Every week, Recall Knowledge recaps the Know Direction content of the past week, a preview of the Know Direction content of the week to come, and the director of operations, Ryan Costello, thoughts on the state of the network.
One week ago, YouTube channel Taking 20 posted a video entitled I’m Quitting Pathfinder 2e Because of This Issue. The host, Cody, outlines an issue he has experienced with the Pathfinder 2e system.
It is the only Pathfinder video I’ve ever seen get response videos. In this case, Nonat1s’ A Response to @Taking20 Regarding Pathfinder 2e and Collective Arcana Don’t Quit Pathfinder2e For Those “Reasons”.
If you haven’t seen any of the above, something to remember is that titles have to make their point quickly for algorithmic reasons and come off aggressive as a result. Both responses are quite diplomatic.
Taking 20’s main point is that Pathfinder 2e encounters feel samey. That despite characters having a variety of options acquired from character creation choices, the lack of variety or chances of success of certain options means the players default to the same narrow selection of their options, regardless of encounter design. This is after a year of running an Age of Ashes campaign.
Nonat2s’ reply was largely aimed at the audience who might agree with Taking 20’s video. That if these are issues you are facing with Pathfinder 2e, the problem might not be the system but the encounters being run, then offers some advice for designing encounters that require different tactics to overcome.
Collective Arcana takes a similar approach. They use their own experience to counter how they found his conclusions perpendicular to theirs, because they too have been playing a long 2e campaign and never find their encounters play out the same way.
Here’s what I like about how this played out: No one said Taking 20 was wrong. Nonat20s acknowledges he has some good points and even opens the video parodying the idea that his response would be all rage. Collective Arcana were confused that Taking 20 came to those conclusions. Both then gave advice. And that’s why I appreciated how this discourse played out. Everyone came with a sound argument. They spoke from experience. In the end, they hoped what they said helped.
Since this won’t be coming up on the December 30th Know Direction holiday special and probably won’t be a hot topic by our January 13th episode recording, here are my thoughts on the matter.
Like Nonat20, I suspect encounter design might be the major contributing factor to the repetition in player tactics in Taking 20’s game group. Taking 20 is GMing Age of Ashes, the first 2e adventure path. By the end of 1e, the number of options available to the players meant adventure writers needed to ignore the encounter design advice in favour of the adversaries for encounters to feel at all challenging. Although 2e’s achieved its goal for tighter math, the ramifications on encounter design only became clear after the first volley of Paizo’s published adventures hit the table. Threats even 1 level above the party level can kill a PC. Threats 2 levels above the party wipe parties out. Whereas in 1e, an APL+2 monster would make a decent minor boss.
That said, 2e leans into the expectation that players will optimise. A reoccurring topic in the 2e channel of the Know Direction discord centers on the value of an 18 in your key ability score. I find the concept of a mandatory 18 boring, and resent how many character concepts die because I can’t be good in multiple areas instead of great in one. That kind of limitation lead to PF2.KD. The fact that we felt the need to develop house rules that keep our issues with 2e from ruining what we love about 2e shows how we as a network can relate to both sides of this point. But, like Nonat20s and Collective Arcana, we’re trying to be proactive about it.
That’s not to fault Taking 20 for leaving the game. There’s no reason to play a game you don’t enjoy. If finding solutions and workarounds to the issues takes more work than you think it’s worth, there’s no reason to do them. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in a way that inspired constructive conversation.
Before we move on to the network content, a reminder that we are having ourselves a merry little hiatus (credit: Alex Augunas) for the next two weeks. Some of our blogs and podcasts will release on their regular schedule between now and January 4th, but others will take the time off. In lieu of a recap and preview of network content, I will only be recapping the content from last week.
Speaking of Know Direction content, here’s a recap of what you might have missed last week from the Know Direction Network:
Recap of December 14th to December 18th
What happened last week on knowdirectionpodcast.com and twitch.tv/knowdirection?
Monday, December 14th
Adventurous 050 – Nothing Can Be Said To Be Certain
A festival with interparty ramifications that will be felt for at least the next episode!
Also, I’m super proud of the title of this episode.
Recall Knowledge – Upcoming Holiday Hiatus
I announce the then upcoming holiday hiatus.
Tuesday, December 15th
Digital Divination 019 – Soldiers
John and Ron have really found their balance between banter and the topic. They address current events more than any other podcast on the network, and I feel it’s helped me get to know them as people and as gamers.
Burst of Insight – Rebooting Cyberpunk
Cyberpunk 2077 is not the only Cyberpunk game in town. Andrew Marlowe picked up R. Talsorian Games’ Cyberpunk Red with the intent to fix a wasted adventure hook from over 30 years ago.
Wednesday, December 16th
Know Direction 239 Live! Advanced GM Screen and More with Logan Bonner
Vanessa replaced Perram for this chat with Logan Bonner about a bunch of stuff. Probably the most exciting was the preview of the upcoming Bestiary 3.
Thursday, December 17th
Know Direction 239 – Advanced GM Screen and More with Logan Bonner
I’ve said this a lot lately, but this episode felt different. Vanessa filling in for Perram was a big part of that, but even before we knew Perram couldn’t make it, the intent was to have an interview segment that touched on a lot of things a little bit.
Something Creates – An Archetype Pt. 1
By Andrew Sturtevant
When Andrew finished his Starfinder quest line last month, I assumed he’d be moving onto his next project soon after. As it happens, just because the adventure is written doesn’t mean the quest is done. Andrew’s been writing what you could call back matter for his quest line, including an archetype referenced in Quest #3, the Hemotheurge.
Friday, December 18th
Intrepid Heroes 050 – Great Walls of Fire!
Our Intrepid Heroes fought an undead fire monster that set their souls on fire. What a cool monster!
Bend the Knee – Setting Expectations 3
By Loren Sieg, sort of…
Here’s something fun: A Bend The Knee where Loren is the Know Direction staffer! I have a list of all current KD staff with a column for the last time they participated in Bend The Knee. Loren’s on the list, but her BTK column says N/A. However, Setting Expectations being formulaic and random, we realized I could repopulate the chart and she could participate without her position as the one asking the questions affecting her answer!
Add Paul Fields of Evil Robot Games and Charles Cushman of Raptorforge and you’ve got a unique BTK!
Now you know,