So how bout that 2e Pathfinder?

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stiq
stiq's picture
So how bout that 2e Pathfinder?

So, here's the short version: It's out, it's still OGL (https://2e.aonprd.com/), it is a small departure from the playtest, and there are a pretty diverse range of responses toward it.

We can get into the details if people want to, but for the opening post I'm merely going to throw in my two cents: I like it. I burnt out hard on the original Pathfinder (and, I'll note, mostly for problems it had in common with 3rd and 3.5 D&D), and so the fact that it's different is a positive to me. It is not a positive for many people.

I think the biggest determinate to whether or not anyone would like it is going to depend on their feelings about "modernized" tabletop game design, which is to say: Pathfinder 2nd Edition holds a lot of design philosophy over from 3rd edition D&D et al, but on the whole it's sleeker and more approachable, and responses range from approval to outright rejection to cautious optimism as they await the growth of the game's content library.

I'll answer any questions to the best of my ability for those who don't want to binge the SRD all at once.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Having not looked at the SRD yet, I'm simply curious if it's still a d20 system and what the major changes in design are.

stiq
stiq's picture

Not a short subject but I'll attempt to be brief:

4th and 5th edition D&D both implemented different takes on a "proficiency bonus" that scaled with your level. PF2 has also done this, but tiered proficiency into untrained, trained, expert, master, and legendary. If you're trained, you add your level + 2 and each step past that adds another +2 and qualifies you for new options. Since level scaling applies to damn near everything, it's smoothed out a lot of the math, and its exaggerated the effect of a level difference between any two creatures a little.

You accumulate a shitton of feats running on different, mutually exclusive tracks, and since class feats, skill feats, ancestry feats (etc) vastly outnumber the stuff that you automatically get, characters are very modular. I'll say that as overwhelming as that might sound on paper it's at least fairly intuitive, owing in no small part to the fact that each class progression table also includes your "generic" level up bonuses.

Multiclassing and archetyping got massively reworked from an a la carte thing to basically trading out class feats for other, different things. Fans of classic d20 multiclassing are sad about it. I think it's okay and you can still do some cool stuff with it.

I could just kinda keep going but I think you get the picture. A lot of stuff is unchanged or only somewhat changed, but the core engine got reworked a lot. It's basically not backwards compatible with anything though, which is what really ticks people off.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The SRD's organization is disastrously bad, so far (at least via the link provided by Stiq). Quite aside from any other issues, that's a heavy strike against it. I wouldn't necessarily object to buying the actual core rulebook if I were going to run a game as GM, but the SRD so far has a bad tendency to show a link that I'll click for more information, only to find out that the additional information is a single paragraph that was already on the page I came from.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

stiq wrote:

Multiclassing and archetyping got massively reworked from an a la carte thing to basically trading out class feats for other, different things. Fans of classic d20 multiclassing are sad about it. I think it's okay and you can still do some cool stuff with it.

This interests me a bit. I never cared for how easily the system could be broken for power, but I always appreciated what GURPS tried to do with character creation, where you mix and match abilities rather than choosing classes to gain said abilities. This seems like it might be a step in that direction.

stiq
stiq's picture

I would say that is more or less correct. You can still get spells and proficiencies from other classes, but you do so by swapping out feats, not by levelling multiple separate progressions. If you remember Variant Multiclassing from the original Pathfinder's later days, it's a lot like that.

The big caveat is that you can't dip several classes at once. Once you've taken one multiclass feat, you have to stick with it for at least two more feats before you go and multiclass again into a third thing. You can otherwise use your class feats however you please, including leaving it at just the one, in favor of investing in your original, primary class.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I participated in the Alpha and Beta tests for Pathfinder 1 before it became clear that Pathfinder was not going to be the game I hoped it would be. In general, I consider that the developers refused to make needed changes for 'backward compatibility' but made unnecessary changes for reasons I still don't comprehend. Ten years into the life cycle, I think Pathfinder is unnecessarily complicated.

I feel that 2nd edition is another step in that direction. The core rulebook is over 600 pages. It has nested references making it like a programming manual.

You want to use a shield? You read the shield description. It includes traits, so you look at those traits. Some of those traits refer to other actions/rules etc, so it can be a bit of a slog to be sure of how something works. And often how something works isn't how it should be.

For example: A Fury aspect barbarian gains Raging Resistance against 'physical weapon damage, but not from other sources (such as unarmed attacks)'.

Monsters natural attacks (claws, teeth, etc) do not count as weapons. Therefore, you get the damage reduction to a hobgoblin's sword, but not a Velociraptor's bite. For a 'savage' build, it seems contrary to intent and just leaves me baffled. I can't think of a valid 'in-game' explanation for why you get DR versus steel weapons but NOT against claws.

Example 2: A weapon with the 'Parry' property that you are proficient with can use an INTERACT action to give you a +1 bonus to your AC.

Using the INTERACT action references the MANIPULATE rules. Manipulating is 'using an object to cause an effect'. But ANY TIME you manipulate an object, you trigger an attack of opportunity.

Thus, when you parry an attack (getting a +1 to AC) you provoke an attack. Granted, MOST creatures don't get to make AoO, but it is not immediately clear which ones do and which ones don't (in fact, if I'm understanding, some get AoO until they advance, in which case they lose them).

There are a bunch of other wonky rules changes that just seem like a bad idea. In 3.x, Quickdraw lets you draw a weapon as a free action. In Pathfinder 2, it lets you draw and attack in the same action. But that means you have to be in a place where when you draw you CAN attack (ie, instead of drawing as you approach, you draw WHEN YOU GET THERE). For the same reason parrying provokes, quick drawing your weapon and making your free attack ALSO PROVOKES.

As a playtest document, I would think this is okay. As a fully released game, I'm disappointed.

From the perspective of what they were trying to accomplish, I also don't feel like they were moving in the right direction. I think there were a lot of ways they could have streamlined Pathfinder 1 and made it an easier to grok game, and I don't think they did that.

I'm not expecting it to do well - even among Pathfinder fans. I can't see it bringing in people that didn't already enjoy Pathfinder.

stiq
stiq's picture

I get where you're coming from. I think most of the problems mentioned here are easy enough to smooth over that they don't cause me a lot of grief, but I definitely understand what you're feeling with the specific examples.

I think the Fury Barbarian thing was an attempt to balance it against the defenses offered by other Instincts, but I can't be sure of that, and since it's very unremarkable anyway I'm not sure giving it the best defenses would have been a problem. Since Barbarians are overtly supernatural more often than not, maybe it's a primal magic thing? Who knows.

Another running theme there is that attacks of opportunity are way easier to trigger and much more dangerous in exchange for being rarer (only 3 classes and maybe 10% of monsters) and it eating a reaction, something that the vast majority of characters and creatures only get one of. Don't know how you mean about creatures losing AoOs when they advance; I know the Bestiary on the SRD is still unfinished and maybe that's the problem. Barring that issue, AoOs are just not a thing unless otherwise specified.

I'll stand with you on them maybe not going far enough - they're implementing game design ideas that were experimented with as early as 4th edition, if not earlier, while trying to reconcile that with their brand image and not change too much at once, and so a lot of things are just unaddressed for better and for worse - but as far as whether or not it's easier to understand, I think it's kind of no contest. Say what you will about cross-referencing tag definitions, but the math is a lot easier to learn for the first time and there are few things I despise more than 3rd edition's action economy.

I actually think Pathfinder's most loyal fans are honestly going to like it less than the people they're targeting here. I see them as targeting people who have been on the fence about PF and played it because it was physically accessible and not because it was their favorite game, as well as trying to draw in people through the SRD and word of mouth, which (aside from riding a wave of reactionary blowback on 4th edition) was pretty much the strategy that worked for them before.

All that said, I don't expect it to go as well as 1st edition either, but that's because I think Paizo's success was always going to run into a brick wall eventually. We did variations on 3rd edition for 19 years. People move on. This move might slightly extend their success, if anything, but it also might not.

stiq
stiq's picture

Also, I agree that navigating the SRD is a mess. As a stopgap, this mirror is less attractive and even further from being finished, but at least it has a search function.

http://pf2.d20pfsrd.com/

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The SRD you originally linked has a search function, also. It works really, really well.

Once you find it, anyway.

I am still parsing through the actual rules, trying to get my head around them. But many of DDMW's criticisms with regard to PF2E's reliance on nested references are self-evidently valid. I like the added specificity, but it sends you into cross-referencing hell. Even with the online SRD, it's a mess. In a physical document, I'm sure I'd be tearing my hair out as a new DM or player.

Once you get used enough to this feature of the rule set for the most common references to be things you actually know from memory, it may actually be a great feature; if there's anything that is troublesome to me as a DM who's been messing with 3.X edition and its variants for ~19 years, it's that there are ambiguities in the rules I use that come from insufficiently close interlocking between different subsystems of the game.

So I approve of what I think Paizo is trying to do with PF2E. In theory, and in intention, I really like it. The learning curve for newbies is going to be way steeper because of how it's been implemented, though. These references and properties they're tagging onto everything make it REALLY unfriendly to beginning users.

I'm not so concerned about his observations on the Parry action, because the PF2E rules explicitly instruct that when two rules appear to interact in a way that doesn't seem clear, you should throw out any interpretation that sounds too good to be true, and any interpretation that leads to clearly nonsensical results, and then work out something in the middle that seems to work.

Getting an AoO for parrying sounds nonsensical to me.

Speaking as a guy who's still running 3.5 as a DM but who plays in PF1E and might someday switch to that, I have no great interest in upgrading to PF2E.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

The Hobgoblin Warrior (level 1) has an Attack of Opportunity, but the Hobgoblin Archer (Level 4) and Hobgbolin General (Level 6) don't have one.

While I can understand that a Drow Rogue (Level 2) is not an advanced Drow Warrior (Level 1) and therefore it makes sense that the rogue doesn't have AoO but the warrior does, it doesn't make as much sense to me that a hobgoblin general wouldn't have begun life as a hobgoblin warrior and kept all of those abilities. The flavor text specifically mentions that they don't 'go soft' and still lead from the front.

I haven't read all of the rules (and I'm not planning to), in part because I haven't seen enough that appeals to me and the bits I've looked at seem to indicate some problems.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I think that PF2E may not be observant of its predecessor editions' tendency to use character classes for monsters.

We can't really know yet for the hobgoblins in particular, because the entry is incomplete. The same goes for the drow. See https://2e.aonprd.com/Monsters.aspx?Letter=All, in red at the top of the table of monster listings.

You've picked examples that are not instructive as the basis for this criticism.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

stiq
stiq's picture

As far as a hobgoblin general, it's perhaps relevant that it's one of the unfinished entries; it doesn't even have its attacks yet. Regardless, though: Fighters are the only character class who -consistently- get AoOs, so there are lots of Rangers, Barbarians, Champions, and other miscellaneous warriors who simply aren't as opportunistic in nature.

In any event: I'll grant you that the sea of tags is a strike against it as a barrier to entry, but I think it also has many advantages over the prior edition in terms of people learning it:

- the complete removal of the 3rd edition action economy. Wrapping your head around full round actions, standard actions, and move actions is achievable enough (even if it's needlessly harsh on melee characters), but the inclusion of swift and immediate actions and the fact that they -technically- use the same action and all that (at least by PF's take on it) just needlessly complicates a lot of things. "Three Actions, One Reaction" is both more immediately intuitive and more intuitive to design and balance around, even if their special symbols are maybe unnecessary.

- Skill points, saving throw/BAB progressions, and acquiring new attacks from BAB milestones are all things that are individually easy to understand, but unifying them onto a single mathematical principle makes it faster on the uptake and also just takes less time to do in your head, if you're already familiar with it.

- Armor class scaling with level doesn't necessarily make it more intuitive to make your first character, but I think it's a step in the right direction as far as late-level play not developing its own unrecognizable metagame that doesn't resemble lower level play in the slightest.

- The impact of size on your character has been minimized, especially in situations like the athletics/maneuver rules, such as how grappling targets Fortitude unmodified by the target's size (aside from "too big to even attempt" cutoffs).

Those are most of the examples I could think of, off the top of my head, but there may very well be several other things that both work for and against my argument.

That said, I would have dropped Vancian Casting in a ditch somewhere a few stops ago, so I'm not going to say that making the game intuitive was their absolute top priority either. I think it'll mainly be attractive to people who understood the first edition but just didn't like it all that much, and maybe people who have mastered 5e and want to try something else for a while, since 5e pretty much exclusively prints adventures over supplements... which incidentally is a strategy I've heard Paizo is going to experiment with at a less extreme degree (like, for example, releasing a splat about Alkenstar which contains the rules for guns within it).

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The symbols are absolutely idiotic. And I don't share your hatred for the action economy in the 3.X family of games. I picked it up without an issue. It's different than the one in PF2E. And (although I remain largely ignorant of details about 4E and 5E) it appears to be different from the newer editions of D&D, as well.

I'm not convinced that it is better or easier to understand just because you don't like the old way.

Just so we're clear, I'm also not maintaining that the new way is worse. I'm saying that I don't think they're comparable. I think PF2E is very much a different beast than its predecessors.

They all look kinda similar in a superficial way, because they're all concerned with tactical combat on a grid scale of around 5 feet, and with exploration and adventuring on a larger scale. But PF2E (and 4e and 5e) is not recognizably the same game system as 3.0/3.5/D20 Modern/PF1E once you get past that superficial resemblance based on the shared gaming concerns.

I haven't digested enough of the PF2E SRD to address the rest of your points, except to remark that WotC probably is very smart to focus on publishing adventures instead of supplements.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

stiq
stiq's picture

I think I can respect that perspective.

If it's not perfectly obvious, I like the way PF2 is doing things (I have stated my positive opinion of several specific changes, and I like the over-the-top nature of some of the new content) but I'm trying to be open to the possibility that it has problems or will not do well. I'll probably be fine in any event; if there are problems, that just gives me something to homebrew later.

One thing I will say: I have no beef with the 3.X community keeping their preferred fantasy experience alive. I'd like to see someone use the OGL to try and print like, a curated compendium of the mountain of content that already exists, someday. What I do think, though, is that 3.X was never going to hold down the market forever, and I think Paizo deciding to make a 2nd edition after originally saying they weren't going to is probably the canary in that coal mine, if not the death knell.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I'm not playing 3.X/PF1E because I'm trying to keep alive some kind of perfect and eternal gaming system. I use it because I already own a bunch of material for it, I wrote my own homebrew setting that's already set up to use it, and because after 18-19 years, I can make it do pretty close to whatever I want if I think about it a little bit.

Plus, everyone that I currently play with or am likely to play with in the future already knows the edition about as well as I do, owns a bunch of the material, etc.

I'm not under any illusion that 5E or PF2E are intended to attract me as a customer or appeal to my sensibilities, and I think it's silly to expect otherwise or to be upset about the fact that they're being produced in the face of commercial realities.

But because I'm invested in a system that addresses my interests and the interests of my established gaming group, there's not really any incentive for me to go looking for a replacement. There are people who're still using 2E. Hell, people are still running 1st edition, here and there. I'm not doing that because I would actually have to learn those rule sets.

There are quite a few people on this forum who play various Warhammer/Warhammer 40k variants, too. I don't, because (again) it's a new system and I'm lazy.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

stiq wrote:

One thing I will say: I have no beef with the 3.X community keeping their preferred fantasy experience alive.

I also recognize a lot of deficiencies in 3.x. I think that it made a lot of good changes to 1st edition/2nd edition (rules that I AM familiar with) but because of how much was changed and how ambitious it was, there were things that didn't end up working well. From 1st-10th level with a sweet-spot of 4th-8th, 3.x ends up working out really well. Most of the problems really become apparent at higher levels of play.

Outside of the play-by-post I do on this site, my primary gaming is with video-chat with my real-life gaming friends from Iowa City (since spread out to various corners of the country). We meet for about 5 hours on Sunday.

As a group, we were really looking forward to the release of Pathfinder 1. We participated in the playtest and tried to provide extensive feedback. It became clear that the types of improvements we felt were needed weren't going to be included in Pathfinder. Consequently, we built our own gaming system that offers significant departures from the 3.x chassis, but you can see it shares some DNA.

You mentioned Vancian casting - we don't have it. Every character, regardless of class, gains a caster level of 1/2 their level -1 (ie, every 3rd level character has CL 1). Every spell has a school and a level (ie, Fire 1, Air 4, Necromancy 7), and any player can invest resources to learn spells. Unlike Pathfinder, or 3.x with dozens and dozens of classes, we have 5. But because we offer a lot of customization options, it isn't hard to get the flavor of any 3.x or Pathfinder class. One class (Wizard) has class abilities that increase their CL so you can play a 'dedicated spell-caster' whether that is flavored as a druid, sorcerer, etc. Usually, when you gain a bonus to CL, it applies to 1 school. So a typical wizard is a specialist by the standards of other games. If you're a Necromancer, you have 2nd level Necromancer spells while you have access to all other schools at 1st level only. It is possible to specialize in more than one school, but so far nobody has done more than 2 (there are costs to more schools and there are diminishing returns).

Since this wasn't a solo project, our game is well documented and frequently reviewed. It is 'complete' as in playable, but we are incessant tinkerers. When something comes up that seems to work in an unsuitable way we tweak. We've been using 'proficiency bonuses' for a while.

Which is a long way to say that we have something that is uniquely suited to our style and desire of play. We've used it in dozens of campaigns with very different flavors, including using it to run though a Paizo AP.

Making a game is a ton of work, and we wouldn't have bothered if Pathfinder had given us what we needed. Now that we've gone and done all that work, it'd be a tall order for any gaming company to release a system that COULD appeal to us more.

stiq
stiq's picture

All well and fair enough, on all accounts. Mostly I wanted to pick folks' brains and break the ice after me being completely absent for... like, half a decade, at least.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

I've been playing the first edition of Pathfinder regularly since the first phase of playtesting and have zero interest in the upgrade based on everything I've heard. I'm sure it has its charms, though.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken