Pathfinder 2e

dave2008

Adventurer
If you are looking for a game with tight math, tight encounter design, meaningful narrative uncertainty, embedded lore and modular design the actual execution here is excellent.

If that is not what you are looking for then the execution does not particularly matter.
tight math - yes
tight encounter design - no
meaningful narrative uncertainty - I guess yes (but that exists in every D&D game I've played so I don't understand how that is a feature)
embedded lore - a big no
modular design - yes, but depends what you mean. I love the modularity of 1e, 4e, and 5e. How is PF2e different?

If this is the list that makes PF2e distinctive your making me re-think my idea of playing the game from: going to give it a try; to: perhaps not worth the effort. You are basically telling me it is like every D&D game I have played with some bits I don't like or don't care about?

Please tell me I am misunderstanding, I just started to look up where to play!
 

darjr

I crit!
I think it was Campbell who said that high level play felt dangerous because of the design of the game and not just the monsters. That has me intrigued. I’m hoping he posts a thread with more detail about that.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
@dave2008

There's a lot more to the game then that. I was just laying out that if you are not looking for those things, particularly the tight math and modular design it is probably not the game for you. This is like high level systems analysis stuff. Not getting into the individual features of the design. Sometimes I can get lost in this stuff because I do it for a living.

Pathfinder 2 is modular in the computer science sense of the word. Everything is designed to be as self contained as possible. Where it intersects with other stuff they use a consistent and defined interface. A good example of this is how counteracting works. The core math of the game is contained to the chassis of your class, ancestry, and background and your ability scores.

There is a very slim fiber of the rules contained in Playing The Game that provides the interface for everything else. Similar things function in exactly the same way. Subsystems do not sit on top of each other. This means we can easily rip out and add things or make fundamental changes at the seams of the system without having to make adjustments to individual elements.

Want more well rounded characters? Just give everyone more skill increases. You will not affect peak performance? Want to change the way proficiency or counteracting work? Just change those rules. No need to rewrite any spells or classes. Don't like the exploration rules? Don't use them. It will not break anything. Want monks to be just skilled martial artists? Rip out the ki spell feats. Want everyone to have more class feats? Go ahead. Don't like skill feats? Remove them. The math will be fine.

The way everything is written makes the system conducive to change and resistant to breaking down.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
I think it was Campbell who said that high level play felt dangerous because of the design of the game and not just the monsters. That has me intrigued. I’m hoping he posts a thread with more detail about that.
He already did.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I will say they probably could have gotten away with a lot less content for the Core Rules. They gave us a 640 page book with 40 pages of rules. It would have been a lot less intimidating if they would have launched with a 400 page book with a 200 page companion supplement.

This was also an issue with Exalted 3rd Edition. Great game with great rules, but absolutely overloaded with content to the point it was intimidating.
 
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dave2008

Adventurer
@dave2008

There's a lot more to the game then that. I was just laying out that if you are not looking for those things, particularly the tight math and modular design it is probably not the game for you. This is like high level systems analysis stuff. Not getting into the individual features of the design. Sometimes I can get lost in this stuff because I do it for a living.

Pathfinder 2 is modular in the computer science sense of the word. Everything is designed to be as self contained as possible. Where it intersects with other stuff they use a consistent and defined interface. A good example of this is how counteracting works. The core math of the game is contained to the chassis of your class, ancestry, and background and your ability scores.

There is a very slim fiber of the rules contained in Playing The Game that provides the interface for everything else. Similar things function in exactly the same way. Subsystems do not sit on top of each other. This means we can easily rip out and add things or make fundamental changes at the seams of the system without having to make adjustments to individual elements.

Want more well rounded characters? Just give everyone more skill increases. You will not affect peak performance? Want to change the way proficiency or counteracting work? Just change those rules. No need to rewrite any spells or classes. Don't like the exploration rules? Don't use them. It will not break anything. Want monks to be just skilled martial artists? Rip out the ki spell feats. Want everyone to have more class feats? Go ahead. Don't like skill feats? Remove them. The math will be fine.

The way everything is written makes the system conducive to change and resistant to breaking down.
OK, so perhaps not in a design sense, but from a play perspective functionally like all the versions of D&D I've played. Good to know. Sill not sure why I should spend the effort to play it, but I think I will try to find a game I can join.
 

BryonD

Adventurer
I think the tight math being so dominant over everything else is a key factor that makes the game fall short for many. You can change anything or everything and the math doesn't much care.

And thus everything else feels sterile and tacked on.
Yes, you can tell exciting stories about warriors with swords and fireballs and orcs. But there are many dozens of games that offer that. And, for many of those games, certainly really popular games, changing things DOES matter because those narrative elements are the heart of the game. They are not the heart of 2E. The math is.
 

DragonBelow

Explorer
PF1 is as broken as 3.x. Paizo did nothing to tone down LFQW or CoDZilla fx. And it's not about being lucky. They took an existing "giant's" system and made it their own, for writing great adventures and lore. But great rules design when it comes to PF1... Not so much.
One of PF1's objectives was to remain compatible with 3.5, so their hands were tied, on purpose. That's one of the reasons PF1 was so successful, people already liked the system.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
This is a very harsh assessment. Most people say PF came into its own with the Advanced Player's Guide, because the designers put put their own stamp on the system.

It's insulting to Paizo game designers to claim that they merely stood on the shoulders of giants, and got lucky. All game designers draw from what came before.

Not liking a system is fine, but there is nothing in either PF or PF2 that scream too broken to play. This is a hyperbolic response, as there is no genuine critique here, just dislike. PF2 is not perfect but has some very tight game design. It's perfectly playable.
Re-releasing a slight update to another company's product simply because you have the legal right to do so because of the OGL is no different to me than the companies releasing retro-clones like OSRIC. I can appreciate it for allowing the old material to remain in print, but it doesn't necessarily display creativity or mastery of game design.

While game designers do draw from what came before, comparing Pathfinder 1e to creative systems built from the ground up to accommodate the stories the designers wanted to tell isn't accurate to me. They put a new coat of paint on it, switched out the IP and repackaged it. Which is okay, but the core rulebook didn't prove good game design.
Then other supplements just demonstrated bad choices, more trap options, and perpetuated Ivory Tower game design to trick new players into making suboptimal characters or ones that sucked fun out of the game.
 

pcrotteau

Explorer
Saying that Paizo couldn't design a ruleset themselves is a bit shortsighted. Stephen Radney-Macfarland worked for WotC before moving over to Paizo. He helped develop the 4e rules as well as Pf2.
 

Parmandur

Legend
tight math - yes
tight encounter design - no
meaningful narrative uncertainty - I guess yes (but that exists in every D&D game I've played so I don't understand how that is a feature)
embedded lore - a big no
modular design - yes, but depends what you mean. I love the modularity of 1e, 4e, and 5e. How is PF2e different?

If this is the list that makes PF2e distinctive your making me re-think my idea of playing the game from: going to give it a try; to: perhaps not worth the effort. You are basically telling me it is like every D&D game I have played with some bits I don't like or don't care about?

Please tell me I am misunderstanding, I just started to look up where to play!
That's basically where I'm at with the game. It would involve a large time and money investment, to do what I can do already with several other games...?
 

dave2008

Adventurer
That's basically where I'm at with the game. It would involve a large time and money investment, to do what I can do already with several other games...?
Yep. I don't see me buying into it as a DM, but I think I am going to try to find a local game I can join and give it a try.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Can Paizo deviate from d20 and design a successful game? Yes they can, they just did. The facts are in. The Amazon sales rank alone shows they have a huge success.
How is PF2e not a d20 game? To be clear I believe they can design a successful game, but I think the facts suggest PF2e is a d20 game (or perhaps I don't know the proper definition of the term).
 

pcrotteau

Explorer
I believe he's referring to the d20 OGL model of 3e,3.5e, and Pf1. It's a new system more based around their campaign world than an existing ruleset.
 

darjr

I crit!
Yes, I meant OGL/d20 license style 3.5 game.

though I have to say I think it could have been a d20 license game in the past. It is very close.


But the differences are fundamental enough where good game design was required to make it all come together as a success.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Yes, I meant OGL/d20 license style 3.5 game.

though I have to say I think it could have been a d20 license game in the past. It is very close.


But the differences are fundamental enough where good game design was required to make it all come together as a success.
Doesn't PF2e use the OGL? I realize it doesn't use the d20 license, but isn't it OGL compatible?

EDIT: I just checked and the PF2e Bestiary is indeed OGL material. It is on the last page of the Appendix. So I assume the core rulebook is as well?
 

jsaving

Adventurer
Seems to me the answer to this question really depends on what you are looking for. The math is "tighter," yes, but it got that way by eliminating a large swath of player options such as 3e-style multiclassing and skill points that facilitated customization. The design is more "modular," yes, but it got that way by significantly curbing players' ability to "roam the rulebook" when gaining feats and the like. Those aren't bad goals to have but it remains to be seen whether the 4e-style solutions employed in PF2 will be especially compelling to PF1 players who initially embraced Pathfinder to get away from 4e.
 

darjr

I crit!
I think that’s the gamble part of this. I think they thought that pf1e folks that like it for it’s 3.5ish ness will stay anyway. So they had to take a bit of a leap. Maybe. Boy I wish I was in the initial spitballing of this edition.
 

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