Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I love Paizo's Pathfinder Rules

Several months ago, at Gen Con, Paizo came out with it's Pathfinder Core Rulebook. Put simply, this is like 3.75 Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. They did a rules overhaul that still keeps the heart and soul of what 3.5E is, and is very easily compatible with 3.5E.

I have now had the chance to read the rules (including some sections several times) and I am in the process of creating my very first Pathfinder character for my very first Pathfinder game.

One of the players in the Monday evening game I run out of my house will be running a new Pathfinder campaign. He will be apparently doing some sort of homebrew - the details will be forthcoming. It will be the first time I've not run on Mondays, which will be a nice break. I don't generally run on the Friday game I play out of town (about an hour away).

We will probably do a 25 point buy, which I think is about equivalent to 32 point for 3.5E. With it you can get some decent stats, but nothing ridiculous, though they call it epic or heroic, I really don't see how it is much fun to play with totally average stats. (But that is a subject for another post).

Each of the base classes in Pathfinder have gotten a little boost - nothing much - but enough to give a little something at every level, and enough so that there is plenty of variation possible even staying just with one base class up to level 20. Of course, 3.5E had that too, in the sense that it was very viable to just stick to one class, but there were many prestige classes that allowed you to do just about any character concept better. There is less need for that in Pathfinder, which is a good thing.

I like some of the little tweaks - the Fighter stands out to me. Fighters get better with armor, so they can have higher dex bonuses even with the heavier armor as they level. They also get save bonuses versus fear - that has always been a problem with fighters. They don't have good Will Saves generally, and so where there are fear effects, the tough front-line fighters all run away, leaving the weakling wizards behind. That really doesn't make much sense - fighters need to be able to control fear to be on the front lines, so save bonuses for fear was a really nice touch.

The variants for wizards and sorcerers are also nice, with bloodlines giving a speciality for sorcerers and with specialty wizards getting new goodies as well. But I don't really want to get into all of the details on that. Suffice it to say, there is rich new content to provide all sorts of interesting variations on old themes (and entirely new themes as well) and I really love the rules.

It feels like D&D is alive again - 4th Edition for a while felt like the game was dead, in the sense that there would be nothing new on the horizon for my game. But now there is Pathfinder and Paizo and the game lives. I am very much looking forward to the other Pathfinder material that is in the pipeline. I will write more about how it plays once I've gotten into the new game. (The new game will alternate at appropriate stopping points with the 3.5E "Rise of the Runelords" game that I'm running - that one is into volume 5 now, so they are approaching the end!)

Thank you Paizo!

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