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Pathfinder 2E PF2: Second Attempt Post Mortem

Retreater

Legend
It's early in the PF2 cycle, so maybe the APs are wildly inaccurate when it comes to encounter balance. Though, my PF1 extensive AP experience indicates that it was not that often an encounter needed to be adapted, usually you could trust Paizo adventure modules.
I guess it's because they didn't have to create a viable rule system from scratch for PF1 so much as a few minor tweaks to 3.5.
I hope other adventures and APs hit the sweet spot for encounter design.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
I guess it's because they didn't have to create a viable rule system from scratch for PF1 so much as a few minor tweaks to 3.5.
I hope other adventures and APs hit the sweet spot for encounter design.

Likely had a lot to do with it. Look at the reviews for the first couple of D&D3e and D&D4e adventures sometime.

Edit: Though as a specific note, the problem has often specifically been "fighting the last war", i.e. designing the first couple adventures with assumptions that were true on the prior edition, but no longer are. In specific regarding PF2e, it was noticeable that a lot of groups had people in PF1e who could bake a cake such that the avowed appropriate opponents were actually too weak; so it may have been that accounting for that had become ingrained in adventure writers and needed to be backed off from.
 
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Retreater

Legend
That’s my understanding too.

I guess I don’t see how one couldn’t have learned the described lessons from a homebrew game, or that doing so would be worse somehow. It seems like it ought to be easier to mitigate any problems identified for one’s group when there’s not a bunch of existing material that may need adapting.
I guess my reasoning for wanting to use a pre-published adventure is that it's easier to sell the concept of an AP for a group of strangers online than to run original homebrew content. And then there's the matter of wanting to use it as a guide. Consider that these APs are created by a team that is considered among the industry-leaders in adventure design. If you have an issue with the plot/encounters, you can discuss them with others on messageboards because they have the common experience.
I'll use an analogy. My wife is newly pursuing carpentry as a hobby. When building cabinets, she wanted to use tried-and-true blueprints designed by professionals before using carpentry theory to design her own projects. I think this is normal for anyone in any field.
And I think the adventures for PF2 should be better than they are. I don't know if that's a bold statement, but I don't think they're doing a good job of teaching players or GMs how to use this new game system, nor do they even see to be following the company's own advice from the CRB.
 

Retreater

Legend
Likely had a lot to do with it. Look at the reviews for the first couple of D&D3e and D&D4e adventures sometime.
Having played them, I don't know if I have to read the reviews. ;)
However, I will say that the first few adventures of 3e are considered classic enough to be included in Tales of the Yawning Portal along with Against the Giants, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, and White Plume Mountain.
Few will want to revisit Keep on the Shadowfell (despite Matt Colville's promotion). Likewise, I don't think players will be interested in an Age of Ashes anniversary hardcover (like Rise of the Runelords).
Paizo really needs to create a system-seller, must-play adventure for PF2.
It's like having a video game console with no games. PF2 is the computer that says you need to learn code and program your own game to play.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Few will want to revisit Keep on the Shadowfell (despite Matt Colville's promotion). Likewise, I don't think players will be interested in an Age of Ashes anniversary hardcover (like Rise of the Runelords).

I dunno, man, while I get the problems with it, I think there's an awful lot of good things in AoA.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I guess my reasoning for wanting to use a pre-published adventure is that it's easier to sell the concept of an AP for a group of strangers online than to run original homebrew content. And then there's the matter of wanting to use it as a guide. Consider that these APs are created by a team that is considered among the industry-leaders in adventure design. If you have an issue with the plot/encounters, you can discuss them with others on messageboards because they have the common experience.
I'll use an analogy. My wife is newly pursuing carpentry as a hobby. When building cabinets, she wanted to use tried-and-true blueprints designed by professionals before using carpentry theory to design her own projects. I think this is normal for anyone in any field.
I expect that once your wife establishes some baseline proficiency with carpentry, her skills will transfer over to new projects. The same is true of RPGs. You’ve run D&D and similar games before. Pathfinder 2e is just another D&D game. Your skills should transfer over. It’s not like it’s a PbtA or FitD game where those skills could get in your way of running the game properly.

Sure, there are things that are different. The guidelines for building encounters actually work. If you assume they don’t, then you’ll find out very quickly the hard way that your assumption was bad. That’s fine. Failure is how we learn what things don’t work. Take that into account going forward, and if it really screwed things up, retcon the encounter.

And I think the adventures for PF2 should be better than they are. I don't know if that's a bold statement, but I don't think they're doing a good job of teaching players or GMs how to use this new game system, nor do they even see to be following the company's own advice from the CRB.
This is true. There was nothing like Lost Mines of Phandelver until the Beginner Box was released. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate it again: Paizo should have lead with the Beginner Box and written PF2 in that style. It may not be great, but it’s more clear than the CRB.
 

Wait the feat "skilled" gives you proficiency in THREE skills.

I didn't mean to say that it only gave you one feat, but that if you only wanted one skill. The feat itself is alright, but not only do you get it less often than a PF2 skill upgrade, it's competing with other Feats which may be more valuable directly to you. Why should these things be in competition with one another? This is my problem.

And there is "Expertise" as a higher level of ability.

Expertise is great, but for a long time it was only available via Bard or Rogue.

Which Prodigy gives you and a tool/or skill/or language.

Which is great for Humans and Half-Humans, but also suffers from the problems of competing with other Feats/ASIs, as well as coming into the game 4 1/4 years into the cycle.

Plus it's only 10 work weeks to gain a tool proficiency, which many are fantastic, no ASI required.

I wouldn't call them fantastic, but Tool Proficiencies are underrated and probably how Knowledge skills should have been done within the game.

And Skill Expert gives you expertise and a stat bonus and a proficiency.

Same as comment as Prodigy, only 6 1/4 years into the cycle this time. These Feat additions all come across as long-time hotfixes to a skill system that is functional, but lacks flexibility.

It's not one ASI per skill. And if you think skills are completely blah, try having a grappler in your group. Or a party of them.... gah! That was WILD!!!!

I've made a Flying Luchadore Monk, so I know how cool Grappling can be if you properly execute a ground-and-pound. But it also takes a lot of work (Grappler to give you Advantage, I took Rogue levels to give me Expertise in Athletics and Acrobatics) and multiple attacks to really come off. Plus the Pinning feature is useless when it's just easier and more effective to knock down the target then grapple them, since you'll get almost all the benefits of Restraining them without being Restrained yourself.

I realize your mileage may vary, and some mods don't explicitly state consequences for failed skill checks, but there should be, it's implied in the examples, though I think it should have been plainly stated.

My big problem with the skill system is that it has ideas, but it doesn't execute them well. Proficiency is a great idea, but the way it's done is too simplified, too autopilot, and thus it creates weirdness. Combined with the focus on bounded accuracy and you have a skill system where the skilled can be outdone by those with better stats but no skills, gaining skills bad opportunity cost, and if you gain a skill late you are instantly to the proficiency of someone whose had the skill for their entire career.

For me, it was something I ended up hacking a solution to almost immediately. I enjoyed what I did, but it wasn't how the game was built. It's just a design choice that I disagreed with, and I feel like they themselves have been putting little fixes in there so that people could be distinctly good at skills without taking levels in Rogue or Bard.
 

Staffan

Legend
I'm not saying they can't be hard, but at least they seem to stay within the possible longer.

I mean, take my Champion for example. He has just basic trained Acrobatics and a 12 Dex. He's 14th level. That gives him a +17 Acrobatics. The expected DC for a 14th level target is 32. That's only a one in five chance for a serious DC for his level, but I promise you the amount you'd have been able to throw at the equivalent in 3e would have made any serious check pretty much impossible four or five levels earlier, if not sooner. And he can make rolls that would be typical for lower level problems relatively reliably, which, again, wouldn't have been true in 3e.
That's clearly a matter of preference. I see the baseline of skill competency as someone who's trained, has a half-way decent stat (12 or so), and doesn't get magic items to improve. I think this person should have about a 50-60% chance of success at level-appropriate tasks. Someone with a good stat and who actually improves the skill should have significantly more, and I don't think it would be a problem for someone who's legendary, boosts the stat at every opportunity, and gets item bonuses to have 90%+.

But that's not how PF2 works. Instead, someone who pushes the skill to the utmost will see their chance increase to maybe a 75% chance at higher levels, and those who don't will fall behind.

If I estimated my chance of doing something to be 20-30%, as in your example, I would never do that thing unless I was desperate. There's probably a more useful thing to do instead.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
That's clearly a matter of preference. I see the baseline of skill competency as someone who's trained, has a half-way decent stat (12 or so), and doesn't get magic items to improve. I think this person should have about a 50-60% chance of success at level-appropriate tasks. Someone with a good stat and who actually improves the skill should have significantly more, and I don't think it would be a problem for someone who's legendary, boosts the stat at every opportunity, and gets item bonuses to have 90%+.

But that's not how PF2 works. Instead, someone who pushes the skill to the utmost will see their chance increase to maybe a 75% chance at higher levels, and those who don't will fall behind.

If I estimated my chance of doing something to be 20-30%, as in your example, I would never do that thing unless I was desperate. There's probably a more useful thing to do instead.

That's all fair. It just still seems a noteable step-up from how it worked out in a number of prior editions where it was a completely lost cause. You couldn't even usually make easier tasks.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
That's all fair. It just still seems a noteable step-up from how it worked out in a number of prior editions where it was a completely lost cause. You couldn't even usually make easier tasks.
It's true that high level 3E/PF1 gets wonky in which characters that don't have high ranks in skills will be terribly ineffective. Though, in PF2 I feel that way at 4th level...
 

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