Have devs played tabletop Pathfinder?


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

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Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the game so far. Maybe not as much as I initially enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons Online, but it's an unfinished product, and DDO was bogged down with some serious problems at endgame which PFO looks to avoid.

However, I get the distinct impression that the developers have not actually sat down and played, more than a few hours if any, of tabletop Pathfinder. This is a huge issue for me as I wouldn't be playing this game if it were Fantasy Kingdom Building Online.

It's unfair to do a direct comparison, I know, but it's hard not to put this up against my initial reactions to DDO (what with it being based on DnD 3rd edition the same way Pathfinder is). When I logged on to DDO for the first time I generated a character and started the game already knowing the gist of what was going on. I knew that kobolds and rats weren't very dangerous, that wearing plate armor was going to cause me to jump shorter distances, and that having a shield equipped was going to help my defenses.

Starting PFO for the first time I had issues equipping a weapon, or even finding starting gear (back in alpha). I was overwhelmed with attack feat options. I don't really have a very good idea of how many goblins my character can take, not real sure how good my attacks are, or even what a good attack and defense score is, and the nuances between this chain shirt and that chain shirt and which one is better... Shields apparently don't help with defense at all, I'm casting what looks like a Cone of Cold but it only hits one creature and doesn't even kill a simple goblin...

I just get a vague impression that the developers flipped through the Core Rulebook, took the chapter titles and looked at pictures, and threw familiar looking words at us and called it Pathfinder. The game they gave us is a lot of fun, and I don't have any plans on quitting any time soon, but it's as much Pathfinder as 4th edition DnD is.

Goblin Squad Member

Among other problems, TT Pathfinder is based on the D20 SRD, which forbids inclusion in any computer game. They can't use any mechanism that looks like D20. It has to be a completely different game, and can only share the things that are unique to Pathfinder, which is primarily the world (map, history, etc.) and the artwork.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Plus, the low granularity of the D20 system is well-suited for games where you want to be able to have humans do the math on the fly, but poorly suited for a MMO where you want there to be ways to seek out ever-smaller advantages. Hence the 3d200 mechanic; by not being binary hit/miss, the importance of to-hit bonuses is reduced, and thus +1 to hit in PFO is not the relatively huge expected difference that +1 to hit is in Pathfinder.

Goblin Squad Member

It may be enlightening to listen to Lisa Stevens talk about the connections between Paizo and Goblinworks (video here). I asked her specifically about the connections and how much the Paizo group are involved. What Caldeathe and Decius said is right on that there are issues with the D20 SRD and converting things to a computer game.

Goblin Squad Member

I am pretty sure Lisa plays PF table top and the card game on a regular basis, I'd be interested in learning what the other GW peeps play TT RPG wise. :)

Goblin Squad Member

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I understand the rules mechanics thing. I know they can't call a magic missile a Magic Missile. I get that they can't simulate d20 rolls, and I'd prefer a more free-form leveling/class system. I do like the d200 system they're using. I'm not sold on the tier thing, yet. Keywords are clever but not customizable enough.

But the game doesn't stir up any feelings of tabletop role-playing.

Maybe it's because it's Early Enrollment, and it's too early to look at the game and still envision a final product in place. Perhaps if there are lairs to explore and dungeons to delve as part of escalations. Or if the population of players increases to the point where PvP is more common (in my neck of the woods). Or the settlements look less like they're dropped in place and are defined more by the choices the players make.

Weird crystal clickables? Clerics running around with implements and not weapons? Shields not giving a passive defensive boost? Armor feats that more or less limit you to a single armor choice? It doesn't feel like Golarion.

Goblin Squad Member

martryn wrote:
Weird crystal clickables? Clerics running around with implements and not weapons? Shields not giving a passive defensive boost? Armor feats that more or less limit you to a single armor choice? It doesn't feel like Golarion.

Those all sound like mechanics differences between Pathfinder tabletop and Pathfinder Online. They don't really have anything to do with the feeling of the Golarion setting. How a setting feels is more related to the world's lore (fluff text). Golarion and Greyhawk, for example, have different NPCs, cities, and dungeons you can explore. A great module for Pathfinder Online style adventures is Kingmaker. Players build a kingdom while fighting various other worldly threats in the River Kingdoms. It's what inspired me to back PFO.

Goblin Squad Member

martryn wrote:
Weird crystal clickables? Clerics running around with implements and not weapons?

? I'm using both a weapon and an implement.

Goblin Squad Member

Clerics now have weapon feats based on their deities so that could help with the imagery.

Goblin Squad Member

I was under the impression that it was possible to use d20 SRD rules within a computer game. The issue I have always seen is that d20 rules are good for tabletop pen and paper play, but it does not translate well to the computer. One of the big issues, is that a sizeable fight on the table, a fight my take a whole hour. On the computer, it may take just 30 seconds. This means things like spells, or any other expendables can be used up very quickly. It also make rolling a 20, or a 1, a much more frequent event, which is bad if that is auto succeed, or auto fail.

I would expect that all the devs have played pathfinder.

Goblin Squad Member

The situation as I understand (someone correct me if I am wrong).

- Ryan Dancey worked for Wizards/Hasbro in the 3rd Edition period and was actually responsible for creating the OGL D20 licencing.
- The idea at the time behind OGL was to encourage fan created content for mainstream 3rd edition TT D&D.
- one thing Ryan was wary of at the time was the OGL giving a backdoor for people to create games in other media (such as MMOs)using the Wizards/Hasbro IP without needing to licence it. As a result Ryan wrote in a lot of restrictions prevent the OGL content from ever being used in a computer game
- Ryans own restrictions now prevent him directly importing OGL rules to PFO

ALSO - even if PFO could licence the content from Wizards/Hasbro (unlikely)the OGL TT rules do not work well in a MMO game and to the limited extent it can be done its been done to death in things like the NWN franchise anyway.

Goblin Squad Member

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I'm a huge Golarion fan. I've been with PF since Alpha (not PFO, PF the book; I own the paper bound beta version). I've been with Paizo for years before that. My advice is this--let go of the desire for mechanical equivalence. In truth, the d20 mechanics would be clunky in a whole lot of areas. Rather, embrace the terrain--does it look like you'd expect from the River Kingdoms? Embrace the monsters--are the goblins and ogres good depictions as you imagined them from playing, say, Rise of the Runelords? But most of all, embrace the individuals, companies, and settlements now in the game. Do they show true to the 6 River Freedoms? Do they integrate the lore of Golarion into their play? I can tell you not all do, but I can also tell you there are many, many of us that do so.

This is not Baldur's Gate set in Golarion. If that's what you are looking for, it will disappoint. There may at some point be dungeons and such to explore, but the life of this game is not there. It's in the fact that we can actually BE an entire River Kingdoms town. We can play every part from the freeholders bringing in resources to the experts turning those into useful tools and structures to the town rulers managing their land to finally the adventurers that go out into the land and pursue their dreams. Sprinkled in there we have Bad Guys that are not a computer AI, but rather run by real players. Bandits, evil overlords, vile necromancers--all run as a (good) GM would run them not in some cookie-cutter computer fashion.

Find a settlement that supports RP then make a judgement from there.

Goblin Squad Member

omnipotentseal wrote:
... A great module for Pathfinder Online style adventures is Kingmaker. Players build a kingdom while fighting various other worldly threats in the River Kingdoms. It's what inspired me to back PFO.

Agreed. PFO has a very strong Kingmaker Adventure Path vibe.

Goblin Squad Member

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<Kabal> Daeglin wrote:
Agreed. PFO has a very strong Kingmaker Adventure Path vibe.

Vorsk is actually my Kingmaker character from one of the few times I got to play. Oh the lamentations of being an eternal GM...

Paizo Employee CEO

Giorgo wrote:
I am pretty sure Lisa plays PF table top and the card game on a regular basis, I'd be interested in learning what the other GW peeps play TT RPG wise. :)

There are at least two after hours games that I can think of. Mark Kalmes is in my home campaign. Tork Shaw has written quite a bit for the Pathfinder Tabletop game. While not Pathfinder, Lee Hammock and Bob Settles did some extensive writing for tabletop RPGs in the past.

-Lisa

Goblin Squad Member

Lisa Stevens wrote:

Mark Kalmes is in my home campaign.

-Lisa

So much envy.

Paizo Employee Goblinworks Game Designer

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Lisa Stevens wrote:
Giorgo wrote:
I am pretty sure Lisa plays PF table top and the card game on a regular basis, I'd be interested in learning what the other GW peeps play TT RPG wise. :)

There are at least two after hours games that I can think of. Mark Kalmes is in my home campaign. Tork Shaw has written quite a bit for the Pathfinder Tabletop game. While not Pathfinder, Lee Hammock and Bob Settles did some extensive writing for tabletop RPGs in the past.

-Lisa

Sadly, I have to correct Lisa in that all my professional writing experience has been on computer games. I am however proud to say that my tabletop experience dates back to my wayward youth, when I spent all my paper route money on 1st edition AD&D books.

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