Things Pathfinder does better than 5th ed


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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So I started a new campaign in 5th ed on Saturday. I'm running a mash up of dungeon magazine's Raiders of Galaths Roost, Doom of Daggerdale, the Randal Morn trilogy, Shadowdale: Scouring of the land and The ruins of Myth Drannor.

Firstly, converting the adventures is ridiculously easy. I just pick similar monsters and usually just add one or two abilities to represent it. For instance to convert a krenshar I just took a wolf and added the fear spell with one target.

The party seemed naturally to fall into a very balanced group with lots of options. A human fey warlock, an elf arcane cleric, a dwarf fighter (who's also a master mason), and a halfling folk hero rogue. The backgrounds add massive customisation and flavour that then creates lots of new role play ideas to bounce off along with a simple mechanic for rewarding that.

The combats seem balanced, even in an adventure not designed for this system. Healing seems simple, with the cleric bringing people back to their feet as a bonus action. The fighter kicks ass, the warlock is very flavourful, and the rogue gets stuff done! Setting DCs is a breeze. In short as a DM I feel totally liberated.

This is the third campaign I'm running (Curse of Strahd, and a few introductory sessions to pick up the rules before this) but this is the first time I'm converting other formats into 5th and filling the gaps.

Now I've played Pathfinder exclusively since it came out and I'm. Now struggling to work out what Pathfinder does better? This isn't an invitation to start edition wars. I've played pathfinder for a looooong time. I'm just genuinely interested in what its virtues are.

At first I though it was being able to better come up with character concepts but if I'm honest the mix of classes, archetypes, and backgrounds + the unearthed arcana releases mean I'm able to make pretty much whatever I want, without multiclassing in most cases.

So what am I missing here? Help me out? I'm always going to buy Paizo because I love the minis, and adventure paths etc but why would i keep them in the pathfinder rules system?


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Some players prefer the Pathfinder system, that is about all there really is to it.


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"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”


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Customization. In Pathfinder, I can represent a broader range of character concepts with greater specificity. Ran into it this week- I have a character I came up with outside either system who controls people with a handshake. In Pathfinder, that's an Enchanter Wizard going into the Charming Courtesan PrC (getting charming handshakes from first and secret charming handshakes from 7th). In 5e, he's just an Enchanter Wizard (no handshakes, charming from 1st, secret charming from 14th).

That's partly a result of the amount of options available due to the time the systems have been out, and partly a result of the lack of a feat progression and rolling traits and skill assignment up into backgrounds.


Or just play a sorcerer and use the subtle spell ability which you can then do from 3rd level instead of having to take 5 levels and go into a prestige class?

It feels that most ideas can be done in both systems and done sooner in 5th ed. and just using one class.

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+1 QuidEst.

3.x/Pathfinder has a lot of options, which makes it very fun to theorycraft and brew builds that can accomplish some very impressive stuff.
It has higher rewards for system mastery, and can inspire top-down characters (when I read the Dirty Trick Master feat, I thought "Whoa, this is awesome! I'd love to make my next character use it, now what class/feats/items will let me do it best...").

I love 5e as well, but I mostly make characters bottom-up from it, focusing on a concept, then the mechanics fall into place.


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If you come on to the Pathfinder website and start a thread about how you can't think of a single thing Pathfinder does better than 5th edition, and then you say "this isn't an invitation to start edition wars", I believe there could be an issue somewhere . . .


Jhaeman wrote:
If you come on to the Pathfinder website and start a thread about how you can't think of a single thing Pathfinder does better than 5th edition, and then you say "this isn't an invitation to start edition wars", I believe there could be an issue somewhere . . .

Well it's the 5th edition section and I think the discussion regarding 3.5 has been handled fairly maturely. Surely the principal is the same? I was inviting responses because I assumed I was missing something obvious.

I buy Paizo products and have 90% of the books Paizo release. I'm just struggling to come up with reasons not to convert. The one I had - that many builds aren't possible in 5th - doesn't seem to apply as I thought it did.

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I think it comes down to number of viable options. When I look at making a character for 5e, and let's say a guy who is in the front and fights with an axe and a shield, I start to feel like there are really only 2 or 3 ways to do that effectively in 5e. Pretty much every axe+shield character looks very same-y, at least mechanically. In pathfinder I can make that character with a third of the classes out there, many of which have an archetype or two that support the idea, and that's before feats and magical gear selection.

Basically, character sheet for "Dwarf fighter with weapon and shield" is going to be pretty universal in 5e, but in PF there are enough extra fiddly-bits to make them all at least a little different.

A bit of a tangent, but it's a bit similar to what has happened in World of Warcraft over the years. They've slowly stripped away all of the odd, gimmicky, and mostly useless abilities from the classes, and only kept combat abilities. So every class functions very smoothly, but there has been some loss of that unique spark for each class that actually made them different. Yeah dampen magic wasn't really that good of a buff/debuff, but it was a fun and quirky tool to have that made you, as a mage, feel more in control of magic.

Basically, efficiency of play for the loss of weird quirky bits.


When I first picked up the 5e begginer box, the main thing I noticed that I didn't like was... the difficulty, actually. Whena full health fighter gets one-shotted well into the negatives by a bugbear, (not with a critcal hit or a very high damage roll, just an average one), or when a party of second level characters has to run away from a few orcs in a random encounter, something is very wrong. These arbitrary rules are not only OP, but also don't make sense. Bugbears get an extra damage die because... they're really mean??? 5e is supposed to be new-player friendly, but it seems very brutal. Honestly, someone who is going to be playing a game like D&D is almost certainly going to be able to handle quite a complex rules system and not require as much simplification as 5e.
That said, I do like 5e a lot, and I do think it's the best edition of dungeons and dragons.


The Sword wrote:

Or just play a sorcerer and use the subtle spell ability which you can then do from 3rd level instead of having to take 5 levels and go into a prestige class?

It feels that most ideas can be done in both systems and done sooner in 5th ed. and just using one class.

Ah, missed that. Thanks! I'll go take a look at that. I don't think it gets around the fact that Charm Person says the target knows they were charmed afterward, though? The secret casting can be done from first or third level with feats in Pathfinder, though- I went with the PrC because it actually allows handshake-delivered enchantments specifically. One of the things I enjoy about Pathfinder is being able to represent an idea with such specificity.

My example was probably a poor choice, though.

Pathfinder has good pet class options. There's nothing like an eidolon, a phantom, or a swarm familiar in 5e yet. The 5e feats lack the cool character-inspiring factor of things like "invite a spirit to possess your hand".

Dark Archive

Side tangent where is the swarm companion?


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brad2411 wrote:
Side tangent where is the swarm companion?

Blood of Beasts, Swarm Monger. It's a regular familiar that can transform into a swarm, but it's really cool. Definitely my go-to Druid archetype now.


Captain collateral damage wrote:

When I first picked up the 5e begginer box, the main thing I noticed that I didn't like was... the difficulty, actually. Whena full health fighter gets one-shotted well into the negatives by a bugbear, (not with a critcal hit or a very high damage roll, just an average one), or when a party of second level characters has to run away from a few orcs in a random encounter, something is very wrong. These arbitrary rules are not only OP, but also don't make sense. Bugbears get an extra damage die because... they're really mean??? 5e is supposed to be new-player friendly, but it seems very brutal. Honestly, someone who is going to be playing a game like D&D is almost certainly going to be able to handle quite a complex rules system and not require as much simplification as 5e.

That said, I do like 5e a lot, and I do think it's the best edition of dungeons and dragons.

I guess the rational for increased damage is that they are particularly brutish and strong beyond there size would suggest. Potentially the designers didn't want it to be better at hitting just dealing damage. They are nasty.

However don't forget there are no negative hps any more. Our dwarf was taken down by a critical hit from an ogre. The cleric used healing word as a bonus action (leaving him free to use his bow) and the dwarf then used second wind on her turn to get pretty much all her Hp back. So in one regard the cost of that lucky enemy hit isn't so great. Whereas in pathfinder that unlucky crit can take you out of the game -14 reroll a new character time.


Riuken wrote:

I think it comes down to number of viable options. When I look at making a character for 5e, and let's say a guy who is in the front and fights with an axe and a shield, I start to feel like there are really only 2 or 3 ways to do that effectively in 5e. Pretty much every axe+shield character looks very same-y, at least mechanically. In pathfinder I can make that character with a third of the classes out there, many of which have an archetype or two that support the idea, and that's before feats and magical gear selection.

Basically, character sheet for "Dwarf fighter with weapon and shield" is going to be pretty universal in 5e, but in PF there are enough extra fiddly-bits to make them all at least a little different.

A bit of a tangent, but it's a bit similar to what has happened in World of Warcraft over the years. They've slowly stripped away all of the odd, gimmicky, and mostly useless abilities from the classes, and only kept combat abilities. So every class functions very smoothly, but there has been some loss of that unique spark for each class that actually made them different. Yeah dampen magic wasn't really that good of a buff/debuff, but it was a fun and quirky tool to have that made you, as a mage, feel more in control of magic.

Basically, efficiency of play for the loss of weird quirky bits.

I think this is the biggest difference/advantage that I can see so far. That the choices are materially different. I guess that feeling of sameness kicks in when you're playing your 2nd or 3rd dwarf shield fighter. For long term players with favoured styles that could certainly start to grate on your nerves after a while. I wonder how many of those gimmicky feats/traits are used though or whether everyone just takes the same old five shield feats and then tinkers around the edges.


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Captain collateral damage wrote:

When I first picked up the 5e begginer box, the main thing I noticed that I didn't like was... the difficulty, actually. Whena full health fighter gets one-shotted well into the negatives by a bugbear, (not with a critcal hit or a very high damage roll, just an average one), or when a party of second level characters has to run away from a few orcs in a random encounter, something is very wrong. These arbitrary rules are not only OP, but also don't make sense. Bugbears get an extra damage die because... they're really mean??? 5e is supposed to be new-player friendly, but it seems very brutal. Honestly, someone who is going to be playing a game like D&D is almost certainly going to be able to handle quite a complex rules system and not require as much simplification as 5e.

That said, I do like 5e a lot, and I do think it's the best edition of dungeons and dragons.

Gee, I think Pathfinder does a better D&D than any D&D edition.


Pathfinder is better at:
Customization at low levels.
Abilities that encompass a number of moderate utilities instead of one strong trait.
Building monsters to CR.
Tolerating multiple sources of bonuses without blowing up the expected math.
Mythic. Mostly because 5e doesn't offer anything similar.
Modifying core class abilities with archetypes.
Monster templates.
Multiclassing. 3.5 and Star Wars d20 better still, but yes.
Trap encounter design.

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I like skills better in PF (though I think skills are the worst part of 5E) BA lowers the ceiling, but it also lowers the difference between a novice and a master. While the simplicity of BA is usually a win, its no good for skills.

Leveling isnt terribly exciting in 5E. I like bigger feats in concept but fewer of them leads to fewer choices. I agree upthread when folks say you can make any general concept in 5E, but it lacks the ability to specialize that PF has. Many see PF/3.5 multiclassing front loaded classes as a bug but for me its a big feature. 5E isnt very inspiring here but ill admit im not very experienced with it yet.

Im playing in a game right now as a sorc wild mage. I tried to do some control/debuff casting, but the battles end so quickly its pointless. It seems like your best bet is to just lay down the damage. As we level I want more than a new spell but thats what I get. BA is beautiful for simplifying mechanics in comparison to PF (which becomes a nightmare at high levels) and makes for better worldbuilding. Though if you want the zero to hero to God experience PF does it better.

I still have some ways to go before I make a final verdict on 5E, but as of now, 5E is the game I want to run, but PF is the game I want to play.


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I think the multiple-ways-to-explore-similar-characters is the most significant advantage PF has. Our group has nearly played half a dozen campaigns in 5E and already the players who like optimising are finding they've "run out" of interesting character options to try. There aren't that many significantly different ways of building an excellent great weapon fighter (for example).

I also think the skill system is more rigorously defined and spelled out. With more tables and less DM assigned DCs. (The 5E designers even said at one point they didn't want to provide explicit rules for the myriad stealth/perception situations but rather wanted tools the DM could use).

More broadly - 5E relies more on DM-determined-mechanics and less on DM-as-arbiter-of-objective-rules. I think that's a matter of aesthetics, but for those who like understanding how the challenges their PC comes up against will be resolved, I think 5E is going to disappoint from time to time.

Volume of adventure material is another - conversion to 5E is easy, but it's not as easy as running an adventure written for 5E.

High-powered campaigns are modelled better by Pathfinder, I think. Given Bounded Accuracy, it's very hard in 5E to create a character who can effortlessly and unfailingly defeat any mundane lock in the world. Or a combatant who can literally wade through armies unscathed. There's a common assumption that xth level PF = xth level 5E character, however I think the 3-20 level range in 5E is more akin to the 1-12 level range in Pathfinder (with a few corner case exceptions).

Another difference that will come down to aesthetics is the simulationist vs gamist approach. PF makes more of an effort to be a simulation (witness the trading/crafting rules for an obvious example, but the downtime activities in general are rife with this).


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If you want extreme granularity, more specific (intended) roles, higher specialization, and an unmatched volume of content then Pathfinder is better. Some people also prefer much swingy-er mechanics, which is also a feature in Pathfinder/3.5.

Steve Geddes wrote:
High-powered campaigns are modelled better by Pathfinder, I think. Given Bounded Accuracy, it's very hard in 5E to create a character who can effortlessly and unfailingly defeat any mundane lock in the world. Or a combatant who can literally wade through armies unscathed. There's a common assumption that xth level PF = xth level 5E character, however I think the 3-20 level range in 5E is more akin to the 1-12 level range in Pathfinder (with a few corner case exceptions).

I feel it is the opposite, bounded accuracy only limits your ability to overcome the most legendary of challenges in the 25-30 DC range while in Pathfinder they are still trivial - but at the same time the huge range of modifiers means that the majority of your skills/abilities are far behind achieving even a basic functionality.

A rogue can pick a lock created by a deity in the mid teens (with a +13ish modifier and ignoring any roll less than 9), while a fighter that grew up on the streets would reasonably have a +6 and be able to take his time to overcome even fine locks. In Pathfinder the statement about the Rogue is still true, but the Fighter could either only pick a lock or have no shot whatsoever to pick the lock without some very strategic character massaging.

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RJGrady wrote:

Pathfinder is better at:

Customization at low levels.
Abilities that encompass a number of moderate utilities instead of one strong trait.
Building monsters to CR.
Tolerating multiple sources of bonuses without blowing up the expected math.
Mythic. Mostly because 5e doesn't offer anything similar.
Modifying core class abilities with archetypes.
Monster templates.
Multiclassing. 3.5 and Star Wars d20 better still, but yes.
Trap encounter design.

I agree with you on all but the mythic. Pathfinder's mythic game is kind of weak, and there are threads going into all that in detail. I like the concept though, and I think that the 3pp take on it might have fixes, but it's kind of crazy to have to figure out how to buy books from several publishers to make it work (though not impossible or even hard).

That said, and speaking to the larger issue, I think it's an apples and oranges situation. D&D works in its current paradigm as does Pathfinder, so the differences speak to the variations in the system makeup for the respective game, and what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.

But also to add to the discussion at hand, I think that Pathfinder does a good job of setting up boss style encounters (and encounters in general). Really, given that the end game of every AP is to have a great boss encounter, it is done with much more finesse than the D&D APs have demonstrated so far.

However, although watching a bunch of demon lords beat the crap out of each other and taking out the loser is not good encounter design per se, it is very fun. Getting breath weaponed every other action by a goddess though, not so much.


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Hard to compare. Pathfinder has been out much longer and has way more content. It might be better to compare Pathfinder back when it was just the CRB, MM, and maybe the APG to today's D&D.


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hiiamtom wrote:

If you want extreme granularity, more specific (intended) roles, higher specialization, and an unmatched volume of content then Pathfinder is better. Some people also prefer much swingy-er mechanics, which is also a feature in Pathfinder/3.5.

Steve Geddes wrote:
High-powered campaigns are modelled better by Pathfinder, I think. Given Bounded Accuracy, it's very hard in 5E to create a character who can effortlessly and unfailingly defeat any mundane lock in the world. Or a combatant who can literally wade through armies unscathed. There's a common assumption that xth level PF = xth level 5E character, however I think the 3-20 level range in 5E is more akin to the 1-12 level range in Pathfinder (with a few corner case exceptions).

I feel it is the opposite, bounded accuracy only limits your ability to overcome the most legendary of challenges in the 25-30 DC range while in Pathfinder they are still trivial - but at the same time the huge range of modifiers means that the majority of your skills/abilities are far behind achieving even a basic functionality.

A rogue can pick a lock created by a deity in the mid teens (with a +13ish modifier and ignoring any roll less than 9), while a fighter that grew up on the streets would reasonably have a +6 and be able to take his time to overcome even fine locks. In Pathfinder the statement about the Rogue is still true, but the Fighter could either only pick a lock or have no shot whatsoever to pick the lock without some very strategic character massaging.

I agree with that but I'd characterise it differently than power. I think this is due to the fact that 5E significantly reduces the value of specialisation (and correspondingly increases the utility of a generalist approach) compared to PF.

The 5E rogue never gets to the "I can open any lock with no chance of failure" level, whereas the PF rogue can. That's what I meant by power. It's more obvious in combat though - a horde of commoners can trouble a twentieth level fighter in 5E but not in PF.


Interesting stuff. Regarding high level campaings, this is where Pathfinder seems to break down the most for me. The sheer quantity of maths and modifiers and the complexity of enemy stat blocks/combats makes the game more hassle than it's worth at levels 15+.

Bounded accuracy has its disadvantages regarding heroics but it certainly maintains the the ability to present credible threats past level 10.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I agree with that but I'd characterise it differently than power. I think this is due to the fact that 5E significantly reduces the value of specialisation (and correspondingly increases the utility of a generalist approach) compared to PF.

The 5E rogue never gets to the "I can open any lock with no chance of failure" level, whereas the PF rogue can. That's what I meant by power. It's more obvious in combat though - a horde of commoners can trouble a twentieth level fighter in...

Rogue is probably a bad example, because by mid teens a rogue picking a lock rolls between a 22 and a 33. They literally have no trouble whatsoever with picking locks since a DC of 25 is considered in the realm of the finest locks across all planes of existence.

The AC example is much more accurate, where 100 commoners versus 1 champion is rough on the champion. If you use the suggestions in the DMG the fighter can slaughter the narrative horde though. Using mob rules AC 22 requires 20 commoners to lay a finger on the champion, and mid teens a champion probably has that even with a greatsword. Meanwhile it requires critical hits to land a normal blow in Pathfinder. Now if it was a character built for hordes it's incredibly one-sided.

The funny thing is the 5e example probably ends the fight sooner, but with a badly wounded fighter; while the Pathfinder example is much longer with a much less injured fighter. There's also less ability for a nonmagical player to damage many units at once because there is a lack of optional rules to handle mobs of that size.

It's also why I mentioned swingy-ness, because damage absolutely outpaces HP in Pathfinder and there are a lot of ways to end fights beyond worrying about HP. So while 100 commoners isn't a big threat, appropriate creatures can be instantly deadly easily and characters can mow through them with relative ease depending on the initiative roll. Now that is absolutely not true in 5e where fights get really long at high levels and 1 on 1 encounters are easier to design. At that point it's really just personal preference.

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The Sword wrote:

Interesting stuff. Regarding high level campaings, this is where Pathfinder seems to break down the most for me. The sheer quantity of maths and modifiers and the complexity of enemy stat blocks/combats makes the game more hassle than it's worth at levels 15+.

Bounded accuracy has its disadvantages regarding heroics but it certainly maintains the the ability to present credible threats past level 10.

That's kind of the whole agenda of 5e, is to extend the length of play in which the game is not either a cakewalk or a dire fight of epic proportions. Fights matter, and more importantly, they go by VERY quickly at least from levels 1-10 that I've experienced.


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hiiamtom wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I agree with that but I'd characterise it differently than power. I think this is due to the fact that 5E significantly reduces the value of specialisation (and correspondingly increases the utility of a generalist approach) compared to PF.

The 5E rogue never gets to the "I can open any lock with no chance of failure" level, whereas the PF rogue can. That's what I meant by power. It's more obvious in combat though - a horde of commoners can trouble a twentieth level fighter in...

Rogue is probably a bad example, because by mid teens a rogue picking a lock rolls between a 22 and a 33. They literally have no trouble whatsoever with picking locks since a DC of 25 is considered in the realm of the finest locks across all planes of existence.

I take your point that the skills are not as good an illustration as combat - however note that 22-33 is going to fail 25% of the time against a DC25 challenge (and DC30 is the highest the DMG contemplates, which I would argue is a better fit for "the finest lock across all planes of existence" - the midteen rogue is going to fail that one 66% of the time).

It seems to me that, given enough investment in your specialty, PF allows you to basically have a set of skills which are "autosuccesses" in nearly every instance. That allows the kind of high-power I'm envisioning (the stealthy ninja who appears in the king's bedroom, the thief who can escape from any jail, the strongman who can wrestle giants, etcetera...) those kind of tropes are modelled less effectively by 5E, in my opinion.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
hiiamtom wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I agree with that but I'd characterise it differently than power. I think this is due to the fact that 5E significantly reduces the value of specialisation (and correspondingly increases the utility of a generalist approach) compared to PF.

The 5E rogue never gets to the "I can open any lock with no chance of failure" level, whereas the PF rogue can. That's what I meant by power. It's more obvious in combat though - a horde of commoners can trouble a twentieth level fighter in...

Rogue is probably a bad example, because by mid teens a rogue picking a lock rolls between a 22 and a 33. They literally have no trouble whatsoever with picking locks since a DC of 25 is considered in the realm of the finest locks across all planes of existence.

I take your point that the skills are not as good an illustration as combat - however note that 22-33 is going to fail 25% of the time against a DC25 challenge (and DC30 is the highest the DMG contemplates, which I would argue is a better fit for "the finest lock across all planes of existence" - the midteen rogue is going to fail that one 66% of the time).

It seems to me that, given enough investment in your specialty, PF allows you to basically have a set of skills which are "autosuccesses" in nearly every instance. That allows the kind of high-power I'm envisioning (the stealthy ninja who appears in the king's bedroom, the thief who can escape from any jail, the strongman who can wrestle giants, etcetera...) those kind of tropes are modelled less effectively by 5E, in my opinion.

I agree with your reasoning about what can be accomplished with Pathfinder skills and auto success. I'm just not sure it's a virtue of the game. I can't see how it's a benefit to be able to create auto success. In any other game - monopoly, chess, tennis, wargaming - that would be really really dull. Surely it is the responsibility of the DM to put appropriate challenges - in this case pink-panther-esq lockpicking opportunities to suitably test the most skilled Rogue. That's seems to be a lot harder to do in Pathfinder where good might be +10 in a skill or it might also be +25 at the same level depending on the build.

I totally take your point Steve that legendary heroes aren't modeled well in 5th and that could shut a whole genre of the game down. Unlike Pathfinder that lets you model a wide range of power styles.


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The virtues or otherwise of including a story with auto-win situations is purely aesthetic. I can imagine running a game where stealth is a non-challenge (for example) but where other situations provide the challenge - even whilst the sneaky party creeps into an emperor's bedchambers or even a deity's realm with no chance of failure.

I think if you want to tell the truly epic, high powered, almost godlike stories that I alluded to:

"...the stealthy ninja who appears in the king's bedroom, the thief who can escape from any jail, the strongman who can wrestle giants, etcetera..."

you'll find PF better suited (in my opinion anyhow).

EDIT: I made that post before your edit. It's perhaps somewhat redundant now, but I'll leave it there anyhow. :p


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Variety.


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Oh I thought of another advantage (or perhaps another way of describing the same advantage).

Many players really enjoy the character building side of the game. I have a couple who just love delving through obscure splatbooks for options which will give them incremental boosts in some areas with trade-offs in others.

I think that in itself is a benefit for some, even if the outcomes were identical in play. For many the journey is as important as the destination.


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The Sword wrote:
So what am I missing here? Help me out? I'm always going to buy Paizo because I love the minis, and adventure paths etc but why would i keep them in the pathfinder rules system?

Pretty much my question too, and I'm not finding any significantly good answers either.

As far as MOAR options go......ah well I guess on the surface we can see the 1000+ feats and say "look at all the customization" until you go to build a character and realize that 90% of the feats are the same ones picked all the time.

Variety is in the eye of the beholder IMO. A LOT of what can be construed as variety could simply be just good ol' role-playing instead of having a mechanical representation of EVERY thing under the sun.

then there's the difference in Skills, points to which I feel are overly complicated for no actual effect.

But what do I know, I'm a self-professed lover of 4th edition.

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Pathfinder really rewards rule mastery.

5th Edition is very elegant and quick to learn and play.


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It is my opinion that Pathfinder doesn't do anything "better" than 5th edition, or even classic Traveler, or Tunnels and Trolls for that matter.

Just because you like it more, doesn't make it "better"

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Dustin Ashe wrote:
Hard to compare. Pathfinder has been out much longer and has way more content. It might be better to compare Pathfinder back when it was just the CRB, MM, and maybe the APG to today's D&D.

Well, 5e has been out for 2.5 years at this point, so the fair comparison would be to Pathfinder after 2.5 years - so include the APG, UM, UC, and Bestiary 2 and 3.

Which touches on my point - Pathfinder is much better about having a good release schedule. Have there even been any 5e rules (not adventures) released since the core 3? All I see on the shelf at stores are campaigns. Oh, and the new Volo book, which is FR specific I guess?

Also a big downside for me is WotC dropping Gen Con. I know there are third party events being run, but it saddens me that all the seminars/previews/releases for D&D that used to happen are no more. It seems like a big step into obscurity for the company, while Paizo has basically picked up that mantle. To me, that's a big plus in the Pathfinder column.

Please don't take this as a slam on 5e in general - I'm actually very interested in trying the system, just haven't had a willing group yet.

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Customer service. Release schedules and options. Community focused outreach to players. Breadth and depth of options for players and GMs. Organized play.

I play 5e and Pathfinder. I like 5e, but it feels much more like a basic version of D&D than a full fledged game in itself. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do think long-term I would prefer a more hearty options system, such as that within Pathfinder. PF scratches my itch for rules and options. If I can imagine it, I can play it. If I cannot, given Paizo's impressive release schedule, I will be able to in a year or less.


Terquem wrote:

It is my opinion that Pathfinder doesn't do anything "better" than 5th edition, or even classic Traveler, or Tunnels and Trolls for that matter.

Just because you like it more, doesn't make it "better"

Seems like the only criteria that matters honestly. It's all subjective.

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In 5e I find that I make all of my meaningful character design choices at level 1. In Pathfinder I find that I make a meaningful choice at most levels.


ryric wrote:


Well, 5e has been out for 2.5 years at this point, so the fair comparison would be to Pathfinder after 2.5 years - so include the APG, UM, UC, and Bestiary 2 and 3.

Which touches on my point - Pathfinder is much better about having a good release schedule. Have there even been any 5e rules (not adventures) released since the core 3? All I see on the shelf at stores are campaigns. Oh, and the new Volo book, which is FR specific I guess?

Also a big downside for me is WotC dropping Gen Con. I know there are third party events being run, but it saddens me that all the seminars/previews/releases for D&D that used to happen are no more. It seems like a big step into obscurity for the company, while Paizo has basically picked up that mantle. To me, that's a big plus in the Pathfinder column.

Please don't take this as a slam on 5e in general - I'm actually very interested in trying the system, just haven't had a willing group yet.

There's also the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, which contains a bunch of new subclasses (Mastermind and Swashbuckler Rogue, Bladesinger Wizard, Undying Warlock Patron, Storm Sorcerer, Purple Dragon Knight Fighter, Oath of the Crown Paladin, Long Death and Sun Soul Monk) and several new cantrips. It also has a bunch of backgrounds, though most of them don't really add much that wasn't already covered in the PHB. Of course, only a quarter of the book is crunch. The rest is a setting guide.

Volo's Guide to Monsters isn't FR-only. The fluff is, but the new monsters can be used in any setting.

The Princes of Apocalypse AP has a bunch of new spells and races (which were also released as a free PDF.)

As far as the release schedule, the D&D team at Hasbro is much, much smaller than Paizo. Hasbro is doing just enough with the RPG to keep the brand alive.

Personally, it doesn't bother me. When I was younger I bought every splat book and devoured them, but now I just don't have the free time/money to do so, so 5E's release schedule fits my needs better. For me, trying to stay on top of the latest Pathfinder rules started feeling more like work and less like fun.

I will say I do find WotC's abandonment of GenCon rather disappointing.


GreySector wrote:
In 5e I find that I make all of my meaningful character design choices at level 1. In Pathfinder I find that I make a meaningful choice at most levels.

My experience with both PF and 5E is that with PF you need to find out what level the campaign is likely to end at and then build your ways backwards from that, so you don't inadvertently gimp yourself by making the wrong choices as you level up.

With 5E I may have a general idea with where I want a character to go, but if I change my mind because of the events of the campaign pushing me in a different direction, I can still have a viable character. Maybe that character would have been a little more powerful if I had slavishly stuck to a build plan, but unless I make some really unusual choices (like multi-classing into a bunch of incompatible classes) I'm still able to contribute and have fun.

I'm not saying either way is better or worse. I know plenty of people who find a lot of fun in putting all the fiddly little pieces together to make the whole (I used to be that way before I started a family) while others like just slapping a few tweaks on a pre-made chassis and letting it run.


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ryric wrote:
Pathfinder is much better about having a good release schedule.

That's a feature of 5e, not a bug. I can certainly see why some people don't like their slower release schedule, but I love it.

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Pathfinder has excellent community outreach to players, but 5e is pretty good about it too. Usually if you tweet questions to the 5e team, they'll respond.


Besides the options in the 3 core books, WotC has released 16 new races, 11 new subraces, 11 new character archetypes, and 47 new spells.

It's slow, but it's not nothing.


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I have only dabbled in 5th ED so I cant truly compare the two but what I dabbled with was enough to convince me not to go further. Why you may ask, well its simple and complicated at the same time. In its base form I do not want to invest time and money learning another new game and system.
The more complex version... After having invested not only time but alot of money over the years I have decided to stay with one system for as long as it is supported and then as long as I can find people to play with. I have edition burn out. I started playing in the 80s and I remember 2nd edition and it was not a big deal, basically a revised edition with corrections and additions. 3.0 changed the rules in a very revolutionary way. At first I resisted 3.0 but later embraced it. While on my tour of duty in Iraq 3.5 hit the shelves. Not a huge deal as this was very similar to the 2nd ed update in my mind but it began to look as if it is a grab for money. Then the (can I erase it from my memory) mistake of 4.0. I did not invest at all. Pathfinder came out but I had sticker shock in the beginning so I did not jump on at first. So what makes Pathfinder better? In the end its just an opinion kind of like asking what color is better, it does not matter its what you like as an individual and what feeds the imagination and most of all, whats fun to play. So I have already invested in Pathfinder several hundred dollars and continue to invest. Even though my FLGS just closed. Amazon is my new store I guess.

In the end the superior system is the system I have already placed as the structure of my gaming. While I may pick up a few base books here of there just to dabble in something else from time to time I will stick with Pathfinder for at least the next decade or as long as it is supported.

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Just because opinions are subjective doesn't mean they are not worth discussing. A good way to do that is to compare them. I was asked what PF does better and I responded. I could come up with just as many things about 5E that are better IMO if asked. One being better at a certain element doesn't make the other crap and thus pointless. YMMV


yeah, I suppose you are right, got to give you that one, now, Milky Way Dark is hands down better than regular Milky Way, right, you can't argue with that, right?


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In my view different systems doing individual things better doesn't mean one is better overall.

It's useful to hear these kinds of opinions because it helps pick the most appropriate system for a given campaign idea.


Dark chocolate is a little too bitter for me, so I prefer regular milky way.


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just regarding the releases, unearthed Arcana gives new options very regularly.

It seems to me that if you have an awkward DM you have some protection under Pathfinder because rules and DCs are specified.

The downside is that the huge number of feats means you can't do a lot of stuff you want to in Pathfinder, because you need a feat to do it. For instance in 5th you tell your DM you want to lash the goblet with your whip and yank it towards you. In Pathfinder you need the improved Whip mastery feat.

That feat has two other feat prerequisites and can't be achieved until some point between 5th and 10th level depending on your class. Indiana jones in Pathfinder would never get to fire his gun because all his time has been spent practicing with the whip. There are quite a few things that people assumed they could do that were then granted when you took a feat.

So do feats give you more options on instead limit them?

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On the flip side, if you tell your GM "imma use my whip to grab the goblet" in 5E, the GM makes some arbitrary DC for you to succeed. That could be anything from a sure thing to no chance based on the ruling of a GM. Now I happen to like rulings over rules philosophy myself, but I know many other folks would rather have defined rules for doing things rather than playing "mother may I" with their GM. Especially, when it comes to organized play where you are changing GMs often.

I agree that sometimes feats can be real limiting and that PF could probably do with a little more bounded accuracy. I don't have a problem with feats making you really good at something, I just dislike it when they are impossible without. Both PF and 5E are terrible about rule of cool though. In PF you need to spend half or better of your players adventuring career just to accomplish the cool, and in 5E I've found its just better to kill the damn thing than try anything cool, which is often a waste of your time otherwise. YMMV.

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