Lessons for 2nd Edition: 5th Edition D&D and Pathfinder's Complexity


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Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

thejeff wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
It's also worth noting that a lot of things that you can't do in Pathfinder until you take a feat to be able to do it (ie, one of your vaunted choices) are possible in 5e without the need to burn a feat. You don't have to make the choice, you automatically get it for free.
I, personally, don't consider the fact that the new system is more reliant on magic story time non-rules to be a plus. Some people would disagree with that. That's cool. As I've stated a couple times, I don't even really look at them as the same game, any more than I would consider Star Wars Saga Edition to be the same game as the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game. They do different things in different ways and appeal to different audiences for different purposes.

How the hell is "You don't need a feat to do this" the same as "magic story time non-rules"?

And of course they're not the same game. Who's made that claim?
They're related, so there are points of comparison, but they're certainly not the same. Much like 3.0 wasn't the same as 2E. Or 4E wasn't the same as 3.5.

Since he was responding to my post about taking a feat to be a better pilot/driver I assumed he was referring to the fact that 5e largely assumes if you want to drive a chariot, you can drive a chariot and doesn't have a real rules subsystem governing the fine nuance of that action. Some people like having the rules to gauge their proficiency at something like that. It's similar to how in 4e if you wanted to play a blacksmith you just said "I'm a blacksmith"; many people preferred having specific rules for blacksmithing that gauged their odds of success and quality of goods produced.

Shadow Lodge

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I've kind of realized lately that Pathfinder (as well as it's predecessors 3.5 and 3.0) are really more of a character-building game with an ancillary fantasy RPG attached. Which some people are into...I can respect that (even if I don't quite understand it).

I personally prefer systems that get out of the way of the adventuring and the roleplaying.


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Kthulhu wrote:

I've kind of realized lately that Pathfinder (as well as it's predecessors 3.5 and 3.0) are really more of a character-building game with an ancillary fantasy RPG attached. Which some people are into...I can respect that (even if I don't quite understand it).

I personally prefer systems that get out of the way of the adventuring and the roleplaying.

I think Excalibur and Sslarn's point is that those character-building systems, for them, enhance the adventuring and roleplaying more than detract.

That was my issue with 4E, for example. I couldn't get the mechanics to come together into the character concepts I wanted, and thus couldn't get past the creation aspect. Thus, the "simpler" system was in itself a roadblock against roleplaying, because without being able to get a concept together mechanically, I couldn't bring myself to be as invested in the character as I could have if the system had had the pieces I needed to put together what I wanted.

One man's gold is another's garbage, and all that.

Shadow Lodge

Excaliburproxy wrote:
If you want simplicity then why even play D&D?

You do realize that of the two systems being discussed, D&D is the simpler? That, in fact, seems to be your big problem with it.

I recommend FATAL. Very complex system. You'll love it! You need at least a basic understanding of statistics just to generate half of your ability scores and bodily measurements.


Kthulhu wrote:

I've kind of realized lately that Pathfinder (as well as it's predecessors 3.5 and 3.0) are really more of a character-building game with an ancillary fantasy RPG attached. Which some people are into...I can respect that (even if I don't quite understand it).

I personally prefer systems that get out of the way of the adventuring and the roleplaying.

Legends of Anglerre

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPYSPYgVYC0

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Kthulhu wrote:

I've kind of realized lately that Pathfinder (as well as it's predecessors 3.5 and 3.0) are really more of a character-building game with an ancillary fantasy RPG attached. Which some people are into...I can respect that (even if I don't quite understand it).

I personally prefer systems that get out of the way of the adventuring and the roleplaying.

I, personally, like complex systems with rules for just about everything. I've got the kind of brain that reads and retains those rules readily and it makes it easier for me to be a consistent GM, which helps with my player's levels of immersion. I worry that if I make something up on the fly to reflect the difficulty or nature of a task and then later adjudicate a similar scenario differently, one of my players is going to ask me why and then immersion is broken for everybody.

I've also found that for many I've played with, all of those little bits of incremental growth like regular feats and skill points are milestones that help them become more immersed in their character and its growth. They don't just say they're good at blacksmithing, they know exactly how good they are and they get a kind of weird excitement when they get that little bit better. I've just had more luck keeping groups together and progressing through campaigns with the rules-heavy systems over the rules-lite systems.


As far as I'm concerned, my position is an objective truth to me. I'm not making demands that people play the way I play or like the things I like. Why play D&D, because to a degree you're right. There is a level of complexity that I like. Pathfinder jumped that shark several books ago. After having spent the past two nights going through the 5e PHB, I find it exactly hits the sweet spot. We've tried Dungeon World and found it a little too loose. We've tried Anima and found it a little too crazy. We've played Mage and GURPS, but D&D is what we always come back to. It's nice to have an edition finally hit all the nice things you're looking for in a game system.

To anyone who loves Pathfinder, stay with them and keep them going. Better that than trying to force yourself into a game you know you won't like. I daresay a split of the gaming community based on preferences will be better for the hobby as a whole.

Shadow Lodge

Kthulhu wrote:

I've kind of realized lately that Pathfinder (as well as it's predecessors 3.5 and 3.0) are really more of a character-building game with an ancillary fantasy RPG attached. Which some people are into...I can respect that (even if I don't quite understand it).

I personally prefer systems that get out of the way of the adventuring and the roleplaying.

I don't consider this Paizo's fault necessarily. 5e is two iterations ahead of 3e, which is largely what makes up the bones of Pathfinder. To me, 4e was horrible and in the wrong direction, and I'm very much a fan of how 5e harkens back to 1e and 2e days.

I still don't consider 5e simpler or dumbed down. In general, I've been making a list of how things work in PF/3e and how the same thing works in 5e - specifically because its the only way I can grok the changes. And then I look at the rules in my left hand and the rules in my right hand and try to decide which one sounds better at the surface (at least until I see that rule in play multiple times to compare).

For example, take sorcerers.

My left hand holds the 3.5e/PF sorcerer, which gets delayed spellcasting progression (i.e. 2nd level spells at 4th level), bloodline powers.

My right hand holds the 5e sorcerer, which now gets the same spellcasting progression as a wizard (i.e. 2nd level spells at 3rd level),bloodline powers and a new sorcery point/flexible casting mechanic.

The 5e sorcerer is (and I don't think it's that arguable) more complex/nuanced by quite a bit.

They can use sorcery points like the arcanist - to reroll damage dice, to extend the range of spells. They can sacrifice spells to gain more points. They can spend points to cast a spell if they run out of spell slots at that level.

For the most part, the bloodlines look almost identically comparable, although we are only really working off draconic at this point.

Here's where there's "more options":

Pathfinder: Away-from-the-table at rolling a 1st level character. With 39 bloodline options today, it's obviously got a lot more thinking to do to make your sorcerer, and that's without even factoring in crossblooded. Despite there being 39 bloodlines, and having seen maybe 50 sorcerers in play between home games and PFS, I've only seen maybe a half-dozen bloodlines represented (draconic, sylvan, orc, impossible, fey, maybe 2 others...). I've never seen a maestro-blooded sorcerer for example, because it's just not that good.

5e: At-the-table, a 5e draconic sorcerer compared to a PF draconic sorcerer has a lot more options during each round of combat. This is without even factoring in how the action economy has changed. As early as 1st level, a 5e arcane caster can fire a 1d10 ranged touch fire bolt and cast expeditious retreat in the same round.

