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The Douchey DM » General Gaming, Reviews » Played Pathfinder Last Night

Played Pathfinder Last Night

I can’t talk much about the game, as it’s being run at Gateway2011, but Tyler GMed a one-shot adventure with some pregens for us in Pathfinder. We started out making characters for a long-running game, then put those aside to run the one-shot.

My impression of it is similar to my impression of DnD4e. And most of my problems are not unique to Pathfinder, rather they are problems I’ve had with DnD since the late 1970s.

Character Classes

I’m not a fan of character classes. I find them inflexible. As is obvious by my games of choice (GURPS, Hero, Savage Worlds), I prefer to build my own character type from the ground up.

I know there is choice in the DnD/Pathfinder class paradigm — with feats and multi-classing, etc., but this only approximates the flexibility you get in a classless system.


I’ve heard some 3.5/Pathfinder people criticize DnD4e for being too much of a board game during combat. I have to say, except for some small differences, I found the combat system to be almost indistinguishable from 4e.

The game rules that I think give 4e combat a board-gamey feel (at least to me) exist in Pathfinder. Those being the flanking rules and attacks of opportunity.

Mind you, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the tactical nature of the combat system, but it’s a criticism that has a “pot-calling-the-kettle-black” quality.

There were some differences (hold-overs from 3.5e) that I think improve the game, namely the touch and flatfooted AC. ┬áTo me the whole concept of AC is too much of an abstraction, and it’s one of the things that made me look for another RPG system back in the 1980s. The touch and flatfooted rules give a little more of a┬ásituational feel the AC, making it a little less abstract.


As I’ve said many times before, unless the system is a horrible, broken mess, a good time can be had with just about any system, as long as you’ve got a good group of people to play with. The same holds true for this session. It as a fun time, and I look forward to the next session.



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Stu Venable is the producer of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast and writer and editor of He is founder and director of the Poxy Boggards and a member of Celtic Squall. He holds a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Long Beach. He is a husband and a father. He hates puppies.

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3 Responses to "Played Pathfinder Last Night"

  1. BazzaNo Gravatar says:

    agree in small bursts..but I agree re D & D isms, levels and increasing hit points do my head in…inflexible rules means uniformity..

    love HERO and MRQ2…

  2. SirGuidoNo Gravatar says:

    I’m glad you guys finally got a chance to try Pathfinder. I don’t know anything about 4E aside from what I myself have read of it, so I can’t comment as to the comparisons… but I will say that your comparison really doesn’t surprise me. Like you I also come from a different background than D&D, having played Legend of the Five Rings(L5R) for the vast majority of my gaming history, but I find myself enjoying Pathfinder because it gives me that nostalgic feel. It reminds me so much of the first games I played back in the early 90’s, and I love that. I can see myself getting burnt out on it quickly though, but to be fair to the system I’m not sure if its the system’s fault or the fact that I’m finally getting exposed to so many other systems. We’ll have to wait and see how it pans out, but in the meantime I am thoroughly enjoying myself.

  3. Bradley HarveyNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with you about character classes. I have played GURPS for years and love the fact that my actions defined my character. I could never really get a consensus on alignment and classes when I did play D&D. I did pick up the Pathfinder book to familiarize myself with the mechanics and rules. It seems that here Pathfinder is the only way to get into a game. I am sure that good roleplaying should make most systems “work”.

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