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Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook


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Dykstrav

Adventurer
5 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

Pathfinder is extremely good at what it does, but it's not every game for every group (nor does it try to be). The Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook is comprehensive. The character creation options are detailed enough to create nearly any character from heroic fantasy. The rules are detailed enough to cover nearly every situation in a consistent and intuitive fashion. There's enough material in this one book to last many, many campaigns. You can easily use this one book alone to meet your tabletop RPG needs for the rest of your life. That being said, there's certainly a learning curve--the rules are comprehensive but nuanced and it'll take even a bright player at least a year of regular play to get a good feel for how it all hangs together. You'll also have to address how your group approaches the rules. Because the rules are so well-tested and finely tuned, many groups have little tolerance for house rules. If you're the sort of GM that likes to tinker and customize you'll have to be prepared for a few grumbles from your by-the-book types and your optimizers (it's also reasonably common for such players to have greater system mastery than the GM). Some players also develop "tunnel vision" because of all the great options available; you'll have to gently remind them that they can try things that aren't listed as an ability listed in the rules and to otherwise think outside the character sheet. It's also important to keep in mind that certain character types will shine and others will founder depending on campaign circumstances. If your campaign focuses on fighting a lich and its undead minions in a megadungeon-tomb, clerics and paladins will be awesome but druids and rangers will feel less useful. Conversely, a wilderness-oriented exploration campaign will let the druid and the ranger get the lion's share of the challenges where a cleric or paladin might not be able to contribute as much. If you want to GM for Pathfinder you can't just plug-and-play random elements, you have to consider each individual character and how they will contribute during the adventure. As a player you have to really think of your character as part of a team. It's possible to make a lone wolf or maverick but rarely a good idea (and never as effective as a member of a well-designed team). Pathfinder rewards players that think ahead about character options and are willing to work together. A rogue on their own is an effective character but the rogue really shines if you and the barbarian both get Acrobatics, Dodge, and Mobility to tumble around to flank the same target. Or allows the illusionist wizard with Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot to use their blinding rays to set a big target up for a sneak attack. Sure, a rogue can use Improved Feint to set up their own sneak attack but coordinating efforts with the other players is a big part of the fun. Still, these issues have more to do with play style and the expectations of the group rather than the product. If your group is receptive to the style of play that Pathfinder supports (comprehensive rules, plenty of character options, and a teamwork-based approach to character creation), you will have an absolute BLAST. The Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook will be the last core rules you will ever need for many years of great gaming.
 

casterblaster

First Post
2 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

First off I picked up Pathfinder (PF) after being disappointed with 4e. The rules in this giant core book are scattered throughout making referencing very tedious. Speaking of giant core books, the book is huge and heafty and over time the binding doesn't seem to support the weight and often fails. The art work is nice and the text is readable. The rules run on an ageing 3.5 system with some tweaks here and there but don't be fooled it is not streamlined by any means. The game is too fiddly and tends to lead to character optimizers which then just seems to turn into a analog video gamey feel. Everything seems to be complicated for the sake of being complicated. The game has been out for a while now and the bloat is busting the seams. Their seems to be thousands of character and race options that are wonky with a lack of balance. I would not recommend this for new players or GMs. Hopefully the system will get an overhaul soon and a focus for role playing will be added and move away the roll-playing.
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
3 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

The book is just too big, although I recognise it’s a combination of Player and GM guides. I don’t like the art either. I do respect how Paizo have supported their product and recognise it’s market leading status since it was released. Just not for me.
 

