Experienced DM new to Pathfinder


Advice


Long story short... I am an experienced DM who enjoyed 4e, but the players in the group did not. I am familiar with 3.5, but have not DM'd it for 3 years.

Enter Pathfinder.

I am starting a new campaign and am digesting all the material. Giving the group a common thread for back story creation etc. The question that has come to me is what resource books am I allowing to be used or excluding, or any restrictions on character creation.

Was thinking about sticking to just the Pathfinder 'official' books and not all of the 3.5 materials. The group I play with are heavy min/max optimizers in general. I would like to steer away from the three or four presitige class, maximizing type situation that becamecommon in my last go around in 3.5 ed.

Not so in favor of the kitchen sink approach due to the groups abusing the bloated ruleset of 3.5. But also want to be fair and reasonable. The group will take everything to the limit, so I need to set firm boundries from the get go.

Any DM's out there have a word or two of advice?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder is similar to 3.75 in a lot of ways. Not far from 3.5, though that seems to be changing more and more.

I would honestly suggest the

PF Core Book
PF Advanced Player's Guide
Adventures Armory (preupdate is possible :) )
And maybe Ultimate Combat

As a DM, probably also either the older Gazeteer or the newer Inner Sea World Guide.

Also, are you playing PathFinder rules (only) or in the PathFinder Setting (Golarion)? Or rather I should say a specific setting, homebrew, or in the default Golarion? (Just for further suggestions).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

For your very first game, I would honestly just suggest the Core Rulebook.

The reason for this is that there are some very subtle changes to the rules from 3.x that are not easy to pick up on. I'm not talking about stuff like CMD, I'm talking about stuff like the lighting rules, the changes to polymorph magic, and even things like the fact that you die at negative-Constitution modifier, not -10. I've been playing Pathfinder a few years now and still sometimes someone points out, "Actually, you don't do it this way anymore..."

If you use a ton of sourcebooks, whether 3.x or Pathfinder, the more additional rules you throw on top of core, the more likely you will miss some of these subtleties and it could lead to confusion or imbalance down the line.

That said, certainly as a veteran GM you know how much workload you can take on yourself. I'd use 3.x material if you feel you have time to convert. The APG has some great rules options (additional character creation, good feats, more combat maneuvers, options like traits and hero points), but it is "advanced" for a reason and may overwhelm players just converting (but OTOH they may enjoy the additional flexibility it offers). I would review Ultimate Magic and Combat yourself to discern what you'd like to use, if anything (the majority of the rules from those books are in the PRD). There's a lot of optional and setting specific stuff in those you'll need to determine whether you'd want or not.

The GameMastery Guide may be useful to you for the NPC gallery and many of the tables and new features like hazards, although as a veteran GM the advice given (which is half of the book) probably is old hat to you.

Shadow Lodge

Also, while it's a lot of reading, here are a few things you might be interested in. Mostly between the Beta and Final versions of the game, it also shows a lot of differences between 3.5 and PF.

HERE.


DeathQuaker wrote:

For your very first game, I would honestly just suggest the Core Rulebook.

<snip>
and even things like the fact that you die at negative-Constitution modifier, not -10. I've been playing Pathfinder a few years now and still sometimes someone points out, "Actually, you don't do it this way anymore..."

<snip>

Clarification: you die at negative Constitution, not negative Con modifier.


Thanks guys. This is just what I am looking for. I do plan on an urban setting, Absolam.

Gives me a great starting point. Thinking of taking Beckett's advice and keeping it to:

PF Core Book
PF Advanced Player's Guide
Adventures Armory
Ultimate Combat
Ultimate Magic

In the process of writing this I already recieved an email from a player asking about his psionic healer. So, need to keep it tight for my sanity as DM.


My instinct is PF Core book and Adventurer’s Armory only (with possibly the most relevant setting guide thrown in), with Advanced Players Guide on a case by case basis. Not so much so you can ‘approve’ the options as to be sure you read them over at least once before they come into play. I actually don’t think anything in the APG will give you any issues sight-unseen except maybe the new bass classes, namely the alchemist and summoner. They bring a lot of new, unique and complex mechanics into play.

Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, and the rest aren’t so bad as far as powercreep goes, but added onto everything else you’ll need to learn, do and remember... I wouldn’t recommend letting the PCs use them for the first game at least until you are a few sessions/levels in and then only with ‘approval’.

Honestly, I think allowing any 3.5 stuff would be a huge mistake for your first PF game... With a group of min/maxery types? Oh god, no.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
superking wrote:

Thanks guys. This is just what I am looking for. I do plan on an urban setting, Absolam.

