So what is the consensus on PF2e?

GrahamWills

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#91
From what I've read, it's the latter. I can't recall the exact terms, but I read somewhere that a PC with the top level of skill training should have approx 98% chance of success at an average task.
Which kind of begs the question of "why roll at all?" (well, besides the question of "how do you even achieve those sorts of percentages using a d20? I suppose a 1 followed by another low roll?").
Having played the PF2 playtest, I can answer that -- because highly skilled characters aren't concerned with just success -- that's pretty much a given. What they care about is CRITICAL success. Similarly a bad character knows they are almost certainly going to fail, but they care about not CRITICALLY failing.

I think this is a core PF2 design issue that people not playing it are not familiar with. Unlike other versions of D&D with binary success, PF2 strongly uses graded success as a design philosophy. Some examples of how this plays out:

Armor Class: In other systems, characters often decide whether or not to go for a decent AC. A common decision was to pretty much ignore AC -- if you get hit 20% more of the time, that wasn't a big deal, so often it was not worth using a shield or wearing heavy armor. Just grab a few more hit points and move on. In PF2 if you do that you are not only going to be hit 20% more of the time, you are going to be critically hit an additional 20% of the time. That makes it much more serious. The graded success system makes dumping AC / Saves / skills much less of a thing.

Dominate Spell: Looking at my 12th level Bard, I picked up dominate as a spell. Here's its effect based on opposition save:
  • Critical Success The target is unaffected.
  • Success Slowed 1 for 1 round as it fights off your commands.
  • Failure The target follows your orders but attempts a Will save at the end of each of its turns. On success, the spell is dismissed.
  • Critical Failure As failure, but the target receives a new save only whenever you give it a new order, and even then only if the new order is against its nature, such as killing its allies
Note how massively more nasty the critical failure is -- honestly if I was the target of a dominate and I had a simple fail, I'd likely be relieved! This is a common pattern; failure is annoying, but critical failure is terrible. As another example, I cast a two-level heightened fireball against a boss mummy last weekend. He critically failed and went from perfectly healthy to virtually dead. Critical failure is terrifying.

Overall, I really, really like this graded result system. It means that when you fight against an overwhelming opposition there is a reason you roll to save -- sure, the breath weapon is going to hit you -- but is it going to critically hit you? And it means that very competent characters facing mooks still have reason to roll -- I want to dominate them ALL DAY!

Maybe most importantly, it removes a major dislike of mine from all other versions of D&D -- it makes it much less attractive to dump some features of a character that logic and real-world knowledge say you shouldn't dump, because the rules mean that if you don't at least TRY and have a good armor class, your fighter is going to die.

In previous comments, one person complained that the 1-20 range of skills in PF2 was a problem compared to (for example) the 1-10 range in 13th Age (which is my favorite D&D variant, BTW). But since the target number to hit is actually three numbers -- {X-10, X, X+10} -- it means that the bigger spread of possible rolls in PF2 is matched by a bigger range of possible outcomes.

If you haven't played, it really makes a big difference. It means that two people making survival checks, one with a +18 and one with a +6 are both excited and involved in the roll. The good guy is thinking "I hope I find a killer great site to camp that will make me more rested tomorrow" and the weak guy is thinking "I really hope I just end up dog tired and don't fall of a cliff". I like it.
 
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#92
I think this is a core PF2 design issue that people not playing it are not familiar with. Unlike other versions of D&D with binary success, PF2 strongly uses graded success as a design philosophy. Some examples of how this plays out:
I must have skipped over the critical success/critical failure when I skimmed the playtest, so thanks for making that more clear. It reminds me of Savage Worlds, where you gun for raises over just a success.

But I think in a D&D-based system, my mind is going to view all DCs as being 10 higher and ignore anything not labelled "Critical", success or failure. It's what my group did with Mutants and Masterminds, where just achieving the first step in imposing conditions was viewed as almost as bad as a miss.
 

GrahamWills

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#93
I must have skipped over the critical success/critical failure when I skimmed the playtest, so thanks for making that more clear. It reminds me of Savage Worlds, where you gun for raises over just a success.

