• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

PF Pathfinder 2E or Pathfinder 1E?

CapnZapp

Adventurer
AND LFQW has been a problem for ages! (note, can't comment on 4e). If it was an easy problem to fix, it would have been fixed earlier. Finding another good solution might be *very* challenging.
Actually I don't think so.

The real problem has always been to confess to yourself that it really is a problem, and fixing it is worth fighting the conservative segments of the player base.

Actually, I don't think the actual mechanics are very difficult to solve at all. I think the real reason this took so long is because it was so hard to let go, and having the courage to change it despite knowing how conservative ttrpg:ers can be.

In that sense maybe it couldn't be done without WotC facing a catastrophe. If 4E had done better, maybe the drive to truly evolve would have been smothered by cautiousness once again.

That 5E was such a huge success meant the outrage drowned in the influx of new customers, which made it an easier buy.

Just look at these forums and how they've changed since 3E. If you or I dare to criticise even a small part of 5E loads of people reflexively jump to its defense, no matter how indefensible it is. Which suggests we have a new Holy Writ, and it will be decades until WotC is ever again able to meaningfully take a step forward with their game design... :-/

The wait for edition 5+ is gonna be a long one, certainly if Paizo really is failing to step up (and everything about the PF2 playtest indicates that to be the case...) Sigh.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Unless it has been changed, I believe that PF2 will require that spellcasters will require using at least one of their three actions per round to maintain a concentration spell.
This sounds cautiously promising, if it really means you can sustain three spells at most (if you don't do anything else).

Of course, the real question will be what spells require Concentration in the first place.

Remember, 5th edition didn't just introduce Concentration as a mechanic. They also ruthlessly and unsentimentally applied it to almost every spell that buffs or debuffs. This is why the impact to the 5E play experience is so pervasive.
 
To me, it is clear WotC is a victim of their own success.

There is nothing that says relaxed magical constraints would destroy 5th edition, but now they've tied themselves to the mast with their "the PHB is like holy write - not a single sentence can be improved" stance.

I have given up hope WotC will ever improve their game. At least until the lead devs get replaced. Which I don't see happening soon - the current situation is exactly how Hasbro wants it: lots of profit with a miniscule team.

They're not about to rock the boat just to please veteran gamers. In fact, they still dream of turning the D&D brand into a social media sensation and ultimately into a Marvel or Disney: with movies and merchandise, where the real money is.

Thinking like a ttrpg:er? Nope. It's suits and brands all the way. They aren't interested in providing a satisfying experience for veteran gamers.
This I can agree with their stance that nothing is wrong with the mechanics infuriates me beyond belief. It doesn't help that a large part of the fanbase thinks WOTC can do no wrong and that if we add any complexity or new classes that it will automatically turn into broken 3.5. The longer I have played 5e the more dissatisfied I am with some of the mechanics like the overzealous use of concentration(I think concentration is a great limiter, but they have relied to heavily on it) , or the nonexistence of crafting and downtime rules, or the lack of a real skill system that you can get better at(it's weird to me that adventurers pretty much don't pick up any new skills on their way to becoming demi gods), or the lack of attunement slots scaling with proficiency. All these problems have only grown rather than diminished the longer I have played and DMd.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
This I can agree with their stance that nothing is wrong with the mechanics infuriates me beyond belief. It doesn't help that a large part of the fanbase thinks WOTC can do no wrong and that if we add any complexity or new classes that it will automatically turn into broken 3.5. The longer I have played 5e the more dissatisfied I am with some of the mechanics like the overzealous use of concentration(I think concentration is a great limiter, but they have relied to heavily on it) , or the nonexistence of crafting and downtime rules, or the lack of a real skill system that you can get better at(it's weird to me that adventurers pretty much don't pick up any new skills on their way to becoming demi gods), or the lack of attunement slots scaling with proficiency. All these problems have only grown rather than diminished the longer I have played and DMd.
Add to that their direction AWAY from gold.

Instead of supplying a decent effort of a magic item pricing framework... :-(

... they're about to answer the complaint "gold is worthless" with... "What gold? Here, have a treasure point."
 
Add to that their direction AWAY from gold.

Instead of supplying a decent effort of a magic item pricing framework... :-(

... they're about to answer the complaint "gold is worthless" with... "What gold? Here, have a treasure point."
I forgot about that, but yeah that is rolled into my complaints about downtime and crafting is what do I do with all the gold.
 

Staffan

Explorer
This sounds cautiously promising, if it really means you can sustain three spells at most (if you don't do anything else).
In practice it will likely be two spells, since most spells take two actions to cast and once you have two spells up you only have one action left. Barring quicken-type shenanigans, of course.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
They obviously aren't using DnD-like (including PF etc) game mechanics.

Or maybe they do, and their loss of hit points is just invisible to you.
No, they're using HP mechanics very similar to D&D, and the loss of HP is visible to everyone watching. You can see Captain America get stabbed, and it doesn't affect his greater mobility, because he has enough HP left to keep fighting. That's just how heroic characters work. I don't know why this is weird for anyone.

The flow of a fight in an action movie or comic book works very similarly to D&D, taken at face value. There's a lot of missing, because the target dodged or parried, which is their Dexterity bonus at work. Sometimes you get a solid hit on someone, and they're fine, because they were wearing armor. You have to draw blood on someone several times over a course of the fight before they fall down. You can narrate every action in a fight scene as though it was an attack roll in D&D, and it makes sense; which is great, because being able to narrate the outcome of an attack roll, as though you're watching a fight scene, is exactly the point of having such detailed mechanics in an RPG. The rules of an RPG exist to tell us what happens in the narrative, and complex rulesets exist to reduce ambiguity.
Why? Because arguing that each hp lost means blood was drawn simply doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
It holds up far better than any alternative, although that varies somewhat with game and edition. Fifth Edition is uniquely terrible in that there is no consistent interpretation for what's going on; so even though it does have literal rules which declare beyond a shadow of a doubt that even 1hp of damage must necessarily draw blood in every case, there's no way to reconcile that with other parts of the system. It's pretty much a garbage fire of a game, at least in that aspect.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
Sorry but now you're thinking like a player and not a game designer.

If you roll a die, and 19 times out of 20 nothing happens, that's just sucky game design.
As a game designer, imagining myself to be a player for the sake of understanding how the game will play out, I absolutely don't want the mechanics to dictate that a character is bad at whatever thing they're supposed to be good at. There are plenty of games where you try to build a competent marksman, and the mechanics dictate that you'll still fail to hit a barn door more than half the time. Those are bad games. I didn't sign up to play Keystone Cops. Early D&D was notorious for this, with the Thief class that had a pitiful chance to do anything.

If combat in Pathfinder was nothing but one character on the receiving end of 20 arrows, then you might have a point. As it stands, the tank being targeted is a fairly small part of the over-all session. When it does come up, I expect the tank to succeed at their task, in much the same way that I expect the rogue to successfully disable any traps we find. That's the entire reason why we brought them along in the first place.

Armor Class matters for non-specialists. The ranger has a better AC than the wizard, and while neither of them should be on the receiving end of too many attacks, that's exactly the kind of unpredictable situation where we'd expect the variance of the die to matter. The ranger might be able to pick a lock, of the rogue is indisposed, and that's why we bother tracking all of these numbers. But one a specialist is operating in their area of specialization, they should succeed an overwhelming majority of the time.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
As a game designer, imagining myself to be a player for the sake of understanding how the game will play out, I absolutely don't want the mechanics to dictate that a character is bad at whatever thing they're supposed to be good at. There are plenty of games where you try to build a competent marksman, and the mechanics dictate that you'll still fail to hit a barn door more than half the time. Those are bad games. I didn't sign up to play Keystone Cops. Early D&D was notorious for this, with the Thief class that had a pitiful chance to do anything.

