Number 4: Actions Tied to Skills
Role playing games have always had a number of skills that your character can excel at. From Acrobatics to Deception, an important part of your hero is what skills he/she has mastered throughout their travels. In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, you now have ranks for each skill, such as, trained, master, and legendary, however, the interesting part of the game system is how it ties certain actions to a specific skill and rank. For Example, “Feint” is an action your character can take where they try to misdirect the target by throwing a fake strike in order to catch the enemy flat footed causing them to take a -2 to their AC. To use this action, you must be trained in the skill of deception. This allows a skill, like deception, to feel more impactful. A Rogue trained in deception has a different tool at his/her disposal that another character may not. This of course adds a level of customization to your character, but it does so in a way that has strong ties to role play.
The Pathfinder rule book has several abilities that are used in this way, but I do hope to see this system fleshed out more in future books. With ranks like “Master” and “Legendary” what other abilities can a character unlock? When reading some of these rules with a DM or game developer hat on, you can see the possibilities of where one can take this idea. For example, you can add abilities that allow a master of acrobats to run across a tight rope with little effort. Something like this is not powerful enough to be a feat or class feature, but adds just a bit of meaning behind these skills your hero has trained in. I also see the potential for role-play in this system. It can be difficult to represent a +1 to a given skill in game, but the moment your hero goes from trained to master? That milestone can be capped off with a test set by the character’s teacher. Additionally, how does one go from master to legendary? Maybe your teacher has shown you all he/she knows and sends you on a quest to find someone to take your training to the next level. Regardless, the system created here just oozes with role-play possibilities, and that spark of creativity should be fundamental to any system. I look forward to seeing how this system expands as 2nd Edition grows.