Zeitgeist

First Post
3 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

I grew up playing the original DnD, Advanced DnD, and 2nd edition, TMNT, Robotech, Star Wars, Conan, GURPS, RIFTS, Warhammer, Warhammer Space Marines, and a host of other RPGs from the time I was just in 1st grade all through middle of high school. Unfortunately, I moved during high school and was unable to find anyone else who played in my new hometown. Fast forward about 20 years. I played only a handful of games since high school, until the last two years. I joined a very welcoming and fun group of people here in my area and jumped full on into Pathfinder. I desperately wanted to recapture the fun of my younger years and wanted to find something I could do with my kids. RPGs were one of those thing they seemed very interested in and every time we have run games together it has been a blast. Okay now you know a little about me, so hopefully this review will make sense.My review will be on the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and therefore also a review on the system.The book:I bought this book early on in my return to the RPG world and sat down to read through it. I was impressed with the quality of the book and printing, it feels great in the hand and is really quite fun to go through, especially for someone like me who loves books and has been away from RPGs for a while. The art (Wayne Reynolds is fantastic in my opinion!) was great and imaginative. The art really sold me and made me give this system and company who I was unfamiliar with a real look. I was impressed with the amount of information and detail the book contained, liking so much about it. The book gets most of its good marks form the presentation. The book is somewhat disorganized, but not too badly. The wealth of information was impressive, but overwhelming in a way. The amount of rules and detail to those rules felt layers deep. I knew right away I would buy and try this game, but would need to find a group of people to help me understand how to play.The system:The rules were deep and confusing though. As I read more into the game I was struck by the steep learning curve and felt like I wanted to play it but was really confused by the system. So I went down to my local comic/game shop (Thank goodness we have some in town), and looked for a group to play with. The group was nice and took the time to teach me about the game. The GM was extraordinarily good and I am grateful for his help in trying to understand the game. Everyone was patient with me, as it took me a long time to figure out how the game was played. I invested in a lot of books and attempted to play several games and full campaigns with my kids. My spouse gave up quickly on it, saying they could not get into it, the rules and complexity drove them away. This is a person who never played RPGs before, but really was enthusiastic at first. Something I think should be a wake up call to the industry. What I was finding as I GM'ed was that the game was way too complicated and I had to create house rules that frankly made it much more fun for me and my children. But that is the problem with this book and the game system in general in my opinion. I had to modify so many of the rules and fix the imbalances I found so much that I basically almost food no use for the book than an outline. Games that I played with groups bogged down into mechanics and miniature and grids grinds. The games slowed down so much, combat took forever, and the story seemed almost meaningless in a frenzy of stats , math and modifiers, and paperwork. I dropped out of my groups, because I just wasn't enjoying the experiences that much. This was not a reflection of the groups I played with, because frankly they were great and the GMs were very good. What I was finding was that I was enjoying the game for the storytelling and chances to make decisions and the surprise in the exploration of the adventures the GMs put together. My kids were finding the same things fun I was and not really liking much of what I wasn't liking in the game. Everyone except one of my kids, the one who loved stats, dice rolling, and had an extraordinary ability to remember rules, stat blocks, an intense drive to break and manipulate the system, and strategic designs on his characters and skills, and a strict desire that every rule be adhered at all costs, even if that meant alienating most at the table. These same kind of people were in almost every group I have played with. Now this isn't new to any of my experiences playing RPGs and in any system, and frankly I have no problem with these kinds of players I roll with them (Pun intended), and can find them very fun to play with, always amazed with their encyclopedic knowledge. What I found though was that Pathfinder seemed to attract more of these kinds of players, because the game really seems to be more fun for them. I do not know if it is system bloat, as my two years experience with Pathfinder has shown. The game is so big, there is so much material, the system as a whole seems to be broken in some areas, with rules and stat blocks not being well balanced and compatible. The world they created is very big and in some ways overwhelmingly so. I dropped it as soon as DnD 5th came out. Mostly out of exhaustion, never finding my groove with the system, and a desire to find the fun I missed in playing a game. What I love about RPGs so much is the sense of adventure, exploration, ability to play a character I love in a world that is exciting and fun, make choices, and have options to play in a way that really sets me free. Rules pin me down and complex worlds already outlined in so much detail kill the experience for me. The imagination is not allowed to work.In summary, the book is pretty, the information deep, but confusing and complex. The system itself and the whole Pathfinder world is bloated, imbalanced, feels chaotic and complex, and after giving it two years I have found it time to move on. Sadly, my kids are very split on the game. I have some that love it to pieces, especially the books, almost more than playing it and other kids who refuse to play it, unless I play our house rules. They like the books too, they are pretty to look at, but find no use for them other than to look at for ideas. The Core Rulebook gets a generous 3 from me, the system gets a 2. +One star for artwork, construction, and overall presentation; +One star for the ability to make this a stand alone book and its general organization and wealth of material; -One star for the complexity of the system; -One star for the poor editing, that I think makes the rules confusing and feeling incomplete, amplifying it's complexity and amount of detail. +/- One Star for it's playability. These cancel out and should give a total of two stars, or I can meet it half way and give it a half star. I however will give it one more star, and this might be unfair to judge it against other games and it give it a score, but I will meet such a judgement half way. In the field of games out there it just isn't poor, but definitely deserves average to me. My experience wasn't all bad, because I have one child and know others, especially his friends that love it, and talk about it's many plus sides in comparison to other games.
 

Zil

Explorer
5 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

This is the worthy successor to the D&D 3.5 rule set and the OGL. It's also the game that eventually displaced D&D 4E from the top of the pen and paper RPG heap for several years and helped turn Paizo into a major force in the gaming industry. At its core, this is a direct continuation of the D&D 3.x game - essentially version 3.75. The classes have been adjusted - some more significantly than others - with an eye to making all classes enjoyable at all levels. There is now less of a reason to dip into other classes for a level or two. Some would say that overall the power of the classes has crept upwards and they are probably correct, but the increase in power feels rather subtle in actual play. Paizo made a significant effort to retain a strong level of backwards compatibility with the 3.x rules so it is fairly easy to use a 3.x adventure in Pathfinder - there are only a few things that you would have to change such as calculating combat maneuver defense and attack. A GM running a 3.5 or 3.0 adventure should be mindful that NPCs might be a slight bit weaker relative to the players as the intent in the original 3.x adventure design. In addition to the changes to the core classes, a number of combat related sub-systems have been simplified into a consolidated combat maneuver system which makes combat run smoother. Things which this book did not really address as much as I would have liked is the complexity of running high level games. Despite that quibble, I feel that this is one of the best versions of "D&D" yet, certainly the best of the 3.x stream.
 

Kelanen

Explorer
3 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

An update of the 3.5E rules, Pathfinder smooths out some of the system's rough points and adding useful material. The system itself is complex, and takes a lot of mechanical know-how to play or run effectively. Additionally, mechanical balance between classes is not the best, although improved from 3.5. The system does allow for extensive customizing of characters which is a strong point in my opinion.The book itself is a beautifully illustrated and is not very useful to new players learning the system.
 

JLant

First Post
5 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

IMO, this is the D&D 3.x ruleset taken to its fullest potential. Beautiful layout and organization and the info density can't be beat.
 


Razz0putin

Explorer
5 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

Pathfinder core would've been good if they only put out the book and kept on supporting the system however they went well beyond that by going back through and tinkering with things (in a good way) in order to make a great book.
 

Chimpy

First Post
3 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

Having been introduced to Pathfinder within the last year, I can't help but compare it to some other recent tabletop RP games that offer a similar experience but feel more streamlined and less bogged down in little details. Combats can take hours and are hugely tactical. There seem to be rules penalising a character on nearly every roll. On the plus side, I like all the character options, and all the supplements available. Also the adventure paths are incredible and I would say are the best things about the game system.
 

Enrico Poli1

Adventurer
5 out of 5 rating for Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook

This is a new version of D&D 3rd Edition, and that is both a strength and a weakness. In fact, the game system is polished and improved. But in the end, it's the same game (with the same problems, such as caster supremacy and extreme crunchiness at high levels). In this book we really find almost no new content. So, I give this book a 5-star rating because it was a new starting point for a number of books that actually improved the game.
This is also the rule-system that let Paizo continue the production of their wonderful Adventure Paths, that are its crown-jewels.
 

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