The Good of Pathfinder 2e
Pathfinder 2nd edition seems to shake things up and change the game up, pretty much everything is different except for the skill points, which have been changed a little, but to an extent, not enough. My favorite part is the fact they segregated things into meaningful choices… making it so two humans can have completely different stats without even choosing a class! That is exciting to me, that means your choices have value.
They broke up feats into four segments: race, class, skill and normal feats, each having different points for the class/race combination. Even more interesting is if you start moving down the “half-race” road, the options start flooding in. The only problem is it is definitely scary to people new to tabletop role-playing games or people who are scared of data in general. The races also provide a baseline for starting health alongside stats, the stats are more versatile and optional instead of a set +2 to x stat, you have an option between several stats to give points to and a stat or two to take points from.
actions are still extremely important of course, breaking it into 3 actions and 1 reaction per encounter. Actions can involve moving, attacking and using skills which solve a variety of problems. Some actions even involve spending more than one action at once. Free actions still exist and do not spend actions or reactions. Spells can be different based on how many actions you are willing to spend on them, changing a touch heal into a point-blank area effect that hits everything within 30ft. They also introduce strikes that seem a bit rushed but still interesting.
The Interesting of Pathfinder 2e
The number of feats has been increased dramatically because all characters have four types of feats that are integrated by classes and races. This increases choice and customization but also increases new player learning curves and information overload for the same newer players. I for one love the customization that is introduced by this, it will be interesting to see what this brings to the table.
Backgrounds are also introduced into pathfinder 2e, they give a bit more than just skill and roleplaying benefits, they give stat bonuses which make it easier to make any race into anything you want! But the drawback is new players are flooded with information, which can be a turn-off, mainly if you are newer to tabletop role-playing games.
Archetypes are a lot like subclasses, except they are in place of levels in your main class. They can include skill feats, class feats that are normally for other classes, or special feats only available to special “prestige” like classes. I think this is a good middle ground to 5e’s subclass system, and Pathfinder, giving you that much-needed customization and important choices.
The Odd of Pathfinder 2e
Melee strikes are a new thing, usually, it involves a combination of old mechanics turned into actions. Like charge that takes two actions and a continuous travel of 30ft in a straight line. Power attack that involves doing extra damage, but costs an extra action. In general, I like the new action economy of Pathfinder 2e, but melee strikes are a bit different and I am not sure how I feel about them yet.
Everything, in general, has way more hitpoints to compensate for the increased action economy. A level 1 creature already has a potential of two attacks and a move and a reaction. Or a full-on attack of 3 attacks. Not to mention all weapons do not break 2 damage dice but have way more variables based on critical hits and how it is being wielded. In general, I like this idea and think it is a good direction, but it just needs to be tested more.
The Bad of Pathfinder 2e
I am actually disappointed on how skills are handled, 5e’s skill system was a breath of fresh air because it introduced proficiency for skills, making leveling up less tedious and new player friendly, but on top of that your class, background, and race is more than enough customization for your skills without making it a tedious affair of deciding what is important for your character. Maybe it is because skills have always been kind of a backburner thing for me, but the lack of customization for skills in 5e seemed like a way to still give you choices without making it a chore to level every level.
In conclusion, 5e and Pathfinder 2e
I have always have had a soft spot for Pathfinder and 3.5 because that is what I started with. But I feel like both Pathfinder 2e and 5e are a great direction for tabletop role-playing games. I think Pathfinder 2e has kinks to work out, but it could be a great system and a great game. We also did not get to go over items and other effects that pathfinder 2e has that make it promising. But I figured we would wait for another day on both. Really both are great experiences and it depends on the group you are playing with. 5e is new player friendly, It is up to you to find the best experience for you and your players. Just remember…. the Beastlands will adapt for the change!
Otherwise, you can also get your hands on a copy of the playtest here at paizo.
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