I've mentioned many times, that for folks who are really busy, 5e is basically cutting down the investment that folks make when they aren't actually playing, but when they are building or leveling. When you are actually playing, it's a "harder" game to play. You have a lot more options versus the most clearly/obviously best ones each round. It would be a lot harder to write scripts/code to play a 5e sorcerer to its maximum potential than to play a 3.5e/PF sorcerer to its maximum potential. Although the "away from the table" cost of the systems is largely based on the number of books available. I wager in 7 years, there will be 20-40 bloodlines for 5e as well, and making a sorcerer will be a lot more complex for those who want it.

In the interim though, in order to compare apples to apples and try to eke out ideas that could surface in Pathfinder Unchained, I think you try to hold things constant and compare things. In this case, compare a draconic sorcerer in the two systems and let that box the scope of the discussion.

Shadow Lodge

Tacticslion wrote:
Aaaaaaaaaaaand exaggeration once again!

Much like declaring any system that has a core book with a spine that doesn't self-destruct as "no-rules magic story time".


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Every time someone mentions FATAL I eat a kitten. Think of the kittens man!


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Perhaps the clincher for me in the 'complexity' side of things is that you can have a metric f-ton of closely related feats yet be completely mechanically innept in a different yet still very related skill set. That's the major failing in Pathfinder. That's also not complexity. It's a sign of unchecked system bloat.

Shadow Lodge

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wakedown wrote:

Pathfinder: Away-from-the-table at rolling a 1st level character. With 39 bloodline options today, it's obviously got a lot more thinking to do to make your sorcerer, and that's without even factoring in crossblooded. Despite there being 39 bloodlines, and having seen maybe 50 sorcerers in play between home games and PFS, I've only seen maybe a half-dozen bloodlines represented (draconic, sylvan, orc, impossible, fey, maybe 2 others...). I've never seen a maestro-blooded sorcerer for example, because it's just not that good.

5e: At-the-table, a 5e draconic sorcerer compared to a PF draconic sorcerer has a lot more options during each round of combat. This is without even factoring in how the action economy has changed. As early as 1st level, a 5e arcane caster can fire a 1d10 ranged touch fire bolt and cast expeditious retreat in the same round.

Exactly. At-table options > away-from-table options.

Shadow Lodge

Goin' For A Troll wrote:
Every time someone mentions FATAL I eat a kitten. Think of the kittens man!

I feed you well. I find FATAL absolutely f@~@ing hilarious. And it's always fun to throw out as a suggestion to the "complex=superior" crowd.


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*bwraaaaaaaap* 'Scuse me.


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Orthos wrote:

Might be time to step away from the topic for a tad, sounds like emotions are starting to get a little heated and the sniping and sarcasm is starting to come to the fore.

Back to our corners, we want a good clean fight out there, a'ight?

=)

I think this is important.

Kthulhu wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Aaaaaaaaaaaand exaggeration once again!
Much like declaring any system that has a core book with a spine that doesn't self-destruct as "no-rules magic story time".

I tend to agree. Let's keep the exaggeration down on all sides, eh?

Shadow Lodge

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Kthulhu wrote:
Exactly. At-table options > away-from-table options.

Your earlier post that I quoted was so spot-on. 3.5e/Pathfinder at the 5-7 year marks were largely "character building games". I know many folks who spend more time online on forums and in front of books or HeroLab each week than they are behind their pile of dice actually playing the character. I know a lot of folks who play PFS who arguably spend 6-10 hours "working on characters" on top of the 4-5 hours they spend in a weekly organized gameday playing them.

And that's clearly where Pathfinder wins hands-down. The Paizo forums are so much easier to navigate and mine for ideas and discussion. And there's a limitless amount of books to flip through for the tenth, eleventh time in mining for more things to tinker with.

If you've got a lot of time to pass away in the hobby, Pathfinder (and 3.5 with all its books at the ends), offers a lot to do in evenings and on weekends.

If you're doing "other stuff" with that time (raising kids, working, golfing, surfing, playing gigs with your band, etc) and you've got just 5-6 hours to allocate to tabletop gaming, this part of Pathfinder isn't a factor in the decision process for the game you want to play. You simply compare the "at-the-table" nuances of the systems and make your decision.

If you're the GM, a little more goes into that decision. Who's writing the best adventures that you can run with minimal preparation effort to still challenge your players and give them a memorable experience? For over a decade, this has been Paizo, hands-down. Dragon Queen is a shockingly polished adventure, which is arguable better quality than the recent intros to APs (Mummy's Mask, Wrath of the Righteous). Because of the way monsters work in 5e, they are also easier to run "on the fly" and require less GM prep. Before I run a Friday night AP game, I usually spend ~2 hours going through all the encounters and making a cheat sheet (since lately the APs aren't reprinting stat blocks, and often refer to a statblock elsewhere in the book). Certainly this is by choice, and I could flip around the book. In this case, it's more about how Paizo is choosing to lay out their newer adventurers than the system having a problem.


Simon Legrande wrote:

As far as I'm concerned, my position is an objective truth to me. I'm not making demands that people play the way I play or like the things I like. Why play D&D, because to a degree you're right. There is a level of complexity that I like. Pathfinder jumped that shark several books ago. After having spent the past two nights going through the 5e PHB, I find it exactly hits the sweet spot. We've tried Dungeon World and found it a little too loose. We've tried Anima and found it a little too crazy. We've played Mage and GURPS, but D&D is what we always come back to. It's nice to have an edition finally hit all the nice things you're looking for in a game system.

To anyone who loves Pathfinder, stay with them and keep them going. Better that than trying to force yourself into a game you know you won't like. I daresay a split of the gaming community based on preferences will be better for the hobby as a whole.

That first sentence, man.

Past that point I think your thoughts are well reasoned and very much in line with my own thoughts. The core of the discussion that I want to have in this thread is that Pathfinder's complexity makes it special and draws me to it.

I think there are some people playing pathfinder and look at 5e then say to themselves "This should be the future of pathfinder." I think that is both right and wrong really. The 3.5 system is clumsy in spots but the core draw: character building and self expression through rules are valuable and should continue to exist in Pathfinder as 5e removes an emphasis from it (to put it mildly, I think).

I was talking about Anima earlier actually. I wish that system were better.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Simon Legrande wrote:

As far as I'm concerned, my position is an objective truth to me. I'm not making demands that people play the way I play or like the things I like. Why play D&D, because to a degree you're right. There is a level of complexity that I like. Pathfinder jumped that shark several books ago. After having spent the past two nights going through the 5e PHB, I find it exactly hits the sweet spot. We've tried Dungeon World and found it a little too loose. We've tried Anima and found it a little too crazy. We've played Mage and GURPS, but D&D is what we always come back to. It's nice to have an edition finally hit all the nice things you're looking for in a game system.

To anyone who loves Pathfinder, stay with them and keep them going. Better that than trying to force yourself into a game you know you won't like. I daresay a split of the gaming community based on preferences will be better for the hobby as a whole.

That first sentence, man.

Past that point I think your thoughts are well reasoned and very much in line with my own thoughts. The core of the discussion that I want to have in this thread is that Pathfinder's complexity makes it special and draws me to it.