But I think in a D&D-based system, my mind is going to view all DCs as being 10 higher and ignore anything not labelled "Critical", success or failure. It's what my group did with Mutants and Masterminds, where just achieving the first step in imposing conditions was viewed as almost as bad as a miss.
It didn't for us, but YMMV, certainly.
 

flashedarling

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#94
Oh, but there are skill feats! What's a skill feat? Well, basically each skill has some of its functionality lopped off and locked behind a skill feat, so that you don't really know how the skill system works until you have internalised the entire list of skill feats. And now you fiddle with proficiencies and also a limited list of feats, each of which seems to add a small amount of functionality in very specific circumstances.
I agree that the Skill feats are terrible and should be discarded immediately. The idea seems like a good one but only if you make skill feats allow you to do things you wouldn't expect the skill to do otherwise. My example is "Streetwise" which is a feat that lets you use your Society skill to gather knowledge about the city you are in. What the hell is the Society skill for other than gathering knowledge about the city and its people? The society feats in particular make it seem like a useless skill to have unless you have the feats that actually let you do anything with it.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

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#95
It recently occurred to me that gating certain functions that in other versions of D&D behind something like a feat or class ability is something I remember reading in the Radiance RPG (I remember grappling was a class ability). Wonder if someone at Paizo decided that was a cool things and then went overboard.
 

Victim

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#96
Having played the PF2 playtest, I can answer that -- because highly skilled characters aren't concerned with just success -- that's pretty much a given. What they care about is CRITICAL success. Similarly a bad character knows they are almost certainly going to fail, but they care about not CRITICALLY failing.

I think this is a core PF2 design issue that people not playing it are not familiar with. Unlike other versions of D&D with binary success, PF2 strongly uses graded success as a design philosophy. Some examples of how this plays out:

Armor Class: In other systems, characters often decide whether or not to go for a decent AC. A common decision was to pretty much ignore AC -- if you get hit 20% more of the time, that wasn't a big deal, so often it was not worth using a shield or wearing heavy armor. Just grab a few more hit points and move on. In PF2 if you do that you are not only going to be hit 20% more of the time, you are going to be critically hit an additional 20% of the time. That makes it much more serious. The graded success system makes dumping AC / Saves / skills much less of a thing.

Dominate Spell: Looking at my 12th level Bard, I picked up dominate as a spell. Here's its effect based on opposition save:
  • Critical Success The target is unaffected.
  • Success Slowed 1 for 1 round as it fights off your commands.
  • Failure The target follows your orders but attempts a Will save at the end of each of its turns. On success, the spell is dismissed.
  • Critical Failure As failure, but the target receives a new save only whenever you give it a new order, and even then only if the new order is against its nature, such as killing its allies
Note how massively more nasty the critical failure is -- honestly if I was the target of a dominate and I had a simple fail, I'd likely be relieved! This is a common pattern; failure is annoying, but critical failure is terrible. As another example, I cast a two-level heightened fireball against a boss mummy last weekend. He critically failed and went from perfectly healthy to virtually dead. Critical failure is terrifying.

Overall, I really, really like this graded result system. It means that when you fight against an overwhelming opposition there is a reason you roll to save -- sure, the breath weapon is going to hit you -- but is it going to critically hit you? And it means that very competent characters facing mooks still have reason to roll -- I want to dominate them ALL DAY!

Maybe most importantly, it removes a major dislike of mine from all other versions of D&D -- it makes it much less attractive to dump some features of a character that logic and real-world knowledge say you shouldn't dump, because the rules mean that if you don't at least TRY and have a good armor class, your fighter is going to die.

In previous comments, one person complained that the 1-20 range of skills in PF2 was a problem compared to (for example) the 1-10 range in 13th Age (which is my favorite D&D variant, BTW). But since the target number to hit is actually three numbers -- {X-10, X, X+10} -- it means that the bigger spread of possible rolls in PF2 is matched by a bigger range of possible outcomes.

If you haven't played, it really makes a big difference. It means that two people making survival checks, one with a +18 and one with a +6 are both excited and involved in the roll. The good guy is thinking "I hope I find a killer great site to camp that will make me more rested tomorrow" and the weak guy is thinking "I really hope I just end up dog tired and don't fall of a cliff". I like it.
I don't see how screwing people even harder because they don't have enough bonuses is particularly good.

And note that the 'terrifying' critical failure of the dominate is basically the normal 3e/PF dominate already. The only reason it might be scarier is that protection spells are only providing a small bonus instead of blocking control.

So on one hand, you have less reliable do X spells because the stronger effects are often gated behind critical hits or critical fails, and you have less reliable block X spells as well - which seems to take an ax to much of the spell v spell strategy layer of 3.x and PF. And what's replacing that badly balanced and unwieldy - but still somewhat interesting - element is random swing.
 

Alter_Boy

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#97
I don't see how screwing people even harder because they don't have enough bonuses is particularly good.

And note that the 'terrifying' critical failure of the dominate is basically the normal 3e/PF dominate already. The only reason it might be scarier is that protection spells are only providing a small bonus instead of blocking control.
You're right. By not having spells/magic items that give blanket immunities to certain things, and any potential spell/effect resulting in critical failure 5% of the time, intentionally lowballing one of your stats is going to hurt you more than it would in other systems for two reasons. First, it's harder to get very high bonuses in PF2 playtest, and you can avoid the worst of the game's penalties by being average. The save-or-die effects are pretty lethal (I took out two PCs in one battle with one Blindness spell and one Phantasmal Killer spell), but like GrahamWillis said, they're only on 'critical failure' results. The playtest is liberal in offering skill training and other ways to get average results on dice rolls, so the critical failures results are more of a deterrent on min-maxing than a persistent feature of the game.
 

GrahamWills

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#99
I don't see how screwing people even harder ... is particularly good.
... gated behind critical hits or critical fails,
... less reliable block X spells
I completely agree -- if you are the sort of person who likes the binary success / fail system, and doesn't want degrees of "screwing people" this system is not for you. If you love save or die spells, you don't want high successes or bad fails to mean anything more than regular ones; you want all block spells to either succeed or not; you are not comfortable with partial successes or fails, but feel that the best possible success or worst possible failure is a gateing measure and lesser gradations can be ignored -- absolutely, play something else.

I play a lot of more modern systems with degrees of failure, so it appeals to me -- but it is an added layer of complexity and it won't appeal to everyone.
 

ezekiel

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Characterizing the linked post that way is just straight-up lying.
Then I apologize for lying (though I feel that term is inaccurate, as I had no intention to deceive and gave a link specifically so people could inform themselves). It is my honest opinion that that is a valid reading of the linked post.

I may have been allowing a very uncharitable interpretation because of SKR's comments on the Vow of Poverty from a while back. To avoid the possibility of deception, here is the full text of that post (spoilerblocked as it's not short), which responded to the question, "Given how much you lose from this, mechanically speaking, why should someone take the Vow of Poverty ability?"
Spoiler: Show
Roleplaying?

Not every game option has to be the best option. Not every game rule option has to be a good option. In fact, some game choices are guaranteed to be BAD in terms of rules consequences, and people do them anyway because they want to play interesting characters. You can play a wizard with a 12 Int (I've done it, in the very first 3E playtest campaign, in fact). You can play a fighter who maximizes Con instead of Str. You can put ranks in Profession. You can take Skill Focus (Appraise). You can play a child, or a blind character, or a pacifist.

There are huge numbers of players who make and play characters that they think would be a fun or interesting concept. Players who don't worry about "optimal builds" to maximize AC or damage, because the game is designed for PCs to win and they can play characters that aren't minmaxed and not have them die all the time (I'll point out that the default encounter is CR = APL, which is an easy encounter that only uses 20% of the party's disposable resources... that's stacking the deck in the favor of the PCs).

The game expects you to have X gp worth of gear at every level. Deliberately choosing to play a character that ignores that and has essentially nothing at high levels is a very suboptimal design choice. You're allowed to do that. I think it's admirable for the people who want to play that sort of character. But it is unrealistic to say "because you've given up all these goodies, you gain other goodies that exactly make up for that choice which deliberately makes you a fragile character." And if you did build such a thing into the rules, it's basically saying, "you, the character that's made a sacrifice? It's not really a sacrifice at all, you're just as good as someone who didn't make that sacrifice. In other words, your sacrifice is meaningless because you're not really giving up anything."

If you want a game where all builds are equally viable, you should play a different game. Pathfinder lets you make suboptimal choices, or even poor choices, and it doesn't reward you for making those poor choices. Because rewarding poor choices is dumb. I don't see anyone clamoring that there should be a feat or vow or ritual for Int 8 wizards to get access to different powers to make up for his lack of spells, whether or not you call it the "Vow of Rincewind." I don't see anyone clamoring that the low-Dex fighter should get something that makes him awesome at dodging out of trouble and accidentally killing his enemies in comedic ways, whether or not you call it the "Vow of Jar-Jar."

I like the concept of the vow of poverty. It's a noble thing. And I understand that it sucks to be the impoverished character in a game where you're supposed to have 20,000 gp worth of goodies. So the VOP in UM gives you a bone in the form of extra ki. And another bone in the form of "you can have one item of value," which lets you put all your gp cheese in one item instead of ten. But I'm not going to let the rules make your impoverished monk as good as a regular monk. If you want to play a character that's making a sacrifice, make a sacrifice--don't pretend it's a sacrifice and expect a handout for pretending.
I take statements like, "Pathfinder lets you make suboptimal choices, or even poor choices, and it doesn't reward you for making those poor choices. Because rewarding poor choices is dumb," as indicating that (when he posted this) SKR genuinely believed that it was good game design to produce options that are actively harmful to the character, with little to no mechaical benefit, in pursuit of flavor. I am given to understand he has since changed his mind about these things, but he also doesn't work for Paizo anymore. If I have, on the net, still deceived then I apologize once more.
 
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