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

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yes, I consider all those multitudes of factors.

But if anything - if we're being realistic - the enemies have the advantage in most cases. If you're in a dungeon or otherwise the home turf of the opponents, they likely know the layout and can navigate it more quickly than the characters. If the characters decide to run away, they are likely taking a beating by a superior foe - so consider that a wounded party would realistically move slower than enemies who are likely less wounded & had no previous tiring combats that day.

Knowing the turf isn't enough, though. Consider other issues: are the opponents going to assume they aren't being lead into a trap? Lead away so someone else can raid their home? At risk of being overextended because not all of them respond instantly?

I don't think it is particularly realistic to assume that flight is more likely to fail than not, barring some special cases (i.e. when the situation was an ambush in the first place). Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn't, and speed and familiarity with the area are only part of the issue (I don't assume the PCs weren't paying attention on the way in and don't have some kind of a retreat route in mind, even if they don't specifically do the pixel-picking old thing of briefing me on it).

So having the party able to escape by the "skin of their teeth" is like a "close the blast doors" moment from A New Hope. Chewie and Han likely wouldn't have been able to escape the Stormtroopers, if not for good luck. If it happened all the time it would get old and really stretch believability in the film - just like it would in a game.

This assumes the PCs have to retreat often. They shouldn't. I've been gaming for 40 years and I can think of it having been necessary a number of times I can count on the fingers one one hand. Yeah, if they had to retreat often they'd be bound to fail sooner or later; the law of large numbers ensures that.

But the gig is, they don't even try often very much because they perceive GMs have the attitude that its a massive failure state, and if that's the case, they might as well fight to the bitter end. Hard to see how that's in any way a virtue.

Fortunately, we can create our own luck in this game. Throwing down oil or caltrops, casting Web or Fog Cloud, summoning monsters to serve as speed bumps. I think it's fair to ask the group what tricks they have up their sleeves before they intend to flee. If they don't have something sufficient, then don't let them.

The problem is that if you follow it too much, none of that helps; carltrops can be run around (again, this isn't just a dungeon/building issue), fog cloud can be run through in one move (and frankly, if that's sufficient a copse of trees or a hill should do; even if the locals know it, do they know where the PCs went when they went around it?) and it all slows you down to boot since games don't usually let you do that at speed.
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
Yeah, but its still fundamentally a mistake in almost any normal game. Unless they've specifically got a subset of rules for evasion during escape, or at least have a vigorous enough set of such buried in the combat system, it will produce both undesirable and (at least under some circumstance) unrealistic results.

At least at certain points in a lot of D&D derivatives, there's magical options that can just turn it into "the hell with this, we're out of here". As of last level, every character in my own PF2e group could turn invisible and dimension door, so if we want to get out of a fight, we're going to do so. In less magic-intensive systems the limits of trying to use the round by round process are far more obvious.
First off (and this is not an attack on you): my personal bugbear is people defending alignment with "if you don't like it you can always have your NPC buy a Hat of Non-Detection." In other words, just because D&D sooner or later (sooner in earlier editions) make every clunk go away does not a good argument for not fixing the clunk make.

More generally, to me (and I am not alone in this) there's no point in creating or using a separate escape subsystem, since it all boils down to "magical escape".

Either you escape or you don't. What's the point of learning a separate ruleset if all it can accomplish is preventing you from reaching this goal?

What I mean by that is almost by definition such systems won't reward the main game's parameters that would suggest making escape easier (such as high Speed or whatever). So the distinction between "become good at this separate set of rules" and "magical escape" is simply not interesting to me.

Either you keep using initiative and combat rounds and see if you can escape, or you simply look at the GM and hope she says "you escape".

Many players become frustrated and outright angry if the GM "denies" them "total victory" by breaking off combat just to allow some NPC to get away... a player can even have made "nobody gets away - ever" his or her priority by focusing on movement-related abilities, even above regular combat capability.

All I'm saying is that I miss acknowledgement of this in the discussion (that by now is pages back).

In summary: no, it's far from obvious that the combat system doesn't work for escapes, and so it is far from an okay oversight if the GM advice doesn't discuss this... and it is much better if the combat system does work for escape without the crutch that is a completely separate subsystem.

(And again, there's nothing special about PF2 here - if I'm making a dig, it's against D&D in general and not PF2 in particular)
 

CapnZapp

Legend
So having the party able to escape by the "skin of their teeth" is like a "close the blast doors" moment from A New Hope. Chewie and Han likely wouldn't have been able to escape the Stormtroopers, if not for good luck. If it happened all the time it would get old and really stretch believability in the film - just like it would in a game.
I would really advise you to not use those particular films as your examples. :cool:

I mean, a Stormtrooper couldn't hit you even if you wrestled him to the ground and forced him to point you straight in the face with his blaster... :p
 

CapnZapp

Legend
If you're in a dungeon or otherwise the home turf of the opponents, they likely know the layout and can navigate it more quickly than the characters.
Less flippantly, I can't say this is anything but a rare exception for me.

It is very common in prepublished dungeons that the heroes are approaching from the only practical route towards the entrance/exit, and that there simply are no alternate routes "back", much less faster ones... that are also safe.

Of course if your slowest party member is slower than the monsters, none of this matters. So smart heroes make sure their party Speed is higher than the average monster speed.

<aside>You'd be amazed how good it is to have everyone operate at Speed 35 or higher in both 5E and PF2. It is much much MUCH MUCH more useful and powerful than either game makes you pay (talking "opportunity cost" here, i.e. the cost can chiefly be expressed as "if I build a character with Speed 35, what do I lose out on?" - and in both games the answer is "surprisingly little".) To me it is clear neither design team truly understands the power of being more mobile than the average monster</aside>
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I'd suggest that's because you're doing a lot of the things I suggest with such a system without thinking about it.

But a lot of people won't. I can promise you its true, because I've heard it come up too often. I'm going to assume you're paying attention to things like line of sight, exterior reasons and so on. Because if all you were factoring is relative speeds, you're going to produce exactly the problem we're talking about given how often D&D monsters are faster than at least some D&D characters. And without guidance its clear that's what at least some people will do.
In reality, people's individual speeds are often not a deciding factor.

In ttrpgs that aren't using theater of the mind (obviously) it is very hard to argue it is not the ONLY thing that matters. If you move eighteen squares away (because your Speed is 30), and I then move twenty-one squares closer (because my Speed is 35) there's no ifs or buts about it: I will catch up to you, and I will do it very very soon.

All the fuzziness about a real escape are simply things that are discarded during ttrpg battlemat based combat.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
Skill challenges are basically (crappy IMO) proto-clocks. The VP subsystem in PF2 is clunky compared to Blades in the Dark, but it’s actually clocks (more or less). In Blades in the Dark, you might create a clock appropriate to the escape (e.g., a 4 segment clock for “trying to escape”) and then work your way towards that goal. Complicating factors are handled via the dice mechanic, which is the only gap PF2’s implementation has compared to BitD.

To work around it, you’d probably want to set up competing VP thresholds. You’d have one threshold for “trying to escape” (e.g., maybe 12 points) and another (4 points) that fills up when people roll less than success to represent coming complications. You’d just keep resetting the second clock every time it fills, and you’ve injected an appropriate complication into the escape.

This approach works really well in BitD games, which is why I think Paizo should develop it and use it more in Pathfinder. One could get rid of a lot of the bespoke subsystems and replace them with clocks, which would be an actual innovation in the D&D space.
<rant>The only clock I need or want is "the goblins do this four rounds after the PCs enter" (or whatever).

For me anything else is just word salad. Padding. Useless prattle.

If you want a variable time; just say "each round a hero needs to succeed at a DC 52 Macarena Dance check" or whatever. (If for some reason "crap happens in 1d4 rounds" is to simple for you!)</rant>

The worst case I can think of is actually not 4E-style skill challenges. :unsure: Yes, despite them being utterly broken and over-engineered. No this "honor" goes to FFG's gobsmackingly useless and in-yer-face system they shoveled in WFRP3. They actually manufactured little boards and markers so you could put a marker on the round 4 spot (say); and then spent half a page spewing words that explained how that worked.

Half a page... and physical clutter... all to express what I can say in seven words: "the goblins attack in four rounds".

I don't expect to see a more useless system ever in my life, to be honest. :)
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
All I'm saying is that I miss acknowledgement of this in the discussion (that by now is pages back).
People can play however they want. It doesn’t matter whether I or anyone else here thinks a particular way of playing is reasonable or unreasonable if that group is having fun. I mean, you never responded to the question I posed earlier whether you think the way we play is valid, but it doesn’t matter whether you do or not as long as we’re having fun doing what we’re doing.

As far as players who insist on murdering everything and get upset when they cannot, they’re going to be unhappy in my game. That’s working as intended, and I hope they self-select out of it (or avoid it altogether) and find one that is a better fit for them. And I’ll keep on doing what I want for the players who want the same.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
you never responded to the question I posed earlier whether you think the way we play is valid, but it doesn’t matter whether you do or not as long as we’re having fun doing what we’re doing.
You just answered your own question (and I know you had that answer, so I didn't feel compelled to keep up that thread).
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
<rant>The only clock I need or want is "the goblins do this four rounds after the PCs enter" (or whatever).

For me anything else is just word salad. Padding. Useless prattle.

If you want a variable time; just say "each round a hero needs to succeed at a DC 52 Macarena Dance check" or whatever. (If for some reason "crap happens in 1d4 rounds" is to simple for you!)</rant>

The worst case I can think of is actually not 4E-style skill challenges. :unsure: Yes, despite them being utterly broken and over-engineered. No this "honor" goes to FFG's gobsmackingly useless and in-yer-face system they shoveled in WFRP3. They actually manufactured little boards and markers so you could put a marker on the round 4 spot (say); and then spent half a page spewing words that explained how that worked.

Half a page... and physical clutter... all to express what I can say in seven words: "the goblins attack in four rounds".

I don't expect to see a more useless system ever in my life, to be honest. :)
The point of clocks is to take the decision-making out of the GM’s hands once they are put on the table. You decide how big the threat is, then the mechanics dictate if and when it becomes a problem. This is one of the gaps in PF2’s VP subsystem, which doesn’t have as rich of a dice mechanic as BitD. In BitD, there’s a lot of give and take when making a roll because you can do various things (take stress to assist each other, trade position for effect, etc) to alter the fiction and increase your dice pool (often at a cost).

Taking your goblin example, the GM my decide it’s a 4-segment clock. That doesn’t translate into any particular number of rounds. BitD doesn’t use rounds. Everything is just role-playing. As the PCs are conducting themselves, they’ll make rolls. One of the {edit: possible} consequences for a non-successful roll is a clock ticks. For example (in Scum and Villainy), if I Attune myself to the Way to scope something out and roll a 4, then one consequence can be that the goblins’ own mystic noticed me, and now they know where we are, so the clock ticks one segment.

Note that while the GM can decide those things, players can also offer consequences. That’s what happened in one of our games. The GM was wracking his brain for a consequence for our mystic, and I was like: we know the Nightspeakers are coming, so maybe they noticed us when (one of us) attuned to the Way. And that’s what happened. The GM then put a clock on the table for “the Nightspeakers are coming”. As we proceeded deeper, the clock continued ticking as a consequence for non-successful rolls.

So yes, the GM can decide by fiat that the PCs just escape, but that’s boring. The point of having a subsystem is to see what kinds of things happen to the fiction during the escape and to take some of that out of the GM’s hands. If the GM just declares that the PCs lose some of their treasure as the cost of escaping, they’ll be unhappy about that. If the PCs choose to drop treasure as bait, then they may still be unhappy, but their is more properly directed at the enemy that drove them off, and they can scheme to get it back.
 
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