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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Desna just the goddess of dreams? Or something else? Perhaps the sole good aligned Great Old One or Outer God. Considering she is a giant space butterfly who created a demigod from her own shadow, this interpretation isn't that far fetched. Turns out Desna was one of the first eight gods in this reality, not one of the Outer Gods (called Those Who Remain). At least, according to one account. There have been several explanations for the origins of the gods, the universe' beginning, and prophecies about its end, with the authors remaining tight-lipped on which of these, if any, are true.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: While they may seem like just another made up monster, Shrike Worms are basically giant versions of Hallucigenia.
  • Audience-Alienating Ending: While Tyrant's Grasp is generally considered a good Adventure Path, the finale of the AP has been criticized for the borderline All for Nothing Pyrrhic Victory nature of the ending, making it unsatisfying to run for everyone involved. Essentially: the player characters stop the Whispering Tyrant and destroy the weapon he used to destroy Lastwall, but not only is he explicitly not Killed Off for Real and will inevitably return, the ending has the player characters permanently killed off instead, mentioning how even their souls are destroyed. This left a sour taste for players and GMs alike due to the Status Quo Is God nature of it combined with such a hard ending on the player characters' end that it offers little to no payoff for the party's heroism. Some have even suggested changing the ending to at least allow it to end on a Bittersweet Ending, just so it isn't so bleak and unsatisfying for the players. The fact that this is the last AP for the 1st Edition only rubs salt into the wound, as it essentially ends 1st Edition on a sour note.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Folca, a daemonic harbinger of abduction, strangers, and sweets, has elicited extremely strong responses around the Paizo forums. Some players think that he's a decent fit for Pathfinder, considering how the game goes into disturbing territories regularly. Other players are disturbed by the content that Folca represents, believing that even if Pathfinder is a dark game, topics such as child abuse should be handled more carefully than for simple shock value. This issue has only gotten worse with the release of the Book of the Damned splatbook, which reveals his fiendish obedience ritual to explicitly traumatize or harm a child, putting his portfolio above simple implication. Paizo publisher Erik Mona has since said that Folca was retconned out of existence, as part of the game's new direction towards family-friendly and inoffensive content.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In "Curse of the Lady's Light" from the "Shattered Star" AP, if a player messes with the clone body of Sorshen, a trap causes the player character to wake up in the clone body should they die at any point after being affected by it. Not only is it never explained why Sorshen would leave one of her clone bodies in an area that isn't outright hard to get to (it's one of the earliest rooms the party can find) and so openly as if wanting people to mess with itnote , but the AP treats it as a minor event and moves on with only brief suggestions for what to do after the fact, and the rest of the "Shattered Star" AP's only have a passing mention to it, making it feel like it comes out of no where.
  • Broken Base: There are several points that divide long-time fans.
    • The Archetype system is a beefed up version of 3.5's "alternate class features," with packages of alternate abilities intended to be used to side-grade individual classes by replacing some of their class features, skills, etc. with different ones according to a theme. Proponents like that it increases the customizability of individual classes, offering both a rewarding means of specialization besides feats, and a better, less clunky and mechanically punishing way of realizing "mixed" character concepts over outright multiclassing to achieve something similar, especially as Pathfinder design capped levels at 20 and came to increasingly discourage multiclassing, and that it represents an easy means of stripping out useless garbage class features no one likes anyway to get cool and useful ones, potentially salvaging entire classes loaded down with them.note  Critics argue that Archetypes are themselves sometimes confusing and clunky, since the trade-off can cause unintended confusion about how it affects the original class features that aren't changed if an Archetype is poorly-designed, especially when multiple Archetypes are stacked together, and that some Archtypes are grotesquely more powerful than the base class; those who regard the base classes as well designed are often less willing to accept Archetypes that get rid of undertuned features in favor of powerful or useful onesnote , and that most of them suck and players only use a handful of the most powerful and useful options. note 
      • In a related, smaller scale conflict, some 3.5 fans are unhappy that archetypes basically swallowed Prestige classes whole, with the vast majority of players basically completely ignoring the mechanic in favor of using Archetypes to achieve similar, often superior results, and some 3.5 fans are happy, arguing that Prestige classes had all of the problems of Archetypes (overcomplicated and often confusing or poorly-designed mechanics, huge power scaling issues, etc.) with the additional hurdle of requiring a player to build for them from square one and a DM to potentially learn an entire new class, and that they were just as often used to shore up weak and bland base classes as to realize actual concepts, so their lunch is being eaten by the vanilla classes actually being fun and powerful as much as by Archetypes. Paizo never actually stopped putting out Prestige classes, players just stopped using them, either because their Prestige classes were too overspecialized in light of the new Archetype system or because the second players had a viable alternative they abandoned Prestige classes en-masse, depending on who you ask.
    • Drawbacks are generally a bit of a sticky wicket. (Minor Drawbacks that let the player take an extra Trait anyway; almost no one defends Major Drawbacks that offer full feats.) Proponents argue that they can be a rewarding way to add a bit more flavor to a character and getting a nice but not overwhelming reward for it in the form of a Trait, which can represent a modest but useful boon to a save, an additional class skill, and so on. Critics argue that they are wildly imbalanced, with some being crippling enough to make the benefit hardly worth it and some so minor they might not come up in an entire campaign or barely feel like a drawback... which, again, is often seen as a weakness in character option design in the game as a whole.
    • The encounter with Iomedae in the original, print version of Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth has become rather divisive. Some feel it was terribly handled, since the players can be punished and almost killed if they express understandable frustrations about a somewhat-questionable situation or have bad luck rolling Knowledge (Religion) tests they might not have access to, while others feel it wasn't and players are complaining about being punished for making bad choices in front of a good aligned god, or about tests they've almost certainly rolled several times while battling demons in the lead-up. This got to the point that the same encounter in the Wrath of the Righteous PC game is completely different, all the way down to its context.
    • The Advanced Class Guide was rushed to print for GenCon 2014, fan-speculation being that the reason for this was so Paizo had something to show off, because Wizards of the Coast was premiering Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition at the same time. This, however, led to glaring editing mistakes, and one class had a post-playtest downgrade - the Warpriest, which originally could make attacks using its level as Base Attack Bonus with its Sacred Weapon(s); there was much outcry over it being "bad", but an equal amount of cheering, as the Warpriest in the playtest was noted to completely run amok in groups due to this full-BAB plus 6th-level Spell progression. The divide is fairly 50/50 on Paizo's forums, and the book has received the worst/most mixed customer reviews (3.5/5 on Paizo's site) for any of the PRD "Big Books".
    • Pathfinder Unchained spawned many examples:
      • The Unchained Summoner, being the remake of a class that's already divisive, was destined to crack opinions. For most of those who regarded it as too effective, it's a welcome series of nerfs that manages to retain the class's flavor and, unlike some other Unchained classes, offers a few new archetypes to replace those rendered ineffective by the swap (though at least a few argue that it was needed but went too far with some of the nerfs). To those who didn't mind where the Summoner was, balance-wise, it's a bunch of unnecessary changes to a class Paizo has always been unnecessarily fixated on "fixing," even in light of well-acknowledged power differences between the other, more-versatile full casters and everyone else, and, unlike some of the other Unchained classes, no longer leaves the original class as an available option for Pathfinder Society play.
      • The Unchained Monk. In stark contrast to the Rogue rework in the same book, the Unchained Monk has a few minor tweaks to the manner in which it gains ki powers to make it a bit more customizable and full-BAB, but little else, and it loses the Monk's traditional advantage of three good saves in the process. Worse, the rework completely altered some of the Monk's core abilities and mechanics, rendering unusable a number of popular and powerful Archetypes that needed them to trade out. Many fans who were looking forward to some love for a class that, if not in quite as bad of shape as the Rogue, still definitely needed a boost to put it on par with the other martials, were very disappointed, arguing the remake fixed some minor issues but didn't really address the Monk's core problems. Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition's alterations to the class are generally seen as a much bigger step in the right direction. Others, usually those who liked the old Monk's power level just fine, feel the resulting class isn't bad, just a lateral rather than forward shift that's still a fine and playable class that keeps the Monk right where it used to be, and they regard that as a good thing.
