Pathfinder 2E What does Pathfinder lack?

Thomas Shey

Legend
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?

Advantage/Disadvantage is the mechanic that fulfills the function of modifiers in 5e. It means that if you have Advantage you roll 2D20 on rolls using that (usually combat rolls) and take the better of the two, with Disadvantage you roll 2D20 and take the worse. If you have both Advantage and Disadvantage you wash the process out, and since it isn't possible to have more than one level of either, once that happens its done.

I'll leave it as an exercise for the student why some people (including me) have issues with this.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
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.

I can't say I've seen particularly visible balance-breaking from Free Archetype. In practice, what mostly happens is some additional options, so there can be some shopping for abilities that are useful in a given situation, but as someone said, it's horizontal power not vertical.
 

Thomas Shey

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.

That is why I consider it a better solution; you don't need the number of mods you had in 3e/PF1, but the all-or-nothing nature of the 5e solution is a cure as bad as the disease.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
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.

With PF2e you do have the issue that because of the way criticals and fumbles are handled, a single +/-1 has more impact than in most D20 based games--about twice the impact on the whole.
 

Retreater

Legend
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.
Those +1 modifiers tend to matter more in PF2 because the math is tighter and there are 4 degrees of success/failure - not just a pass/fail system.
 


zedturtle

Jacob Rodgers
Yeah, both versions of Ashen Frontiers (Pathfinder and 5e) will have the four results system: (5 or more & 0-4 for 5e, since bounded accuracy keeps 5e's numbers down). And I'm doing Proficiency Without Level by default in Pathfinder, to make sure that the setting is appropriately dangerous for everyone. GMs can choose how to do the math for combats/checks/etc.
 

a single +/-1 has more impact than in most D20 based games--about twice the impact on the whole.
Those +1 modifiers tend to matter more in PF2 because the math is tighter and there are 4 degrees of success/failure - not just a pass/fail system.
+1 on a d20 roll is still just a tiny 5% change. It doesn't matter that there's degrees of success.

But, degrees of success are definitely why replacing the +1 with swingier results (like dis/adv) would get awkward.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
+1 on a d20 roll is still just a tiny 5% change. It doesn't matter that there's degrees of success.

But, degrees of success are definitely why replacing the +1 with swingier results (like dis/adv) would get awkward.

It does matter, because it not only alters your chances of success, it alters your chances of fumbles and crits. Crits and fumbles in PF2e are based on margins, not a flat value after all, so if you've normally got a 60% of hitting including 10% of critting, that +1 not only pushes the chance of hitting up to 65% it pushes the chance of critting up to 15%. Same at the other end (though avoiding fumbles usually matters more with saves and managing crits more with attacks--and sometimes, the latter can be very dramatic if Deadly or Fatal weapons are involved or a special ability that keys off getting a crit.)
 

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