Friday, May 18, 2018

Pathfinder after a Two Year Gap

"Rhesus The Fighter"

I think it was around March 2016 that I last ran's been a sea of D&D 5th Edition, 13th Age and a medley of other games since then. I'd quit running Pathfinder on Wednesdays as far back as 2013 right before 5E arrived, but the Saturday group had more dedication. That said....things changed and around two years ago Pathfinder was essentially laid to rest.

Until tonight!

My irregular gang of Starfinder players who meet on Friday nights when we all happen to be able to had a short player but still wanted to game. Not wanting to proceed on Starfinder with the missing cohort, I proposed an alternative game....and so we decided Pathfinder.

All told it was fun, and about what you might expect with any game after an absence, particularly a game that is very well known to all at the table, even if time has passed. I noticed the following in our short session....

It felt Deadlier (at level 3) than 5E

Pathfinder, at least at the lower levels, does feel deadlier than D&D 5E. D&D 5E can be deadly without much effort at level 1-2, but so long as you don't throw a bunch of hobgoblins at the group they'll live. Pathfinder has its own dynamic, but the game has fewer renewable resources, so resource management is a more prominent game, and this fact was noticeable.

Easier to Remember the Rules than to Forget Them

Apparently if you play Pathfinder long enough, it gets burned in. I was disturbed to realize how quickly I snapped back to the mechanical rigor of the system like a fish in deep water. I'm not sure it's equivalent to riding a bike, but apparently the years of running Pathfinder really engrained the system in to my head.....I realize now I probably spent more effort forgetting Pathfinder rules to play D&D than I did learning the new rules....!

This probably doesn't apply if you didn't play enough to get the rules down.....but honestly, I was shocked at all the obscure minutiae I was recalling.

"Reggie The Ranger"

The System is Laden with "Trap" Mechanics

A thing that 5E avoids is scenarios (in most cases) where the PCs are relentlessly beating on a foe that either cannot be hit or cannot be damaged, to no effect in the end, leading to a weird combat that is protracted and brutal. I had an encounter involving Iron Cobras that only went fast because with three players things can go fast....but they were in the awkward position where hitting the target was hard, and dealing damage past the DR was harder. This something I realize D&D 5E really avoids (mostly).

With Like Minded Cohorts Pathfinder is Perfectly Good Fun

I played with people who were in on it for the fun, and while some system mastery was evident, the focus was on fun and interesting characters rather than a militant play strategy aimed at tactical decimation. The result was much, much more fun than the old days when I had a large group focused almost obsessively on system mastery.

Indeed, the group independently rolled up a barbarian, ranger and fighter, with a high INT score of 8 and nary cleric among them. When they realized what they had done, they decided this would be pure gold entertainment, then conspired to insure that the tiefling, goblin and vanaras all had goblin as their only common tongue....yep, it was a fun night. They proceeded to play professional repo men and eviction specialists for shady merchants with suspicious agendas that none of them could spot with a botched sense motive roll. Good stuff!

As an aside, I set the game in a corner of the new campaign world I've been building with Genesys Core. Not much exposition needed with three guys who averaged 7.5 intelligence.

So yeah....looks like Fridays are the official "XFinder RPG" nights for a while.

"Huh the Barbarian"
BONUS! I got to use my pocket rule books for Pathfinder at last. Purchase: justified. 

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