Sell me on Pathfinder?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Hi Guys,

I'm a big time 3.5 guy, and have found 4E a bit too gamist for my tastes. I've endlessly been houseruling my 3.5 game, and am curious about Pathfinder as "big book" of fixes that I can refer to rather than a ever growing house rules list. I also have an extensive collection of the 3.5 books (i.e. all the "Complete" books, PHB 2, DMG 2, the 3 compendiums, the entire Forgotten Realms set etc).

So, how well does Pathfinder "Fix" the 3.5 issues, and how well does it interact with WotC's old 3.5 product line?

thanks!

-HTH


Pretty dang well, it's lots of little things really.

* Polymorph is no longer a gaping balance hole.
* Prestige classes are still a nice way to customize but are no longer required to make an effective PC or a challenging NPC
* Experience is can be done by hand rather than by complicated computer programs.
* Grappling/combat maneuvers are now simple enough to use on the fly without a law degree, and I haven't noticed a perceivable drop in realism.
* Lots more options means added fun.

In terms of compatibility with 3.5 items compatibility is about 95%, one of the stated principals of PFRPG was to balance the old prestige classes with the core classes. If you are really concerned with compatibility a DM plan to spend an hour tops before each meet updating a 3.5 module to PFRPG (mostly rewriting skill blocks).

Check over any 3.5 materials your players want to use which sometimes have unexpected effects in PF.

PFRPG has a growing player base, 3.5 I suspect has a shrinking base. Means it'll become progressively easier to recruit for PFRPG games.

Everyone who takes the game seriously is going to have their own house rules to fix real or percieved problems with the game from their perspective. I would suggest you download the core rulebook pdf or check out online sources tosee if you like most of the changes, if so you'll prolly end up playing a lightly house ruled pathfinder game rather than a heavily house ruled 3.5 game.


Well there are some significant class changes making the core classes more interesting overall. Some closely linked skills have been put together under one skill, some changes to spells. Overall it makes for a better game, even if you do not want to switch over completely you will find some options to make some interesting houserules for your 3.5 campaign.

However it is backwards compatible, it works with 3.5 in so much that if you use PRPG core rules, you have to cherry pick what you can use from 3.5 splat books, much of it can be implemented without much difficulty, but you will find you need to consider every 3.5 feat, spell or prestige class and possibly make some changes before you allow it in.

I think you can get a fair impression of PRPG reading the PRD, for changes made.

Scarab Sages

I was in a similar boat. My group uses all of the Completes, PHB2, DMG2, Tome of Battle, Spell Compendium, Eberron CS, BoVD and BoED. Bought the 4e books on day one because I was tired of some of 3.5's quirks - the class imbalance, the xmas tree effect, codzilla, all of the normal gripes with 3.5, but the whole group had issues with the lack of noncombat options as compared to 3.5. The part where the silent/minor/major image line of spells is now an expensive ritual that takes 10 minutes to cast for a laughable effect pushed me over the edge, so I picked up PFRPG in the hopes of solving my 3.5 gripes.

Not everything is solved, but I'm satisfied. The basic classes are indeed more exciting. I expect my players to choose PFRPG classes over many of the "Complete..." book classes. Some, like the Spellthief, were even houseruled by one of our GMs because it was coming up too weak as compared to the PF Rogue. Fighters actually look fun to play again.

The Xmas tree effect is still out in force, but it's been curbed somewhat by compressing some of the more egregious magic items into combined effects and providing some good frameworks for "low-magic" games.

I also like the compressed skill list. Perception allows me to call for "smell" or "taste" checks, which came up a lot in a game featuring Druid and Assassin PCs.

As far as interaction with the 3.5 line, most of the books translate over fine, provided you're familiar with the rules changes. Pathfinder did a good job of adding a lot, but taking away or changing very little that was already there, and it simplifies some of the headaches.

Overall, a pretty positive experience, for me.


My bullet points (and most aren't related to mechanics):

- Paizo staff are constantly posting and answering questions on these boards.
- Entry into the game is $20 for the Core Rulebook and Bestiary PDFs
- Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense
- If you like using pre-written content, the Adventure Paths and Modules are great.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:

Hi Guys,

I'm a big time 3.5 guy, and have found 4E a bit too gamist for my tastes. I've endlessly been houseruling my 3.5 game, and am curious about Pathfinder as "big book" of fixes that I can refer to rather than a ever growing house rules list. I also have an extensive collection of the 3.5 books (i.e. all the "Complete" books, PHB 2, DMG 2, the 3 compendiums, the entire Forgotten Realms set etc).

So, how well does Pathfinder "Fix" the 3.5 issues, and how well does it interact with WotC's old 3.5 product line?

thanks!

