Posted by : David Guyll August 26, 2009

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Okay, okay, its finally out, and its huge. Its a good thing that we're looking at a 3rd Edition re-hash, or I'd have a lot to learn, amirite? Content wise, its basically PH and DMG glued together. It starts out with race, classes, feats, skills, etc before moving on to building adventures and campaigns, dungeon settings, traps, and yadda yadda yadda. Same shit, different look.

I'm not going to pull a “Kurt Wiegel” and just say that Pathfinder is shit, and its not a role-playing game by a self-invented standard. I'm not even going to surmise this entire review by stating that, "I got tired of Pathfinder back when it was called 3rd Edition." No, oh no. I'm going to give you actual reasons from a game design standpoint as to why it sucks. Mostly, I'm curious as to see if Paizo fixed the flaws. Okay, I'm kidding: we already know by the previews that they didnt, but lets go through the motions anyway and start things out on a positive beat by checking out the good part.

Art! Its got some usually-okay art. The best stuff is whatever recycled Wayne Reynolds bits they threw on as chapter-splashes, and the rest runs from great to good. The downside is that as far as I can tell its all recycled (like the rules, har har). I'd have preferred it if they added more stuff that was more contextually appropriate for the chapters.
For example, Chapter 1: Races, has a picture of the adventurers running through a drow city...which pertains to race because I guess the characters are using races out of the book? Chapter 3 is the cover of "Hook Mountain Massacre", which makes sense because of...well...I got nothing. There's a fighter there, and a sorcerer! Those are classes, right?
Anyway, points for generally very good art, even if its as rehashed as the game. Otherwise, there isnt much to say about the physical quality of the book. Its big, its expensive, and its for a game that you already bought almost ten years ago.

Moving on to the bad stuff (and by that I mean the rest of it), starting with the races.

Paizo has elected to keep all of the traditional races, with "traditional" being defined as the ones that were in the initial launch circa 3E (and not OD&D, AD&D, 2E, etc). The races all now get a bonus to a second stat, but keep the penalty. Humans and half-races get to add a +2 to whatever the hell stat they want (so hey, half-orcs dont get an Int dive!). They're otherwise identical, except the half-orc who gets a few new racial abilities that make it a slightly more worthwhile racial option to play, but still not enough to make it an appealing choice.
This isn’t a problem unique to the half-orc, as many races lug around cumbersome features that are worthless if you play to type (such as an elf archer-type or half-orc melee warrior of any stripe), and if you play outside of the mold they still don’t amount to anything. Oh, I’m an elf wizard so I can use bows…not that I’m going to bother since my attack bonus is so abysmally shitty that I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if a giant threw it at me while I was paralyzed and enlarged.
Some benefits are so retardedly situational that I would be surprised if players bothered to write them down. Dwarves get a bonus on Appraise checks to identify the prices of non-magical items that also contain metals or gems. I…frankly cannot remember ever bothering to use Appraise. Its one of those strange skill that’s tries to add a layer of immersion to the game that just isn’t necessary, except to randomly allow the players to fuck themselves over by botching the list price of an art object (and forcing the DM to just add more shit to make up the difference).
On the other hand, some races gain features that are only useful to a specific class. Elves get a bonus against spell resistance, and with their Int bonus would make better-than-normal wizards, which is good since they were supposed to make good wizards all along, right? Well, kinda. I mean its handy if they play a class that uses caster levels (which is admittedly eventually most of them), but outside its completely, utterly worthless. Players who opt to make a fighter or similar character are going to end up parsing off a good chunk of the elf’s abilities (especially given that their familiarity is also pointless).

What this means is that ultimately we still have quite a few n00b traps. This is where you present a player with a list of choices, but many are underpowered, useless, or so highly circumstantial that they might as well be useless. The best example that comes to mind for me is a halfling fighter. Halflings are a Small race, and in OGL games they have to use smaller weapons, often get a Strength penalty, and take another penalty on many Strength-based applications (grapple, bull rush, disarm, trip, etc). They also tend to move slower and can carry even less than their Strength score would indicate.
See, a fighter is supposed to be about melee combat and "tanking", where they defend their party from the onslaught of monsters. Aside from the complete lack of scaling and ability to prevent monsters from sidestepping them and mauling anyone they want to death, the halfling’s flaws culminate into a shitty character. They deal about 2 points of damage less overall, but the biggest problems (no pun intended) are realized when you consider that since she is Small and gets a Strength penalty that she takes an effective -5 penalty on her efforts to resist other critters from pushing her around, or just fucking picking her up and throwing her...wherever.
Since she moves slower and her Speed gets reduced even further by heavy armor, it takes her longer to maneuver around the battlefield (and if you are using physical skills, I'm sure that the reduced carrying capacity is going to mess with things even more so).
This is frankly, a trap character. A player might think it is a neat idea and give it a go, only to realize very quickly that you suck. You have no chance in hell of performing the duties that your class cant really do anyway, but even if it mechanically could, you'd still be fucked. Kind of like falling in a pit trap with spikes, only to have ceiling open up and dump acid filled with acid sharks on you: a double-trap! The only people that would get a kick out of this are the mechanic-masochists that think that its “cool” to play a crippled, underpowered character because its somehow more rewarding to succeed when the dice finally fall your way.

Moving on!

Next on the chopping block, classes. Most of the class stuff was picked apart months ago during the previews and tend to follow this trend: cut and paste the old class, add in a few features, and try to pretend the whole time that they dont still suck. For example barbarians can “rage climb/swim” and can pick up a bite attack that wont hit, which isnt that big of a deal since it only deals 1d4 damage anyway.
See, its stuff like that that sounds really badass, but c'mon: -5 to the attack? Half the Strength modifier? Are you fucking serious? I would have allowed the barbarian to make a useful bite attack as a minor swift action. Its not like she can do it all the damned time or its going to overpower her to the point where no one will play other melee classes. Be reasonable, no one plays fighters anyway.
Other classes, particularly spellcasters, get yet more powerful in the transition. You know, the guys that run the show since 5th-level? Yeah. Apparently Paizo thought that they still needed more freebies to further adorn their palanquin that the rest of the party was carrying them around on. Druids can opt to swap out their worthless animal companion to get access to more spells, and wizards and sorcerers get at-will powers and more magical flexibility. Since, you know, they obviously needed more shit to keep track of even if some of its pretty weak-sauce…*cough* hand of the apprentice *cough*.
The only good part I can see about classes is that Paizo made sure that every level has something to gain aside from hit/skill points. I assume that not all are interesting, but at least its there.

Some skills got condensed, just like in 4th Edition, but Paizo didn’t quite have the foresight to get rid of the useless “simulation” skills that don’t really do anything except make money on the off chance that the DM puts the game on hold long enough to make them worthwhile and let you justify to yourself that its “okay” to make the claim that your character is a farmer. I mean, its not like you could just say that that’s what your character did…right? Just like its not okay to say that your character had friends during her childhood without dumping enough points in the right skill.

Between the shitty races, classes, feats, and skills, what all of this does is cater to system mastery, where you play the game enough to realize what choices work, which ones dont, and leave the crap by the wayside. System mastery isn’t good, especially for new players or people wanted to try out classes that promise one thing and deliver nothing (example: halfling fighters, or just fighters in general).
On one hand, I don’t want to blame Paizo for this. They aren’t game designers, and they really want to peddle their wares to the desperate niche that got left behind when 4th Edition was announced. Pathfinder isn’t a new game, its just an old game with a new paint job.
In other words, its just 3E with a shitload of houserules. The problem is that groups that still want to play 3rd Edition have that. With Pathfinder, its now a matter of cross-referencing the original rules with the new rules and figuring out whats changed, whats different, and if the differences arent great enough its going to cause even more confusion. My group ran into this problem when Revised Edition was released, mostly with spells and feats but occasionally with mechanics and some class features. It was a massive pain in the ass, and since Pathfinder maintains much of the flaws of Yester-Year's Edition, it just compounds the issues I'd have with it. Its quite a bit late to just push out a slightly modified game, charge the full price, and not fix the stuff that needed it.

But hey, its Paizo, and they have their fans that will eat it up no matter what they produce, even if they follow the same business plan as the, "800-pound gorilla," that they desperately want to emulate (push out books that contain more of the same, just with the same system to boot). I used to be a fan, back when 3rd Edition was still in its heyday. I had a subscription to both of the dead-tree magazines, though I didnt use most of it. Hell, I mostly toughed it out for Dungeon since they were running Savage Tide and I thought it looked awesome.

Now?

Looking at Pathfinder gives me the same emotional conflict that I get when looking at World of WarCraft: the art is pretty, and...thats about it. It starts to draw me in, but I push myself away once I realize that thats the only thing it has going for it: eye candy. I'm not going to buy Pathfinder. Not the Big Book o' Houserules, not the modules, nothing. If they made an art book I could dig it, because thats the only thing about their stuff that I like. I'd easily pony up $50 or even more for such a collection. Looks good. Looks great. Its something I could easily use for inspiration. I mean, Wizards of the Coast has eye candy, too. The difference is that they have a game that backs it up.
Maybe thats where Paizo went wrong. When they did the open beta, I realized very quickly that they took a lot of the good ideas from 4th Edition and did their best to shoehorn them in and try to pass it off as their own: more hit points, more feats, rogues can SA more things, spellcasters get "at-wills". Lots of stuff like that.
I find it baffling that Paizo is making their own line of game products, and no one is calling them out on being a bunch of money-grubbing corporate wage-slaves. We got a $50 rulebook that everyone will need to have, since its for both players and DMs, a Bestiary coming out later, and a bunch of other shit specific to Pathfinder. I think that just makes it worse: its all specific to their own little homebrew campaign. It'd be like if Wizards just made nothing but Eberron books, which while super-cool, would cater to too narrow an audience.

Huh.

I guess Paizo is the RPG publisher equivalent of Nintendo. Well, not quite. To be fair, when Nintendo pushes out yet another Mario/Zelda/Metroid game, its usually a mostly different experience aside from the titular character. Not that different is necessarily good.

In closing, Pathfinder is just a 3rd Edition re-hash that tries to take an old, outdated system and shoehorn in some of the mechanics of 4th Edition in order to justify repurchasing a game that you’ve been playing, but not quite enough to make the mechanics work in an elegant manner. The book looks nice, its just too bad that I got tired of Pathfinder back when it was still called 3rd Edition (see, I waited til the end).

{ 54 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Easy there, tiger. ;) Sweeping generalizations don't make strong arguments, and I want to ensure that those reading your review don't write off PF based on the following assertions.

    "...but still not enough to make [Half-orcs] an appealing choice..."

    I'd play a half-orc as-is in the PF core rulebook, but I preferred the +2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Cha arrangement, which will be house-ruled in my game.

    "...not that I’m going to bother since my attack bonus is so abysmally shitty..."

    Not necessarily true. Certainly you probably won't be hitting much with your bow at middle and higher levels, but at lower levels an elven caster with a decent dex and bow combo could do far worse than take a shot.

    "...and can pick up a bite attack that wont hit, which isn't that big of a deal since it only deals 1d4..."

    It might not hit, but when you're raging you're effectively at +2 to hit, mitigating the -5 to a -3. It's not much of a stretch that you'd succeed here, and certainly makes the ability better than useless. If you're making a full attack or grappling there's little reason not to go for the bite and the potential extra damage.

    Most importantly, that's one rage power of around 12 that you can choose from, which is hardly indicative of the whole picture.

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  2. "...See, a fighter is supposed to be about melee combat and "tanking"..."

    Prove it. I've seen many fighters do other things. Bowfighters. Maneuver specialists. Scouts. Skirmishers. Dagger fighters. Anything you can imagine.

    I think you're doing the fighter (and yourself) a disservice by pigeonholing him into one role at all times.

    "...but Paizo didn’t quite have the foresight to get rid of the useless “simulation” skills that don’t really do anything except make money..."

    I see your point here, but naturally you can get a lot of mileage out of these "useless" skills if you're willing to do so. Substitute one of these for a related knowledge roll, for instance, or use the skills of your players to build plot hooks. Basically, they don't have to be useless, and losing them would take a lot of the character freedom out of the game, no matter how little used it is now.

    "...Druids can opt to swap out their worthless animal companion to get access to more spells..."

    I love animal companions, and I've gotten many uses from mine while watching others get many uses from theirs.

    "...and they really want to peddle their wares to the desperate niche that got left behind when 4th Edition was announced"

    I wouldn't consider anyone playing Pathfinder or older editions as desperate. Far from it. There are a zillion references and a lot of players still playing those systems, and this hobby is such that there's no reason to need the continued support of a publisher to play. I'd say the average 3E/PF player out there is awash in quality choices of what to play and how, but certainly not desperate.

    "With Pathfinder, its now a matter of cross-referencing the original rules with the new rules and figuring out whats changed, whats different, and if the differences arent great enough its going to cause even more confusion..."

    This doesn't make sense. Why are you cross-referencing the rules? Why would it be confusing if the differences were few, rather than many?

    "...slightly modified game, charge the full price, and not fix the stuff that needed it."

    That's hardly the case. I won't say that Buhlman and Co. have addressed all of *your* issues (which is obviously not the case) but there are several major issues that they did address. Fighters are viable forever, and will now be the undisputed masters of "traditional" combat with their armour and weapon specializations. Polymorphing spells have been fixed up. Special maneuvers in combat have been streamlined. Weaker feats have been removed or revamped... and so on.

    To be honest, I think you may have gone into your review with an attitude that may have made it impossible to have liked PF. It's an update of 3.5, and you have serious problems with that edition. This is fine, but I'd like all sides of the story to be told.

    I'm currently running a PF game with several players who are completely new to D&D, and I'm currently reading the core rulebook a page at a time. If you want a chance to hit me back at my blog feel free—I'll be posting a series on Pathfinder starting very soon.

    Thanks.

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  3. I was never going to bother with Pathfinder after the open beta nonsense where no good ideas were listened to, instead catering to anyone who seemed to be "having fun" with the new rules in spite of how bad they were mechanically.

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  4. "Prove it.

    I've seen many fighters do other things. Bowfighters. Maneuver specialists. Scouts. Skirmishers. Dagger fighters. Anything you can imagine.

    I think you're doing the fighter (and yourself) a disservice by pigeonholing him into one role at all times."

    Like it or not...D&D is now and always has been a team sport...the mechanics have always revolved primarily around team combat, and the Fighters job has always been to keep monsters from eating the squishier members of the party. Hence the high HP and armor class.

    You can build them to accommodate a number of different fighting styles, this is true. But the mechanics of the Fighter have always promoted (poorly though, in the case of 3.x and Pathfinder)them as a frontline defender.

    This is evidenced by how abysmally bad the Fighter is at doing the other things you mentioned as compared to the other classes.

    "Basically, they don't have to be useless, and losing them would take a lot of the character freedom out of the game, no matter how little used it is now."

    Having a "skill tax" like profession or craft in order to mechanically justify your characters background story is the opposite of "character freedom"

    "That's hardly the case. I won't say that Buhlman and Co. have addressed all of *your* issues (which is obviously not the case) but there are several major issues that they did address. Fighters are viable forever, and will now be the undisputed masters of "traditional" combat with their armour and weapon specializations. Polymorphing spells have been fixed up. Special maneuvers in combat have been streamlined. Weaker feats have been removed or revamped... and so on."

    They streamlined a few of the mechanics and bookkeeping issues, which is good. But they failed to address issues of class balance and scaling.

    Like I said before, D&D is a tea, sport...this is why they have classes. If a game is going to include classes then the game needs to have class balance.

    The Fighter is not viable forever, because the spellcasting classes are still leaps and bounds above them. Clerics can still buff themselves far beyond a Fighters capability, Druids and Wizards can still summon things that are much better melee combatants than Fighters. And all the Fighter can really do is charge, full attack, or fail at secondary maneuvers like grappling and tripping.

    "To be honest, I think you may have gone into your review with an attitude that may have made it impossible to have liked PF. It's an update of 3.5, and you have serious problems with that edition. This is fine, but I'd like all sides of the story to be told."

    So the newbie traps like the Fighter class are still present, which means that the game still punishes people for being unfamiliar with the system. This is a problem...it is a major problem...this style of design is bad for Pathfinder and it's bad for the hobby as a whole.

    The game is still 3.x with a few new bells and whistles...it is an improvement, yes. But not enough of an improvement, because it was focused on fixing the problematic details that made 3.x tedious, rather than fixing the problematic details that made it a bad game.

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  5. Well, in a sense I actually appreciate this review quite a bit as a big 4e fan and as someone who's quite happy to have a copy of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. The edition wars arguments are still "valid" and go both ways, this is a good reminder of that.

    In all honestly I'm not fond of bashfest reviews in general. It's a lot more enjoyable to listen to people talk about what they like about a game, rather than list off reasons why they dislike it in favor of what you walked in the door knowing they like. Regardless of what's being bashed.

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  6. I paid 6 bucks to play Pathfinder at Gencon, and I wasn't impressed. For touting a supposed "fix" to 3.x, all they did was run me through a boring 1st lvl adventure with a crappy dm.

    At first level, the rule changes can't be that many. I was bored in the 3 fights we did vs. a couple of dire rats and zombies, and it cost me $6 to play.

    That was my debut, and exit, with Pathfinder. Same old 3.x

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  7. I think it's possible that if 3.x derivative games like Fantasycraft, Pathfinder and Trailblazer manage to carve out a niche, subsequent editions of the games will each take the basic ruleset in interesting directions.

    Of course at that point people will be screaming that "2nd Edition Pathfinder isn't really Pathfinder...it's Asheron's Call on paper barrglaggarg!!1!"

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  8. @Ike: The important thing is that this is my opinion on it, based on what I like/don’t like and my understanding (or perhaps lake thereof) of game design.
    My problems with half-orcs has nothing to do with their floating ability mod, its that they still kinda suck. I mean, orc blood was never useful and unless Paizo is making a LOT of orc-only magic items its still bland (3E had two official orc-only magic items, one of them epic, back in the day). Weapon Familiarity is a likewise fairly pointless racial power, since races sticking to their tropes will likely be already proficient with them (half-orc barbarians), or be playing classes that want nothing to do with them (elf wizards). Which brings me to my next point.
    I understand that at the lowest levels before attack bonuses start to escalate that maybe, just maybe, a caster out of juice might be able to do something useful with a weapon, but I see this happening very, very rarely if ever. An elf wizard might boost their Dex to 16, giving her a whopping +3 to hit. Most classes that use weapons on a regular basis will probably have at least a +5, perhaps a +6, which makes a big difference. Of course, this works out a bit better than in most cases since wizards might actually want a good Dex. What about melee weapons? How many half-orcs are going to be strong enough to get anything out of lugging around a falchion that they are proficient with?
    The bite attack is, frankly, a trap option. Yes, while raging its an effective -3 to hit. However it gets NO benefit from Weapon Focus or enhancement bonuses, meaning that its actually a lot further behind than you might think (by 2 or more points in most cases, likely more). Since its not magical it gets no benefit against Damage Resistance, and at 1d4 damage…well…you have fun with that. I call it a trap option since it sounds cool in theory, but in execution? Not so much. Worse yet, Small characters get hosed here, too.
    On the topic of other rage powers, sure there are twelve, but some of them are also particularly lame (I cite “rage climb/swim”). In the end this will end up being a victim of system mastery: players will learn with rage powers are actually useful, and stick solely to them.
    Fighters can make good ranged combatants. Ironically in 3E they were the BEST at it. Period. Not even ranged rangers came close (and other classes did the melee bit better). I disagree on the other concepts, however. They might be possible with very specific builds, but in a general sense no so much. They’d really suck at being a scout since “scouting skills” are cross-class. Its harder for them to pull that off. Worse yet, it means that a portion of their class features (ie, big armor and shields) are rendered useless. The fighter is a class that could really benefit from being ushered into a niche role, like it is in 4E where it is a melee warrior instead of a vague idea with the “potential” to be wedged into something that its not intended for.

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  9. Simulation skills don’t really have a place in an action-adventure game. To me they actually restrict character flexibility since players probably think that they have to have them in order to justify a background. Case in point, people claiming that they need Profession so that they can say their character was a farmer before becoming an adventurer. I know that one of the Paizo staff did a bit in an adventure where Profession (butcher) could be used to find a clue, and my response is that that’s fucking retarded since Profession is Trained-only, and its an individual skill. So, really, someone had to take that specific skill and sufficient ranks to hit the DC. Very, VERY narrow niche with dubious payoff.
    On another note, I was mistaken about druid animal companions since I recall that in the past they made better fighters than fighters did if you took the right one and used the right buffing spells. Since Paizo has cribbed mostly the method 4E uses, I’m not too sure how they would hold up now.
    The rules referencing stems from a similar problem when Wizards released Revised Edition. What I mean is that if there are two elements of the game that are very similar, players will have a harder time remembering which is the “official” version. This was largely an issue with some feats like Spell Focus (which dropped from a +2 bonus to a +1) and mechanics of spells (like the duration of bull’s strength and similar ability boosters).
    Fighters are still not viable. This was proven on RPGnet looong ago based solely on the fighter preview and Beta releases. It is and has always been a matter of improper scaling: fighter damage doesn’t scale up, its linear. Magic does scale up by quite a bit. Wizards made a much better fix by releasing Book of Nine Swords. Paizo just piled on yet more feats.
    My attitude was that I didn’t like Pathfinder back when Beta was released. I went through the pdf, noticed that they added a lot of convoluted shit that didn’t do much to address the reasons why I went on with 4E, though they sure as hell tried to steal 4E’s stuff and pretend it was their own.
    It’s a matter of perspective as each new edition makes the flaws and issues very clear and works to resolve those. 4th Edition and the design & development posts have done a lot to explain the problems, why they are problems, and methods to fix them. Did Paizo fix them? No. They are catering to the people that for whatever reason are happy to stick their heads in the sand and ignore them. Meanwhile Paizo gets to repack the game you already own and sell it to you, again.

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  10. "I find it baffling that Paizo is making their own line of game products, and no one is calling them out on being a bunch of money-grubbing corporate wage-slaves."

    ...and I find it baffling that someone can post such misinformed garbage and downright lies under the guise of being a reputable RPG review.

    Your points are vague and misleading, your criticisms show the wit of an adolescent Gamestop employee, and your claims of having any authority in the knowledge of game design are about as founded as Hasbro's when they gutted my favorite RPG in order to move their newest product line.

    A little background about myself. I am a Dungeon Master; though I suppose that now I can't wear that mantle any more because it happens to be be copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast. So, as a Pathfinder Game Master I find your pointless attacks against my new favorite game just a bit insulting.

    It's hard to believe how much time has passed since I last bought on official "Dungeons & Dragons" product because a couple years ago the company who made it decided to discontinue that game. They also ended the publication of all source material for it, and then publicly insulted their own fan base with poorly made Flash cartoons about gnomes being monsters. They did keep the rights to the D&D brand name, but they slapped it on a watered down board game, and changed things up just enough to trick the misguided into buying something that isn't what it claims to be.

    Early in your review you wrote:

    "I'm going to give you actual reasons from a game design standpoint as to why it(pathfinder) sucks."

    This was the first flaw in your argument, as you have yet to found one single factual reason as to why you hate the Pathfinder RPG so vehemently. Your first point of contention was...

    "Art! Its got some usually-okay art."

    I wonder what your basis of comparison is. I grew up with great D&D art masters such as Keith Parkinson and Larry Elmore. These men knew how to capture the spirit of adventure as well as the human form with expert detail. In the pages of the 4th Edition books I saw lizard-headed dragon people with breasts (Reptiles shouldn't have breasts. Seriously, who asked for that?), Unrealistic characters and equipment that look stolen directly from the artists of World of Warcraft, and entire pages of what could be described as Technicolor vomit.

    Page 5 is just God-awful, I hate it. What are they wearing and who's idea was that slanted angle? On page 177 the perspective is so bad that the jumping tiefling has midget arms and the elf with the lockpicks has a leg growing out of his crotch. And, don't get me started on the Photoshop landscape on page 95 of the DMG. It's so soft and digitized that I can practically see the strokes of the Blur tool.

    The art of Pathfinder is crisp and beautiful. I didn't care for everything inside, and you are right that not all of the Chapter Headers were up to par, but it was nice to see some art from Wayne Reynolds that didn't involve fantasy robots or MMO character avatars. The art team really did a good job here. The characters from Pathfinder look so good but are also believable, which is important in any Role Playing Game.

    *More to come...*

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  11. Which brings me to my next point...

    "Simulation skills don’t really have a place in an action-adventure game."

    Pathfinder isn't an "Action-Adventure Game" and neither should D&D try to pose as one. If you want that, play a video game. I've been running a Pathfinder game set in my own homebrew Campaign setting for over a year now and lots of my players use "Simulation skills" on a regular basis. Entire games have gone buy without a single attack die being cast. My game started out in 3rd edition and
    carried over quite nicely with the new Pathfinder rules. The games that I like to host would be practically impossible to run with 4th Edition, which is exactly why I stayed with my library of 3rd Edition books before Pathfinder came out.

    Since then, I have spent a great deal of time in and around my area converting people to Pathfinder over 4th Edition. Since I started, I have hosted numerous Pathfinder games and convinced several gaming groups not to buy 4th edition products. Many of them however bought at least the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.

    I absolutely love the people at Paizo for what they have done for the gaming community at large. Paizo brought us Dragon and Dungeon magazine for so long and they are passionate people who don't work for a soulless conglomerate. Out of everything you said, it was the unwarranted insults that you leveled against them that inspired me to write this.

    Wizards of the Coast however, is a lackey of Hasbro now. I can't imagine that many of their employees were very thrilled when they were told that they were told they had to scrap everything they had and start over. Those poor people had to reinvent the wheel and try to make it more understandable to a WoW playing demographic. The fact that they tried to not only drown my favorite game, but kill their competitors by yanking the Open Gaming License from D&D was what cemented my decision to Boycott their products.

    If you don't like Pathfinder, fine, don't play it and don't buy the books. But keep your pathetic insults to yourself and lay off the good people who make your games. If you have a criticism, back it up with facts.

    All of the Pathfinder rules and a great deal of homebrew material is available for free at http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ and other websites. As the community grows, people share what they have and make it available for everyone to enjoy. There is no 4th edition SRD and Hasbro quickly kills them wherever they pop up. Their strong arm tactics are designed to force players to buy the Rulebooks out of necessity rather than quality.

    I have PDFs of the 4th Edition PHB and DMG which I like to show to people who can't decide between them an Pathfinder. Usually the artwork is enough to tip the scales, but what really intrigues me is that most people don't actually seem to know what the 4th edition rules are trying to accomplish. How would the powers and abilities of 4th edition look in real life, and why did they think people would want to role play this? What the hell is a Healing Surge?

    The fact is, 4th edition plays like a board game. People who complain about 3rd edition and Pathfinder were probably playing the game wrong. If you like 4th edition, you're probably the sort of person who would like 4th edition and just picked up the books because it said "Dungeons and Dragons" on the cover.

    *more to come*

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  12. Pathfinder is selling very well, compare it's Core Rulebook (which only costs $31.46 there) to the 4th edition core rules on Amazon if you like. The Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide just came out, and it's shipping to my house as I type this. It'll look good next to all the others. There's over two decades of D&D history up there along with other good games like Paranoia and Call of Cthulhu. If 4th edition is so damned great, I'd like to see them try and tackle one of those games and see how well that goes.

    2 subpoints.

    1.) If you don't know how to play a Fighter, then don't. You sound like a munchkin every time you bring up how "nobody plays them" and half the things you say are simply wrong. My first Pathfinder character was a Halfling Fighter who built a repeating crossbow (using profession and craft skills no less) using only the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. He was a favorite of the game the most effective Wizard killer that the party had. Use a little creativity now and then and stop whining about the game being broken.

    2.) Hand of the Apprentice rocks. If you can't think of a single reason why being able to use a magic battle axe like a returning boomerang isn't useful inside or outside of combat, then there is something wrong with you and you shouldn't be playing D&D.

    -"Azzkigar" the DM

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  13. An article that I posted almost over a year ago can /still/ attract comments? That’s…cool? I would like to point out that I probably wouldn’t have noticed this had I not turned on comment moderation. Frankly, /I/ find it baffling that you even bothered to write /three/ elaborate rant-comments when you could have just as easily read the review, not agreed, and moved on with your life. It /is/ after all, almost a year old.
    Its always a laugh when people bitch about what WotC does with their own property. How DARE they revise the rules and make a new edition. I mean, its not enough that they left the rules for the edition you DO play on the internet, forever, for fucking /FREE/. Watered-down game /nothing/. I get it, you don’t like 4th Edition. You’re just regurgitating the same shit that we all heard two years ago by /other/ trolls, ignoring all the while the game’s roots and trends. Way to keep your head in the sand.
    You say my points are misleading—to put it nicely—and claim that I don’t explain /why/ I dislike it, ignoring my comments about system-mastery, lack of balance, and inclusion of simulation-skills. Both of the former stem purely from a game design stance, while the latter might arguably fit when you consider the game’s genre (action-adventure role-playing game).
    Yes, D&D is an action-adventure game. Combat is a big part of it. Always has, and always /will/. You don’t have to agree, I frankly don’t give a fuck. It’s stupid that you puss out and say to just go play a video game if you want something in the action-adventure genre. You don’t even say /why/. Its like you think that only digital games have any capacity to properly convey it. I guess you haven’t heard of, oh…I dunno…MOST analog RPGs. You don’t even elaborate. You just say, “durr hurr, MMO crowd,” and move on.
    On art, my “basis of comparison” is about the type of art /I/ enjoy. You might not like what you see in 4th Edition art, and that’s fine since you don’t play that game (and by the sounds of it haven’t bothered to give it a shot). Personally I was never a fan of Larry Elmore, instead preferring Brom and Tony DiTerlizzi. I don’t give a shit about “dragonboobs”, since dragons aren’t true reptiles, and am instead offended by the whole “pred-dred” thing (dragonborn in my games have horns and crests that reflect their breath weapon attack).
    On skills, this is the typical defense of people who bitch about the removal of useless simulation skills: that you, “used them aaaall the fucking time,” and that its impossible to add them back to the game. I took Craft/Profession skills from time-to-time (well, a rank or two), if /only/ to justify my characters background. Which simulation skills do they use on a “regular basis”? Dice rolling is part of using simulation skills, so why are you telling me that you purportedly went through /entire/ sessions without rolling dice? What is stopping you from adding simulation skills to 4E?

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  14. No 4th Edition SRD? A simple Google search reveals it to be here: http://www.wizards.com/d20/files/4E_SRD.pdf As for homebrew material, there is /plenty/ of homebrew content. Many others and myself have posted up a ton of material since the game came out, and I don’t even link/refer to the SRD.
    I’ve never heard anyone make the claim that the employees even /might/ have been upset at having to make a new game edition. Yeah, I’m /really/ sure that the employees at WotC were fucking dragged over the coals to push this game out, and not being shackled by tradition to boot! “Hey guys, take all the feedback and playtesting we’ve done over the past five years and make the D&D you’ve always wanted. Don’t worry about adhering to the deprecated mechanics of the past: do whatever you think is best!” Yeah, I know /I/ would loathe such creative freedom. It’s not like they talk about their own homebrew games or that the game has gotten far more publicity now than it /ever/ has before. I wonder how much they paid the guys at Penny-Arcade to not only toil through some podcasts, but /force/ Gabe to pretend to run games /and/ enjoy them. Go ahead and boycott the game, the hobby’s better off without people like you.
    I don’t know why you are bragging about converting people from one game to another. It’s kind of sad. You make it sound like a life mission or something, despite the fact that your actions haven’t changed…well…/anything/. D&D is still vastly more popular that Pathfinder or any other RPG out there can and ever will be. WotC will still continue to create products for an exceptionally well made game. You can claim that its because they were “forced” to, and that Hasbro is a soulless money consuming faceless tyrant-god, but the fact is that the people that work on this game like it. They /love/ it. They obviously put a lot of time and passion into making it the best they can, and while not perfect is MUCH better than it was in the past.
    Oh, and I /did/ compare them on Amazon. Not only is the D&D core set only about 7 bucks more than the Pathfinder book, but its also beats out Pathfinder by about 800 places according to the bestseller rank.
    SUBPOINTS(?)
    Why do I sound like a munchkin? Is it because the fighter has proven to be mechanically unviable? This is another common defense when people mention how shitty class structure is in Pathfinder and 3rd Edition: that you had that character before and it was awesome and everyone loved it and it shit wish scrolls. Just by itself, not counting magic items, I have no fucking clue how it could be “the most effective” /anything/ killer.
    Hand of the apprentice is shit. Being able to make ranged attacks with a non-existent attack bonus a limited number of times per day isn’t useful, its retarded.

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  15. Wow, that was fast! Good thing you had comment moderation on. Play whatever you want man, I didn't write that for you. I wrote it for the people who are looking for real opinions.

    Since I'm apparently not part of the community now I guess there's no reason to set any records strait; but I sure will miss Penny Arcade.

    Anyway, Monte Cook said it best in the intro to the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. For anyone who is still on the fence and looking for an unbiased review, decide for yourself at http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ to read about the Pathfinder rules in their entirety.

    The "SRD" Antioch posted is nothing more than a WotC marketing reference document. It contains no actual rules and you can't use it to run a game without buying the books.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go troll for the "money-grubbing corporate wage-slaves."

    Very nice.

    Peace.

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  16. As opposed to...false...opinions? You didn't ask for a complete set of free rules, you asked for a SRD. I gave it to you. If you want a bunch of free shit, well WotC isn't doing that anymore and that's /their/ prerogative.

    I wouldn't complain, since it's very easy to get a core book /set/ for only $7 more than the Pathfinder, then shell out around $10 for a CB update that has ALL the content from ALL the books. Hell, you even get Adventure Tools, which has all the monsters (and ability to easily make your own) to boot.

    Anyway, nice to see you come back and not refute anything I said. Stay classy!

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  17. The issue will always be a matter of choice, not quality or popularity. Thom, if you love pathfinder, thats totally fine but please, please dont just rant, discuss. i sadly read all of your three posts waiting for an actual counter points on Antioch's review but all you did was ignore most of his points and highlighted your ranting opinion as facts.

    I suggest you try 4e with an open mind, play, enjoy/hate, then compare. One thing is saying you like it, another thing is say its good/better. That goes for Twilight fans as well.

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  18. Planeswalker,

    I'm personal friends with people who have done work for Paizo, and I don't like seeing their good name dragged through the mud on some asinine blog; especially one that tries to pretend it's an actual review. Paizo has produced some excellent gaming material over the years and Pathfinder is the favorite of me and about 3/4ths of my gaming groups.

    I don't wish anyone here any ill will, but I honestly don't know how someone can write this garbage and try to pass it off like they know anything about the gaming industry.

    I'd be happy to explain why fighters are perfectly viable (more so than Wizards even), why The Hand of the Apprentice is awesome, and why halflings are short. However, this is Antioch's blog about 4th Edition, and he was gracious enough to actually let me post something, so I'm willing to call it even. I only found this review while looking up reviews for the Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide that just came out.

    Your call Antioch, I'll lay it out in black and white, but only if you want me to. Otherwise, I'll just shut up and go away. It's clear that you don't know how the Pathfinder System works, but I'd be happy to explain it to you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Paizo has done some pretty good work in the past, though Rise of the Runelords was (to me) below par when compared to their past works, namely Age of Worms and Savage Tide. Frankly, I found much of the information in the adventure portion of Burnt Offerings to be both too wordy and provide information pertinent only to the DM (or that only the DM would ever know by reading the adventure).
    That being said, your gaming group(s) accounts for a fraction of a percentage of the gaming population, so it only really matters to you how much of them derive any enjoyment out of Pathfinder: my group does not.

    I AM curious as to how fighters are "viable", especially more so than wizards. I would prefer it if you structured your explanation without resorting to anecdotal evidence. On that note, you never did explain your frequent usage of Craft/Profession skills in your games, and I'm still curious as to how your halfling fighter with a repeating crossbow was an insanely good wizard-killer.

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  20. First off,

    “...we still have quite a few n00b traps. This is where you present a player with a list of choices, but many are underpowered, useless, or so highly circumstantial that they might as well be useless. The best example that comes to mind for me is a halfling fighter. Halflings are a Small race, and in OGL games they have to use smaller weapons, often get a Strength penalty, and take another penalty on many Strength-based applications (grapple, bull rush, disarm, trip, etc). They also tend to move slower and can carry even less than their Strength score would indicate.”

    Now, it should be obvious as to why halflings have a strength penalty. They're hobbits, not muscular water-gypsies or something equally as stupid. Little people are not as physically strong as big people, it's that simple. Anyone who wanted to make a character can see this plain as day, and I would hardly call this a “n00b trap.”

    Their Racial Traits are as follows...

    +2 Dexterity
    +2 Charisma
    -2 Strength

    Small Sized, 20ft movement
    +2 to Saves vs. Fear
    +1 Luck bonus to all Saving Throws (stacks with the bonus vs. Fear)
    +2 to Perception Skills
    +2 to Acrobatics and Climb skills
    Weapon Familiarity: Slings
    And some language stuff that's obvious and beside the point.

    Right off the bat, if you know anything about 3rd Edition/Pathfinder rules, Dexterity increases your Ranged Attack Bonus plus your Armor Class and Initiative. Also, as a Small race, halflings receive +1 to their AC, +1 to their attack bonus, and +4 to their Stealth checks.

    So yes, a halfling couldn't stand toe to toe with with an Ogre for long. He'd get picked up or squished; which is exactly how it should be. However, a little bit of common sense should tell you that this race makes for excellent slingers/archers/crossbowmen (and God help you if you're playing a game with gunpowder).

    They're also really good at Bluffing and Performing, but I'll get to “simulation skills” in a bit.

    I don't advocate min-maxing, but let's say that I wanted to get as much out of this as I could without resorting to magic items. At first level a Halfling could have a 20 dexterity. (That's a +5 bonus for you kids keeping score at home.) Add that to his +1 attack bonus for being small, added to a +1 Base Attack Bonus for taking the Fighter Class.

    That's a +7 ranged attack bonus... But I can do better than that. As all good Pathfinder players know, Fighters get a Feat at every level now, and two for the first one. If I took Weapon Focus, that would give me another +1 attack bonus, which could be stacked with Point Blank Shot (Providing that I get within 30 feet, which also gives me a +1 to damage.) I'd probably just take Rapid Shot though to take advantage of a Repeating Crossbow.

    *more to come...*

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  21. Fair enough.

    Let's start off from the beginning. The title of the book is “Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.”

    Not, “Pathfinder Action-Adventure Game” or “Pathfinder Tactical Strategy Game.” The aim of Pathfinder is to be an RPG, and as a Core Rulebook for a Role Playing Game, this product succeeds in ways that outshine it's predecessor, which was 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons.

    Nowhere does this book promise you balanced characters, fair fights, or pure mathematical equality. I suppose that if you wanted that 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons might very well be exactly what you're looking for. The problem with this however is that such a gaming environment places everyone on an equal playing field and therefore creates a stagnant and unrealistic setting.

    Sure, there's lots of goofy fantasy stuff in D&D/Pathfinder, (dragons, she-elves, leprechauns, ect.) but from the very earliest editions it was always presented in a manner that at least attempted a level of realism. A scrawny old wizard could not wear big heavy armor, when people get injured they stay injured for a long time unless someone can convince their god to work a little miracle or two...

    And, when your hit points ran out, you died. Was it fair? No more so than life. Editions came and went, things changed, rules became more refined, and players grew up playing this game.

    Now, fast forward a few decades to the release of 4th Edition D&D. Players (including myself) were told that the game was going to undergo a major change. My initial fascination turned to outrage rather quickly when I realized that that change was balance. Every class could stand up to every other class, and death was so much less a possibility now that everyone could heal themselves. It played like an action-adventure video game and I utterly hated it.

    I wasn't alone, and the people at Paizo got hit worse by this. They had been producing the magazines of D&D for a while, and were told they couldn't do that anymore. Dungeons & Dragons was no longer part of the Open Gaming License that allowed 3rd parties to produce gaming material for it. Rather than go with the flow and “pull their heads out of the sand” they regrouped and thought things over. Just because they didn't have the name, didn't mean that had to stop making Dungeons& Dragons stuff, hell, they had more freedom than ever. All Paizo did was take the very thing they had been working on for years, polish it up and release the same damn game they always had been releasing.

    How well does it sell? Is it really Dungeons & Dragons? Which game will outlast the other? Are they money grubbing wage-slaves?

    Personally, I don't care. All I care about is that people are buying it, meaning that it's going to keep getting played for years to come. The Phantom Menace was the highest grossing Star Wars movie ever, and I hate that too. I advocate for Pathfinder because I love the game. It's all quite irrelevant.

    Your review of Pathfinder insults the people who work for Paizo, and throws around broad terminology without citation or relativity. I doubt you even read the book. So, I'm going to highlight what I take exception to and explain why you're basing your review off assumptions.

    *more to come...*

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  22. Now, a few well placed skill points will allow me to craft weapons and ammunition. A Masterwork Crossbow with Masterwork Bolts would round off this munchkinism with a tidy +11 bonus to my ranged attack at 30 feet, +10 outside that. In my build I had to use an Exotic Weapon Feat for the Repeating Crossbow, so the bonus was at +9.

    This is at 1st Level.

    Now let's have an example; this Halfling Fighter vs. a Human Wizard. There are a lot of variables here, like what level, what weapons, where is the fight taking place, ect ect. (You mentioned none of these earlier.)

    Let's assume it's taking place in a Dungeon, because the game is called Dungeons & Dragons.

    The first thing to consider is not the Initiative roll. It would be foolish to try and “tank” a man who can hurl fire. He would burn you alive, just as he should if you're that stupid. The first thing would be to see who can gain the element of surprise. I won't waste space by telling you why this little bastard can sneak around very well, but it's pretty much assured that the Halfling is going to get the drop on the random human Wizard.

    A quick perception check would tell him all he needs to know, such as where this Wizard's familiar and material component's are. Is he carrying anything volatile like acid or alchemist fire, is there a chandelier conveniently placed over his head? All, non-combat related questions that I would ask the DM.

    But let's say he's a bad DM who has only played MMO's and has no imagination. The Wizard and his random familiar are standing in a 10x10 room, ready to attack whatever draws their “aggro.” A repeating heavy crossbow has well over a 100ft range increment, so my first attack would be a called shot from a good distance away, most likely aiming for the Wizard's throat so as to stop any verbal components. I'd know if he had any defenses up because I'd take the time to examine the area using my bonuses to Perception to full effect. It is very unlikely that he'd have Protection from Arrows or Mage Armor up as it only lasts an Hour a level at 1st level. Yeah, I might have a wait an hour silently for some spells to wear off, but whatever.

    Anyway, my first shot is probably going to hit him. 1D8 damage to the throat, he shouldn't talk now. But let's say it's another bad DM move, and he doesn't understand how a man with a bolt in his neck couldn't talk. The Wizard would still have to make a Concentration check in order to cast anything.

    And don't tell me he just casts a spell in my direction. He wouldn't even know which direction the bolt had come from in most situations, and even then I could be hiding hundreds of feet away, laying prone in a tiny little nook somewhere.

    1st round, we both roll for initiative and I'll probably win it. But even if he does, what is he going to do? The logical thing would be to duck for cover, but then kit's a simple matter of creeping in slowly, killing his familiar, or delaying actions so that whenever he starts to cast a spell two bolts hit him from the darkness. Wizards aren't known for their hit points, especially at first level.

    *more to come...*

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  23. And speaking of imagination; the Hand of the Apprentice is one of the most awesome abilities that you can get at level 1. Don't try to tell me it'll never hit. You're a wizard, use True Strike. Only Universalists can get that ability, and they get more spell variety anyway, the possibilities are limitless. If you play as a Half-Orc Wizard, you could start at level 1 by having one of those goofy double-axes that is masterwork and acts like a boomerang now. Because you're a wizard, it's not a bad idea to put points into your Intelligence anyway, which is what this ability feeds off of. And if he chose a weapon as his Arcane Bond, this weapon could keep getting better with each level. It's really just common sense.

    Now, be a munchkin and multiclass into Rogue and Fighter a little, and you now have a supernatural ability that you can use while wearing armor that you can sneak attack with at range. Use it to drop pianos on your foes, use it to take out the feet of of a fleeing enemy, and being able to use it 8 times a day at first level ain't bad, really, how often do you even get into combat in a day? A clever character could use it to impress a bunch of yokels into think he's just that damn good with a weapon, it's not like he has “WIZARD” branded onto his forehead or anything.

    And on that note, would a game where you did absolutely nothing but exactly what the class is supposed to do really be that fun? Pathfinder's updates to the 3.5 rules are all largely optional, and designed to let players come up with crazy ways to do unexpected things. Fighter's don't have to be tanks, in fact that's a pretty dumb assumption. There are limitless possibilities, and it really just falls on the shoulder's of the Game Master to come up with a good story.

    The GameMastery Guide is spectacular by the way. There's not much in the way of rules in it, but then there doesn't need to be. I would have bought it for the NPC gallery alone. D&D could always give me 13 different subspecies of elf, but could they stat 1 village idiot in a core rulebook? Advanced Player's Guide comes out next month with a bunch of exciting new Classes too, I can't wait.

    Sure, all the rules are absolutely free, but I like buying the books. Why don't you review a few of them while you're at it?

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  24. This is a very specific example of course, but use a little imagination and add a whole group of adventurers to the mix, and it'd be very easy for one little sniper to keep hitting one unarmored magical doofus. At higher levels, magic weapons and better feats come into play. Sure the wizard gets better spells, but he has to cast the damn things first. Fighters get better feats like Weapon Specialization and those wicked Critical Hit ones. His attack bonus keeps getting better and he can fire more and more shots every round. It would get to a point where unless the Wizard was specifically designed to have more hitpoints, stop ranged attacks, or remained invisible at all times he'd keep getting slaughtered before he could cast anything.

    In any of those scenarios he'd just be leaving himself open for the other time-tested Fighter stand-by. Another party member would just run up and tackle him. (If you wanted to be obvious.)

    Sure, at level 20 the Wizard could just wish my halfling fighter onto the moon or something, but that wouldn't bother me. He's a Wizard, they should be insanely powerful at higher levels, it's the trade off for suffering through the lower ones. If every class scaled up at the same speed, not only would it kill the fun of the game, everyone in the world would be just as powerful as everyone else always... except for dumb schmucks who stand around waiting to be killed and looted...

    Which brings me to my next point. There is more to this game than attacking things and stealing their gold. What about horror, intrigue, romance, flamboyance, and all the other “simulation skills” you don't like? See, the thing is, skills like Perform, Bluff, Profession, Handle Animal, and the rest fill a niche that really needs to be filled. It almost wouldn't be a Roleplaying Game without them.

    Sure, you can claim that your character was once a dancer, but what happens when an NPC in the game tells your character to put their money where their mouth is? Skill points denote time and energy put into learning something and getting good at it. If there was a game about rival guilds trying to outsell each other, you really couldn't run that game without Profession(...) skills.

    If you don't want to make that kind of character, fine, don't; but don't complain just because that option exists. A player in one of my groups has a half elven bard with a Strength score of 4. A paper bag would kick her ass. But, she counterbalanced that nicely with a Charisma of 20, and multi-classed into Sorceress. She can basically talk her way into and out of any situation without ever drawing a sword. She's probably more deadly than the other PCs because of it too. It's a different style of play, but it works. Why kick in the door when you can have someone open it for you?

    Next issue; and it's a minor one. The barbarian's Rage Climb/Jump/Swim abilities.

    Yes, it sucks at low levels. If you choose to take it by level 20 though it gives you a +20 bonus to those skills. I like that.

    The bite attack is cool too. It's an extra attack you get every round while raging. Sure it's at -5, but who cares? If you're raging and at higher levels the strength bonus alone covers that. You can also use it in a grapple, it means you're never unarmed, and if you get tied up you can chew through your bindings. Use a little imagination man.

    *more to come...*

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  25. "Let's start off from the beginning. The title of the book is “Pathfinder Roleplaying Game."

    The flaw in your logic is that /most/ games are role-playing games, even games that do not label themselves as such. As I’ve said numerous times on this blog, you could consider /God of War/ to be a role-playing game, since you take on the role of Kratos on his quest for vengeance and redemption.

    “Nowhere does this book promise you balanced characters, fair fights, or pure mathematical equality..."

    I could just as reasonably counter with, “nowhere does it say that it’s /not/ promising mechanical balance.” Good games are designed to be balanced from the get-go, as well as not punish players immediately for making a “wrong” choice. If, at the start of the game, selecting a single element dooms you from the start, then the game is /very/ poorly designed. If certain options are vastly more compelling than others, they are probably not balanced and the issue needs to be resolved.

    I do not agree that having all classes progress in the same, universal fashion leads to stagnation, as each class has numerous powers and feats to choose from, at all levels. This allows players with identical races and classes to be very much different, more so than any other edition of D&D.

    "...A scrawny old wizard could not wear big heavy armor, when people get injured they stay injured for a long time unless someone can convince their god to work a little miracle or two...”

    Why couldn’t a scrawny wizard wear [heavy] armor? If it’s a matter of what she can carry, then I agree. However, wizards in /no/ D&D edition are proficient with heavy armor, but in 3rd Edition and later /can/ take feats for it. Hell, in 3E a wizard can spontaneously be proficient in all armors by taking a level in fighter. In 4E, you can only do it if you crawl up a massive feat tree and meet the Str/Con prereqs. That being said, I believe Gary Gygax said something along the lines of, “D&D is not a reality simulator.” Frankly, if that was the goal from the outset is has failed immeasurably.

    "And, when your hit points ran out, you died. Was it fair? No more so than life."

    Actually, if the game clearly says that you die when you run out of hit points (or more accurately are reduced to a specified negative value), then yes, it /is/ fair. It’s a rule, not a random decision made by the DM. It is /not/ fair to be randomly killed by something entirely out of control of the player, however (save-or-die effects, and most traps come to mind).

    Also, D&D is not a reality simulator, its a /game/.

    "...Every class could stand up to every other class, and death was so much less a possibility now that everyone could heal themselves."

    The difference isn’t balance in that each class can stand up to the other, because they /cant/, but that each class has something reasonably useful to do in all situations, whether its combat, role-playing of any form, skills, etc. This was not the case before (often fighters were relegated to the back-seat when it came to situations where skills were key).

    "...All Paizo did was take the very thing they had been working on for years, polish it up and release the same damn game they always had been releasing."

    They used to make content for 3rd Edition D&D. Now they have taken the system, added in their own houserules (much of which they half-assed from 4E), renamed the game, and are selling it. It may be polished by /your/ standards, but many disagree with that sentiment. I /will/, however, agree that they are essentially selling you the game you already own.

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  26. "...I advocate for Pathfinder because I love the game. It's all quite irrelevant."

    I cite the money-grubbing wage slaves because so many people accuse WotC of doing just that, when Paizo is doing it one worse. You care enough to make numerous, lengthy posts on a blog-post that was almost a /year/ old. I’m curious if you frequent RPGnet, where much Pathfinder bashing can be found (and if you reply in length there as well). Any “damage” done by this review has already run its course.

    "“Your review of Pathfinder insults the people who work for Paizo, and throws around broad terminology without citation or relativity."

    I could cite Game Development Essentials: An Introduction, but I don’t think it would matter much to you.

    "Now, it should be obvious as to why halflings have a strength penalty...[omitted for space]"

    I’m sorry if this seems like moving the goal-posts, but I had assumed that my mention of a Strength penalty and weapon-sizing was indicative that I’m talking about a /melee/-oriented halfling character.

    "Now let's have an example; this Halfling Fighter vs. a Human Wizard..."

    Frankly, I don’t understand how a human with anything lodged in his neck can /live/. So basically, /if/ the halfling succeeds on his Stealth check and /if/ the wizard fails an opposed Perception check and /if/ the wizard is alone in an open 10 by 10 foot room, your halfling could potentially deal 4.5 damage on average to it (insufficient land a kill to the typical wizard). Is this how your halfling performed all of his uber wizard kills? I was not aware that you could declare called shots in Pathfinder.
    "...He wouldn't even know which direction the bolt had come from in most situations, and even then I could be hiding hundreds of feet away, laying prone in a tiny little nook somewhere."

    If he is in a 10 by 10 foot room, it would not be difficult for him to ascertain the direction of the bolt, especially if there is only one passage in. Even if there were more, it’s a simple matter of determining which passage leads outside to get a reasonable deduction of which way it came from.

    "1st round, we both roll for initiative and I'll probably win it...."

    Which brings me to the point where in all likelihood, you were in fact /not/ a glorified wizard killer, but a ranger-by-another-name.
    "...He's a Wizard, they should be insanely powerful at higher levels, it's the trade off for suffering through the lower ones..."

    Which is fucking /terrible/ game design. An entire class should not become astronomically better than another, especially when said class is extremely limited and fragile as to what they can do at the start.

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  27. "...It almost wouldn't be a Roleplaying Game without them."

    It would not only by your narrow definition of role-playing game. Everything you mention can be had in any version of D&D, but 4E /only/ lacks Craft and Profession skills. In my experience, being able to build mundane objects or bust tables virtually /never/ came into play, and when it did it did not significantly matter: one character made a spear for someone else (that we could have easily bought immediately for a few gps), and there was a brief stint when I played a wizard that made alchemy items (and even then I often did /not/ have the resources and/or time to do it). You can still default to Charisma for when you want to determine how well your /character/ functions in social dynamics.

    "“Sure, you can claim that your character was once a dancer..."

    In most any case characters are not professional dancers, cooks, or what-have-you. The core idea behind D&D is that you are heroes in a dangerous world doing heroic things, not auditioning for Iron Chef or what the fuck ever. I'm not saying you cannot do these things, or that its necessarily bad, but in most cases the characters are busy saving the world (or at least the immediate area).

    That being said you could just, I dunno, make a Charisma check? Add in a level-bonus if you want? Fuck, is it /that/ big of a deal for anyone but a bard? If the players go to a gala and want to dance to impress, unless their character background specifically calls it out, I’m going to make it a very hard DC, if I let them make the attempt at /all/. I’ve never played a D&D game where a dance-off was a big deal, and in the past (before 3E) DMs made due with arbitrary rolls all the time: 4E just makes it easier to set the goal-posts in a logical, consistent manner.


    I’m sorry, but I’m not about to force players to spend their trained skills (or often precious few skill points in the past) on highly circumstantial skills, which was why they were ejected in the first place: too narrow an application for too little a payoff, especially considering that Profession is trained /only/.
    I recall that one of the writers at Paizo actually defended Craft and Profession by saying that one of his adventures had a situation where Profession (butcher) could be used to find a clue. So, /if/ a player /happens/ to take that one specific Profession skill /and/ makes the check, it has a payoff? That’s one of the most retarded things I’ve ever heard, especially coming from a company that was all about making “quality” adventures back in the day.

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  28. "“If you don't want to make that kind of character, fine, don't; but don't complain just because that option exists..."

    I do, because newer players dont understand how infrequently or inconsequential those skills are in most games. As for the Charisma-20-bard/sorcerer, that’s not a counterbalance that’s borderline /abuse/. The Diplomacy DCs are horrendously unbalanced, allowing half-elf bards to easily sway anyone to their cause even if they roll very poorly.

    "“Next issue; and it's a minor one. The barbarian's Rage Climb/Jump/Swim abilities..."

    No, it doesn’t because as you scale in level so does monster defense. The penalty makes it very unlikely to hit at lower levels, and even if it does hit? 1d4 damage. Whoop-de-fuck. Plus, the half Strength bonus and no ability to overcome DR? HA.

    "And speaking of imagination; the Hand of the Apprentice is one of the most awesome abilities that you can get at level 1..."

    Thats not being imaginative, thats using the ability for what its supposed to do: make attacks that will likely /not/ hit, especially as you get hire in levels because your BAB does not scale well. I find it funny that you tell me that it will hit, so long as you use a spell that would basically let you hit if you were using it in your own fucking hands (and not getting your Int mod to the attack roll).

    "...use it to take out the feet of of a fleeing enemy, and being able to use it 8 times a day at first level ain't bad, really, how often do you even get into combat in a day?"

    Eight times per day, assuming you buy up to a 20 in Intelligence (which costs a LOT of fucking points). Also, it doesnt matter how many times per day you get into combat, but how many ROUNDS each combat takes. You could feasibly burn through all 8 uses in one or two battles, depending on difficulty and number of opponents. Also, your Int wont scale well so the higher level you get, the shittier this ability gets.

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  29. Also, take out the feet? What the fuck game do /you/ play? Since when can you declare that you are attacking specific locations? Oh wait, you cant, you’re just making shit up. So now in addition to telling me how rad shit is when everything's /just/ right, you’re /also/ telling me how cool it is when you houserule it. Great. Also, people might notice somethings up when they realize that when actually holding the weapon that the wizard cant hit shit. That and his lack of armor.

    "“And on that note, would a game where you did absolutely nothing but exactly what the class is supposed to do really be that fun?..."

    /Limitless/? Really? Gee, from my /years/ of playing D&D I figured that they were only useful in melee combat, and when 3E came out they would good at ranged when built properly. Is there something else I’m missing? If it boiled down to the class doing what it purports to do, at all levels as opposed to the first 5 or so, I’m going to go with the former. 4E classes are very flexible, and make it very clear what does what.

    Finally, I didn’t read GMG, and don’t plan on it. The PF Beta gave plenty of warning signs to steer clear, and the finished product not only cost me money but did absolutely nothing to endear me. Sorry, as I said I’ve already played that game and moved on. You would have to /pay/ me, a lot, to play Pathfinder.

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  30. "Since when can you declare that you are attacking specific locations?"

    *sigh* Again, you are wrong.

    Before the first combat round, when everything is flatfooted you can attack specific areas by using the rules provided here. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment---final/damaging-objects

    Taking out the feet refers to the trip rules (there are feats designed for those.) Sunder would be another specific example of attacking a specific area.

    You're nitpicking dude. But that's ok, you want to hate Pathfinder for some reason, and that's cool. The game is better off without you.

    Peace. (For real this time.)

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  31. No, you're a fucking idiot. Sunder only works on objects, not, oh...NECKS. Also, I'd assumed that what you said, "taking out the feet," that you meant chopping them off, not tripping (which would have been clearly conveyed by saying that you could trip them...with a crossbow bolt, I guess).

    But, hey, its all good. You dont actually refute what I say. I hate to admit it, but even Pathfinder is worse off with you.

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  32. Dear Thom:

    I wonder if you could explain a few things to me, being that you're apparently done arguing with Antioch. You tend to jump around a bit, so I'll parcel this in a manner where I can address my individual concerns in an orderly fashion...

    When you say things like:

    "Pathfinder isn't an 'Action-Adventure Game' and neither should D&D try to pose as one. If you want that, play a video game."

    and:

    "But let's say he's a bad DM who has only played MMO's and has no imagination."

    First of all, from these and other comments you've made here, it seems that you are unfairly pigeon-holing people who play videogames as being unimaginative. I don't have much interest in videogames, personally...but I can see that many of the people that do enjoy them are not at all lacking in imagination and inspiration.

    You do yourself a disservice here. 4E vs. Pathfinder rivalry aside (Tangent: The whole thing is silly. There are many who play and enjoy BOTH games.) the people who are playing games like WoW and Dragon Age today, could be part of your gaming group tomorrow, if you would only extend a welcoming hand to them.

    The second thing that I ask myself is, what is it about action and adventure, according to Thom, that precludes role-playing? I mean, the majority of D&D games out there have a strong basis in exploration of long forgotten sites and fantastic battles with mythological creatures.

    Hell, that's ALL that OD&D had support for. There were no rules at all for things like craft or profession. By comparison, 4E has a veritable wealth of support concerning out of combat intrigues.

    So how then, is 4E lacking in the role-play department? The absence of simulation skills?

    Which leads me to my next point...

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. THOM SAID:

    "There is more to this game than attacking things and stealing their gold. What about horror, intrigue, romance, flamboyance, and all the other “simulation skills” you don't like?"

    "Skill points denote time and energy put into learning something and getting good at it. If there was a game about rival guilds trying to outsell each other, you really couldn't run that game without Profession(...) skills."

    Perhaps you can explain to me why exactly skills like craft and profession are NECESSARY components of things like horror, intrigue, romance and flamboyance? How many of these things can one really fit into a game about blacksmithery?

    Actually, there are many people who find simulation skills to be stifling to these dramatic elements because they can bog the game down with unnecessary minutiae. I can definitely see a case for bluff, diplomacy, insight, history...but profession: baker? C'mon.

    And the bit about a game centered around rival guilds trying to outsell eachother? I find this one a bit hard to believe...you hand someone a game with a wealth of magic and mystery, and then tell them that the campaign is about the mercantile ambitions of spice merchants? But I guess that's what REAL role-playing is all about, huh? The mundane and unremarkable.

    But hey, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt...maybe there has been a successful campaign of this nature...if so then please do post a link to a play report or maybe a podcast and make me eat my words.

    See, the thing is that D&D is not a reality simulator...it's a fiction simulator. Star Wars was a story about a young farm boy who became a hero. Tell me where it was that profession: farmer came up in the story after Luke left Tatooine.

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  35. THOM SAID:

    "My initial fascination turned to outrage rather quickly when I realized that that change was balance. Every class could stand up to every other class, and death was so much less a possibility now that everyone could heal themselves. It played like an action-adventure video game and I utterly hated it.

    The problem with this however is that such a gaming environment places everyone on an equal playing field and therefore creates a stagnant and unrealistic setting."

    Really? Outrage? Really?

    Okay...that bit aside, let's take a look at your line of reasoning here:

    Step 1: Wizards are more powerful than anyone else.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit!

    Seriously, how exactly does class balance lead to a stagnant and unrealistic setting? What is the actual mechanism that makes this true?

    Furthermore, where has it ever been an objectively defined and unanimously agreed upon, inalienable rule that magic is all-powerful? Afterall, there are numerous examples of courage, perseverance and steel overcoming fell sorcery in fantasy literature...why can it not be so in a game? Why can't magic be a mysterious power only partially understood by even it's mightiest wielders?

    You know what sounds unrealistic to me? A setting full of uber-powerful spell casters and comparatively mundane melee combatants that is anything BUT a magocracy.

    You know what sounds stagnant to me? Every BBEG in EVERY campaign being a spellcaster, because no other archetype can pose a threat to the party.

    I'm sorry...but there's just no real rhyme or reason behind your outlook, other than personal preference, which is fine of course, but please don't state present this argument as fact.

    I'll tell you what IS a fact...D&D is a class based game. It stands to reason that the whole point of a class based game is balance...otherwise why have classes at all? You could be playing Mage or Ars Magica.

    And no, class balance doesn't mean that the Fighter can do each and everything the Wizard does and with the exact same level of efficacy. It means that both can contribute meaningfully in the game. It means that both have their niches to fill and that both have their time in the spotlight both in AND out of combat.

    Afterall, the Fighter should be able to contribute in some way to vital, plot-centric NPC negotiations rather than being relegated to hammering out dents in his armor because his piddly 2 class skills have to be spent on "dumb jock" things.

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  36. But on the subject of class efficacy...let's take a critical look at your Halfling Fighter example:

    So in order to make a viable Halfling Fighter "Wizard Killer" in Pathfinder you:

    *Bought up the Halfling's DEX as high as you could.
    *Invested heavily in ranged combat
    *Used stealth to pick the wizard off from the shadows.

    Okay...this is a sound tactic.

    However, I feel that I have to ask what this character accomplishes that a Halfling Rogue couldn't a lot more effectively?

    Also, wouldn't a plain old 1st level Half-Orc Fighter be just as good at putting down a 1HD Wizard?

    Also, you can't use sunder to make a called shot against a specific body part. There are no called shots in 3E or Pathfinder because it's assumed that your character is ALWAYS swinging for the most vulnerable areas when they make an attack roll. Critical hits represent what happens when they hit these areas.

    The other problem with the example you cited is that making that character involves quite a bit of system mastery...the reliance upon which is the biggest flaw in both 3.x and Pathfinder.

    System mastery does more than just reward player investment...it punishes casual gamers. System mastery creates a culture that is prohibitive and exclusionary to newer players.

    It's this kind of bullshit that sent people running in droves to pick up 4E.

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  37. THOM SAID:

    "The fact is, 4th edition plays like a board game. People who complain about 3rd edition and Pathfinder were probably playing the game wrong. If you like 4th edition, you're probably the sort of person who would like 4th edition and just picked up the books because it said "Dungeons and Dragons" on the cover."

    Actually, it isn't a fact that 4th Edition plays like a board game. That is your interpretation of what was probably a bad play experience, assuming you actually sat down to play at all.

    To Myself, Antioch and many, many other 4E fans...the game plays like an RPG.

    You seem to have this idea that people who prefer 4E are ignorant of all that Pathfinder has to offer, when in fact the vast majority of 4E players used 3.x for years, weighed the merits of both games, and had come to completely different conclusions than you did.

    You seem to think that 4E is nothing but a hack n' slash videogame on paper. Now, why would anyone actually play a pen & paper rpg if that's ALL we they were interested in? Do you honestly think that there aren't 4E games with engaging stories and characters? Do you think that neither myself or any other 4E DM has ever run a game without a single combat roll?

    Shit, I once resolved a giant battle with a skill challenge.

    So tell me then, what exactly is the "type of person who would enjoy 4th edition?"

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  38. (One last post, I promise. After that you're free to hurl speculation and insults.)

    To Shazbot:

    No worries brother. Enjoy 4th edition, you didn't write the review. My comments were just a review of a bad review, not an attack on anybody.

    A little personal information. I work at a video game company, I'm personal friends with lots of people who work or have worked on lot's of games (D&D, AD&D, Pathfinder, Baldur's Gate Vampire the Masquerade, Gears of War 2, among others.)And I do have friends that play 4th edition. I read the books, watched a game of it played and decided it wasn't for me.

    The general consensus among certain individuals who worked for TSR/Wizards is that 4th edition is a money grab and nothing more. I won't say any names though. If 4th edition wasn't called D&D or set in a fantasy realm I would probably be playing it now. There are far better games that do what 4th edtion does, but don't get played because they don't have "D&D" on the title.

    Try out Call of Cthulhu or Paranoia, in my opinion both are better Role Playing Games than Pathfinder or D&D. Pathfinder is just my favorite Fantasy RPG,and it is actually quite different than 3.5, and worth every penny.

    I boycott Wizards of the Coast because they botched up both D&D and Magic the Gathering, which used to be my two favorite games. Take my opinion or leave it.

    When we're not making video games we relax by playing Pathfinder. It's the closest thing we can get to the game we want to play. 4th edition is not that game.

    Sunder is an attack against a single object, therefore; a specific area. I never said otherwise. All the rules and strategies I brought up are perfectly valid, and if you don't believe me you can go look them up in "Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies" (3rd edition version)

    To do a called shot you just roll an attack against an object of appropriate size, but it only works in the surprise round; the rules have never forbid this; it's just something most people never do. The halfling scenario is just something I did in a game, which is why I brought it up. Half-orcs and rogues would be cool too; fighters just get 22 feats and the best attack bonus.

    I've been running my games since Pathfinder came out and I haven't hit any of the problems with the system that Antioch claims makes the game "shit." thus I refute that his review is garbage.

    That's it.

    ...and my players are getting a kick out of the rant-fest.

    But I swear, I'm done!


    -Thom!

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  39. “(One last post, I promise. After that you're free to hurl speculation and insults.)”
    I’m sure.

    “To Shazbot:

    No worries brother. Enjoy 4th edition, you didn't write the review. My comments were just a review of a bad review, not an attack on anybody.”
    Which, despite it being “bad”, you have yet to refute the points made.

    “A little personal information. I work at a video game company, I'm personal friends with lots of people who work or have worked on lot's of games (D&D, AD&D, Pathfinder, Baldur's Gate Vampire the Masquerade, Gears of War 2, among others.)And I do have friends that play 4th edition. I read the books, watched a game of it played and decided it wasn't for me. “
    Which doesn’t really /mean/ anything, judging by how many poorly made games there are out there. I’m curious, which company do you work for? Whom do you know in the industry?

    “The general consensus among certain individuals who worked for TSR/Wizards is that 4th edition is a money grab and nothing more. I won't say any names though. If 4th edition wasn't called D&D or set in a fantasy realm I would probably be playing it now. There are far better games that do what 4th edtion does, but don't get played because they don't have "D&D" on the title.”
    Heard /this/ before. I won’t ask who you claim to know, because I don’t think you know anyone personally in the industry. Anyway, which games perform better, might I ask? Why do they do it better?

    “Try out Call of Cthulhu or Paranoia, in my opinion both are better Role Playing Games than Pathfinder or D&D. Pathfinder is just my favorite Fantasy RPG,and it is actually quite different than 3.5, and worth every penny.”
    What qualifies CoC to be better than any edition of D&D? What qualifies Pathfinder to be better than D&D?

    “I boycott Wizards of the Coast because they botched up both D&D and Magic the Gathering, which used to be my two favorite games. Take my opinion or leave it.”
    You’re entitled to it, but the fact that you can’t even properly explain /why/ you think they fucked up so much means that, yeah, I’m going to leave it.

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  40. “When we're not making video games we relax by playing Pathfinder. It's the closest thing we can get to the game we want to play. 4th edition is not that game.”
    I agree, 4th Edition is not like Pathfinder, which is a /very/ good thing. You don’t have to try and prove anything by claiming that you, “make video games”, by the by. It’s not helping your stance at all.

    “Sunder is an attack against a single object, therefore; a specific area. I never said otherwise. All the rules and strategies I brought up are perfectly valid, and if you don't believe me you can go look them up in "Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies" (3rd edition version)”
    Sunder is for attacking objects, and nothing more (this is specifically mentioned in the rules for taking the Sunder action). You cannot use it to declare called shots against specific locations on the body. I never said your tactics were unsound or impossible, just that the proposed scenario was unlikely to say the least. All you proved was that if your halfling was in an advantageous position, and the wizard was not, that you would win easily.

    “To do a called shot you just roll an attack against an object of appropriate size, but it only works in the surprise round; the rules have never forbid this; it's just something most people never do. The halfling scenario is just something I did in a game, which is why I brought it up. Half-orcs and rogues would be cool too; fighters just get 22 feats and the best attack bonus.”
    You cannot perform called shots in any edition of D&D. In fact, the only game that I am aware of a rule for called shots is Rifts, which was just about the most poorly designed analog game I’ve ever played. If you could cite the page entry where it says you can declare called shots, that would be great. Frankly, the game is better off without called shots, and if you’ve a basic understanding of good game design you’d understand /why/.

    “I've been running my games since Pathfinder came out and I haven't hit any of the problems with the system that Antioch claims makes the game "shit." thus I refute that his review is garbage.”
    You are refuting my claims and points with…anecdotal evidence? Okay, then I’ll counter with the fact that /I/ ran 3E D&D for eight(ish) /years/, and since we had numerous mechanical issues with the system that my review is in fact /not/ garbage. Or, more simply put, I think the game is shit, so I’m right.

    “That's it.”
    After all these comments you’ve still failed to counter my points…congrats, man.

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  41. "Same shit, different look."

    That's the thesis of this review. That Pathfinder is 3.5 with house rules. Which, I suppose, you are right. However, it's an awful lot of house rules.

    Here's where the game is different: New feats that allow fighters to thrive at high levels (check out the vital strike path). New abilities for rogues, some of which are really useful, such as fast stealth. Bloodlines for sorceror, which are very cool for both roleplay and mechanics. Spells have changes of durations and area of effect, preventing CODzilla. Smite evil has changed considerably (for the better in my opinion). Certain feats have changed, such as Cleave and Toughness. Skills have been streamlined even though they still have profession and craft. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    That's why it's a bad review. The thesis is objectively wrong. Pathfinder is more different from 3.5 than 3.5 is from 3rd.

    Whether you like 4th ed more is moot. That's a subjective opinion that you're entitled to. But saying that pathfinder is the same as 3.x is simply incorrect.

    Additionally. Fighters are not supposed to be about "tanking", they are supposed to be about "fighting". Which they can do. Well. 22 feats. You can fix a build if you fucked up at the beginning. And be fair, you could always break a character at the start. Easily, like dumping int as a wizard. n00bs, as you so eloquently call them, should work with their DM or a more experienced player in character creation.

    Furthermore. Your elf wizard gets bow proficiency, which you mock. They got that in 3.5 as well.

    I would also argue that spellcasters are not more powerful than melee characters. They were in 3.x, but Pathfinder allows for melee characters to scale pretty well with spellcasters. Sure a wizard will wreck a fighter on an open plain, but if they fight in a bar or in a dungeon, my bet is on that fighter that can do ridiculous amounts of damage in a round and disrupt the caster from casting. In other words, the ranged character can kill the melee character at ranged, and vice versa. That's actually what is known as good game design.

    You don't like it, cool deal. But don't say it's the same shit.

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  42. @Kellan: I say its the, "same shit with houserules," because frankly, it is. Sure, Paizo tried to fix up the fighter by adding on a few class features and making feats that should have just been class features because they are fucking mandatory, but thats just like any other group out there that realized how fucked it was and tried to patch it themselves.

    I know that between weapon mastery and a bunch of new feats that fighters have an improved attack and damage bonus, but the damage doesnt scale as much or consistently enough to make a significant difference.

    Why do people always try and deny that fighters aren’t the party tanks? That’s what they’ve always been purported to do, but when called out on it people claim they aren’t supposed to be doing that. So, who /is/ supposed to be grabbing monster attention and soaking up damage? The rogue? The cleric? The /bard/? Fighters can wear the heaviest armor and get one of the best HD types in the game: high AC and hit points tells me, well, /tank/. Why do you think that a tank cannot also deal lots of damage? 4th Edition fighters do /both/. Anyway, players should /not/ have to consult anyone to make an effective character, and just because it was there in 3rd Edition doesn’t magically fucking make it okay, now.

    I mocked racial proficiencies then, too. It’s a racial feature that is too often made useless by the fact that if a class can easily use it, it probably has proficiency already. If the class doesn’t, then the elf likewise won’t, either. Really, what the hell is your problem? You’re excusing a flaw in Pathfinder because it existed before. Pathfinder could have been Paizo’s chance to refurbish 3rd Edition and actually show their chops. As it stands, all they did was relabel 3rd Edition as Pathfinder, heap more power onto some races and classes, and shove it out the door. Its very clear that as game designers they don’t know what the hell they are doing, and instead just catering to the minority that for whatever reason still clamors for repackaged content for a mostly-3E system.

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  43. @Kellan: Your comparison of the fighter and wizard is the same as Thom's, and suffers from the same flaws: you submit that in favorable conditions, a given class will succeed, but its not as clear-cut as that.

    If both the fighter and wizard were in melee, the wizard could simply cast defensively (DC 12 roll with a +4 to +5 bonus before Combat Casting), put the fighter to sleep, and then use coup de grace along with the fighter's own weapon using hand of the apprentice. The wizard could also step back and cast without any problems at all.

    Hell, a 5th-level wizard could do the same to a 10th-level fighter since defenses dont scale sufficiently (+3 base save against a DC 17 or higher spell). It's not just a matter of damage output, but also the fact that wizard's completely sidestep the whole attack-damage/damage scaling model and just dole out instant-kill/cripple effects.

    At level 10 the fighter I built could deal 19 damage on average with a single attack, or 26 if you accounted for Vital Strike. This means that if both attacks hit, you can count on roughly 45 damage per round (this assumes that the target does not move, have resistances, or other damage-reducing abilities). The same wizard can roll out 35 on average to multiple targets using a 3rd-level spell (but must still be level 10).

    Alternatively, she can use other spells like deep slumber (level 3), confusion (level 4), or I guess roll out the "big guns" and just use enervation to drain levels (also, level 4). If we are talking about an actually prepared spellcaster, I'd have some undead on call with animate dead in addition to a symbol of sleep (which knocks you out for a long time, and you dont wake up normally).

    I havent even bothered to see what the various wizard specializations do this time around.

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  44. No. The game is not same shit with houserules. Houserules tend to change minor things. Not change the game entirely. You are absolutely incorrect that it is the same as 3rd. I have pointed that out with ability changes, feat changes, spell changes, skill changes, and hell experience changes. Abilities like grapple, trip, and disarm have been streamlined and made more understandable/usable. You do not counter this anywhere. You simply repeat the dogma that the game is the same as 3rd.

    Stop comparing the game to 4th ed. It's not supposed to be 4th ed, or anything like 4th ed. It's a game for people that wanted 3.5 to continue to be updated and supported and decided 4th wasn't for them. This game is also being supported with the GameMastery Guide and the Advanced Players Guide that all add new content that was not in 3.x in any way.

    Who tanks? The barbarian. The paladin. The ranger. The fighter can tank and do ridiculous damage. Or it can just tank even better at the expense of damage. Or it can tank poorly in favor of damage. 22 feats means there is a wealth of customization.

    Racial proficiencies. Arcane Archer. There is a prestige class specifically designed to be a wizard elf with a bow. I don't see how that is stupid. Maybe you don't like it, but it's a completely viable option.

    The damage does scale. And in some cases is better than spells. Here's the math. Level 20 fighter. No magic. Assuming 18 strength (low for level 20). All the vital strike feats, plus both weapon specializations, and weapon mastery in longsword. 1st attack in a round: 4d8 +12, 2nd attack: 1d8 + 12 3rd attack: 1d8 + 12, 4th attack: 1d8 +12, 5th attack: 1d8 +12. All total that is 8d8 +60. That baseline is very close to wizards. And if you consider that I left magic out of it, and fighters don't run out of attacks, I'd say they scale fantastically with spellcasters.

    The point of your review was that the game is the exact same thing as 3.5. This is demonstrably untrue.

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  45. I didnt say it was exactly the same, just that its almost entirely the same (hence, 3E with houserules). Would it help you grasp what I'm saying if I phrased it as, "The mechanics are almost virtually identical" (including all the bullshit and hangups)? Would it be more accurate to say that Paizo took a lot of the newer shit from the end of 3rd Edition's run and added it to Pathfinder from the start?

    See, they can take additional content from 3rd Edition, like bloodlines, and make it core, but it was already there. I'm not sure how much they may have changed it around since I no longer have access to Unearthed Arcana, or the Dragon issue where they first made the attempt, but it was there already.

    Again, so what if they added new class features and feats to try and patch the broken shit? As I've said, its /still/ broken. It still falls apart. It still looks, acts, and sucks like 3rd Edition. They added more complexity but at best /maybe/ slightly postponed the issues. They might have added on more feats to the fighter, but so did Complete Warrior and Player's Handbook 2 and it /still/ sucked.

    Barbarians and /rangers/ tank? Indulge me: what about these two classes specifically makes them suitable for tanking that precludes a fighter, the iconic tanking class? I would ask about the paladin, but that I can agree with since its conceptually a fighter that has limited access to divine magic.

    Here's why your damage doesnt scale as well as spells do. Fighter damage is basically static for large chunks of the career, increasing by a point here and there from weapon mastery. Now, if you add in feats like Weapon Specialization and Vital Strike, the damage sees another slight boost a few more times throughout the fighter's career.

    In the end, Weapon Master adds 5 points to the overall damage of a single weapon, while a wizard that gains two levels sees many spells improve by 7 points on average.

    See?

    Within two levels, any spell that gets an extra d6 of damage per level eclipses the entire damage bonus of a 20th-level class feature. Give it another two levels, and its more than the additional bonus that Vital Strike grants when using a 2d6 damage weapon. By the time a fighter can take Vital Strike, the wizard's damage scaling is more than almost everything that the fighter will see.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Jason Buhlman stood upon the shoulders of giants to "create" (and I use that word as loosely as humanly possible) a product that Paizo could sell to the legions of sheep like Thom that refused to grow and evolve into a new and improved gaming system.

    The end.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I noticed that a couple of guys tried to criticize the review making points without using a derogatory tone.

    I also noticed that the responses to their points had a different tone and, as of the last two posts, contained terms such as "narrow-minded" and "legions of sheep" when rebutting.

    This would lead me to believe, without knowing anything about Pathfinder, that the guys trying to make a point are probably in the right. I'm also taking into consideration that I came under the pretense of reading a review on Pathfinder and found a rant instead.

    This is probably a good blog to follow and respond to so that others aren't influenced by information that may not be entirely accurate.

    Crose87420

    ReplyDelete
  48. @Crose: Really? At a glance I noticed that Ike carried a civil tone, while Thom was much more aggressive. He might be attempting to make a point, but never counters the points I make (and even makes up rules to defend himself).

    Feel free to believe what you will, but I would assume that the other side was incorrect based on a thorough reading of the arguments being made. Oh, you're the only one that mentions narrow-minded.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Holy fucking shit indeed. I really don't know why he published that lame book, but damn David! The review made it sound as if Paizio had raped your mom with a copy of Pathfinder! Though I do agree, I looked it over and could think of any reason why it was written. I hate his work, you ever see his lame ass 3.5 Dark Sun, the "Official" one? Suck would be a massive understatement. Anyway, nice to see you page, took me a second to deduce it was you.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I vaguely recall the Dark Sun conversion issues of Dragon and Dungeon, and yeah I don't think they were very good. I was sure i'd sent the link for this page to you in the past, but now you have it!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Just for the record... I like 3.X and 4. : O

    ReplyDelete
  52. I got into this blog a little after this, so to see a random comment now show up on the right side was nice for me. I got to see an absurdly long argument about why one is better than the other. I particularly like the part where Thom backs out of the argument 3! times xD I think we need to get this all into a complete blog along with some other arguments in other blogs you have. With it all in one place, could be a great read for the people not willing to scroll down the page for hours. Good read, Pathfinder is MEH at best, go Antioch!

    ReplyDelete

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