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Dungeons and Dragons

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Although it was my first RPG it is not what got me into the hobby. That would not come until I saw the Street Samurai Catalog at the Walden Books and the rest is history. However I like the concept of D&D, "party of fantasy heros battle a monster". For myself it was all about the monsters and I wouldn't have more than a passing relationship with D&D until the Monsterous Manual. I still love that book, all the fluff about the ecology of the monsters was pure awesome. AD&D 2e rules would drive me batty however and I found myself playing more GURPS using the Monsterous Manual as a framework of what monsters to build. Fast forward and I meet my wife playing 3e. I introduced that group to Shadowrun, Vampire, and a couple other games. 3.5 comes out and we play a little of that then D&D gets the old boot in favor of other game (I had found WFRP 2e by this point). Now I am DMing a 4e game more by accident than design and it has made me think about the old girlfriend again, no not Kimberly but D&D. I have a son now who will grow up in geekdom and I'm thinking whats best to start him on. 4e does do some things very well. Templates are very customizable and it begs you to modify creatures, however at the basics they are all the same. All level 10s are well level 10s the flavor at the core is gone and replaced with a template. The new World of Darkness does something similar in that your a mortal first then add the vampire, werewolf or mage template on top to get your flavor. But I wish the WOTC folks would embrace 4e rather than be embarrassed by it. Combat does feel like an MMO, roleplaying is left out of the rules, under the hood it is a generic system like HERO or GURPS. These are not always bad things but when you continue to say one thing and do another it frustrates me. If they had reorganized Monster Vault into a basic monster with templates to add think of the possibilities! The roleplaying is not tided to cumbersome rules, embrace the rules light nature of it! Combat is interesting thank to borrowing from MMOs and video games. These are all advantages though it makes you wonder who the target audience is as the people who like combat may not like the roleplay or the template monsters. Template lovers may not like the combat or the roleplay. Lastly of course people who love roleplay will be bored by combat and frustrated by templates.

Which brings me to Pathfinder. Its no secret to anyone looking at the Pathfinder books that there is a lot of love put into every product. At first I scoffed at how 3.5 everything still was but Pathfinder made the small changes that matter. My friend Jesse told me this and the more I read the more he is correct.

example 1: The Grease Spell they added "Creatures that do not move on their turn do not need to make this check and are not considered flat-footed." This doesnt seam like much but the original spell had nothing about flat-footed nature of the target.

example 2: Paladins Smite they added "If the target of smite evil is an outsider with the evil subtype, an evil-aligned dragon, or an undead creature, the bonus to damage on the first successful attack increases to 2 points of damage per level the paladin possesses. Regardless of the target, smite evil attacks automatically bypass any DR the creature might possess." now when going against evil subtype creatures they get a big bonus. The fluff is now represented in the rules for our Paladin heros.

example 3: Toughness Feat they added "For every Hit Die you possess beyond 3, you gain an additional +1 hit point. If you have more than 3 Hit Dice, you gain +1 hit points whenever you gain a Hit Die (such as when you gain a level)." While awkward, this feat is no longer useless past level 1.

Its this attention to the spirit of the game and tweeking the rules in small but important ways that make Pathfinder shine. I can't wait to run or play it.

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