5th Edition vs Pathfinder Critique


4th Edition

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Grand Lodge

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OK, so in a respectful enough way as not to have this thread locked, this is a semi-related thread to the "Will You Be Switching?" topic. But whereas many of those posts answered with a brief yes or no, I wanted to delve a little deeper.

Now that the PHB and Monster Manual are out, in comparison to PF, what do you think of 5th Ed? As objectively as possible (A completely positive/negative comparison is fine, as long as you reason why and don't just say "D&D/PF sucks and only tools would play it"):

Stylistically (the art, race and class descriptions, etc.), do you prefer the 5th Ed. style or the Pathfinder style?

Mechanically, what did it do better than Pathfinder?

Mechanically, what did it do worse than Pathfinder?

Among those things it did better, can or should any of them be translated to the PF system?

Among those things it did worse, was the PF mechanic the clearly superior option, or could they be fixed with small tweaks?

I'm sure there are more questions to be asked, these are just the first four that popped into my head. Feel free to add more.

Sovereign Court

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I'll just talk about art for now since I haven't been able to give 5E a fair shake mechanically yet.

So far I have really liked the art of the 5E PHB. Its very appealing at times and nothing is too bad. The MM had some of the 4E artsytle I wasn't crazy about in the past but there are moments of awe in the book. It seems they have taken queues from all editions and tried to make a flexible artwork style and a less ridged brand. Despite the art being hit and miss I like the approach it leaves a lot of room for different products to have different looks to appeal to a wider audience.

PF art is easily recognizable. I know it when I see it. I think they have done a great job creating a brand. The artwork itself tends to be ok. It doesn't knock my socks off but is rarely so bad I want to avoid the products. I think ultimate campaign should be the benchmark for PF art.

Comparably PF has a much tighter reign on their art. Though if you look at what PF was trying to accomplish its right where it needs to be. 5E casts a wider net. While I loved the art in the PHB, halflings are god awful. A looser standard will allow D&D to differentiate settings and products which is what WOTC is going for.

At the moment 5E cant compete for me because PF has so many character options and supplements available. This could change with time but for now PF has a clear advantage. Another element is published adventure material. I know that many folks homebrew so this isn't a thing at all for them. For me I like adventure material and Paizo kicks ass at it. 5E has a long way to go to catch up. Also, I don't mind Golarion but cant stand the forgettable realms which is the standard for 5E. Probably will be quite some time before 5E is in shape for me to really consider it a competing product.


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Stylistically, which do you prefer? Both are good. Some I prefer more 5th edition. The goblinoids of Pathfinder, while the personality is pretty cool, I absolutely hate the way all of the goblinoids look in Pathfinder. Though not a fan of the 5th edition goblinoid looks (bugbears look like Beorn from the Desolation of Smaug movie), I vastly prefer it over the Pathfinder looks. I also prefer the Pathfinder metallic dragons over D&D metallics, and Pathfinder chromatics over D&D chromatics, except for the green dragon. D&D's green dragon looks better. Although, I do kinda like the D&D black dragon as well.

Mechanically, what is better than Pathfinder? I would have to say quite a bit. 5th edition got rid of the excessive amounts of +1s and such, consolidated the feats and so far has gotten rid of feat trees, there isn't a massive amount of trap options. I haven't gotten to play much (only got to level 4 before I had to drop out of my 5th edition game), so I can't say much about the caster vs martial crap. I also kinda like the Concentration mechanic, which helps to rein in the absurdity of casters. And overall, I have always preferred blasty casters (always felt like an actual wizard when casting evocation spells). Also, being an Eldritch Knight or Arcane Trickster basically from level 1 on is nice (I know, it actually starts at 3). Rangers and Paladins also cast from level 1, and have 5 spell levels, and bards are now 9 levels. I also really like the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic. My experience with it hasn't shown it to be a game changer as so many people claim it to be. It has helped, I will admit, but I didn't feel like I was gimped by not having advantage at all times. The removal of massive bonuses (54 AC, +40 to hit, 285 damage on a single crit) is also so very nice.

Mechanically, what is worse than Pathfinder? I haven't played much 5th edition, as stated earlier. Only thing it has done worse is the number of race and class options available. Not really a mechanically worse portion, I know. I just remembered, and it has to do with the dragons. 5th edition only has 4 ages of dragons (wyrmling, young, adult, ancient), which doesn't feel right to me, as I am more used to the 12 ages of dragons from previous editions (4 ages is too 4th edition to me). Then there's the short/long rest. I honestly prefer the "per day" mechanic than the "a short/long rest will replenish your uses of this ability". I can see so many people wanting to blow all their abilities in the first fight, then complain if you don't let them short rest (1 hour) after every combat.

As for the last 2 questions, porting any of the things it has done better to Pathfinder, you may as well just make a new edition of Pathfinder. It would change so much. The only thing I think Pathfinder has going for it over 5th edition is the number of options available. But that's because Pathfinder has been around for 6 years (I think), while 5th edition has been around for 2 months (3 if you go by the release of the Basic pdf and not the PHB), so that's a given.

I still enjoy Pathfinder, as the number of player options is nice and much more than in 5th edition. But overall, my preference has amazingly switched to 5th edition. I say amazingly because I didn't give the playtest a chance (I had the packets from all of 2013) due to the monsters. The monstrosity label seemed to be poorly defined when just looking at the monsters, as there was no definition of what a monstrosity actually was. While I prefer the 3rd edition/Pathfinder categorization of monsters, I have no problem with the 5th edition categories, because I finally have a definition of monstrosity when applied to 5th edition monsters.


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The Great Schism has finally, truly spawned two different games*. Pathfinder is a different game than Fifth Edition. As such, they are two different experiences, IMHO. Both have their merits and, alas, no game is perfect for everyone.

*Whoops...Can you tell I never played 4e!?

