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#1
Old 02-25-2016, 01:04 PM
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Pathfinder or D&D 5th Ed?

I've been DMing D&D campaigns for 20+ years, starting in 1st Ed, spending a lot of time and money on 2nd Ed, and for the last ten years doing 3.5Ed D&D. (I never made the jump to 4th Ed).

I took a break for a while and I'm looking at getting back to it again in the near future.

While I'll be playing with mainly my old group, I see the restart as an opportunity to update the system. Bit I'm tossing up whether to go with Pathfinder or D&D 5th Ed.

If it makes a difference I'll be looking at DMing online via an app/website like Roll20. (I've moved to the UK, while my group is sill home in Oz.)

Any experiences to share with either system?
#2
Old 02-25-2016, 01:10 PM
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I have a feeling most people here will prefer Pathfinder, since it's based on 3.5. But I think that, if you're into doing something new, you should try out 5th edition. I really like how it's working out.
#3
Old 02-25-2016, 02:01 PM
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Took me a long time to get into 4e, and only because I had a large group of people to play with at a game store.

Have tried 5e, just not that into it. They basically smooshed it down so that your BAB starts at 2 and only gets to 6 around 20th level. A lot of my gamer buddies like it because turns go so fast (because you have like ONE thing to do), but I just don't care for it. One of the selling points was making a Kobold still be something worth fighting at all levels. Fuck that. A Kobold should be nothing more than something to kick aside as you go for a real threat even at mid levels, as far as I am concerned.

Been spending a lot of time with the Pathfinder books, as I absolutely loved 3.5, but haven't looked for a game yet.
#4
Old 02-25-2016, 02:39 PM
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Humble Bundle currently has a deal on the Pathfinder books (pdfs).
#5
Old 02-25-2016, 03:05 PM
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Both are fine. The geeks love Pathfinder, though, will never give up on it, or recommend 5E over it.

Check out Youtube vids of both or listen to podcasts of gaming sessions.
#6
Old 02-25-2016, 03:25 PM
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I enjoy both. They scratch different itches.

D&D 5e is really streamlined. There are still cool things to do, but there's fairly little number crunching to do: you figure out your to-hit bonus once, and you're more or less done for a month or so of play. You focus on description, on choosing which cool power to use, on moving the story along. I'm running it for three kids ages 7-9, and they're having a blast.

Pathfinder is really complicated. My fourth-level bloodrager has a three-page spreadsheet that I use, because programming it is easier than remembering exactly what changes when I rage (to hit, damage, armor class, CMD, CMB, intimidate check, climb check--and my damage bonus on my armor spikes changes differently from my damage bonus on my lucerne hammer, and my intimidate check only changes because of a feat I have, and my combat maneuver defense is changed by three different stats, one of which I wasn't aware of, and so on and so on). Add in a casting of enlarge person (changes all those things plus weapon base damage), which will be pretty common, and use of power attack (changes damage bonus in a different way for my armor spikes, my lucerne hammer, and my chakrams), and you can see where a spreadsheet becomes helpful.

On car drives I can turn off my radio to muse on feat progression: do I want to take signature skill at fifth level and save power attack for sixth, when I get a bonus feat with limited utility? Do I want power attack at fifth and combat reflexes at sixth, with a quicker attainment of some of my best tricks but less awesomeness at fifteenth level, or do I delay awesomeness now in exchange for improved awesomeness at 11th level? I've got five different full feat progressions I've considered for the character.

Bloodragers are one of the simpler classes to play in Pathfinder .

So, what are you looking for? Something really ridiculously complex that satisfies your urge to make spreadsheets? Or something simpler, with a lot less room to geek out about the numbers and a lot less novel shiny toys, that moves the game along quickly?

Both games are great at what they do, IMO. Depends on what you're looking for.
#7
Old 02-26-2016, 08:56 AM
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Thanks everyone for the input. I think it's leaning me towards Pathfinder, if I change out of 3.5 at all.

Honestly, the only thing major issue that bothers me about 3.5, and this has been an issue in various D&D versions for a long time, is the 30 minute adventuring day. I find the gap between encounters being not challenging at all and requiring a lot of resources causing the players to want to rest for the day to be pretty slim.

I have checked some youtube, but I struggle to watch a lot of those, there are some game groups out there that must play very different styles of games to me.
#8
Old 02-26-2016, 10:16 AM
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There's a lot you can do to make 3.5E more manageable.

Saves: level /2 round down + class bonus + other bonuses.
Reduce the plethora of types of bonuses.
BAB: don't go by level but sum each progression
Etc.

The 30-minute adventuring day is very easily stopped: put a time limit on the quest. And if you don't, have someone beat them to the objective. Bonus points if the other adventurers manage to humiliate the PCs. Or have the enemy counter-attack. Etc.
#9
Old 02-26-2016, 10:43 AM
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Don't throw a huge encounter at your players to start. Start slow and build.

Don't let them simply walk away after they nova the first encounter.

Time limits before events happen. (ie, "You're here to save the princess, if you take too long, the Ogres will have cooked and eaten her, and the King will execute you for dilly-dallying instead of saving her")

Other Adventuring groups. I always do this, going back 30 years.

I'm building a new Pathfinder setting just for fun, and the first adventure is an explosion in the tavern, followed by a Derro grabbing a Halfling merchant and retreating into the sewers. The players are offered money to rescue him alive. The caveats are that there is a wealthy noble who commonly hires adventurer groups in the room, and members of several of those groups in the tavern. He immediately calls for adventurers. The players can volunteer and go down first, but the noble still asks the other teams to gather, intending to send the second group down 10 minutes later, and *everyone* including the town guards after one hour.

So the players can move their asses, blow through the rats, grindylow and other creatures down below and get to the halfling first, or if they dally or chase rats for experience, the second team will blow past them and get the prize. And if they decide to rest too long or return to the surface, they lose, because other groups will beat them. If that happens, they'll be embarrassed and labeled as unreliable, and that rich noble will tell them to sod off and find their own adventures. (And the halfling merchant's buddies will despise them for not making a serious effort to save their bud.)
#10
Old 02-26-2016, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by GreedySmurf View Post
Honestly, the only thing major issue that bothers me about 3.5, and this has been an issue in various D&D versions for a long time, is the 30 minute adventuring day. I find the gap between encounters being not challenging at all and requiring a lot of resources causing the players to want to rest for the day to be pretty slim.
Three possible solutions:
1) Enemy response. In general I play as though the GM is going to make enemies respond intelligently. If I'm raiding a dungeon, I want to inflict maximum casualties before retreating, in order to make it harder for the enemies to mount a defense. That means I'll push myself sometimes past the point of prudence, when I'm low on spells or HP. If you as a GM show enemies responding--patching up holes in defenses, setting extra guards, setting up ambushes at choke points--the players might respond accordingly.
2) Deal with it. It's kind of fun to go crazy with all your resources in a single battle. Plan for one large, extended battle, with reinforcements and changing landscapes (say, enemies run down a hall to escape into another room, where more enemies are located, or someone drops a dam to release a flood, or something). These can use up lots of resources over multiple rounds and be really fun.
3) Use variant HP. One system I saw used wound points and vitality points, where you only took wounds from crits and from energy damage and from hits that took you below zero, and everything else was vitality, and vitality points all healed during a five-minute rest. This would allow PCs to adventure longer.
#11
Old 02-26-2016, 03:40 PM
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If you're going to buy a new game, buy 5E. There is, in my mind, basically no reason to upgrade from 3.5 to Pathfinder. They're basically the same game with the deck chairs rearranged. Pathfinder will not solve any issues you had with 3.5; Save your money. 5E is at least an appreciably different game. It also suffers from way less supplement bloat, power creep, and all the problems that you get when you add 15 books full of options - whether that is a plus or a minus in your mind will vary from group to group, but I am completely done with games that make me pore over lists of 500 choices to build a character. Basically, it comes down to what you want the game to be about. If you want it to be about lists of feats and spells and math, Pathfinder is your game of choice. If you don't want it to be about those things, Pathfinder is probably not a good idea.

Actually, I'd encourage you to consider what you want out of your game before even starting to narrow down what systems you are considering. What you're doing right now is the equivalent of saying "I know I want either a Toyota or a Honda, but I don't know what kind of car I want."

As for the "30 minute adventuring day", that's as much a GM problem as it is a system problem. What kind of "adventure" is it if you have a perfectly safe place to retreat to every 30 minutes, and no time constraint, so that you can afford to spend the next 8+ hours basically doing nothing? The original "fix" for this rule was called "Random encounters". It worked reasonably well. There are others. Virtually none of them are system dependent.
#12
Old 02-26-2016, 03:45 PM
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What kind of "adventure" is it if you have a perfectly safe place to retreat to every 30 minutes...
One where the wizard has Rope Trick. Or in 5e, one where the wizard has Leomund's Tiny Hut.
#13
Old 02-26-2016, 03:53 PM
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Ook: "Saw dem venturers climb rope here, go away! Mebbe dem come back same way? Oolong, get wood, start big fire here. Keep fire all day!"


Besides the fact that you can't get up, adventure for 20 minutes, go back to bed, get 8 hours of sleep and get up with full spells by mid-afternoon.
#14
Old 02-26-2016, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
One where the wizard has Rope Trick. Or in 5e, one where the wizard has Leomund's Tiny Hut.
Rope Trick requires you to be 8th level for it to even last long enough to take a rest, and even so, you leave a rope dangling. Sure, eventually you'll be able to sleep there, but if you haven't figured out how to pace an adventure by then, you probably have bigger problems.

Leomund's Tiny Hut, as far as I can tell from reading the Pathfinder version, is basically just a very expensive tent, because it doesn't actually protect you from wandering monsters at all.
#15
Old 02-26-2016, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
As for the "30 minute adventuring day", that's as much a GM problem as it is a system problem. What kind of "adventure" is it if you have a perfectly safe place to retreat to every 30 minutes, and no time constraint, so that you can afford to spend the next 8+ hours basically doing nothing? The original "fix" for this rule was called "Random encounters". It worked reasonably well. There are others. Virtually none of them are system dependent.
I tend to think it's not too big a problem, depending on the kind of adventure. We've often had sessions with just one to three combats between rests. Safety strategies might entail:
-A wilderness encounter, after which we return to town.
-A very large encounter (e.g., clearing a dozen bandits out of several rooms of a cabin), after which we take over the lair.
-A guerilla-style attack on a fortified lair, after which we spend a lot of the day retreating.

Actual warfare is famously "months of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror." I have no trouble thinking that an adventurer's day might consist of hours of spell practice, equipment maintenance, hiking, scouting, and tactics discussion, with the life-or-death struggle occupying only a minute of the entire day.

If that play style isn't fun for the group, of course, then change it. But it's a pacing that can work very well under certain circumstances.
#16
Old 02-26-2016, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I tend to think it's not too big a problem, depending on the kind of adventure. We've often had sessions with just one to three combats between rests. Safety strategies might entail:
-A wilderness encounter, after which we return to town.
-A very large encounter (e.g., clearing a dozen bandits out of several rooms of a cabin), after which we take over the lair.
-A guerilla-style attack on a fortified lair, after which we spend a lot of the day retreating.

Actual warfare is famously "months of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror." I have no trouble thinking that an adventurer's day might consist of hours of spell practice, equipment maintenance, hiking, scouting, and tactics discussion, with the life-or-death struggle occupying only a minute of the entire day.

If that play style isn't fun for the group, of course, then change it. But it's a pacing that can work very well under certain circumstances.
I'm assuming these are not what GreedySmurf is talking about.

Though honestly, the first one of those sounds a little pointless, and the third makes me wonder why the denizens of the lair would sit around and let you retreat to safety.

The problem here really though is that D&DFinder isn't DESIGNED for "months of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror" because (past the first couple of levels, anyway) D&DFinder combat isn't scary unless you really up the danger level of the encounters a LOT. And once you do that, the entire system starts to break down and become random and weird in all sorts of unexpected ways. D&DFinder is designed to be a game of attrition where several encounters between rests wears the party down.

If you want to play a game of "months of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror" you're probably better off looking for a different fantasy RPG.
#17
Old 02-27-2016, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
Though honestly, the first one of those sounds a little pointless, and the third makes me wonder why the denizens of the lair would sit around and let you retreat to safety.
First one happens when a wilderness encounter is both a big fight and not a wandering encounter. Why continue on if your resources are significantly drained?

The third happens when the denizens of the lair don't know where you came from or went to and so can't easily counterstrike, or when they aren't organized enough to counterstrike.


Quote:
The problem here really though is that D&DFinder isn't DESIGNED for "months of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror" because (past the first couple of levels, anyway) D&DFinder combat isn't scary unless you really up the danger level of the encounters a LOT. And once you do that, the entire system starts to break down and become random and weird in all sorts of unexpected ways. D&DFinder is designed to be a game of attrition where several encounters between rests wears the party down.
You're right about what it was designed for. You're not necessarily right that it breaks down when played in a different way.
#18
Old 02-27-2016, 10:03 AM
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In 3.5 or Pathfinder, Leomund's Tiny Hut is indeed basically just an expensive tent. But in 5th edition, it keeps out everything. And if you have ten minutes free to cast it, it doesn't even cost you a spell slot.
#19
Old 02-27-2016, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
Rope Trick requires you to be 8th level for it to even last long enough to take a rest, and even so, you leave a rope dangling.
What? no - you can pull up the rope.
Quote:
When this spell is cast upon a piece of rope from 5 to 30 feet long, one end of the rope rises into the air until the whole rope hangs perpendicular to the ground, as if affixed at the upper end. The upper end is, in fact, fastened to an extradimensional space that is outside the multiverse of extradimensional spaces (“planes”). Creatures in the extradimensional space are hidden, beyond the reach of spells (including divinations), unless those spells work across planes. The space holds as many as eight creatures (of any size). Creatures in the space can pull the rope up into the space, making the rope “disappear.” In that case, the rope counts as one of the eight creatures that can fit in the space. The rope can support up to 16,000 pounds. A weight greater than that can pull the rope free.
However, any GM who actually knows the rules is gonna screw you over because of your bags of holding or equivalents.
#20
Old 02-27-2016, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Unpronounceable View Post
What? no - you can pull up the rope.
I think you're quoting 3.5, right? Pathfinder changed it.
#21
Old 02-27-2016, 08:08 PM
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huh, that's news to me. what an odd thing to change.
#22
Old 02-27-2016, 11:21 PM
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I feel like I'm the only one who liked 3.5 a lot, but found Pathfinder very dull. I remember there being a ton of wacky options that interested me in 3.5. Things like the Thrallherd (who gets a steady stream of expendable minions) or the Binder (who can almost completely change ability sets regularly) or or that guy I made who was a pack of raptors. It was often wildly unbalanced and my characters always kinda sucked compared to the rest of the party, but there were always interesting things to build a character around. In Pathfinder, it felt like they sanded the edges off so much that the only thing I had to do was get my numbers as high as possible. Like, there's the Alchemist guy who's supposed to have these Jekyll & Hyde transformation potions, but all they really do is add a few stat points here or there. It just didn't work for me.

What I've read of 5E sounds pretty great. I'm really hoping to get a chance to give it a try soon.
#23
Old 02-27-2016, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Garula View Post
I feel like I'm the only one who liked 3.5 a lot, but found Pathfinder very dull. I remember there being a ton of wacky options that interested me in 3.5. Things like the Thrallherd (who gets a steady stream of expendable minions) or the Binder (who can almost completely change ability sets regularly) or or that guy I made who was a pack of raptors.
Huh--with due respect to the awesome weirdness of those characters, my experience is the opposite. I felt like Pathfinder made certain character types much more interesting to play. In 3.5, for example, I had little interest in playing any sort of melee warrior, because they did the same damned thing almost every round. In Pathfinder, the difference between the paladin (who makes the interesting choice whether to share her smite, where to place her companion animal, etc.) and the bloodrager (who's busy deciding whether to take the extra intimidation attack at the risk of missing and ending the intimidation on the target, as well as whether shredding his own AC in order to get extra AoOs is worth it) is pretty significant, far more significant than I remember it being in 3.x.

The flip side is that, where in 3.x I could suggest a casual gamer play a fighter and stay away from the druid, in Pathfinder every character is complicated. I used to get frustrated with the person in our group who played a ranger and could never seem to remember what her attack bonus was, until I started playing a Pathfinder archer and realized how fiddly things are in the game.
#24
Old 02-29-2016, 12:57 AM
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It was fantastic that Pathfinder stepped in to become available during the era of 4th edition. If you're not familiar with it, there was a bit of a controversy in that many of us felt like 4e felt more like a really involved board game than like an RPG. I don't have all the Pathfinder materials (though I do believe I'll invest in that Humble Bundle hoard) but it seemed like it quickly got as glutted with products as 3.5, and in fact blew away the memories I had of the class kits and Powers & Options from 2nd edition.

With the bundle, you can at least get into Pathfinder without having to drop a huge wad on all the supplements. Getting started in 5e, for a player, means about $50 for the Player's Handbook. For the GM, $150 for the Player's Handbook, DMG and Monster Manual. Then you may want to buy adventures.One of the nice things Paizo did with Pathfinder was produce a number of adventure lines, which I recall being well regarded, though I've only seen Rise of the Runelords. The Pathfinder Humble Bundle comes with three out of six parts of one adventure path. Wizards now seems to be concentrating on adventure paths over the traditional mostly-power-creep-manuals marketing strategy.

Pathfinder's various supplements are actually not much derided for power creep. Often, it seems like the options they offer might as well have been reduced to a point system and been done with. It would be a less complicated way to tweak your numbers. Somebody has surely figured out how to abuse it, of course, but it's mostly just lets you micromanage your build without a lot of power mad loopholes. 5e has a few customization options, but it's actually quite simple and straightforward and you don't need more than the Player's Handbook to use all the options available to you.

If you go with Pathfinder, there's a spreadsheet good for managing all your build options:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/scoreforge/
The core is based on my own sCoreGen which I made for the Pathfinder open beta test years ago, but Adam has done substantial work to keep up with all the supplements that started flooding out after the official release, and redesigning the interface to look more like the old 3e HeroForge.

If you want to try 5e, the best chargen I've seen is ForgedAnvil. They lock it so you can't tweak the background, which is against my own philosophy of chargen spreadsheet design, but what the hell?
http://enworld.org/forum/rpgdown...ownloadid=1234
#25
Old 02-29-2016, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Unpronounceable View Post
huh, that's news to me. what an odd thing to change.
I think it's there probably exactly to PREVENT people from being able to use a first level spell to produce a 100% safe hiding place. But here's the official text. (Pathfinder is handy for these sorts of discussions since all this stuff is online for free.)

I'd contest the idea that every character type in Pathfinder is complicated; The fighter is not appreciably changed from 3.X - they get a few more passive bonuses (Yay, +1 to will saves every few levels) but they're still just the same bland guy with a big melee bonus and some extra feats that usually just mean that you build to do one type of thing (Power attack with 2H weapon, dual wield, or whatever) and do that thing every round.

Honestly, this is the biggest problem with all non-casters in 3Xfinder - the majority of the decision making is done during level up, and all you actually do during a fight is try to find the optimal way to do the Thing That Your Character Does.
#26
Old 02-29-2016, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
I think it's there probably exactly to PREVENT people from being able to use a first level spell to produce a 100% safe hiding place. But here's the official text. (Pathfinder is handy for these sorts of discussions since all this stuff is online for free.)
That's Tiny Hut, a third level spell. Rope trick is second level . And yeah, I think they're trying to make it a little harder: you at least have to find some out-of-the-way place to cast rope trick, or else you can be found.

Quote:
I'd contest the idea that every character type in Pathfinder is complicated; The fighter is not appreciably changed from 3.X - they get a few more passive bonuses (Yay, +1 to will saves every few levels) but they're still just the same bland guy with a big melee bonus and some extra feats that usually just mean that you build to do one type of thing (Power attack with 2H weapon, dual wield, or whatever) and do that thing every round.

Honestly, this is the biggest problem with all non-casters in 3Xfinder - the majority of the decision making is done during level up, and all you actually do during a fight is try to find the optimal way to do the Thing That Your Character Does.
It's definitely true that casters are far more trouble in combat than fighter-types. I made the mistake last campaign of taking a wizard cohort for my cleric PC, because we had no arcane caster in the party. It was awful trying to figure out my actions each turn. Switched to an archer cohort, and no problem.

Fighter-types, it's true, have more interesting choices at level-up than each round. But there are still choices (choosing to ready-to-disrupt saved our butts several times, and positioning can be key, and sometimes it's important to turn off power attack or deadly aim or whatever). And the real fiddly thing with fighter types is figuring out attack and damage bonuses from attack to attack: they can change almost constantly. So you were knocked prone and grappled last round, you have power attack, prayer, and haste up, and you're now using your less-advantageous small weapon; quick, what's your attack and damage bonus for each iterative attack, plus haste?

Ay ay ay.
#27
Old 02-29-2016, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Fighter-types, it's true, have more interesting choices at level-up than each round. But there are still choices (choosing to ready-to-disrupt saved our butts several times, and positioning can be key, and sometimes it's important to turn off power attack or deadly aim or whatever). And the real fiddly thing with fighter types is figuring out attack and damage bonuses from attack to attack: they can change almost constantly. So you were knocked prone and grappled last round, you have power attack, prayer, and haste up, and you're now using your less-advantageous small weapon; quick, what's your attack and damage bonus for each iterative attack, plus haste?
But none of this was changed from 3X to Pathfinder.

Actually, if you have problems with having to do lots of math to figure out whether you succeeded at something, I'd suggest you not play D&D at all. There are lots of games out there that will produce an entertaining RPG experience without you needing to calculate what your hasted, prone, off hand attack against flatfooted AC is.

Edit: Also, whoops, linked to the wrong spell. I'm sure everyone can find Rope Trick if they want.

Last edited by Airk; 02-29-2016 at 02:33 PM.
#28
Old 02-29-2016, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
But none of this was changed from 3X to Pathfinder.

Actually, if you have problems with having to do lots of math to figure out whether you succeeded at something, I'd suggest you not play D&D at all. There are lots of games out there that will produce an entertaining RPG experience without you needing to calculate what your hasted, prone, off hand attack against flatfooted AC is.

Edit: Also, whoops, linked to the wrong spell. I'm sure everyone can find Rope Trick if they want.
It's been many years since I played 3.x but I remember the calculations being less onerous then, because there were fewer conditions. Not much less onerous, but somewhat less. The fiddliness of Pathfinder is a feature, not a bug.

5E is much more streamlined in this regard (from the little I've played of it). Most of the things that previously would grant a bonus or penalty instead grant advantage or disadvantage. You have your rare effect like Bless, but for the most part you're not doing a bunch of addition and subtraction.

As for myself, I don't have a problem anymore with being sure I include all the penalties and bonuses, because I've spent about an hour setting up a spreadsheet (someone else did the lion's share of the work, but it still took me about an hour to customize the spreadsheet for myself), so I can activate and deactivate various effects and get the calculated bonuses done for me.

I greatly enjoy the fiddly aspect of Pathfinder, but it's incredibly fiddly. Folks who don't like that should look for a different game.
#29
Old 02-29-2016, 04:32 PM
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I question the value of any tabletop game that benefits from a spreadsheet. :P
#30
Old 02-29-2016, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
I question the value of any tabletop game that benefits from a spreadsheet. :P
I've certainly not earned any money off of it, if that's what you mean by "value."

But if you're asking if I had fun with it--well, I've created multiple documents about the character, including spreadsheets, to amuse myself. If spreadsheets aren't your idea of fun, I can respect that, but leave me to my nerd joy .

Pathfinder is sometimes like Edgar Rice Burroughs for accountants. If that doesn't appeal, that's fine.
#31
Old 02-29-2016, 07:19 PM
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There are no tabletop games that cannot benefit from a spreadsheet. Mind you, I have no idea how we managed to get by in 1st and 2nd Edition for so many years without a spreadsheet to keep track of all that crap. I mean, you could do without a spreadsheet, but I don't really want to go back to scribbling in the margins of my character sheet.
#32
Old 03-01-2016, 07:07 AM
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My group plays 5th edition every week since it launched, and we are very happy with it. It has a very good balance between role playing and crunch.

It is very easy to run as a DM, and the investment is very small. PHB, DMG, MM is all you really need.

The modules they have released so far are quite good, and this month they release the new one which is set in Ravenloft.
#33
Old 03-01-2016, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
There are no tabletop games that cannot benefit from a spreadsheet. Mind you, I have no idea how we managed to get by in 1st and 2nd Edition for so many years without a spreadsheet to keep track of all that crap. I mean, you could do without a spreadsheet, but I don't really want to go back to scribbling in the margins of my character sheet.
Good characters need more than a sheet, to be sure. We had folders of material for 1st-2nd Ed. But most of it was role-playing and setting material, nothing that could benefit from a spreadsheet.

Some of our players didn't really look at numbers or pay attention to game mechanics at all, beyond what they were told they needed on a roll.

Last edited by Peremensoe; 03-01-2016 at 08:34 AM.
#34
Old 03-01-2016, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
There are no tabletop games that cannot benefit from a spreadsheet. Mind you, I have no idea how we managed to get by in 1st and 2nd Edition for so many years without a spreadsheet to keep track of all that crap. I mean, you could do without a spreadsheet, but I don't really want to go back to scribbling in the margins of my character sheet.
On what do you base this assertion? Because stating it like that just makes it sound like you've played a bunch of complicated games (1st and 2nd edition AD&D were, in my opinion, overcomplicated).

Just in the D&D-Fantasy vein, a character in Dungeon World gets no benefit from being transformed into a spreadsheet, except that it becomes slightly more irritating to manage your inventory.

In fact, I can only think of one game that I play these days that receives any benefit from spreadsheet style calculations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peremensoe View Post
Good characters need more than a sheet, to be sure. We had folders of material for 1st-2nd Ed. But most of it was role-playing and setting material, nothing that could benefit from a spreadsheet.

Some of our players didn't really look at numbers or pay attention to game mechanics at all, beyond what they were told they needed on a roll.
Yeah; Background and actual CHARACTER benefits from being written down, but not as a spreadsheet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XanderCrews View Post
My group plays 5th edition every week since it launched, and we are very happy with it. It has a very good balance between role playing and crunch.

It is very easy to run as a DM, and the investment is very small. PHB, DMG, MM is all you really need.
$90+ isn't really a "small investment" unless you've become accustomed to paying hundreds of dollars for tons and tons of RPG books.

Last edited by Airk; 03-01-2016 at 10:36 AM.
#35
Old 03-01-2016, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airk View Post
On what do you base this assertion? Because stating it like that just makes it sound like you've played a bunch of complicated games (1st and 2nd edition AD&D were, in my opinion, overcomplicated).

Just in the D&D-Fantasy vein, a character in Dungeon World gets no benefit from being transformed into a spreadsheet, except that it becomes slightly more irritating to manage your inventory.

In fact, I can only think of one game that I play these days that receives any benefit from spreadsheet style calculations.
Agreed. I can't imagine playing Dungeon World, Timewatch, White Wolf games, Paranoia, Dread, Fiasco, Savage Worlds, or any other system needing a spreadsheet like D&D/Pathfinder 3.x have. I enjoy that aspect of the game, but I certainly enjoy games without that aspect as well.
#36
Old 03-01-2016, 12:08 PM
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Quoth Unpronounceable:

However, any GM who actually knows the rules is gonna screw you over because of your bags of holding or equivalents.
You mean, any GM who used to know the rules back in the days of 2nd edition, but hasn't kept up with them since. There is no such rule in 3.x. There is one oblique reference to such a rule, but the rule itself is absent.
#37
Old 03-01-2016, 12:33 PM
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Yeah, nerfing a spell like Rope Trick is pointless, IMO. I find it a pretty weird spell anyway. Either you want to have a second level spell that lets people rest safely or you don't. If you don't, remove the spell entirely from the game. If you do, make it have a flat 8-hour duration, and make it very safe from detection.

Making it an hour per level makes it consistent with other spells, but useless to casters when they can first get it, and by the time they can use it effectively, they're almost at the point where they can cast teleport instead. It's not an entirely useless spell, but I think it'd be improved by simplification.
#38
Old 03-01-2016, 12:35 PM
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I dunno, hiding for an hour or two can calm things down or cause wandering monsters to wander off in boredom.
#39
Old 03-01-2016, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Agreed. I can't imagine playing Dungeon World, Timewatch, White Wolf games, Paranoia, Dread, Fiasco, Savage Worlds, or any other system needing a spreadsheet like D&D/Pathfinder 3.x have. I enjoy that aspect of the game, but I certainly enjoy games without that aspect as well.
Hell, I've made a chargen spreadsheet for even Savage Worlds. Yes, you don't get a million bonuses to keep track of, but when designing or leveling your character your options may be few and simple to work out, but it's still useful to have the computer show you everything you're eligible for and fill out the character sheet for you. Plus, I like to have it generate stat blocks that can be posted to various gaming BBSes.

Funny thing about Savage Worlds is that when you get down to dealing out and taking damage, the rules are muddiest where they are the most crucial. Even the healing rules need to be squinted at very carefully because you can kill the patient while trying to kill them. I've reduced the whole thing to flow charts, but it's the kind of thing where a spreadsheet could help a lot with making sure you're doing this tricky mechanic right.
#40
Old 03-01-2016, 02:45 PM
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I'm not familiar with Savage Worlds, but that doesn't encourage me to try it.
#41
Old 03-01-2016, 03:46 PM
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Pathfinder is likely best. At least they wont come out with a new "edition" every couple of years, making all your old stuff useless.

The change fro 3.5 to 4th, especially with the "3.5 was stuuupid" propaganda really hurt the player base. Then, when 4th folded, coming out with 5th so soon hurt also.
#42
Old 03-01-2016, 03:51 PM
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Gotta admit, I've played D&D since 1977. I was getting pretty bored with it when 3.0 came out and it completely rejuvenated me in spirit and my gaming. I mean, Dragons with HUNDREDS of hit points? FINALLY! YES!

4e completely deflated me and I still have a lot of issues with it, but I still play it with one group because the social aspect is more important - I enjoy gaming with those guys.

I've bought a ton of Pathfinder books and am playing with creating my own setting, but I have not (so far) lifted a finger to find a game or players.

And yeah, that "won't be another completely different release in 3 years" is a big thing to me.
#43
Old 03-01-2016, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Pathfinder is likely best. At least they wont come out with a new "edition" every couple of years, making all your old stuff useless.
Weird--I just checked my shelves, and all my old books dating back to the 1977 Blue Cover edition are still there. I sometimes play 1970s style D&D with buddies at cons, and I know people who still play 1st and 3rd edition. I really don't think that lack of new editions is an argument in Pathfinder's favor, since I'm able to induce a lack of new editions in my own game just by not buying them.

I really believe that which version of D&D you like--or whether you play a different fantasy RPG entirely, or ignore the genre in favor of pinochle tournaments--is simply a matter of taste. The reason there are so many different games is because different folks are looking for different things in their games.
#44
Old 03-01-2016, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Pathfinder is likely best. At least they wont come out with a new "edition" every couple of years, making all your old stuff useless.
Oy, that old chestnut.

Apparently Wizards of the Coast figured out how to install DRM on all the sourcebooks that erase the pages of old editions when new ones come out. Thankfully, my copies appear to be bugged.
#45
Old 03-01-2016, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Pathfinder is likely best. At least they wont come out with a new "edition" every couple of years, making all your old stuff useless.
Yeah, it's a well documented fact that older editions of D&D burst into purple flame and burn to pale ashes that smell faintly of owlbear dung whenever a new edition is released.

And yet oddly, Chimera found his interest in the game REVIVED by a new edition.

What is the advantage of there never being a new edition? That you'll be able to keep giving Paizo your money indefinitely, I guess?

Clearly my opinion is some sort of weird fringe minority, but my ideal RPG is one that DOESN'T say "Wouldn't you like to spend another $30 on another book?" every six months. And before you say "You can just not buy them!" the answer to that is "Sure, but then I have to tell my players that they can't use the options from the Book of Ultimate Slashing" and start keeping track of what is and isn't allowed, and so on. I don't really need dozens of pounds of books to bring with me to the game, or hundreds of pages to sift through looking for the ideal feat or whatever. These are not things that enhance my gaming experience, and I don't think they are an advantage for someone learning the game or trying to return it to either.

Indeed, if a game company doesn't insist on bilking you $30 every few months for a new splatbook, those new editions become much more appealing because you can get whatever improvements they offer without feeling like your "collection" has been invalidated, because you haven't spend $500 on the previous edition. I certainly didn't have any problem dropping money on the new edition of Mouse Guard.

Last edited by Airk; 03-01-2016 at 05:04 PM.
#46
Old 03-01-2016, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Bravo View Post
Oy, that old chestnut.

Apparently Wizards of the Coast figured out how to install DRM on all the sourcebooks that erase the pages of old editions when new ones come out. Thankfully, my copies appear to be bugged.
I was just quoting their claims.

Certainly you can still play AD&D, but there's no new stuff. Certainly you can play 3.5- but again, it's not supported. No FAQ, no errata, no new sourcebooks, etc.
#47
Old 03-01-2016, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
I was just quoting their claims.

Certainly you can still play AD&D, but there's no new stuff. Certainly you can play 3.5- but again, it's not supported. No FAQ, no errata, no new sourcebooks, etc.
I'm intensely curious. What "New stuff" has value for you? Do you run pre-published adventures? Are you unable to sustain interest in a game without new mechanical features? And even given these critera, can you assert that you have actually exhausted the existing supply of these things for older editions of these games?

As for FAQs and errata, in my experience, they don't really change that much over time - if a game has been out for five years and hasn't issued errata for any rules issues that deserve it, it could be argued that that game was in fact NEVER supported, so the problem is not a lack of "ongoing" support so much as the fact that the company never gave a crap in the first place.
#48
Old 03-01-2016, 05:12 PM
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Well, right. So you can either stick with Pathfinder, which will probably continue putting out new books every few months at 30 bucks a pop.

Or you can pick up a new edition of D&D and play with that. What's the difference so long as everyone is having fun?

Pathfinder fans always seem to argue from a point that the new editions of D&D make the old ones "useless," but I never understood that. I think gaming groups that play the same campaign using the same set of rules for years upon years upon years are the exception rather than the rule.

In my extended gaming circle, just in the last few years, I've played FATE Core, Traveller (the original version), D&D 5e, L5R 4e, Warhammer 40k, Pendragon 4e, and the new Fantasy Flight Star Wars. Probably a couple others that I don't remember.

So sure, if your only goal is to pick one single system and stick to it FOREVER AND EVER YEA EVEN UNTO THE END OF TIME, then go with Pathfinder, because at this point they're kind of beholden to their fans who've spent the last decade looking down their noses at WotC for daring to release multiple editions of D&D.

Otherwise, there might be better options. Or maybe not! Pathfinder's not a bad system. Just particular.
#49
Old 03-01-2016, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
I'm intensely curious. What "New stuff" has value for you? Do you run pre-published adventures? Are you unable to sustain interest in a game without new mechanical features? And even given these critera, can you assert that you have actually exhausted the existing supply of these things for older editions of these games?

As for FAQs and errata, in my experience, they don't really change that much over time - if a game has been out for five years and hasn't issued errata for any rules issues that deserve it, it could be argued that that game was in fact NEVER supported, so the problem is not a lack of "ongoing" support so much as the fact that the company never gave a crap in the first place.
Players like "new stuff". That's why that stuff sells like hotcakes.

Well, 3.0. 3.5, 4th, 5th and PF have/had all been issuing FAQ and errata for years. Many of the changes were significant.
#50
Old 03-01-2016, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
And before you say "You can just not buy them!" the answer to that is "Sure, but then I have to tell my players that they can't use the options from the Book of Ultimate Slashing" and start keeping track of what is and isn't allowed, and so on. I don't really need dozens of pounds of books to bring with me to the game, or hundreds of pages to sift through looking for the ideal feat or whatever. These are not things that enhance my gaming experience, and I don't think they are an advantage for someone learning the game or trying to return it to either.
d20pfsrd.com

I love Pathfinder. I haven't bought a single book. Full and free release is part of their marketing strategy. I send my GM links to anything weird I want to use; he looks it up in his books, or else online just like I did.

(If you're not referencing Pathfinder when you talk about constant splatbooks, my apologies).
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