[PF2] Game Session Experiences (Playtest or Homebrew)


First Post
Just wanted to make a thread for people who are playing or DM'ing in PF2 (whether Playtest or homebrew campaign) to post their thoughts on things as well as info from their session experiences.

For me I'm DM'ing a PF2 game that we switched over from PF1. Currently the players are level 11. We did an introductory flashback session at level 4 to get used to the system. FYI the party is a five person party (paladin/fighter, divine sorcerer, imperial sorcerer, druid, monk)

The level 4 encounters went well (took about 1.5 sessions) and then we switched over to the level 11 characters for the last two sessions.

The level 4 one was pretty smooth and surprisingly they were able to beat a level 8 enemy (more like a level 7 enemy because of a story debuff that made it enfeebled but still pretty tough) with a level 5 ally without anyone dying which was surprising, but then I didn't roll that well when rolling a 15 on my first attack would have been a crit. Then they had a second fight against the level 5 enemy with some lower level help and defeated it. Action economy changes were pretty much the most important thing going on there that everyone enjoyed.

On level 11 we spent the first session just doing RP stuff and I like the new skill options for that. Second session was combat. The encounter isn't done (they're in a siege situation awaiting the boss to show up) but the first part was a bunch of lower level mobs with an elite Ogre Mage (level 9) into a second part of stone golem (level 11), 3 rogues (level 10) and a wizard (level 10). They also had 1.5ish allies. (level 10) So overall an encounter the party should be slightly favored in but not a cakewalk. With flanking/sneak attack I knocked out the Monk and one ally. The Paladin who was going 1-1 against the golem for most of the fight got hit low (to like 20 of 160 health) but was healed up before he went down.

So some observations here:

1. Resonance isn't going to be an issue with this party with 3 charisma based characters. Even with the damage I did to them healing it up is well within their limits. They will likely need to spend some party wealth though on good potions/wands however. That doesn't necessarily mean resonance is a great system (I have some issues with it) but I don't expect that to tax this party. I would guess they could fight 4 encounters of this difficulty (maybe one being a bit harder) before going into gambling mode with items. They probably need to make potions a bit cheaper though given that, because they're going to need to use higher level health potions to keep up. I would like skill based healing to be improved too by quite a bit to help with that.
2. Retributive Strike worked pretty well, although part of that was the Paladin got enlarged to huge size and had 15 foot reach. I think reach build with that is going to be pretty good.
3. Power Attack felt fairly weak, especially if you're multiclassing into it. Only getting one dice doesn't seem to be worth the second action. Furious Focus however does seem to be very good if using regular iterative strikes.
4. Third attacks are rarely worth it, but I did get lucky a couple times in rolling 20 on it and still getting a crit.
5. Math is really tight despite being fairly big numbers. (since level adjustments just cancel out on even leveled enemies). Just small bonuses like flanking or bless make a huge deal in how much damage you do. Similarly something like frightened is a giant DPS multiplier on casters. However the level adjustment being so strong does leave a bit too narrow a range for enemies imo between when they become useful and when they become super dangerous. Basically +/- 2 is the last time when enemies are a threat or reasonable. Once you hit +/-3 they're either going to be too powerful for the party or too weak. Because of that I'd prefer if they change the level scaling bonus to Level/2 instead of level. This would allow me to use iconic monsters like giants/trolls/ogres/etc for longer and just make the game overall easier to DM on the fly.

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I'm playing in a playtest group and we just played again last night. We're not fast enough to keep up with the playtest schedule. We also have trouble keeping up-to-date on the rules Updates. Its a pain in the butt to sort through the rules PDF and 3 update PDFs.

I'd say that folks are more interested in just playing a game than actually playtesting. The table is a mix of veteran players and new folks.

Resonance hasn't been an issue for us. I suspect it is because most of the players don't know the rule exists and the GM isn't bothering to check on it. Hero Lab tells me that I'm using 2 of 5 available Resonance. I suspect Paizo could delete the Resonance rules and we'd never notice. We also didn't care about folks having many CLW wands in PF1. I'd suggest they cut the rule because of its irrelevance.

I've not seen many third attacks at the table unless a character had nothing else to do, then they don't mind throwing the die and hoping to get lucky. It usually applies to the melee folks and those folks usually want to raise a shield. Even my Monk/4 raises a Shield (via the Shield Spell) because of his Wizard Feat. These combinations pretty much have defined my play:

Shield - Move - Flurry
Flurry - Stunning Attack
Move - Ray of Frost
Shield - Ray of Frost

The Math is interesting, but last night it really didn't work out so well. We were fighting the Manticore in the second part. It could regularly critically hit us multiple times a round and take people from healthy to dying in a round. The Cleric could take them from dying to healthy in one round too. The poor Ranger spent the combat falling down and standing up. The Cleric spent the entire combat healing.

I see the system faltering with critical successes being too common and magic items throwing in extra damage dice. The DM describes the system as more "swingy." That is, damage comes in over a greater range. I suppose that creates tension at some level. What I see is it leads to a much different story being told than PF1.