PATHFINDER:

I really like Pathfiner, but I have to take it in small doses. There's no way I could use EVERY rule - or even character class - in a game. It's just too much. Maybe if I didn't have a full-time job, and 3 year old, etc.

I've been buying Pathfinder stuff like crazy lately, but not to use necessarily in a Pathfinder System game. I use the bits I like, strip some (if not all) of the mechanics out of it, and use the flavor. The setting material is great.

Granted, this is all a mental exercise at the moment. I collect far more than I get to play.

FIFTH:

Fifth edition, to me, is a superb revision of 2nd edition AD&D.

Second edition was an ultimate sandbox. Yes, it had its quirks, but folks ironed those out with house rules as per the norm. Heck, it was expected back then. Rules and other parts (such as spell effects) were written kind of loosely (for better or worse) and accommodated narrative game play. This amplified the roleplaying experience, IMO.

I have high hopes for Fifth Edition. I'm so hopeful, in fact, that I've taken measures against getting let down: I've yet to finish reading the PHB because I can't believe what I'm reading (how "simple-yet-eloquent" the system really is). I'm waiting for the first supplement to rip all that apart, but I can always hope it won't happen...


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I don't think anything from 5e should be translated into Pathfinder, exactly; Pathfinder is a very successful system that totally groks its own market share/fan base. I personally prefer the simplified (yes, in the past tense, it's been a couple of decades at this point) mechanics of 5e, but to each their own.

In my experience, 5e relies on DM fiat, whereas PF depend on player empowerment.


5E is easier to run, overall looks better and less is more is fine by me. Pathfinder is better laid out, easier to reference things, has better adventures and more options if you like that sort of thing. Feels a bit to 4E in a lot of ways so PF still ticks the boxes for sacred cows.

Mostly just burned out of 3.x games though. Still 14 years of use they done something right.

Liberty's Edge

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Mechanically, I prefer what 5e is doing, for sure. Pathfinder is still just 3x with house rules, is approaching bloat, and tries way too hard to be all things to all people.

Better? Well, it mechanically represents D&D better than any edition since second. I liked 3e, but it, after bloat started to settle in, kept getting further and further from feeling like D&D to me. YMMV.

Worse? Eh, I dunno. I kinda prefer characters being defined by how they're played and not so much what's on the character sheet. I like that D&D is getting back to "go ahead and try, who cares what's on your sheet", instead of the character sheet defining what you can and can't do.

Adjule, quick question, how is the wanting a short rest worse than the typical 3x/PF "wizard goes nova, we have to stop for the day" fifteen minute adventure day phenomenon? ;-)

And, like Tranquillis, I have kids and other priorities. 5e I can run with little prep, and use a bunch of old school stuff without having to commit a metric ton of time converting. 3x/PF is a huge time sink to do right if you don't want to use prepackaged stuff, and I don't have anything resembling the time to mess with that any more.


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There are several things I think 5E does better. (Note that I'm only speaking in terms of it as a rule system here, there are plenty of things I think "Pathfinder" as a company/community construct/franchise does way better than the current D&D equivalent.)

Bounded accuracy is a big one: by effectively turning D&D into E6, you increase the range of levels at which any given critter or encounter is "useful," and really broaden the scope of the setting. This in turn makes the famous "Gygaxian naturalism" something that is feasible in campaign/setting design again– which is an important component in "sandbox" play style.

Obviously, not everyone is a devotee of sandbox style, but that's the thing is that 3.x/PF really only supported storyline-based play, while 5E supports both.

Throwing out the pages of modifiers is another huge one. I cannot begin to adequately express how much simpler life is (and how much FASTER combat resolution is) with advantage/disadvantage instead of "+1 from this buff, +2 from that buff, +2 from flanking, -1 from this debuff, -1 from that debuff, -2 from this unfavorable circumstance... for a total of +1. What were you rolling on, again?"

This same streamlining has been applied to character creation: instead of nerfing everything to heck and then requiring you to spend feats to regain capacity, 5E just gives everyone (including NPCs/monsters) capacity and then makes class features and feats extra-strong.

Finesse weapons are a great example of this: they allow you to use your Dex modifier for both the attack roll and damage modifier, and anybody who uses the weapon can do it. Two-weapon fighting, same deal... anyone who wants to can wield a light-weapon in their off-hand and attack with it as a bonus action, no penalties. The Dual-Wielder feat allows you to use larger weapons, gives a +1 AC when dual-wielding, and effectively gives you the ability to quick-draw multiple weapons. Thus, if you really want to play a double-broadsword-wielding Whirling Cuisinart of Death, you can, but if you just want your rogue to scoop up an extra dagger in the middle of a fight, it's still worth doing.

What it really boils down to, at least for me, is a game that's fast-playing and simple enough that I don't need something like Hero Labs, but is still robust enough to create a wide variety of distinctive characters and allows meaningful choices during the creation process.

-The Gneech

Shadow Lodge

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Adjule wrote:
Only thing it has done worse is the number of race and class options available.

If you limit the comparison to just the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, 5e actually has more options for both class and race (all the Pathfinder options, plus warlock, dragonborn, and tiefling).

I think that's fair....5e doesn't even have all three of it's core rule books out, while Pathfinder has had a book specifically to add races and two books specifically to add classes (along with a handful from other books).


Yep, compared to the CRB, the PHB does have more options. And for many of the classes, they have even more options with the subclasses. Although the CRB has more sorcerer options (all those bloodlines in the CRB compared to 5th's dragon bloodline and wild magic).

As mentioned, Pathfinder has been out for about 6 years now, while 5th edition has been out for only 2-3 months. When you take that into acount, the part you quoted loses any real impact. Which I have no problem with, at all.

houstonderek said wrote:
Adjule, quick question, how is the wanting a short rest worse than the typical 3x/PF "wizard goes nova, we have to stop for the day" fifteen minute adventure day phenomenon? ;-)

Not much different, but in 5th edition's case, it could be any class that would say "Let's stop for the day" after a single encounter. The fighter's Second Wind or Action Surge replenish on a short rest. I think it has more to do with having more experience with x/day, and being what I am more used to. Of course, if the DM lets the party continuously do that, then more power to them, and don't blame them for doing so. But that's more on the DM for allowing it, especially in a dungeon environment.


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I am just about determined to permanently drop "touch" and "Flat Foot" Armor Class from my Pathfinder games.

In my opinion

After four regular sessions of 5e I am convinced that these things did not bring anything to the Role Playing game I wanted to play and simply created a method for players to hunt down the build that they could build that would allow them to attack against these values simply because the numbers were lower, and therefor easier to achieve, In the long run the battles, hit points, and ultimate results do not change when these overly complicated combat factors are removed.

Grand Lodge

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Stylistically (the art, race and class descriptions, etc.), do you prefer the 5th Ed. style or the Pathfinder style?

This one is really hard for me to say. 5th Edition is new, so it's going to engender strong feelings either way, whereas I've had my Pathfinder books for years so I'm sort of used to *that* style. Overall, though, I'd give it to PF for consistency. Some things in 5th Ed. really jumped out at me as great (The Warlock looks really cool, and Dragons in the Monster Manual look much more epic to me.) but there were just as many things that looked cliche or terrible. (Gnomes, goblins - pretty much any small race.)

Mechanically, what did it do better than Pathfinder?

I think what 5th Ed. did beautifully was realign D&D with its strength - party based gameplay. In Pathfinder, too many builds were traps and it was too easy to make a build that completely replaced another build through the proper combo of feat selection. So now a Fighter feels different from a Barbarian feels different from a Paladin feels different from a Ranger. No more, "Fighters suck - just play a Ranger and call it a Fighter."

Even within builds, they've ended the dominance of THW Fighters. They still have some goodies - like being the only variance that can power attack at the cost of a feat - but it's not the runaway superior option it has been since 3.0.

Mechanically, what did it do worse than Pathfinder?

Multiclassing and cantrips. Here are two instances where the simplification has really hurt 5th Ed. There's really no reason for a Wizard/Sorcerer to NOT take a 1 level dip in fighter. Suddenly you can wear armor and cast spells.

And the cantrips are unlimited by beefed up to a point where the meet and even occasionally exceed the capability of first level spells. When you can throw an unlimited 1d12 ranged touch attack that scales with level, I'd call that a tad broken.

Also for simplicity's sake, a lot of the more flavorful spells have become blase damage dealers. Cloudkill, for instance, now instead of the differing effects depending on creature levels just does so many dice of Poison damage. I know they wanted to streamline, but it's made playing a Blaster-Caster the only real option.

Dex to damage for ranged and finesse, on its surface, seems kind of awesome. Thematically it makes sense and works well for classes that traditionally built for stealth and movement rather than brute force. But it sort of makes Dex the "God" stat. There are still reasons to build a STR character, I guess - but not many.

I give Advantage/Disadvantage a wash - it's nice not to have to sift through a dozen different variables to figure out your total bonuses, but it's also too dependent on luck for my taste.

Among those things it did better, can or should any of them be translated to the PF system?

The feat system, definitely. Make feats tie to ability score increases, so that in order to take one you must sacrifice something else that may be valuable to you. And make them worth that sacrifice. 30 (mostly) great feats is a far superior system to 100's of feats comprised of 70% crap, 20% situational, 5% every worthwhile (insert class here) build will have and 5% that should just be an available option, all intertwined by obnoxious feat trees and prerequisites.

Among those things it did worse, was the PF mechanic the clearly superior option, or could they be fixed with small tweaks?

I think a tweak to the Advantage/Disadvantage system could save it. Spoony did have a great point when he pointed out that having a disarmed, injured, confused opponent confers exactly the same advantage as the True Strike cantrip. That seems unfair and actually sort of discourages what 5th Ed. was attempting to do by making the players consider and role-play out combat rather than just doing the typical "I full attack - does 27 hit? 21? 25? 19? OK, two hits." *roll damage* routine.


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Something feels missing from the questions so I added a bit.

Stylistically (the art, race and class descriptions, etc.), do you prefer the 5th edition, 4th edition or the Pathfinder style?

I like Pathfinder style a bit more here. But good art and style is everywhere throughout all I feel. There are a few bits of art or design I don't like in any book like the 5th edition Halfling design, but I don't feel like saying anything is a bad decision.

I do feel that 5th edition feels better laid out to me than 4th edition as a whole. 4th edition often had blank areas where the content just ended and I don't see that as much in 5th edition.

Mechanically, what did it do better than 4th edition or Pathfinder?

Hard to say, it makes a lot of the terminology and moves it from a game of micromanagement. Working with a move and an action meshes a bit better with a turn than declaring that you have a standard, move, and a minor action (or a standard, move, and swift action).

5th edition rituals look a lot better than they were in 4th edition. They feel a lot more integrated and part of the system.

Mechanically, what did it do worse than 4th edition or Pathfinder?

Character growth through mechanics. A lot of classes are set in a way that you will go several levels at a time before making any decision on the development for the character and often that choice is a binary one. Spellcasters are better at it just because new spells continually come in, but many other classes don't seem to feel as much a evolution of abilities.

With 4th edition, at each level you get a new ability and you are generally going to make a choice on what new ability you get. In Pathfinder RPG there are the Rogue and Barbarian. At each level you are getting either or a feat or choosing a new class ability.

For reference, spells are better for me in Pathfinder and 4th edition (aside rituals). For Pathfinder spells I can reference the book, a low cost PDF or any number of low-to-no cost options in app form or online where I can reference the spell. In 5th edition, my options are a bit more limited there.

In 4th edition I was able to get away without referencing the book for the longest time by just writing my powers on index cards. There are some classes in 5th for which this is still an option, but for the most part it doesn't feel like it is a viable solution.

Among those things it did better, can or should any of them be translated to the 4th edition or Pathfinder system?

4th edition would kind of implode without the defined actions. It could be adjusted, but I think it wouldn't help 4th edition terribly much. I think it could help Pathfinder more, but there are a lot of feats and abilites that deal interact with the actions you have during a turn that would be impacted if it was done without a broader conversion effort.

Among those things it did worse, was the 4th edition or Pathfinder mechanic the clearly superior option, or could they be fixed with small tweaks?

Well, I said it did them worse so I guess I'm effectively saying that both 4th edition and Pathfinder provide the clearly superior option, but that feels way too loaded for me. I don't think I would say that any large mechanic is clearly superior going from one system to another.

I think that a different class design could help, but that is less a small tweak. It could be helped though with small tweaks I believe to give players choices to make as they level.

There are other aspects I can swing either way about, but it would take a lot more playing to get a sense if I prefer one way or the other.

In general though, my feelings about 5th edition are the same that I have for any system. If I can get with a gaming group that I have fun with, I'm probably going to have a lot of fun whether it is 5th edition D&D or 5th edition Shadowrun.

The reverse is true as well. The players are more important than the system.


Blazej wrote:
The players are more important than the system.

In regards to the art, I think the system is more important than the art..as I am on the fence on whether getting D&D 5E.


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For me, the art of role playing products is a big factor in my purchase decision, and I am biased toward cartoony, over the top, fantasy artwork. So, with that said, I am not all that impressed by 5e's art, and some of it down right irritates me (a Halfling is a small person, not some kind of distorted perspective destroying abomination).

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

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I think Pathfinder has forced WotC to get back in shape and work to make their game better. I think they took their best ideas from older editions, 4e, 3e, and Pathfinder, and even some indie games, and have made a game that is better than anything they have ever done since perhaps the first game that invented RPGs.

This is really great to me. In a perfect world, we would have two awesome game systems with two excellent design teams competing and driving the quality of the product up through competition.

I really love the art of Wayne Reynolds and the Pathfinder look, but I think the 5e PHB and MM are two of the most beautiful RPG books I've seen. The full-page art pieces in those books are so awesome, and there is so much good art. I think Paizo does an amazing job, but for me, the 5e books I have pull ahead.

I really like the new Advantage/Disadvantage mechanics. I like the simplicity of character creation. I like the overall streamlining of the system. I like the idea of the Inspiration/background rules, but I'm not 100% comfortable with them yet. I need to wait and see how much use they'll have in the game. I think the cantrips are good and I really like the spells leveling up at higher levels. I also like the ability score bonus/feat system, and how the feats are more unique and important.

I don't like the auto-healing overnight and I houseruled that away, but I'm ok with the Hit Dice/short rest mechanic. Beyond that, there isn't a lot that I prefer from Pathfinder over 5e. I think 5e has most of what I really liked about 3e/PF built into the system, and has trimmed away a lot of the stuff I don't think is important. I do like the extra race and class options of Pathfinder, but some of the newer stuff like modern weapons don't do anything for me.

I guess I'd rather play 5e right now than try and houserule 5e tweaks to the Pathfinder game. I think Pathfinder is a more complex game, and has a lot more tactical options. If anything, I might try and convert some homebrew Pathfinder class or race options over to 5e. And I'll definitely continue using Pathfinder's awesome adventure paths.

Basically there are light rules systems like the OSR/Old school style games, medium rules systems like D&D 5e, and complex rules systems like Pathfinder. I think each has its own play style. I think Mike Mearls did a really good job in finding a sweet spot for the new version of D&D, and I think this is going to end up being my default game. I'll still continue to buy Paizo accessories and adventures, but I don't know if I'll get any more of their rulebooks.


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EntrerisShadow wrote:


Stylistically (the art, race and class descriptions, etc.), do you prefer the 5th Ed. style or the Pathfinder style?

5th's seems more....realistic and in that sense, I feel 5E's art is better. I like 5E's Monster Manual better artistically than Pathfinder's Bestiary.

Quote:


Mechanically, what did it do better than Pathfinder?

Keeping spellcasting more reined in at the higher levels of play. It's not as balanced as 4E in the higher levels but then again, it wasn't designed to. It took more cues from 3E in this regard however they also lowered the overall amount of spells one can cast above 6th level and didn't give them anyways to increase that number. Also, spellcasting isn't as good because spells don't instantly increase with power as one levels up. You have to invest in which spells will do that.

Then there's Bounded Accuracy. This is REALLY the main reason why I'm looking for 5E to replace most 3E/PF games I run. The fact that modifiers aren't thrown into the stratosphere and lower level monsters say more relevant longer is a huge plus in my book.

Short Rest mechanics, while having the potential for problems, are always better (in my mind) than daily ones. So that a good portion of classes get these is a nice bonus.

Not tying Alignment into the mechanics of the game is pretty much a 100% step in the right direction when compared to Pathfinder as it still uses Alignment for restrictions on things like classes and prestige classes.

Ridding themselves of the difference between "full-round" and "standard" actions. The fact that Fighters in PF who move are reduced to 1 attack is simply terrible. Flat out. Add on the penalty that if they DO stick around and make a full-attack, their attacks get weaker is just more BS thrown on top. 5E gets rid of both these silly restrictions.

Quote:


Mechanically, what did it do worse than Pathfinder?

The only thing that comes to mind is customization. I'm not a fan of the Multiclass system and I don't like that I can't swap a classes sub-paths around as I level up. In this area I think 3E and Pathfinder do a better job with mechanical representation for unique characters. Plus I hate that all classes get feats at different levels.

Quote:


Among those things it did better, can or should any of them be translated to the PF system?

