D&D 5th edition vs Pathfinder


4th Edition

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Irranshalee wrote:

So there have been several people telling me that 5th edition is so much smoother than Pathfinder and the game play is worth buying 5th edition. I made a decision...

I bought a Player's Handbook.

I have been paging through it over the last couple days and I have to say that there appears to be no significant changes that would warrant a shift away from Pathfinder for me. Maybe I am missing something?

Possibly, it really depends on what you're looking for in an RPG. Saying the system more smooth is sort of hard to determine because if you're already geared towards the micromanaging nature of Pathfinder then you only notice a lack of it in 5e as there are FAR less fiddly bits in that system. For some, those fiddly bits are what drives the fun of the game where as for others it's more of a burden.

Irranshalee wrote:
If you have a better understanding of the two systems, would you either point me to a link that describes the differences or would you take a few moment to quickly point out the finer points of 5th edition?

Magic is more limited in the later stages, gaining only a few spells from 6th through 9th level. Magic is also limited because of the Concentration mechanic. Because of this, magic-users aren't slapping multiple stacking spells to own encounters so quickly.

There is more emphasis on encounters and short rests compared to an all-day or X/day limit. Even spellcasters get benefits with short rests.

Healing doesn't require a spellcaster OR days of rest to regain due to full HP regain and Hit Die healing.

Many unnecessary restrictions were removed from hindering weapon-based classes. Example: Two-Weapon Fighting doesn't require feats or stat requirements; you can move-attack-move without a feat; no more god-awful Full-attack action, no more lengthy feat chains to get one good benefit.

Magic items take a back seat to character power, no longer required to possess 15 magical items just to keep up with the maths. Also, maths hacked down to normal levels so we don't have monsters with AC 45, +57 to attack & dealing 235 points of damage a turn.

Death is slightly harder to come by but much more permanent.

There aren't ridiculously obvious trap choices to get fooled by.


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Pathfinder is Legos.
5E is Action Figures.

You can spend hours having a blast building stuff with Legos, but they tend to fall apart when you actually play with your constructions, so you need to get out your action figures.

I was just discussing with a couple of friends the other day how D20s allure is really the "game behind the game", that is theorizing, tinkering, and number crunching. 5E is more fun to just sit a table and game with your buddies. As a DM, prep time is so much better for 5e, and I'm converting a PF adventure path so need more prep than I normally would. As a player, I like the freedom of a simpler rule set, but totally get how people have a blast tinkering with all the characters you can build with 3.5 or PF. Who knows, if I was 15 again and the time to commit to the kind of prep a good PF campaign needs, I might be a bit more snobbish towards 5E, but for my busy life 5E allows me a satisfying gaming fix with fewer distractions away fro. The table.

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Irranshalee wrote:
So level progression does not mean nearly as much in 5th edition as it does in Pathfinder? I have been designing my games around 1-12 levels.

More like level progression means something different, not less.

In Pathfinder, leveling up mostly means (outside of learning new spells) your numbers just get bigger. Outside of your spellcasting, you very rarely actually get new abilities.

In 5E, the actual incrementing of numbers is very slow (doesn't happen every level), but you learn new abilities at most levels.

So, in Pathfinder you get stronger by raising your numbers, while in 5E you get stronger by getting more toys.

Quote:
I also like to think of the players as superhuman by level 5, doing things that most other people can only dream of. It seems that you are telling me 5th edition does not allow for such a feel.

Yeah, outside of HP and magic, 5E characters stay relatively static.

If you hand identical bows to a 1st-level and 20th-level fighter, the 20th only has maybe like a +6 over the 1st as far as his odds of actually hitting his target with any given shot. The difference is that the 20th can fire 3 shots in the time it takes the 1st to fire one, he can TAKE a whole lot more arrows to the face, and he has a bunch of cool abilities for handling situations other than target-shooting that the 1st-level guy doesn't have.

Definitely different from each other. They don't produce the same setting.

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I am not a fan of all the numbers in Pathfinder, especially when they are tied to items.

5E has WAY less loot dependency than Pathfinder. Heck, a monk with the outlander background could go adventuring stark naked with no equipment at all.

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I like the concept of advantage and disadvantage. I believe there are other systems that use this concept and do it better. Am I mistaken? And if not, what systems are they? I would like to see if I can incorporate some of these thoughts into Pathfinder for my homebrew campaign.

Advantage/disadvantage as a mechanic sort of require's something like 5E's bounded accuracy to work. That is, with the limited scope of number-scaling in 5E, advantage doesn't guarantee success and disadvantage doesn't guarantee failure. In Pathfinder, it'd be another story entirely (which is why Misfortune type effects are so powerful in Pathfinder).

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Jiggy wrote:
Quote:
I am not a fan of all the numbers in Pathfinder, especially when they are tied to items.

5E has WAY less loot dependency than Pathfinder. Heck, a monk with the outlander background could go adventuring stark naked with no equipment at all.

Quote:
I like the concept of advantage and disadvantage. I believe there are other systems that use this concept and do it better. Am I mistaken? And if not, what systems are they? I would like to see if I can incorporate some of these thoughts into Pathfinder for my homebrew campaign.
...

1: IIRC the Outlander gets proficiency in a musical instrument and begins play with one, so the monk would be required to have bagpipes. Sorry, rules are rules.

2: Advantage/Disadvantage shake out to roughly +5/-5. If you put it into Pathfinder, you'd probably see a lot of crit-fishing (in 5e you only crit on a 20 unless you're a Champion Fighter), in PF you can crit on 16-20 with Keen/Improved Critical.

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Removed some unhelpful posts. If you want to compare the systems, that's fine—more games are good for everybody. But using terms like "retarded" to describe one version as being worse than the other is completely unnecessary and insulting.


You need to play it to see how smooth it is. It is great for dungeons and for dragons.you can get through a dozen fights in a 4 hour session if you wish
Levelling up is quick and doesn't need herolab

Most of all it is built on game theory one year ago, not 15 years ago.if u start now you are getting in on the ground floor. If u joined a long term PF group it may all seem overwhelming!

Liberty's Edge

I haven't noticed a significant difference in encounter speed between editions. Our 5E GM is pretty new to running fights, though.


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The thing that always slows down Pathfinder fights in my group is the players not knowing what to do yet. The people least capable of making decisions always seem to play the most complicated characters....


thenovalord wrote:
You need to play it to see how smooth it is. It is great for dungeons and for dragons.you can get through a dozen fights in a 4 hour session if you wish

A bit exaggerated, I think, but more or less true. Combat is definitely quick and deadly.

Quote:
Levelling up is quick and doesn't need herolab

I actually enjoy spending time out of the game to build my character, so I regard the paucity of character building options as a bug, not a feature. I have no experience with herolab, and I never had a problem building characters, so it's a stretch to say you need it.


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I used to love spending a ton of time tinkering with different characters, but work and family take too much of a toll on my free time these days. I'd much rather take 20 minutes to throw a character together and hit the ground running, which 5E lets me do.

I still love Pathfinder, I just don't have the free time to dedicate to the necessary system mastery anymore.

As for Pathfinder having better adventures, nothing says you can't use the Pathfinder APs to play 5E. I'm currently playing in a 5E Wrath of the Righteous game and having a blast. (Obviously, the Mythic stuff is requiring a lot of houseruling) and once I start my Rise of the Runelords game back up, we'll be switching over to 5E for that, as well.

ETA: One thing I like about 5E is that due to backgrounds, classes aren't necessarily chained to specific roles. If you want a social wizard, take the Charlatan or Entertainer or Noble backgroud. If you want a shifty fighter who can do some breaking and entering, take the Criminal background. Because of bounded accuracy and the way the Proficiency bonus works, you're not crippling your character by doing so. You might not be as good as a dedicated Rogue (Thief) with his Expertise applied to Thieves' Tools, but you don't have to be to get the job done.

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Kalshane wrote:
As for Pathfinder having better adventures, nothing says you can't use the Pathfinder APs to play 5E. I'm currently playing in a 5E Wrath of the Righteous game and having a blast. (Obviously, the Mythic stuff is requiring a lot of houseruling)

The DMG has Epic Boons, did you consider those as a mythic substitute?

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Kalshane wrote:
I used to love spending a ton of time tinkering with different characters, but work and family take too much of a toll on my free time these days. I'd much rather take 20 minutes to throw a character together and hit the ground running, which 5E lets me do.

This was one of my favourite things, my first 5E session. At the last minute one player cancelled our regular PF game, so another player offered to GM the 5E game she'd been planning with some of the group members. I had no character and had never played or even read the rulebook before, but in the 15 minutes before the game started the GM and I assembled a functioning life cleric using just the basic rules. Reminded me a lot of Swords and Wizardry.

