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  #1  
Unread 8th of March, 2013, 02:49
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Pathfinder

I see that a few games of Pathfinder are being run on the site, so I thought I'd ask this here: what is the difference between Pathfinder and DnD? I'm told that they use the same system, and the premise of generic fantasy seems to be the same, too. Can anyone explain where the deviation lies?
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 03:19
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I haven't looked too much into Pathfinder, although I did try to find some definitive list of changes from 3.5 a while back. I can't remember if I was successful or not, but my recollection is that there are a lot of little changes but nothing major.

But anyway, Pathfinder is basically a modified D&D 3.5. Some feats/classes/spells have been added/changed/combined. Skills have been changed a little, along with a few of the combat mechanics. Some folks call Pathfinder D&D 3.75, so that should tell you something. I'm sure there are others more versed that can give better specifics.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 03:21
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I noticed this. I have a copy of the pdf, but couldn't really see any difference between it and DnD 3.5 (aside from the superior artwork, that is, and the fact that one of the forwards claims that combat can be run either descriptively (which would remain difficult, given the retention of Attacks of Opportunity and similar rules) or using maps and miniatures).
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 03:33
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There are definitely differences - I'm sure they combined some skills and changed the way skill points work or something. Feat progression is also changed, several feats are modified, and on the combat side they introduced CMB - combat maneuver bonus, which I believe impacts your grapple/trip/disarm stuff.

In my mind, it boiled down to a house ruled version of 3.5. Asking around, the changes fixed some things, broke other things, and didn't address things that really needed to be addressed. How much better or worse than 3.5 it is . . . well, it seems to be very much a matter of opinion. In the end I didn't feel like learning lots of little changes - if I'm going to use a house ruled version of D&D 3.5 that may or may not be better than the original I may as well make my own house rules. At least I'll know what they are.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 03:40
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I suppose so.

I've only played in DnD twice, and those campaigns didn't last long. Enjoyable, but there was something about the system that didn't sit well with me, by and large. I wonder whether Pathfinder would be any different.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 03:42
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Probably not, would be my guess - although if you could better articulate what didn't sit well with you maybe I could make a more informed guess .
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 03:50
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Well, it was just too fiddly, I suppose - skills in particular. But I already know that issue has been addressed: the fact that you get less skill ranks, are limited to allocating a number into any skill equal to your HD, but gain a +3 bonus to any class skill that you put a rank into, just seems cleaner to me.

I also hate combat that requires maps and miniatures. With a passion.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 03:54
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I don't think Pathfinder is really any less fiddly than 3.5.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 04:02
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Don't get me wrong, I won't boycott the more fiddly RPGs - I'm quite happy to sit down at a table and play them with my friends. I just prefer to take on less rules-heavy systems for my online campaigns, especially if I'M the one running them.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 04:05
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Not at all - I was just saying that in terms of rules-heaviness and fiddly-bits, D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder are the same. If you are looking for something lighter than 3.5 for online gaming, Pathfinder isn't going to be it.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 04:15
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Noted. I've no intention of running a Pathfinder game, especially not online. I was just interested to know how the two RPGs varied, without having to read all 570+ pages of the rulebook to find out.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 11:50
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Pathfinder is essentially a large group of house rules to fix problems in the 3.5 D&D system, with a cleaner presentation, some better art and maps, and a neat setting. It has cleaned up many problems, but not all of them. And not the worst problems with D&D in general (DM prep time, which 4E supposedly fixed--although not in my experience--and D&D Next is supposed to be fixing as well).

Last edited by Mercutio; 8th of March, 2013 at 12:03.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 16:41
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I know my tabletop GM in KS liked how modular 4E could be; he could plug numbers in up or down and get bad guys, but I don't know about the rest of the prep time. I never ran D&D.

Pathfinder is D&D 3.75. Like Mercutio said, it fixes a lot of things, makes some common house rules actual rules, and has great art. The setting seems pretty cool. They don't have some monsters that are very D&D specific, due to copyright, but it's mostly the same.

Traits are probably one of my favorite additions, as is the skill point system. Traits are like pseudo-mini-feats; give a minor bonus and some RP flavor to the character.

Some of my WoW guildies have started up a Play-by-Post Pathfinder game using the "Rise of the Runelords" campaign, and another's getting set up for "The Carrion Crown." The GMs are experienced at both D&D and Pathfinder. I'd link for an example, but forum posts are set to private unless logged into the site as a member! There should be a few around here on ORP, anyway.

The SRD for Pathfinder is really nice, and several PDFs are cheap or free (such as the spoiler-free Player Guides for different campaigns to give players an idea of the general story, area, and offer traits specific to the campaign).
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 17:43
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Would you recommend Pathfinder to someone who is keen to run an epic fantasy campaign, then? What is the game's principle points of appeal, beyond those already listed?
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 22:59
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Pathfinder is just as good as D&D fpr epic fantasy. Possibly the greatest advantages is that like D&D it can be tailored somewhat to the kind of story you want to tell.
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Unread 8th of March, 2013, 23:02
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That's good to know.
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Unread 10th of March, 2013, 03:11
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Pathfinder IS D&D, just with its own settings and a few of its own monsters due to copyright. Paizo was able to publish thanks to the OGL, and just kept it up when WOTC went to 4E (in a rough nutshell). So yeah, epic fantasy adventure in the 3.X style is pretty easy, and very suited to tweaking for each group's style. Some minor difference between 3.X and Pathfinder can trip experienced players up if they aren't double-checking.

The base setting for Pathfinder, Golarion, is a world with lots of room for adventure and GM made-up things; while there are plenty of campaign notes, maps, and flavor text, it's not as over-detailed as some of the base D&D worlds have become over the decades (Forgotten Realms especially has been defined and filled with powerful NPCs to the last inch, it seems), which can be a positive point for some.

They put in traits to give min-maxers a bite while also encouraging more Roleplay. In "Carrion Crown", those traits are used to bring the party together believably while also giving character bonuses that will be helpful for that specific campaign (a tribute to horror campaigns). There's a gypsy-style culture and a related mafia-style group that can be found throughout much of the "main" continent. Sandpoint is a small town that is a major campaign hub, the focus of "Rise of the Runelords" and situated in a country that was colonized by a foreign power, now 3 different cities struggle to assert importance/leadership. There are ruins of an ancient, mysterious civilization scattered through the world that fuels many adventures.

There's a wiki that may help look up campaign elements and information as well as the SRD I linked before.
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Unread 10th of March, 2013, 03:14
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Thanks for the information, LynMars. Very helpful.
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