A Hot Mess.
That is my response to the whole Pathfinder Second Edition fiasco.
Now there is a fun game: Fiasco.
IF you are looking for a well-reasoned, researched, scholarly article or critique of this game go look elsewhere because This Ain’t That.
It isn’t All Bad but it definitely Ain’t Good.
A Hot Mess can be fun but it isn’t something that you want to bring home to meet the family at Thanksgiving either.
First I have to say how much I really like Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons 3.75 as some people call it. Part of what I really like is the easy backwards compatibility that it has with D&D 3E (and 3.5 which I call it all 3E). I have used D&D 3E materials with little to no added work in making it work for PF. I ran a very successful Forge of Fury All Dwarf campaign As Is and it was wicked fun.
I do like the character creation, it puts everything on a fair-ish level with stats and abilities and that is okay. The characters in my current D&D 5E game that I am running with work friends (I work at a large library – throw a rock and you hit a nerd.) were created using a point system. This is because some are new and some are lapsed RPers returning to the hobby and it makes it easy for everyone.
There is something to be said for rolling a die and making the most of what you get, good or bad. I would say that there are no bad stats just bad players but some stats are shit no matter how you try and spin it. There is something great about getting a natural 18 on 3d6 when working on character creation that is like Nerd Craps.
It seems that in my brief experience in playing the playstest, very brief as in the GM wasn’t working for me so we bowed out and my work schedule facilitated that, it was More of The Same.
With the advent of D&D 4E and subsequent release of PF it was the first time that D&D was not the best selling RPG on the market and thus 5E was born. Now D&D is back on top, with some help from Actual Plays like Critical Role. With the coming of 5E PF is trying to go Something Else. It seems that it is not working.
Also I am an unpopular demographic: don’t care for the Critical Role.
I know PF 2E is a playtest but it is laid out like a poorly designed indie game.
If Pathfinder Playtest was someone’s first RPG experience that would have been it. So long and thanks for playing.
If it were me, it isn’t though, I would have created a Pathfinder Jr. game. A game of much lighter rules made for a younger demographic with possible board and card game elements to bring in younger players. You could maybe merchandise the hell out of that. D&D is owned by Wizards of the Coast which is owned by Hasbro which knows a thing or two about merchandising. Pathfinder is owned by Paizo and Paizo does not have the buying power that a big Transnational Corporation like Hasbro does.
If that PF Jr. took off then it could morph into a new version of Pathfinder and it would not have been so forced.
As it is right now it seems that PF has actually Jumped The Shark from their own 2E straight to their lame duck 4E and need to create something akin to 5E.
And they better do it quick.