I’m going to play some Pathfinder

Sometimes life gives you a weird confluence of events.

A couple of weeks ago, I checked out the Pathfinder Core Rulebook from my local library. I’ve since renewed it and have been working my way through it. This was just for the sake of curiosity. I love learning new games, and I know that Pathfinder is quite popular, so I thought I’d learn more about it.

Shortly after that, I received an email from the guy who ran the Call of Cthulhu game I played in at Genghis Con back in February. He was getting ready to start a Pathfinder campaign and wanted to know if I was interested. At first I had to say no because he was planning on running the game on Wednesdays when I was already running D&D Encounters (and once the fall arrives, going to my bowling league). Then the game changed to Monday nights… and I have no reason to say no! So I’m going to give it a shot.

I haven’t read the entire Pathfinder Core Rulebook yet, but I’ve read enough to understand the game in general terms (and sitting around the table with experienced players will help, too). The first session is going to be this coming Monday, and it will be a one-shot Pathfinder Society game to see how the players and GM gel together.  The plan is to start an ongoing campaign every other week after that.

So far I’ve tried my hand at putting together a first-level cleric, Beren. I wanted to keep things relatively simple but not “well, you’ve got to play a fighter” simple. Beren is a human cleric of Desna with a focus in the domains of luck and travel. He’s wise and strong and charismatic, though not especially dexterous. He’ll stab things with a starknife or bash them with a morningstar… or, you know, smite them with holy justice a few times a day (though he’ll likely do his best to heal his allies instead). I’ve probably screwed everything up in building him, but I think I should be able to get by.

Incidentally, I used this Pathfinder Character Generator to build Beren. I’ll admit that I’m spoiled by the D&D 4th Edition character builder, and I expected to see even better free tools for Pathfinder. Hm.

I’ll share more about my overall thoughts on Pathfinder in a separate post. But for now, I’m putting out the call for input – what should I be thinking about as I embark on a campaign in a new game system?

11 thoughts on “I’m going to play some Pathfinder

  1. I am so jealous. I’ve been wanting to give Pathfinder a shot for the longest time, but I can never seem to find a group that works for me. I think it’s cool that you’re playing a cleric! Healing tends to be my preferred role, so I have a soft spot for those types.

    My tips for adventuring:

    1. All dragons have treasure.
    2. All statues are alive.
    3. All rugs are traps.
    4. All mirrors are secret doors.
    5. All NPCS are liars.
    6. All rings are cursed.
    7. All monsters are hungry.
    8. All villains are misunderstood.
    9. All treasure chests are mimics.
    10. All your base are belong to us.

    • Words to live by – I’ll try to remember them! Although my cleric is probably not going to be a very cynical character to start with, so he’ll have to learn those lessons the hard way.

  2. Just getting into Pathfinder myself, so I’m keen to see what you think of your first experience.

    If you’re after something like the D&D 4E character builder, look no further than Hero Labs. It’s a really easy to use system – my DM has it – though costly as you have to pay to add materials to it, but there doesn’t appear to be an ongoing cost after that – so if you’re using nothing but core rules, it’s not terribly expensive at all.

    If you’re not keen to be quite so clumsy, you could consider taking a Wisdom of 17 at the outset – yes, you lose one use of your domain powers each day, but spells don’t suffer as you’ll be able to bump it back up to 18 with your level 4 stat bump well before you’re ready to start learning 4th level spells.

    • Yeah, I wasn’t interested in spending money on a Pathflinder character generation program right off the bat, since I don’t yet know how much use I’ll get out of it, but I’ve heard good things about Hero Labs. If I really get into Pathfinder, I might check it out.

      Thanks for the suggestion about Wisdom. This is definitely an area where I do not yet understand the nuanced differences between 4e and Pathfinder. In 4e, if you don’t have at least an 18 (post racial) in your primary stat, you’re going to be noticeably less effective than other characters (as I can attest with my beloved bard, Factotum). In Pathfinder, it seems like high Wisdom is good for bonus spells and making it more difficult for enemies to resist your spells, but I’m not sure what else yet. If Beren only gets a few spells per day, maybe I should be focusing on making him more effective with weapons. I honestly don’t understand this stuff yet.

  3. Just some advice on both fronts. As for a free Character Generator, check out PC-Gen. It has a little learning curve, but is nice as you can add whatever material you want as it is just text files and it has a great community. No need to really worry about ability scores in Pathfinder as long as your DM sticks to the wealth by level curve. Reason is with this you can buy belts or headbands that increase your skills. Also as j.packer said not having a high ability score in your spell ability isn’t bad as you can make it up. It is more beneficial to decide what you want to play and then build your character to that. By that I mean if you want to play as the guy that is the face and not so great in combat, charisma would be your ability and skills of diplomacy/bluff.

    • Thanks for the tip. I’ve been trying to make PC Gen work, but no luck so far. I downloaded version 5.16, and when I’m presented with the opening screen and choose Pathfinder RPG for Players as the source to load and I click Load, I get a pop-up that says Loading Data Files that immediately says All Done with 0% loaded. I’m sure it’s a setting I need to change, but I don’t know what it is.

      • Use the 5.17.7 version. Then when you open PC-Gen and you get the screen that asks what system to load, in the bottom left hand corner on that popup is a button called advanced. Click this. Then you are presented with a split screen. On the left hand side is all of the material(books) you can load and on the right is what you want loaded. To have more material loaded just double click the item on the left and it will move to the right. When you are done, click the load button and it will load all the material into memory. Then you can click on the button that looks like a piece of paper with a asterisk and step thru making your character. If you need help, send me an email at neofax99 gmail dot com and I can walk you through it on my vent server.

      • Thanks for the help! In the end, it sounds like it was purely a version problem. I was using the “stable version” of 5.16; I guess that was not the right way to go! The 5.17.7 alpha version loads up the Pathfinder rules set like a champ.

        Thank you!

      • I am glad it worked for you! I hope to see you play in some PFSOP games using MapTools. There is a Google Group of a bunch of us that play pretty regularly and would like another Organized Player join.

  4. Ya know I have been looking for the exact same thing. I am not very experienced. I suck at making characters plus I have no imagination. But looking at the comments it looks like you guys have really got it all figured out.

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