Gives me a great starting point. Thinking of taking Beckett's advice and keeping it to:

PF Core Book
PF Advanced Player's Guide
Adventures Armory
Ultimate Combat
Ultimate Magic

In the process of writing this I already recieved an email from a player asking about his psionic healer. So, need to keep it tight for my sanity as DM.

Honestly, i wouldn't (and dont) wholes sale accept any books into my game besides the core rules. If you have a group who are all munchkins make everything case by case and require they present the option to you before the game and explain why they want to use it and what it will do with the character. Review it and then allow or disallow it.

The reason i say that is pathfinder has a wealth of great material beyond paizo's books. There are some truely great 3rd party products out there that at least for my table are more likely to see use then half the material in the ultimate books from paizo, so I think you do yourself and your game a diservice by just picking the big books and shutting out all else.

However like others said I agree that for your first game, or at least the first few levels of the game, core only may be a good idea untill you get used to the system.

Liberty's Edge

For your first campaign, stick to the Core Rulebook only.

Also, standard "first campaign with a new group/system" rules apply: Allow people to tweak (not overhaul) their characters, plan on 3-8 sessions max, start at level one, keep thing simple.

Finally, the two biggest, most important things to remember about Pathfinder:
1) It's not 3.5 D&D. The rules are similar, but they aren't the same. The most annoying things about 3.5 were the power creep, the min/maxing, and the rapid release of books that needed more editing. The easiest way to prevent your game from turning into that is to not let any 3.5 stuff in ever, under any circumstances. This goes double for anything from the Spell Compendium.
If a player wants a certain thing from a 3.5 book, he's got to convert it, in which case it's no longer 3.5, but a home-brew creation.

2) Pathfinder is published by the guys who ran Dragon and Dungeon magazines for their last 8+ years. These guys know how to write small, tightly focused paperback/pdf expansions for, say Orcs or Goblins. They know how to write Adventure Paths that start out at level 1, take 3-5 sessions to complete, give characters three levels each month, and are both easy to run and fun to play.
I cannot recommend the Adventure Paths highly enough.
Adventure Path spoilers:

Spoiler:
Want a campaign that dumps characters on a deserted island full of cannibals and sends them deep into the jungle to find an ancient artifact designed to destroy a city? Check out Serpent's Skull. Want a campaign focused on Urban Intrigue against ever-cunning Devils and their servants? Council of Thieves. A Classic Horrors style campaign involving haunted insane asylums, Frankenstein's monsters,a possible confrontation with a 5,000 year old demigod, and potentially the opportunity to sic a mob of villagers on your players? Carrion Crown.

In January, we are apparently getting an Adventure Path involving Pirates.

Of course, I'm subscribed to pretty much everything I can subscribe to, and I was a fan of Dragon and Dungeon, so I'm rather bias.

Shadow Lodge

superking wrote:


In the process of writing this I already recieved an email from a player asking about his psionic healer. So, need to keep it tight for my sanity as DM.

I might suggest two alternatives to this. If for nothing else to cut down on books and extra rules. Instead of the Psionic Healer, there are two Base Classes in PF that cover this really well. Both are from the Advanced Players Guide, and self Contained between it and the Core Rule Book.

The Witch is an Arcane caster that blurs the lines between a generalist Wizard and a less Combative Cleric/Druid.

The Oracle is similar to a Sorcerer, but a Divine class, blessed and cursed by a variaty of deities. Not difficult to be a better healer (self or other) than a focused Cleric.


The responses so far have been very helpful. i have been a long time lurker and gamer. But this has been my first post/question on Paizo. You guys have been great. Thanks so much.

BobChuck, you are right on the power creep and slew of splats for 3.5 ed. They were what partially made the game so great and also so broken in the hands of the a munchkin. It was what turned me away from 3.5 toward 4e at one point.

So I will take you advice and not allow the 3.5 materials without a very good justification from the player. It would be like opening Pandora's box for me.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Thac20 wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:

For your very first game, I would honestly just suggest the Core Rulebook.

<snip>
and even things like the fact that you die at negative-Constitution modifier, not -10. I've been playing Pathfinder a few years now and still sometimes someone points out, "Actually, you don't do it this way anymore..."

<snip>

Clarification: you die at negative Constitution, not negative Con modifier.

You are correct, the painkillers made me type words I didn't mean, I swear.


BobChuck wrote:

For your first campaign, stick to the Core Rulebook only.

Also, standard "first campaign with a new group/system" rules apply: Allow people to tweak (not overhaul) their characters, plan on 3-8 sessions max, start at level one, keep thing simple.

I am curious about any other 'rules' you might have here BobChuck...


Let me get on the Core book and APG bandwagon as well. That's all you need. If they complain, tell em to suck eggs. You're already doing them a pretty huge favor by running the system they want, not the one you were happy with. You're a better man than I. Lol

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