Pathfinder 2e: Actual Play Experience

CapnZapp

Hero
Well, to me it seems a bigger disconnect to say "in this scene you go first because of your high perception score/result" but then also say "but you havent seen a thing that gives you reason to go do anything".

I like having initiative be perception based but it would seem to me that that should be a perception check in full - used for spotting too, not just a half-check. That would resolve the conflict and help the sequence in the scene make sense organically.

This has the feel of a "look down the alley for ogre I was chasing" where you see the ogre but miss the dragon cuz you were looking for ogres.

Let percrption checks be perception checks and let the GM use those for initiative order - fine. But making initiative checks be percrption checks that dont determine perception is... conflicted.

In 5e play, a GM can let initiative be percrption based, because its an ability check by using the variant scores ruke, but it's not required to be separate. When visibility was compromised, I have done it more than a few times.
Not sure what you're saying.

On one hand, your post could be construed to accuse me of being that "nope, no ogres here" GM...

On the other, you seem to actually engage with the issues at hand when you identify the disconnect and say you're conflicted.

So I guess I'll better defer any comment.
 
To be clear, building characters takes a lot of reading and referencing. But in actual play PF2, like every d20 system, is immediately playable once you have a character. Occasionally you might say “hey, it’s dark, does that help” and then either the GM lets you know the bonus or you look up a rule, so if you have a new GM or you like looking stuff up, you can read rules a lot.
But stating that PF2 is different from 5E, 4E, 3E, PF1 in this respect is straight up wrong. At least from the POV of a player, rather than a theorycrafter.
So, can you give us an example, from actual play, of the exploration -> combat transition and how it relates to initiative?
 

Mistwell

Hero
Threads drift. This one was about actual play experience, but you segued from that to a long, contrived hypothetical illustrating what might be an issue with PF2 initiative.
Eric commented that it was a common problem in many systems - an oblique 'defense' to your 'attack' perhaps - to which I replied that the issue was evident, but easily soluble, IMX, with d20 games as far back as 3.0.

So, I made no claim about PF2. At most, implied that "lotsa games have that problem" isn't a defense, if indeed, any attacks or defenses, real or imagined were involved.
If only some mod would step in to speak to this issue and resolve it.

Oh wait...

Mod Note:

This thread started out looking for actual reports about people playing Pathfinder 2e.

At the moment, it seems to be a lot more theorycraft (which the OP specifically didn't ask for) and re-prosecution of preferences of past editions.

Could you folks at least try to bring it back around?
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Not sure what you're saying.

On one hand, your post could be construed to accuse me of being that "nope, no ogres here" GM...

On the other, you seem to actually engage with the issues at hand when you identify the disconnect and say you're conflicted.

So I guess I'll better defer any comment.
Did not mean to say anything about you GMing the no-ogres way. That was zcreference to the system or suggested method of treating the unit per roll as if it us an init toll and pretending it was not a perception roll causing a disconnect.

In my games, if you are asked to make a percrption check, it will give you perception driven results.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Pathfinder Second Edition does not have opposed actions. There are no contests. Every check is done against a DC to allow for range of success and failure.

This is also not a game where GMs call for checks. Every check is part of an action or activity with defined outcomes. You do not make a Perception check. You Search or Seek. You do not make a Stealth check. You Avoid Notice or Sneak. You do not make a Diplomacy check. You Gather Information, Make An Impression, or Convince.

A player who is Avoiding Notice gets to roll Stealth and gain the benefits of Sneak because that's like what they have been doing. I think they probably should have said that a player who has been Searching should get to pick an area as usual for Seek and gain the benefits of Seek using their initiative roll as well.

You also do not have to roll initiative to find out what happens with Avoid Notice. It's quite possible you could be spotted and it not be the right time to go to Encounter Mode. That transition is entirely up to GM judgement. Generally I would only call for initiative for a combat encounter once somebody gets murder in their hurts. For passing a sentry I would do a secret check against the sentry's Perception DC. If they were searching in the area the Rogue was passing they would get a chance to use Seek for free even if the Rogue passed. I would save those rolls for Initiative if I thought it merited dropping to encounter mode. Those sentries could just as well act like they did not see anything until the Rogue passed or one could nonchalantly go back to warn their fellows.

