I figured I would skip the “Equipment” chapter in the playtest document. After all, surely the equipment section would just be the usual list of tables with weapons, armor, and miscellaneous objects, along with their assorted prices. It’s important for a game to have this information.
But then, I saw this:
An expert crowbar? WHAT IN TARNATION?
Gives a +1 bonus to Athletics checks to open things up? Seriously?
Can’t a DM just say, “grab your crowbar and you open the chest after X turns” or “grab your crowbar and roll under your Strength” or some other way to resolve it? If you don’t have a crowbar, you can’t pry anything open. There. Easy peasy lemon-squeezey.
Why make it more complicated than that?
And who expertly crafts a gosh-darned crowbar?
I mean no insult to crowbar manufacturers, just that a crowbar is a tool. It’s not a decorative art piece or anything. A blacksmith might carefully craft arms and armors for ceremonial purposes, like those worn by the guards at a king’s coronation.
But a crowbar?
Make it and move on. As long as it works well, that is all that matters.
Let’s move on. I don’t even want to talk about the compass.
What about the ten foot pole? Surely they can’t foul that one up…
Oh boy, I can use the “Seek” action from far away!
It’s a long pole. You just tap the floor and walls, trying to activate any traps from a safe distance. That’s it. WHY ARE YOU DINGUSES TRYING TO MAKE THIS GAME SO FREAKING HARD TO PLAY!
Okay okay, let’s keep going. Surely Paizo isn’t going to insult my intelligence or anything…
WE ALL KNOW WHAT A SHEATH / SCABBARD IS FOR!!!
Spells. Spells are nice.
I mentioned this before, but I will mention it again here. The heightened spell thing is a neat little twist on spell casting. Never let anyone say that I didn’t say something positive when it is applicable. In fact, here is a little quote that Paizo can use to advertise their game if they want.
Pathfinder 2E is only 99.99% an SJW-infested, unnecessarily-bloated, unwieldy, cluster-coitus of a system. -The Mixed GM
This heightened spell thing could be good for spellcasters that have trouble finding spells, so that they don’t have “wasted” spell slots. I may never homerule this into one of my campaigns (like hell am I actually playing Pathfinder 2E), but it is a neat idea and if you like it, feel free to steal it for your own game.
For the actual spells themselves, just like everything else in Pathfinder 2E, they are more complicated than the need to be. Here is the one example I need to prove this point.
Let’s look at it in Moldvay Basic:
Pretty simple. You cast the spell, roll 2d8, and that many Hit Dice of critters fall asleep for 4d4 turns or you cast it on one powerful creature and it falls asleep. No saving throw allowed!!! You can see why this spell is so powerful and well-loved by groups running an OSR game. Now, let’s compare it to the Pathfinder 2E version of the spell.
Okay. Now the enemies have to save vs it. That’s fine. A little twist on a classic, we can roll with that.
Wait, “A creature that falls asleep doesn’t fall prone or drop what it’s holding”?
Are Paizo employees humans? Or just aliens that are trying to create a roleplaying game? Generally, when a member of homo sapiens falls asleep, they lie down and drop things in their hands. You can argue that a dwarf or gnoll won’t fall over or drop items when they go to sleep; after all, they are made-up races with different biology than humans.
But come on! I assume that everyone reading this is at least 56% human, so you know how humans sleep. This is just stupid.
Also, Perception checks to wake up? Really? It’s magical sleep, not normal sleep!
Oh, and the saving throw thing. It’s not enough to have a saving throw to determine whether or not the enemy falls asleep, it’s gotta be more complicated.
This Success / Critical Success / Failure / Critical Failure chart is on a LOT of the spells. Whatever happened to pass or fail? What was wrong with it?
Per Infogalactic, “Chesterton’s fence is the principle that reforms should not be made until the reasoning behind the existing state of affairs is understood…There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.'”
Paizo needs to listen to Mr. Chesterton. Creating new and interesting systems to play with is great. New monsters, new magic spells, new items; it’s all good. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Saving throws are a perfect example. If you succeed at the saving throw, X happens (usually nothing). If you fail, Y happens (generally, the effect hits the character with full force). That’s it.
Why add the whole “Critical Success” & “Critical Failure”, for rolling a 20 or a 1 on the d20 on a saving throw? At best, this is a 5% chance on either result… so why bother with adding specific effects for just about every spell that requires a save? It won’t come up very often and it will require more book-keeping.
Example: Problem Glasses, a 1st Level Wizard, encounters 4 shitlords having a heated discussion. Xe decides that they are evil nazi-racist-scum and need to be eliminated. So, xe casts Sleep. Shitlord 1 fails his saving throw and falls asleep for 1 minute…unless he rolls a Perception check to wake up. Shitlord 2 critically fails his saving throw and falls asleep for 1 hour..unless he rolls a Perception check to wake up. Shitlord 3 critically succeeds and stays awake. Shitlord 4 succeeds, but has a -1 penalty to Perception checks for 1 round.
Now, someone [probably the GM] has to track the duration for the spell on three shitlords, the -1 Perception check for Shitlord 4, and the individual Perception checks for the sleeping ones to wake up.
And Sleep is just one example. Just about every single spell that allows saving throws has 4 different effects/durations, depending on saving throw. Once again, great for a vidya game that calculates this stuff in the background, but a hassle at the table.
It is almost time for a B/X game to begin, so I will leave you with a couple of spells that grabbed me as awful.