Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Lack of Gear Dependency in the Beginner Box


Beginner Box


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Full 3.5 & PF often seem very magic item dependent games, but the Beginner Box much less so, in my experience. The Beginner Box PCs IMC don't feel item dependent; partly because they are not constantly fighting powerful monsters; there is the occasional Ogre or Black Fang >:), but most of what they face is of CR lower than their level (currently 2-4). There are no crafting rules in the BB, and IMC there are only healing potions and a few random items typically available to purchase, so a +1 magic sword, +2 attribute booster, or +1 ring of protection is a nice bonus to help you kill more goblins, not a necessity.

With the lack of crafting rules, limited item purchase, and a few other things (no opportunity attacks, armour check penalties, or DEX cap by armmour) I also find the BB balance between classes is much better than in core PF. The Cleric does not overshadow the Fighter, for instance. The Wizard goes from weak at 1st to strong at 5th, but never dominates.

How have other people experienced this issue?


Sounds really good to me. Nice direction. I ran a low level Isger game (with goblin and trog enemies) just like this. No magic crafting, no magic item marts, no giant items and a lot of balance resulted.

Low magic, low shopping and no crafting is the way and the power.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

That's because gear dependency for martial classes goes up with level. A level 20 Fighter in a "low magic no crafting" game suffers far more than a level 5 Fighter.


Adjust CRs or remove DR entirely.

Got to also say though, there is no suffering. Low magic chars and their stats shouldn't be compared to high magic with crafting enabled chars. Products of different worlds. Low magic, you may never actually fill all your magic item slots. It changes the game up quite a bit. Adds challenge too, but a dm has to be careful. Got to watch what is thrown, or don't but give the players plenty of opportunities to use the environment, plan ahead, etc.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

The Wizard is just standing right there and says: "awww poor Fighter, the GM has to nerf encounters because of you. I'm just fine because you know what - I'm all spells and you're all gear. Silly Fighter. *moustache twirl*".


Try the taunting, now consider how low magic and no magic crafting effects a spellcaster. Yeah, dcs get lower, can't cover the weaknesses as well. Mmmm, it balances out more than you think, but as we've covered this before, you haven't tried it have you?

Or to put it another way, if a wizard cops a crit, his con will not be buffed by a con boosting item. Dex will be lower than in a high magic setting. Mmmmm, balance.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
S'mon wrote:

Full 3.5 & PF often seem very magic item dependent games, but the Beginner Box much less so, in my experience. The Beginner Box PCs IMC don't feel item dependent; partly because they are not constantly fighting powerful monsters; there is the occasional Ogre or Black Fang >:), but most of what they face is of CR lower than their level (currently 2-4). There are no crafting rules in the BB, and IMC there are only healing potions and a few random items typically available to purchase, so a +1 magic sword, +2 attribute booster, or +1 ring of protection is a nice bonus to help you kill more goblins, not a necessity.

With the lack of crafting rules, limited item purchase, and a few other things (no opportunity attacks, armour check penalties, or DEX cap by armmour) I also find the BB balance between classes is much better than in core PF. The Cleric does not overshadow the Fighter, for instance. The Wizard goes from weak at 1st to strong at 5th, but never dominates.

How have other people experienced this issue?

I've noticed the same (though admittedly haven't played a huge amount and might just be seeing what I want to find). As you say, the lack of crafting rules reduces the focus on items.

I figure a huge part of it is just being low level, though.


Gorbacz wrote:
That's because gear dependency for martial classes goes up with level. A level 20 Fighter in a "low magic no crafting" game suffers far more than a level 5 Fighter.

I agree that level is a major factor - but at high level in a regular game the Wizard & Cleric can make their own powerful items; the poor Fighter is still dependent on what he can beg, borrow or buy. And attribute boost items make Saves hard, then you need Resistance items to keep pace, etc. Without the ability to make or routinely purchase attribute-boost items, the Fighter can get by with magic weapons & armour, and even these are much less necessary if you're not fighting lots of high-CR monsters.

IME in a regular 3.5/PF campaign, the 5th level PCs are typically already quite loaded with optimised gear, and to threaten them the GM is often using trolls, ettins and other powerful melee brutes that can beat the Fighter in a slugging match, so the Fighter is already starting to feel weak compared to the Wizard & Cleric. With the Beginner Box monster distribution from the encounter tables, the Fighter still feels powerful at 5th level, because he can still handle most threats, while he may also have a higher AC (due to lack of DEX cap), and the casters can't cast in melee, while without AoOs they are more likely to have monsters get to them, so they have more to worry about.

So, IME the demographics of the PBB (encounter tables & implied world) mean less item dependency, while the simplifications of the PBB result in better class balance and less gear dependency for Fighters especially.


Gorbacz wrote:
The Wizard is just standing right there and says: "awww poor Fighter, the GM has to nerf encounters because of you. I'm just fine because you know what - I'm all spells and you're all gear. Silly Fighter. *moustache twirl*".

I think the high level Fighter definitely needs magic armour and magic weapons even in a no-crafting/purchase game; I'm not certain they need anything more than that (assuming the GM is using appropriate monsters, not a lot of high CR nasties). IME attribute-boost items favour the casters more than the Fighter types, because they boost save DCs very high.

Also, if you don't allow routine purchase or manufacture of items, then the PCs will keep the stuff they find. This allows for an AD&D type balance - in that game, most randomly generated permanent items tended to be weapons & armour, and the party rarely sold them because they couldn't be turned into gp to make INT/WIS boosters for the casters. This is what is happening in my PBB game, where I am using the box's treasure tables - most permanent stuff generated has tended to be weapons used by the party Fighters & Rogue; items are not sold because doing so would weaken the party.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Try the taunting, now consider how low magic and no magic crafting effects a spellcaster. Yeah, dcs get lower, can't cover the weaknesses as well. Mmmm, it balances out more than you think, but as we've covered this before, you haven't tried it have you?

Or to put it another way, if a wizard cops a crit, his con will not be buffed by a con boosting item. Dex will be lower than in a high magic setting. Mmmmm, balance.

Yes, my experience of GMing high level 3.5 (haven't played high level PF yet) was that the casters crafted stuff for themselves first - CON boost, INT boost and DEX boost, as you say - and the non-casters got the leftovers. Even if I included powerful weapons or armour that the Fighter could use, the casters insisted they be sold for gp, the cash distributed to make the relatively cheap stat-boosters they craved.

So easy item crafting & purchase actually INCREASED the class imbalance.


Something else that may make my PBB game less gear dependent is that it's not an Adventure Path but a 'living world' sandbox - Gygax's Yggsburgh/Eastmark, goblin and bandit infested borderlands, and when PCs die the new ones start at 1st level. This means there is no assumed progression in monster threat level; you may run into a rare high CR critter like the Medusa allied with Black Fang they met* 3 sessions ago, but after 10 sessions and 6 months of play the party are still typically facing the same sorts of threats they battled early on.

*They had a nice chat with her, though Black Fang wanted to eat them, and successfully negotiated a diplomatic treaty between the monsters and the local nobility. :)


Steve Geddes wrote:


I've noticed the same (though admittedly haven't played a huge amount and might just be seeing what I want to find). As you say, the lack of crafting rules reduces the focus on items.

I figure a huge part of it is just being low level, though.

Yes, while no-crafting is a part, I think level is the biggest thing - but it's both PC level and monster level. Using the encounter tables and monsters in the PBB to create a world, you get a place where a Fighter-5 or Wizard-5 is a badass even without items; there's only a few things they can't handle (like the full-grown CR 8 dragon) and those are rare.

I think this changes a bit if you use published adventures for the 4th-5th level range, if the PCs are interacting with 9th level Clerics and numerous CR 5+ monsters then they will start to feel distinctly less important and in need of plentiful gear.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Make enhancement bonuses to weapons and armor a lot cheaper and non-magical. Treat is as different degrees of workmanship, with +5 representing true masterwork and masterwork representing skilled, but not not masterful workmanship.

That way, in a low items/crafting setting, the fighting men can still have their most essential gear, while the spellcasters have to deal with the more expensive magical stuff. In fact, if you just cut down the cost of armor and weapon enhancements to 1/5 and accordingly cut down wealth per level to 1/2 or 1/4, you suddenly shift the balance towards men of more mundane means.


Just prepping a low magic adventure atm. Could be an idea for a beginner game, since it is confined to an area and there isn't a world beyond it.

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz6bzv?Tian-Hobgoblins-Framed-Adventurers-Impetuo us#1


3 people marked this as a favorite.
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Or to put it another way, if a wizard cops a crit, his con will not be buffed by a con boosting item.

Similarly, if a wizard crits a cop, he'll be a con.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Playing E6 works the same, low magic item/no magic item works pretty fine. Quite good for a certain style of game. The only thing in vanilla 3.x E6 is that arcane casters are awfully weak and dull without at will cantrips.


I like this whole "E" idea. What I have done is around 11 and up, the xp to level becomes double.

Tell the players of course.


KutuluKultist wrote:
Make enhancement bonuses to weapons and armor a lot cheaper and non-magical.

I wouldn't make them non magical for purposes of DR etc, but they can certainly stand to be a lot cheaper, more like 1e AD&D prices rather than 3e, and made by master smiths rather than wizards.


Sold on the idea.


I was going to make my PBB game "E5" - max level 5, 1 feat per extra 5,000 XP - but I recently bought the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and I think I'll use it to allow Beginner Box PCs to go above 5th level. When I adapted the Yggsburgh setting for my AD&D campaign I had NPC level demographics go from 1st to 8th, 1 9th, with some characters casting 4th level spells, and for consistency I'd like to keep that with the BB Yggsburgh game.

My current regular PBB group are a Fighter, a Rogue and a Wizard, they're not big powergamers so hopefully this should work ok.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Beginner Box / Lack of Gear Dependency in the Beginner Box All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Beginner Box

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.