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PF2E Regarding the complexity of Pathfinder 2

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
Isn't 5e a system to be easy made to be easily moded and subject to rulings by design after all ruling over rules is a core component

Can you say the same about pathfinder 2e ? that house rule do not invalidate feats or mechanics?
I don’t find 5e easier to modify than PF2 because the design isn’t as cleanly delineated. Like, can you ignore the loot tables in the DMG? Well, Xanathar’s tells us there’s a loot progression encoded in them that’s assumed by the DMG. I think this is also why errata continues to lock down certain language to avoid multi-class abuse (e.g., to clarify that a warlock/caster doesn’t refresh the caster class’s spells during a short rest).

If I want to make a ruling, 5e doesn’t give me a lot of tools for doing that. Sure, it tells me to go right ahead, but how can I make sure it’s reasonable or that I haven’t accidentally broken something? Yeah, balance is kind of tenuous in 5e, so maybe don’t worry about it? That’s fine, but that’s not really the game for me.

I’ve done homebrew (see ancestries here, here, here, here, here, and here and a monster here) in 5e, but I find PF2 easier because of the constraints.
 

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kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
Third is one of those grey situations. I'm willing to consider "crowd" a single target when doing oratory speech, but when you are trying to convince something like four council representatives, you usually would have to convince them separately yeah.
I considered that approach, but I’m pretty sure convincing the crowd as a singular entity isn’t the goal. In that case, I’d prefer to run an influence event instead of just boiling it down to a roll.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
The TLDR is that feat heavy systems, especially if they want to get you to purchase a dozen books over the years, will inevitably end up gating good ideas and if there's a person at the table with disparate rules mastery, they'll potentially call out the rule(s) that were applicable. It's fine with a home group of friends because your DM can handwave it as long as everyone shares roughly the same philosophies of rules-getting-in-the-way. I think in our limited play of PF2, the gentleman's agreements ended up just imagining every PC had over a dozen or so feats we encountered would've gated play - "just imagine anyone creatively problem-solving can use this rule or a rough approximation of it". Of course then that leads to character building questions, "can I just assume we'll all have this feat in play so I don't have to take it?". If I were to be in charge of PF3, I'd take maybe one third of the feats and put them in a GM Advice Guide (which I know would be a bummer for revenue vs sprinkling them out over a dozen supplements players building PCs could buy to get power) as "suggestions to adjudicate creative player ideas". Or, just trickle the feats-as-advice out via free blog posts to encourage DM creativity.
This is a legitimate concern about any system that allows skill feats or unlocks or tricks or whatever. I think PF2 made a mistake by not reassuring people they could allow people to do things at a penalty, so no one should have to worry about whether they accidentally invalidated a feat or something else. This was a pretty big miss on Paizo’s part.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
That’s how I view having a good framework in a game. That’s why I call it empowering rather than constraining. Because of that framework, I can fit improvised actions into the game’s action economy and have things key off of them where it makes sense. Because I can reason about the game, I can tweak things with an understanding of the implications.
Sure, and I would say that a detailed rules framework for you occupies the same mental space that the “spirit of the rules” occupies for me.

It is a process that guides the way we adjudicate issues that come up in play that reflects our different ways of processing information.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Rule #1 of Pathfinder 2e is that you can change the game and make it yours. The game entreats you to change it. Refusing to change it would not be running the game as RAW.
I am conflicted. On the one hand, I absolutely agree with you. I don’t think “but it’s RAW” is any defence when a rule or an option defies common sense or is broken. The game (and any AP) is made to be played with, adjusted and houseruled in whatever way is the most enjoyable to your group.

On the other hand, I see where Cap’n Zapp is coming from as well. When you start a system, you are generally going to try to play it as intended, at least until you feel more confident to tinker around the edges. If using a fairly common playstyle means you get your teeth kicked in or the game regularly grinds to a halt, that will definitely affect your impression of the game.

Definitely, my experience with the system was less than stellar.
 

Campbell

Legend
I just treat skill feats like I treat playbook moves in Apocalypse World. They are narrative permissions that always apply for your character. Without them you need to depend situational rulings that may not apply all the time.

I am also like not at all concerned with spotlight balancing or niche protection. The game has retraining rules for a reason. If you are not happy with a feat you have tools to swap it. If the group is not happy we can change it or let you swap.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
I just treat skill feats like I treat playbook moves in Apocalypse World. They are narrative permissions that always apply for your character. Without them you need to depend situational rulings that may not apply all the time.
I do and advocate basically the same thing. It’s not for everyone though, which is why I’ve started bringing up a penalty or some cost to the action instead.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
On the other hand, I see where Cap’n Zapp is coming from as well. When you start a system, you are generally going to try to play it as intended, at least until you feel more confident to tinker around the edges. If using a fairly common playstyle means you get your teeth kicked in or the game regularly grinds to a halt, that will definitely affect your impression of the game.
There are a couple of things to unpack here. I agree that a group new to a game is likely to look towards official adventures to see how it plays. I think they’ll made a good faith effort to runt he rules as written, but I expect most groups to diverge from what’s written in the adventure because that’s just what happens in an RPG.

I’m pushing back on the idea that everything has to be run as written because it feels like that’s being used as a way to constrain the discourse, so that we naturally have to draw the right conclusion. We can’t suggest ways of remedying problems or alternate approaches because that undermines the constraints that are necessary for the argument. It has to be as written. It has to be for a specific style.

It may be that PF2 adventures just aren’t very good for the kick-in-the-door style without some tweaking. That tweaking could be to the adventure, or it could be to the system by just letting everyone heal up or whatever. If the intent were figuring out how to make that work, I think we collectively could figure something out. I don’t feel that’s the intent. It’s like telling your doctor it hurts when you do something, your doctor tells you to stop doing that, and you tell them you can’t because you need to prove that it hurts.

I’ll also add I don’t think kick-in-the-door is the presumed default style for official adventures. There wouldn’t be any point to exploration mode or downtime mode if the adventures were just about going from encounter to encounter with the in-between happening automatically for the most part. They’re not sandboxes, but there are other options between those two extremes.

Definitely, my experience with the system was less than stellar.
Yep. And that sucks. I’ve said multiple times that I think Paizo made a mistake with the difficulty of the adventures they’re releasing. That people in your group apparently want to continue playing in spite of the difficulties is a credit to Paizo I suppose, but it still doesn’t sound like a very fun experience. Hopefully the changes you are making will improve the experience.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Yep. And that sucks. I’ve said multiple times that I think Paizo made a mistake with the difficulty of the adventures they’re releasing. That people in your group apparently want to continue playing in spite of the difficulties is a credit to Paizo I suppose, but it still doesn’t sound like a very fun experience. Hopefully the changes you are making will improve the experience.
No offense taken, but that was Retreater. We played for a year, finished the adventure, than changed systems.
 

wakedown

Explorer
I’m pushing back on the idea that everything has to be run as written because it feels like that’s being used as a way to constrain the discourse, so that we naturally have to draw the right conclusion.

"Run as written" is an important thing in Paizo-land, particularly because of the development of the broader gaming culture Paizo cultivated in its wider playerbase via adventures and Pathfinder Society. The goal for organized play was to ensure a consistent experience through adventures (inclusive of Society scenarios and sanctioned Adventure Paths) and to not have a wide variance in play where one group had a TPK in an encounter and the other group overcame it due to GM fiat on rules. This was even more important as players moved from GM to GM and it was a question of permissiveness to use certain edge rules between tables because you'd end up with 4th, 5th, 6th, etc level characters that were given permission to do something ruleswise only to finally reach an arbiter who would say "no the rules don't allow that". A lot of PF1E rules were "gimmicky" or borderline exploits so rules interpretation as close to RAW became a critical part of the wider, disparate groups orbiting and engaging in FLGS gaming. Society volunteer leadership felt the instruction was to make things as black and white as possible which permeated the culture.

For a consumer who just picked up a couple books and played exclusively with their home group, they would have likely not been aware that the bulk of the active gaming audience was mired in heated RAW debates during the height of Paizo gaming.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
No offense taken, but that was Retreater. We played for a year, finished the adventure, than changed systems.
Sorry about that! I blame the green avatars. These threads are starting to blend together. 😐

Anyway, switching to a system that works better for you is the way to go.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
"Run as written" is an important thing in Paizo-land, particularly because of the development of the broader gaming culture Paizo cultivated in its wider playerbase via adventures and Pathfinder Society. The goal for organized play was to ensure a consistent experience through adventures (inclusive of Society scenarios and sanctioned Adventure Paths) and to not have a wide variance in play where one group had a TPK in an encounter and the other group overcame it due to GM fiat on rules. This was even more important as players moved from GM to GM and it was a question of permissiveness to use certain edge rules between tables because you'd end up with 4th, 5th, 6th, etc level characters that were given permission to do something ruleswise only to finally reach an arbiter who would say "no the rules don't allow that". A lot of PF1E rules were "gimmicky" or borderline exploits so rules interpretation as close to RAW became a critical part of the wider, disparate groups orbiting and engaging in FLGS gaming. Society volunteer leadership felt the instruction was to make things as black and white as possible which permeated the culture.

For a consumer who just picked up a couple books and played exclusively with their home group, they would have likely not been aware that the bulk of the active gaming audience was mired in heated RAW debates during the height of Paizo gaming.
It’s true that PFS is strict, but that’s not what’s being discussed here. The position I’m contesting is even more strict than what PFS requires. For example, foreshadowing dangerous creatures in a sanctioned adventure would be allowed under table variance, but that’s been rejected as a non-default stylistic variance. One could argue that foreshadowing a dangerous encounter might even be encouraged in PFS if it would help avoid a TPK.
 

glass

(he, him)
I got those same vibes too. The system strikes me as very SOLID. I’ve had to restrain myself from making an analogy to Progressive Disclosure (but that’s sort of where I was going in my discussion of simplicity and traits).
I do not know a great deal about computer programming, so I do not have a great deal to contribute to this particular subthread. However, I am going to mention that before I clicked the link I somehow read it as "Progressive Dinosaurs". I was both amused and somewhat saddened to discover it was not....

_
glass.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
I do not know a great deal about computer programming, so I do not have a great deal to contribute to this particular subthread. However, I am going to mention that before I clicked the link I somehow read it as "Progressive Dinosaurs". I was both amused and somewhat saddened to discover it was not....
Pathfinder does have a pretty nice selection of dinosaurs in its bestiaries. I got it! We’ve all been playing it wrong. The true OP combo is the t-rex monk. The arms are tiny, but that just means they pack a wallop! 😁
 

willrali

Explorer
Well my experience has been people care less about the system and more about the other players and the gm. PF2 offers progressive values, neat concepts, great art, and new options, and that‘s what matters. We moved over because we quickly exhausted 5e’s scope and having to fudge a rule here or there didn’t matter one bit.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Our blaster is the Wizard. He's slowly coming into his own with Cones of Cold and Chain Lightning.

But that's at level 9 or 11. If you ask me, that is criminally late.

Seeing him cast Fireball on all four monsters of an encounter (there are very few encounters with lots of mooks) to deal maybe average weapon damage three of them, the fourth taking no damage at all, was pitiful.

He just expended one of his few highest-level slots, and it basically made no difference. No creature was dropped. Sure, it means one hit less is eventually needed for the martials, but that is a very low and unimpressive impact. The amount of incoming damage saved felt inconsequential.

Certainly up until level 7 I felt there are zero reasons to bring along a Wizard. A second (fourth, actually) martial would have been much more helpful. Another martial would definitely have made an impact where it counts: not only by reducing incoming damage faster by actually dropping enemies, but possibly even more importantly, by being far better equipped to soak incoming monster attacks.

The session before last, when the Wizard managed to insta-kill several mooks (from full hp to zero in one go) with his Chain Lightning, was the first time I recognized the power of magic. Everybody around the table cheered, relieved the player and character finally justified his place in the group as somebody capable of doing something the martials simply can't.
Good to hear you finally saw it. I didn't see it until lvl 11 on my bard, but a bard is not as built for blasting. Bards have a lot of other abilities than blasting, so wasn't important. Yeah. Wizards and sorcerers still need some help at those early levels. I keep telling myself I plan to build a wizard, but it's so hard to bring myself to do it when I can make an equally good blaster druid with much better focus options, weapons, and armor I can use to get through those painful levels.

I imagine you can take Beastmaster archetype now as a wizard or sorcerer, but then you kind of take a druid power to make you good through the lower levels. Sad that doing so is necessary.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
PF2 could use some clean up. The makings of a very good game are there, but the book Paizo released has far too much in it written in a sometimes strange way. The community should do some clean up work and advise Paizo to clean up and shorten the book.

Some examples of half-assed rules:
1. Crafting is overly complex for what you get. The precious material crafting for ammo is not spelled out and shouldn't be what it is. It's strange.

2. Someone pointed out a damage rule that made it so polar ray didn't critical hit. This rule written as a small addendum in this damage section applied to literally one spell in the whole book and seemed completely unnecessary. Like it was tossed in their, forgotten about, and somehow some player found it and the one spell it applied to in the 600 page rulebook. Why was it even in there? Get rid of that crap.

3. Battle Forms. There are three battle form spells that allow manipulate actions where you turn into creatures that should be able to cast and speak. But the overarching rule states you can't cast or speak in a battle form. None of the combat maneuvers require manipulate actions. You can't wield weapons in a battle form. No DM is going to make some creature trapped in a room because it can't open a door or rule a giant bird can't pick someone up in its talons. Makes no sense to add the "you can use manipulate actions" for other than casting, yet you can't. Seems like a huge oversight.

4. Overall too many rules are scattered in too many places that interact in strange and unintuitive ways. The entire book could use another pass to simplify the system and rules.

5. Interact action required to move from one hand to two hands on a weapon? Why is this necessary? Why put this small rule in? Does nothing. Just creates another interaction to memorize for no good reason.

I'm going through and excising unnecessary rules and adjusting certain rules to make them more fun and simple. It's not breaking the game at all. Nice thing about PF2 is the balance is so tight, modifications don't cause much of a balance change.

I highly recommend you modify or get of rules you don't feel like having in your game if there is no measurable effect on encounter balance.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
Some examples of half-assed rules:
1. Crafting is overly complex for what you get. The precious material crafting for ammo is not spelled out and shouldn't be what it is. It's strange.

2. Someone pointed out a damage rule that made it so polar ray didn't critical hit. This rule written as a small addendum in this damage section applied to literally one spell in the whole book and seemed completely unnecessary. Like it was tossed in their, forgotten about, and somehow some player found it and the one spell it applied to in the 600 page rulebook. Why was it even in there? Get rid of that crap.

3. Battle Forms. There are three battle form spells that allow manipulate actions where you turn into creatures that should be able to cast and speak. But the overarching rule states you can't cast or speak in a battle form. None of the combat maneuvers require manipulate actions. You can't wield weapons in a battle form. No DM is going to make some creature trapped in a room because it can't open a door or rule a giant bird can't pick someone up in its talons. Makes no sense to add the "you can use manipulate actions" for other than casting, yet you can't. Seems like a huge oversight.

4. Overall too many rules are scattered in too many places that interact in strange and unintuitive ways. The entire book could use another pass to simplify the system and rules.

5. Interact action required to move from one hand to two hands on a weapon? Why is this necessary? Why put this small rule in? Does nothing. Just creates another interaction to memorize for no good reason.

If we are going into that detail, parrying should not cause an AOO. I know AOO are not as common in PF2, but it is ridiculous that “I use my sword to block his sword” can allow a fighter to hit me again. Plus reaction battles are more annoying than fun and should be minimized.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
2. Someone pointed out a damage rule that made it so polar ray didn't critical hit. This rule written as a small addendum in this damage section applied to literally one spell in the whole book and seemed completely unnecessary. Like it was tossed in their, forgotten about, and somehow some player found it and the one spell it applied to in the 600 page rulebook. Why was it even in there? Get rid of that crap.
This feels like whoever wrote and edited polar ray forgot that spell attacks only do the listed damage in the spell description. Hopefully it gets fixed in the upcoming errata.

3. Battle Forms. There are three battle form spells that allow manipulate actions where you turn into creatures that should be able to cast and speak. But the overarching rule states you can't cast or speak in a battle form. None of the combat maneuvers require manipulate actions. You can't wield weapons in a battle form. No DM is going to make some creature trapped in a room because it can't open a door or rule a giant bird can't pick someone up in its talons. Makes no sense to add the "you can use manipulate actions" for other than casting, yet you can't. Seems like a huge oversight.
The intent appears to be the GM should decide whether one can use a particular manipulate action (with having no hands and being unable to use manipulate actions requiring hands being the default). That’s fine. The GM can make an appropriate ruling in those cases.

The stuff about casting is weird. In PF1, casting in another form was usually the benefit of a class feature. As far as I can tell, that’s not the case here. Holdover restriction from a previous edition? I think it would be reasonable for the GM to allow casting in some forms. That that should be possible needs to be made more clear (especially in the appendix where it doesn’t mention GM discretion at all).

4. Overall too many rules are scattered in too many places that interact in strange and unintuitive ways. The entire book could use another pass to simplify the system and rules.
I like that traits are little bundles of rules that mostly keep to themselves, but they unquestionably make the game harder to learn. Some of this is presentation, but I’m not sure how much. I agree the game needs an editing pass.

5. Interact action required to move from one hand to two hands on a weapon? Why is this necessary? Why put this small rule in? Does nothing. Just creates another interaction to memorize for no good reason.
I think they’re treating it like adjusting your grip on a putter. It would make more sense (and probably be more realistic) if they had an action to set your fighting posture, and dropping out of it was free. You could even have an exploration activity where you move with weapon readied (a twin to the defend action). However, I doubt that would have been well-received.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
If we are going into that detail, parrying should not cause an AOO. I know AOO are not as common in PF2, but it is ridiculous that “I use my sword to block his sword” can allow a fighter to hit me again. Plus reaction battles are more annoying than fun and should be minimized.
This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. I did not even know parrying caused an AoO. Is it a move or manipulate action? If so, that is getting excised out. Stupid.
 

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