I think there are some people playing pathfinder and look at 5e then say to themselves "This should be the future of pathfinder." I think that is both right and wrong really. The 3.5 system is clumsy in spots but the core draw: character building and self expression through rules are valuable and should continue to exist in Pathfinder as 5e removes an emphasis from it (to put it mildly, I think).

I was talking about Anima earlier actually. I wish that system were better.

I wanted to love Anima so bad, but after every potential player's brain melted during character creation the book went on the shelf and never came back down.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
I think there are some people playing pathfinder and look at 5e then say to themselves "This should be the future of pathfinder." I think that is both right and wrong really. The 3.5 system is clumsy in spots but the core draw: character building and self expression through rules are valuable and should continue to exist in Pathfinder as 5e removes an emphasis from it (to put it mildly, I think).

What's a mechanical expression you can do in the PF CRB that you can't do with the 5e PHB?


Kthulhu wrote:
Goin' For A Troll wrote:
Every time someone mentions FATAL I eat a kitten. Think of the kittens man!
I feed you well. I find FATAL absolutely f*#@ing hilarious. And it's always fun to throw out as a suggestion to the "complex=superior" crowd.

If you are speaking to me then I think you are being reductionist. FATAL and Anima are bad games because they are poorly designed. There is complexity but they lack elegance and only have nominal attempts at "balance" or making parts of the game besides complexity interesting.

On the other hand, Dungeon World and Legends of Anglerre are excellent games that hit their marks. These games have simplicity as a goal to emphasize exploration and roleplay. Legends of Anglerre in particular has rules that accentuate roleplay and creativity.

I am just saying that you like complexity. I like more complexity and I would be deeply disappointed if that branch of RPGs were abandoned.

Shadow Lodge

Excaliburproxy wrote:
.. the core draw: character building and self expression through rules are valuable and should continue to exist in Pathfinder as 5e removes an emphasis from it (to put it mildly, I think).

Could you go into a little more detail as to why you think this?

I certainly understand "character building" in Pathfinder offers a player a potentially unbounded number of hours to invest in the hobby when they are not playing. So if you mean "character building" in terms of the number of hours you can draw from $2500 worth of Pathfinder books, absolutely.

But "self expression" in 5e actually feels like it has an advantage over Pathfinder... if I'm comparing Core to PHB, and imagining how each 5e accessory will add more options going forward.

The rules for personality/background/inspiration are one of the single biggest draws for me to 5e.

In seeing at least 1000 characters over my course of home games and PFS, I don't see as wide of a variety of PF background traits as you'd expect (which is the most clear method of how 3.5/PF allows you to express a personality through a built character). If someone is playing a magus, I don't think I've actually ever seen them take Charming or Child of the Streets. I've seen an endless selection of Reactionary, Trait-to-boost-weak-save, Magic Lineage, Wayang Spellhunter, Trait-to-boost-concentration, maybe Armor Expert, maybe trait-to-give-a-class-Skill. Players seem to almost always look for power and then describe their character after they make that decision.

In 5e, you could arguably build a "magus" (Eldritch Knight at 1st level) and have the freedom to select any personality/background from the rules without fear that you've made a bad selection because you didn't take magic lineage on shocking grasp or some other spell.

And 5e actually then mechanically rewards you when you roleplay yourself as the excessively frugal merchant-turned-adventurer, or the insanely-daring halfling, or overly-enjoying-causing-bloodshed half-orc.

This has an impact on "post-game satisfaction" for many players. Few people keep reminiscing about "that extra d6 of shocking grasp" or "the 50% multiplier you got a level early" on the example magus. But they do clink glasses when the perfect storm hits and the halfling's insane daring was rewarded with inspiration which enabled him to exactly make a certain roll to do something unexpected.


Buri wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
I think there are some people playing pathfinder and look at 5e then say to themselves "This should be the future of pathfinder." I think that is both right and wrong really. The 3.5 system is clumsy in spots but the core draw: character building and self expression through rules are valuable and should continue to exist in Pathfinder as 5e removes an emphasis from it (to put it mildly, I think).
What's a mechanical expression you can do in the PF CRB that you can't do with the 5e PHB?

A near-optimal trip (or other combat maneuver) build with martial classes besides the fighter.

A real deal Batman wizard that don't give two damns about fighting.

A bard that actually can improve the combat viability of the party every turn consistently and then picks up feat chains to help his buddies out (feinting and the like).

Barbarians that do cool stuff other than move, hit things with swords, and take damage (admittedly pretty good stuff though).

Animal companion builds where the animal companion does stuff other than attack in combat.

I can think of more if you don't think that is enough.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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wakedown wrote:

In 5e, you could arguably build a "magus" (Eldritch Knight at 1st level) and have the freedom to select any personality/background from the rules without fear that you've made a bad selection because you didn't take magic lineage on shocking grasp or some other spell.

This is some of that forum poison infecting opinion. It doesn't take high op characters to play Pathfinder; I actually don't think any Magus in my group has chosen shocking grasp as a starting spell, typically choosing things like vanish, true strike, and chill touch. The bulk of PF AP's and modules are built to be conquered by four 15 point buy characters built with the same level of system mastery as the iconics.


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I don't have the 5E PHB, only the Basic Rules PDF. Here's what it comes down to for me (by no means indicative of anyone else: It's just another set of d20 mechanics, mechanics removed, changed the focus to be less numbers driven in some aspects, but it is still d20. If you want the gaming with extra crunch, play PF...if you're looking for things to be less crunchy, play 5E. In either case, there is fun to be had, which is the only thing that really matters.

Shadow Lodge

Ssalarn wrote:
This is some of that forum poison infecting opinion. It doesn't take high op characters to play Pathfinder; I actually don't think any Magus in my group has chosen shocking grasp as a starting spell...

Agreed, yet sadly it seems to have at least permeated most organized play that I've been exposed to, whether locally or at venues like PaizoCon. I haven't seen a magus in my home campaigns yet (I know, right?), but I'd suggest 95% of the ones I've seen in organized play have had magic lineage or wayang spellhunter (or both!)... which is at least 20 magi.


wakedown wrote:

Could you go into a little more detail as to why you think this?

I certainly understand "character building" in Pathfinder offers a player a potentially unbounded number of hours to invest in the hobby when they are not playing. So if you mean "character building" in terms of the number of hours you can draw from $2500 worth of Pathfinder books, absolutely.

But "self expression" in 5e actually feels like it has an advantage over Pathfinder... if I'm comparing Core to PHB, and imagining how each 5e accessory will add more options going forward.

The rules for personality/background/inspiration are one of the single biggest draws for me to 5e.

In seeing at least 1000 characters over my course of home games and PFS, I don't see as wide of a variety of PF background traits as you'd expect (which is the most clear method of how 3.5/PF allows you to express a personality through a built character). If someone is playing a magus, I don't think I've actually ever seen them take Charming or Child of the Streets. I've seen an endless selection of Reactionary, Trait-to-boost-weak-save, Magic Lineage, Wayang Spellhunter, Trait-to-boost-concentration, maybe Armor Expert, maybe trait-to-give-a-class-Skill. Players seem to almost always look for power and then describe their character after they make that decision.

In 5e, you could arguably build a "magus" (Eldritch Knight at 1st level) and have the freedom to select any personality/background from the rules without fear that you've made a bad selection because you didn't take magic lineage on shocking grasp or some other spell.