-HTH

The only way to fix a lot of 3.5's issues is to start weaing yourself away from a lot of WOTC's supplemental material which was made with varying quality control and inconsistent attention to game balance.

Quite frankly if you just want to play 3.5 forever, download the SRD or by a Moongoose pocket book before the print copies run out.

Pathfinder does make some significant addresses to many of 3.5 issues. You may find however that the consequence is that Pathfinder is not 3.5, it may not even be 3.75 it's a game that bears a very close resemblance to what used to be called d20 but has important differences as well. Casters who used to dominate the game don't quite do so as much.

I do think that if you really want to try Pathfinder out, it's best to try it out in native format... in other words take your 3.5 material and put it on a shelf for awhile and try Pathfinder in it's pure form.

You may find that you'll never want to return to that shelf.


Geeky Frignit wrote:

My bullet points (and most aren't related to mechanics):

- Paizo staff are constantly posting and answering questions on these boards.
- Entry into the game is $20 for the Core Rulebook and Bestiary PDFs
- Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense
- If you like using pre-written content, the Adventure Paths and Modules are great.

+1

The commitment of the paizo staff alone is enough to support them, I honestly feel they care alot for the game and it's players more than WotC ever did.


+1 Good product support, staff who actually understand how to run a business (I'm looking at you, TSR), and products I'm actually interested in, like excellent quality adventures, and maps to go with them.

The Exchange

I love the ability to post a question about an adventure and get an almost immediate response of "This is how I envisioned the encounter to play out when I wrote it ." wut? writers on the boards?

I love the ability to post a rules question and get "The official ruling on your problems is..." Wait the employees are dedicated to their players and GM's?

I love the ability to check on a module and get the experiences of GM's who've run it in the past. Cooperation, not my game is better than yours?

Ultimately I love the community, and I think you may as well

Alex

Sovereign Court

I had a lot less issue with 3.5 than it seems a lot of people did but I played in such altered settings that the issues just might not have become apparent to me. I was disappointed by 4e but it didn't matter at all to me because the settings we were in were such a radical departure from the baseline that we happily just continued on with 3.5 and just ignored 4e (I still have my 4e set of core books in their original sleeve in 'new' condition... you'd need a forensics kit and access to an FBI lab to determine that they were ever touched). Then Pathfinder came out... and we all found the rules so satisfying an improvement over 3.5 (as I said, without having any real issue with 3.5) that switching was just assumed.

Though they might be compatible with 3.5, one of the most awesome reasons to switch over to Pathfinder actually has nothing to do with the rules: Adventure Paths! These things are so full of awesome and win that, probably for the first time in 20+ years, we did not feel compelled to create my own setting. I'm happy to play in the Golarion setting.

The earliest ones are written for 3.5 and they were great but, IMO, anyway, they manage to raise the bar with each new path and, from a fairly early point, they were written and balanced specifically for Pathfinder. If Kingmaker plays half as well as it is written, I honestly can't see how what comes next can possibly compete... but I'll confess a preference for "sandboxes" to make my potential bias clear. The sheer reduction in work necessary to run a great game for my group makes everyone, most especially me, very happy.


LazarX wrote:


I do think that if you really want to try Pathfinder out, it's best to try it out in native format... in other words take your 3.5 material and put it on a shelf for awhile and try Pathfinder in it's pure form.

You may find that you'll never want to return to that shelf.

THIS.

Our Austin group (which includes a couple of PF contributors) has always been a by-the-book gaming group. No houseruling or, in the past, non-WotC sourcebooks.

With our full conversion to Pathfinder, we shelved everything and declared Paizo the way to go. The supplemental materials in the APs and CS give a lot of good flavorful feats and traits, and Chronicles materials give lots of great information on regions, classes and religions. And our community here is unparalleled in communication and support.

As a game, much more balanced and streamlined, and we're thrilled with our recent gaming experiences. We haven't had to change a thing!

Sovereign Court

Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:

Hi Guys,

I'm a big time 3.5 guy

You will love Pathfinder. Trust me.

Liberty's Edge

Geeky Frignit wrote:

My bullet points (and most aren't related to mechanics):

- Paizo staff are constantly posting and answering questions on these boards.
- Entry into the game is $20 for the Core Rulebook and Bestiary PDFs
- Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense
- If you like using pre-written content, the Adventure Paths and Modules are great.

I'll add my +1 to this...All that stuff you've bought, the entry price to get an answer to your question is $10, the cost of the Core Rules on .pdf. Buy the beastiary later. Take a read.


Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:
So, how well does Pathfinder "Fix" the 3.5 issues

It doesn't change the underlying mechanics, so the fundamental issues are still there. However, all the combat classes got a big shot of class steroids; fighters can now out-damage any other combat class that isn't using it's 'speciality' - rage, favoured enemies, flurry of blows or smite evil - by a decent margin, for example, and if you are evil you DO NOT want to annoy a paladin. Some of the more broken spells are nerfed, and all forms of shape-changing got an overhaul - including wild shape. Clerics got a light power down and druids a larger one. All the casters got something they can use at low level once the spells are gone.

So the problems are still there, but the gap is narrower without losing the flavour.

Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:
how well does it interact with WotC's old 3.5 product line?

Very well. 95% of the existing 3.5 stuff can be imported into a Pathfinder game with ten minutes work or less. Many feats and spells can be brought in as-is, as can most of the later classes with only small adjustments - there is a free update guide on this site that walks you through it.


Thanks for the feedback guys! It looks like I need to at the very least buy the pdfs just to have a good look over the material. I know as far as players go, I could buy the PFPHB and other than the one or two who reallly really like reading the additional material, it won't make any difference.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:
Thanks for the feedback guys! It looks like I need to at the very least buy the pdfs just to have a good look over the material. I know as far as players go, I could buy the PFPHB and other than the one or two who reallly really like reading the additional material, it won't make any difference.

There's also the Pathfinder Reference Document, which is like the SRD of 3.5 so it contains all the rules if you want to just give things a once over before buying. It doesn't have all the artwork of the Core Rules, though.


ARGH! FORUM ATE MY POST!

Anyway, long story short:

1) Classes all have reasons to take them to 20: good for fun, doesn't really do much for balance. Linear fighter, quadratic wizard still in full effect.

2) Conversion is similar to converting 3.0 material to 3.5 - which is to say it's doable, but a bit more of a hassle then people are letting on. It's going to take a bit of work to convert something like factotum to PF, and your version will likely look somewhat different then someone else's.

3) Combat maneuvers are fun and streamlined, but become progressively more underwhelming as levels advance (they become harder or impossible to do depending on the enemy, and their impact is progressively less significant when they do work).

4) Encounter design is streamlined. Though not quite as 'plug and play' as 4e is, it's still a bit easier to manage then 3.5.

5) There's still a 'sweet spot', and it's in near about the same range as it was in 3.5 - somewhere in the 4 to 14 area.

6) Chrismas tree effect is only marginally mitigated. In general, it's still there.

Overall it's a fun game. If you liked 3.5 core, then you'll like Pathfinder, because it's basically a slightly better version of the same. If you liked 3.5's expansion material (I myself am of the opinion that the design work from Wizards gradually improved over the course of the edition), then you'll like Pathfinder provided you find a group willing to convert your preferred material over.

I myself find a number of 3.5's expansion classes - warlock, dread necromancer, beguiler, warblade, and so on - much more enjoyable to play then 3.5's core classes. While PF's versions of the core classes are an improvement over the 3.5 versions overall, that still hasn't changed my feelings that the core casters are a bit fiddly and overpowered, while the core non-casters a bit lacking in game play variety from round to round and just plain wow factor. So while I'll happily play Pathfinder, my participation depends on the group & DM's willingness to convert some 3.5 material over.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

What I like:

1) Paizo is extremely responsive, has excellent customer service. It needs to work on its editing procedures and errata, but they know that and are actively working to fix it, and they aren't hiding their heads in the sand when players complain--they respond, cop up, say what's being done, and then they do it. I also like that they're keeping core rules supplements to a minimum, but what they are putting out looks really awesome.

2) My favorite thing in the system, hands down, are the skill revisions. There are no more "cross class skills." You get a class bonus to class skills, but ranks in any skill cost the same, so you can make your charming suave fighter or your horse training wizard without feeling like you're being "punished" for branching your concept out a little. The consolidations make a lot of sense too, and it's much easier to divvy up skill points quickly.

3) The Combat Maneuver system has ensured I will never use 3.x grapple, disarm, trip, etc. rules again. So much more streamlined. Grappling while still not the simplest thing in the world no longer requires a half hour of looking up the rules and arguing about what they mean.

4) Spell and feat revisions both curb old cheese while still providing effective combat and character build options.

5) Races and classes are a little better balanced with each other, everyone can do more, and there's a bit more in-built flavor yet not so much that it doesn't get in the way of easy homebrewing. I especially like the new half-orcs for a race (now actually half an orc and half a human, rather than "an orc, but less so") and the sorcerer bloodlines and paladin mercies in the class department.

6) Conversion of stuff does take some work, but not a lot, and it's generally pretty transparent what you need to do to update from 3.x to PFRPG.

