Sunday, October 3, 2010

Basic Pathfinder?

There’s been some discussion generated over on the Paizo boards regarding the news that they’re working on a Pathfinder introductory set. They’ve asked for feedback from their fans (imagine that!) on what they’d like to see in such a set.

I’ve been surprised at the number of people requesting an old school/rules light version of the game. Not because I think old schoolers are few and far between but because I had no idea just how many seem to play Pathfinder despite their personal preferences. I freely admit to liking Pathfinder and Paizo as a whole. I see them as legitimate successors to the spirit of what was once D&D (albeit, buried under the barnacles of complexity). If a large/established company is ever going to work at brining the spirit of old school gaming back to the mainstream, I firmly believe it will be Paizo.

The encouraging news is that there seems to be an immense interest in having the intro game be more than just an advertisement for the Core Rulebook. Folks are asking Paizo to consider actually creating and maintaining a distinct line of gaming materials that are fully compatible with, but considerably less complex than, the full-feathered Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. In essence, they’re asking Paizo to follow the old TSR model of a “basic” game and an “advanced” game.

I played Pathfinder until recently. While I did enjoy some sessions I have to admit that the system is tremendously complex and games easily devolve into searching the rulebooks for this or that obscure directive as opposed to actually playing. Add to this the incredibly complicated minis-oriented/tactics heavy combat and I knew the system wouldn’t work for me long term.

I’d be lying, however, if I said I wasn’t intrigued by what may come of this. I, for one, would be ecstatic to see Paizo succeed in this endeavor.


  1. Yeah, if they implemented that model I'd definitely buy in. There's a lot I like about Paizo and Pathfinder, but I'm just not in the market for massive tomes and complex rules systems right now.

  2. It can just be a matter of play style. I played in a limited duration campaign of Pathfinder this summer. I had never played before. And while a couple of times there was an interruption to check on a rule when it seemed really important mostly we just got on with it. Then weeks later I'd be reading the rulebook and realize we weren't playing something correctly (or as written rather). We just did what seemed reasonable at the time; that's kind of the point of having a GM isn't it. Of course that's pretty much an argument for Old School or Rules Lite games.