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Rules Bloat Theory -- New(?) Solution


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Can'tFindthePath wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Having recently taken a look at the AD&D 2nd edition rules, with that rather limited ruleset, I have become convinced that bloat really started with 3.0. More specifically, WotC's decision to focus on selling rules and letting others make the adventures for those rules. See, what they wanted was to start selling rules to ALL the people playing. Further, setting books resulted in split customer bases, so setting books had to be focused on one setting only. For 3rd, it was FR.

Indeed, specifically WotC concluded that hardbound books were the only really profitable books. So it was that they all had to have equal fluff and crunch, in order to sell to the widest cross-section of players.

Somewhat ironically, Paizo produces more thin softbound rules crunch. It is far too late now, but I wish they kept the vast majority of the crunch in the hardbounds, and used the subscription books for setting material.

+1


I don't buy many Paizo products, and all we as a group own (well mostly me), is core line. But when I see a good softcover product, either crunch or fluff(through reviews or something), I buy it in paper. I also have some pdf products (especially from bundles). When I'm building characters either as GM or player the PRD, d20pfsrd or archives of nethys are my tool of choice rather than pdfs or printed books. So what exactly is your question?

Should people who are concerned with bloat demand their players to buy the products they wanna use? 'cause that's a bad way of fighting bloat considering number of people who already have to buy their resources because of PFS. Again what was the question here?

(My thoughts about bloat...it exits but as bloat of useless options, rather than general bloat)


W E Ray wrote:

@ Lost Ohioian,

Here's my question, do you own and use the rulebooks -- or use the SRD?

.

Because the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced my OP was correct -- and thanks to Matthew Downie for addressing it.

If you only own four or five books (maybe Core, APG, ACG, UC and UM) and that's what you're using -- and you've had a couple years each to learn them -- it doesn't seem as if there's Bloat.

But if you've got your five books and the Players at the table -- who don't own a damn thing, btw -- are constantly using Feats and Spells and Equipment and Traits and Archetypes that are wildly unfamiliar, well then it seems like Bloat is a problem.

I own every PF hardbound there is. Book of the Damned arrives later today! I also have about half of the Campaign Setting and Companion softcovers. I don't have many modules, and the only complete APs I own are RotR and CoCT hardbounds.

I also have EVERYTHING on HeroLab.

Our official Communal House Rule is that everything from Paizo publishing for Pathfinder (not 3.5) is legal. I am starting to rethink that. We just finished RotR a couple months ago, and we're in the final stages of Way of the Wicked. I think my next campaign may cut some material.

My problem is I like many PARTS of all the material, and the "splatbooks" often address areas that I like. But it is all just too much. It is difficult to find a cut off. I sometimes dally with the idea of just CRB/APG (or even just CRB!), but so much awesomeness has come from the ACG, arguably the worst power creep (power leap?) book of them all. And the most recent Fighter options in the Advanced Armor/Weapon Master's Handbooks are hard to part with. I could pick and choose a few extras, but then I start thinking of tinkering with the core and making it just how I want it, and my plan goes off the rails....


Personally I see bloat as having 5 options for the same thing, spells being an egregious example of this.

As was mentioned earlier, there a plethora of traits that give +1 to a skill and make it a class skill. Rather than scouring for the single skill you want as a class skill, there should just be a catch all trait.

Likewise for the maneuver feats, there should just be a catch all feat that can be taken multiple times for each one. Feat tree consolidation is also a solution for this sort of bloat but that's a whole other can of worms nobody wants to mess with right now.

I don't begrudge Paizo for making content, that's how they put bread on the table, I just wish there was a bit more source checking so we don't end up with 5 examples of the same feat or spell being advertised as something new when it's already existed.

Grand Lodge

necromental wrote:
I don't buy many Paizo products, .... So what exactly is your question?

.

Here goes,
Would you be bothered even a little (and how much) if your DM said, 'Sorry, can't have that Feat. .... Oh, or that Archetype. Um, or any of those seven spells. And btw, that magic item isn't allowed either.' ....And while it's not all at once, there seems to be one instance per session or two. And it sometimes maybe feels like every other session.

Now, obviously it depends on the situation.

Let's work under the premises that the DM isn't unfair or inconsistent, that he tries to allow you to play the PC you want. ....That while he tries to be aware of the PCs' builds, he's not micromanaging. He doesn't check your sheet like homework but he does show some interest in what you want to play.

And, as others have repeatedly said in this Thread and others, he does have a list of 'whitelisted' books. .... The DM says the Core is okay. As are the APG, UM, ACG, UI and Unchained because those are the books he owns and is familiar with. So when half of your sheet (a hypothetical 'you') is unfamiliar to him -- whether it's balanced or not -- and looking at the SRD you realize your stuff came from UC and OA and ARG and Blood of Fiends and Blood of the Moon,-- Um,....

Let me ask you this,
Have you ever encountered something like that?

Grand Lodge

@ Can't find the Path,

I DM on Saturdays and we rotate campaigns on Sundays -- usually my friend Mike DMs the Sunday campaign but others will DM for a few months from time to time, myself included.

Mike and I both own dozens of books (and have been playing since '81) and we both believe that DMs should try to let the Player run what he wants to play. The game is suppose to be fun. Pathfinder's complexity and options are the appeal (as opposed to the non-D&D, dumbed-down game WotC poops out).

Mike does what you do: If it's Pathfinder it's legal -- but he reserves the right to say 'No' if he sees something that seems unbalanced. (A Player almost got away with getting an Azlanti PC once, you know, with a +2 to all 6 Ability Scores.) And his games are GREAT. For about two months. Then they break down into grossly overpowered PCs.

I'm way more rigid for my Saturday group. Core is okay. Base Classes in APG, UM, ACG, UI, & Unchained are okay. The other material in those five hardbacks are available upon request -- they're suppose to ask first.

And with that I've NEVER felt a problem with Bloat.

But I see all the Threads here on it. I see what happens in the Sunday games. And once a month or so in my Saturday game someone starts to take an Action and I'm like, 'Uh, what is That?!' Followed almost immediately by, 'And what book is that from?' And the Players are okay with it being taken away, but now we're in the middle of Round 3 of a critical encounter and the Player no longer has a plan since he no longer has that spell and 'Oh crap is this gonna TPK?!' ....We're here to have FUN!

So I have to play each situation for its uniqueness and decide whether to let it work this time as long as the Feat or spell or magic item is switched out next session. Or just, No, you don't have it even for this encounter.

. . . .

But if the Players just go out and buy the damn books!


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I think saying "I'm sorry you need to spend money to have that option" is just rude. Not all of my players have the disposable income to afford all of the books or even the majority of the books.

Now, I DO have disposable income and so I purchase any Paizo material that I fancy. However, not all of my players are within the same boat where they can spend 10-20 bucks on game material they might not use after they leave my table. As such, I completely allow Archive of Nethys and D20 to be used within my games. Despite the fact that I own a great deal of Paizo material, I would not participate at a table that mandated that I owned everything within my character. I view that as a way to gate the game away from gathering newer players, or players who have hardships within their day to day lives, and I refuse to be a part of that. My games are open to all, and they will remain that way.

Now, this does mean I have to do my homework on what my PCs can do. Well no ****ing duh, as a GM it is your responcibility to know the limitations and powers of your PCs so that you plan your sessions around those abilities. Just like it is your job to learn about what situations players can and cannot handle, and subjects they wish to avoid during game time. Sure it is more work for me as the GM, but it results in better quality games.

Frankly, If you cannot handle new material, you should clearly create a whitelist at the beginning of a campaign that states all acceptable material. Otherwise, allowing one player to make use of an option; but, disallowing another from using the same option, is unacceptable behavior.


Opuk0 wrote:
As was mentioned earlier, there a plethora of traits that give +1 to a skill and make it a class skill. Rather than scouring for the single skill you want as a class skill, there should just be a catch all trait.

A trait is also about flavor, more than the average feat. If you cut the name and description in favor of a generic name and description, you lose quite a bit of character background.

I still agree to the merits - maybe this catch all trait should coexist with the other skill traits. So you can offer new players the general one, and let others (who want to) dive through long lists.

Quote:
Likewise for the maneuver feats, there should just be a catch all feat that can be taken multiple times for each one. Feat tree consolidation is also a solution for this sort of bloat but that's a whole other can of worms nobody wants to mess with right now.

I feel Paizo is on board with feat tree consolidation - they did such a thing at vigilante talents, and previously on ranger combat styles and the oracle (see cinder dance of flame mystery). If the player's choice is 'my PC should be good at overrun', then it's enough to have a single character option that does that. New books would then have to introduce whole packages of options, though.

When it comes to a general Improved Maneuver feat, I am on the fence. Yes, it would be consistent with Skill Focus and Weapon Focus, automatically offer a new choice when new maneuvers are introduced (uncivilized tactics come to my mind) and cut down the list of feats. However, the name of the feat (likely) becomes longer, instead of Improved Overrun you get Improved Maneuver (overrun) and the Greater feats are not completely generic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
W E Ray wrote:
So again I wonder, for the people who are concerned with bloat, are you playing with people who have their own books or just use the SRD?!

My situation is going to be idiosyncratic, I suspect but nonetheless:

I’m the one in our group who owns all the books (literally every book Paizo has published, plus perhaps fifty 3PP books or so). The rest of my group don’t own any Pathfinder books I haven’t bought for them.

I’m the one in our group happiest with a CRB-only campaign (I try to avoid the term “bloat” but I think contextually I’d fit your bolded comment).

My players generally want anything and everything that’s available (some say Paizo-only, others say anything in a book is fair game). Some of them like grabbing a “themed” book and building from there. Others go online and find an optimised “build” they follow from level one until campaign’s end.

So I don’t know if my group goes contrary to your experience or supports it(?)


ShroudedInLight wrote:
I think saying "I'm sorry you need to spend money to have that option" is just rude.

That's standard PFS policy, so a lot of players are playing under that 'rude' restriction...

Though personally, I'd rather my players got to play what they want to play. Flexible character creation is one of the main appeals of Pathfinder.

While I'd like it if they used classes I already knew, not some weird Occult thing, it's not a major priority for me - less of a problem than a character who doesn't fit the theme of the campaign (like a gunslinger in a world with no guns, or an orc in a world where orcs would be killed on sight), or a character who is far more powerful than the rest of the party (which could easily happen even in a Core-only campaign), or a character who is far less powerful than the rest of the party, or a chaotic evil character in a party of Paladins, or a character with no personality...

Grand Lodge

Yes, money is a thing.

In my extended group none of us struggle with money so I tend to forget that many people do. We do have a married couple who somewhat struggle with money but they also own tons of books. We also freely share books (At any given time I'm looking for one of my 6 Bestiaries or campaign setting softbacks or APs or modules or whatever, and have to remember who borrowed what.). And I (and others) always buy Pathfinder product for Christmas and B-day and such for everyone.

But of course, if you're playing with someone who can't afford even the Core, yes, you have to keep that in mind. I would wonder this, though, if a Player can't afford to spend tons and tons, but has the Core and APG -- even if that's all, I don't see a problem making a PC with just those two books, maybe with a couple additions from someone else.

. . . .

Note that in PFS it is okay just to take xerox copies of the relevant rules page(s)s with you to the event -- not the whole books.


It's a bit more complicated than that:

PFS wrote:

In order to use material that does not appear in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook for your character, you must bring one of the following: A physical copy of the book, a name-watermarked PDF copy of the book, name-watermarked printouts of all relevant pages of the PDF, or access to the rules in the form of either electronic access to the Pathfinder Reference Document or a photocopy of the relevant pages, along with proof of purchase, such as a receipt from a game store or a screenshot of your My Downloads page.

A photocopy of a physical book does not satisfy this requirement, nor does Hero Lab or any other form of electronic character builder.

Dark Archive

This is why I like what Adventurer's League has done with 5e D&D, with the PHB+1 rule.

For Pathfinder, I'd probably go a bit more open (Core + 1 HB + 1 Floppy).

Keeps bloat down, and allows for players to much more easily own the books they need for their character without the need to own everything, and reduces the chances of catastrophic game breaking interactions. PHB +1 means that if two spells from different non-phb books cause endless loops or other game breaking effects, it doesn't matter, because no-one can HAVE both.

Grand Lodge

Wow, I didn't know that about PFS.

Is it ever enforced?

I'm gonna go ask in a PFS Thread.


PFS wants you to buy the book in order to be able to use the rule, feat, spell or system. -- This, BTW, is why every single splatbook has at least a couple of really cool, maybe borderline OP feats or spells or whatnot. (Okay, maybe not every single one. But most.)

Doug M.


BTW, this topic is really interesting to me because I'm about to start my first FTF PF game since 2011. I've done FTF 5e and a bunch of PF PBP online, but no actualy physical Pathfinder in six years. Back then, I could blacklist stuff easily enough -- although I'd usually do it between sessions. Now, with six! more! years! of rules bloat, I'm honestly not sure if that will work.

I will say this: if time allows, chat with the players beforehand about their plans for their characters. If it turns out that they have an awesome idea for a build that is based on using some feat / archetype / spell combination that is going to be grossly OP, you can warn them off before they get too invested. Talking to them as they level up is also good. "I'm taking Crane Style* as my next feat!" "Hmm..."

*yes I know Crane Style got nerfed. Back in 2011, it hadn't been.

Doug M.


RedDogMT wrote:

The bloat was bound to happen. Paizo has handled it far better than that other company did for their game.

But the problem isn't the bloat; it's the GMs who do not have the backbone to manage the content dispite the demands of unreasonable players. So many players assume that when a book is released that the content will be available for all to use. Some GMs actually need time to look at the material and god forbit there is somethign that they decide they do not want in their game or that they may want to save for later.

I think that's true. It's always been true for every RPG I've played. It's just not reasonable for that many pages of rules to work well in relation to itself. The writers can't keep it all in their minds at once.

I think the gaming hobby assumes the game master will use his skill running games to take the toolbox and do something with it.

The hardest situation is when a players has his heart set on something you don't want to GM, but you know he'll have a bad time if he doesn't get to play it.


TiwazBlackhand wrote:

This is why I like what Adventurer's League has done with 5e D&D, with the PHB+1 rule.

For Pathfinder, I'd probably go a bit more open (Core + 1 HB + 1 Floppy).

While I see the point, keep in mind that weaker classes profit more from using many books than the stronger ones. A wizard player working with just CRB material will usually be fine, while a rogue player with the same restriction might get quite a headache.


Alright people angry about bloat and people that don't want paizo to make a second edition are obviously diametrically opposed right?
So someone on one side of these make a thread and you guys hash it out GO!
(the only third option would be to go out of business.)


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W E Ray wrote:
necromental wrote:
I don't buy many Paizo products, .... So what exactly is your question?

.

Here goes,
Would you be bothered even a little (and how much) if your DM said, 'Sorry, can't have that Feat. .... Oh, or that Archetype. Um, or any of those seven spells. And btw, that magic item isn't allowed either.' ....And while it's not all at once, there seems to be one instance per session or two. And it sometimes maybe feels like every other session.

This is exactly what my group does.

Part of being a GM is deciding what is and is not permitted in your world.

Grand Lodge

Yeah, I think Volkard Abendoth hit it on the head for me.

I'd never really thought about Bloat as being a problem since I only own a dozen or so rules books (even though peripherally I'm aware of so, SO much more) .... At my table when I see something I don't know and I ask from where it comes, I just figure to consider that specific situation and disallow it immediately or starting next session.

But between looking at recent Bloat Threads, getting ready to help out a new LGS by running PFS for strangers at a store instead of at home, and, ultimately, having the eureka moment about people's phones being the cause for all the complaints about Bloat, I wanted to start this Thread.

. . . .

I think DMs concerned about Bloat should, in addition to giving a White-listed books, just enforce a PFS-like policy of buying the books -- and sharing what's at the table. If the only books the group owns are the Core, APG and Unchained, for example, then maybe those should be the only ones allowed. Again, for DMs concerned with Bloat.


