Recent Chat Activity (Main Lobby)
Join Chat

Loading Chat Log...

Prefer not to see ads? Become a Community Supporter.
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 41

  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: Pathfinder RPG (Final Rules)

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Bellevue
    Posts
    2,899
    Blog Entries
    28
    Downloads
    43
    Uploads
    3

    Pathfinder RPG (Final Rules)

    [float=left]Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PZO1110_500.jpeg 
Views:	800 
Size:	165.4 KB 
ID:	339[/float]When Wizards of the Coast moved on to Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, I was certain that D&D 3.5e was doomed to a slow, painful death. I foresaw that publishers who were previously releasing products under the 3.5 SRD and OGL (Open Gaming License) would see their audience vaporize in favor of a new and shiny system. The 3.5e enthusiast, I thought, would be consigned to a play a stagnant system with a bookshelf full of books that weren't even remotely compatible with the newest version.

    But, in March 2008, Paizo made it their mission to keep the third edition alive, announcing their intention to create the Pathfinder RPG that would expand on the SRD and OGL and would continue to be the official system for their now burgeoning Pathfinder Chronicles and Adventure Path products. To be honest, I wasn't certain how I felt about this at first. At first it seemed awkward—perhaps even blasphemous—for a company other than Wizards of the Coast to publish a core rulebook for Dungeons & Dragons, but then again, WotC wasn't the original publisher of D&D, either. So, a year and a half later, I am pleased to say that Paizo has really delivered.

    Weighing in at nearly five pounds and spanning over 576 pages, the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook combines all of the rules that were previously split between the D&D 3.5 Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide. It is everything that you are going to need to play except for the Pathfinder Bestiary, which is not scheduled to be released until October 2009. Until then, you'll need to break out your old 3.5 edition monster manuals or use the monsters in the d20 SRD. You can download the SRD for free over at wizards.com, or for an easy to use online version, check out the Hypertext d20 SRD online at www.d20srd.org.

    The Core Classes of Pathfinder
    Paizo put a lot of effort into spicing up all of the original 3.5e classes with new and exciting abilities. Many of the classes now have multiple paths that a player can follow to help make distinguish their character from the teeming masses of other adventurers of the same class. This is very reminiscent of what Fourth Edition did, and it is one of the things I really liked. You'll especially see this featured with the druid, cleric, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard classes.

    I was also impressed by how much the game rewards the player who sticks it out and levels his character through all twenty levels of his core class. In the past, there has often been very little incentive (or sense in some cases) to do so. With Pathfinder, not only does your character receive an extra hitpoint or skill-point every level just for leveling in his favored class, but the game does an excellent job of providing all kinds of cool abilities at the highest levels. Many of the classes have awesome payouts for making it all the way to twentieth, including:

    • For Barbarians there is "Mighty Rage," which gives them an impressive +8 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution while they are raging.
    • Bards are able to give a performance so stirring that they can cause their target to simply die from overwhelming joy or sorrow using their "Deadly Performance."
    • High level druids are no longer fettered by their natural forms, and can transform themselves at will with no limits on the number of times per day.
    • Fighters gain "Weapon Mastery," with one weapon. Thereafter, whenever using his chosen weapon, all critical threats are automatically confirmed, their critical multiplier increases, and the fighter no longer has to worry about being disarmed – ever.
    • The monk eventually ascends to the point of becoming a magical creature, gaining a healthy damage resistance (10/chaotic). Oh, and he'll now be opening that can of whoop-ass with seven attacks per round with an attack bonus that nearly rivals the fighter's.
    • Paladins who stay the course of righteousness become "Holy Champions" of their gods, gaining a substantial damage resistance and the ability to possibly banish any evil outsider who is his smite opponent. (By the way, if you haven't read about the paladin's new smite and mercy abilities already, you'll want to check them out. This is one of the classes that they really spent a lot of time on, and they have succeeded at making the paladin an extremely valuable asset to your team!)
    • The twentieth level ranger isn't someone you are going to want on your tail when he achieves the status of "Master Hunter." He'll now be able to track his favored enemies while moving at full speed, and when he does catch up with him, her, or it, he can execute a single attack that has the chance of slaying his target outright.
    • Meanwhile the rogue gains "Master Strike," which allows him to possibly put his target to sleep (if he's feeling nice), paralyze his target (if he's feeling not-so-nice), or assassinate his target on the spot (if he's feeling really pissed off).

    This only begins to scratch the surface of the enhancements to the core classes in the Pathfinder RPG. However, if you're interested in reading more, I'd recommend checking out the previous below from the Paizo blog.



    The System

    Overall, Pathfinder plays and feels like classic Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. There are a few subtle, but very helpful enhancements to problematic and hard to remember rules. The simplification and rebalancing of all of the rules surrounding grappling, tripping, sundering, and bull-rushing into one unified system, for example, means no more having to flip open the book to figure out how to resolve these actions every time they come up —while wishing hellfire and brimstone upon the head of your player's monk, no doubt.

    Skills have been cleaned up, consolidating some and completely removing others. This will make it much easier for your character to focus on a core set of skills that really matter to him.

    Spells seem relatively unchanged from their previous versions with a few notable exceptions, such as with polymorph being split into multiple distinct spells. The biggest difference I noticed was cleric domains, which got a very nice overhaul. Oh, and cleric fans, your new group heal class feature is going to let you actually be able to use more of your spells for something other than healing even at low levels – "Divine Favor" anyone?

    Using Pathfinder with Other d20 Products
    Although there have been a lot of enhancements to the classes and tweaks to the rules, the Pathfinder RPG remains compatible with other OGL/3.5 supplements. This is a big selling point for Pathfinder, as there is already an extensive library of supporting products. The core classes in Pathfinder are a little more powerful than their third edition predecessors, so if you're using monsters from other sources, you may need to adjust their challenge ratings down just a smidge. There are no specific guidelines in the final rules, but the beta version suggested adding a few extra feats, powers, skills and hitpoints to your villains; adding more monsters to your encounter; or otherwise building encounters as about one challenge rating level higher. I suspect this advice still holds true.

    There are a couple of other on-the-fly changes you will need to make when using third party sources. Some skills have been combined or changed, so you'll need to be familiar with the new skill list and determine the equivalent skill in Pathfinder. The rules for grappling and other maneuvers such as tripping, bull rushing, and sundering have also changed. This means that you'll need to determine the Combat Maneuver Attack and Defense scores for any 3.5e creatures you use. Luckily, these statistics are pretty straightforward to figure out.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PZO1110-FeatsOpener.jpg 
Views:	1256 
Size:	246.0 KB 
ID:	341Click image for larger version. 

Name:	PZO1110-ClassesSpread.jpg 
Views:	1429 
Size:	267.8 KB 
ID:	344

    Artwork and Print Quality
    Cover to cover, this is a visually appealing book, with all of the artwork presented in full color. The inserts between chapters are especially amazing; I would love to have some of these as posters in my gaming room. Flowing watermarks swirl around the edges of each page, giving the book an ornate feel without obscuring the text or making it difficult to read. The binding also feels sturdy, which is necessary for this many pages. Out of curiosity, I gave the text a good rub to see if it shared any of the notorious smudging problems of Fourth Edition, and I was relieved to find that it did not.

    My Thoughts
    The one thing that I think this book really could have been improved by was more callouts. As a longtime player of Third Edition, I tend to want to skim over the parts that seem familiar and go straight to the changes. I started to do this with this book, and found immediately when I made my first character that I had missed a well-hidden rule that explained how first level hitpoints were generated. It had been tucked away in the terms and definitions section which I had been quick to skip over. With so many subtle changes to the rules, callouts that pointed out key changes from 3.5e would have made jumping into this new edition a lot easier.

    Nonetheless, after having played a couple of sessions using the final rules, I could scarcely be happier with what Paizo has done. The rules flowed nicely, and most importantly kept out of the way until needed. Combat was also quick and easy, and the Pathfinder RPG has made it easier than ever to keep the action flowing without a lot of downtime. This system is an excellent choice for any fantasy setting, and I am confident that if you enjoyed Third Edition, you're really going to love what they've done with this game.




    Want to hear more about Pathfinder? Check out these other articles:





  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Mount Pleasant
    Age
    33
    Posts
    240
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Sounds great! Thanks for the review. I'm counting the days to the 13th and hoping my FLGS gets enough copies to cover all the pre-orders. (Or in the very least mine. )

    "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Rapid City
    Age
    32
    Posts
    2,320
    Blog Entries
    107
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    you mention more power at high levels, but what about at low levels? That was always my main beef with older editions. There is nothing "exciting" about your character until 4th or 5th level.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Montgomery
    Posts
    483
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by yukonhorror View Post
    you mention more power at high levels, but what about at low levels? That was always my main beef with older editions. There is nothing "exciting" about your character until 4th or 5th level.
    I agree. Until 4E, my friends and I usually began campaigns around 8th level, because we hated the low level crap... What's the main draw to low level campaigns? D&D has always been rife with options at higher levels, but low levels have always been weak to play.
    Fighter: "I can kill a guy in one turn."
    Cleric: "I can kill a guy in half a turn."
    Wizard: "I can kill a guy before my turn."
    Bard: "I can get three idiots to kill guys for me."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Mount Pleasant
    Age
    33
    Posts
    240
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Hell yeah, nearly 5 pounds of potential player punishment! The good news is my FLGS ensured me that his orders were in well enough in advance to make sure I'll get mine on release day.

    "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Reading
    Age
    41
    Posts
    440
    Blog Entries
    6
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    It's a smart move and appears to be well executed by Paizo, particularly on the move to capitalize on gamers for which 4E does not suit there style of game play - myself and my group being among that bunch. However...

    Quote Originally Posted by korhal23 View Post
    ... What's the main draw to low level campaigns? ...
    I have to ask, "What's the main draw to high level campaigns?" I enjoy low level campaigns. As a player, I get bored with characters around 9th and 10th level. Up to that point, any coolness that is gained feels earned, particularly since magic items haven't become prevalent by that point - at least in the games in which I choose to play. Every encounter, be it social or combat, is truly challenging. Challenging social and combat encounters can easily be created at higher levels, however, with all the options and tools at hand by that point, they don't come across being challenging to me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Mount Pleasant
    Age
    33
    Posts
    240
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Dytrrnikl View Post
    I have to ask, "What's the main draw to high level campaigns?" I enjoy low level campaigns. As a player, I get bored with characters around 9th and 10th level. Up to that point, any coolness that is gained feels earned, particularly since magic items haven't become prevalent by that point - at least in the games in which I choose to play. Every encounter, be it social or combat, is truly challenging. Challenging social and combat encounters can easily be created at higher levels, however, with all the options and tools at hand by that point, they don't come across being challenging to me.
    I think in your case you've never played with a DM who excells at high level gameplay. The challenge and sense of accomplishment should never decline.

    I still prefer to start at low level but high level is just as much fun.

    "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Reading
    Age
    41
    Posts
    440
    Blog Entries
    6
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by CEBedford View Post
    I think in your case you've never played with a DM who excells at high level gameplay. The challenge and sense of accomplishment should never decline.

    I still prefer to start at low level but high level is just as much fun.
    I wouldn't say that, as I can think of two DMs I played with, they struggled at lower-levels, but did fairly decent at higher levels. I have a quirk in real life, that I get gung ho and passionate about something and then lose interest once I reach a point where I feel proficient or better than proficient, but not necessarily the best. For instance, there was a stretch of about 3 years in which I played golf 1 to 2 times a week, and spent one day a week working on my swing at the driving range. I got to the point I was shooting in the low 80s consistently no matter where I played and was on the cusp of breaking 80. That was 6 years, and I have only played maybe once a year since, usually on Father's Day with my step-dad. I lost interest in wanting to play, even though I kept improving. This is just an example, but it has happened more times than I care to admit. The same holds true for me as a player with my characters, once they get to the cusp of becoming truly skilled, I lose interest in the character. I've always wondered how gaming has been able to keep my interest for well nigh on 20 years, when nothing else lasts for more than a couple/few years at best.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Menifee
    Age
    42
    Posts
    990
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Well done! I look forward to getting a peek at this next week in Indy!
    --
    Grimwell

