Skill Feats In Pathfinder 2

Monday's Pathfinder 2 preview over at the Paizo blog talked about skills, so it only makes sense that the Friday preview would take a look at skill feats in the upcoming game.


"One that will stand out to risk-averse players is Assurance, which allows you to achieve a result of 10, 15, 20, or even 30, depending on your proficiency rank, without rolling. Are you taking a huge penalty or being forced to roll multiple times and use the lowest result? Doesn't matter—with Assurance, you always get the listed result. It's perfect for when you want to be able to automatically succeed at certain tasks, and the kinds of things you can achieve with an automatic 30 are pretty significant, worthy of legendary proficiency." This puts a new spin on critical results, as the Assurance feat lets you get the result that you might need for your character, even if it is a low roll.

Characters get a feat on every even-numbered level, so this is going to mean (at least) 10 feats for a character over the course of playing across 20 levels. "At their most basic level, skill feats allow you to customize how you use skills in the game, from combat tricks to social exploits, from risk-averse failure prevention to high-risk heroism. If you'd ever rather just have more trained skills than special techniques with the skills you already have, you can always take the Skill Training skill feat to do just that. Otherwise, you're in for a ride full of options, depending on your proficiency rank." We saw in the update about skills how the number of skills, and how your character advances in them. Skill feats are the road to further customization of your character's skills, and may be a missing piece of the advancement pie.

We know that skill mastery is going to be in "tiers" of expert, master and legendary, and the skill feats will give extra abilities with skills. For example, the cat fall feat: "Your catlike aerial acrobatics allow you to cushion your fall. Treat all falls as if you fell 10 fewer feet. If you're an expert in Acrobatics, treat falls as 25 feet shorter. If you're a master in Acrobatics, treat them as 50 feet shorter. If you're legendary in Acrobatics, you always land on your feet and don't take damage, regardless of the distance of the fall." At the cost of one feat, you receive a lot of new capabilities for your character's acrobatics skill. I suspect that more than a few Pathfinder 2 games are going to see a lot of high level rogues falling from very tall things.

Legendary characters, on either side of the screen, are going to be tough to beat in Pathfinder 2 games. "Legendary characters can do all sorts of impressive things with their skills, not just using scaling skill feats but also using inherently legendary skill feats. If you're legendary, you can swim like a fish, survive indefinitely in the void of space, steal a suit of full plate off a guard (see Legendary Thief below), constantly sneak everywhere at full speed while performing other tasks (Legendary Sneak, from Monday's blog), give a speech that stops a war in the middle of the battlefield, remove an affliction or permanent condition with a medical miracle (Legendary Medic, also from Monday's blog), speak to any creature with a language instantly through an instinctual pidgin language, completely change your appearance and costume in seconds, squeeze through a hole the size of your head at your full walking speed, decipher codes with only a skim, and more!" This is going to mean that there are going to be some pretty impressive high level characters in Pathfinder 2 games.

What do you think? Is the added flexibility that skill feats will give to character counter the changes to the skill system, or make them better?

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If you look at high-level play as simulating heroes of myth/folklore/tall tales, then these types of skill use are entirely in keeping with the source material, where characters are routinely able to do impossible things because they're so good at doing x.

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Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Legendary stunts committed by Legendary heroes should be more mundane. Is that the complaint I'm seeing? Bollocks!

This is going to be Legen- wait for it!....



Are they pushing the boundary to obsurd to get feedback to reign it in during playtest cause what's covered above is horrible and over the top to me as given examples.


Over on the Paizo forums, I stated that the Legendary tier stuff would receive an automatic kiss from the ban-hammer from me due to many of the reasons cited here: turns the game into a joke, too over the top, etc. I also stated that if folks were happy with Legendary abilities, good for them.

I subsequently received posts illustrating any mechanical weak point in PF1 that allowed an absurd outcome as proof that "it already exists". The fact that this is a new edition and a chance to change things was apparently lost on these pro-legendary fans.

I was accused of telling people they were playing incorrectly despite multiple citations along the lines of 'if legendary works for you, that's cool but it doesn't work for me'.

I was accused of "taking things away from people" because I said that I wouldn't use it. I was specifically asked to stop giving my opinions to the Paizo dev team so that those who wanted legendary capabilities as teased could keep them...

Yeah, the over-the-top-power-fantasy crowd over there is something else. And very vocal. It was the same way with PF1 and epic-level content. Mythic rules were not a huge seller or fan favorite by all accounts. Legendary seems to bake mythic into core to serve the anime/exalted/demigod crowd while skipping the step that provides an in-game explanation as to how they can do it. "Hey, I'm 15th level and took the right feat! Now, I'm just that good!"

I'm a PF1 diehard but I don't love everything about the system. I didn't think that I wanted a 2nd edition. All of the PF2 blogs to date managed to move me from disinterest to cautious optimism to anticipation. Then this blog dropped and that took a huge hit. If it's easily removed (as hinted at), PF2 is salvageable. If not, PF2 gets a hard pass. As a fan of Pathfinder and Paizo, that is very disappointing to me.


Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
This is exactly what high level characters, especially non-spellcasters, should be able to do. As the "+level to everything" feature shows, high level characters ARE functionally demigods. I love it!


This is the first blog post that made me feel like PF2 is not for me. I'm happy for those who seem to be getting what they wanted (high-level martials just as ridiculous as high-level spellcasters) but, for our table, the legendary skills seem like they would turn the game into a cartoon, parody, or joke. I would have preferred to see the power level of casters reduced rather than boosting martials to "ridiculous," but 5E gives me something closer to the power curve and experience I desire, so it will be simple to just continue playing that. Even though PF2 isn't for me, I'm glad there is such an option for those who prefer it.
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Kobold Boots

Again, as a table purist.. if what the system does isn't your cup of tea.. house rule it out of existence or change it to your tastes. -

Some of these examples are cool and just require some suspension of disbelief text. If use of a legendary ability requires some set up, its not so bad. If it's "break the world" on demand type stuff then it's going to get modded before it ever gets to my players.


Legendary skill feats... why oh why?

Infinite fall distance and no damage is the poster-child for this ridiculous mega-powergamey superhero trivialisation of the fantasy genre.

PF2 will be a superhero game, and for those that don't want it, just another failure in the long list of d20 games no-one plays above 12th level if they want to actually have a challenge and not change genre mid-campaign.

What a disappointment, apart from keeping the very high numbers for level progression bonus, this edition had promise.

Now it's a joke in my eyes.


If I started having characters swimming like fish, surviving the vacuum of space unprotected, and stealing plate mail off the guards wearing them, I think I would hit that world with an asteroid and start over. I understand the desire to be awesome and epic at high levels but these are like serious biological mutations. This is some X-Men level bs. If PCs are going to start doing this, they should start looking like mutants and stop passing for humans and elves. In fantasy terms, they would be demigods.
Transforming into fish, teleporting to other dimensions, and mind controlling someone so they give you their armor have always been apart of D&D. And there's even a spell for calling down meteors

So I'm not sure why it's suddenly crazy when a rogue can do some of these things instead of only the bard/cleric/druid/warlock/wizard/etc... doing it.

But you can just rename "legendary feat" to "magical feat" if it makes you feel better.

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