Rate Pathfinder 2E

Rate Pathfinder 2E

  • Excellent *****

    Votes: 22 32.4%
  • Good ****

    Votes: 13 19.1%
  • Average ***

    Votes: 23 33.8%
  • Poor **

    Votes: 8 11.8%
  • Terrible *

    Votes: 2 2.9%

  • Total voters
    68

teitan

Explorer
Personally I think it is very, very good and saying that as a 30 year D&D player. I think the 3 action economy is a game changer as is the critical system of ten over and ten under. I think character creation is simple for low levels, it's very life path, a logical flow of Ancestry, Background, Class.

I think P2 is going to be a slow burn hit. It seems designed that way, the tag line on the back of your book "Advance Your Game"? I'm going to theorize that Paizo is hoping that people will start looking for a richer experience than 5E provides to player and are setting themselves up as the AD&D to 5e's Basic D&D. In the short term it will look like a 900 lbs Gorilla and I don't think it will be the app killer that some people think PF1 was (it wasn't, it was usually second potatoes to 4e, only overtaking it during the 4e wind down into the playtest) but it will fill that niche that I think White Wolf was hoping the new Vampire would take. It's definitely not going to be a flavor of the month.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I prefer a system where a flat brick wall has DC Z and always will be.
But Pathfinder is the wrong kind of game for that wish.

While it might be easy to place level 20 threats far away from low-level civilization, it isn't easy to explain how the heroes never face a threat a mere 3-5 levels higher.

And such a threat, yes even a single monster just three levels higher, can easily end up with the death of a player character.

What you need is "proficiency without level"; what 5E would call "bounded accuracy".

PF2 on the other hand is unapologetically a game where levels have a hysterical impact. Where the heroes ideally never face any threat more than four levels higher.

It is the opposite of the sandbox experience. It is the opposite of bounded accuracy.

Any threat or challenge with a flat DC will be impossible, impossible, then reasonable for a fleeting moment in the heroes' career, then trivial, trivial and trivial.

In a game where level has such a profound impact, you can't have flat DCs on brick walls, or the players can traverse castle walls as if they weren't there already by level 4-5 - no magic necessary.

You pretty much must start with easy rough walls that are easy to climb, and make them successively taller, smoother, and harder.

Or, in other words, use the PCs level to look up the DC.

Sure, you can throw in a trivial DC from time to time to make the players feel they have made progress. But the truth about tightly bound math games like 4E or PF2 is that they don't care about giving the players the feeling of having risen above the average. They do everything in their power to keep up the challenge. No matter how high attack bonuses the heroes have, the monsters AC always keep up.

This is why I love "grounded" games, and the "bounded accuracy" of 5E makes it more grounded than possibly any previous edition.

The choice is between a world where just a few heroes (and foes) have risen above the regular (low-level) world around them; or a game where the heroes live in a "bubble" where they just happen to always face monsters up to 4 levels below or above them.

4E was notorious for having "adventures" which consisted of nothing more than a series of combat encounters carefully balanced to always provide just the right amount of challenge. I have a different name for that: "treadmill".

You CAN recreate the feeling of one game in the other, but it IS harder when you're going against the grain, as it were. (Example: if a party of level 5 heroes face a level 15 threat in 5E, they might not stand a chance fighting it, but they might conceivably manage to escape; run away, hide or similar. In PF2 the same encounter is an assured death sentence: every attack is a crit, which likely means every attack downs one character; not to mention all the other aspects.)

Tldr do use flat DCs, but if you must use PF2, use proficiency without level.


PS. Obviously the wall example has its limits in a game with fly and teleport. Please don't respond as if I believe there should be a wall not even level 20 heroes would find trivial, because I don't. Replace "wall" with "dragon" if that helps.
 

neostrider

Villager
I ran the sandbox way, and players visiting areas above their level were strongly hinted at. The troll living in the nearby cave was always there from level 1, and I felt that increased the immersion of my games.

Breaking into a castle is something that happens during low level campaigns. The idea that a high level party suddenly encounters high level castle walls snaps me back to "so you just want to see one of us roll high."

The bubble effect is something that I've seen, but I deal with it in plot and world building. A 10th level party is teleporting wherever seems appropriate, so my recommendation is give them reasons to seek the appropriate challenges. The pf2 encourages changing the bubble into a world mutation that keeps all things around the players auto scaling difficulty.

By 20th level they should be plane hopping or artifact destroying. Please don't let it be a local evil king constantly scaling to APL+2. The defenses should be a longer more epic climb through a non magic zone, not the same castle wall sanded smoother.
 
But Pathfinder is the wrong kind of game for that wish.

While it might be easy to place level 20 threats far away from low-level civilization, it isn't easy to explain how the heroes never face a threat a mere 3-5 levels higher.

And such a threat, yes even a single monster just three levels higher, can easily end up with the death of a player character.

What you need is "proficiency without level"; what 5E would call "bounded accuracy".

PF2 on the other hand is unapologetically a game where levels have a hysterical impact. Where the heroes ideally never face any threat more than four levels higher.

It is the opposite of the sandbox experience. It is the opposite of bounded accuracy.

Any threat or challenge with a flat DC will be impossible, impossible, then reasonable for a fleeting moment in the heroes' career, then trivial, trivial and trivial.

In a game where level has such a profound impact, you can't have flat DCs on brick walls, or the players can traverse castle walls as if they weren't there already by level 4-5 - no magic necessary.

You pretty much must start with easy rough walls that are easy to climb, and make them successively taller, smoother, and harder.

Or, in other words, use the PCs level to look up the DC.

Sure, you can throw in a trivial DC from time to time to make the players feel they have made progress. But the truth about tightly bound math games like 4E or PF2 is that they don't care about giving the players the feeling of having risen above the average. They do everything in their power to keep up the challenge. No matter how high attack bonuses the heroes have, the monsters AC always keep up.

This is why I love "grounded" games, and the "bounded accuracy" of 5E makes it more grounded than possibly any previous edition.

The choice is between a world where just a few heroes (and foes) have risen above the regular (low-level) world around them; or a game where the heroes live in a "bubble" where they just happen to always face monsters up to 4 levels below or above them.

4E was notorious for having "adventures" which consisted of nothing more than a series of combat encounters carefully balanced to always provide just the right amount of challenge. I have a different name for that: "treadmill".

You CAN recreate the feeling of one game in the other, but it IS harder when you're going against the grain, as it were. (Example: if a party of level 5 heroes face a level 15 threat in 5E, they might not stand a chance fighting it, but they might conceivably manage to escape; run away, hide or similar. In PF2 the same encounter is an assured death sentence: every attack is a crit, which likely means every attack downs one character; not to mention all the other aspects.)

Tldr do use flat DCs, but if you must use PF2, use proficiency without level.


PS. Obviously the wall example has its limits in a game with fly and teleport. Please don't respond as if I believe there should be a wall not even level 20 heroes would find trivial, because I don't. Replace "wall" with "dragon" if that helps.
It does work this way, and you both need to look at that table again it isn't the party level. It is the level of the challenge. See pg 503 the last paragraph in column one (last sentence).

"Or you might decide that the 15th-level villain who created the dungeon crafted the wall, and use the 15th-Level DC of 34."
 

Rhianni32

Explorer
I agree. I remain utterly clueless as to why Paizo completely missed the writing on the wall here (that 5E represents the way most people want to play) and created such a throw-back game to the pre-5E era.
Is 5ed the way people want to play (as in they have tried multiple rulesets and have decided 5ed is their preferred game) or is it that via marketing efforts and Critical Role, 5ed is the first and only ruleset for many if not a majority of 5ed players these days and they just haven't felt a need to go try something else.

5ed is the Budweiser of rulesets. it doesn't really offend the taste buds, its made for mass market appeal, for many its the first exposure one gets, and it gets the job done.
But if you are looking for something specific in then it doesn't fully satisfy. Whereas a craft beer will have a narrow fanbase but really can nail successfully what it is trying to do.

That was one of their stated goals in writing 5ed, to stop the edition wars and appeal to everyone. The only way they could, and did, do that is to have it rules light and you fill in what you want where you want.

If Paizo wanted to make a 5ed clone they would have. Why didn't they? Probably for the same reason your local town microbrewery doesn't make a rice based American pale lager. PF1 didn't come out until 4ed. Its not like Paizo ever went head to head with WotC. So likewise I would not expect them to make a 5ed clone and try to compete.

