Release Day Second Edition Amazon Sales Rank

darjr

I crit!
What? There are varying degrees of effort involved in “fixing” any RPG. 5e has been easy because of its design. Other games can be way to rigid to be worth the effort. But there is a spectrum. One game that is too rigid for me may be just the ticket for someone else.
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
I'm getting more and more certain my perfect Heartbreaker is a combination of 5E and PF2.
Have you tried 13th Age? To me, it's the game that finally got D&D right. And the monsters are interesting, with "nastier specials" if you want to bump them up. And finally, there are really good, easy to use rules, for building your own critters.
 

dave2008

Hero
It is my earnest opinion that these monsters look like they will be more fun to play than 5th Edition monsters.
I'm doing a review of the PF2e Bestiary and so far I don't agree (but I am only through the As so far). That being said, I do need more mastery of the PF2e system to say for sure. But my first impression is that they are pretty similar. With some PF2e looking more interesting and some 5e (particularily Legendary Monsters) being more interesting to play.

Here's why Pathfinder 2 Monsters look more fun to me:
  • Monsters are built off a similar number base as player characters. A monster of the same level as a player character will generally have a similar number of hit points and do a pretty similar amount of damage. This keeps the game exciting for me because both player characters and monsters go down pretty quick.
I don't know. From the look of it, the higher level monsters don't do enough damage to drop characters quickly. I don't see how this is better or different from 5e. But it could be that I don't understand what you are getting at. In 5e monsters and players drop quickly at low levels and less so at high levels.
  • The level scaling makes higher level monsters really scary. I love that out of the box you can use higher level monsters as meaningful solo fights and lower level monsters as minions and have them feel that way.
This is precisely what 5e does. I can't speak presonaly about PF2e yet on this subject, but another thread on this forum discusses how monsters more than 5 levels are too difficult and monters below 5 levels are to difficult. This seems the opposite of what your are suggesting. Regardless, this is precisely what 5e provides quite nicely. The issue with 5e is the CR of some of the monsters is to high so that it becomes an issue to properly evaluate for some.

  • Things like resistances, weaknesses, and immunities are fairly common. This means that players need to adjust and change tactics for each monster. They are all like puzzles for players to solve.
I do like the idea of puzzle monsters in theory (as a DM). However, my players have generally not liked them. So for me this is a positive, but not for my players. I can say from reading the PF2e Bestiary I am on the fence about this one. I like the flex ability on one hand, but all the fiddly resistance and vulnerabilities are also a drag on another. I think there could be a middle ground between 5e's approach and PF2e's approach that I would enjoy more, but right now I prefer the 5e approach to the PF2e approach.
  • Monsters have a lot more active rather than passive abilities. Coupled with the three action economy there is a lot to play with on each individual monster turn. How monsters are played really matters.
I guess I need some clarification or an example. How a monster is played mattes in all editions. Not sure what you are getting at.
  • A lot more monsters have an impact beyond the encounter. Things like diseases, poisons, curses, and other long term consequences are plentiful.
Again, something I like as a DM and my players dislike (no fun for them). So I don't personally know what to think about this, but I guess I would side with my players on this. If it is not fun for them, what's the point?
  • They are not afraid to play around with the form. They make trade offs in the monster math all the time to make monsters feel unique. They also often include different abilities you can trade out for monsters like zombies to give them different feels.
5e does this as well. Not sure if one is the better than the other yet (still on A for my deep dive). I will say legendary actions tend to be more interesting than anything I have seen from PF2e yet. Though they really dropped the ball with dragons (of course PF2e did the same IMO)

  • This is subjective, but I really like the way Paizo writes Monster lore. It feels more focused on using the creatures. It also has a lot less passive voice.
Again, I am only through A, but I disagree on this one. I have been really unimpressed with the lore in PF2e so far. If you throw in the info provided for legendary monsters, including lair actions, and regional effects, I think 5e is superior on this account. It may be subjective, but this is about the only area where I feel 5e is definitely superior so far. I have been frankly shocked about how little lore (only one or 2 sentence in some cases) some monsters get.
 