W E Ray wrote:
Would you be bothered even a little (and how much) if your DM said, 'Sorry, can't have that Feat. .... Oh, or that Archetype. Um, or any of those seven spells. And btw, that magic item isn't allowed either.'

I'd find that fairly annoying. The fun of character-building is severely curtailed by not knowing if any given choice is going to be permitted.


One of the issues, IMO, is that the rules system as it is designed does not allow for customization outside of RAW.

As an example: The spell summoned monster I-IX does not allow for the summoning of monsters equivalent to the ones listed. So, additional publication must be done in order to expand the list in some fashion.

The same applies to pretty much every facet of the game.


Honestly I have never had a problem with bloat. I have a blacklist of options and have my players ask if they think anything deserves to be on there. Everything else is just a ton of interesting options to play with. My current DM shares this opinion(although we have different blacklists) and while it can be annoying to have to ask about specific options very little is actually broken enough to say no. Its actually very interesting to see how many different fun builds pop up from this policy. In games where I have been restricted to core/loose core, characters end up looking very similiar

Sovereign Court

I have never seen a player break the game to be quite honest and I basically allow everything under the sun when it comes to pathfinder even some 3rd party products.

I simply see more options...I'm probably the one using the new options the most as the GM. But then again, I don't think that my player spend as much time as me, reading and absorbing all the new materials coming out.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

In 3.5, I saw one player make a high level wizard that used polymorph and clone to make an nigh-infinite number of balor or pit fiend fighting forms. He also played a feral kobold battle sorcerer that used wraithstrike to make 6 or 7 natural attacks as touch attacks.

But I didn't have to DM those builds, so that was fine.


3.5 was orders of magnitude easier to break than Pathfinder.


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My group must be a little different. As the DM, I don't generally tell someone "no, you can't use that", even though I'm the one with all the books. The way things get removed is by trial and error. The group has gotten to a comfortable power level where I can run APs largely unchanged and they don't optimize themselves into outright "easy mode". Take the Summoner as an example... it was played twice before the *group* decided to ban it. Another example... Fate's Favored trait was used multiple times before the *group* decided it needed tweaked. As a group we've made a fair number of changes to things. I have no idea how my players would react if I simply disallowed something outright without discussion. They'd probably ask who I was and what I'd done with their normal DM.

To the folks pointing out Traits are flavor as well as crunch. Here's how I would have preferred to see Traits handled from the start:

Rulebook T, where most (all?) Trait mechanics are printed

Trait: Background Skill - You gain a +1 trait bonus on one skill and that skill becomes a class skill. If the skill is already a class skill at 1st level, the trait bonus is instead +2.

Random Player Companion X People of the Hostile Valley

Trait: Hunter, Not Prey - Your survival has depended on sneaking up on and away from very dangerous native predatory animals. You gain the Background Skill trait with Stealth as a Regional Trait.

Trait: Animal Shaman - Your tribe revered the predatory animals of your environment and relied on you to guide them on hunts. You gain the Background Skill trait with Handle Animal as a Religious Trait.

You print the mechanics once, and the flavor (hopefully better than my hasty examples) as needed. You also encourage players to create their own flavor, which is never a bad thing. Yeah, the system could be gamed with the Trait types, but really, unless you are using Drawbacks, players only get two of these so you might as well let them get what they want.


ShroudedInLight wrote:

I think saying "I'm sorry you need to spend money to have that option" is just rude. Not all of my players have the disposable income to afford all of the books or even the majority of the books.

Now, I DO have disposable income and so I purchase any Paizo material that I fancy. However, not all of my players are within the same boat where they can spend 10-20 bucks on game material they might not use after they leave my table. As such, I completely allow Archive of Nethys and D20 to be used within my games. Despite the fact that I own a great deal of Paizo material, I would not participate at a table that mandated that I owned everything within my character. I view that as a way to gate the game away from gathering newer players, or players who have hardships within their day to day lives, and I refuse to be a part of that. My games are open to all, and they will remain that way.

Now, this does mean I have to do my homework on what my PCs can do. Well no ****ing duh, as a GM it is your responcibility to know the limitations and powers of your PCs so that you plan your sessions around those abilities. Just like it is your job to learn about what situations players can and cannot handle, and subjects they wish to avoid during game time. Sure it is more work for me as the GM, but it results in better quality games.

Frankly, If you cannot handle new material, you should clearly create a whitelist at the beginning of a campaign that states all acceptable material. Otherwise, allowing one player to make use of an option; but, disallowing another from using the same option, is unacceptable behavior.

I just gotta say, I agree with this philosophy 100%. I LOVE options, but some material can be too expensive, too obscure, or both to really acquire, especially since I'm a relative newcomer.

It's really a shame such a thing can't happen for Society play. I've created so many character concepts from just pfsrd, coming up with detailed backstories for each and every one, and all the source material I'd hafta splurge on would make playing them... impractical. It's one reason I chose to join up with Starfinder Society for my first foray into organized play. I personally prefer Pathfinder's setting, but the cost effectiveness and simplicity of Starfinder drew me towards that direction.

Which brings me to the third point, the bloat. Given the road Pathfinder took to get where it is, I honestly can't blame Paizo, but this is where Starfinder REALLY does things right. Themes cover all the Class Skill traits with a couple extra perks. Skill Synergy replaces feats like Persuasive. Skills like Climb and Swim have been consolidated into Athletics. This sort of streamlining is the sort of thing I'd also love to see in Pathfinder, though admittedly, it'd be a tad hard to implement. But hey, they managed to pull off Unchained, so perhaps it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder IS streamlined. Just saying.

The Skills 'Spot' and 'Listen' are streamlined into the brand new skill called "Perception."

The Skills 'Hide' and 'Move Silently' are streamlined into the brand new skill called "Stealth."

Diplomacy and Gather Information are 'Diplomacy."

Tumble and, anyone remember what the other one was?, is now 'Acrobatics.'

And OMG, the CMB sytem is incredibly streamlined. Then there's the streamlined BAB to HD thing, and several Class Features.

Streamlining now is just about making PCs more powerful, not that that's a bad thing, necessarily.

But Rope Use as a Skill?.... Or separate Skills for linguistics and forgery is, you know, kinda off.

Remember when Toughness was a Feat that gave you 3 HP. ....And Improved Toughness was the second on the Feat-Chain that gave you a HP each additional Level after 3rd?!

Remember when Dodge was the Feat that gave you a +1 Dodge Bonus to a selected target only? I think it was a Standard Action to switch from one target to another.

It's not necessarily streamlining; it's often a power grab. Again, not that that's necessarily a horrible thing.

Grand Lodge

Hmm, maybe all the 'Rogues aren't a playable Class; they're SO underpowered.' Threads are a result of Rogues essentially losing all those Skills. Maybe Eight Skills per level was waaay better now that everything is so Streamlined.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Perception is Listen + Search + Spot. 3 for 1!

I miss Use Rope. I used it in my 3.5 pirate campaign. Folk could add their Use Rope check to their Jump and Tumble checks when swinging on the rigging of a ship. It was fun and cinematic.

There's no denying that Pathfinder vastly improved the 3.5 chassis.

I just hope they come up with their take on Luck feats and Reserve feats someday. They were really fun.

Grand Lodge

I love reading through the bloat, there are some interesting ideas and concepts that are explored and it gives you a good idea of how to flavour your game.

But giving your players unmitigated access to every single published book is going to cause systematic problems.

I found the best way to do it is to pick and choose books according to your setting/campaign and things will usually go well when it's treated as inspiration for your characters as opposed to a system to be manipulated for your own advantage.

Quote:
I miss Use Rope.

Objectively the worst thing about Pathfinder. How am I supposed to use a rope now Paizo?! This is why we can't have nice things.


W E Ray wrote:

Pathfinder IS streamlined. Just saying.

The Skills 'Spot' and 'Listen' are streamlined into the brand new skill called "Perception."

The Skills 'Hide' and 'Move Silently' are streamlined into the brand new skill called "Stealth."

Diplomacy and Gather Information are 'Diplomacy."

Tumble and, anyone remember what the other one was?, is now 'Acrobatics.'

And OMG, the CMB sytem is incredibly streamlined. Then there's the streamlined BAB to HD thing, and several Class Features.

Streamlining now is just about making PCs more powerful, not that that's a bad thing, necessarily.

But Rope Use as a Skill?.... Or separate Skills for linguistics and forgery is, you know, kinda off.

Remember when Toughness was a Feat that gave you 3 HP. ....And Improved Toughness was the second on the Feat-Chain that gave you a HP each additional Level after 3rd?!

Remember when Dodge was the Feat that gave you a +1 Dodge Bonus to a selected target only? I think it was a Standard Action to switch from one target to another.

It's not necessarily streamlining; it's often a power grab. Again, not that that's necessarily a horrible thing.

OK, it's official. My noob is showing. XD

I only got into tabletop gaming less than a year ago, after a friend of mine invited me over for a home game. Ever since then, I've slowly but surely been wrapping my head around all of Pathfinder's nuances, but alas, much of the history is still lost on me.

Anyway, it still is a fine system, don't get wrong. It's just that I like to take a sort of Occam's Razor-esque approach to things sometimes: if it can be done reasonably simpler, it's my preferred approach. Like say, for instance, being able to customize your Skill set without having to wade through several books to find the option.

That said, if everything is complied on one database, that solves the issue too. It's just a shame that it's not a viable option for Society. I fear my Ifrit Flame Dancer/Flamesinger Bard may never join the ranks of the Grand Lodge...

EDIT: At least in in-person events. Play-by-Post could be an option...


When making a guide to character creation for my up-coming campaign, there were 130 available classes. Bloat is very relative.


W E Ray wrote:
Pathfinder IS streamlined. Just saying.

It's streamlined compared to D&D 3.5.

It's complex and bloated compared to pretty much every game released after D&D 3.5.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a DM with most of the products in deadtree, i effectively 'whitelist' the core book line (aka, the hardbacks). Softcover content and 3pp are allowed case by case. (and typically those are allowed after review, it just means i brush up on what they are after before the OK)


Matthew Downie wrote:
W E Ray wrote:
Pathfinder IS streamlined. Just saying.

It's streamlined compared to D&D 3.5.

It's complex and bloated compared to pretty much every game released after D&D 3.5.

Good.


I don't know how much content is out there for Pathfinder.

Back in our 3.5 days we had almost every book (3pp aside) and three of us were so into it that we were like living libraries and really proud of ourselves. Everything was allowed, as you can imagine we gave birth to real monsters.

Nowadays we're more... relaxed, and we don't have much time and/or patiente to read/buy everything PF has to offer.


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SheepishEidolon wrote:
Opuk0 wrote:
As was mentioned earlier, there a plethora of traits that give +1 to a skill and make it a class skill. Rather than scouring for the single skill you want as a class skill, there should just be a catch all trait.

A trait is also about flavor, more than the average feat. If you cut the name and description in favor of a generic name and description, you lose quite a bit of character background.

I still agree to the merits - maybe this catch all trait should coexist with the other skill traits. So you can offer new players the general one, and let others (who want to) dive through long lists.

See I don't agree with "lose quite a bit of character background". Why reprint the benefit section over and over and over again? How much space would be saved if we made a "catch all trait" and then printed JUST new fluff for it? You could get twice as many "flavor" explanations in the same space.

Example: Skill Boost trait: +1 skill and it becomes a class skill.

Then list of fluff reasons

for Beast Bond
Skill Boost [social]: You share a close bond with animals.

for Classically Schooled [Link]
Skill Boost [magic]: Your apprenticeship or early education was particularly focused on the direct application of magic.

And not tying it it a particular skill opens it up to more backgrounds. Win/win.


Matthew Downie wrote:
W E Ray wrote:
Pathfinder IS streamlined. Just saying.

It's streamlined compared to D&D 3.5.

It's complex and bloated compared to pretty much every game released after D&D 3.5.

*stares into the monstrous colossus that is Shadowrun*

I'm not sure that is an entirely accurate statement...


I look stuff up online. I buy PDFs. I don't buy hardback because I already have too many books at home, and delivery is a pain.

"Constantly producing new content" is Paizo's business model. They can't stop. People calling it bloat aren't exactly wrong, but they ARE missing the point. It will most likely stop only after it ceases being profitable. Which will happen... eventually.

From a games design perspective, the system is vastly more complicated than it needs to be to achieve the number of options that it has, precisely because it's based on a class and level system. At this stage in complexity it would actually be simpler and have fewer overlapping mechanics if it had been a classless system from the start. But that doesn't really matter.


The various PRDs are an enormous money-maker for Paizo, and are a huge part of their success.

Anecdotally, our group switched from 4E to PF largely due to the fact that most of the game was available for free online.

We enjoyed it tremendously, and have now purchased miniatures directly from Paizo, half a dozen full adventure paths, dozens of hardcovers, and probably collectively 200+ PDFs.

We still pretty much excessively use the web tools and only purchased what we did to support Paizo.


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Most of this is different needs and expectations, obviously.
If a new product lets you do something you want, that wasn't well done before, then it is good support for you. If you are not interested, meh. Might be bloat. If you have someone at your tables who uses every new thing as a weaponized advantage, especially stuff that is contextually balanced, he sees it as support, you probably see it as bloat. Barring PFS, the simple word NO, takes care of the bloat problem.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

W E Ray wrote:

Wow, I didn't know that [Pathfinder Society requires players to own copies of material, and bring proof of purchase, along with the rules text, to a session.]

Is it ever enforced?

I'm gonna go ask in a PFS Thread.

Yes. Enforcement varies from place to place, and from setting to setting -- I check things more stringently at conventions than at local game days, where I know the players -- but yes.


Daw wrote:

Most of this is different needs and expectations, obviously.

If a new product lets you do something you want, that wasn't well done before, then it is good support for you. If you are not interested, meh. Might be bloat. If you have someone at your tables who uses every new thing as a weaponized advantage, especially stuff that is contextually balanced, he sees it as support, you probably see it as bloat. Barring PFS, the simple word NO, takes care of the bloat problem.

I disagree slightly with this. There is a certain percentage new stuff that almost no one takes. You know that one feat, archetype, spell, ect that you look at and say 'who in their right mind would ever take this?'. I'd say there is some generic 'bloat' that just takes up space.


I have a player who used an APP for his character building and ended up with far more bonuses than everyone else at the table. And it took him a while to find what book the trait or feat came from.

So I did have to limit the bloat down a bit.

And I enjoy thumbing thru the books, even though they are getting a little overly complex or reaching for new material.


Nodrog wrote:
I enjoy thumbing thru the books

I too enjoy having/reading an actual book but for pathfinder, I LONG ago figured out that getting an actual pathfinder book means accepting that a large amount of what's in it will be worthless as it gets errata'd/FAQ'd.

Sadly, the PRD isn't much better as large swathes of material are incorrect because the material isn't updated until a new print run comes along. So material fix in one book continues to be incorrect if the material is in multiple books. For instance, I can look up a weapon and depending on what link I click, might get 3 different rulings on how it works...


graystone wrote:
Nodrog wrote:
I enjoy thumbing thru the books

I too enjoy having/reading an actual book but for pathfinder, I LONG ago figured out that getting an actual pathfinder book means accepting that a large amount of what's in it will be worthless as it gets errata'd/FAQ'd.

Sadly, the PRD isn't much better as large swathes of material are incorrect because the material isn't updated until a new print run comes along. So material fix in one book continues to be incorrect if the material is in multiple books. For instance, I can look up a weapon and depending on what link I click, might get 3 different rulings on how it works...

Archives of Nethys and the SRD tend to be updated more frequently.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:
Bloat is the pejorative for options.
Yeah and options is the sugar coating term for bloat. This thing works both ways.

Yet for some reason when I call fluff fluff the mods tend to get prickly about it.

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