Preview(s): Pathfinder RPG

There is a massive, 60+ page thread on RPGnet that talks about the previews Paizo has revealed about the "new look" of Pathfinder's equivalent to the fighter. Well, and the sorcerer. If you want to sum it up, fighter's still suck, spellcasters are still broken, and Paizo is still failing to correctly steal the good parts of Dungeons & Dragons to claim as their own.

According to Jason Bulmahn, the fighter isnt built as an optimized character, but to showcase...something. No one is really sure what, and they sure as hell arent impressed. Its a big-ass stat block of numbers that mean almost nothing to those who are not really, really into PRPGB. One poster compared Valeros to an ice devil, which while one CR point lower, can still kick the fighter's ass without breaking a sweat...literally.

Compared to Seoni, the preview sorcerer, she can beat the shit out of Valeros even though she is four levels lower. With her magic, she can be untouchable and annihilate him without taking any damage at all. Even if Valeros could somehow reach her, dispel magic fixes all that fiddly balance bullshit that Paizo isnt concerned about.

Valeros sucks ass. He is easy to hit, deals dick damage, cant make a Will save to save his life, and can only compensate for his tiny AC and damage by further crippling his already meager attack bonus. Does Pathfinder add anything interesting to the fighter? In a word, no. There are more feats all around, but since they dont necessarily grow with your level, they end up becoming a rigid feat tree that you need by necessity to still fail to be on par.
Paizo apparently removed a high-level feature that gave you Damage Resistance in heavy armor, which while cute was almost entirely worthless since its better to not get hit at all, than to shave off a measly five points of damage. It wont do a lick of good if that attack also carries on level/ability drain or poison. Whoop. De. DO.

Fighters are boring and repetitive, which is made worse since they do things that other melee-oriented classes can do, just without extra options like raging or useless 4th-level spells. Hell, they do a LOT of things non-melee oriented class can do, and with spells they can do it more reliably and better. Pile all the feats on that you want, but if the end result is allowing your fighter to make a bunch of mundane attacks that probably wont hit, then whats the point? You just wasted half of your career path to be mechanically inferior to the monk. For an encore, they should add in another feat tree that gradually turns you into a bard, which might ironically be more interesting than a fighter.

Pathfinder succeeds at adding many new--if inelegant and unecessarily convoluted--mechanics to an already inelegant and convoluted system. It fails to fix the parts of 3rd Edition that needed it most (ie, interesting options), and instead just scratches the surface of what Wizards of the Coast did for Dungeons & Dragons and pretending that it was their idea all along: increase in hit points, more feats, easier to sneak attack, at-will spells, the list goes on. They claim its backwards compatible with your 3rd Edition swag, but only if you add more features to the races and classes that they dont/cant/wont add in the game later. Sound familiar?

Yep. This is exactly what Wizards of the Coast did with 4th Edition, except they didnt try to pass it off as the same game with a new name. Pathfinder is not D&D. Its kinda-sorta close to 3E, but you cant make a thri-kreen psychic warrior without houseruling the 3E version of both to put them on par with how races and classes are built now. They might add them or something similar in later, which is exactly what Wizards of the Coast has been doing with 4E. The fucked up thing is that I dont hear people going to the Paizo boards and having a bitch-fest over, "those money-grubbing bastards."

Common theory holds that Erik Mona favores spellcasters, and if the preview iconics are an indication it certainly has merit given that the new sorcerer has a shitload of new stuff and some spells got a power kicker. Its bullshit to think that they couldnt make major changes to the system, since they wanted to cater to the played out copper mine that is the "old school" audience, considering that 3rd Edition released Book of Nine Swords. While still not sufficient to put melee combatants on par with spellcasters, it made a huge leap in progress to making them interesting and useful at levels above five. They could have easily made a similar system with a similar goal, and I have no idea why they didnt.

Spite, perhaps?

Another poster thinks that they are ignoring the best parts of 4E, "out of spite," and I'm inclined to agree since they blatantly stole the easiest things that anyone could houserule in, but ignored the really good mechanics that would require some actual design experience. Thats really what Pathfinder feels like: a very heavily houseruled version of 3E D&D. The problem is that if I wanted to play 3E, houserules and all, I dont need to pay another company to think up houserules for me. I did that myself over a year ago and I'm more than happy to be done with it.



    Gawd, I've been saying this for months. Under the makeup and new clothes, it is still a big, fat, ugly pig.

    And a pretty damned expensive one two. As to the Paizo boards, they are so packed with sycophants and wannabe contributors, it would be little more than an exercise in troll-baiting.

  2. Well I was going to post a link to a Pathfinder SRD site I started but... I see there's not much love here for PF so... nevermind :)

  3. I have to say that this preview opened my eyes to the truth about Pathfinder.

    Now if only my moron of a friend (Who is a DM who wasted cash on both the old 3.5 books as well as a Pathfiner Core Rulebook and Bestiary) would listen to me...

  4. Not sure if any of you remember the Basic Set of D&D and some of the later books had scaling damage with specialization. I never actually played that but remember seeing the rules.


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