Welcome to the remastered PF2. If you’re already playing PF2, you’re likely wondering what has changed in the remaster. In this article, we’ll describe rules changes and their implications.
As we move forward with coverage of PF2 Remastered, we’ll label pre-remaster content as “Legacy” and post-remaster content as “Remastered”.
Table of Contents
- Why Did This Happen?
- Is My Content Still Valid?
- What Has Changed in the Remaster?
- Pathfinder Society
Why Did This Happen?
The OGL controversy. The community can no longer trust that OGL 1.0a will remain in effect. Paizo has chosen to handle this by moving to a new license (the ORC) and by removing OGL content from Pathfinder. This means that some systems and terminology have changed.
Is My Content Still Valid?
Yes. According to the official Remaster FAQ, pre-remaster content is not obsolete and should work fine with minor adjustments to use new terms, such as changing Flat-Footed to Off-Guard.
This means that pre-remaster character options are still usable. It’s not entirely clear if you can take pre-remaster ancestry/class feats with remastered versions of ancestries/classes. My recommendation is to always use the remastered version of a thing if it’s available.
What Has Changed in the Remaster?
Attributes (Formerly Ability Scores)
Attributes are now what was formerly referred to as an ability modifier. The usefulness of the base ability score was already dubious in the original version of PF2, and NPCs/monsters already used only the modifier.
Alternate Ancestry Boosts
The Alternate Ancestry Boosts optional rule replaced the Voluntary Flaws rule in the 4th printing of the Core Rulebook, and remains in place in Player Core 1. The new Voluntary Flaws optional rule allows you to take additional Flaws for no benefit. It’s neat for roleplaying, but mechanically there’s no reason to do so.
This allows you to ignore your Ancestry’s boosts and flaws and take two Free Boosts if you prefer to do so.
Alignment is gone. Instead, characters will have edicts and anathemas from multiple sources, such as their ancestry, class, and religion.
Changes to specific options are too numerous to list here, and doing so wouldn’t be especially helpful. It’s best to consider the remastered options as you would consider totally new options. That said, I will highlight some notable trends.
Ancestral Weapon Familiarity Feats
The quality and specific function of weapon familiarity feats varied wildly from book-to-book. They also had a frustrating habit of leaving you Trained in several weapons but never advancing your proficiency unless you took another Ancestry Feat which wasn’t available until high levels.
In the Core Rulebook, Dwarven Weapon Familiarity reads as follows:
Your kin have instilled in you an affinity for hard-hitting weapons, and you prefer these to more elegant arms. You are trained with the battle axe, pick, and warhammer.
You also gain access to all uncommon dwarf weapons. For the purpose of determining your proficiency, martial dwarf weapons are simple weapons and advanced dwarf weapons are martial weapons.
Because the listed weapons (battle axe, etc.) are not dwarf weapons, your proficiency with them might never improve beyond Trained.
The remastered version reads as follows:
Your kin have instilled in you an affinity for hard-hitting weapons, and you prefer these to more elegant arms. You gain access to all uncommon weapons with the dwarf trait. You have familiarity with weapons with the dwarf trait plus the battle axe, pick, and warhammer—for the purposes of proficiency, you treat any of these that are martial weapons as simple weapons and any that are advanced weapons as martial weapons.
At 5th level, whenever you get a critical hit with one of these weapons, you get its critical specialization effect.
This fixes the function for specifically listed weapons, adds the benefit of the Dwarven Weapon Cunning feat, and mostly removes the need for Dwarven Weapon Expertise. Characters only proficient with Simple weapons won’t be able to use Advanced weapons affected by the feat, but honestly that’s fine.
This is a massive quality of life improvement.
The Aasimar and the Tiefling have been consolidated into the Nephilim. You can distinguish yourself within the Nephilim heritage using Lineage feats, which has been a common design trend in Versatile Heritages for a long time prior to the remaster.
The Half-Elf heritage is now a Versatile Heritage named the “Aiuvarin”, while the Half-Orc heritage is now a Versatile Heritage name the “Dromaar.” The feats for these heritages are the same as in the Core Rulebook, but the heritages are no longer restricted to Human Ancestry. This means that you could have a Domaar Gnome or an Aiuvarin Orc.
While I won’t dig into the specific class changes in this article, I do want to highlight the change in the roster of classes included in Player Core 1.
Compared to the Core Rulebook, the Alchemist, Barbarian, Champion, Monk, and Sorcerer are omitted. The Witch, previously published in the Advanced Player’s Guide, is now included in Player Core 1. This deviates from the D&D core classes traditionally included in the Player’s Handbook, which is likely intended to move away from “how it’s always been done.”
Recall Knowledge was completely reworked. It’s much more explicit now, which makes it easier for players to get reliable results and easier for the GM to interpret fairly.
Previously it was super vague and frustrating on both ends because players didn’t know what they were allowed to ask for and GMs didn’t know how much they were expected to tell you. Now you ask a single question and might get an answer. On crit success, the GM either gives you more information or you can ask a follow-up question. If the question is bad, the text tells you to collaborate with the GM until you agree upon a question that’s being asked, and if you don’t like where that goes, you can choose not to take the action.
So let’s say I encounter a troll. I ask the GM “What are this creature’s stats?” My GM rightly tells me I’m being absurd, so we discuss it. We eventually land on the question “What are this creature’s damage vulnerabilities, if any?” I think about and decide that I’m happy with that question, so I spend an Action and roll.
If I get a success, the GM says “it’s vulnerable to fire.” If I get a critical succes, the GM might say “and also fire turns off its regeneration” or might let me ask a follow-up question like “how big is the vulnerability?”
Crafting has been reworked (again). Paizo first tried to fix it in Treasure Vault and it was a minor improvement, but still didn’t fix fundamental issues about items being inaccessible or unavailable.
Under the new crafting system, formulae aren’t required for Common items or for items which you have access to like an ancestry weapon when you have the appropriate familiarity feats. Having a formula does halve the setup time so that crafting is faster, making formulas useful but not required.
We won’t address every tiny feat change here, but a few changes have significant effects on the state of the game.
You now advance to Expert proficiency at level 13. This matches the proficiency progression for many full spellcasters (wizards, etc.), so your investment in Armor Proficiency remains worthwhile for characters with poor proficiency. It’s still bad if you advance any faster than the Wizard does, but it’s still an improvement.
Prescient Planner and Prescient Consumable
Originally in the Advanced Player’s Guide, these feats now appear in Player Core 1.
Spell Level is now called “Spell Rank” so we no longer need to explain that a 5th-level wizard can only cast 3rd-level spells.
Spell schools are no longer a part of the game, though illusions still follow special rules.
Spell Components for spells and items are replaced by traits. The two felt somewhat redundant and confusing, so this simplifies the mechanics. You’re still chanting and waving and throwing bat guano or whatever, it’s just explained more consistently.
Cantrip damage has been reworked. Many cantrips previously applied your spellcasting modifier to damage, but they no longer do so. This makes cantrips more appealing for characters that aren’t built around a spellcasting attribute, such as characters with innate spellcasting from their Ancestry/Heritage or characters like the Magus who can’t invest in their mental stats as much as a full spellcaster can.
Previously, the rules for recharging Focus Points meant that you could only recover 1 Focus Point by Refocusing unless you got some very high level feats, meaning that if you have a pool of 2 or 3, your second and third points only worked once per day. This made it difficult to build around Focus Spells as a go-to tactic, and relegated them to a once-per-encounter option.
In addition, many feats which granted Focus Spells didn’t specify that they expanded your pool of Focus Points. I’m fairly certain that these were errors, but many of them never got fixed in errata due to the errata process being tied to reprintings of books. Some books never got a second print run, so they never got errata.
In the remaster, any option that gives you a Focus Spell increases your Focus Pool by 1. That’s carved into the core of the Focus Spell rules, so we don’t have to worry about editing errors. In addition, Refocus now no longer requires you to spend a Focus Point before you can use it again, so you’re free to recover all of your Focus Points. It will take 10 minutes per point, but it’s still a huge improvement.
Feats which previously allowed you to recover 2 or 3 Focus Points have been reworked. Now we get feats like Hex Focus which allow us to recover all Focus Points. Previously that was a level 18 feat for most classes, but Hex Focus is only level 12. Since all it does is save you a few minutes outside of combat, it’s not especially valuable.
Universal Spellcasting Proficiency
In the original core rules, proficiencies for spellcasting were split by tradition. This meant that innate spells were frequently difficult to use and made multiclassing into a spellcasting class difficult, often limiting you to classes that used the same magical tradition.
In the remastered rules, there is exactly one proficiency for spellcasting. If you can cast a spell (including innate spells), you’re Trained. Innate spells now automatically improve your spellcasting proficiency to Expert at level 12. It’s not enough to be great at using those spells offensively, but it’s better than sitting at Trained for your whole career.
All of this means that being a spellcaster is a lot easier. Innate spells are more useful, multiclassing is less restrictive, and in general there’s one less number to track.
The Disarm Action has been buffed. The Success effect previously ended at the start of the creature’s turn, making Disarm functionally useless. The debuff now persists until your target spends an Action to fix it, meaning that you can trade Actions with the target unless they’re happy taking a persistent -2 penalty to their attacks.
Wounded, Death, Dying
The text of the death and dying rules in the Player Core were changed in a way that would have made the game considerably more deadly. Whenever your Dying value would increase, it would also increase by your Wounded value. This would mean that when you first hit 0 and gained the Dying condition, when you failed a recovery check, and when you took damage while dying.
People were rightly alarmed by this, but it was aparrently an error and has been corrected in day-1 errata.
Many monsters have been renamed and sometimes redesigned to move away from their names in Dungeons and Dragons. For example, mephits have been replaced by “elemental scamps.”
There are now hardening runes that can be applied to shields to improve their stats. This appears to stack on already magic shields.
The Hammer and Flail weapon groups’ critical specialization effects have been nerfed. The auto-prone effect was too powerful and led to problems, so now it allows a saving throw to avoid the effect.
Previously many classes did not have proficiency in their class DC (mostly spellcasters), which meant that critical specialization effects were often unusable for those classes. Classes like the Wizard and the Witch have been updated so that they are Trained in their own Class DC, though they never advance past Trained.
The DC to successfully Aid was reduced from 20 to 15. This makes Aid easier at low levels, but also makes it an automatic Critical Success at mid levels.
Other Name Changes
“Law” and “chaos” are now “order” and “dissolution”.
“Vitality” and “void” damage replace “positive” and “negative” damage. No more subtracting positive damage or adding negative damage needing to explain that positive/negative weren’t mathematical terms.
The list of renamed things is long. Check the Remaster Core Preview document available on Paizo.com.
Creatures that previously got automatic effects like grappling via the Grab ability no longer automatically apply those effects. Instead, on a successful Strike they can make a skill check as a Free Action. We haven’t seen updated stat blocks yet, but
Check the Lorespire page.