Quit Yer Kvetchin' About "Bloat"


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


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So, this pops up, like... at least every 3rd day:

"ZOMG! BLOAT! PAIZO'S GOING MAD!!!"

Now, would I be okay with Paizo putting out 2 big books a year, instead of 3?

Actually, yes. I'm fine with Paizo putting out books at a slower rate, because I'm still slightly jaded from WOTC's days of putting out books basically every month; however, I know that's not fiscally a great move, as they're already putting out Big Books more slowly than WOTC did, and putting things out too slowly might invoke the Weird Al effect where people forget about it if they're not reminded it's there every so often.

But the idea that every single time we get something new for Pathfinder, people scream... well... "ZOMG! BLOAT! PAIZO'S GOING MAD!!!"... that's just getting really, really insane. And annoying. Annoyingly insane... or insanely annoying - I can't really make up my mind.

So, for the sake of my sanity and everyone else who's tired of hearing this, I'd like to put this here to point out a few logical fallacies to remind yourself or others, whenever you/they feel the need to go "ZOMG! BLOAT!":

FALLACY ONE: BECAUSE PAIZO PUT IT OUT, IT MUST BE USED!!!

No-one is coming into your home, stapling your pants to the floor, and forcing you to both read and use new content. You have the OPTION to use these materials, and you have the option to not.

If your play group decides to use only PRD books, and not use any of the non-PRD things like the various Campaign Settings and Player's Companions, that's fine. If they want to use NOTHING but the Core Rulebook and Bestiary I-III, that is also fine. If they want to use everything BUT The Core Rulebook that's... going to make playing interesting, but if that's what tickles your fancy, then HAVE AT IT!

The whole point of the various Campaign Settings is so you can, uh, set your campaign in one area and disregard the others if you so choose. There's nothing to say you CAN'T do a world-trekking campaign where you check out everywhere in Golarion, but that's - here's the secret word - OPTIONAL. It's also optional to not use ANY Golarion materials and instead just use the PRD stuff to make your own world. Heck, you don't even HAVE to use PRD stuff - 3PP stuff exists, too! I KNOW, MIND-BLOWING, RIGHT!?

There are tons of variant rules - heck, technically entire BOOKS can be considered "Variant Rules" in the case of Ultimate Campaign, Technology Guid, and Mythic Adventures, which are probably the most "totally optional" of all the books put out. No-one expects you to use all these variant rules; no-one "expects" you to use ANY - that's why they're variant.

Even PAIZO doesn't expect you to use every single rule they put out. Some of them are purposefully contradictory because they're not meant to be used together. Paizo has created variant rules so people can try different things here and there, not to create some Calvinball-esque mish-mosh of a game.

But, again, if your DM WANTS to run a campaign where you use Wounds & Vitality, Armor as DR, Downtime, Insanity, Spellblight, Chases, Ship-to-Ship Combat, Kingdom Building, Mass Combat, Words of Magic, Fame/Infamy, and literally every other optional rule out there... well, I wouldn't want to be part of that bookkeeping nightmare of a campaign, but if you and your group do, then, okay!

It's better to have rules and not need them than need rules and have to completely wing it.

FALLACY TWO: THIS NEW CONTENT IS PURE POWER-CREEP AND WILL OBSOLETE EVERYTHING BEFORE IT!!!

Let's just put this out there, first and foremost: NOTHING is going to be more broken than the base Wizard and Cleric; even the Oracle and Sorcerer aren't as broken as those classes, nor are the Witch, Shaman, or even the Arcanist; the Druid really isn't anymore, either.

People said back in 2011 that the Gunslinger was the bar-none most BA-ROKEN class since the Psionic classes in 3.5. People STILL say that. Guess what? Time has shown that - LE GASP! - the Gunslinger is actually quite balanced, especially when the DM (wisely) only allows access to Early Firearms.

Even with the class total up to 32 now, none have shown to be any worse than the original 11; rather, most are about just-as-powerful as the more balanced classes of the CRB, or a little more powerful than that, but still no-where near the Wizard or Cleric.

FALLACY THREE: THERE ARE TOO MANY RULES! NOTHING HAS THIS MANY RULES! IT'S TOO COMPLEX! ABANDON SHIIIP!!!

Really...

I suppose "too many" or "too complex" IS a very subjective thing. There are people who say that Original D&D (y'know... that version where Elf was a CLASS) was "too complex". Dig through game forums - people will complain that any game more complex than tic-tac-toe is "too complex".

Realize that your idea of "too complex" may very well be someone else's idea of "too simple". If you just straight-up don't like how complex or simple an RPG system is, you're completely free to use variants or houserules to simplify/add complexity where you feel it needs it. And if that doesn't fix the problem, then be aware that there are TONS of other options out there, quietly try those out until you find one or decide that Pathfinder's the only one that comes close to your idea of a "good" system, and please leave everyone else in peace.

As for shear amount of content: while I will admit that Paizo DOES have a very large number of modules, keep in mind that the majority of these modules are effectively campaigns broken up into manageable pieces. TSR, in the heyday of 1st Ed AD&D, was also putting out modules left and right. And THOSE were disconnected from one another. At least Paizo makes a major effort to have these modules be part of a cohesive story.

Also, if you really think Paizo's library of stuff is massive, I suggest you take a look at the library of Palladium books, 1st & 2nd Edition AD&D Books, GURPS books, White Wolf material... any game that's popular is going to put out lots of material as time goes on; if they don't, the game dies.

The vast majority of Paizo players are silently content with both the amount and complexity of the game. People, whom you may overhear in comic shops, who're intimidated by the number of Pathfinder books would also likely be intimidated by the shear number of Magic the Gathering cards available (15,000+); just because a game has a lot of content or is complex doesn't mean it's bad, or that it must all be shoved down newbs' throats in one go.

Don't feel that you are entitled to shout on the forums about complexity/content amount just because you're alive and a gamer; take the high road and just walk away if you're that upset. You not buying products says a lot more than abuse of the Caps Lock on a forum page.

FALLACY FOUR: HOW DARE PAIZO PUT OUT MATERIAL THAT I WON'T USE EVER!

This one REALLY irks me.

Like the "no-one is forcing you to use them" argument, no one is forcing you to BUY Paizo's materials, either.

Paizo has gone so far as to make it so you and everyone you know can play the game without ever buying ONE of their books.

The Pathfiner Reference Document is MASSIVE. FOURTEEN BOOKS. Back when 3.5 was in print, WOTC gave you THREE books - the PHB, DMG, and MMI. They've since (6 years after giving it the axe) been so kind as to add material from the ELH, XPH, and Deities & Demigods books. WOW! SIX WHOLE BOOKS! THREE OF WHICH NO-ONE WOULD EVER USE IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS BECAUSE THEY'RE A GARBLED, UNBALANCED MESS!

And yet, 14 books is a lot, right? That's totally bloat! Except that 4 of those books are Bestiaries, and 2 are Codex books. So, 8 books available for world-building. Still a lot. Except (there it is again) the rules presented in those 8 books does as much as WOTC accomplished in at least 20 - rules for exploration, kingdom creation, naval combat, etc.

Also, consider this: D&D 3.5 had well over 50 Base Classes in total. Their SRD only consisted of 11.

Paizo, however, has never ONCE printed a Class that's not part of the PRD. EVERY base Class they put out is accessible FOR FREE, in its entirety, on the PRD. Sure, you may miss out on some Archetypes that're only printed in non-PRD materials, but this is a lot more than we ever got from "You Want It, You Buy It!" Wizards of the Coast.

All this, for the cost of turning on the internet and hitting up the PRD.

So, while I do understand people feeling that "I should get what I paid for," the amount of righteous indignation present, when people pay $10 for a product that is available - in its entirety, for FREE, LEGALLY, BY THE MANUFACTURER THEMSELVES - is more than a little disturbing, and, frankly, disgusting.

The content is being put out there, whether you buy it or not. If you're worried about being "cheated," then may-haps wait for the PRD to be updated and look at the content before you buy.

Or, better yet, be content that you can just "skip this book" and save yourself the money for something else. DON'T feel that, somehow, Paizo OWES you content, that is relevant explicitly to you, in every single book.

Constructive criticism is fine; being furious at a company that has gone beyond the call of duty to make sure that anyone, anywhere, can play their game, without paying 1 cent, is just being a jerk.

---

So, there you go. If anyone else has fallacies against the "bloat" issue that they'd like to add, feel free to. Otherwise, I've said my piece.


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I think this thread is very provocative and may lead to a toxic conversation if it is not closed. That said I completely agree with everything in the original post.


chbgraphicarts wrote:

FALLACY TWO: THIS NEW CONTENT IS PURE POWER-CREEP AND WILL OBSOLETE EVERYTHING BEFORE IT!!!

Let's just put this out there, first and foremost: NOTHING is going to be more broken than the base Wizard and Cleric; even the Oracle and Sorcerer aren't as broken as those classes, nor are the Witch, Shaman, or even the Arcanist; the Druid really isn't anymore, either.

People said back in 2011 that the Gunslinger was the bar-none most BA-ROKEN class since the Psionic classes in 3.5. People STILL say that. Guess what? Time has shown that - LE GASP! - the Gunslinger is actually quite balanced, especially when the DM (wisely) only allows access to Early Firearms.

Even with the class total up to 32 now, none have shown to be any worse than the original 11; rather, most are about just-as-powerful as the more balanced classes of the CRB, or a little more powerful than that, but still no-where near the Wizard or Cleric.

I'll say that gunslingers don't mesh well with GMs not used to them. They tend to make high AC creatures not nearly as threatening, while being threatened by high Touch AC creatures. This pairs well with most martials, who have no problem with high Touch AC, but suffer with high AC.

As far as arcanist, I think they solidly give wizards a run for their money. They have around the same spells per day as a specialty wizard gets from bonus school spells. They get to learn spells like a wizard, but can flexibly cast per day like a sorcerer. Plus they get the arcane pool, something the wizard can't even come close to.
Immediate action counterspell? Hello shutting down other casters. After level 11, you don't even lose the arcane point, because you can get points back for countering.
Full-round action to trade prepared spells out? Who needs scrolls?

I'd love to see how an arcanist vs wizard do leveling up through the levels as well as higher level play (14+)


Honestly, from everything I've seen, it's all down to preparedness:

Without any preparation, meaning going in completely blind, the Sorcerer wins because of its ability to spam more spells than any other caster, plus extra abilities from Bloodlines.

With normal preparation, meaning you have a vague idea of what you can expect, the Arcanist wins because it can reset its "spells known" list every day, and can spam spells in a minor way, similar to the Sorcerer.

With complete preparation, meaning you know EXACTLY what you're going to encounter with very little derivations, the Wizard wins because you'll have EXACTLY the spells you need, the number of times you need them. The Wizard is all about "no wasted slots".

I personally prefer the Arcanist to the Wizard, but that's just for general design, concept, and personal style of play. In all likelihood, the Wizard is still the reigning king of D&D, and the Arcanist is on the same tier of power as the Oracle and Sorcerer.


ZOMGGG!!!! Someone is analysing our ZOMGs! Burn the witch!

Nice one chpgraphicarts.


chbgraphicarts wrote:

With complete preparation, meaning you know EXACTLY what you're going to encounter with very little derivations, the Wizard wins because you'll have EXACTLY the spells you need, the number of times you need them. The Wizard is all about "no wasted slots".

I personally prefer the Arcanist to the Wizard, but that's just for general design, concept, and personal style of play. In all likelihood, the Wizard is still the reigning king of D&D, and the Arcanist is on the same tier of power as the Oracle and Sorcerer.

With knowing exactly what is going to come, how does the arcanist still not beat the wizard? What does the wizard have going for him over the arcanist? A specialty school? Maybe initiative if he is a diviner wizard. Anything else? In a straight spell-off, the arcanist gets the edge, because arcanist exploits vastly outperform wizard discoveries.

Lantern Lodge

You have a good point, and I agree with nearly everything you've mentioned.


Tarantula wrote:
chbgraphicarts wrote:

With complete preparation, meaning you know EXACTLY what you're going to encounter with very little derivations, the Wizard wins because you'll have EXACTLY the spells you need, the number of times you need them. The Wizard is all about "no wasted slots".

I personally prefer the Arcanist to the Wizard, but that's just for general design, concept, and personal style of play. In all likelihood, the Wizard is still the reigning king of D&D, and the Arcanist is on the same tier of power as the Oracle and Sorcerer.

With knowing exactly what is going to come, how does the arcanist still not beat the wizard? What does the wizard have going for him over the arcanist? A specialty school? Maybe initiative if he is a diviner wizard. Anything else? In a straight spell-off, the arcanist gets the edge, because arcanist exploits vastly outperform wizard discoveries.

Progression. That's basically it.

I'd still go with exploiter wizard over arcanist, though.


I wound up not liking the arcanist. Wizard feels defined by a bit more than just the spellcasting. Meanwhile Arcanist just feels like THE spellcaster. Thats what he does and all he does. Then again I also feel that way about the wizard and very rarely play it. I prefer sorcerer overall if I go full arcane casting. I just feel like it's more fun.

But that's besides the point. Arcanist is probably better than Wizard but not by all that much. Enough that I'd listen to arguements to the contrary.


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ITT kvetchin' about people kvetchin' about bloat.


Malwing wrote:

I wound up not liking the arcanist. Wizard feels defined by a bit more than just the spellcasting. Meanwhile Arcanist just feels like THE spellcaster. Thats what he does and all he does. Then again I also feel that way about the wizard and very rarely play it. I prefer sorcerer overall if I go full arcane casting. I just feel like it's more fun.

But that's besides the point. Arcanist is probably better than Wizard but not by all that much. Enough that I'd listen to arguements to the contrary.

As I said, the Wizard is all about efficiency. The Arcanist can only "know" a very small number of spells per day and spam those spells, though not as often as the Sorcerer; the trade off being that their "spells known" changes day to day, since they prepare their "spells known" the same way a Wizard prepares their spell slots.

The Wizard can go "I know I need 1 of this spell, 2 of this, 1 of that..."

If allowed complete preparation and foreknowledge of the dungeon to come, a Wizard is like a grand master martial artist: no wasted moves, no unused spell slots, no unnecessary duplicated spells.

I said this in another thread, in how they handle preparedness vs. pragmatism:

The Sorerer is Goku - rarely to never prepared, just wings it with what they have.

The Wizard is Batman - has a plan for everything, and so long as that plan goes almost exactly AS planned, the fight'll be over before it begins.

The Arcanist is The Doctor - has a general bag of tricks, can work on-the-fly well and changes things as they come up, but if you give them time to prepare they'll definitely find a way to pull off a win with the limited resources they have.

---

Like I said, I personally like the Arcanist better, since it's more versatile for unexpected situations than a Wizard. But for all-around power, the Wizard just takes the cake for being able to have more different spells per level prepared than the Arcanist.


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I count everything from 1999 to now as "3rd Edition".

I have 40 hardcovers.

14 are Paizo/Pathfinder.

That's fine.


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I want as much as they're willing/able to make. If I don't want a particular thing, I won't use it.

This is especially true given how much they put on the site for free, that we can legally use without even paying.

I don't get why some people say, "No! No more material! Not even if you let me use it for free!"


I limit my players to the CRB, APG, and my own world specific print out. I pretty much view everything else as GM optional material. It works just fine for me.

Sovereign Court

I mostly agree; if you don't like it, don't use it. That doesn't quite work in PFS though, where a GM can't ban classes from books he doesn't like or understand. It hasn't actually happened in practice (in my neighbourhood), but a GM could be a bit overwhelmed by players showing up with new classes the GM isn't familiar with.

For example: multiple players show up with funky new playtest classes to a game run by a newbie GM. Not understanding how the players' classes works makes the GM's work much more difficult; it's harder to adjudicate rules you didn't know at the beginning of the game.

So if you're that kind of novelty-seeking player, be a little considerate and go easy on your GM :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:

I mostly agree; if you don't like it, don't use it. That doesn't quite work in PFS though, where a GM can't ban classes from books he doesn't like or understand. It hasn't actually happened in practice (in my neighbourhood), but a GM could be a bit overwhelmed by players showing up with new classes the GM isn't familiar with.

For example: multiple players show up with funky new playtest classes to a game run by a newbie GM. Not understanding how the players' classes works makes the GM's work much more difficult; it's harder to adjudicate rules you didn't know at the beginning of the game.

So if you're that kind of novelty-seeking player, be a little considerate and go easy on your GM :)

I'm an early adopter on material, so I've developed a quick rundown for the table that covers the Skald (I had one out and about within a week of the hardcover release for ACG). I show up early, I made condition cards to hand out to the players, and I make sure everyone understands that they need to declare certain things each turn.

I'm also playing a Medium in the playtest right now. I've specifically crafted one that's easy to play and rules-lite for the GM's sake, using as much core material as possible. My rundown for the Medium explained what I could do in terms of other available classes.

The hope here is that I make the PFS GM's life as easy as possible.


chbgraphicarts wrote:
Malwing wrote:

I wound up not liking the arcanist. Wizard feels defined by a bit more than just the spellcasting. Meanwhile Arcanist just feels like THE spellcaster. Thats what he does and all he does. Then again I also feel that way about the wizard and very rarely play it. I prefer sorcerer overall if I go full arcane casting. I just feel like it's more fun.

But that's besides the point. Arcanist is probably better than Wizard but not by all that much. Enough that I'd listen to arguements to the contrary.

As I said, the Wizard is all about efficiency. The Arcanist can only "know" a very small number of spells per day and spam those spells, though not as often as the Sorcerer; the trade off being that their "spells known" changes day to day, since they prepare their "spells known" the same way a Wizard prepares their spell slots.

The Wizard can go "I know I need 1 of this spell, 2 of this, 1 of that..."

If allowed complete preparation and foreknowledge of the dungeon to come, a Wizard is like a grand master martial artist: no wasted moves, no unused spell slots, no unnecessary duplicated spells.

I said this in another thread, in how they handle preparedness vs. pragmatism:

The Sorerer is Goku - rarely to never prepared, just wings it with what they have.

The Wizard is Batman - has a plan for everything, and so long as that plan goes almost exactly AS planned, the fight'll be over before it begins.

The Arcanist is The Doctor - has a general bag of tricks, can work on-the-fly well and changes things as they come up, but if you give them time to prepare they'll definitely find a way to pull off a win with the limited resources they have.

---

Like I said, I personally like the Arcanist better, since it's more versatile for unexpected situations than a Wizard. But for all-around power, the Wizard just takes the cake for being able to have more different spells per level prepared than the Arcanist.

Leaving out cantrips here's what spell slots wizards get:

Level 1 1
Level 5 3/2/1=6
Level 10 4/4/3/3/2=16
Level 15 4/4/4/4/4/3/2/1=26
And 20 4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4=36

Spell slots for arcanist:
Level 1 2
Level 5 4/3=7
Level 10 4/4/4/4/2=18
Level 15 4/4/4/4/4/4/3=27
Level 20 4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4=36
Now prepared slots for arcanists:
Level 1 2
Level 5 4/2=6
Level 10 5/4/3/2/1=15
Level 15 5/5/4/4/4/3/2=27
Level 20 5/5/4/4/4/3/3/3/3=34

Not only do arcanists get more spells per day (lagging behind in level a small bit) but they can also use arcane points to trade out spells prepared as well as using points to cast spells directly(at 20th) making the 20th level arcanist end up with more spells/day than a 20 wizard.


Bloat, schmoat....


You really could have called this thread "Quit yer Kvetching about ______". of course that would shut down about 90% of the threads.


chbgraphicarts wrote:
entire opening post

starts clapping wildly Exactly. Exactly, bravo, bravo.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

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Locking this one. We have a couple threads currently going on concerning the topic of "bloat" and I'm not sure that one that is clearly calling out other members of the community is going to end up being productive or positive. Remember that we've got all kinds of gamers on paizo.com who prefer all kinds of gaming styles and systems, and that while you may not agree with them, it is important to be civil to each other on our messageboards. These kinds of posts can often be more harmful than helpful. Please focus on challenging the ideas in the other threads that are currently active, rather than challenging other people.

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