Yep. Remove the 3-tierd BAB system for 1 standard, across the board version. Remove the Full-Attack action and allow classes that get multiple attacks to keep them AND move. Remove the moronic restrictions on Two-Weapon Fighting. Remove auto-scaling spell variables. Remove Bonus spells based on higher ability modifier. Give paladins more spells at earlier levels.

Quote:


Among those things it did worse, was the PF mechanic the clearly superior option, or could they be fixed with small tweaks?[/quote

Tweaks would probably work best, and time. With enough time and options, I can see 5E being a better product overall.

Shadow Lodge

Tranquilis wrote:
The Great Schism has finally, truly spawned two different games*.

WELCOME TO 2000!


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EntrerisShadow wrote:
Stylistically (the art, race and class descriptions, etc.), do you prefer the 5th Ed. style or the Pathfinder style?

5E, and it's not even close. But keep in mind I find WAR-style art annoying.

EntrerisShadow wrote:
Mechanically, what did it do better than Pathfinder?

Almost everything. It's just simpler, more consistent, less fiddly.

But killing full attack dead is worth pointing out separately.

EntrerisShadow wrote:
Mechanically, what did it do worse than Pathfinder?

I don't see sufficient value (yet) in having six saving throw types -- so far, I prefer the fort, reflex, will approach.

Humans defaulting to +1 in all attributes is just odd. Aren't humans the benchmark against which other races have bonuses or penalties? If not, what is?

D&D 5E really needs a "delay" action.

EntrerisShadow wrote:
Among those things it did better, can or should any of them be translated to the PF system?

Pathfinder is just needlessly complex, stuffed with special cases that pay lip service to "realism," but really just complicate matters. The core desperately needs to be revised to look more like 5E (or better yet, more like the Beginner Box).

And please, for the love of all that is holy, kill the "Full Attack."

EntrerisShadow wrote:
Among those things it did worse, was the PF mechanic the clearly superior option, or could they be fixed with small tweaks?

Saving throw issue could be addressed by revising the spells and monsters to more evenly reflect the various saving throw types (and better reflect the nature of the attack). There are several spells that really should be Int saves, but seem to have been left as Wis saves for no discernible reason.

EntrerisShadow wrote:
I'm sure there are more questions to be asked, these are just the first four that popped into my head. Feel free to add more.

The real question is: Will I switch? Despite my strong affinity for both 5E's mechanics and style, I just can't see myself adopting 5E as my "go-to" fantasy system, for the following reasons:

1. Wotc refuses to release the core in PDF. Or even to give a straight answer about having done so. Sorry, but a proprietary, DRM-laden "app" is not an acceptable substitute. Customers want digital access, and many want it in the form of industry-standard PDFs. When you don't give customers what they want, you fail. I mean seriously: How could WotC possibly have not learned this lesson from 4E? Wasn't putting one edition in an early grave enough?

2. Ignoring the OGL. Boo! When the initial excitement wears off, plenty of people will just go back to developing OGL material. It's easier and less risky.

3. Limited and (so far, at least) poorly-run organized play. Adventurer's League is light years behind PFS.

4. See #1. This is really the deal-breaker for me. Which is a shame, because I like the game, but I refuse to continue supporting a company which stubbornly clings to an out-dated distribution model at its customers' expense.

Sovereign Court

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Excellent point bugleyman. PF is way more digital friendly. Like my earlier mentioned issues with 5E, digital offerings may get better at some point in the future. Right now though? Nada.....

The Exchange

Agree with bugleyman on the organised play stuff. It is pretty disorganised as far as I can tell. However, that hasn't stopped an organised play thing from starting up and growing at my local store. In fact, the lack of restrictive rules has made it easier to get people in and enjoy the game. All we're doing at the moment is essentially a home game with recording of player details at the end.

I actually prefer that to tell you the truth. I also think that since the rules have changed in this system so things are more in the hands of the DM, that it's not necessary to have such tight reigns as PFS has.

It will be good when factions start meaning something though.


bugleyman wrote:

D&D 5E really needs a "delay" action.

.

Looks like this is now covered by "Ready" (Basic Rules pdf p72)


TheRavyn wrote:
bugleyman wrote:

D&D 5E really needs a "delay" action.

.

Looks like this is now covered by "Ready" (Basic Rules pdf p72)

Dunno. It seems like that replaces the "ready" action in Pathfinder (or 3.5, etc.), but there doesn't seem to be a "hold all of my actions and decide to jump in later" option.

Liberty's Edge

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Why does there have to be a rule for that? Just tell the DM "I hold my action until x happens, and if it doesn't, I'll just go last".

3x and 4e ruined us with rules for everything ;-)


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bugleyman wrote:
TheRavyn wrote:
bugleyman wrote:

D&D 5E really needs a "delay" action.

.

Looks like this is now covered by "Ready" (Basic Rules pdf p72)
Dunno. It seems like that replaces the "ready" action in Pathfinder (or 3.5, etc.), but there doesn't seem to be a "hold all of my actions and decide to jump in later" option.

I didn't realize there wasn't a rule for delay, and I don't think my DM realized that either. In my last game, I just said "I delay" and it worked exactly how you'd expect, with my jumping in at a later initiative count and staying there for the rest of the combat.


Ready an action in 5E doesn't change your initiative. Its quite good for Rogues who win initiative but want to wait so they can sneak attack.

5E is starting to wear a bit thin. I don't think they thought some things through that well and I prefer fort/ref/will over the save system in 5E which is wonky atm. The games a bit rocket tag for me as well and some of the mth makes it feel like they learned nothing from 3.0 let alone PF/4E.

Art in 5E blows away Pathfinder. Not a massive WAR fan but I thought the Inner Sea World Guide and Bestiary are pretty books. They are but 5E MM and PHB kills them IMHO.

ZHotDQ is an average at best adventure, LMoP is better but not as good as most Paizo adventures IMHO so Paizo wins there.


bugleyman wrote:
TheRavyn wrote:
bugleyman wrote:

D&D 5E really needs a "delay" action.

.

Looks like this is now covered by "Ready" (Basic Rules pdf p72)
Dunno. It seems like that replaces the "ready" action in Pathfinder (or 3.5, etc.), but there doesn't seem to be a "hold all of my actions and decide to jump in later" option.

That was deliberately left out for various reasons, including people gaming the system with powers that "last until your next turn" and delaying their turn forever to keep the power going indefinitely, interaction with "movement" being a free part of your turn, and so forth.

That said, I imagine if a player wanted to permanently lower their initiative, I'd allow a ready action to do that. I'd just still require a state that would cause them to take that action.

-The Gneech


I don't think delaying your turn works that way. But that's probably a discussion for another thread.


Adjule wrote:
I don't think delaying your turn works that way. But that's probably a discussion for another thread.

I think it is the sort of thing where 4E, for example, explicitly defined "if you have a duration tracking until the end of someone's turn, and their initiative order changes, you still track when their previous initiative was in order to know when to resolve the ongoing effects." Which works in theory, but I definitely have had plenty of games where keeping track of all that can get... kinda out of hand, and in 3.5, the exact same thing.

Thus 5E, instead, decided to simply avoid any effects that adjust initiative order, as part of the overall goal of simplifying and speeding up play. Note, in fact, that the Ready action doesn't move your Init in 5E - it just lets you spend your reaction to take an Action later in the round. You still go again normally on your next turn. As far as I know, there isn't anything that changes your Initiative during a combat.

Given the goal of 5E is also to have relatively quick rounds, I think the designers are hoping that Ready can cover most scenarios where you want to react to enemy activity. And that if you really do just want to wait and see what happens before taking your turn, you can represent that... simply by waiting until your next turn comes up, which shouldn't take all that long.

I like the approach in general, since initiative shifting is one area that can get kinda complicated. More importantly, though, it is also an area where it is trivial to house-rule back in the older versions of Delay and Ready, if you have a group that wants to use them.


I ran a 5e play test this weekend, really enjoyed it. I'm probably in the minority, but one of the best features was changing the default from playing on a grid to not playing on a grid. I was able to convince what I thought was a grid-addicted group to go gridless for the play test.

Turns out, all but one of them loved not using a grid. We were able to get through about 8 combats + some role playing in about 3 hours. Using the grid would have easily tripled this amount of time. A few of the players asked if the group was considering going gridless for our PF campaign, but the GM for that campaign is a big fan of the grid (and PF is heavily dependent on grid play.)

I really liked the inspiration mechanic as the DM, as it allowed me to reward good RP and descriptions of abilities. Plus the rules light setup of 5e allowed for a lot of winging, which the players seemed to appreciate.

Stylistically (the art, race and class descriptions, etc.), do you prefer the 5th Ed. style or the Pathfinder style?

I prefer the 5e art - it seems more realistic, more reminiscent of the AD&D 2nd Edition PHB.

Mechanically, what did it do better than Pathfinder?
I love that backgrounds are built right in to character creation. You pick your class, then select a background. It was fun generating those, and I think it would encourage those players that are sometimes RP-shy to give it a try.

Mechanically, what did it do worse than Pathfinder?
A few of the spells that I read seemed far overpowered for level 1 spells. The one that comes to mind is Inflict Wounds dealing 3d10 damage. I'd have to see how it actually plays out, but on the surface it seemed much too powerful.

Among those things it did better, can or should any of them be translated to the PF system?

I don't think you could take PF gridless easily - the system is not designed for it. Building in background system could work. Inspiration is interesting as is the advantage/disadvantage system.

Among those things it did worse, was the PF mechanic the clearly superior option, or could they be fixed with small tweaks?

To soon to tell.


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I'm completely done with determining individual character Initiative.

And I am checking Initiative every round

Either the monsters go first or the player characters go first, is all I am tracking.

If players want to get into details about who is going to do what when, then I expect them to talk about that as players, among themselves, and create battle plans. No more will I make this a competitive game between the player characters to see "who kills the monster first", and instead encourage cooperation and teamwork to overcome obstacles.

Liberty's Edge

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Organized play is probably the last thing I think about when I am evaluating a system. It was always just a way to get into conventions for free for me anyway. Filling out paperwork is something I get paid to do, not something I do for "fun".


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houstonderek wrote:
Organized play is probably the last thing I think about when I am evaluating a system. It was always just a way to get into conventions for free for me anyway. Filling out paperwork is something I get paid to do, not something I do for "fun".

For those of us who struggle to manage a regularly scheduled game, OP can be a godsend. The paperwork is a necessary evil (which doesn't stop me from occasionally referring to PFS as "Paperwork Filing Society").


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I'm not here to compare who did what better, but 5th ed general simplification is freshening. I'm starting to like 5th ed concept of concentration spells more and more.


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You know, Laurelfindel, I was sort of opposed to the new spell mechanics at fist myself, but I've been playing more sessions of 5e (starting my first table top game in four years this weekend!) but the more I play here in these forums the more I realize that what I really want to experience, through D&D or Pathfinder, is the adventure itself, and not the details of how each little thing can or cannot be accomplished.

I'll keep playing Pathfinder, as it is, as long as the players I can find that want to play with me want to use those rules, but I'll play 5e as well, if that can be done.

Sort of wish you were playing in one of my games, I respect your presence on these forums quite a bit.


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Terquem wrote:
the more I realize that what I really want to experience, through D&D or Pathfinder, is the adventure itself, and not the details of how each little thing can or cannot be accomplished.

That's a fair and valid statement.

Speaking from a DM's perspective, the details of how things are accomplished does have an impact on the adventure I present to my players, so it does matter to me.

Perhaps it has less to do with me being a DM and more with me having a genuine interest on the mechanics or RPGs. Such things always fascinated me somehow, and I love games that present a simple but thematic rule or mechanics that reinforce the theme and feel of the game.

5th ed has a few thematic rules like that which I admire for design's sake (because I haven't played a 5th ed game yet).

[edit] 3rd ed and Pathfinder are getting a bit old and heavy now, but it has quite a few key design elements I love. The triple saves of will/fort/ref was good mechanics and a good "innovation" IMHO.


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Mechanically I just want a balanced system that gets out of my way and lets the table go through an adventure and have fun. I tried running Pathfinder a few times but there's just too much for me to track with it. It sort of gets in my way. That's not fault of the system, I'm just not the audience for it.

5e is much simpler and does a pretty decent job with balance. It's not perfect, by any means, but pretty much any build is going to have its shine moments and there's only a few spells here and there you need to be aware of as a GM that can be problematic.

What it does worse than Pathfinder for me though: It's not owned by Paizo.

I really really miss the OGL, the 3rd party support from tools like Hero Lab, Realm Works, etc. I miss the world setting and fantastic module/AP support. I miss the card game tie in and PFS.

Paizo is hands above the better ran company. If they came out with a Pathfinder Basic that was basically 5.5e I'd be a very happy camper.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I happened to begin my experience with 5E at a rather interesting time. I've pretty much been playing PF since it launched, and have enjoyed it immensely during that time. As the timing goes, I happened to be looking through several different game systems, feeling a bit of system fatigue at playing the same sort of things over and over, namely PF and Star Wars Saga Edition, and indeed, looking for something simpler and faster than the d20 system.

Thus far, I've played half a dozen or so 5E games, and for the most part have enjoyed it. Compared to PF, it is much more streamlined, and for once, I found myself afraid of kobolds. The fact that even the basic little monsters can now be an effective challenge for a party without adding templates and class levels is quite satisfying. So far my group has had one TPK (a game which I didn't play in), and two or three near TPKs, thanks to those lovely Death Saves, with only 1 or 2 members managing to stay conscious to heal the rest. I can't recall having had similar nail-biting experiences with PF (I suppose we "mastered" the 3E/d20 system a long time ago, having been playing it since it launched).

Out of the gate, 5E's character creation options are quite a bit more varied than PF's (PHB vs. Core Rulebook), especially since alignment isn't nearly the restriction it used to be, and there are at least 2 different options for each class. As it stands, I've played a halfling monk and a half-orc barbarian/fighter, and found both to be quite entertaining, with combat being fast and deadly, and quite varied given the different makeup of each of our parties (two different games currently running).

I was initially on the fence about the Advantage/Disadvantage system, but it's grown on me, and I actually find myself liking it quite a bit. It's fast, and it's simple, and that's good.

My issues with 5E compared to PF are on the smaller scale as far as the entire systems are concerned. I like PF's art better overall, though 5E's is quite good, unless you happen to be talking about the halflings...whoever did that art must have hated the short folk...

I'm not really a fan of the 'Lazy DM' damage thing either. It just seems, well, lazy...getting the same damage number on each attack just seems boring and too video game-like for my tastes, and the fact that my DM likes it so much is just a personal annoyance, I suppose.

Though I like the Advantage/Disadvantage system, I'm not sure if it's quite as robust as it could be, especially when it comes to things like poisons and conditions. Basically, at least with what I've experienced thus far, the effects wind up giving you disadvantage (with a few other things in the case of conditions). Granted, it's simple, but it just seems a bit too simple. There's no real variety there, no bleeding damage or ability damage or the like. I dunno, just seems lacking a bit to me.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage with 5E compared to PF is the lack of a digital presence. When I first tried to get a copy of the PHB and kept finding the local gaming store to be sold out, I would have gotten a PDF in a heartbeat. The decision not to offer PDF options for 5E is a pretty big negative, one that will definitely affect my future with the system. Beyond the core books, I'm not entirely sure how far I'll be going with my purchases; as it stands, I'll probably just be sticking with those three. That is one of my favorite things about PF; if I want to read the new book, I can immediately head online, order it and download it in minutes, then order a hardcover version later if I so desire. I can also copy it over to my tablet and have it for quick reference anywhere I go. As old fashioned as I am, I am slowly getting more accustomed to digital purchases (I started running Deadlands Reloaded at about the same time as I started playing 5E, and besides the three core books I needed to run the game, I've purchased everything else digitally, and saved a bundle).

So, there's my thoughts, for what it's worth. 5E certainly grabbed me much better than 4E ever did (canceled my pre-order for the core books once I got a look at what it was really like, and never once played the game), and it does seem like a really great system given my current experience, but I'm not entirely sure I'll be migrating to it from PF. I've got too much invested with PF, and given the literal mountains of content available (plus the OGL 3rd party stuff), I don't think I'll ever run out of stuff to look at.


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Wow, this is really a great discussion, love the feedback, no drama. A really great topic. kudos to everyone for sayign their opinions and keeping it civil and positive. Very refreshing for sure. Just had to say that. Now, onto the post:

I've been playing D&D in all of its iterations for 30 years. I must say, this is the best one so far. I really enjoy it right now (I know this will change) because there's so few books to have to try to pore over to find Feat A that fits with Feat B that makes Class C "viable.
Also, I love the fact that alot of the "Mathhammer" has been taken out and replaced by a flat number that gets added to all the things you're Proficient in.
I think they also did a great job in evening the playing field with the time-old "caster vs Martial" war. It's not totally even, but it seems to have brought the martials up a notch and the casters down a notch.
The Advantage/Disadvantage is a nice mechanic, and makes for less stringent rules, as in your character can try practically anything, and the DM can just adjudicate the penalties. There's more room for player creativity.
i'm a big fan of the background system, as it has gotten many of my players to actually flesh out their characters, and become more vested in the game role-playing-wise that normally weren't, especially with the RP rewards mechanic.

I actually really like both system's artwork, and as was stated before, PF's has become a bit iconic, and that's awesome.
I do enjoy PF for the AP's, I think they do an excellent job with them, as well as diety-specific spells and feats. I think those really add to the flavor of a divine caster.

I'm really hoping that the books that 5e comes out with in the future just expand on backgrounds and "archtypes" for each class, because my biggest turnoff (for me, though I can appreciate those folks who enjoy the multitude of options) for playing PF/3.x right now is the sheer amount of material just to make a character.

5e's nice, streamlined character creation, rules, feat vs ability bump decision, and the fact that stats won't get blazingly out of hand (yet, and hopefully never) is a big sell. But like many of you, I wish and hope that they get a bigger digital presence out there. PF has them beat by a longshot there.


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lorenlord wrote:
But like many of you, I wish and hope that they get a bigger digital presence out there.

Unless and until they do, 5E is dead to me.


Looks like they are doing electronic rulebooks and the OGL. No timetable on either yet. ENWorld


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bugleyman wrote:
lorenlord wrote:
But like many of you, I wish and hope that they get a bigger digital presence out there.
Unless and until they do, 5E is dead to me.

New drinking game - every time Bugleyman posts about this, take a shot!

:)

Sovereign Court

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TheRavyn wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
lorenlord wrote:
But like many of you, I wish and hope that they get a bigger digital presence out there.
Unless and until they do, 5E is dead to me.

New drinking game - every time Bugleyman posts about this, take a shot!

:)

I better stock up on whisky! Though no PDF or digital options is lame.


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JTStorm wrote:
Looks like they are doing electronic rulebooks and the OGL. No timetable on either yet. ENWorld

This is good news. Good news indeed.


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TheRavyn wrote:


bugleyman wrote:


lorenlord wrote:


But like many of you, I wish and hope that they get a bigger digital presence out there.

Unless and until they do, 5E is dead to me.

New drinking game - every time Bugleyman posts about this, take a shot!

:)

What distillery do you have stock in? :D


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JTStorm wrote:
Looks like they are doing electronic rulebooks and the OGL. No timetable on either yet. ENWorld

I'll believe it when I see it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...


bugleyman wrote:
JTStorm wrote:
Looks like they are doing electronic rulebooks and the OGL. No timetable on either yet. ENWorld

I'll believe it when I see it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

I'm sure they'll definitely get some kind of digital release out. Probably (hopefully?) scaled back from the first attempt.

I'd be surprised by OGL and the longer it waits, the less I expect it.


thejeff wrote:

I'm sure they'll definitely get some kind of digital release out. Probably (hopefully?) scaled back from the first attempt.

I'd be surprised by OGL and the longer it waits, the less I expect it.

The OGL I actually see happening sooner rather than later, and definitely well before they get the digital release hammered out; it's very clear that WotC is not going to use any more of their own resources than they absolutely have to as far as the tabletop game is concerned, and an OGL of some kind is a functional way to provide support for the system while limiting their own costs. Given from what I've seen from the development team thus far, I think it's not if, but when and how much, on the OGL. I doubt it will be as open as the 3rd edition OGL, but I would be very surprised if we didn't see something that copied the basic concept of that, and probably before summer in order to keep support for the system from waning before everyone else can start producing material.

The digital release I'll believe it when I see it; I'm sure they will eventually piece something together, but whether it will work or be of any use is another matter entirely. They seem to think that they need to have a single tool that does everything when very few people are actually looking for something that complex. Players, especially, don't need anything that complicated. I'm sure they will try to do something along those lines again anyway, so I have my doubts of seeing anything particularly useful in the digital department any time soon.


I'll just try to answer the questions without getting editiony warry.
Stylistically (the art, race and class descriptions, etc.), do you prefer the 5th Ed. style or the Pathfinder style?
I prefer the 5e art and descriptions except for a couple (not all) of the halfling images.
Mechanically, what did it do better than Pathfinder?

1. When compared to 5e, PF has a lot of restrictions (and then offer exceptions to those restrictions as optional feats a character can take).
An example is how in 5e, the rule is that you can mix up your movement and your attacks anyway you want.
In PF, the rule is that you can't do that. This means that combat has one more restriction that players and DMs have to be careful to get right. In PF, there's also (I think) a feat that allows you to do that. This means that there's one more feat to browse through and learn.
PF is more complex and detailed.

2. I like bounded accuracy. It's the one killer feature even over retroclones, it's the one thing that makes 5e better than say B/X.

3. I like that you have fewer options and doodads, it's simpler. It's like a level 1-20 beginner game. Opportunity attacks and everything are just simpler.

4. I like that the "borderline" between "strict, rules governed combat" and "whoo let's just make things up" is more muddled. Part of what makes this work is the amazing idea of advantage/disadvantage. Manipulation of fictional elements and narrative positioning is easy to adjudicate and reward. Everything feels "tangible".

Mechanically, what did it do worse than Pathfinder?

The OGL is the obvious answer! Open game content FTW!

Among those things it did better, can or should any of them be translated to the PF system?
Bounded accuracy I guess can be represented by just playing E7 or E5 style.
As for the others... I don't think you make PF simpler by adding on things from 5e. (I guess adv/disadv is the most worthwhile thing to port over.)
Instead, things can be stripped away from PF to make it simpler. The beginner box looks like a great start.

Among those things it did worse, was the PF mechanic the clearly superior option, or could they be fixed with small tweaks?

"This is OGL" is cleary superior to "We're going to reveal the licensing terms... later..."

On the scale from "Better than the OGL" to "Worse than the 4e GSL", I'm thinking we could end up ANYWHERE. Somewhere in the middle, something worse... we just don't know yet.
I love 5e. I do. But I'd preferably, of course, want it to be some sort of real OGC.


Oh, and I forgot to say, I really don't like adventure paths and I was disappointed that Tyranny of Dragons was one, instead of a more sandboxy campaign.

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