Tabletop RPG |OT| I cast a spell

bear force one

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Oct 26, 2017
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So I picked up Fantasy Grounds on Steam to play with my friends. It has been a long ass time and the last RPG I DMed/played was Pathfinder.

So a simple (?) question is at this point, which is more popular/played and especially liked? DnD 5E or whatever is the new flavor of Pathfinder? And can I get the books on Fantasy Grounds? I know I can get the DnD 5E ones.
ENWorld will always post the latest stat . Fantasy Grounds Usage Stats Confirms D&D #1, Followed by Pathfinder, Savage Worlds
 

ParityBit

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,666
Okay, I picked up 5E (DMG/PHB and MM) Now to read....and learn Fantasy Grounds. Which book would you start on? PHB or DMG?
 

Jest

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,078
Okay, I picked up 5E (DMG/PHB and MM) Now to read....and learn Fantasy Grounds. Which book would you start on? PHB or DMG?
I'd start with the PHB. The DMG is obviously valuable as a DM but even the most experienced player benefits from the DM being knowledgeable of the PHB. It will help with questions about building the characters and help you decide what variants (skills, items, etc..) you want to allow that they might be interested in.
 

1upmuffin

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
366
So I picked up Fantasy Grounds on Steam to play with my friends. It has been a long ass time and the last RPG I DMed/played was Pathfinder.

So a simple (?) question is at this point, which is more popular/played and especially liked? DnD 5E or whatever is the new flavor of Pathfinder? And can I get the books on Fantasy Grounds? I know I can get the DnD 5E ones.
5e is the most popular RPG now by an extremely big margin (this does not mean its the best game, or that it is the best choice for every game). If those are your only two options I'd choose 5e, it's a pretty solid system that works for a lot of players. It has less combat depth than something like Pathfinder and 3.5 but it still has enough to keep players interested. A benefit of being the most popular RPG is that it has tons and tons of resources.

TLDR: 5e
 

dragonchild

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,975
I’m skimming the PF2 mechanics and. . . oy. Too early to issue a verdict, but it doesn’t look good. Seems they went for conceptual simplicity but then buried it with cross-referencial minutiae. It has the feel of D&D4 or even. . . (gulp) Shadowrun.

I’ll definitely take a closer look but I doubt it’ll threaten D&D5.
 

dragonchild

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,975
Let me elaborate a bit more on what I mean by "cross-referencial minutiae". I haven't gone over everything yet, of course, but I've done a few deep-dives.

There are fewer skills at first glance (yay?). Also, skill proficiency seems to have been simplified to categories: Untrained, Trained, Expert, Master, Legendary. Not sure what those do, but OK, fine. The skill check formula references a "proficiency bonus" but I can't find it (that just might be a problem with the SRD). The skill descriptions are broken down into actions, which makes some sense because skill descriptions have always included rules for use cases. Now that's been made explicit. Well, these actions have traits. For example, the Impersonate action of the Deception skill has a "Secret" trait, which just means the DM rolls the check behind the screen so the player can't know the outcome.

You can see what's going on here -- PF2 is built to be modular. This is all confusing at first (Impersonate also has an "Exploration" trait. . . wha? oh, that just means it takes time to use) but with familiarity this makes the system more resilient against future bloat. As you remember the traits, the game can grow considerably just by re-arranging them.

The problem I see is that the system already feels bloated. The class progression tables are absolutely packed with features, but a lot of them are incremental. Here's one for cleric, traditionally considered one of the more straightforward classes:

4th-level spells, general feat, skill increase, third doctrine​

That's not overly complex if you're progressing a regular PC, but it adds up for DMs. If you're starting an NPC cleric at 7th level, you have twenty-five class features & upgrades to process. In 5E, it's just seven.
Another case, I went over the weapons list and by far the most important question is, "How much damage does it do?" Well, here are the ones I saw that deal 1d4 damage:

Fist, Clan Dagger, Dagger, Gauntlet, Katar, Light Mace, Sickle, Spiked Gauntlet, Staff​

. . . and that's just the simple weapons. They have different properties such as damage type and "bulk", but these aren't going to be important in most cases, so it's kind of like shopping among 50 different brands of shampoo, all made by Proctor & Gamble. Weapons have traits as well (finesse, reach, etc.), to make one 1d4 weapon distinctive from another. That's fine, 5E does the same thing, but 5E has only ten weapon properties. PF2 has thirty-five. Some of these are unique; for example, the sawtooth saber is literally the only weapon with the "Twin" trait. They made it a trait anyway in case someone makes a new weapon with that trait, but how often will that be, and in the meantime, who's going to remember what that trait does? In addition, apparently "Deadly" and "Fatal" are distinctly different traits. With my memory being what it is, I'm going to have trouble with that.

To reiterate, this is still rather preliminary, but it feels like longevity was ironically prioritized over what it needs to ensure it'll take off at all -- learning curve and gameplay depth. So far it looks like Paizo has created a very efficient confetti-sorting system, having lost sight of the fact that it's not really fun to sort confetti -- you're supposed to mindlessly toss handfuls of the stuff.
Oh, I'm sure the modular structure is going to pay dividends in the coming years. However, it's not always the simplest approach, so the trait system at times feels less like solid design and more like fealty. See, while the concept is simple, it really comes down to remembering what the traits do. It reminds me of my coding days and object-oriented programming. The concept of object properties & methods is simple, but to do anything, you have to memorize those properties and methods. I think 35 weapon traits is already overkill for a core release, but will they (and all those 3rd-party sources) have the discipline to not go nuts pushing out yet more traits? Will every unique characteristic get shoved into its own trait, just to conform to the system? What if one splatbook cites a trait that's defined in another splatbook? OK, a lot of this is speculative, maybe even overreacting, but they really set the precedent with that sawtooth saber. One weapon does one thing, boom, new trait, and now you've put the item and what it does in different places. Robust code isn't always readable code, and this is a game, not Java.
 
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kennah

Member
Nov 11, 2018
108
The proficiency bonus in the play test went up by +1 per Level. So by the time you got to high levels you were adding pretty ridiculous numbers. I got a third of the way through the playtest before I didn't want to spend 3 hours making characters for a 4 hour session.
 

bear force one

Attempted to circumvent ban with alt account
Banned
Oct 26, 2017
4,305
Orlando
Let me elaborate a bit more on what I mean by "cross-referencial minutiae". I haven't gone over everything yet, of course, but I've done a few deep-dives.

There are fewer skills at first glance (yay?). Also, skill proficiency seems to have been simplified to categories: Untrained, Trained, Expert, Master, Legendary. Not sure what those do, but OK, fine. The skill check formula references a "proficiency bonus" but I can't find it (that just might be a problem with the SRD). The skill descriptions are broken down into actions, which makes some sense because skill descriptions have always included rules for use cases. Now that's been made explicit. Well, these actions have traits. For example, the Impersonate action of the Deception skill has a "Secret" trait, which just means the DM rolls the check behind the screen so the player can't know the outcome.

You can see what's going on here -- PF2 is built to be modular. This is all confusing at first (Impersonate also has an "Exploration" trait. . . wha? oh, that just means it takes time to use) but with familiarity this makes the system more resilient against future bloat. As you remember the traits, the game can grow considerably just by re-arranging them.

The problem I see is that the system already feels bloated. The class progression tables are absolutely packed with features, but a lot of them are incremental. Here's one for cleric, traditionally considered one of the more straightforward classes:

4th-level spells, general feat, skill increase, third doctrine​

That's not overly complex if you're progressing a regular PC, but it adds up for DMs. If you're starting an NPC cleric at 7th level, you have twenty-five class features & upgrades to process. In 5E, it's just seven.
Another case, I went over the weapons list and by far the most important question is, "How much damage does it do?" Well, here are the ones I saw that deal 1d4 damage:

Fist, Clan Dagger, Dagger, Gauntlet, Katar, Light Mace, Sickle, Spiked Gauntlet, Staff​

. . . and that's just the simple weapons. They have different properties such as damage type and "bulk", but these aren't going to be important in most cases, so it's kind of like shopping among 50 different brands of shampoo, all made by Proctor & Gamble. Weapons have traits as well (finesse, reach, etc.), to make one 1d4 weapon distinctive from another. That's fine, 5E does the same thing, but 5E has only ten weapon properties. PF2 has thirty-five. Some of these are unique; for example, the sawtooth saber is literally the only weapon with the "Twin" trait. They made it a trait anyway in case someone makes a new weapon with that trait, but how often will that be, and in the meantime, who's going to remember what that trait does? In addition, apparently "Deadly" and "Fatal" are distinctly different traits. With my memory being what it is, I'm going to have trouble with that.

To reiterate, this is still rather preliminary, but it feels like longevity was ironically prioritized over what it needs to ensure it'll take off at all -- learning curve and gameplay depth. So far it looks like Paizo has created a very efficient confetti-sorting system, having lost sight of the fact that it's not really fun to sort confetti -- you're supposed to mindlessly toss handfuls of the stuff.
Oh, I'm sure the modular structure is going to pay dividends in the coming years. However, it's not always the simplest approach, so the trait system at times feels less like solid design and more like fealty. See, while the concept is simple, it really comes down to remembering what the traits do. It reminds me of my coding days and object-oriented programming. The concept of object properties & methods is simple, but to do anything, you have to memorize those properties and methods. I think 35 weapon traits is already overkill for a core release, but will they (and all those 3rd-party sources) have the discipline to not go nuts pushing out yet more traits? Will every unique characteristic get shoved into its own trait, just to conform to the system? What if one splatbook cites a trait that's defined in another splatbook? OK, a lot of this is speculative, maybe even overreacting, but they really set the precedent with that sawtooth saber. One weapon does one thing, boom, new trait, and now you've put the item and what it does in different places. Robust code isn't always readable code, and this is a game, not Java.
Excellent post and after reading more I have to agree. I suppose a cheat sheet would help but I just wouldn't want to prep high level NPCs.
 

Jest

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,078
So with all the talk about how crunchy Pathfinder 2E appears to be... I think the question I have is, how does it compare to 1E in terms of crunch? Did they simplify it or did they just sort of shift some of the crunch to other areas?

I've been listening to a Starfinder podcast for a few months now and it still seems overly complex for the sake of complexity. The group is running one of the Paizo adventures and that also just seems absurdly punishing. Feels way closer to a dungeon crawl and not very supportive of creative choices.
 

EdibleKnife

Member
Oct 29, 2017
4,204
I'm loving that more and more books like V5, FATE (Accessibility Toolkit) and Eclipse Phase's 2nd Edition are taking hard line stances on being open and unequivocal about supporting marginalized groups and rebuking the GamerGate-esque bigots and scumbags that have poisoned PnP roleplaying for a long time. The birth of TTRPG movements like SwordDream/Interactionist genre are leading to a glut of games being created from the ground up to be focused unique experiences, settings and mechanics stemming from and promoted by empathetic and forwardly thinking people.

Following close behind the buck to the status quo similar to what gaming has and is still going through though is of course the multitude of "real gamers" pushing back against "the death of PnP gaming" due to "SJWs". I sincerely think that the topic here on Resetera is one of the few tabletop areas I cruise where I don't come away seeing a handful or more whiny people using slurs and bigoted rhetoric in response to the arrival of the books I mentioned at the top. EP2E's core book has a statement in the first few pages where they say that bigots and authoritarians should keep their money and find another game and I legitimately saw more than a few people internalize this as the developers "making it clear that obviously they don't want straight white men like us playing their game". It says a lot that people like that see the words 'bigot' and 'authoritarian' and somehow interpret both being good traits that they personally have and should be embraced/praised rather than shunned for. That type of nonsense is overwhelming throughout all of pop/nerd culture so I'm not surprised by it. Rather I'm just so glad that people like that feel left behind (as they should be) by this very open and public shift while TTRPG communities and creators move forward.
 

bear force one

Attempted to circumvent ban with alt account
Banned
Oct 26, 2017
4,305
Orlando
And Pathfinder was a solid ally way back when.

Page 121 of the DnD 5E Player's Handbook is explicit that gender doesn't have to be binary and sexual orientation is viable.
 

EdibleKnife

Member
Oct 29, 2017
4,204
And Pathfinder was a solid ally way back when.

Page 121 of the DnD 5E Player's Handbook is explicit that gender doesn't have to be binary and sexual orientation is viable.
Yep and both remain among the most popular contemporary RPGs. Maybe it's just the medium but I feel that though Paizo and Wizards aren't perfect (companies rarely are anyway), they're a lot more close to the pulse than modern video game publishers or film studios. There are a multitude of live play podcasts, twitch channels and YT channels exemplifying diverse casts and built up by equally diverse audiences. The people creating the rules, writing and art for these products are often close or straight up part of these very communities. In a sense it's not too dissimilar to what it's like in literature where there are way fewer barriers between the creator and the consumer. Those RPG creators see people excited to be a part of the hobby and invite their friends and loved ones to tell stories without alienation or gatekeeping bs that nerd culture is infamous for. The cost for simply making that rule in 5E is nothing but it means so much to so many people to see these storytelling tools explicitly stating that stories can be about them wherever they fall in the intersection of different disenfranchised or marginalized groups. This hobby has only grown and grown and will continue to do so and doesn't need to stay stagnant in the pool of """apolitical""" nostalgia that the doomsayer crowd bathes in.
 

FILE_ID.DIZ

Banned
Jun 1, 2019
220
Fort Wayne
Two out-of-nowhere things:

1) I just finished GMing my second game of Tails of Equestria, and wow, I didn't think I had it in me to roll with the punches, but I managed to guide these two bickering idiots to eventual success.
2) I've got a lot of 1E PF stuff from Humble Bundles. Is it all pointless now that 2E is out?
 

dragonchild

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,975
Unrelated to everything but since I’ve been posting updates here, my RPG project is canceled. Not that it had been going anywhere lately, so this just makes the obvious official.
 

1upmuffin

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
366
Gonna try to get my RPG group interested in The One Ring rpg.

Also, I really wanna play Pendragon eventually, that game sounds amazing.
 

dragonchild

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,975
So with all the talk about how crunchy Pathfinder 2E appears to be... I think the question I have is, how does it compare to 1E in terms of crunch? Did they simplify it or did they just sort of shift some of the crunch to other areas?
I'll reiterate that this is just a reaction to skimming the text and that I didn't participate in playtesting, but if I'm allowed to just spew opinions on the Internet, I'd say the amount of crunch is roughly the same. What they've done is make it more flexible, freeing the players from a lot of the senseless constraints that originated in D&D3.

You can definitely act more freely in PF2. Namely, all combatants now get three actions per round. Move-attack-move isn't locked behind a bunch of feats, and the full-attack-or-dink dichotomoy is gone. Now you just get penalized for multiple attacks, and some actions (namely spells) can eat multiple actions. This eliminates a lot of the maneuver minutiae that gave D&D3/3.5/PF1 combat that janky feel.

But it's still inherently a modifier-heavy game, to the extent that there's a separate "Notating Total Modifiers" section that instructs gamers to calculate ahead of time as many (persistent) modifiers as possible. This is part of the appeal for min/max-y players but puts a burden on DMs, particularly at higher levels.
 

Syril

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,158
But it's still inherently a modifier-heavy game, to the extent that there's a separate "Notating Total Modifiers" section that instructs gamers to calculate ahead of time as many (persistent) modifiers as possible. This is part of the appeal for min/max-y players but puts a burden on DMs, particularly at higher levels.
I was looking over those rules and checked out a bit mentally after seeing "+1 circumstance bonus to AC".
 

dragonchild

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,975
I wonder if this is just a formatting issue of the SRDs I've found but the layout of these progressions is painful. Here's the fighter's through L10:

1 Ancestry and background, initial proficiencies, attack of opportunity, fighter feat, shield block
2 Fighter feat, skill feat
3 Bravery, general feat, skill increase
4 Fighter feat, skill feat
5 Ability boosts, ancestry feat, fighter weapon mastery, skill increase
6 Fighter feat, skill feat
7 Battlefield surveyor, general feat, skill increase, weapon specialization
8 Fighter feat, skill feat
9 Ancestry feat, combat flexibility, juggernaut, skill increase
10 Ability boosts, fighter feat, skill feat

I think this looks far more complicated than it is. But if this is how it's laid out in the book, it's an annoying preventable formatting issue. If you're generating a mid-level character, instead of just looking up the totals, you start from level 1 and then essentially do an inventory count on the above.
Why not have separate columns tracking the various feats separately? Then if you're generating a mid-level character you've got the numbers right in front of you. By comparison, the barbarian in D&D5 has nice separate columns tracking proficiency, rage count, and damage bonus.

Please tell me it's just my sources and not how they formally organized class level progression.
 
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Vinci

Member
Oct 29, 2017
613
I don’t know how to argue that 3.5 is more popular than 5E. As far as I know, 5E is the most popular edition ever when considering the number of people playing it and how much legitimacy it’s gained in the mainstream.
 

absolutbro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,782
3.5e is still the fan favorite D&D edition, despite the fact it has had two successors.
Yeah, no.
I don’t know how to argue that 3.5 is more popular than 5E. As far as I know, 5E is the most popular edition ever when considering the number of people playing it and how much legitimacy it’s gained in the mainstream.
I also thought that 5e was widely considered as the most popular edition in the D&D community.
5E is the most popular edition in the history of D&D. It's not even close.

What 3.5E has is the most vocal fanboys.
These.
 

Rolling Nowhere

Alt account
Banned
Aug 1, 2019
31
Hi!

I am interested in trying out D&D. There are some local groups that are looking for players. In order to not be a total pain I thought I'd ask here. What should I buy, learn, or otherwise do in advance? Money really isnt an issue so if specific books or guides would be helpful, let me know. :D
 

Static_Void

Member
Oct 30, 2018
2,329
north of the Dreamlands
Hi!

I am interested in trying out D&D. There are some local groups that are looking for players. In order to not be a total pain I thought I'd ask here. What should I buy, learn, or otherwise do in advance? Money really isnt an issue so if specific books or guides would be helpful, let me know. :D
Go get the Player’s Handbook, and happy reading!

It’s pretty much all you need to do. Also maybe buy a nice set of dice.
 

Jest

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,078
Hi!

I am interested in trying out D&D. There are some local groups that are looking for players. In order to not be a total pain I thought I'd ask here. What should I buy, learn, or otherwise do in advance? Money really isnt an issue so if specific books or guides would be helpful, let me know. :D
All you need is the Player's Handbook and some print outs of your character sheet. If you want to learn a bit more, you can also look up videos on DnD for beginners or some actual play videos or podcasts to kind of get a feel for how it works. Generally though, groups should be fine as long as you express that you're new when asking to join. You should also double check to find out what edition they're playing. A lot play with 5th Edition (newest) but there are some groups that prefer 3.5 Edition or Pathfinder. It does make a difference, so be sure to check so that you get the right material.
 
Mar 19, 2019
306
5E is the most popular edition in the history of D&D. It's not even close.

What 3.5E has is the most vocal fanboys.
I don’t know how to argue that 3.5 is more popular than 5E. As far as I know, 5E is the most popular edition ever when considering the number of people playing it and how much legitimacy it’s gained in the mainstream.
I also thought that 5e was widely considered as the most popular edition in the D&D community.

Fair enough, looks like I was wrong. Sorry for putting my foot in my mouth, lol. But the point stands, he may not prefer 2e to 1e, so it isn't necessarily a waste.
 
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absolutbro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,782
I agree with you there. Older edition materials make great reference material if nothing else, and can often be converted up pretty easily.
 

Vinci

Member
Oct 29, 2017
613
Fair enough, looks like I was wrong. Sorry for putting my foot in my mouth, lol. But the point stands, he may not prefer 2e to 1e, so it isn't necessarily a waste.
Oh yeah, no question. Just because a game is older doesn't make it less good. Hell, as can be seen with the effect of 4E and the splintering of the D&D fanbase with Pathfinder, even newer editions can take things the wrong direction.
 

Ultron

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
792
Got to run For the Queen and Fall of Magic last night at a One Shot RPG night. Love em both. I decided to run them because I'd just come back from Gen Con and they're both no-prep.

For the Queen especially is great for getting people in the mind set of thinking about their character's pasts and how their characters feel about things. They have to, because that's the entire game. There isn't combat or moment to moment action, so it really focuses on that. The only mechanic is a deck of cards that pose questions about your characters relationship to a Queen that you're all on a journey with. So you'd draw a card like "The Queen hurt you once. What happened and why haven't you forgiven her?" and then either answer that from your character's perspective, or pass it on to somewhat else. It also normalizes and teaches the use of the X-card safety tool, which I always appreciate a game having out front. It's only about an hour, but very nice for a quick story game.

Fall of Magic, or "that game that comes with a scroll", also does a lot of that character focus as well, but does have the nice thing of there also being an ongoing journey moving from place to place that your characters can react to.

One thing I added to this one was letting everyone pick from a deck of character faces (that I got from the game "A Companion's Tale"). Everyone seemed to appreciate quickly being able to have a physical picture to anchor their character. I know I always try to facecast my characters as some actor, or find a cool piece of art that I think looks like them. Much more evocative then giving a verbal description most of the time. I might need to look for more things like that character deck as a resource to make available to people when running games.

I appreciate that both of these games super encourage the players to think as the characters they've made, instead of just as game pieces doing optimal actions that you see in a lot of D&D one shots.
 

1upmuffin

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
366
Hmm I didn’t think of that honestly.
I also bought Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Storm Kings Thunder, Tales from the Yawning Portal and the D&D beginners set for Lost Mines. I want to try DMing first with premise stuff to ease myself into it. I’d be teaching some friends who’ve never tried it before so I’m excited and nervous.
You start DMing star wars yet? I just bought a copy of the edge of the empire corebook, after that I'm done with RPG books for a long time haha.
 

Chromie

Member
Dec 4, 2017
743
You start DMing star wars yet? I just bought a copy of the edge of the empire corebook, after that I'm done with RPG books for a long time haha.
Nope. I’m starting with D&D. Figured it would be easier for me to teach and DM since I’m much more familiar with the system. Starting with the Lost Mines adventure. I’m excited to start it. We’ll be starting the 24th!

So far I did DM two ones since buying my books. Lots of fun, very different.

I helped two of my friends make their characters and it was so fun picking out the class and race then having them think of a backstory.

These are people who typically don’t play RPG’s so the stuff they come up with is very grounded which I like a lot.
 

Wunder

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,397
Has anyone played Numenera before? Might be playing in a campaign soon but I know nothing about the system. A very brief skim through the player's handbook and it looks pretty interesting, and I know a little bit of the setting because I was interested in a kickstarter they did to port it over to 5E.