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Pathfinder 2E Pathfinder 2e: is it RAW or RAI to always take 10 minutes and heal between encounters?

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
You will have to exemplify that claim.

(Please don't suggest I am basing my criticism on ignoring core rules, it is unbecoming)

There are rules for how climbing works. They are short, simple to comprehend, and let you know exactly the latitude they provide the GM. If you follow those rules no feat will cause you any issues.

I get you do not like the game rules actually having an impact on basically anything except combat, but it's obvious PF2 is not trying to be that type of game. It's been obvious since Day 1. It's not some breaking flaw. It's just not the design decision you would have made.
 

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How can we ever criticize any ruleset if we are required to add a layer of Shey common sense first?

You aren't required to do anything. But when you jump to a conclusion that a feat that says "with this feat you can do X in Y specific fashion" that its saying X can't be done at all otherwise, I am not required to follow you there, because that doesn't follow from the first statement.

Since the rules do not accommodate or recognize the notion that "yes you paid for that feat, but you shouldn't bitch when I talk myself into it at the table for free", why aren't I allowed to point to the inhibiting consequence as a drawback of the system?

Again, no one is suggesting you should be allowing it for free, just for a different cost, whether its in terms of a more difficult roll, a penalty while you're doing it, or something else. That's not the same thing as "can't do it without a feat.".

Especially since so many other games give you D&Dish goodness without this ever being such a prevalent problem?

[Citation needed]. Every damn D&Doid that doesn't just toss it entirely in the GM's lap in the first place (and I don't see that as any improvement at all) has this same exception-based design issue. Its been a chronic issue all the way back to AD&D (or even arguably Greyhawk for OD&D).

The core issue I see with PF2, after all, is how Paizo again and again chooses the needlessly complicated - and complicating - approach to every little rule.

"Needlessly" is a judgment call, and can't be anything but.

For no apparent benefit as far as I can see, except creating a void for splat books they can then fill.

And because you don't see it, everyone else is required to share your view. As per usual.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Why? Why are you shafted by the rules design? You can just do what @kenada said and give a penalty. It's that simple. There's nothing that says you can't.



I mean, there's nothing that says you can't do that currently in the rules, as @kenada points out. But taking your suggestion, you're just adding a bunch of complexity and rules because now you probably need to create a bunch of DCs to remember and possibly skill levels to gate these abilities at. You can't make this argument about there being too many rules and then proposing a huge expansion of abilities, checks, and DCs. It's incoherent.



This argument is absurd. Why is it inexcusable to add a feat where a player can win a contest against a monster because they invested in that feature? That's something that should be encouraged, not removed. If you're dedicated to making it so that the monster makes it a contest, then give them something similar. This is not a system problem, this is a weird problem about you not wanting to have to change something because you have a certain encounter in mind.
This reply is so antagonistic my belief in your good faith is wavering.

I am comparing to a system with DC based limits and thus no need for thousands and thousands and thousands of feats. It is clearly and obviously less complex; it is outrageous of you to try to claim otherwise.

Again, if your response to any rules criticism is "you can just fix it, just add what Kenada suggests" you are impossible to converse with.

If the feat gave a bonus that's fine. A feat that makes victory automatic for the haves against any have nots is extremely disruptive to the narrative. Especially handing out things to heroes that no monster or NPC can ever match is just absurd.

PF2 makes even the most basic things like climbing or jumping complicated. That's a valid criticism in my book.

PS. On phone, can't/won't reduce the quoted text to only the pertinent bits
 

With thousand of feats, this is not pertinent.

Of course it is. A small number of misdesigned feats is not a critique of a whole system.

(Just because 1500+ feats aren't targeted by this criticism does not mean the remaining 50 or 100 hidden throughout twenty levels of more than dozen classes spread over a dozen sourcebooks aren't problematic)

So are we back to arguing exception based design is intrinsically fraught? Because if that's where we're at, you've picked the wrong person if you expect an argument.

I will argue however that you've vastly misrepresented what feats that enhance skill use do, for the same reason Keneda has.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
You are clearly playing the game in your own style, Kenada.

But please do not dismiss my criticism based on me not adopting your playing style. Just because something makes sense to you doesn't mean it is so, and that we can't criticize the rules.

I am sure a hypothetical game that ships a copy of you along with every purchase will be infinitely better than anything else on the market.
I’m responding to the use of Combat Climber as an example of how PF2’s character customization gets in the way of making a ruling to allow the player to attempt something that doesn’t work by default. The rules for making skill checks specifically allow the GM to decide the skill and DC appropriate to an activity, which is often a skill action, but often is not always. Based on the rules, a GM could make a ruling allowing someone to attempt to climb with a weapon in their hand.

That’s not “kenada’s style”. That’s just how RPGs work. The GM has to make rulings because the rules aren’t comprehensive. You’re accusing me of substituting my style of play, but I cite sources. If there’s anyone here who is making unsubstantiated assertions about how PF2 works and what’s intended, that person is not me. Ad hominems are not conducive to productive discourse.

If you say "sure you're a high level fighter of course you can climb with a weapon in hand" you're shafted by the rules design.
If you’re making one ruling to allow the fighter to climb with a weapon, then why can’t you make another for someone with the feat to compensate them accordingly? The GM in this situation has already decided to interpret the rules loosely regarding character customization, so why is ruling a class can do something extra okay but feats have to be interpreted as rigidly and inflexibly as possible?
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
PS. On phone, can't/won't reduce the quoted text to only the pertinent bits
For what it’s worth, you can select text in a post and tap reply to selectively quote those selected bits. If there’s already text in the box, it’ll just get added to the end of the post. It’s what I do when I’m on my phone, and it’s a lot easier than trying to edit posts down (especially since iOS 15 seems to have broken selecting text on some web forums).
 

This reply is so antagonistic my belief in your good faith is wavering.

I am comparing to a system with DC based limits and thus no need for thousands and thousands and thousands of feats. It is clearly and obviously less complex; it is outrageous of you to try to claim otherwise.

You're replacing thousands of feats with thousands of different kinds of checks with different DCs to remember. This is way more complex because, unlike feats, a GM has more reason to know skill checks because they have the potential to be used by any player. Compare this to a Feat, where you don't need to know it unless your player brings it up. Your version is far more complex.

Again, if your response to any rules criticism is "you can just fix it, just add what Kenada suggests" you are impossible to converse with.

No, you simply don't engage with things that fit outside your box.

If the feat gave a bonus that's fine. A feat that makes victory automatic for the haves against any have nots is extremely disruptive to the narrative. Especially handing out things to heroes that no monster or NPC can ever match is just absurd.

PF2 makes even the most basic things like climbing or jumping complicated. That's a valid criticism in my book.

No, it just means the person with the Feat automatically has it, and the GM can adjudicate whether or not the other person could attempt it.

You can't talk about PF2 making climbing and jumping complicated when your solution is just turning feat abilities into skill checks.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
It's hard for me to imagine any rules for climbing that would be simpler than what we have in PF2 that would count as specific rules at all. What rule other than GM calls for a check and decides what the check means would be simple enough?
 

It's hard for me to imagine any rules for climbing that would be simpler than what we have in PF2 that would count as specific rules at all. What rule other than GM calls for a check and decides what the check means would be simple enough?

Until you get really wacky speeds, it's basically 10 ft-5 ft- 0 ft - fall. If you invested in Assurance, it's not even a roll.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Primarily through not offering such a framework (instead making feats out of it).
I just don’t agree that the existence of skill feats is the limiter you make it out to be. They don’t generally let you do something with a check. They let you do something without a check, do it with more effect, or do it more efficiently. If a GM wants to allow someone to Make an Impression against a group and allows it at higher DC (even though I think an Influence challenge would be better), then it’s not like Group Impression has suddenly become terrible or useless.

Secondarily through proficiency with level; ensuring any DC based scheme would still fail even if it was introduced.
I can see the argument. If one set a DC to climb with a weapon, then eventually characters should be able to do it all the time even without the feat. In that situation, I think the feat would still have some value because it would let you succeed automatically well before you could do that naturally. It feels like a catch-22. How does one reconcile character customization with permissive improvisation?
 


Kaodi

Adventurer
I think it would nice to see an adventure where every encounter featured ways to split up the enemies into smaller encounters to avoid a punishing result for the PCs who are being... suboptimal. I would also kinda like to see adventures where time was treated as a resource of source, but behind the scenes: things happen the longer PCs take.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I just don’t agree that the existence of skill feats is the limiter you make it out to be. They don’t generally let you do something with a check. They let you do something without a check, do it with more effect, or do it more efficiently. If a GM wants to allow someone to Make an Impression against a group and allows it at higher DC (even though I think an Influence challenge would be better), then it’s not like Group Impression has suddenly become terrible or useless.


I can see the argument. If one set a DC to climb with a weapon, then eventually characters should be able to do it all the time even without the feat. In that situation, I think the feat would still have some value because it would let you succeed automatically well before you could do that naturally. It feels like a catch-22. How does one reconcile character customization with permissive improvisation?
What that Group Impression tells me is:
  • you can't address more than one person at a time. For combat intimidation that's okay - for general roleplaying it is incomprehensibly limited for no good reason... other than what I've been arguing the whole time: to create the design space for Paizo to sell you a new feat.
  • if you allow what should have been obvious and natural - that is, allow a character to address a small crowd regardless of level - you are invalidating the feat. You're arguing it is not "terrible or useless" but that's relativizing. The feat has objectively lost value. Some players will consider the value lost to be significant. That others might not is small comfort to those that do. That's all there is to say.

In other words, thank you for bringing up yet another example of the rules design approach Paizo has chosen for 2E that I find reprehensible.

PS. "permissive improvisation" Aaah a concept Paizo wouldn't recognize if it bit them on the ass. Yes, Paizo claims their game is all sorts of customization-friendly. I consider all of it smoke and mirrors. That is, it's utterly false marketing naughty word. I have never seen a more tweak-hostile game in my long long life as a ttrpger. Creating a new class is a nightmare where you're expected to come up with a full catalog of hundreds of feats.

The worst part? None of it is necessary! In fact, the game would be unreservedly better if at least 50% of the options, of the wordage (probably more like 80%) were just cut out completely, thrown on the garbage pile without even replacing it with something else. Just removed, and the remainder would be straight up better in every way.
 


Teemu

Adventurer
Hundreds of feats to homebrew a class? The magus has 40 class specific feats, plus a bunch that it shares with others. Homebrewing a caster is pretty simple all things considered since you don’t have to curate a spell list (which is the hurdle in 5e for example).

That said, Group Impression and the like are bad design.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
What that Group Impression tells me is:
  • you can't address more than one person at a time. For combat intimidation that's okay - for general roleplaying it is incomprehensibly limited for no good reason... other than what I've been arguing the whole time: to create the design space for Paizo to sell you a new feat.
You don’t need Group Impression to tell you that because Make an Impression explicitly indicates it works only with one target at a time. That’s also how influencing NPC attitudes worked in 3e and Pathfinder 1e. (Personally, I think the NPC attitude stuff from 3e is crap, but that’s how the game works as written.)

  • if you allow what should have been obvious and natural - that is, allow a character to address a small crowd regardless of level - you are invalidating the feat. You're arguing it is not "terrible or useless" but that's relativizing. The feat has objectively lost value. Some players will consider the value lost to be significant. That others might not is small comfort to those that do. That's all there is to say.
Sure, it’s possible that someone will be very unhappy that a GM made a permissive ruling to allow something at a higher cost or difficulty. I’m sure someone could be equally unhappy in 5e when the GM allows someone to make a check to remain alert to danger while engaging in another travel activity (since that’s what the ranger’s Natural Explorer feature does).

This isn’t a problem unique to Pathfinder 2e. That’s just the nature of exception-based design. If people are comfortable making rulings in PF1 or 5e, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be equally comfortable making rulings in PF2.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
No exception based design does NOT mean this.

You can (and should) create your game in such a way that there aren't wonky artificial limits that only specific feats get past.

If your rules say a certain activity is possible but hard, and then offer a feat that grants +5 or advantage or whatever, then you have a much better, friendlier ruleset.

And it is still exception based!

Only there is nothing for the GM to risk invalidating, since the rules already give permission for everybody to try the activity!

So no, there's nothing "gaming as usual" going on here. Pathfinder 2 is significantly more controlling the GM than any other game I can remember. Just about every little thing you can think of in terms of allowing "grease" to make the game flow better with fewer niggly limitations... are already "taken" by Paizo, since "there's a feat for that".

The end result is that players need a complicated and ever-changing checklist of feats that each individual GM is likely to invalidate or value-reduce simply by being generous, wanting to speed up play, to encourage cinematic sequences rather than getting bogged down, or for some other worthy reason.

This is a seriously controlling design philosophy, folks. It could easily been avoided, but for some reason Paizo decided it wanted to drown players in the absolute highest number of feats imaginable!

Every possible +1 or -1 gets its own feat in this game (sometimes more!) It is not needed. It drives up the apparent complexity of the game while not substantially increasing the number of meaningful decision points. It makes the experience for newcomers as hostile as possible.

In short, it is baffling Paizo went this way. I could have predicted dozens of ways the successor to Pathfinder 1 might turn out, and I would never have guessed they would go for "let's take the worst aspects of 4E and double down on those! Let's flood our game with thousands of feats, spells and items, the vast majority of each category being either interchangeable or downright suboptimal!"

