Pathfinder 2E PF2 house-rules / variant rules

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I have a whole limited healing house rule somewhere on my computer (sorry, I'm a bit drunk right now, not gonna search for it) inspired/lifted from Worlds Without Number after @kenada told me about the mechanic. One of the worst parts about d20 healing is that there is basically no way to slow down a party for multiple days, which is what I feel I always want to do; I rarely have things you need to rush to do, and when I do I want those moments to feel particularly risky and frenetic. So I made up some rules based around the limited healing idea from that system. I haven't really tried it yet, but I want to in the future.
Something I have been experimenting with in my game is having creatures inflict system strain as a replacement for old-school energy drain. For example, a vampire’s touch inflicts 1d6 system strain and gives you a penalty (e.g., Drained +1). If that puts your system strain over its max, you die and become* a vampire three days later. That makes them scary without the screw you of losing levels.

--
*
I also gave the transformation a chance of failing. You have to make a Physical saving throw then a Mental saving throw (or Fortitude and Will, in PF2 parlance) both at a −2 to the roll. The first is to survive the transformation, which is not guaranteed. The second is to avoid becoming mindless. In-setting, undead are afflicted with a curse of intelligence, which requires them to obtain something from the living lest they lose their minds and become mindless monstrosities. Vampires need blood, ghouls need flesh, etc. It varies from creature to creature how often and to what extent they must feed.

60 mL of blood is good for about three days, but 5 L (or exsanguinating someone) is good for about a year. You can’t get it incrementally. It has to be in one feeding. The time between required feedings is based on the quantity of your largest feeding. The only way to increase your current interval is to feed enough that it’s “worth” more. I have a formula for calculating arbitrary feedings based around the two numbers above. The idea is to make it needing a feed a potential source of conflict. You can’t just get someone to trickle blood to you regularly, and it has to be from intelligent creatures (so no animals).

The way succumbing to the curse works is your senses start to dull about a week before you need to start making saving throws. When the time comes you must feed, and you haven’t, then you start making a Mental saving throw every day when you wake. While you are making these saving throws, all Mental saving throws incur a penalty equal to the number of days you’re in your stupor. In practice, this isn’t a big penalty (because undead are immune to most effects that require a Mental saving throw), but it means you will eventually succumb if you don’t feed.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


MaskedGuy

Explorer
I will note that while I personally like free archetype and ancestry paragon, I've observed that lot of new 2e players (especially ones coming from 5e) are like "AH TOO MANY FEATS, CHOICE PARALYSIS, I DON'T WANT TO GO THROUGH ENTIRE ARCHIVE OF NETHYS" ^^; They are likely why the "less feat" variant rules exists even if I find them bizarre.

Anyway, automatic bonus progression is fairly popular one. I've been interested in trying out profiency without level one day just to see if game still works (I personally like level to rolls thing due to making higher level and lower level creatures always stronger or weaker).

But yeah I personally don't really do tons of house rules for 2e because I got tired of my extremely long 1e house rule list and I haven't yet experienced full 2e campaign with normal rules so I'd like to get more experience this time first. But I do have small things I'm already doing and small things I'm considering experimenting with:

Allowing recall knowledge multiple times in combat until success or crit failure (representing you being in bit of hurry during combat and thus it being easy to forget details). This is mostly because recall knowledge can be extremely important in this system and it sucks when players have no idea how to deal with monster they can't reasonably defeat without knowing about its weakness, so giving them extra chances to find out is good.

Removing +10 crit threshold or lowering it to 5. I personally like crit system especially in mook fights, but I'm curious of how it would stack out if crits were back to being rarer again.

Lowering certain DCs to match Level DC chart: so lot of people seem to believe level DC chart is unfair, but it honestly isn't really. If you focus on stat, you have decent chance to crit succeed versus your own level, if you haven't, then you only have decent chance to succeed, seems fair to me. My problem is that game has plenty of DCs much higher than their level (example: level 3 dc is 18. Level 3 average lock has DC of 25 for some fricking reason) I very much believe 2e skill dcs should be balanced around "if you focus on stat, you have somewhat good chance of crit succeeding" so that being trained means you always have at least some chance of succeeding even if you can't crit succeed.

Here is another one I've considered trying out but haven't done: Starting each session with 3 hero points, but players never get more during session. I imagine it makes game bit too survivable, but at same time it would give me as gm permission to pull off more shenanigans.

And just for funnies, if you for some reason want to roll stats for characters, just allow them to roll 6 + 3d6(drop lowest) :p Yeah that way they likely have better thats than normally(amazing 1 1 1 still happens though), but issue with 4d6 is that average of 3.5 means that characters rolling average results are kinda screwed in this edition and I don't think you should by under any circumstances allow characters with lower than 8 in stats in this edition. (6 + 2d6 would work yeah, but again will likely see characters weaker than normal one)

...Yeah for most parts I don't have lot of house rule ideas, just variant rules. This edition doesn't really need much of patching so my own pet peevee is certain numbers not matching level dc chart so rest of it is really just up to preferences. I might remember good house rule ideas later though
 

JThursby

Adventurer
I've just been mulling the Paizo variants. I'll plug the free archetype. I find the classes too skimpy and multi-classing too confining. I think free archetype opens things up.
I overall like Free Archetype, it does exactly what you say it does, free up character choice for more expression. Not all archetypes are made equal though, and a few of them make me weary of just letting any common archetype get free feats. Beastmaster in particular is egregious; it requires trained in one skill to qualify for the dedication and in exchange it gives an Animal Companion and all it's upgrades. The suggested use of a limited selection of archetypes to establish a campaign theme is what I ultimately prefer. It helps guide player options to be more synergistic while also establishing an overall identity of the group.
Similarly I wish Paizo had been brave enough to just make Automatic Bonus Progression the standard.
Agreed. Too much of the loot system is keeping up with the joneses, since the monster's math is going up on the same track regardless of their total lack of loot. I wouldn't go through the effort of changing it now, my attention as a GM is better spent elsewhere, but it's how I would have liked the system to be implemented.

As for other changes, I would have liked a math breakdown of why NPCs get the bonuses to things in their stat block. Stat blocks that show as little of the background information as possible are annoying to me as a GM because I like to tweak things and make my own creatures.
 

MaskedGuy

Explorer
I mean, NPCs get bonuses on basis of building creature rules. You just flavor it "oh they are wearing armor so if you remove it they have less ac than they should have :p" There ISN'T hidden background information, 2e got rid of the "okay, CR 20 creature needs about this much ac, so uh I have to give it some combination of dexterity and natural armor that add up to correct amount... Ah frick it, let's just give it +20 nat armor"

But yeah my main issue with automatic bonus progression is that I like my beefy magic weapons xD
 

dave2008

Legend
I mean, NPCs get bonuses on basis of building creature rules. You just flavor it "oh they are wearing armor so if you remove it they have less ac than they should have :p" There ISN'T hidden background information, 2e got rid of the "okay, CR 20 creature needs about this much ac, so uh I have to give it some combination of dexterity and natural armor that add up to correct amount... Ah frick it, let's just give it +20 nat armor"

But yeah my main issue with automatic bonus progression is that I like my beefy magic weapons xD
I think @JThursby wishes there was hidden information. I tend to agree. I really liked 4e, but it did the same thing with monster numbers and that was one of the things I was glad to see return with 5e. I prefer to build a monster, and then determine its level, rather than the other way around. Though I do understand the appeal of the 5e / PF2 method.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Lowering certain DCs to match Level DC chart: so lot of people seem to believe level DC chart is unfair, but it honestly isn't really. If you focus on stat, you have decent chance to crit succeed versus your own level, if you haven't, then you only have decent chance to succeed, seems fair to me. My problem is that game has plenty of DCs much higher than their level (example: level 3 dc is 18. Level 3 average lock has DC of 25 for some fricking reason) I very much believe 2e skill dcs should be balanced around "if you focus on stat, you have somewhat good chance of crit succeeding" so that being trained means you always have at least some chance of succeeding even if you can't crit succeed.
It became very obvious when I used Proficiency without Level in my game that the Level DC chart has a very shallow progression. Once you take out level, the DCs range from 15 to 20. The simple DC chart was much more punishing. I assume the reason why locks have such a steep increase is their DCs are based on the simple DC chart instead of their level. I think it would be a reasonable change to make locks have a DC based on their level, and the quality then applies an appropriate modifier. An average level 3 lock is DC 18, but a superior one would be DC 23 (applying a very hard modifier).

I wonder if simple DCs should be modifiers that you apply to the level DC. When you need an ad hoc DC, just have the players roll against their level plus the intended training. You could use something like: Untrained = −2, Trained = +0, Expert = +2, Master = +5, Legendary = +10 (effectively, on the modifier scale: easy, normal, hard, very hard, impossible).
 

Retreater

Legend
@payn I also like the resource die for Forbidden Lands. I think the entire exploration system can be used for many types of games. (Though I think the general ability check system might prove too harsh for the feel of d20 games. And I have trepidation of how combat will work.)
Maybe I'd get rid of the +10/-10 crit concept and have those only trigger on Natural 1s or 20s.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I will note that while I personally like free archetype and ancestry paragon, I've observed that lot of new 2e players (especially ones coming from 5e) are like "AH TOO MANY FEATS, CHOICE PARALYSIS, I DON'T WANT TO GO THROUGH ENTIRE ARCHIVE OF NETHYS" ^^; They are likely why the "less feat" variant rules exists even if I find them bizarre.
If folks only have 5E experience, I guess I could see this. The thing about PF2 is once you start making decisions (ancestry, background, class) your feat pool narrows greatly. At level up its pretty easy to find the 2-3 feats that apply, and then decide on the one that helps you. In the past, you just had a mountain of feats to choose from and perquisites was the only limiter.
Anyway, automatic bonus progression is fairly popular one. I've been interested in trying out profiency without level one day just to see if game still works (I personally like level to rolls thing due to making higher level and lower level creatures always stronger or weaker).

But yeah I personally don't really do tons of house rules for 2e because I got tired of my extremely long 1e house rule list and I haven't yet experienced full 2e campaign with normal rules so I'd like to get more experience this time first. But I do have small things I'm already doing and small things I'm considering experimenting with:

Allowing recall knowledge multiple times in combat until success or crit failure (representing you being in bit of hurry during combat and thus it being easy to forget details). This is mostly because recall knowledge can be extremely important in this system and it sucks when players have no idea how to deal with monster they can't reasonably defeat without knowing about its weakness, so giving them extra chances to find out is good.

Removing +10 crit threshold or lowering it to 5. I personally like crit system especially in mook fights, but I'm curious of how it would stack out if crits were back to being rarer again.
The problem I had is I like scoring crits against tough enemies. The kind in the severe to extreme range. Mooks are already easy, and honestly I dont use them much once you level up. Its like a consolation prize that you get to be super awesome, but only against weak enemies. Meanwhile, the tough enemies get to enjoy regular crits against you while your options are funneled into a smaller and smaller choice pool because the numbers give them escalated defense. Skills work like this too. You get to be badass at intimidating commoners, but tough foes laugh off your attempt as you toss away your actions in the fight.
Lowering certain DCs to match Level DC chart: so lot of people seem to believe level DC chart is unfair, but it honestly isn't really. If you focus on stat, you have decent chance to crit succeed versus your own level, if you haven't, then you only have decent chance to succeed, seems fair to me. My problem is that game has plenty of DCs much higher than their level (example: level 3 dc is 18. Level 3 average lock has DC of 25 for some fricking reason) I very much believe 2e skill dcs should be balanced around "if you focus on stat, you have somewhat good chance of crit succeeding" so that being trained means you always have at least some chance of succeeding even if you can't crit succeed.
Thats interesting and I totally agree.
Here is another one I've considered trying out but haven't done: Starting each session with 3 hero points, but players never get more during session. I imagine it makes game bit too survivable, but at same time it would give me as gm permission to pull off more shenanigans.

And just for funnies, if you for some reason want to roll stats for characters, just allow them to roll 6 + 3d6(drop lowest) :p Yeah that way they likely have better thats than normally(amazing 1 1 1 still happens though), but issue with 4d6 is that average of 3.5 means that characters rolling average results are kinda screwed in this edition and I don't think you should by under any circumstances allow characters with lower than 8 in stats in this edition. (6 + 2d6 would work yeah, but again will likely see characters weaker than normal one)

...Yeah for most parts I don't have lot of house rule ideas, just variant rules. This edition doesn't really need much of patching so my own pet peevee is certain numbers not matching level dc chart so rest of it is really just up to preferences. I might remember good house rule ideas later though
Thanks for posting. Lots of food for thought.
 


Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top