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Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


As a long time 3.0 and 3.5 DM, I've just started GMing Pathfinder after moving out of 4.0.

I love my group, they are bright, into the story, tactically strong, and have effective builds.

My setting is a Game of Thrones type environment and the players are an Enchantress Wizard, Human Alchemist, Catfolk Rogue, Samsaran Druid with an Ape, and a Human Sword/Board fighter who also uses a bow.

Core Rules, Advanced Player Guide, and Advanced Race Guide are all fair game, and Ultimate Magic is allowed only on a case-by-case GM approved basis. Part of that is, I don't have the book myself, and want to be able to understand any new spells so my rulings are accurate.

---

So, for those of you who've been GMing in Pathfinder or playing it for a long time.

Anything pop to mind that I should look out for as they get more powerful?

I run a balance of enemies to sometimes, but not all the time, counter PC strengths. We're good on all the basics.

But, any impression come to mind of "ooh, that could be trouble" or, "I didn't realize X, Y, and Z changed so much from 3.5" or "that class is a lot weaker at higher levels" or whatever...

All feedback welcome. =-)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sounds like you've got a handle on it.

That seems like a lot of books to me, for a beginner, but if you're feeling up to it, why not?

It's a lot easier to give advice for specific problems...

My basic advice, though, is if your players are cool with it and you're not using an AP use the "Slow" XP track. That should give you and the players some time to get a handle on the tactics for each phase of the game.

Unlike 4e, 3.5/PF has some unwritten "game changer" points; they sometimes call them Quartiles.

  • 1st - 4th are the Gritty levels where things like rope and rations actually matter. Obstacles of the mundane variety (a pit, a chasm, a locked door, a fire) belong here. Some people expect that the whole campaign arc of the game should fall within this area, those people should play the Epic 6 variant. If you like superheroes, you may proceed to 5th level.

  • 5th - 9th are the levels of X-Men level superheroism. Problems are solved with super-powers, but the scale of problems is rarely enourmous, "national importance" at best, usually on a city scale. At this point, start throwing seemingly impossible obstacles at the players and watch how they overcome it with their powers. A good example is a dam bursting and flooding a local village.

  • 10th - 16th are the Justice League levels of superheroism. Should be dealing with threats to the world, if not from other dimensions! At this point, you really need all obstacles to be seemingly impossible. Don't let them teleport to a place to save effort, FORCE them to teleport to a place to reach it at all (and there won't be breathable air when they arrive)! They should be using resources and powers to accomplish things that nobody else could even hope to do.

  • 17th - 20th is best reserved for villains. A 20th level character makes a great challenge for some 16th level PCs, but go much further and the math for attacks and save DCs really starts to break down. You *can*, but it really should be left to experienced GMs.

Be mindful of this, and how you'll need to change the basic assumptions of your adventure writing as they go up in level. Of chief importance in assigning those quartiles above is the spells that become available at those levels for wizards and clerics (sorcerers lag by one level). Read up on the spells that become available at every odd level and you will understand all that stuff I said about superheroism.


He mentioned being a longtime 3.0/3.5 GM, so I'm going to guess he's got all of that down. :p

My one piece of Advice would be to look up everything the first time you use it in-game. There are a *ton* of small, subtle changes to spells, feats, abilities, etc. so assuming they do the same thing in Pathfinder that they did in 3.5 can get you into trouble.


The big changes are subtle and usually hide behind the names of things you remember from 3.5 (I have to continually remind players to actually read Cleave and not just assume it was the 3.5 version reprinted). Skills are a bit different, spells are a bit different, combat can be a lot different in subtle ways.

There is a thread of "I didn't know about this pathfinder rule" in the forums somewhere; definitely interesting to read.


I dont see any problems with your players rooster. That said whatch that samsaran druid and his access to cleric-inquisitor spells it might prove to be overpowered.

Problematic things in the books you mentioned are:

APG:
-Archery focused ranger with the guide archetype. His dpr will sky rocket at high levels. In general archery is really poweful in pathfinder, but I think the guide archertype is the worst.
-Persitent spell and dazing spell might cause you trouble so I would recomend banning them.

ARG:
-Elf wizard spellbinder archetype.
-Paragon surge (half elf spell that grants you any feat).
-Samsaran mystic past life for arcane spells (allows a wizard samsaran to gain access to bard-summoner spells).

Ultimate magic:
-Synthesist (who cares about action economy when nothing can touch you, you fight as good as the fighter and have all the summoner utility spells?)
-Master summoner (very powerful)
-Eldrich heritage


Yeah, I've noticed some changes here and there and it can be hard to re-read everything just to find the few differences. We try to look everything up as we go though.

Persistent Spell applied to Daze would take an enemy out of the fight indefinitely eh?

One of my big challenges as a DM will be to balance encounters where the Enchantress has the potential to take enemies out of it or even cause them to switch sides as her mind control spells get more powerful.

I'm noticing that between the Alchemist and Enchantress, big, dumb, heavily armored foes will be neutralized very easily.

Of course, I still have to run enemies like this sometimes because the world doesn't metagame against the PCs.

But as the PCs get a reputation and make enemies who know what they're capable of... those enemies might plan a force to attack the PCs that blocks a lot of these tactics.

Sovereign Court

Oh and as for ultimate combat and ultimate magic...all of your needs are met here, and for free.

Grand Lodge

Pshhh. Your Wizard chose Enchantment as a specialty school (and not Conjuration or Transmutation)? Feel free to send Undead and Constructs at her all day long. It's her fault for choosing such a terrible school of magic. ;)


Haha... yeah...

I'm dealing with an Enchantress, Rogue, Alchemist, Fighter and Druid.

So I'm thinking every encounter will be with a flying wizard with lots of abjuration and illusions, leading 2-3 Iron Golems against the party while archers fire against them from outside effective range for any of them.

I'll show them.

Maybe I'll let them get to level 3-4 before I do that, just to build up a false sense of security.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

First of, welcome to pathfinder! I hope you enjoy your stay.

Things to note:
Sneak attack works against more things then it did in 3.5 This is fairly important as it means for instance undead arent the massive disadvantage for rogues that they once were. Somethings however are still immune, so creature type descriptions in the bestiaries for details (constructs for instance are still immune).

Druids: Wild shape buffs your physical stats it doesnt replace them. This means that a druid that wants to be a combat monster cant ignore their physical stats. This is REALLY important, have a look at the wildshap rules.

Watch out for the 15 minute workday. The alchemist especially should have to conserver their bombs. They thrive in the 15 minute workday. Dont let that happen.

Thats it for off the top of my head but feel free to come back to the boards with specific questions.

Shadow Lodge

Evil Lincoln wrote:

Unlike 4e, 3.5/PF has some unwritten "game changer" points; they sometimes call them Quartiles.

1st - 4th are the Gritty levels where things like rope and rations actually matter. Obstacles of the mundane variety (a pit, a chasm, a locked door, a fire) belong here. Some people expect that the whole campaign arc of the game should fall within this area, those people should play the Epic 6 variant. If you like superheroes, you may proceed to 5th level.

5th - 9th are the levels of X-Men level superheroism. Problems are solved with super-powers, but the scale of problems is rarely enourmous, "national importance" at best, usually on a city scale. At this point, start throwing seemingly impossible obstacles at the players and watch how they overcome it with their powers. A good example is a dam bursting and flooding a local village.

10th - 16th are the Justice League levels of superheroism. Should be dealing with threats to the world, if not from other dimensions! At this point, you really need all obstacles to be seemingly impossible. Don't let them teleport to a place to save effort, FORCE them to teleport to a place to reach it at all (and there won't be breathable air when they arrive)! They should be using resources and powers to accomplish things that nobody else could even hope to do.

17th - 20th is best reserved for villains. A 20th level character makes a great challenge for some 16th level PCs, but go much further and the math for attacks and save DCs really starts to break down. You *can*, but it really should be left to experienced GMs.

So I've been gaming for over 20 years now, and I've never heard of this. This is fantastic. Granted, I played 3.0 for all of a year (maybe), and haven't played 3.5. Didn't like them. Pathfinder, to me, solved all the problems I had with those two (and any problems it didn't solve I apparently don't care about anymore), and I have really enjoyed the switch from 2nd ed to Pathfinder.

Additionally, due to my past experiences with my gaming groups, I've never played or ran a game that was over 10th level. I really want to. So I'm really curious what the level of play is like in that 17-20 category. Can you either expand on that or point me to a thread that talks about it?

Sovereign Court

Kolokotroni wrote:
Somethings however are still immune, so creature type descriptions in the bestiaries for details (constructs for instance are still immune).

Constructs aren't immune to critical hits or sneak attacks. Only elementals and oozes are. And maybe an aberration or two.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

Wish and miracle pretty well define levels 17+. If you have enough money or can convince a god that something is important, you can do ANYTHING. Combat becomes an entire game of passing saves, blanketing the area with dangerous/helpful magic, avoiding full attacks, and producing full attacks. It's exciting to be sure, but as the saying goes, "this plane of existence isn't big enough for the 4 of us." I know that's not the saying really, but the point is that the material plane is running out of challenges. The PCs are probably looking to find a way to enter the multiplane scene without being tossed aside or devoured body, mind, and soul. Diplomatic contact with outsiders should be expected.

To the OP: the biggest change 3.5 to PF is going to be general character power. The conversion guide suggests lowering the CR of anything converted from 3.5 to PF simply because PC classes are generally improved. A class will rarely have a level where it doesn't get anything but a BAB and save increase. Also, CMB/CMD: learn to love them while you burn up your old grapple rules.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

Hama wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Somethings however are still immune, so creature type descriptions in the bestiaries for details (constructs for instance are still immune).
Constructs aren't immune to critical hits or sneak attacks. Only elementals and oozes are. And maybe an aberration or two.

Leads to a funny case where you can't normally crit a door, but if you animate it (making it an animated object) you now can!


Take note of the changes to wild shape and the parent rules, polymorph. This is a rather large overhaul from the 3.5 wildshaping days. Notably, you do not take on the stats of the target creature; you add a flat bonus to the druid's physical stats.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

John John wrote:
I dont see any problems with your players rooster.

Players' roosters are always a problem. Major stealth penalties, especially if you're trying to ambush someone in the early morning. ;)


Jiggy wrote:
John John wrote:
I dont see any problems with your players rooster.
Players' roosters are always a problem. Major stealth penalties, especially if you're trying to ambush someone in the early morning. ;)

Pssh...I have +5 Hens of Attraction fo those roosters...

Liberty's Edge

I am a bit wary of the Ape companion. There have been a few paizo blog posts and rulings clarifying the possibilities opened to Animal Companions (usually restricting them in fact) and you should read them carefully before your Druid tries to explain how his Ape can do so many wonderful things.


@ bookrat: One of the most memorable games I played went from 1st to 21st. We knew our characters very well, so the story went smoothly, and the high powered stuff at the end was a ton of fun.

You can play a one-off at high level just to see what it's like, but with everyone unfamiliar with their uber characters dripping with magic goodies, it can go pretty slow. You have so many abilities, you sometimes forget all the stuff you can do.

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