What makes the game pathfinder for you?


Prerelease Discussion


What key features of the game do you think establishes the feel of Pathfinder for you, instead of D&D or any other game?

What do you think PF2 should incorporate to make the game feel like Pathfinder, but better?

Curious what others think as I personally have very little experience with RPGs beyond PF and I'm not sure what would constitute achieving the design goal PF2 has for being True to Pathfinder.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Definitely the modular character customization. One reason why I didn't convert to 5e was that every Fighter played the same. I've always liked Pathfinder's "here's a bunch of options, dig through them and build the character you want" approach. I want a simpler version of that where you don't have to have a billion feats to do one cool thing.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

For me, not knowing other systems too well, I'd say being incredibly customizable with a lot of overlap is something that makes the game Pathfinder. On one side, I can fill a party role with a dozen classes meaning no one class feels mandatory. On the other side, I can make a dozen characters with one of the (IMO) better designed classes and each one will feel different from another, meaning I'm not locked into a specific flavor for a class. Of course these are heavily helped by archetypes. The designers have said these are part of their goals already, which is good for me because I wouldn't think it was Pathfinder without this.


Well D&D (regardless of edition) is about the overall picture (adventures, classes, spells, magic items) that ties all the systems (including Pathfinder) together.

What makes the Pathfinder system (separate from the Golarion lore and setting) Pathfinder is a complex action economy, the CMD/CMB system, the power of casters relative to martials (especially the way casters scale automatically with each level), the granularity of the skill point/rank system, the magic item/crafting system, archetypes/traits, thousands of feats to choose from, feat chains, class specific resource systems (grit, ki, etc), robust multiclassing, and the combat intricacies unique to 3.X/Pathfinder (especially iterative full attacks, five foot steps, and attacks of opportunities that are triggered by a number of different actions).

The above are pretty much what differentiates Pathfinder from the many newer and older D&D alternatives (or non-D&D for that matter).


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Harveyopolis wrote:
Definitely the modular character customization. One reason why I didn't convert to 5e was that every Fighter played the same. I've always liked Pathfinder's "here's a bunch of options, dig through them and build the character you want" approach. I want a simpler version of that where you don't have to have a billion feats to do one cool thing.

I agree with Harveyopolis. I and my gaming group have stuck with Pathfinder due to the vast array of character options. You could have a group of 6 fighters and they could all be thematically and mechanically very different because of archetypes, skills and feats. In Pathfinder, if you can dream up a fun character concept, you can build it. There's a character class and/or archetype for just about any concept you could want to play.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The important aspects for me are.

Customization: The ability to mix and match, pick and choose, focus or go broad to really create a character concept I want is very important to the feel of PF for me. With 4E I didn't feel like I was making constant choices, but rather an early decision between a few paths and then sticking to it. Haven't gotten very far in 5e yet but I wasn't blown away by the customization. So far PF2 looks good in this regard, especially with letting people taking things outside of class, I will wait until we see how multiclassing works before I give it a proper seal of approval.

Base rules with modifications: I love that I spend a lot of time in Pathfinder using the basic rules. It has a solid foundation that abilites etc build upon. In 4e for example I not once referenced the basic rules because you did everything through powers.

Freedom of gameplay: Actually PF1 didn't do this all that well. But I've always wanted it to!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Character customization. A lot of games have that, but Pathfinder has a specific feel that comes from having a combination of archetypes/alternate racial traits, class options, and feats/traits. When somebody wants a particular thing, I can assemble that for them. I can represent my own characters well, and it's always a delight when a new class, feat, or archetype comes out that allows me to have a more accurate representation.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Simulationist kitchen sink fantasy, with the (free, searcheable, gargantuan) d20pfsrd.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Customization is key for me. PF allows for mechanically make a wide range of characters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ill add to the choir on chargen. I like traits and racial feats and always wished they were more relevant throughout a character's adventuring life. Seems like PF2 is going to bring that to life.

I like golarion and the adventure paths. I like some of the new syub-systems like haunts. Im hoping to see this carried over too.

My favorite thing of the 3E/PF system is multi-classing. I dont have high hopes its going to stay awesome based on VMC and some of the blogs. Im trying to remain optimistic though.

