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PF Pathfinder 2E or Pathfinder 1E?

Jester David

Villager
It’s certainly a potential problem for Paizo.

Pathfinder 1 has certainly run its course. Heck, it ran its course like four years ago. There’s waaaaay more content than we need. But people still haven’t used the material they have: which was one of the reasons people were reluctant to upgrade from 3e to 4e. The sunk cost fallacy pushes people away from upgrading.

Meanwhile, the response to the playtest was not positive. And Pathfinder is facing heavy, heavy competition from 5e: the bigger D&D gets, the hard it is to compete or attract attention.
Paizo also isn’t a small company. They grew big during their peak of 2010-2012. They really needs that win.

Thankfully for Paizo, the DCs and math of the two editions look pretty similar, so DCs should work between editions. They should be able to just include new monsters that previously existed and reference rule books. So the new adventure paths can mostly be backwards compatible.
Or Paizo could make their Adventure Paths much more edition neutral, just referencing monsters and “easy” or “hard” DCs. So people could use it for PF1, PF2, or even 5e.
 

Jester David

Villager
They could also try porting the adventures to other systems if it flops.
I continue to be stunned that they haven’t done conversions to 5e.
That should be a simple thing, as the writing is done and the art is paid for, you just need to pay for the conversion and re-layout making it a fraction of the original cost while also potentially appealing to an audience many times larger than the original printing...
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
I just didn't find PF2 to be fun. Even character creation wasn't as fun. I kept finding dead end options vs must have options that made different characters of the same class very similarly built. It doesn't matter if you have 10 options to choose from when 8 are bad and 2 are great. Everyone picks the same 2.

We also didn't find the rules made it easy for new players to jump in like 5E did. It still had a higher learning curve. Combined with the rushed feeling of the playtest and the format of the adventures being "killer" trials of endurance, it left an overall bad impression on us.

I will still wait and see the final product even with all that said. But instead of "I can't wait for the new edition!", it's more like "I hope the new edition gets fixed and is fun."

With the 5E playtest I was very happy with the process, the adventures, and couldn't wait to get the printed book in my hands.
 

Retreater

Explorer
I didn't care for the 5e (aka D&D Next) playtest. I was one of those who took issue with the "halfling rogue solo killing the red dragon" feel of it. (Even now 5e doesn't provide a real challenge, IMO.)
But the PF2 Playtest was awful in its own league. I can't imagine a world where the game is ready to go by this year.
 

Pervilash

Villager
I agree with PF2 being a logical next step, if anything it should had been done when 5e was brewing to directly compete (I don’t think letting PF players get a feel of 5e without pulling anything new was a good idea at all). That being I did not playtest PF2 but I do trust their creative team and besides, my logic was that we have had a sample of PF2 in front of us the whole time with Starfinder, what more playtesting do we need? Starfinder sounds solid in its mechanics from what i gather (I assume they will incorporate some of the most well liked mechanics from it, if not, they should).
 

zztong

Explorer
One of my regular games is still working on the PF2 Playtest. The DM just sent out the message about how to update our characters for the last part. He also sent along the playtest goals, which we won't get to comment on because the playtest is complete. As I read through the questions, I feel I already have answers based on how things have gone so far in our playtesting...

> The primary playtest goals of this chapter are to learn whether the game still plays well at high level and to have fun!

Admirable goals.

> Do the rules for resolving combat get in the way of what should be an epic conclusion to the adventure?

I think the answer will be "yes" because they got in the way in the previous adventures. We've already ditched rules for Resonance, Bulk, and Hero Points. The Cleric healing options are spelled out in big letters on a whiteboard because those who have played the Cleric have often gotten tangled up in parsing the rules. Folks seem to be avoiding playing a character with a pet. Players are forgetting about their Reactions.

> Are there so many options for player characters that fights get bogged down and become relentless slogs?

Many players at the table already spend several minutes contemplating their actions and then just decide on "Move-Attack-Attack" either because they fail to figure out how the more complex rules work or because they conclude the alternatives aren't worth the effort.

> Are the PCs too powerful against their foes, or are those foes impossible to defeat?

Assuming the last adventure plays like the others, we'll wipe the floor with our opponents*. Only the first level adventure presented a legit combat challenge to us. Our DM knows most of the players don't care about the playtest goals and the DM has been trying to keep the game entertaining, thus modifying the encounters.

* The exception was the adventure with the Pirates/Besmara. We were told to make "roleplay characters" and folks didn't take magic weapons with their item purchases. So when the adventure turned out to have a mini-dungeon crawl, we weren't prepared (or able) to fight creatures our level. I had a guy designed to conceal daggers and even though my weapons were magical, I couldn't get through opposed DR. We only defeated the wizard opponent because he was caught in the same trap we were. We outlasted him. -- Of course, the DM probably made things work out for us to keep the story alive.

> With this edition of Pathfinder, we want to continue to make high-level play as enjoyable and as exciting as lower-level play—as it’s at the
> upper levels that campaigns come to a close and your memories of the finale of a long-running campaign should focus on the nail-biting final
> battles and confrontations against truly deadly foes.

I guess. I mean as a DM myself I certainly don't mind fostering the illusion that a climactic ending will be deadly and sow some feelings of tension and doubt. Honestly though, if it were "truly deadly" then there would be a significant chance of failure by the PCs and that is a [expletive] ending to a story for the players.

Anyways, I know this group will play PF2 because that'll be the DM's choice. I hope Paizo refines PF2 into something better than the playtest rules.
 
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Jer

Explorer
I continue to be stunned that they haven’t done conversions to 5e.
That should be a simple thing, as the writing is done and the art is paid for, you just need to pay for the conversion and re-layout making it a fraction of the original cost while also potentially appealing to an audience many times larger than the original printing...
I'm not so surprised. The question that they have in front of them right now is "where is the value for the Pathfinder brand?" If the Pathfinder brand is mainly a tabletop RPG brand, then it would make sense to latch onto D&D and put out 5e supplements of their Adventure Paths and supplemental books to extend the 5e engine into areas that Wizards isn't interested in taking it.

But if the Pathfinder brand is a whole product line brand, then giving up their own game engine becomes problematic. How does that tie into other tabletop gaming (like card games and the like)? How does it tie into other media, like video games? How does it impact the rest of their business?

From a business model standpoint, reverting back to being a company that supports D&D may not actually make sense in the big picture, even if it looks like the obvious move from the perspective of the tabletop RPG side of things.
 

Jester David

Villager
I'm not so surprised. The question that they have in front of them right now is "where is the value for the Pathfinder brand?" If the Pathfinder brand is mainly a tabletop RPG brand, then it would make sense to latch onto D&D and put out 5e supplements of their Adventure Paths and supplemental books to extend the 5e engine into areas that Wizards isn't interested in taking it.

But if the Pathfinder brand is a whole product line brand, then giving up their own game engine becomes problematic. How does that tie into other tabletop gaming (like card games and the like)? How does it tie into other media, like video games? How does it impact the rest of their business?

From a business model standpoint, reverting back to being a company that supports D&D may not actually make sense in the big picture, even if it looks like the obvious move from the perspective of the tabletop RPG side of things.
They don’t need to pick one Edition over the other. They can keep doing what they’re doing now and just publish a few 5e books.
(Heck, I imagine PF2’s schedule will be slower than PF1’s, so they could fill the schedule with 5e books.)

Publishing 5e accessories doesn’t affect the rest of their buisness. And might just draw more people to their maps, minis, card game, and video game.
 

MockingBird

Explorer
I would most certainly buy a Rise of the Runelords 5e hardback. I've always wanted to run that AP but I refuse to DM 3.5 or PF.
 

darjr

I crit!
Jason Buhlman was a GaryCon running PF2 events. I think they were the playtest rules. Last year they swore players to secrecy and collected back all materials. I wonder if they had any closed door games with the release PF2 stuff? I would have liked to have seen some of that or played it.
 

Nilbog

Explorer
I would most certainly buy a Rise of the Runelords 5e hardback. I've always wanted to run that AP but I refuse to DM 3.5 or PF.
I would love for Paizo to convert their AP's to 5e. I'm running a Runelords campaign in 5e now, and while the conversion work isn't the hardest, it would still save me so much time if it'd been done officially
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I just didn't find PF2 to be fun. Even character creation wasn't as fun. I kept finding dead end options vs must have options that made different characters of the same class very similarly built. It doesn't matter if you have 10 options to choose from when 8 are bad and 2 are great. Everyone picks the same 2.
This is very true, but it's also true of 1e pathfinder . The difference between an optimized character and a meh one is massive.
 

Staffan

Explorer
A question about the "not fun" playtest: did they only test the combat pillar?
No, the playtest also tested exploration and, I think, some amount of downtime rules.

The main issue is probably that people approached the playtest as a preview when it was explicitly designed to stress test various aspects of the system. For example, one of the adventures instructs the players to make characters that are experienced demon-fighters from the Worldwound, and then proceeds to pit them against ever-increasing waves of demons which will eventually overwhelm them - the goal of the adventure is to see how much it takes. That's certainly useful information for the designers, but it's not very fun for the players. It also didn't help that the rules were fairly rough around the edges, with skill DCs designed around a very punishing treadmill.

I think it would have been better for Paizo to look at how Wizards did their playtesting for 5e - start small, with only a few classes and/or only the first few levels and a simple scenario. Then gradually iterate on that and expand, allowing them to judge response to certain things and either iterate on them or throw them out. But instead they provided a sort-of complete set of rules, which got updated as the playtest went along, which means they're locked into certain paths. For example, one version of the Sorcerer in the D&D Next playtest gradually took on more draconic traits as they cast their spells which meant that over the course of a day they'd gradually turn into a warrior-type. This did not turn out to be a great idea, so it was scrapped. But if a similar bad idea of a PF2 class turned out to be a bad idea, they couldn't reboot it and do something else.
 

zztong

Explorer
We just finished the last part of the playtest AP two days ago. I was surprised to learn the DM, who has been pro-PF2, has not been happy with many aspects of the rules. In particular, he commented on not liking the characters that we came up with during the playtest. Of all the characters we made for all of those adventures, he liked four of them. If we made a party from them we would have (1) a heal-bot Cleric, (2) a two-handed sword Barbarian (w/Sorcerer), (3) a shield-specialist Paladin, and (4) an armor-wearing two-handed sword wielding Wizard (w/Ranger). Nobody at the table cared for how the Ranger, Druid, and Alchemist played. The Bard was okay. Nobody mentioned the Sorcerer other than to remind us that the Barbarian was MC'd into it, but never cast a spell. The jury was out on the Rogue and Monk because they didn't get much play. The Fighter was good and (as the Wiz/Rng player) I'd switch to Wiz/Ftr next time because I never used my Ranger abilities other than wearing armor, wielding a high-damage weapon, and AOOs.

The pro-PF2 DM didn't like the multiclass system, had trouble with the skill system, and thought spells didn't consistently deliver benefits that matched their level.

Another person at the table plans to run a self-written adventure using the PF2 playtest rules. The table is basically waiting on the finished PF2 rules to try. At this point, I can't predict the long-term viability of PF2 for us. The main DM picks the system and he seems to have moved from being pro-PF2 to being on the fence. With the upcoming adventures he'll get to see life as a player and make his first character.
 
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Retreater

Explorer
No, the playtest also tested exploration and, I think, some amount of downtime rules.

The main issue is probably that people approached the playtest as a preview when it was explicitly designed to stress test various aspects of the system. For example, one of the adventures instructs the players to make characters that are experienced demon-fighters from the Worldwound, and then proceeds to pit them against ever-increasing waves of demons which will eventually overwhelm them - the goal of the adventure is to see how much it takes. That's certainly useful information for the designers, but it's not very fun for the players. It also didn't help that the rules were fairly rough around the edges, with skill DCs designed around a very punishing treadmill.

I think it would have been better for Paizo to look at how Wizards did their playtesting for 5e - start small, with only a few classes and/or only the first few levels and a simple scenario. Then gradually iterate on that and expand, allowing them to judge response to certain things and either iterate on them or throw them out. But instead they provided a sort-of complete set of rules, which got updated as the playtest went along, which means they're locked into certain paths. For example, one version of the Sorcerer in the D&D Next playtest gradually took on more draconic traits as they cast their spells which meant that over the course of a day they'd gradually turn into a warrior-type. This did not turn out to be a great idea, so it was scrapped. But if a similar bad idea of a PF2 class turned out to be a bad idea, they couldn't reboot it and do something else.
Our experience with the playtest was also very negative, primarily for this reason. They assigned us to do a "stress test" instead of having fun with it. All the encounters of "see how many mindless fights you can endure in a row without healing" type of playtests should have been handled internally. The Doomsday Dawn playtest came across as lazy and rushed. It was a bad promotion for PF2, and it certainly didn't win any fans in my region.

So it seems that PF will keep losing fans to D&D 5E (or other systems) or hang on to a few diehard PF1 enthusiasts.

In my opinion PF2 is doing exactly the opposite of what Paizo would need to do to bring me back as a fan.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Paizo needs to throw the current PF2 system in the garbage. They need to understand that Paizo will only remain relevant if they stay in D&D's orbit, and stop dreaming.

An independent Pathfinder will never be nearly as large.

Then they should hire a new set of designers that create a Pathfinder version of 5th Edition that keeps the DM-side simplicity, while beefing up options and build complexity of player characters and high-level monsters.
 

Haffrung

Explorer
For a contrary take on PF2, this long-time D&D player who bounced off PF1 has was impressed enough by the PF2 playtest rules that he's planning to buy the PF2 core book, Bestiary, and new AP, and start a campaign in the Fall.
 

MockingBird

Explorer
Interesting, I find reading about the play test interesting for sure. I see the hardcore PF1 group swear by it, not sure if this is just blind faith or if they truly enjoy it. The groups that seem to play several different RPGs tend to be dissatisfied with it. I'm not so sure about the hard core 5th ed players, I'm not sure they even bothered with it (I'm in the latter group and the most I have done is skim over the free pdf and read players reactions). I doubt I put 5th on hold to try it any time soon. My group is very satisfied with D&D for the moment. I am very curious to see how it does once it releases. I like Paizo and the competition is good for the hobby, hopefully they do well. I just wish they would convert some APs to 5th.
 

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