Do you like this game (Pathfinder)?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Do I like Pathfinder? My answer is "yes, but.."

The game has a lot of features I like, and over all I think Paizo has done a good, not with just the game, but with building a positive brand overall.

My main critique is that, I think it's time for a new edition. All of the supplemental material, rules erratas, and FAQs are more than enough of a base to begin development of a 2nd edition that addresses some of the problems people have with the game. (Personally, Pathfinder has a serious problem with being unbalanced. Every PC is a glass cannon, or the potential to be one, but that's my opinion.)

I would like to see a new edition of the game, with both the current and the new edition being supported.


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I like the game my couple dozen pages of house rules and homebrew material have turned it into.

Sovereign Court

Tround wrote:


I would like to see a new edition of the game, with both the current and the new edition being supported.

That certainly is the trick isnt it? To be compatible at all I dont think a radical design change is going to work. Though to change some of the "no" answers to "yes" answers around here you need radical change. Way too difficult to support old and new versions of the game. I'm curious to see what Paizo's move will be.


Pan wrote:
Tround wrote:


I would like to see a new edition of the game, with both the current and the new edition being supported.

That certainly is the trick isnt it? To be compatible at all I dont think a radical design change is going to work. Though to change some of the "no" answers to "yes" answers around here you need radical change. Way too difficult to support old and new versions of the game. I'm curious to see what Paizo's move will be.

I agree that this is tricky, and I used to think it would be a challenge until I saw that White Wolf/Onyx Path was able to support both old and new lines for the World of Darkness games. They just treat it like different product lines and let things go in their own directions. I don't see why this couldn't work for Paizo as well.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
Quote:


different levels of "fantasy-ness" allowed for different character options,
I mean, there are high fantasy martials, there are non high fantasy ones too. Why does the existence of the non high fantasy ones bother?
...What is it that you think I meant by that part of my post? I'm still not following your complaint, and I wonder if that's where the miscommunication is.
Here's my interpretation:

Well, since he hasn't been back (unless I overlooked a post), I'll reply to you. :)

Quote:
Some players like the existence of mundane PCs who can only do realistic things, whose options are limited to the (thousands of) things that a real person could do.

Sure, so do I.

Quote:
Pathfinder currently supports characters like that, but also provides magical-martial characters who are effective in battle, and who also have a variety of impossible abilities.

True statements.

Quote:
You sound like you'd prefer it if high-level Fighters could do fantastical things.

Not exactly.

What I'd prefer is that everyone gets to be equally "fantastic". This could either be accomplished by letting everyone exceed reality regardless of how much "magic" is involved, or by restricting magic to only impact the world at a "realistic" degree (i.e., a spell can only solve a problem to the same degree that ordinary skill could solve the same problem, just in a different manner/method).

My preference is not that martials get to do such-and-such, but that martials and mages are at least playing the same game, have equally relevant roles in the same story, and get to engage the same level of fantasy obstacles. Don't much care where the bar is, as long as all primary character options (such as class) are right there together.

Quote:
To some people, that spoils the concept of the Fighter. "Why don't you just play a (insert partial-caster character class here) if you want to do things like that?"

See above; you can avoid "spoiling the concept of the fighter" while still satisfying my aforementioned preference of all classes getting the same degree of fantasy-ness.

Quote:

Some people actually enjoy martial-caster option disparity...

Great! Ain't nothin' wrong with that. After all, I did originally refer to that difference as something "I don't personally care for", not "something that makes the game objectively bad".

Which is why RDM42's original reply to me (interpreting my statement as meaning "the people that want to have different levels of fantasy ness available can just go jump in a lake?") seemed kinda out of left field.

I mean really, I say "I don't personally care for X, Y, or Z" and the reply is "Oh, so anyone who likes those things can just go jump in a lake?" Cripes. Seems I'm tallying more and more experiences of myself and others simply stating a personal preference or describing mechanical realities within the game and being met with replies that sound like a fight's already started. And then I keep seeing people talk about how the former group is always "hating" and starting fights. I'm getting a little less surprised each time. :/


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I guess a way to make the necessary changes without getting the dander up of the people who absolutely refuse to entertain the thought of buying a new edition is to do unchained versions of all old classes. ^^

Grand Lodge

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magnuskn wrote:
I guess a way to make the necessary changes without getting the dander up of the people who absolutely refuse to entertain the thought of buying a new edition

I converted from Basic D&D to 1st edition, from 1st edition to 2nd edition, from 2nd edition to 3rd edition, from 3.0 to 3.5, and then 3.5 to Pathfinder... I am done buying new editions of the same game.

When I decided that Pathfinder was no longer for me, having to re-purchase everything yet again, just for the sake of yet another new edition of D&D is a part of my decision to not go with 5th edition (there were other reasons as well, but those are totally irrelevant to this thread)...

Liberty's Edge

alexd1976 wrote:

Seriously?

Vagabond.

They actually list soap and a garbage bag as part of their gear.

In the same book, you can play a dragon.