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We're doing Rise of the Rune Lord about once a month, and we're flying through it using 5th Ed. Battles just fly by. We're even lower level than we should be and still doing really well. And it's still challenging. It's not like we're one-shotting all the BBEGs.


houser2112 wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
You need to play it to see how smooth it is. It is great for dungeons and for dragons.you can get through a dozen fights in a 4 hour session if you wish

A bit exaggerated, I think, but more or less true. Combat is definitely quick and deadly.

Not exaggeration

Fact
I play it twice a week
3 fights an hour is easy, as well as all the other stuff

Liberty's Edge

Thank you so much for all of the comments so far. You have been quite helpful.

Quick question on the comparison of 1st level vs 20th level in 5e. How do characters stand up to, say, a formidable dragon? Do 1st level characters die instantly as they would in PF or would they actually have an impact on a fight?

One of the problems I have had in PF is the difficulty of having characters of differing level. If someone is 4th or 5th and the rest of the party is 7th, you can definitely tell. Through some of your comments, it seems that 5e would shorten this gap considerably. Am I correct?


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Irranshalee wrote:

Thank you so much for all of the comments so far. You have been quite helpful.

Quick question on the comparison of 1st level vs 20th level in 5e. How do characters stand up to, say, a formidable dragon? Do 1st level characters die instantly as they would in PF or would they actually have an impact on a fight?

They'd die very quickly. However, a couple of dozen eighth level PCs would be able to handle a dragon which might otherwise be a challenge for four twentieth level PCs (admittedly with a high death count).

There's still a pretty significant difference in high level vs low level groups - however lots of low level opponents can prove significant in a fight. Not generally deadly, but not an element you can just ignore either.

Quote:
One of the problems I have had in PF is the difficulty of having characters of differing level. If someone is 4th or 5th and the rest of the party is 7th, you can definitely tell. Through some of your comments, it seems that 5e would shorten this gap considerably. Am I correct?

It would definitely be closer than in PF, but I suspect it still wouldnt be great for those on a lower level. There are a few "key" levels (like 3rd, 5th, 11th) which tend to result in big jumps in scope of action. I think you'd really notice it being 2nd level in a group of 4th level character, but probably not much being 6th in a group of 8th level PCs (for example).

Liberty's Edge

I think it would depend on the parties creativity. My 5e group solves most of it's problems by turning enemies against each other and bribing woodland creatures to fight or scout for us.

Level gap should be less noticeable than previous editions, you don't gain as many abilities and they scale slower so the biggest hurtle would be in spell power.

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Our 10th level party (barbarian, cleric, archer ranger, rogue, and wizard (the eldritch knight was on vacation)) survived multiple encounters versus a CR 20 ancient white dragon.

But it was tough. My cleric had horrible luck with saves, and it kept ambushing us so I didn't have bless up and protection from energy is Concentration, so I couldn't spam it on everyone.

We eventually drove it off (at least temporarily) and it has A LOT of useful loot.

But I suspect it will be back.


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Irranshalee wrote:
One of the problems I have had in PF is the difficulty of having characters of differing level. If someone is 4th or 5th and the rest of the party is 7th, you can definitely tell. Through some of your comments, it seems that 5e would shorten this gap considerably. Am I correct?

Please, don't do that. It's horrible for lower level characters to group with more powerful ones. Why inflict that on people?

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Yeah, just level them up. Missing a session is punishment enough. No need to punish them further by making them struggle at below the average party level. Just level the playing field and everyone is happy. :-)


Irranshalee wrote:

Thank you so much for all of the comments so far. You have been quite helpful.

Quick question on the comparison of 1st level vs 20th level in 5e. How do characters stand up to, say, a formidable dragon? Do 1st level characters die instantly as they would in PF or would they actually have an impact on a fight?

One of the problems I have had in PF is the difficulty of having characters of differing level. If someone is 4th or 5th and the rest of the party is 7th, you can definitely tell. Through some of your comments, it seems that 5e would shorten this gap considerably. Am I correct?

Well, you'd probably be able to hit some of them. I know at least one has an AC of 19 I believe, so with a 14 STR, the +2 prof bonus, that means you'd need a 15 to hit it.

Of course, doing 1d8 dmg against 200 HP might be a little light on taking it down.

Then they'd probably all die. However if you were 2nd or 3rd level you might stand a chance to getting through the next round.


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SmiloDan wrote:


Yeah, just level them up. Missing a session is punishment enough. No need to punish them further by making them struggle at below the average party level. Just level the playing field and everyone is happy. :-)

Some people actually want to play their characters through without being "boosted up". Check with the PC. If they don't want to start at the higher level look at the situation. If the difference is too great talk to the player and start them at a minimum level for survival. If their party has any brains they'll cover for them.

Of course I run a sandbox game (always have) and that makes a difference. I have adventure threads in the game, but if the players are careful they can manage a level difference. If you're running an AP that might be difficult. I can't say for sure (not running APs myself), but logically when you have an adventure requiring players be level "X" for threat "Y" that would seem to be the case...


Petty Alchemy wrote:
Kalshane wrote:
As for Pathfinder having better adventures, nothing says you can't use the Pathfinder APs to play 5E. I'm currently playing in a 5E Wrath of the Righteous game and having a blast. (Obviously, the Mythic stuff is requiring a lot of houseruling)
The DMG has Epic Boons, did you consider those as a mythic substitute?

I've discussed doing that with the DM. For the moment he's simply doling new "mythic" powers out to us as appropriate. My Shield Master Paladin, for example, can expend a point of Mythic Power when he shield bashes to send his opponent flying backward and then fall prone when they land, rather than simply knock them back 5 feet or knock them prone. In addition, if he rolls a 20 on his Athletics check to shield bash, it deals damage as well and counts as critical hit (so I can drop a double-damage Smite on top of it.) Comes across as sufficiently "Mythic" to me without being unbelievably powerful.

As for the mixed-level party members question, I think it works a lot better in 5E than it does in 3.x/PF, but I still wouldn't inflict it on my players, personally. We used to play "Everyone Starts at 1st Level" back in the 2E days and it meant anyone who was unlucky enough to die generally tore through half a dozen characters before they finally managed to survive a fight and level up several times from the XP earned. It wasn't very fun.

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Irranshalee wrote:
Quick question on the comparison of 1st level vs 20th level in 5e. How do characters stand up to, say, a formidable dragon? Do 1st level characters die instantly as they would in PF or would they actually have an impact on a fight?

In 5E, the 1st-level PC's HP is about the same as in PF: full HD plus CON mod. I'd venture a guess that a high-level dragon could one-shot such a PC (but you can look at their damage numbers to make sure).

On the other hand, a PF firstie would need a 20 to hit the dragon and then the DR would completely negate the damage anyway, so even a thousand PCs couldn't beat it. In 5E, the firstie needs to roll high to hit, but not a 20 (most likely). 5E's DR isn't a set amount but rather just a halving of the damage, so every hit will contribute. And although I don't have the Monster Manual, I have a feeling (based on other math in the game) that 5E monsters have a little less HP than PF monsters, especially on the high end. (EDIT: Or not...) So although the life expectancy of any given firstie against a high-level dragon is going to be about the same between 5E and PF, the life expectancy of the dragon against extremely large numbers of 1st-level PCs is going to be far shorter in 5E than in Pathfinder.

Quote:
One of the problems I have had in PF is the difficulty of having characters of differing level. If someone is 4th or 5th and the rest of the party is 7th, you can definitely tell. Through some of your comments, it seems that 5e would shorten this gap considerably. Am I correct?

Hard to say. My 5E group only awards experience for those present, so everybody's slightly different. However, there's never been more than a 1-level gap, so it's not too big of a difference.

Certain levels are a big deal: 5th is when martials double their attack rate, for example. However, as long as the gap isn't more than one level, you're probably fine. Personally, I prefer leveling everyone together, but do what works for you and your group. You can always change your mind later, after all.

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In my experience, 5th Ed monsters are easier to hit, but have tons of more hit points. A CR 1 critter might have 9 HD, and I think I saw a CR 5 with 18 HD and DR silver.


CR in 5E means something a little different, to. In PF, a CR equal to your level means a fairly easy fight. In 5E it's supposed to (though this breaks down at higher levels) mean the most powerful thing you can be expected to defeat without losing any party members.

Meaning a CR of your level for 4 PCs should be a tough fight in 5E, but no one is likely to die, barring exceptional circumstances. Once you start moving into CRs above your party level, the chance of PC death increases accordingly.

