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PF2 Pathfinder Second Edition: I hear it's bad - Why Bad, How Bad?

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Back in 2010 or 11 I played houserules 3.5. I ripped out the magic items/market rules and went back to AD&D type handouts.

Players had more items but it reduced the optimisation levels as they couldn't sell junk items and buy the specific ones they wanted. A +1 spear started to look good again instead of being a 1000 gp coupon off what you really want.
Certainly if they could use that coupon for "anything" as in free picks from the DMG (either because they have teleport and some shop somewhere must have a copy, or because you allow free crafting of magic items)
 

FowlJ

Villager
So I'm just saying that PF2e hopefully refined the process and learned from SF's weaknesses (esp the page-long tables) because the last attempt at level-based items Paizo did was absolutely gamist.
For what it's worth, upgrading equipment in PF2 bears very little similarity to doing so in Starfinder. In SF, there are armour upgrades available every single level, and over a 20 point difference between the best armour and the worst - you are swapping out your gear pretty much every single level, and you begin to fall hopelessly behind if you try to go without.

In PF2, there are three armour runes that increase your AC by +1, and three more that increase your saves by +1. You probably also want some property runes, to give yourself energy resistance or whatever, but in terms of 'mandatory' upgrades, there are exactly six over the course of 20 levels (none of which require you to actually change your equipment if you don't want to, because you can etch the new runes onto your existing stuff). Special materials also exist, but like special materials in first edition you buy them because you want the properties of the material, not because they are the next 'tier' of equipment.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
For what it's worth, upgrading equipment in PF2 bears very little similarity to doing so in Starfinder. In SF, there are armour upgrades available every single level, and over a 20 point difference between the best armour and the worst - you are swapping out your gear pretty much every single level, and you begin to fall hopelessly behind if you try to go without.

In PF2, there are three armour runes that increase your AC by +1, and three more that increase your saves by +1. You probably also want some property runes, to give yourself energy resistance or whatever, but in terms of 'mandatory' upgrades, there are exactly six over the course of 20 levels (none of which require you to actually change your equipment if you don't want to, because you can etch the new runes onto your existing stuff). Special materials also exist, but like special materials in first edition you buy them because you want the properties of the material, not because they are the next 'tier' of equipment.
That does sound better: the Runic resource system is more attractive than Starfinder (as presented in this thread).
 

MockingBird

Explorer
I was glad 5e went the direction it did concerning magic items and weapons. IMO these items are rare and dont just pop up in some merchants stock. If it does, the merchant doesnt know what he has and will likely end up dead and relieved of the item. I never liked the assumed magic item school of thought. In my experience players enjoy finding these items in old forgotten tombs and dungeons. Each one has a story of how it found it's way there.
 
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For what it's worth, upgrading equipment in PF2 bears very little similarity to doing so in Starfinder. In SF, there are armour upgrades available every single level, and over a 20 point difference between the best armour and the worst - you are swapping out your gear pretty much every single level, and you begin to fall hopelessly behind if you try to go without.

In PF2, there are three armour runes that increase your AC by +1, and three more that increase your saves by +1. You probably also want some property runes, to give yourself energy resistance or whatever, but in terms of 'mandatory' upgrades, there are exactly six over the course of 20 levels (none of which require you to actually change your equipment if you don't want to, because you can etch the new runes onto your existing stuff). Special materials also exist, but like special materials in first edition you buy them because you want the properties of the material, not because they are the next 'tier' of equipment.
That's what I was hoping was the case, but some of the things this thread eluded to (superior quality shields, item levels) conjured up visions of them adapting Starfinder's "fix" to Pathfinder. Good to know its not the case.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
(You don't *need* a healer in 5E. It sure is nice to have, but you can still be successful without one)
Because enemies will totally wait that hour for you to spend a HD.
That does sound better: the Runic resource system is more attractive than Starfinder (as presented in this thread).
Agreed, but I may just have a soft spot for Runes, since I never did get to play RQ as much as I might've liked back in the day.
I never liked the assumed magic item school of thought. In my experience players enjoy finding these items in old forgotten tombs and dungeons. Each one has a story of how it found it's way there.
The two aren't incompatible, you can have 3.x style wealth/level & expected items without the buy half of make/buy, as long as the DM's pretty good about delivering on the item expectations. Really, magic item expectations go all the way back to the way Gygax weighted those random tables. Without 'em, the non-casters fall behind even earlier and more dramatically.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
For our group, the biggest problem for us in PF2 is something that we know will be in there thanks to the playtest - the continuing problem of spiraling numbers bloat. Thankfully, characters wont be as far apart as in PF1, but there's still that problem that what starts out as +5 and +7s here and there, become +25 and +35 by the high teens of levels. even though the numbers are more consistent, it's still really annoying to deal with the number bloat. We've been playing some 5e for the past year, and the group really seems to like it, and our plan is to keep playing 5e at least until the Gamemastery Guide comes out, with the expectation that there may be discussion of reducing or eliminating the proficiency bonus altogether, and what other considerations need to be made in the system if one eliminates it. if would be a pretty big change.

