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Which 5e DMs are switching to P2, and why?

kenada

New member
We’re switching from 5e to PF2. For us, it’s more about the fit for the type of campaign and the players than anything in particular for me as a DM.

I’m currently running an exploration-focused hexcrawl in 5e. Our last session ended with a TPK (but that was one exploration team out of many). That fight would have gone much differently in PF2, since the math is such that lots of lower level are less dangerous than they are in 5e.

Having run a PF2 one-shot for the group, I find monsters more interesting to run. Improvised actions by the PCs are easy to accommodate in the new action economy, so it’s not as restricting as it might seem at first glance. There is a learning curve, but I think once we get past that, we’ll have a game with a pretty consistent and robust framework for play.

The biggest challenge will be converting my homebrew setting over, since it will require new ancestries (replacing all the core ones) and changes to the champion class to make it fit in well, but that would be true of any system.
 

Knaight

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Validated User
A lot of what seems like embedded complexity significantly reduces the cognitive load of the GM. Having defined consequences and tools for determining DCs in a more hygienic fashion means the GM expends less mental effort on those things and can be legitimately surprised by the results.
It depends on the DM. The cognitive load of judgment versus memory varies, and I'd consider determining a DC from the fiction a negligible task, while looking one up or commiting one to memory is enough to add up.
 

Protean

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Validated User
It depends on the DM. The cognitive load of judgment versus memory varies, and I'd consider determining a DC from the fiction a negligible task, while looking one up or commiting one to memory is enough to add up.
For me it is mostly a matter of not wanting to have to exercise judgement in a moment when we're in the middle of play. I want to be just as surprised by the outcome as the other players and not feel like I'm pushing things in one direction or another. The defined consequences for Critical Success, Success, Failure, and Critical Failure are more important here than the DCs.

Pathfinder does not really rely on static DCs very often. Instead it has a set of tools to help come up with DCs. Often if you are directly acting against a creature like the Make An Impression use of Diplomacy or Sneaking past some guards the DC is determined by inverting a statistic like Perception or Will Save into a DC. There is also a DC by Level chart to use if you have not generated stats for a given NPC or your making a knowledge check against something with a level like a magic item or a monster. They go over how to make adjustments based on fictional positioning. Finally some things are just Simple DCs where you are acting against your environment with guidelines based on Proficiency level. Would someone who is Trained, Expert, Master, or Legendary at that skill be able to accomplish the task?
 

Knaight

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Validated User
That all seems like a lot more trouble than intuitively understanding system math and the fiction to a deep level and just picking a number - which doesn't impact my surprise at all.

Like I said, it's GM specific. How good are you at organizing and referencing notes? How comfortable are you with judgment calls? How's your numerical intuition? How's your list memorization? What's your tolerance for resolution delay?

I'm just saying the idea that the mechanics categorically reduce workload instead of doing it provisionally for certain GMs is pretty dubious.
 

Protean

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Validated User
Of course. There are million ways to play and run roleplaying games. That's why we have so many. For me it's often helpful to have a mental framework to help me think about the fiction. I am comfortable with judgement calls, but I find it useful to have tools like encounter building systems and DC by level to make determinations more quickly so I can focus on the parts of running the game I actually enjoy like creating situation, challenging the PCs, characterization, and playing things out. I generally do most of my note taking after a session. I do have a really strong numerical intuition and a really good memory. I can pretty much see the DC and encounter building charts in my head.

I never made the claim that mechanics categorically reduce workload. Some GMs actively enjoy making those determinations for themselves or don't have the same head space for memorizing tables. Some want more of a say in how things go. I generally like things that central to play to be more defined. I like it when different games help us experience different sorts of stories.
 
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