• 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.

PF2 and the adventure day

Tony Vargas

But - to be fair - what mostly seems to happen in practice after about 3rd level or so is that your daily players feel like their characters are awesome and your fighter players wonder why they're bothering to play something that isn't a caster.
Certainly, if you're not averaging the prescribed encounter:short:long-rest ratio, that can happen.

Which is why 5e sometimes feels so much like how we used to play D&D back when I was a kid, despite the loss of THAC0 and named saving throws and various other changes :)
Not nearly the only reason - feeling like that was a big part of the point! ;)


If players are feeling that, the casters are not being pushed hard enough: if they don't fear using spell slots, they need more challenge from the DM.
Right. That's what I said :) If you don't play with enough encounters what happens is that the wizards feel like superman and the fighters sit around wondering when they get to play the game.

That was also how D&D often felt back in the day once you hit about 3rd level or so - of course we didn't know that was the reason why because there was no formula in the book that said "you should be having X encounters per day". Just we'd hit the point where the spellcasters would be out of spells, and everyone would go "welp, that's it - let's make camp/go back to town/whatever so we can get more spell slots" and that would be that. It took awhile before we figured out that maybe the reason that the fighter felt so useless after 3rd level or so was because you shouldn't be letting the wizard blow their spell slots on 3 encounters and then going back to town.

The difference between then and now is that the book explicitly says that if you don't play with enough encounters, your game will suffer for it (except that isn't true at very low levels - one of many things that makes the game hard for new players to learn is that once you hit level 5, the game changes). That was something we had to discover through trial and error back then (or have revealed to us in some Dragon magazine discussion in the letters page).


Not necessarily, there can be plenty of fighting and seeking out combat in Basic/AD&D.
Early editions were nothing if not variable between tables, but the expectation that you would fight a certain amount of opposition in any given day was not in the rules.


Early editions were nothing if not variable between tables, but the expectation that you would fight a certain amount of opposition in any given day was not in the rules.
Oh, of course, I am not into expected encounters or wealth.


Relaxed Intensity
Over on the Paizo boards James Jacobs weighed in on this.

James Jacobs said:
Collete Brunel said:
Pages 499-500 do not quite cover what I am asking. I know that characters can take an 8-hour rest once per day, but what is the expected number of times that characters can slink away from the dungeon and go, "Actually, we are going to take the rest of the day off until we can rest again"?

I cannot find anything in the GMing section on the core rulebook on the recommended number of encounters per day, essentially.
We may have more advice on topics like that in the upcoming GM's guide, but the real answer is still gonna be "As often as the GM feels it makes sense."
Basically the official guidance on the adventuring day is that there is no official guidance. I think it's the right call actually. I feel like when you take in the game as a whole including down time, exploration activities, and the action economy what they are trying to build is a game where skill at playing the game for all players will have a fundamental impact on how long the adventuring day is.

Exploration activities like Scout Ahead carry a risk, but result in direct results both in the fiction and mechanics of the game. Managing recovery after a combat encounter like shield repairs, focus recovery, and treat injury can have a huge impact on future encounters. A rogue can help the entire group sneak and be unnoticed at the start of an encounter. Within encounters careful management of actions and resources can have a dramatic impact on encounter difficulty.

During downtime characters can conduct research, earn money, craft items, and retrain spells, skills, and feats in preparation for future adventures.

In combat careful management of actions and reactions, exploiting weaknesses and getting around vulnerabilities can be crucial to success. Against unknown monsters Recall Knowledge can be a solid use of an action, particularly if you run into Resistance. You might need to Seek hidden or invisible enemies. Mobility can be crucial as can applying debuffs like Feint or Demoralize.

If you pay careful attention to the encounter building guidelines they specify the difficulty of the encounter, but never really in terms of what is appropriate to face. There are no standard encounters - only trivial, low, moderate, severe, and extreme difficulties. The descriptions also make mention of the impact of skilled play in several places.

Pathfinder Core Rulebook said:
Trivial-threat encounters are so easy that the characters have essentially no chance of losing; they shouldn’t even need to spend significant resources unless they are particularly wasteful. These encounters work best as warm-ups, palate cleansers, or reminders of how awesome the characters are. A trivial-threat encounter can still be fun to play, so don’t ignore them just because
of the lack of threat.

Low-threat encounters present a veneer of difficulty and typically use some of the party’s resources. However, it would be rare or the result of very poor tactics for the entire party to be seriously threatened.

Moderate-threat encounters are a serious challenge to the characters, though unlikely to overpower them completely. Characters usually need to use sound tactics and manage their resources wisely to come out of a moderate-threat encounter ready to continue on and face a harder challenge without resting.

Severe-threat encounters are the hardest encounter most groups of characters can consistently defeat. These encounters are most appropriate for important moments in your story, such as confronting a final boss. Bad luck, poor tactics, or a lack of resources due to prior encounters can easily turn a severe-threat encounter against the characters, and a wise group keeps the option to disengage open.

Extreme-threat encounters are so dangerous that they are likely to be an even match for the characters, particularly if the characters are low on resources. This makes them too challenging for most uses. An extreme threat encounter might be appropriate for a fully rested group of characters that can go all-out, for the climactic encounter at the end of an entire campaign, or for a group of veteran players using advanced tactics and teamwork.