In practice, mid-to-high level PCs seem to be better at fighting above their "weight class", so to speak.

As for the larger question, a horde of 1st level PCs (like several dozen, at least) have a chance of defeating a dragon in 5E, but they'd take extremely heavy losses. (Each dragon attack will likely one-shot a PC, and their breath weapon will likely kill any of them it hits, even if they make their save.) Whereas level-appropriate PCs will likely win with a decent amount of resource drain, but no deaths.


Jiggy wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:
Quick question on the comparison of 1st level vs 20th level in 5e. How do characters stand up to, say, a formidable dragon? Do 1st level characters die instantly as they would in PF or would they actually have an impact on a fight?

In 5E, the 1st-level PC's HP is about the same as in PF: full HD plus CON mod. I'd venture a guess that a high-level dragon could one-shot such a PC (but you can look at their damage numbers to make sure).

On the other hand, a PF firstie would need a 20 to hit the dragon and then the DR would completely negate the damage anyway, so even a thousand PCs couldn't beat it. In 5E, the firstie needs to roll high to hit, but not a 20 (most likely). 5E's DR isn't a set amount but rather just a halving of the damage, so every hit will contribute. And although I don't have the Monster Manual, I have a feeling (based on other math in the game) that 5E monsters have a little less HP than PF monsters, especially on the high end. (EDIT: Or not...) So although the life expectancy of any given firstie against a high-level dragon is going to be about the same between 5E and PF, the life expectancy of the dragon against extremely large numbers of 1st-level PCs is going to be far shorter in 5E than in Pathfinder.

Quote:
One of the problems I have had in PF is the difficulty of having characters of differing level. If someone is 4th or 5th and the rest of the party is 7th, you can definitely tell. Through some of your comments, it seems that 5e would shorten this gap considerably. Am I correct?

Hard to say. My 5E group only awards experience for those present, so everybody's slightly different. However, there's never been more than a 1-level gap, so it's not too big of a difference.

Certain levels are a big deal: 5th is when martials double their attack rate, for example. However, as long as the gap isn't more than one level, you're probably fine. Personally, I prefer leveling everyone together, but do what works for you...

It really does depend on the group. Mine doesn't penalize (or refuse to reward, which I consider a penalty by another name because the majority of missed games tends to be either job related or family related. If you get stuck working on your day off, we figure you already have been served one punishment and don't need another from the game table. And my group is old enough most of us have been to family funerals, so when they visit, we figure that's more important than game night.

Now if people were missing games because they suddenly decided to go to a movie instead, we might not be so forgiving.

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Petty Alchemy wrote:

Gotta say the 5e Fighter is definitely competitive with the Warlock. My favorite path is Battle Master and stuff like Goading Attack/Trip Attack is great (Goading is especially great as a Crossbow Expert).

The knockback for the Warlock isn't very effective unless you have a Polearm Master in the group per my experience (but man is it great if you do).

I think it may have been errata'd, but you used to be able to Crossbow Master with a shield (I speak a lot about crossbow master because it's the Fighter I played).

I suppose Eldritch Knight can get Haste as well, which is neat. Not a fan of Champion.

Champion isn't great, but it is pretty strong in the THF style with the expanded crit range. Also an effective switch hitter.

The thing that gets me is how anyone could think the Fighter is unimpressive when Beast Master Rangers exist. There's a useless class if I ever seen one.

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Not sure how this got derailed, so I will try to get it back on track. With this next statement, please do not respond to it.

My players prefer to earn what they gain. They enjoy watching their characters grow. Bumping them up because they were not there for a few sessions is not a choice we choose. Thank you for trying to help, but I do not need help with GMing. I created this thread to get a feel of the difference between the two systems.

With that said, thank you again for your comments on the theoretical dragon. It makes more sense now. I do have a few more questions of clarification though.

So the posts here have said that Pathfinder is more customizable. What are the specific differences between the two systems? It sounds to me like 5e might be very cookie cutter, something that would be good to introduce my children too, while Pathfinder allows for specialization that limits characters later on.


The customization level isn't the same as Pathfinder, in that Pathfinder has thousands of feats, plus hundreds of traits and dozens of classes that combine umpteenmillion tiny bonuses to create your character. However, a huge chunk of those options are never used because they're "trap builds" or have been replaced by newer options that do the same thing better.

5E pares things down to bigger chunks (you get fewer feats, but each feat does a lot more. Instead of a Power Attack/Cleave chain, you have the Great Weapon Master feat. Instead of traits, you have a Background that grants you skill and tool proficiencies outside of your Class. Instead of a bunch of different bonus types that grant +1 to this or +2 to that, most things have been reduced to Advantage/Disadvantage [although there are still some small modifiers here and there) and removes the need for magic items of X plus at Y level inherent in the d20 system math.

There's still plenty of options, though, between the races (and subraces), backgrounds and classes (each with 2+ subclasses), they're just a little more generalized and make some assumptions about choices that 90% of players made in 3.x/PF anyway. (Instead of skill points, for example, you get your full proficiency bonus to your chosen skills. 90% of the time players just maxed out a handful of skills anyway, because the way the DCs scaled, having only a few points in a skill wasn't much different than not having any points at all.) But my brother, who has made countless (like in the hundreds) characters in 3.0/3.5/PF because he really enjoys playing with the different numbers and options, has been having fun doing the same thing in 5E. He's up to about two dozen different characters so far and hasn't even hit all the classes yet.


A lot of the difference in customization has to do with the two systems different treatment of feats. In 5e feats are optional, and replace ability score increases when used. 5e feats are also much more broad, with each feat granting multiple effects. (Feats aren't included in Basic, so you'll just have to trust me if you don't want to buy the PHB.)

Though personally, I think most of the complaints about lack customization come from the fact that 15 years of d20 OGL has resulted in an amount of supplemental material that 5e, being a year old, just can't match.

Also, 5e has no ninja class; Kalshane, take note. :P

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5E does have fewer options than Pathfinder. However, if you discount the Pathfinder options that are so incredibly sub-par as to not actually be options (you know, the pages and pages of feats and spells that have never once been on any of your group's character sheets), and then look at what's actually left, then the gap is much smaller than it first appears.

If you then further pare it down by taking the usable stuff but eliminating the terrible combinations that nobody will ever use, so that now you're only looking at the meaningfully-different character types that you actually produce in Pathfinder, you'll find that the gap between 5E and Pathfinder shrinks even more.

So really, it looks like far more of a drop in customizability than it really is. It had me fooled at first.

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Pathfinder has a lot more Johnny potential (to use a MTG term) than 5e does, as it does have a lot of content. 5e does have some combos, but certainly not as many.

There may not be a ninja class, but there is a Shadow path for Monks. And rogues are stealthy bastards that could emulate different ninjas (Assassin for the killer, Arcane Trickster for supernatural sneakery).

Is 5e good as an introduction for children to gaming? Sure.
Is 5e still just as fun for adults? Based on my admittedly limited sample size, absolutely :)


It was a joke, PA, 'cause Kal ninja'd my post. :)

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Ah, I thought perhaps you knew Kal's class preferences. Gotcha :3


Yeah, I was a little confused as well. I was trying to remember if I had championed a ninja class at some point around here.

I will say, converting characters from PF to 5E can take some mental gymnastics, if not flat-out house-ruling.

For my RotRL campaign, the trip-focused fighter easily translated to a battlemaster fighter, the rogue to a rogue and the beast totem barbarian actually ended up closer to the player's original concept, because taking a small dip into druid to actually turn into a wolf (rather than just grow claws and fangs) didn't cripple the character in 5E the way it could in PF.

The alchemist, on the other hand, ended up requiring me to create a new class for 5E (my other option was a Transmuter Wizard/Druid multi-class with some hand-waving and re-flavoring) and the Dual-Cursed Dark Tapestry Oracle ended up becoming a Lore Bard/Great Old One Pact Warlock. I also made a custom sub-class for the Fire Elementalist Wizard.

The game is still on hiatus, so I'm not sure how well it will work in-practice, but on paper the conversions seemed to work pretty well.

Paring their magic items down to remove a lot of the unnecessary +1/+2 to AC/Saves/Ability Scores items and get them within their attunement limits took a bit of work as well, but everyone seemed happy with their gear allotment when I was done.


Irranshalee wrote:
It sounds to me like 5e might be very cookie cutter, something that would be good to introduce my children

5e is by no mean a childish game, that being said, it is easier to teach to kids (and adult too). The maths are simpler, with smaller number and less add this and that and subtract this etc. less trap options and optimization has a lesser impact.

