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Pathfinder 2E Regarding the complexity of Pathfinder 2

dave2008

Legend
The "disregarding hints" part is what I was referring to.
I wouldn't consider that "work," but to each his or her own.
It depends. Is he compressed too?

(This was an issue people sometimes don't get about really old school D&D; while you didn't want to do the equivalent of the old-red-dragon-versus-first-levellers thing I mentioned (because it was entirely possible if they didn't see that coming for everyone to be in a breath weapon and therefor dead right in the first round, and even if they didn't it was unlikely there was much they could do unless they ran immediately and the dragon didn't decide to pursue), the gap between higher level monsters and lower level PCs was not as profound as it was by at least the D&D3 era.
No the dragon wasn't compressed, quite the opposite actually. I made my 4e monsters more dangerous (I posted some 4e gods here when the WotC forums went down and you can see what I mean). For example:

MM ancient black dragon breath weapon: 24 (4d8 + 6) acid + 15 acid ongoing & -4 to AC.
My version: 36 (4d8 + 18) acid + 15 acid ongoing & -4 to AC.

It doesn't seem like much of a difference, but it is at the level they faced it.
 

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Retreater

Legend
That's your business. My point was that there are reasons to believe that the first two APs suffered from exactly the same problems the earliest 3e and 4e D&D adventures did, and that none of the three did to the same degree later. So I consider drawing much conclusion from those two APs extremely dubious. If the same problem is still occurring in the most recent two, that's a useful data point; the other isn't.
I think that Paizo's AP formula will hurt them in regards to adventure development. A few bad 32 page single adventures is not as damaging as a bad AP, which requires significant resources from the company to produce (and groups to play). Also, you can't try out as many concepts, and if you happen to produce one with a theme that doesn't hook certain players (for example, a circus theme, playing cops theme), then you've shut out potential players for 6 months or more.
I haven't heard of a "killer app" from PF2 yet. I'm excited about their upcoming dungeon AP, and I hope that might get us back on track.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
That's your business. My point was that there are reasons to believe that the first two APs suffered from exactly the same problems the earliest 3e and 4e D&D adventures did, and that none of the three did to the same degree later. So I consider drawing much conclusion from those two APs extremely dubious. If the same problem is still occurring in the most recent two, that's a useful data point; the other isn't.
I don't remember "this is too hard" from 3e, but that could just be me, well, not remembering.

What I'm talking about is something else: that anytime you follow the guidelines in the CRB you end up with really sharp difficulty (at the early levels). My point is to compare to the obvious yardstock - i.e. 5th edition.

The fact you're about to have a nasty shock if you approach PF2 naively, the way that serves you decently in 5E (life in D&D is always rough at first, especially compared to later, so I'm talking about something "extra spicy"), might well be due to writer errors, but then we're talking about CRB writers and not the AoA writers or the EC writers or the AoE writers... It's inherent to the game, the damage spikes I mean, and what makes it more exciting and engaging than 4E say, but combined with guidelines that treat you like a "level N character facing level N challenges" even at level 1, writers that actually implement those guidelines, and just the teensiest bit of bad luck you end up having an absolutely brutal experience.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I think that Paizo's AP formula will hurt them in regards to adventure development.
I think this sentiment might have sounded reasonable say 10, 11 years ago.

Now it's completely obvious it is the AP formula that is the basis for Paizo's success. If it hurts their development, they clearly don't need that development.
 

Retreater

Legend
I think this sentiment might have sounded reasonable say 10, 11 years ago.

Now it's completely obvious it is the AP formula that is the basis for Paizo's success. If it hurts their development, they clearly don't need that development.
I can buy that. Then the AP format is actively working against promoting and developing a new edition of Pathfinder.
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
I think that Paizo's AP formula will hurt them in regards to adventure development. A few bad 32 page single adventures is not as damaging as a bad AP, which requires significant resources from the company to produce (and groups to play). Also, you can't try out as many concepts, and if you happen to produce one with a theme that doesn't hook certain players (for example, a circus theme, playing cops theme), then you've shut out potential players for 6 months or more.
I haven't heard of a "killer app" from PF2 yet. I'm excited about their upcoming dungeon AP, and I hope that might get us back on track.

Entirely possible. Of course the "you can play through this whole one sequence and it pretty much makes a campaign" has been a big part of their business model, and has generally done well by them, so its a necessary price, arguably.
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
I don't remember "this is too hard" from 3e, but that could just be me, well, not remembering.

It wasn't a case that they were too hard; it was a case they just didn't produce the result they were trying to produce because the author's heads were apparently still in AD&D2 mode (a problem even some of the designers later referenced). That's the comparison I'm talking about; D&D adventure writers who are, essentially, writing for the last edition. This produces somewhat different problems each time, but still problems.

What I'm talking about is something else: that anytime you follow the guidelines in the CRB you end up with really sharp difficulty (at the early levels). My point is to compare to the obvious yardstock - i.e. 5th edition.

Then at that point you have be claiming that the successor adventures were not using those guidelines and the earlier ones were, since the complaints about the difficulty in the first two APs have not been notably repeated in the later ones. Is that, effectively, your claim?
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I can buy that. Then the AP format is actively working against promoting and developing a new edition of Pathfinder.
Please don't confuse "I don't like it" for "it's giving Paizo problems".

Their AP format likely isn't a problem at all. In fact, it has been, and I suspect it continues to be, a solution, in that it has drawn gamers to Paizo especially in the 4E era where WotC adventure writing were at its nadir.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
It wasn't a case that they were too hard; it was a case they just didn't produce the result they were trying to produce because the author's heads were apparently still in AD&D2 mode (a problem even some of the designers later referenced). That's the comparison I'm talking about; D&D adventure writers who are, essentially, writing for the last edition. This produces somewhat different problems each time, but still problems.
This is just speculation.

You're basically saying there were problems before so there must be problems now, even though the problems might not be the same.

That's just not stringent enough for me. I am having a serious analysis of Pathfinder 2, you're just shooting from the hip.

Then at that point you have be claiming that the successor adventures were not using those guidelines and the earlier ones were, since the complaints about the difficulty in the first two APs have not been notably repeated in the later ones. Is that, effectively, your claim?
What are you talking about? The Agents of Edgewood adventure path is written for law enforcement heroes and so it tries much harder to provide non-combat solutions. But if and when the heroes do choose combat, that combat is just as unrelentingly hard as before because the encounters are consistent with the guidelines just like before. The kobolds, the owlbear, the ankhrav...

I'm telling you that what the encounter guidelines list as reasonable (and what every single last one of Paizo PF2 modules employ) - a "moderate" encounter - can easily be a harrowing and deadly encounter. At level 1.

This is what I'm discussing. Your involvement led me to believe I had found someone to partner up with in investigating this. But it has become obvious to me you're not that person. I don't get the impression you're interested, as you're neither acknowledging or contesting these specifics.

You just want to discuss this from some overall abstract high perch, no specific system knowledge needed. But I'm not here to discuss generic "wisdom" like "there's bound to be teething issues".

Of course there is, but what are they exactly, and what is the specific cause?

At this stage consider that a rhetorical question, not an invite.
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
This is just speculation.

Extrapolation. Its been a problem that has been observed in edition changeover in the D&D sphere twice running, then dropping away, and the same pattern seems present in the PF2e APs. You're not required to find it compelling, but it seems at least as good an explanation as the one you're suggesting.

You're basically saying there were problems before so there must be problems now, even though the problems might not be the same.

Given the cause of the problems previously is not exactly a state secret, suggesting its a common pattern and could be a cause now does not seem exactly a massive reach, since in each case we're talking editions of a game where the game play changed in some serious ways while still showing a continuity of system. This has been true in the transition from AD&D2 to D&D3e, D&D3e to D&D4e, and PF1e to PF2e to a degree that is rarely the case in game edition changeovers (and when it is is often on games that don't do much adventure support anyway).

That's just not stringent enough for me. I am having a serious analysis of Pathfinder 2, you're just shooting from the hip.

Except, as I noted, your analysis does not seem to be matching the data from the field.

What are you talking about? The Agents of Edgewood adventure path is written for law enforcement heroes and so it tries much harder to provide non-combat solutions. But if and when the heroes do choose combat, that combat is just as unrelentingly hard as before because the encounters are consistent with the guidelines just like before. The kobolds, the owlbear, the ankhrav...

Not the reports back I've heard on the subject. Every time I've seen someone talk about problems with APs for PF2e, they've made a clear distinction between the difficulty of Age of Ashes and Extinction Curse and the later APs.

I'm telling you that what the encounter guidelines list as reasonable (and what every single last one of Paizo PF2 modules employ) - a "moderate" encounter - can easily be a harrowing and deadly encounter. At level 1.

See above. A rather large number of people seem to disagree with you in practice. So what's your explanation there?

This is what I'm discussing. Your involvement led me to believe I had found someone to partner up with in investigating this. But it has become obvious to me you're not that person. I don't get the impression you're interested, as you're neither acknowledging or contesting these specifics.

Again, because you're operating on a premise I am not convinced of. I've explained above and previously why. If you want to explain why the trendline is people having trouble with the first two APs and not the later ones, I'll listen, but until you do you're making a claim (the one I respond to above) I do not accept.

You just want to discuss this from some overall abstract high perch, no specific system knowledge needed. But I'm not here to discuss generic "wisdom" like "there's bound to be teething issues".

Of course there is, but what are they exactly, and what is the specific cause?

At this stage consider that a rhetorical question, not an invite.

If you want to stop responding to my posts, you can do so at any time. I'm not obliged to do so simply because you find my responses annoying.
 

Retreater

Legend
Please don't confuse "I don't like it" for "it's giving Paizo problems".

Their AP format likely isn't a problem at all. In fact, it has been, and I suspect it continues to be, a solution, in that it has drawn gamers to Paizo especially in the 4E era where WotC adventure writing were at its nadir.
APs might be good sellers (especially to existing fans), but I think they are creating a problem for new GMs of PF2. Here (and elsewhere) I am reading about a variety of GMs having substantial issues with them, the encounters not fitting with the design paradigms of PF2. If they do not do an accurate job of promoting the style of play in PF2, then it's a problem for Paizo moving forward with their current system.
PF1 was in the place where it was able to build upon the 3.x years of development, playtesting, adventures, and a very active 3PP community. PF2 has none of that, and if it's going to reach anywhere close to the widespread adoption of PF1, it must do more than their standard APs.
This could mean producing more "short" APs (like they're doing next year). It might mean that they need to provide more tactics in the adventures to help guide GMs.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Extrapolation. Its been a problem that has been observed in edition changeover in the D&D sphere twice running, then dropping away, and the same pattern seems present in the PF2e APs. You're not required to find it compelling, but it seems at least as good an explanation as the one you're suggesting.

Given the cause of the problems previously is not exactly a state secret, suggesting its a common pattern and could be a cause now does not seem exactly a massive reach, since in each case we're talking editions of a game where the game play changed in some serious ways while still showing a continuity of system. This has been true in the transition from AD&D2 to D&D3e, D&D3e to D&D4e, and PF1e to PF2e to a degree that is rarely the case in game edition changeovers (and when it is is often on games that don't do much adventure support anyway).
No it isn't. It's unscientific guesswork.

One theory is based on the particulars of the edition, one isn't.

Except, as I noted, your analysis does not seem to be matching the data from the field.
No, you don't get to characterize anecdotes as "data in the field".

It's a huge stretch to interpret people's experiences as "moderate encounters are noticeably easier on the players in AoE than in AoA or EC", which is what you are effectively saying.

It could just as well be that you're listening to a particular voice which went into the first AP as naive beginners but into the third AP as hardened veterans. That's just more useless speculation of course, but my point that such a "data point" would be irrelevant to assess the veracity of my main claim "a 5E player new to PF2 will have a quite rude awakening, and that this is probably caused by the inflexible CRB guidelines".

So far you haven't taken a single step closer to actually discussing the specifics of Pathfinder 2. It appears just as likely you have actually analyzed the game as just putting your finger up in the air.

Not the reports back I've heard on the subject. Every time I've seen someone talk about problems with APs for PF2e, they've made a clear distinction between the difficulty of Age of Ashes and Extinction Curse and the later APs.
I see no distinct difference in the way encounters are built.

I could ask you to show what you're basing this on, but since I know you are just grasping random voices from the wind, I won't.

See above. A rather large number of people seem to disagree with you in practice. So what's your explanation there?
I'll discuss that with them, not you, thank you very much.

Again, because you're operating on a premise I am not convinced of. I've explained above and previously why.
No you haven't. You keep repeating you have explained, but I keep seeing nothing but hopes and guesses.

If you want to explain why the trendline is people having trouble with the first two APs and not the later ones, I'll listen, but until you do you're making a claim (the one I respond to above) I do not accept.
I certainly don't need your acceptance.

I have provided observations regarding the fundamental nature of the encounter guidelines, specifically how they do not make any special provisions for high or low levels at all despite everything suggesting that the relative power balance between heroes and monsters not staying the same.

If you want to stop responding to my posts, you can do so at any time. I'm not obliged to do so simply because you find my responses annoying.
Annoying? Should your efforts only be a simple attempt to troll me, then please do say so, and I'll gladly give you the last word! At the moment I am assuming your continued participation is an indication that you remain willing to be convinced.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
APs might be good sellers (especially to existing fans), but I think they are creating a problem for new GMs of PF2. Here (and elsewhere) I am reading about a variety of GMs having substantial issues with them, the encounters not fitting with the design paradigms of PF2. If they do not do an accurate job of promoting the style of play in PF2, then it's a problem for Paizo moving forward with their current system.
PF1 was in the place where it was able to build upon the 3.x years of development, playtesting, adventures, and a very active 3PP community. PF2 has none of that, and if it's going to reach anywhere close to the widespread adoption of PF1, it must do more than their standard APs.
This could mean producing more "short" APs (like they're doing next year). It might mean that they need to provide more tactics in the adventures to help guide GMs.
Paizo is certainly taking their audience for granted. But it's hard to blame them - their entrenched AP format is what sustain them.

I think a much more relevant problem is that WotC has upped the competition considerably since the 4E days. Not only is 5E vastly easier and friendlier to new players. This also means PF2 comes across as significantly more complex and difficult, an assessment the game would not have had if 4E was the competitor. But also how 5E adventures are vastly superior to 4E adventures.

Just saying this to explain why I engaged in this sub-thread. I think a statement such as "I think that Paizo's AP formula will hurt them" is too simplistic and focuses on the one thing that arguably is Paizo's greatest strength. More relevant, I think, is to ask ourselves if that's enough in today's competitive landscape?

(My answer is no, not really. Sure PF2 features exciting combat, but the drawbacks of the edition are considerable and boil down to a huge throwback to an earlier era where complexity was much less unacceptable)
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
Annoying? Should your efforts only be a simple attempt to troll me, then please do say so, and I'll gladly give you the last word! At the moment I am assuming your continued participation is an indication that you remain willing to be convinced.

Yes. But you seem unwilling to take even the most basic steps to do so.

I'll try again:

If moderate encounters are more dangerous than they appear to be intended to be, why are not a big percentage of people reporting that?

Until you can answer that question, the core of your argument appears to be based on sand and water.
 

Retreater

Legend
Yes. But you seem unwilling to take even the most basic steps to do so.

I'll try again:

If moderate encounters are more dangerous than they appear to be intended to be, why are not a big percentage of people reporting that?

Until you can answer that question, the core of your argument appears to be based on sand and water.
Can't answer for CapN, but I can say that by the definitions used in the Core Rulebook (and at least in my experience), all encounters seem one step down the line. So that means Moderate-Threat Encounters seem like Severe. For example, if I pushed a Moderate-Threat encounter just a bit, or if some lucky roll didn't happen, etc., the party would have some deaths.
I would also say that there hasn't been a public survey sent out to compile and publish the experiences of PF2 players. So literally the only thing we can go on are our own experiences and those of others who post online. I can say that even on the pro-PF2 Paizo messageboards, it is nearly universally accepted that PF2 is a dangerous system, and without extremely sound tactics groups will be hurt more than they were in 3.x/PF1 or 5e. This is the closest thing we can make as a fact.
If your individual experience differs - it is just that - your individual experience.
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
Can't answer for CapN, but I can say that by the definitions used in the Core Rulebook (and at least in my experience), all encounters seem one step down the line. So that means Moderate-Threat Encounters seem like Severe. For example, if I pushed a Moderate-Threat encounter just a bit, or if some lucky roll didn't happen, etc., the party would have some deaths.
I would also say that there hasn't been a public survey sent out to compile and publish the experiences of PF2 players. So literally the only thing we can go on are our own experiences and those of others who post online. I can say that even on the pro-PF2 Paizo messageboards, it is nearly universally accepted that PF2 is a dangerous system, and without extremely sound tactics groups will be hurt more than they were in 3.x/PF1 or 5e. This is the closest thing we can make as a fact.
If your individual experience differs - it is just that - your individual experience.

But that's the point; its not just mine. Its been a fairly common response to issues like yours that other people are puzzled by the problem, and in pretty large numbers.

Now, its possible that there's selection bias on where I've seen that, but given I've seen the same kind of preportions on here, Paizo's forum, RPG.net and the RPGPUB, at some point I have to assume a trendline there, since there's no obvious reason to expect that if your problem was the common case you'd see even more of it (since on the whole, people are more likely to post about things that are problems for them than things that are working well).

(I'm not talking here about people for whom a system doesn't suit them for stylistic reasons, since a larger number of those will pre-screen themselves out of the discussion in the first place, but people for whom it theoretically is a good match but hasn't been working because of active problems).
 

Retreater

Legend
But that's the point; its not just mine. Its been a fairly common response to issues like yours that other people are puzzled by the problem, and in pretty large numbers.

Now, its possible that there's selection bias on where I've seen that, but given I've seen the same kind of preportions on here, Paizo's forum, RPG.net and the RPGPUB, at some point I have to assume a trendline there, since there's no obvious reason to expect that if your problem was the common case you'd see even more of it (since on the whole, people are more likely to post about things that are problems for them than things that are working well).

(I'm not talking here about people for whom a system doesn't suit them for stylistic reasons, since a larger number of those will pre-screen themselves out of the discussion in the first place, but people for whom it theoretically is a good match but hasn't been working because of active problems).
I believe the most common piece of feedback I've seen is that it's a deadly system. If a GM tips the balance by not rolling separate Initiative for all creatures, adds an extra hazard or combatant to a fight, and if the party doesn't play tactically pretty perfect, you're going to all die. And that's been my experience. That's been the experience of many others on the Paizo boards. That was the experience of Cody from Taking20. It's a high lethality system. If you search for threads about Age of Ashes, you'll come across a TPK encounter in book 1 - that is pretty universal. Another common one in book 2.
I personally doubt my ability to run PF2 without getting a TPK in the first session - unless I massively fudge die rolls, run the monsters like idiots, or purposefully design trivial encounters.
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
You do realize some of those are not the discussion at hand, Retreater? If you've got an encounter balance system, of course things like adding extra hazards and opponents will make an encounter harder. I haven't seen anyone suggest otherwise. And I don't think anyone has argued that there aren't problem areas in Age of Ashes. But some of the others don't seem supported by the general trend (and frankly, having seen discussion on the Taking20 thing, I don't think that says a thing useful).

There are absolutely things that can produce bad outcomes; low engagement players or a sequence of bad enough die rolls (or even worse, both) can create situations where you get that, as can adding in extra opponents and/or hazards without accounting for that. As I've noted before, the latter two are true with most games with encounter calculations that actually mean anything. You can also run into aberrational cases of particular (but unusual) party compositions that will require careful handling.

But there's a big difference between that and "the moderate encounter is too deadly for the average user"; I don't think that's been demonstrated at all, nor have the responses I've seen at any of those four places suggested its the general concensus.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
To add to what Retreater I'd saying, it's specifically the fact the encounter building guidelines not taking level into account (it's advice is the same for level 1 as for level 18) I pinpoint as the source of this deadliness.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Just saying this to explain why I engaged in this sub-thread. I think a statement such as "I think that Paizo's AP formula will hurt them" is too simplistic and focuses on the one thing that arguably is Paizo's greatest strength. More relevant, I think, is to ask ourselves if that's enough in today's competitive landscape?
The trouble with the idea that the APs are Paizo's greatest strength is that this was the case at the start of Paizo's run with PF. We are a lot of years past that, and Wizards are experimenting with other ways of presenting adventures which are not limited by the six-issue-subscription format.

Wizards have been experimenting with structure significantly, and dividing a campaign adventure into six parts necessarily limits it.

Of course, a significant part of the D&D community does not rely on the adventures published by Wizards (or Paizo).
 

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