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The Douchey DM » General Gaming » Some Dumb Questions About Pathfinder

Some Dumb Questions About Pathfinder

I walked out of the FLGS last weekend without a copy of the Pathfinder core book. That’s the third time I’ve seriously considered buying the game but left the store without it.

The most common reason? There’s been a Hero System or GURPS title at my FLGS that I really wanted. But there are other reasons for my hesitation as well.

I’ve only played two editions of DnD: 4th Edition and 1st Edition ADnD.  I moved on to other games by the time 2nd Edition came out, and I’d stopped gaming by the time 3rd Edition hit the market.

Like many gamers who moved on to GURPS or Hero, I have some issues with the system with regard to how armor works, enormous hit point counts, etc. At high levels specifically, combats feel like “death by a thousand cuts.”

On the other hand, Pathfinder has a lot going for it.

  • Lots of support from Paizo
  • Lots of support from 3rd party publishers
  • An enthusiastic player base

But I do have a few questions for those who play Pathfinder, because quite frankly, there are some things about the ecology of DnD4e that I do not like.

Character Builder

DnD4e, with its ever-growing list of feats, pretty much requires a character builder. Yes, it’s possible to build a character without one, but just not a lot of fun. I assume it’s the same for Pathfinder.

Is there a go-to Character Builder for Pathfinder? Does Paizo offer one?

Can you add customized, third-party or house-ruled feats (or whatever they’re called) into any of the Character Builders? Is it difficult to do?

The reason I ask this is because in many ways WotC’s current OGL isn’t all that open — mostly because it requires the Character Builder, but there’s no support for 3rd-party content in the builder. I suppose it might have been possible to add content to it when it was a stand-alone application, but now that it’s web-based, that possibility is gone.

GM Prep Tools

Is there a combat encounter tool?

Does there exist a database of monster stats that I can paste into a document to have all the combat stats on one or two pages? (this is a side-effect of being spoiled by WotC’s Monster Builder.


Are there any significant changes in the combat system from the standard d20 system?

Eventually, I am going to buy the book. Even if I never run a Pathfinder campaign, I may want to run a one-shot or two to try it out.

Written by

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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5 Responses to "Some Dumb Questions About Pathfinder"

  1. 8one6No Gravatar says:

    As far as a character builder goes, while there isn’t an official one Hero Lab is in my opinion the best one out of the several that have popped up for Pathfinder. (it also has the benefit of working like a dream in wine on Ubuntu.)

    As far as cut and paste monsters you can’t go wrong with They recently put in the work of stating out EVERY true dragon for ALL age categories. It’s been super useful for myself and a friend in our Pathfinder games.

  2. SirGuidoNo Gravatar says:

    The srd’s of both flavor’s are invaluable. Both Paizo’s srd as well as are a huge repository for pretty much all the information you will ever need. I prefer the d20pfsrd for many reasons, including it’s elegant organization, it’s spliffy search function, and the monster builder that is there on the site as well. It’s not a full on monster builder, but you can select an existing monster and add a few select templates as well as add Hit Dice to customize them in some ways.

    In regard to how it compares to other d20 systems… I have no idea. This is my first version of any D&D type game since 2nd ed. All I know is that I like the way the game runs, it gives me that flavor I’ve been looking for since high school, and it has a company that is so set on giving it’s player base a good experience that they have some of the best customer service of any company I have ever encountered in any type of retail business.

    I could talk all day about the things that I love about Pathfinder, but essentially it all boils down to two things. It’s tolkien-esque fantasy at it’s finest and takes care of everything I want it to do at my table in that arena. Second, it is produced by a company that I am happy to give my money to, and who I feel is happy to make a great product for me and not just for my money.

  3. The Wandering MonkNo Gravatar says:

    (open source and cross-platform)

    has permission from Paizo to use their information in the PCGen datasets:

    I haven’t tried it with Pathfinder, but I used this software regularly a few years ago for 3.5 D&D. It also has a GM tool for encounters, but I only ever used the software as a player.

    Here’s the link to the documentation:

  4. The Wandering MonkNo Gravatar says:

    RPTools, the open source virtual tabletop suite, also has fan-supported macros for Pathfinder.

    I haven’t tested either of these pieces of software (PCGen+RPTools) with Pathfinder, but they are both excellent (and free) tools and I’ve used them with other systems.

  5. SkitheeNo Gravatar says:

    Hooray for digging through old blogs. Did you ever pick this up? Didn’t see it mentioned on my way back here. If you hadn’t picked it up, there’s only a slight difference in the combat mechanics. Combat Maneuvers. Grappling, Bull Rushing, Tripping, all that stuff, uses a slightly different mechanic. Your chance to hit is:

    Base Attack Bonus + Strength Mod + 1 for each size above medium or -1 for each size below medium.

    This is opposed by:

    10 + BAB + Str Mod + Dex Mod +/- Size mod

    And this leads to feats and abilities geared directly at combat maneuvers.

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