Pathfinder: First Impressions

Call your DM a late bloomer. It’s ok.

The shipment for the Pathfinder Core Rules finally arrived. And yes, we’re planning to convert the characters and the campaign to the Pathfinder rules set after the end of “Book 1” of the Winter’s Twilight saga (that’s probably after the end of Episode 7 or 8). Meanwhile, I’ve been thumbing through the enormous rule book and here are my first impression notes on the Pathfinder system

Pathfinder: First Impressions

The critics call this 3.75, which promises to take the world’s most famous RPG into the new millennium. So far, so good.  I already tried DMing D&D 4th ed and I can’t say that I’m pleased with it. I guess I still am in love with 3.5 and Pathfinder allows me (and the gaming group) to still use all the products (in my shelf and in our digital horde) without any major changes to the rules. I for one subscribe to the idea that games shouldn’t be about the rules, it’s the depth of the characters and the story which most people should (and will) remember.

But chaos has to have its limits. The rules should be fairly easy enough to digest and not too complex to teach new players so that the entire gaming group wouldn’t be bogged by it. The worst thing one could ever wish for a table-top session would be a couple of hours of debate on mundane “rules shit” which no one would even fucking remember 5 years down the road.

Oh well, I digress.

Back to the topic at hand.

So, what’s new with Pathfinder? Here are some of my notes

  • Classes – there are some major revamps on the character classes. Some class powers have been changed. Much of it is for logical reasons while much of it come from changes made by gamers across the years. A good example would be an adjustment to the Rogue’s Hit Die. The Rogue now uses a D8 instead of the normal d6 from 3.5. Rangers now have a “Favored Terrain” in addition to their “Favored Enemies” and the spellcasters also get a boost. For example, sorcerers can now choose from a “Bloodline” which grants them bonus spells and bonus abilities depending on their level.
  • Skills System – the old 3.5 skill system is a pain in the ass. One has to keep track of how you spend points; since class skills and cross-class skills don’t cost the same. In Pathfinder, all skills cost 1 point per level (regardless whether it’s a class skill or not). To give your class skills the “boost” it needs, you then add a +3 bonus to any class skill where you allocated a point. It’s also easier to keep track of your point usage. Your max rank in skills equals your level. End of story. Easy to remember, understand and teach. That’s one of the main selling points for me. Props to the design team for this!
  • Specific Skills – come to think of it, why do you need to remember which skill to use, Spot or Search?!? WTF? Confusing, neh? For too long a time, this idiotic “division” causes the most confusion among my players. I have to spend several minutes teaching them and explaining the difference. Now, several skills have been combined into one. In the above example, “Perception” is now EITHER Spot or Search. More logical that way. The same line of thinking applies to Hide In Shadows and Move Silently. It’s now called Stealth. Sweet!
  • Combat – One of the prominent marketing messages used by Paizo was that “you no longer had to deal with difficult rules for grappling”. True to their promise, there are vast improvements in combat, and yes, Grappling is far more easier to do and comprehend. The major ‘change agent’ to the 3.5 DNA would be “Combat Maneuver” totals. There are two integers, CMB (Combat Maneuver Bonus) and CMD (Combat Maneuver Defense). And without further explanation, you probably guessed right – one is used for offense and the other for def. You use either number if you’re “doing” the action (grapple, bull rush, trip, etc) or if you’re trying to defend yourself from it. No more stupid, long, intricate rules for each maneuver. This speeds up the combat sessions and allows even noobie players access to “veteran combat moves”. Something that appeals to me since it levels the playing field.
  • The Book – All magic items (as well as other DM information)are also in the Core Rules. A wonderful idea! No need to grab the DMG in case you’re looking for something. It’s ONE BOOK TO RULE THEM ALL. Although there IS a Pathfinder DM’s Guide, it’s more about specific tips, skills and tricks to improve one’s DMing style and campaign. It’s a huge tome with around 600 pages or so! The art is also awesome! Nice work, Paizo!

That’s it for now. In a few more weeks, I’ll be updating you guys with more cool discoveries and improvements to the new rules that we’ll be using for the campaign. Am so excited to do the one-on-0ne “conversion sessions” for your characters.

In fact, I already tried in on Thorin Seeker, hahaha!

Until next post and next session, May the dice be good to you!

Cheers!

P.S. Before I forget, there’s an unofficial online SRD for Pathfinder HERE. You can go there and check out the changes especially to your character class and race.

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One thought on “Pathfinder: First Impressions

  1. Pingback: Book 1 of Winter’s Twilight Finally Done | Winter's Twilight

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