If not, then PF2 may well not suit us. We'll have to wait and see.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Because enemies will totally wait that hour for you to spend a HD.
I'm not sure why you thought snark was an appropriate response.

I wasn't proffering an opinion. I know for a *fact* you don't need a dedicated healer character in 5E because I understand the system. Also, I have tried it and can confirm it in practice.

And no, we don't run an especially carebearian campaign.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
For our group, the biggest problem for us in PF2 is something that we know will be in there thanks to the playtest - the continuing problem of spiraling numbers bloat.
There's two issues. I can't be sure which one you're complaining about, or if you really mean both.

A) big numbers in themselves. That 99 is intrinsically worse than 9. For example, in a d20+99 roll, the die roll feels fairly pointless.
B) the discrepancy between low and high level. That high level heroes become untouchable by low level monsters
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
I'm not sure why you thought snark was an appropriate response.
It's m'posting style. ;)
Once, I, too was a stand-up Jedi, like Lowkey13, but I fell to the Snark Side of the Farce.
I wasn't proffering an opinion. I know for a *fact* you don't need a dedicated healer character in 5E because I understand the system. Also, I have tried it and can confirm it in practice.And no, we don't run an especially carebearian campaign.
There's no such thing as a /dedicated/ healer in 5e, but that wasn't what I was referring to. There's 4 classes that can heal well enough to keep a party going in combat - and, in the hypothetical long enough day that slots are genuinely stressed and HD run out - but, they're all 5e casters, so all spontaneously heal only when needed, but do other things when it's not needed, much like a 3e cleric. One of them, the Paladin, even has healing segregated from his spells/offense, so can consistently heal while making other contributions.
But, while it's not a dedicated 'Band-aid Cleric' role anymore (there never has been in the WotC era, there's been CoDzilla, and 'Leaders'), you still /need/ a healer, preferably more than one. Depending on HD will get you killed because they aren't accessible in combat, or, if you're cautious enough, have you resting much more often than the prescribed pacing. Of course, if you turn feats on, there's Healer and Inspiring Leader, and your DM can leave 'carebarian' (really? thatwhatkidserrsaynthesedays?) potions &c littering the floor like 'Food' in Gauntlet.

There's two issues. I can't be sure which one you're complaining about, or if you really mean both.

A) big numbers in themselves. That 99 is intrinsically worse than 9. For example, in a d20+99 roll, the die roll feels fairly pointless.
B) the discrepancy between low and high level. That high level heroes become untouchable by low level monsters
Both, and the divergence of high-level PCs from eachother. A d20+99 specialist facing a 111 DC does need a good roll, so the die isn't pointless, but his second-best backup at only d20+75 can't even come close. It was egregious in 3.5 at high level, both in terms of skill ranks and BAB, and appalling when it came to saves. 4e fixed the issue without abandoning the sense of advancement relative to much lower-level monsters (who'd be modeled as minions when they fell outside the d20 range) and other challenges, by putting everyone on the same base +1/2 level advancement, with proficiency/trainging giving a fixed bonus when first gained. 5e just dialed the numbers down from 4e, from +2-5 + 1/2levels (1-30) to +2 +1/4levels(1-20), sacrificing the sense of advancement in skill relative to lower-level challenges, in return for keeping the whole range of advancement more or less on the d20, and relying on hps/damage & spell progressions to provide the sense of advancement with level.

It's a point Hussar makes much of, about 5e 'really being 4e under the hood.' It's the edition that followed 4e, and it recycled, even copy-pasted, a fair amount of low-order mechanical detail.
 

JesterOC

Explorer
A) big numbers in themselves. That 99 is intrinsically worse than 9. For example, in a d20+99 roll, the die roll feels fairly pointless.
B) the discrepancy between low and high level. That high level heroes become untouchable by low level monsters
These are two ideas I actually like.
1) At higher levels, the crazy swing of the d20 gets eliminated when the heroes are in the high range and the DC's are in the normal range.
2) High level monsters feel appropriately epic. No one but high level heroes have a chance against them.

For point 2, using media as a reference I consider the aliens in Pitch Black, or Starship troopers. Normal people have no chance, only skilled heroes have a chance.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
There's 4 classes that can heal well enough to keep a party going in combat
You don't need a healer to keep going in combat.

you still /need/ a healer, preferably more than one. Depending on HD will get you killed
No and no.

I don't know what game you're playing, but the encounters of official modules rarely last more than three rounds. That's hardly enough time to cause enough damage to take even one character from full hp to zero, and then dead, let alone enough of the party to make them actually lose the encounter.

Of course, I like challenge, and so my encounters are rarely as pointlessly easy as many official encounters. Still, I can conclusively establish the dependency on a healer character so prevalent in previous editions is no longer present in 5E.

A Cleric would certainly be appreciated, but nobody *needs* to play the healer. There you are simply mistaken. You can have four Fighters or four Wizards in your 4-man party. You might face certain challenges, but it's not that the game wouldn't work.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
There's two issues. I can't be sure which one you're complaining about, or if you really mean both.

A) big numbers in themselves. That 99 is intrinsically worse than 9. For example, in a d20+99 roll, the die roll feels fairly pointless.
B) the discrepancy between low and high level. That high level heroes become untouchable by low level monsters
More of the first than the second; it's like when some video games have characters that end up with 1500 hit points and do 100 damage a shot against enemies that have 10,000 hit points, when scaling everything down by a factor or ten or twenty would have the same effect - but to people, the first just sounds cooler. When you're working with pen and paper, larger and larger numbers become a bit superfluous.

However, the relevance of lower-powered enemies in campaigns is something my group didn't expect out of 5e, and they seem to like it a lot. When they approach a large group of enemies of lower caliber, they have begun to take them more seriously (especially after one particular near-TPK against their five level 3 characters vs. a bunch of CR 1/4s and 1/2s). By comparison in the PF Playtest, if you faced enemies more than three or four levels below or above you, combat was either a foregone conclusion, or a hopeless fight, respectively. I know the designers said they were loosening that up a bit, so apparently a lot of people had a similar issue on that.
 
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Parmandur

Adventurer
It's m'posting style. ;)
Once, I, too was a stand-up Jedi, like Lowkey13, but I fell to the Snark Side of the Farce.
There's no such thing as a /dedicated/ healer in 5e, but that wasn't what I was referring to. There's 4 classes that can heal well enough to keep a party going in combat - and, in the hypothetical long enough day that slots are genuinely stressed and HD run out - but, they're all 5e casters, so all spontaneously heal only when needed, but do other things when it's not needed, much like a 3e cleric. One of them, the Paladin, even has healing segregated from his spells/offense, so can consistently heal while making other contributions.
But, while it's not a dedicated 'Band-aid Cleric' role anymore (there never has been in the WotC era, there's been CoDzilla, and 'Leaders'), you still /need/ a healer, preferably more than one. Depending on HD will get you killed because they aren't accessible in combat, or, if you're cautious enough, have you resting much more often than the prescribed pacing. Of course, if you turn feats on, there's Healer and Inspiring Leader, and your DM can leave 'carebarian' (really? thatwhatkidserrsaynthesedays?) potions &c littering the floor like 'Food' in Gauntlet.

Both, and the divergence of high-level PCs from eachother. A d20+99 specialist facing a 111 DC does need a good roll, so the die isn't pointless, but his second-best backup at only d20+75 can't even come close. It was egregious in 3.5 at high level, both in terms of skill ranks and BAB, and appalling when it came to saves. 4e fixed the issue without abandoning the sense of advancement relative to much lower-level monsters (who'd be modeled as minions when they fell outside the d20 range) and other challenges, by putting everyone on the same base +1/2 level advancement, with proficiency/trainging giving a fixed bonus when first gained. 5e just dialed the numbers down from 4e, from +2-5 + 1/2levels (1-30) to +2 +1/4levels(1-20), sacrificing the sense of advancement in skill relative to lower-level challenges, in return for keeping the whole range of advancement more or less on the d20, and relying on hps/damage & spell progressions to provide the sense of advancement with level.

It's a point Hussar makes much of, about 5e 'really being 4e under the hood.' It's the edition that followed 4e, and it recycled, even copy-pasted, a fair amount of low-order mechanical detail.
Actually, the Skill system in 4E was one of my favorite parts, except for the number bloat and treadmill feeling: which 5E fixed, while retaining the overall feel (the unified Proficiency bonus was a stroke if genius though, to bring Saves, Skill checks and a attack bonuses into one number on the sheet).

PF2 is using a variation combining the worst of both worlds: plus level *and* a multitiered Proficiency per Skill (-2, 2, 4, 6, 8 IIRC for Untrained to Legendary Ina given Skill). Way too much.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
More of the first than the second; it's like when some video games have characters that end up with 1500 hit points and do 100 damage a shot against enemies that have 10,000 hit points, when scaling everything down by a factor or ten or twenty would have the same effect - but to people, the first just sounds cooler. When you're working with pen and paper, larger and larger numbers become a bit superfluous.

However, the relevance of lower-powered enemies in campaigns is something my group didn't expect out of 5e, and they seem to like it a lot. When they approach a large group of enemies of lower caliber, they have begun to take them more seriously (especially after one particular near-TPK against their five level 3 characters vs. a bunch of CR 1/4s and 1/2s). By comparison in the PF Playtest, if you faced enemies more than three or four levels below or above you, combat was either a foregone conclusion, or a hopeless fight, respectively. I know the designers said they were loosening that up a bit, so apparently a lot of people had a similar issue on that.
There is something narratively satisfactory about not being able to assume that you will win or lose a given fight, just the relative odds. Keeps the whole game in play, and invests interest in encounters.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
There is something narratively satisfactory about not being able to assume that you will win or lose a given fight, just the relative odds. Keeps the whole game in play, and invests interest in encounters.
Ends campaigns with TPKs. ;)

PF2 is using a variation combining the worst of both worlds: plus level *and* a multitiered Proficiency per Skill (-2, 2, 4, 6, 8 IIRC for Untrained to Legendary Ina given Skill). Way too much.
IDK, I feel like "mundane" skills have always needed something to stay relevant at higher level.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
You don't need a healer to keep going in combat.


No and no.

I don't know what game you're playing, but the encounters of official modules rarely last more than three rounds. That's hardly enough time to cause enough damage to take even one character from full hp to zero, and then dead, let alone enough of the party to make them actually lose the encounter.

Of course, I like challenge, and so my encounters are rarely as pointlessly easy as many official encounters. Still, I can conclusively establish the dependency on a healer character so prevalent in previous editions is no longer present in 5E.

A Cleric would certainly be appreciated, but nobody *needs* to play the healer. There you are simply mistaken. You can have four Fighters or four Wizards in your 4-man party. You might face certain challenges, but it's not that the game wouldn't work.
The designers, in fact, do assume that no fight will last much more than two rounds, and in fact their assumed adventure day for balance is 40-60 rounds of combat between long rests (Mearls went into the nitty-gritty during the Happy Fun Hour run).

And, yeah, no healer required in this game. Or only healers: there are no traps.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
Ends campaigns with TPKs. ;)

IDK, I feel like "mundane" skills have always needed something to stay relevant at higher level.
The threat of TPKs makes one feel alive: alternatively, people have beaten the Half-Dragon Champion near the beginning of HotDQ, which is thrilling. It's like gambling, but way dorkier.

I think 5E does manage to make mundane skills relevant at high levels, though part of that is definitely going to be DM dependent: criticals are not part of the Skill system, so there are tasks that only high level folks with a maxed out attribute (or Rogues & Bards) can even attempt, and 5E like 4E retains the ability to keep the math the same, while upping the narrative ante. The DMG has some advise about this, like making a game wuxia simply by changing how Skill checks are narrated.
 

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