Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Personal Pathfinder Preview

If you’re unfamiliar with the game Pathfinder it is a d20 based paper and pencil style Roleplaying game built off of the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 rules. The game was intended as a new campaign world to explore and interact with that introduced upgraded character classes and fixes for old rules to the old D&D 3.5 system. Still the game is compatible with all the material available for D&D 3.5, though some conversion work may be necessary.

My Introduction
A good place to start for players new to RPGs
Last night my friend Erica Colabella was kind enough to get permission from her DM (Dungeon Master) to let me sit in on their Monday night Pathfinder session over at Dark Side Comics in Sarasota, FL. It was a diverse group of 6 characters and their companion animals with only one work related no show. Still despite being a down a party member it was decided that the game must go on and play picked up from where they had left off in the previous session. The DM carefully laid out for them the scenario and awaited the reactions of the player’s characters. Like most of us being chased by a terrifyingly durable black armor clad juggernaut of vengeance and death, they choose to run and try to escape this menace taking a path through the town the previous sessions events had taken place in. As the chase continued the players did their best to warn bystanders of the antagonist’s approach, distract him with as many birds as they could convince to throw themselves at the menace, and hurling obstacles like swords and once stone now suddenly mud pits at him, but to no avail. Finally a ship is spotted departing, the harbor and one character flies ahead to secure passage for them all allowing them to escape the threat perhaps breathless, but unscathed. The mysterious antagonist has one last trick however throwing his swords and severing the rudder of the ship which happens to be heading for a large whirlpool just outside the harbor, easily avoided with a rudder, but death to those ships without one. Thankfully the quick thinking of the party druid saves the day and the resultant giant blue crab that was summoned pushes the ship past the whirlpool and into open water.

My Impressions
To say that my first experience with the game was entertaining would be an understatement. Between the wanton slaughter and mayhem was a jovial conversation that while deviating from the topic at hand often, only served to make the game enjoyable for all those playing (and watching). I found the group to be intelligent, friendly, and even inviting allowing me to joke with them and make suggestions through other characters to help move the plot forward. It was obvious that the DM had worked his craft well and had created interesting plot elements and characters to match, even at one point demanding payment for passage from the assassin in the party who up to that point had been sneaking about unnoticed. Overall I was very impressed with not only the written material but also its execution by the DM and its interpretation by the players. The only thing I didn’t really get to see was a combat encounter, but hopefully next time around that will take place.

My Recommendation
Basically if you have the means to acquire at least the players guide and you like paper and pencil style role playing games, you may wish to give pathfinder a look; this is especially the case if you’ve played D&D 3.5 and or have some of the sourcebooks for that system as those remain relevant and open for use in the Pathfinder game. That said, there are a few cautions I’d like to offer up to those considering trying Pathfinder. First, sessions can be a bit lengthy so make sure you’ve got the time for it. The session I sat in on ran about 4 or 5 hours, but they can be longer or shorter depending on the time limitations of the group. Still you’ll want to be able to get at least 2 or 3 hours free once or twice a month if you’re hoping to get in on a game session. Secondly, don’t try this if you’re the kind of person prone to loose themselves in their character. Now this isn’t to say don’t roleplay your character, but simply, leave your character at the table when the game ends. If you can do those two things you should definitely consider getting connected with a game group in your area. If you need help with that, your local comic book store is a great place to start.

Pathfinder is a great game worth checking out if you are even remotely interested in role playing games and definitely something worth looking into for those who’ve played D&D 3.5 and who want to get a bit more out of the materials they already have. While each experience will vary depending on your group, the game can be a great catalyst for making friends and memories worth holding on to. Because of this Pathfinder has been added to my N3rd C0rn3r.