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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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.

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He Mage
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.


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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[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


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.


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.


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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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

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.

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