If combat in Pathfinder was nothing but one character on the receiving end of 20 arrows, then you might have a point. As it stands, the tank being targeted is a fairly small part of the over-all session. When it does come up, I expect the tank to succeed at their task, in much the same way that I expect the rogue to successfully disable any traps we find. That's the entire reason why we brought them along in the first place.

Armor Class matters for non-specialists. The ranger has a better AC than the wizard, and while neither of them should be on the receiving end of too many attacks, that's exactly the kind of unpredictable situation where we'd expect the variance of the die to matter. The ranger might be able to pick a lock, of the rogue is indisposed, and that's why we bother tracking all of these numbers. But one a specialist is operating in their area of specialization, they should succeed an overwhelming majority of the time.
Which D&D are you talking about?

Early D&D (or OD&D) if you wanted a character to sneak past a guard it was DM's choice. In many games that meant a Dexterity check.

If the character was a thief, they got that dexterity check ON TOP of their other checks.

Just because one wasn't a thief did not mean that they could not actually use their ability scores to try to sneak past, steal, climb up a cliff with a rope, or multiple other items.

It was a later iteration that caused players to think this way (as it did not really notate this in 1e so some really weird people had a rule that a fighter could not walk quietly and could not climb things and other such crazy notions).

This got further reinforced with 2e...

But luckily nothing in the rules PREVENTED ability score checks (and prior to Non-weapon proficiencies ability score checks were actually encouraged, similar to how 5e handles many of it's skill systems, but less structured).

However, 3e I think sort of made this an even worse exaggeration of skills and such and it only started to change with 4e (which handled things similar to 5e but all around with a +5 to skills in general (instead of the +2 to +6 proficiency spread).

Your idea doesn't really hold water with the early thief class and how it was handled...though it probably holds water with LATER AD&D 2e and especially 3e.

As far as making the Thief a marksman...the crazy thing that people expect now is that some untrained lackey is going to have the same ability as a trained warrior. That a soldier is going to be just as proficient at hitting a mark as a guy that spends his days buried in a book, or a burglar who spends his time sneaking around.

Early D&D didn't have this ridiculous illusion of everyone is equally good with weapons and that a marksman who actually was a MARKSMAN (aka...a fighter that is trained in weapons and combat rather than some guy who uses weapons in his spare time adventuring but otherwise is a priest or a bookworm) and would hit better than others.

At level 10 he probably could hit an AC10 target pretty consistently. Even one who was at 5-7th level could probably hit an AC10 target pretty consistently, and probably hit their mark more often than others.
 
Last edited:

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Yeah, I really don't recognize myself in any of this.

D&D is a game. Games have meaningful interactions.

The idea that if a fighter parries a blow, or if a thief picks a lock, that should succeed pretty much automatically just because they're trained at what they do... is incomprehensible to me. Talk about entitlement!

No no no - the game's spectrum of results should be just wide enough for the trained fighter to stand a great chance of parrying that blow while the thief might just fail to do so. A Ranger should be able to pick that lock... but stand a greater chance of failing (=taking longer).

Why even pick up dice if all you want is "rolling a d6, succeeding on 1 through 6"?

And no, "rolling a 1 is always an automatic failure" is not good enough.

In fact, that brings us back to what was trying to say previously: the ends of the die outcomes should pretty much always be open... that is, reaching a success on 17 or 18 should be considerably more difficult/expensive.

That's pretty given. Makes for a much better game, with smoother probabilities and therefore much easier to balance.

The whole point of giving the fighter 140 hp is precisely so he has no cause for complaint when the goblin manages to stab him for 4 damage.

Again, if you want your character's defense to be 99.9% solid, where each 4 damage always means the same amount of hurt, I refer you to games where you still have the same 12 hit points you started with at the end of a long campaign (or close to it).

