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PF2E PF2E like D&D 4e?

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Do you have the same issue with the 5e battle master short rest maneuvers? They're short rest powers! So are 5e warlock spells. Doesn't PF2 have focus abilities, and you can regain focus with a short 10 minute rest?

I'm very much a story-telling DM, it's all about the story for me. Whether that's 5e or 4e, or even PF2, maybe in the future.
No. Because I can work them into the narrative and players don't feel compelled to use short rest powers or focus point powers every encounter. They save them for appropriately tough encounters and I as a DM can work into the narrative when a player can refocus or take a short rest if I want to make them feel harried. They can still use what I like to call a ramp up where they unload a bunch of power at once against a very tough big encounter limited only by focus points remaining and or short rest powers remaining which they can save for that big ramp up. The power ramp up is a very important element of story-telling in my opinion. Players have to have ways to take the fights from the standard fight that is generally easily defeated where they use very few resources to the I blew off absolutely everything I had to barely win.
 

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dave2008

Legend
No. Because I can work them into the narrative and players don't feel compelled to use short rest powers or focus point powers every encounter. They save them for appropriately tough encounters and I as a DM can work into the narrative when a player can refocus or take a short rest if I want to make them feel harried. They can still use what I like to call a ramp up where they unload a bunch of power at once against a very tough big encounter limited only by focus points remaining and or short rest powers remaining which they can save for that big ramp up. The power ramp up is a very important element of story-telling in my opinion. Players have to have ways to take the fights from the standard fight that is generally easily defeated where they use very few resources to the I blew off absolutely everything I had to barely win.
Hmm. In this aspect I don't really see the difference in 5e Battlemaster "maneuvers" and the 4e Fighter "martial exploits." The can both be recharged on a short rest and used or saved for a climatic battle. Except for the time difference (5 min vs 1 hr) they are pretty much the same. Are you suggesting the time difference is what does or doesn't allow you to build a story? I mean 5e even has a variant rule for 5 min. short rests.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Hmm. In this aspect I don't really see the difference in 5e Battlemaster "maneuvers" and the 4e Fighter "martial exploits." The can both be recharged on a short rest and used or saved for a climatic battle. Except for the time difference (5 min vs 1 hr) they are pretty much the same. Are you suggesting the time difference is what does or doesn't allow you to build a story? I mean 5e even has a variant rule for 5 min. short rests.
It has been my experience that the pacing of rests has made a significant difference. Yes, you can dial the short rest down to 5 minutes, but it really does feel different when you’ve got to scrape together a solid hour.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Hmm. In this aspect I don't really see the difference in 5e Battlemaster "maneuvers" and the 4e Fighter "martial exploits." The can both be recharged on a short rest and used or saved for a climatic battle. Except for the time difference (5 min vs 1 hr) they are pretty much the same. Are you suggesting the time difference is what does or doesn't allow you to build a story? I mean 5e even has a variant rule for 5 min. short rests.
I don't know anything about 5E battlemaster or 4E fighter martial exploits. I can't speak on those.

What I know of 4E is they had encounter powers that were used every discrete encounter whether it was a group of kobolds or a group of giants. I didn't matter. My players blew off their encounter powers against a group of kobolds or a group of giants not because it fit the narrative, but because they felt they were wasting their encounter power if they didn't use it for every discrete encounter. To me the type of power design where players are encouraged to use powers not because the story requires it, but because the rules state that the power should be used per encounter is not good for story-telling.

That is my specific experience with encounter powers in 4E and why I did not like them. It really did reach a point where my players literally used their encounter powers because they felt they wasted them not to use them even if they were fighting some completely easy, non-threatening encounter. They would start off using their at-will powers, the things they were fighting were almost dead, and then they would start blowing off their encounter powers. I straight up told them, "You don't really need to do this to win. You guys have this won." They looked back at me and said, "Might as well use them or they're wasted. I'll get them back next encounter any ways." After that happened three or four times, I was done with the game.
 

dave2008

Legend
I don't know anything about 5E battlemaster or 4E fighter martial exploits. I can't speak on those.
Ok, I responded to your answer specially about another post about 5e battlemaster maneuvers so I assumed you knew what they were. Martial exploits was the name give to 4e fighter (and other martial characters) powers. I was specifically referencing 4e encounter martial exploits, such as:
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What I know of 4E is they had encounter powers that were used every discrete encounter whether it was a group of kobolds or a group of giants. I didn't matter.
OK I'll stop you there as the rest of your post is just backing up this experience. That was not my experience. At-will powers were used every encounter, but I never had encounter or daily powers that were used every encounter. They were most definitely situational. Heck, some where good for groups and others for single target. Some had control options and others just more damage. So I will just say your experience, while valid, was not universal.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Ok, I responded to your answer specially about another post about 5e battlemaster maneuvers so I assumed you knew what they were. Martial exploits was the name give to 4e fighter (and other martial characters) powers. I was specifically referencing 4e encounter martial exploits, such as:
View attachment 122477

OK I'll stop you there as the rest of your post is just backing up this experience. That was not my experience. At-will powers were used every encounter, but I never had encounter or daily powers that were used every encounter. They were most definitely situational. Heck, some where good for groups and others for single target. Some had control options and others just more damage. So I will just say your experience, while valid, was not universal.
That's good that other players didn't do that. I literally had players blowing off AoE encounter powers on single target monsters just to use them. It really killed my immersion as a DM.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I know the distinction will not matter to some people, but Pathfinder Second Edition does not have Focus Powers. It has Focus Spells. Focus Spells are definitively magic spells that belong to one of the four traditions. Besides full casters the only classes that gain focus spells are Champions (being the divine instruments of their diety's will) and monks who explicitly opt into the supernatural stuff. Regaining them also requires explicit activity in the fiction.

With very few exceptions the only abilities with use limits are either spell cast from spell slots or focus spells cast from your focus pool. Most of the time if you can do a thing you can always do a thing. No Action Surge, Daily Rages, Bardic Inspiration Uses, Second Wind, Indomitable, Ki Points, or the like. Not having to worry about resource management while still having a bunch of cool options on martial characters is one of my favorite features of Second Edition. A lot of the kind of stuff that would be an encounter power in 4e is just a class feat you can pretty much always use.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I will share my perspective as someone who was a pretty big fan of Fourth Edition (mostly up to Essentials) who grew disillusioned with it over time. I am probably somewhat unique in that what drew me to Fourth Edition initially was the lore and attitude of the game. While I was active on these boards and both played and run some Third Edition I was mostly into Vampire, Werewolf, and especially Exalted. Fourth Edition's depictions of ruined empires of Nerath, Bael Turoth, and Arkhosia really spoke to me. I fell in love with this broken place full of conflict and ancient secrets. That it was backed by a cosmology that was fundamentally sundered as well only drove me into it further.

Here's what I liked
  • It was refreshing to see game books that were fundamentally meant to be used. Lore was sharp and to the point. Setting material focused on its impact to the characters.​
  • I like to run and play games that are focused more on individual characters' lives. There is often a lot of talky bits and non-combat action scenes interspersed by random bouts of extreme violence. I have been conditioned by running a lot of Vampire and as of late Apocalypse World. I liked that it handled short adventure days much better than previous editions of D&D.​
  • At the time I was really into hard scene framing and closed scene resolution so the self contained nature of combat encounters and skill challenges were right up my alley.I liked how punchy and visceral the game felt in play.​
  • I liked how it was not afraid to get experimental and try new things. I loved the techniques introduced in DMG2. I loved how Neverwinter and Dark Sun both completely flipped the script on the game. There was such a sense of creative energy in this era that I find sorely missed in the age of Fifth Edition.​
Here's what started to bother me over time:
  • Combat was too plugged into fighting as a party. Fights were one or two characters faced off against lesser opposition felt rather stale.
  • Occasionally fights were over long before they were actually over. Generally we would treat this as an opportunity to surrender or move to a chase scene. Still it got old sometimes.
  • Exposure to games like Sorcerer and Apocalypse World taught to appreciate the value of just letting things snowball and dealing with fallout from conflicts rather than just rushing to the next conflict. My experience with OSR games like Star Without Number, Labyrinth Lord, and DCC only heightened that.
  • For awhile I thought I was a big fan of Daily and Encounter powers. Over time I realized that I am more a fan of Fighters
  • Essentials came on the scene and pretty much ruined my love for the line.

When Essentials came out I pretty much started running and playing other games. Indie fare like Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts, Masks, and Blades in the Dark. Stuff that straddles the divide like Chronicles of Darkness, Marvel Heroic Roleplay, Tenra Bansho Zero, Exalted 3e, and Legend of the Five Rings 5e. OSR games like Stars Without Number, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Labyrinth Lord, and of course Moldvay B/X. This was my experimental phase. I am still largely here.

So far I am really digging my experiences with Pathfinder 2, That is largely based on a few short runs (2-4 sessions) and Pathfinder Society play. I want to get a home game off the ground, but that will wait until after all this calms down. I play and run a lot of different games so I just need to make the time to add it into the rotation on more permanent basis.

Here's what I like about it so far:
  • Actual rules for stuff other than combat. Not generalized conflict rules either, but specifics.
  • Challenges are mostly focused on dealing with the current situation and resource management is secondary. Timing and coordination are important. It's not just about using spells and other abilities, but how you use them.
  • The game seems to have more awareness (when compared to Fifth Edition) of old school play. There are strong dungeon exploration rules. Learning how to fight each individual monster really gives you an edge. There are lasting consequences besides hit point damage. There is a strong focus on skilled play.
  • I love how integrated the lore is into the game and how accessible the Lost Omens line is to people just getting into it. I also love how it makes a real difference in play. Small stuff like edicts and anathema for each deity, banes and blessings from the gods, how there are archetypes and feats you need to accomplish something in the story to access.
  • The Rarity System.
  • I love how each class can be good at any skill and what that means for being able to deliver on character concepts.
  • A willingness to publish niche content.
  • Paizo seems like they are much more willing to experiment with the game this time around. The dev stuff also seems to have an awareness of the full breadth of RPG design. They seem very plugged into the indie and OSR communities.
 

dave2008

Legend
Not having to worry about resource management while still having a bunch of cool options on martial characters is one of my favorite features of Second Edition. A lot of the kind of stuff that would be an encounter power in 4e is just a class feat you can pretty much always use.
I prefer the option we came up with in 4e & 5e to use HS / HD to extend the uses of limited resources abilities (you can spend a HS/HD if you want use a limited resources ability past your "free" ones) as it ties things into endurance and exhaustion. Is there a way to do that in PF2e? Could we tie the use of feats into a limited resource like HD or perhaps apply a condition?
 

dave2008

Legend
There is a strong focus on skilled play.
This worries me. I haven't played a PC in 25+ years and I am not a skilled player, nor do I have a desire at this time to be one. Is it your opinion the PF2e is not a casual game? If a jumped into Society play would it frustrate the group if I wasn't a skilled player?
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
This worries me. I haven't played a PC in 25+ years and I am not a skilled player, nor do I have a desire at this time to be one. Is it your opinion the PF2e is not a casual game? If a jumped into Society play would it frustrate the group if I wasn't a skilled player?
I cannot speak to every group, but my experience here locally in the Denver area is that Society tables seem to be very welcoming to new players and willing to show them the ropes. That being said the content is tuned pretty hard and most GMs will let the dice fail where they may. When things go badly most players take it pretty well. I have had a lot of fun in failed scenarios.

Side Note: Pathfinder Society tends to be rather close knit. I find you get to know people pretty well and make friends in a way that happens less often in Adventurer's League which can feel more disposable.
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
That is my specific experience with encounter powers in 4E and why I did not like them. It really did reach a point where my players literally used their encounter powers because they felt they wasted them not to use them even if they were fighting some completely easy, non-threatening encounter. They would start off using their at-will powers, the things they were fighting were almost dead, and then they would start blowing off their encounter powers. I straight up told them, "You don't really need to do this to win. You guys have this won." They looked back at me and said, "Might as well use them or they're wasted. I'll get them back next encounter any ways." After that happened three or four times, I was done with the game.
I guess if you have players like that and they refuse to change, then yeah, you didn't have much of a choice. It seems a bit weird to me that a group of people felt they had to use an options imply because it was there. Do they also use all their good skills every encounter too -- making diplomacy checks because they have a good diplomacy? Or was it simply the fact that they recharged that made them feel compelled to use them every time?

I've never had players like this; in fact it seems very odd for players to start with at-will powers -- that's very much an oddity compared with regular 4E play-styles. Typically the encounter alpha-strike is the default mechanism, dropping back to at-wills when the encounters are done. Not invalidating your experience, but it's definitely very far from the norm.

Do your spell-casters behave the same way in other versions of D&D? Do they use mundane attacks like throwing darts until the enemy is nearly dead and then start casting fireballs if it's the end of the day and they know they are going to rest up and don't want to waste spells? it seems an odd play-style to me, but if your players like that style, yeah, 4E is never going to work for them.
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
This worries me. I haven't played a PC in 25+ years and I am not a skilled player, nor do I have a desire at this time to be one. Is it your opinion the PF2e is not a casual game? If a jumped into Society play would it frustrate the group if I wasn't a skilled player?
Not in my experience. Perhaps if you have a high level character, people will expect you to be skilled with it (based on the fact you must have played it 20+ times!), but players with low-level characters aren;'t expected to know anything more than a rough idea of how skills are resolved, how a combat turn works and the existence of their class-based skills.

