Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thoughts On An Upcoming Pathfinder Campaign

I know we likely have a Pathfinder campaign coming up for my gaming group sometime in the future, and for me, it’s a mixed bag. Don’t get me wrong; I respect Paizo, and am pretty darn pleased with how Pathfinder turned out. But I also wonder how deep or complex our campaign is going to be?

I’m definitely not a rules lawyer; in fact, I basically consider them the scourge of good gaming. Pathfinder builds on Dungeons & Dragons 3.x, which was a fairly moderately rules-intense game, supporting a level of system mastery. However, I’m not interested in waiting all day to look up rules, or waiting while someone proves that page xx actually says what they’re saying it says. I also don’t want to spend all day calculating whether or not bonuses stack.

It’s an age-old struggle for me, as I’ve stated before—the comfort of rules support versus the speed and ease of rules-light play. It’s one of the reasons I can love Rolemaster and Risus well and equally, because each gives me something I want.

There’s an easy, understandable game in Pathfinder; otherwise I wouldn’t be looking forward to playing it. You can say it with any system, but ultimately it comes down to the GM and the group, and how much book-digging and arguing over rules they want to do in play. For us, I hope it comes down to very little. Honestly, I think with so many years of d20 under our collective belts, it shouldn’t be a difficult goal.

Ultimately, my goal is to get the Game Master for our Pathfinder campaign to use Rolemaster’s Arms Law as a critical hit system with Pathfinder. If we’re going to have a decent amount of rules, let’s make sure and get some really good bits in there.  Actually, if anyone knows of a good optional critical hit system for use with Pathfinder, let me know.  But it better stack up well against Arms Law.  And none of this "roll to confirm" crap.  We don't do instant replay.


Deinol said...

I've been using Paizo's critical hit deck in my Pathfinder game. It's a lot of fun, and occasionally crazy things happen. Not as in-depth as Rolemaster's critical tables, but it does have 4 different categories of criticals: slashing, bludgeoning, piercing, and magical. The magic ones are really neat, but they happen fairly rarely at my table.

We rarely have to look up rules in Pathfinder. Partly because we've been playing since before it came out (migrated from 3.5 to beta to final). The only thing we had to look up in last night's game was whether or not Bestow Curse required a living target (it doesn't) so it can affect undead. Usually individual spells are the only things we sometimes have questions about.

Deinol said...

I guess I should add that my playstyle is usually to make a judgement fairly quickly in game and look it up later in case it comes up again. I'd rather not bog down the game trying to determine little things. So mistakes happen, but we have fun and learn from them.

Yong Kyosunim said...

I run a Pathfinder campaign. It's a lot of fun, though there are a lot of small changes here and there in the system that I have to abandon a lot of the 3.5 assumptions.

I wish I could run a Rolemaster game. I love those crit tables.

KingUnbeliever said...

I'll second Deinol's mention of Paizo's critical deck (and critical fumble deck). We have been using it and it is a lot of fun. (I missed the critical/fumble table of old)

I do it a little different in that I give everyone a choice for a card when they crit. Basically before they do damage they have the option to sacrifice one "x" for every card they draw. (So a x2 weapon does normal damage plus card, a x3 does x2 damage plus card).

I also allow them to hold on to a critical card before they see it and they can use that card to negate a fumble card draw. (So that attack doesn't do the card's extra damage) It has to be used that game session to negate a fumble or else it goes back in the deck.

I think Deinol has it right as well with running/playing the game. When I run I am pretty sure how things work and if there is any question I make a ruling and come back to it later, and no one has a problem with that...keeps things moving. As a player, I try to be as familiar as I can about everything I can do or cast to reduce the work on the GM. (And it helps me when I run too)

Schuyler said...

Man, I see you have little faith in me Mr. Houghton. Anyway I have a fairly reasonable grasp on the rules and usually judgment call anything that requires me to grab a book. Have faith friend...