Pathfinder is sweeping the gamersphere. Here’s why.

Tycho is right.

They have grown fat.

Lately, I’ve been looking over the Pathfinder rules (I love the fact that all the rules can be found online at Paizo’s site). During the point at which I thought the Godfell Stone was done for, I set up an online Pathfinder game (which, fingers crossed, starts this weekend). It seems everyone is switching to Pathfinder, from Gabe and Tycho to Brian Patterson.


"We be goblins, you be food!"

As I say in the next episode of Dice Monkey Radio (due out in a couple weeks), I don’t think people are abandoning 4e.  I just think they’re burned out from 4 years of 4e. They need a break, but want something still familiar to them.

Pathfinder harkens back to a time just before our heroes became superheroes, as 4e has made them. Back when you could still end up with a character that could be killed with a single hit. It recalls characters whose entire character sheet could fit onto an index card if you really wanted to. It recalls a time when no one even thought about using a card to depict character’s abilities.

The simplicity is what people are going for, I think. What I’m going for with the new campaign. Less prep, smaller stat blocks. Cursed items.

Pathfinder has successfully avoided system bloat, a disease that ravaged 3e during its reign. Every RPG company in the world was making OGL books, creating rules for everything (Again, this is all stuff we talk about in the upcoming Dice Monkey Radio episode). Pathfinder, though it uses the OGL, has avoided a ton of books. It’s been out almost as long as 4e, and has a total of… I think 5 hardback books. Other companies make products for Pathfinder, but mostly in PDF, so it’s easy to ignore it if you feel like it.

These are the reasons I think 4e is losing ground to Pathfinder. However, sometimes you like vanilla, sometimes you like chocolate. The same people who are flocking to Pathfinder will eventually wander back to 4e, I imagine. There’s enough room for two games in this small town.

5 thoughts on “Pathfinder is sweeping the gamersphere. Here’s why.

  1. “Less prep, smaller stat blocks”

    There are many things one could say about D&D 3.x/Pathfinder, but neither of these are true.

    It was even easier in D&D 3.x to twink and mini-max, and have your characters become superheroes. It’s called being a magic-user. Pathfinder does very little to remedy this problem.

    If Gabe, Tycho and anyone else want a real challenge, they should not go to Pathfinder, but to actual Old Skool D&D. Or GURPs. Try that stuff, it will end your players. Saying 4e is too easy but Pathfinder is hardcore is like saying counting on one hand is too simple but counting on two is more complicated. Chop off your fingers and then try counting!

  2. I like Pathfinder because it fixes issues I had with 3.5. It also takes 3.5 and turned it up to 11. As far as prep time, I would differ in that it’s the same time though as Pathfinder didn’t really break any new ground in that arena, but it’s okay with me. Prep time for 3.5 was satisfactory to me and wasn’t an issue in my play though I certainly wouldn’t refuse if Pathfinder made it faster. Then again, I’m also the kind of GM who really enjoys prepping even at high-level and all my campaigns usually go from 1st to high teens or low 20’s before we end.

  3. Loved the post.

    I recently started picking up Pathfinder books. We recently finished up a 4e campaign, and after a foray into HERO, I plan on jumping into Pathfinder. I think all your comments are spot-on, and match up with my perceptions.

  4. I was excited to jump into Pathfinder for the first time for what it seemed to be a perfect Play by Post campaign. And you know what? The campaign never started. Both me and the other player got so stuck with character creation and the amount of things we could do that we never actually started. Also because nobody else joined but that was secondary, since we were quite accustomed to play two+DM. So no, I don’t agree when it comes to simplicity. True, maybe I wanted to delve to deep into alternate class features and such, but that was also because I didn’t find much to be liked in the “base” classes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *