Would PF still be fun without skils, traits, feats, and prestige classes?


Homebrew and House Rules

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I’m working on a variant rule to take out the big six magic items and replace them with static bonuses. While doing so, I started wondering if PF would still be fun without skills, traits, feats, and prestige classes. Skills and feats would only be gained from class abilities—ie the bard would need Perform and the rogue would need some special rules to use some skills. The game would have a more D&D 1E feel but using modern PF rules.

I could see the fighter and rogue becoming much more interesting with this change, as both became the biggest users of feats and skills respectively. No other class could easily steal the rogue’s skill at using skills.

Of course, some type of simple roll would need to replace skills. Maybe ability score plus half level plus d20 versus normal DCs (and the rogue would get bonuses--maybe full level for some skills).

If all of these components couldn’t be yanked, could one or more of them? Why or why not? Just looking for feedback—I’m not convinced the idea could work.


Anything could work with the right group and the right DM. That said, you'd be pretty much designing a brand new system. Balance wise you'd have a lot to figure out, both from a player to player perspective and also from a player against monsters perspective.

I'm not sure the game would be any more fun than it is now, once you did all that work, so I don't think it's worth it. If you feel like it would really somehow make the game better, though....then you should definitely go for it.


I would still be fun, but it wouldn't be Pathfinder. It would be something else.

Something like 2e, for example....


When I first read this title, I thought it was leaning more in the direction of a system like ADRPG...
Oh well.

I guess I don't really see the point of this, but I'm sure it could be done.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I was trying to figure out a way to cut down on the paperwork, especially for the players. It is very challenging for my new players to level up for example.


I don't know about skills, feats and prestige classes, but I never used traits in my game (even if I own the APG) and I can assure you that this is still fun.


This is microlite20 and it strips away rather more than that.

Most pathfinder sessions probably don't involve prestige classes anyway, so that's an easy one.
The game could certainly be fun without skills and feats, it worked before it had either and there are many current complete games that don't use them.


Charles Dunwoody wrote:

I’m working on a variant rule to take out the big six magic items and replace them with static bonuses. While doing so, I started wondering if PF would still be fun without skills, traits, feats, and prestige classes. Skills and feats would only be gained from class abilities—ie the bard would need Perform and the rogue would need some special rules to use some skills. The game would have a more D&D 1E feel but using modern PF rules.

I could see the fighter and rogue becoming much more interesting with this change, as both became the biggest users of feats and skills respectively. No other class could easily steal the rogue’s skill at using skills.

Of course, some type of simple roll would need to replace skills. Maybe ability score plus half level plus d20 versus normal DCs (and the rogue would get bonuses--maybe full level for some skills).

If all of these components couldn’t be yanked, could one or more of them? Why or why not? Just looking for feedback—I’m not convinced the idea could work.

1st edition was a lot of fun, and not entirely dissimiliar to what you describe. It sounds like you'd like to incorporate the changes since 1E that have streamlined play, while doing away with some of the superfluous bloat. I think such a system could work--although our group plays Pathfinder exlusively--there are some things about the older game I miss sometimes. It was more lenient for a character to attempt to do something without having a specific build or skill, and overall allowed for greater narrative flow. That being said, there are obviously a lot of improvements that Pathfinder made to the game as well. My advice would be to take a look at what you liked about 0,1,2,3 and Pathfinder, as well as elements you feel detract from play, and customize your own system taking the best from each.


I think a simplified skill system would be good for new players especially. There are so many different skills that all the new players in my group have to be walked through which ones they should put ranks in and which ones they don't really need. I wouldn't get rid of feats personally, but everything else could easily go.


I guess a lot depends on the type of game you're interested in. If you just want to avoid the complexities of all the skills and feats, you can always aim for a simpler less rules-focused game system. FUDGE, Fate, or any number of other systems... They're all much more about characters and less about stat blocks.
But then, stat blocks can be a lot of fun, of course :)


I think Pathfinder is the game system that was developed for the people who liked classes and feats and prestige classes et cetera. These people looked at 4E, said "This is too restrictive, too cookie cutter, and/or no flavor" and then they looked at Pathfinder and said "This has a lot of the features I like from 3.5, without some of the problem areas.

So Pathfinder without prestige classes would be, in my opinion, like pancakes without syrup. Cake without frosting. Abbott without Costello.


I prefer other systems for simpler games, Pathfinder for complex tactical games. Here's a list of other systems I've enjoyed over the years:

FATE
PDQ (generic system, Jaws of the Six Serpents and Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies for setting specific variants)
Dragon Age RPG
Song of Ice and Fire RPG (by green ronin)

I grew up on AD&D, but having played a couple sessions of it not too long ago, I wouldn't go back to that style if given the choice. Game designers have learned a lot of lessons and there are a lot of options to choose from these days.


Charles Dunwoody wrote:
I was trying to figure out a way to cut down on the paperwork, especially for the players. It is very challenging for my new players to level up for example.

If they are new it will take time. I would help each of them level up individually, and explain how any why things increase. Eventually, by level 5, they can probably do it on their own.


wraithstrike wrote:
Charles Dunwoody wrote:
I was trying to figure out a way to cut down on the paperwork, especially for the players. It is very challenging for my new players to level up for example.
If they are new it will take time. I would help each of them level up individually, and explain how any why things increase. Eventually, by level 5, they can probably do it on their own.

Another alternative, is to start them off easy, maybe even with 0E or Swords and Wizardry, then work up to PF once they have a feel for the rudiments of play.


Charles Dunwoody wrote:
While doing so, I started wondering if PF would still be fun without skills, traits, feats, and prestige classes.

Yes.

Anytime a class gets "bonus feat" as an ability, you need to give them something else.

To help with it, I'd let every character do everything that is normally a feat exception - combat maneuvers don't cause an AoO and two weapon fighting is done with the minimum basic penalty.

I'd probably like this style better.

I also made a chart I use instead of magic items, and let me tell you, it made the game WAY better. I've used it in two campaigns now and I'll never go back.

1 Nothing
2 AC +1, Saving Throws +1
3 Strike and Damage +1
4 Skill +5, AC+1
5 Attribute +2
6 AC +1, Saving Throws +1
7 Strike and Damage +1
8 Low Skill +5, AC +1
9 Low Attribute +2
10 AC +1, Saving Throws +1
11 Strike and Damage +1
12 Skill +5, AC +1
13 Attribute +2
14 AC +1, Saving Throws +1
15 Strike and Damage +1
16 Low Skill +5 AC +1
17 Low Attribute +2
18 AC +1, Saving Throws +1
19 Strike and Damage +1
20 Attribute +2

Totals
Strike & Damage +5 50000
Armor +5 25000
Shield +5 25000
Skill +10 12000
Low Skill +10 12000
Attribute +6 36000
Low Attribute +4 16000
Resistance +5 25000

Low Skill and Low Attribute bonuses can be added to any but the highest attribute. AC bonuses are treated as Dex Bonuses. AC and Strike bonuses go to CMB / CMD.

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