While I'm not a fan of a fantasy game being about Superheroes, I know that's what most people want and what Paizo is trying to deliver. Thus far, PF2 doesn't feel like a game of super heroic fantasy. It feels more like a game of incompetents that are vastly superior to pathetically incompetent commoners. This is partly a result of the odds of successfully beating a DC and partly because of the opponents.

Overall, if PF2 is what the group eventually decides to play, I'll keep playing to hang out with my friends. I don't like making PF2 characters so far. Pretty much each part of character generation feels wrong. I hate picking between a bunch of meaningless stuff or things that make no sense or things that don't help me advance my character concept.

You suggest +Level/2 instead of Level. I'd go for that, or +Level/4. Without that kind of change, changes to the critical hit system, and a major revamp of character creation, there's zero chance I run PF2. Right now, its just not a system that will enable me to tell the stories that interest me.
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First Post
On the matter of CLW organized play is a thing and I'm sure they got plenty of feedback over the years that the first thing players were supposed to buy was the CLW wand. Sure you or I can decide to ban it in our personal games (and I did already back when my campaign was PF1) but that doesn't mean they should ignore the issue for organized play.

As for the rest we had another session last night. Wrapped up the combat from the previous session with the 5 level 11 party members and an allied giant against a level 13 custom monster, a level 11 rogue and 4 elite greater shadows. Despite the 2 level difference between the boss and the party crits weren't too bad. (he could crit the paladin on a 17 or higher, and other people on lower than that) But even with crits the health at that level was enough to deal with 2d12+16 damage (so 4d12 + 32 on crits)

Anyway I knocked out two of the players but they were able to kill the boss without too much trouble. I was curious if the boss was just going to auto-crit through the lot of them but it turned out to be manageable, mostly because the players had healed up after the first fight and at level 11 they really do have a lot of health, even the casters. I'll break down some feedback I got from players, good and bad.

1. They like the crit system, especially the casters. They like getting to crit on something like a chain lightning. Or when the fighter/paladin did power attack on the boss and crit and hit him for close to 100 points of damage.
2. Casters felt their spells were more impactful, especially the divine sorcerer. That's probably just because heal is just so much more powerful than cure wounds used to be and that he got to use it offensively for massive damage. Also the feral druid who is now using wild shape is playing much more like a magus now than before when it was full martial. Now he'll claw someone and then chain lightning a group in the face. Druids do seem very strong right now.

1. Druid Wild Forms are awkward. Their damage isn't better than using Wild Claws (especially since you keep your spellcasting that way) and their utility is really hurt by having one minute duration. I completely agree with no natural spell since that just meant druids stayed in wild form all the time and took the animal part away from being an animal, but they either need to let forms have a better combat impact or better utility impact. Currently they're weak in both.
2. Blade of Justice seems really poor. One action to get 3 damage at this level that only lasts til eot. I know there is a couple things that build off it, but they're not that great either. Retribution strike has been quite good (especially when paired with enlarge) but blade of justice is just not good. It just honestly needs to last until the target is dead.

Not bad or good, just new:
1. Action economy with pets. Druid has some awkward turns now and again because of needing to use 1 action to make the pet do stuff. I agree this is better than PF1 but it still does leave druid having some turns where he has to leave the wolf to not do anything since he wants to use 3 actions. Maybe some sort of better definition on default actions for an unhandled pet? Unsure anyway.
2. Related to what you said about building characters, the players like the class feats but feel the general/skill feats need more options to tailor the characters. Pretty much most of the characters have a schtick and just take most of the feats that apply to it.

Anyway I disagree with a few of your points like the complaints against dmg being moved from static bonuses to extra dice or the comments about how it not feeling like heroic fantasy. The only real issues I have with character creation right now is the issue about more of ancestry should be frontloaded and that the character generation system does lead to lots of similar looking stat arrays. Also max health per level also makes similar looking health scores. Similarly there are a few best general feats so there is more commonality there then I would like, but I expect that to be fixed by just having more content.

Which to me is probably a common theme with a lot of issues that I see people bring up with PF2. A lot of stuff feels wrong but actually in play work quite well. For example things like:

1. Range of skills between best and worst in party allows everyone to compete, despite only having a -2 to 3 difference from prof. (which shouldn't be a surprise, 5e proved that allowing everyone to roll is a good thing)
2. Range for AC/Saves also being fairly low. I think the gap between low AC and high AC in our party right now is 3 (31 to 28) but despite that the 28 is a lot more squishy.
3. Small buffs being the only thing prevalent but when combined with the large numbers listed above does make one think that they don't matter. But in this system getting a 1-2 buff to hit or to defenses is huge because of how it pushes the crit range. As compared to PF1 where it just moved things more into auto hit.

Anyway overall so far this has been pretty positive for the party. They really enjoy the new action economy (which really is the best thing going here) and they were able to remake their characters in PF2 from PF1. I don't see any reason to go back to doing PF1 since this is solving a lot of balancing issues I was having to deal with as we moved into high level play. Now I can make fair encounters for their level again and play like we used to at lower levels.


Anyway I disagree with a few of your points like the complaints against dmg being moved from static bonuses to extra dice...

I was thinking about this over the weekend and it isn't as big a difference as I originally thought. In PF1 we make weapons with kicker dice all of the time.

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