Skillz! I like the variety of options and levels of competency. It feels like a wide world of options and gives character to character some uniqueness. Im not sold yet on PF2 system. Im eagerly waiting for more info to drop for PF2.

Scarab Sages

Unbalanced hi DC's in PFS scenario's and the ability to build about any character concept that you can think of. That's the two things that come to mind for me.


1) The gunslinger class (as well as archetypes that use firearms)
2) Archetypes
3) golarian flavor


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Unlike other people, I really enjoy the wealth of options that allow for a truly deep and intricate character system with lots of ways to build exactly the character you have in mind. I know it’s not a popular opinion around here, but it’s something I think has made the game stand out from all others. Except Sinnibar, that game is just better in every way.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

That it was still faithful to 3.5, although I liked the "clean up" they did to.....enliven the core classes. The wealth of options at my disposal, allowing me to create just about any concept I can think of, and that I can build any concept a variety of way's.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The improvement to the base classes character options and archetypes do it for me.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nearly endless customization options, Adventure Paths and the best layout on RPG books I've ever seen.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

d20's are rolled. I'm not very picky in that regard. Everything else, I'm flexible on, provided options are chosen because you're building a system that works at all levels.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
W E Ray wrote:

I play D&D, started in 1981. That's all I've ever played, regardless of the edition. I gradually switched to D&D 2E a couple years after it came out. I gradually switched to 3E a couple years after it came out. I switched to Paizo's D&D pretty much immediately, but that was because the Alpha & Beta playtests for Paizo's D&D3E were needed revisions to the D&D system. ....And now, with Paizo making a new edition of D&D, I'll likely gradually switch in another few years like I did in the early '90s and early '00s.

For me, D&D -- "Pathfinder" only because Paizo can't 'legally' call it D&D -- is the only game worthy, the only one I'm interested in.

....Now, I participated in trying out other things, briefly, from time to time. But never at the exclusion of playing the real game. We played a few games of Traveller on the side back in the 80s. We briefly played Vampire and Star Wars and Rifts and GURPS and Call of Cthulu back in the 90s here and there, in between sessions of our D&D campaigns. [...] But never at the expense of playing Paizo's D&D-Pathfinder.

I play Paizo's edition! REAL D&D!

This more or less echoes my story.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

1) diversity in chargen
2)Golarion
3)APs
4) laughably OP characters that for some reason team up with inept buffoons

I can do without 4, but the others are all I need to feel like I'm still playing Pathfinder


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:

1) diversity in chargen

2)Golarion
3)APs
4) laughably OP characters that for some reason team up with inept buffoons

I can do without 4, but the others are all I need to feel like I'm still playing Pathfinder

Simplest way to nail it down for me as well. The specific mechanics don't matter too much if they get those things right.


Players expecting their characters to find, or otherwise have access to, specific magic items necessary to fulfill the character "build"

That's Pathfinder, to me.


Rules:
Level and class based design.
Lots of options - both choices within class and in general.
Vancian (or semi-vancian casting).
Semi-zero to Demigod power curve.
Magic items (not necessairly the big 6)
3PP support.

Setting:
Golarian
APs

Overall:
Great looking books with style and design.
Wayne Reynolds art isn't required, but it helps.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

For me, "Pathfinder" is a member of the category "D&D" (as are 13th Age and other games). It's the one my group plays most, because of familiarity and adventure support.

What "makes Pathfinder" for me is, on the positive side --

* A recognizably D&D-type rules chassis (race/class/level/roll-for-initiative)
* Art & graphic design -- Wayne Reynolds, the bestiaries, etc.
* Modules/APs with good story and NPCs -- whether we're using an AP as-is or pulling out chunks to plug into homebrew campaigns.
* A brand/company I generally respect and trust.

And, on the negative side --

* The "magic item christmas tree" effect, and mind-numbing optimization shopping trips
* The number of fiddly bits that several of my players have no interest in -- half my group relies on the other half to level up their characters because they don't really care about most of the numbers; they want to pick cool class abilities and feats and not worry about skill points, etc, let alone remember what type of action it is to pick an item up off the floor and whether that provokes AoO.

I could take or leave --
* Golarian (I've run AP chapters in the Forgotten Realms, with some name changes.)

As far as I can tell, Pathfinder 2e looks like it'll keep all the stuff I like, improve on the bits I don't like, and still have me filing serial numbers off published modules when I want to run them in a different setting. So, I'm generally looking forward to seeing the revised rules.

Were it not for a 2e, I'd probably be running my next Paizo-published AP in 5e, once I wrap up the current one: easier for me to incur the headache of converting on the GM side than continue to inflict on my party our pain points of Pathfinder's rules. But I recognize other folks like what I don't, and vice versa.

Lantern Lodge Customer Service Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed a post. The thread is about "What makes the game pathfinder for you?". It is not the place to criticize, insult or to argue with other people about what they feel makes the game "Pathfinder" for them.


1. A system that is designed towards "deeds". This mean spending a hellish amount of time in downtime, doesnt directly change your PC, this is important to me because i find these moments fun, sometimes even funnier than the adventure itself.

A system that is designed towards "scenes" on the other doesnt strike so much with me duo to the whole jumping to important parts only concept. I find this makes bonding with any NPC not story related far too hard an issue and i do like interacting with NPCs.

2. The large amount of options and customization.

Some like to call it bloat, i call it options for those with the time to search them.

The amount of what you can do with PF is amazing, i highly value that. With the jump over to PF 2.0 this is being dropped, which ofc is a huge downside to picking up the new edition to begin with.

3. The concepts that come from 3.5. That was the one RPG i played most before PF, thus the jump to PF instead of 4th edt where they changed it.

Hoping when i play 2.0 i can find enough of 1.0 and 3.5, based on what i have seen thus far it doesnt seem to be the case.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Pathfinder is 3.5e but better (mostly), that's what makes it pathfinder.


Having a majority of well defined classes with clear flavourful identities that are distinct at more levels than just 4e-type combat roles.

Which does kind of cut against the modularisation lots of other people are speaking up in favour of, I know.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Elorebaen wrote:
W E Ray wrote:

I play D&D, started in 1981.

...

I play Paizo's edition! REAL D&D!

This more or less echoes my story.

I'm in the same boat. I started D&D back in 1977, and I played fairly regularly until the early 1990s. About a year and a half ago, I decided to return to D&D and looked at both D&D 5e and Pathfinder, and Pathfinder seemed more like the D&D of old that I was familiar with.

So to the degree that I feel that PF2e breaks that sense of being D&D, I become concerned. At the moment, the only real problem along these lines appears to be resonance, and that looks like a REALLY BIG problem and something that is a radical departure from what is otherwise more of an evolutionary development of D&D/Pathfinder.


Now days...

The differences between different classes, races, and even characters (who may be of the same race and class but are still vastly different).

Hence, a Fighter is going to be VERY effective at hitting things, but not so much at casting magic...

And a Wizard on their own won't be very good at hitting things in melee combat without magic, but be VERY good at casting spells and making themselves do things well with magic.

That type of stuff.


Pathfinder PF Special Edition Subscriber

1) OK, nearly everyone above said that, but: The vast customization possibilities via an incredibly rich set of races, classes, archetypes, feats, spells and magic items. The problem is that it's gotten so big that it becomes unwieldy, especially for newer players. But the ability to play whatever character your imagination can come up with is essential.

2) Rules consistency. This was greatly improved by 3.0/3.5 and PF polished it further. Older editions tended to have a different table for each game mechanism, which was very messy. Even as huge as it's become, PF remains generally clean and coherent.

3) The D&D feel. By this I mean, however much the rules have evolved, a fireball still feels like a big magic freaking ball of fire, feather fall feels like a feather falling, a vampire still feels like Count Strahd von Zarovich, a cleric channeling energy feels like a cleric calling on their god's help, a combat round feels like the combat round of old. That matters a lot to me, because D&D was the game I began with 30 years ago, and PF has been the best way to retain that feel, from 2009 all the way up to the present.

None of the above means that the game can't ever by revised or improved. From what I've seen so far, PF2 is a solid effort, by a strong team, to do exactly that. I wait for the release of the full playtest rules to form a first opinion on how successful that was, and for testing them myself before I offer a judgment.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Let's start with a quote:

Cheiromancer wrote:


"Why do gods, devils, demons - or whatever - meddle in human affairs?"
"I’m sure you’re going to tell me," Eadric said drily.
"They are afraid of us. They seek to limit and control us, Eadric. We threaten them,
because we possess something which they do not: infinite potential."
"To become like them?"
Mostin shook his head. "To utterly transcend them."

In contrast to other systems like 4e and 5e, and more esoteric systems, Pathfinder (and 3.5) offer a clear path for ascending to a point where characters can legitimately challenge the powers of deities.

I feel that this is one of the most important aspects of Pathfinder - there are no explicit limitations on any stat or modifier.

Other important parts:

- A clear distinction between characters: a rogue should be able to open locks noone else is able to crack. A fighter should be able to exploit enemies' weaknesses that a less-well-trained character would be able to exploit. A cleric should similarly be able to demonstrate superior mental fortitude.
- A set of difficult decisions about opportunity cost: Is it worth increasing strength, or would it be better to improve the weapon I'm using. There should be pros and cons to both.
- A well-established, internally consistent world. It should be possible for a player to arbitrarily replace any NPC or monster without requiring any type of modification.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paradozen wrote:
What key features of the game do you think establishes the feel of Pathfinder for you, instead of D&D or any other game?

Classes, Levels, Vancian Magic, and a host of other mechanical quirks.

Actually, the question is a little backwards to me. For continuity sake, I wanted a game that was mechanically similar to older versions of D&D. I did't look at Pathfinder to be something new, but as a compromise between continuity with the past with some support for new adventure material.

Paradozen wrote:
What do you think PF2 should incorporate to make the game feel like Pathfinder, but better?

I have no idea. To me, Pathfinder is D&D and I wasn't really looking for Pathfinder to try to be something different.

I don't begrudge them the opportunity to make a new game system, but if they go too far afield then I won't be able to use the new system in any long-standing games that enjoy lots of continuity. In theory, I could move any game to any system and continue the story, but a game system tends to define characters and those characters tend to lose something in the translation.

Paradozen wrote:
Curious what others think as I personally have very little experience with RPGs beyond PF and I'm not sure what would constitute achieving the design goal PF2 has for being True to Pathfinder.

I've been playing RPGs since 1977 and there are lots of good choices out there, plus you can always make your own system.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I switched to pathfinder 1e because it was more or less faithful to and an improvement on 3.5. 4e was not for me and this gave me a living edition of my favorite game to still play. It wasn’t perfect, but it was faithful and it was ok. What it got wrong could be fixed, mostly.

I have been looking at 5e and each time I think I might try it...there is a good reason why not to. It keeps giving me 4e flashbacks and I truely hated that game.

Another plus is the quality of the books and the APs.

Dark Archive

Sara Marie wrote:
Removed a post. The thread is about "What makes the game pathfinder for you?". It is not the place to criticize, insult or to argue with other people about what they feel makes the game "Pathfinder" for them.

So what I'm getting is that it's perfectly OK for someone to say that WotC's game is worthless and isn't "real D&D", but it's frowned upon to point out the fact that pathfinder is NOT "real D&D", and is in fact it's own separate game.

Paizo cheerleading = good!

Actual facts = bad!

Good to know.


Identity and agency. I want my character to feel "mine".

The mechanical choices I make should distinguish my character from other characters that fill a similar niche. In Pathfinder, two players can play dwarven two-handed fighters and be vastly different in both mechanics and personality--that's what I want. If my character feels like a barely-concealed clone of an iconic pregen, I'm just not interested in playing it.

The mechanical choices I make should matter. If my decisions feel pointless, then I won't bother playing as I won't feel that I'm growing as a character. Similarly, if there isn't sufficient flexibility in the degree to which I can specialize in something (I'm looking at you, advantage/disadvantage system), then I won't feel like I'm any better than anybody else at anything. There are other games that put less emphasis on mechanical growth--I can enjoy those, but they aren't Pathfinder.

Lantern Lodge Customer Service Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed a few more off topic/edition war posts and a previous post that was missed.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion / What makes the game pathfinder for you? All Messageboards
Recent threads in Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion