I May Have Been Wrong About Pathfinder

A while ago, I posted my opinion on Pathfinder, where I was quite hard on it, and may have used the term ‘munchkin’. I’m playing a new campaign now, and want to revise my statement…

So I’ve started a new Pathfinder campaign (I’m a player, not the DM)! We’re following the ‘Skull and Shackles’ adventure path, where the players begin press-ganged onto a pirate ship, and things escalate from their. I have a feeling there might be a mutiny in our near future…

I’m playing a Unchained Rogue (Pathfinder Unchained was one of the balance-fix books they brought out a year or so ago), and it’s great! Admittedly we’re only up to level 3 so far, so things might change as the campaign goes on, but it feels like a good balanced group, the play flows quite smoothly, and most importantly – it’s fun.

Shiver My Timbers

The Skull and Shackles campaign setting is great. The first few levels are little railroaded (you are after all, press-ganged onto a ship and therefore told what to do), but it does a really good job of making you feel like a new pirate. There’s a good mix of roleplaying, skill challenges, and combat; and the characters are colourful and interesting (although that might also be our DM!).

I’m really tempted to steal it all when we’re done and run it myself as a 5e campaign, or at least as part of a campaign. It does a wonderful job of mixing fantasy and piracy.

What Shall We Do with a Drunken Munchkin?

A lot of my improved outlook on the game might be my own familiarity with it, the new group, and the campaign setting. But I think the biggest improvement has just been to relax a bit more and role-play, rather than worrying about the rules and character builds as much. The general answer to “can I do this?” has been “yes” (or at least “no, but…”), which is the best part of playing an RPG.

Most of the problems I had with Pathfinder are still there: the complexity of the rules, the ridiculous feat ‘choices’, the sheer amount of character options (and differing power levels). But we’ve kept it to core rulebook (and unchained) only, and I think also because we’re all beginners there’s a lot less min-maxing going on. Everyone has made a character they like and think is fun, rather than choosing feats/abilities that are super effective.

Is Pathfinder my favourite system? No, I’m still a 5e fanboy. But I can see that the system works, and the complexity and detail (or nuance if you like) of the rules isn’t necessarily a bad thing with the right DM.

One thought on “I May Have Been Wrong About Pathfinder

  1. And almost two years on it finally concludes. I think we swerved back towards crushing complexity a few times but house-ruled our way out of of it! Running a battle vs three high level NPCs in PF is the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a GM and I say that having just erased the ship from the flip mat.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s