Does Pathfinder work for casual players / non optimizers


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hey guys

Thinking of starting up a Pathfinder game for my son and some of his friends. They're certainly not interested in reading a giant book to learn how to play the game and create characters.

I'm not and have never been particularly interested in character optimization. I mean I'll certainly put a high number in my classes primary stat, but I'm not interested in plotting out the feats and skill choices I'll need to make at every level to make a gameable character.

I am interested in the Pathfinder Adventure paths however.

So my question to you is this. If I've got a party of characters that were generated because they seemed like they were interesting (rather than combat monsters), and players who are not terribly interested in strategy, can they survive and thrive in a Pathfinder Adventure Path or will they be dead meat?

Looking forward to the discussion.

Mal

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Malcolm Serabian wrote:

Hey guys

Thinking of starting up a Pathfinder game for my son and some of his friends. They're certainly not interested in reading a giant book to learn how to play the game and create characters.

I'm not and have never been particularly interested in character optimization. I mean I'll certainly put a high number in my classes primary stat, but I'm not interested in plotting out the feats and skill choices I'll need to make at every level to make a gameable character.

I am interested in the Pathfinder Adventure paths however.

So my question to you is this. If I've got a party of characters that were generated because they seemed like they were interesting (rather than combat monsters), and players who are not terribly interested in strategy, can they survive and thrive in a Pathfinder Adventure Path or will they be dead meat?

Looking forward to the discussion.

Mal

Yes, it will, if you go into it with that mindset. The game can be pretty complicated but if your son and his friends can handle that, it should be fine. What your task as the DM will be is to make sure to give them encounters appropriate for their characters. DMing for a totally optimized group requires a very different approach than DMing for a group that tends to build characters as they go and such.

If the Pathfinder iconics are any indication, though, I don't think the expectation is for characters to be optimized. ;)


Its not only capable of doing it but designed with that intention. There are only a couple major feats that are generally considered important, and for the most part they are obvious, like power attack for melee characters and the ranged feats for ranged characters. If someone wants to play a monk, I would recomend reading a little about them, as they are probably the least intuitive class. Other than that, it shouldn't be bad.

Optimized characters actually are detrimental to a lot of games because the players get too powerful and the GM overcompensates, resulting in what is often known as rocket tag.


If you know the rules well enough or are willing to consistently reinterpret them ;) then its fine as a casual game. For young people I think its ideal because if they do want to push for more detail you don't have to invent it.

The big book may not appeal but reading and writing and comprehension and all sorts of good skills can be developed by anyone who takes it on. For kids I'd rather reduce a game with more than improve a game with less, if you understand what I mean.

Sigurd


I completely agree - you don't need any super big or super-optimized group to run an AP. There are a few tough spots (as there should be) in various places, but you can either let them learn the benefit of running away, or tone them down. Should be obvious when it comes to that.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

One thing you can do to increase survivability in an AP is to allow the players to use some sort of action point system, especially one that allows them once a game or so to avoid death. Such a systm allowed my kids to make it all the way through Rise of the Runelords with lots of tense close calls but no actual deaths.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Eeet deeepends. Different classes reward different amounts of and different sorts of investment in the game and the game mechanics. It's possible to compensate for this as a GM, but the less the players care about optimization the more work it is to use premade material as a GM.


Malcolm Serabian wrote:

Hey guys

Thinking of starting up a Pathfinder game for my son and some of his friends. They're certainly not interested in reading a giant book to learn how to play the game and create characters.

I'm not and have never been particularly interested in character optimization. I mean I'll certainly put a high number in my classes primary stat, but I'm not interested in plotting out the feats and skill choices I'll need to make at every level to make a gameable character.

I am interested in the Pathfinder Adventure paths however.

So my question to you is this. If I've got a party of characters that were generated because they seemed like they were interesting (rather than combat monsters), and players who are not terribly interested in strategy, can they survive and thrive in a Pathfinder Adventure Path or will they be dead meat?

Looking forward to the discussion.

Mal

Pathfinder, like every other DnD style game, isn't rules light. There's a lot you have to know about attacks of opportunity and moving around on the mat, for example.

As such, it isn't the game I'd recommend for someone just getting into role playing*. It might well be a great game for somebody just getting started into strategy miniature gaming**.

That having been said, while the initial step to learning the game is steep, after that initial step there is a wide span of degrees of expertise at which you can play the game. You don't have to be an expert, nor do you have to optimize everything to death.

*unless they have other people who are more experienced to help show them the ropes

**Warhammer, for example


I think PF is quite fine for casual gamers (it is difficult though if neither DM nor players know it). Problems arise when there is a mix of casual gamers and optimizers. Since that doesn't seem to be the issue, all is well. :)

Scarab Sages

If you're going to play a game for new players with Pre-Made characters, here is my advice to you (having run several "newbie" games before):

1) Don't include prepared spellcasters if at all possible. If you want a cleric for the group, just give the person a list of spells they prepare every day. Nothing turns off most new players more than having to look at a huge spell list.

2) Look at simple classes. Classes like Fighter, Rogue, and maybe even Barbarian, are all great for beginners. They have very simple combat abilities, especially at low levels, and aren't too complicated. Plus, people generally get the concept of those classes. I'll throw sorcerer in as the simplest casting class.

3) Be wary of racial choices. You may think that the idea of an Elf Rogue sounds awesome, but younger generations tend to either perceive elves as pansies or demi-gods (a la Legolas). Make sure that you understand your potential group's perceptions and make characters accordingly.

4) Above all, take lots of notes over the first 5 minutes of gameplay. This is the time when your players will discover what they REALLY like about the game, and this will tell you what to exploit :P

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Malcolm Serabian wrote:
So my question to you is this. If I've got a party of characters that were generated because they seemed like they were interesting (rather than combat monsters), and players who are not terribly interested in strategy, can they survive and thrive in a Pathfinder Adventure Path or will they be dead meat?

Depends on you. If you're out to kill them and as DM run the encounters as such, then sure, they're dead meat. But that could be any product.

If you know your players aren't going to be min/maxing or know they're not experienced, there's no reason you run the monsters as is. Be aware of how much damage the monsters are doing to one character and fudge rolls. If someone runs in and crits the monster, have the monster pay attention to that character instead of whoever it's consistently attacking for a turn or two.

Yes players can die on their own, yes players can die because of bad dice rolls, and yes players can die because of the adventure. But ultimately it's on the DM.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / Does Pathfinder work for casual players / non optimizers All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.