What I am clueless on is why you keep talking over and over and over again like Pazio is stupid and didn't see the success of 5ed or like they live in a bubble and are oblivious to their industry.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Breaking into a castle is something that happens during low level campaigns. The idea that a high level party suddenly encounters high level castle walls snaps me back to "so you just want to see one of us roll high."
Since I anticipated this kind of reply, I assume you just missed the part where I suggest replacing "wall" with "dragon".

In other words, my point still stands, even if the walls don't.
 

kenada

Explorer
Many things I as GM LOVE my players gripe about; they still seem obsessed with playing it, which is great, but describe the game as "GM friendly, player neutral," which I believe means "The game makes your life easier and more interesting, but seems to shackle us a lot in ways that chafe."
That’s an interesting observation. I don’t think my players have the same complaints, but they’ve made a few comments that make me think something similar now: that the game is more to my taste than theirs (even though they say they want things like crunchy customization and tactical combat).

The book has a simple method where a gm thinks a level of training is recommended to succeed (table 10-4) or a DC by level of challenge (10-5), which I suspect 95% of GMs will follow flatly and present a level X party with Level X skill challenges. My society Gm did.
That sucks, especially if that becomes a trend. It’s like we can’t have nice things.

I prefer a system where a flat brick wall has DC Z and always will be. The GM/ adventure wouldn't even need to think about training, character level, or adventure level. If a character improvised and decides to climb a nearby tree, the complexity of the tree shouldn't be based on the level of the adventure imo.
I agree. The way I look at the simple DC table is it’s just another take on the old skill ladder, except conceptualized around who would have average success at a task rather than easy, medium, hard, etc. Of course, there’s nothing stopping people from doing the same thing with the simple DC table they purportedly do with the by-level table (tie it to PC proficiency).
 
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Eric V

Adventurer
5ed is the Budweiser of rulesets. it doesn't really offend the taste buds, its made for mass market appeal, for many its the first exposure one gets, and it gets the job done.
But if you are looking for something specific in then it doesn't fully satisfy. Whereas a craft beer will have a narrow fanbase but really can nail successfully what it is trying to do.
I just really like how you put this. Well done.
 

BryonD

Adventurer
will have a narrow fanbase but really can nail successfully what it is trying to do.
It seems you are saying that PF2E was designed with intent to target a "narrow" portion of the fanbase, thus actively, knowingly, and deliberately not supporting the fanbase outside of that narrow band.

If you are not saying this, would you please clarify.

FWIW, I don't for a second think they wanted to exclude anyone.
 

Rhianni32

Explorer
It seems you are saying that PF2E was designed with intent to target a "narrow" portion of the fanbase, thus actively, knowingly, and deliberately not supporting the fanbase outside of that narrow band.

If you are not saying this, would you please clarify.

FWIW, I don't for a second think they wanted to exclude anyone.
1: Thank you for asking for clarification vs assuming and jumping on me.

2: Clarification. It would be silly for Paizo to purposefully have a goal to exclude people. They are a business after all.

Paizo's goal (imo I have no evidence from them) was to make a good ruleset. If you really like it you are in luck cause they have a ton of splat books. Nothing they have done was with the goal of ignoring people. I think they have succeeded and put out a good product.

WotC's Mearls I recall specifically said they wanted to appeal to lovers of all editions and to end the edition wars. That was their goal and then they came up with rules afterwards. I think they succeeded and put out a good product but its no longer what I personally want.
 

Schmoe

Explorer
Since I anticipated this kind of reply, I assume you just missed the part where I suggest replacing "wall" with "dragon".

In other words, my point still stands, even if the walls don't.
Not really. Maybe compared to 5e, but not compared to many games. I'm running 3.5. If I put my party of 4th level PCs up against a single Hill Giant (CR 7, which is party level +3), it's almost assuredly a TPK. That doesn't mean I don't have Hill Giants in the game, it just means the party needs to know when to run.

Likewise, there are still DC 8 or DC 10 challenges in the game. While they are trivial or auto-success for very skilled characters, those aren't the only characters who might face them. And it gives the skilled characters the chance to feel rewarded for their choices. They still might run across two orcs as an encounter. Combat-wise it's trivial, but then the challenge is whether the party can eliminate them before they raise the alarm, or can they capture an orc and get information from one, or turn one to their side to help infiltrate. A trivial combat challenge opens up all sorts of role-playing options.

I admit I haven't played it yet, but I don't see how PF2 is any different in this regard.
 

ikos

Villager
In theory, nothing, but am curious as to how the critical success/failure mechanic of spells/skills will feel in play minus level. The PF GM guide will provide this as a variant.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
What will break if one does that?
Break?

If you don't add level to proficiency the overall experience (attacks, saves, AC and skills) behave much closer to 5E.

If you consider that a broken game, then yeah, my answer is - that.

If not, then I would instead say nothing breaks. Sure, some abilities become comparatively better, others worse, but nothing breaks (except the notion that a single L+4 creature is a fatal threat perhaps)

So... "No" with a side dish of "it's different"...?
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
Won't the game be much more swingy? Also, I was thinking about how criticals and fumles work. And proficiences? Should the bonus for T/EM/L be perhaps halved?
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Won't the game be much more swingy? Also, I was thinking about how criticals and fumles work. And proficiences? Should the bonus for T/EM/L be perhaps halved?
Against higher level foes, the difference is your attack is no longer hopeless. (Your situation does remain hopeless, but we're looking at an action in isolation) And against lower level foes, they can now hope to hit you (with anything else than a 20; and that 20 might even yield a crit).

That low-level rabble go from "completely harmless" to "faintly threatening" isn't what I would call "swingy", but technically I guess that is what it is. Likewise, that a high-level boss could actually miss.

But assuming you still face mostly enemies of around your own level, no, I don't see "much more" swingy.

In general I would say that the current experience with L-4 to L-1 creatures would be extended to maybe L-8. I wouldn't say that experience would get any swingier. It would just mean that the level range of "meaningful" foes would roughly double.

This "doubling" isn't scientific analysis. It's based on that while a a low-level character could now crit a high-level monster, that still shaves of a very tiny amount of the total hp. So while we might say that from an attack vs defense analysis alone, the level range is greater than that, in practical play I expect things to work out much like in 5E where L-8 and L+8 are real limits anyway.

If anything PF2 monsters aren't just sad sacks of hit points. They have many more cool abilities up their sleeves, making level still account for more than CR in 5E...

---

The TEML bonus is +2 to +8. Hardly different from 5E, where it goes from +2 to +6.
 

BryonD

Adventurer
1: Thank you for asking for clarification vs assuming and jumping on me.

2: Clarification. It would be silly for Paizo to purposefully have a goal to exclude people. They are a business after all.
Agreed. But....
Paizo's goal (imo I have no evidence from them) was to make a good ruleset. If you really like it you are in luck cause they have a ton of splat books. Nothing they have done was with the goal of ignoring people. I think they have succeeded and put out a good product.
Now I assume when you say you think they have succeeded, I presume here that you are only speaking for yourself. Obviously that would be truth, but in the context here, the question was about wide appeal, not just case by case.

You described it as a narrow fanbase appeal. And I agree with you on both counts. They did not intend to do that, but I very much think that they did.

WotC's Mearls I recall specifically said they wanted to appeal to lovers of all editions and to end the edition wars. That was their goal and then they came up with rules afterwards. I think they succeeded and put out a good product but its no longer what I personally want.
I think the often cited comparison to both 4E and 5E are largely misguided. But there are certainly key points that can be recognized. IMO it is no coincidence that both WotC and Paizo followed 3X games with a strongly reactionary alternative which mechanically places the highest priority on the math and game-play balance.

I still like PF1E a lot. But I've never wavered from the idea that it was time to move on. For me personally, I've been playing some variation for 20 years now and I'm ready. But much more importantly, the market had CLEARLY moved on. So I think Paizo's #1 #2 and #3 goal was to improve their position in market share. PF1E was only going to continue a downward drift.

But I also think that they wanted to create "their own" game and try to escape the "other guy's design" albatross. And, I think that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In this case that means that the people who were happily playing PF didn't have any reason to speak up often, but the well known issues were griped about forever by those who were bugged by them . And that comes back to the math is sacred principle that shined so bright in both 4E and PF2E.

To me, 2E doesn't feel mechanically satisfying. The math comes first and embracing the nature of the character is then shoe-horned in as well as the math will allow. Obviously a 2E wizard is a wizard and a ranger is a ranger. I'm not making an absolute statement. But everything is relative. And compared to other games that I can play (such as PF1E) the focus on keeping the math in line destroys the satisfaction of "being" the character.
In my current game the characters are L6. The lowest AC is 15. The highest is 24. And those values FEEL right within the story. And I could list a dozen other places where the mechanics are completely out of whack in terms of "balance". But everyone loves their character and they feel like they are facing challenges that engage each characters strength and weaknesses.

No matter how different a wizards fireball may be from the ranger's arrows, I believe that PF2E will feel more and more homogeneous as people continue to play with the tight mathematical skeleton.

And so I think it is already cut itself off from a lot of the fanbase and that will grow. Which isn't to say the least bit critical of anyone who loves it. If you are having a blast at the table then the conversation is over.
There are obviously still people who love 4E and it works perfect for them. It is all good.

But it does come back to "craft beer" when they wanted to appeal to everyone.
 

Zaukrie

Adventurer
I've never understood how the specific rules make one think the game isn't the same game, at it's core. I don't get edition wars, for example.

The mechanics may be different (better or worse for sure), but at it's core, you can play your character pretty much with the same fiction in any RPG (within the context of the gameworld you are playing in).

so, any argument that relies on "I don't feel the math and fiction don't line up" seems odd to me.
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
Not really. Maybe compared to 5e, but not compared to many games. I'm running 3.5. If I put my party of 4th level PCs up against a single Hill Giant (CR 7, which is party level +3), it's almost assuredly a TPK. That doesn't mean I don't have Hill Giants in the game, it just means the party needs to know when to run.

Likewise, there are still DC 8 or DC 10 challenges in the game ...

I admit I haven't played it yet, but I don't see how PF2 is any different in this regard.
I think that it's a different style of play. One person considers PF2 poor for a sandbox game because they believe that players should have a chance of defeating any encounter in the sandbox and so a bound accuracy system is the only way to run good sandboxes. They therefore make the argument that any game that does not have bounded accuracy must be run as a series of carefully prepared appropriate-encounter levels.

On the other hand, some of us feel that a sandbox where some encounters are overwhelming for lower-level tables are a more fun environment. For us, bounded accuracy systems mean that players don't need to be as careful or clever -- they are not going to get TPK'd instantly and so can be more casual moving through a world. For us, that's less of a fun or realistic world. We'd prefer to play in a game where the sandbox has parts that will straight up kill you, and part of the fun is exploring the world to make sure you don't do that.

In the bounded accuracy sandbox, Frodo and Sam look at the Gate into Mordor, decide to sneak through it, and get some success before they have to run away. Bounded accuracy stops the might of Sauron just killing them. Frodo can put on the ring and have a chance of defying a demigod.

In a PF2 world, Frodo knows that if he is really, really lucky and puts the ring on, he might manage just a regular failure and so not be completely screwed. But he expects to critically fail all the way through the campaign. In the PF2 world, the GM describes the gate into Mordor, and Frodo and Sam know they will die if they try it and so need to be more careful (or at least consider if the challenge the NPC gollum is presenting to them as an alternative is actually going to be better. They clearly failed their Lore rolls and have no idea there's a giant spider demon waiting for them).

It's not a huge difference -- you can always make 5E challenges effectively out of tier and so restore the more reasonable sandbox feel, but it's working against the core assumptions. So for me, I prefer the PF2 style of sandbox. If you hate the thought of facing a level+6 spider-demon you have not a hope of killing, but at best can drive away while you run -- all because you failed your Lore check; then PF2 may not be for you. Instead 5E will ensure that you do have a hope of killing Shelob without needing a clever plan or alternate approach. Your choice as to how you prefer.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
I've never understood how the specific rules make one think the game isn't the same game, at it's core. I don't get edition wars, for example.

The mechanics may be different (better or worse for sure), but at it's core, you can play your character pretty much with the same fiction in any RPG (within the context of the gameworld you are playing in).

so, any argument that relies on "I don't feel the math and fiction don't line up" seems odd to me.
The rules of the game reflect how the world works. In different worlds, the exact same actions can lead to wildly different results. It doesn't generate the same fiction.

As an example, a high-level fighter in PF2 world can gleefully engage with a hundred orcs, fairly confident that they'll emerge relatively unscathed. If a high-level fighter in 5E world tries to do that, they'll catch the business end of several dozen javelins, and die within a few minutes.

The decisions you make, as your character, are informed by the world that they live in. That's basic role-playing.
 

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