As for the rest, 5e is not less cookie-cutter than pathfinder since it works on the same basic framework, but it has much less molds to choose from, and less goodies to sprinkle on top.

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Yeah, I rebuilt my dwarven barbarian 1/magus 7 into a mountain dwarf wizard (abjurer) 8 with the 5th Edition Toughness feat. Combined with the abjurer class feature, that is +4 hit points per level. Mountain dwarf gives Medium armor proficiency and battleaxe proficiency. Pretty sweet.


Irranshalee wrote:

Not sure how this got derailed, so I will try to get it back on track. With this next statement, please do not respond to it.

My players prefer to earn what they gain. They enjoy watching their characters grow. Bumping them up because they were not there for a few sessions is not a choice we choose. Thank you for trying to help, but I do not need help with GMing. I created this thread to get a feel of the difference between the two systems.

With that said, thank you again for your comments on the theoretical dragon. It makes more sense now. I do have a few more questions of clarification though.

So the posts here have said that Pathfinder is more customizable. What are the specific differences between the two systems? It sounds to me like 5e might be very cookie cutter, something that would be good to introduce my children too, while Pathfinder allows for specialization that limits characters later on.

I'd say, just to start with, is how many options you have in PF vs. how many options you have in 5e. In PF just at the basics you have more classes available, more archetypes, and if you include the Advanced Race Guide, more races.

Within each I feel you also have more customization. You have more control over which skills you take as a class in PF, and then of course as others have mentioned, more choices in regards to feats.

In addition, with the wider spread of numbers and their application, you have far more choices in how to customize in regards to what you want your character to do in regards to those numbers, and more freedom in the range of how expert you want them to be in a focused area.

So, just as a beginning (not even having gone into the equipment or other various options also available), I feel in basic character creation you have far more options in PF than 5e.

5e on the otherhand can be far more focused on the specific archtype that you want to create, and in that development of that archtype.

Community Manager

Removed some posts and their replies—baiting and hateful posts aren't helpful.


Kthulhu wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Letric wrote:
I feel like PF and games like such, put way too much weight on how a character does something at a rule level, instead of just saying "I freaking hit the enemy with a barrel, and that is my ability".

Stop playing D&D derivative games. 90% of non-D&D games work more like this. Really, only D&D style games even use levels.

Letric wrote:
On the other hand, class are the problem. Class is a restrictive way of thinking.
I think level is more of a problem, but yeah, very, very few RPGs other than D&D clones have hard-classes, either (though most feature a "soft" class system that gives you some sub-package of abilities or makes you better at some task everyone can do).
And these have me doubting that you have much RPG experience outside of "D&D derivative games". There are SOME games that don't use levels or classes, but you sound like you're trying to say that they are rare outside of D&D. They aren't.

I have to say that skill based systems, to me atleast, appear vastly more common.

-BRP(CoC (edges towards class based, but it is such a light mechanic, it is really just away of choosing a skills package)
-Savage Worlds
-Storyteller
-Fate
-dog in the vineyard
-Shadowrun
-Artesia: Adventures in the known world
-The void
-Eclipse phase
-dirty world
-trail of cthulhu (edges towards classes; probably closest in this list)
-D6

In fact the closest thing things to level or class based games I regularly play outside of the DnD family tree, are WFRP(+various 40k rpgs) and CP2020. They are class based, but one of those is access to a single special skill(cp2020) in a skill based system and the other is a set of skill packages which you don't even have to complete before moving onto your next class(WFRP).

Obvious there is stuff like one ring and Apocalypse world, but neither of those are level based.

Liberty's Edge

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thenovalord wrote:

You need to play it to see how smooth it is. It is great for dungeons and for dragons.you can get through a dozen fights in a 4 hour session if you wish

Levelling up is quick and doesn't need herolab

Most of all it is built on game theory one year ago, not 15 years ago.if u start now you are getting in on the ground floor. If u joined a long term PF group it may all seem overwhelming!

The chassis for 5e, and one of the reasons it is popular with a lot of older gamers, is built on game theory from thirty-six years ago. It feels like a modernized version of the AD&D game, as if third were more closely tied to the style of play promoted by AD&D rather than a revamp based on the same nomenclature, but with a lot of Rolemaster and Magic:TG grafted to the class and level system.

