Pathfinder 2E What does Pathfinder lack?

At first glance the sheer number of feats looks daunting. Though, once you dig in you find they silo down to about 2-4 choices by level. Gone is the thousand entry level feats and hundreds of chains of yester PF.
Yep, when my group first started looking into PF2e, one of the players searched for feats on AoN and was shocked to see 3,983 results. Their obvious concern was how do you pick from that huge list and the answer of course is that you only really have a few choices per level. It isn't like 5e where all the feats available are options each time you get to pick a feat if your group uses them.
 

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PF2E is big on teamwork and creating the optimal conditions for characters to land hits and increase chances of critical hits. It's a bad match for the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic.
Well... you could still use Dis/Adv without losing that, if you just sorted the positive things vs negative things and see which side it leans towards. So, just a blanket 'is this situation better for you, neutral or worse for you?'

Buuut, the argument that the +5/-5 is too big of a swing when you're dealing with degrees of success/failure, is very solid. You couldn't just bolt it on to the current system.

You could give a single Shadow of the Demon Lord boon die (+d6 to result) or bane die (-d6 to result) to keep it more controllable, but then you lose the reliability of avoiding low rolls.
 

Staffan

Legend
At first glance the sheer number of feats looks daunting. Though, once you dig in you find they silo down to about 2-4 choices by level. Gone is the thousand entry level feats and hundreds of chains of yester PF.
Sort of, yes, at least for class feats (general and skill feats are a bit more open, though you're still generally funneled into one direction by proficiency choices). But archetypes widen the scope significantly. So I'd say the feat choice algorithm goes sort of like this:
  • Do you want something that makes you better at what you're doing?
    • Yes:
      • Either pick one of the 2-4 class feats available at your level, depending on prerequisites, or
      • Pick a lower-level feat in case none of the new ones appeal and you remember having a hard time choosing earlier.
    • No:
      • Get an archetype or pick a new feat from an archetype you already have.
The last option is where you have a wealth of possible choices, but generally you already have an idea about what you want which should narrow things down ("Oh, so you want more healing? Well, there's the Medic if you want the skill-based option, Blessed One if you want to lay on hands like a champ, or Herbalist if you want a more alchemical route.").
 


payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
The mechanic itself does exist in PF2, but it's very rarely used. It is pretty much exclusively the domain of Fortune/Misfortune effects, and not the "Eh, let's give advantage for that" catch-all it is in 5e.
This is a more attractive use of the mechanic, IMO.
 

Lojaan

Hero
Sort of, yes, at least for class feats (general and skill feats are a bit more open, though you're still generally funneled into one direction by proficiency choices). But archetypes widen the scope significantly. So I'd say the feat choice algorithm goes sort of like this:
  • Do you want something that makes you better at what you're doing?
    • Yes:
      • Either pick one of the 2-4 class feats available at your level, depending on prerequisites, or
      • Pick a lower-level feat in case none of the new ones appeal and you remember having a hard time choosing earlier.
    • No:
      • Get an archetype or pick a new feat from an archetype you already have.
The last option is where you have a wealth of possible choices, but generally you already have an idea about what you want which should narrow things down ("Oh, so you want more healing? Well, there's the Medic if you want the skill-based option, Blessed One if you want to lay on hands like a champ, or Herbalist if you want a more alchemical route.").
I am seriously considering not allowing archetypes in my game, other than multi-class. There is just too many of them, too much over lap, and the power levels seem to vary wildly. Even just thinking about reading through them all is exhausting.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yep, when my group first started looking into PF2e, one of the players searched for feats on AoN and was shocked to see 3,983 results. Their obvious concern was how do you pick from that huge list and the answer of course is that you only really have a few choices per level. It isn't like 5e where all the feats available are options each time you get to pick a feat if your group uses them.

I cannot tell you how many times I have to emphasize that. Once you've settled in on a class, most feats in the total list are about as relevant to you as what someone is having for breakfast on the other side of the planet.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
You could give a single Shadow of the Demon Lord boon die (+d6 to result) or bane die (-d6 to result) to keep it more controllable, but then you lose the reliability of avoiding low rolls.

Its funny, I was going to bring up the boon/bane system (an approach I find far more palatable than the 5e Adv/Dis system) but it only seemed vaguely relevant, and really works in its own system because of the heavy constraints of target number.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Sort of, yes, at least for class feats (general and skill feats are a bit more open, though you're still generally funneled into one direction by proficiency choices). But archetypes widen the scope significantly. So I'd say the feat choice algorithm goes sort of like this:
  • Do you want something that makes you better at what you're doing?
    • Yes:
      • Either pick one of the 2-4 class feats available at your level, depending on prerequisites, or
      • Pick a lower-level feat in case none of the new ones appeal and you remember having a hard time choosing earlier.
    • No:
      • Get an archetype or pick a new feat from an archetype you already have.
The last option is where you have a wealth of possible choices, but generally you already have an idea about what you want which should narrow things down ("Oh, so you want more healing? Well, there's the Medic if you want the skill-based option, Blessed One if you want to lay on hands like a champ, or Herbalist if you want a more alchemical route.").

Yeah, but even Archetypes tend to channel you to some degree since you can only choose a new one after taking X number from the old one.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I am seriously considering not allowing archetypes in my game, other than multi-class. There is just too many of them, too much over lap, and the power levels seem to vary wildly. Even just thinking about reading through them all is exhausting.

Eh. Even the best ones are hardly game breakers. At worst people need to look at ones they're considering and see if they're worth the trouble.
 

Staffan

Legend
I am seriously considering not allowing archetypes in my game, other than multi-class. There is just too many of them, too much over lap, and the power levels seem to vary wildly. Even just thinking about reading through them all is exhausting.
I haven't looked much at the archetypes in later books, but in the earlier books at least they mainly add breadth, not height. For example, there's no archetype that lets you become better than you should be at fighting. There are some that let things catch up, but not above the expected baseline. For example a fighter could use his class proficiency boost on e.g. swords and then take the Archer archetype to be as good with bows as with swords, but not better. And that aspect of the Archer archetype wouldn't help a ranger because they have the same proficiency in all martial weapons, but on the other hand they can maybe make better use of the actual feats of the archetype (many of which are fighter feats with delayed access).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I haven't looked much at the archetypes in later books, but in the earlier books at least they mainly add breadth, not height. For example, there's no archetype that lets you become better than you should be at fighting. There are some that let things catch up, but not above the expected baseline. For example a fighter could use his class proficiency boost on e.g. swords and then take the Archer archetype to be as good with bows as with swords, but not better. And that aspect of the Archer archetype wouldn't help a ranger because they have the same proficiency in all martial weapons, but on the other hand they can maybe make better use of the actual feats of the archetype (many of which are fighter feats with delayed access).

You can get some synergies in a few cases, but they're relatively mild. My wife's barbarian seems to get good value out of a Rogue Archetype, but if it wasn't free archetype, I'm still not sure whether it'd be worth the things she'd lose.
 

Kichwas

Half-breed, still living despite WotC racism
Well, the thing I want to see isn't really around in 5e either: a proper swordmage.

There is the magus, but that's not what I want. The magus is a class that sometimes hits things with swords, and sometimes casts spells.

Since I don't play 5E I can't say if this is exactly what you'd want but it is the concept of a weapon mage:

We've got an Elf Rogue in our group that took the Ancient Elf heritage. That lets you take a dedication feat at level 1. He took Magus.
He then took 'Even Weaponry' for the ancestry feat, and tumble behind for the class feat.

For his rogue Dedication he took Wizard -> Transmutation.

Result is a rogue with an elven spear and 4 cantrips: Telekinetic Projectile, Produce Flame, Shield, and Light.

Often in a turn he attacks with the weapon and one of the two attack cantrips all in the same turn.
- The flaw in his design is that these spells require spell attack rolls, so he's going to be suffering multi-attack penalties on either the spell or the spear. He could solve that by using a spell like electric arc instead. HOWEVER if he did that, electric arc gets a reflect save. And as he levels his spell DC won't scale very well. So he's banking on being able to make to-hit rolls reliably instead. I'm not sure if he's doing that right - time will tell.

I'd build this idea out to level 10 in pathbuilder - with spells that have saves and spells that have to-hit rolls, and see which has better odds.

Cantrips scale very well in PF2E - so this character has a lot of poential. And if he flanks, his spear will be getting sneak attack bonuses.

The spear is finesse and reach - so he can make attacks with it from 10 feat away.

All in all it's a solid concept. One could go rapier or short sword instead if they really wanted a sword - that would mean they didn't need to 'elf weapons' feat so they'd have room to get a different feat there.
 

Kichwas

Half-breed, still living despite WotC racism
Yeah advantage/disadvantage is The great innovation of 5e, it works well for everything and makes the game more fun.
Advantage / disadvantage is on the top of the list of things I hear former 5E players complaining about.

I guess that's one of those 'divides' - if you like it you play 5E, if you don't you play PF2E or PF1E.

I don't know exactly what it is, just kind of sort of, so I don't know personally. I've just noticed it get mentioned in almost every single "why I switched to pathfinder" YouTube video I've seen. I guess this is a rule people have very strong stances on?
 

Kichwas

Half-breed, still living despite WotC racism
I am seriously considering not allowing archetypes in my game, other than multi-class. There is just too many of them, too much over lap, and the power levels seem to vary wildly. Even just thinking about reading through them all is exhausting.
It's in the Class Archetypes that you get major power ups.

It's often joked that the best 'Class X' is almost always 'Fighter with Multiclass Archetype X' and for many classes this is objectively true.

For other classes, very often the best way to get a power up is to start with any given class Y, and add the dedication feat for a class Z that works off the same attributes. Picked right you can quickly break PF2E's "tight balance" - ESPECIALLY if the GM is using the Free Archetype Rule which means you won't have to suffer the loss of any of your core class's normal progression. If the GM them ALSO uses the 'Gradual Ability Boost' variant you can "time" your ability boosts alongside that multi-class archetype for the biggest impact at different levels - and every few levels you will "break" the CR system's ability to challenge you.

The other Archetypes are all pretty safe 'power gamer' wise.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Advantage / disadvantage is on the top of the list of things I hear former 5E players complaining about.

I guess that's one of those 'divides' - if you like it you play 5E, if you don't you play PF2E or PF1E.

I don't know exactly what it is, just kind of sort of, so I don't know personally. I've just noticed it get mentioned in almost every single "why I switched to pathfinder" YouTube video I've seen. I guess this is a rule people have very strong stances on?
I guess so.
I dont particularly like 5e, I liked 3.5 more and then went to FATE. But giving advantage instead of a +1 or 2 just feels better to me.
 

Lojaan

Hero
Advantage / disadvantage is on the top of the list of things I hear former 5E players complaining about.

I guess that's one of those 'divides' - if you like it you play 5E, if you don't you play PF2E or PF1E.

I don't know exactly what it is, just kind of sort of, so I don't know personally. I've just noticed it get mentioned in almost every single "why I switched to pathfinder" YouTube video I've seen. I guess this is a rule people have very strong stances on?
Yeah it is a nice easy mechanic (roll 2 dice, choose the highest). Unfortunately, as it averages out as a +5 bonus, it is way too powerful for PF2, or any system that deals in degrees of success I imagine.

The main thing about advantage is that it feels good. You get a second chance to shine! And due to those odds, you will usually succeed. Adding +2 to your roll just doesn't give the same buzz. Especially when you have to add that +2 to the +1 you are getting from your item, and the - 2 from the fear effect you are under, and the +1 from the spell that Zippo cast etc...

For anyone who came from 3 or 3.5 those little bonuses/penalties were a major pain in the never you mind.

Advantage also feels good because it feels like it can replace all the little bonuses (and 'math stress') with a simple action (rolling 2 dice).

BUT it comes with a cost. Pretty quickly any bonus/penalty becomes advantage/disadvantage then you lose out on any nuance, any deep tactics. You can't have multiple things happening at once because it all gets flattened out. It starts out as a great tool, but then it becomes a crutch.
 
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Retreater

Legend
In my group, we all initially loved Advantage/Disadvantage. We praised it for being the best innovation in D&D since positive AC.
But over the years, our perspective has changed. It's too much of a modifier. It reduces the tactical depth of the game.
PF2 doesn't have the same number of different bonuses. You usually don't line up buff spells before a combat either. It's more like a happy middle ground between 3.5 and 5e.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I loved the advantage disadvantage spell ability in PF1. So, when 5E playtest had it I thought sweet. However, its a much better limited ability in my experience than a blanket mechanic.
 

It's not like 5e even follows its own advice - it's not just dis/adv that modifies rolls, it can be multiple different +1d4 mods (or sometimes even -1d4). And those are not from tactical choices, they're just fire-and-forget buffs.

I think systems that do have a multitude of +1 modifiers could benefit greatly from players not worrying about those 5% shifts in odds too much, just roll. Then, if the result is close to a threshold, only then start pondering what bonuses you had.
 

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