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    7
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Hi Farcaster - I would like to point out that the weight on the book is 4.7 pounds, not 1.7.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Bellevue
    Posts
    2,899
    Blog Entries
    28
    Downloads
    43
    Uploads
    3
    Thanks, Chris! I corrected that little error. Seems Amazon thinks this book is going to be quite a bit lighter for some reason. I guess that's good though if it reduces the shipping costs for folks ordering it there.
    Robert A. Howard
    Pen & Paper Games
    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Montgomery
    Posts
    483
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Allow me to rephrase then- What's the draw to a low level campaign in Pathfinder? Farcaster makes numerous mentions of high level powers and abilities, but almost nothing of the low levels. What kinds of options and abilities are present at low levels?

    And I've said it before, I'll say it again, I like high magic games. In D&D, I don't like grit, as I've always preferred higher level, more grand adventure kinds of games: running all around the world fighting hordes of monsters and saving the world... something that isn't conducive to low level play, pre 4th Edition. I like my players and my monsters higher powered than your typical D&D game, and magic items more prevalent. Think in Lord of the Rings... were Aragorn, Legolas, or any of the others 1st level at the beginning of the story? God no, and that's the kind of campaigns I like... though that's not to say there isn't fun to be had in the commoner taking his father's sword and adventuring kind of story (though I much prefer it now, under 4E).

    Every encounter should always be challenging, no matter your level, otherwise that's a fail for the GM. Yes, you have a lot of options and tools, but so do your opponents. I think if you played in one of my older edition games, you'd be shocked how challenging it still can be at the higher levels... Only having 4hp and a few skills doesn't always make for a fun challenge.

    So to revert to my original question: Farcaster, you talk about the differences at high level quite a bit, how different is low level Pathfinder from low level 3.5?
    Fighter: "I can kill a guy in one turn."
    Cleric: "I can kill a guy in half a turn."
    Wizard: "I can kill a guy before my turn."
    Bard: "I can get three idiots to kill guys for me."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Hillsboro
    Posts
    358
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I suppose, seeing as how it IS two books, 50 bucks isn't that much. But that seems excessive for a player who doesn't want (and some DMs would say, shouldn't have) the DMs guide portion. But, I suppose, too, that it cuts down on production costs...? As a 3.5 enthusiast (name might have pointed towards that, huh?) I can't wait to get my hands on it and start reworking Farland.
    The Big.
    The Bad.
    The Ben.
    Playing in the darkness. www.farlandworld.com
    "Dude, we totally play 1d4-2 Friday nights per month. More or less."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Mount Pleasant
    Age
    33
    Posts
    240
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by DM_Running_Farland_3.5 View Post
    I suppose, seeing as how it IS two books, 50 bucks isn't that much. But that seems excessive for a player who doesn't want (and some DMs would say, shouldn't have) the DMs guide portion. But, I suppose, too, that it cuts down on production costs...? As a 3.5 enthusiast (name might have pointed towards that, huh?) I can't wait to get my hands on it and start reworking Farland.
    $10 pdf purchase for the win. Players can own the book digitally and level up their characters at home between sessions for a nice cheap amount.

    Plus I've never thought the DMG was off limits. I think it's important to actually know what it takes to DM. There's never been game breaking information in the DMG IMO. The MM on the other hand...

    "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Hillsboro
    Posts
    358
    Blog Entries
    1
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by CEBedford View Post
    $10 pdf purchase for the win...
    Yeah but...


    I'm one of those old schoolers that likes to have it in my hands. Though I also like the digital copy. Makes it easier to use while typing sometimes.
    The Big.
    The Bad.
    The Ben.
    Playing in the darkness. www.farlandworld.com
    "Dude, we totally play 1d4-2 Friday nights per month. More or less."

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •