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PF2E Regarding the complexity of Pathfinder 2

CapnZapp

Legend
I suspect that the "obvious" lesson to be learned from 5e is that the game should not be unnecessarily complex in regards to its subsystems.
Ayep.

However, I'm not sure why 5e should be the primary teacher of this idea when - much as you say here - there are so many other games out there, before and after 5e, that do a FAR BETTER job than 5e at designing more streamlined, less complex, and more robust systems than 5e.
Like it or not, far too many D&D gamers just aren't interested in how other games solve issues.

Being able to say "but AD&D fixed it" or "it works without a hitch in 4E" or "just look at Pathfinder for a much better solution" carries much more weight than pointing to OSR or Apocalypse Now or Call of Cthulhu. While this is partly unwarranted, it actually is partially warranted. D&D needs to solve a particular set of questions that other games can just drop.

I might not like everything about 5E, but i consider it undeniable that its designers managed to truly get rid of the 3E crud and many darlings were killed. 5E really represents a very impressive effort in pleasing your customers while actually not listening the the demands that existing detail and structure "must" be retained.

Sure, the game erred on the side of simplicity too much, but still: PF2 would have been a vastly better game had Paizo bothered to check up on the competitition... and made that show in its own rulebook.
5e arguably preserves a lot of needless complexity itself while also handwaving its complexity with its "rulings not rules" mumbo jumbo.
Absolutely. And when it does I'm there to point it out. (For instance with its legacy crud about hand usage, spell components and object interaction. When you read those rules you get the distinct impression you're no longer reading the easygoing game 5E is elsewhere)
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
You try to simplify it by tying the result to the price of a permanent item of your level, but I think that also has some issues. It removes the affect of skill on the result.
Absolutely. In the interests of making a good clean argument I'm ignoring the fact that a die roll is entirely justifiable here. There should definitely be a die roll. Ideally not one that adds new rules subsystems though.

After spending the necessary number of weeks for your Earn Income to reach half the purchase price of the item you're crafting (a long-winded way of saying "After spending four weeks"), roll a Crafting check with the item level setting the DC.
Critical Success = if you're prepared to pay the full purchase price of the item you're crafting, you get two identical items out of the time spent. Counts as a Success in every other aspect.
Success = as described
Failure = your rate of progress is halved (meaning you must spend as much time as you've already spent to get a Success). If you break off the crafting, your spent time is wasted.
Critical Failure = your rate of progress is completely lost. Your spent time is wasted. You can begin anew from scratch if you like.

Note every idea to lose ingredients or to have to pay extra is regulated simply by devaluating the time spent. Relative to other party members losing time spent is equal to having to pay money, and much easier to enforce in far fewer words.

There are economic consequences to tying the result to the price of a permanent item. Conceivably, Smith (treated as a 6th level character for crafting stuff) can earn up to 36 gp in a week if they can find a 6th level task to perform. And why not? That’s really good money.
Crafting IS tied to the price of permanent items! How do I know that? Because permanent items is what Crafting is for!
Note how it takes you exactly one week to craft a single Consumable of your level. I'm proud to say that's not a coincidence...

Puttering around with ideas to connect crafting prices to the going rate on hogs, or the wages of a serving girl, is delusional in the context of Pathfinder. Being surprised when your table results in you needing eight months to craft an item is unacceptable.

The dev focus should be on the game, and playability. How long should it take to craft an item of my level?

In order to create an item in four weeks (which is entirely reasonable from a game POV in my opinion) you either need to make Crafting vastly more profitable than Earn Income, or make Earn Income as profitable as Crafting (duh). I honor the overarching design intention for crafting to not be inherently better than top-notch earn incom:ing, so the reason that Smith can earn "good money" is so Crafting doesn't require months and months of downtime!

If you don't like the rate of crafting my easiest suggestion is to replace gold with silver pieces. Mr Smith in your example would then gain 36 sp in a week.

Why you would require heroes to spend much more than a couple of weeks in downtime is beyond me, though... In any campaign where downtime longer than the occasional week is rare to non-existent, the CRB speed only has a single result = making Crafting completely worthless. But again, if you really like that, the rulebook could just have said "so use the exact same simple rules just with silver instead of gold".
 
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kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
Absolutely. In the interests of making a good clean argument I'm ignoring the fact that a die roll is entirely justifiable here. There should definitely be a die roll. Ideally not one that adds new rules subsystems though.

After spending the necessary number of weeks for your Earn Income to reach half the purchase price of the item you're crafting (a long-winded way of saying "After spending four weeks"), roll a Crafting check with the item level setting the DC.
Critical Success = if you're prepared to pay the full purchase price of the item you're crafting, you get two identical items out of the time spent. Counts as a Success in every other aspect.
Success = as described
Failure = your rate of progress is halved (meaning you must spend as much time as you've already spent to get a Success). If you break off the crafting, your spent time is wasted.
Critical Failure = your rate of progress is completely lost. Your spent time is wasted. You can begin anew from scratch if you like.

Note every idea to lose ingredients or to have to pay extra is regulated simply by devaluating the time spent. Relative to other party members losing time spent is equal to having to pay money, and much easier to enforce in far fewer words.


Crafting IS tied to the price of permanent items! How do I know that? Because permanent items is what Crafting is for!
Note how it takes you exactly one week to craft a single Consumable of your level. I'm proud to say that's not a coincidence...

Puttering around with ideas to connect crafting prices to the going rate on hogs, or the wages of a serving girl, is delusional in the context of Pathfinder. Being surprised when your table results in you needing eight months to craft an item is unacceptable.

The dev focus should be on the game, and playability. How long should it take to craft an item of my level?

In order to create an item in four weeks (which is entirely reasonable from a game POV in my opinion) you either need to make Crafting vastly more profitable than Earn Income, or make Earn Income as profitable as Crafting (duh). I honor the overarching design intention for crafting to not be inherently better than top-notch earn incom:ing, so the reason that Smith can earn "good money" is so Crafting doesn't require months and months of downtime!

If you don't like the rate of crafting my easiest suggestion is to replace gold with silver pieces. Mr Smith in your example would then gain 36 sp in a week.

Why you would require heroes to spend much more than a couple of weeks in downtime is beyond me, though... In any campaign where downtime longer than the occasional week is rare to non-existent, the CRB speed only has a single result = making Crafting completely worthless. But again, if you really like that, the rulebook could just have said "so use the exact same simple rules just with silver instead of gold".
Assuming that you omitted checks for Earn Income out of brevity, your proposed replacement for Craft involves more rolls than the one out of the box. Even if Earn Income doesn’t require a roll (meaning that skill is no longer a factor), it still takes longer! With the core Craft activity, I can make whatever I want in 4 days provided that I have the money to cover the cost. Yours requires at least four weeks to Earn Income half the cost of the item. If downtime is presumably limited, how is that an improvement?

It also makes dealing with Earn Income mandatory instead of something you can optionally include if you don’t want to pay for the rest of the item. Instead of just focusing on the thing I want (“I want a +1 longsword, so I pay half the cost, make this check, pay the rest out of pocket, and yay sword.”), I have to go engage some other set of rules and then come back.

We seem to have way different ideas of what simple means. For me, simplicity in a game is where like things work alike. The mechanics are consistent with few exceptions baked into the core. If I’m engaging in task resolution, I do that the same way instead of using different methods depending on the situation, task, skill, or whatever. If I run into an unexpected situation, the game gives me tools I can use adjudicate it. That doesn’t mean enumerating everything. Just a framework for determining what happens and calling for checks is enough.

The game can build stuff on top of that. In fact, it probably should. It’s not a whole lot of fun getting a new game then realizing you have to put it together before you can play it. When it comes time to manage that complexity, it should be layered in such a way that it lets me (the GM) and players focus on the task at hand. If I’ve already internalized most of the system, and I need to look something up, then I shouldn’t have to parse what I need out of a bunch of unrelated text.

We also seem to value things like color, verisimilitude, and having a world that makes some kind of sense differently. I don’t typically run heroic fantasy games. I like running games about just plain adventurers. That’s not for everyone, and that’s fine because systems like D&D and Pathfinder support mine as well as other styles of play. If we strip away all the things you identify as clutter, then what’s left? I fear it’d be a system that would be strongly oriented towards one style of game and that couldn’t do others as well as it does currently.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Edit: On second thought, I'm probably coming on unintentionally strong on you Kenada. My frustrations is with Paizo, not you. I'm about to edit today's responses accordingly.

Assuming that you omitted checks for Earn Income out of brevity, your proposed replacement for Craft involves more rolls than the one out of the box. Even if Earn Income doesn’t require a roll (meaning that skill is no longer a factor), it still takes longer! With the core Craft activity, I can make whatever I want in 4 days provided that I have the money to cover the cost. Yours requires at least four weeks to Earn Income half the cost of the item. If downtime is presumably limited, how is that an improvement?
Thank you for your feedback. If I re-post this in my existing thread on Crafting, I'll be sure to credit you.

I don't understand any of this. One of us is massively misunderstanding the core rules, and possibly my "lazy ass" replacement too. ❓

Edit: I get you now. You should be able to make your roll already after week 1. Since this thread isn't a houserule thread, I'm not going to update previous posts, but you're totally right. If four weeks allows you plow down half money, one week should allow you to plow down 7/8ths money. (Not 8/8ths - time spent should count towards the total, with no weird "four day tax" that introduces a wonky special case where brewing cheap potions becomes a losing proposition)

Feel free to discuss this, but let's not lose focus of my overarching point: the existing rules for Crafting and Earn Income are massively overengineered, unintuitive, cluttery, not-in-tune-with-the-rest-of-the-game, and time-consuming for both players and characters - even if they were to hire Kenada to rewrite the actual text in a more logical accessible way.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
I thought NOT cultivating a particularly meaningful playstyle or game experience was the point of 5E. Trying to cultivating one would just "disempower" the GM somehow...
Possibly, but if the OSR movement was really meant to be a source of inspiration for 5E, then it's clear they didn't understand that "cultivating a particularly meaningful playstyle or game experience" is not inherently at odds with "GM empowerment".
 

I don't understand any of this. One of us is massively misunderstanding the core rules, and possibly my "lazy ass" replacement too. ❓

Feel free to discuss this, but let's not lose focus of my overarching point: the existing rules for Crafting and Earn Income are massively overengineered, unintuitive, cluttery, not-in-tune-with-the-rest-of-the-game, and time-consuming for both players and characters - even if they were to hire Kenada to rewrite the actual text in a more logical accessible way.

Perhaps the purpose of the crafting rules is not for usefullness in the game but built to give readers a sense of immersion and provide world building inspiration?
 

CapnZapp

Legend
The mechanics are consistent with few exceptions baked into the core. If I’m engaging in task resolution, I do that the same way instead of using different methods depending on the situation, task, skill, or whatever. If I run into an unexpected situation, the game gives me tools I can use adjudicate it. That doesn’t mean enumerating everything. Just a framework for determining what happens and calling for checks is enough.
Edit: I don't want my trashing of the PF2 rules to come off as individually confrontational so I've moved my response to a post where I'm addressing everyone instead of as a reply to any single poster (just below).
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
Pathfinder 2 is absolutely everything but "consistent with few exceptions". The game in general is shock full of weird little special rules, conditions, and limitations. Very little of it feels earned, or contributive to the play experience.

The game screams for a general mechanism to grease the wheels, one that empowers the gamesmaster to allow slight deviations from what the framework lets you do.

The core three-action mechanism can cause weird artifacts, such as when you're 30 feet from a door. Escaping through that door? That's a hard no to that. You can't - you move 25 feet, then five more feet, then Interact to open the door... and you're out of actions. But could the GM simply... let you? Perhaps ask for a DC 15 Acrobatics check to make you feel less... emasculated? That's a hard no to that. There are dozens of feats that would get instantly invalidated if the GM just let the heroes act... heroically, like in every other edition of D&D. Quick Jump, Combat Climber, ... just look at these feats and think about what they say about the game.

Let me tell y'all what they're saying: They're saying "You need me not to suck weirdly". Even a level 20 character is completely inflexibly restricted and locked-down until she takes a specific feat. Or ten.

Instead of looking at their prototype three-action framework and going "we need to let the GM allow skill checks to transcend and ignore the weird artefacts that can happen" Paizo instead said "let's double down on the hard no's by inventing a feat for everything we can identify as something to lock down!" "Gating things behind feats must be good, right, since it means more options! Right? Right?"

When I reflect upon 4E's failure and 5E's success, I draw the exact opposite conclusion about how to design my game as did Paizo. They went ahead and doubled down on exactly the things 4E wallowed in, and that 5E eschews!

---

Nearly every feat and item brings some kind of tiny puny and frankly unnecessary special condition or limitation that increases the rules burden on the player and GM.

Far too many feats work the "same, same but different" way than a feat you'd think would do the same thing. It does, just with niggly little differences.

Everyday actions like climb, jump, crawl are weirdly locked down. Related feats come across not as making you awesome. Instead they make you not actively suck.

Too many magic items work like in 4th edition in that they're too much of a hassle to be worth the bother. Getting a +1 or +2 bonus once every blue moon on a specific check just isn't worth remembering.

I could probably present a hundred different examples proving this beyond the slightest doubt, but I fear it would mean going down a rabbit hole that gives actual mental damage, so I shan't.

To illustrate this point, let me quote myself from all the way back to page two of this discussion (thanks whoever just gave this post a like!)
Try gamesmastering ;)

The first time you are about to let a character crawl or swim a bit faster, or jump over a low wall, maybe just asking for an Athletics or Acrobatics check just like you're used to from most of those other games... just being generous and speeding along gameplay, you think...

...and another player opens one of the rulebooks and points to a feat that lets you do exactly that specific little thing...

..you will likely never say the game is no more or less complex ever again!

I'll always remember that feeling of hopeless helplessness and frustration when I realized the game is actively working against me.
 
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glass

(he, him)
When I reflect upon 4E's failure and 5E's success, I draw the exact opposite conclusion about how to design my game as did Paizo. They went ahead and doubled down on exactly the things 4E wallowed in, and that 5E eschews!
Except 4e was stupendously succesful by any standard that is not "Hasbro Core Brand" (a metric by which every single RPG ever published is a failure), and that was with all the obvious self-inflicted marketting wounds. A 4e-like game is an obvious and popular niche that has been largely abandonded by WotC, so it makes sense that Paizo should go after that niche. Not that PF2 is particularly similar to 4e, but if it were it would not be the disaster you are trying to paint.

_
glass.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I definitely am painting certain aspects of PF2 as disastrous. I am convinced they will contribute to the edition's premature demise.

Our group have played one small sandbox to level 7 and now an official AP to level 13. We're already seeing the very unfun limitations that the rules work so hard to obscure, and we're starting to buckle under the extremely heavy rules load that a quick review of a level 1 playthru can't catch. And we consider ourselves very capable of heavy rules loads.

My aim is not to bitch (or rather not just to bitch) but point out exactly where the pain points are, analyze them and provide better options. Even if they aren't used, they should amply illustrate Paizo's shortcomings by showing how things could have been. :)

If nothing else, I can't stay silent when somebody is seriously suggesting this game is simple in any way shape or form.
 

BryonD

Hero
Except 4e was stupendously succesful by any standard that is not "Hasbro Core Brand" (a metric by which every single RPG ever published is a failure), and that was with all the obvious self-inflicted marketting wounds.

I don't think it would be productive to drag this thread into this dead horse beating.
It is more than fair to claim that without the massive leg up that 4E received by virtue of simply being D&D, it would have not shown up meaningfuly in the ranks of "every single RPG". So judging it in context is fair. It failed badly. And it failed because way to many people didn't enjoy PLAYING it. You can't blame it on marketing when it was a MASSIVE success on launch. Marketing gets people to the dance. The music and atmosphere get them to stay. A deeply faithful niche fanbase notwithstanding, people left the dance very early.


A 4e-like game is an obvious and popular niche that has been largely abandonded by WotC, so it makes sense that Paizo should go after that niche. Not that PF2 is particularly similar to 4e, but if it were it would not be the disaster you are trying to paint.

_
glass.
I think the "reaction to 3E" remains a very key point of equivalence between 4E and PF2E and it is very fair to judge them on that.
The obsession with staying in a balanced fixed-math design space is dominant in both games. I completely agree with you that they are very dissimilar in detail. But that math core shows up as the foundation of the complaints throughout this thread and elsewhere.

Obviously there are people who really love PF2E. And there is no reason to have an issue with that.
But PF2E should also be judged in context and it could have had a far bigger dance.
 

glass

(he, him)
I don't think it would be productive to drag this thread into this dead horse beating.
...but you could not resist doing so anyway. 4e made a shed-load of money, despite a terrible introductory adventure, things like PHB2 and 3 confusing consumers, and then Essentials turning that confusion up to eleven. That is, at this point, historical fact, and I cannot think of any reason to deny it (well, I can think of one reason).

I think the "reaction to 3E" remains a very key point of equivalence between 4E and PF2E and it is very fair to judge them on that.
Oh, they were definitely reactions to 3e/PF1, and there is a certain amount of convergent evolution there, as is to be expected given that they were trying to address the same problems. But I utterly reject the rest of your characterisation (that I mostly snipped). Getting the maths right so the game actually works as intended is not an "obsession", it is the designers doing a fundamental part of their job.

_
glass.
 


glass

(he, him)
"works as intended" is a really poor argument that's mostly meant to be unassailable.
If that is aimed at me, I am not sure what argument you think I was making in that post? I stated a few facts, and then gave a couple of opinions. That said, do you really disagree that working to get the maths to work is something that RPG designers should be doing?

_
glass.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
Edit: On second thought, I'm probably coming on unintentionally strong on you Kenada. My frustrations is with Paizo, not you. I'm about to edit today's responses accordingly.
Things can sometimes get heated, so I appreciate the awareness and the corrections. Thanks, and no worries. 😃

Feel free to discuss this, but let's not lose focus of my overarching point: the existing rules for Crafting and Earn Income are massively overengineered, unintuitive, cluttery, not-in-tune-with-the-rest-of-the-game, and time-consuming for both players and characters - even if they were to hire Kenada to rewrite the actual text in a more logical accessible way.
House rules for the house rules thread makes sense, so I’ll just let that part drop.

I don’t think we agree on the nature of Earn Income or Craft, but I think we also seem to have different thresholds or preferences for what constitutes “simple”. To me, it’s just a cost and a check. To you, it’s a fiddly thing that doesn’t do what you want. Continuing to go back and forth on it will probably not be particularly fruitful (although I do appreciate the nudge to rewrite/clarify the RAW and fix the special text to remove the roll-to-failure element).

“Fortunately”, and I’m intentionally putting that in quotes, neither Craft nor Earn Income are really core to the experience. Like you said, it’s unusual to get much downtime in an AP. I think if you can find something that does what you want, just go with it. That’s what rule #1 of PF2 is for after all. 😄
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
Pathfinder 2 is absolutely everything but "consistent with few exceptions". The game in general is shock full of weird little special rules, conditions, and limitations. Very little of it feels earned, or contributive to the play experience.

The game screams for a general mechanism to grease the wheels, one that empowers the gamesmaster to allow slight deviations from what the framework lets you do.
I actually recognized that in one of my other posts when I brought up skill feats. I think it’s a good idea, but it screws up the simplicity.

When I say the framework is consistent with few exceptions, I mean the framework. You get three actions and a reaction, and you don’t have various exceptions written into the framework. We don’t need to have discussions about how many times a paladin can smite in a round or whether under some circumstances we can cast two spells because the action economy handles that. We also don’t need to memorize a table of situations where something provokes an AoO, but we also don’t have to give up the richness that 3e and PF1 had by simplifying it down to one or two events. Yes, there are traits like [Flourish] and other traits, but if you’re not dealing with those, you can ignore them. If you are, they’re explicit about what they do.

The same goes for making rolls. Everything is a check. Everything works on a same scale. If you can justify rolling a Reflex attack versus an Attack DC, the math will work. Something modify Strength checks? Then yes it affects your attack roll. They restate that in conditions like enfeeble, but I think that’s just to accommodate people who are used to attacks and saves and checks all being distinct things.

I use this in my exploration procedure when trying to force march: You make a Fortitude save versus your Constitution DC. It’s succinct, and it lets me avoid having to try to write something that understandably conveys the same thing but in more words. “Make a Fortitude save with a DC equal to 10 + your level”, but I’m pretty sure people will sometimes forget to add their level. Roll a number on your sheet versus another number on your sheet is much easier, and it feels more flavorful.

So when a situation occurs, I can use the framework the system provides to adjudicate it. If someone is doing something with their hands, and it’s not just an Interact action, then I can determine that it has the [Manipulate] trait, and things that key off that all just react accordingly.

For example, I have my PCs carry bows in slings when they’re traveling. How long does it take to ready a bow? You need to Interact to take it off your back, Interact to remove it from the sling, Interact to brace it behind your leg, Interact to bend it forward, and Interact to put the string in place. Five actions! The system doesn’t have rules for that, but I was able to come up with something that just naturally fit in the action economy and actually makes sense realistically (just go watch some videos on Youtube and see how long it takes people to string a bow). No rulings, just applying the framework.

Like I said before, skill feats are problematic. They muddle the framework. I don’t find your example problems compelling, but I agree with the basic premise: it should be possible to do something unusual with a skill at a higher DC than normal. If you want to Make an Impression to a group, it should just be possible to attempt that at a higher DC. Technically, that wouldn’t negate the benefit of Group Impression, but the rules aren’t clear on being able to do that, and we can’t trust that Paizo will never design skill feats that don’t mess up that approach.

Instead of looking at their prototype three-action framework and going "we need to let the GM allow skill checks to transcend and ignore the weird artefacts that can happen" Paizo instead said "let's double down on the hard no's by inventing a feat for everything we can identify as something to lock down!" "Gating things behind feats must be good, right, since it means more options! Right? Right?"
In theory, yes. Having non-combat customization as its own thing ensure those options actually get taken. Players have a tendency to focus only on combat benefits. In practice, see above.

Everyday actions like climb, jump, crawl are weirdly locked down. Related feats come across not as making you awesome. Instead they make you not actively suck.
The GMG explains why: they wanted to make it easy to understand how things work. It should have been said in the CRB, but they recommend allowing PCs to combine types of movement into two-action activities as appropriate. Of course, we need to trust that any skill feat written in a future that confers a similar benefit must be written to only take one action, so it doesn’t negate the thing we thought (and they told us!) we could do.

Nearly every feat and item brings some kind of tiny puny and frankly unnecessary special condition or limitation that increases the rules burden on the player and GM.

Far too many feats work the "same, same but different" way than a feat you'd think would do the same thing. It does, just with niggly little differences.

Too many magic items work like in 4th edition in that they're too much of a hassle to be worth the bother. Getting a +1 or +2 bonus once every blue moon on a specific check just isn't worth remembering.

I could probably present a hundred different examples proving this beyond the slightest doubt, but I fear it would mean going down a rabbit hole that gives actual mental damage, so I shan't.
I’m just lumping these all together because they seem to go to the same point: there’s a lot of stuff, and it’s not interesting enough to justify its existence.

I think it was a mistake not to have a mechanism for combat styles. All the martial classes should be able to pick a style and have feats available to take from it. I’d feel comfortable letting martial classes take a fighting style dedication provided they spent their 2nd level feat on a 1st level class feat, but that’s a house rule. Anyway, if martial classes could do that, then instead of having things like Twin Takedown and Double Slice, which seem superficially similar, you could just have a ranger thing that made your Double Slice take only one action when you are fighting your hunted prey.

Little bonuses don’t feel good initially, but players eventually start to internalize that a +1 means more than just an increased chance of success. Is there a way we can dig into your complaint without having to go through lots of examples (since you don’t want to go down that rabbit hole)? Is the issue that they don’t allow for enough character distinction? That if I take a feat to let me specialize in climbing walls or fighting ninjas, I’m only “a little” better instead of substantially better?

We’re probably not going to find common ground on consumables, so I’m not sure how far it’s worth going into it. I think there are situations where consumables are useful. If continuing to rest has an opportunity cost, then elixirs and potions are useful as a way to avoid another ten minutes of downtime. If encounters are foreshadowed, you can prepare for them with the right talismans. If a different game where those things aren’t true or don’t happen, they might be less useful. I’d posit that perhaps that style of game isn’t an intended way of running the system, but it’s also easy to just ignore the things that don’t work and replace those things in treasure with items that are actually useful.
 
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kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
Oh, they were definitely reactions to 3e/PF1, and there is a certain amount of convergent evolution there, as is to be expected given that they were trying to address the same problems. But I utterly reject the rest of your characterisation (that I mostly snipped). Getting the maths right so the game actually works as intended is not an "obsession", it is the designers doing a fundamental part of their job.
I’m a really big fan of having tools that work, so I like the way PF2 approaches balance. However, people say they want balance, but do they actually want balance? When the game is balanced properly, you can’t build your way past a hard fight. You have to actually fight it, and hard fights are hard. Look at all the problems that people are having because of that. It’s not as bad if you’re building encounters with that in mind, but Paizo is designing them assuming people love a hard skirmish game.

The solution isn’t to back off from the balance. There’s a place in the market for a game that is actually balanced, but PF2 went too far. Proficiency Without Level should have been the default. When you use Proficiency Without Level, the range of viable monsters increases considerably (~90% of the bestiary in the traditional sweet spot). Harder fights require big crowds of monsters or significantly higher level ones. That just feels intuitive, especially if you’re used to a system where a 9th level party could conceivably take on a balor.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
When I say the framework is consistent with few exceptions, I mean the framework. You get three actions and a reaction, and you don’t have various exceptions written into the framework. We don’t need to have discussions about how many times a paladin can smite in a round or whether under some circumstances we can cast two spells because the action economy handles that. We also don’t need to memorize a table of situations where something provokes an AoO, but we also don’t have to give up the richness that 3e and PF1 had by simplifying it down to one or two events. Yes, there are traits like [Flourish] and other traits, but if you’re not dealing with those, you can ignore them. If you are, they’re explicit about what they do.
Don’t you only have to worry about smiting twice per round if you are a paladin? Don’t you only have to keep track of casting two non-cantrip spells in a round if you are a caster that often casts bonus action spells?

It’s just weird that you would suggest Flourish isn’t a problem (or Press, or Stance, or Manipulate, etc.) but that a paladin’s smite is.
 

Campbell

Legend
I think when it comes to encounter difficulty part of the issue with getting some groups to adjust encounters to suit their needs is psychological. PF2 calls a spade a spade, but as we have seen in the video game world there a number of people who want to play games on an easier mode while not wanting to call it that. When you say maybe stick to low threat encounters until you find your feet it does not feel good despite being a fairly accurate assessment of encounter difficulty. Like the encounter difficulty categories in 3e, 4e and 5e have this psychological boosting effect because they call things challenges that are not in fact challenging like at all.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
Don’t you only have to worry about smiting twice per round if you are a paladin? Don’t you only have to keep track of casting two non-cantrip spells in a round if you are a caster that often casts bonus action spells?

It’s just weird that you would suggest Flourish isn’t a problem (or Press, or Stance, or Manipulate, etc.) but that a paladin’s smite is.
That’s a fair point. I suppose I wasn’t very clear, and it seems like an arbitrary distinction. I’m looking at traits as something that operates on top of the action economy rather than being baked into the rules for e.g., spellcasting or attacks of opportunity. A class that wanted to work a certain way without those traits just wouldn’t use them.

I guess I view the granularity of traits versus having a rule that says otherwise the same thing as “more simple” conceptually. That’s not to say learning traits is easy. It definitely adds a learning curve, but it’s one I think is worth it if you can stick it out. As a GM, I really like how they empower me when making a ruling. I can determine that e.g., something sounds like [Manipulate], so it has that trait, and all the things that key off it now do.
 
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