Stuff to Bear in Mind
1) If you run largely core with a relative minimum of splats, conversion should be fairly simple. If you run with every splat ever written, you have to take a lot of time to make sure things are still balanced with each other and make sure certain things still work as intended. Mind, this is true of splats ANYWAY, but upgrading to Pathfinder should put it to the forefront of your mind. (At least a core base class is more or less up to par with splat base classes now.)

2) Sometimes there are some tricky, subtle rules changes that you don't realize until halfway through game. Stealth rules and light definitions (which I still don't recall when I should) are an example.

3) That's all I can think of.

In general, I ran 3.x for several years, and since Pathfinder came out, I've not missed it at all. The number of houserules I use have gone down considerably, and the ones that remain tend to be clarifications more than re-rulings, or stuff that has to do with personal preference.


- Paladins are awesome
- Darkness NEVER makes environment brighter
- Spells do not make rogue skills completely pointless (although why they fixed some spells and not all, I know not.)

...and, bunch of stuff, but that's something to geek out on.


Pathfinder is much like stepping into another group's heavily houseruled 3.5 game.

If you change, it will take you a while to learn the changes, and you will love some and hate others.

For me, it's all about the quality of the books, adventures, and experience. Pathfinder is still supported, 3.5 is out-of-print. My Pathfinder books have better art and print quality than my 3.5 books ever did.

It is not the answer to all problems a 3.5 GM has. Although I personally feel they solved more problems than they caused, you may feel differently depending on what you regard as a problem.

Read the rules, they're free online, and judge for yourself. If you're going to use the rules, even as a pick-and-choose houserule book, I recommend picking up a hard copy of the Core Rule Book (CRB) it is well worth it even for a casual flip through.


At first I was one of those people who didn't switch to PF at first, not becuase I didn't like it, but because I felt that it was a set of houserules and I could do that myself for free. I eventually created some great house rules for my 3.5 game, I would often call it 3.75 since I changed so much.

But, it was getting large. Too large for my tastes. I spit the documents into two parts, 3.75 and Advanced 3.75. That was my first red flag. Then I noticed my basic 3.75 document was 27 pages or so of house rules! Granted I wrote them out fully and formatted properly, but it was a a lot. I was proud of myself though that most of the rules were "in the background" so-to-speak, you only saw them when making a character or leveling up.

I then decided to cross reference PF with my house rules. I find many similarities. I condensed my skills down, just like PF. I had streamlined Grapple, Trip etc with a Special Attack Bonus, just like PF's Combat Maneuver Bonus (although mine was opposed, rather than trying to beat a defense in case of PF's Combat Maneuver Defense). Easier magic item creation, spell changes and balances. Class and Race redesign and so on.

All in all, I reduced my house rules down to 1-2 pages. That's a huge difference. That convinced me to go PF from now on. Plus, it's a nice hard cover full of art and supported by a great staff and community, something my 3.75 was never going to achieve. Sure, I'm paying for essentially house rules, but I don't want to devalue PF that much. As a book this professionally made, it's official, more official than a binder full of printed rules. Plus I like having a book in my hands. :)


Soullos wrote:
All in all, I reduced my house rules down to 1-2 pages. That's a huge difference. That convinced me to go PF from now on. Plus, it's a nice hard cover full of art and supported by a great staff and community, something my 3.75 was never going to achieve. Sure, I'm paying for essentially house rules, but I don't want to devalue PF that much. As a book this professionally made, it's official, more official than a binder full of printed rules. Plus I like having a book in my hands. :)

+1.

That's what I'm in for.

No set of rules is every going to meet my standards perfectly, but if the obvious problems in 3.5 are addressed, we're closer to the mark.

Contributor

I've always house-ruled tons of things and still do. The switch the PF came after I bought the 4e books, was highly annoyed that the box set did not present a complete game (No familiar rules in the three core books? Yeah, right....) or at least not a complete game as I wanted to play it, and then continued to ornament my house rules. Then I looked at the PF preview game and saw a lot of the changes I'd made were reproduced here, and a whole lot of changes I hadn't made but liked--such as an extremely sensible and varied system of sorcerer bloodlines--made it pretty much a no brainer.

Liberty's Edge

The PF rules still have warts. You play PF for the adventures written by Paizo. Nothing better around.


Look, if you like 3.5, but feel it has some quirks that need work, then I'd definitely recommend it- maybe not everything will be fixed to your satisfaction, but you'll have a clean slate to start from, while not making upgrading your older materials a chore.
The Boards here are probably the best I've ever come across, both for the staff writers and other players, and any questions or issues can be talked through here.
Plus, at $10 for the 576-page PDF, you really can just check it out yourself, go on!

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