I really want to write far more about this than I have time for right now, so I’ll keep this brief and to the point and expand on it more in a later post.
D&D4 turned into somewhat of a disappointment for me. Unlike a lot of the people that object to it, though, I never really had much issue with the rules themselves. I liked the idea of making all classes work along similar lines (especially from the point of view of someone trying to write software to work with it, where it can be a huge pain coding in the exceptions for every single class and variation), I loved the removal of Vancian casting, I even kinda liked how the Essentials range was done (it was more a marketing failure than anything else.)
No, what I disliked about 4th edition was the complete lack of attention in the first books a new player would read to any idea of actual roleplaying. It was all about encounters and combat. Even the spell lists had pretty much nothing of RP value – if it didn’t have any real offensive or defensive value it wasn’t welcome in the spell lists. Then most of the published adventures were based around linear encounters, giving new GMs a horrible example of how to create their own.
I’ve spent most of the last couple of years avoiding tabletop RPGs, although before it looks like I’m blaming D&D4 for that, I’ll say that was mostly down to health reasons. Now I’ve got a bit more time and inclination though, I figured it was time to get back into things.
Pathfinder by Paizo is effectively the second coming of 3rd Edition D&D (or the third coming, if you count 3.5E as its own game) and uses the 3.5 SRD as the base for a very nice game system. There’s changes here and there, but nothing too big – you can use a D&D monster manual (or adventure module) pretty much unchanged other than a CR tweak.
It’s also got a ton of support from both Paizo themselves and third-party publishers. The Adventure Path modules especially are a fantastic resource, originating from Paizo’s time publishing Dungeon magazine for 3E. I’m now happily subscribing to their monthly releases, and the postage from the US to the UK really isn’t too bad (especially when subscribers get both a discount and free PDF copies of the physical books.)
Given that this is likely the last major set of RPG volumes I’ll be buying, that’s pretty much removed the possibility of me getting majorly into D&DNext – although I’ll likely pick up the core rulebooks out of interest, I can’t see myself going buying 30+ WotC hardback books yet again, just to go through the cycle and end up replacing those five or six years down the line.
More on this another day when I have more time. For now though…
Make Mine Pathfinder!