Pathfinder is not (yet) a Bloated Beast…

The Geek Life Project today asked the question, “Has Paizo finally jumped the Rules Bloat Shark?

I really, really enjoy the Geek Life Project and especially was enjoying his Kingmaker play posts… I miss those.

So understand that his, which is the inspiration for this one, is very respectfully disagreed with… no throwing stuff.

And I say this because, I disagree. I was going to just comment there, but felt I could say more here.

Why do I not worry about Rules Bloat in PF?


First, because the release schedule, while consistent, is not a flood. Paizo produces enough content in all arenas that they don’t need a “Crunch” book Hardcover every month (or like some times during 3.5, two a month). I know they put out a lot of slim little softcovers that have interesting stuff in them, but these are usually pretty light on serious crunch (from what I’ve seen) and books like the Ultimate X series are where a lot of the crunch appears from.

Second, the way that PF has revamped the base of the 3.5 system, it is better to have more base classes than it is to have a million prestige classes. I feel as if prestige classes are still a useful mechanic, but seriously not nearly as integral to PF as they were to 3.5. Again, just my opinion, but it feels this way to me (and my players).

Third, and I consider this the most important reason — I don’t feel like I’m in an Arm’s Race with Pathfinder. We use APG, UC, UM, and a few of the softcovers in addition to the Core book and in reading these, tinkering with the bits, and really just trying some stuff out, I feel as if Paizo has been more careful with the actual power and usefulness of feats in PF and that the amount of options has not led to the same reckless power bloat achieved by WotC’s products. Of course, I have to give credit where it’s due, PF has the legacy of all of 3.5 to draw on to avoid making those same mistakes — so don’t take that too harshly. But I genuinely believe this… the feats don’t feel like I have to worry that at any moment one of them’s going to explode all over my game.

Pretty much the only thing we are not using in our PF games (that I’ve banned) is the Cowboy (er, Gunslinger) and that is strictly for fluff reasons, not crunch. I think the class is solid and cool and would fit fine in a different campaign, it just doesn’t fit in mine. Heck, when I ran Warhammer Fantasy I even took the guns out, I just don’t like guns in my fantasy (but I don’t really care one way or another about Psionics, so go figure).

At the moment, I’m really looking forward to Ultimate Races. I feel like the game has a lot of room left to expand and grow without breaking down or needing anything resembling a new edition. Long live Pathfinder, I say.

Thanks for reading and thanks to TGLP for inspiring today’s post.

PS — I suppose I should be clear though, I don’t allow 3pp stuff. I didn’t during my 3.5 days (with the rare exception of a few things from the White Wolf line of stuff) and I still don’t now — and we don’t use any of the old 3.5 stuff in our PF either. That way lies madness.

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5 responses

  1. Just stopping by and saying “Hi”. Those Kingmaker posts will resume, I’ve been away due to a family emergency. And I’m going to say something that you often don’t hear on the internet. “It’s OK to disagree with me.”

    1. Oh, I know, and I appreciate it. That was also the source of my desire to have a strong disclaimer at the beginning. I’m happy to disagree and it’s better when everyone plays nice.

      I saw that you’d been having stuff and I hope all is well with you now.

      Thanks for stopping in.

  2. Thanks. Yeah. I should to a post about my mundane life sometime.

  3. When I GM Pathfinder, I allow pretty much everything (but guns) as long as I get to review, and maybe tweak it slightly, first.

    But when I play. . . I just stick to the core book for the most part.

    I want players to be happy with their characters. But for me, at this point, the character (personality, background, and so on) is more important than their stats and abilities. My most recent Pathfinder character was a vanilla cleric with almost no combat abilities, but also the moral center of the group and the one who handled dealing with civic authorities. Much fun to play.

  4. It’s interesting. We have a very similar character in our current PF game. I wonder if this is a popular choice with cleric characters — I know I’ve considered it a time or two myself…

    Weird, huh?

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