I think some people have tendency to treat these things like they are hard coded when the text explicitly tells us that a lot of these things come down to GM judgement.

I agree there is some weirdness when a player who rolls well for initiative regardless if they were rolling Stealth, Perception or Survival (which might be using if you were tracking) has their turn come up when they are not aware of any enemies. So far we have handled this by having players delay on their turn.

One potential way to handle this might be to treat this as simply having a sixth sense that something is up or only treating enemies as unnoticed when they win initiative. In that case they would still be Undetected (do not know where they are, but know something is out there). It is really only the Unnoticed bit that causes weirdness.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Pathfinder Second Edition does not have opposed actions. There are no contests. Every check is done against a DC to allow for range of success and failure.

This is also not a game where GMs call for checks. Every check is part of an action or activity with defined outcomes. You do not make a Perception check. You Search or Seek. You do not make a Stealth check. You Avoid Notice or Sneak. You do not make a Diplomacy check. You Gather Information, Make An Impression, or Convince.

A player who is Avoiding Notice gets to roll Stealth and gain the benefits of Sneak because that's like what they have been doing. I think they probably should have said that a player who has been Searching should get to pick an area as usual for Seek and gain the benefits of Seek using their initiative roll as well.

You also do not have to roll initiative to find out what happens with Avoid Notice. It's quite possible you could be spotted and it not be the right time to go to Encounter Mode. That transition is entirely up to GM judgement. Generally I would only call for initiative for a combat encounter once somebody gets murder in their hurts. For passing a sentry I would do a secret check against the sentry's Perception DC. If they were searching in the area the Rogue was passing they would get a chance to use Seek for free even if the Rogue passed. I would save those rolls for Initiative if I thought it merited dropping to encounter mode. Those sentries could just as well act like they did not see anything until the Rogue passed or one could nonchalantly go back to warn their fellows.

I think some people have tendency to treat these things like they are hard coded when the text explicitly tells us that a lot of these things come down to GM judgement.

I agree there is some weirdness when a player who rolls well for initiative regardless if they were rolling Stealth, Perception or Survival (which might be using if you were tracking) has their turn come up when they are not aware of any enemies. So far we have handled this by having players delay on their turn.

One potential way to handle this might be to treat this as simply having a sixth sense that something is up or only treating enemies as unnoticed when they win initiative. In that case they would still be Undetected (do not know where they are, but know something is out there). It is really only the Unnoticed bit that causes weirdness.
I appreciate your efforts to make PF2 come across as natural and simple, but really...

In the very same post you both say "This is also not a game where GMs call for checks" and then immediately do exactly that, decide as the GM to do checks. If people have a tendency to treat these things like they are hard coded it might just be because of language like yours, where "Every check is part of an action or activity with defined outcomes". :)

You also take the liberty of using actions in Exploration mode even though they're specifically described in the Encounter section ("actions" in exploration mode are called activities). I'd really appreciate a rules reference discussing this.

Cheers!

PS. I guess what I'm saying is that, yes, obviously I'm experienced enough to have zero issues, as long as I do what works. But now I'm trying to learn the game. Before I ignore the rules I would like to understand what happens when I follow them :)
 

CapnZapp

Hero
To describe what's different with PF2 (compared to most other games I've tried), let me try this:

Imagine a classic prison escape scene. Maybe the one at the start of Out of Sight with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. You know, a cleared area, fences, guard towers, the works. Somewhere there's a hole with people crawling out.

The GM calls for initiative, but the guards don't see anything. All they can do is sound the alarm, and Seek (using searchlights). Then it's the inmates turn. All they do is try to avoid an encounter. The rounds pass by and not a single attack roll is made.

See? It's not that PF2 is exactly weird, strange or bad. Just... different.

Instead of going right to the action ("I charge the monster") PF2 makes allowance for the seconds immediately prior to that when not everyone knows what's going on; where actions related to panicked calls ("Where is it? Where is it?") such as Seek or Point Out are still relevant.

Very crunchy, very detailed - you need to keep track of the exact "awareness level" of each hero (in relation to every sneaking monster, though as soon as there is at least something to shoot, this problem is much lessened)

Tldr: If you expect PF2 to work like you're used to, where an encounter starts and initiative is rolled with the express purpose of getting to the action, it does not seem to work that way if I understand the RAI correctly.

(Of course, it can still work that way, when nobody is hiding, and the door is kicked down! :) )
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
These are the sections from the Game Mastering chapter I am basing this on:

Core Rulebook p. 496 said:
Exploration mode is intentionally less regimented than encounters. As a result, during exploration you’ll be making judgment calls on just about everything that happens.
Core Rulebook p.496 said:
Actions and Reactions: Though exploration isn’t broken into rounds, exploration activities assume the PCs are spending part of their time using actions, such as Seeking or Interacting. If they have specific actions they want to use, they should ask; you can decide whether the actions apply and whether to switch to encounter mode for greater detail. PCs can use any relevant reactions that come up during exploration mode.
Core Rulebook p.498 said:
Improvising New Activities

If a player wants to do something not covered by other rules, here are some guidelines. If the activity is similar to an action someone could use in an encounter, such as Avoid Notice, it usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute (such as using the Sneak action 10 times) or an alternation of actions that works out similarly (such as Search, which alternates Stride and Seek). An activity using a quicker pace, corresponding to roughly 20 actions per minute, might have limited use or cause fatigue, as would one requiring intense concentration.

You might find that a player wants to do something equivalent to spending 3 actions every 6 seconds, just like they would in combat. Characters can exert themselves to this extent in combat only because combat lasts such a short time—such exertion isn’t sustainable over the longer time frame of exploration.
Core Rulebook p.498 said:
Rolling Initiative

Transitioning from exploration to an encounter usually involves rolling for initiative. Call for initiative once a
trap is triggered, as soon as two opposing groups come into contact, or when a creature on one side decides to take action against the other.

For example:
  • A group of PCs are exploring a cavern. They enter a narrow passage patrolled by a group of kobold warriors. Now that the two groups are in the same area, it’s time to roll initiative.
  • Amiri and a kobold champion agree to have a friendly wrestling match. They square off on a patch of dirt, and you call for initiative using Athletics.
  • Merisiel and Kyra are negotiating with the kobold king. Things aren’t going well, so Merisiel decides to launch a surprise attack. As soon as she says this is her plan, you call for initiative.
  • Harsk and Ezren are trying to Balance across a narrow beam to reach an isolated kobold treasure trove. When they get halfway across, a red dragon who was hiding behind the mountain flies around to attack! As soon as the dragon makes its appearance, you call for an initiative roll.
I am not making the argument that the GM is not bound by the rules. Just that their application requires GM judgement. The relationship the GM has with the rules occupies a middle ground between the Pathfinder First Edition approach and the Fifth Edition approach.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
You still need to explain/discuss the discrepancy between going first and seeing something, Campbell.

Just saying "you rolled the highest so you can attack anyone" or "the monster goes first, since it lay in ambush" is fine from a general sense, but I can't see how the rules work that way.

Unless you're saying the reason the rules work is that other rules tell you to not use them...?
 

Numidius

Explorer
I understand that initiative is rolled when the opposing parties are present and ready to take action.

Where is the discrepancy?
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Ok, I read it. My question now is: why roll for initiative since neither lurker or heroes decided yet to take action?
Okay, fair question.

So lurker does decide to take action. Wait, maybe heroes spot him first! And what about McSneak? Shouldn't there be a chance he isn't spotted by the monster?

Let's see what the rules has to say about resolving these issues...
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
Imagine a classic prison escape scene. Maybe the one at the start of Out of Sight with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. You know, a cleared area, fences, guard towers, the works. Somewhere there's a hole with people crawling out.

The GM calls for initiative, but the guards don't see anything. All they can do is sound the alarm, and Seek (using searchlights). Then it's the inmates turn. All they do is try to avoid an encounter. The rounds pass by and not a single attack roll is made.

See? It's not that PF2 is exactly weird, strange or bad. Just... different.
I guess ... I'm not sure what you've been playing all these years CapnZapp. It's really so strange to you to start an encounter scene where one group is unaware of another? All your combats are just about people charging and attacking first round?

To me that sounds more like the odd viewpoint. I mean, I've played and run countless 3.5 and 4E games and this happens all the time. In fact THIS EXACT SCENARIO YOU DESCRIBE has happened many times. Are you seriously telling us that PF23 has introduced you to a new concept by having encounters that do not start with an attack?

Completely regardless of system, this would be a normal sequence in any game I run:

Player: I sneak across the yard, taking cover in the trees
GM: Ok, Let's go to initiative <People roll>.The Guards go first, but they don't see anything. Your turn
Player: I sneak across <moves figure>, getting a <X> result
GM: They don't notice you. Their turn, they have no reason to do anything ...

As a GM I'd usually run this not as an encounter, but there are plenty of reasons I might want to (and often do) ; there might be a trap or terrain feature that the players blunder into, or a guard they haven't seen taking a piss behind a bush they head to; or I expect someone to fail their stealth check and so expect a fun starting position on the tactical map.

Am I missing something? I honestly find it hard to believe this is something nw to you in PF2. But if so, congratulations! Pathfinder 2 has helped you improve your game!
 

Imaro

Adventurer
I guess ... I'm not sure what you've been playing all these years CapnZapp. It's really so strange to you to start an encounter scene where one group is unaware of another? All your combats are just about people charging and attacking first round?

To me that sounds more like the odd viewpoint. I mean, I've played and run countless 3.5 and 4E games and this happens all the time. In fact THIS EXACT SCENARIO YOU DESCRIBE has happened many times. Are you seriously telling us that PF23 has introduced you to a new concept by having encounters that do not start with an attack?

Completely regardless of system, this would be a normal sequence in any game I run:

Player: I sneak across the yard, taking cover in the trees
GM: Ok, Let's go to initiative <People roll>.The Guards go first, but they don't see anything. Your turn
Player: I sneak across <moves figure>, getting a <X> result
GM: They don't notice you. Their turn, they have no reason to do anything ...

As a GM I'd usually run this not as an encounter, but there are plenty of reasons I might want to (and often do) ; there might be a trap or terrain feature that the players blunder into, or a guard they haven't seen taking a piss behind a bush they head to; or I expect someone to fail their stealth check and so expect a fun starting position on the tactical map.

Am I missing something? I honestly find it hard to believe this is something nw to you in PF2. But if so, congratulations! Pathfinder 2 has helped you improve your game!
To be fair it seems that he's trying to suss out how you would run this in PF2e officially via the rules... I don't think he's asking what your way or anyone else's way would be. But I could be wrong.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
We do not disagree about the facts on the ground. I just disagree that it is not intuitive.

I feel you are placing way too much emphasis on the fact that some characters are rolling Perception for Initiative. You are not rolling Perception for initiative because your character is being hyper vigilant. You are rolling it because it is the default setting. You were not doing something that means you are more likely to spot a hidden adversary than someone who rolled Stealth or Survival.

We roll Perception for Initiative in all sorts of situations that have nothing to do with spotting a hidden assailant. We could be having a tense conversation and someone reaches for a blade. Players roll Perception for Initiative when their characters are sleeping.

Initiative does not correspond to any action taken by our characters. It is a simple determination of who goes first. For the purpose of Initiative Perception is simply measuring basic situational awareness and intuition. It carries a pretty heavy load in this edition. You use it as a defense against stealth, to locate hidden enemies and objects, Initiative, and Sense Motive among other things.

You are already benefiting from your Perception as a defense against the lurker's Stealth check. We do not use opposed rolls because you are not actively trying to find the hidden assailant and because rolls are not opposed because of degrees of success. They gain the benefit of that check because they were already using Avoid Notice which is basically just Sneak repeated over and over.

The way I see it when you roll high for Initiative, but do not see the lurker coming is that your character has the intuitive sense that something is up. They do not know what. They have no idea a creature is there, but something just feels wrong.

Except in the case of a critical failure you are not like actually going to see the lurker anyway. You might have an idea of where they are, but they are at least hidden to you unless they really flub their roll. Before they reach you they will need to make at least one more Stealth roll and need to still be concealed or under cover when they attack. Otherwise they automatically become observed.

I do agree there is some potential weirdness with asking a player to act when they have no information to act on. This happens regardless of what you rolled for Initiative though. I also do not see that as license to provide a character with the benefit of actively scanning for a hidden enemy.