And even there, it really does not apply if said game allows you to keep fighting at peak efficiency up until you lose your last hp. (If going from 12 to 8 hp means nothing, the clearly that stab did not damage you nearly as much as the stab that takes you from 3 to -1 hp)

You really need to look into more involved games (maybe Hârnmaster) where each hit point lost represents a tangible penalty, which is the same for the first and last such hp lost. Only problem is: games like that - games that approach realism - aren't very popular, since it's so very difficult to remain heroic when you have huge penalties to everything you do.
 

Retreater

Explorer
Which D&D are you talking about?

Early D&D (or OD&D) if you wanted a character to sneak past a guard it was DM's choice. In many games that meant a Dexterity check.

If the character was a thief, they got that dexterity check ON TOP of their other checks.

Just because one wasn't a thief did not mean that they could not actually use their ability scores to try to sneak past, steal, climb up a cliff with a rope, or multiple other items.

It was a later iteration that caused players to think this way (as it did not really notate this in 1e so some really weird people had a rule that a fighter could not walk quietly and could not climb things and other such crazy notions).

This got further reinforced with 2e...

But luckily nothing in the rules PREVENTED ability score checks (and prior to Non-weapon proficiencies ability score checks were actually encouraged, similar to how 5e handles many of it's skill systems, but less structured).

However, 3e I think sort of made this an even worse exaggeration of skills and such and it only started to change with 4e (which handled things similar to 5e but all around with a +5 to skills in general (instead of the +2 to +6 proficiency spread).

Your idea doesn't really hold water with the early thief class and how it was handled...though it probably holds water with LATER AD&D 2e and especially 3e.

As far as making the Thief a marksman...the crazy thing that people expect now is that some untrained lackey is going to have the same ability as a trained warrior. That a soldier is going to be just as proficient at hitting a mark as a guy that spends his days buried in a book, or a burglar who spends his time sneaking around.
Having recently spent time with AD&D 2nd Ed and Labyrinth Lord made me realize just how pointless the thief class was. Any character using their ability score to do anything would be more successful than a low level thief. A wizard with a 7 Str is more likely to climb. A cleric with a 9 Dex is more likely to hide in shadows or move silently.
But if a DM doesn't allow ability scores to be used, the thief has like 15% chance to scout ahead and do his job.
Even though I have fond memories of these games and they have their place in gaming history, they are poorly designed.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Having recently spent time with AD&D 2nd Ed and Labyrinth Lord made me realize just how pointless the thief class was. Any character using their ability score to do anything would be more successful than a low level thief. A wizard with a 7 Str is more likely to climb. A cleric with a 9 Dex is more likely to hide in shadows or move silently.
But if a DM doesn't allow ability scores to be used, the thief has like 15% chance to scout ahead and do his job.
Even though I have fond memories of these games and they have their place in gaming history, they are poorly designed.
I would disagree with some of them being poorly designed (of course, that depends on how one defines designed). It's made for a playstyle that differs from the ones today.

The thief is an interesting class in that it wasn't originally planned for. Originally you had a Fighting Man, a Magic-User, and a class that combined the two (magic-user and fighting man, but maybe not as great as either) in the Cleric. You could play the entire campaign with just these three classes. A DM could figure how they climbed over a wall, snuck past the dragon, figured out where the traps were, and other things that were later relegated to a Thief. Many chose to use ability score checks.

When the thief came around, the original usage suggested was that unless under stress, the thief would automatically succeed in their Thief Skill checks (at least that's how I understand the original creator used their thief class, he's still around as well, perhaps even on these forums though I do not know his handle/name here). I don't think Gygax was as thrilled with the implementation in quite that way, so I do not think this idea was communicated in any rules of the day. He had the thief, but in some ways it was pared down tremendously from that type of usage.

If you use it as many did where the thief gets a DOUBLE CHECK, which means they can make all the ability checks as others do, but also can fall back on their thief skills, or use their thief skills but also get an ability check pertinent to them for a lesser success, it actually gives the thief a greater usage. Many who chose to do this had been using the original 3 classes with ability checks to do things already, so using a thief this way made a lot of sense.