3x really changed the way D&D was played in a lot of ways. Character creation is so involved that high fatality can make the game a chore. 5e's focus on "at the table" play and quick character creation allows for an older style of play (more fatalities, less focus on "story" driven death, more game than cooperative story telling) without taking away the more story driven, scripted style.

3x focuses on "positive rights" so to speak (skills and feats define what you can do, and hard character abilities almost define what you cannot do), whereas 5e focuses on "negative rights" (skills and feats enhance what you can do, but nothing really defines what you cannot do, outside of class limitations (e.g. fighters don't cast spells, wizards don't wear full plate, etc.)).

Different games for different purposes, and neither does what the other does best well at all, to be frank.

Liberty's Edge

houstonderek wrote:
thenovalord wrote:

You need to play it to see how smooth it is. It is great for dungeons and for dragons.you can get through a dozen fights in a 4 hour session if you wish

Levelling up is quick and doesn't need herolab

Most of all it is built on game theory one year ago, not 15 years ago.if u start now you are getting in on the ground floor. If u joined a long term PF group it may all seem overwhelming!

The chassis for 5e, and one of the reasons it is popular with a lot of older gamers, is built on game theory from thirty-six years ago. It feels like a modernized version of the AD&D game, as if third were more closely tied to the style of play promoted by AD&D rather than a revamp based on the same nomenclature, but with a lot of Rolemaster and Magic:TG grafted to the class and level system.

3x really changed the way D&D was played in a lot of ways. Character creation is so involved that high fatality can make the game a chore. 5e's focus on "at the table" play and quick character creation allows for an older style of play (more fatalities, less focus on "story" driven death, more game than cooperative story telling) without taking away the more story driven, scripted style.

3x focuses on "positive rights" so to speak (skills and feats define what you can do, and hard character abilities almost define what you cannot do), whereas 5e focuses on "negative rights" (skills and feats enhance what you can do, but nothing really defines what you cannot do, outside of class limitations (e.g. fighters don't cast spells, wizards don't wear full plate, etc.)).

Different games for different purposes, and neither does what the other does best well at all, to be frank.

Let me describe my sort of campaign and see if you have any ideas of what I should play or test out. I am not opposed to combining systems. I am decent at introducing house rules that are within reason.

First, I enjoy a good backbone, but it is not driven by only one archenemy. I prefer to have multiple influential beings with multiple goals that intercede with one another.

Based off of that concept, I like to start players off in a place to discover their abilities. Many times I would give them something to cling on to. In my current campaign, I am designing a keep for them to manage. This will go on until about 4th level before they are forced farther outside of their homeland.

I am a big believer in Justin Alexander's writing on 3.5. By about level 6, player characters are essentially superheroes, Wolverine, Magneto, etc. They are far beyond the common person. In fact, most of my planet is covered with 1st and 2nd level folk.

I would prefer these numbers to be inflated, at least for the speed of character progression in PF. In PF, I would want characters to be superhuman at 10th level and most folk 1st-3rd levels. It cannot happen as the rules are written. The breakdown of game play at higher level is hard for me to swallow. The whole thought of 9th level bakers just slays me. I have been tweaking the PF system down for years now.

I am actually designing my campaign for the PCs to retire by 10th-12th level. That is why 5e has caught my attention. It seems to me that PCs could conceivably raise to level 20 and not have as much of an impact as 20th level Pathfinder PCs. By going to level 20, the players will have more time to enjoy their characters (development of characters, especially the emotional/mental aspect of it growing with each new adventure is alluring to us).

When it comes to PF materials, I enjoy the Core Rulebook. I pick and choose from the Bestiaries. But from the rest of the books that I have read/used (which are an awful lot), I have not been overly impressed. PF Society truly feels like an MMO on paper. The expanded rules of the hardback books makes things so much more cluttered and insanely powerful. I already feel the core rules need to be toned down. I think that PF has great products on many levels, but they are just not for me without picking and choosing. And lately, aside from PF Unchained, I have been really disappointed. I guess I am just a different breed of player.

In summary, I am looking for a well-balanced (through all progression), flowable game that focuses on roleplaying over rollplaying. The rolling is necessary to me, but it is not the driving factor. A good story with some randomness.

Is there a system out there that is similar to my description? The loss of a d20 and player progression through levels are not deal breakers. I just want something not-so-over-the-top. The work needed to keep things in my preference range is overwhelming at times.

PS I absolutely loathe the Christmas tree effect.

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