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Thoughts on Pathfinder 2e

Pathfinder 2e came out last month and I have had a blast delving into the new system and I wanted to give my initial thoughts. I want to preface this article with I am not writing to tell you how to play the game but rather some of my thoughts about how the game is run. 

First and foremost, games that have been designed in recent years have been built around the concept of simplicity. Take D&D 5e for example. Instead of having to figure out a circumstance bonus, we simply give advantage or disadvantage and call it a day. This mechanic allows DMs to easily give a bonus but doesn’t allow any variety when it comes to the numbers. This simplicity doesn’t encourage smart play, as gaining advantage is actually rather easy. It takes out a lot of the tactics that you can set yourself up with and I often wonder if people don’t just play a rules light games like Dungeon World or Fate. Pathfinder 2e takes the complexity of previous editions and simplifies it but still rewards creative gameplay. And it does this by adding a circumstance bonus for smart play and catching the enemies flat footed. The main critique is that the system then becomes much harder to grasp for new players but I have found that it isn’t any more or less complicated than D&D 5e, except that the numbers you apply tend to be larger to allow for more variation in accuracy.

The other way I noticed is that players have more choices. A lot of systems have an action, move, and swift action system. Pathfinder 2e created a three action economy that you can use any of your skills in. This allows you to swing your sword three times, to move three times, and to use a variety of different options is an engaging way. This power is balanced with something called the multiple attack penalty. Effectively, if you attack with more than one time in a turn you take a culminating -5 to your attack roll. However, they added a bunch of new ways to use your actions. If you are proficient in deception, you can use an action to contest your deception verses their insight to potentially catch the target flat-footed. Tripping, disarming, feinting, shoving, are now all mechanics that seem to be a benefit to use as opposed to an excuse to not do damage. My main flame about 5e is that martial classes didn’t really have options to change the pace of the game. Tripping and shoving feel like a waste of action economy and therefore it is usually better to just take every turn and strike. Leaving the cool abilities and concepts to casters. Sure, martial characters are consistent but they get most of their cool abilities by level 5 and never see much of a change. In Pathfinder 2e, I’m hoping to see the class kits and the feat diversity really allow martial characters to grow.

Classes are about what you would expect. I haven’t played enough to know about the balance of the game. However, I do like the multiclassing mechanics. Everything in this game is based on feats. Racial (called ancestry) feats, general feats, class feats, and skill feats. Every couple of levels, you gain a class feat that you can use to really round out your class kit. When you multiclass, you can choose to not take a feat in your class and get a feat in another one. Allowing you to get all the not feat related features of your class but still able to get a great deal of diversity in your class kit. I strongly believe in making a character concept but often your character concept doesn’t make the best character mechanically and it becomes clear when you are falling behind. I look forward to see if my monk/alchemist idea can be viable through this system.

Speaking of diversity, I came from the TTRP game known as Champions where you receive points and made whatever character you wanted within that point system. I haven’t found a rules heavy system that has allowed me to do that since. The feat system in older editions of D&D and pathfinder has always been great but people tended to specialize. In this edition, there are four kinds of feats that allow you to specialize in four different aspects of your character as opposed to a specific mechanic. Hypothetically, you should then get a more well rounded character then what is normal for a lot of d20 systems.

All this to say, I’m 100% intrigued by what this product has to offer. I think I’m going to push forward and explore this system in its entirety. If you are looking to purchase this product, please purchase using the widgets below. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and a couple of bucks come my way.