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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.

Pathfinder2BetaLogo.png

"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?
 

Comments

doctorhook

Adventurer
As someone who fought in the Edition Wars of 2008 on the side of truth and light (I was a Fouron and honorary 4venger), I continue to be endlessly fascinated by how PF is now moving in directions that are so parallel to 4E and 5e. Even more so, I'm fascinated by the reactions to it! All I need to see now is someone complaining that PF2 is too much like a superhero video game.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
You may very well know the norse mythology and stories far better than I.

But from my perspective. Aesir - Asgard Men - Midgard - Men look to Aesir for how to live their lives and help.

Now I realize in hindsight that I typed Vanir, I meant Valar. Sorry for the miscommunication.

KB
In Norse stories, heroes almost never turn to the æsir for help. They never pray. There are no priests in Norse culture. The vǫlur (shamans) are the only community spiritual leaders, and they engage the alfar and jǫtnar, and never the æsir.

It is misleading to translate the Norse term goð as ‘god’. They are simply the helpful nature spirits. The related Norse term guð was used instead to refer to the Christian ‘god’.

That said, the Norse divide the nature spirits between the helpful ones (alfar, æsir, and vanir) and the unhelpful ones (dvergar and jǫtnar). There are examples where Norse people call on the summer storm nature spirit to defend them against the deadly arctic storm nature spirits. Even the term goð, means something like ‘invoked one’, meaning this is a helpful kind of spirit that humans can call on, especially for good weather, fertile crops, and similar wellbeing of nature.

But the æsir also relate as spirits of social organization. For example, Þórr is an enforcer of oaths, and can be asked to witness a solemn oath between two humans. Indeed, the wife of Þórr is Sif, whose name means ‘in-law’, thus relating to the creation of new family members by means of a marital oath, rather than by means of blood relations.

In animism, being a hospitable neighbor is a sacred ideal. The Norse are friendly and share food with friendly spirits, and make shrewd relationships with unfriendly spirits. But the sense of vertical hierarchies and bureaucracies, slavery and lordship, command and worship − everything that characterizes polytheism, is absent from and alien to animism.

There are cases where a nature spirit befriends a human and does a kind thing for the human, or perhaps even guards over the family of the person. And a human might have a personal shrine in their home to honor a particular nature spirit. Even with annual celebrations, somewhat analogous to a birthday party in the modern world.

Notably, the æsir themselves depend on other friendly nature spirits − depend on the alfar for success, and depend on the vanir for fertility.



For the Norse poets, Óðinn is analogous to a Greek muse. Indeed, this nature spirit relates to all kinds of inspiration − poetry, song, memory, magical trances, berserkar rage, and similar. He is a muse, and because of this the court poet Skald flatter him beyond his cultural importance.

Generally speaking.
• In Norway, the summer storm Þórr is most prominent. Norway is fully animistic, like Saami.
• In Germany, the skydome muse Óðinn is most prominent. Germany is fully polytheistic, like Romans.
• In Sweden, the fertile winds Freyr is most prominent. Sweden is animistic but its aristocracy imported polytheism.



All of this is to say, Pathfinder 2 gets it right when the *only* difference between a powerful individual and a less powerful individual, is level. Regardless of race.

There are some fairly minor æsir, and these can quantify as level 1 æsir, in the same way as there are level 1 humans and level 1 alfar.
 
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doctorhook

Adventurer
[MENTION=58172]Yaarel[/MENTION], are you the same person who used to post detailed essays on the WotC forums a decade ago about how Barbarians should be a psionic class, because vikings used "mindforce" all the time?
 

Kobold Boots

Villager
[MENTION=58172]Yaarel[/MENTION]

Thanks for the lesson - Funny thing is we're on the same side insofar as Paizo is concerned. If I don't like what they've done after I read the rules I'm just going to not allow things at my table.

However, I'll remind myself never to say anything norse again, other than aetterstup, on these forums for fear of being taught something interesting at the risk of it being inaccurate.

I do appreciate it though.
 

Shasarak

Villager
But claiming any of those abilities are somehow a game-breaking, power gamer, or is genera breaking is just flat untrue.
I must admit that I never expected the difference between a Legendary Acrobat and a 1st level Wizard to be that one is considered an absurd ridiculous mega-power gamey joke and the other is a 1st level Wizard.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
I don't like Feats, and these just double down on what I dislike about the concept: far too limiting, making characters pay Fear taxes to try things.
 
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Anthro78

Explorer
I'm not sure anyone has pointed this out yet, but this is a playtest. It's supposed to elicit comments like this, so the devs can see who salutes whatever flag they fly.
 
I think the secret to skill plausibility is to be incremental and quantified.

In my 3.0e D&D derived house rules, a high level rogue who had invested in movement capabilities could run and jump in complete silence while moving at a speed that would rival a typical horse and then leap off a seven story building and land in a pool of shadow 70' below while taking no damage. It's Wuxia or Batman level stuff, and with enough ranks in jump and tumble I feel it ought to look like wire fu.

But that same character would still have reason to fear a 200' drop unless they had some magical aid.

Exactly what a given person is willing to accept as plausible given the conventions of the setting is going to vary a lot. For me, I'm Ok with 15th level martial characters acting like low level members of the justice league or Captain America or generally pulling off basically any stunt that you've ever seen in an action movie. I can sympathize with players that want a more gritty game, but there is nothing gritty about your game if one of the player characters is a 15th level Sorcerer or 15th level Cleric. It can't be that only spell-casters get good stuff. Skills have to reliably solve a large percentage of problems that actually come up.
 
As someone who fought in the Edition Wars of 2008 on the side of truth and light (I was a Fouron and honorary 4venger), I continue to be endlessly fascinated by how PF is now moving in directions that are so parallel to 4E and 5e. Even more so, I'm fascinated by the reactions to it! All I need to see now is someone complaining that PF2 is too much like a superhero video game.
If in fact PF2 moves in the direction of 4E, it's going to be outright rejected. It's core customer base is people who rejected 4E, and so while they might be OK with some reforms that resemble 5e, I doubt there will be much interest in importing much of anything from 4E.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
I continue to be endlessly fascinated by how PF is now moving in directions that are so parallel to 4E and 5e. Even more so, I'm fascinated by the reactions to it! All I need to see now is someone complaining that PF2 is too much like a superhero video game.
There's an important, and not really all that subtle, difference between what people complained about in the edition war ('fighters are casting spells!' 'warlords shout hands back on!') and what was actually bothering them (balanced classes). 5e & PH2 can go as far as they like in crossing the fist line, as long as the second is respected.
 

MichaelSomething

Adventurer
Why are people shocked to discover that high level is full of super powerful stuff??

If the toughest dude you know would convert into a level 4 NPC in Pathfinder, imagine how tough a level 15 PC can be?
 

Lucas Yew

Explorer
I strongly support Paizo's decision; in fact, it's still not strong enough for an opportunity cost paid per high-level non-spellcaster.
 

Caliburn101

Villager
Ring of feather fall has been in every D&D game.
And no, falling faster than normal is not "mega-powergamy".

That's a different subject. If you don't like the word "legendary" and would rather have the word "magical", then fine.

"If you're magical in Acrobatics, you always land on your feet and don't take damage, regardless of the distance of the fall."

[[A]][[A]][[A]] MAGICAL IMPERSONATOR FEAT 15
Prerequisites magical in Deception, Quick Disguise

You set up a full disguise with which you can Impersonate someone with incredible speed.



But claiming any of those abilities are somehow a game-breaking, power gamer, or is genera breaking is just flat untrue.
I didn't say game-breaking. Nice try at a strawman.

I said effectively, and now state, 'counterintuitive to the point of farce'. Why don't quote me on that?

Any game which takes the time to explain where divine and arcane magic comes from, where elemental powers come from, where fiendish powers come from and where psionic and monk's ki powers come from and then hand waives an infinite fall distance & zero damage mundane skill is being both very lazy and very 'gamist'.

To be clear, as you seem to insist of misunderstanding me - there is nothing rules-of-the-game-breaking about not taking damage from a fall - there is something entirely against the plausibility of narration and maintenance of a suspension of disbelief in having a Fighter in his underpants plummet at 120 miles per hour into solid rock and not taking 1 HP's worth of damage.

I don't care about rules balance on this issue - I care about playing the kind of game I can narrate without being forced to make up utterly ridiculous descriptions to explain what just happened.
 

Caliburn101

Villager
Because you need something Legendary for Legendary characters to do.

As opposed to getting an extra +1 to your skill or some other lame bonus for reaching 20th level.
Then make it both legendary and within the realms of physical possibility.

Too hard for them maybe?
 

ZickZak

Villager
Oh no! Level 15 character can steal shoes of someone wearing them?!

I have never, in 16 years playing this game, reached level 15, because I am not interested in that tier of play. Done.
 

mellored

Villager
there is nothing rules-of-the-game-breaking about not taking damage from a fall
Then we agree.

mundane skill
IMO, "legendary" is not "mundane".

there is something entirely against the plausibility of narration and maintenance of a suspension of disbelief in having a Fighter in his underpants plummet at 120 miles per hour into solid rock and not taking 1 HP's worth of damage.
Unless they were magical underpants of feather fall. Then you'd be fine with it.

Which is why I suggested replacing the word "legendary" with "magical", or "ki", or "psionic", or the rogue spends a feat in order to eat magical underpants of feather fall and inherently gain it's magical powers.

Same effect, same mechanic, but with whatever in-game explanation that you find reasonable.
 

Shasarak

Villager
Then make it both legendary and within the realms of physical possibility.
If we want to make it within the realms of physical possibility then first we would have to remove all traces of magic, wizards, dragons, elves etc.

Too hard for them maybe?
I dont think that it would be too hard. I think that no one would want to play that game so why would they want to do that?
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Then make it both legendary and within the realms of physical possibility.
Too hard for them maybe?
To hard for the 'reality' of the game, perhaps. In D&D/PF, magic is commonplace, dependable, repeatable, & largely fungible. You can get a potion or ring or underpants or whatever, or learn to cast a comparatively easy spell and, if you fall a great distance, float to the ground, unharmed. With any well-off acrophobe who invests 2.2kgp in a magic ring able to fall without harm, there's nothing 'Legendary' about being able to fall great distances without harm. It's a better than a parachute, in that it doesn't take up any space to speak of, and doesn't need to be re-packed after each use, and it's precious in that it cost you 44 lbs of gold, but it's not really any more fantastic than a parachute.
 

Caliburn101

Villager
A fair number of people here are trying to change what I have clearly stated to suit their own preference and arguments. Some are trying to ignore that I am talking about the realism of a mundane non-magical/non-ki etc. skill by saying 'but magic'.

It's a tired old set of forum tactics not worth anyone's time - so please stop it.

If a Fighter in his underpants can take zero damage from slamming into rock at 120 mph, then they also shouldn't take damage from trebuchet rocks hurled at them, or take damage from any kind of kinetic damage attack.

They are clearly invulnerable as far as you are all concerned. If you try to argue the entirely illogical point that the invulnerability only applies to falling, then explain how that works in the gameworld?

You cannot of course - not without crowbarring in ki, or magic or divine power etc.

Like mellored has now done, after the fact...

And THAT of course is the problem - that it is a mundane skill that has a 100% reliable, zero cost, infinitely repeatable supernatural outcome.

Suit yourselves - I'll take my clear understanding of physics and the fact that if magic isn't involved then those laws should apply to any game narrative and play any one of the many, many games elsewhere that accept those facts.

It's a real shame. I have enjoyed much of what Paizo have stated about the new system, and I find many of their ideas innovative. I will probably lift a fair few of them when I create my planned 5th Edition/PF2 hybrid.

But nowhere in the game I run with that hybrid, will invulnerable rubber people be throwing themselves off the walls of floating Cloud Giant Castles to get to the pub in time for closing...
 
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mellored

Villager
If a Fighter in his underpants can take zero damage from slamming into rock at 120 mph, then they also shouldn't take damage from trebuchet rocks hurled at them, or take damage from any kind of kinetic damage attack.
Wouldn't the same argument apply to feather fall? That a boulder falling into your head would be the same as you falling head first into a boulder?

Thus if you apply physics... feather fall would make you immune to bludgeoning damage, and give resistance 5 to any other physical damage (as the attack is slowed, but still sharp).

And THAT of course is the problem - that it is a mundane skill that has a 100% reliable, zero cost, infinitely repeatable supernatural outcome.
I can see where you get the idea that it's mundane (though I disagree)

But it very much has a cost of a feat and your skill points. Which is more expensive than some gold for a 100% reliable, infinitely repeatable supernatural outcome ring of feather fall.
Or spending the feat on magical crafting and making your own ring, along with other stuff.
Or 1 level of wizard, and just not falling more than twice a day.
 

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