PF2 What Would You Want from PF2?

Saelorn

Adventurer
I've read a number of negative discussions about the 2nd edition playtest of Pathfinder (and honestly, I've participated in a few myself). So I'm curious, what would you have wanted in a revised Pathfinder/new edition? Maybe it's a streamlined Pathfinder 1E (similar to Unchained)? Maybe it's an edition of Pathfinder that's compatible with 5E D&D?
D&D has taken the streamlined approach, so I wouldn't want Pathfinder to try and mimic them on that. Instead, I would want them to lean heavily into what they're already know for, which is character customization. My ideal Pathfinder 2E would offer the same variety of choices as Pathfinder 1E, except better organized, and balanced in such a way as to minimize the power discrepancy between an organic character and a planned one; it should practice compartmentalization, so that your choice in one area does not overly affect your choice in other areas.

I'd also be curious to know what relationship you currently have with Pathfinder (currently play/GM it, used to play/GM it, etc.)?
I used to play, but I gave up because of the pressure to build a strong character. I had to spend hours researching every feat, for fear of not finding the right one. It just wasn't fun anymore.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Except it didn't presume that; it only presumed compatibility with 3.X while offering a facelift. It made some adjustments - adding more layers as time went on - but it was not created to "fix" anything. It existed to maintain the 3.X framework that Paizo could use for their own publishing purposes.
Oh come on - it was sold to fix the previous editions. Just like every upgrade in the history of the world is.

My point is:

5E fixed 3E in a way that 3.5 and PF doesn't even come close to.

That 5E does other stuff too is beside the point. The actual egregious issues in d20 are actually fixed and not just facelifted in 5E: LFQW and NPC build complexity, to name the two I'm most concerned with.

The point of making a game that builds upon this is that WotC threw out a lot of babies with the bathwater when fixing this:

* they made the game a bit too simple
* they made charbuilding way too un-complex
* whole subsystems got the shaft, and magic items and high-level play are two obvious areas where Paizo could have positioned a PF2 game
(...all from a 3.x and Pathfinder player's point of view - of course. Obviously lots of 5E gamers are happy with the simple game as is, but them's not what we're concerned with in this thread, right?)

But I don't want to see Paizo publishing something that feels like a throwback to the bad old days of LFQW and hour-long NPC generation. The absolutely should make sure their PF2 game is up-to-date on the core issues.

The existence of 5E marks a watershed in the hobby. There is a before and an after regarding LFQW and NPCs, and I don't think D&D gamers will stand for a game that doesn't offer the 5E baseline.
 
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Imaculata

Adventurer
All I care to see in a second edition of Pathfinder, is it being compatible with PF1, and smoothing out some of the wrinkles. I don't want a completely new system, and certainly not one that is like 5th edition, or I might as well play 5E.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Oh come on - it was sold to fix the previous editions. Just like every upgrade in the history of the world is.
No, it was sold to allow gamers who liked 3.X to keep playing 3.X while D&D switched to 4E. Basically, its appeal was "keep mostly doing what you were previously doing."

My point is:

5E fixed 3E in a way that 3.5 and PF doesn't even come close to.
Even if I prefer 5E to PF1, even I can clearly recognize that this is an opinion masquerading as a fact. I only wish that you could recognize that what you see as problems or solutions are not some sort of universally held truths.

But I don't want to see Paizo publishing something that feels like a throwback to the bad old days of LFQW and hour-long NPC generation. The absolutely should make sure their PF2 game is up-to-date on the core issues.
Despite all your grandstanding, you barely seem to evidence awareness of Pathfinder 2's game design or new changes that have been announced. For example, NPC generation in this case.

The existence of 5E marks a watershed in the hobby. There is a before and an after regarding LFQW and NPCs, and I don't think D&D gamers will stand for a game that doesn't offer the 5E baseline.
(These developments were already present in 4E. :p)

This idea that Rogues = Combat class just as good as a warrior is kind of a weird obsession of TTRPGs and specifically D&D in the past few years. Rogues may not stink in combat, but normally the Warrior far exceeds almost any rogue in actual combat.

In some ways I think it roots directly where they tried to make a Rogue specifically geared as a combat type class in 4e. It had some abilities out of the norm, but it was more geared for combat comparative to a Ranger and others and labeled as a "Striker" akin to a martial type class rather than what a Rogue had traditionally been. Great for those of the 4e mindset, but I'm not sure why the rest of the RPG players bought into this idea, especially with how some of them eschew 4e.
Nope. Don't scapegoat 4E for class concept historical developments already present in 3E.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
All I care to see in a second edition of Pathfinder, is it being compatible with PF1, and smoothing out some of the wrinkles. I don't want a completely new system, and certainly not one that is like 5th edition, or I might as well play 5E.
I can understand the sentiment. Sadly the PF1 compatibility seems to be right out.

Frankly, PF2 seems to be more about releasing Paizo from the influence of another corporation (WotC) than adding value to gamers.

As for "anything but 5E" that too is understandable. However I remain convinced it is possible to marry the strength of Pathfinder (charbuild depth, magic items) with the things 5E improve upon that game (LFQW, stat blocks)
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
No, it was sold to allow gamers who liked 3.X to keep playing 3.X while D&D switched to 4E. Basically, its appeal was "keep mostly doing what you were previously doing."
That's after the fact.

No product ever is sold as "more of exactly the same".
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
That's after the fact.

No product ever is sold as "more of exactly the same".
No, that was the fact. Pathfinder NEVER sold itself as a "fix" to 3.X. It was sold as a way for people who liked the D&D 3.X to play it with continued support.
 

amethal

Explorer
No, that was the fact. Pathfinder NEVER sold itself as a "fix" to 3.X. It was sold as a way for people who liked the D&D 3.X to play it with continued support.
That's certainly how I saw it at the time. You had the "3.5 Thrives" poster, the refusal to give fighters extra skill points, the dialing back of some of the innovations in the Beta.

Of course, it turned out that there were dozens of tiny (and not so tiny) changes - we were still discovering new spell changes years later - and some of the decisions were questionable (let's make wizards even more powerful than in 3.5, what sorcerers need is to be able to manifest claws for 6 or 7 rounds per day, darkness spells should create shadowy light, barbarian rage should be micromanaged on a round per round basis rather than being useable x times per day ...)

However, then the Advanced Class Guide came out, where they felt more able to express themselves rather than being tied to the past (even if we can argue about how much of that was perception rather than reality), and I got very excited about the new classes, and archetypes and/or variant class features for all the old ones, and "half-feat" traits to give even more customisability.
 

Aebir-Toril

Scion of Ceres
All I have to say is... "How dare Paizo attempt to distinguish itself in the market!"

After all, it's not like they have two preexisting game systems to fall back on if PF2 doesn't work out.

Paizo really shouldn't take any risks.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
I briefly included my thoughts in my preview of PF2: http://www.5mwd.com/archives/4964

Quoting that:
Before I started reading the Pathfinder 2 rulebook, I thought about what I wanted the game to do. I mentally laid out my “deal breaking” problems that I would want addressed, which I listed at the start of this review:

1) Reduce the “number porn” of higher level play

2) Reduce or limit the mandated complexity of characters

3) Place some focus on play other than combat,

4) Magic item Christmas Tree & Treadmill

Bonuses for characters were not reduced. Comparing the numbers for monsters with monsters in a Pathfinder 1 Bestiary show monster math is fairly close to the same, and Pathfinder 2 monsters are higher in a number of places.
While I don’t think the game needs to go with the flat math and bounded accuracy of 5th Edition D&D, Pathfinder 2 could easily have halved their bonuses by only adding 1/2 level to d20 checks rather than level. And not assuming magic items in their math would further reduce the number bloat.

Characters are just as complex as they were in Pathfinder 2. There are no simple characters for people who just want to sit down and play, as even the fighter and rogue require choosing one or more feats every level. And while the fighter is often considered simple as it doesn’t have spells, it requires selecting and managing more feats than normal.

The combat focus in the game bugs me. Too often my Pathfinder campaigns descended into lurching from combat to combat in a dungeon, especially when running the published adventures. While you don’t *need* rules for roleplaying, encouraging that type of play helps. After all, nothing stops you from roleplaying in a game of Battletech or Warhammer 40,000 either, but that doesn’t mean those are RPGs. A good roleplaying game with continually suggest personality traits, and maybe even include a section for “personality” or “flaws” on the character sheet.

Lastly is magic items. Which isn’t any better in Pathfinder 2. The edition has even added the new Resonance mechanic which pretty much solely exists as a crutch to prevent why higher level parties don’t just buy dozens of low level magic items. It’s the definition of a rules patch: it doesn’t remotely fix the underlying problem and just smooths over a more irritating proud nail.

-edit-

Clarifying what I want:

I liked Pathfinder a lot but the rules became problematic. After a while, the rules over rulings really got in my way as a GM. Players would try to "win" fights via the rules as often as with in-world strategy. If not more, because good strategy was also often shackled by "the rules". The most effective way to win was to find an exploit and use it against me, putting me as a GM in the position of either ignoring "the rules" or acquiescing to rules layering.

The numbers got to me with that. Because the game because a Red Queen's Race. You constantly got bonuses to attacks and ability scores and damage that all generally meant very little as enemies got bonuses to AC and saves and hit points at roughly the same rate. You never really got any better. But the math went up and up with continually increasing bonuses. It was an illusion of advancement. And it lead to silliness in the world, where everything had to scale up to maintain its challenge for the PCs. They level up and suddenly every lock in the kingdom improved in quality, every random encounter became deadlier, every wall steeper, and every door more reinforced.
Now, the counterpoint to this is that you can use lower level challenges in the game. The party can encounter lower level monsters or locks or doors. But at that point it's not worth rolling: success is guaranteed. You just auto-win and move on. You've improved out of playing the game.

Similarly, characters were too complex. Even a "simple" class like the fighter was complex, as you needed to read through feats continually, choosing one almost every level, and planning around lengthy feat trees. Meanwhile, the "hit stuff" barbarian involved a lot of math, and required looking through length rage powers that also needed to be tracked.
This was great for "lonely fun". Where you sat around a built a character or two. That was how people were expected to engage in the game between sessions: building characters.
Which isn't a bad thing per se... but not everyone engages with the hobby like that. Arguably, most players don't, preferring to show up and play with friends. From my experience, most gaming groups tend to have one really dedicated player who knows the rules (the GM) and three to five other players who are interested to varying lesser degrees. For every player interested in complexity, there's one who doesn't care and finds leveling up a chore.
And a complex game with complex characters doesn't make the game more fun and interesting at the table. Often, high complexity and lots of choices gets in the way, causing imbalance and option paralysis.

And, magic items played a part in that. Because in 3e and Pathfinder, magic items weren't magical. They were basically feats. Another character option to choose for your build. And that's lame.
You can really see this in the old RPG Superstar contests, where the rules and advice tell you not to add any story or lore to magic items because anyone could make a particular item. There's no "special swords used only by the Golden Guard".
Magic items as feats causes a cascade of side effects.
First, you can't award alternate rewards, like keeps or sailing ships. Because those can just be sold to break the character's wealth-by-level. Second, you can't award unique and rare magic items because, again, those can be sold and are generally worth a disproportionate amount of money. Any rare and wondrous treasure that is found will be shaken until it becomes gp and then turned into the player's chosen build item. Third, because magic items are common, at mid-levels you can buy an endless amount of consumables. Wands of knock or cure light wounds or detect magic.


What I wanted from Pathfinder 2 was a game halfway between PF1 and 5e. Simpler and faster but with more tactical depth. Simpler characters but more complexity than 5e where you can choose and opt into builds. Magic items divorced from the basic math of the game. And more restrained bonuses.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Let's see, I would like something in between PF1e and 5e but I'm not entirely sure I would even leave 5e at this time or the near future. I'd really like 5e compatible APs and setting book honestly.

My relationship with PF1e was player only. My casual style of DMing doesnt mesh well with PF/3.5 or 4e.
While 4e was perfect for my casual style of DMing (I’ve had to learn to do prep beyond story and some tables for quick encounter building in 5e, bc I just can’t wing it like I did in 4e), I agree overall.

I’d be interested in PF2 if it had all the customization of options and abilities of PF1 or 4e, with the simple math of 5e, and straightforward monster and encounter building systems and guidelines.

Give me a 60 item weapon list, 30 item armor list, 5 types of shields, 20 classes, even more Archetypes that fit into the system more like 4e Themes/Paragon Paths (with some that simply further specialize your class or create a pseudo-multiclass, while others stand alone thematically as a narrative “third pillar” of chargen), and all the feats, spells, rituals, maneuvers, proficiencies, alchemical and tinkering options, etc a person could want.

Just don’t waste my time and energy with fiddly math widgets that increase my success rate by a negligible percentage while climbing a pointless math treadmill.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No, it was sold to allow gamers who liked 3.X to keep playing 3.X while D&D switched to 4E. Basically, its appeal was "keep mostly doing what you were previously doing."

Even if I prefer 5E to PF1, even I can clearly recognize that this is an opinion masquerading as a fact. I only wish that you could recognize that what you see as problems or solutions are not some sort of universally held truths.

Despite all your grandstanding, you barely seem to evidence awareness of Pathfinder 2's game design or new changes that have been announced. For example, NPC generation in this case.

(These developments were already present in 4E. :p)

Nope. Don't scapegoat 4E for class concept historical developments already present in 3E.
Also Rogues had just as much out of combat focus any the Ranger, if not more, had the most skills (not counting Bard’s unlimited multiclassing and the Bard of All Trades feat), and just as much access to the skill challenges system as anyone else.

Once Martial Practices came out, it shined even more, bc more skills meant more martial practices a rogue could use.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
Frankly, PF2 seems to be more about releasing Paizo from the influence of another corporation (WotC) than adding value to gamers.
I'm fairly certain that the main driver of PF2 is that Paizo have basically pushed PF1 as far as it will go in terms of rules add-ons, and need to reset to a new baseline. After all, the game has been out for a decade with 2-3 hardbacks per year plus god knows how much stuff in sourcebooks. That it allows them to recast some stuff in order to pay less fealty to Wizards is a bonus, but not the main driver.

That's after the fact.

No product ever is sold as "more of exactly the same".
The main driver of Pathfinder 1, on the other hand, was "We're good at doing 3.5 adventures and people have loved our adventure paths in Dungeon. We want to keep doing that but Wizards took away the license, plus it makes little sense long-term to make adventures for a system that isn't in print. And we don't want to make adventures for 4e both because the license sucks and because the game is not to our tastes. So let's keep publishing 3.5 under the OGL and fix some issues that won't break backwards compatibility."

In other words, the main selling point of Pathfinder 1 was "more of the same", fixing issues was secondary.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
It’s the definition of a rules patch: it doesn’t remotely fix the underlying problem and just smooths over a more irritating proud nail. [/I][/B]
This is my impression of Paizo's ability to write rules overall.

In other words, I don't believe their current team is capable of coming up with a product that most people will find acceptable.

Remember, the market is used to 5th edition now. Old 3E-era concepts won't fly now.

While I'm sure lots of 5E gamers are itching to set their teeth into something more substantial visavi character building and options, that does not mean they want LFQW.

Likewise for Dungeon Masters. Just because they wish for monsters with more tools to counter and confound players (especially at higher levels) does not mean they will touch a game where NPCs take hours to build and needs magic gear to function.

I really can't understand PF2 except if Paizo has designed it in a bubble. A fantasy world where 5E's solutions aren't well-known. Where Pathfinder is a strong brand which gamers flock to regardless of its relation to the 500 pound gorilla.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I’d be interested in PF2 if it had all the customization of options and abilities of PF1 or 4e, with the simple math of 5e, and straightforward monster and encounter building systems and guidelines.
Just don’t waste my time and energy with fiddly math widgets that increase my success rate by a negligible percentage while climbing a pointless math treadmill.
Thank you. Excerpts from your post make for a brilliant illustration of my points!

Unfortunately it appears as if Paizo is designing the complete opposite of that... :-/
 

Staffan

Adventurer
I’d be interested in PF2 if it had all the customization of options and abilities of PF1 or 4e, with the simple math of 5e, and straightforward monster and encounter building systems and guidelines.
Speaking of which, I was really stunned by the encounter building guidelines and XP rewards in the PF2 playtest. Essentially, they went back to 3e by having XP rewards depending on the difference between party level and monster level (so a monster one level below the party is worth 30 XP) while still having XP-based encounter budgets. I get why they did it that way (because they wanted a fixed amount of XP to level up), but it still feels like an unnecessary step in encounter building.
 

Aebir-Toril

Scion of Ceres
This is my impression of Paizo's ability to write rules overall.

In other words, I don't believe their current team is capable of coming up with a product that most people will find acceptable.

Remember, the market is used to 5th edition now. Old 3E-era concepts won't fly now.

While I'm sure lots of 5E gamers are itching to set their teeth into something more substantial visavi character building and options, that does not mean they want LFQW.

Likewise for Dungeon Masters. Just because they wish for monsters with more tools to counter and confound players (especially at higher levels) does not mean they will touch a game where NPCs take hours to build and needs magic gear to function.

I really can't understand PF2 except if Paizo has designed it in a bubble. A fantasy world where 5E's solutions aren't well-known. Where Pathfinder is a strong brand which gamers flock to regardless of its relation to the 500 pound gorilla.
This, sadly, seems to be the case. PF1 was written as a continuation and a revised version of 3e, created by designers familiar with 3e, designers who loved that edition. Now, the Paizo Pathfinder team has decided to created PF1/4e D&D, and has refused to take the necessary risks.

I don't think that Pathfinder needs to forever be a parasite of the success of another edition, which is why I don't want a clone of 5e, but I believe that a few of Pathfinder's most sacred cows need to be slaughtered in order to be a competent market force.

These sacred cows are as follows:

1. An extreme focus on combat.

2. Character classes with feat-gain as explicit, important class features.

3. Intricate feat trees.

4. NPCs which take hours to design, and require several feats of their own.

Here's what I would like to see:

1. A focus on the things about Pathfinder that are truly enjoyable; complex character creation, a bit of numbers play, and lots of classes.

2. The Pathfinder thematic narrative.

3. Detailed travel mechanics.

4. Skill challenges.

5. A removal of the "bulk", while adding true changes, not merely covering sacred cows with layers of pages and rulebooks.
 

zztong

Explorer
Lastly is magic items. Which isn’t any better in Pathfinder 2. The edition has even added the new Resonance mechanic which pretty much solely exists as a crutch to prevent why higher level parties don’t just buy dozens of low level magic items. It’s the definition of a rules patch: it doesn’t remotely fix the underlying problem and just smooths over a more irritating proud nail.
They did remove resonance late in the Playtest. Our local playtest experience was that it wasn't really limiting anything anyways. Nobody ever ran out of Resonance. After a few sessions we concluded it was pointless bureaucracy and just ignored it.

You must have a magic weapon and magic armor. After that, there are a couple of items that everyone buys, usually to improve their mobility or vision. I'm sure it will be better upon release as the PF2 Playtest magic item selection was limited.

The real limitation we've found is that most magic items are useless. We have a running gag in our PF2 Playtest game in that the party has come into 3 potions of Barkskin. Those potions give you 1 point of DR and 2 points of weakness to fire. They're arguably more useful as a way to satisfy your thirst. The running joke is that nobody wants to buy them and we try to use them for things like holding open doors.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
They did remove resonance late in the Playtest. Our local playtest experience was that it wasn't really limiting anything anyways. Nobody ever ran out of Resonance. After a few sessions we concluded it was pointless bureaucracy and just ignored it.
Yeah, I wrote that summary on the playtest and then just walked away from the process, not really paying attention. Because they went pretty much in the opposite direction I wanted...

Resonance was mostly to stop people dropping 750gp every adventure for a wand of cure light wounds that is applied after every battle. And to stop mid to high level parties from buying a dozen small, low-power but useful magic items.

But my problem with that rule was it was a poor fix to the long-term problem with the game system where magic items were assumed for the math, magic item crafting was routine, magic item stores were in even the smallest towns, and players got ridiculous amounts of gold.
Dealing with magic items has always been funky for 3e/Pathfinder as the characters are gear dependent, which doesn't fit the narrative you expect from most fantasy characters.
Erik Mona struggled with this when making an update of Red Sonja:
https://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo5lj5c?Worldscape-WorkbookGearing-Up-Red-Sonja-Part
https://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo5lj6o?Worldscape-WorkbookGearing-Up-Red-Sonja-Part

There's precious few fictional fantasy worlds where everyone is running around with dozens of magic items.
 

the Jester

Legend
Oh come on - it was sold to fix the previous editions. Just like every upgrade in the history of the world is.
My recollection is that it was sold on the premise that a lot of gamers want to keep using 3e, so let's keep it in print with a new coat of paint.
 

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