Pathfinder 2E Regarding Competence

payn

Legend
I read a couple of the hero deck things and it seem all right. I dont know if I like the luck of the draw nature (wasnt a fan of crit/fumble decks in PF1). Though, I could definitely see a supplement that adds some hero point options based on ancestry, background, and class. That would be some cool supplemental material I think.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
I had a player back in the 3.5/PF era who definitely thought out of the box, not contributing a lot to combats but a great roleplayer and team player (in his own way). A pacifist fighter, who would engage and parry every attack until someone else took care of the creature or the enemy fled/surrendered in frustration. Or a naive cleric whose Wisdom was so low he couldn't cast above 2nd level spells - but he could use Cure wands.

There's always exceptions. But I'm going to still suggest the number of people who would do the second deliberately (as compared to making the best of a bad situation) is limited.

(The first is another issue. I've seen fairly few groups who wouldn't find that pretty annoying in a fellow player, since his avowed purpose in the group isn't what it seems to be).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
That’s one of the complaints my group has about post-3e systems. There’s a skill points variant in the GMG, which adds a bit more flexibility. We used it in my PF2 game, but (of course) my players ended up more or less following the normal progression. 😅

Well, that was the problem with 3e era skill points. It looked like it allowed for variety, but in a game with the kind of scaling 3e+ D&D and its kin had, one way or another the tasks the really low level skills could handle were trivial enough for people with real investment after a certain time, that even if they came up they didn't feel like a real skill use. So in practice the skills you actually cared about you kept at your ceiling (to the degree that you could).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Also, just as a side comment, one of the problems with D20 based skill systems (and D100 ones, which I'm even more familiar with) is that if you're sensitive to failure, it can always feel like it happens too often. This is a largely psychological phenomenon, but none the less real because of it. Its notable because the kinds of results that lead to failure in die pool systems or multidie resolution tend to stand out when they're low in a way that a 2 on a D20 or rolling 90 on percentile don't.
 

payn

Legend
Also, just as a side comment, one of the problems with D20 based skill systems (and D100 ones, which I'm even more familiar with) is that if you're sensitive to failure, it can always feel like it happens too often. This is a largely psychological phenomenon, but none the less real because of it. Its notable because the kinds of results that lead to failure in die pool systems or multidie resolution tend to stand out when they're low in a way that a 2 on a D20 or rolling 90 on percentile don't.
I have a psychological issue with the crit system of PF2. You benefit greatly from iut when you are facing stuff well below you, but you dont enjoy criticals at any regularity when facing sever/extreme fights. I loved in PF1 getting those well needed crits to change the battle in favor one way or the other. In PF2, all the odds are firmly stacked in one direction or the other.
 

I have a psychological issue with the crit system of PF2. You benefit greatly from iut when you are facing stuff well below you, but you dont enjoy criticals at any regularity when facing sever/extreme fights. I loved in PF1 getting those well needed crits to change the battle in favor one way or the other. In PF2, all the odds are firmly stacked in one direction or the other.
Going by my tables experiences with +3s and +4s, what tends to happen is that players get better and better at 'earning' the crit rate back through their abilities, a successful saving throw agaisnt the fear spell (much less a failed save) or a successful demoralize and a flank gets you back to your normal crit rate, then throw in something like inspire courage and they might as well be a -1 creature. Your party is also likelier to crit than your crit rate would suggest because you have the action economy advantage both in terms of your regular attacks, and by utilizing reactions which don't suffer from MAP and because hero points can grant regular rerolls to missed attacks.

So you're right, and the game's tactical metagame is about reshuffling the odds.
 

JThursby

Adventurer
Apparently there is a Hero Point deck now, so I'll have to go look at that.
It adds more variety and power to the Hero Point system, but still doesn't address the fundamental issue of GMs just forgetting it exists and not having a standard to assign Hero Points. The guideline is "1 every hour of play time" but since the language of the system implies it should come from player narrative choices it's hard to justify following that suggestion strictly. I'm trying to get in the mentality of handing them out more frequently because I want my players to feel more comfortable taking risks, and Hero Points are a decent safety net and reward for doing so.
 

Staffan

Legend
Going by my tables experiences with +3s and +4s, what tends to happen is that players get better and better at 'earning' the crit rate back through their abilities, a successful saving throw agaisnt the fear spell (much less a failed save) or a successful demoralize and a flank gets you back to your normal crit rate, then throw in something like inspire courage and they might as well be a -1 creature. Your party is also likelier to crit than your crit rate would suggest because you have the action economy advantage both in terms of your regular attacks, and by utilizing reactions which don't suffer from MAP and because hero points can grant regular rerolls to missed attacks.

So you're right, and the game's tactical metagame is about reshuffling the odds.
As a sorcerer, my best tactic against higher-level creatures has usually been spamming slow. Even on a successful save, they lose 1 action, and giving up 1/6 of our group's actions for 1/3 of the enemy's is a pretty good trade – particularly since it's pretty common for enemies to have something particularly nasty they can do if they get to spend all three actions on offense. And should they manage to fail their save so the slow sticks around for a full minute, well that's pretty much game over.

That said, it is hard to counter the numerical advantage higher-level creatures have, because it's hard to make the things you'd use to level the playing field stick. Demoralize? They'll laugh at your feeble attempts. Trip? Well, you're almost as likely to fall over yourself. You pretty much need to use spells with reasonable effects on a successful save that aren't also Incapacitating.
 

payn

Legend
Going by my tables experiences with +3s and +4s, what tends to happen is that players get better and better at 'earning' the crit rate back through their abilities, a successful saving throw agaisnt the fear spell (much less a failed save) or a successful demoralize and a flank gets you back to your normal crit rate, then throw in something like inspire courage and they might as well be a -1 creature. Your party is also likelier to crit than your crit rate would suggest because you have the action economy advantage both in terms of your regular attacks, and by utilizing reactions which don't suffer from MAP and because hero points can grant regular rerolls to missed attacks.

So you're right, and the game's tactical metagame is about reshuffling the odds.
My experience (severe/extreme) is those buy back actions have 10-20% chance of success and thus never even out the math. Its too hail Mary to be effective in difficult encounters.

Ninja'd by Staffan!
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
My experience (severe/extreme) is those buy back actions have 10-20% chance of success and thus never even out the math. Its too hail Mary to be effective in difficult encounters.

Ninja'd by Staffan!

How valuable it is depends on how the difficult encounter is constructed. The less opponents there are, the more worthwhile it ends up being even if it fails a fair bit, because a you're still taking away an action from opponents who's individual actions are more dangerous.
 

payn

Legend
How valuable it is depends on how the difficult encounter is constructed. The less opponents there are, the more worthwhile it ends up being even if it fails a fair bit, because a you're still taking away an action from opponents who's individual actions are more dangerous.
In 3E/PF1 the fights could be variable. The players simply had more tools and options at their disposable. I admit, the gonzo buff and magic was a bit too much, but I feel like this is an overreaction. The enemies might have abilities or even immunities that make them difficult and you must overcome. In PF2, every severe/extreme encounter is difficult because the math makes it so. You are reduced to a few top options you specialize in (or reduces your spell list to those with inconvenient riders). On top of all that, you have a snowballs chance in hell of scoring a critical while its common for the enemy. Every. Single. Enemy.

I know, I know, my dink GM should be sending goblins at us at level 5+ so we can actually use more of our abilities and spell list. That is also not satisfying being reduced to punching infants to make a decent chance at critical or have a great spell effect. I know its psychological and PF2 is the bees knees for everybody, but I struggle with it.
 

Staffan

Legend
Going by my tables experiences with +3s and +4s, what tends to happen is that players get better and better at 'earning' the crit rate back through their abilities, a successful saving throw agaisnt the fear spell (much less a failed save) or a successful demoralize and a flank gets you back to your normal crit rate, then throw in something like inspire courage and they might as well be a -1 creature. Your party is also likelier to crit than your crit rate would suggest because you have the action economy advantage both in terms of your regular attacks, and by utilizing reactions which don't suffer from MAP and because hero points can grant regular rerolls to missed attacks.

So you're right, and the game's tactical metagame is about reshuffling the odds.

My experience (severe/extreme) is those buy back actions have 10-20% chance of success and thus never even out the math. Its too hail Mary to be effective in difficult encounters.

That depends on what you use. Flanking is automatic as long as you have the movement, but has the disadvantage of at least one PC having to remain in melee with the boss. Self-buffs are generally better than debuffs, because debuffs usually have saves which means there's a fair chance of them not working. Spells usually have some effect even on a successful save however, at least if they're not incapacitating, so against bosses I see the "success" result as the result to expect and should the spell somehow land properly, that's a bonus. Good spells to use are fear and (as mentioned) slow. But resourceless skill actions are generally doomed to fail against bosses, which is a bit of a shame.
 

payn

Legend
That depends on what you use. Flanking is automatic as long as you have the movement, but has the disadvantage of at least one PC having to remain in melee with the boss. Self-buffs are generally better than debuffs, because debuffs usually have saves which means there's a fair chance of them not working. Spells usually have some effect even on a successful save however, at least if they're not incapacitating, so against bosses I see the "success" result as the result to expect and should the spell somehow land properly, that's a bonus. Good spells to use are fear and (as mentioned) slow. But resourceless skill actions are generally doomed to fail against bosses, which is a bit of a shame.
Right, most of your options are reduce to a smaller and smaller list of effective actions. The enemy gets to enjoy a full tool kit while you toss origami figures to papercut it to death.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
In 3E/PF1 the fights could be variable. The players simply had more tools and options at their disposable. I admit, the gonzo buff and magic was a bit too much, but I feel like this is an overreaction. The enemies might have abilities or even immunities that make them difficult and you must overcome. In PF2, every severe/extreme encounter is difficult because the math makes it so. You are reduced to a few top options you specialize in (or reduces your spell list to those with inconvenient riders). On top of all that, you have a snowballs chance in hell of scoring a critical while its common for the enemy. Every. Single. Enemy.

I know, I know, my dink GM should be sending goblins at us at level 5+ so we can actually use more of our abilities and spell list. That is also not satisfying being reduced to punching infants to make a decent chance at critical or have a great spell effect. I know its psychological and PF2 is the bees knees for everybody, but I struggle with it.

Look, I'm not the guy who's going to tell you not to want what you want. But in the end of the day, if its not a severe encounter, why call it one? Objecting because something called a severe encounter is severe seems, I don't know, kind of perverse. The fact that 3e/PF1e were pretty much pants at predicting if avowedly difficult encounters actually were doesn't seem a reason to keep doing that going forward.
 

payn

Legend
Look, I'm not the guy who's going to tell you not to want what you want. But in the end of the day, if its not a severe encounter, why call it one? Objecting because something called a severe encounter is severe seems, I don't know, kind of perverse. The fact that 3e/PF1e were pretty much pants at predicting if avowedly difficult encounters actually were doesn't seem a reason to keep doing that going forward.
Yes, ignore everything I said. Thanks for the discussion.
 

Yes, ignore everything I said. Thanks for the discussion.
I mean it feels like a pretty fair assesment of what you said, your post about 3.5 discussed not liking the fact that Pathfinder 2e makes +3s and +4s categorically hard, specifically that 3.5 varied in it in such a way that some of the 'hard' encounters were easy. You brought up every one of the hard encounters in pf2e being throwing origami at something to papercut it to death. But if the enemy isn't harder to take down, and doesn't hit you harder, then it typically isn't actually severe or extreme, even if 3.5 was willing to put the label on it. Chipping down a terribly powerful foe is pretty much what defines a boss monster, if you can just style on them, then the game isn't executing boss monsters as intended. The list of effective actions doesn't really narrow either, because action economy definitely favors the debuff/buff actions making the rest of the encounter easier. Every 10-20% chance you have (and it isn't actually that low, typically) builds towards a higher and higher overall success rate for the party.
 

Staffan

Legend
Look, I'm not the guy who's going to tell you not to want what you want. But in the end of the day, if its not a severe encounter, why call it one? Objecting because something called a severe encounter is severe seems, I don't know, kind of perverse. The fact that 3e/PF1e were pretty much pants at predicting if avowedly difficult encounters actually were doesn't seem a reason to keep doing that going forward.
Yes and no.

The way I see it, a severe encounter should be one that makes the PCs use all sorts of tricks and take risks, and push the use of their abilities to their limits. I'm thinking encounters like, to borrow from the world of comics, when the X-Men fight Nimrod and the robot starts by countering their every move because it adapts, so they have to figure out new ways of fighting it.

Problem is that PF2 doesn't really support that kind of thing. If you try a thing you haven't specialized in, you will be behind in it – even moreso against a superior foe. So a fight against a tough opponent becomes a matter of using more basic abilities because they are more reliable. As an 11th level sorcerer, I'm probably better off casting a 3rd level slow against a stronger opponent than, say, chain lightning, and definitely better off than casting baleful polymorph (against which the target will likely critically succeed due to the Incapacitation trait). And since I haven't been focusing on Intimidation, I'm not going to do much good by trying to Demoralize the creature either. Against some creatures, you might be able to find some flaw to exploit (e.g. bombs/holy water against weaknesses – since you deal splash damage on a miss, those are generally pretty effective), but that still means reducing the fight to finding the button that works and pressing it as much as you can.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yes and no.

The way I see it, a severe encounter should be one that makes the PCs use all sorts of tricks and take risks, and push the use of their abilities to their limits. I'm thinking encounters like, to borrow from the world of comics, when the X-Men fight Nimrod and the robot starts by countering their every move because it adapts, so they have to figure out new ways of fighting it.

Problem is that PF2 doesn't really support that kind of thing. If you try a thing you haven't specialized in, you will be behind in it – even moreso against a superior foe. So a fight against a tough opponent becomes a matter of using more basic abilities because they are more reliable. As an 11th level sorcerer, I'm probably better off casting a 3rd level slow against a stronger opponent than, say, chain lightning, and definitely better off than casting baleful polymorph (against which the target will likely critically succeed due to the Incapacitation trait). And since I haven't been focusing on Intimidation, I'm not going to do much good by trying to Demoralize the creature either. Against some creatures, you might be able to find some flaw to exploit (e.g. bombs/holy water against weaknesses – since you deal splash damage on a miss, those are generally pretty effective), but that still means reducing the fight to finding the button that works and pressing it as much as you can.

I'd argue you never see characters in that situation do anything really out of their bailiwick; they just try things in combinations they don't normally try. And I'll argue that can work here, if you know your opponent.

(I get the irritation about the use of some spells, but honestly, Incapacitation is an okay price to pay for avoiding the "spam save-or-suck spells until they work" dynamic that was the case in 3e).
 


Staffan

Legend
(I get the irritation about the use of some spells, but honestly, Incapacitation is an okay price to pay for avoiding the "spam save-or-suck spells until they work" dynamic that was the case in 3e).
I still think 13th age has the best solution, which is to put hp caps on strong debuffs. This has two advantages:

1. You can still use them as finishers on powerful foes, you just have to rough them up a bit first.

2. You can fine-tune the hp limit based on the spell, so a spell that stuns a foe for a round has a higher hp cap than one that paralyzes them for a minute.
 

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