Pathfinder 2E PF2 house-rules / variant rules

Staffan

Legend
Well, I still question how many people regularly use spells below his top three levels; there's a few bottom-end boosts and such that keep some value, but when you factor in time factors and such, I still wonder about it.
Hmm. These are the spells I have at 11th level (primal sorcerer with the Elemental (water) bloodline).
  1. First level.
    1. Fear. Still useful as a debuff, since it's a Will save (which I'm otherwise short on) and doesn't have Incapacitation.
    2. Longstrider. Extra speed is helpful when you're a gnome, and it lasts for a fair amount of time.
    3. Heal (signature). I'm not the group's main healer (we have a cleric of Sarenrae for that), but it has occasionally been useful to use at both high (for substantial healing) and low levels (getting someone up from being downed).
    4. Splashing hands. Well, burning hands but with water instead. This doesn't see much use anymore, and if it wasn't my bloodline spell I'd probably have switched it out by now.
  2. Second level
    1. Dispel magic (signature). Very useful as a signature spell which lets me fine-tune how much juice I need to use depending on the target spell level.
    2. Endure elements. Gives one person a 24-hour protection in hostile climates. It was really useful back when we were in the Mwangi jungle, and might come in handy later. This should actually have been resist energy but I misread it somehow and now I might as well keep it.
    3. Faerie fire. Prevents people from doing invisibility shenanigans. Particularly useful since I have Scent.
    4. Speak with animals. This has let me solve a lot of problems without violence, particularly since I have a great Diplomacy skill.
  3. Third level
    1. Earthbind. Very situational, but useful when we fight airborne foes and need to bring them down for our Champion and Alchemist to deal with.
    2. Fear. The third-level version lets me fear a whole group of enemies. And if I'm fighting five creatures, their saves probably aren't the best so I have a good chance of hitting them with Frightened 2 or Frightened 3 + fleeing, which is great.
    3. Slow. Awesome against single strong targets, particularly if they have bad Fortitude (which is unfortunately rare).
    4. Waterball (signature). Again, this is the water-themed version of my bloodline fireball spell. This is still useful as my long-range blast spell, though I'll rarely cast it at 3rd level.
  4. Fourth level
    1. Hydraulic torrent. OK, this doesn't see much use because it's a line and does as much damage as a waterball, but it is very much in theme.
    2. Fly. Solves a lot of problems, and lets me bring our melee dude to the flyers instead of using earthbind to bring them to him.
    3. Freedom of movement (signature). This is also highly situational and doesn't see much use. If it wasn't a bloodline spell I would probably swap it out. Only a signature spell because the others of this level don't get much use out of it, and should I need to use it to counter something it's good to be able to fine-tune it.
    4. Resist energy. Nice buff if we know we're facing a foe which uses a lot of specific energy damage.
  5. Fifth level
    1. Cone of cold (signature). Sweet, sweet damage with a massive albeit inconvenient AOE.
    2. Elemental form. Bloodline spell. Strong utility but not that good in a fight.
    3. Mariner's curse. I took this to get another Will-based spell, but it's been a bit of a disappointment so far, probably because of the bad range. I'm a sorcerer, I don't want to be in melee.
    4. Wall of stone. Useful for all sorts of things.
  6. Sixth level. I have no signature spell yet at this level because I checked with the DM and he was OK with me waiting until 12th level to pick one.
    1. Dragon form. I mean, come on. It's not been as fun as I thought it'd be though, because as a sorcerer I don't really have the hit points to do proper dragoning.
    2. Repulsion. Haven't really had much time to use this properly, but sounds like nice protection from nasty melee opponents. I just worry that the restrictions on my allies will be bad. Again, a bloodline spell I probably wouldn't have picked on my own.
    3. Slow. Robbing a whole group of an action per round sounds like a good time.
    4. I intend to pick chain lightning as my fourth spell when I level up and have it as my signature spell, because that's some sweet sweet damage where I also don't have to worry about friendly fire.
As you'll see, particularly at lower levels this list of spells is very much designed to have low-level spells that are still really useful, though maybe not always in combat.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
Signature spells are a weird case. I still use my Resist Energy sometimes, and a few lower-boosted-to-upper spells, but you can question at that point whether they're really lower level spells.
 

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
Well, I still question how many people regularly use spells below his top three levels; there's a few bottom-end boosts and such that keep some value, but when you factor in time factors and such, I still wonder about it.
I do use them, but mainly for utility magic for use in exploration mode, dream messages for cheap long distance combat, knock, stuff like that... or evergreen spells like fear that aren't nerfed by increasing HP, or supplementary things like first level True Strike slots to use with disintegrate.