This is something that should have been addressed in more detail. It will be in the Gamemastery Guide. I really wish they would have had that book available alongside the Core Rulebook and Bestiary. While I love this game it really is not complete yet. Some very crucial bits are coming in the GMG.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I guess ... I'm not sure what you've been playing all these years CapnZapp. It's really so strange to you to start an encounter scene where one group is unaware of another? All your combats are just about people charging and attacking first round?

To me that sounds more like the odd viewpoint. I mean, I've played and run countless 3.5 and 4E games and this happens all the time. In fact THIS EXACT SCENARIO YOU DESCRIBE has happened many times. Are you seriously telling us that PF23 has introduced you to a new concept by having encounters that do not start with an attack?

Completely regardless of system, this would be a normal sequence in any game I run:

Player: I sneak across the yard, taking cover in the trees
GM: Ok, Let's go to initiative .The Guards go first, but they don't see anything. Your turn
Player: I sneak across , getting a result
GM: They don't notice you. Their turn, they have no reason to do anything ...

As a GM I'd usually run this not as an encounter, but there are plenty of reasons I might want to (and often do) ; there might be a trap or terrain feature that the players blunder into, or a guard they haven't seen taking a piss behind a bush they head to; or I expect someone to fail their stealth check and so expect a fun starting position on the tactical map.

Am I missing something? I honestly find it hard to believe this is something nw to you in PF2. But if so, congratulations! Pathfinder 2 has helped you improve your game!
I don't care for your attitude, and so won't bother replying.

Rephrase if you want to discuss further.
 

Numidius

Explorer
Meanwhile I read on Paizo forum that this issue had been discussed one year ago, with many solutions provided by posters, without an official rule, AFAIK.

From what I read here by @Campbell, the rules say it's up to the Gm to make the transition between Exploration mode and Encounter mode.

My opinion so far is that until no one at the table wants (or is forced) to engage in the three Actions economy of actual encounter/combat mode, the game proceeds using the slower Activities by the party and/or npc involved.
 

Kel Ardan

Explorer
Last night I ran the initial session for Hellknight Hill and it had a few bumpy moments but it went pretty well.
I've been a big fan of the Adventure paths since they started coming out for PF and so I figured I'd go with this
book to start my group on Pathfinder 2nd Ed to see the balance of their encounters and the difficulties the writers think work well.

The book isn't written all that well and you can kind of tell the rules were still be decided while it was being
written and it feels rushed (ie. just like Horde of the Dragon Queen for D&D 5th Ed). Hopefully the path gets better as the you get deeper into the book series. My 3 players are all long term players of RPG's (all in their 40's) and they all really liked character creation and found it was fun. The 3 action economy definitely runs smoothly and they enjoyed it but you can tell it makes them think about their choices wisely. They used some social skills in the Tavern and were able to gather info well during that scene. The initiative runs pretty much like any initiative but the change to perception went ok and the rogue using stealth instead didn't really cause much confusion (basically he was in stealth mode and when an encounter started he stayed in stealth mode when everyone rolled perception and his stealth number is compared to the others perception number).

We have a wizard and cleric and both players enjoyed their spell selections and cantrips really have enhanced how good a caster can be (just like it did in D&D 5th Ed). The fighter had a run of bad luck and really had a hard time hitting his targets but he understands that sometimes it is just luck or bad luck. I'm thinking conditions are going to take a minute to get used to the new rules but I think after a couple more sessions it will all become second nature.

I'll keep you all updated as the game goes on.
 

qstor

Adventurer
Lack of Legendary Monsters/Layer Actions: I get that Pathfinder monsters have more actions on the aggregate, but I really dug how a 5e Dragon affected the very terrain it occupied in a gameplay manner.
Nothing prevents from you as GM, say having a dragon or a lich casts spells on its lair before hand or build traps. There's examples in the 3E Draconomicon and Libris Mortis, I think.

As an addendum, my players are deadset on making a permanent switch to Pathfinder, but honestly I want to see what Paizo adventure paths are like before I commit myself. We're diving into Rise of the Runelords converted into 2e. TBH this looks really promising, but the D&D official stuff has been phenomenal so we'll see.
Kingmaker is being officially converted to 2E and has a lot of great reviews. You might take a look at that. I'd love to see an official conversion of Rise of the Runelords.
 

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