I realize Paizo is creating the illusion of choice, where you're given hundreds of decision points... but once you realize almost none of it has any meaningful impact on your character's capacity, while almost all of the actually significant choices from PF1 were taken away...

Then you realize PF2 is a seriously flawed game.

Far underneath the absolutely massive chunks of overcomplication is a polished gem of a game. But it is awfully hard to appreciate given the sea of dross you need to swim in to access it.
 
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Nilbog

Snotling Herder
I don't think the make impression rules are great, I'd not say broken, but I'd be tempted to use them a little differently.
If my PC's were trying to rouse the villagers to rise up against a tyrant by giving a motivational speech, i'd gust go with a flat diplomacy check (In this instance I'm making the assumption the villagers want to rise up, but just need a spark), however if the PC's had been captured by a hostile force and were under trial, then I'd fall back on Make impression (and be default the Group Impression feat) for them to sway the jurors to their side. It does make a niche feat even more niche, but I'd be willing to go with it, as its not like feats are super rare.

Its not a perfect design, but signs of a broken system? I'm not convinced
 
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kenada

Legend
Supporter
No exception based design does NOT mean this.

You can (and should) create your game in such a way that there aren't wonky artificial limits that only specific feats get past.

If your rules say a certain activity is possible but hard, and then offer a feat that grants +5 or advantage or whatever, then you have a much better, friendlier ruleset.

And it is still exception based!
This is a contradiction. If an activity is possible but hard, and a feat offers a bonus to overcome it, then it has an artificial limit that only the feat allows you to get past. Since you’ve cited players who would get upset at a GM’s ruling allowing someone else to attempt an activity at a higher DC, then you should know that there are players who would consider the kind of approach you describe as a form of punishment. I had one in my game once. If they didn’t get the thing they wanted without condition, then they were being punished.

However, Pathfinder 2e already provides a way around the problem in this case. If you want to Make an Impression to a group without having Group Impression, it just takes longer. That’s a pretty natural cost. If you want to improve the attitude of a crowd, and you don’t have that feat, you’re going to have to get down into it and make your case individually to the people in it. That’s not preventing you from getting what you want. It’s just having to take a less than optimal route because you lack the benefit of a certain feat.

Only there is nothing for the GM to risk invalidating, since the rules already give permission for everybody to try the activity!
This seems to be the key problem. Pathfinder 2e does not sufficiently communicate in your opinion that the GM is empowered to make rulings. It’s implied in the Core Rulebook, but the Gamemastery Guide makes it explicit. It goes on to list a few examples, including things that could possibly be feats someday (such as swinging from a chandelier or throwing sand in an opponent’s eyes), but it says it’s okay to let players try them.

Some of the most memorable moments come from situations that inherently call for a rules interpretation, like when a player wants to do something creative using the environment. The variety of these situations is limited only by the imagination of your players. It’s usually better to say “yes” than “no,” within reason. For example, imagine a player wants to do something borderline nonsensical like grabbing a spider and squeezing it to force it to use its web attack. But what about a player who wants to use a fire spell to deliberately ignite a barrel of oil? Surely that should have some effect!

So no, there's nothing "gaming as usual" going on here. Pathfinder 2 is significantly more controlling the GM than any other game I can remember. Just about every little thing you can think of in terms of allowing "grease" to make the game flow better with fewer niggly limitations... are already "taken" by Paizo, since "there's a feat for that".
Can you provide a citation where it says the GM is not empowered to make rulings? The text of the game I’ve seen doesn’t support that assertion. Paizo says outright in the GMG that you should say “yes, but”, which suggests that PF2 is meant to be run “gaming as usual”.

The end result is that players need a complicated and ever-changing checklist of feats that each individual GM is likely to invalidate or value-reduce simply by being generous, wanting to speed up play, to encourage cinematic sequences rather than getting bogged down, or for some other worthy reason.

This is a seriously controlling design philosophy, folks. It could easily been avoided, but for some reason Paizo decided it wanted to drown players in the absolute highest number of feats imaginable!

Every possible +1 or -1 gets its own feat in this game (sometimes more!) It is not needed. It drives up the apparent complexity of the game while not substantially increasing the number of meaningful decision points. It makes the experience for newcomers as hostile as possible.
Pathfinder 2e has far fewer feats than Pathfinder 1e. Is it a problem that character all customization was named “feat” in Pathfinder 2e? Would it have been better if Paizo used different names (e.g., class abilities instead of class feats, ancestry traits instead of ancestry feats, skill tricks instead of skill feats, etc)?

In short, it is baffling Paizo went this way. I could have predicted dozens of ways the successor to Pathfinder 1 might turn out, and I would never have guessed they would go for "let's take the worst aspects of 4E and double down on those! Let's flood our game with thousands of feats, spells and items, the vast majority of each category being either interchangeable or downright suboptimal!"
This claim is strange because the problem people had with 4e is it limited its mechanical depth to combat for the most part. That’s one of the reasons why Story Now people like it because it allows you to use a very narrative approach to resolving non-combat situations (e.g., with skill challenges). One should think if PF2 actually copied 4e, then it wouldn’t have the problems with infringing on the GM’s ability to make rulings that you claim it does. The reality is Pathfinder 2e takes much more from 3e than it does 4e when it comes to customization and its scope.

I realize Paizo is creating the illusion of choice, where you're given hundreds of decision points... but once you realize almost none of it has any meaningful impact on your character's capacity, while almost all of the actually significant choices from PF1 were taken away...
Pathfinder 2e rejected 3e’s design where you could optimize your way past a problem. The meaningful impact of character build choices is meant to be in how they realize different concepts. However, if none of the choices have a meaningful impact, then it’s not a big deal if the GM makes a ruling allowing PCs to attempt something at a higher difficulty or with a check because the thing being invalidated or value-reduced was not meaningful in the first place, so that should be no big deal. Otherwise, it’s a contradiction to say on one hand the choices are not meaningful while also saying that people will be very upset that their choices were reduced in value. If they didn’t have value, it couldn’t be reduced!

Far underneath the absolutely massive chunks of overcomplication is a polished gem of a game. But it is awfully hard to appreciate given the sea of dross you need to swim in to access it.
I’m not quite as enthused about the core engine of Pathfinder 2e, but it’s not worth digging into because those are mostly aesthetic issues.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
This is a contradiction. If an activity is possible but hard, and a feat offers a bonus to overcome it, then it has an artificial limit that only the feat allows you to get past. Since you’ve cited players who would get upset at a GM’s ruling allowing someone else to attempt an activity at a higher DC, then you should know that there are players who would consider the kind of approach you describe as a form of punishment. I had one in my game once. If they didn’t get the thing they wanted without condition, then they were being punished.
Sigh. This comes across as grasping at straws to avoid having agree Paizo's design is (much) less than ideal.

Okay, let me agree that there can be other approaches that are bad and even just as bad. That is, let's not make this out to be "your idea is bad too so PF2's system isn't so worse off".

In other words, you are skipping all the other criticisms I have, and you zero in on just "your suggestion can create complaints too". It's hard to not interpret that as trying to wriggle out of my rather massive criticism against the PF2 implementation.

So. If it helps, consider me instead saying the feat gives you a reroll (aka advantage) if that makes you feel better. And this is definitely not limited to just Make an Impression.

I'm talking generalities. Just about every skill has several use cases that feel incredibly constrictive and artificially limited, and then you realize that is to justify adding a feat to the game that lifts those weird restrictions.

The way PF2 prohibits the generic character from doing things at all, unless she has this or that very specific feat, is really really annoying game design on so many levels.

It means players must carefully comb through all the rules and all the feats. Restrictions are not highlighted or spelled out. It's very easy to just assume you can do stuff and then be told you needed to take a feat available at level 1. There needed to be giant exclamation marks all over the place cross-referencing each weird limit with its absolving feat(s):
"please realize you can only crawl stupidly slow unless you pick Quick Crawler"
"please realize you can't climb with a weapon in hand unless you pick Combat Climber"
"please realize you can only jump hilariously short distances unless you pick Cloud Jumper"
This stuff is simply not mentioned in the sections on crawling, climbing or jumping.

...the list goes on and on, and is probably growing with each new splatbook :( Every single little aspect of pretty much every behavior feels carefully combed out "how can we squeeze seven feats out of this simple action?" That is just a question no game designer should ever ask themselves!

The same issues surface on the other side of the GM screen. I would guesstimate that as a green PF2 GM probably two out of three times I tried being a good GM that say "yes" or "yes but" by allowing people to cut corners and avoid weird artifacts of the system (anything from jumping across tables to reaching that one extra square to open a door without spending a whole extra move action) I will later be reminded by a disappointed player that I just gave out for free what a whole feat is about. Using Recall Knowledge on tracks you find in a forest. Using Intelligence to gather gossip in a village. And so on and so on.

Simple obvious stuff that Paizo is sending a clear message to stop doing: "Don't just allow that, we have created feats the players need to take!"

It is a really really frustrating game design, dead set against the very goals Paizo is professing to have for their game.
 

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