 5e firmly in mind, and with the intention to not be a 5e clone that was fighting for the very same customers.

(Now, of course, whether this is what they should have done, and whether they should have developed the game this way versus some other way, etc, are different questions.)
 
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Eric V

Adventurer
We get it. You and your group are obsessed with optimisation. Not every group is, and you don't need to repeat it every two posts.
It's not about optimization. It's about game design resulting in some options being stupidly obviously better than others.
 

Eric V

Adventurer
I think this line is what I will end up having repeated the most often during these discussions...:

If everybody's special noone is.

That is, if you can't make any wrong choices, you can't make any right choices either, which dampens the very important part of many D&D players' enjoyment - the charbuilding phase.
Maybe you shouldn't be making 'right' or 'wrong' choices...maybe you should be making 'style' choices, or 'preference' choices.

Why in the world would game design come up with some rule for PC creation in order to have the reaction of "Poor schmoe who chooses this...damn."?
 

dave2008

Legend
It's not about optimization. It's about game design resulting in some options being stupidly obviously better than others.
That is what an optimizer would say.

My players are intelligent well educated people (mostly masters and some PHDs), yet they almost never take the "stupidly obviously better" option. They simply don't look at things that way. I feel like it is really hard for optimizers to understand the non-optimizer mindset (and probably vice versa).
 

Eric V

Adventurer
That is what an optimizer would say.

My players are intelligent well educated people (mostly masters and some PHDs), yet they almost never take the "stupidly obviously better" option. They simply don't look at things that way. I feel like it is really hard for optimizers to understand the non-optimizer mindset (and probably vice versa).
I don't understand why, in game design, my style choice necessitates me being less effective than another person's style choice.

That is a legit question whether one cares about this sort of thing or not.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
I think this line is what I will end up having repeated the most often during these discussions...:

If everybody's special noone is.

That is, if you can't make any wrong choices, you can't make any right choices either, which dampens the very important part of many D&D players' enjoyment - the charbuilding phase.
I think there are 2 things that are true in relation to this statement.

1) The market as a whole is moving steadily away from "character building as a method of demonstrating/utliizing system mastery" and towards "character building as expression of style and aesthetic."

2) The Pathfinder player base has a disproportionate amount of the players who do favor character building as its own subgame, and that remnant is still large enough to be worth targeting.

I think PF2 might have tried to split the difference and ended up not squarely hitting the target for either camp.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
It's not about optimization. It's about game design resulting in some options being stupidly obviously better than others.
Except that isn’t the case. It is only the case if your criteria for “stupidly, obviously, better” is:
  • does most damage;
  • in combat;
  • against enemies in melee;
  • who don’t have spells that shut down my character;
  • or are a large number of weaker enemies;
  • or other situations that make them hard or impossible to hit;
  • and I don’t care about Dex-based skills;
 

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