Pathfinder 2E Trying out PF2 for the first time

Xeviat

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Hi friends. I'm going to be trying out PF2 for the first time soon. I had skipped over PF1 entirely, went from D&D 3 to 3.5 to 4 to 5. I really liked all of the editions. 3Es asymmetrical scaling got on my nerves (your weak saves became huge weaknesses at the end, as did not being fully skilled in spot/listen). 4E got too bloated and I didn't like how many classes there were and all the rest patches that felt necessary (I was working on my own consolidation, but 5E caught my attention). I like the player side of 5E, but the DM side leaves something to be desired for me (I wish I could merge 4E's DM side with 5Es player presentation and 3E's crunch depth).

Oh, wait, that's Pathfinder 2. I bought the three core PDFs and I'm mostly liking what I'm seeing. The presentation is terrible, and makes it about as hard to read as 4E books, but I'm sure as I learn more of the terms it will become easy to me (I remember when I first read "you gain the critical specialization effect of weapons" and then had to flip forward to that page). The depth of the rules, the new death and dying rules, the three action economy, all have me very interested.

I've been playing on Roll20 during the lockdown. I picked up the demo adventure. Is that a good place to start? I'm a very crunchy DM, should I be sure to digest the whole players and GM books first? What are the big things to remember for succeeding at running PF2?
 

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Monsters ar
Hi friends. I'm going to be trying out PF2 for the first time soon. I had skipped over PF1 entirely, went from D&D 3 to 3.5 to 4 to 5. I really liked all of the editions. 3Es asymmetrical scaling got on my nerves (your weak saves became huge weaknesses at the end, as did not being fully skilled in spot/listen). 4E got too bloated and I didn't like how many classes there were and all the rest patches that felt necessary (I was working on my own consolidation, but 5E caught my attention). I like the player side of 5E, but the DM side leaves something to be desired for me (I wish I could merge 4E's DM side with 5Es player presentation and 3E's crunch depth).

Oh, wait, that's Pathfinder 2. I bought the three core PDFs and I'm mostly liking what I'm seeing. The presentation is terrible, and makes it about as hard to read as 4E books, but I'm sure as I learn more of the terms it will become easy to me (I remember when I first read "you gain the critical specialization effect of weapons" and then had to flip forward to that page). The depth of the rules, the new death and dying rules, the three action economy, all have me very interested.

I've been playing on Roll20 during the lockdown. I picked up the demo adventure. Is that a good place to start? I'm a very crunchy DM, should I be sure to digest the whole players and GM books first? What are the big things to remember for succeeding at running PF2?
Monsters are deadly!!! There are a few play reports on this very form. Check them out I think it will help.
 


Porridge

Explorer
I've been playing on Roll20 during the lockdown. I picked up the demo adventure. Is that a good place to start?

The demo adventure is a decent short intro to some PF2 basics, though you might consider adding the weak adjustment to the first opponent, who otherwise has a decent chance of dropping a character in a single blow. (I'm not sure why Paizo made the first encounter of it's demo adventure so difficult, but that's how it is...) It should take about 1-1.5 hours to run.

A slightly longer alternative to consider is Trailblaizer's Bounty. It's supposed to run for about 4 hours, and it introduces players to a wider variety of PF2-style encounters (some combat, some skill challenges, some roleplaying).

I'm a very crunchy DM, should I be sure to digest the whole players and GM books first?

You definitely don't need to digest the whole CRB before playing. You'll want to read chapter 9, and the parts of chapter 10 relevant to running the game (you can skip the parts on how to build a campaign, etc). And you'll want to read up on your PC's abilities (so you're familiar with their skills, feats, spells, any conditions the spells can inflict, etc), and the abilities of any creatures or items that appear in the module you're running. But once you've done that you should be ready to start playing.

What are the big things to remember for succeeding at running PF2?

A good question. Here are a couple player-facing suggestions:
  • The Alchemist (and to some extent the Wizard) are the trickiest/most potentially frustrating classes to play. (Some Informal Polling.) So you might suggest other classes for first time players.
  • Given how PF2's multiple attack penalty works, using your third action to attack is usually a bad idea. So you'll want to encourage your players to build characters which have at least one stand-by option for how to use their third turn other than attacking. (Some solid options include: Demoralize (really good!), Raise Shield (also really good!), Aid, Command an Animal Companion or Familiar, cast Shield, cast Guidance, Feint, Inspire Courage (if a bard), Recall Knowledge (at the start of a fight), Hunt Prey (if a ranger), and so on.) Obviously if your players kite enemies, or move a lot to position themselves, then that in itself is a good use of a third action.
  • Remind players that they have Hero Points (perhaps by giving them out quickly and easily), and encouraging them to use them, especially if they go down.
  • If your players are the types who will try to figure everything out before making their first character, you might direct them to the PF2 Guide to the Guides. Lots of good resources here that can make it easier for new players to wrap one's head around how to think about a class.
  • Finally, Nightfox posted a grab-bag of helpful tidbits and links for new players/GMs it might be worth checking out.
 
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