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Pathfinder 2E Will Pathfinder 2nd Edition Be Based on D&D 5E?

There seems to be a bit of confusion about the nature of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, with some folks believing that it will be based on the D&D 5E rules engine, in a similar way to how the original Pathfinder was based of the D&D 3.5 rules engine. The evidence points to it not being so.

There seems to be a bit of confusion about the nature of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, with some folks believing that it will be based on the D&D 5E rules engine, in a similar way to how the original Pathfinder was based of the D&D 3.5 rules engine. The evidence points to it not being so.
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In accordance with Betteridge's Law of Headlines, the quick answer is "no".

Paizo's Erik Mona says "While it's reasonable to assume that developments in other games have gone into some of our thinking with this new edition, it'd be wrong to assume that we're explicitly trying to make the game more like 5e, or like any other game. What we're trying to do is make the very best version of Pathfinder that we can."

But decide for yourself! The demo game on the Glass Cannon podcast doesn't sound much like D&D 5th Edition at all, certainly not to me. But give a listen and draw your own conclusions.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition will surely borrow concepts from a whole range of games, and 5E will almost certainly be notable amongst them. But even from the little description we have so far, I'm seeing influences from things like Cubicle 7's The One Ring, and other games.

While Paizo has said that Pathfinder 2nd Edition will be release under the Open Gaming License (the OGL) it's important to note that the OGL has been around for nearly two decades, and dozens of games are released under it (Pathfinder 1, Fate, Mutants & Masterminds, WOIN), none of which have the slightest thing to do with D&D 5E. There isn't a "5E OGL"; there's just the OGL. It doesn't contain any rules; it's just a way to license content to third parties. Paizo uses the OGL to license its game engine to its large array of third party publishers, and will be continuing to do so, whatever form that game engine comes in.

So why release it under the OGL? No matter what the system looks like, even if it diverged so far from D&D as to be utterly unrecognisable, many of the "nouns" of the system are rooted in D&D history -- spell names, monsters, and so on. "Magic Missile", for example, or "Ankheg", or a thousand other terms which were irrevocably made Open Gaming Content nearly twenty years ago and are a fundamental part of Pathfinder's identity as much as they are a part of D&D's identity. Pathfinder's "story" elements - those names - requires continuing access to those terms. That doesn't mean that the game system has anything to do with it, though, or that it needs to resemble 5E (or 4E, or 3E, or Fate, or WOIN, or any of several dozen OGL games). The OGL is a convenient and easy way to access those terms safely. There's no good reason not to use it.

I think it's safe to say at this point that Pathfinder 2nd Edition isn't a variation of D&D 5E. It's more likely to be an evolution of the 3.x ruleset, diverging from the path WotC took significantly, but influenced by many game design evolutions across the industry in the last decade. I'm sure you'll be able to see some 5E DNA in it, mixed in with the DNA of various other things, but it looks like Pathfinder 2nd Edition is very different to WotC's current game.

I mentioned that I'd be surprised to see Pathfinder 2 using even a single word from the 5E SRD. Erik Mona confirmed this. "It doesn't. This thing is far less 5e-inspired than people are assuming based on the first day of information we've dropped and the use of some similar terminology."

I mentioned the question of backward compatibility yesterday. Paizo says "While many of the rules of the game have changed, much of what made Pathfinder great has remained the same. The story of the game is unchanged, and in many cases, you can simply replace the old rules with their new counterpart without having to alter anything else about the adventure. As for individual rules, like your favorite spell or monster, most can be added with a simple conversion, changing a few numbers and rebalancing some of the mechanics."
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TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Maybe 5E, with feat trees?

"Based on" seems strong, but thing people have pointed to include:

-Changes to magic items and less dependence on ability or defense boosters

-A level based proficiency modifier (vs ranks and bab and the rest)

-Backgrounds

-Making their archetypes, like 5es subclasses, core (though of course they did have them already)

-Implying that caster level based effects would be removed or toned down in spells

-And that non-casters would be more balanced with casters

-Streamlined monster creation and modification rules

-"Pillars" of play

Changes like these may improve play. They may also make it easier for 5E players looking for a crunchier game.

But it will be its own thing. A d20 game that requires conversion to use with other d20 games, including PF 1E.
 

I would love to see a major, supported system out there where combat resolution is faster than Pathfinder or 5e -- a game that is less of a miniatures wargame and more of a roleplaying game. A game where someone who has never played an RPG before could sit down, quickly create a PC, and get right into play.
 

lyle.spade

Adventurer
PF, especially in the 5e era, attracts a certain kind of gamer, in search of a certain vibe and flow at the table - and quite different from 5e, although they both share the same long-term roots. I don't see it being 5eFinder at all, either.
 

Larrin

Entropic Good
The description they gave for monster design sounds decidedly more 4e than 5e.
"We've moved away from strict monster construction formulas based off type and Hit Dice. Instead, we start by deciding on the creature's rough level and role in the game, then select statistics that make it a balanced and appropriate part of the game."
Level, Role, unique abilities, not attached to creation rules: that was the good side of 4e monsters.
 

VisanidethDM

First Post
PF, especially in the 5e era, attracts a certain kind of gamer, in search of a certain vibe and flow at the table - and quite different from 5e, although they both share the same long-term roots. I don't see it being 5eFinder at all, either.

I don't think there's been an egregious flow of players migrating from 5E to Pathfinder, in fact the opposite is probably true. People who saw reasons to play Pathfinder over 4E may have decided to give a shot at 5E; people who played Pathfinder and were disappointed by 5E aren't exactly "new buys" and 4E fans well, they don't really like PF generally.

Keep in mind that Paizo only ever played the role of the newcomer "stealing" someone else's fanbase: this time they're in the opposite position, they have an "old" product that people may be dropping to try the new hot stuff. This move is quite likely a reaction to them seeing their sales suffer.
 

VisanidethDM

First Post
Level, Role, unique abilities, not attached to creation rules: that was the good side of 4e monsters.

Monster design is also one of 5E's weaknesses, so them not pursuing that model may be proof that they're trying to imitate what D&D editions do best.

If I were to try and copy 5E to steal some of its thunder I still wouldn't imitate the monster design ethos. It's kind of a mess.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
"Streamlined monster design" describes most any modern tabletop RPG. It's about as specific as "Written in the English language". It's certainly not evidence of being based on 5E.
 
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I think prevailing game design philosophies will inform/inspire PF 2e like they did 5e. I think there is a market for "simpler than PF 1e, but more complicated than 5e" that I don't think WotC is that interested in pursuing, and Paizo is in a good place to do so.

Monster design is very similar to 4e's, and I think they could do some interesting things with it (like differentiating fiends, like making the baseline demon a brute/berserker, the baseline devil a expert/trickster/skilled [I forget which one it is called], and the baseline daemon a spellcaster, which would still allow exceptions if you need a primary caster demon for example).
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yeah, that monster design definitely feels like it has more in common with 4E than 5E. 4E was divisive, but the monster design was certainly one of its stronger points.
 

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