Not everyone played it this way (why I said many...not most or all), and there were various takes and interpretations of how the rules would work.

[and if you consider that poorly designed, I suppose you could be right, but I don't think that's what you meant. For some of us, that type of design works better than the modern rules that define everything you must do in a game].

When AD&D hit the market, no wording of this was really hinted at. Those who played with the Older groups who started early only learned about these things and how this worked via word of mouth. It was further killed off by interpretations at tournaments which for some crazy reason had weird minded judges that came up with excuses as to why a Fighter might not be able to climb up a cliff, or why they couldn't hide behind a pillar (only a thief can hide behind a pillar...let's ignore common sense). AD&D was much more strict on rules and specific types of rule interpretations. As AD&D got older you no longer saw Fighters sneaking around as much or Magic-Users using their brains to solve puzzles with no combat or magic (as magic to low level Magic-users was limited). Later AD&D basically had the thief being played as you described originally and AD&D 2e continued this tradition as did 3e.

I don't consider any of those rules really bad design though. I think that's a throwaway word (and they tried to use it with 4e in reference to older editions quite a bit, I think that put a bad taste in a LOT of people's mouths in regards to that consideration) to try to promote newer editions and insult older players and their rules.

I think it is a DIFFERENT type of design that caters to different playstyles and how different groups enjoy playing. For some types of playstyles it's perfect, for others, it is not.

5e I think tried to take some of this idea (easier to homerule, less stress on being absolute rules and exact rules for everything) because it saw the strength of this type of design that was found in earlier editions.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
Why even pick up dice if all you want is "rolling a d6, succeeding on 1 through 6"?
One of the significant limitations of d20 design is that there's no room between 95% reliability and 100% reliability, when really, that's a very interesting zone to work with. The difference between 96% and 99% is actually quite meaningful, when it comes to making important decisions. Of course, that issue is exacerbated when you deal with flat d6 or d10 systems.

In fact, that brings us back to what was trying to say previously: the ends of the die outcomes should pretty much always be open... that is, reaching a success on 17 or 18 should be considerably more difficult/expensive.
If a strong character succeeds two-thirds of the times, while a weak character succeeds one-third of the time, then in neither case are you really making an informed decision. Either way is basically a coin flip. Why bother having stats, if they don't matter, because the difference between good and bad is so small? (on a related note, who buys padded armor, if it only has a 5% chance of doing anything? Were you planning to be shot twenty times?)

And even there, it really does not apply if said game allows you to keep fighting at peak efficiency up until you lose your last hp. (If going from 12 to 8 hp means nothing, the clearly that stab did not damage you nearly as much as the stab that takes you from 3 to -1 hp)
On the contrary, the stab which takes you from 3 to -1 is exactly as damaging as the one which took you from 12 to 8. Neither injury would be sufficient to incapacitate you, on its own. Either would be sufficient, if you were already wounded down to 3. Narratively, both hits are exactly as powerful, because that's what the damage number represents.
 
Last edited:

ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
I saw Pathfinder 2E's playtest for sale in a Barnes & Noble, which immediately rubbed me the wrong way--I'm a firm believer that people should not pay to playtest something, and so I have issues with the way Early Access is used. Anyway, I flipped through it and I remember that it looked really, really terrible but I don't remember exactly why. There was some major :):):):) wrong with the game design, though. Anyone want to change my mind and/or remind me why it was bad? Because I do remember vaguely looking at it once and thinking it was really, really bad.
 

Kurviak

Registered User
I saw Pathfinder 2E's playtest for sale in a Barnes & Noble, which immediately rubbed me the wrong way--I'm a firm believer that people should not pay to playtest something, and so I have issues with the way Early Access is used. Anyway, I flipped through it and I remember that it looked really, really terrible but I don't remember exactly why. There was some major :):):):) wrong with the game design, though. Anyone want to change my mind and/or remind me why it was bad? Because I do remember vaguely looking at it once and thinking it was really, really bad.
The playtest PDFs are free from day one. They published the books for the people wanting them, mostly collectors. Also the playtest isn’t the final game at all.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Remember, 5th edition didn't just introduce Concentration as a mechanic. They also ruthlessly and unsentimentally applied it to almost every spell that buffs or debuffs. This is why the impact to the 5E play experience is so pervasive.
And that was a good thing, IMO.
 

the Jester

Legend
Combat is just about the only area where a 5E character scales reasonably well, but they're still complete chumps when it comes to climbing a wall or swimming any significant distance. The difference between a level 1 fighter and a level 20 fighter is only +7, which still pales in comparison to the randomness of the d20. That doesn't allow for a good sandbox, where high-level characters get to interact with low-level characters and utterly dominate them due to their inherent superiority.
That's not what a sandbox is. It doesn't even have anything to do with sandbox play. How much badder ass a high level character is than a low level one is a completely separate issue from sandbox play.

Sandbox play is setting-based, where the creatures and challenges exist irrespective of the pcs, and where the level of the pcs doesn't (generally) affect what level the goblin chief is or how old the dragon of Ghost Mountain is. The challenges are out there, and it's up to the players to determine their risk level (and hopefully, that will effect their reward level).

D&D 5E is mechanically incapable of supporting a good sandbox, and attempting such a thing will inevitably lead to disappointment. (Which would be forgivable, if the game was only designed to support combat, except combat is also meaningless in 5E.)
I have been running a hardcore sandbox in 5e for approximately 370 sessions. I assure you that it works fine, and even allows for old-skool mixed level play.

You seem to be conflating "vast difference in power levels between low and high levels" with sandbox play. I'd posit that such a playstyle choice is only rarely associated with sandboxing, and the harder core the sandbox playstyle, the less you see such things. It might be more common than I expect, but it's absolutely not relevant to whether a campaign is a sandbox or not.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
And that was a good thing, IMO.
Sure.

I just made the point that just introducing the mechanic isn't nearly good enough, if it isn't then applied to enough spells.

Heck, if we removed Concentration from as little as nine wizard spells, one per level, that would probably suffice to remove its restrictive influence from the class entirely!
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
The problem with concentration was what spells it was and wasn't applied to. Dancing lights for example but not foresight.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
The problem with concentration was what spells it was and wasn't applied to. Dancing lights for example but not foresight.
If you're saying that 5E's implementation of Concentration isn't perfect I agree.

But this discussion isn't about the fine-tuning of 5E. Going back to the overall issue, we were discussing the fact that Concentration-or-something is what finally fixed d20. That Paizo is making a mistake if they give us yet another jumble of 3rd edition bits and pieces with far too few constraints on casters.

Then I made the point that adding a Concentration mechanic (again, or something else) isn't enough. You must also ensure almost every spell is bound by that restriction, or it is meaningless. All that would accomplish is allowing a narrow set of spell choices to dominate, and utterly relegate the vast majority of alternatives to irrelevance.

In that light, I would submit that yes, while 5E might not be perfect, they at least took a giant leap towards actually fixing things compared to the useless refaffing that was 3.5 and "3.75".

By that I mean that Pathfinder might have enormous value because it allowed d20 to live on. But coming close to actually fixing LFQW? (Or even fixing the problems they bragged about fixing) Nope. To me, 3.0, 3,5 and PF are same same but different. Sure 3.0 might have even more imbalances than later models (details about monster damage resistance, psychic combat, what else?), but compared to 5E they're all equally outdated.

If nothing else the existence of 5E should mean no publisher will ever publish a D&D:ish game again without its fundamental upgrades to the magic framework. But the PF2 playtest isn't exactly filling me with confidence Paizo have learned the lessons taught by 5E.

Or even that they have tried to learn them...
 

Advertisement

Top