And 5e actually then mechanically rewards you when you roleplay yourself as the excessively frugal merchant-turned-adventurer, or the insanely-daring halfling, or overly-enjoying-causing-bloodshed half-orc.

This has an impact on "post-game satisfaction" for many players. Few people keep reminiscing about "that extra d6 of shocking grasp" or "the 50% multiplier you got a level early" on the example magus. But they do clink glasses when the perfect storm hits and the halfling's insane daring was rewarded with inspiration which enabled him to exactly make a certain roll to do something unexpected.

I can elaborate, but for the point to stand then all you would really need to know is that I have a preference for it and other people have a preference for it as well.

Before I get into that, I want to say that I really like the inspiration system a lot actually. Though that is in a lot of games (I will point towards Spellbound Kingdoms some more), I think pathfinder could stand to crib the inspiration mechanic (to the extent that hero points don't already fill the same niche of rewarding good role play). You have a point in that Pathfinder option tend to choose background stuff based on mechanics they want. I think you will see the identical thing happen with backgrounds. People are going to choose backgrounds to get the skills they want for their character.

I think in terms of character building, there are two paths of enjoyment. In one path, I am looking through the rules and I realize that there is some synthesis of feats and class features that lets a character do a thing that no character I played before could do. There is a roleplay/writing angle to this in that I actually enjoy thinking about the lives and backgrounds of people that have an atypical spread of skills (like my cavalier build that rides a cheetah or my elven void wizard that comes from a prominent magical family and lineage, defying his family's more "western" magical traditions).

In the second path of enjoyment, I start with the character concept. I think "I want to build a Paladin who is like Robocop." Then I pour over the gun rules and paladin archetypes that make that roleplaying angle mechanically viable. Sometimes I can't figure out the puzzle, but in pathfinder there are enough rules that I eventually can get it to work. There is both the pleasure of playing the character I want as well as the pleasure of solving the rules puzzle and Paizo never even needed to make a robocop archetype; it is all in there for someone who cares to look.

Does that make sense?

Shadow Lodge

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Gendo wrote:
If you want the gaming with extra crunch, play PF...if you're looking for things to be less crunchy, play 5E. In either case, there is fun to be had, which is the only thing that really matters.

I had that first impression as well, but since then I've been skimming the 5e PHB for about 15 minutes a day to dig deeper.

Take a 5th level fighter in 3.5/PF and compare it to a 5th level fighter in 5E. Imagine that fighter walking into a cave full of monsters with his party. After digging into 5e futher, I'd say the 5e fighter has more "crunch" to play with than the 3.5/PF fighter within the same encounter. Depending on your fighter, he may be moving, attacking with both an main hand and off hand weapon and then moving deeper into the room near the enemy spellcaster (pounce+spring attack in 3.5/PF). After taking some unexpected damage, he may be taking a breath and regaining some HP (swift action heal in 3.5/PF). He may recognize that things are turning against his party in a bad way and decide to take a full extra action (boots of speed in 3.5/PF?). He already gets an extra attack per round at his full BAB (which comes at -5 at 6th level in 3.5/PF).

This doesn't just apply to the fighter, take the sorcerer through the same paces. Every round/turn, there's more crunch to play with.


wakedown wrote:
Gendo wrote:
If you want the gaming with extra crunch, play PF...if you're looking for things to be less crunchy, play 5E. In either case, there is fun to be had, which is the only thing that really matters.

I had that first impression as well, but since then I've been skimming the 5e PHB for about 15 minutes a day to dig deeper.

Take a 5th level fighter in 3.5/PF and compare it to a 5th level fighter in 5E. Imagine that fighter walking into a cave full of monsters with his party. After digging into 5e futher, I'd say the 5e fighter has more "crunch" to play with than the 3.5/PF fighter within the same encounter. Depending on your fighter, he may be moving, attacking with both an main hand and off hand weapon and then moving deeper into the room near the enemy spellcaster (pounce+spring attack in 3.5/PF). After taking some unexpected damage, he may be taking a breath and regaining some HP (swift action heal in 3.5/PF). He may recognize that things are turning against his party in a bad way and decide to take a full extra action (boots of speed in 3.5/PF?). He already gets an extra attack per round at his full BAB (which comes at -5 at 6th level in 3.5/PF).

This doesn't just apply to the fighter, take the sorcerer through the same paces. Every round/turn, there's more crunch to play with.

That is certainly something worth considering. I think martial combat in Pathfinder could use an overhaul. I got a lot of ideas on it. I will note that 5e combat will often still have a "best" solution and the run-of-the-mill round will still be "attack that guy some times" as positioning doesn't matter anymore both in that all characters can move and full attack and in that the exact orientation to an enemy rarely matters. That is fine. There should be varying degrees of complexity between classes. That is the real hat trick.

I am not so sure about your sorcerer example, though. I will have to read that class more thoroughly and I don't have my book with me.

Shadow Lodge

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Excaliburproxy wrote:
In the second path of enjoyment, I start with the character concept. I think "I want to build a Paladin who is like Robocop." ... Does that make sense?

Absolutely! Thanks for taking the time to explain it so well.

I think we are in total agreement. Pathfinder and 3.5e both give this sense of fulfillment in researching mechanics for a character concept to be fulfilled ("I want to play a paladin that is like robocop"). This is largely due to the fact you can scatter 20, 30, 50, 100(?) books across your table to do this research.

There's plenty of crunch - whether it's the guns, armor, immunity to crits (getting some alchemist in there where your internal organs are elsewhere), etc. And having that mechanical crunch certainly enables you to act the way you do in roleplay because you know you are less likely to be hurt, and you can smite the unrighteous (assuming you kept smite). I very much like this part about Pathfinder, especially when I have an afternoon when I want to engage in this kind of character building. However, if I was playing a game which was "Core book only" between the two systems, my Paladin-Robocop is going to be pretty basic. When comparing PF and 5e, I try to stick to a "core only" comparison, since it's just a matter of years before 5e supplements fill out the creative space further. Then, you are left with the question, which system do you play when the options are essentially as copious?

In terms of character creation, both 3.5 and PF give little for you to "play the personality of robocop" in terms of rules. I'm not sure what background traits I'd take to give me more rules to play with for a robocop personality. Chip on the Shoulder? Truth's Agent? Is my vision of "Paladin-Robocop" one where I'm using Diplomacy to gather information? Am I making use of Intimidate to make my foes shaken? I'd probably want Intimidate as a class skill on "Paladin-Robocop" at low levels, since the +3 bonus is meaningful at that point. At mid-to-high levels, I'm not sure that extra +3 matters if my Intimidate is +19 or +16. It certainly is the difference between +4 and +9 at 1st level though. If I'm planning to take a lot of levels in paladin, the 2 skills per level feels ridiculously limiting. When I get to 5e, this will feel less like an issue, since my scope of bonus is +0 to +6, whereas in a PF/3.5 game, folks like to rock +30 or more on a skill that shows they are among the most elite in the world at it.

In 5e, because the math is different, having a +6 Intimidate is like having a +20 in 3.5/PF. My "Paladin-Robocop" can immediately choose proficiency in Intimidate at 1st level. And the bonus he gets automatically scales. Even without playing a class that granted it, the Soldier background (the closest to approximating a police officer at this stage) would grant it. With the inspiration mechanic, this could make you kind of a beast at whatever "robocopy" thing you wanted to do, whether it was a handcuffing maneuver, a specific intimidate check, or a specific save to avoid something that robocop should never fall victim to. It lets your PC feel more like robocop in how he meshes with the story, versus simply having less of an ACP in heavy armor (Armor Expert?) or possible other alternatives.

I agree Pathfinder should crib the inspiration mechanics. 5e cribbed them because they really are great for play. I use hero points, and give them out like inspiration, and it has a similar effect on 3.5/PF play. In fact, since 5e has come out, a new house rule I'm using with hero points is to allow "advantage" on any roll - rolling twice and taking the better result.

I should continue to note that I'm very much in favor of playing Pathfinder all the time. My studying of/interest in 5e is mostly to steal mechanics for house rules for what I feel is the best of both worlds for my players - the breadth of character option in PF/3.5 but some of the fresher/more advanced mechanics of 5e. Although, going down this road, I'm starting to wonder if 5e actually has the better bones, and its better to convert PF options to 5e equivalents versus the other way around...

(We are in the houserule forum, and I've been reading this entire thread about how do I enhance a PF-core game with cool bits from 5e).

A big house rule I'm heavily considering is tweaking how all classes prepare their spells (to the 5e method).


Using a grid is considered an "optional rule" in 5e.

I'm not sure whether that's because they wanted to get back to their 2e roots, or trying to distance themselves as much as possible from 4e Miniatures and Movement. Perhaps both.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Yeah, I think decrease in the importance of positioning and the change in the nature of defense and damage scaling really makes it hard to gauge comparative complexity in combat. I will say that for someone who generally wants to play a Fighter anyways 5e can feel more dynamic, particularly at lower levels.

On the Sorcerer front, I had a very different impression of the comparasion between the two versions, but I'll wait until I'm home and can look a little more closely before commenting further.

I'll actually be running a 5e game for our annual pre-PAX adventure this Thursday. Party consists of a Hill Dwarf Fighter with the Sailor background, a Rock Gnome Arcane Trickster with the(... I think it was) Scholar background (something educated anyways), a Half-Orc Abjurer with the Noble background (not sure how that all came together), and a Half-Elf Paladin with the (again not 100% on the name) Hunter background. So that's interesting. Paladin is probably one of my favorite 5e classes, a lot of neat material and cool takes on the classic mechanics there.
We'll see if that impacts my take on things any.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
A near-optimal trip (or other combat maneuver) build with martial classes besides the fighter.

Why can't it be a fighter? Bah... okay, there's a feat for this where anyone can get 2 maneuvers and superiority dice. Before you call that 'not optimal' it's about as optimal as 5e gets. The only thing it lacks is the superiority die advancement of the fighter.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
A real deal Batman wizard that don't give two damns about fighting.

Pick non-combat spells. Mage hand can even move magic items in 5e.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
A bard that actually can improve the combat viability of the party every turn consistently and then picks up feat chains to help his buddies out (feinting and the like).

I actually haven't looked at the 5e bard. Bards aren't my thing.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Barbarians that do cool stuff other than move, hit things with swords, and take damage (admittedly pretty good stuff though).

Define 'cool stuff.' That's too vague.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Animal companion builds where the animal companion does stuff other than attack in combat.

Make your checks. Get the Find Familiar spell.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
I can think of more if you don't think that is enough.

Please do.

Shadow Lodge

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Ssalarn wrote:
Yeah, I think decrease in the importance of positioning and the change in the nature of defense and damage scaling really makes it hard to gauge comparative complexity in combat. I will say that for someone who generally wants to play a Fighter anyways 5e can feel more dynamic, particularly at lower levels.

I'm not sure how generally aware folks are of the 5e changes, so I'll repeat a couple here since I think movement is more interesting in 5e because of the action economy overhaul.

1. You can move your speed at any point during your action, i.e. before and after you swing (this has been mentioned several times).

2. You only provoke an AoO when you leave an enemy's threatened reach, not when you leave a single square they threaten.

[1+2 above means more PCs rush into a room to take good open spaces, versus "corking" at entrances which can put a large group (6 PCs) off as they are delaying or taking suboptimal ranged/reach choices or attacking through soft cover]

3. Standing up from prone uses half your movement. If you speed is 30ft, you can stand up from prone for 15ft of movement, and then still move 15ft. There are rules (for rogues I believe) where standing up from prone takes only 5ft of movement.

[At high levels, my games involve a lot of monsters with reach using trip maneuvers (usually without Improved Trip) as a balancing factor. Having a giant make a trip maneuver as an AoO to deny a hasted full attacking magus their full attack sequence next round is a major part of level 8+ play. This means the folks who are subjected to tripping actually still get to do more in their round versus stand up.]

4. You get a free interaction with an object with your movement. Want to kick over a chair as you move? In 5e, it's free. Want to knock the candle over onto a book to catch it on fire? Also free in 5e if you move past the table. Want to attack, move to a door and close it? You get to close the door with your movement for free. In 3.5/PF, this is two move actions, so you feel suboptimal in giving up your standard action to attack or cast a spell.

I've seen a number of adventures/scenarios in the 3.5/PF era try to put together an interesting "room" for an encounter. Yet, an optimized group usually knows that they should get haste/blessing of fervor up and maximize their full round attacks as much as possible. The game is played with this knowledge and typically focusing fire on enemy targets. Because 5e allows interaction with the environment for free with movement, more options are possible if the encounter will provide them. There will be more kicked chairs/barrels/etc while playing if the players are feeling creative.

Again, as a house rule... I'm thinking that maybe all of the above are good things. They are fairly easy house rules to implement for PF/3.5 (and as such I would expect them, or some variant to appear in Unchained).


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wakedown wrote:
I'm not sure how generally aware folks are of the 5e changes, so I'll repeat a couple here since I think movement is more interesting in 5e because of the action economy overhaul.

That's part of my frustration. It's clear that many people critiqueing 5e haven't actually read it, followed its development, or even looked at the many legend and lore articles behind its concepts. Most of them come across as if they're working on rumor, hyperbole, and a passing glance at the Basic rules PDF at best.

Shadow Lodge

Excaliburproxy wrote:
What's a mechanical expression you can do in the PF CRB that you can't do with the 5e PHB? ... A near-optimal trip (or other combat maneuver) build with martial classes besides the fighter.

I overlooked this query earlier... I'm fairly certain a barbarian, paladin or other class that went Martial Adept makes a fairly ridiculous tripper.

In 5e, any class that went this route could make a "sweeping trip attack" and actually trip multiple creatures within their reach.

5e PHB core expression for swashbuckling compared to PF Core is pretty amazing, too.

I really dig the whole martial maneuvers mechanic and how they play for any martial class that wants to get their goodies. I also suspect this is something that we see in Unchained. :)

I was *not* a fan of how they were presented in 4e, though. Somehow in their 5e presentation, they feel a little more "classic" and less "MMO-ish".

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

wakedown wrote:


I really dig the whole martial maneuvers mechanic and how they play for any martial class that wants to get their goodies. I also suspect this is something that we see in Unchained. :)
I was *not* a fan of how they were presented in 4e, though. Somehow in their 5e presentation, they feel a little more "classic" and less "MMO-ish".

Which is a little funny, because I immediately saw them and thought "Oh neat, they grafted 4e powers / Book of 9 Swords maneuvers directly onto the Fighter". They're literally nothing we haven't seen before, they just didn't stick them in stat cards this time. Which is an observation, not a negative judgement, I actually really like them.

wakedown wrote:


5e PHB core expression for swashbuckling compared to PF Core is pretty amazing, too.

100% with you here. 5e-style Finesse weapon property immediately went on the "pillaged for use in other d20 systems" pile.

Shadow Lodge

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Ssalarn wrote:
Which is a little funny, because I immediately saw them and thought "Oh neat, they grafted 4e powers / Book of 9 Swords maneuvers directly onto the Fighter". They're literally nothing we haven't seen before, they just didn't stick them in stat cards this time. Which is an observation, not a negative judgement, I actually really like them.

Yeah, I think it's having gone through the Pathfinder era that I'm less judgmental about reviewing martial maneuvers at this stage in gaming-life. I also recently went back to glance at 1E Oriental Adventures martial arts system, which factors into how my brain's currently digesting rules.

You are right though, that it was the 4e "cards" that put me over the top in disliking 4e. It was also calling them "powers" and giving them names like "Tide of Iron", "Steel Serpent Strike" or "Villain's Menace". They felt more like fighter-spells in some second-rate MMO/RPG rather than being part of a classic D&D tabletop game.

I was ambivalent about the names and descriptions when it was Book of Nine, since those martials were described as being infused by previously unknown mystical powers.

In 5E, the martial maneuvers are like Disarming Attack, Feinting Attack, Goading Attack, Lunging Attack, Parry, Precision Attack, Riposte, Sweeping Attack, Trip Attack, etc. They are all using verbs/nouns that are more "core vocabulary" (at least compared to Tide of Iron, Steel Serpent Strike). Playing Pathfinder over the past 7 (?) years makes it feel more acceptable, since terms like "Lunge" are already a core part of my gaming brain now if I imagine someone extending their reach by 5ft. The martial maneuvers have managed to all feel non-magical/mundane, which is one of the largest parts to me easily accepting them in 5e.


Buri wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
A near-optimal trip (or other combat maneuver) build with martial classes besides the fighter.

Why can't it be a fighter? Bah... okay, there's a feat for this where anyone can get 2 maneuvers and superiority dice. Before you call that 'not optimal' it's about as optimal as 5e gets. The only thing it lacks is the superiority die advancement of the fighter.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
A real deal Batman wizard that don't give two damns about fighting.

Pick non-combat spells. Mage hand can even move magic items in 5e.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
A bard that actually can improve the combat viability of the party every turn consistently and then picks up feat chains to help his buddies out (feinting and the like).

I actually haven't looked at the 5e bard. Bards aren't my thing.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Barbarians that do cool stuff other than move, hit things with swords, and take damage (admittedly pretty good stuff though).

Define 'cool stuff.' That's too vague.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Animal companion builds where the animal companion does stuff other than attack in combat.

Make your checks. Get the Find Familiar spell.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
I can think of more if you don't think that is enough.
Please do.

Feats are not core (never forget). The barbarian point = rage powers are neat and give you neat mechanical options. The class I would want an animal companion with (druid) can't find familiar can they? Also: familiars can't attack I am pretty sure. The Warlock gets a familiar that can attack but it does not add your proficiency bonus to attacks (I think) so it is essentially worthless. The warlock familiar is a trap option if you try to build around it. And without scrolls and the like the batman wizard is crap. So I disagree with every last one of your refutations.

I can't build a ranger that buffs the party (unless there are spells that I am forgetting).

My fighter is just as likely to hit with a sword as the rogue or anyone else with the ability score and weapon proficiency.

There are fewer options for Sorcerers and Clerics (a mathematically trivial example, I admit).

I can't build my character around bullying and terrifying my enemies (dazzling display and such; really there are few skills in combat in general)

There is no item creation right? So no item creation builds for my wizard.

Sorcerer becomes the one class who is soul heir to metamagic.

You can't even build a fighter that can count on doing maneuvers every round if he wants.

I dunno. These are some of theses are weaker examples I feel but the point stands.


wakedown wrote:

2. You only provoke an AoO when you leave an enemy's threatened reach, not when you leave a single square they threaten.

You know what is messed up about this rule? It makes reach arguably worse than not having reach. Earlier, I discussed the combat situation where two PCs standing shoulder to shoulder could stop an enemy from circling around them. If one PC has reach then they do not pin the enemy down (as the enemy can circle around the PC without reach without drawing an AoO).

Here is the REAL kicker though: ranged attacks only have disadvantage in melee if they are within 5 feet of the enemy. If an enemy has reach then the ranged class can move 5 feet away from the enemy for free and then attack as normal whereas a foe without reach would force the ranged character to draw an attack of opportunity to move 5 feet away.

Funny right?

I don't think it is a big deal because I expect errata (as I can't be the only person in the world that has noticed this stuff).

Shadow Lodge

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Here is the REAL kicker .. Funny right?

I'm actually okay with this, as it actually feels a little more realistic to me.

I imagine a guy swinging around an unwieldy long polearm and it being kind of slow. I have a long poleaxe that I use to trim trees, and I can say that I'd not be very good at threatening someone with it, if you are closer to me than the blade at the end.

I read the disadvantage from shooting not being so much that I'm being threatened, but rather it's chaotic to be shooting when someone is right up in your face, regardless of what they are wielding. It's also easier if you are *right* next to someone to get inside of the point where the arrow leaves the bow being held at arm's length if you are very close to them. If they are close enough, they can put their body where you'd want to swing your bow arm to aim at someone (including them) and disrupt the breadth of the arc you have to operate with.

TLDR: I think its fine the "close" range weapons are better at threatening/disrupting an adjacent archer than a long reach weapon. It kind of reinforces what I imagine as a more realistic RPS (rock-paper-scissors) relationship between weapon types.

Also, anyone who plays on the optimized end of PF knows that archers/gunslingers are fairly ridiculous damage powerhouses and they have little weakness in most cases, especially at lower levels. Clustered shot at mid-to-high levels negates one of their few remaining ones. The lack of the ability to take a 5ft step in 5e greatly serves to make the drawbacks of archery more realistic in my opinion.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
Feats are not core (never forget). The barbarian point = rage powers are neat and give you neat mechanical options. The class I would want an animal companion with (druid) can't find familiar can they? Also: familiars can't attack I am pretty sure. The Warlock gets a familiar that can attack but it does not add your proficiency bonus to attacks (I think) so it is essentially worthless. The warlock familiar is a trap option if you try to build around it. And without scrolls and the like the batman wizard is crap. So I disagree with every last one of your refutations.

You can disagree, but they're each valid. I asked what could you do with one book that you couldn't do with the other. It doesn't matter what's "core." The options are in the PHB to do what I said. Your dislike of wizards not being able to churn out scrolls is a non sequitur in relation to your goal. You don't need scrolls to be a utilitarian caster. Cantrips can carry you the most of the way in 5th.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
I can't build a ranger that buffs the party (unless there are spells that I am forgetting).

Letting your whole party not be subject to difficult terrain in their favored terrain isn't a buff? Interesting.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
My fighter is just as likely to hit with a sword as the rogue or anyone else with the ability score and weapon proficiency.

Actually, as far as straight to-hits, rogue's actually get things that let them hit more often. Fighters tend to do clumpier damage.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
There are fewer options for Sorcerers and Clerics (a mathematically trivial example, I admit).

You mean compared between PF and 5th? That's true.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
I can't build my character around bullying and terrifying my enemies (dazzling display and such; really there are few skills in combat in general)

Disassociate combat with terrorizing and bullying enemies. Given that backgrounds have flaws that can give characters inherent fears, that can be accomplished through pure roleplay. No mechanics needed.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
There is no item creation right? So no item creation builds for my wizard.

As I said, not necessary for your goal. If it's about optimization then, yes, PF gets a +1 here. However, the build is mechanically viable in each. Plus, with 5th's spells you often get more flexibility for each casting. That puts it above PF's spells overall.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Sorcerer becomes the one class who is soul heir to metamagic.

As they should, but that's a matter of taste and is neither a penalty or bonus.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
You can't even build a fighter that can count on doing maneuvers every round if he wants.

No, you can't. I would argue this one is more taste, though. I find most infinite anything builds nonsensical.

Shadow Lodge

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Buri wrote:
"There is no item creation right? So no item creation builds for my wizard." .. As I said, not necessary for your goal. If it's about optimization then, yes, PF gets a +1 here.

Trying to stay within the context of discussing PF house rules that can benefit from changes apparent in 5e vs 3.5e/PF contemporaries -- and trying to avoid straight up full edition comparisons...

I'd suggest:

"Pathfinder Core" is the CRB + Bestiary 1 (you're going to maybe want to summon an animal right?)

"5E Core" is the PHB, DMG and MM1.

So core released systems/editions would both support copious crafting rules, as well as the rules for summoned monsters and shapechanging.


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When I first read the Pathfinder core rule book, I was in love. That love sustains me when I see something I don't like in one of the supplemental splat books because worst case scenario, I can ignore any and all splat and run a very satisfactory core game.

Core 5th edition, seems like a bare-bones launching platform predicated on high levels of dependency on future splat books.

Pathfinder's chief weakness to me is a ho-hum GM book. They deliberately made it un-core, and it feels very unessential. In most cases, as a GM its something that costs me time to implement instead of saving me time by offering solutions to things that crop up while playing/world building. 3.0 and 3.5 had great DMGs, where pathfinder has an adequate DMG packed into its core rule book, with additional DM themed splat books for DM's who want to invest more time in optional sub systems.

So, I'll reserve my ultimate judgement until I see a 5th edition DMG.

That said, I take exception with the notion that the higher levels of complexity in Pathfinder's character options somehow curtails the freedom granted by free-form imagination imposed on a bare-bones rules set. Pathfinder's complexity is usually pretty modular for both GMs and players. Want a simple hack and slash dungeon crawl? The rules make it intuitive to run one. Want to take your game out of the dungeon into high concept intrigue and social adventure, great you have the tools to transition seamlessly. Want to play a rule's light character concept that manifests himself through roleplaying instead of feats and skill picks? Great, pick a character class, make a general build, and bring him to life at the table. Want your character to have very specific mechanic abilities to match the concept? Great, spend another hour or two combing through character options. Dependency on crunchy rules is generally up to the players and GM, but having them there gives you the option to use them when you need them. Rules-light systems are restricted by not having crunchy options when you need them.

I don't want complex rules or simple rules... I want good rules. Good rules create balanced mechanics to easily resolve the questions that arise from the gaming groups' collective creativity, while minimizing the tax on the GM's time, and ultimately providing a fun an challenging game. Bare-bones systems run the danger of devolving into "the GM's story-telling hour" while crunchier systems run the danger of devolving into table-top war gaming. Pathfinder leans toward the crunchy end of the spectrum, but all in all I'd say its imperfect rules are holistically the best ones I've encountered. To get me to play something else, it needs to fill a niche better than something else. I'm not sure 5th edition fills the rules-light niche better than fourth edition.


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Buri wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Feats are not core (never forget). The barbarian point = rage powers are neat and give you neat mechanical options. The class I would want an animal companion with (druid) can't find familiar can they? Also: familiars can't attack I am pretty sure. The Warlock gets a familiar that can attack but it does not add your proficiency bonus to attacks (I think) so it is essentially worthless. The warlock familiar is a trap option if you try to build around it. And without scrolls and the like the batman wizard is crap. So I disagree with every last one of your refutations.

You can disagree, but they're each valid. I asked what could you do with one book that you couldn't do with the other. It doesn't matter what's "core." The options are in the PHB to do what I said. Your dislike of wizards not being able to churn out scrolls is a non sequitur in relation to your goal. You don't need scrolls to be a utilitarian caster. Cantrips can carry you the most of the way in 5th.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
I can't build a ranger that buffs the party (unless there are spells that I am forgetting).

Letting your whole party not be subject to difficult terrain in their favored terrain isn't a buff? Interesting.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
My fighter is just as likely to hit with a sword as the rogue or anyone else with the ability score and weapon proficiency.

Actually, as far as straight to-hits, rogue's actually get things that let them hit more often. Fighters tend to do clumpier damage.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
There are fewer options for Sorcerers and Clerics (a mathematically trivial example, I admit).

You mean compared between PF and 5th? That's true.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
I can't build my character around bullying and terrifying my enemies (dazzling display and such; really there are few skills in combat in general)
Disassociate combat with terrorizing and bullying enemies. Given that backgrounds have flaws that can give characters...

On feats and combat maneuvers: It absolutely matters that feats aren't core as it reduces those options to house rules and we are discussing the game not your house rules. Even if you do allow feats then you will waste a feat to trip someone once a fight. Whoop-de-doooooo (this is dumb)

On "no maneuvers for you": infinite anything is dumb but infinite attacking isn't dumb? That point makes no sense. I don't "run out" of my ability to kick a guy in the shin to knock him on his ass. There is no verisimilitude there and it removes style of combat from the game compared to pathfinder. My example is valid.

On scrolls and item creation: "Churning scrolls" is not a nonsequitur and you are being pretty presumptuous if you think cantrips are enough. How often should I ready passwall or some such thing? Every day like a chump? Those kinds of spells are viable as scrolls and when the situation come up you get to feel good for thinking ahead and being prepared. And you can be damn sure you don't have a cantrip for that.

On item creation builds: Guy who makes magic items is a rules concept in itself and it is unsupported.

On intimidating guys: I am not reviewing or making points about house rules.

You also did not respond to all my original counterpoints in that first bit. What about my animal companion point?

Listen: there is stuff you just can't do in 5e that you can do in pathfinder. You can maybe argue that the game is better for having many of these options gone, but you don't have a leg to stand on if you think "everything I can do in Pathfinder I can do out of the box in 5e"

Aaaaaaaannnd... allow me to say once again: I don't like that 5e is designed around minimizing player choice (at least compared to earlier additions). That is still a thing that is true even if you can do all the things. It removes my agency in my characters effectiveness and denies the me a lot of the fun I have with D&D style RPGs.

I am also not saying that 5e is bad. I like it. It is good. It is just not designed with the goals I would prefer.

Do you think that 2e pathfinder should be a lot like 5e D&D? How should it be different?

I say that a hypothetical pathfinder 2e should focus on remaining a complex game where building your character is interesting (more specifically, you should have more than one or two choices to make a level for complex classes and around one or 1/2 choices per level for simple classes).


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
Feats are not core (never forget).

Point buy isn't core either.

I really don't think that "core" matters a lot here. Synthesist summoners aren't core, stuff from the Book of Nine Swords isn't core, and stuff from random Player Companion splatbooks isn't core, but in my experience there will be a giant argument if a player wants to use any of these but the DM doesn't want it in their campaign. I don't think, as a practical matter, any significant number of people are going to be told they can't take feats in 5e games.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
I don't think it is a big deal because I expect errata (as I can't be the only person in the world that has noticed this stuff).

My understanding is that the plan is that they'll issue a rules module that covers combat on maps in great detail. (For example, I vaguely remember reading comments about plans for rules for shield walls.) Then the people who would want errata for this will use the module while the people who aren't interested in the module probably won't care about this issue.

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Aaaaaaaannnd... allow me to say once again: I don't like that 5e is designed around minimizing player choice (at least compared to earlier [editions]).

I don't agree that it has less player choice than earlier editions in general. I think it has about the same amount of choice as 4e and it certainly has more than 1e or 2e. It's only "limited" by comparison to 3e.

The big problem I have with 3.xx in general including Pathfinder is what happens when there's a significant divergence in system mastery in a group. Then, unless the DM spends a lot of effort building encounters that have a place for everyone in the group, the players with system mastery play the game while the other players basically watch them. This makes on the table tactics and teamwork much less meaningful, because if player A's character is 5x more effective in combat than player C's, what does it matter what player C does?

Now, if you are lucky enough to play in a group where everyone has a high level of system mastery, this isn't an issue for you. But if you're not, the difference in character building mastery levels hurts the tabletop game for most if not all people at the table.

Shadow Lodge

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Excaliburproxy wrote:
I don't like that 5e is designed around minimizing player choice (at least compared to earlier additions)

I'm assuming we're talking about "Core PF 1.0" and "Core 5E".

Can I get some more examples here where you feel like 5e is minimizing player choice?

--

I see two areas of "having more choices available": 1) character building and 2) in-game play.

I imagine you're talking about character building choices, since 5e's action economy revision really means a lot more in-game choices per round than core PF.

--

As a random example, let's say I want to make a dwarf paladin, and I'm holding the PF CRB and the 5e PHB.

Let's say he's a melee front-liner and is going to use an axe, so I go with basic S14 D12 C16 I10 W10 Ch14 as my stats in a 20pt buy.

Let's assume my equipment, language and nationality are a wash for both systems (and I think they are).

What really are my choices/decisions in building a PC?

Pathfinder 1.0:
Time: Character Creation, Level 1

No decisions: Alignment, Aura of Good, Detect Evil, Smite 1/Day

1. Who is my deity? Pathfinder CRB doesn't list deities, but I'm not going to penalize it here (although PHB lists almost 100 deities).

2. I have 2 skill points. Where do those go?

3. I get 1 feat. Which one?

Time: Character Creation, Level 2

1. I get 2 more skill points. Where do those go?

Time: Character Creation, Level 3

1. I get 2 more skill points. Where do those go?

2. Which mercy do I want?

3. I get another feat. Which one?

Time: Character Creation, Level 4

1. I get 2 more skill points. Where do those go?

2. Which ability score do I improve?

3. I get 1 spell. Which one?

In general, I find most paladins will either decorate a handful of skills so they can can be passable at a few things (i.e. 1 pt to Climb, 1 pt to Swim, 1pt to...) Or they focus on 2 skills to maximize, like Diplomacy and Sense Motive. It's going to take a lot of skill investment to climb and swim in armor, so the true value of the apparent choice in skills is a bit of a placebo.

At level 4, I've gotten one spell to play with and 2 feats. The feats are pretty weak relative to 5e ones.

5e:
Time: Character Creation, Level 1

No decisions: Alignment, Divine Sense, Lay Hands

1. Who is my deity? About 100 deities to choose from, but I won't give extra points to 5e here since most people will use a campaign setting to get these.

2. I pick two skills to be really good at for a while. Which two?

3. Which 2 personality traits do I want?

4. What ideal do I want?

5. What kind of bond do I want?

6. What flaw do I want?

7. What's my background?

8. Which skill do I want from it? Which tool?

Time: Character Creation, Level 2

1. I get spells (already!). I get to pick 1 + Charisma modifier, so 3 spells known each day. Technically, 3 decisions.

2. Which fighting style do I want? Defense? Dueling? Great Weapons? Protection?

Time: Character Creation, Level 3

1. Which oath am I going to take (this is a lot like an archetype, which are core, versus non-core)

Time: Character Creation, Level 4

1. Which feat do I want? It's going to make me good at many things (about equal in worth to 3-4 PF feats)

2. Which spell do I want to add for my 4th spell?

Character Building Summary:
By the time I've reached 4th level, I feel like I've made a lot more interesting choices in core 5e over my core PF counterpart:

a) I made a lot of choices in my background

b) I made more fulfilling choices about my skills (even though there were less individual choices). I have several skills I'm really good at and will always be good at. Athletics feels like a better investment since it covers swimming, climbing and jumping.

b) I picked a fighting style

c) I picked an oath/archetype

d) I've selected 4 spells to use, and I'm about to get access to 2nd level spells at 5th level

e) I picked a feat, and it's a doozy of one, comparable to picking 3-4 feats from the 3.5/PF era. In general, I was likely going down a "feat chain" anyway... so having say Weapon Focus + Power Attack + Cleave all combined into a "feat set" really wasn't a big deal.

It's also worth noting that in 5e, at any point while leveling, I could've been a competent Dex-based swashbuckling paladin, or two-weapon fighting paladin, or archery paladin. I'd be "at the top of the bar" in terms of comparability to any other martial that is going that route within my current game system (whereas in PF, a Paladin archer who hasn't found a way to get Point Blank, Precise and Rapid is clearly behind the curve already).

In-Play Summary:

In a given round of combat in either game, 5e also gives me a lot more choices:

1. In 5e, I have a lot more spells. Many I can cast as a swift/bonus action like Divine Favor and still move and attack.

2. I can cast any of these spells as many times as I want (and have slots for). Thus I have a good variety of spells and cast the same one over.

3. Because of the whole action economy revision, I get all the new ability to make decisions, moving, interacting with the environment, etc that come with that.

4. I get a lot of decisions from my single feat. I could be a solid tripper and disarmer on my paladin at this stage. In PF, I would've been hamstrung into a higher Intelligence, and possibly multiple feat trees. This gives me even more in-combat options, should I want those.

5. I get a lot of decisions and in-combat options from my oath... interesting things like grappling/entangle vines if I took the nature protecting oath, and the ability to turn away evil fey and make them flee.

Remember, I'm not suggesting that 5e is necessarily better, but there's no shortage of options at any point while building a character or leveling or while taking a turg in combat (when we are talking about CRB compared to PHB). The 5e PHB packs more options, choice and decision capability into ~300 pages that I may have ever seen. I was firmly against the very idea of 5e about 2 months ago, but it's growing on me the more I understand it.

I am continuously in the mode where I'm mining it for house rules for PF, but am now starting to worry the house rules document is getting unwieldy. :)

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