If you turned up at a society event, and in the first encounter said "new player here. my rogue gets a sneak attack, I think. How does that work?" you will almost certainly get a helpful response and people will be happy that a new player has joined their group -- not annoyed at your lack of experience!

I've played way more 13th Age, 4E, Fate, Deadlands, Rolemaster, Savage worlds, etc than PF1, but I had a PF1 character that I played sporadically at cons -- getting all the way up to 4th level in five years. I'd regularly be asking "do I double my crit dice or roll twice?" or "how does moving diagonally work in this system?", "is a 1 an automatic failure?" or other basic questions and I have never heard anything other than friendly responses. (Full disclosure -- I'm still not 100% sure of the answers to the above three questions ....)

This has also been true of 5e Adventurer's League and the old 3.5 and 4e Living worlds; at high levels there's an expectation that you have a reasonable grasp of the rules, but if you're playing at a level where you might have played less than 20 games, people are very typically friendly and helpful.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I guess if you have players like that and they refuse to change, then yeah, you didn't have much of a choice. It seems a bit weird to me that a group of people felt they had to use an options imply because it was there. Do they also use all their good skills every encounter too -- making diplomacy checks because they have a good diplomacy? Or was it simply the fact that they recharged that made them feel compelled to use them every time?

I've never had players like this; in fact it seems very odd for players to start with at-will powers -- that's very much an oddity compared with regular 4E play-styles. Typically the encounter alpha-strike is the default mechanism, dropping back to at-wills when the encounters are done. Not invalidating your experience, but it's definitely very far from the norm.
Yeah, I agree that starting with at wills would be backward from what I understand of most people's 4e experiences. But I still think the more important issue is using the encounter power every encounter, even area powers against a single enemy or other powers that may not really fit the circumstance, to not waste the resource.
 

dave2008

Legend
I cannot speak to every group, but my experience here locally in the Denver area is that Society tables seem to be very welcoming to new players and willing to show them the ropes. That being said the content is tuned pretty hard and most GMs will let the dice fail where they may. When things go badly most players take it pretty well. I have had a lot of fun in failed scenarios.
Well I don't mind my characters dying, I just don't want to disappoint the group.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I guess if you have players like that and they refuse to change, then yeah, you didn't have much of a choice. It seems a bit weird to me that a group of people felt they had to use an options imply because it was there. Do they also use all their good skills every encounter too -- making diplomacy checks because they have a good diplomacy? Or was it simply the fact that they recharged that made them feel compelled to use them every time?

I've never had players like this; in fact it seems very odd for players to start with at-will powers -- that's very much an oddity compared with regular 4E play-styles. Typically the encounter alpha-strike is the default mechanism, dropping back to at-wills when the encounters are done. Not invalidating your experience, but it's definitely very far from the norm.

Do your spell-casters behave the same way in other versions of D&D? Do they use mundane attacks like throwing darts until the enemy is nearly dead and then start casting fireballs if it's the end of the day and they know they are going to rest up and don't want to waste spells? it seems an odd play-style to me, but if your players like that style, yeah, 4E is never going to work for them.

It was the fact they recharged per encounter. They don't do it with skills. They didn't do it in 5E either with short rests. They preserved resources for fights where it was necessary taking short rests after big fights rather than blowing everything off expecting short rests when they felt like it. I heard some 5E players were doing that, which my players did not do it. It was the specific recharging per encounter that had them doing it.

Nope. Never did that in other versions of D&D. They never knew when they might need those spells. There is no knowing when the end of the day occurs in other editions of D&D. You could get attacked at any time in every edition of D&D including 4E. Only difference was your powers didn't recharge per encounter in other editions of D&D. With an encounter power, you could use it every single time a watch was interrupted at night as that is a discrete encounter. In other editions of D&D, you don't know if you're going to need that fireball on a watch at night when the BBEG sends his minions or a big encounter might happen.

That's why mechanics that don't recharge by encounter are important to give the DM the ability to breed fear in the PCs, so they don't know when they might need that fireball or that teleport so they don't use it until is needed. Your player characters should not even think there is such a thing as the end of the adventuring day. They should feel paranoid camping for the night, walking around town, attending a dinner, having to camp in a dungeon room, and just wandering around a fantasy world as a powerful adventure who has made powerful enemies by inserting themselves in their affairs. They shouldn't even always feel they will get their 8 hours of rest cleanly, while at the same time trusting you don't plan to TPK them every adventure.
 

dave2008

Legend
That's why mechanics that don't recharge by encounter are important to give the DM the ability to breed fear in the PCs, ...
Celtavian, I like a lot of what you post, but this is frankly ridiculous. An ability that recharges per rest or per day does not dictate whether or not I can create fear in my PCs. It does not hamstring me as a DM in the slightest. In fact, I find it increases the tension. If a character is running out of limited use abilities (short or long rest) the start to get worried as they know they are getting exhausted and can't continue to fight with the same ferocity. They have to start looking for a way to retreat. My experience is that short rest powers actually breed fear in the PCs, not the opposite.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Celtavian, I like a lot of what you post, but this is frankly ridiculous. An ability that recharges per rest or per day does not dictate whether or not I can create fear in my PCs. It does not hamstring me as a DM in the slightest. In fact, I find it increases the tension. If a character is running out of limited use abilities (short or long rest) the start to get worried as they know they are getting exhausted and can't continue to fight with the same ferocity. They have to start looking for a way to retreat. My experience is that short rest powers actually breed fear in the PCs, not the opposite.
I don't mind short rest abilities. Abilities that charge per discrete encounter are not short rest abilities in my opinion. They are recharged per encounter, not via a short rest which is easy to play with as a DM. You seem to implying that encounter powers recharged per short rest, which they did not in my experience. You literally had access to them every discrete encounter after waiting what...5 minutes to go to the next room if that? That's an encounter power, not a short rest power. And as you just stated, once you blow it off it is done for the encounter regardless of how long the encounter takes which can also negatively impact story-telling. If I'm in a story and the PC in question uses his big attack against a group of kobolds and he wins, then looks fine. IF he is in battle with a group of giants in a big old fight and he blows off his encounter power, but can't do it again even though it is still needed to achieve victory then the story reader starts to go, "Why doesn't he just do that power again? Why can he only do it once whether the battle is 12 seconds against a kobold group or 30 minutes against a group of giants?" Different animal in my experience.

I can already tell we're never going to agree on encounter powers or at will powers. So I'll make it my last post on the subject and accept the differing viewpoints.
 

dave2008

Legend
I can already tell we're never going to agree on encounter powers or at will powers. So I'll make it my last post on the subject and accept the differing viewpoints.
I think that is best. We have differing viewpoints and experiences to back them up. I will just say I understand your viewpoint, even if I don't share it or haven't experienced it.

EDIT: Now that I think about it. I guess my understanding ties into my real life experience playing competitive soccer and running track and wrestling. I could chase a player down the field (or race around the track), jog back to my starting position and be ready to do it again in less than 5 minutes. Similar in wrestling too (or sword fighting with my sons now). So the idea of resting for 5 minutes makes sense to me.
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
I think this is more of a conceptual than practical difference.

Celt wants something like "you regain X power points per minute" which just might come down to exactly the same as "you can expend one power per encounter".

Yet the difference couldn't be greater, since the encounter-based model would allow spending three powers in as many minutes, if only monsters arrive once a minute. While of course the time-based model would support spending three powers in a single encounter, if given enough recharge time.

As for myself, I couldn't care less*. Far more troublesome is when the simulationist approach means digging down into pointless minutae.

*) I used to hate not understand encounter-based design but have come to accept it if it simplifies and does away downtime. I still want it to be used to approximate time-based recuperation, however; using it for powers there just isn't any other rationale than a gamist one crosses the boundary into the realm of too-artifical for me.

In other words, while I don't mind (and in fact appreciate) simple hit point recovery systems such as "you regain all your hit points after a short rest" (in games such as PF2 which are clearly designed on the assumption PCs go fresh into every fight), I don't accept the same mechanism when used to say "you can only cast a single Fireball each encounter".

If I have to choose, I would choose the former over the latter. Which is exactly how it works in PF2. The relevant point of comparison, however, is 5E, where I don't have to choose.

I guess my tl;dr is: this fight where you make it out to be a hard either-or choice is silly. The ideal design obviously uses the encounter model for recuperating physical (martial) energy while using time-based recovery for supernatural energy ;)
 

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