There was just as much trash in Rifts as there is in Pathfinder. More, actually, considering the disparity isn't just about spellcasters/non casters.

Mega damage... good lord... what a game. Had so much fun shooting civilians with my mega damage bazooka in that game.

In the context of the game it makes sense for the class to have soap. When Rifts first was released. The world was pretty much post-apocalyptic. Soap being in short supply could be traded for something else. Now that they turned the world into one that is slowly recovering from a apocalypse. Not so much. Even then when I look at my Rifts books I see myself wanting to play so many of the classes. Pathfinder 80-90% of the time most new and old material joins the "not worth taking as a player let alone the paper it's printed on" pile.

As for caster and martial disparity. It's the other way around imo. Caster have a more battlefield control. Some spells are broken. But they also can lose their spell by taking a single point of damage. No concentration checks. The save DC vs magic are a joke they barely go up in level. So that even a regular person has a good chance to save vs magic. Add to that the majority of the spells have poor range. Requiring the caster to be either very sneaky. Have decent system or at least spell mastery. Or be in the middle of combat. The running joke with Rifts is that the casters to compete with Martials need to carry guns. As the guns have better range than most spells.

The reason why I play PF more is that it's popular in my area. Easy to find players and more importantly while the rules for Rifts work they are imo a clunky annoying mess.


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This thread is a great read!

I like Pathfinder for numerous reasons:


  • The rules are comprehensive and build on 3.5, which I knew enough to switch easily.
  • I like tactical combat and use of maps.
  • I can play a lot of different games within the same set of rules. They are hard to learn, but once that is done, you can do a lot with them.
  • I like to play fantasy, and Pathfinder does that quite well imo.
  • I like playing online (PbP), and Pathfinder offers a strong and reliable community.
  • Paizo also offers a strong platform to find players and play online.
  • I like to think and read about the game, and Paizo's community are a great source of information and helpful advice.
  • I like to tinker with the game and adjust rules, and Paizo's community is of great help to get ideas and feedback on my ideas. Also, the release of Unchained was a great way to offer alternative systems for players and DMs. I'm hoping we'll see more of those.
  • I have few complaints, but I know that people at Paizo will come and give an answer if they feel it is required. I really appreciate them taking the time to stay in touch with their community. I'm sure they are super busy already.
  • Most of the mechanics are available online for free, which helps when I'm looking for a rule.
  • Books are offered in affordable pdf format, if I want to have the book for the fluff or for convenience.
  • The APs are very well done (I remember how impressed I was with the first RotRL chapter) and available in pdf.
  • The new books try to keep things balanced and do not lead to power creep. You can pretty much stay with a few central book and not feel like you're missing too much, which wasn't the case with 3.5.
  • I appreciate that developers use means to correct mistakes. I prefer that to static books that have a broken option that can never be pulled back.
  • I felt cheated by the rapid 3.0 to 3.5 to 4.0 succession of versions, which required me to buy the books, and don't want to say "fool me thrice..."

Some of the items on this list are powerful incentives. for example, if I want to switch to another, but keep playing online, I know I'll have a hard time finding players and a platform I like, let alone a community of support to learn more about the rules and the options offered. Pathfinder's greatest draw for me is the quality of its community and its community-building platform.

Now some things do push me away from Pathfinder, though they have not reached critical mass or I've found ways around them:


  • Option bloat: It's hard to keep up, and every time I look up the list of feats on d20pfsrd, I get a sinking feeling. I've found myself relying more and more on optimization guide, not to optimize, but to keep up with what's out there without having to read the whole list, and avoid traps.
  • Complexity of high-level play: At high level, DMing becomes very hard and combat takes forever. Also, the gap between classes and between optimized or non-optimized builds widens frighteningly. My solution thus far has been avoidance, though I'm still searching, as I'd like to be able to go from 1 to 20, with some increase in complexity, but not what I'm seeing currently.
  • Reliance on looting and equipment bloat: To me, those two are related. I don't like a heroic game where players kill things and take their stuff to gain experience. I also have little taste for the amount of magical gear necessary to play the game at high levels. Fortunately, some systems on these boards and in Unchained have offered reliable possibilities.
  • Tedious arguments on the boards: I don't mind that someone asks about disparity, to take a vibrant example. What I don't suffer, are the thread jacks and the long debates with the quotes eviscerating every argument to prove one's point. My solution is to smile and skip them, but I still don't like to see them and find they are disrespectful to the OP's intent. I think we need to use the acronym LATD (let's agree to disagree) more.

Looking back at my "cons" list, most of it is related to the ever-expanding complexity. I understand this in part comes from the business model, and I respect that. It seems to me that criticism varies a lot depending whether one plays PFS, which requires tighter rules, or not, which allows for house-rules and flexibility. As an example, if I prefer the old version of Crane style, playing at home or in PFS changes the way I receive the change and how I feel about it. Home games can restrict the development of PFS' rules, and vice-versa. As one poster mentioned, perhaps it is time not to have a Pathfinder 2.0 per se, but two independent versions of the game, based on the same fluff?

In a nutshell: quite happy.


Tormsskull wrote:
Snowblind wrote:
b)Only giving system fixes to the fighter to boost them up, so the fighter is kinda half ok and all the other martials are still stuck with the same crappy full attack routine, meaning literally nothing has improved with the system from the players' point of view unless someone writes "Fighter" on their sheet

I see a lot of people complaining about the "full attack routine," or saying martials can only "full attack, full attack, full attack."

What are you expecting for martials? Are you looking for martials to be the same as casters? "I use Zen Blade Strike. Okay, I move ten feet then use Fortress of Steel and redirect any attacks at the nearest enemy. Okay, then I use Flurry of Throwing Axes?"

So if the martial had 5-10 special maneuvers he would be "the same as casters" with their hundreds of spell options?


Just a Guess wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
Snowblind wrote:
b)Only giving system fixes to the fighter to boost them up, so the fighter is kinda half ok and all the other martials are still stuck with the same crappy full attack routine, meaning literally nothing has improved with the system from the players' point of view unless someone writes "Fighter" on their sheet

I see a lot of people complaining about the "full attack routine," or saying martials can only "full attack, full attack, full attack."

What are you expecting for martials? Are you looking for martials to be the same as casters? "I use Zen Blade Strike. Okay, I move ten feet then use Fortress of Steel and redirect any attacks at the nearest enemy. Okay, then I use Flurry of Throwing Axes?"

So if the martial had 5-10 special maneuvers he would be "the same as casters" with their hundreds of spell options?

It may be a bad comparison, but I don't see any reason archers, melee warriors, etc. can't have awesome at-will / once per fight abilities like they do in Diablo games. The Demon Hunter, for example, has lots of options that can be seen as either mundane or magical, but they all rock. It gives them defensive and utility options, too, like a smokescreen effective against all attack, the ability to vault half-way across the screen, summoning animal helpers, dropping turrets for fire support, etc. They keep up just fine with the Wizard and Witch Doctor, too. So, what's wrong with having limited use boosts, counters, and attack powers? It didn't break the barbarian, did it?


BretI wrote:
Rifts makes the editing for the first printing of the Advanced Class Guide look great.

Rifts at least has martials on all power levels. Not just bodyguard/clean up duty lackeys.

Liberty's Edge

Just a Guess wrote:
BretI wrote:
Rifts makes the editing for the first printing of the Advanced Class Guide look great.
Rifts at least has martials on all power levels. Not just bodyguard/clean up duty lackeys.

Pretty much. Unlike Casters who list a spell when hit. Martials just take damage. No negatives from taking damage.

Not to mention expect poorly edited books from Palladium. I don't from Paizo.


It was a good game. Unfortunately, it looks as if power creep is working its way into the system. If I were to start running a campaign I would probably limit source material such that the Advanced Race Guide is the latest publication that can be drawn from (or Ultimate Equipment, I can't remember which of these came first) - definitely Mythic Adventures and anything published after it would be banned.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Well, Mythic and Occult are not meant for general consumption anyway. They're more meant to facilitate their respective kinds of games.

Editor

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Serghar Cromwell wrote:
I like the game my couple dozen pages of house rules and homebrew material have turned it into.

Same! For me, it's as much a rules sandbox as a rules system!


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I like the game as a whole just fine.

What I don't like is when a viable option for play gets errata'd to the point where it's no longer worth taking under any circumstance.

Take for example Arcane Deed. The ruling that a Magus no longer counts as having panache means Arcane Deed has no options to choose from:

Kip Up: Doesn't work

Menacing Swordplay: Doesn't work

Precise Strike: Doesn't work

Swashbuckler Initiative: Doesn't work

Swashbuckler's Grace: Doesn't work

Superior Feint: Doesn't work

Targeted Strike: Works.. But what Magus in their right mind would spend an arcane pool point to use this?

Bleeding Wound: Works.. But again why? Also... why waste a level 12+ arcana on this?

Evasive: Doesn't work

Subtle Blade: Doesn't work and it's a damn shame it doesn't...

Dizzying Defense: Works.. But who in their right mind would take this for a 15+ arcana?

Perfect Thrust: Doesn't work

Swashbucklers Edge: Doesn't work

Cheat Death: Works.. But takes all your pool points to work. And to add insult to injury, you can't even take it as your 18th level arcana because it requires 19th level! You have to blow a feat on extra arcana to get this..

Deadly Stab: Works.. But if you're a 19th level Magus and have to rely on save or die effects to put foes in the ground and not your mind blowing crits... then you have failed at life. Also 19+ required.

Stunning Stab: Works... See Deadly Stab only you somehow failed even more.

All of these deeds could previously be utilized by a Magus. Now the ones that remain are beyond pitiful and to add insult to injury, require a previous arcana just to select. It bothers me when options are given then taken away. It is the reason I always try to ignore errata unless it is actually helpful to the game.


BackHandOfFate wrote:

I like the game as a whole just fine.

What I don't like is when a viable option for play gets errata'd to the point where it's no longer worth taking under any circumstance.

Take for example Arcane Deed. The ruling that a Magus no longer counts as having panache means Arcane Deed has no options to choose from:

Kip Up: Doesn't work

Menacing Swordplay: Doesn't work

Precise Strike: Doesn't work

Swashbuckler Initiative: Doesn't work

Swashbuckler's Grace: Doesn't work

Superior Feint: Doesn't work

Targeted Strike: Works.. But what Magus in their right mind would spend an arcane pool point to use this?

Bleeding Wound: Works.. But again why? Also... why waste a level 12+ arcana on this?

Evasive: Doesn't work

Subtle Blade: Doesn't work and it's a damn shame it doesn't...

Dizzying Defense: Works.. But who in their right mind would take this for a 15+ arcana?

Perfect Thrust: Doesn't work

Swashbucklers Edge: Doesn't work

Cheat Death: Works.. But takes all your pool points to work. And to add insult to injury, you can't even take it as your 18th level arcana because it requires 19th level! You have to blow a feat on extra arcana to get this..

Deadly Stab: Works.. But if you're a 19th level Magus and have to rely on save or die effects to put foes in the ground and not your mind blowing crits... then you have failed at life. Also 19+ required.

Stunning Stab: Works... See Deadly Stab only you somehow failed even more.

All of these deeds could previously be utilized by a Magus. Now the ones that remain are beyond pitiful and to add insult to injury, require a previous arcana just to select. It bothers me when options are given then taken away. It is the reason I always try to ignore errata unless it is actually helpful to the game.

This is the key problem I have seen over the last year or two. Using errata to "balance" the game, rather than using it to clarify/explain mistakes in the text. The added element of PFS has turned Paizo into an MMO publisher... constantly trying to modify the rules for the needs of organized play. When your character is a collection of pixels, that's not necessarily a big deal. But when it is your alter ego in a tabletop game, such changes are painful and destructive. This is especially true in a rules heavy game where character building is such an important part of the play.

Shadow Lodge

RE: Rifts - There is supposed to be a Rifts setting book for Savage Worlds coming out sometime-ish. So all the coolness of Rifts, without having to deal with the Megaversal system.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

For all of Pathfinder's problems, I do love this game. At the end of the day, an RPG isn't about having perfectly balanced rules or options, it's about taking a couple of friends (and some snacks) on an adventure into a world of your collective creation. Pathfinder gives you the tools and community support you need to tell any story you can imagine, and some you'd never imagined before.

It's the community who really sets the game apart from the other options out there, though. Paizo has no obligation to answer questions, or have developers involved in the community. Let's not take for granted just how awesome it is that we can ask James Jacobs to justify silly parts of Golarion, or pick Mark Seifter's brain about the intended operation of some beautifully quirky ability. Even if we don't always agree with something, we have a place where we can voice that concern, and to me, that's a real privilege.

Scarab Sages

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I really enjoy Pathfinder but I definitely think that the more you pick apart ANY system, the more difficult it is not to find fault. Rules bloat is kind of exhausting to deal with as a GM, I get that. That's probably my biggest complaint. However, I know that for the game to survive and be a "living" game, then the publisher needs to survive, and for the publisher to survive, they need to release books, and more books eventually means bloat. It is what it is.

But I still really like Pathfinder. I like that it has a ton of options for the GM and the players. I like the way that Paizo uses the adventure paths to flesh out different styles and genres of play. I like the fact that the system is well supported. I am in awe of the number of fantastic GMs who do PFS. And the bits I don't like, I just don't use in my home games.

I have NEVER understood the continued complaints about class balancing. It's a cooperative game - and not just cooperative among the players. All RPGs are a cooperative effort between the players and the GM to create something cool and beautiful. My personal feeling is that balance is for competitive games, and that not every character needs to be equal in power so long as they are equal in consideration, if that makes any sense?

At any rate, your mileage may vary. I'm still enjoying it, and I'll keep playing (and writing) for it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Brew Bird wrote:
At the end of the day, an RPG isn't about having perfectly balanced rules or options, it's about taking a couple of friends (and some snacks) on an adventure into a world of your collective creation. Pathfinder gives you the tools and community support you need to tell any story you can imagine, and some you'd never imagined before.

Actually, that's the thing: Pathfinder doesn't give me the tools I need to tell any story I can imagine. If it did, I wouldn't have given up on it. But it doesn't. I keep imagining stories that Pathfinder can't help me tell.

Shadow Lodge

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Eirikrautha wrote:
This is the key problem I have seen over the last year or two. Using errata to "balance" the game, rather than using it to clarify/explain mistakes in the text.

If only. The errata usually serve to nerf the classes that are already at the lowest tiers.


I like the system on which Pathfinder is based, but I consider the game's uh, glory days I guess you'd call them, to be a happy accident. I think we've all gotten to see Paizo's gooey underbelly a lot lately, and it makes me distrust them to some extent.

I've been running the same campaign for two years now, and I don't want to throw that away just because I'm disenchanted with the company that makes the game, but when my game finally wraps up, I don't think I'll be purchasing more PF material or playing it all that often.

Onto greater things, I reckon.


Kthulhu wrote:
Eirikrautha wrote:
This is the key problem I have seen over the last year or two. Using errata to "balance" the game, rather than using it to clarify/explain mistakes in the text.
If only. The errata usually serve to nerf the classes that are already at the lowest tiers.

Well, the problem is that that their attempts to balance the game are dictated by what certain members of the PDT believe is and isn't balanced. Since they seem to have a very different view of what is and isn't balanced than optimizers and other high system-mastery players, problems emerge.

I found SKR's comments on how Paizo's internal playtesting worked very revealing. Namely, that it tends to be low to mid level games, all very casual and low-optimization (on the level of the iconics), and littered with gentleman's agreements to not push any aspect of the system too hard. It certainly makes a contrast to how things like video games are tested, where the general idea is to try to break it as hard as you can so the problems can be fixed before it ships.

Sovereign Court

Chengar Qordath wrote:
I found SKR's comments on how Paizo's internal playtesting worked very revealing. Namely, that it tends to be low to mid level games, all very casual and low-optimization (on the level of the iconics), and littered with gentleman's agreements to not push any aspect of the system too hard. It certainly makes a contrast to how things like video games are tested, where the general idea is to try to break it as hard as you can so the problems can be fixed before it ships.

I would point out - there should be decent balance at both low & high optimization. While you want balance at high system mastery, you don't want the balance to be horrible when a group is new to the system either. Especially hard when you want every option to be valid to be both.

The usual rule is to have a simple option or three to be easier to build/play, but not quite as good as the more difficult options at high system mastery, such as the classic COD 'Noob Tube' - which lets noobs get lucky shots on veterans, but is generally an inferior option for said veterans to use themselves.

It's more difficult to do that in a role-playing game. You don't want to tell new players 'Hey - that cool character you wanted to play - you can't do that yet. Start with this fighter - you'll have to wait until next campaign to be an arcane caster.' In part - it's just because of the time commitment involved in each character.


Jiggy wrote:
Actually, that's the thing: Pathfinder doesn't give me the tools I need to tell any story I can imagine. If it did, I wouldn't have given up on it. But it doesn't. I keep imagining stories that Pathfinder can't help me tell.

Can you give any examples? Is the problem one of characters being able to do too much (the "let's just buy a scroll and teleport to Mount Doom" problem) or too little, or some combination of the two?


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:


I would point out - there should be decent balance at both low & high optimization. While you want balance at high system mastery, you don't want the balance to be horrible when a group is new to the system either. Especially hard when you want every option to be valid to be both.

Pathfinder might be the most unbalanced to new players. It takes a decent level of system mastery to avoid making one of the many, many mistakes that will forever wreck your ability to function in the game. Can you imagine trying to start this game as a sword and board fighter? Not only is there as much reading involved as a caster to keep up with feat chains , and if you don't choose the correct feats as soon as possible monsters instantly out scale your damage output.

The best advice you can give any new player is to pick a class and then have them read a class optimization guide. They would much rather have the decisions streamlined and be effective than make a casual PC that is very difficult to play despite being a "simple" class.

Sovereign Court

emo_pinata wrote:
Can you imagine trying to start this game as a sword and board fighter?

Unlike what many claim - sword & board fighters are quite viable if you're not in a DPR contest. You certainly won't be gimped to the point of failing vs CR.

If your group is defensive based (seems rare) - it's the way to go.

I will say - I do think that the rulebooks should have some very basic tips about builds etc.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Actually, that's the thing: Pathfinder doesn't give me the tools I need to tell any story I can imagine. If it did, I wouldn't have given up on it. But it doesn't. I keep imagining stories that Pathfinder can't help me tell.
Can you give any examples? Is the problem one of characters being able to do too much (the "let's just buy a scroll and teleport to Mount Doom" problem) or too little, or some combination of the two?

That and more.

First, as you guessed, there are issues of "I can't tell a story about (or involving) obstacle X, because some classes just cast Mordenkainan's Obstacle X Overcomer and that's that."

A corollary of this is that there are an awful lot of obstacles for which casting the above spell is the ONLY system-supported means of overcoming that obstacle.

Second, there's the issue of not being able to tell stories about particular types of characters. You can't have a character who is such a feared swordsman that a fleet of pirate ships would abandon their goals and flee halfway around the world (losing multiple ships to him in the process) and just kinda hope they can lay low and he won't feel like finding them. The world-renowned, universally-feared BBEG is a caster, period. The only one scared of a 20th-level fighter is a lower-level fighter, so my BBEGs (for any story of grander scope than like 1st-5th level or so) always have to be casters.

Third, none of the stories I want to tell involve characters being dripping with magic items. I like my heroes to get stronger primarily by facing struggles and overcoming obstacles, not by accumulating performance enhancers in the form of built-in wealth progression. I want the fearsome swordsman to still be scary even if he wakes up naked and throatpunches a mook and takes that guy's crappy sword. Maybe not at full power, but still scary.

Related to #3 is also that I can't tell a story whose plot involves some sort of legendary weapon/item (ala Excalibur), because the gear treadmill says that one of the following will be the case: (a) the player using Excalibur eventually needs to upgrade past it (which makes it not feel very special); (b) I have to make sure the campaign ends before that happens (which means they hardly get any chance to use it, and it also limits the stories I can tell); or (c) I give it to them super early, which wrecks encounters until they catch up to where the sword put him (and along the way they can feel the sword getting less and less special).

I could probably keep going, but those are the big ones, and beyond that it might actually be easier to list the few types of stories Pathfinder DOES let me tell, rather than all the ones it doesn't. :/


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Oh, if only they had something to help beginners learn! or something that can help them build characters and learn the rules that would be awesome!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Actually, that's the thing: Pathfinder doesn't give me the tools I need to tell any story I can imagine. If it did, I wouldn't have given up on it. But it doesn't. I keep imagining stories that Pathfinder can't help me tell.
Can you give any examples? Is the problem one of characters being able to do too much (the "let's just buy a scroll and teleport to Mount Doom" problem) or too little, or some combination of the two?

That and more.

First, as you guessed, there are issues of "I can't tell a story about (or involving) obstacle X, because some classes just cast Mordenkainan's Obstacle X Overcomer and that's that."

A corollary of this is that there are an awful lot of obstacles for which casting the above spell is the ONLY system-supported means of overcoming that obstacle.

Second, there's the issue of not being able to tell stories about particular types of characters. You can't have a character who is such a feared swordsman that a fleet of pirate ships would abandon their goals and flee halfway around the world (losing multiple ships to him in the process) and just kinda hope they can lay low and he won't feel like finding them. The world-renowned, universally-feared BBEG is a caster, period. The only one scared of a 20th-level fighter is a lower-level fighter, so my BBEGs (for any story of grander scope than like 1st-5th level or so) always have to be casters.

Third, none of the stories I want to tell involve characters being dripping with magic items. I like my heroes to get stronger primarily by facing struggles and overcoming obstacles, not by accumulating performance enhancers in the form of built-in wealth progression. I want the fearsome swordsman to still be scary even if he wakes up naked and throatpunches a mook and takes that guy's crappy sword. Maybe not at full power, but still scary.

Related to #3 is also that I can't tell a story whose plot involves some sort of legendary weapon/item (ala...

I've told basically every type of story you've just described using pathfinder and or 3.5 in the days before pathfinder.

There are options for reduced magic in Unchained, and for getting rid of wealth by level and compensating for it.

Or my preferred tactic- start players at low level and then just don't hand out treasure like candy. Wealth by level is a suggestion, not a requirement.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Chengar Qordath wrote:


I found SKR's comments on how Paizo's internal playtesting worked very revealing. Namely, that it tends to be low to mid level games, all very casual and low-optimization (on the level of the iconics), and littered with gentleman's agreements to not push any aspect of the system too hard. It certainly makes a contrast to how things like video games are tested, where the general idea is to try to break it as hard as you can so the problems can be fixed before it ships.

Video games are a bit different because the entire environment is controlled by the software engine - there's no GM to get the character out of a hole in the rendered universe that leaves him stuck, forcing you to abandon the game. Pushing at the boundaries in a role playing game play test doesn't carry quite the same practical level of necessity.


The CR system will be less reliable. But is it particularly useful as is for how most games are played?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
The CR system will be less reliable. But is it particularly useful as is for how most games are played?

Most games, I imagine, are played as a series of combat scenarios of steadily increasing strength, so the CR system is *vital* so that you know not to throw a hill giant against a 1st level party or two orcs against a 7th level party. The CR system allows the combat encounters to have a roughly gauged strength so that you can match a 1st level party versus roughly similar powered foes, and so on, and so on, through 20 levels.

I remember the days of 1-2e, without the CR system. I would not go back in a million years. It makes things SO. MUCH. SIMPLER.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This one of my favorites games! The world, the story and the campaign are wonderful, lively and very flexible. I do like the core mechanics, but I find all the character options a little over whelming. Personally I find that taking subsets of characters to form certain genres helps out a lot, but mixing them all up together is cumbersome.

I also love the way Paizo supports the line, all the love, sweat and tears show through in my opinion. They give you options, lots of options the issue is figuring out which ones to use.


Kthulhu wrote:
RE: Rifts - There is supposed to be a Rifts setting book for Savage Worlds coming out sometime-ish. So all the coolness of Rifts, without having to deal with the Megaversal system.

I lost track of palladium books stuff about 10 years ago. Perhaps a little more. Has the Rifts Movie announced back then ever been made?

Sovereign Court

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Nathanael Love wrote:
Or my preferred tactic- start players at low level and then just don't hand out treasure like candy. Wealth by level is a suggestion, not a requirement.

All that does is screw martials even more.


Nathanael Love wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Actually, that's the thing: Pathfinder doesn't give me the tools I need to tell any story I can imagine. If it did, I wouldn't have given up on it. But it doesn't. I keep imagining stories that Pathfinder can't help me tell.
Can you give any examples? Is the problem one of characters being able to do too much (the "let's just buy a scroll and teleport to Mount Doom" problem) or too little, or some combination of the two?

That and more.

First, as you guessed, there are issues of "I can't tell a story about (or involving) obstacle X, because some classes just cast Mordenkainan's Obstacle X Overcomer and that's that."

A corollary of this is that there are an awful lot of obstacles for which casting the above spell is the ONLY system-supported means of overcoming that obstacle.

Second, there's the issue of not being able to tell stories about particular types of characters. You can't have a character who is such a feared swordsman that a fleet of pirate ships would abandon their goals and flee halfway around the world (losing multiple ships to him in the process) and just kinda hope they can lay low and he won't feel like finding them. The world-renowned, universally-feared BBEG is a caster, period. The only one scared of a 20th-level fighter is a lower-level fighter, so my BBEGs (for any story of grander scope than like 1st-5th level or so) always have to be casters.

Third, none of the stories I want to tell involve characters being dripping with magic items. I like my heroes to get stronger primarily by facing struggles and overcoming obstacles, not by accumulating performance enhancers in the form of built-in wealth progression. I want the fearsome swordsman to still be scary even if he wakes up naked and throatpunches a mook and takes that guy's crappy sword. Maybe not at full power, but still scary.

Related to #3 is also that I can't tell a story whose plot involves some sort of legendary

...

So Jiggy was right: the game doesn't give you the tools you need. You needed to add them yourself. Most people paying money for a game system aren't looking to write their own system.


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137ben wrote:
So Jiggy was right: the game doesn't give you the tools you need.

No. At best one could say that the game doesn't give Jiggy the tools he needs. However when asked what tools he was missing, Nathaniel pointed out the books that have the tools that Jiggy needs (or that by simply not using all of the tools in the Core Rulebook toolbox he could get the end result he wanted). Pathfinder can actually handle a wide range of different types of games. How much beyond the Core Rulebook that's needed will vary depending on how far the needs deviates from the assumptions made in the Core Rulebook (the assumption being that someone's looking to play a game that's easily played using the 3.5e core ruleset). Pathfinder Unchained, Spheres of Power and Path of War all provide ways in which to get games that vary drastically from the assumptions of the Core Rulebook.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Man vs. Environment doesn't work so well. The spells in CRB pretty much make most of those too easy.

As mentioned, all major BBEGs need to be casters. Nothing else is as scary.

Because skill ranks are tied to levels, it is nearly impossible to tell a story that is about adapting to a situation. Things like Marco Polo learning new languages (but why learn a language when you can just cast something like Share Language), or someone learning to handle a ship (sorry, swab, you need to gain a level to get that profession skill), or even someone learning to swim (what, why not Monkeyfish?) as part of a plan.

The other problem is that Pathfinder magic is way too broad. You don't have any sort of prerequisites to spell learning. The fighter has feat prerequisite trees, but the wizard can just pick and choose their spells without having to learn any prerequisites. Never cast a single illusion but want to pick up Greater Invisibility? Sure, no problem. Put these squiggles in your spell book when you level, still can't cast the simpler Invisibility spell (don't have the proper squiggles) but you can cast the better version.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Pan wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:
Or my preferred tactic- start players at low level and then just don't hand out treasure like candy. Wealth by level is a suggestion, not a requirement.
All that does is screw martials even more.

Has never once been an issue in my games. "Caster/martial disparity" is a big bad message board boogey man, that if you listen to these boards ensures that no one has ever or could ever enjoy this game. But it has never caused a problem in any game I've played in or ran.


I absolutely love Pathfinder. Its one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Whether it be an adventure path or a homebrew campaign pathfinder is everything I enjoyed from 3.5 and more. The consistent influx of new content and frequent updates with erratas keeps me interested and always excited for what's coming next. Even the lore of Galorian is wonderful in my opinion. Yeah the game has its flaws, but I've never had any issues with anything the forum community likes to call "broken" or "busted" but then again the people I play with aren't "the games only fun if im over powered, min/maxing douche bags" We just like the amount of creativity we have with the plethora of options paizo gives us and continues to make for us. Pathfinder is great and I hope paizo continues to give us new and exciting content.

Sovereign Court

Nathanael Love wrote:
Pan wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:
Or my preferred tactic- start players at low level and then just don't hand out treasure like candy. Wealth by level is a suggestion, not a requirement.
All that does is screw martials even more.
Has never once been an issue in my games. "Caster/martial disparity" is a big bad message board boogey man, that if you listen to these boards ensures that no one has ever or could ever enjoy this game. But it has never caused a problem in any game I've played in or ran.

I do think the caster-martial disparity thing is overblown, but I certainly am not arrogant enough to say because I can work around it so can everyone else. I get the feeling the folks who think LFQW a "boogey man" dont often play high level 3E/PF. Its pretty much the reason my games end around level 12-14.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Video games are a bit different because the entire environment is controlled by the software engine - there's no GM to get the character out of a hole in the rendered universe that leaves him stuck, forcing you to abandon the game. Pushing at the boundaries in a role playing game play test doesn't carry quite the same practical level of necessity.

Obviously there are differences, but I still think there's value in having at least some testers pushing the game to the limit and doing everything they can to try and break it. After all, a pretty decent-sized chunk of the playerbase looks through every new rulebook trying to find the strongest options so they can make the most optimal characters.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:

I would point out - there should be decent balance at both low & high optimization. While you want balance at high system mastery, you don't want the balance to be horrible when a group is new to the system either. Especially hard when you want every option to be valid to be both.

The usual rule is to have a simple option or three to be easier to build/play, but not quite as good as the more difficult options at high system mastery, such as the classic COD 'Noob Tube' - which lets noobs get lucky shots on veterans, but is generally an inferior option for said veterans to use themselves.

It's more difficult to do that in a role-playing game. You don't want to tell new players 'Hey - that cool character you wanted to play - you can't do that yet. Start with this fighter - you'll have to wait until next campaign to be an arcane caster.' In part - it's just because of the time commitment involved in each character.

There's definitely merit in making sure the game still works at low optimization levels, certainly. The problem is when that's the only type of testing they do. That's sort of like testing a car's safety by only driving it up to 35 miles/hour.

To be honest though, I think one of Pathfinder's flaws is that the system mastery gap can get so wide in the first place. While I've had a few run-ins with the martial/caster disparity in games I've played in/run, I had far more problems stemming from the System Mastery Disparity between players.

Sovereign Court

Chengar Qordath wrote:
There's definitely merit in making sure the game still works at low optimization levels, certainly. The problem is when that's the only type of testing they do. That's sort of like testing a car's safety by only driving it up to 35 miles/hour.

I'm with you. I think testing should be done at all skill levels. Just pointing out that unlike a video game - you can't balance JUST at the high levels and figure that the noobs won't play the high skill options.

Chengar Qordath wrote:
To be honest though, I think one of Pathfinder's flaws is that the system mastery gap can get so wide in the first place. While I've had a few run-ins with the martial/caster disparity in games I've played in/run, I had far more problems stemming from the System Mastery Disparity between players.

I've gotta mostly disagree there. System mastery should give you a significant power boost - pouring over books etc should be a benefit. Plus - as a business matter - it's one of the reasons people keep buying supplements.

Though there shouldn't be as many 'trap' options. Not that the bulk of them are entirely bad, they were just designed for niche builds and are bad for most others. That should be made more obvious.

Frankly - all of the consistent groups I've played with - those with system mastery are more than happy to give build tips, and those who don't want to bother learning themselves will take suggestions. It makes it so that everyone is at least in the same ballpark. I'd guess that's more common than not. (Anecdotal - and I'm sure there are groups where it doesn't work well.)


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I don't see much negativity. I see a lot of passion, but that's what you would expect in a popular game. It's time we got over this idea that people don't like the system - there are plenty of other sytems out there, if they didn't like this one they would be playing another one and not commenting on this one. The fact that they are commenting on this one means they like it. Sure there are things that might improve it, and disagreement as to what that is, and some people read this as a criticism of the existing system; but in truth, nobody tries to improve something they think is a dead loss, only those things they think are worth improving.


A disparity between player skill will always be factor. What is probably rubbing people the wrong way is how permanent build choices effect that gap. Build skill seems to trump playing skillfully.


Rhedyn wrote:
A disparity between player skill will always be factor. What is probably rubbing people the wrong way is how permanent build choices effect that gap. Build skill seems to trump playing skillfully.

I don't know playing skillfully won't make a bad build good but it can make it better. And even the best build won't make bad play good just less punishing.

I mean the best Wizard build ever still won't make it a good idea to run into combat with a plain old dagger. And the best player is still going to have trouble making a wizard with 8 Int a good character(excluding archtypes that switch casting skill).

Personally I think that's a good place for a game to be, where both play and build are worthwhile factors to character quality.


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gavmania wrote:
I don't see much negativity. I see a lot of passion, but that's what you would expect in a popular game. It's time we got over this idea that people don't like the system - there are plenty of other sytems out there, if they didn't like this one they would be playing another one and not commenting on this one. The fact that they are commenting on this one means they like it. Sure there are things that might improve it, and disagreement as to what that is, and some people read this as a criticism of the existing system; but in truth, nobody tries to improve something they think is a dead loss, only those things they think are worth improving.

Some people have outright said that they don't play Pathfinder anymore, though, or only do so because the people they roleplay with don't want to swap to another system...

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