Last edited:
You seem unwilling to accept the difference between having to do it yourself and getting it served on a platter by the publisher.

That is, if "you can fix it" really was a valid response, there would be no basis for any rpg criticism ever.
This is a personal issue I agree but I have never accepted anything as 'served on a platter.' From my very first time as a DM I have altered monsters. Doing things yourself and making stuff up was part of the ethos of early D&D, right? People expect to have everything handed to them on a plate these days. If you are a new player/DM that's fine. If you are an old hand then roll up your sleeves for goodness sake. The real world doesn't give you want you want without effort, I don't expect my RPGs to either.

I would argue that 5e, being a more streamlined ruleset, makes it easier to modify and create without throwing things out of whack.

I'm not unwilling to accept the difference between DIY and 'as published'; assuming you are supposed to make the game your own has always been my default assumption. Difference doesn't come into it. If in doubt I say to myself 'what would Gary Gygax do?' I'm pretty certain he wouldn't sit back and complain that monsters were boring; he'd make them do whatever he needed them to do. As should everyone else, it doesn't take much time and I'm busy with work, acting as a carer etc.

Actually, being able to fix something is valid for RPG criticism. It was easy to tweak things in AD&D 1e and 2e as well as 5e without causing too many balance issues. Not so easy with 3.0 and 3.5 - too much work and it eventually turned me off 3e.

So if people want to complain that stock 5e MM monsters are boring and PF2E monsters are exciting then fine. However, don't expect me to sit back and take that as a serious criticism of 5e as well as not acknowledging that 5e monster design has improved.

I can't think of a single tabletop RPG that has not been improved in some way by adjusting stats, altering rules etc. The 5e DMG explicitly gives you the tools to do this; the PF2E Game Mastery guide will apparently do the same so being able to 'fix the rules' is clearly an aspect of both games and an important one. Neither game assumes that people will settle for the rules as published. How well you can 'fix the rules' is a better question.
 
Last edited:

zztong

Explorer
The guy running our PF2 game says the monsters are cool and lists the Bestiary as a "plus" in his opinion. He likes the layouts and interesting abilities. I believe him.

On the player side, we really don't see that. The monsters seem the same as any other game. Occasionally a player will complain about an ability that isn't available to the PCs or that seems unfair, but that's out of situational frustration.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
Have you tried 13th Age? To me, it's the game that finally got D&D right. And the monsters are interesting, with "nastier specials" if you want to bump them up. And finally, there are really good, easy to use rules, for building your own critters.
I'm familiar with it, but have never played. And I agree it pushes many right buttons, but also (for me) a lot of wrong ones.
 

dave2008

Hero
Out of curiosity, what edition did dragons right? (lemme guess, 4e? But the MM1 dragons weren't that hip IMO due to the bad monster design in the early life of 4e
Unfortunately no edition I've played (1e, 4e, & 5e). When I look at 2e it seems to get close (for that era of game), but I never played with them.

I actually like the structure/framework of 5e dragons the best, WotC just made some odd choices, IMO. For example, the physical damage is oddly low on Ancient dragons, and they all dragons have the same legendary actions. Simple fixes:
  • give them them spell casting option
  • give them lair actions as legendary actions
  • revise martial damage to scale by size (so an Ancient dragon bite does 4d10+10 damage)
  • up the breath weapon damage a few dice
  • maybe add magic resistance or something similar (reflective scales liek the tarrasque)
 

ikos

Villager
The monsters in the 5e Monster Manual may not be exciting but monster design has continued to improve. Books like Volo's Guide, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica all demonstrate an evolving design method.

The idea that official 5e monsters are unexciting is becoming a thing of the past - to keep trotting out this idea is disingenuous.
Makes perfect sense ... the guy who rarely posts who takes a middle road in an edition argument clearly must be dissembling. ;)
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I personally do not find 5th Edition any easier to modify or change than any other roleplaying game. I expect every group to make any game their own, but the game gets no credit for our hard work.

For me personally things like transparent math and modular design make it far easier to make the game your own. When my group makes changes I want to have a fairly good idea what impact they are having and not deal with unforeseen consequences based on the way subsystems interact.

For something like monster design I much prefer something more result oriented than templates or adding class levels where I have no idea what impact it will have. I want to design a monster. Not jump through hoops.

When 5th Edition tells me to build the monster and then decide how tough it is with an eyeball test it is failing to give me the tools I want. Building monsters is an art, but I expect a good starting point.

I also think that a game's starting point really matters. I have several games that I enjoy running and playing. I have an abundance of choice. I am not going to contort a game to fit what I want when I can simply reach to my shelf and find something better suited. If a want a D&D like more focused on the narrative I will reach for Dungeon World. Not try to contort a more tactical game.

Fifth Edition is a good game. I plan to continue playing it in addition to Pathfinder 2. I probably will not run it.

It has strengths that Pathfinder 2 does not have. The opposite is also true. There is room for both.

Honestly this whole thread is giving me bad vibes. It feels like we are asking for the game to justify its existence instead of approaching it with curiosity. I really do not want to go through this again.

I will be happy to clarify what I like about the game and have nuanced discussions about differences, but I have zero interest in getting into an edition spat.
 

darjr

I crit!
Those bad vibes are a figment of your own creation. I have ZERO Ill will towards Paizo or WotC.

PF2 sales rank numbers are killer and other RPG companies would be celebrating in the streets with those numbers.

We do not deserve your animosity and I’d wish you’d drop it.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Those bad vibes are a figment of your own creation. I have ZERO Ill will towards Paizo or WotC.

PF2 sales rank numbers are killer and other RPG companies would be celebrating in the streets with those numbers.

We do not deserve your animosity and I’d wish you’d drop it.
I have no animosity. Some of the comments felt like cheerleading for the game to fail to me. That's all. If that was not the intention I apologize. This kind of stuff is pretty easy to misread.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I should clarify what I mean when I say higher level monsters feel scary in Pathfinder 2. I am not talking about features of their individual designs. I also do not mean 5th Edition monsters cannot actually be scary or have abilities that feel scary in play.

Fighting higher level monsters feels desperate because of features of the system. The tight math, scaling, and critical success and failure mechanics all work together so that the fight feels desperate independent of the individual monster design. Higher level monsters are much harder to affect, hit you more often, critically succeed more often, and criticals hurt like a lot. You really have to work together to take one down.

The inverse is true of lower level monsters. The same mechanics mean your spells and attacks are much more effective. You critically succeed more often. They critically fail their saves more often. Orcs start tough, but eventually you will carve through them like butter.

Independent of individual monster design the mechanics embed level directly into the narrative of the game.
 

darjr

I crit!
That’s..... the very first time I’ve heard it described like that.

Interesting. What high level scenarios are out there so someone might give this a swing?
 

dave2008

Hero
I should clarify what I mean when I say higher level monsters feel scary in Pathfinder 2. I am not talking about features of their individual designs. I also do not mean 5th Edition monsters cannot actually be scary or have abilities that feel scary in play.

Fighting higher level monsters feels desperate because of features of the system. The tight math, scaling, and critical success and failure mechanics all work together so that the fight feels desperate independent of the individual monster design. Higher level monsters are much harder to affect, hit you more often, critically succeed more often, and criticals hurt like a lot. You really have to work together to take one down.

The inverse is true of lower level monsters. The same mechanics mean your spells and attacks are much more effective. You critically succeed more often. They critically fail their saves more often. Orcs start tough, but eventually you will carve through them like butter.

Independent of individual monster design the mechanics embed level directly into the narrative of the game.
Thanks for the clarification. Personally I am not sure if that is a feature or a flaw. As a DM the big math jump of 4e (which had a similar effect, but, IMO, was more elegant with monster roles) always bothered me. But how critical success/failure is built into that system in PF2e is interesting (though it really exacerbates my issue I would think). I don't think I will run a PF2e game, but I am thinking of trying to find a game to play. I did a quick search and their are two stores in my area that feature weekly PF games, just couldn't tell if they are playing PF2e or not. I think I will give them call this weekend.

Personally, when I look at the rules the game looks very tedious to me; but I want to try it and see how it plays.
 

Advertisement

Top