      • Most agree the original Rogue needed a bit of a boost and welcome the many changes and advantages that the Unchained Rogue represents, particularly that, unlike the other Unchained variants, the Rogue doesn't have to lose anything to get them (meaning almost all archetypes for the 'base' Rogue still work fine). But a number of players are still unhappy, feeling that making the Rogue too effective in combat waters down the class's skill monkey feel.
      • Some even think the new "skill unlock" system Rogues have was pushing it a bit far past balancing, with the interpretation that this means certain skill-monkeys could be better at the skills other classes are flavored to specialize in.
    • The late 2015 errata and changes to previous books. While many previously-troubled archetypes got welcome reworks, and some saw increases in raw power, many previously-unique classes and archetypes were either completely remade beyond recognition or just nerfed into the ground. Worse, these changes started by impacting the effectiveness of many of the most popular methods and tactics martial classes relied on to do their jobs, bending the already-strained martial-caster power dynamic even more in the caster's favor.
    • The reveal of Pathfinder Second Edition (or 2E) has imported the edition wars of Dungeons & Dragons to Pathfinder just by the announcement. Paizo had expected this division.
      • When Paizo revealed 2e, there were two camps. One side being excited of the update believe this is a necessary fresh start for the system, allowing them to import better received mechanics from Pathfinder Unchained and Starfinder into the core rules while also deal with infamous issues like the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards problem. The other side was less enthused about this news, worrying that the game will end up becoming more like D&D 5th Edition at the cost of Character Customization and gameplay depth and/or were angered that 9 years of Sourcebooks are rendered mechanically incompatible for future books once second edition comes out.
      • Things became no less intense once the playtest dropped, though not always for the reasons listed above. Some main points of contention were the level-based numbers scaling (which some loved for simplifying progression and flattening the power curve between players, regardless of their specialization, and others hated for the same reason), the general power level of the characters (was it necessary for the sake of balance and the GM's sanity, or had Paizo just nerfed everything equally without considering how this would affect player experience? Not helped by a math glitch that made all characters significantly weaker than they should have been), the game's complexity (simpler than its predecessor certainly, but some viewed it as still very difficult to learn), and the test campaign Doomsday Dawn (which Paizo evidently designed to stress test the system in a way that they knew wasn't going to be fun, but forgot to mention this in the build-up materials to the playtest, leading many to treat it as a normal campaign and quit in frustration). The playtest system also was oft compared to, of all things, Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition.
    • The final release version of 2E has been met much more warmly than the playtest, largely in part thanks to the feedback received during that playtest, which allowed Paizo to change or even remove systems that players did not enjoy. Despite this, the game still has a number of issues the player base is divided on.
      • The alchemist is probably the single most divisive class out of all the Core Rulebook classes. The class had overall been refocused from the mostly self-sufficient damage class with self-buff utility it was in First Edition, to more or less a walking item dispenser with a focus on buffing and supporting allies. While plenty of people like this concept, a lot of people feel the clunkiness of item usage combined with many of their buffs and benefits not being as good as spells limits the alchemist's true usefulness as a support character. In addition, two of the three initial research fields are also considered largely unsupported and subpar, with bomber being the only truly viable field. note  Finally, until they get Perpetual Infusions at 7th level, a lot of players feel running an alchemist in combat is boring, as they cannot spend every turn dispensing items or using Quick Alchemy without running out of infused reagents or items too fast, resorting them to making boring regular strikes that the class isn't designed to support. Many wonder why some form of Perpetual Infusions is not supported from level 1 in the same way spellcasters get cantrips.
      • The questionable state of the alchemist is not helped by the fact the mutagenist famously did not have its research field benefit changed from the playtest version, which was a big red flag considering the benefit note  was made a baseline mechanic for all characters. While this ability was changed in the first errata, this oversight lead many to believe the alchemist was left out to dry before the final release, and the current version of the alchemist is more or less an Obvious Beta that didn't get the revamps it needed to be fully viable.
      • While most people agree the design of martial classes has been vastly improved from First Edition, the reception to spellcasters has been more mixed. Many people upon launch felt they were too weak, believing they had been nerfed too hard. Over time most players began to realise spellcasting was still highly viable, and the perceived weakness was a case of a system that finally hit a good balance to prevent the age-old issue of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards, but even then the subjectivity of this permeates the spectrum of opinions. There are three major points to this:
      • The first is that most spellcasters have been revamped primarily into support roles. A big part of this is no doubt edition whiplash from First Edition or even other d20 systems such as Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, where high-level spellcasters can carry entire parties, as opposed to Pathfinder 2E where builds are more role-based and can't be Masters of All. However, even considering that, a number of players find it unappealing that casters feel pigeon-holed into support roles, reliant on buffing, debuffing, and crowd control over raw damage and the dramatic Save-Or-Suck spells they were capable of in other editions. While they can be built for damage, caster damage in this edition is more niche, with a focus on area-of-effect and exploiting weaknesses to make the most of their spell resources. Overall, due to the burst-y nature of damage spells combined with a spellcasters' limited spell slots, martials will generally have higher consistent damage than even dedicated blaster casters, and with combat pushing players to invest in status condition inducing effects and personal buffs — which spellcasters are abundant in — most casters will be more optimized in a support role for martial damage dealers.
      • The second is that spells don't make anywhere near as much use of the new three-action economy as martials do; some spells like Heal and Magic Missiles have interactions that change depending on how many actions you use to cast them, but most spells are simple two-action activities, making most people feel the chance to revamp spellcasting to something more interesting that interacts with the new action economy has been wasted. It doesn't help that the system's equivalent to D&D 5E's concentration mechanic — sustaining a spell — requires casters to use an action each round to do so. While it isn't required for anywhere near as many spells as 5E uses concentration for, it's notably required for all summoning spells; it takes three actions to cast the spell and then a further action each turn to sustain the summoning, making it extremely limiting and difficult to maintain a summoned creature while also having autonomy over your character. Secrets of Magic did introduce more spells that played with the three-action economy, but such spells are still in the minority and doesn't change the complaints about sustaining spells.
      • The third is that the game has been successfully rebalanced such that a caster using his top level spells is roughly equal in power to a martial...but that casters are still only able to use their top level spells a couple of times per day, a holdover from earlier versions where those spells would have been much stronger than anything a martial character could do. In fact, casters in Pathfinder 2e only get about half as many spell slots of a given level as their Pathfinder 1e counterparts. This means that casters have to rely on low-level spells or cantrips for most encounters if the GM is stingy with rests, which are generally acknowledged to be much weaker than a martial's actions. It doesn't help that 2e removes virtually all the other limits on the adventuring day from earlier editions. Or that Paizo gave GMs absolutely no guidance on how many encounters a party should face in a day until the Remastered version (a la Player Core) four years after the game's full release, meaning that different groups playing the system as written may have completely different experiences of how strong casters are, depending on the GM.
      • Aside from the general spellcasting disagreements, there's also the Incapacitate trait. Certain spells have the potential to take down an enemy in a single critical failure, which can traditionally result in rather anticlimactic boss battles. To solve this issue, in 2e such spells generally have the Incapacitate trait, which upgrades the target's save by an entire category (failure to success, success to critical success, etc) if it's higher level than the spell slot used to cast the spell. Proponents tend to love this mechanic, for finally solving this issue and allowing fun boss battles against a single powerful enemy. Detractors tend to have three issues: the buff is too powerful, choosing the right targets for your spell relies on out of character knowledge (the monster's exact level), and due to a quirk of the mathematics, Incapacitate casters' power varies a lot depending on whether they're odd or even level. The sharply limited number of high level spellslots mentioned above also factors into this — in groups where you're having six encounters per day, using one of your 2-3 top level slots to maybe defeat a single enemy of your own level feels like a waste.
      • And of course separate to those complaints, those who actually preferred spellcasters being overtly overpowered - either players who like the game-breaking power caps high potency spell casting allowed in earlier editions such as D&D 3.5/PF1e, or those who just feel spellcasting should be more powerful than mundane abilities on principle — were never going to be happy with the changes in the new edition. The nerfs to spellcasting and the overall reduction in power caps that come with it are one of the biggest reasons a lot of First Edition players are choosing not to move over.
    • 2nd Edition's focus on teamwork and in-play decision making over character build determining much of the game's power cap is met with mixed reception. People who like it enjoy how the game properly rewards tactics and inter-party cooperation; since you cannot build a character to be a Master of All like you can in similar d20 systems (particularly in lieu of 1st Edition, which was notorious for such builds), the duties to cover all bases must be split about the whole party. Teamwork is necessary to victory, and 'optimal play' is more about coordination than brute-force powergaming. However, others feel that this forced reliance on teamwork makes individual characters feel weaker and more helpless, and that even if they have no problem in theory with teamwork, the system lays it on too thick by heavily pushing people attempting to solo play or carry the game. The worst critics say the game leans completely into wargaming territory, more interested in appealing to Serious Business gamers than it is just having fun or telling a story.
    • Fans either believe Pathfinder should no longer have anything to do with D&D in any shape or form and will cast aspersions on anything that takes after Dungeons & Dragons in theme or setting and deny any ties to old D&D, or believe it's not enough like the better parts of D&D lore, adventures and gameplay and demand more additions like it. This only deepened after WotC's disastrous attempt to enforce a draconian version of the OGL and made a lot of D&D players jump ship to Pathfinder.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • A major criticism of 3.5 was that it was this by design, with the vast majority of character options (feats, magic items, arguably entire classes) being a Low-Tier Letdown so players could feel good about themselves for picking out the tiny handful of actually good ones from amidst the sea of dross. For better or worse, Pathfinder carried this over with scrupulous fidelity, meaning that in entire sourcebooks of new feats, spells, archetypes, alternate rules systems, magic items, and so on, only a fraction will ever see much play compared to good old standbys that have been around since Core. The rest will be simply seen as too weak, situational, or both to be really worth it.
    • Come 2nd Edition, many of the character options were quite balanced, which is one of the praises of the system. That being said, some feats and builds were still considered more powerful, if not more broken.
      • Fighters as a whole can invoke this, as their higher attack proficiencies can lead to solid damage output that lead players (particularly new ones) to think you might as well just pick it over other martial options and brute force down with high damage. This can work for easier encounters with few gimmicks or curve-balls, but the moment you come across higher level enemies, or an encounter where the fighter's Crippling Overspecialisation prevents its built weapon style from contributing, it tends to shock players into realising they can't rely on brute-force damage.
      • For a more straightforward example, gnome flickmace fighters became a meme in the community, prior to the Remaster. Gnome Flickmaces belong to the flail group, which has an already powerful critical specialization effect, namely knocking a creature prone on a critical hit. Fighters are more likely to score critical hits than other martials as they are expert in martial weapons instead of just being trained, and though the gnome flickmace is an advanced weapon where Fighters are only trained in, they can become expert in the weapon by taking certain feats like humans' Unconventional Weaponry, meaning that they would be more likely to score critical hits and get the critical specialization effect once they reach level 5. Additionally, since Fighters have Attack of Opportunity / Reactive Strike, this means if the creature tries to get up afterwards, the Fighter could strike at them again, potentially landing another critical hit, causing the creature to waste that action and take more damage. The Remaster mitigated this a bit, where the flail critical specialization effect calls for a saving throw to avoid being knocked prone instead.
      • In terms of General Feats, Toughness is often picked for a character at some point. What does it give? A flat bonus to maximum HP that scales with level, along with a reduced DC for Recovery Checks. This makes the PC far more durable, especially when compared to another General Feat at the same level called Diehard, which increases the Dying value at which the PC would die.
      • The magus can be one of the most rotation-locked classes in the game. The bulk of its power budget is invested in Spellstrike, which is an extremely powerful ability that lets you compress a spell attack into a weapon strike for only two actions. It's extremely potent, but the tradeoff is that to use Spellstrike again, you must either use a dedicated action to recharge it, or cast one of the magus' signature conflux focus spells, which will recharge Spellstrike along with its other effects. This can lead to a forced loop of Spellstriking followed by conflux spells and then Spellstrike again, though the skill cap of the class (and what stops it from being this trope wholesale) is knowing how and what order to use these actions in actual play when rote combat rotations won't pay off. The big exception to this is the Starlit Span hybrid study, which is the only subclass option that lets you Spellstrike at range. The safety provided by not needing to wade into melee (combined with the fact that it's the only hybrid study that doesn't need Arcane Cascade to get any of its default bonuses) allow a player to play an extremely safe, powerful ranged burst damage dealer without needing to engage in any more complexity the class forces on its melee builds.
      • Ironically, one of the most infamous videos about Pathfinder 2e accused the whole game of this. YouTuber Cody Lewis a.k.a. Taking20 was one of the most prominent early adopters of the system, but announced a year and a half into the system's life that he was dropping it due to an issue he described as an 'Illusion of Choice'. Effectively, he believed the system locked player builds into an MMO-style 'rotation' that meant doing anything outside of the same rote actions in sequence was too punishing, which in turn led to a stagnant gameplay loop. The video caused a stir amongst the community and was widely condemned, especially after he released a follow up video detailing some white room maths comparing the system to Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, and got multiple rulings and calculations in both systems wrong. While the videos have since been largely considered bunk and it was eventually revealed by Cody's own players that it was in fact him ruling the system improperly that lead to many of his issues note , the damage the videos did to the game's reputation was wide-reaching, and to this day experienced players are forced to spend an inordinate amount of time debunking the videos to prospective onboarders who've seen them that the game doesn't fall into this trope wholesale. On the flipside, there are some long-term players (usually those who are lapsed or close to lapsing on the game) who think Cody had a point, even if his examples were flawed. To them, the game's tight power caps, tougher monsters, more stringent character roles, and anti-munchkin rules that can lead to Obvious Rule Patch and "Stop Having Fun" Guys situations that force players into a level of optimization and styles of gameplay that don't necessarily match the experience they want, at worst devolving into the exact rote repetitive action rotations Cody accused the game of.
      • With the sheer number of classes and the massive amounts of freedom the player has picking out their ancestry, feats, background, skills, and even their attribute boosts, Second Edition has several hundred potential options for a player to work with, and pretty much all of the builds can be effective so long as the player doesn't ignore their class' primary statistic. With that in mind, however, one aspect found at virtually every table, from newbies to masters of the system, is someone stacking their skill increases in Medicine. Medicine went from being one of the most maligned and forgotten skills in both Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons to an absolute must-have. It's been buffed to be essentially free healing, and the system itself basically assumes someone in the party is going to put time and dedication into the skill to ensure the party is topped off over long dungeon crawls. While healing magic has been buffed overall to avoid the "yo-yo" concern of D&D's Fifth Edition's healing metanote , and consequences were added towards going to 0 to make it even less appealing, healing spells are still an expendable resource best reserved for actual combat. Medicine checks do have a cooldown, but they're otherwise infinite and don't rely on a (relatively) small resource, making them the option for out-of-combat healing. In the extremely niche circumstance that a person with a focus on Medicine isn't at the table, there will likely instead be someone with a focus on Nature, as an early feat for Nature allows that skill to be used to Treat Wounds, mimicking the major appeal of Medicine, though Medicine is still preferred given the sheer volume of feats it has to heal more than just damage.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Cayden Cailean, an adventurer who decided to challenge the legendarily deadly dungeon that promotes you to godhood if you survive it on a drunken dare... and became only the fourth person in the history of the world to succeed.
    • The entire premise of the adventure module Rasputin Must Die!, which is part of the already-pretty-bonkers "Reign of Winter" adventure path: the party must use the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga to travel to Earth (yes, the real world Earth) — specifically, to a remote part of Russia — in 1918, at the height of the First World War, and assassinate Gregori Rasputin. Who isn't dead, and in fact is a powerful wizard — and a son of Baba Yaga. Along the way, they'll have to battle not only real Russian soldiers, but also Diesel Punk and/or Kaiser Reich flavored enemies like haunted tanks, sapient clouds of mustard gas that animate their victims as zombies, and Nosferatu Cossacks.
  • Creator's Favorite: The Aasimar race are sometimes accused of being this in design terms, since they have many benefits but no drawbacks and aren't considered to be overpowered enough to ban in most non-PFS games.
  • Designated Hero:
    • Aroden. While he did help create the Azlanti civilization and slew numerous demon lords and other monsters, he also often left his followers high and dry in times of need, and when the woman who was basically his best friend was turned into an evil lich slave of Geb, he didn't lift a finger to help her. The second edition adventure path Extinction Curse only makes him look worse, namely in order to make Azlanti inhabitable, he stole five life giving orb-things from the Darklands and only left one, thinking it would enough to sustain the native Xulgaths (Troglodytes). It wasn't, the race nearly went extinct, and they hate humans as a result.
    • A big example among fans: In Wrath of the Righteous part 5, Iomedae summons the PCs to her realm to tell them she needs them to help rescue her herald from the Abyss. Then, for some reason, she forces the players to answer some questions to prove themselves (even if they have been nothing but loyal so far) and if they answer wrong she blasts them with massive sonic damage. And any characters who object to this she magically renders mute for life. Not only is this rather unbecoming of a supposedly Lawful Good deity, but it also opens some Plot Holes of its own (such as the aforementioned oddness of having to "test" the PCs despite having them working for her for the past four books as well as making you wonder if she can summon people across planar boundaries, what keeps her from just summoning her herald back? The writers later admitted to feeling like they could have handled her better, and in the Owlcat created game of the module, the meeting with her was redone to better fit her intended image.
    • Sarenrae is never referred to in anything but a positive light and presented as unambiguously Good, but she tends to have some of the most unpleasantly militaristic followers outside of Hell's employ. Notable actions include attempting to slaughter or forcibly convert any believers in the Osiriani gods to gain more power for her as well as actively hunting down possible infant incarnations of a messiah among the oppressed peoples of Casmaron (King Herod-style), and it's stated that they hate all undead, even good ones.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Laori Vaus, Perky Goth elf chick from Curse of the Crimson Throne.
    • Anchor Root from Strength of Thousands is widely liked due to being very cute (she's a small dog-like humanoid called an Ant Gnoll) and sweet. She's very shy and socially awkward, but most people just think that makes her even cuter. Some people also found her quite relatable as an "anxiety-ridden college student." Or just anxiety-ridden in general given the state of real-life when the Adventure Path released.
    • For a goddess outside the Core Pantheon Nocticula is notably popular among fans. Having ascended from being the Demon Lord of Succubi to being the goddess of artists, exiles, and those unjustly persecuted, she's a popular choice in patron (or "muse") among those playing Bard characters. Her charming and nuanced portrayal in "Pathfinder: Wrath of The Righteous" also played a large role in her rise in popularity.
    • The Prismatic Ray pantheon (consisting of Sarenrae, Shelyn, and Desna in a lesbian polycule that focuses on protecting the innocent, fighting evil, and adding beauty to the world) hardly has any mention in canon and was only created on-the-spot during a Paizo blog post as an example for how a cleric worshipping a pantheon would work in 2nd Edition. Despite this, the pantheon remains a very popular choice among those playing faith-based characters, especially among the game's LGBTFanbase. The three goddesses have been especially welcomed among new players migrating to 2E from Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, who were surprised at such positive LGBT representation among Paizo's characters.
    • In terms of ancestries, there are a few that have received great interest in 2nd Edition.
      • Leshies are universally adored as one of the standout character options in 2nd Edition. Their cute design combined with their myriad of heritages that let them emulate many types of plants has been fertile ground for character ideas. Their popularity propelled them into becoming a core ancestry in the Remaster.
      • The pug-like shoonies were a welcome surprise included in the Extinction Curse adventure path. Players instantly took to their cute designs and friendly dispositions. Unfortunately, they haven't had any expansion since this one inclusion of them, and players are desperately hoping for more shoony options down the line.
      • Poppets from Lost Omens: Grand Bazaar are a standout option in a game that already has two other mechanical/construct options. Their toy-like design is incredibly popular for off-kilter character ideas, with very flavourful feats that let them perform actions like going motionless, ala the characters in Toy Story.
  • Evil Is Cool: Cheliax is prone to this, given it's ruled by literal Satanist fascists (i.e. a Lawful Evil dynasty that works hand-in-hand with the Church of Asmodeus) and is home to the Hellknights (Lawful-aligned knightly orders who wear Spikes of Villainy and often act as State Sec for Cheliax). It's telling that Cheliax is the setting of three official Adventure Paths,note  including the only one designed specifically with Evil-aligned Player Characters in mind (Hell's Vengeance).
  • Fandom Rivalry: Inevitable considering that many early Pathfinder players were disgruntled fans of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, to whom Paizo intentionally marketed their game during the contested 4th Edition. Pathfinder 2E has a similar rivalry with D&D 5E, the latter of which has a less-flexible action economy and Character Class System.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Despite his popularity as a villain, some Pathfinder players dislike the constant handwave of why the Whispering Tyrant has cheated death so many times being "nobody has found his phylactery yet". Even though there are numerous powerful beings and gods who have tried, or on paper should be able to find it, every time the topic is brought up to Paizo, they restate that nobody has found it yet. Some feel the Joker Immunity given to him is annoying and makes any story involving him boring because of said reason, as he just inevitably returns due to how liches work.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Some players took to calling Numeria "Numeneria", due to the similarities between Golarion's token barbarians-with-hypertech region and Monte Cook's Middle Ages-with-Lost Technology world.
    • Alain, the iconic Cavalier, has gotten a lot of nicknames related to his jerkassery. One of the better, and most directly to the point? Sir Douche of Jerkasston.
    • Pathfinder as a whole is usually summarized as "D&D 3.75 or 3.PF".
    • Another name that gets applied to the First Edition of the game is "Mathfinder", a (usually) affectionate dig at the fact that the game mechanics basically revolve around stacking modifiers to the Moon, which can mean a lot of math every round. (In Second Edition there is a much greater focus on ability variety with vastly simplified mathematics, meaning it doesn't get this epithet very often.)
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • In some circles, Valeros the human iconic Fighter and Imrijka the half-orc iconic Inquisitor. This was made canon in Spiral of Bones, though they make it clear that it's a casual relationship without any real commitment.
    • Likewise, Amiri, the human iconic Barbarian and Oloch, the half-orc iconic Warpriest.
  • Fetish Retardant: Urgathoa, goddess of the undead. A sexy Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette from the waist up, but rotting and skeletal from the waist down.
  • Fridge Horror:
    • Chainmail is not a clingy formfitting material, yet Laori from Curse of the Crimson Throne wears a skin-tight bodysuit made of the stuff, studded with hooks, spikes and other pointy bits. Zon-Kuthon's priesthood are noted elsewhere for sewing or otherwise integrating their vestments into their flesh...
    • An in-universe example: many have noted that the qlippoth often bear some resemblance to the more bizarre animals living on the Material Plane (such as insects, arachnids, and cephalopods.) The implications for this are unclear, yet still disturbing and generally something sages and philosophers don't like to dwell on.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page here.
  • Genius Bonus: The Bestiaries are gold mines for people familiar with mythical monsters. Most people will recognize the classical monsters pulled from Greco-Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology. A lesser, but still significant, number of people will recognize the single popular monsters from certain mythologies, like the Algonquian Wendigo, the Orcadian Nuckelavee, and various Yōkai. But only very dedicated or specialized mythological scholars will be able to identify all the lesser known monsters right off the bat, which draw from Taíno, Mesopotamian, Persian, Aztec, Inuit, Ojibwe, Chinese, French, Aboriginal Australian, and Bagandan folklore and myth, among many others.