I did heighten a LOT of magic missiles, it does eventually fall off kinda hard, but its a great spell. But thats still top two slot levels.
 

Staffan

Legend
Signature spells are a weird case. I still use my Resist Energy sometimes, and a few lower-boosted-to-upper spells, but you can question at that point whether they're really lower level spells.
Sure. But heal and dispel magic are useful to have available at multiple levels, depending on how much juice is needed. If there's a slow or stinking cloud ruining our day, a level 4 dispel magic is sufficient to nearly guarantee success, and I don't have to use my top slots on it.
 

Staffan

Legend
I'll also add that it wasn't that long ago (well, it was quite a while ago in real time because the campaign's been on hiatus because of real-life issues like one of the players working Saturdays) I ended an adventuring day with like one or two low-level spell slots left in the tank. I don't recall if this was at 11th or 10th level, but still shows that even the low-level slots see use.
 

glass

(he, him)
I have some house rules I would want to implement in PF2 since I have used a version of them in 1e, 4e, and 5e. I would love to know what issues might come up from these house-rules so I can trouble shoot them before I play.
  1. Bloodied Hit Points: In addition to Hit Points (HP) you have a 2nd pool of hit points called bloodied hit points (BHP). You only lose BHP when your HP are zero or on a critical hit. BHP = (STR mod + CON mod) x size*
  2. Death at 0: At 0 BHP your dead.
  3. Armor with DR: AC is used and calculated normally. However, when you take a hit to your BHP, the damage is reduced by your armor's DR. In 5e I used the armor AC-10 for the DR value. I am not sure what to use in PF2 (note I would use PWL).
There are others, but some variant of the above would be required for my group to play PF2.
LTTP on this (especially since I apparently already posted in the thread), but I wanted to ask you a question about your BHP. A pitfall of similar systems in the past (like Vitality/Wounds in d20 Star Wars and Unearthed Arcana) is crits going straight to wounds, despite wounds being on a much smaller scale than hit points, thereby making almost every crit instant death. Since BHP do not scale with level, ISTM that this would eventually become and issue even if it was not at lower levels (which would depend on how large the size modifier is).

OTOH, having DR that applied only to damage against BHP might mitigate the issue. Have you found that to be the case when using similar houserules with other systems?

_
glass.
 
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dave2008

Legend
LTTP on this (especially since I apparently already posted on the thread), but I wanted to ask you a question about your BHP. A pitfall of similar systems in the past (like Vitality/Wounds in d20 Star Wars and Unearthed Arcana) is crits going straight to wounds, despite wounds being on a much smaller scale than hit points, thereby making almost every crit instant death. Since BHP do not scale with level, ISTM that this would eventually become and issue even if it was not at lower levels (which would depend on how large the size modifier is).

OTOH, having DR that applied only to damage against BHP might mitigate the issue. Have you found that to be the case when using similar houserules with other systems?

_
glass.
No worries for the late response. It works well for us in 5e in particular because very few monsters do a lot of single hit damage (probably not so much in PF2). However, what I posted above was the initial rule. We eventually removed critical hits from the BHP equation as it became to deadly for my group. Therefore BHP and DR only came into effect when you are at 0 HP. At that point, everyone is fine if the next hit kills you. And honestly it makes the 8 DR you get from plate really valuable - which we like.

However, we then revised it again to have "confirmed" critical hits deal BHP damage. So now BHP & DR come into effect at 0 HP and "confirmed" criticals. It strikes the right balance for us at the moment.
 

glass

(he, him)
No worries for the late response. It works well for us in 5e in particular because very few monsters do a lot of single hit damage (probably not so much in PF2). However, what I posted above was the initial rule. We eventually removed critical hits from the BHP equation as it became to deadly for my group. Therefore BHP and DR only came into effect when you are at 0 HP. At that point, everyone is fine if the next hit kills you. And honestly it makes the 8 DR you get from plate really valuable - which we like.

However, we then revised it again to have "confirmed" critical hits deal BHP damage. So now BHP & DR come into effect at 0 HP and "confirmed" criticals. It strikes the right balance for us at the moment.
Interesting. I don't think that would work well in PF2, with the ±10 rule making crits somewhat more common (and crits from beating the AC by ten somewhat more likely to confirm).

_
glass.
 


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