Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pathfinder - Why I Love It But Why It Hurts

I haven't done a blog post like this in a while.  With life returning to normal after my divorce, I'm beginning to get back on track with game-related activities (and no, I'm still not running my OSR mashup yet - world building takes time, my friends).

I want to talk about Pathfinder for a minute.  Now, as a veteran GM, having run BECMI, AD&D 2E, 3E, and 3.5 (amongst other systems like MERP, GURPS, and more), I will say that Pathfinder is a system built for a tinker like myself.  It's great fun to translate the game world into mechanics - it provides a whole different flavor of play than what I find in the OSR, although the older versions of "our game" are by far my favorite due to their modifiable nature and wheeling-dealing mechanics.  Pathfinder gives me my fill of "let's see what happens if I..." as far as rules go.  I love to fiddle.

That said, I'm delaying running the game for a reason I think others can appreciate:  potential rules overload.  I like to give players the opportunity, with systems such as this, to run either iconic characters or the weirdest damn things they can create with whatever available supplement exists.  I've run some strange parties before, and it's always great fun.  However, I am dreading getting to that higher-level point that exists past 12th level or so, where combat bogs down and a three-hour encounter is common enough to drive me nuts.  But I love that everything makes sense and interrelates.  Everything is handled the same way throughout the system.  I can do so much with it, but it hurts so bad.

I'm not posting this looking for rules solutions.  I'm just blowing off steam and giving you an insight into my mania.  I remember running v.3.5 at 15th level, and it could be a real bitch.  Pathfinder fixes some of the on-the-fly numbers you had to come up with, but I purposely never used and probably still won't use the big bads like dragons or wizards on my end of things because of the amount of crap I have to familiarize myself with.  Too lazy, you say?  Maybe.  But being familiar enough with 30 spells to decide on the fly what I want to do is a pain, not to mention a bazillion feats at higher levels.  In fact, feats are my main problem ahead of spells.  Who the hell can memorize all that?  I sure don't want to look stuff up constantly.

I suppose you're asking why I even wrote this if I love the system anyhow, and will run it eventually?  Well, just something I had to vent about.  Sure, I could keep everything to below level 10, but that ruins the crazy things I want to do on the planes and in sub-dimensions, where shit gets real.  I don't know. I'm perplexed.  We'll see how I move on Pathfinder eventually, and I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, to ramp back up my GM skills, since I haven't run in about 6 or 7 years, and have been preparing a game world for the last 3 months, my OSR mashup with custom everything that is geared utterly toward sword & sorcery play will be what I run.  I'm hard at work on class revisions (they won't be published here since it involves wholesale plagiarism to put together a players' document), spells, and my world's very own bestiary so that I don't have to hunt through supplements.  Yes, it's a book just for me and the players.  All I'll say is it's Swords & Wizardry as the core rules, with a crapload of bolt-ons.  It should be fun!

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