  • Growing the Beard: 2021 was considered this by many early adopters of 2nd Edition. After a string of fairly mediocre adventure paths with poor tuning and a number of classes that suffered badly from Early-Installment Weirdness (particularly in the Advanced Player's Guide), the game finally hit its stride as the designers found their footing with the system. The Beginner's Box note  was praised as a great onboarding tool for new players, two beloved adventure paths in Abomination Vaults and Strength of Thousands were released note , the Lost Omens line had a number of great products including the Ancestry Guide, Absalom: City of Lost Omens, and The Mwangi Expanse, and the four new classes released in Secrets of Magic and Guns & Gears (which included fan favourites gunslinger, magus, and summoner from 1st Edition) were considered vast improvements to the APG classes, having more unique niches and design.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: One of the recurring criticisms of the Pathfinder Adventure Path series is that the difficulty is very much tuned towards lower-powered player characters, whether from a lack of Min-Maxing or because the players used less-forgiving stat allocations such as point buy or arrays. This ends up encouraging players to make semi-optimized builds using their desired class in order to be strong, which the AP's can't account for. Wrath of the Righteous in particular gets a double whammy due to the use of Mythic Levels for the PCs, which basically gives players a secondary leveling table, with overpowered features that make encounters a joke. This became Hilarious in Hindsight when the Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous video game adaptation redid the difficulty too far the other direction for some players.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: 2nd Edition is sometimes accused of this. While some of it can come down to issues in the early adventure designnote , in reality the core design of the system prevents outscaling enemies around your level in a way that means you have to engage in the more strategic and mechanical elements of the game just for your characters to survive, let alone win. This can be exhausting for players who just want a light-hearted beer and pretzels game, or who find forced engagement with the higher-end meta stifling. A clever GM can simply lower the stats of a creatures or reskin a weaker one with the aesthetic of a more powerful one to give the players that Curb-Stomp Battle feel, but this requires the GM knowing to do that, and savvy players who know how the system works will quickly catch on that's what's being done. While there is skill to be found in those tactical elements the game expects players to engage in, those who prefer being able to overcome its maths and mechanics through builds or system mastery (as you can in systems like 1st Edition) will chafe hard against the system and feel the challenge is purely up to the whim of the GM, while others feel the baseline difficulty is too punishing to allow true build expression outside of the optimal meta.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Seltyiel, the token evil iconic, is rather pitiable if you read his backstory.
    • Tieflings are often depicted this way in the fluff, although as individuals they can be anything from Dark Is Not Evil to Complete Monsters.
    • NUALIA TOBYN. Put on a pedestal by her neighbors, restricted in her activities by her adoptive father, knocked up by her awful boyfriend who then left her, disowned by her father, and gave still birth to a deformed monster thanks to being in an area desecrated by Lamashtu at the time. No wonder she went crazy.
    • Arazni, so very much. She started out as a paladin following the god Aroden, only to have her god die mysteriously and to be horribly killed by the Whispering Tyrant shortly after. As if this weren't enough, the evil Necromancer Geb turned her into a lich under his control out of spite towards the Knights of Ozem. While she eventually broke free of his control, she remains a twisted and evil undead demigod with none of her original goodly nature, at best only becoming more neutral in her actions due to having time to dwell on things.
  • Les Yay:
    • Between three of the four major good-aligned goddess, no less. 2E's Gods & Magic confirmed it as a full-on polycule between them, showing as such with art, and a blog-post in the lead-up to the book's release including a way to be a follower of all three at once, calling it the Prismatic Ray.
    • Merisiel and Kyra, if the "Ask Merisiel" thread on Paizo's forums is to be believed. Apparently, if she could spend one night alone with any of her companions, it would be Kyra and what she would do... is not something that she would be allowed to say in polite company. According to her, humans "can be super sexy and intriguing, especially when they worship Sarenrae and wear so much armor that you can't make out the details but just barely." Word of God and volume 5 of the Pathfinder comic book series finally confirmed that the two are a couple; they eventually married in a Short Story on Paizo's blog.
      Merisiel: Kyra's still kinda a stick in the mud, but she's getting better at it. Slowly. Operation "loosen up the cute cleric" continues into its fourth year, in other words.
      Merisiel: Best part about Kyra's healing magic? They're touch spells, and she's too kind-hearted to NOT heal someone who's actually hurt.
      Kyra: By the Light of the Dawn, people, STOP encouraging her! I have enough problems keeping Valeros in line...
      Merisiel (to Kyra): Kissy kissy!
  • LGBT Fanbase:
    • The developers have stated their intent to appeal to a wide variety of players, regardless of race, gender or sexual preference, and have designed several characters to represent that variety—up to and including three of the four major Good goddesses of the setting, Sarenrae, Shelyn, and Desna, being canonically a throuple. In general, Paizo has openly stated that, unless said otherwise, any romanceable NPC has a compatible sexuality with whatever PC chooses to romance them. And they rarely say otherwise.
    • Many lesbian and gay NPCs appear throughout the various modules.
      • In the Pathfinder comics, iconic rogue Merisiel and iconic cleric Kyra, both female, are lovers, and eventually marry in a Short Story on Paizo's blog.
      • At least two wlw couples involving a trans woman appear in the adventure paths: Anevia Tirabade (human) and Irabeth Tirabade (half-orc)note  in Wrath of the Righteous, and Marislova (half-elf) and Jadrenka (changeling) in Reign of Winter.
      • Two of the main allied NPCs in Wrath of the Righteousnote  are in a gay relationship.
    • Shardra, the iconic shaman in 1st Edition, is revealed in their backstory to be transgender.The iconic thaumaturge in 2nd Edition was also confirmed to be non-binary.
  • Low-Tier Letdown:
    • First Edition:
      • Vanilla/Chained Rogue is, in general, seen as underpowered since it's easily outdone by other classes as a scout and/or DPS melee character.
      • Vanilla/Chained Monk heavily suffers due to being a dedicated martial class with low hit dice (d8s), no armor, medium BAB, and being outdone by other martials. The best way to play the class is to ditch its signature unarmed combat expertise and go with the Zen Archer archetype.
    • Second Edition:
      • While not unplayable, alchemists get a bad rap due to a number of clunky and underdeveloped mechanics. A number of factors make them less effective and difficult to use than their pay-off, including the fact bombs don't ever get past expert proficiency (which combined with using a non-primary stat for their attack rolls, means they'll be far behind other classes in chance to hit, forcing them to rely on the miniscule splash damage and hope they fight enemies with damage type weaknesses they can exploit), mutagenist and chirugeon being woefully under-supported research fields, and consumable items being generally far more clunky than magic items and buff spells, often requiring two actions and a free hand to draw and use. In theory, the sheer versatility an alchemist has access to is supposed to balance this out, but in practice people find the alchemist struggles to do little more than being a walking item dispenser, with little to do in combat apart from throwing attacks with far less effectiveness than other classes.
      • The warpriest cleric doctrine tends to fall off at later levels. At early levels, they are very strong thanks to good weapon proficiencies combined with buffs and healing from divine spells. However, after that early boost, their weapon proficiency never gets past expert, while their spellcasting progression is woefully slow and doesn't go past master. Meanwhile, cloistered clerics eventually reach the same weapon proficiencies, while having much faster and higher spell proficiencies. Past that, the only niche warpriests have to themselves is access to light and medium armor, but even then a cloistered cleric can take a dedication to gain those, which will have the same proficiencies as a warpriest while keeping their own superior spell progression. That said, warpriests do get easier access to heavy armor thanks to the Sentinel archetype, and they still have some niches they can fill as an armoured support character. They just require specific builds that more straightforward cleric playstyles may not work as well with. Using buff spells like Heroism or otherwise just focusing on spells that don't rely on spell attack rolls or saving throws tends to be where warpriests are at their best. Thankfully, the got some buffs in the Remaster to make them more viable standlone; see Rescued from the Scrappy Heap below.
      • The witch as released in the APG was perhaps the single most underdeveloped class in the game to date. note . A multi-tradition option like the sorcerer - though with prepared casting rather than spontaneous - the witch had a number of unique features in its hexes, bespoke class feats, and the best familiars in the game. The problem was its unique features were woefully underpowered, and almost anything it could do well was done just as well if not better by other classes. Its hex cantrips had a pointless 1-minute cooldown on spamming them against the same target, despite their strength paling significantly compared to classes with a similar emphasis on bespoke cantrips note . Its unique feats were borderline unusable, including a weakened spellstrike-esque effect for hexes that required making a melee Strike as a caster, at caster-proficiency attack modifiers, and still required a saving throw for the hex if it hit (and wasted the spell if you didn't, meaning if you were using one that cost a focus point, you weren't getting it back). It didn't help that its divine and primal tradition options required learning spells ala a wizard...while other prepared casters for those traditions like cleric and druid could prepare any spell from their list from the get-go. The only truly unique niches it had were that its focus spell hexes gained from Lesson feats could enable mixing and matching effects that certain traditions may not have easy access to (such as healing for an arcane witch, elemental damage from an occult one, etc.), and its familiars really did get far more abilities than other classes could with their own. However, these were hardly considered worthwhile tradeoffs for what you lost picking a witch over other spellcasters of whatever tradition you chose for it. Thankfully like the warpriest, it got a significant glow up in Remaster; see Rescued from the Scrappy Heap below.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Asmodeus, Lord of Hell and the God of Sin, was the first traitor in history. Born the twin brother of the god of Goodness, Ihys, the two differed on Ihys's insistence on imbuing mortals with free will, causing a war among the gods. Asmodeus committed the first act of treachery and slew his brother, but honored him by letting free will remain. Asmodeus will work with the gods of good to outwit greater threats such as Rovagug, but remains a deceptive and brilliant archdevil who will manipulate everyone to his end goals, even acquiring entire kingdoms via clever dealing. Asmodeus is also believed to have authored the contract around all creation, perhaps even writing in an extra clause to ensure his victory in the long run, never being at a loss for a clever ploy, even if he refuses to ever tell a direct lie.
    • Mephistopheles, the Archdevil of Contracts and Secrets, was originally the consciousness of hell itself given form by Asmodeus. Utterly loyal to the Lord of Hell and ruler of the 8th layer Caina, Mephistopheles makes countless deals with mortals while constructing them to carry out the letter while sometimes violating the spirit while their souls can be claimed by hell. Even able to deceive any other archdevil save Asmodeus, Mephistopheles also made a deal with the depraved Barzillai Thrune to make him the Genius Loci of the nation of Cheliax while secretly arranging events for Barzillai's downfall so Mephistopheles can study his depraved soul. After ensuring the heroes kill Barzillai, Mephistopheles cheerfully sends them on their way, unless one wishes to enter into a new infernal pact.
    • Nocticula, the first of all succubi, was one of the most brilliant and dangerous demons in hell's hierarchy. Well known for seducing and murdering other demons for their power, even her brother Socothbenoth grew wary of her and attempted to betray her, only to be easily defeated. Growing weary of evil, Nocticula secretly plotted to become a goddess, using her cults and followers to assist her in this until she was able to ascend to full godhood as the Redeemer Queen, patron of outcasts and redemption.
    • Seltyiel Bhrostra, the Iconic Magus, is one of the most brilliant criminals in Golarion. The bastard son of a noblewoman in Cheliax, Seltyiel grew cunning and vicious after a lifetime of abuse and abandonment. Killing his abusive adoptive father and swearing revenge on his biological father for abandoning him, Seltyiel takes up criminal work across the world and proves his sharpness. Eternally charming, Seltyiel manages to steal gems from a museum by orchestrating an entirely different heist as a distraction. While looting the Hollow Mountain lair, Seltyiel quickly negotiates a temporary alliance with Seoni's party to benefit them both. Seltyiel then proves his willpower and sly nature when he fools an incubus into believing it had seduced him before running it through, even leaving with a valuable artifact that he intends to sell to the highest bidder and that he outright states he has no intent to use. Throughout his deeds, Seltyiel proves time and again to be a complete pragmatist who will only do what benefits him, and will even cooperate with heroic parties if that works in his favor.
    • Queen Abrogail Thrune II, aka "Her Infernal Majestrix", rebuilt the nation of Cheliax as the head of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune. Playing the part of a frivolous child to mask her calculating mind, Abrogail is fully capable of outplaying almost anyone at court, making yearly Human Sacrifices to Asmodeus to renew Thrune's devotion to hell. Whenever her domains are threatened Abrogail forms clever plans to deal with any threats while using those chances to dispatch any lingering enemies, even tricking a good-aligned church into peace before finding a loophole to accuse them of treason and destroy them.
    • Queen Elvanna of Irrisen is the fourteenth daughter of Baba Yaga to reign from Whitethrone. Contacting her brother Rasputin, Elvanna forms a plot to usurp her mother after learning Baba Yaga consumes the life of her daughters, having placed her own family in strategic points to keep control of Irrisen. Overthrowing Baba Yaga, imprisoning her soul and giving the doll containing it to Rasputin to store in his own realm, Elvanna attempts to spread Irrisen's eternal winter across all Golarion to make it easier to conquer.
    • Arazni was once the herald and best friend of the heroic god Aroden. Leading the battle against the depraved Whispering Tyrant Tar-Baphon, Arazni was defeated, tortured and murdered by the lich. Revived by the tyrant Geb who derogatorily named her the "Harlot Queen" as his consort, Arazni was left to rule a nation of backstabbing, ambitious undead. Proving herself more than adept at dismantling the plans of usurpers, Arazni manipulated the elimination of her guards at the hands of knights, finally able to flee Geb to provoke Tar-Baphon into using his Radiant Fire superweapon to destroy her form and free her from Geb's control at the cost of many innocent lives. With her fate finally her own again, Arazni ensures the survivals of the heroes whom she has grown fond of, leaving her to choose her own path after centuries.
    • Skull & Shackles: Admiral Druvalia Thrune is the Big Bad, The Woman Behind the Man to Captain Barnabas Harrigan, and the source, directly or indirectly, of all the misery experienced by the player characters. Determined to escape the accusation that her career has been advanced by nepotism alone, Druvalia uses her catspaw, Harrigan to undermine the Shackles' defenses, while her great-uncle's vast wealth enables her to finance a private armada, which her deal with the archdevil Geryon enables her to sail through the Eye of Abendego and strike at the Hurricane King's domains. With only the players even aware that her invasion is about to take place, and the support of one of the rulers of Hell, Druvalia seems to hold a winning hand, and if the PCs do not bring their best game, she is easily capable of running the table and reducing the Shackles to a Chelish colony.
    • Ironfang Invasion: General Azaersi is a brilliant and overambitious hobgoblin general who dreams of building a new homeland for her people atop the bickering human nations of Nirmathas and Molthune. Recruiting dozens of Molthune's monstrous mercenary regiments to her service, securing the alliance of the dark naga Zanathura, the greater barghest Azlowe, and the legendary dragonslayer Kraelos, and rallying hobgoblins from across the continent and beyond, Azaersi builds her Ironfang Legion into one of the deadliest fighting forces in Avistan, and with the aid of a powerful magical artifact, is able to deploy them wherever she sees fit. Rendered all but invincible in the field, Azaersi overruns most of Nirmathas and a large part of Molthune, with the players the only ones who are able to even check her. Unable to best her army in the field, the PCs will likely have to resort to a decapitation strike to remove Azaersi from the head of the Legion—unless they can present her with evidence of treachery from her comrades, in which case, much to their surprise, they may find themselves negotiating a reasonable peace with the hobgoblin generalissimo.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Already spawning a few; Shalelu, the Red Mantis Assassins, and Hellknights (I AM THE LAW) are pretty popular subjects.
    • "Some say she was the first elf to ever set foot on Groeteus. Some say her face appears on ancient Azlanti coins of high denomination. Some say she overcame a troll's regeneration by insulting its mother. All we know is, she's called Shalelu."
    • Red Mantis Assassins: They're like mantis-themed Batman villains, except scarily effective.
    • In the Pathfinder Society Organized Play, the Venture Captain Sheila Heidmarch is getting there. She has the reputation to send their underlings (read: the player characters) to their certain doom.
    • The Ultimate Campaign book has a piece of artwork showing a tall male elf laughing hysterically at a halfling attempting to charm his companion with a flower. The elf has since become widely used as a reaction picture (often called "Lelf") due to looking like his sides are splitting in half from laughing.
    • Ancestry, Backround, Class, Don't forget your four free boosts.Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
  • Narm: The qlippoth tend towards looking silly rather than threatening, contrary to their lore. In particular, Isph-Aun-Vuln, whose stats and description are actually pretty scary, looks rather like a giant meatball with a mouth and eyes, which is pretty hard to take seriously.
  • Never Live It Down: Iomedae has a reputation as a Jerkass God, despite being Lawful Good, mainly due to a very odd and out of character scene in Herald Of The Ivory Labyrinth which even the writer has admitted was written horribly. Even years after the AP came out, many players refuse to let go of the moment, and site it as a point against her.
  • Popular with Furries: The numerous playable Funny Animal races available to play tends to attract the Furry Fandom to this game. In addition to gnolls and lizardfolk, there are also ratfolk, catfolk, vanara, orang-pendak, kitsune, vishkanya, nagaji, grippli, trox, reptoid, tengu and strix. There are even Plant People in the form of the ghoran and wyrwood (though the latter are technically constructs). There's also third party material that include "fursona" books, allowing players to build their own furry races.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • The developers sought to do this with some of the classic monsters in the splatbook Misfit Monsters Redeemed, specifically going for some of the most laughed-at monsters from the older editions of D&D, such as the Dire Corby, Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing, and the infamous Flumph (which is now a good-aligned extraplanar messenger warning adventurers about threats from beyond the stars).
    • The Soulknife class in 3.5 was always something people loved in concept, but hated in execution. Following the new Pathfinder version put out by Dreamscarred Press, the Soulknife is now, while not as top-tier as most casters, solidly on par with martial classes like the Fighter and Barbarian, and has a number of cool and unique tricks to give it its own unique flavor.
    • Third Edition's Tome of Battle supplement was the opposite, in several ways. It filled a niche that many players wanted to see filled, but many people felt that it made martial classes too similar to spellcasters. Dreamscarred Press revived its Maneuvers mechanic with their Path of War supplement, which instead embraced the larger-than-life, almost magical feel that Tome of Battle had.
    • To hear the Paizo forum-goers tell it, the Rogue was the most god-awful waste of paper and ink e'er to have been sent to print. And then the book, Pathfinder Unchained came out, and released an upgraded version of the Rogue which left all the original parts intact and added on a whole bunch of other abilities, including giving the Rogue unique tricks with Skills, a very nasty set of tricks called Debilitating Strikes which make the rogue a combat-tactics monster, upping the power of many of their weakest Talents (to the point that several became the best talents overnight), and granting Weapon Finesse as an automatic Bonus Feat at level 1, with the ability to further use Dexterity in place of Strength to determine damage with the Rogue's weapon at level 3! And because all that happened was the addition of stuff to the Rogue, that means that all the previously-published Archetypes now work with the Unchained! Rogue.
    • Goblins in D&D are fairly bland, low-level cannon-fodder who typically exist solely as minions to more powerful monsters. Pathfinder made them into a delightfully insane Mascot Mook race who love fire, fear writing (it takes words out of your head!), despise dogs and horses, sing hilariously gruesome songs as they go into battle, and don't fully understand their own mortality. They even have their own popular series of adventures to star in, and have been upgraded to a core playable race in 2nd Edition.
    • The Remaster for 2nd Edition aimed to revamp and errata classes and options that were known to be struggling. The biggest beneficiaries of the first Player Core book were the warpriest cleric and witch.
      • The warpriest had long been considered inferior to its counterpart doctrine - the cloistered cleric - as it traded legendary spellcasting proficiency for mediocre weapon and armor proficiency that could be obtained with the cloistered cleric through multiclassing anyway. While its viability was not as bad as many made it out to be, the mere perception of reduced proficiencies was enough for casual players and hardcore theorycrafters alike to just assume you'd be better playing a cloistered cleric with a champion dedication, and later releases with better designs for gish-type options made warpriest come off as comparatively clunky design-wise. Come Remaster, the warpriest was granted a number of unique buffs and feats to give it more viability in a way that couldn't be done by multiclassing a cloistered cleric, and it became the only full progression casting option capable of getting master weapon proficiency! note 
      • The witch was essentially an underbaked class whose useful niches (namely familiars) could be covered by other classes, and its unique ones (such as hexes and most of its unique feats) supremely underpowered, if not outright traps. The Remaster gave it significant buffs, with its unique class features such as hexes being given quality of life improvements (the biggest being that it removed the 1-minute cooldown on targetting enemies with hex cantrips, meaning you can now spam them indefinitely), familiars getting special abilities that trigger when casting or sustaining hexes (and can't be received from multiclassing, meaning base class witches keep that benefit all to themselves), and a slew of improved feats that weren't just trap options. It no longer feels like a weak carbon copy of other spellcasters, and has its own identity and unique options compared to them.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Burn, the Kineticist's Cast from Hit Points mechanic. The common criticisms are that it's obnoxious to track, leaves the Kineticist ridiculously squishy (a fully-powered Kineticist effectively averages 1.5 hit points per level) despite being a class based off of Constitution, and doesn't feel like Avatar: The Last Airbender. Fortunately, this mechanic is nowhere to be seen in 2E.
    • The Medium's influence mechanic rapidly shoots up, can offer very harsh penalties very quickly, and cannot really be reduced until the Medium selects a new spirit or use specific things depending on factors like archetypes. And getting five points of influence turns the character into an NPC until the channeling finishes, which heavily discourages using abilities that increase the chance of the Medium's spirit gaining control. In effect this gives the Medium only 2 influence points a day they can use for any of their features due to starting off with one point just to use the core abilities, maybe pushing it to 3 if desperate, which makes it unappealing from a gameplay angle when compared to other classes like the Oracle, which has similar ideas but better handling of the Power at a Price aspect comparatively.
    • Combat Expertise, an underwhelming feat that lets you trade attack rolls for an improvement to AC. Its sole purpose beyond that seems to be serving as a wall for feats, being prerequisite to no less than twenty-nine core Pathfinder feats, including all of the "Improved" Combat Maneuver feats (Improved Trip, Improved Disarm, Improved Grapple) which remove the ability for enemies to take Attacks of Opportunity for you using these maneuvers. It just seems to be there solely so players can't take these feats at first level.
    • Everything about the Eldritch Scion archetype for the Magus. It gains spontaneous casting, but loses Spell Recall, all casting and the Arcane Pool is determined by Charisma, they get a gutted version of the Bloodrage called "Mystic Focus" which they need to spend an Arcane Point to enter, which isn't so bad on its own, but they need to be in the Mystic Focus in order to use Spell Combat (one of their signature abilities), until they reach level 8.
    • The Sacred Geometry feat is near-universally banned to guard against any player evil enough to want to take it. How it works is complicated, but essentially it allows a player to enhance their spells with extremely powerful metamagic for no level adjustment, so long as they're willing to do tedious real-world math puzzles every time they cast a spell. Essentially it wrecks both encounter balance and the flow of play.
    • Ranged attack penalties when attacking a target engaged in melee with someone in 1E. Seemingly done to encourage ranged characters to focus on other targets, or done to "balance" Dexterity-based characters, who would likely act first in initiative, many players dislike how their attacks get penalized for an arbitrary reason, since unless fighting ranged enemies, most enemies are likely melee focused. To get rid of the penalty, you'd have to get the Point-Blank Shot and Precise Shot feat, which means sacrificing other feats just to be able to hit normally without issue. To top it off, it applies to even ranged spell attacks, meaning a spellcaster needs to invest in said feats over Metamagic or other feats if they want to use offensive spells properly. This was removed in 2E, a choice virtually everyone agreed was a good call.
    • Mythic levels are an interesting case of being disliked for being too powerful as a feature. Mythic levels effectively give a secondary class leveling table for the player characters to use for extra power at no cost, and are meant to be very powerful to act as a means of allowing the party to fight high level foes that otherwise would be difficult to do normally. The issue was that the Mythic levels did their job too well and made most fights a joke because of the sheer power the system provided. The only AP to dedicate usage of the system for players, "Wrath of the Righteous", ended up being criticized for this reason, leading to most of 1e not using it again except for some antagonists.
    • Resonance Points in the 2E playtest were almost universally reviled. Powergamers didn't like how it put a hard cap on magic items, preventing people from creating powerful builds akin to what was in 1e, and almost everyone hated how you needed to spend resonance to use consumable magic items, such as potions and wands. Combine all of this, and it's no wonder why they never made it to the Core Rulebook.
    • Immunity to precision damage is widely detested in 2nd Edition. Unlike other damage immunities that usually have ways around them (such as versatile damage for weapon Strikes, or using different energy damage for spells), precision damage is usually a core tuning point for damage output on certain classes (such as investigator or rogue) and has no alternative to substitute in cases it won't work.
    • Arcane Cascade, a special stance only the magus can go into, is widely considered an unfun mechanic that just serves to action tax and lock a lot of their hybrid studys' most powerful features behind. The magus is already an action hungry class that revolves around a fairly set order of actions, so adding a stance action (one that requires you to cast a spell before you can activate it, at that) adds more overhead to a class that already has a lot going on to keep its balance in check. Worse, what is widely considered one of its most effortless subclasses - Starlit Span, the only hybrid study that can make ranged Spellstrikes - doesn't gain any benefits from Arcane Cascade at all except from one optional feat, meaning an already very safe and straightforward option doesn't have to engage with a mechanic melee options are forced to while being in much more precarious situations.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Golarion setting is heavily inspired by Forgotten Realms, with significant improvements such as giving the parts that aren't straight Medieval European Fantasy a lot more attention. Paizo wrote entire adventure paths for Garund (tropical Africa, corresponding to Chult and Samarach), Tian Xia (East Asia, corresponding to the Oriental Adventures sub-setting), and Osirion (Egypt, corresponding to Mulhorand).
  • Squick:
    • Lamashtu has this covered. See Nightmare Fuel above.
    • Zon-Kuthon. He's covered in ripped flesh and sucking wounds.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: 2nd Edition's detractors effectively consider it the ultimate 'Stop Having Fun' edition of DnD-likes. While the game is tightly balanced, with interlocked stipulations to prevent munchkins and powergamers from breaking or exploiting the game, some players find it overbearing to the point it stifles fun for the sake of balance, while at the same time requiring very high-level mastery of its systems and mechanics to function at even moderate levels of progression and difficulty. Some of its harshest critics accuse fans and Paizo themselves of being too scared of Pun Pun the Kobolds and peasant railguns for their own good, or it being designed for GMs that are salty about their Creator's Pet boss villains being one shot by players, so they rely on the more heavily-restricted power cap and obvious rule patches like incapacitate to stop them from winning through out-of-band damage and/or save-or-suck mechanics. It doesn't help that 1e did nothing about its flagrant core balance issues for years, with the developers coasting on smugly and snidely deflecting any criticisms by telling fans who claimed to want a "balanced" game to go pick up D&D 4e; even the announcement of 2nd Edition involved pot-shots at the much-despised Spellplague storyline that kicked off the 4e incarnation of Forgotten Realms that was, by then, about a decade in the past and long since replaced by a completely new edition. Critics of PF2e frequently describe it as repeating and even magnifying the worst mistakes of D&D 4e without meaningful improvement.
  • Tear Jerker: Planar Adventures says that Shelyn has a part of her godly realm set aside for Zon-Kuthon so if he ever redeems himself he they can live together again, which in turn implies she'd be willing to forgive him for everything.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: 2e removing some of the early Darker and Edgier lore and elements has generally been well received, or at least accepted, but some of the changes have been criticized for the reason or way they were changed. For example: slavery was removed across the setting, with many evil factions either having abolished it, being destroyed off-screen, or having been outright retconned from ever existing, which while good to prevent players from using it, left some players feeling "left out" of the setting's development, and also feeling it was too much of a swing in the other direction design wisenote . Other changes, such as renaming things like Paladin becoming Champion or removing the drow (the latter of which is more due to the OGL debacle with WotC in 2023) have been criticized for being unnecessary or excessive.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Golarion Goblins, unlike most versions of D&D, are essentially pyromaniac psycho chibis. Even cuter in the expansion books, where they tend to dress up as other monsters and carry around big d20s.
    • Fungus Leshy as well. Most of the leshy are Ridiculously Cute Critters, but the fungus-based ones look like baby spawn of Shub-Niggurath.
    • Cacodaemons, the lowliest of all the Neutral Evil daemons, are essentially flying mouths with eyes. They want to eat your soul, but how do they look so huggable while doing it?
    • Similarly, quasits, which are the demon counterparts to imps and cacos. The one in the bestiary is trying to look evil, but the fact that it's standing next to a candle kinda ruins the effect and makes it look somewhat adorable.
  • Unintentional Uncanny Valley: Droogami's face in his 2e illustration looks disturbingly human.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Iomedae. Mainly due to a certain infamous bizarre and out of character scene in "Herald Of The Ivory Labyrinth", where she has a messenger essentially abduct the heroes so she can grill them for information about her Herald (while blasting them with sonic damage each time they give a wrong answer).
    • Sorshen in Return Of The Runelords. She's meant to be the Big Good but comes across as more of a Designated Hero, since despite making a Heel–Face Turn she doesn't show much remorse or do much to make up for all the atrocities she committed as a Runelord (which include sacrificing hundred of people to make the Everdawn Pool.) Not helping is that according to her stats she is actually more powerful than the Big Bad yet doesn't just take her out and instead relies on the (much lower level) PCs to do her dirty work while remaining in hiding for most of the Adventure Path. While the meta reason for this is easy to understand (if she did just take the Big Bad on herself, it would be over in a few minutes and the PCs wouldn't even be needed), In-Universe it just makes her seem like a coward.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Yoon's artwork in the "Meet the Iconics" had some readers confused on what gender she was, as she's around 8 to 10, though the text clearly states she's a girl. Notably, it's only that art that caused this, as all other artwork of Yoon gave her eyeliner and lipstick, and also made her more clearly feminine.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • Partly the intent of the game's entire creation. The creators capitalized on the many D&D fans left in the cold by 4E and made Pathfinder largely in response to the 4E criticisms.
    • Repeated in the wake of Hasbro's disastrous attempts to repeal and institute a much stricter version of the Open Games License. They created their own version of the OGL for their own products with other TTRPG creators. They sold out 8 months worth of Pathfinder Second Edition book stock within a week.
  • The Woobie:
    • In "Seven Days To The Grave," the second book of Curse Of The Crimson Throne, the evil queen has deliberately spread a plague in order to Kill the Poor. At one point the characters meet Brienna Soldado, a young girl who is deathly ill from the plague and all but certain to die in a few days if she isn't cured. The illustration alone is a pretty big Tear Jerker.
    • "Valley Of The Brain Collectors" has Mad Paeytr, an ex-druid who was kidnapped by the The Dominion Of The Black and tortured to the point of madness. He's even described as looking 10 years older than his real age (about 40) due to everything he's been through.
  • Woobie Species:
    • The Taniniver are dragon like creatures that are infested with all manner of diseases and constantly in pain. The one in the picture even has places its skin has fallen off and you can see the muscles underneath.
    • The Broken Souls are creatures driven insane by horrible torture. and the example is a lilend, which seems all the more cruel.
    • The Xulgaths are a Jerkass Woobie species. They were once a thriving empire in the Darklands, until Aroden stole the mystical artefacts that made their survival possible, leading to their civilization falling in ruin, and them becoming violent demon worshipers that have been attacking the world above since then.

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