Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today's Score: Pathfinder

While about town running errands for work, I noticed there were not too many cars parked in front of my local Borders Books Store which is closing soon. I previously mentioned that I had stopped there over the past weekend in hopes of snagging a copy of Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook; however, I was not willing to spend an hour plus in line for only 20% off cover price.

It was near time for my lunch break anyway, so I rolled the dice and went in. SCORE! There was still one copy left. I bought it, then later was angry when I realized I could have purchased a copy from Amazon for $7 cheaper, and had free shipping, GRRRRR, but at least I have a copy.

I've only had a bit of time to flip through it and I intend on giving it a thorough read before making any solid comments; however, I must say, this is one large handsome book. I've contemplated picking up a copy before, but being a cheap-skate, I always talk myself out of it. I am familiar with Paizo products, as I have a subscription to their Planet Stories line of books. With each shipment, they include a brief catalog describing their products. More then once, after breezing through their product listings, I have been tempted to buy this.

I've been playing the world's most popular roleplaying game for 28 years. In that time, I've seen no less then five new editions. I cut my teeth on this guy:

From there I moved onto Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Oddly enough, I never really made the conversion to second edition. I bought many of the products (modules, campaign settings, etc.), but found so little difference from 1st and 2nd, that I never purchased a rulebook beyond the Players Handbook until years later when I found a copy of the DM guide in a used bookstore. I never had a problem mixing Basic with Advanced (both 1st and 2nd edition) and it never occurred to me that I shouldn't. My next graduation step was to:

During my high school and college years, the Rules Cyclopedia was my go-to gamer's bible. The largest attraction to it for me was the fact that everything I needed to play was between two covers: players section? Check (levels 1 to 36. 36 for Christ's Sake! Who has time or patience to level their character that high?). Game Masters section? Check. Magic Items? Check. Spells? Check. Monster Manual? Check. Brief Description of The Known World? Check. It had it all.

It was these same attributes that initially attracted me to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (first edition). I've always had a thing for "all-in-one-books". That was my initial reason for liking GURPS (3rd edition) and Tunnels and Trolls (5th edition).

When a third edition of D&D was announced for 2000, I initially said "pass". I saw no reason to change. I had been happy with the same old D&D for nearly 17 years. Why would I want to buy all new books? I've always been resistant to "brighter, shinier, newer". I don't get involved in the flame wars that erupt on rpg forums over this issue, in my opinion "edition wars" are one of the lowest forms of nerdage, but I do resist them for one reason: I'm cheap. My cheapness has kept me from buying GURPS 4th edition and T&T 7/7.5. Hey, if it ain't broke (or at least easily fixed) why would I buy a new edition of anything. Heck, I drive a 96 F-150 for two reasons: it runs and it's paid for.

I'm not against others who do enjoy the latest edition of any game that I enjoy and I even sometimes do choose to "upgrade". I did so with WFRP 2nd edition (the current edition I play) and I even purchased the huge, expensive box that is WFRP 3rd edition (I have never played it, and plan on writing more about that on a later date). Tenkar, over at Tenkar's Tavern, even almost has me convinced to give T&T 7.5 a go.

Back to my path to Pathfinder (pun intended), I did eventually try D&D 3; although, I did so kicking and screaming at the request of my gaming group at the time. Despite my doubts, I liked it. I did not like it enough to purchase 3.5 just a few short years later. Again, I did not see the point.

It was for that reason that I was hesitant to buy Pathfinder. From my understanding, PF is a re-working of the 3.5 rules set. Why would I want that? I knew there were problems with 3rd, I'd encountered them myself, and I'd heard of the problems with 3.5; however, I've read mostly positive things about PF and from what I've read, it seems that many of the problems with 3rd and 3.5 have been addressed. I was still resistant though, as there are many great retro-clones available (many for free, my favorite price being the cheap skate I am), not to mention, I still have my old reliable Rules Cyclopedia.

The only good reasons I have are, I can't resist a good sale (even though I could have gotten it cheaper, grumble, grumble) and I'm curious what all the hub-bub is about. I'm not an active part of the OSR. I enjoy it, and originally I started this blog because I though I wanted to be a part of the energy, but frankly, the arguments over which edition is better get tiresome (on both sides of the fence). I have not ever tried 4th edition D&D, and therefore I can not say anything negative about it. In my mind, it is the old New Coke versus Classic Coke battle. I'm a Classic Coke guy, but I can't even really use that example, because I've never tried 4th ed. while I'm sure I did have at least one can of New Coke. 4th edition is confusing to me. I'm not sure what products I would even need, but the nostalgic gamer in me has eyed the Red Box reminiscent of the Monte Cook edition of Basic D&D.

So I have this 500 plus page book of geeky goodness. I'm not sure if I will ever play it, but I do intend on giving it a fair shake.


  1. Nice score. I bought the core, bestiary 1 and 2 and the game mastery guide and they are all great.

  2. Tim of the Bestiary guides and the Game Mastery Guide, which would you recommend as a good second purchase?